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Presidential Proclamation -- Leif Erikson Day, 2013

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Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Wed, 09 Oct 2013 19:27

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

October 08, 2013

LEIF ERIKSON DAY, 2013

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

More than a millennium ago, Leif Erikson, a son of Iceland and grandson of Norway, cast off from Norway's familiar shores and set sail for Greenland. Erikson and his crew were not aiming to make history. But their ship drifted off course in the North Atlantic, and they landed in present-day Canada, making them the first Europeans known to visit North America. Their settlement, Vinland, sustained them in the following months. And when the seafarers returned to Greenland, they brought stories of discovery with them and forged the first link in a chain that has connected our continents ever since.

Today, we commemorate Leif Erikson's journey. We also honor a group of Norwegian immigrants who summoned that same striving spirit centuries later. Together, in 1825, they braved uncertain waters with hope in their hearts, confident that greater opportunity and brighter horizons awaited them on American shores. The travelers were among the first to complete the voyage from Norway to New York City. And just as Leif Erikson had, they lit the way for generations to follow.

These stories reaffirm that America has always been a place of unbounded promise. We are home to explorers and entrepreneurs, immigrants and innovators. We endeavor to be a country where anyone who is willing to work hard and take risks can turn even the most improbable idea into something great. On Leif Erikson Day, we celebrate that legacy and the countless Norwegian Americans who have lived it, and we carry it forward in the years ahead.

To honor Leif Erikson and celebrate our Nordic-American heritage, the Congress, by joint resolution (Public Law 88-566) approved on September 2, 1964, has authorized the President of the United States to proclaim October 9 of each year as "Leif Erikson Day."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 9, 2013, as Leif Erikson Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs to honor our rich Nordic-American heritage.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

BARACK OBAMA

Tomorrow is Friday the 11th, a date the NWO likes to kill people on :-)

TTIP/TPP

Government Shutdown Halts TTIP

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Archived Version

Source: European Public AffairsEuropean Public Affairs

Mon, 07 Oct 2013 21:32

After the end of a relatively productive negotiating period in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) last July, those at the heart of the negotiations have been excitedly preparing for the recommencement of talks set to occur in Brussels this month. A factor many of us had not anticipated was that the disagreement between U.S. lawmakers over the debt ceiling would cause the government of the United States to shut down. As an American in the field of European affairs, traveling in DC during the shutdown was eerie to say the least. The city remains on a fearful cusp of the unknown. With factions around the capital demanding that they 'get something' before agreeing to a compromise, I am reminded of a school yard staring contest '' where only the looming chance of a cookie may divert attention.

While the shutdown is felt, in some way, in the daily lives of every American, many forget that the shutdown also affects U.S. engagements around the world. The TTIP is one of the latest victims of the U.S. government shutdown. The highly anticipated and largest bilateral trade agreement in the world is now on hold because lawmakers, much like Sesame Streets' Cookie Monster, have been denied a cookie and are, simply put, a tad cranky.

On Friday October 4th, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht received what was, without a doubt, an embarrassing (for the United States) call from the U.S. trade representative Michael Froman. Negotiations which were set to take place from the 7th to the 11th of October would no longer occur as a result of the U.S. government shutdown. The reason for the halt is that the US is unable to send a full negotiation team to Brussels'.

While Secretary Kerry will continue being the U.S. presence at the Apec Summit in Indonesia, President Obama will now be missing from those proceedings due to the complications arising from the playground staring contest, which seems far from over. On the 1st October, the U.S. government shut down in anticipation of reaching the national debt ceiling of 16.7 trillion dollars by mid-October. While the shutdown immediately furloughed (forced unpaid leave) a broad category of non- essential personnel and paused government actions, as the shutdown continues the number of furloughed employees and programs closed shall increase. In other words, the world should anticipate that if the staring match continues, the rest of the world will feel an impact as the presence of the US on the global stage lessens and defaults begin occurring.

According to U.S. law, lawmakers must approve any breach of a pre-determined debt levels. The removal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as 'Obamacare', which was passed in 2010, is the cookie desired by Republicans to persuade them to pass the necessary legislation for the debt ceiling. Upheld by the Supreme Court when challenged in 2012, Obamacare is currently being legally implemented throughout the United States. The Democrats have stated that removing Obamacare is non-negotiable, thus Republicans have not seen a crumb of the cookie they desire, enforcing the continuation of this stalemate. By mid-October, if lawmakers are unable to reach a solution, the United States treasury has predicted 'catastrophic effects' on the economy. And these effects will not be isolated to the U.S.. Christine Lagarde, Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has put forth that a U.S. default would 'wreak havoc on the global economy' creating a situation potentially worse than in 2008; something which is not in the financial well-being of the EU. Yet despite the global repercussions and need to prevent further problems in the global economy, a U.S. congressman has been quoted as saying, 'We have to get something out of this. And I don't even know what that is.'[i] Not extremely comforting considering the fragile state of many world economies.

Commissioner De Gucht diplomatically described the halt in negotiations as 'regrettable'. The US and the EU stand to gain jobs from the increased transatlantic trade, in addition to the 15 million already employed in the field, along with increasing trades in goods, services, and investments; gains that '' given both economic situations '' would be mutually beneficial.

As I am currently travelling in the United States, the effects of the shutdown have been emphasized in a manner of reacting to one's favourite zoo being closed to the public. With the Panda Camera being a hotly debated victim of the shutdown, as well as national parks and camping grounds, this metaphor seems as apt as any. However, the U.S. shutdown has a wider impact than just picnic enthusiasts, not only are American lives being affected, but the world at large is anxiously waiting to see if halting the TTIP was simply the tip of the iceberg. The negotiations for the TTIP shall be rescheduled as soon as U.S. lawmakers end this schoolyard staring match and realise that when you are working with a debt ceiling, you cannot always come away with a cookie jar. Having waited three months between the first negotiation session and the second, one would predict that having to reschedule this second session will lengthen the overall time necessary for TTIP completion '' further delaying potential economic benefits of this agreement which is needed by both parties.

Helpful Links:TTIP Information from EU In The US

Official Press Release From EU Concerning US Cancelling Negotiations

Resources from the U.S. Treasury about government Debt Limit

Resource on Obamacare

International Monetary Fund U.S.A. Resources

[i] U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R '' IN)

Natasha Marie LevantiI have a great passion for all aspects of European policy and politics, as well as North American politics. Having been born and raised in the U.S., I tend to see things in Europe with a different 'twist'. I received my Bachelor's from University of Richmond, receiving a degree in Leadership Studies and International Studies, with a concentration in World Politics and Diplomacy. My life and passions were pivotally changed by studying in Denmark during 2010-2011. There I became 'hooked' on European politics and commenced a two-year research project, specifically on Danish Parliamentarians.This is what led me to a Masters in European Public Affairs from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, and what has also led me back to the United States for an internship in New York City with the European American Chamber of Commerce. So if you happen to be a fellow Europhile in the Big Apple - I would love to hear about it.

Whenever you read my posts, feel free to contact me for questions or comments, preferably in English, Danish, or French.

Email at natashalevanti@europeanpublicaffairs.eu or tweet me at @NatashaLevanti

Trans-Pacific Partnership Leaders Statement

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Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Tue, 08 Oct 2013 17:54

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

October 08, 2013

We, the Leaders of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam, are pleased to announce today that our countries are on track to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Ministers and negotiators have made significant progress in recent months on all the legal texts and annexes on access to our respective goods, services, investment, financial services, government procurement, and temporary entry markets. We have agreed that negotiators should now proceed to resolve all outstanding issues with the objective of completing this year a comprehensive and balanced, regional agreement that achieves the goals we established in Honolulu in 2011, ensures the benefits of the agreement are fully shared, and takes into account the diversity of our levels of development.

A final Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement must reflect our common vision to establish a comprehensive, next-generation model for addressing both new and traditional trade and investment issues, supporting the creation and retention of jobs and promoting economic development in our countries. The deepest and broadest possible liberalization of trade and investment will ensure the greatest benefits for countries' large and small manufacturers, service providers, farmers, and ranchers, as well as workers, innovators, investors, and consumers.

We see the Trans-Pacific Partnership, with its high ambition and pioneering standards for new trade disciplines, as a model for future trade agreements and a promising pathway to our APEC goal of building a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific. We are encouraged by the growing interest in this important negotiation and are engaging with other Asia-Pacific countries that express interest in the TPP regarding their possible future participation.

Stakeholders across the region have provided valuable input to TPP negotiating teams both on-site at rounds and in our respective countries. As we work to conclude these negotiations, we will further intensify consultations with stakeholders to craft a final agreement that appropriately addresses the interests of our citizens. We look forward to review and consideration of the outcome of our work, consistent with each of our domestic processes.

We Are 90 Days Away from the Total Loss of US Sovereignty | Dave Hodges '' The Common Sense Show

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Thu, 10 Oct 2013 03:04

Dave Hodges

October 1, 2013

The Common Sense Show

As America races toward her date with destiny, there is yet another ''fundamentally transforming'' event coming her way and that event is known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Many of us in the alternative media believe that some of the effects of the TPP will be felt before the coming war and martial law crackdown. However, after careful analysis, I am convinced that the brunt of the TPP will be felt after the America we know has been totally taken over in a post-war and post-economic collapse scenario. At the end of the day, it does not matter when the implementation of the TPP comes, because when it does, America will no longer be recognizable to anyone who has grown up in this once great country

''We Are Five Days Away From Fundamentally Transforming America''Many accuse the current President of being one of the most prolific liars to ever occupy the Oval office, and he is. However, with regard to his campaign promise to transform American, made five days prior to the ignorant sheep of this country electing him to the highest office in the land, he was telling the truth and we are now seeing evidence of this promise on several fronts. However, with regard to the TPP, his promise of transformative change could not be more accurate.

The Implementation of the TPP Is Progressing By StealthSome of you are reading these words have no idea what the Trans-Pacific Partnership consists of. Some of you have never heard of it. Some of you have heardor read the term, but fail to realize the extreme danger that the implementation of this so-called trade agreement will mean to America and our way of life. A scant few are coming to realize just how dangerous the TPP truly is. For the record, the TPP is masquerading as a free trade agreement involving the US,Australia, Japan, Canada,Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Singapore.

With regard to the TPP, ignorance of the organization is understandable. We in the alternative media have not fulfilled our duty to fully explore the ramifications of the TPP because so little is publicly known.Obama has taken full advantage of the cloudy environment and is preparing to even bypass the constitutionally required approval of the Congress before implementing the TPP through a process called ''fast-tracking.''

Obama Is Effectively Attempting to Bypass Congressional ApprovalPresident Obama is indeed seeking Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority for the TPP as he is feverishly attempting to get the deal done by the end of the year. If Obama does manage to sign the agreement without Congressional approval, this would effectively neuter Congress in the final approval process. Under such an agreement, this would permit Obama to sign the trade agreement ''without Congressional approval.''

When something is secret and kept from you, it is usually very bad for you.

After ''Fast-Tracking,'' Obama would send the finalized agreement to Congress and this would subsequently force a vote within 90 days. Congressional debate would be very limited and no amendments would be permitted. Even if Congress wanted to protect the American worker and the American economy from devastation, they cannot if Obama obtains the power to fast-track the TPP.

Let's be clear, Obama is violating the separation of powers principle of the US Constitution by leaving Congress in the dark and by limiting their ability to use their Congressional powers as they would with any other legislation. The rumors of the TPP policies are so horrific that even the Kool-Aid drinkers from the Democratic party are calling on Obama to allow more transparency. Congress is asking Obama to allow for more transparency? I did not know that we passed a Constitutional amendment which states that Congress works for Obama.

The TPP Represents the Total Loss of US SovereigntyThe TPP is the brain child of the corporations. The TPP places all member nations directly under the control of the TPP instead of their respective national governments. Congress has been denied access to review any of the documents.Alan Grayson (D-FL) was granted a special exemption to view a small part of the TPP and he was told by TPP officials to keep his mouth shut as Grayson recalls that ''They maintain that the text is classified information. I'm a member of Congress, but now they tell me that they don't want me to talk to anybody about it because if I did, I'd be releasing classified information.'' Do you realize what this means? The corporate controlled TPP has granted themselves the authority to exercise the governmental power of classifying documents and Congress is included in the exclusion. Do you understand that this means we are living in a corporate dictatorship? It gets even worse.

Meet Your New Government: Monsanto and WalmartAs if it is not egregious enough that Congress is not allowed to view TPP documents, the 600 corporate officials, who form the TPP panel (e.g. corporate officials from corporations such as Monsanto and Walmart), have complete control of the development process of the TPP. Obama can view any part of the process, Congress and the American public cannot.

Further, a leaked chapter of the TPP speaks to the creation of a TPP Tribunal Council which will have the authority to force member nations to transform its laws, its civil procedures, its criminal procedures, even its electoral process, in order to abide by the TPP Tribunal dictates. The bottom line, is that we are witnessing the destruction of the Constitution and the entire legal code of the United States, because once the tribunal makes a ruling with regard to a national law, there is no appeal. The Tribunal consists of unelected bureaucrats who are appointed by the creators of the TPP. The term of office for Tribunal officials is unlimited.

The most disturbing aspect of this agreement is that the TPP totally eviscerates the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution. If, for example, the State of Arizona wanted to outlaw fracking, the TPP could overrule the local legislation if it so desired. To illustrate how far this unconstitutional corporate power extends, the TPP could declare cocaine trafficking to be legal and this could not be challenged.

The TPP represents the total obliteration of American sovereignty. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention another small set of details. How long do you think it will take until the TPP imposes a draconian version of cap and trade upon the American people and small businesses? The cap and trade version of what Obama tried to get passed in the Senate, when he first took office, consisted of reducing everyone's energy consumption by 80% and utility rates ''would necessarily skyrocket.''

Please pause for just one moment and ask yourself if you like would like an 80% reduction of individual and business energy use and what that dramatic reduction of energy use would look like? The rank and file in this country would effectively be living in 1890.

This is Agenda 21 and it is being fully implemented through the backdoor. That is why the TPP is being kept from Congress and the American people.

These facts leads me to state that this President needs to be arrested and tried for treason.

ConclusionEven ''they'' don't want the TPP.

Obama's fast tracking of the TPP is designed to be completed by the end of the year which would coincide with the commencement of many of Obama's health care reforms.

I wish I could accurately state that the loss of sovereignty is the only threat that the TPP poses to the American people. However, to say so, would constitute a grossly inaccurate statement. Under the TPP, the alternative media will be destroyed, guns will be confiscated and the face of American employment will be forever changed in ways that you will not believe. If anything, this article has understated the threat posed to America by the TPP. The TPP is not a free trade agreement, it is a document which introduces a new era into American government. If the TPP passes, we will be living in an absolute corporate dictatorship.

These topics and more will be the subject of a follow up article to be published here later this week.

Finally, the government ''officially'' shut down tonight. I say let the government stay shut down. If my neighbor does not get her social security check, I will help feed her. We all need to reach out to those in need and help those who are impacted by this latest criminal action by our government. There is, however, a silver lining in a government shutdown. So long as the government is not officially operating, the TPP cannot be passed and while the government is shut down, perhaps this will give the people an opportunity to form a new government to take the place of the criminal government which has been hijacked by the central banksters who are bringing us the TPP.

Agenda 21

About Us | One Young World

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Archived Version

Mon, 07 Oct 2013 12:03

What IS One Young World?One Young World was founded in 2009 by David Jones and Kate Robertson. We are a London-based charity that gathers together young people from around the world, helping them make lasting connections to create positive change.

We stage an annual Summit where the young delegates, backed by the One Young World Counsellors, debate and formulate solutions for the pressing issues the world faces. No youth-dominated event outside the Olympic Games brings together more countries than One Young World.

At the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Summits delegates were guided by a line-up of Counsellors that included Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Bob Geldof, Kofi Annan, Professor Muhammad Yunus, HKH Prince Haakon of Norway, Jamie Oliver, Jack Dorsey and Joss Stone. Click here for full list of Counsellors.

After each Summit, the newly-minted One Young World Ambassadors work on their own initiatives or lend the power of the One Young World network to those already in existence. Of those in employment, many return to their companies and set about creating change from within, energising their corporate environment. Since the 2010 Summit, One Young World Ambassadors have been creating change on a global level. Previous initiatives have included the presentation of The Missing Millennium Development Goal to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the creation of the first-ever African Student Leaders Summit.

To date, almost four million people have been directly impacted by the work of One Young World Ambassadors. There are currently more than 130 projects and initiatives involving in excess of 100 countries.

Find out more about the work of the One Young World Ambassadors.

One Young World Summit 2013One Young World Summit 2013 will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, 2-5 October 2013.

Who can be a One Young World Ambassador?One Young World delegates are 18-30 years old and have demonstrated their leadership potential. Many have already had an impact in their home countries on a range of issues, including the role of business in society, transparency in business and government, the impact of climate change, global health and hunger relief.

If you think you meet the requirements, we'd welcome your application to join the pool of Candidates. Once approved, profiles are displayed on the One Young World website. Here, Candidates may seek the necessary funding to be a delegate at the Summit. Apply to attend here.

At the Summit Closing Ceremony, delegates graduate as One Young World Ambassadors, joining a global network of young leaders who are creating a positive change around the world.

How is it funded?Delegates expenses to attend a Summit may be sponsored by private citizens, companies, NGOs, education establishments, etc.

To date, this funding, per delegate, is the only sponsorship that has been received by One Young World.

More information about how to become a Sponsor can be found here.

The cost for each delegate attending the Summit encompasses travel within the host city (to and from hotels and to and from break-out events), accommodation, meals, access to laptops, desktops and mobile devices, venue costs, chaperones and satellite and wireless connectivity.

Flights or travel to and from the host city are not included. The delegate price for the 2013 Summit in Johannesburg is £2,750 + South Africa VAT at 14%.

ONE YOUNG WORLD SUMMIT 2012One Young World Summit 2012 took place in Pittsburgh, USA from 18''22 October. 1,200 delegates from 183 countries attended. The Opening Ceremony featured a keynote speech by President Bill Clinton who also took time to answer questions from the delegates.

One Young World 2011 and 2012 Counsellor Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins says: ''One Young World is an inspiring forum, in which I am proud to play a part. Equally inspiring are the stories and ambitions of the One Young World delegates '' our leaders of the future.''

One Young World Summit 2011One Young World Summit 2011 was hosted by the city of Zurich, Switzerland from 1-4 September 2011.

1200 delegates attended from 171 countries.

One Young World 2011 and 2012 Counsellor, Unilever CEO, Paul Polman says: "The world is facing a number of enormous challenges over the next fifty years as it tries to evolve from a consumption-driven economy, to a new, sustainable economy. The leaders of today are just starting to grapple with the challenges; it will be the leaders of tomorrow who have to deliver the solutions to overcome them. Our job is to inspire these new leaders to seize the opportunities these challenges present."

One Young World Summit 2010The inaugural One Young World Summit was held in London on 8-10 February 2010.

823 delegates attended from 114 countries.

The Summit 2010 focused on six key Resolutions developed in response to the most pressing issues in the world, as identified by the One Young World Global Consultation Process, a poll of over 15,000 respondents aged 18-30 years old from 34 countries, with every continent represented.

After One Young World Summit 2010, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said: "I was inspired by the energy, ideas and dynamism of the wonderful young people I met at One Young World in London and I am delighted to be attending the second gathering of these exceptional individuals in Zurich. Young people are changing the world in which we live at an incredible pace and it is important that we listen to the young leaders of tomorrow and encourage them to address the problems in the world today."

Ocean acidification due to carbon emissions is at highest for 300m years | Environment | The Guardian

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Archived Version

Mon, 07 Oct 2013 20:57

Coral is particularly at risk from acidification and rising sea temperatures. Photograph: Paul Jarrett/PA

The oceans are more acidic now than they have been for at least 300m years, due to carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, and a mass extinction of key species may already be almost inevitable as a result, leading marine scientists warned on Thursday.

An international audit of the health of the oceans has found that overfishing and pollution are also contributing to the crisis, in a deadly combination of destructive forces that are imperilling marine life, on which billions of people depend for their nutrition and livelihood.

In the starkest warning yet of the threat to ocean health, the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) said: "This [acidification] is unprecedented in the Earth's known history. We are entering an unknown territory of marine ecosystem change, and exposing organisms to intolerable evolutionary pressure. The next mass extinction may have already begun." It published its findings in the State of the Oceans report, collated every two years from global monitoring and other research studies.

Alex Rogers, professor of biology at Oxford University, said: "The health of the ocean is spiralling downwards far more rapidly than we had thought. We are seeing greater change, happening faster, and the effects are more imminent than previously anticipated. The situation should be of the gravest concern to everyone since everyone will be affected by changes in the ability of the ocean to support life on Earth."

Coral is particularly at risk. Increased acidity dissolves the calcium carbonate skeletons that form the structure of reefs, and increasing temperatures lead to bleaching where the corals lose symbiotic algae they rely on. The report says that world governments' current pledges to curb carbon emissions would not go far enough or fast enough to save many of the world's reefs. There is a time lag of several decades between the carbon being emitted and the effects on seas, meaning that further acidification and further warming of the oceans are inevitable, even if we drastically reduce emissions very quickly. There is as yet little sign of that, with global greenhouse gas output still rising.

Corals are vital to the health of fisheries, because they act as nurseries to young fish and smaller species that provide food for bigger ones.

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed by the seas '' at least a third of the carbon that humans have released has been dissolved in this way, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change '' and makes them more acidic. But IPSO found the situation was even more dire than that laid out by the world's top climate scientists in their landmark report last week.

In absorbing carbon and heat from the atmosphere, the world's oceans have shielded humans from the worst effects of global warming, the marine scientists said. This has slowed the rate of climate change on land, but its profound effects on marine life are only now being understood.

Acidification harms marine creatures that rely on calcium carbonate to build coral reefs and shells, as well as plankton, and the fish that rely on them. Jane Lubchenco, former director of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a marine biologist, said the effects were already being felt in some oyster fisheries, where young larvae were failing to develop properly in areas where the acid rates are higher, such as on the west coast of the US. "You can actually see this happening," she said. "It's not something a long way into the future. It is a very big problem."

But the chemical changes in the ocean go further, said Rogers. Marine animals use chemical signals to perceive their environment and locate prey and predators, and there is evidence that their ability to do so is being impaired in some species.

Trevor Manuel, a South African government minister and co-chair of the Global Ocean Commission, called the report "a deafening alarm bell on humanity's wider impacts on the global oceans".

"Unless we restore the ocean's health, we will experience the consequences on prosperity, wellbeing and development. Governments must respond as urgently as they do to national security threats '' in the long run, the impacts are just as important," he said.

Current rates of carbon release into the oceans are 10 times faster than those before the last major species extinction, which was the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum extinction, about 55m years ago. The IPSO scientists can tell that the current ocean acidification is the highest for 300m years from geological records.

They called for strong action by governments to limit carbon concentrations in the atmosphere to no more than 450 parts per million of carbon dioxide equivalent. That would require urgent and deep reductions in fossil fuel use.

No country in the world is properly tackling overfishing, the report found, and almost two thirds are failing badly. At least 70 per cent of the world's fish populations are over-exploited. Giving local communities more control over their fisheries, and favouring small-scale operators over large commercial vessels would help this, the report found. Subsidies that drive overcapacity in fishing fleets should also be eliminated, marine conservation zones set up and destructive fishing equipment should be banned. There should also be better governance of the areas of ocean beyond countries' national limits.

The IPSO report also found the oceans were being "deoxygenated" '' their average oxygen content is likely to fall by as much as 7 per cent by 2100, partly because of the run-off of fertilisers and sewage into the seas, and also as a side-effect of global warming. The reduction of oxygen is a concern as areas of severe depletion become effectively dead.

Rogers said: "People are just not aware of the massive roles that the oceans play in the Earth's systems. Phytoplankton produce 40 per cent of the oxygen in the atmosphere, for example, and 90 per cent of all life is in the oceans. Because the oceans are so vast, there are still areas we have never really seen. We have a very poor grasp of some of the biochemical processes in the world's biggest ecosystem."

The five chapters of which the State of the Oceans report is a summary have been published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, a peer-reviewed journal.

Tens of thousands of cattle killed in Friday's blizzard, ranchers say

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Report: Carbon taxes, trading bring most cost-effective pollution cuts - The Hill's E2-Wire

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Archived Version

Thu, 10 Oct 2013 04:57

A new report finds that the most cost-effective climate change policies are the ones with the least political traction in the United States.

Imposing an explicit cost on carbon pollution is the best way to put countries on a path toward steep emissions cuts, according to new research by the multilateral Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

''Explicit carbon pricing mechanisms, such as carbon taxes and emissions trading systems, are generally more cost-effective than most alternative policy options in creating the incentive for economies to transition towards zero carbon trajectories,'' the group said in a new report.

''The use of these mechanisms is expanding in developed, emerging and developing economies, but there is considerable scope for further uptake by governments,'' adds the report that compares policies across a number of nations.

In the U.S., carbon tax proposals have very little political traction on Capitol Hill, while cap-and-trade legislation collapsed in Congress in 2010.The OECD report examines the cost of reducing carbon through emissions trading compared to other national programs that provide tax incentives, regulations and subsidies aimed to boosting renewable power production.

Check out the whole thing here.

NWO/OECD

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Interesting how a study about us being a dumb nation is explained to us as if we're 5 year olds by MSM

About

Headquartered in a former Rothschild chateau in an affluent Parisian neighborhood, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is best known for earnest conferences on economic and social policy.About

Conference Sponsors

Another sponsor is Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), which holds $60.8 billion offshore that is untaxed by the U.S., mostly in tax- haven subsidiaries.

Amy Call Well, an Ernst & Young spokeswoman, said the firm sponsors OECD conferences to “support open dialogue about international taxation.”

The U.S. Council for International Business, an affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce, selected the sponsors, according to a trade association official and Saint-Amans. The OECD will no longer permit tax advisory firms to sponsor the transfer-pricing conferences at its Paris headquarters, he said.

In another sign that the OECD’s new regime hasn’t entirely shed its corporate-friendly past, Saint-Amans co-authored an article last month on his division’s profit-shifting efforts with William Morris, General Electric’s senior international tax counsel. Morris said he is heading efforts by a business coalition to seek “clarity” on the OECD’s initiative to clamp down on profit-shifting into tax havens.

GE is “known as being aggressive in tax planning,” Saint- Amans said. “I thought it was important to show that this project is not about disregarding what industry thinks.”

Set global Taxation policies

It's about ADULT education

Manufacturing is becoming automated.

Become an" information processor" or an entertainer (includes politicians)

LITERACY, NUMERACY AND PROBLEM SOLVING IN TECHNOLOGY-RICH ENVIRONMENTS

Respondents had to find a solution to a problem using the information and tools that were

accessible in simulated computer environments that contained applications, such as an Internet browser and

web pages, or a computer-based room-reservation system and other common applications, such as e-mail, word

processing and spreadsheet tools.

15% of the Japanese opted out if the ICT test

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oecd report - Google Search

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 10 Oct 2013 04:52

Americans Don't Have the Skills They NeedSlate Magazine (blog)'Ž - 1 day ago

But via Doug Henwood here's a new report from the OECD on adult skill levels in different developed countries that shows the United States ...

The selection and placement of stories on this page were determined automatically by a computer program. The time or date displayed reflects when an article was added to or updated in Google News.

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It's Official: American Adults Are Dumber Than Average | Zero Hedge

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Archived Version

Thu, 10 Oct 2013 03:44

Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

The study is called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies and it tested 166,000 people aged 16 to 65 in more than 20 countries. It found that in math, reading and problem solving, American adults scored below the international average.

I can't say this is surprising, after all, the public allowed the big banks that destroyed the economy to gift themselves trillions in the aftermath of the financial crisis with barely a peep in response. You don't have to be a problem solving genius to figure that one out. Finally, there is some proof behind our long-held suspicions.

From the Associated Press via the New York Post:

WASHINGTON '-- It's long been known that America's school kids haven't measured well compared with international peers. Now, there's a new twist: Adults don't either.

In math, reading and problem-solving using technology '' all skills considered critical for global competitiveness and economic strength '' American adults scored below the international average on a global test, according to results released Tuesday.

Adults in Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland and multiple other countries scored significantly higher than the United States in all three areas on the test. Beyond basic reading and math, respondents were tested on activities such as calculating mileage reimbursement due to a salesman, sorting email andcomparing food expiration dates on grocery store tags.

Not only did Americans score poorly compared to many international competitors, the findings reinforced just how large the gap is between the nation's high- and low-skilled workers and how hard it is to move ahead when your parents haven't.

Yes, it's called feudalism.

The study, called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, found that it was easier on average to overcome this and other barriers to literacy overseas than in the United States.

Researchers tested about 166,000 people ages 16 to 65 in more than 20 countries and subnational regions. The test was developed and released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is made up of mostly industrialized member countries. The Education Department's Center for Education Statistics participated.

Americans scored toward the bottom in the category of problem solving in a technology rich environment. The top five scores in the areas were from Japan, Finland, Australia, Sweden and Norway, while the US score was on par with England, Estonia, Ireland and Poland. In nearly all countries, at least 10 percent of adults lacked the most basic of computer skills such as using a mouse.

The above is somewhat surprising given the amount of time Americans spend glued to their iPhones for Facebook updates about what their cousin ate for breakfast. I can tell you one category in which Americans surely beat all global competitors. The art of mercilessly stampeding into one another like animals at Wal-Mart on Black Friday to purchase plasma televisions. That that world.

Full article here.

Average:Your rating: NoneAverage: 4(5 votes)

US adults are dumber than the average human | New York Post

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 10 Oct 2013 03:44

WASHINGTON '-- It's long been known that America's school kids haven't measured well compared with international peers. Now, there's a new twist: Adults don't either.

In math, reading and problem-solving using technology '' all skills considered critical for global competitiveness and economic strength '' American adults scored below the international average on a global test, according to results released Tuesday.

Adults in Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland and multiple other countries scored significantly higher than the United States in all three areas on the test. Beyond basic reading and math, respondents were tested on activities such as calculating mileage reimbursement due to a salesman, sorting email and comparing food expiration dates on grocery store tags.

Not only did Americans score poorly compared to many international competitors, the findings reinforced just how large the gap is between the nation's high- and low-skilled workers and how hard it is to move ahead when your parents haven't.

In both reading and math, for example, those with college-educated parents did better than those whose parents did not complete high school.

The study, called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, found that it was easier on average to overcome this and other barriers to literacy overseas than in the United States.

Researchers tested about 166,000 people ages 16 to 65 in more than 20 countries and subnational regions. The test was developed and released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is made up of mostly industrialized member countries. The Education Department's Center for Education Statistics participated.

The findings were equally grim for many European countries '' Italy and Spain, among the hardest hit by the recession and debt crisis, ranked at the bottom across generations. Unemployment is well over 25 percent in Spain and over 12 percent in Italy. Spain has drastically cut education spending, drawing student street protests.

But in the northern European countries that have fared better, the picture was brighter '' and the study credits continuing education. In Finland, Denmark, and the Netherlands, more than 60 percent of adults took part in either job training or continuing education. In Italy, by contrast, the rate was half that.

As the American economy sputters along and many people live paycheck-to-paycheck, economists say a highly-skilled workforce is key to economic recovery. The median hourly wage of workers scoring on the highest level in literacy on the test is more than 60 percent higher than for workers scoring at the lowest level, and those with low literacy skills were more than twice as likely to be unemployed.

''It's not just the kids who require more and more preparation to get access to the economy, it's more and more the adults don't have the skills to stay in it,'' said Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement the nation needs to find ways to reach more adults to upgrade their skills. Otherwise, he said, ''no matter how hard they work, these adults will be stuck, unable to support their families and contribute fully to our country.''

Among the other findings:

-Americans scored toward the bottom in the category of problem solving in a technology rich environment. The top five scores in the areas were from Japan, Finland, Australia, Sweden and Norway, while the US score was on par with England, Estonia, Ireland and Poland. In nearly all countries, at least 10 percent of adults lacked the most basic of computer skills such as using a mouse.

-Japanese and Dutch adults who were ages 25 to 34 and only completed high school easily outperformed Italian or Spanish university graduates of the same age.

-In England, Germany, Italy, Poland, and the United States, social background has a big impact on literacy skills, meaning the children of parents with low levels of education have lower reading skills.

America's school kids have historically scored low on international assessment tests compared to other countries, which is often blamed on the diversity of the population and the high number of immigrants. Also, achievement tests have long shown that a large chunk of the US student population lacks basic reading and math skills '' most pronounced among low-income and minority students.

This test could suggest students leaving high school without certain basic skills aren't obtaining them later on the job or in an education program.

The United States will have a tough time catching up because money at the state and local level, a major source of education funding, has been slashed in recent years, said Jacob Kirkegaard, an economist with the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

''There is a race between man and machine here. The question here is always: Are you a worker for whom technology makes it possible to do a better job or are you a worker that the technology can replace?'' he said. For those without the most basic skills, he said, the answer will be merciless and has the potential to extend into future generations. Learning is highly correlated with parents' education level.

''If you want to avoid having an underclass '' a large group of people who are basically unemployable '' this educational system is absolutely key,'' Kirkegaard said.

Dolores Perin, professor of psychology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, said the report provides a ''good basis for an argument there should be more resources to support adults with low literacy.''

Adults can learn new skills at any age and there are adult-geared programs around the country, Perin said. But, she said, the challenge is ensuring the programs have quality teaching and that adults regularly attend classes.

''If you find reading and writing hard, you've been working hard all day at two jobs, you've got a young child, are you actually going to go to class? It's challenging,'' Perin said.

Some economists say that large skills gap in the United States could matter even more in the future. America's economic competitors like China and India are simply larger than competitors of the past like Japan, Carnevale said. Even while America's top 10 percent of students can compete globally, Carnevale said, that doesn't cut it. China and India did not participate in this assessment.

''The skills in the middle are required and we're not producing them,'' Carnevale said.

Respondents were selected as part of a nationally represented sample. The test was primarily taken at home using a computer, but some respondents used a printed test booklet.

Among the other findings:

-Japan, Finland, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Flanders-Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, and Korea all scored significantly higher than the United States in all three areas on the test.

-The average scores in literacy range from 250 in Italy to 296 in Japan. The US average score was 270. (500 was the highest score in all three areas.) Average scores in 12 countries were higher than the average US score.

-The average scores in math range from 246 in Spain to 288 in Japan. The US average score was 253, below 18 other countries.

-The average scores on problem solving in technology-rich environments ranged from 275 in Poland to 294 in Japan. The US average score was 277, below 14 other countries.

Budget - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 10 Oct 2013 03:43

The Organisation's member countries fund the budget for Part I programmes, accounting for about 53% of the consolidated budget. Their contributions are based on both a proportion that is shared equally and a scale proportional to the relative size of their economies.

Part II budgets include programmes of interest to a limited number of members or relating to special sectors of activity not covered by Part I. Part II programmes are funded according to a scale of contributions or other agreements among the participating countries.

The budget for 2013 is EUR 354 million.

Member Countries' percentage shares of Part I budget contributions for 2013

Member Countries

% Contribution

1. United States

21.58

2. Japan

12.88

3. Germany

7.91

4. France

6.03

5. United Kingdom

5.31

6. Italy

4.81

7. Canada

3.69

8. Spain

3.51

9. Australia

2.83

10. Korea

2.49

11. Mexico

2.42

12. Netherlands

2.15

13. Switzerland

1.79

14. Belgium

1.52

15. Turkey

1.49

16. Chile

1.43

17. Estonia

1.43

18. Israel

1.43

19. Slovenia

1.43

20. Norway

1.42

21. Sweden

1.42

22. Poland

1.34

23. Austria

1.30

24. Denmark

1.14

25. Greece

1.08

26. Finland

0.99

27. Portugal

0.92

28. Czech Republic

0.86

29. Ireland

0.84

30. New Zealand

0.74

31. Hungary

0.70

32. Slovak Republic

0.45

33. Luxembourg

0.37

34. Iceland

0.30

Total of contributions

100.0

Related Documents

Financial Statements of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development as at 31 December 2012

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Report: Carbon taxes, trading bring most cost-effective pollution cuts - The Hill's E2-Wire

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 10 Oct 2013 04:57

A new report finds that the most cost-effective climate change policies are the ones with the least political traction in the United States.

Imposing an explicit cost on carbon pollution is the best way to put countries on a path toward steep emissions cuts, according to new research by the multilateral Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

''Explicit carbon pricing mechanisms, such as carbon taxes and emissions trading systems, are generally more cost-effective than most alternative policy options in creating the incentive for economies to transition towards zero carbon trajectories,'' the group said in a new report.

''The use of these mechanisms is expanding in developed, emerging and developing economies, but there is considerable scope for further uptake by governments,'' adds the report that compares policies across a number of nations.

In the U.S., carbon tax proposals have very little political traction on Capitol Hill, while cap-and-trade legislation collapsed in Congress in 2010.The OECD report examines the cost of reducing carbon through emissions trading compared to other national programs that provide tax incentives, regulations and subsidies aimed to boosting renewable power production.

Check out the whole thing here.

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Slave Training

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Evacuation Plans and Procedures eTool - Shelter-in-Place

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Archived Version

Mon, 07 Oct 2013 18:47

Chemical, biological, or radiological contaminants may be released into the environment in such quantity and/or proximity to a place of business that it is safer to remain indoors rather than to evacuate employees. Such releases may be either accidental or intentional. Examples of situations that might result in a decision by an employer to institute "shelter-in-place" include an explosion in an ammonia refrigeration facility across the street, or a derailed and leaking tank car of chlorine on the rail line behind your place of business.

"Shelter-in-place" means selecting an interior room or rooms within your facility, or ones with no or few windows, and taking refuge there. In many cases, local authorities will issue advice to shelter-in-place via TV or radio.

Related information:

Preparing to stay or goDepending on your circumstances and the type of emergency, the first important decision is whether you stay put or get away. You should understand and plan for both possibilities. Use common sense and available information, including what you are learning here, to determine if there is immediate danger. In any emergency, local authorities may or may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. Use available information to assess the situation. If you see large amounts of debris in the air, or if local authorities say the air is badly contaminated, you may want to "shelter-in-place." However, you should watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet often for information or official instructions as it becomes available. If you are specifically told to evacuate or seek medical treatment, do so immediately.

Use telephones, televisions, and radios forreceiving instructions or emergency information.The Internet may be a valuable sourceof information during an emergency.

If you intend to include a shelter-in-place option in your emergency plan, be sure to keep the following in mind:

Alarm methods may vary depending on the type of emergencyTrain employees for shelter-in-placeprocedures just the same as you would

Shelter-in-place proceduresSpecific procedures for shelter-in-place at a worksite may include the following:If there are customers, clients, or visitors in the building, provide for their safety by asking them to stay '' not leave. When authorities provide directions to shelter-in-place, they want everyone to take those steps immediately. Do not drive or walk outdoors.Quickly lock exterior doors and close windows, air vents, and fireplace dampers. Have employees familiar with your building's mechanical systems turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems, and clothes dryers. Some systems automatically provide for exchange of inside air with outside air. These systems, in particular, need to be turned off, sealed, or disabled.If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds, or curtains.Close or tape-off all vents in the room used for shelter-in-place.Gather essential suppliessuch as a first-aid kit.Gather essential disaster supplies, such as nonperishable food, bottled water, battery-powered radios, first-aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, duct tape, plastic sheeting, and plastic garbage bags.Select interior room(s) above the ground floor, with the fewest windows or vents. The room(s) should have adequate space for everyone to be able to sit. Avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms if necessary. Large storage closets, utility rooms, pantries, copy and conference rooms without exterior windows will work well. Avoid selecting a room with mechanical equipment like ventilation blowers or pipes, because this equipment may not be able to be sealed from the outdoors.It is ideal to have a hard-wired telephone in the room(s) you select. Call emergency contacts and have the phone available if you need to report a life-threatening condition. Cellular telephone equipment may be overwhelmed or damaged during an emergency.Take your emergency supplies and go into the room you have designated. Seal all windows, doors, and vents with plastic sheeting and duct tape or anything else you have on hand.Consider precutting plastic sheeting (heavier than food wrap) to seal windows, doors, and air vents. Each piece should be several inches larger than the space you want to cover so that it lies flat against the wall. Label each piece with the location of where it fits. [See image at right]Write down the names of everyone in the room, and call your business' designated emergency contact to report who is in the room with you, and their affiliation with your business (employee, visitor, client, customer).Listen to the radio, watch television, or use the Internet for further instructions until you are told all is safe or to evacuate. Local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas at greatest risk in your community.Tape plastic sheeting over vents, windows, and doors to prevent contaminated air from entering the room.Links to additional informationThe following websites provide additional information on Shelter-In-Place:

Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP). Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Describes the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) as a unique partnership between FEMA and the U.S. Army, given FEMA's long-standing experience in preparing for and dealing with all types of emergencies and the U.S. Army's role as custodian of the U.S. chemical stockpile. Since 1988, FEMA and the U.S. Army have assisted communities surrounding the eight chemical stockpile sites to enhance their abilities to respond to the unlikely event of a chemical agent emergency. Planning Protective Action Decision Making: Evacuate or Shelter in Place? [113 KB PDF, 40 pages]. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), (2002, June). Evaluates the decision of whether to evacuate or shelter-in-place. A successful evacuation removes people from the affected area and avoids exposing them to a harmful concentration of the toxic chemical. An inappropriate decision to evacuate, on the other hand, can have negative consequences if it results in the population of the affected area being caught outdoors or in their vehicles when contamination enters the area. Sheltering can be worse than evacuation if shelters are leaky, people are not told when to come out of the shelter, or the release continues for a long time.Design Guidance for Shelters and Safe Rooms [12 MB PDF, 264 pages]. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Publication 453, (2006, May). Covers a range of protective options, from low-cost expedient protection (what is commonly referred to as sheltering-in-place) to safe rooms ventilated and pressurized with air purified by ultra-high-efficiency filters. These safe rooms protect against toxic gases, vapors, and aerosols (finely divided solid or liquid particles).Learn How to Shelter in Place. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Shelter-in-place" means to take immediate shelter where you are'--at home, work, school, or in between. It may also mean "seal the room;" in other words, take steps to prevent outside air from coming in. This page provides additional information on Shelter in Place.Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

Qylur Security Systems-DIY Slave Scanners

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Tue, 08 Oct 2013 21:14

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Zeeland public school in outlaws tag, chasing, 'running in packs'

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Archived Version

Wed, 09 Oct 2013 18:58

New Groningen kindergarten teachers in Grand Rapids, Michigan caused some consternation amongst parents recently with a letter they sent home that banned the game of tag and other chase-oriented games. The letter described the problem of children, "running in packs, pushing, knocking other children over, and making the game dangerous," which as we recall, was half the fun of the game. "We want our children to treat each other with respect, kindness, and with safety in mind," said Ginger Smith, community relationship manager for Zeeland Public Schools, on Friday, in an attempt to clarify the situation. Apparently, neither the school nor the district have received any direct complaints from parents regarding the policy, but at least one did contact the media. [Source]

See today's most shared stories on Facebook.

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Lumosity Press Release - Lumosity

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Archived Version

Thu, 10 Oct 2013 14:24

Pequot Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners investment will advance brain researchers' quest to improve brain fitnessSan Francisco, Calif. '' June 3, 2008 '' Lumos Labs, developer of Lumosity.com, the leading web-based provider of scientifically-tested brain training games, today announced that it has raised $3 million of equity financing from Pequot Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), and existing investors including Michael Dearing. The investor group brings expertise that will catalyze the ongoing development of Lumosity.com and support Lumos Labs' mission to improve lives by enhancing brain fitness.

"Lumos Labs is at the center of a booming interest in cognitive exercise and the emerging science about the remarkable plasticity of the brain," said Amish Jani of Pequot Ventures. "Lumosity.com has seen tremendous demand from users and partners alike by leveraging the power of the web to deliver a unique platform for brain fitness."

Lumosity.com's programs consist of game-like exercises designed to train and improve cognitive functions. The programs target different parts of the brain, and are experimentally tested with the help of collaborators at top academic institutions. Users pay a monthly subscription to use the program and track their progress with detailed performance reports and feedback.

"In our analysis, Lumosity.com stood out from its competitors because of its best-in-class combination of engaging games and scientific rigor," said Tim Chang of Norwest Venture Partners. "This unique combination has led to a strong market demand for Lumosity.com's offerings and has created a leader in the emerging market for brain fitness."

"We're excited to take basic neuroscience and psychology findings out of the lab and deliver them to consumers in a way that is actually improving their lives," said Michael Scanlon, Chief Scientific Officer of Lumos Labs. "This investment will enable us to significantly expand the diversity of games we offer, while further advancing the field through creative innovations and research with our academic collaborators."

About Lumos LabsFounded in 2005, Lumos Labs, Inc. creates innovative neuroscience-based tools that empower people to lead better lives through improved brain health and performance. Lumos Labs is a pioneer in developing scientifically designed and experimentally tested online brain fitness programs. The company works in collaboration with leading scientists in neuroscience and cognitive psychology from Stanford, UCSF, and other leading research institutions to bring beneficial and innovative products to market. Lumosity.com is the online brain performance program researched and developed by Lumos Labs, and is scientifically demonstrated to improve cognitive function in adults through a series of engaging exercises and brain games. For more information, please visit www.lumosity.com.

About Pequot VenturesPequot Ventures is the direct venture investment arm of Pequot Capital Management, Inc. Pequot Ventures is focused on today's most dynamic startup and growth-stage companies in the technology industry. For more than a decade, Pequot Ventures has partnered with talented entrepreneurs and experienced managers to build market-leading enterprises. With nearly $2 billion in capital commitments, Pequot brings energy, insight and substantial sector expertise to create competitive, sustainable businesses and long-term value. Pequot Capital Management and Pequot Ventures recently announced that they have decided to separate their businesses, effective July 1, 2008. As part of the separation, the investment principals of Pequot Ventures will form a new firm, FirstMark Capital. FirstMark will assume the investment management operations of Pequot Ventures and, with investor approval, will take on the full responsibility for the assets currently under the management of Pequot Ventures. FirstMark Capital will continue to invest in high-growth businesses which are leading the technology revolution. Select investments include: Netgear, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTGR); First Advantage Corp.

(NASDAQ: FADV); StubHub, Inc (Acquired by eBay, Inc.); Netegrity, Inc. (Acquired by CA Inc); Flarion, Inc. (Acquired by Qualcomm, Inc.); OutlookSoft Inc. (Acquired by SAP AG); Analex Corp. (Acquired by QinetiQ); Vallent (Acquired by IBM) and Syndesis (Acquired by Subex). For more information, please visit www.pequotventures.com

About Norwest Venture Partners (NVP)'¨Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) is a global venture capital firm that has actively partnered with entrepreneurs to build great businesses for more than 45 years. NVP focuses on investments in information technology including: Internet, media and consumer, software, services, enterprise and communications systems and semiconductor/components. The firm currently manages more than $2.5 billion in venture capital out of its office in Palo Alto, California. NVP has funded over 400 companies in the U.S. since inception. Some of the firm's recent investments and transactions include Adventity, Airespace (acquired by Cisco Systems), deCarta, DoubleFusion, Jigsaw, KACE, mBlox, Omneon, Open-Silicon (acquired by Unicorn Investment Bank), Persistent Systems, Rackspace, SideStep (acquired by Kayak), Spinnaker Networks (acquired by Network Appliance), Winphoria Networks (acquired by Motorola) Yatra, and Yipes (acquired by Reliance/Flag Telecom). NVP has also funded such market leaders as Actel Corporation, Cerent (acquired by Cisco Systems), Documentum, Extreme Networks, Forte Software (acquired by Sun Microsystems), PeopleSoft and Tivoli Systems (acquired by IBM). For more information, please visit www.nvp.com

Lumosity News - Lumosity

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Archived Version

Thu, 10 Oct 2013 14:21

"More than 40 Games are offered by Lumosity. One, the N-back, is based on a task developed decades ago by psychologists."

"As new understandings emerge about how cognitive training works and in what ways it is or is not effective, it's a good bet that Lumosity will be the first to arrive with updated games."

"A new measure seeks to track the 'brain performance' or cognitive capacity of metros in a different and potentially more direct way. This metric, developed by Lumos Labs, is based on their cognitive training and tracking software, Lumosity."

"There's Lumosity, from Lumos Labs Inc., an online system that serves up games employees can play during downtime at work..."

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SnowJob

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NSA's $1.4B data center in Utah nearly unusable due to major | LAUNCH

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Archived Version

Tue, 08 Oct 2013 21:39

NSA's $1.4B data center in Utah nearly unusable due to major electrical problems; 10 electrical surges in past 13 mo's have caused explosions, metal to melt & circuits to fail; causes are under investigation; the 1M+ sq ft facility is estimated to have a capacity to store exabytes or zettabytes of data; center continuously uses 65 mw of power at $1M a mo - Link

9.5

how important is this story?

NSA data center meltdown

Meltdowns Hobble NSA Data Center

Chronic electrical surges at the massive new data-storage facility central to the National Security Agency's spying operation have destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of machinery and delayed the center's opening for a year, according to project documents and current and former officials.

There have been 10 meltdowns in the past 13 months that have prevented the NSA from using computers at its new Utah data-storage center, slated to be the spy agency's largest, according to project documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

One project official described the electrical troubles—so-called arc fault failures—as "a flash of lightning inside a 2-foot box." These failures create fiery explosions, melt metal and cause circuits to fail, the official said.

The causes remain under investigation, and there is disagreement whether proposed fixes will work, according to officials and project documents. One Utah project official said the NSA planned this week to turn on some of its computers there.

NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines acknowledged problems but said "the failures that occurred during testing have been mitigated. A project of this magnitude requires stringent management, oversight, and testing before the government accepts any building."

The Utah facility, one of the Pentagon's biggest U.S. construction projects, has become a symbol of the spy agency's surveillance prowess, which gained broad attention in the wake of leaks from NSA contractorEdward Snowden. It spans more than one-million square feet, with construction costs pegged at $1.4 billion—not counting the Cray supercomputers that will reside there.

Exactly how much data the NSA will be able to store there is classified. Engineers on the project believe the capacity is bigger than Google's largest data center. Estimates are in a range difficult to imagine but outside experts believe it will keep exabytes or zettabytes of data. An exabyte is roughly 100,000 times the size of the printed material in the Library of Congress; a zettabyte is 1,000 times larger.

But without a reliable electrical system to run computers and keep them cool, the NSA's global surveillance data systems can't function. The NSA chose Bluffdale, Utah, to house the data center largely because of the abundance of cheap electricity. It continuously uses 65 megawatts, which could power a small city of at least 20,000, at a cost of more than $1 million a month, according to project officials and documents.

Utah is the largest of several new NSA data centers, including a nearly $900 million facility at its Fort Meade, Md., headquarters and a smaller one in San Antonio. The first of four data facilities at the Utah center was originally scheduled to open in October 2012, according to project documents.

In the wake of the Snowden leaks, the NSA has been criticized for its expansive domestic operations. Through court orders, the NSA collects the phone records of nearly all Americans and has built a system with telecommunications companies that provides coverage of roughly 75% of Internet communications in the U.S.

In another program called Prism, companies including Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo are under court orders to provide the NSA with account information. The agency said it legally sifts through the collected data to advance its foreign intelligence investigations.

The data-center delays show that the NSA's ability to use its powerful capabilities is undercut by logistical headaches. Documents and interviews paint a picture of a project that cut corners to speed building.

Backup generators have failed numerous tests, according to project documents, and officials disagree about whether the cause is understood. There are also disagreements among government officials and contractors over the adequacy of the electrical control systems, a project official said, and the cooling systems also remain untested.

The Army Corps of Engineers is overseeing the data center's construction. Chief of Construction Operations, Norbert Suter said, "the cause of the electrical issues was identified by the team, and is currently being corrected by the contractor." He said the Corps would ensure the center is "completely reliable" before handing it over to the NSA.

But another government assessment concluded the contractor's proposed solutions fall short and the causes of eight of the failures haven't been conclusively determined. "We did not find any indication that the proposed equipment modification measures will be effective in preventing future incidents," said a report last week by special investigators from the Army Corps of Engineers known as a Tiger Team.

The architectural firm KlingStubbins designed the electrical system. The firm is a subcontractor to a joint venture of three companies: Balfour Beatty Construction, DPR Construction and Big-D Construction Corp. A KlingStubbins official referred questions to the Army Corps of Engineers.

The joint venture said in a statement it expected to submit a report on the problems within 10 days: "Problems were discovered with certain parts of the unique and highly complex electrical system. The causes of those problems have been determined and a permanent fix is being implemented."

The first arc fault failure at the Utah plant was on Aug. 9, 2012, according to project documents. Since then, the center has had nine more failures, most recently on Sept. 25. Each incident caused as much as $100,000 in damage, according to a project official.

It took six months for investigators to determine the causes of two of the failures. In the months that followed, the contractors employed more than 30 independent experts that conducted 160 tests over 50,000 man-hours, according to project documents.

This summer, the Army Corps of Engineers dispatched its Tiger Team, officials said. In an initial report, the team said the cause of the failures remained unknown in all but two instances.

The team said the government has incomplete information about the design of the electrical system that could pose new problems if settings need to change on circuit breakers. The report concluded that efforts to "fast track" the Utah project bypassed regular quality controls in design and construction.

Contractors have started installing devices that insulate the power system from a failure and would reduce damage to the electrical machinery. But the fix wouldn't prevent the failures, according to project documents and current and former officials.

Contractor representatives wrote last month to NSA officials to acknowledge the failures and describe their plan to ensure there is reliable electricity for computers. The representatives said they didn't know the true source of the failures but proposed remedies they believed would work. With those measures and others in place, they said, they had "high confidence that the electrical systems will perform as required by the contract."

A couple of weeks later, on Sept. 23, the contractors reported they had uncovered the "root cause" of the electrical failures, citing a "consensus" among 30 investigators, which didn't include government officials. Their proposed solution was the same device they had already begun installing.

The Army Corps of Engineer's Tiger Team said the contractor's explanations were unproven. The causes of the incidents "are not yet sufficiently understood to ensure that [the NSA] can expect to avoid these incidents in the future," their report said.

Write to Siobhan Gorman at siobhan.gorman@wsj.com

A version of this article appeared October 8, 2013, on page A1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Meltdowns Hobble NSA Data Center.

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Should the Navy Appear on the Same Platform with WikiLeaks' Jacob Appelbaum in Berlin? - Wired State

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Archived Version

Mon, 07 Oct 2013 19:41

Jacob Appelbaum at a fund-raiser. Photo by Scott Beale.

That's the question I have when I see a geek conference coming up in Germany, and note that three Navy officials who are long-time developers of Tor, the encryption software. As we know, Tor got its start in the US military, like the Internet itself did in DARPA, but there's a particularly nihilist geeky notion behind Tor about using innocent human shields and cultivating indifference to criminality -- a flaw to which both military and anarchists are vulnerable -- that have made me critical of Tor. (Here's what I wrote in April 2012 about the Navy, Tor and Appelbaum long before Snowden.)

The 20th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security will take place in Berlin from November 4-8 -- be there, if you have a thousand plus dollars for the entry fee.

The conference brings together information security researchers, practitioners, developers, and users from all over the world to explore cutting-edge ideas and results. It provides an environment to conduct intellectual discussions. From its inception, CCS has established itself as a high standard research conference in its area.

No doubt!

And one of the cutting-edge ideas the conference-goers will hear is that roughly 100% of Tor's users in a single location basically yield up their anonymity within 3 months to adversaries.

So in the interests of public safety, it's probably better that this important news get to the community of geeks most likely to get maximum use of it -- those helping others to use Tor -- than not. And "because -- science."

Even so, I think the Obama Administration has to think more coherently about why they are allowing Tor constantly to run out ahead of them so destructively, and what it means for the military to appear on the same platform -- the same venue, the same conference even if not literally the same panel discussion -- and mingle in the same crowd as a helper of Edward Snowden (and there will undoubtedly be many more helpers and enablers of Snowden in the German audience).

I'm not sure of the politics and procedures for how the inequities and bad faith involved in "normalizing" Appelbaum get raised in this case -- but maybe somebody should have a talk with Martin Shallbruch, depending on where his sympathies lie, as I shall explain...

Why should Appelbaum, funded by the US government, developing for Tor, which is still 60% funded by the Department of Defense, be a problem for the original Tor developers from the Navy in terms of conference appearances?

Because Appelbaum as readers of this blog know is not only involved in WikiLeaks and is under investigation by the WikiLeaks grand jury in the US, he was intimately involved in the Snowden defection from the NSA and helped with encryption of his communications. Appelbaum has joined with Snowden, under cover of the journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, to cause enormous and irreparable harm to the United States government and people. Hello!

Oh, I realize these Navy geeks can't possibly see it this way "because -- science." The nerd tribe cuts right across institutional boundaries and imperatives, whether of the military's discipline and ranks or the horrid hazing rituals of anarchist coders, and one thing that either group insists on is code trumping all -- code-as-law -- as "objective" and "the truth".

If you criticize anything morally wrong about Tor and its uses and misuses, and the huge collection of unsavoury characters and despicable doings that have sprung up about Tor, you are told blandly that it's just software that like a hammer to a nail has no moral inherency.

I always point out that Tor has brought us the two defining disasters of our nation's foreign policy and intelligence security in our time -- WikiLeaks and Snowden -- and it needs to be taken down and they need to start over. Tor isn't just software; it's a community of practice, a network of people, some of them very ill-intentioned to the US.

But those engrossed in Tor and the nerdy ethics-free approach to software and its cults that always invade every discussion about it think it's "just software" or "the good outweighs the bad".

That's why you get what I view as an entirely false narrative first from Greenwald in the Guardian, then from Shane Harris and John Hudson in Foreign Policy that pits the NSA against the State Department, bad spy guys invading privacy versus good activists and freedom-fighters protecting privacy.

That along the way you have not only child pornographers and drug dealers -- which is bad enough! -- doesn't bother them terribly, much less radical anarchists like Assange who want to destroy the US government, civic institutions and even the Internet itself as we know it (they hate businesses and multistakeholders with power other than themselves). And THAT is something that the Navy -- which is supposed to protect our seas and I guess by metaphorical extension our Internet waves from hostile forces -- really should get more serious about understanding.

Usually, what's been happening with these nerd conferences like DEFCON since Snowden is that the nerds themselves posture and swagger and tell General Alexander and other NSA ilk to stay out because now they're compromised and they've "broken trust". That hackers like Snowden and Appelbaum have first broken trust is of no matter to these arrogant types; they need to show their "independence."

But the conference in Berlin apparently isn't so allergic to the US government that it won't feature the Navy on the agenda:

Users Get Routed: Traffic Correlation on Tor by Realistic AdversariesAaron Johnson (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory), Chris Wacek (Georgetown University), Rob Jansen (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory), Micah Sherr (Georgetown University), Paul Syverson (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)

Oh, and US Big IT corporations such as SAP, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Google, IBM Research etc. are the contributing sponsors for this event. German academic geekdom is never too proud to take money from US corporations that are whipped in Der Spiegel for being handmaidens (whores) of the NSA.

Oh, and Army Research Office - although the logo produced on the website from this institution is so blurry that unless you already knew it or verified it in Google images, you might not notice it -- it's reminiscent of the Lavabit owner who turned over numerous pages of bits in 4-pt type to frustrate the FBI...

The keynote speakers featured are Martin Schallbruch Chief Information Officer at the Federal Ministry of the Interior (Germany) -- and perhaps someone can explain to me what his politics are, I suspect they are probably leftist like most geeks; the famous Mikko Hypponen Chief Research Officer of F-Secure (Finland) and Prof. Ravi Sandhu Executive Director of the Institute for Cyber Security at the University of Texas at San Antonio (USA) -- another rock star in his field.

BTW, to get a sense of Mikko's influence and reach -- one RT of a post I did on Snowden's online footprint by him on Twitter brought thousands of viewers to my blog instantly.

"Invited" speaker for this conference -- which doesn't come cheap as even the student fee is around 750 euros going up to 990 euros for the earlybird non-member -- is Jacob Appelbaum. Jake hasn't gotten his homework done yet, so you don't see his paper posted yet, but here's the abstract:

The recent leaks of information by Edward Snowden teach us about the behaviors, specific goals, various techniques, as well as the overall motivations behind certain well funded attackers. The information presented by journalists raise extremely serious questions about the trade-offs being made by these attackers. The subverting of academics, industry and scientific standardization bodies is not only concerning, it threatens to undermine analysis performed on the basis of certain ground truths. How does this impact society? How does it impact industry? What empowers these attackers and how is it that it does not empower other attackers? What problems and threat models need to be considered? What are the key problems that we must consider with regard to security, privacy, anonymity and society?

Translation -- he doesn't mean Snowden is the attacker, although apparently through the kind ministrations of John Perry Barlow and the Fund for Free Press, he is likely well-funded, too. No, he means the NSA as attacker on all of the crypto kids. BTW, the "subversion of standards" hasn't been proven by a long shot.

Note the assistance in the mythmaking of "hacker-as-journalist" in the bio -- "Jacob Appelbaum works as a journalist, a photographer, and as a software developer and researcher with The Tor Project" -- and indulges his interests in things like "consensus-based government" -- a horrid little sect growing out of the open software cult which I'm reminded I need to write about separately as it, too, is escaping from its lab to harm the general public.

But let's look at what this paper that our brave Navy researchers in blue are bringing to the table, because it's interesting.

It also goes quite far to debunk a narrative that Greenwald is now crafting, and which I see the Foreign Policy writers Shane and Hudson have unfortunately picked up, which is that Tor is unbeatable by NSA hackers. Nonsense.

As I've blogged before, Paul Syverson is at the Center for High Assurance Computer SystemsUS Naval Research Laboratory. A past paper Practical Vulnerabilities of the Tor Anonymity Network lets us know that Tor isn't so unbeatable -- hostile forces can just watch the nodes and what packets enter and exit and get at the content of your communications.

Indeed, that's what their friend Julian Assange did and that's how he got his sordid start as a hacker pretending to be a publisher -- sniffing other people's packets and grabbing other people's stuff to make his WikiLeaks stash.

In the precis of the paper to be given next month, the authors write:

Onion routing is a technology designed at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory to protect the security and privacy of network communications. In particular, Tor, the current widely-used onion routing system, was originally designed to protect intelligence gathering from open sources and to otherwise protect military communicatoins over insecure or public networks, but it is also used by human rights workers, law enforcement offiers, abuse victims, ordinary citizens, corporations, journalists, and others.

The paper then goes on to say that "what Tor currently does for its various users and more on what it does not do".

Grandly, the Navy men tell us: "We have designed and built the Tor anonymous network to secure cyberspace and empower cybercitizens."

Beware of people who tell you that they are "empowering" you. Indeed, I despise the very notion of "empowering" -- often used especially about women and minorities by various institutions and usually by men. Anybody who tells you that they are "empowering" you in fact is retaining power that they are giving out to you on sufferance -- and they could retract it at any time. Notice they aren't saying "share power with cybercitizens" or "recognizing the inherent power that cybercitizens have and our conditionality as government employees on that power" but "empowering" that they dispense -- with budgets -- on a whim.

The essentially nihilist and cynical theory at the center of Tor -- that authors actually do us a favour by telling us there is "effectively nothing at the center" of Tor -- is this: anonymity as a tactic for movements good and bad alike is whitewashed by saying law-enforcement itself needs unmarked cars, plainclothesmen, etc. to function again crime.

This strikes me as fundamentally bad faith. The law-enforcer undertakes his mission in his unmarked car with supervisors, rules, oversight -- law. If he uses his unmarked car to do bad things, I as a citizen have all sorts of ways of controlling him with lawsuits, civilian review boards, the media, the ACLU. Not so the citizen in the unmarked car over whom I have no control except by law-enforcers -- who themselves are now undermined by those unmarked crypto kids insisting on absolute encryption. No thank you.

As the Navy guys say about Tor, "this only works because all other cars are also unmarked," i.e. ordinary civilian cars are not marked with police insignia. And this is what I mean by the taking of human shields that Tor engages in -- it's a theory that relies on grabbing as hostage people who are innocent, unmarked, going about their business, and exploiting their normal stripes to hide the zebra, who sometimes is just a zebra but sometimes is is a horse in pajamas and sometimes a jailbird.

The paper talks of "thousands" of relays and we never hear how many nodes there are in Tor exactly -- it is estimated as having gone from 33 to 2000 to even double that, i.e. 4000, but the FBI took down "half" in the child pornography ring bust in Ireland -- and we can imagine seized more with the Silk Road bust. Tor may be in tatters, even with its "400,000 users".

But it gets worse, so pay attention:

In this paper, Syverson et all explain the vulnerability to Tor:

If an adversary can see both ends of a Tor circuit, he can trivially correlate who is talking to whom over that circut. This is thus generally known as an end-to-end correlation attack.

Through various tactics -- tagging bits, delaying bits -- the adversaries can follow what's happening in the system.

Debate on Tor is inhibited by the Torians themselves imagining that only technologists are allowed to talk about it or can even understand it -- and they like keeping it that way because they can gain more impunity.

But it really is not that big a deal. The Navy people aren't crack leet coders, but mathematicians who don't even program. This is about game theory and analyzing predictability and exploitation of rules in systems. Example: if law enforcement can watch criminals, or seed the system with groups of themselves so they can follow the behaviour of one group of anonymous people very reliably, well, so can criminals especially those with botnets and of course nation states with hostile intents and the resources of a state

"Fortunately Tor is good enough for many of us," concludes Syverson in that paper.

But now take a look at what he and his comrades are presenting in Berlin with new research.

Our results show that Tor users are far more susceptible to compromise than indicated by prior work.

Tor is known to be insecure against an adversary that can observe a user's traffic entering and exiting the anonymity network.

Our analysis shows that 80% of all types of users may be de-anonymized by a relatively moderate Tor-relay adversary within six months. Our results also show that against a single AS adversary roughly 100% of users in some common locations are deanonymized within three months (95% in three months for a single IXP)

Note again what a shift from past research with Roger Dingeldine, who left the Navy and now hangs out at the Chaos Computer Club and other geek watering holes on panels with Appelbaum. Back in 2004, Feamster and Dingeldine wrote that the "probability that a single AS could observe both sides of the connection was over 50%. The man overall probability was about 38%."

Now it's "roughly 100%" in one location, i.e. in a place like China or Iran or Russia where the state is really motivated to watch you, or hey, in the US.

Uh-oh.

BTW, as they explain:

The Internet is composed of thousands of independent networks of arious sizes called Autonomous systems. (ASes). As traffic moves between a Tor client and a relay in the Tor network, it typically traverses multiple ASers. We have known for years that if the same AS appears on the path from the client to the anonymity network and from the anonymity network to the client's destination, such as a website, then an observer located at that AS can preform a correlation attack to identity the client and her destination. So it is possible to do a correlation attack from one location rathan than requiring two.

I would think that this would be the cue to pull the budgets, roll up the networks, and do an after-action study of why this horrid mess not only harmed our country with WikiLeaks and Snowden, but harmed many individuals with child pornography and drugs, and let a bunch of swaggering geeks pretend that they could justify all this and their own sabotage by the fact that a few Iranians or Chinese dissidents got to evade their government's hammerlock over the Internet. I'm sorry, the trade-off just wasn't worth it -- and we as a nation never got to debate this in Congress.

Internet Freedom hearings have never really debated the ideology and methodology and even the efficacy of circumvention and encryption in the struggle for democracy and is not likely to do so given the liberal media narrative still celebrating this as an achievement of the Obama Administration. I support the Administration's Internet Freedoms overall -- unlike Evgeny Morozov -- but I think they need more debate and scrutiny and actually more resources.

The conference is filled with exotic nerd stuff like "Relational Abstract Interpretation for the Verification of 2-Hypersafety Properties" which are probably room-clearers even for some of the geeks that come to these things who are, um, "largely self-taught" like Appelbaum.

But there are important philosophical debates to be had with talks such as that by Felix "FX" Lindner, Resistance is Not Futile '' Fighting Nation-State Actors and the Borg as the geeks particularly at the Chaos Computer Club arm themselves for further struggle against their favourite enemy, the US.

Stallman, FOSS and the Adobe Nightmare

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Archived Version

Tue, 08 Oct 2013 23:26

Don't Say Stallman Didn't Warn You!

Recently, Richard Stallman published an article in Wired about Free and Open Source Software and its alternative, "Proprietary Software". As he has for 30 years now, he vigorously called for the use and defense of FOSS and warned about the nefarious nature of Proprietary.

As if the worthy Stallman needed an illustration to dramatize his point, the Adobe Corporation last week announced that hackers had stolen from its servers the password and credit card information, of almost three million of its users as well as a huge amount of code from some of its programs -- probably ColdFusion and Adobe Acrobat. That theft is potentially the most serious breach of user information in recent history and, because of the popularity of Acrobat, could prove devastating to computer users world-wide. Such theft is, in the end, only possible with Proprietary Software.

Right and wrong: Richard Stallman and Acrobat's logo

Since the spectacular theft is being reported (or under-reported) in ways that miss some important issues, analysis is called for, starting with the pertinent definitions.

Proprietary Software is written and distributed by developers (usually companies) who frequently sell it and never release or reveal its code (the programming that makes it work). It's their private work product often protected by copyright laws, special "release keys" that prevent people who don't have the key from using it, and other highly restrictive measures. Most users rely on it for their daily computing.

FOSS, on the other hand, is free and completely open. It can't be sold. Its source code can be viewed and even changed by anyone who knows how and it can't be "hidden and bundled" into commercial or proprietary programs. It's the opposite of proprietary software. You may not use much FOSS on your computer except maybe your web browser and email program) but FOSS programs run the Internet and so all of us are in contact with it and depend on it every day.

The Adobe revelations about user data stolen from its records of customers are dramatic. Having credit card information for so many people (even if it's encrypted as Adobe's is) could result in a whole lot of grief for credit-card holders and multi-million dollar losses for banks and companies. But the more potentially damaging part of the announcement is that code theft because, with that information in hand, good hackers can fashion ways to get into just about every computer using the Acrobat program and steal their data, set up programs that transmit personal information and insert viruses that can wreck stored information.

It was a huge screw-up on the company's part as Adobe sheepishly admitted but the more important issue hasn't been discussed much. It's the one Stallman is raising. If this weren't proprietary software, nothing like this would ever happen. FOSS developers don't have a cache of credit cards because they don't charge for their software and nobody is going to steal that code because the code of any FOSS program is publicly available already. With hundreds, even thousands, of programmers reviewing the code, expanding it and applying it to other projects, any piece of code that can be exploited would be picked up by the community in a matter of hours.

If there's any illustration about the superiority of FOSS over Proprietary Software, this is it.

But the issue goes way beyond security and theft. As Stallman puts it, this is really about freedom, today and in the future. For Richard Stallman, this isn't a software preference; it's a matter of social survival. FOSS is a kind of light that flows through all the spaces of our society, democracy and culture. Proprietary software isn't just an inferior and insecure choice: it's an assault on democracy and freedom.

In his recent article, one of the finest explanations I've ever seen about why FOSS is important, Stallman penned an elegantly powerful sentence. "If the users don't control the program, the program controls the users."

For far too many people, the programs are now in control. It's a control spread through the "installed" software that accompanies Windows computers and the intense, and often unchallenged, marketing strategies companies employ. It's been secured by the device you don't leave home without: the cellphone whose web-browsing, data sharing, photo and video publishing and texting is all done, with most phones, by commercial and proprietary software hidden behind nifty icons and alluring features.

Few people reading this column would dispute the political superiority of FOSS. Freedom and control, after all, are major points on the progressive agenda. But many question if it's worth the time and trouble to switch to FOSS or whether we prioritize the protection and use of Free and Open Source Software when there are so many other areas of protection and use we need to defend? The answer is that the software you use not only defines how you relate to the Internet but how you relate to the rest of the world. Proprietary software mangles those relationships.

The basic purpose of computer software is to tell your computer what to do. But that hardly characterizes its life or its entire function. Software is a productive activity comprising a complex and lengthy process that starts with an assessment of what's needed, an analysis of how the software should meet that need, a planning process involving how that software is going to be structure and written and the actual work of putting it together. Each of these stages involves intense and collaborative interaction among volunteer (and usually unpaid) software designers who may come from all over the world and never even meet presonally as they are intensely working together. They do it because they believe in it.

If the software's done right, the development involves a good cross-section of potential users. From the start, software is a collaborative effort by not only those who produce it but those people who might potentially use it.As the software develops, it involves constant conversations, evaluations and problem-solving through emails, on-line chats and message boards. It's as close as we come to a world-wide community in cooperation.

When the software is ready, it's tested by the user community and the feedback techies get molds what changes and fixes they have to do. That development continues as long as the software is being popularly used, sometimes for years or even decades.

Does it really work? Most of the Internet's primary server software is written and constantly updated through this remarkable process. It works and, in working, it proves that collaboration among people can produce high-quality, functional tools.

But most of the programs you use disrupt this process. They're owned by corporations. What's more, they are designed to capture data that these corporations can horde and use and sell.

The problems with that approach to software abound. It's often costly. It's controlling because users have little impact on its design and functionality. It cheats us out of the social power and community-building of software production because, rather than bring collaborating programmers from all kinds of countries speaking many difference languages together with users, it restricts the number of creators and prohibits them from revealing what they're working or what they wrote.

In short, it's just plain obscene. The exercise of building and using software reflects the fundamentally democratic and transparent nature of information technology, especially on the Internet. The human race built these technologies as a form of collaboration to enhance and increase our sharing and communication. It's like an exercise in modeling how we would act in the world many of us would like to see, one of the few genuinely useful "tests" of our ability to collaborate as a species. Proprietary software prohibits sharing, doesn't even think about productive communication and views the human race as a potential market.

To add poison to this regressive cocktail, commercial software producers horde your data and sometimes share it with advertisers and the government. All NSA surveillance revelations involved proprietary software. You can't do what they are doing with FOSS. And when they mess up, as did Adobe, the impact is nightmarish.

Most people would be aghast at these horrors but most people don't even realize they're using proprietary software. So let's take the Stallman test. Consider the three or four pieces of software you use the most and ask yourself if they measure up to his four requirements for Free and Open Source Software. They're in his article and quoted here with some of my comments.

"The freedom to run the program as you wish, for whatever purpose."

Does MicroSoft Office do that? What about your favorite planning programs? How about Facebook or Twitter? With these programs, you do what they want you to do. It's like having a screw-driver that only works on certain screws in certain directions.

"The freedom to study the program's 'source code', and change it, so the program does your computing as you wish."

Sure, most of us can't make sense of "source code" (the code which runs the program) even when we read it. But programmers, including movement programmers, can. With FOSS, that's possible. Most proprietary programs are "shielded" in what is called "executable code" that only a computer can understand or locked in some other way from view.

"The freedom to make and distribute exact copies when you wish."

No charge for the program. No licensing fee. No code that pops up a screen that says you can only use this program on one computer. How do your favorite programs measure up to that?

"The freedom to make and distribute copies of your modified versions, when you wish."

Try to make copies of your programs, modify them and then distribute them. If your distribution becomes popular, you're going to get a letter from a lawyer charging you with copyright infringement and you will be sued.

So, do your programs meet these requirements? No. And if you're telling yourself that not much can be done because we don't have alternatives to proprietary software, you're very wrong. Here's a list of some of the proprietary software you probably use and its FOSS alternatives.

Adobe Acrobat -- We can apply every anti-proprietary argument to this ubiquitous program but, after what just happened, do we have to? If you've registered any Acrobat software or purchased it or an upgrade, chances are that some information gangster now has your credit card information and many soon try to use it or sell it. There are many alternatives that work perfectly. Do an on-line search for "Open Source Acrobat Alternatives" and you'll see what I mean. Use one of those.

Microsoft Office -- Established as the standard, mainly because it's distributed with most computers you buy, this restrictive, repressive horror story (often condemning you to years of bug fixes) is completely unnecessary. Libre Office , the FOSS alternative, does everything Office's basic programs do. Try it and you'll soon wonder why you've been using Office all this time.

Windows -- This is a toughie because most computers bundle it as the Operating system (the brains of your computer) although Apple computers have their own Operating System. At some point, based on the experience of just about every person I know, Windows will start giving you performance problems and you won't know why. In the interim, it will saddle you with self-installing programs (like anti-virus software) that you don't necessarily need or want. And, speaking of viruses, Windows attracts more viruses than an Emergency Room during flu season.

It's not easy to substitute an OS on your computer if you don't know what you're doing but it's easy if you do and there is a lot of help if you search for it. Install Debian Linux (or its cousin Ubuntu ) and live a life of stable performance, elegant interface, literally thousands of free programs and virus-free computing.

By the way, if your office uses Windows network, you are going to experience lots of headaches in addition to the bang on your bank account that this clunky, insecure and super-expensive program introduces into your life. Linux (the same program you install on your personal computer) is the best Operating system for any network and it's free and just as "installable" for a techie as Windows. If your techie doesn't know Linux, get one who does.

Internet Explorer (or Chrome, etc.) -- Download Firefox , use it for a day or so and save me the effort of explaining why.

Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express -- Yes, they work but these email programs cost money, are code-hidden, have license requirements and can be unstable and complicated to configure. Thunderbird , the FOSS email program, is free, easy to install and configure and better performing. It's a program that has almost no downside.

Gmail -- It's the world's most popular webmail program -- that's an email program that uses a web-browser and stores email on a server -- but it's a hotline to the NSA. You simply have no data protection. Don't use it. The problem is you have to get your provider to offer you something else as a "webmail" alternative because it's the provider that offers webmail. At May First/People Link, we use orhorde. Look for a provider that offers those programs or other FOSS webmail software. A hint though: while webmail is good when you're traveling and don't have your computer with you, it's most advisable to use a regular email program when you're on your own machine; it's faster, more efficient and more secure.

Adobe Photoshop -- This is, without question, a great program. It's also obscenely expensive and the upgrades cost almost as much as the originals. That's not to mention how proprietary the thing is, violating every FOSS principle we mentioned above. There's an alternative and a good one: GIMP , the GNU Information Manipulation Program. "GNU" is the FOSS project founded and led by, you guessed it, Richard Stallman and this graphics program adheres to GNU's principles. GIMP takes getting used to because the logic of the program and the feature lay-out differ from Photoshop's but, once you're acclimated, it's superb. Download it and give it a try if you do lots of graphic work.

Facebook -- If you're part of the human race, it's tough to wean yourself from this monstrosity which offers limited flexibility in your options and collects everything you've posted on its own servers. The user base is pretty much everyone so, if you use something else, you aren't going to reach most people. But try Friendica , the FOSS social networking program, and get your close community to do the same. It does everything Facebook does and is completely decentralized so anyone can run it off any computer. That protects privacy, data and independence. It's a nice alternative for an organization or community-based movement and, at some point, it may "massify" and you can take credit for having changed social networking.

Project Management and Wiki programs -- There are so many of these programs that everyone you meet seems to have a favorite but most of them are commercial and some of them retain the data you enter on their servers. Trac is one good alternative for planning, sharing and work collaboration. Not fancy or "over-coded", it's simple yet as expandable and powerful as you'll probably need. There are others identifiable with a search.

There are, of course, limitations in the FOSS world. If you do video work and are using Final Cut Pro, you're not going to find an adequate FOSS alternatives quite yet. Twitter is...well...Twitter and, while there are plenty of messaging programs around, the huge user base of something like Twitter means you're going to use it no matter what's said here. But the point isn't to completely convert, it's to choose the programs you use with FOSS in mind.

Using FOSS programs that are stable, free and just powerful as the proprietary versions will make your computer more secure and more in line with the approach to information many who are reading this column favor. Most of all, it will heed Richard Stallman's warning: now, rather than the program controlling us, we can control it. The social and political benefits of that are limitless.

------------------------------------------------

Privacy in 2013: Politie aan de deur na WhatsApp-bericht | ThePostOnline

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Archived Version

Wed, 09 Oct 2013 15:59

Een man uit Sittard kreeg de politie aan de deur nadat hij in een WhatsApp-bericht aan zijn vader het woord bom had gebruikt in combinatie met een voetbalwedstrijd van Fortuna-MVV. Hij werd vorige week opgewacht door de politie toe hij thuiskwam. Dat schrijft dagblad De Limburger.

''Vraag pap eens of hij tijd heeft'', zo luidt het eerste spraakberichtje aan zijn moeder. Even later krijgt de voetballiefhebber, die niet met naam in de krant wil, een voicebericht retour.

''Ik ga mee! Lijkt mij leuk, maar hopelijk geen bommetje gegooid daar'', refereert zijn vader aan het bomincident vorig jaar bij Fortuna-MVV.

Hierop reageert zoonlief met:

''Doe toch normaal man. Tjsonge tjsonge! Ik heb zelf een bom gemaakt. Dikke bommmm, haha.''

Vervolgens kreeg de man vier agenten in burger aan de deur die daarna concludeerden dat er niets aan de hand was. De man verklaart aan De Limburger dat hij het woord bom alleen heeft laten vallen in de desbetreffende WhatsApp-berichten.

Zie daar: uw privacy in 2013.

Brenno de Winter: Dit is griezeligWat vindt TPO's onderzoeksjournalist en privacy-expert Brenno de Winter van de kwestie?

''Dit is een vreemd verhaal. Hier hebben we het immers niet over Twitter, een openbaar medium, maar over grapjes die twee personen '' een vader en een zoon '' onderling maken. Dat is best griezelig dat je bang moet zijn voor de politie als je een grapje tegen je vader maakt.''

''Mij is wel langer bekend dat de versleuteling van WhatsApp redelijk gemakkelijk te kraken is. Het kan natuurlijk zijn dat een van de twee partijen al in beeld is voor een groter strafrechtelijk onderzoek dat tappen mogelijk maakt. Als iemand onder de tap staat dan kan dit natuurlijk naar boven komen.''

PRISM-achtige toestanden''Anders zou dit betekenen dat het verkeer op WhatsApp volcontinu in de gaten wordt gehouden. Als dat zo is heb je het in feite over PRISM-achtige toestanden die zich in Nederland afspelen. Dat zou enger zijn. We hebben het hier immers niet over een inlichtingendienst, maar een opsporingsinstantie. Juist strafrecht moet waarborgen bieden. Een continue politiebewaking op WhatsApp zou betekenen dat de overheid bij ieder berichtje kijkt of jij de wet niet overtreedt. Zoiets zagen we tot 1989 in Oost-Duitsland waar de Stasi zowel inlichtingendienst als opsporingsinstantie is. Juist het wettelijk kader in Nederland is zo dat wij dat gescheiden hebben. Dit hoort bij iedereen toch vragen op te roepen.''

Voor u geknipt door Technoviking Alexander Kl¶pping.

------------------------------------------------

GayDar

Islamic Gulf States To Introduce Medical Tests For Visitors To ''Detect'' Gay People, Stop Them From Entering Country'...

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Archived Version

Source: Weasel Zippers

Mon, 07 Oct 2013 22:03

We're sorry sir, but you can't enter the country, your test came back positive for fabulous!

Via Daily Mail:

A medical test being developed by Kuwait will be used to 'detect' homosexuals and prevent them from entering the country '' or any of the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC), according to a Kuwaiti government official.

GCC member countries '' Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates '' already deem homosexual acts unlawful.

This controversial stance is being toughened, with members of the LGBT community stopped at the border and banned from entering the country, according to Yousouf Mindkar, the director of public health at the Kuwaiti health ministry.

He told Kuwait newspaper Al Rai: 'Health centres conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC countries. However, we will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays who will be then barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC member states.'

Those taking part in homosexual acts in Kuwait, if they're under 21, can receive a jail sentence of up to 10 years.

Earlier this month Oman newspaper The Week was suspended over an article that was deemed to be sympathetic to homosexuals, according to the BBC.

It's illegal to be gay in 78 countries, with lesbianism banned in 49. Five countries mete out the death penalty to gay people '' Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and Mauritania.

Silk Road

Uh Oh, Silk Road Users Are Starting to Get Arrested

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Archived Version

Tue, 08 Oct 2013 22:21

Welp, that settles that. Anybody who was wondering if authorities were going to keep going after the arrest of Silk Road kingpin Ross Ulbricht and start targeting users don't need to wonder anymore. Multiple arrests have now been made worldwide, and it looks like more are on the way.

This new wave of arrests knows no borders. Feds charged a 40-year-old Washington man believed to have been in "top one percent of sellers" on Silk Road along with his roommate for selling methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine'--including one particular blend called "1980s Time Machine." Meanwhile, four users in the United Kingdom were taken in for drug charges, and a pair of men in Sweden were arrested for selling pot on Silk Road.

It's unclear how related to Ross Ulbricht's case this latest wave of arrests is. Common sense suggests that the FBI could have easily used data on Silk Roads servers which they managed to physically track down and seize. In the UK, it was not local police who are going after the suspected Silk Road drug dealers but rather the National Crime Agency, a new organization that more or less amounts to a British FBI. But again, we don't yet know if they're working with the FBI or if the arrests are isolated.

What we do know is that Silk Road users are freaking out. On Reddit, there are now numerous different threads going in which clearly rattled former Silk Road users are wondering if the Feds are coming for them next and if they should talk to a lawyer. Some Reddit users even say that the authorities have contacted them or their parents about receiving drugs through the mail, although it's possible that those calls are related to a scam that's been going around that has nothing to do with the Silk Road case.

For now, we can probably sit tight and expect more arrests. There were thousands of people selling drugs on Silk Road, and apparently, the Feds have information that incriminates some of the more serious sellers. It's unlikely that authorities are going to go after everyone, especially the small time users who bought a couple hits of molly for a glow stick party. Then again, these people were buying and selling drugs, and that's illegal whether you do it in a dark alley or the dark net. [BuzzFeed]

DOJ Hasn't Actually Found Silk Road Founder's Bitcoin Yet | Techdirt

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Archived Version

Mon, 07 Oct 2013 20:12

With the DOJ tracking down and arresting the alleged founder/owner of Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, it was noted that it had also seized 26,000 or so Bitcoins. However, in the criminal complaint against Ulbricht, it suggested that his commissions were in the range of $80 million -- or about 600,000 Bitcoins. You might notice the disconnect between the 26,000 Bitcoins seized and the supposed 600,000 Ulbright made. It now comes out that those 26,000 Bitcoins aren't even Ulbricht's. Instead, they're actually from Silk Road's users. In other words, these were Bitcoins stored with user accounts on Silk Road. Ulbricht's actual wallet is separate from that, and was apparently encrypted, so it would appear that the FBI does not have them, nor does it have any way of getting at them just yet. And given that some courts have argued you can't be forced to give up your encryption, as it's a 5th Amendment violation, those Bitcoins could remain hidden -- though, I could see the court ordering him to pay the dollar equivalent in restitution (though still not sure that would force him to decrypt the Bitcoins).The other amusing bit in all of this is that the FBI's Bitcoin wallet has been identified and renamed as "Silkroad Seized Coins" allowing users to send the FBI tiny amounts of Bitcoin with public messages attached, some of which are fairly amusing -- and many of which are critical of the government and the takedown of Silk Road. Personally, I like the one that reads: "This page shows how Bitcoin is more transparent than the US government."

Kash Hill, over at Forbes (the link above) who highlighted this story, also asked the FBI about what they're going to do with all that Bitcoin. Apparently, the plan is to hold onto it for now, and then "liquidate it" after any trial is concluded, though the FBI's spokesperson admits that "this is kind of new to us." Does that mean that someday soon folks will be able to buy some Bitcoin at a government auction?

Bitcoin Address 1F1tAaz5x1HUXrCNLbtMDqcw6o5GNn4xqX

Link to Article

Archived Version

Mon, 07 Oct 2013 20:12

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Shut Up Slave!

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman hits AirBnB with subpoena for user data.

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: Dave Winer's linkblog feed

Mon, 07 Oct 2013 21:51

Mike Groll/ASSOCIATED PRESSAttorney General Eric Schneiderman is demanding user data from AirBnB customers.

The state's top cop is throwing the guest book at AirBnB '-- demanding host data from the 225,000 New Yorkers on the Web's biggest apartment sharing site.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman subpoenaed the data as part of an investigation into the website stemming from a 2010 law that makes it illegal to use such sites to rent out your own apartment.

AirBnB has until Monday to turn over the data.

The site has 225,000 users in the city, but only data from those who rent out their place is being sought, according to sources. That would affect only about 15,000 of New Yorkers.

The legal strike comes just days after AirBnB CEO Brian Chesky tried to appease state lawmakers by agreeing that its users should collect the normal hotel occupancy tax and promising to work with pols to root out bad hosts.

A law enforcement source said AirBnB is actually saying the opposite in private, refusing to help crack down on Big Apple bad apples.

"The taxes are already on the books, so that's a false promise," the source said. "And they certainly haven't been cooperating with the investigation, despite their public promises to go after the guys the state is after."

The AG's office has requested the same user data from similar online services, and all have cooperated.

A spokesman for Schneiderman declined to comment.

But tech firms are especially worried about handing over data to the government '-- especially in the wake of public revelation that the NSA is spying on American citizens through various tech companies.

''Even the politicians who wrote the original law agree it was never designed to target regular people who occasionally share their homes,'' the company said in a statement. ''We are concerned that this is an unreasonably broad government demand for user data and we remain committed to protecting our users' privacy."

Sites like AirBnB, Homeaway and even Craigslist have become popular in recent years as an alternative way to stay when out of town. The sites bill themselves as providing a live-like-a-local experience '-- often at a fraction of the price of a regular hotel room.

Pols rallied against the sites four years ago after complaints of rowdy guests. Worse, some landlords were evicting tenants from rent-regulated apartments so they could offer the pads online '-- not only breaking the law, but robbing the city of housing.

These are the people the AG's office is looking to punish, the shady landlord or the traveling salesman who is gone half the year. The state is less concerned with casual users.

''A drunk European for one week is one thing,'' the source said. ''If you have to live with it 40 weeks a year, that's a big difference.''

But AirBnB executives have insisted they are making a good faith effort to work with the government, including setting up a system to implement a version of the hotel tax on users.

Amid those negotiations, the subpoena comes as a total surprise, which site execs see as a government fishing expedition.

mchaban@nydailynews.com

October Surprise

Fed Magically Creates $180 Billion In Student And Car Loans Out Of Thin Air

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: Zero Hedge

Mon, 07 Oct 2013 21:53

Normally, we would report the change in total consumer debt (revolving and non-revolving) in this space, but today we will pass, for the simple reason that the number is the merely the latest entrant in a long series of absolutely made up garbage. It appears that in the "quiet period" of data releases, when the BLS realized its "non-critical", pre-update 8MHz 8086-based machines are unable to boot up the random number generator spreadsheets known as "economic data", Ben Bernanke decided to quietly slip a modest revision to the monthly consumer credit data. A modest revision, which amounts to a whopping $180 billion cumulative increase in non-revolving credit beginning in January 2006.

So add that to the GDP, to Personal Income, to Household Net Worth, to the BLS' JOLTS "data", and of course, to last year's repeat revision of consumer credit data, as a data set, which while present, is absolutely meaningless following recent arbitrary revisions which meant all prior data contained therein was just as irrelevant.

To summarize: for whatever reason, the Fed decided to recast its entire non-revolving credit data series starting in January 2006, and has magically created $188 billion in student loan and car debt that previously "did not exist."

Old vs Revised series shown below.

For those who still opt to live in the Matrix and be treated like mushrooms, demanding to know just what the "new" fabricated, made up series implies, here it is: total consumer credit rose by$13.6 billion driven entirely by non-revolving credit, or $14.5 billion of the total, while revolving credit has now dripped for three months in a row as households continue to pay down their credit cards, better known as deleverage. In other words: using Uncle Sam as a charge card for cars and university courses, for everything else there is paying down debt.

Finally, perhaps the most amusing implication of today's revision, is the longer term chart of non-revolving credit. As the St Louis Fed chart below shows, we are about to go beyond exponential and purely asymptotic.

Average:Your rating: NoneAverage: 5(5 votes)

What's happening in the Treasury bill market today should terrify you

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Archived Version

Wed, 09 Oct 2013 00:47

This is likely the scariest graph you will see today. It shows the interest rate for the Treasury bill maturing on Oct. 31. It has spiked dramatically in the last 48 hours.

A lot of the market indicators of how much the financial world is worrying about a debt default have been quite calm over the last week. The Standard & Poor's 500 index, for example, is only about 1 percent below its close eight days ago, when the government shutdown began.

But in the less widely followed -- but in many ways more important -- market for Treasury bills, things are starting to get scary. These are short-term IOU's of the U.S. government, bills issued for 30, 60 or 90 days. They enable Uncle Sam to manage cash flow much the way a homeowner might use a credit card. They also form the backbone of trillions of dollars in transactions: Major corporations and banks use them as a place to park short-term cash; they are held by money market mutual funds; and they serve as collateral for millions of transactions in markets around the world.

Normally, the interest rate the government pays on bills is around the same as the short-term interest rates in other money markets (for example, the interest rates banks charge each other for overnight cash, or the interest rate that the Federal Reserve targets). Both of those are near zero right now, which is why on Sept. 30, eight days ago, the interest rate on Treasury bills maturing Oct. 17 was a mere 0.03 percent. Nothing, in other words.

But since then, the possibility that the Treasury might have trouble paying or might not be able to pay its bills over the next few weeks has grown -- and the interest rate has skyrocketed. It was at 0.16 percent at Monday's close. On Tuesday the rate so far has been almost double that, as high as 0.297 percent.

There are reports, including this one from Reuters, indicating that some of the biggest money managers in the world are starting to avoid U.S. government debt that matures in the near future out of fear they will not be repaid promptly. Bond investors seem to be confident that the U.S. government will make good on its obligations in the longer term --securities that mature a year or more from now are actually seeing their rates fall. But they are becoming less confident that these short-term securities will pay on time.

Ironically, this can create self-fulfilling problems for the Treasury. Treasury bills roll over every week, on Thursdays. Here's how it works: The government issues the bills for a "discount," then refunds the par value when they come due. So, for example, an investor might pay $995 for a bill that returns $1,000 in three months, for an equivalent of about a 2 percent annual interest rate.

But if buyers don't want to roll over their bills -- if they don't trust the government enough to pay the usual high price for that debt -- then the government's cash crunch becomes even more severe. If, for example, investors were only willing to pay $950 for a 90-day, $1,000 bill (about a 20 percent annualized interest rate), then the government would run into its legal debt limit even faster than it is now scheduled to. We're nowhere near that point now. The rate has risen to 0.3 percent, not to single-digit, let alone double-digit, percent levels. But the abruptness of the move, in a market that usually is rock-solid and stable, is startling nonetheless.

As researchers at the Bipartisan Policy Center put it in a new report: "As the X Date approaches without action on the debt limit, one risk is that buyers of government debt will be less likely to participate in Treasury auctions and, for those that continue to participate, more likely to demand higher interest rates, increasing the cost of servicing the existing debt. The amount of debt maturing during this period will increase as Treasury schedules additional short-term auctions in the days ahead."

In the 2008, post-Lehman Bros. crisis, major banks -- even those that seemed to be fundamentally solvent -- were facing a liquidity crisis, as short-term access to cash became a challenge. Buyers of Treasury bills have no evident concerns about the longer-term solvency of the United States. But the action on the bill market over the last several days, and especially Tuesday, looks like the early phase of a liquidity crisis.

Of course, it is one that can be averted very easily: All Congress has to do is raise the debt ceiling to ensure that the investors who buy Treasury bills get paid on time, every time, and that the Treasury can issue the debt it needs to pay the obligations that Congress has already enacted.

Update: The post previously indicated that the chart above showed the rate on Treasury bills maturing Oct. 17. It is actually a chart of the bill maturing Oct. 31. The two charts show a similar basic trend.

Government shutdown worst-case scenario realized: Salmonella outbreak - Tarini Parti and Helena Bottemiller Evich - POLITICO.com

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 09 Oct 2013 18:21

The outbreak has sickened 278 people in 18 states. | AP Photo

CloseA multi-state Salmonella outbreak is exactly the scenario food safety advocates and lawmakers warned about when the federal government was forced to shutdown last week.

Now that nightmare has come true, though the federal agencies charged with arresting foodborne illnesses are scrambling to make due.

Continue Reading

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is operating with about one-third of its staff on the job during the shutdown, confirmed Tuesday that it has now brought back 30 furloughed employees in its foodborne division to help handle the outbreak, which has sickened 278 people in 18 states.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service '-- which is operating with 87 percent of its staff during the shutdown '-- issued a public health alert Monday evening saying that raw chicken products produced by three Foster Farms facilities in California are the likely source of the outbreak. However, no recall has been ordered because health officials say they don't have enough information to name the specific products.

What's most concerning about the outbreak is that it involves seven strains of Salmonella Heidelberg that are resistant to antibiotics typically used to treat the illness, Barbara Reynolds, spokeswoman for the agency, told POLITICO. Of those sickened, 76 people have been hospitalized '-- an usually high rate.

The outbreak is exactly what food safety advocates and several lawmakers earlier feared.

''I can't tell you what might be missed while the CDC is shut down,'' Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said in an ominous floor speech last week.

''Important programs like protecting public health are going by the wayside. Our food safety is in danger,'' warned Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.).

With thousands of its employees furloughed, CDC's ability to monitor and maintain its surveillance system for the 30 clusters of illnesses it was already tracking took a major hit. CDC had just one person instead of eight monitoring important pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria, as POLITICO previouslyreported.

Nancy Donley, founder of STOP Foodborne Illness, a food safety advocacy group, said the shutdown is the last thing the public health system needs, especially after agencies have already weathered significant spending cuts under the sequester. Overall, CDC was forced to cut $285 million of its fiscal year 2013 budget due to the sequester.

''Whenever you get in a situation where public health agencies, which are already stretched to begin with, have their funding restricted, things fall through the cracks,'' said Donley.

The ''perceived imminent threat'' posed by the latest outbreak, however, has allowed CDC to bring its foodborne division back to normal capacity to keep an eye on the outbreak at hand as well as others that have not received attention during the shutdown, Reynolds said.

But there are still several unanswered questions that CDC and FSIS are investigating.

Why America Needs a Stock-Market Crash : The New Yorker

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 09 Oct 2013 03:03

A week into the partial government shutdown, and there's still no end in sight to America's latest self-inflicted fiscal crisis. The two sides, in particular the House Republicans, appear to be getting even more intransigent, and the October 17th deadline for a possible breach of the debt ceiling is now looming. Having just returned from a long-ago arranged six-day trip to Europe, I thought I must have missed at least one significant effort to reach a resolution. In fact, practically nothing had happened since I left, save that both sides have continued to talk past each other. Absent an unexpected softening in attitudes over the next few days, it may well take some outside intervention to break the deadlock.

Had this situation arisen in the not-so-distant past, it's conceivable that some older, wiser heads from both parties would have gotten together and hashed out a deal that allowed each side to claim victory. But given the G.O.P.'s lurch to the right, and the White House's understandable reluctance to buckle in the face of reckless brinkmanship, such a statesmanlike solution is difficult to envisage. Something more drastic is needed, and my candidate is a stock market crash.

I'm not talking about a cruncher on the scale of Black Monday, in October of 1987, when the Dow plummeted by twenty-three per cent in a single trading session. (An equivalent move now would lop about thirty-three hundred points off the index.) But I am talking about something significantly bigger than the market slippages we've seen in the past few days. (The market fell by 136.34 points on Monday, and closed at 14,936.24.) How large it might be, nobody can say for sure. But if the market fell by, say, three or four hundred points for three days in a row, and then lurched down another eight hundred points, or even a thousand points, the effect would be salutary.

How can I say that? Tens of millions of Americans would grow alarmed about their 401k plans. On Wall Street, there would be margin calls, liquidity runs, and other disturbing developments that inevitably accompany market breaks. Rumors would start to spread about the health of various financial institutions. You don't have to subscribe to a tail-wags-the-dog view of finance and politics to believe that this would lead to a rapid change of thinking, and of behavior, in Washington.

One reason that we can be confident that a shift would come about is that, just five years ago, something pretty similar happened. In September, 2008, at the height of the post-Lehman financial crisis, an unlikely coalition of conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats voted down Hank Paulson's TARP bank bailout. Wall Street promptly went lulu, dropping almost eight hundred points in a day, and that did the trick. Despite some bleating and harrumphing, echoes of which we hear to this day, the House promptly reversed course and voted for the seven-hundred-billion-dollar bill that the Bush Administration had proposed.

Since 2008, of course, the House G.O.P. has gotten considerably more extreme, and it is now confronting a Democratic President rather than a Republican one. That's why we might need an even bigger fall in the market than we had in 2008. In the face of a single day of heavy losses, the members of the G.O.P.'s Tea Party faction might well say ''So what?,'' and the Republican leaders might continue to cavil to them. What is needed is something genuinely frightening, which would give John Boehner and his colleagues a reason and a rationale for overruling the ultras.

It might seem a bit extreme to wish a big loss on the retirement accounts of America's savers and investors, myself included. But taking a relatively modest hit now would be much preferable to allowing the House to posture and procrastinate for another couple of weeks. By then, the United States could be facing the prospect of a genuine run on Treasuries and the dollar'--the result of which would make a thousand-point drop in the Dow look like a mere wobble.

To be sure, things have come to a pretty pass when a nation that thinks of itself as the world's greatest democracy has to rely on a conniption in the markets to discipline its unruly and irresponsible representatives, but that's about where we are. As evidenced by what happened in 2008, it's where we've been for some time. Back then, it was perfectly clear that some sort of government bailout was necessary to arrest the financial panic and head off a possible depression. But because such a course of action was ethically and morally toxic, our divided and fragmented political system couldn't carry it through until the markets intervened.

Today, the situation is less grave than it was in September, 2008, but it's fundamentally similar. In order to maintain a functioning government, Congress needs to finance the programs it has enacted. In order to protect the good standing of the United States and underpin the reserve status of the dollar, the Treasury Department needs to be able to raise money that can be used, among other things, to pay the country's creditors. A bit of bedlam in the markets could help accomplish both of these tasks. If, in the wake of a mid-sized Wall Street crash, White House officials and House Republican leaders did sit down to talk, it's practically inconceivable that they wouldn't reach an arrangement about the debt ceiling as well as the shutdown: U.S. investors and foreign creditors would demand that the two things were settled simultaneously.

The danger, of course, is that things could get out of hand. Once a big financial market, such as the stock market, starts to break down, there's no saying where things can end up. If the falls aren't addressed promptly, self-reinforcing cycles can quickly develop, leading to more selling and more panic: that's what we saw in 2008, when the market for subprime-mortgage bonds imploded.

In this case, though, there is less danger of a self-reinforcing collapse. What we are dealing with isn't the bursting of a speculative bubble or some other economic pathology: it is posturing and mischief-making on the part of a relatively small group of Washington politicians.

Once the markets started tanking, investors, the banks, and the media would besiege Congress for action. The political environment would change drastically. Refusing to acknowledge reality, including the reality that every country has to pay its creditors or face ruin, would no longer be an option. Within days, or even hours, the two sides would come up with some face-saving device to calm the markets. (Finding a more lasting solution would still be a big struggle.)

To sum up, Congress needs adult supervision. Since the President can't provide it and the Republican leadership won't, the market might well have to step in and do the job. Such a resolution wouldn't be pretty, but history suggests it would be reasonably effective. And once the immediate crisis was resolved, the market would probably recovery pretty sharply.

Photograph by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty.

'Truckers for the Constitution' Will Intentionally Jam D.C. Beltway, Arrest Congressmen If Cops Won't, Organizer Claims (UPDATED) | TheBlaze.com

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Wed, 09 Oct 2013 16:32

UPDATE: The groups ''Truckers to Shut Down America'' and ''Truckers Ride for the Constitution'' claim they are the ''founders'' of the trucker movement but other groups are ''out there spreading false information.''

Ben Pam, an organizer for the latter group, told the Examiner that truckers are not planning on arresting any congressmen.

''We do not intend to obstruct traffic or close down any roads,'' he said. ''We are not coming to arrest anyone.''

He said the truckers only want to ''awaken the American people to the complete disregard for the Constitution and bring a message to Congress that We The People demand to be heard.''

''

The ''Truckers for the Constitution'' rally will intentionally jam the Washington, D.C. beltway to bring attention to a wide range of issues and condemn specific political leaders, including President Barack Obama, an organizer claims.

The protest will reportedly span three days, starting on the morning of Oct. 11.

However, Earl Conlon, a Georgia trucker helping organize the protest, is also creating controversy by claiming that truckers will arrest ''everyone in government who has violated their oath of office'' if the police refuse to uphold ''their constitutional oath'' and make the arrests themselves. To justify the tactic, Conlon reportedly cited the idea of a citizens grand jury.

''We want these people arrested, and we're coming in with the grand jury to do it,'' he told U.S. News. ''We are going to ask the law enforcement to uphold their constitutional oath and make these arrests. If they refuse to do it, by the power of the people of the United States and the people's grand jury, they don't want to do it, we will. '... We the people will find a way.''

Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Obviously, any individual who attempts to ''arrest'' a member of Congress will almost certainly be arrested themselves. TheBlaze has reached out to Conlon to have him clarify his statements on physically arresting lawmakers and we will update this story should he respond.

During the ''Truckers for the Constitution'' rally, tractor-trailers will circle the beltway ''three lanes deep'' at the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit, Conlon said. Any drivers who wish to get past the convoy will have to have ''T2SDA'' written on their vehicle, which stands for ''Truckers to Shut Down America.'' Other than that, ''nobody in, nobody out.''

''It's going to be real fun for anyone who is not a supporter'... [and] if cops decide to give us a hard time, we're going to lock the brakes up, we're going to stop right there, we're going to be a three lane roadblock,'' he added.

Last week, Zeeda Andrews, a former country singer promoting the rally, said the rally-goers would present its demands to Congress, including the impeachment of Obama. If they comply, the drivers would end the rally.

But Conlon reportedly contradicted Zeeda, according to U.S. News.

''We are not going to ask for impeachment,'' Conlon said. ''We are coming whether they like it or not. We're not asking for impeachment, we're asking for the arrest of everyone in government who has violated their oath of office.''

Credit: AP

But Conlon and Andrews both agree that Obama and various members of Congress committed ''treason'' by allegedly permitting U.S. weapons to fall into the hands of al-Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria. Members of Congress who supported the action are also guilty of treason, they say.

''Andrews said last week 3,000 truckers had RSVP-ed to the event, and Conlon says he's now lost count of the number. He says he's receiving around 100 emails a day from prospective participants,'' U.S. News reports.

''What we want to do is go in nice and peaceful and keep it as peaceful as possible,'' he continued, '''...but if they decide to get ugly with us we're going to do what we have to do.''

''If all I get is one or two congressmen walked out of there in handcuffs, that will be a shot across the bow that will ripple across all branches of government. '... I hope they are all civil enough and brave enough to step out onto the congressional steps.''

''

"Great ShakeOut" Earthquake Drill Set for October 17, 2013 - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

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Wed, 09 Oct 2013 03:20

In less than one months, individuals and communities throughout ten states in the central U.S. will participate in the fourth Great Central U.S. ShakeOut earthquake drill. Now held annually on the third Thursday of October, the ShakeOut is set for Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 10:17 a.m.CDT. During the self-led drill, participants practice how to "Drop, Cover, and Hold On". Endorsed by emergency officials and first responders, the proper response to an earthquake is to:

- Drop to the ground

- Take Cover under a sturdy table or desk if possible, protecting your head and neck

- Hold On until the shaking stops

Following FEMA's National Preparedness Month in September, GreatShakeOut Earthquake Drills are occurring nationwide in more than 40 states and territories. More than 12 million people are expected to participate in drills on October 17. In addition to the safety drills, many participant take extra steps to become more prepared for earthquakes.

In the central U.S., scientists estimate that there is a 25-40 percent possibility of a damaging earthquake occurring within a 50 year window. A large earthquake here could have major impacts on the population and national transportation, communication, utility, and financial systems. Additionally, ShakeOut comes on the heels of the two year anniversary of the damaging August 23, 2011 M5.8 Mineral, Virginia earthquake which caused considerable damage in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Several national landmarks, including the Washington Monument, the Smithsonian Institute, and the National Cathedral are undergoing multi-year restorations as a result of this earthquake.

Coordinated by the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) and the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee; nearly 3 million people participated in the third Central U.S. ShakeOut in February 2013. To align with other states and regions throughout the country, the Central U.S. ShakeOut will occur in October going forward. For the October 2013 drill, Ohio is being introduced as a full participating state. Ohio has a similar earthquake risk to surrounding states such as Indiana and Kentucky, and has also had damaging earthquakes in years past. ShakeOut organizers are excited to have another state help increase earthquake awareness and preparedness efforts in the region.

The goal of the program is to engage participants to take steps to become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters. The drill is free and open-to-the-public, and participants include individuals, schools, businesses, local and state government agencies, and many other groups. GreatShakeOut Earthquake Drills began in California in 2008 and have expanded each year since then.

To take part in the ShakeOut, individuals and organizations are asked to sign up to participate in the drill by visiting www.ShakeOut.org/centralus. Once registered, participants receive information about showcase events in their area and regular information on how to plan their drill and become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters.

To register for a ShakeOut in other areas of the country, or for more information, visit www.ShakeOut.org. For information on FEMA's National Preparedness Month, visit www.ready.gov/.

SOURCE: Central United States Earthquake Consortium

Pentagon Warns EU To Expect ''Radical'' Change In US Government Soon | Barnaby Is Right

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Wed, 09 Oct 2013 15:56

Obama the Dictator?

This is the kind of end game that arises as a result of the power of usury, to enslave through endless debt growth.

From the EU Times:

A highly troubling ''urgent bulletin'' issued earlier today by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) states that it has received information from the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) warning to expect a ''radical change'' in the government of the United States, possibly within the next fortnight, based on information they have received from ''highly placed'' sources within the Pentagon.

According to this MoFA bulletin, GRU intelligence assests were notified by their Pentagon counterparts this past week that President Barack Obama is preparing to invoke the powers given to him under 50 USC Chapter 13 to hold that various American States are now in a ''state of insurrection'' thus allowing him to invoke the National Emergencies Act under 50 USC § 1621 and invoke the highly controversial ''continuity of government'' plan for the United States allowing him, in essence, to rule with supreme powers.

Specifically, this bulletin says, Obama will invoke 50 USC § 212 that states: '' the President shall have declared by proclamation that the laws of the United States are opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings''

'...

To the specific ''combinations too powerful'' Obama will cite in his declaration of National Emergency as being needed to be defeated by extraordinary measures, the MoFA says, is a faction of the US House of Representatives popularly known as the Republican Tea Party whom the President and his allies have likened to ''hostage takers'' and ''political terrorists.''

Obama's greatest fear, and reason(s) for declaring a National State of Emergency, this bulletin continues, was outlined yesterday by his US Treasury Department who released a report yesterday warning of potentially ''catastrophic'' damage should Congress fail to raise the debt ceiling and prevent the government from defaulting on its debt.

As the current US government shutdown crisis and debt ceiling fight have now merged, the MoFA warns in this bulletin, Obama further warned yesterday that an impasse on the debt ceiling beyond 17 October, when the US government will be essentially out of cash to pay its bills, could start a downward economic plunge worse than the recession of five years ago '' with credit markets seizing up, the dollar's value plummeting and US interest rates soaring and even coming close to the brink of such an unprecedented default that could roil both domestic and foreign financial markets.

Preparing to oppose Obama, should he, in fact, declare a National State of Emergency, the GRU grimly warns, is the US military who themselves are preparing to invoke 50 USC § 842 which allows them to protect America from ''The Communist Party of the United States, or any successors of such party regardless of the assumed name, whose object or purpose is to overthrow the Government of the United States, or the government of any State, Territory, District, or possession thereof'...''

Not known to many Americans is that the Progressive movement Obama belongs to, and whose media acolyte ''presstitutes'' swept into office, have long been associated with the Communist Party.

And, as the World Net Daily News Service reported this past August, John C. Drew, Ph.D., the award-winning political scientist, met Obama in 1980 and wrote in 2011: ''[Obama] believed that the economic stresses of the Carter years meant revolution was still imminent. The election of Reagan was simply a minor set-back in terms of the coming revolution. '... Obama was blindly sticking to the simple Marxist theory '... 'there's going to be a revolution.' Obama said, 'we need to be organized and grow the movement.' In Obama's view, our role must be to educate others so that we might usher in more quickly this inevitable revolution.''

Another civil war in America?

Full story here.

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Tags: debt ceiling, debt default, ndaa, Obama

National Emergencies Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The National Emergencies Act (Pub.L. 94--412, 90-Stat.-1255, enacted September-14, 1976, codified at 50 U.S.C.-§-1601-1651) is a United States national law passed to stop open-ended states of national emergency and formalize the power of Congress to provide certain checks and balances on the emergency powers of the President. It imposes certain "procedural formalities" on the President when invoking such powers.

The perceived need for the law arose from the scope and number of laws granting special powers to the executive in times of national emergency (or public danger).

Under the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 ("TWEA"), starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, presidents had the power to declare emergencies without limiting their scope or duration, without citing the relevant statutes, and without congressional oversight.[1] The Supreme Court in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer limited what a president could do in such an emergency, but did not limit the emergency declaration power itself. A 1973 Senate investigation found (in Senate Report 93-549) that four declared emergencies remained in effect: the 1933 banking crisis with respect to the hoarding of gold,[2] a 1950 emergency with respect to the Korean War,[3] a 1970 emergency regarding a postal workers strike, and a 1971 emergency in response to inflation.[4] Title V, Section 502 of P.L. 94-412 specifically exempts the statutorily authority cited in the Proclamations of these four declared states of national emergency from termination. It then passed the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to restore the emergency power in a limited, overseeable form.

At least two constitutional rights are subject to revocation during a state of emergency:

The right of habeas corpus, under Article 1, Section 9;

The right to a grand jury for members of the National Guard when in actual service, under Fifth Amendment.

In addition, many provisions of statutory law are contingent on a state of national emergency, as many as 500 by one count.[1]

It was due in part to concern that a declaration of "emergency" for one purpose should not invoke every possible executive emergency power that Congress in 1976 passed the National Emergencies Act. Among other provisions, this act requires the President to declare formally a national emergency and to specify the statutory authorities to be used under such a declaration.

There were 32 declared national emergencies between 1976 and 2001. [2] Most of these were for the purpose of restricting trade with certain foreign entities under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) (50 U.S.C. 1701-1707).

State of Emergency and "Continuity of Government": What is the Real Reason the Government is Spying on Americans? | Global Research

ELF/RNM/Binary Drugs

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valporic acid and zyprexa - Google Search

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Sun, 06 Oct 2013 22:32

WebImagesMapsShoppingMoreAny timePast hourPast 24 hoursPast weekPast monthPast yearAll resultsVerbatimShowing results forvalproic acid and zyprexaSearch instead for valporic acid and zyprexaCombining-Olanzapine-Valproic acid - Psychiatrynetwiki.psychiatrienet.nl/index.../Combining-Olanzapine-Valproic_acid- Cached - SimilarOlanzapine is principally metabolized by CYP1A2 and CYP2D6. Valproic acid isprincipally metabolized by CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2A6 and ...Valproic acid and Zyprexa Drug Interactions - Drugs.comwww.drugs.com/.../valproic-acid-with-zyprexa-2286-0-1744-1113.html- Cached - SimilarA Moderate Drug Interaction exists between valproic acid and Zyprexa. Viewdetailed information regarding this drug interaction.Valproic Acid significantly lowers serum concentrations of ...www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22972535- SimilarBACKGROUND: Preliminary reports have indicated that valproic acid (VPA)reduces serum concentrations of olanzapine (OLZ). The aim of this study was to ...Efficacy of olanzapine and sodium valproate given alone or as add ...www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20664822- SimilarThe serum levels of valproic acid were also measured. Sodium valproate andolanzapine were effective in the treatment of acute mania with all patients ...Efficacy of olanzapine in combination with valproate or lithium in the ...www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11779284- SimilarMETHODS: The primary objective was to evaluate the efficacy of olanzapine (5-20 mg/d) vs placebo ...olanzapine; Pirenzepine; Lithium Carbonate; ValproicAcid.Pharmacokinetic drug-drug interactions between olanzapine and ...www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20667295

Substances. Anticonvulsants; Antipsychotic Agents; Risperidone;Benzodiazepines; olanzapine; Carbamazepine; Valproic Acid.Compare: Valproic Acid vs Olanzapine (Zyprexa) - Medifyhttps://www.medify.com/.../valproic-acid-vs-zyprexa-olanzapine- CachedLearn about Valproic Acid vs Olanzapine (Zyprexa). Compare effectiveness andside effects based on 6906 research studies conducted on 2439576 patients, ...Zyprexa and Valproic Acid drug interactions from FDA - eHealthMewww.ehealthme.com/drug-interactions/zyprexa-and-valproic-acid- CachedDrug interactions of Zyprexa and Valproic Acid reported to FDA. What are they?We studied 1320 people who take Zyprexa and Valproic Acid. See what we ...Convulex (valproic acid) - NetDoctor.co.ukwww.netdoctor.co.uk/brain-and-nervous-system/.../convulex.html- Cached - Similar1 Sep 2008 ...Valproic acid is another form of the antiepileptic medicine, sodium ... If you aretaking olanzapine in combination with valproic acid it is ...Can the mix of valproic acid and zyprexa cause seizures? - Yahoo ...answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid...- Cachedzyprexa may lower the convulsive threshold. see excerpt from side effects below:"Seizures. zyprexa should be used cautiously in people who have ...12345678910NextAdvanced searchSearch HelpSend feedback

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PROZAC-Recipe-BOOK-Behold a Pale Horse: Milton William Cooper: 9780929385228: Amazon.com: Books

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FREE Two-Day Shipping is available to Amazon Prime members. To join, select "Yes, I want FREE Two-Day Shipping with Amazon Prime" above the Add to Cart button and confirm your Amazon Prime free trial sign-up during checkout.

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Abilify is the drug

Adam/John –

Just listening to NA 554 and regarding your question about what the drug cocktail might have been in the case of Miriam Carey and Adam Lanza, it may not have been a drug cocktail, per se, but I would bet they were on Abilify. Even as a trained pharmacist, I was shocked when Abilify became the #1 drug by sales recently – approaching $6B in annual sales (link shows quarterly sales). Typically #1 is reserved for your cholesterol and acid reflux drugs – things tends of millions of people are treating. Abilify was first approved for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (Carey), but is also approved for irritability in children with autistic disorder (Lanza).

It wasapproved as add-on therapy for depression in 2007, which is when sales started to take off. The original approval was in 2002, but there just aren’t that many schizophrenics walking around, so this expanded patent and the one for irritability in autistic children (2009) caused sales to skyrocket.

If you want as close to “full disclosure” on a drug’s side effects, you have to go to the prescribing information, which is the most the public will ever get. You’ll notice under Warnings and Precautions the possibility of “Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome” which can cause delirium.

Standard book of Knowledge entries:

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a life-threatening neurological disorder most often caused by an adverse reaction to neuroleptic or antipsychotic drugs. NMS typically consists of muscle rigidity, fever, autonomic instability,[1] and cognitive changes such as delirium, and is associated with elevated plasma creatine phosphokinase.

Delirium, or acute confusional state, is a syndrome that presents as severe confusion and disorientation, developing with relatively rapid onset and fluctuating in intensity. It is a syndrome which occurs more frequently in people in their later years. Delirium represents an organically caused decline from a previously-attained baseline level of cognitive function. It is typified by fluctuating course, attentional deficits and generalized severe disorganization of behavior. It typically involves other cognitive deficits, changes in arousal (hyperactive, hypoactive, or mixed), perceptual deficits, altered sleep-wake cycle, and psychotic features such as hallucinations and delusions.

Chris Hollman, Pharm.D.

Abilify = Hamburger Helper

Amphetamine Psychosis

We have evidence that both gaunfacine and sustained stimulant use can both, individually, precipitate mania. Gaunfacine is prescribed to mitigate the negative physical effects of stimulant medications used to treat ADHD. Consider the possibility that we are masking the individual's outward appearance and ignoring the early warning signs of psychosis. As a result we are allowing low-level amphetamine psychosis to fester for an extended period of time. We are doing this with a medication that can paradoxically cause mania without being combined with amphetamines.

Currently no studies exist for adults. We can only assume the same thing is possible in adults, but uncommon, because gaunfacine is typically only prescribed for children to reduce the negative side effects of stimulant-based ADHD therapy.

None of that even takes into consideration what happens to individuals with pre-existing psychotic disorders, withdrawal syndromes, or more elaborate possibilities.

Sources

Gaunfacine and secondary mania in children - Pubmed

"In each instance the clinical presentation resembled an acute hypomanic or manic episode."

Amphetamine-Related Psychiatric Disorders - Medscape

"A 36-year-old white male who works as a real estate agent arrives at your office, depressed, disheveled, and slightly agitated. He is very guarded and reluctant to talk about his work history or relationships. After a period of time he describes how his coworkers are manipulating his clock to read 9:11, and the police drive by with their sirens on everyday at 4:20. He refuses to open his mail, because he read secondary messages by rearranging letters..."

Stimulant psychosis - Wikipedia

"Although rare and not formally recognized, a condition known as Amphetamine Withdrawal Psychosis (AWP) may occur upon cessation of amphetamine use and, as the name implies, involves psychosis that appears on withdrawal from amphetamine."

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Connecticut ELF

Hey Adam,

I am just listening to the current episode. WFSB is the local CBS affiliate here in CT. I can't stand their website and its spamtiffic advertising, although, I did go to high school with the lead meteorologist's son.

In regard to the drug combinations and triggers, I have a potential theory. There are a couple of things in or near CT which might be a point of interest. Fishers Island, off the eastern coast of CT, used to test some interesting communication methods with submarines. There is still a military facility there and I remember camping there with scouts as a kid. They have series of underground wires that connect to rebar points in a circle on the island. It was used to test underground/underwater signals to submarines during the cold war and earlier war periods but, supposedly hasn't been used since. However, it isn't to say that considering General Dynamics/Electric Boat and the Submarine Base in Groton, that some kinds of radio signals might still be experimented with. Such signals could, intentionally or unintentionally play into your theory as to the trigger with the mix of drugs.

Another point of interest in/around CT is Plum Island Disease Research Center just off the coast. Control over the center just so happens to have been transferred to DHS in 2002. Whether this facility has anything to do with a potential trigger, I am not certain, however, it did spring to mind considering the topic at hand.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fishers_Island,_New_York

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plum_Island_Animal_Disease_Center

God Bless,

Chris

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Lucille Ball - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Mon, 07 Oct 2013 20:04

Lucille BallPublicity photo, 1950

BornLucille D(C)sir(C)e Ball(1911-08-06)August 6, 1911Jamestown, New York, U.S.DiedApril 26, 1989(1989-04-26) (aged 77)[1]Los Angeles, California, USACause of deathDissecting aortic aneurysmOther namesLucille Ball Morton Lucille Ball Arnaz

Diane BelmontOccupationActress, comedienne, model, film executiveYears active1932''1989Spouse(s)Desi Arnaz(m.1940''1960; divorced)Gary Morton(m.1961''1989; her death)SignatureLucille D(C)sir(C)e Ball (August 6, 1911 '' April 26, 1989) was an Americancomedian, model, film and television actress and studio executive. She was star of the sitcomsI Love Lucy, The Lucy''Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy and Life with Lucy, and was one of the most popular and influential stars in the United States during her lifetime. Ball had one of Hollywood's longest careers,[2] especially on television. Her film career spanned the 1930s and 1940s, and she became a television star during the 1950s. She continued making films in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1962, Ball became the first woman to run a major television studio, Desilu, which produced many successful and popular television series.[3]

Ball was nominated for an Emmy Award thirteen times, and won four times.[4] In 1977, Ball was among the first recipients of the Women in Film Crystal Award.[5] She was the recipient of the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1979,[6] the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors in 1986,[7] and the Governors Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 1989.[8]

In 1929, Ball landed work as a model and later began her performing career on Broadway using the stage name "Diane Belmont". She assumed many small movie roles in the 1930s as a contract player for RKO Radio Pictures. Ball was dubbed the "Queen of the Bs" (referring to her many roles in B-films). In 1951, Ball was instrumental in the creation of the television series I Love Lucy. The show co-starred her then-husband, Desi Arnaz, as Ricky Ricardo, Vivian Vance as Ethel Mertz, and William Frawley as Fred Mertz. The Mertzes were the Ricardos' landlords and friends. The show ended in 1957 after 180 episodes. The cast remained intact (with some additional cast members added) for a series of one-hour specials from 1957 to 1960 as part of The Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse. Its original network title was The Ford Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show for the first season, and The Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse Presents The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show for the following seasons. Later reruns were titled the more familiar Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, which was a perennial summer favorite on CBS through 1967. The specials emphasized guest stars such as Ann Sothern, Rudy Vallee, Tallulah Bankhead, Fred MacMurray and June Haver, Betty Grable and Harry James, Fernando Lamas, Maurice Chevalier, Danny Thomas and his Make Room for Daddy co-stars, Red Skelton, Paul Douglas, Ida Lupino and Howard Duff, Milton Berle, Robert Cummings, and, in the final episode, "Lucy Meets the Moustache", Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams. Ball went on to star in two more successful television series: The Lucy Show, which ran on CBS from 1962 to 1968 (156 Episodes), and Here's Lucy from 1968 to 1974 (144 episodes). Her last attempt at a television series was a 1986 show called Life with Lucy '' which failed after 8 episodes aired, although 13 were produced.

Ball met and eloped with CubanbandleaderDesi Arnaz in 1940. On July 17, 1951, at almost 40 years old, Ball gave birth to their first child, Lucie D(C)sir(C)e Arnaz.[9] A year and a half later, Ball gave birth to their second child, Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV, known as Desi Arnaz, Jr.[10] Ball and Arnaz divorced on May 4, 1960.

On April 26, 1989, Ball died of a dissecting aortic aneurysm at age 77.[11] At the time of her death, she had been married to her second husband and business partner, standup comedianGary Morton, for more than 27 years.[12]

Early life[edit]Ball was born to Henry Durrell Ball (September 16, 1887 '' February 19, 1915) and Desiree "DeDe" Evelyn Hunt (September 21, 1892 '' July 20, 1977) in Jamestown, New York. Although Lucy was born in Jamestown, New York, she sometimes claimed that she was born in Butte, Montana.[13] Shortly before her father's death her family moved to Anaconda, Montana at age 3 where her father died, and then to Wyandotte, Michigan.[citation needed] Her family was Baptist, and her ancestry included Scottish, French, Irish, and English. Some of her genealogy leads to the earliest settlers in the colonies, including Edmund Rice, an early immigrant to Massachusetts Bay Colony.[16][17]

Her father, a telephone lineman for Bell Telephone Company was frequently transferred because of his occupation, and within three years of her birth, Lucille had moved many times, from Jamestown to Anaconda, and then to Trenton.[18] While DeDe Ball was pregnant with her second child, Frederick, Henry Ball contracted typhoid fever and died in February 1915. Ball recalled little from the day her father died, only fleeting memories of a picture falling and a bird getting trapped in the house. From that day forward, she suffered from ornithophobia.

After her father died, Ball and her brother Fred Henry Ball (July 17, 1915 '' February 5, 2007) were raised by her mother and grandparents in Celoron, New York a summer resort village on Lake Chautauqua just west of Jamestown.[21] Her grandfather, Fred Hunt, was an eccentric who also enjoyed the theater. He frequently took the family to vaudeville shows and encouraged young Lucy to take part in both her own and school plays.[citation needed] Four years after the death of her father, Ball's mother DeDe remarried. While her step-father, Edward Peterson, and mother went to look for work in another city, Ball was left in the care of her step-father's parents. Ball's new guardians were a puritanicalSwedish couple who were so opposed to frivolity that they banished all mirrors from the house except for one over the bathroom sink. When the young Ball was caught admiring herself in it she was severely chastised for being vain. This period of time affected Ball so deeply that in later life she claimed that it lasted seven or eight years, but in reality, it was probably less than one. Edward Peterson was a Shriner. When his organization needed female entertainers for the chorus line of their next show, he encouraged his twelve-year-old stepdaughter to audition. While Ball was onstage, she began to realize that if one was seeking praise and recognition this was a brilliant way to receive it. Her appetite for recognition had thus been awakened at an early age. In 1927 her family suffered misfortune when their house and furnishings were taken away in a legal judgment after a neighborhood boy was accidentally shot and paralyzed by someone target shooting in their yard, under Ball's grandfather's supervision. The family then moved into a small apartment in Jamestown.

Teenage years and early career[edit]In 1925 Ball, then only 14, started dating Johnny DeVita, a 23-year-old local hood. DeeDee was unhappy with the relationship, but was unable to influence her daughter to end it. She expected the romance to burn out in a few weeks, but that did not happen. After about a year, DeDe tried to separate them by using Lucille's desire to be in showbusiness. Despite the family's meager finances, she arranged for Lucille to go to the John Murray Anderson School for the Dramatic Arts in New York City where Bette Davis was a fellow student. Ball later said about that time in her life, "All I learned in drama school was how to be frightened."

Ball was determined to prove her teachers wrong, and returned to New York City in 1928. Among her other jobs, she landed work as a fashion model for Hattie Carnegie. Her career was thriving when she became ill, either with rheumatic fever, rheumatoid arthritis, or some other unknown illness, and was unable to work for two years.[31] She moved back to New York City in 1932 to resume her pursuit of a career as an actress, and supported herself by again working for Carnegie and as the Chesterfieldcigarette girl. Using the name "Diane Belmont", she started getting some chorus work on Broadway but the work was not lasting. Ball was hired '' but then quickly fired '' by theatre impresarioEarl Carroll from his Vanities, by Florenz Ziegfeld from a touring company of Rio Rita,[34] and was let go from the Shubert brothers production of Stepping Stones.[citation needed]

Hollywood[edit]After an uncredited stint as one of the Goldwyn Girls in Roman Scandals (1933) she permanently moved to Hollywood to appear in films. She appeared in many small movie roles in the 1930s as a contract player for RKO Radio Pictures, including a two-reel comedy short with the Three Stooges (Three Little Pigskins, 1934) and a movie with the Marx Brothers (Room Service, 1938). She can also be seen as one of the featured models in the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film Roberta (1935), briefly as the flower girl in Top Hat (1935), as well as in a brief supporting role at the beginning of Follow the Fleet (1936),[35] another Astaire-Rogers film. Ginger Rogers was a distant maternal cousin of Ball's. She and Rogers played aspiring actresses in the hit film Stage Door (1937) co-starring Katharine Hepburn. In 1936 she also landed the role she hoped would lead her to Broadway, in the Bartlett Cormack play Hey Diddle Diddle, a comedy set in a duplex apartment in Hollywood. The play premiered in Princeton, New Jersey, on January 21, 1937 with Ball playing the part of Julie Tucker, "one of three roommates coping with neurotic directors, confused executives, and grasping stars who interfere with the girls' ability to get ahead."[36] The play received good reviews, but there were problems, chiefly with its star, Conway Tearle, who was in poor health. Cormack wanted to replace him, but the producer, Anne Nichols, said the fault lay with the character and insisted that the part needed to be reshaped and rewritten. The two were unable to agree on a solution. The play was scheduled to open on Broadway at the Vanderbilt Theatre, but closed after one week in Washington, D.C. when Tearle suddenly became gravely ill. Ball was signed to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in the 1940s, but she never achieved major stardom from her appearance in those films.[38]

She was known in many Hollywood circles as "Queen of the B's" '' a title previously held by Fay Wray '' starring in a number of B-movies, such as 1939's Five Came Back. Like many budding starlets Ball picked up radio work to earn side income as well as gain exposure. In 1937 she appeared regularly on The Phil Baker Show. When that completed its run in 1938, Ball joined the cast of The Wonder Show, starring future Wizard of Oz tin man Jack Haley. It was here that she began her fifty-year professional relationship with Gale Gordon, who served as show announcer. The Wonder Show lasted one season, with the final episode airing on April 7, 1939.[39]MGM producer Arthur Freed purchased the Broadway hit musical play DuBarry Was a Lady (1943) especially for Ann Sothern, but when Ann turned down the part the choice role was awarded to Miss Ball, who in real life was best friend to Miss Sothern. In 1946, Ball starred in Lover Come Back[43], and in 1948, made an uncredited appearance as Sally Elliot in The Fuller Brush Man.

Desi Arnaz[edit]In 1940, Ball met Cuban-born bandleader Desi Arnaz while filming the Rodgers and Hart stage hit Too Many Girls. When they met again on the second day, the two connected immediately and eloped the same year. Although Arnaz was drafted into the Army in 1942, he ended up being classified for limited service due to a knee injury.[citation needed] As a result, Arnaz stayed in Los Angeles, organizing and performing USO shows for wounded GIs being brought back from the Pacific. That same year, Ball appeared opposite Henry Fonda in The Big Street, in which she plays a paralyzed nightclub singer and Fonda portrays a busboy who idolizes her. The following year Ball appeared in DuBarry Was a Lady, a film for which the natural brunette first had her hair dyed the flaming red that would become her screen trademark.

Ball originally filed for divorce from Desi in 1944, even going so far as obtaining an interlocutory decree; however, she soon reconciled with Arnaz and stopped the proceedings.[40] Even though the couple were only six years apart in age, many apparently believed that it was less socially acceptable for an older woman to marry a younger man, and hence split the difference in their ages, both claiming a 1914 birth date until this was disproved some years later.

I Love Lucy and Desilu[edit]In 1948, Ball was cast as Liz Cugat (later "Cooper"), a wacky wife, in My Favorite Husband, a radio program for CBS Radio. The program was successful, and CBS asked her to develop it for television. She agreed, but insisted on working with Arnaz. CBS executives were reluctant, thinking the public would not accept an All-American redhead and a Cuban as a couple. CBS was initially not impressed with the pilot episode produced by the couple's Desilu Productions company, so the couple toured the road in a vaudeville act with Lucy as the zany housewife wanting to get in Arnaz's show. The tour was a smash, and CBS put I Love Lucy on their lineup.[41] The I Love Lucy show was not only a star vehicle for Lucille Ball, but a way for her to try to salvage her marriage to Desi Arnaz, which had become badly strained, in part by the fact that each had a hectic performing schedule which often kept them apart.

Along the way, she created a television dynasty and reached several "firsts." Ball was the first woman in television to be head of a production company: Desilu, the company that she and Arnaz formed. After their divorce, Ball bought out Arnaz's share of the studio, and she proceeded to function as a very active studio head.[42] Desilu and I Love Lucy pioneered a number of methods still in use in television production today such as filming before a live studio audience with a number of cameras, and distinct sets adjacent to each other.[43] During this time Ball taught a thirty-two week comedy workshop at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute. Ball was quoted as saying, "You cannot teach someone comedy; either they have it or they don't."

When the show premiered, most shows were aired live from New York City studios to Eastern and Central Time Zone audiences, and captured by kinescope for broadcast later to the West Coast. The kinescope picture was inferior to film, and as a result the West Coast broadcasts were inferior to those seen elsewhere in the country. Ball and Arnaz wanted to remain in their Los Angeles home, but the time zone logistics made that broadcast norm impossible. Prime time in L.A. was too late at night on the East Coast to air a major network series, meaning the majority of the TV audience would be seeing not only the inferior picture of kinescopes but seeing them at least a day later.[45]

Sponsor Philip Morris did not want to show day-old kinescopes to the major markets on the East Coast, yet neither did they want to pay for the extra cost that filming, processing, and editing would require, pressuring Ball and Arnaz to relocate to New York City. Ball and Arnaz offered to take a pay cut to finance filming, on the condition that their company, Desilu, would retain the rights to that film once it was aired. CBS relinquished the show rights back to Desilu after initial broadcast, not realizing they were giving away a valuable and durable asset. Desilu made many millions of dollars on I Love Lucy rebroadcasts through syndication and became a textbook example of how a show can be profitable in second-run syndication. In television's infancy, the concept of the rerun had not yet formed, and many in the industry wondered who would want to see a program a second time.[46] In fact, while other celebrated shows of the period exist only in incomplete sets of kinescopes mostly too degraded to show to subsequent generations of television viewers, I Love Lucy has virtually never gone out of syndication since it began, seen by hundreds of millions of people around the world over the past half century. The success of Ball and Arnaz's gamble was instrumental in drawing television production from New York to Hollywood for the next several decades.[47]

Desilu hired legendary German cameraman Karl Freund as their director of photography. Freund had worked for F. W. Murnau and Fritz Lang, shot part of Metropolis (1927) as well as the original Dracula (1931) with Bela Lugosi, and had directed a number of Hollywood films himself, including The Mummy (1932) with Boris Karloff. Freund used a three-camera setup, which became the standard way of filming situation comedies.[48] Shooting long shots, medium shots, and close-ups on a comedy in front of a live audience demanded discipline, technique, and close choreography. Among other non-standard techniques used in filming the show, cans of paint (in shades ranging from white to medium gray) were kept on set to "paint out" inappropriate shadows and disguise lighting flaws.[43][49] Freund also pioneered "flat lighting," in which everything is brightly lit to eliminate shadows and the need for endless relighting.

I Love Lucy dominated the weekly TV ratings in the United States for most of its run. (There was an attempt to adapt the show for radio; the cast and writers adapted the memorable "Breaking the Lease" episode'--in which the Ricardos and Mertzes fall out over an argument, the Ricardos threaten to move, but they're stuck in a firm lease'--for a radio audition disc that never aired but has survived.)[50] In the scene where Lucy and Ricky are practicing the tango in the episode "Lucy Does The Tango," the longest recorded studio audience laugh in the history of the show was produced. It was so long, in fact, that the sound editor had to cut that particular part of the soundtrack in half.[51] The strenuous rehearsals and demands of Desilu studio kept the Arnazes too busy to comprehend the show's success. During the show's production breaks they starred together in feature films: Vincente Minnelli's The Long, Long Trailer (1954) and Alexander Hall's Forever, Darling (1956).

Desilu produced several other popular shows, most notably Our Miss Brooks (starring Ball's 1937 Stage Door co-star Eve Arden), The Untouchables, Star Trek, and Mission: Impossible. Many other shows, particularly My Three Sons in its first seven of twelve seasons, Sheldon Leonard-produced series like Make Room for Daddy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show, and I Spy, were filmed at Desilu Studios and bear its logo. Desilu was eventually sold and merged into Paramount Pictures in 1967.

Testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities[edit]When Ball registered to vote in 1936, she listed her party affiliation as Communist.[52] (She was registered as a Communist in 1938 as well.)[53] In order to sponsor the Communist Party's 1936 candidate for the California State Assembly's 57th District, Ball signed a certificate stating "I am registered as affiliated with the Communist Party."[54] The same year, she was appointed to the State Central Committee of the Communist Party of California, according to records of the California Secretary of State. In 1937, Hollywood writer Rena Vale, a self-identified former Communist, attended a Communist Party new members' class at Ball's home, according to Vale's testimony before the United States House of Representatives' Special Committee on Un-American Activities, on July 22, 1940.[55] Two years later, Vale reaffirmed this testimony in a sworn deposition:

within a few days after my third application to join the Communist Party was made, I received a notice to attend a meeting on North Ogden Drive, Hollywood; although it was a typed, unsigned note, merely requesting my presence at the address at 8 o'clock in the evening on a given day, I knew it was the long-awaited notice to attend Communist Party new members classes ... on arrival at this address I found several others present; an elderly man informed us that we were the guests of the screen actress, Lucille Ball, and showed us various pictures, books and other objects to establish that fact, and stated she was glad to loan her home for a Communist Party new members class[56]

In a 1944 British Path(C) newsreel, titled Fund Raising For Roosevelt, Ball was featured prominently among several stage and film stars at a fund-raising event in support of Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt's campaign for re-election.[57] She also stated that in the 1952 US Presidential Election, she voted for RepublicanDwight Eisenhower.[58]

On September 4, 1953, Ball met privately with HUAC investigator William A. Wheeler in Hollywood and gave him sealed testimony. She stated that she had registered to vote as a Communist "or intended to vote the Communist Party ticket" in 1936 at her socialist grandfather's insistence.[59] She stated she "at no time intended to vote as a Communist."

Ball stated she has never been a member of the Communist Party "to her knowledge" ... [She] did not know whether or not any meetings were ever held at her home at 1344 North Ogden Drive; stated... [that if she had been appointed] as a delegate to the State Central Committee of the Communist Party of California in 1936 it was done without her knowledge or consent; [and stated that she] did not recall signing the document sponsoring EMIL FREED for the Communist Party nomination to the office of member of the assembly for the 57th District...A review of the subject's file reflects no activity that would warrant her inclusion on the Security Index.[60]

J. Edgar Hoover, then director of the FBI, named "Lucy and Dezi" [sic] among his "favorites of the entertainment world."[61] Immediately before the filming of episode 68 ("The Girls Go Into Business") of "I Love Lucy," Arnaz, instead of his usual audience warm-up, told the audience about Lucy and her grandfather. Reusing the line he had first given to Hedda Hopper in an interview, he quipped: "The only thing red about Lucy is her hair, and even that is not legitimate."[62]

Children and divorce[edit]On July 17, 1951, one month before her 40th birthday, Ball gave birth to her first child, Lucie D(C)sir(C)e Arnaz.[9] A year and a half later, Ball gave birth to her second child, Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV, known as Desi Arnaz, Jr.[10] When he was born, I Love Lucy was a solid ratings hit, and Ball and Arnaz wrote the pregnancy into the show. (Ball's necessary and planned cesarean section in real life was scheduled for the same date that her television character gave birth.)[10] There were several challenges from CBS, insisting that a pregnant woman could not be shown on television, nor could the word "pregnant" be spoken on-air. After approval from several religious figures[63] the network allowed the pregnancy storyline, but insisted that the word "expecting" be used instead of "pregnant." (Arnaz garnered laughs when he deliberately mispronounced it as "'spectin'").[64] The episode's official title was "Lucy Is Enceinte," borrowing the French word for pregnant;[18] however, episode titles never appeared on the show. The birth made the first cover of TV Guide in January 1953.[65]

Ball was outspoken against the relationship that Desi Jr. had with Liza Minnelli. Talking about Liza Minnelli dating her son, she was quoted as saying, "I miss Liza, but you cannot domesticate Liza." Her various close friends in the business included Ginger Rogers, Vivian Vance, Mary Wickes, Mary Jane Croft, and Carole Cook; whom all appeared at least once on her various series.

In October 1956, Ball, Vivian Vance, Desi Arnaz, and William Frawley all appeared on a Bob Hope special on NBC, including a spoof of I Love Lucy, the only time all four stars were together on a color telecast.

By the end of the 1950s, Desilu had become a large company, causing a good deal of stress for both Ball and Arnaz; his increased drinking further compounded matters.[citation needed] On May 4, 1960, just two months after filming the final episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, the couple divorced. Until his death in 1986, however, Arnaz and Ball remained friends and often spoke very fondly of each other.[citation needed] Her real-life divorce indirectly found its way into her later television series, as she was always cast as an unmarried woman.[67][68]

The following year, Ball did a musical on Broadway, Wildcat, co-starring Paula Stewart. That marked the beginning of a thirty-year friendship between Lucy and Stewart, who introduced Lucy to second husband Gary Morton, a Borscht Beltstand-up comic who was thirteen years her junior.[12] According to Ball, Morton claimed he had never seen an episode of I Love Lucy due to his hectic work schedule. Ball immediately installed Morton in her production company, teaching him the television business and eventually promoting him to producer. Morton also played occasional bit parts on Ball's various series.

Later career[edit]The 1960 Broadway musical Wildcat ended its run early when Ball became too ill to continue in the show. The show was the source of the song she made famous, "Hey, Look Me Over," which she performed with Paula Stewart on The Ed Sullivan Show. She made a few more movies including Yours, Mine, and Ours (1968), and the musical Mame (1974), and two more successful long-running sitcoms for CBS: The Lucy Show (1962''68), which costarred Vance and Gale Gordon, and Here's Lucy (1968''1974), which also featured Gordon, as well Lucy's real life children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. Ball appeared on the Dick Cavett show in 1974 and spoke of her history and life with Arnaz. She revealed how she felt about other actors and actresses as well as her love for Arnaz. Referring to her divorce from Arnaz and marriage to Morton, she said that the success to her life was "getting rid of what was wrong and replacing it with what is right."[this quote needs a citation]

Ball also revealed in this interview that the strangest thing to ever happen to her was after she had some dental work completed and having lead fillings put in her teeth, she started hearing radio stations in her head. She explained that coming home one night from the studio, and as she passed one area, she heard what she thought was morse code or a "tapping". She stated that "as I backed up it got stronger. The next morning, I reported it to the authorities and upon investigation, they found a Japaneseradio transmitter that had been buried and was actively transmitting codes back to the Japanese."[73]

Ball was originally considered by Frank Sinatra for the role of Mrs. Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate. Director/producer John Frankenheimer, however, had worked with Angela Lansbury in a mother role in All Fall Down and insisted on having her for the part.[74]

During the mid-1980s, Ball attempted to resurrect her television career. In 1982 she hosted a two-part Three's Companyretrospective, showing clips from the show's first five seasons, summarizing memorable plotlines, and commenting on her love of the show.[75] A 1985 dramatic made-for-TV film about an elderly homeless woman, Stone Pillow, received mixed reviews. Her 1986 sitcom comeback Life With Lucy, costarring her longtime foil Gale Gordon and co-produced by Ball, Gary Morton, and prolific producer/former actor Aaron Spelling was canceled less than two months into its run by ABC.[76] In May 1988 Ball was hospitalized after suffering a mild heart attack.[77] Her last public appearance, just one month before her death, was at the 1989 Academy Awards telecast in which she and fellow presenter, Bob Hope, were given a standing ovation.

On April 18, 1989, Ball was at her home in Beverly Hills when she complained of chest pains. An ambulance was called and she was rushed to the emergency room of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She was diagnosed with dissecting aortic aneurysm and underwent heart surgery for nearly eight hours, receiving an aorta from a 27-year old man who had died in a motorcycle accident. The surgery was successful, and Ball began recovering very quickly, even walking around her room with little assistance. She received a flurry of get-well wishes from Hollywood, and across the street from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the Hard Rock Caf(C) erected a sign reading "Hard Rock Loves Lucy". On April 26, shortly after dawn, Ball awoke with severe back pains and soon lost consciousness.[78] All attempts to revive her proved unsuccessful, and she died at approximately 05:47 PDT. Doctors determined that the 77-year old comedienne had succumbed to a second aortic rupture, this time in the abdominal area, and that it was unrelated to her surgery the previous week.[79][80] Her ashes were initially interred in Forest Lawn '' Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, but in 2002 her children moved her remains to the family plot at Lake View Cemetery in Jamestown, New York, where Ball's parents, brother, and grandparents are buried.[81]

Legacy and posthumous recognition[edit]Ball received many prestigious awards throughout her career including some received posthumously such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George H. W. Bush on July 6, 1989,[82] and The Women's International Center's Living Legacy Award.[83]

There is a Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center museum in Lucy's hometown of Jamestown, New York. The Little Theatre was renamed the Lucille Ball Little Theatre in her honor.[84] Ball was among Time magazine's 100 Most Important People of the Century.[85]

On August 6, 2001, which would have been her 90th birthday, the United States Postal Service honored her with a commemorative postage stamp as part of its Legends of Hollywood series.[86] Ball appeared on the cover of TV Guide more than any other person; she appeared on thirty-nine covers, including the very first cover in 1953 with her baby son, Desi Arnaz, Jr.[87]TV Guide voted Lucille Ball as the Greatest TV Star of All Time and later it commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of I Love Lucy with eight collector covers celebrating memorable scenes from the show and in another instance they named I Love Lucy the second-best television program in American history, after Seinfeld. Because of her liberated mindset and approval of the Women's Movement, Ball was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 2001.[89]

The Friars Club has named a room in its New York clubhouse for Lucille Ball.[90]

She was awarded the Legacy of Laughter award at the fifth Annual TV Land Awards in 2007,[91]I Love Lucy was named the Greatest TV Series by Hall of Fame Magazine,[citation needed] and TV Guide voted her greatest TV star of all time[31] In November of that year, Lucille Ball was chosen as the second out of the 50 Greatest TV Icons, after Johnny Carson. In a poll done by the public, however, they chose her as the greatest icon.[92]

On August 6, 2011, which would have been her 100th birthday, Google honored Ball with an interactive doodle on their homepage. This doodle displayed six classic moments from the I Love Lucy sitcom.[93] On the same day a total of 915 Ball look-alikes converged on Jamestown, New York to celebrate the birthday and set a new world record for such a gathering.[94]

On February 8, 1960, she was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one at 6436 Hollywood Boulevard for contributions to motion pictures, and one at 6100 Hollywood Boulevard for television.[95]

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Retrieved 2008-04-05. ^ ab"Lucille Ball Trivia". NetGlimse. Retrieved 2012-03-14. ^"Lucille Ball at Hollywood.com". Hollywood.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-26. Retrieved 2008-04-02. "Lucille Ball's stage name" ^"Lucille Ball". Everything2.com. Retrieved 2008-04-05. "Ball and Rogers are lifelong friends" ^Brady, Kathleen (2001). Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-8230-8913-0. Retrieved 26 December 2012. ^Crouse, Richard J. (2003). The 100 Best Movies You've Never Seen. Toronto: ECW Press. p. 196. ISBN 1-55022-590-1. ""Stage Door" gives Ball her big break" ^""The Wonder Show" '' 1938 Radio Series '' Starring Jack Haley, with Lucille Ball & Gale Gordon". The Wonder Show. Retrieved 2008-04-09. "Lucy and The Wonder Show" ^"Lucille Ball biography". Essortment.com. Retrieved 2008-04-05. "Ball and Arnaz patch things up before divorce became final" ^Silver, Allison (2009-07-16). "Sotomayor: More 'Splainin' to Do". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2010-06-18. "CBS executives originally did not want Ball, a sassy redhead, married to a Latino on the program" ^"American Masters "Lucille Ball: Finding Lucy"". PBS. Retrieved 2008-04-02. "Ball first woman to head a major studio" ^ ab"Desi Arnaz". Clown Ministry. Retrieved 2008-04-02. "Arnaz revolutionizes television" ^Gehring, Wes (2001). ""I Love Lucy" Turns 50 '' Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, background info on influential, groundbreaking TV comedy". USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education). Retrieved 2008-04-05. "Arnaz did not want kinescope" ^"Sitcoms Online '' I Love Lucy". sitcomsonline.com. Retrieved 2008-04-05. "I Love Lucy was the first show to introduce reruns" ^"Stars of the living room". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2008-06-06. Retrieved 2008-04-05. "Arnaz and Ball bring tv show to Los Angeles" ^Adir, Karin (2001). The Great Clowns of American Television (McFarland Classics). Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Company. pp. 4''10. ISBN 0-7864-1303-4. ^Sanders & Gilbert 2001, pp. 72''81.^[1](mp3) '' archive.org^Hofstede, David (2006). 5000 Episodes and No Commercials: The Ultimate Guide to TV Shows on DVD 2007. New York: Back Stage Books. p. 149. ISBN 0-8230-8456-6. "Longest laugh in television history" ^"Index to Register of Voters". Ancestry.com Blog. 1936. Retrieved 2012-03-14. Copy of document from Los Angeles City Precinct No. 1598, Los Angeles County, CA ^Ancestry.com (January 30, 2008). "New California Voter Registrations Reveal Celebrity Party Lines". Ancestry.com Blog. Retrieved 2012-03-14. ^Testimony of Lucille D(C)sir(C)e Ball Arnaz, September 4, 1953, Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, 83d Cong., 1st sess., Investigation of Communist Activities in the Los Angeles Area '' Part 7, September 4, 1953 (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1953), p. 2567 (PDF p. 14)^FBI file, pp. 10''13: FBI memorandum: D.M. Ladd to Hoover, Subject: Lucille Ball, Dezi [sic] Arnaz, September 17, 1953.^Affidavit of Rena M. Vale, November 23, 1942. Joint Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities in California, Report: Un-American Activities in California (Sacramento: California State Printing Office, 1943), pp. 127''128^Fundraising for Roosevelt (video newsreel film). Washington, DC: British Path(C). Retrieved 2011-06-14. ^"Ball, Lucille". FunTrivia.com. Retrieved 2011-06-14. ^Ball explained, "In those days that was not a big, terrible thing to do. It was almost as terrible to be a Republican in those days." Testimony of Lucille D(C)sir(C)e Ball Arnaz, September 4, 1953, Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, 83d Cong., 1st sess., Investigation of Communist Activities in the Los Angeles Area '' Part 7, September 4, 1953 (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1953), p. 2571 (PDF p. 18)^FBI file, p. 24: FBI memorandum: SAC Los Angeles to Hoover, Subject: Lucille Ball, was., December 16, 1953. Cf. Sanders & Gilbert 2001, pp. 77''78.^FBI file, p. 32: copy of: Flaherty, Vincent X. (October 23, 1956). "Hoover Hits Crime Trends in Movies". Los Angeles Examiner. ^Brioux, Bill (2007). Truth and Rumors: The Reality Behind Tv's Most Famous Myths. Greenwood Publishing Company. p. 37. Retrieved July 4, 2012. ^"Radio: Birth of a Memo". Time. 26 January 1953. Retrieved 2011-06-14. ^"Celebrity Commercials in TV's Golden Age". Teletronic. Archived from the original on 2010-08-19. Retrieved 2008-04-05. ^"Biography of Lucille Ball, famous TV clown". Clown Ministry. Retrieved 2008-04-05. ^"Powell's Books '' Review-a-Day '' Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball by Stefan Kanfer". The New Republic Online. Retrieved 2008-04-05. "Ball's real life divorce makes it into her new shows as showing her as a single woman" ^Kanfer 2003, pp. 72''84. "Ball and Arnaz remain friends".^"Brace Yourself". snopes.com. 5 August 2007. Retrieved 2011-06-14. ^Frankenheimer's DVD audio commentary^"TV Land March 2007 --To Be Continued Free Fridays; Three's Company 30th Anniversary '' Sitcoms Online Message Boards". TV Land. Retrieved 2008-04-06. "Ball hosts Three's Company reflective" ^"Life With Lucy". TV Party. Retrieved 2008-04-06. ""Life With Lucy" turns out to be a flop" ^http://articles.latimes.com/1988-06-01/local/me-3583_1_lucille-ball^Ball, Lucille. "Ball dies of ruptured aorta". L.A. Times. Retrieved 12 May 2013. ^http://www.findadeath.com/Deceased/b/Lucille%20Ball/lucille_ball.htm^Ball, Lucille. "Lucy dies". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 12 May 2013. ^Ball, Lucille. "Ball's Ashes Moved to Jamestown, NY". Lisa Burks. Retrieved 12 May 2013. ^"NATION : Lucille Ball Gets Medal of Freedom". Los Angeles Times. 1989-07-06. Retrieved 2011-05-22. ^"Welcome to Women's International Center". Women's International Center. Retrieved 2008-04-09. "Living Legacy Award" ^"The Lucille Ball Little Theater of Jamestown, Inc.". Designsmiths. Retrieved 2008-04-09. "Renaming of the "Little Theater" in Jamestown, New York" ^"TIME 100 '' People of the Century". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2008-04-09. ^"USPS '' Stamp Release No. 01-057 '' Legendary Hollywood Star Lucille Ball Honored on U.S. Postage Stamp". US Post Office. Archived from the original on 2008-01-19. Retrieved 2008-04-09. "Ball honored on a Postage Stamp" ^"Lucille Ball '-- Photos, Bio and News for Lucille Ball". TV Guide. Retrieved 2008-04-09. "Lucy appears on thirty-nine covers of TV guide" ^"National Women's Hall of Fame". Great Women Organization. Retrieved 2008-04-09. "Ball inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame" ^"Lucille Ball Room". The Friars Club. Retrieved August 27, 2013. ^"TV Land loves Lucy". Los Angeles Times. April 15, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-10. ^Associated Press (November 16, 2007). "Carson tops list of 50 greatest TV icons". MSNBC. Retrieved 2008-03-19. ^Nancy Blair (August 6, 2011). "Google Doodle pays charming tribute to Lucille Ball on her 100th". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-08-06. ^"915 Lucille Ball look-alikes set record" at upi.com^"Walk of Fame: Lucille Ball". Citations '' booksBall, Lucille (1996). Hoffman, Betty Hannah, ed. Love, Lucy. New York: Putnam. ISBN 978-0-399-14205-5. OCLC 231698725. This autobiography covers Ball's life up to 1964. It was discovered by her children in 1989 ("Love, Lucy". WorldCat. Retrieved 2011-11-19. ) Brady, Kathleen (2001). Lucille: the life of Lucille Ball. New York: Billboard Books. p. 20. ISBN 0-8230-8913-4. Harris, Warren C (1991). Lucy and Desi: the legendary love story of television's most famous couple. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-74709-1. Herringshaw, DeAnn (2011). Lucille Ball: Actress & Comedienne. Edina, MN: ABDO. ISBN 978-1-61787-664-6. Kanfer, Stefan (2003). Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-375-41315-4. Karol, Michael A. (2004). The Lucille Ball Quiz Book. United States: iUniverse. ISBN 978-0-595-31857-5. Sanders, Coyne Steven; Gilbert, Thomas W. (1993). Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-688-13514-0. Sanders, Coyne Steven; Gilbert, Thomas W. (2001). Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. New York: HarperEntertainment. ISBN 0-688-13514-5. OCLC 48543617. Web pagesFurther reading[edit]Karol, Michael (2003). Lucy in Print. ISBN 0-595-29321-2Karol, Michael (2004). Lucy A to Z: The Lucille Ball Encyclopedia. ISBN 0-595-29761-7Karol, Michael (2005). The Comic DNA of Lucille Ball: Interpreting the Icon. ISBN 0-595-37951-6McClay, Michael (1995). I Love Lucy: The Complete Picture History of the Most Popular TV Show Ever. ISBN 0-446-51750-X (hardcover)Meeks, Eric G. (2011). P.S. I Love Lucy: The Story of Lucille Ball in Palm Springs. Horotio Limburger Oglethorpe. p. 45. ISBN 978-1468098549. Pugh Davis, Madelyn; with Carroll Jr., Bob (2005). Laughing With Lucy: My Life With America's Leading Lady of Comedy. ISBN 978-1-57860-247-6Sheridan, James; Monush, Barry Monush (2011). Lucille Ball FAQ: Everything Left to Know About America's Favorite Redhead. ISBN 978-1-61774-082-4Young, Jordan R. (1999). The Laugh Crafters: Comedy Writing in Radio & TV's Golden Age. Beverly Hills: Past Times Publishing ISBN 0-940410-37-0 (interview with Bob Schiller)External links[edit]

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After Obamacare Rollout Disaster, NPR Tells Its Reporters To Stop Using Term ''Obamacare'' So Much'...

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Archived Version

Source: Weasel Zippers

Mon, 07 Oct 2013 22:12

You can pretty much guarantee if the rollout was a smashing success NPR wouldn't have written this memo to their reporters.

Via Mediaite:

Is it ''Obamacare'' or the ''Affordable Care Act''? The terms have become increasingly interchangeable since it was first signed into law in 2010. But as we learned from Jimmy Kimmel last week, Americans don't necessarily realize they're the same thing. Now, one major news organization is taking steps towards a clarification on when to use each term in its reporting.

NPR's standards editor Stuart Seidel has sent a memo to editors and reporters asking them to ''avoid overusing 'Obamacare''' and make sure that the first reference to the law in all pieces is the ''Affordable Care Act.'' The memo came in response to a letter from the Maynard Institute's Richard Prince who said ''the term can no longer be defended as neutral.''

Seidel wrote to NPR staff:

'''Obamacare' seems to be straddling somewhere between being a politically-charged term and an accepted part of the vernacular. And it seems to be on our air and in our copy a great deal. (I haven't counted, and I'm not going to count: numbers don't add up to good journalism.) But word choices do leave an impression. Please avoid overusing 'Obamacare.' On first reference, it's best to refer to the 'Affordable Care Act' or 'the health care law.' On later references, feel free to use 'Obamacare' but mix it up with other ways to refer to the law.''

Keep reading'...

Obamacare Marketplace: Personal Data Can Be Used For 'Law Enforcement and Audit Activities' | The Weekly Standard

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Tue, 08 Oct 2013 21:35

Maryland's Health Connection, the state's Obamacare marketplace, has been plagued by delays in the first days of open enrollment. If users are able to endure long page-loading delays, they are presented with the website's privacy policy, a ubiquitous fine-print feature on websites that often go unread. Nevertheless, users are asked to check off a box that they agree to the terms.

The policy contains many standard statements about information automatically collected regarding Internet browsers and IP addresses, temporary "cookies" used by the site, and website accessibility. However, at least two conditions may give some users pause before proceeding.

The first is regarding personal information submitted with an application for those users who follow through on the sign up process all the way to the end. The policy states that all information to help in applying for coverage and even for making a payment will be kept strictly confidential and only be used to carry out the function of the marketplace. There is, however, an exception: "[W]e may share information provided in your application with the appropriate authorities for law enforcement and audit activities." Here is the entire paragraph from the policy the includes the exception [emphasis added]:

Should you decide to apply for health coverage through Maryland Health Connection, the information you supply in your application will be used to determine whether you are eligible for health and dental coverage offered through Maryland Health Connection and for insurance affordability programs. It also may be used to assist you in making a payment for the insurance plan you select, and for related automated reminders or other activities permitted by law. We will preserve the privacy of personal records and protect confidential or privileged information in full accordance with federal and State law. We will not sell your information to others. Any information that you provide to us in your application will be used only to carry out the functions of Maryland Health Connection. The only exception to this policy is that we may share information provided in your application with the appropriate authorities for law enforcement and audit activities.

The site does not specify if "appropriate authorities" refers only to state authorities or if it could include the federal government, as well. Neither is there any detail on what type of law enforcement and/or audit activities would justify the release of the personal information, or who exactly is authorized to make such a determination. An email to the Maryland Health Connection's media contact seeking clarification has not yet been answered

The second privacy term that may prompt caution by users relates to email communications. The policy reads:

If you send us an e-mail, we use the information you send us to respond to your inquiry. E-mail correspondence may become a public record. As a public record, your correspondence could be disclosed to other parties upon their request in accordance with Maryland's Public Information Act.

Since emails to the marketplace could conceivably involve private matters regarding finances, health history, and other sensitive issues, the fact that such information could be made part of the "public record" could prevent users from being as free with their information than they might otherwise be. However, as noted, any requests for such emails would still be subject to Maryland's Public Information Act which contains certain exceptions to the disclosure rules.

AP, NPR will avoid identifying national monstrosity as 'Obamacare'

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Archived Version

Source: TheBlaze.com - Blog

Mon, 07 Oct 2013 22:12

The Associated Press and NPR have both decided to cut back on their use of the word ''Obamacare'' in reference to President Obama's Affordable Care Act. According to NPR Managing Editor Stuart Seidel, the term ''Obamacare'' is ''straddling somewhere between being a politically-charged term and an accepted part of the vernacular.''

On the flip side, the AP also insisted that using the law's official name, the Affordable Care Act, is similarly misleading and political. The law's very name is ''promotional,'' the AP noted, and ''opponents believe it will not be affordable for individuals or the country'...''

The Maynard Institute asked other media outlets their views on the subject of Obamacare vs. ACA. Here's what they found:

NBC: A spokeswoman who did not want to be identified said that once the administration started using the term ''Obamacare,'' the network decided it was acceptable.Los Angeles Times: Spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan said, ''LA Times reporters and editors may consider 'Obamacare' as an acceptable term for the Affordable Care Act. In recently revising our guidelines, senior editors responded to staff requests to allow the usage, in light of widespread public understanding of the term and the use of the term even by the White House and supporters of the act, not just opponents.'' She said the revision took place last week.''PBS NewsHour'': Anne D. Bell, public relations manager, said, ''Guidelines are to use Affordable Care Act as the first reference and then in subsequent references ACA, health care law or 'Obamacare' are acceptable alternatives.''Chicago Tribune: Joe Knowles, associate managing editor/editing and presentation, said he sent the following style entry to his staff on Wednesday: ''Obamacare Note the lowercase 'c.' Acceptable in references to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, which is frequently shortened to the Affordable Care Act. Try to use the formal or shortened formal name of the law somewhere in the body of a news story. Allow columnists and editorial writers greater license.'' Knowles told Journal-isms, ''We are still urging people to try to get the official name in the body of the story somewhere, preferably high up.''New York Times: Spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said, ''There is no written policy in the Stylebook and we use both terms frequently.''

Report: Obamacare Enrollment ''In The Hundreds'''...

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Archived Version

Source: Weasel Zippers

Mon, 07 Oct 2013 22:12

And their plan to place people in ''waiting rooms'' isn't going to help boost enrollment numbers.

Via WSJ:

Six days into the launch of insurance marketplaces created by the new health-care law, the federal government acknowledged for the first time Sunday it needed to fix design and software problems that have kept customers from applying online for coverage.

The Obama administration said last week that an unanticipated surge of Web traffic caused most of the problems and was a sign of high demand by people seeking to buy coverage under the new law.

But federal officials said Sunday the online marketplace needed design changes, as well as more server capacity to improve efficiency on the federally run exchange that serves 36 states. [...]

About 30 million uninsured people live in the states the federal marketplace will serve, including Texas and Florida.

So far, Web-traffic problems are allowing only a small trickle of buyers, said John Gorman, chief executive of Gorman Health Group, an insurance-industry consulting firm with clients selling policies on the exchanges.

Large insurers have seen enrollment figures totaling in the hundreds each, said Sumit Nijhawan, chief executive of Infogix Inc., a data-integrity firm that works with such insurers as WellPoint Inc., Aetna Inc. and Cigna Corp.

Obamacare Comes To Hollywood -- Grant Seeks To Educate TV Producers For Use In Shows

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Archived Version

Thu, 10 Oct 2013 00:01

Will Obamacare become plot fodder for CBS' Hostages and Under The Dome? A $500,000 grant awarded this week to USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center's Hollywood Health & Society program certainly suggests it's a possibility. In the latest push to get Tinseltown to promote President Obama's Affordable Care Act, the decade-old program has received the money from the private California Endowment to give Hollywood producers, writers and execs details about the newly launched health insurance initiative. ''Our experience has shown that the public gets just as much, if not more, information about current events and important issues from their favorite television shows and characters as they do from the news media and online resources,'' said Hollywood Health & Society's Martin Kaplan in a statement today. ''This grant will allow us to ensure that industry practitioners have up-to-date, relevant facts on health care reform to integrate into their storylines and projects.'' Hostages' co-EP Jennifer Cecil sits on Hollywood Health & Society's Advisory Board as does Under The Dome EP Neal Baer. So does Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and Disney Junior's Doc McStuffins EP Chris Nee among others. The grant comes just over a week after Jennifer Hudson appeared in a pro-Obamacare Scandal parody video produced by Will Ferrell's Funny Or Die.

The last month has also seen social media advocating from the likes of Nashville's Connie Britton, Olivia Wilde, Taye Diggs, Kate Bosworth, Lady Gaga and Sarah Silverman. ''These are just the opening moves in a multi-pronged campaign using Hollywood as a platform for the ACA,'' one insider told me. The formal use of pro-Obama Hollywood in promoting ACA was first revealed at a July 22 meeting at the White House with Amy Poehler, Michael Cera and Hudson among those in attendance along with high-level administration officials.

Related:Michelle Obama Hollywood Fundraiser Scrapped Over Government Shutdown

With half of the total going toward Spanish-language programming, Hollywood Health & Society says that it will use the cash infusion to educate industry pros and track how often Obamacare shows up in TV dramas. It also will be used to produce pro-ACA PSAs in conjunction with series' storylines. And the group certainly has the experience, having worked on storylines for Disney's Doc McStuffins, ABC's Grey's Anatomy, CBS' NCIS and The Good Wife, NBC's Law & Order franchise, Fox's 24 and Bones, AMC's Mad Men and Breaking Bad, Showtime's The Big C and Dexter and HBO's Boardwalk Empire among dozens of shows. Hollywood Health & Society has previously received grants from the CDC, the Gates Foundation and the federal department of Health and Human Services.

Deadline's Dominic Patten - tip him here.

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See Which Top Conservative Journalists Attended an Off-the-Record Meeting with Obama | TheBlaze.com

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Archived Version

Thu, 10 Oct 2013 10:33

Several prominent conservative journalists and opinion leaders attended an off-the-record meeting with President Barack Obama Tuesday afternoon.

Top conservative journalists including Charles Krauthammer attended an off-the-record meeting with President Obama Tuesday.

Robert Costa, a well-known reporter with the conservative National Review, tweeted Tuesday afternoon that it was ''an honor'' to meet with President Obama.

''Appreciate his time,'' Costa tweeted.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney replied, ''Thank you, Bob. We appreciate you coming by.''

The Huffington Post reported that the Washington Examiner's Byron York and the Washington Post's Charles Krauthammer and Kathleen Parker were also at the meeting. The meeting followed a press conference Obama gave regarding the government shutdown.

''In addition to giving press conferences and interviews, the president meets on occasion with groups of reporters and columnists for off-the-record discussions,'' Carney told the Huffington Post. He declined to talk about what was on the agenda.

York sent off a series of tweets confirming he attended the meeting and the details surrounding it. ''Yes, I was at [White House] meeting Tuesday with President Obama,'' he wrote. ''I agreed beforehand that content would be off the record'...''

Subsequent tweets from York addressed any ''suspicions'' his readers might have about meeting with the president for an off-the-record meeting:

It was good meeting; really helped me better understand WH perspective on current matters'...As far as OTR is concerned, on Monday I had long talk with a leader of the defund Obamacare effort, combo background and off-the-record'...I understand the suspicions, but in my experience these meetings do not involve exchange of any secrets; rather, they are way'...'...for officials to expand and explain their positions in little more open way that allows me to better understand what is going on.Byron's final tweet on the matter said he was ''impressed Obama invited conservative journalists in. He didn't have to, but he did, and I thought that was a good thing.''

Neither Krauthammer nor Parker have publicly commented on the meeting.

In 2012 Obama held a similar meeting with top left-leaning personalities from MSNBC, including Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow and Al Sharpton.

''

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Debt Ceiling Humor: "I Therefore Intend To Oppose The Effort To Increase America's Debt Limit"

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Source: Zero Hedge

Mon, 07 Oct 2013 22:19

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DC Madness

Shocking New Revelation about Michelle Obama: A Must Read, Christwire Exclusive ' ChristWire

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Archived Version

Wed, 09 Oct 2013 21:02

About two months ago, my office was contacted by an anonymous source who claimed to be a former White House staff member of the Obama administration. He claimed to have sensitive information regarding a stunning revelation about the First Lady, Michelle Obama and he wanted to arrange a meeting with me in person to present the evidence for this claim. Like any good, Christian journalist, I was skeptical at first. Why would you contact me? Are there not dozens of major news outlets you would want to appeal to first? Of course the answers to those questions are very simple.

Unlike the days when the media used to do their jobs, like during the Watergate scandal, we are now living in a time when the liberal media simply cannot be trusted. I met with him for the first time yesterday evening and he confirmed these suspicions.

''I just can't go to the major alphabet networks. They are in the tank for Obama and it is network policy to cover up any critical stories regarding the President and his family. The White House has officially created a State media,''

We conservatives have known about this ''State media'' quite some time. If a Korean wanted to run a story critical of Kim Jong Il, Supreme Leader of the Yellow Empire, they would find that their life would not last too much longer. This is what is going on in the United States of America right now, which is indicative of End Times, but that's for another discussion.

Luckily, there is still an underground media rebellion that has managed to survive these dark times. Thanks to Christwire, Fox News, The Drudge Report and other outlets of opposition, we are able to get the truth out to you, the Christian American reader.

The following excerpt is the true biographical information of Michelle Obama, given to me on June 25, 2011 by a former member of the First Lady's personal staff. He shall remain anonymous for the time being to protect his life as well as the lives of his family.

''Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, was born Michael LaVaughn Robinson in Chicago, Illinois on January 17th, 1964. He was the second son born to Fraser Robinson III, a well known cocaine dealer and union thug for Crime Lord/Mayor Richard J. Daley, and Marian Shields Robinson, a transient street prostitute who was diagnosed with the HIV virus in 1998. He was a popular high school athlete and in 1982, he accepted a scholarship to play middle linebacker for the Oregon State Beavers.

After finishing a respectable rookie season with 88 tackles and 7.5 sacks, he suddenly dropped out of the school. Fellow teammates observed that Robinson could regularly be heard lamenting over how he is a ''woman trapped inside a man's body'', and on January 13th, 1983, he underwent sex reassignment surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. To hide the shame of his new identity, Michael left Oregon State to attend Princeton University under his new legal name, ''Michelle Robinson''. Years later, he met Barry Obama Jr. a Kenyan immigrant who later became aware of ''Michelle's'' true identity. They subsequently married and adopted two children.''

Michelle aka Michael Robinson Obama circa 1981, top right #44

Well ladies and gentlemen, you heard it here first at Christwire, our ''First Lady'' is actually the First Man. Even more startling, Barack Obama knows that his wife was once a man, making him the first homogay President of our Christian nation. I've examined the evidence carefully, as has the team of researchers here at Christwire. We now have multiple sources to back this story up. We have also consulted medical experts who have carefully analyzed ''her'' anatomy, finding that her broad shoulders and pointed jaw line are consistent with that of a male'... more specifically a male football player. It would not be the first time a transsexual has risen to prominence (see Lady Gaga).

Experts put together a composite of what Michael Obama might look like today if he/she did not have the sex change

This is disturbing to say the least and is yet another sign of the impending End Times prophecy outlined in the Book of Revelation. Of course, there is no chance that the liberal media will pick this story up and I pray for our safety, now that we have. God Bless and vote Bachmann!

(In the last photo of dancing Obama, notice the broad, manly shoulders and the tightened belt around the abdomen, which is likely used to simulate a feminine ''hourglass'' type physique'... The reason he is dancing is because he is happy to be back on a football field after quitting the game he loved to become a woman, decades earlier)

Mother Of Obama ''Love Child'' Gunned Down By Elite Hit Squad

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Wed, 09 Oct 2013 20:59

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October 7, 2013

Mother Of Obama ''Love Child'' Gunned Down By Elite Hit Squad

By:Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Western Subscribers

A new report circulating in the Kremlin today prepared by the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) claims that the unarmed 34-year-old woman named Miriam Carey who was gunned down last Thursday (3 October) in Washington D.C. was, in fact, ''deliberately targeted'' by an elite hit-squad under orders to assassinate what Russian intelligence officials say was the mother of President Barack Obama's ''love child.''

According to this report, Obama first met Ms Carey on 18 May 2011 when he traveled to New London, Connecticut to address the graduating class of the US Coast Guard Academy.

The US press, at that time, blamed Obama's ''substantial delay'' for making this address on bad weather, but according to GRU sources the American President was, instead, having a ''significant'' problem after having lodged a portion of a pistachio nut (one of his favorite snack foods) shell into one of his back molars.

Prior to Air Force One arriving in Connecticut, this report continues, Obama's Secret Service (SS) detail contacted an ''approved'' local dentist to meet the President upon his planes landing for the purpose of alleviating his then present condition.

As Obama's personal White House physician at the time was US Navy Captain Jeffrey Kuhlman, MD, this report says, the ''approved'' dentist selected was Dr. Brian Evans of Advanced Periodontics located in Hamden, Connecticut, whom Captain Kuhlman was long associated with through their shared US Navy service.

Dr. Evans had served on active duty in the United States Navy as a staff periodontist in Norfolk, Virginia. While in the Navy, Dr. Evans was, also, the periodontics mentor for the Navy's Advanced Education for General Dentistry program and held top-secret security clearances. Dr. Evans was further awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for meritorious service.

Dr. Evans' licensed dental assistant while treating the President on Air Force One on 18 May 2011 was Ms Carey, whom GRU assests in this report state ''struck up an almost immediate friendship with Obama.''

Important to note, this report says, is that after Ms Carey was assassinated, Dr. Evans was quoted in the US press as stating that she was fired from her job at his office about a year ago but wouldn't say why. Dr. Evans further stated that Ms Carey had been away from the job for a period after falling down a staircase and suffering a head injury and it was a few weeks after she returned to work that she was fired.

GRU analysts in this report, however, state that Ms Carey's absence from work was ''directly related'' to an affair she had begun with Obama in 2011 and which culminated in a girl child being born in August 2012, and which it appears the President attempted to have her abort, but which Ms Carey refused to do because of her Christian beliefs.

Critical to note, this report says, are that GRU signal intelligence analysts (SIGNIT) who were monitoring CIA-NSA-FBI encrypted electronic communication traffic in Washington D.C. on 3 October observed the exact same ''encrypted electronic signature'' used by the elite hit squad that attacked the US Navy Yard on 16 September, had assassinated the award winning American journalist Michael Hastings on 18 June, and on 25 June attacked the Los Angeles Police detectives investigation Hastings assassination.

From the tracing of this unique ''encrypted electronic signature'' as it pertained to Ms Carey's actions on 3 October, this report continues, it suggests that she was ''lured'' to Washington D.C. under the pretext that Obama wanted to see for the first time his new baby daughter.

Obama's concerns about Ms Carey, the GRU says, was related to her reporting to local Connecticut police authorities late last year her fears that she was being followed and secretly recorded by US intelligence agents and her belief that her life was in danger.

These same local police authorities, however, state that Ms Carey told them in December that she was a prophet, that Obama would place the city of Stamford under a ''lockdown'' and that he had her and her residence under electronic surveillance.

Upon Ms Carey arriving at the White House on 3 October, this report says, she became ''aware'' of the trap she had driven into, and in her attempting to flee to safety was viciously tracked by multiple US intelligence agencies and ultimately assassinated by a point-black gunshot to the left side of her head.

Even though Ms Carey's sister Amy Carey-Jones said there were no indications that her sister was unstable, and that her sister ''seemed OK'' the last time they spoke more than a week ago, and a second sister, Valarie Carey, who is a retired New York City police officer, said there was ''no need for a gun to be used,'' the propaganda US media continues to paint this young mother as nothing more than a lunatic.

The same, however, cannot be said of one of Obama's longest mistresses, Vera Baker, who aside from raising millions for his Senate and Presidential campaigns, fled to the Caribbean island of Martinique when her affair with the American President was discovered and remains in hiding to this day.

As to why Obama would engage himself in dangerous affairs in the first place, this report bizarrely concludes, is the growing evidence that his wife, and First Lady, Michelle Obama, was born Michael LaVaughn Robinson in Chicago, Illinois on 17 January 1964. He was the second son born to Fraser Robinson III, a well known cocaine dealer and union thug for Crime Lord-Mayor Richard J. Daley, and Marian Shields Robinson, a transient street prostitute who was diagnosed with the HIV virus in 1998.

After a successful sex-change surgery, this report says, Michelle met Obama, married and have since adopted two daughters, Malia and Sasha. And even though she is said to have a ''watch list'' of women that were to be kept away from her President husband, most unfortunately it did not include Miriam Carey.

October 7, 2013 (C) EU and US all rights reserved. Permission to use this report in its entirety is granted under the condition it is linked back to its original source at WhatDoesItMean.Com. Freebase content licensed under CC-BY and GFDL. .

[Ed. Note: Western governments and their intelligence services actively campaign against the information found in these reports so as not to alarm their citizens about the many catastrophic Earth changes and events to come, a stance that the Sisters of Sorcha Faal strongly disagrees with in believing that it is every human beings right to know the truth. Due to our missions conflicts with that of those governments, the responses of their 'agents' against us has been a longstanding misinformation/misdirection campaign designed to discredit and which is addressed in the report ''Who Is Sorcha Faal?''.]

Obama Screams For War As Global Economy Implodes

Snowden Revelations Strike Fear Into Putin

Apocalypse Slams Into America, Few Notice

You May Already Be To Late'...But It Has Begun!

They Are Going To Come For You'...Why Are You Helping Them?

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F-Russia/F-USA

Russia to Grab Pension Money, Temporarily - Emerging Europe Real Time - WSJ

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Tue, 08 Oct 2013 23:15

MOSCOW''Russia's government is temporarily seizing $7.6 billion in savings from non-state pension funds while it carries out inspections, a move critics say looks like a ''confiscation'' aimed at plugging a hole in next year's state budget.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told ministers Thursday that the government needs to check that the money Russians channel to private pension funds is safe. To do this, it will seize 244 billion rubles ($7.6 billion) from non-state pension funds and put them into the state pension fund.

Pension funds hold more than $100 billion in assets. Nearly half of that is mandatory savings managed by state-run bank VEB. Non-state pension funds and funds affiliated with state-controlled companies hold the rest.

Government officials say they'll just hold the money on the state pension fund's books for a year while the checks are carried out. But analysts say they suspect the government will be tempted to use the money to plug shortfalls in the pension system, instead of channeling funds from the state budget, as it has previously.

That's because Russia's budget is in need of money as the economy is struggling with low growth amid weak investment and demand for its commodities exports.

The government is scrambling to find other sources of income to help it fulfill spending pledges by President Vladimir Putin. State-controlled companies have reacted coolly to proposals that they pay out 35% of their profits as dividends rather than the current 25%, which would help bring more money to the budget.

Experts say the government's pension maneuver could be another way to cover the shortfall.

''If they say they won't spend this money, then why are they booking it?'' former finance minister Alexei Kudrin said Wednesday on the sidelines of an international investment forum in Moscow.

He said the move was ''exceptionally unfortunate'' and could harm Russia's investment climate.

Russia has tried for years with limited success to reform its pension system.

Analysts say the pension move came suddenly and hasn't been clearly explained. It's not clear yet how the funds will be reimbursed in the future.

''It has now been perceived by the public as a very strange way of solving next year's budget issues. It's a dangerous step as it can shatter social and economic pact between the government and households,'' said Vladimir Pantyushin, economist at Barclays in Moscow.

Vladimir Kolychev, chief economist at VTB Capital, an investment unit of Russia's No.2 lender VTB, said that it looks like that the seized money will be channeled to pay pensions next year, which would help reduce the federal budget deficit.

Russian officials frequently tout Russia's low debt and small budget deficit as a sign of the country's strength, in contrast to higher levels of debt and deficits in most Western economies.

Russia's Finance Ministry sees the budget deficit at 0.7% of gross domestic product this year and 0.5% next year.

California lawmakers urge pension funds to halt Russia investments | Reuters

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Archived Version

Tue, 08 Oct 2013 23:16

Police detain a gay rights activist during a Gay Pride event in St. Petersburg, June 29, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Alexander Demianchuk

By Sharon Bernstein

Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:52pm EDT

(Reuters) - Top Democrats in the California Senate on Monday asked the state's multibillion-dollar public employee pension funds to refrain from making future investments in Russia, adding their voices to protests against restrictions on gay rights there.

A proposed resolution by Senator Mark Leno, President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and others urges the California Public Employee Retirement System, or CalPERS, and the California State Teachers Retirement System, to halt investments in Russia until the issue is resolved.

CalPERS, the largest employee pension system in the nation, has $266 billion invested around the globe, of which $1.4 billion is invested in Russia.

The nonbinding resolution, which must be passed by the full Senate, protests a ban on same-sex couples from adopting Russian children, and a law prohibiting gay "propaganda."

The measures are part of the conservative course taken by President Vladimir Putin on social issues since his return to the Kremlin in May 2012.

Critics say the propaganda law effectively disallows all gay rights rallies and could be used to prosecute anyone voicing support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

"The resolution condemns Russia's official attack on the LGBT community," Leno said in an interview. "It also calls upon the president and Congress and the State Department to encourage the decriminalization of homosexuality in all countries."

The resolution additionally asks the International Olympic Committee to demand a written promise that gay athletes will not be affected by the propaganda law when the games are held in the Russian city of Sochi next year.

CalPERS said in a statement on Monday it always strives for responsible investing.

"CalPERS is a strong defender of human and civil rights across the globe," the statement said. "CalPERS will continue its prudent review of all investments and will consider current developments as it abides by all applicable laws."

Anger at the Russian laws has been building for months among gay rights activists and others in the United States.

Last month activists and Seattle-based sex advice columnist Dan Savage called for a boycott of Russian vodka in response to anti-gay violence and the restrictive laws.

Soon after, gay rights activists in New York City dumped vodka onto the street to protest the Russian laws, and a growing number of gay bar owners across the United States vowed to stop pouring Russian vodka.

The call to "dump Russian vodka" came after Russian investigators said in May that a 23-year-old man had been tortured and killed after revealing to a friend that he was gay.

(Fixes typo in headline)

(Reporting By Sharon Bernstein: Editing by Tim Gaynor and Xavier Briand)

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BBC News - Dutch sorry on Russia diplomat case

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Thu, 10 Oct 2013 14:41

9 October 2013Last updated at10:42 ETDutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans has apologised to Moscow for the arrest and detention of a Russian diplomat.

The incident prompted a diplomatic row, with Russia saying Dmitri Borodin had been beaten and held for several hours.

Neighbours had called police over concerns children were being maltreated in his flat, claims Mr Borodin denied.

After an investigation, Mr Timmermans apologised to the Russian ambassador to The Hague, saying the police had breached rules on diplomatic immunity.

"The state of the Netherlands offers the Russian Federation its apologies," he said in a statement.

Mr Timmermans added that he "personally understands" the actions of the police officers.

Prior to the apology, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the incident a "most gross breach" of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

"We are waiting for explanations and apologies and also for those guilty to be punished," he told reporters on Tuesday. "We will react depending on how the Dutch side behaves."

Mr Borodin works as a minister counsellor at the Russian embassy in The Hague.

Russia's foreign ministry said his flat had been stormed by "armed people in camouflage uniform" and Mr Borodin beaten in front of his son, aged two, and his four-year-old daughter.

Ties between Russian and the Netherlands were already strained by the detention of Greenpeace activists in Russia last month.

The Netherlands launched legal action last week to free the activists, who were charged with piracy after a protest on an Arctic oil rig owned by state-controlled firm Gazprom.

The 30 people, two of them Dutch citizens, were arrested aboard the Dutch-flagged Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise.

NA-TECH-ACA FAIL

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ROFL Obamacare Enrollees Must Reset Their Passwords

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Archived Version

Source: EconomicPolicyJournal.com

Thu, 10 Oct 2013 14:13

CNN reports:Anyone who has signed up to enroll in Obamacare on Healthcare.gov is being told that their password must be reset.

"All passwords were deleted for existing accounts as part of the upgrade process," a call center representative told CNN's Elizabeth Cohen Thursday morning. The representative said everyone must call in to reset their password; it cannot be done online.

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Department of Better Technology - The Healthcare.gov Fiasco

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Thu, 10 Oct 2013 12:53

It's been a week since Healthcare.gov launched, and for anyone who has tried to register for new health insurance on the website, its online waiting room page is perhaps the most recognizable page on the site:

Not only did the site not scale at launch, it was riddled with errors, and it clearly wasn't ready to go. Just taking a look at the code that runs the site, you can see that it's riddled with ''Lorem Ipsum Dolor'' '-- the placeholder text that web designers and developers use to demonstrate designs before copy has been written. Reddit's gone wild with speculation about who built it and, of course, legions of IT experts have come out questioning the architecture of the website.

The contractors who made this website were at best sloppy, and at worst unqualified for the job. So, why? How did this happen to arguably the most important and lasting website of this president's administration? And why did such sloppiness cost the taxpayer, from what I can tell, over 600 Million Dollars?

Some may say that this is complicated stuff. That the systems in place that Healthcare.gov had to integrate into various legacy systems, and that the system could only be tested so much, and that building a highly scalable FISMA certified web service was impossible from the get-go. Others might argue that this is the country that invented the Internet, Google, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, the iPhone, and Android, it isn't as though we don't have the technical talent to stand up a website that allows people buy health insurance over the Internet.

But the truth is, they're both right. But worrying about fixing healthcare.gov is a bit like giving Walter White cough syrup and expecting it to solve all his problems. You might hope his cough will go away, but it certainly isn't going to end his lung cancer nor convince him to shut down his meth empire.

Healthcare.gov got this way not because of incompetence or sloppiness of an individual vendor, but because of a deeply engrained and malignant cancer that's eating away at the federal government's ability to provide effective online services. It's a cancer that's shut out the best and brightest minds from working on these problems, diminished competition for federal work, and landed us here '-- where you have half-billion dollar websites that don't work.

That cancer is called ''procurement'' and it's primarily a culture driven cancer one that tries to mitigate so much risk that it all but ensures it. It's one that allowed for only a handful of companies like CGI Federal to not only build disasters like this, but to keep building more and more failures without any accountability to the ultimate client: us. Take a look at CGI's website, and the industries they serve: financial services, oil and gas, public utilities, insurance. Have you had a positive user experience in any of those industries?

The cancer starts with fear. Contracting officers '-- people inside of the government in charge of selecting who gets to do what work '-- are afraid of their buys being contested by people who didn't get selected. They're also afraid of things going wrong down the line inside of a procurement, so they select vendors with a lot of ''federal experience'' to do the work. Over time, those vendors have been consolidated into pre-approved lists like GSA's Alliant schedule. Then, for risk mitigation's sake, they end up being the only ones allowed to compete for bids.

This results in a culturally accepted idea that cost implies quality. To ensure no disasters happen, throw lots of money at it. And when things go terribly wrong, through more money at the same people who caused the problem to fix the problem. While this assumption may work well with commodities (want to ensure that you get lots of high-quality gravel? Buy a lot more gravel than you need, then throw out the bad gravel) the evidence points to the contrary with large IT purchases: they usually fail.

On top of this culture of fear? 6,500 pages of regulation, cumbersome business registration processes, and hostile bidding environments ensure that very few new businesses can compete for contracts, and the ones that do end up becoming specialists in those regulatory burdens, not in doing the right thing.

The truth is, the people inside of government would like nothing more than to have the best and brightest minds in the world working on Healthcare.gov. But the best they've got to choose from are 58 different companies. That's *the* problem.

In order to solve the healthcare.gov problem, we've got to stop worrying about the cough, and start worrying about the cancer. We've got to start worrying about the systemic issues that allow for healthcare.gov to happen, not the ''Lorem Ipsums'' sprinkled in the javascript source code of the website.

If we're so worried about fixing the federal budget, why don't they shut down the government until we fix the way we buy things. We've got to demand a more competitive, more diverse, and more innovation friendly federal contracting environment so that government can get access to the best and brightest minds available to solve our common problems. America is the home of the top innovators on the planet. Government should let them in.

Changing legal perceptions of mental disorders in defendants

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Archived Version

Thu, 10 Oct 2013 12:41

Phys.Org Mobile: Changing legal perceptions of mental disorders in defendants07:50, Other Sciences/Social Sciences

The Law Commissioner for England and Wales will join a number of experts at Northumbria University, Newcastle next week to debate the ways in which the criminal justice system recognises mental disorders in defendants.

Professor David Ormerod QC is one of a number of world-leading legal, academic and medical experts who will consider how the courts recognise and categorise insanity and liability in criminal justice cases.

The conference, jointly organised by Northumbria University's Centre for Evidence and Criminal Justice Studies and the Law Department of the University of Sunderland, has been convened to highlight a growing issue in the ways in which the legal and psychiatric communities categorise mental health problems in defendants.

Experts from the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Germany will join national and local representatives from the medical, legal and academic sectors to share best practice from other legal jurisdictions.

The Law Commission is currently considering the present law on fitness to plead and the Commission recently released a discussion paper assessing the rules that govern the insanity defence, also referred to as insane automatism, which date from 1843.

These rules have been widely criticised for a number of reasons, including the use of 'insane' as a descriptor of mental illness, without any regards to those who have learning difficulties or disabilities.

Nicola Wake, Senior Lecturer in Law at Northumbria University and co-organiser of the conference, explained: "A significant problem in this area is the conflict between legal and psychiatric conceptions of mental illness and the level of responsibility required in order for an individual to be deemed criminally responsible for his or her conduct.

"The conference will provide legal and medical practitioners with the opportunity to consider issues relating to a defendant's fitness to plead in addition to the defences of insanity and diminished responsibility.

"Lawyers are hesitant to raise the issue of pleading insanity with their clients in case it breaks down their relationship, and defendants are wary of pleading insanity as a defence because of the stigma of this label and confusion of what this will entail for their case. However, there is a real difference of terminology from a psychiatric perspective, which can create a problem for practitioners."

Professor Ormerod QC added: "In publishing the Discussion Paper on Insanity and Automatism this year we were seeking to promote public debate on this important aspect of the law and options for reform. I am delighted that Northumbria and Sunderland universities have organised a conference attracting such an eminent array of speakers from academia and practice to engage in just such a debate."

Ben Livings, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Sunderland, "It is important that medico-legal experts work together to develop a holistic approach. We hope that this conference will help the Law Commission and the legal sector to create a better understanding of, and framework around, mental disorder within the criminal justice system."

Professor Alan Reed, Associate Dean for Research and Innovation at Northumbria University said: "We are delighted to host this significant international conference at the Faculty of Business and Law, Northumbria University utilising our outstanding venue facilities. It represents the essence of our strategic development and impact in terms of world-leading and internationally excellent research collaborations, inter-disciplinarity, internationalisation and demarcates the global reach of our Centre of Research Excellence in Evidence and Criminal Justice Studies."

Provided by Northumbria University

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Phys.Org Mobile: Changing legal perceptions of mental disorders in defendants07:50, Other Sciences/Social Sciences

The Law Commissioner for England and Wales will join a number of experts at Northumbria University, Newcastle next week to debate the ways in which the criminal justice system recognises mental disorders in defendants.

Professor David Ormerod QC is one of a number of world-leading legal, academic and medical experts who will consider how the courts recognise and categorise insanity and liability in criminal justice cases.

The conference, jointly organised by Northumbria University's Centre for Evidence and Criminal Justice Studies and the Law Department of the University of Sunderland, has been convened to highlight a growing issue in the ways in which the legal and psychiatric communities categorise mental health problems in defendants.

Experts from the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Germany will join national and local representatives from the medical, legal and academic sectors to share best practice from other legal jurisdictions.

The Law Commission is currently considering the present law on fitness to plead and the Commission recently released a discussion paper assessing the rules that govern the insanity defence, also referred to as insane automatism, which date from 1843.

These rules have been widely criticised for a number of reasons, including the use of 'insane' as a descriptor of mental illness, without any regards to those who have learning difficulties or disabilities.

Nicola Wake, Senior Lecturer in Law at Northumbria University and co-organiser of the conference, explained: "A significant problem in this area is the conflict between legal and psychiatric conceptions of mental illness and the level of responsibility required in order for an individual to be deemed criminally responsible for his or her conduct.

"The conference will provide legal and medical practitioners with the opportunity to consider issues relating to a defendant's fitness to plead in addition to the defences of insanity and diminished responsibility.

"Lawyers are hesitant to raise the issue of pleading insanity with their clients in case it breaks down their relationship, and defendants are wary of pleading insanity as a defence because of the stigma of this label and confusion of what this will entail for their case. However, there is a real difference of terminology from a psychiatric perspective, which can create a problem for practitioners."

Professor Ormerod QC added: "In publishing the Discussion Paper on Insanity and Automatism this year we were seeking to promote public debate on this important aspect of the law and options for reform. I am delighted that Northumbria and Sunderland universities have organised a conference attracting such an eminent array of speakers from academia and practice to engage in just such a debate."

Ben Livings, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Sunderland, "It is important that medico-legal experts work together to develop a holistic approach. We hope that this conference will help the Law Commission and the legal sector to create a better understanding of, and framework around, mental disorder within the criminal justice system."

Professor Alan Reed, Associate Dean for Research and Innovation at Northumbria University said: "We are delighted to host this significant international conference at the Faculty of Business and Law, Northumbria University utilising our outstanding venue facilities. It represents the essence of our strategic development and impact in terms of world-leading and internationally excellent research collaborations, inter-disciplinarity, internationalisation and demarcates the global reach of our Centre of Research Excellence in Evidence and Criminal Justice Studies."

Provided by Northumbria University

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i guess a couple of are trying to sign up for healthcare...(a minor bug on the new healthcare website) : webdev

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Thu, 10 Oct 2013 12:31

I recently had to work on a project with people who were absolutely computer illiterate demanding that a product designed for use by technical savvy data analysts be modified. Despite the fact that they weren't the users, they assumed that if they couldn't understand it, nobody could. It was a fucking nightmare. In their world, input = contribution = proof of value. The fact that they aren't able to contribute anything of value because they have failed to maintain even a minimally relevant set of skills eludes them.

This isn't only a problem with computer & IT related things. It is present in virtually every technical field.

It's called "bikeshedding" or "Parkinson's Law of Triviality" -- and smart/savvy project managers know EXACTLY how to deal with it.

You make ALL of the big complex decisions, and then you "create" the opportunity for them to fight over/debate/have input -- on things that don't really make a damned bit of difference. So you make certain that both the building of the proverbial "atomic reactor" AND the "bikeshed" (especially what color to paint the latter) are equal items on the agenda... that way you can get the atomic reactor approved, and move on to the bikeshed, where EVERYONE can give their input on what color(s) to paint it, whether there should be flowers or trees planted around it, etc.

In the case of IT projects, it is critical to the success of the project that the ID10T type people be kept super busy & preoccupied deciding/debating over trivial things: what the LOGO should look like, and what photos and colors the startup page (background, etc) should have -- like should there just be a generic "stock" photo of some help desk person, or should there be a rotating mixture of people, including various ethnic & gender & age groups -- and then should they be actual photos of employees or ??? (Ideally you fob them all off onto some advertising/marketing subgroup or subcontractor and keep them busy with "focus groups" and other such nonsense.)

Of course you CAN'T ever let them know that those things are trivia/nonsense -- you have to do the opposite, and continually talk up just how important they are to the overall "user experience", etc.

Me And My Army Of Enthusiastic ObamaCare Registrants

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Thu, 10 Oct 2013 12:15

I'm sitting back in the bahamas enjoying the fruits of my labor, with $1M in my bank account, dedicated Internet to my bungalow and as much rum as I can drink. After 7 months of work, I'm enjoying the fruits of my labor to help make sure the launch of ObamaCare is a wild failure.

I was approached back in March, by a gentleman who will remain un-named, who I will refer to as Marco. Marco approached me with $500K and asked me if I could successfully reverse engineer the upcoming Healthcare.gov implementation and identify the weakest link in the architecture, and make sure on delivery date, this link was exploited. Once successful he said he would wire me another $500K.

It sounded like a worthy challenge, and just like the money men behind the operation I wanted that socialist bastard Obama and his communist medicine program to fail, fail, fail fail. Goddam Muslim!

Early on I knew that some states would launch their own registration portals for ObamaCare, but there were still over half of the states that would be dependent on a centralized system, and the optimal choke point would be the registration process. If people couldn't register, there would be serious frustration, finger pointing and the socialist plot would be a failure.

Knowing that I needed to overload the registration process, I began planning what would be essentially a Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack, but I needed to be smarter, I didn't want it to look like a DDOS attack. It needed to look like business as usual for the launch of the program.

Throughout the spring and summer I prepared my "Army of Enthusiastic ObamaCare Registrants". I created fake names, with fake addresses, complete with local entry points onto the Internet to make it look like my fake registrants were truly coming from all around the country. This would take time, but with some simple malware targeting various demographics I was able to setup a botnet army of home computers to route my healthcare registrants through.

I was prepared, with my silent army waiting in the shadows, and once Healthcare.gov publicly announced I got to work identifying the best parts of the registration process to target. While I found a myriad of poorly engineered bottlenecks, there was one clear target:

https://www.healthcare.gov/ee-rest/ffe/en_US/MyAccountEIDMUnsecuredIntegration/createLiteEIDMAccount

This was the initial point where every user was required to register, and the system behind was a bloated piece of Java shit that would gladly support me in the overloading of its operations. I was sure that there was nothing elastic about this system, and every user needed to interact with it before they could proceed.

I got to work orchestrating my army of registrants to login, attempt to register from IP addresses across the country, spread out at the peak periods of Internet usage, and made sure they pushed refresh, and retried as much as possible. My army of enthusiastic registrants would look like any of the other sheep lining up to the socialist healthcare feeder.

While this target was definitely the anchor in my strategy, I wanted to make sure other secondary targets were also overloaded in different ways, from various locations. There were a number of JavaScript and 3rd party resources used in the registration flow, and I made sure these were adequately slowed, adding to the overall bloat of the ObamaCare registration flow.

All of these attacks were carefully scripted, timed and tested where for the last week I've been able to sit back in my bungalow , enjoying my rum and the fruits of my labor. I'm pretty impressed with myself, and I outdid myself this time. I know from talking with Marco, there were other plans in the works beyond mine, but I only needed to know about my role, and nothing else--it is safer that way.

Take that Obama! America is too great for your socialist, communist, muslim invasion!

Lack of Transparency Is Healthcare.gov Biggest Bottleneck

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Thu, 10 Oct 2013 12:14

If you pay attention to the news, you have probably heard about the technical trouble with the launch of the Affordable Care Act, 50 state marketplaces and the central Healthcare.gov site.

People across the country are encountering show-stopping bugs in the sign up process, and if you go to the healthcare.gov site currently, you get a splash page that states, "We have a lot of visitors on the site right now." If you stay on the page it will refresh every few seconds until, eventually you might get a successful registration form.

I worked at it for hours last night was finally able to get into the registration process, only to get errors several steps in, but eventually got through the flow and successfully registered for an account, scrutinizing the code and network activity behind the scenes as I went along.

There are numerous blog posts trying to break down what is going wrong with the Healthcare.gov registration process, but ultimately many of them are very superficial, making vague accusations of vendors involved, and the perceived technology at play. I think one of the better one's was A Programmer's Perspective On Healthcare.gov And ACA Marketplaces, by Paul Smith.

Late last night, the Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF), led by round one PIF Phillip Ashlock(@philipashlock), set out to try and develop our own opinion about what is happening behind the scenes. Working our way through the registration process, trying to identify potential bottlenecks.

When you look at the flow of calls behind each registration page you see a myriad of calls to JavaScript libraries, internal and external services that support the flow. There definitely could have been more thought put into preparing this architecture for scaling, but a handful of calls really stands out:

https://www.healthcare.gov/marketplace/global/en_US/registration.js

https://www.healthcare.gov/ee-rest/ffe/en_US/MyAccountEIDMUnsecuredIntegration/createLiteEIDMAccount

The second URL pretty clearly refers to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services(CMS) Enterprise Identity Management (EIDM) platform, which provides new user registration, access management, identity lifecycle management, giving users of the Healthcare Exchange Plan Management can register and get CMS credentials. Where the registration.js appears handles much of the registration process.

Philip identified the createLiteEIDMAccount call as the most telling part of the payload and response, and would most likely be the least resilient portion of the architecture, standing out as a potentially severe bottleneck. The CMS EIDM platform is just one potential choke point, and isn't a bleeding edge solution, it is pretty straightforward enterprise architecture that may not have had adequate resources allocated to handle the load. I'm guessing underallocated server and application resources is playing a rampant role across Healthcare.gov operations.

Many of the articles I've read over the last couple days make reference to the front-end of Healthcare.gov in using Jekyll and APIs, and refer to the dangers of open washing, and technological solution-ism. Where this is most likely an under-allocated, classic enterprise piece of the puzzle that can't keep up. I do agree with portions of the open washing arguments, and specifically around showcasing the project as "open", when in reality the front-end is the only open piece, with the backend being a classic, closed architecture and process.

Without transparency into the entire stack of Healthcare.gov and the marketplace rollouts, it is not an open project. I don't care if any part of it is--making it open-washing. The teams in charge of the front-end were very transparent in getting feedback on the front-end implementation and publishing the code to Github for review. It isn't guaranteed, but if the entire backend stack followed the same approach, publishing technology, architectural approaches and load testing numbers throughout a BETA cycle for the project--things might have been different on launch day.

Transparency goes a long way into improving not just the technology and architecture, but can shed light on illnesses in the procurement, contracting and other business and political aspects of projects. Many technologists will default to thinking I'm talking about open source, open tools or open APIs, but in reality I'm talking about an open process.

In the end, this story is just opinion and speculation. Without any transparency into exactly what the backend architecture of Healthcare.gov and the marketplaces are, we have no idea of actually what the problem is. I'm just soapboxing my opinion like the authors of every other story published about this problem over the last couple days, making them no more factual than some of my other fictional pieces about this being an inside job or a cleverly disguised denial of service attack!

Learning from the Healthcare.gov Infrastructure | Civic Agency

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Archived Version

Thu, 10 Oct 2013 11:57

Over the past few days I've been paying attention to the problems that have troubled the launch of healthcare.gov. What I've compiled here is an outsider's perspective and my technical analysis should be treated as educated speculation rather than insider knowledge or anything authoritative. All other commentary here should be treated as my own personal perspective as well. I state these disclaimers because I've had no direct involvement with this project and the only information I have to work with is what's available to the public so some of my claims might be inaccurate. It's also worth noting that I do know some of the people involved with the project and I've worked with some of the companies that were contractors, but I've gone about trying to understand this in an independent and unbiased way. Real accountability may be warranted for some of the problems we've seen so far, but I'm less interested in placing blame and more interested in simply learning what happened to help ensure it doesn't happen again.

Context

To be clear, the problems I'm referring to are specifically the issues relating to errors and an unresponsive website when creating a new account for the Federal Facilitated Marketplace hosted on healthcare.gov. The healthcare.gov website is also used to provide related information and to redirect people to State Based Marketplaces hosted by their own states where they exist, but those aren't the things I'm talking about here.

Unfortunately, many of the more political perspectives around the problems with this website have been illogical and much of the reporting in the news has either appeared to be inaccurate or so vague as to be meaningless. For example, some have claimed that problems with the website indicate that the Affordable Care Act is a bad idea and won't work, but that's a radical distortion of logic. This claim is like saying that a problem with an automatic sliding door or a broken cash register at a grocery store indicates that the grocery store (and better access to food) is a bad idea and won't work. Others have claimed the high demand that caused glitches was unexpected, yet at the same time claim that glitches with the launch of a new product should be expected. Many of the news reports about the problems attempt to provide technical analysis, but mostly fail in identifying anything relevant or specific enough to be accurate or informative.

I do agree that the problems revealed themselves as a result of high demand. Exceeding capacity is a good problem to have, but it's still a problem and it's even a problem that gone unchecked could erode the kind of popularity that overwhelmed the system to begin with. I also think this is a problem that can be prevented and should never happen again. It's true that Americans still have many more months of open enrollment, but first impressions really do matter, especially with something as sensitive as a new health care program.

It would be wonderful if an official postmortem was published to help us understand what happened with the launch and prepare us enough to prevent similar situations in the future. As an outsider's perspective, my analysis shouldn't be considered anything like that, but it is worth noting that the worst problems with the website are likely already behind us. As Alex Howard reports, there are indications that improvements in the past few days have made an impact, but things still look like they could be going more smoothly. A test conducted by myself today showed that there were basically no wait times whatsoever, but I was still unable to create a new account, receiving the error displayed above instead.

Until problems are fully resolved and until anything resembling a postmortem exists, there will be demand for more answers and better reporting on what has happened. My motivation for writing this is partly that ''unexpected demand'' or ''inevitable glitches'' haven't been satisfying answers, but I've also been unsatisfied with the reporting. The best analysis I've seen so far has been by Paul Smith (also syndicated on Talking Points Memo) and Tom Lee (also syndicated on the Washington Post Wonkblog). Part of the reason why Paul and Tom's writing is good is because it actually attempts to distinguish the different components of the healthcare.gov infrastructure and explain the architectural significance of decoupling components in an asynchronous way. Both of these pieces also point out that the frontend of the website, a Jekyll based system, was not the problem despite the many attempts at technical analysis in major publications that have tried to place fault there without looking further. Yet while Paul and Tom definitely seemed to get broad strokes right, I wanted more detail.

After reading Paul's piece I started a thread among the current and past Presidential Innovation Fellows to see if anyone knew more about what was going on. Basically none of us had direct knowledge of the technical underpinnings of the system, but being furloughed and eager to fix problems turned this into one of the most active discussions I've seem among the fellows. I also saw similar discussions arise among the Code for America fellows. Over the course of a day or so we shared our insights and speculation and some reported on their findings. Kin Lane described his concerns about the openness and transparency of the project, especially the conflation of the open source frontend and the blackbox backend. Clay Johnson wrote about how problems with procurement contributed to the situation. I added most of my technical analysis as a comment on Tom Lee's blog post and I've included that here with some edits:

Technical Analysis

For the basic process of creating an account on healthcare.gov there are several potential areas for bottlenecks: 1) Delivering content to the user 2) receiving account creation data from the user 3) actually generating a new user account 4) validating identity and eligibility based on submitted account data.

As Tom and Paul point out, there is almost certainly no issue with point #1. Even though the frontend content is managed through the Ruby based Jekyll app, it's basically all generated and delivered as static files which are then served by Akamai's CDN. Even if there are many opportunities to create efficiencies there, it's unlikely an issue when you're just dealing with static files on a robust CDN. Placing blame on this smooth running frontend is frustrating not only because it is inaccurate but it also appears to be just about the only part of the system that was done well and done in a very open and innovative way. There's smart underlying technology, a clean responsive design, a developer friendly API, and an open source project here. This piece was contracted out to a great DC tech firm called Development Seed and it's been written about a lot before. (Also see Alex Howard's piece in the Atlantic). Let's say it again: this is not the problem.

It's possible there could be a bottleneck in receiving data as writing to a system is almost always more resource intensive than reading data. The system receiving the data seems totally separate from the Ruby Jekyll code even if it appears on the same domain. It appears to be a Java based system as the response headers identify:X-Powered-By:Servlet 2.5; JBoss-5.0/JBossWeb-2.1 on the account creation form POST to https://www.healthcare.gov/ee-rest/ffe/en_US/MyAccountEIDMUnsecuredIntegration/createLiteEIDMAccount

HTTP/1.1 200 OKServer: ApacheX-Powered-By: Servlet 2.5; JBoss-5.0/JBossWeb-2.1sysmessages: {"messages":["Business_ee_sap_MyAccountEIDMIntegration_CreateLiteEIDMAccount.OK_200.OK"]}Content-Length: 181Content-Type: application/jsonX-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN;X-Server: WS01Expires: Sat, 05 Oct 2013 01:22:59 GMTCache-Control: max-age=0, no-cache, no-storePragma: no-cacheDate: Sat, 05 Oct 2013 01:22:59 GMTConnection: keep-aliveVary: Accept-EncodingSet-Cookie: JSESSIONID=A965DE6747123123275DCA1A40CBB16.green-app-ap50; Path=/ee-rest; Secure; HttpOnlyAccess-Control-Allow-Origin: *It's unclear to me if this Java based system is able to do any deferred processing or act as a parallel autonomous system or if it relies on direct integration as a slave to another system. The aforementioned POST URL does refer another system, the EIDM. The EIDM mentioned here is almost certainly the CMS's (Center for Medicaid and Medicare) Enterprise Identity Management system. The login form on healthcare.gov also seems to point directly to the EIDM which appears to be an Oracle Access Manager server: https://eidm.cms.gov/oam/server/authentication

You can read more about the EIDM system and its contract on recovery.gov and the IT Dashboard but the best description I've seen so far comes from LinkedIn where it appears next to 11 team members associated with the project. Here's that description:

EIDM is the consolidated Identity and Access Management System in CMS which is one of the largest Oracle 11gR2 Identity and Access Management deployment in the world with integrated all Oracle components to support 100 million users including providing Identity and Access Management Services for Federal Health Insurance Exchange as well as health insurance exchanges in all 50 states that use FFE level of IDM integration, and 100 of CMS federal applications.

Services available from EIDM have been grouped into four main services areas (registration service, authorization service, ID lifecycle management service, and access management service). CMS will make remote electronic services available in a reliable and secure manner to providers of services and suppliers to support their efforts to better manage and coordinate care furnished to beneficiaries and Exchange applicants of CMS programs.

Identify and Access Management services will provide identity and credential services for millions of partners, providers, insurance exchanges enrollees, beneficiaries and other CMS nonorganizational users; and thousands of CMS employees, contractors and other CMS organizational users. EIDM accepts other federal agency credentials provided to CMS from the Federated Cloud Credential Exchange and provides secure access to the CMS Enterprise Portal

It's unclear to me how that Java backend and the EIDM connect with one another, but together they could account for potential bottlenecks as described by points #2 or #3. My guess is that any identity/eligibility verification (#4) happens totally separately and wouldn't cause the issues on account creation. Nevertheless, even if that Java backend and the EIDM are totally separate systems there still could be a need to design them in a more decoupled way to allow for better deferred or parallel processing.

As an aside, the reason I pointed out ''Java'' and ''Ruby'' is partly superfluous, but refers to people who've made references to Twitter's past performance issues which some have claimed to be relating to Ruby and Java. Twitter was originally written in Ruby and is now mostly driven by Java or other JVM served languages. In the case of the Ruby used for Healthcare.gov, it should be pretty irrelevant because the Ruby is primarily used to generate static files (using Jekyll) which are then served by a CDN.

Transparency

There are a few other things that could also use more clarification: One, worth emphasizing again, is the conflation of the frontend that's all developer friendly and open source (see https://www.healthcare.gov/developers) and this backend that's very opaque. As people have attempted to understand the problem, this conflation has been misleading and a cause for confusion. If everything had run smoothly there would be less need to clarify this, but so far the wrong piece of the product and the wrong people have been criticized because of this conflation. This is much of what Kin Lane wrote about. Another issue worth clarifying is the assumption that the federal government has the same access to agile rapidly scalable hosting infrastructure that the private sector has. Unfortunately, the ''cloud'' hosting services typically used in government pale in comparison to what is readily available in the private sector.

From a hosting infrastructure perspective, these kinds of scalability problems are increasingly less common in the private sector because so much has been done to engineer for high demand and to commoditize those capabilities. When an e-commerce website crashes on Cyber Monday, a whole lot of money is lost. This is why companies like Amazon have invested so much in building robust infrastructure to withstand demand and have even packaged and sold those capabilities for others to use through their Amazon Web Services (AWS) business. One major flaw with comparisons to the private sector is that it is much easier to do phased roll-outs and limited beta-tests for new websites and it is much easier to acquire the latest and greatest infrastructure platforms like AWS, OpenStack, OpenShift, OpenCompute, and Azure. The main reasons for these discrepancies are about ensuring fairness and equitable access, just like many other distinctions between the private and public sector. A phased rollout of healthcare.gov would probably seem unjust because of whomever got early access. Furthermore, many of the procurement policies that make access to services like AWS difficult have been put in place to prevent corrupt or unjust spending of taxpayers' money. Unfortunately many of these policies have become so complicated that the issues get obfuscated, they repel innovative and cost effective solutions, and ultimately fail to achieve their original intent. Fortunately there are programs like FedRAMP that look like they're starting to make common services like AWS and Azure more easily available for government projects, but this is far from commonplace at the moment. There's also a lot more work needed to improve procurement to attract better talent for architecting good solutions. While the need for a more scaleable hosting environment was likely part of the problem here, it was probably more about the design of the software as Paul described. In this project, Development Seed seemed like an exception to the typical kind of work that comes out of federal IT contracts. The need to improve procurement is what Clay wrote about.

Improvements

Aside from the deeper systemic issues that need attention, like procurement and open technology, there are some more immediate opportunities to prevent situations like this: 1) Better testing 2) Better user experience (UX) to handle possible delays 3) Better software architecture with more modularity and asynchronous components.

It's worth noting that the contractor's description of the EIDM system states that it ''is one of the largest Oracle 11gR2 Identity and Access Management deployment in the world with integrated all Oracle components to support 100 million users.'' I wouldn't be surprised if this is the largest deployment in the world. That in itself should have been a red flag signaling it might not have proven itself at this scale and deserved extra stress testing.

Another helpful strategy is to allow for real-world limited beta testing or a phased roll out. Unfortunately there are policies in government that make it very difficult to conduct a limited beta test, but there is also the fairness issue I mentioned earlier. In this case, the fairness issue would actually be more of a false perception or fodder for political spin rather than anything substantial. Doing a phased roll out wouldn't really be unfair because this isn't a zero-sum resource, those who get insurance before others don't make it harder or more expensive for those who come later to access the same insurance. In fact, you could almost argue that the opposite is true. It's also worth noting that no matter how early you sign up, nobody is getting new health insurance under this program until January 1st. In some ways this actually was a phased roll out because open enrollment lasts all the way through the end of March 2014, but because there wasn't more clear messaging to prevent a rush on day one, we got a massive rush on day one.

Fortunately there are already people working in government on improvements like this. Among the Presidential Innovation Fellows and many other people in government there are discussions about providing better systems for testing and preparing for the kind of extremely high traffic we've seen with healthcare.gov. There are also people working to improve many of the policies that make it difficult to get agile and robust IT infrastructure in government. The American people deserve to know their government is not only working to improve healthcare.gov right now but that there are also many people who are working to learn from it and provide more responsive and graceful government services for the future.

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A Programmer's Perspective On Healthcare.gov And ACA Marketplaces

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Thu, 10 Oct 2013 11:47

Full disclosure: my wife works at CMS (and this post is entirely my views, not hers), I worked on the president's re-election campaign, and politically, I wish to see the PPACA law in general and the new marketplaces specifically succeed.

This has been an important week in the history of health care in the United States and for technology professionals working in government and on related services. Here are some thoughts on healthcare.gov and the state-based marketplace websites from my perspective as someone who was been developing and deploying web-based software applications for many years and who has experience with large systems and high-traffic sites.

As I write this there is a weird mixture of angst, elation, anticipation, control-freakery, sympathetic embarrassment, hope, and generalized anxiety about healthcare.gov and the state-based marketplace sites among supporters of Obamacare and also among left-leaning technologists. On the one hand, affordable health insurance is now available to any American; on the other, availability doesn't necessarily mean you can get it, due to errors during the sign-up process on healthcare.gov and the state-based marketplace sites which have been widely reported. There is a sense that, while this is primarily a technology problem to be fixed, the political problem is larger and may risk the implementation and success of the overall law--if enough people perceive the marketplace sites to be broken, support for the law--already tenuous according to some polls--will erode, and the law's opponents' argument that implementation needs to be delayed or even defunded will be persuasive.

It is natural for technologists to go into crisis mode and immediately start triaging problems and brainstorming solutions. They are smart and want to help and believe they can fix things. This is a totally appropriate attitude, and their nervous feelings are valid. The people implementing the marketplace sites have all the problems of developing large-scale, integrated, enterprise software, plus delivering a high-quality consumer experience. I think we should also have some perspective on what's happening, and I would caution against panic. There are a number of things to bear in mind:

Architecture. Caveat: I don't have direct experience with the marketplace sites, only second-hand knowledge about how they're implemented. That said, I know some details. The main thing to understand is there is no one, single Obamacare site--there is healthcare.gov, which is home to the federal marketplace and a portal to the state-based marketplaces, and there are the 20+ state-based sites. The federal marketplace is for all Americans for whom their states either chose not to implement their own marketplace or their site isn't ready yet.

The user interface, or frontend, of healthcare.gov is quite interesting. It's design has been compared favorably with top commercial sites. It was implemented using modern web development techniques, working well across browsers and on mobile devices. We used similar techniques on the president's campaign: generate static files from templates with Jekyll, serve them from behind a CDN (Akamai, in the case of healthcare.gov). This gives you a very fast, low-latency user experience that's very durable in the face of high-traffic loads. Dave Cole has written about the process by which the frontend was developed, it's fascinating to read if you have any experience with how government sites have typically been built. And you'll notice, no one has complained about being able to access the site itself. healthcare.gov itself has been up continuously since October 1st. It's submitting forms back to the server that's been the issue.

About the backend server: having a great frontend experience means little if you can't complete a transaction with the service. (Although, not nothing--many important informational consumer resources reside on the frontend and have been wholly unaffected by the reported outages.) People may not realize that a major part of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was the streamlining the rules surrounding Medicaid eligibility. healthcare.gov serves then as a portal, routing people to the appropriate resource they need to help them get covered. This means not only sending you to your state-based marketplace site if your state has one, but directing you to Medicaid instead of the marketplaces, if you are eligible, or determining that you meet requirements for a subsidy on the marketplace. In order to do these things, the system verifies your identity, income, and other personal data with new and existing government databases. In other words, so that it may route you to the correct entity that will be offering or providing you health insurance, healthcare.gov looks up your information online (i.e., during the course of a request-response cycle with the site). The architecture of healthcare.gov is an example of both the challenges of integration--different software services working together--and distributed systems--independent systems that may or may not be available or meeting certain service-level agreements or standards.

An alternative to an online lookup of personal data or account creation would be to store the request for later processing. This is commonly referred to as queuing. It turns an online process into an offline one: the system goes from being synchronous--waiting for a response from another system after making a request to it--to asychronous--not waiting for the response and arranging to check the result somehow later. This is not a trivial change, as people who have implemented these systems will know. It requires a fairly fundamental redesign of the flow of the software, the application of business rules, and how certain operational details are carried out. However, it is now widely established pattern for system development. For example, when you buy a ticket from an airline reservation site, and wait for your credit card to be processed and the whole transaction to complete, that is an example of a synchronous, or online, system (internally, the system may very well be composed of asynchronous services, but the frontend interface that the used interacts with presents a synchronous experience). When you place an order with Amazon, on the other hand, you receive a response almost immediately ("thank you for your order!"). If there is a problem with your order--your card is expired, or was declined--you later receive a notification, usually an email, asking you to update your payment info. That is an example of an asynchronous system. Why does this matter? Asynchrous, distributed systems have components that are de-coupled--if one fails, it doesn't necessarily bring the rest down with that. You have to design your system to be resilient for such failures, but it enables you to do things such as quickly store the contents of a form submission and acknowledge the user with a thank-you message when the system that looks up personal data or creates new accounts is down. This introduces operational complexity: you must have a functioning queue system, you must have programs that process the queue, they need to be monitored and errors have to be handled appropriately (since there is no online user that can respond to them), and notification systems like email that are out-of-band of the website may need to be employed (in case you need to ask the user to come back and provide more information).

I don't know to what extent healthcare.gov was designed with the challenges of distributed systems in mind, but moving toward more asynchronous data flows where possible will alleviate some of the poor user experiences we've seen reported. It will also free them up to still take in a high volume of requests while independently working to fix bugs in the transactional or informational data services.

Errors, user experience, and expectations. In the reports about problems users have experienced with healthcare.gov and the state-based marketplace sites, we've seen screenshots and descriptions of ugly error messages. The quality of the healthcare.gov frontend, with its attractive design that's more like a retail site than a government site, I think has primed users for an overall experience reflective of that design. They expect the under-the-hood to be as good as the hood appears. Ugly error messages, and disappointment at not being able to complete the sign-up process, frustrate expectations that were set by the site itself, and by its champions, myself included, who encouraged people to go to the site on day 1.

The ugly error messages have for the most part been replaced with friendlier views, and we know that the backend engineers are working to fix the sign-up process. A way to handle expectations at this point for site users might be to remind them, at the point of a system error or maintenance page, that they have until December 15th to enroll for coverage beginning January 1st, 2014, and until March 31st to enroll for coverage in 2014. Another mechanism to reassure a frustrated user that couldn't sign up might be a simple form that collect email addresses to be notified when the system is back online.

Unprecedented environmental hostility and limited time. Ever since PPACA was passed, I've heard griping about would it take so long for Obamacare to come online. In reality, given the scope of the changes to the regulatory framework for health insurance markets, changes to Medicaid eligibility, and the implementation of the federal and state-based marketplaces, there was a huge amount of work to deliver a major new social insurance program in such a short amount of time. It's natural that there would be bugs, and the president, HHS, and CMS teams have said as much. Going back, many regulatory and technical fixes to the law have been prevented from being taken up by Congress by the law's opponents. And now of course the federal government is shutdown due in part to opposition to the law. While little of this hostility is new information to implementers, it is nonetheless remarkable what they were able to achieve in this environment. A suspected denial-of-service attack on New York's site only compounds the outside forces set against this fledgling program.

State-based marketplaces. It is a joke among Medicaid staff that you've seen one state's Medicaid system, you've seen one state's Medicaid system. 24 states chose to implement their own marketplace. While their sites will share some common services with the federal marketplace, and some large contractors worked on multiple sites, these are independently developed and administered sites with their own architectures, infrastructure, designs, and staff.

Time. My strong belief is that these early problems will be largely forgotten very soon. People will get covered. People are getting enrolled, now, despite the problems. It's worth remembering what happened during the implementation of Medicare Part D. There were many of the same types of reports, from pharmacies that couldn't connect to government data services, to seniors that were temporarily unable to receive their benefit. Do we think about those stories now when we think about Part D? Of course not. Part D is just as strong and beloved piece of the social safety net firmament as any other. So it will be with Obamacare.

None of this is to excuse the problems healthcare.gov has had this week. October 1st was a known deadline, major sites have been launched under hostile or constrained circumstances before. But I think if we understand a bit more everything involved, we might not be so quick to condemn or dismiss out of hand.

Smith is a software engineer and lifelong computer programmer living in Baltimore, MD. He's the CTO and co-founder of Public Good Software, a startup to make better software for civil society. He was the former Deputy Director of Technology at the Democratic National Committee and co-founded EveryBlock in 2007. This post was originally published on his Tumblr.

Why Obama's Healthcare.gov launch was doomed to fail | The Verge

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Archived Version

Thu, 10 Oct 2013 11:43

The more we learn about the development of Healthcare.gov, the worse the situation looks. The site has been serving myriad errors since it launched, including preventing users from creating accounts, failing to recognize users who do have accounts, putting users in inescapable loops, and miscalculating healthcare subsidies. While the administration is claiming a 50 percent reduction in wait times after adding new servers, other serious issues persist.

"I've got an application right now that's like half done, but I have four copies of my wife in it and can't get rid of it and can't start a new application," says James Turner, a software engineer and former systems administrator who wrote a critique of Healthcare.gov. "It's pretty clear that they didn't do a lot of testing, because it's easy to get into states where you can't get any further or you have bogus data you can't get rid of."

It's still unclear exactly what's wrong with the government's new online healthcare exchange, because the code isn't public and errors make it difficult to see even the front-facing parts of the site. However, it's now obvious that the site launched before it was ready.

"It's pretty clear that they didn't do a lot of testing."

Developing a site that communicates with multiple government agencies and state-based sites isn't easy. Healthcare.gov was also built on a tight deadline. But for an administration that seemed to have a deep understanding of the internet, the site was shockingly bad.

How could the Obama administration, the brains behind the most sophisticated online political campaign ever, be responsible for something so bone-headed?

To start, Healthcare.gov wasn't built by the elite team that built Obama's campaign tech. The main $93.7 million contract to build the exchange was awarded to CGI Federal Inc., a subsidiary of the behemoth Canadian firm CGI Group. As is common with large contracts, CGI subcontracted with other megafirms for different aspects of the site. User authentication and identity is being handled by Experian. The "federal data services hub" was built by Quality Software Services, Inc. (QSSI was also accused of having a conflict of interest after it was bought by UnitedHealth Group.)

The Department of Health and Human Services declined to provide a full list of the contractors, citing shortages in the press office due to the government shutdown. The total number of companies looks to be between 12 and 15, says Alex Howard, a fellow at the Harvard Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation who has been closely following the Healthcare.gov launch.

Government contracts are usually awarded to the lowest bidder, and the disincentives for not delivering aren't very strong. There are also a number of extra requirements for government contracts that made state-of-the-art, Silicon Valley-style development impossible for this scale of government project. For example, contractors that worked on the Healthcare.gov backend were probably required to have Federal Information Security Management Act certification, which rules out the smaller, more agile firms that could have brought a more innovative sensibility to the project.

Healthcare.gov wasn't built by the elite team that built Obama's campaign tech

The process for getting these contracts has become so difficult and convoluted that the job doesn't always go to the company best suited for it, Howard tells The Verge. "The firms that typically get contracts are the firms that are good at getting contracts, not typically good at executing on them," he says.

If the backend of Healthcare.gov reminded us that the government makes terrible websites, the front end actually proved the opposite. The first part of Healthcare.gov launched back in June as a front-facing site with information about the Affordable Care Act. The government hired Aquilent, a web development shop that handles a lot of government contracts, but after that the process took an unconventional turn. Aquilent subcontracted with an innovative Washington, DC, startup called Development Seed. Web designer Ed Mullen was pulled onto the project after he tweeted a mockup of what he thought the new site should look like, along with consultants from the hip design house Teal Media.

The scrappy team used principles of "agile development," a rapid and lean style that's been en vogue in Silicon Valley the past few years, and even published its code on the open source repository Github. The resulting Healthcare.gov, part one, was lauded for nailing both form and function "in a decidedly 21st-century way: cheaper, faster and scalable, using open source tools and open standards," as Howard wrote at the time.

John Pavley, CTO of The Huffington Post, was disappointed when the administration didn't open source the code behind the second part of the site, the health insurance exchange, the way it did for the first part. The government should have used an internal team supplemented by the open source community instead of relying on large contractors, he says.

"I was talking to some of my engineers about how we would love to be able to pitch in a few bug fixes or help with some open source code of our own," he tells The Verge. "I heard so many good things when the Obama administration came in, but if we're going to continue to build software this way it's going to continue to fail."

"I heard so many good things when the Obama administration came in."

The healthcare exchange that launched last week was designed for 50,000 to 60,000 concurrent users, but got 250,000, US chief technology officer Todd Park told USA Today in one of the only explicit statements the administration has made acknowledging the tech issues.

As of late Monday afternoon, the site was still sporadically overloaded, preventing users from starting an application for health insurance. Fixes for the design bugs are slowly trickling in; for example, the site no longer shows blanks in some dropdown menus.

Citizens have until December 15th to buy health insurance, or face paying a penalty. Until then, Healthcare.gov is in what amounts to a very public beta test. The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the healthcare exchange at Healthcare.gov, is not releasing the number of people who have successfully enrolled. The number is likely in the "low thousands," reports The Wall Street Journal.

Technical experts say the bugs will likely be ironed out soon, but the damage may already be done. "The most important time for a new website is the first three months," Pavley says. "After that, people don't go back."

Others believe the rocky launch will soon be forgotten. "It's worth remembering what happened during the implementation of Medicare Part D," wrote Paul Smith, co-founder of EveryBlock and CTO of Public Good Software. "There were many of the same types of reports, from pharmacies that couldn't connect to government data services, to seniors that were temporarily unable to receive their benefit. Do we think about those stories now when we think about Part D? Of course not."

What everyone is getting wrong about HealthCare.gov - The Washington Post

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Thu, 10 Oct 2013 11:42

By Tom Lee, Published: OCTOBER 07, 9:59 AM ET Aa This Reuters article about Healthcare.gov has been getting some attention. Alas, it's not very good, focusing on client-side optimizations that are probably unrelated to the federal health care Web site's early woes. Healthcare.gov's problems are almost certainly occurring at a deeper level in the system, making it very difficult, if not impossible, for an outsider to gauge how serious those problems are.

To explain, let's do one of those analogy things. Say that Kathleen is planning a birthday party for herself.

There are a bunch of tasks associated with the party that need to be done. For instance, guests have to be told where and when the party is and whether to bring gifts. This is a pretty easy task to manage: Kathleen prints up a bunch of flyers with the relevant information and asks some friends to hand them out.

This task can be done well or poorly, of course. Maybe she foolishly printed bits of information on different pieces of paper instead of on a single flyer. Maybe she only asked one friend to hand them out and he's a flake. These could become real issues if more people than Kathleen anticipated want to attend the party.

These are easy problems to solve, though. Printing more flyers is simple. You can hire people to hand out the flyers if your friends aren't reliable. There's no real need for these distributors to coordinate.

Some tasks require Kathleen herself, though. Receiving happy birthday wishes, for instance: There could be a huge number of guests, but there's only one Kathleen. If she doesn't plan for this properly, she could wind up being too busy receiving congratulations nonstop to enjoy the party. Perhaps her guests will have to waste their time queued up waiting for her, too.

Many Web application optimization problems can be categorized in a similar way. Some processes can be run in parallel, without central coordination. These processes might be implemented wastefully or unprofessionally, but you can usually fix them by throwing more resources at the problem. Cloud-hosting architectures often make this trivially easy.

Other problems require coordination or centralization. That can cause bottlenecks, and they can be quite severe. You can respond by rewriting, redesigning, tuning or, yes, throwing more resources at the affected systems. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't; it requires time and expertise, though, not just a credit card and an Amazon account. Sometimes your only real option is to design around these problems: Queue the expensive tasks for later execution, or accept a loss of synchronization across your system.

The Reuters article spends a lot of time on how many static resources are loaded into the browser by Healthcare.gov. Sometimes there are good reasons for loading a bunch of that stuff and sometimes there aren't. The fact that there's usually room for improvement -- as any Web optimization tool will tell you -- means that it's pretty simple to make a critique of virtually any site. That doesn't make the bugs and glitches critical problems, however.

Besides, the symptoms that usually show up with this class of problems are different than the ones afflicting Healthcare.gov. And many of the Healthcare.gov assets in question are served through the Akamai Content Delivery Network, which is probably the best-known brand name when it comes to making sure your servers can handle gigantic amounts of static asset requests.

It is much more likely that Healthcare.gov's problems are related to the more expensive operations involving the insurance application process itself. Checking users' eligibility and filing their applications requires integration with a separate and more complex set of systems -- ones that have little to do with your Web browser. Fixing those sorts of jams can be easy or difficult; the boring truth is that it's hard to say definitively from outside the system. Much harder than carping about uncompressed Javascript, at any rate.

Parts of Healthcare.gov are down right now, presumably under technical maintenance. Hopefully they improve the system throughput. Traffic is likely to even out after the initial crush of applicants, which should also help. Before long, I suspect that the site will work just fine.

It's unfortunate that Healthcare.gov hasn't made a great first impression. But it still has time to get things right. Once it does, there'll be lessons to be drawn. But they're probably not going to be ones you can generate automatically from a browser plugin.

Tom Lee is the director of Sunlight Labs. This originally appeared on their blog.

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DPRK

North Korea accuses Switzerland of human a rights abuse over ski lifts | Washington Times Communities

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Wed, 09 Oct 2013 15:53

WASHINGTON, October 9, 2013'--The North Korean government labeled Switzerland's refusal to sell it ski lifts for a new luxury ski resort ''a human rights abuse.'' Characterized in the press as another childish tantrum by Kim Jong Un, the belligerent reaction may nevertheless be indicative of what kind of sanctions may really hurt North Korea's ruling elite.

''This is an intolerable mockery of the social system and the people of the DPRK and a serious human rights abuse that politicizes sports and discriminates against the Koreans,'' KCNA, North Korea's official news outlet, stated in a release.

SEE RELATED: Schools switch back to 26-ingredient burger after kids complain

Through KCNA the North Korean government blasted several European governments for refusing to sell it two ski lifts citing United Nations (UN) trade sanctions against North Korea.

The KCNA article went on to state that the refusal amounted to ''resorting to criminal hostile act of violating the dignity of a sovereign state in the eyes of the international community in a bid to deprive Koreans of their elementary right to enjoy a cultural life.''

North Korea initially approached French and Austrian companies, but both reportedly refused to sell it ski lifts for Masik Pass, the first North Korean luxury ski resort, initially scheduled to open Thursday.

Switzerland is known for its neutrality and is where current North Korean leader Kim Jong Un went to school as a teenager and presumably developed his love for the sport. After the refusals from Austria and France, Pyongyang then offered a Swiss company $7.6 million for two ski lifts, according to the LA Times.

SEE RELATED: Warming oceans may cause higher mercury levels in fish

The Swiss government blocked the deal, however, invoking UN sanctions banning the sale of luxury goods to North Korea following underground nuclear tests conducted by the Hermit Kingdom on February 12.

The luxury good ban is part of a March 7 resolution adopted by the UN, listing items like luxury cars, gems, jewelry, and yachts among the goods that North Korea could not import. However, the list was not meant to be comprehensive and the European countries involved agree that ski lifts are luxury goods under the UN ban.

The completion of the 10-month long Masik Pass ski resort project was meant to coincide with the 68th anniversary of the formation of the Korean Worker's Party on October 10. However, despite the use of military ''shock brigades'''--brigades used for especially difficult and urgent assignments'--the resort will not be finished by Thursday, Kim Tae Yong, chief of the North Korean ski association, told the Associated Press.

The remaining work on the unfinished 250-room building for foreigners, 150-room hotel for Koreans, underground parking lot, housing for employees, access bridges and pumping station will be completed in phase two of the project.

SEE RELATED: A baby's scent works the same as drugs and food on a mother's brain

And then, of course, there's the ski lift issue.

After the European countries' refusal to sell ski lifts to North Korea, AP reports that Kim Jong Un called it ''a pity,'' but promised the resort would have three lifts by the end of the year.

''We can make nuclear weapons and rockets,'' he said. ''We can build a ski lift.''

The same report on Monday stated that there are currently two ''simple'' lifts, but they were not operating at the time of the journalists' visit a few weeks prior.

Given the young leader's prior behavior and North Korea's human rights record, it is easy to interpret accusations of human rights violations in the face of reports of up to 120,000 political prisonerssystematically tortured in the country's five prison camps as a childish tantrum by a leader and a regime with no connection to reality. However, there may be a lesson to be learned.

''This incident is important for what it says about sanctions against North Korea and what sort of punishments can really hurt the regime,'' writes Max Fisher at the Washington Post.

According to Fisher, food aid sanctions have had moderate success while at the same time hurt a large number of North Korean civilians. On the other hand, sanctions like the ban on luxury goods hurts the elite, without hurting civilians.

READ MORE: A World in Our Backyard by Laura Sesana

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Greece Considering Confiscation Of Private Assets

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Source: Zero Hedge

Sun, 06 Oct 2013 21:42

The last time we opined on the possibility of a Cyprus-style "bail-in" in Greece, which is essentially a legally-mandated confiscation of private sector assets held hostage by the local financial system, until such time as the balance sheet of said financial system is viable, we were joking. Well, not really joking.

But not even we thought that a banking sector "bail in", in which unsecured bank liabilities, which include bonds and of course deposits, are used as a matched source of extinguishment of non-performing bad debt "assets" could spread to the broader economy, and specifically to unencumbered private sector assets. Alas, this is precisely what Greece, which is desperately to delay the inevitable and announce it needs not only a third but fourth bailout, appears keen on doing.

As Kathimerini reports, the Greek Labor and Social Insurance Ministry is "seriously considering drastic measures in order to obtain the social security contributions owed by enterprises and to avoid having to slash pensions and benefits." What drastic measures? "The ministry is planning to force companies to pay up or face having their assets seized, so that the 14 billion euros of contributions due can be recouped."

After all, it's only "fair."

Kathimerini is kind enough to layout the clear-cut problems with this plan which will further crush any potential rebound in the Greek economy:

While this amount '' equal to 8 percent of the country's gross domestic product '' may be easy to calculate on paper, it is virtually impossible to collect even if the state attempts to confiscate all the real estate properties of debtors and the debts of third parties to them.

The ministry has been forced to consider asset repossessions as a result of the very poor state of social security funds. The fiscal gap expected at the end of the year from social security will at best be equal to 1.06 billion euros. This also constitutes a bad start for next year, too, when the budget will also provide for a reduction in state subsidies to social security funds by 1.8 billion euros.

Aside from the obvious, namely that this "plan" will be merely the latest disaster to hit the long-suffering Greek economy, now caught in the worst depression in history, and where greedy and corrupt politicians will promptly "confiscate" whatever benefits there are to have been made from this confiscation plan (however instead of accusing corruption all blame will be once again fall on (f)austerity), the greater problem is that any entrepreneurial confidence that Greece just may be a sound place to do business, has just gone out of the window as nobody will know if they are safe from arbitrary persecution, and subject to a wholesale asset confiscation at any moment in time.

However, none of the above gives us more confidence that things in Greece are about to go from horrifying to nightmarish, than the following FT story: "John Paulson and a clutch of bullish US hedge funds are leading a charge into Greek banks, confident that Greece, long seen as the weakest economy of the eurozone periphery, is on the turn."

Right. A 360-degree turn.

The good news: at least the Greek government will have a lot of "greater fool" assets to pick and choose from when the confiscation hammer hits.

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Poland's Piggish Pols--They're Not Alone - Forbes

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Wed, 09 Oct 2013 03:05

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European Due Process Pushed Aside To Nail Pirate Bay Founder "Anakata" - Falkvinge on Infopolicy

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Tue, 08 Oct 2013 21:47

11

Corruption '' Henrik Alexandersson

Corruption '' Henrik Alexandersson

In the upcoming extradition request against Gottfrid Svartholm-Warg, co-founder of The Pirate Bay, Danish judicial authorities are disregarding an important acquittal in Swedish courts. This is remarkable, as European courts are bound to respect each others' verdicts. It's not hard to get the gut feeling that the establishment unites against the troublemakers and pushes all its safeguards aside, letting rights only apply to the Goliaths and not the Davids.

In the European Union, there is the principle of accepting the law enforcement and due process of law in other member states. There is an underlying assumption that the Greek justice system is safe and secure; there is an underlying assumption that the Bulgarian police is not corrupt. These assumptions are made because it's necessary '' even if they should happen to be outright proven false, the assumptions must still remain in place.

The reason is simple: if not, the Europan Arrest Warrant wouldn't work at all. (The EAW is a tool which is abused casually in the European member states these days.) Otherwise, you wouldn't be able to propose tools like the European Investigation Order. (Which, for example, would force the Swedish police to investigate an Irish or Polish woman in Sweden suspected of breaking her home country's ban on abortions, a women's right which is sacrosanct in Sweden.) Otherwise, the European Union would not be able to progress with its plans on a European Prosecution Office.

But apparently, there are exceptions to the rule '' when the Powers That Be want to really, really nail somebody hard.

Over to Gottfrid Svartholm-Warg. He's convicted of electronic trespassing in Sweden (against Logica). But the Appeals Court has acquitted him from another case, against Nordea, following the expert testimony of Jacob Appelbaum who testified the prosecutorial technical evidence to be abysmally insufficient.

Let's focus on the case against Nordea. The Appeals Court considered the prosecutor's evidence unsatisfactory, and acquitted Svartholm-Warg. That should be it then, right?

But no: there is still a request from Denmark for Svartholm-Warg's extradition '' for investigation and trial concerning a case built on the exact same evidence and circumstances as the Nordea case. That is, the exact same thing he was just acquitted from in Sweden.

That, in itself, is both peculiar and inappropriate.

Besides, all of a sudden, the European Union's principles of accepting the judicial authorities of other Member States have ceased being in effect. As long as the Danish extradition request to Sweden is active, the State of Denmark is rejecting the integrity, legitimacy, and competence of the Swedish justice system. (Which is rather remarkable between European member states.)

Everything is as usual in the European Union: the rules only apply if they benefit the big guy.

And in Denmark, both the Minister of Justice and the Minister of the Interior have made public statements that they consider Svartholm-Warg guilty. Just so that the Danish police and courts know what they have to abide by.

Here, it's important to keep in mind that it's a suspicion of identical actions, equally illegal in both countries. Therefore, it would be rather absurd if Svartholm-Warg was acquitted in one country and convicted in the other.

I suspect things are working like this: High-profile electronic trespassing (''hacking'', sloppily) is an embarrassment that requires somebody to be crucified '' regardless of whether it's the right guy or not. And the State of Denmark might consider it a bonus to cause extra trouble for one of the guys behind The Pirate Bay. This isn't justice, this is politics.

You've read the whole article. Why not subscribe to the RSS flow using your favorite reader, or even have articles delivered by mail?About The Author: Henrik AlexanderssonHenrik Alexandersson works in the European Parliament as an assistant to Christian Engstr¶m, Pirate Member of European Parliament. He has a libertarian background and his blog focuses on such policy.

This article is also available in other languages: Swedish.

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Transhumanism

Minority Report-style pre-crime prediction using Twitter data: possible? | KurzweilAI

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Tue, 08 Oct 2013 22:15

Retweet graph of Project X dataset (snapshot at 2012-09-26 04:32:15). (credit: Marijn ten Thij/University o Twente)

It's the year 2054, where ''PreCrime,'' a specialized police department, apprehends criminals based on foreknowledge provided by three psychics called ''precogs.''

That's the premise of the Minority Report film. Now University of Twente (UT) mathematics student Marijn ten Thij* has developed a mathematical model that he says could achieve a similar result (but not limited to crimes) by analyzing tweets '-- perhaps similar to what the NSA is already doing.

Retweets gone wild

In 2008, a party invitation (called ''Project X'') went viral on Facebook, ended in rioting and injury after an estimated 30,000 revelers descended on Haren, a small town in the Netherlands. The event also inspired a film of the same name.

ten Thij analyzed all of the retweets about the event for the period before the riots and after. To do that, he entered the retweets into a mathematical model he developed that he says can simulate how Twitter users are connected to each other through retweets.**

''If a trend is connected with an event in real life, we see that different user groups retweet each other's messages and that users more frequently tweet on the same topic. In the Project X data, we saw this [retrospectively] a day before the event itself happened.''

Nelly Litvak, senior lecturer in the department of Stochastic Operational Research at the university and ten Thij's supervisor, said he (Litvak) was ''awarded a grant by Google for our research into trend detection and we will certainly continue with our work.''

* Marijn ten Thij studied Applied Mathematics at the University of Twente. He recently graduated from the department of Stochastic Operations Research under Prof. Richard J. Boucherie, PhD. This research is carried out at the Centre for Telematics and Information Technology (CTIT). ten Thij completed his thesis, titled ''Modelling trends in social media,'' at TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) in the Performance of Networks and Systems expertise group (PONS). TNO carries out research on the societal impact of social media, which includes trend detection. The University of Twente also conducts research on trend detection.

** To see if he could predict a trend independent of the user information, ten Thij purposefully omitted any information about the Twitter users themselves from consideration in his research. For example, his research did not include whether a particular Twitter user was influential, such as a Dutch celebrity.

Follow-up KurzweailAI conversation with ten Thij

Can you describe your analysis in more detail?

Most current studies into trend prediction use the number of tweets that is posted about a given topic or the actual contents of the messages. Our approach is to analyze the expansion of a topic through the Twittersphere. Using this analysis, we constructed a mathematical model that can simulate the progression of a topic. Through this model, we aim to derive an insight in the critical value for a phase transition where a topic becomes trending. We will investigate this phase transition in more detail in future work.

What did you learn specifically?

We analyzed the number of persons in the graph and the connections between them. We found that the majority of the people discussing this event were located in a single component. But since this did not hold for another dataset we used (concerning the WC speedskating single distances 2013 in Sotsji), we have to investigate this further.

What prediction accuracy did you have and how many hours in advance?

These are questions that we cannot answer thus far; we will have to perform more research. In our study, we only used three datasets. We are currently looking for more datasets to fine-tune our findings.

Is this a useful forecasting tool? If so, when will the model be available?

Since our model cannot decide on how large the actual graph becomes, it cannot give a clear forecast at the moment. However, there are models that possess this power, so combining them could be interesting.

Can you provide some additional interesting examples of the model's use?

One example that comes to my mind is a demonstration for which people tweet/retweet to others to make them join the demonstration.

What other research is being done in this area?

Here are three examples:

Predicting Retweet Behavior in Weibo Social NetworkAnalyzing Big Data with TwitterPrediction of retweet cascade size over time

References:Marijn ten Thij, Modelling trends in social media --- Application and analysis using random graphs, University of Twente thesis, 2013

War on Lasers

Young Sittingbourne man William Rye locked up for shining laser at Essex Police helicopter

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Tue, 08 Oct 2013 21:07

Laser pen being shone. Picture: Library image

A young man has been locked up after he put a police helicopter in danger by shining a laser torch at it from his bedroom.William Rye, 20, was sentenced to four months in a young offenders' institution.

Maidstone Crown Court heard the Essex Police helicopter was hovering at about 1,000ft over Sittingbourne on April 17 when it was "illuminated by a green light".

The pilot, Captain Robert Mitchell, turned the helicopter in an attempt to avoid the beam - but strong winds made it impossible and the search had to be abandoned.

After identifying the general area from where the laser was being shone, thermal imaging was used to direct officers on the ground to Rye's home in Tonge Road, Sittingbourne.

"He was a young man in his bedroom playing with a laser torch," said Francis Lloyd, prosecuting.

When arrested, he admitted being the culprit but later claimed a young girl at the address was to blame.

However, a week before his trial Rye - described by his lawyer as "not perhaps the full ticket" - admitted to endangering the safety of an aircraft.

Mr Lloyd said although there was a potential for danger it was difficult to work out how dangerous Rye's actions were to the helicopter and crew, based in Boreham Wood.

A laser was shone at the Essex Police helicopter

"This is a case of a young man being very foolish and playing around in his bedroom rather than a malicious intent to do something very dangerous," he added.

Rye said in a basis of plea that he could not see the helicopter, but became aware of it when he heard the noise and should have stopped shining the light.

"I didn't intend to cause any harm," he said. "I have learning difficulties and ADHD. I am sorry for what I have done."

The court heard he had previous convictions for theft, common assault and possessing a prohibited weapon, a stun gun.

Judge Martin Joy sits at Maidstone Crown Court

Passing sentence, Judge Martin Joy said: "I have no doubt whatsoever that this offence is so serious that a non-custodial sentence cannot be justified.

"Those who commit this kind of offence must be aware that severe sentences will follow."

Adrian Rohard, defending, said a probation report described Rye as being very immature and not fully aware of the devastation and harm he could have caused.

"He didn't intend to cause any harm but accepts he was negligent," said Mr Rohard.

Describing Rye as "not perhaps the full ticket", he said Rye seemed to have an interest in gadgets.

He had completed 120 hours of 180 hours unpaid work for other offences and had enjoyed the work.

Submitting that the sentence could be suspended, Mr Rohard said Rye had acted negligently rather than maliciously.

Internet Freedom

UK censorwall bans VPNs - Boing Boing

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Archived Version

Mon, 07 Oct 2013 20:08

UK mobile providers, including O2 and its reseller GiffGaff, are blocking commercial VPN providers that help to secure sensitive communications from criminals, hackers and government spies. In particular, O2/GiffGaff block IPREDator, my favorite VPN service. The carriers claim that because these services could be use to bypass their Internet censorship tools -- switched on by default, a regime that is coming soon to hardline Internet connections, thanks to demands from Prime Minister David Cameron -- they, too, must be blocked.

The only way to stop Internet users from accessing "bad" websites is to spy on all their Internet traffic (you have to look at all their traffic in order to interdict the forbidden sites). So it follows that any censorship system must also ban any privacy/security tools. The UK is raising a generation of Internet users who are told that "security" requires them to make their sensitive, personal information available to anyone who is listening in on the network, because otherwise they might see sexually explicit material. Instead of teaching kids how to stay safe online, the official UK Internet safety policy requires them to be totally naked in all their online communications.

Adults are allowed to opt out of the filter -- though some carriers make this hard, requiring them to present themselves in person with their passports in hand -- but that's beside the point. Having been told that the filter blocks "adult" content (though it fails miserably at this, by any definition of "adult"), how many parents will be willing to say, "No, I don't want this filter on my kids' phones?"

TorrentFreak has learned that VPN provider iPredator is already blocked under the ''adult filter'' of some, if not all, mobile providers. TorrentFreak has seen communication between the mobile provider GiffGaff and iPredator which makes it clear that the VPN's website is blocked because it allows kids to bypass the age restrictions.

''[...] websites or services that offer, inter alia, a method for younger members to access over 18 content, without age verification; such as VPN services, are blocked [...],'' the provider explained.

GiffGaff claims that they can't change anything in the filter's settings since they use O2'²s network and referred to the Independent Mobile Classification Body (IMCB) for further details. TorrentFreak contacted IMCB for a comment on the issue last week, but they are yet to respond.

UK Internet Filter Blocks VPNs, Australia to Follow Soon? [Ernesto/TorrentFreak]

(Image: Cam(C)ra de vid(C)o-surveillance, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from zigazou76's photostream)

Satan Calling

Aleister Crowley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Archived Version

Mon, 07 Oct 2013 19:48

Aleister CrowleyAleister Crowley, c. 1912

BornEdward Alexander Crowley(1875-10-12)12 October 1875Royal Leamington Spa, WarwickshireEnglandDied1 December 1947(1947-12-01) (aged 72)Hastings, East SussexEnglandInfluenced

Timothy Leary, Robert Anton Wilson, Kenneth Anger, Anton LaVey, Gerald Gardner, Jack Parsons, Israel Regardie, Christopher Hyatt, Temple of Set, Peter J. Carroll, Jimmy Page,Aleister Crowley (//; 12 October 1875 '' 1 December 1947), born Edward Alexander Crowley, was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, and mountaineer, who was responsible for founding the religion of Thelema. In his role as the founder of the Thelemite philosophy, he came to see himself as the prophet who was entrusted with informing humanity that it was entering the new Aeon of Horus in the early 20th century.

Born to a wealthy evangelical Christian family, Crowley rejected this faith to embrace an interest in western esotericism, poetry, and mountaineering. He was educated at Cambridge University, and some biographers have argued that here he was recruited as a spy for British intelligence, a role they allege he maintained throughout his life. In 1898 he joined the esoteric Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, before moving to Boleskine House by Loch Ness, and travelling to India to study Hindu and Buddhist practices. After marrying Rose Edith Kelly, in 1904 they travelled to Cairo, Egypt, where Crowley claimed to have been contacted by a supernatural entity named Aiwass, who provided him with The Book of the Law, a sacred text that served as the basis for Thelema.

After an unsuccessful attempt to climb Kangchenjunga, Crowley returned to Britain where, in 1907, he co-founded the A'´A'´ as a Thelemite order alongside George Cecil Jones. After spending time in Algeria, in 1912 he was initiated into the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), rising to become leader of the Order's British branch. Spending the First World War in the United States, where he worked for British intelligence services, in 1920 he moved to Cefal¹, Sicily, to run a commune known as the Abbey of Thelema. His libertine lifestyle led to denunciations in the British press, and the Italian government evicted him in 1923. Dividing his time between France, Germany, and England, he continued to promote Thelema until his death.

During his lifetime, Crowley gained widespread notoriety, being openly bisexual, a recreational drug experimenter, and a social critic. As a result, he was denounced in the popular press as "the wickedest man in the world". Crowley has remained a highly influential figure over western esotericism and the counter-culture. In 2002, a BBC poll ranked him as the seventy-third greatest Briton of all time.[1]

Early life[edit]Youth: 1875''1894[edit]Crowley was born as Edward Alexander Crowley at 30 Clarendon Square in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, on 12 October 1875. His father, Edward Crowley (1834''1887), was trained as an engineer but never worked as one, instead owning shares in a lucrative family brewing business, Crowley's Alton Ales, which allowed him to retire before his son was born. His mother, Emily Bertha Bishop (1848''1917), drew roots from a Devonshire-Somerset family and had a strained relationship with her son, whom she described as "the Beast", a name that he revelled in. The couple had been married at London's Kensington Registry Office in November 1874, and were evangelical Christians. Crowley's father had been born a Quaker, but had converted to the Exclusive Brethren, an ultra-conservative faction of the Plymouth Brethren, with Emily joining him upon marriage. Crowley's father was particularly devout, spending his time as a travelling preacher for the sect and reading a chapter from the Bible to his wife and son after breakfast every day. Following the death of their baby daughter in 1880, in 1881 the family moved to Redhill, Surrey. Aged 8, Crowley was sent to H.T. Habershon's evangelical Christian boarding school in Hastings, and then to the preparatory Ebor school in Cambridge, run by the Reverend Henry d'Arcy Champney, whom Crowley considered a sadist.

In March 1887, when Crowley was 11, his father died of tongue cancer. Crowley would describe this as a turning point in his life, and he always maintained an admiration of his father, describing him as "his hero and his friend". Inheriting a third of his father's wealth, he began misbehaving at school, and was harshly punished by Champney; Crowley's family removed him from the school when he contracted albuminuria. He then attended Malvern College and then Tonbridge School, both of which he despised and left after only a few terms. He became increasingly sceptical regarding Christianity, pointing out to his religious teachers Inconsistencies in the Bible, and went against the Christian morality of his upbringing by smoking, masturbating, and having sex with women, including a prostitute from whom he contracted gonorrhea. Sent to live with a Brethren tutor in Eastbourne, where he undertook chemistry courses at Eastbourne College, Crowley developed his interests in chess, poetry, and mountain climbing, and in 1894 climbed Beachy Head before visiting the Alps and joining the Scottish Mountaineering Club. The following year he returned to the Bernese Alps, climbing the Eiger, Trift, Jungfrau, M¶nch, and Wetterhorn, with his achievements being recognised by the alpinist community.

Cambridge University: 1895''1898[edit]Having adopted the name of Aleister over Edward, in October 1895 Crowley began a three-year course at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was entered for the Moral ScienceTripos studying philosophy, but with approval from his personal tutor, he changed to English literature, which was not then part of the curriculum offered. Crowley spent much of his time at university engaged in his pastimes, becoming president of the chess club and practising the game for two hours a day; he briefly considered a professional career in the sport. Crowley also embraced his love of literature and poetry, becoming a particular fan of Richard Burton and Percy Bysshe Shelley, and many of his own poems appeared in student publications The Granta, Cambridge Magazine, and Cantab. Another hobby was mountaineering; he went on holiday to the Alps to do so every year from 1894 to 1898, often with his friend Oscar Eckenstein, and in 1897 he made the first guideless ascent of the M¶nch, receiving recognition from the Alpine mountaineering community.

For many years I had loathed being called Alick, partly because of the unpleasant sound and sight of the word, partly because it was the name by which my mother called me. Edward did not seem to suit me and the diminutives Ted or Ned were even less appropriate. Alexander was too long and Sandy suggested tow hair and freckles. I had read in some book or other that the most favourable name for becoming famous was one consisting of a dactyl followed by a spondee, as at the end of a hexameter: like Jeremy Taylor. Aleister Crowley fulfilled these conditions and Aleister is the Gaelic form of Alexander. To adopt it would satisfy my romantic ideals.

Aleister Crowley, on his name change.Crowley later claimed to have had his first significant mystical experience while on a winter holiday in Stockholm in December 1896. Several biographers, including Lawrence Sutin, Richard Kaczynski, and Tobias Churton, believed that this was the result of Crowley's first same-sex sexual encounter, enabling him to recognise his bisexuality. At Cambridge, Crowley maintained a vigorous sex life, largely with female prostitutes, from one of whom he caught syphilis, but eventually he took part in same-sex activities, despite their being illegal. In October 1897, Crowley met Herbert Charles Pollitt, president of the Cambridge University Footlights Dramatic Club, and the two entered into a relationship. They broke apart because Pollitt did not share Crowley's increasing interest in Western esotericism, something Crowley regretted for years.

In 1897, Crowley travelled to St Petersburg in Russia, later claiming that he was trying to learn Russian as he considered a future diplomatic career there. Biographers Richard Spence and Tobias Churton suggested that Crowley had done so as an intelligence agent under the employ of the British secret service, speculating that he had been enlisted while at Cambridge.

In October 1897, a brief illness triggered considerations of mortality and "the futility of all human endeavour", and Crowley abandoned all thoughts of a diplomatic career in favour of pursuing an interest in the occult. In March 1898, he obtained A.E. Waite's The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts (1898), and then Karl von Eckartshausen's The Cloud Upon the Sanctuary (1896), furthering his occult interests. In 1898 Crowley privately published 100 copies of his poem Aceldama: A Place to Bury Strangers In, but it was not a particular success. That same year he published a string of other poems, the most notable of which was White Stains, a piece of decadent erotica that had to be printed abroad as a safety measure in case it caused trouble with the British authorities. In July 1898, he left Cambridge, not having taken any degree at all despite a "first class" showing in his spring 1897 exams and consistent "second class honours" results before that.

The Golden Dawn: 1898''1899[edit]In August 1898, Crowley was in Zermatt, Switzerland, where he met the chemist Julian L. Baker, and the two began discussing their common interest in alchemy. Back in London, Baker introduced Crowley to George Cecil Jones, a member of the occult society known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which had been founded in 1888. Crowley was subsequently initiated into the Outer Order of the Golden Dawn on 18 November 1898 by the group's leader, Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers. The ceremony took place at the Isis-Urania Temple in London's Mark Masons Hall, where Crowley accepted his motto and magical name of "Frater Perdurabo", a Latin term meaning "Brother I shall endure to the end". Biographers Richard Spence and Tobias Churton have suggested that Crowley joined the Order under the command of the British secret services, to monitor the activities of Mathers, who was known to be a Carlist.

Crowley moved from the Hotel Cecil to his own luxury flat at 67''69 Chancery Lane. He soon invited a senior Golden Dawn member, Allan Bennett, to live with him as his personal magical tutor. Bennett taught Crowley more about ceremonial magic and the ritual use of drugs, and together they performed the magic of the Goetia. Bennett desired to study Buddhism, and left for Asia to do so. In November 1899, Crowley acquired Boleskine House in Foyers on the shore of Loch Ness in Scotland. He subsequently developed a love of Scottish culture, describing himself as the "Laird of Boleskine" and took to wearing traditional highland dress, even during visits to London. He continued writing poetry, publishing Jezebel and Other Tragic Poems (1898), Tales of Archais (1898), Songs of the Spirit (1898), Appeal to the American Republic (1899), and Jephthah (1899); while most gained mixed reviews, the latter was a critical success.

Crowley soon progressed through the grades of the Golden Dawn, and was ready to enter the inner Second Order. He was unpopular in the group, having gained a bad reputation for his bisexuality and libertine lifestyle, and he had developed feuds with members like W.B. Yeats. When the London members of the group refused to initiate Crowley into the Second Order, he visited Mathers in Paris, who personally upgraded him. A schism had developed between Mathers and the London members of the Golden Dawn, who were unhappy with his autocratic rule. Acting under Mathers' orders, Crowley '' with the help of his mistress and fellow initiate Elaine Simpson '' attempted to seize the Vault of Rosenkreutz, a temple space at 36 Blythe Road, from the London rebels. When the case was taken to court, the judge ruled in favour of the rebels, as they had paid for the space's rent. Spence suggested that this was part of an intelligence operation to undermine Mathers' authority.

Mexico, India, Paris, and marriage: 1900''1903[edit]In 1900, Crowley travelled to Mexico via the United States, settling in Mexico City and taking a local woman as his mistress. Developing a love of the country, he continued experimenting with ceremonial magic, working with John Dee's Enochian invocations. He later claimed to have been initiated into Freemasonry while in the city, and spending time writing, he authored a play based on Richard Wagner's Tannh¤user as well as a series of poems, published as Oracles (1905). Eckenstein joined him later that year, and together they climbed several mountains, including Iztaccihuatl, Popocatepetl, and Colima, the latter of which they had to abandon owing to a volcanic eruption. Spence has suggested that the purpose of the trip might have been to explore Mexican oil prospects for British intelligence. Leaving Mexico, Crowley headed to San Francisco before sailing for Hawaii aboard the Nippon Maru. On the ship he had a brief affair with a married woman named Mary Alice Rogers; claiming to have fallen in love with her, he wrote a series of poems about the romance, published as Alice: An Adultery (1903).

Briefly stopping at Japan and Hong Kong, Crowley reached Ceylon, where he met with Allan Bennett, who was there studying Shaivism. The pair spent some time in Kandy before Bennett decided to become a Buddhist monk in the Theravada tradition, travelling to Burma to do so. Crowley decided to tour India, devoting himself to the Hindu practice of raja yoga, from which he claimed to have achieved the spiritual state of dhyana. He spent much of this time studying at the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madura, and also wrote poetry which would be published as The Sword of Song (1904). He contracted malaria, and had to recuperate from the disease in Calcutta and Rangoon. In 1902, he was joined in India by Eckenstein and several other mountaineers; Guy Knowles, H. Pfannl, V. Wesseley, and Jules Jacot-Guillarmod. Together the Eckenstein-Crowley expedition attempted K2, which had never been climbed. On the journey, Crowley was afflicted with influenza, malaria, and snow blindness, while other expedition members were similarly struck with illness. They reached an altitude of 20,000 feet (6,100 m) before turning back.

Arriving in Paris in November 1902, he associated largely with the painter Gerald Festus Kelly, and through him became a fixture of the Parisian arts scene, authoring a series of poems on the work of an acquaintance, the sculptor Auguste Rodin, published as Rodin in Rime (1907). One of those frequenting this milieu was W. Somerset Maugham, who after briefly meeting Crowley later used him as a model for the character of Oliver Haddo in his novel The Magician (1908). Returning to Boleskine in April 1903, in August Crowley wed Gerald's sister Rose Edith Kelly in a "marriage of convenience" to prevent her entering an arranged marriage; the marriage appalled the Kelly family and damaged his friendship with Gerald. Heading on a honeymoon to Paris, Cairo, and then Ceylon, Crowley actually fell in love with her and set about to successfully prove his affections. He wrote her a series of love poems, published as Rosa Mundi and other Love Songs (1906), also authoring Why Jesus Wept.

Developing Thelema[edit]Egypt and The Book of the Law: 1904[edit]Had! The manifestation of Nuit.The unveiling of the company of heaven.Every man and woman is a star.Every number is infinite; there is no difference.Help me, o warrior lord of Thebes, in my unveiling before the Children of men!

The opening lines of The Book of the Law.

In February 1904, Crowley and Rose arrived in Cairo, Egypt. Claiming to be a prince and princess, they rented an apartment in which Crowley set up a temple room and began invoking ancient Egyptian deities, also studying Arabic and Islamic mysticism. According to Crowley's later account, Rose regularly became delirious and informed him "they are waiting for you". On 18 March, she explained that "they" were the god Horus, and on 20 March proclaimed that "the Equinox of the Gods has come." She led him to a nearby museum where she showed him a seventh-century BCE mortuary stele known as the Stele of Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu (Crowley later termed it the "Stele of Revealing"); Crowley was astounded, for the exhibit's number was 666, the number of the beast in Christian belief.

According to later claims, on 8 April Crowley heard a disembodied voice claiming to be coming from Aiwass, an entity who was the messenger of Horus, or Hoor-Paar-Kraat. Crowley said that he wrote down everything the voice told him over the course of the next three days, and subsequently titled it Liber AL vel Legis or The Book of the Law.The Book proclaimed that humanity was entering a new Aeon, and that Crowley would serve as its prophet. It stated that a supreme moral law was to be introduced in this Aeon, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law", and that people should learn to live in tune with their "True Will". This book, and the philosophy that it espoused, would be the cornerstone of Crowley's religion, Thelema. Crowley was unsure as to what to do with The Book of the Law, and often came to resent it. He ignored the instructions that it commanded him to perform, which included taking the Stele of Revealing from the museum, fortifying his own island, and translating the Book into all the world's languages. Instead he sent typescripts of the work to several occultists whom he knew, and then "put aside the book with relief".

Kangchenjunga and China: 1905''1906[edit]Returning to Boleskine, Crowley came to believe that Mathers had begun using magic against him, and the relationship between the two broke down. On 28 July 1905, Rose gave birth to Crowley's first child, a daughter named Lilith, with Crowley authoring the pornographic Snowdrops From a Curate's Garden to entertain his recuperating wife. He also founded a publishing company through which to publish his poetry, naming it the Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth in parody of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Among its first publications where Crowley's Collected Works, edited by Ivor Back. While his poetry often received strong reviews (either positive or negative), it never sold well, and attempting to gain more publicity, he issued a reward of £100 for whomever could write the best essay on the topic of his work. The winner of this would be J.F.C. Fuller, a British Army officer and military historian, whose essay, The Star in the West (1907), heralded Crowley's poetry as some of the greatest ever written.

Crowley decided to climb Kangchenjunga in the Himalayas, widely recognised as the world's most treacherous mountain. Assembling a team consisting of Jacot-Guillarmod, Charles Adolphe Reymond, Alexis Pache, and Alcesti C. Rigo de Righi, the expedition was marred by much argument between Crowley and the others, who felt that he was reckless. They eventually mutinied against Crowley's control, with the other climbers heading back down the mountain as nightfall approached despite Crowley's warnings that it was too dangerous. Crowley was proved right as Pache and several porters were subsequently killed in an accident, something for which Crowley was widely blamed by the mountaineering community.

Spending time in Moharbhanj, where he took part in big game hunting and authored homoerotic work The Scented Garden, Crowley met up with Rose and Lilith in Calcutta before being forced to leave India after shooting dead a native who had tried to mug him. Briefly visiting Bennett in Burma, Crowley and his family decided to tour Southern China, hiring porters and a nanny for the purpose. Spence has suggested that this was part of Crowley's job as an intelligence agent, in order to report on the region's opium trade. It is known that Crowley smoked opium throughout the journey, which took the family from Tengyueh through to Yungchang, Tali, Yunnanfu, and then Hanoi, before sailing to Hong Kong. On the way he spent much time on spiritual and magical work, reciting invocations from the Goetia on a daily basis.

While Rose and Lilith returned to Europe, Crowley headed to Shanghai to meet old friend Elaine Simpson, who was fascinated by The Book of the Law; together they performed rituals to contact Aiwass. Crowley then sailed to Japan and Canada, before continuing to New York City, where he unsuccessfully attempted to gain support for a second expedition up Kangchenjunga. Upon arrival at Britain, Crowley learned that his daughter Lilith had died of typhoid in Rangoon, something he later blamed on Rose's increasing alcoholism. Heartbroken, his health began to suffer, and he underwent a series of surgical operations. He proceeded to begin short-lived romances with actress Vera "Lola" Stepp and author Ada Leverson, while Rose gave birth to Crowley's second daughter, Lola Zaza, in February 1907.

The A'´A'´ and the Holy Books of Thelema: 1907''1909[edit]With his old mentor George Cecil Jones, Crowley continued performing the Abramelin rituals at the Ashdown Park Hotel in Coulsdon, Surrey. Crowley claimed that in doing do he attained samadhi, or union with Godhead, thereby marking a turning point in his life. Making heavy use of hashish during these rituals, he wrote an influential essay on "The Psychology of Hashish" (1909). He also claimed to have been contacted once again by Aiwass in late October and November 1907, resulting in two further texts, "Liber VII" and "Liber Cordis Cincti Serpente", which would later be classified in the corpus of Holy Books of Thelema. Crowley wrote down more received Thelemic Holy Books during the last two months of the year, including "Liber LXVI", "Liber Arcanorum", "Liber Porta Lucis, Sub Figura X", "Liber Tau", "Liber Trigrammaton" and "Liber DCCCXIII vel Ararita". In June 1909, when the manuscript of The Book of the Law was rediscovered at Boleskine, Crowley finally came to fully accept Thelema as objective truth.

Crowley's inheritance was running out. Trying to earn money, he was hired by George Montagu Bennett, the Earl of Tankerville, to help protect him from witchcraft; recognising Bennett's paranoia as being based in his cocaine addiction, Crowley took him on a holiday to France and Morocco to recuperate. In the summer of 1907, he also began taking in paying students, whom he instructed in occult and magical practice. His closest discipline became Victor Neuburg, whom he met in February 1907. They became close friends and sexual partners, and in summer 1908 toured northern Spain before heading to Tangiers, Morocco. In 1909, Neuburg stayed at Boleskine, where he and Crowley engaged in sadomasochistic behaviour. Crowley continued to write prolifically, producing such works of poetry as Ambergris, Clouds Without Water, and Kom On Pax, as well as his first attempt an autobiography, The World's Tragedy. Recognising the popularity of short horror stories, he wrote a number of his own, some of which saw publication, and he also published several articles in Vanity Fair, a magazine edited by his friend Frank Harris. He also wrote Liber 777, a book of magical and Qabalistic correspondences that borrowed from Mathers and Bennett.

Into my loneliness comes --The sound of a flute in dim groves that haunt the uttermost hills.Even from the brave river they reach to the edge of the wilderness.And I behold Pan.

The opening lines of Liber VII (1907), the first of the Holy Books of Thelema to be revealed to Crowley after The Book of the Law.[87]In November 1907, Crowley and Jones decided to found an occult order to act as a successor to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, being aided in doing so by Fuller. The result was the A'´A'´, also known as the Argenteum Astrum, or the Silver Star. The group's headquarters and temple were situated at 124 Victoria Street in Central London, and their rites borrowed much from those of the Golden Dawn, but with an added Thelemic basis. Its earliest members included solicitor Richard Noel Warren, artist Austin Osman Spare, Horace Sheridan-Bickers, author George Raffalovich, Francis Henry Everard Joseph Fielding, engineer Herbert Edward Inman, Kenneth Ward, and Charles Stansfeld Jones. In March 1909, Crowley began production of a biannual periodical that acted as the "Official Organ" of the A'´A'´, titled The Equinox, which was billed as "The Review of Scientific Illuminism". The philosophy it espoused was described as "The Method of Science, the Aim of Religion", and it contained both articles on occultism, non-fiction pieces, and artworks.

Meanwhile, unable to stand her alcoholism, Crowley divorced Rose in November 1909, on the grounds of his own adultery. Lola was entrusted to Rose's care, although the couple remained friends and she continued to live at Boleskine. Her alcoholism worsened, and as a result she was institutionalised in September 1911.

Algeria and the Rites of Eleusis: 1909''1911[edit]In November 1909, Crowley and Neuburg travelled to Algeria, touring the desert from El Arba to Aumale, Bou Sada, and then Dā'leh Addin, with Crowley reciting the Quran on a daily basis. During the trip he performed the 19 Calls of Enochian magic, with Neuburg recording the results, later published in The Equinox as The Vision and the Voice. Following a mountaintop sex magic ritual, Crowley also performed an invocation to the demon Choronzon involving blood sacrifice, considering the results to be a watershed in his magical career. Returning to London in January 1910, Crowley found that Mathers was suing him for publishing Golden Dawn secrets in The Equinox, although the court found in favour of Crowley. The case was widely reported on in the press, with Crowley gaining a level of wider fame. Crowley enjoyed this, and played up to the sensationalist stereotype of being a Satanist and advocate of human sacrifice, despite being neither.

The publicity attracted new members to the A'´A'´, among them Frank Bennett, James Bayley, Herbert Close, and James Windram. Most significant however was the Australian violinist Leila Waddell, who soon became Crowley's lover. Deciding to expand his teachings to a wider audience, Crowley developed the Rites of Artemis, a public performance of magic and symbolism featuring A'´A'´ members personifying various deities. It was first performed at the A'´A'´ headquarters, with attendees given a fruit punch containing peyote to enhance their experience. Various members of the press attended, and reported largely positively on it. In October and November 1910, Crowley decided to stage something similar, the Rites of Eleusis, at Caxton Hall, Westminster, although this time press reviews were mixed. Crowley came under particular criticism from West de Wend Fenton, editor of The Looking Glass newspaper, who called him "one of the most blasphemous and cold-blooded villains of modern times." Fenton's articles inferred that Crowley and Jones were involved in same-sex sexual activity; Crowley did not mind, but Jones was incensed and unsuccessfully sued for libel. Fuller broke off his friendship and involvement with Crowley over the scandal, while Crowley and Neuburg returned to Algeria for further magical workings.

The Equinox continued publishing, and various books of literature and poetry were also published under its imprint, like Crowley's Ambergris, The Winged Beetle, and The Scented Garden, as well as Neuburg's The Triumph of Pan and Ethel Archer's The Whirlpool. In the summer of 1911, Crowley and Waddell holidayed in Montigny-sur-Loing, where he wrote prolifically, producing poems, short stories, plays, and 19 works on magic and mysticism, including the two final Holy Books of Thelema. In Paris, he met Mary Desti, who became his next "Scarlet Woman", with the two undertaking magical workings in St. Moritz; Crowley believed that one of the Secret Chiefs, Ab-ul-Diz, was speaking through her. Based on Mary's statements when in trance, Crowley authored the two-volume Book 4 (1912''13) and developed the spelling "magick" to differentiate what he practiced to the tricks of illusionists.

Ordo Templi Orientis and the Paris Working: 1912''1914[edit]In early 1912, Crowley published The Book of Lies, a work of mysticism that biographer Lawrence Sutin described as "his greatest success in merging his talents as poet, scholar, and magus". Subsequently, the German occultist Theodor Reuss accused him of publishing some of the secrets of his own occult order, the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), within The Book. Crowley convinced Reuss that the similarities were coincidental, and the two became friends. Reuss appointed Crowley as head of the O.T.O's British branch, the Mysteria Magica Maxima (MMM), and at a ceremony in Berlin Crowley adopted the magical name of Baphomet and was proclaimed "X° Supreme Rex and Sovereign Grand Master General of Ireland, Iona, and all the Britons". With Reuss' permission, Crowley set about advertising the MMM and re-writing many O.T.O. rituals, which were then based largely on Freemasonry; his incorporation of Thelemite elements proved controversial in the group. Fascinated by the O.T.O,'s emphasis on sex magic, Crowley devised a magical working based on anal sex and incorporated it into the syllabus for XI° level initiates.

In March 1913 Crowley acted as producer for The Ragged Ragtime Girls, a group of female violinists led by Waddell, as they performed at London's Old Tivoli theatre. They subsequently performed in Moscow for six weeks, where Crowley had a sadomasochistic relationship with the Hungarian Anny Ringler. In Moscow, Crowley continued to write plays and poetry, the most notable being "Hymn to Pan", as well as the Gnostic Mass, a Thelemic ritual that would become a key part of O.T.O. liturgy. Churton suggested that Crowley had traveled to Moscow on the orders of British intelligence to spy on revolutionary elements in the city. Proceeding to Paris, where he was involved in the controversy surrounding Jacob Epstein's new monument to Oscar Wilde, in January 1914, Crowley and Neuburg settled in to an apartment where they performed the six-week "Paris Working", in which they invoked the gods Mercury and Jupiter. Involving strong drug use, they performed sex magic among themselves and with journalist Walter Duranty. Crowley would write down the results of the working, among them Liber Agap(C), a treatise on sex magic. Following the Working, Neuburg began to distance himself from Crowley, resulting in an argument in which Crowley cursed him.

United States: 1914''1919[edit]By 1914, Crowley was living a hand-to-mouth existence, relying largely on donations and the membership fees from the O.T.O. and A'´A'´. In May he transferred ownership of Boleskine House to the MMM for financial reasons, while in July he went mountaineering in the Swiss Alps, during which the First World War broke out. After recuperating from a bout of phlebitis, Crowley set sail for the United States aboard the RMS Lusitania in October 1914. Arriving in New York City, he moved into a hotel and began earning money writing for the American edition of Vanity Fair and undertaking freelance work for the famed astrologer Evangeline Adams. In the city, he continued experimenting with sex magic, through the use of masturbation, female prostitutes, and male clients of a Turkish bathhouse; all of these encounters were documented in his diaries.

Professing to be of Irish ancestry and a supporter of Irish independence from Great Britain, Crowley began to espouse views supporting Germany in their war against Britain. Becoming involved in New York's pro-German movement, in January 1915 German spy George Sylvester Viereck employed Crowley as a writer for his propagandist paper, The Fatherland, which was dedicated to keeping the U.S. neutral in the conflict. In later years, detractors denounced Crowley as a traitor to Britain for this action. In reality, Crowley was a double agent, working for the British intelligence services to infiltrate and undermine Germany's operation in New York. Many of his articles in The Fatherland were hyperbolic, for instance comparing Kaiser Wilhelm II to Jesus Christ, while in July 1915 he orchestrated a publicity stunt '' reported on by The New York Times '' in which he declared independence for Ireland in front of the Statue of Liberty; the real intention was to make the German lobby appear ridiculous in the eyes of the American public. It has been argued that he encouraged the German Navy to destroy the Lusitania, informing them that it would ensure the U.S. stayed out of the war, while in reality hoping that it would bring the U.S. into the war on Britain's side.

Crowley entered into a relationship with Jeanne Robert Foster, with whom he toured the West Coast. In Vancouver, headquarters of the North American O.T.O., he met with Charles Stansfeld Jones and W.T. Smith to discuss the propagation of Thelema on the continent. Proceeding to Detroit, where he experimented with anhalonium at Parke-Davis, he then visited Seattle, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, San Diego, Tijuana, and the Grand Canyon, before returning to New York. There he befriended Ananda Coomaraswamy and his wife Alice Richardson; Crowley and Richardson performed sex magic in April 1916, following which she became pregnant, though subsequently miscarried. In the summer he took a "magical retirement" to a cabin by Lake Pasquaney owned by Evangeline Adams. There, he made heavy use of drugs and undertook a ritual after which he proclaimed himself "Master Therion". He also authored several short stories based on J.G. Frazer's The Golden Bough and a work of literary criticism, The Gospel According to Bernard Shaw.

In December he moved to New Orleans, his favourite U.S. city, before spending February 1917 with evangelical Christian relatives in Titusville, Florida. Returning to New York, he moved in with artist and A'´A'´ member Leon Engars Kennedy, in May learning of his mother's death. After the collapse of The Fatherland, Crowley continued his association with Viereck, who appointed him contributing editor of arts journal The International in the summer. Crowley used it to promote Thelema, but it soon ceased publication. He subsequently moved to the studio apartment of Roddie Minor, who became his partner and Scarlet Woman. Through their rituals, Crowley believed that they were contacted by a preternatural entity named Alamantrah, though the relationship soon ended.

In 1918, Crowley went on a magical retreat in the wilderness of Esopus Island on the Hudson River. Here, he began a translation of the Tao Te Ching and experienced past life memories of being Ge Xuan, Pope Alexander VI, Alessandro Cagliostro, and Eliphas Levi, also painting Thelemic slogans on the riverside cliffs. Back in New York, he moved to Greenwich Village, where he took Leah Hirsig as his lover and next Scarlet Woman. He took up painting as a hobby, exhibiting his work at the Greenwich Village Liberal Club and attracting the attention of the New York Evening World. With the financial assistance of sympathetic Freemasons, Crowley revived The Equinox with the first issue of volume III, known as "The Blue Equinox." He then spent the summer of 1919 on a climbing holiday in Montauk before returning to London in December.

Abbey of Thelema: 1920''1923[edit]Now destitute and back in London, Crowley came under attack from right-wing tabloid John Bull, who labelled him traitorous "scum"; although several friends aware of his intelligence work urged him to sue, he decided not to. When he was suffering from asthma, a doctor prescribed him heroin, to which he soon became addicted. In January 1920, he moved to Paris, renting a house in Fontainebleau with Lea Hersig; they were soon joined in a m(C)nage trois by Ninette Shumway, and also by Leah's newborn daughter Anne "Poup(C)e" Leah. Crowley had ideas of forming a community of Thelemites, which he would call the Abbey of Thelema after the Abbaye de Th(C)l¨me in Fran§ois Rabelais's satire Gargantua and Pantagruel. After consulting the I Ching, he chose Cefal¹ on Sicily as a location, and after arriving there, began renting the old Villa Santa Barbara as his Abbey on 2 April.

Moving to the commune with Hirsig, Shumway, and their children Hansi, Howard, and Poup(C)e, Crowley described the scenario as "perfectly happy... my idea of heaven." They wore robes, and performed rituals to the sun god Ra at set times during the day, also occasionally performing the Gnostic Mass; the rest of the day they were left to follow their own interests. Undertaking widespread correspondences, Crowley continued to paint, authored a commentary on The Book of the Law, and revised the third part of Book 4. He offered a libertine education for the children, allowing them to play all day and witness acts of sex magic. He occasionally travelled to Palermo to visit rent boys and purchase supplies, including drugs; his heroin addiction came to dominate his life, while cocaine began to erode his nasal cavity. There was no cleaning rota, and wild dogs and cats wandered throughout the building, which soon became unsanitary. Poup(C)e died in October 1920, although Ninette gave birth to a daughter, Astarte Lulu Panthea, soon afterword.

New followers continued to arrive at the Abbey to be taught be Crowley. Among them was film star Jane Wolfe, who arrived in July 1920, where she was initiated into the A'´A'´ and became Crowley's secretary. Another was Cecil Frederick Russell, however he often argued with Crowley, disliking the same-sex sexual magic that he was required to perform, and left after a year. More conducive was the Australian Thelemite Frank Bennett, who also spent several months at the Abbey. In February 1922, Crowley returned to Paris for a retreat in an unsuccessful attempt to kick his heroin addiction. He then proceeded to London in search of money, where he published articles in The English Review criticising the Dangerous Drugs Act 1920 and authored a novel, Diary of a Drug Fiend, completed in July. On publication, it received mixed reviews; he was lambasted by the Sunday Express, which called for its burning and prevented further reprints.

Subsequently, a young Thelemite named Raoul Loveday moved to the Abbey with his wife Betty May; while Loveday was devoted to Crowley, May detested him and life at the commune. She later claimed that Loveday was made to drink the blood of a sacrificed cat, and that they were required to cut themselves with razors every time they used the pronoun "I". Raoul also drank from a local polluted stream, soon developing a liver infection resulting in his death on February 1923. May then returned to London, where she told her story to the press.John Bull proceeded to proclaim Crowley "the wickedest man in the world" and "a man we'd like to hang", making various slanderous accusations against Crowley, although he was unable to afford the legal fees to sue them. As a result, John Bull continued its attack, with the stories also being picked up by newspapers in North America and throughout Europe. The Fascist government of Benito Mussolini learned of Crowley's activities and in April 1923 he was given a deportation notice forcing him to leave Italy; without him, the Abbey closed.

Later life[edit]Tunisia, Paris, and London: 1923''1929[edit]Crowley and Hirsig proceeded to Tunis, Tunisia, where his poor health continued and he unsuccessfully tried to kick his heroin addiction. He began writing what he termed his "autohagiography", The Confessions of Aleister Crowley. They were joined in Tunis by the Thelemite Norman Mudd, who became Crowley's public relations consultant. Employing a local boy, Mohammad ben Brahim, as his servant, Crowley went with him on a retreat to Nefta, where they performed sex magic together. In January 1924, Crowley traveled to Nice, France, where he met with Frank Harris, underwent a series of nasal operations, and visited the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man, thinking positively of its founder, George Gurdjieff. Destitute, he took on a wealthy student, Alexander Zu Zolar, before taking on another American follower, Dorothy Olsen. Crowley took Olsen back to Tunisia for a magical retreat in Nefta, where he also authored To Man. After spending the winter in Paris, in Spring 1925 Crowley and Olsen returned to Tunis, where he authored The Heart of the Master. In March Olsen became pregnant, and Hirsig was called to take care her of her; however, she miscarried, following which Crowley took Olsen back to France. Hirsig subsequently distances herself off from Crowley, who later denounced her.

According to Crowley, Reuss had named him head of the OTO upon his death, but this was challenged by leader of the OTO in Germany, Heinrich Tr¤nker. Tr¤nker called the Hohenleuben Conference in Thuringia, Germany, at which Crowley attended. There, prominent members like Karl Germer and Martha K¼ntzel championed Crowley's leadership, but others opposed it, resulting in a split in the OTO. Moving to Paris, where he broke with Olsen in 1926, Crowley proceeded through a large number of Scarlet Women over the following years, with whom he experimented in sex magic. Throughout, he was dogged by poor health, largely caused by his heroin and cocaine addictions. In 1928, Crowley was introduced to young Englishman Israel Regardie, who embraced Thelema and became Crowley's secretary for the next three years. That year, Crowley also met Gerald Yorke, who began organising Crowley's finances, although never became a Thelemite. He also befriended Thomas Driberg, although again Driberg did not accept Thelema. It was here that Crowley also published one of his most significant works, Magick in Theory and Practice, although it received little attention at the time.

In December 1929 Crowley met the Nicaraguan Maria Teresa Sanchez, who became his most significant Scarlet Woman of the period. Crowley was subsequently deported from France by the authorities, who disliked his reputation and feared that he was a German agent. So that she could join him in Britain, Crowley married Sanchez in August 1929. Now based in London, Mandrake Press agreed to publish his autobiography in a limited edition six-volume set, also publishing his novel Moonchild and book of short stories The Stratagem. However, Mandrake went into liquidation in November 1930, before the entirety of Crowley's Confessions could be published. Mandrake's owner P.R. Stephenson meanwhile authored The Legend of Aleister Crowley, an analysis of the media coverage surrounding him.

Berlin and London: 1930''1938[edit]In February 1930, Crowley was banned from lecturing on Gilles de Rais at the Poetry Society in London which he said was due to accusations he had killed Raoul Loveday and 'eaten children'.[179] In April 1930, Crowley moved to Berlin, where he took Hanni Jaegar as his new Scarlet Woman, although the relationship would be troubled. In September he proceeded to Lisbon in Portugal in order to meet the poet Fernando Pessoa. There, he decided to fake his own death, doing so with Pessoa's help at the Boca do Inferno rock formation. He then returned to Berlin, where he reappeared three weeks later at the opening of his art exhibition at the Gallery Neumann-Nierendorf. Crowley's paintings fitted with the fashion for German Expressionism, and although few of them sold, the press reports were largely favourable. In August 1931, he took Bertha Busch as his new lover, although they had a violent relationship, and often physically assaulted one another. He continued to have affairs with both men and women while in the city, and met with famous individuals like Aldous Huxley and Alfred Adler. After befriending him, in January 1932 he took the communist Gerald Hamilton as a lodger, through whom he was introduced to many figures within the Berlin far left; he was potentially a spy at this time.

I have been over forty years engaged in the administration of the law in one capacity or another. I thought that I knew of every conceivable form of wickedness. I thought that everything which was vicious and bad had been produced at one time or another before me. I have learnt in this case that we can always learn something more if we live long enough. I have never heard such dreadful, horrible, blasphemous and abominable stuff as that which has been produced by the man (Crowley) who describes himself to you as the greatest living poet.

Justice Swift, in Crowley's libel case.[187]Crowley left Busch and returned to London. Undergoing further nasal surgery, it was here in 1932 that he was invited to be guest of honour at Foyles' Literary Luncheon, also being invited by Harry Price to speak at the National Laboratory of Psychical Research. Here, he took Pearl Brooksmith as his new Scarlet Woman. In need of money, he launched a series of court cases against people whom he believed had libeled him, some of which proved successful. However, he then launched a law suit against Constable and Co for publishing Nina Hamnett's Laughing Torso (1932), which he claimed was libelous against himself. In doing so, he gained much publicity, but lost the case, and a further appeal was also denied.[193] The court case added to Crowley's financial problems, and in February 1935 he was declared bankrupt. During the hearing, it was revealed that Crowley had been spending three times his income for several years.

Crowley developed a platonic friendship with Deidre Patricia O'Doherty, although she agree to bear his child, who was born in May 1937. Named Randall Gair, Crowley would nickname him Aleister Ataturk. Crowley continued to socialise with friends, holding curry parties in which he would cook particularly spicy food for them. In 1936, he also published his first book in six years, The Equinox of the Gods, which contained a facsimile of The Book of the Law and was considered to be volume III, number 3, of The Equinox periodical. The work sold well, resulting in a second print run. In 1937 he gave a series of public lectures on yoga in Soho. With the A'´A'´ effectively defunct, Crowley was now living largely off contributions supplied by the O.T.O.'s Agape Lodge in California. He was intrigued by the rise of Nazism in Germany, hoping that Adolf Hitler would convert to Thelema; this was influenced by his friend Kn¼sel, who was a Nazi sympathiser. Nevertheless, the Nazis closed the German O.T.O., and imprisoned Germer, who subsequently fled to the U.S., with Crowley later labeling Hitler a black magician.

Second World War and death: 1939''1947[edit]When the Second World War broke out, Crowley wrote to the Naval Intelligence Division offering his services in the war effort. Although they declined, in a private capacity he aided Britain's propaganda effort. At the time, he was acquainted with a variety of figures in Britain's intelligence community, including Dennis Wheatley, Ian Fleming, and Maxwell Knight. He claimed to have been behind the "V for Victory" sign first used by the BBC, although this has never been conclusively proven. In 1940, his asthma worsened, and with his German-produced asthma medication unavailable, he returned to using heroin, once again becoming addicted. As the Blitz hit London, Crowley decided to move away from the capital, relocating to Torquay. There, he remained very ill with asthma, and was for a time hospitalised, although when possible frequented the local chess club. He eventually returned to London, where he was visited by Grady McMurty; Crowley awarded him the title of "Hymenaeus Alpha." He would appoint Germer his chosen successor as head of the O.T.O. upon his death, although stipulated his desire that McMurty would then succeed Germer.

With one of his O.T.O. initiates, Frieda Harris, Crowley developed plans to produce a tarot card deck, designed by him and painted by Harris. Accompanying this tarot set was a book, published as The Book of Thoth in a limited edition in 1944 by Chiswick Press. To aid the war effort, he authored a proclamation on the rights of humanity, Liber Oz, and a poem for the liberation of France, Le Gauloise. Crowley's final publication during his lifetime would be a book of poetry, Olla: An Anthology of Sixty Years of Song. Another of his projects was Aleister Explains Everything, which would be posthumously published as Magick Without Tears.

In April 1944, Crowley briefly moved to Aston Clinton in Buckinghamshire, where he was visited by the poet Nancy Cunard, before relocating to Hastings in Sussex, where he took up residence at the Netherwood boarding house. He took a young man named Kenneth Grant as his secretary, paying him in magical teaching rather than wages. He was also introduced to John Symonds, whom he appointed to be his literary executor; Symonds thought little of Crowley however, later publishing negative biographies of the man. Corresponding with the illusionist Arnold Crowther, it was through him that Crowley was introduced to Gerald Gardner, the future founder of Gardnerian Wicca. They became friends, with Crowley authorising Gardner to revive Britain's ailing O.T.O. Another visitor was Eliza Marian Butler, who interviewed Crowley for her book The Myth of the Magus. Other friends and family also visited him, among them Doherty and his son Aleister Ataturk.

Aged 72, Crowley died at Netherwood on 1 December 1947 of chronic bronchitis aggravated by pleurisy and myocardiac degeneration. It was reported that he left £18 in his will.[220] Crowley's funeral was held at a crematorium in Brighton on 5 December; about a dozen people attended, and Louis Wilkinson read excerpts from the Gnostic Mass, The Book of the Law, and "Hymn to Pan". The funeral generated press controversy, and was falsely labelled a Black Mass by the tabloids. Crowley's ashes were then sent to Germer in the U.S., who buried them in his garden in Hampton, New Jersey.

Beliefs[edit]Philosopher John Moore opined that Crowley's thought was rooted in Romanticism and the Decadent movement, with historian Alex Owen noting that Crowley adhered to the "modus operandi" of the decadent movement throughout his life.

Crowley would tell Germer that "Magick is getting into communication with individuals who exist on a higher plane than ours. Mysticism is the raising of oneself to their level." Crowley saw Magick as a third way between religion and magic.

Spiritual and recreational use of drugs[edit]Crowley was a habitual drug user and also maintained a meticulous record of his drug-induced experiences with opium, cocaine, cannabis, alcohol, ether, mescaline, morphine, and heroin.[226]Allan Bennett, Crowley's mentor, was said to have "instructed Crowley in the magical use of drugs".[227]

In October 1930, Crowley dined with Aldous Huxley in Berlin, and to this day rumours persist that he introduced Huxley to peyote on that occasion.[228]

Crowley developed a drug addiction after a London doctor prescribed heroin for his asthma and bronchitis.[229] His life as an addict influenced his 1922 novel, Diary of a Drug Fiend, but the fiction presented a hopeful outcome of rehabilitation and recovery by means of magical techniques and the exercise of True Will. He overcame his addiction to heroin during this period (chronicled in Liber XVIII '' The Fountain of Hyacinth) but began taking it once more late in his life, again on doctor's prescription for his respiratory difficulties.[230]

In the days following Crowley's death in 1947 it was reported that his Doctor, William Brown Thomson, who had prescribed him 'morphia tablets', had himself died less than 24 hours after his patient.[231]

Personal life[edit]Crowley biographer Martin Booth asserted that in his youth, Crowley was "self-confident, brash, eccentric, egotistic, highly intelligent, arrogant, witty, wealthy, and, when it suited him, cruel." Similarly, Richard Spence noted that Crowley was "capable of immense physical and emotional cruelty". Biographer Lawrence Sutin noted that Crowley exhibited "courage, skill, dauntless energy, and remarkable focus of will" while at the same time showing his "blind arrogance, petty fits of bile, [and] contempt for the abilities of his fellow men". Crowley enjoyed being outrageous and flaunting conventional morality, with John Symonds noting that he "was in revolt against the moral and religious values of his time". He was a Social Darwinist and "amateur eugenicist", although he opposed abortion on moral grounds. Crowley also saw himself as an aristocrat, describing himself as Lord Boleskine, although had contempt for most of the British aristocracy.

Crowley was bisexual, although he exhibited a sexual preference for women. In particular he had an attraction toward "exotic women", and claimed to have fallen in love on multiple occasions; Kaczynski stated that "when he loved, he did so with his whole being, but the passion was typically short-lived." Even in later life, he was able to attract young bohemian women to be his lovers, largely due to his charisma. During same-sex anal intercourse, he usually played the passive role, which Booth believed "appealed to his masochistic side." Crowley argued that gay and bisexual people should not suppress their sexual orientation, commenting that individuals "must not be ashamed or afraid of being homosexual if he happens to be so at heart; he must not attempt to violate his own true nature because of public opinion, or medieval morality, or religious prejudice which would wish he were otherwise."

Racism and sexism[edit]Biographer Lawrence Sutin stated that "blatant bigotry is a persistent minor element in Crowley's writings". Sutin thought Crowley "a spoiled scion of a wealthy Victorian family who embodied many of the worst John Bull racial and social prejudices of his upper-class contemporaries", noting that he "embodied the contradiction that writhed within many Western intellectuals of the time: deeply held racist viewpoints courtesy of their culture, coupled with a fascination with people of colour". He insulted his close Jewish friend Victor Neuburg using anti-Semitic slurs, although had mixed feelings to Jews as a group. Although praising their "sublime" poetry and claiming that the "Jewish race" contained "imagination, romance, loyalty, probity and humanity in an exceptional degree", he thought that centuries of persecution had led Jews to exhibit "avarice, servility, falseness, cunning and the rest". He was also known to praise various ethnic and cultural groups, for instance claiming that the Chinese people exhibited a "spiritual superiority" to the English, and praising Muslims for exhibiting "manliness, straightforwardness, subtlety, and self-respect."

Crowley also exhibited a "general misogyny" that Booth believed arose from his bad relationship with his mother. Sutin noted that Crowley "largely accepted the notion, implicitly embodied in Victorian sexology, of women as secondary social beings in terms of intellect and sensibility". Crowley himself described women as "moral inferiors" who had to be treated with "firmness, kindness and justice." Conversely, Crowley himself wrote that "We of Thelema say that 'Every man and every woman is a star.' We do not fool and flatter women, we do not despise and abuse them. To us, a woman is herself, absolute, original, independent, free, self-justified, exactly as a man is."[256]

Bibliography[edit]Legacy and influence[edit]Crowley has remained an influential figure, both amongst occultists and in popular culture, particularly that of Britain, but also of other parts of the world. Academic Wouter Hanegraaff asserted that Crowley was an extreme representation of "the dark side of the occult", while philosopher John Moore opined that Crowley stood out as a "Modern Master" when compared with other prominent occult figures like George Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, Rudolf Steiner, or Madame Blavatsky. Moore also thought that Crowley acted as a "living embodiment" to Oswald Spengler's "Faustian Man". Biographer Tobias Churton considered Crowley "a pioneer of consciousness research", while Sutin thought that he had made "distinctly original contributions" to the study of yoga in the West.

In popular culture[edit]In fiction[edit]Fictionalised accounts of Crowley or characters based upon him have been included in a number of literary works, published both during his life and after. The writer W. Somerset Maugham used him as the model for the character in his novel The Magician, published in 1908.[262] Crowley was flattered by Maugham's fictionalised depiction of himself, stating that "he had done more than justice to the qualities of which I was proud... The Magician was, in fact, an appreciation of my genius such as I had never dreamed of inspiring."[263] Other works including characters based on or inspired by Crowley include: "Dance To The Music of Time" by Anthony Powell, "Black Easter" by James Blish, and "The Winged Bull" by Dion Fortune.

In comics and games[edit]The acclaimed comic book author Alan Moore, himself a practitioner of ceremonial magic, has also included Crowley in several of his works. In Moore's From Hell, he appears in a cameo as a young boy declaring that magic is real, while in the series Promethea he appears several times existing in a realm of the imagination called the Immateria. V for Vendetta makes reference to "Do what thou wilt..." on more than one occasion in the comic series. Moore has also discussed Crowley's associations with the Highbury area of London in his recorded magical working, The Highbury Working.[264] Other comic book writers have also made use of him, with Pat Mills and Olivier Ledroit portraying him as a reincarnated vampire in their series Requiem Chevalier Vampire. Crowley also is referenced in the Batman comic Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, by Grant Morrison, where the character Amadeus Arkham meets with him, discuss the symbolism of Egyptian tarot, and they play chess. He has also appeared in Japanese media, such as D.Gray-Man and Toaru Majutsu no Index, as well as the hentai series Bible Black, where he has a fictional daughter named Jody Crowley who continues her father's search for the Scarlet Woman. Occult scholar Hiroshi Aramata, author of the groundbreaking historical fantasy novel Teito Monogatari, has described the protagonist of his work as a person "closely resembling" Aleister Crowley.[265] He is also depicted in the Original PlayStation game Nightmare Creatures as a powerful demonic resurrection of himself.[266]

In music[edit]Crowley has been an influence for a string of popular musicians throughout the 20th century. The Beatles included him as one of the many figures on the cover sleeve of their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, where he is situated between Sri Yukteswar Giri and Mae West. A more intent interest in Crowley was held by Jimmy Page, the guitarist and co-founder of 1970s rock band Led Zeppelin. Despite not describing himself as a Thelemite, Page was still fascinated by Crowley, and owned some of his clothing, manuscripts and ritual objects, and during the 1970s bought Boleskine House, which also appears in the band's movie The Song Remains the Same.

On the back cover of the Doors 13 album, Jim Morrison and the other members of the Doors are shown posing with a bust of Aleister Crowley. Author Paulo Coelho introduced the writings of Aleister Crowley to Brazilian rocker Raul Seixas, who went on to write and perform songs (most notably, "Viva a Sociedade Alternativa" and "Novo Aeon") that were strongly influenced by Crowley.[267] The later rock musician Ozzy Osbourne released a song titled "Mr. Crowley" on his solo album Blizzard of Ozz, while a comparison of Crowley and Osbourne in the context of their media portrayals can be found in the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture.[268] Crowley has also been a favourite of Swiss Avant-Garde metal band Celtic Frost. In fact, the song Os Abysmi Vel Daath from Monotheist is based partially on some of his writings. In the early 1990s, British Indie band Five Thirty carried with them on tour a front door which they alleged had belonged to Crowley. The door was placed prominently on stage during their gigs.[269]

In cinema[edit]Crowley was also a major influence and inspiration to the work on the radical avant garde underground film-maker Kenneth Anger, especially his Magick Lantern Cycle series of works. One of Anger's works is a film of Crowley's paintings.[270]

References[edit][edit]^Churton 2011. p. 3.^Crowley 1983. p. 32.^"LECTURER ON BLUEBEARD BANNED.". The Register News-Pictorial (Adelaide, SA : 1929 - 1931) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 6 February 1930. p. 4. Retrieved 29 September 2013. ^The United Press (13 April 1934). "Confessed Genius Loses Weird Suit". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 18 March 2013. ^""BLACK MAGIC".". Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 - 1954) (Launceston, Tas.: National Library of Australia). 29 December 1934. p. 10 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved 29 September 2013. ^"Raised Devils Lost £29.982.". Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954) (Broken Hill, NSW: National Library of Australia). 4 March 1949. p. 5. Retrieved 29 September 2013. ^"The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography" by Aleister Crowley (Arkana Publishing, 1989); "Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley" by Lawrence Sutin. (St. Martin's Press, 2000); "The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley" edited by Stephen Skinner (Weiser, 2003)^Owen, Alex (14 April 2004). "Aleister Crowley in the Desert". The Place of Enchantment: British Occultism and the Culture of the Modern (Hardcover ed.). University of Chicago Press. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-226-64201-7. ^Cornelius, 2001.^"Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley" by Lawrence Sutin. (St. Martin's Press, 2000) ch. 7, p. 277^"Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley" by Lawrence Sutin. (St. Martin's Press, 2000) p. 416^"Claimed To Be "Invisible Man".". The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954) (Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 5 December 1947. p. 1. Retrieved 29 September 2013. ^Crowley, Aleister (1996-12). The Law Is for All: The Authorized Popular Commentary of Liber Al Vel Legis sub figura CCXX, the Book of the Law. Louis Wilkinson (ed.). Thelema Media. ISBN 0972658386. ^Curtis, Anthony; Whitehead, John (1987). W. Somerset Maugham: the critical heritage. Routledge. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-7100-9640-1. "... in Paris in 1905... At that time he got to know Aleister Crowley,..." ^Symonds 1997. p. 132.^Doyle-White 2009^Hiroshi Aramata, Birds of the World: as painted by 19th century artists (Crown Publishers 1989), p. 11, ISBN 0-517-57374-1^Morehead, John W. (3 August 2010). "Video games: Zombies Ate My Neighbours, and Nightmare Creatures". Theofantastique: a meeting place for myth, imagination and mystery in pop culture. Wordpress. Retrieved 15 November 2010. ^Essinger, Silvio. "A reden§£o do mago e ocultista Aleister Crowley". O Globo 4 January 2012. [1]^Christopher M. Moreman, "Devil Music and the Great Beast: Ozzy Osbourne, Aleister Crowley, and the Christian Right", Journal of Religion and Popular Culture 5 (2003), University of Saskatchewan^Gary Crowley (1991). "Band Explosion". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIwqNlycTfk. Retrieved 19 June 2011.^Pilkington, Mark (15 May 2007). "Kenneth Anger: celluloid sorcery and psychedelic Satanism". Bizarre Magazine. Archived from the original on 5 December 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2010. Bibliography[edit]Bogdan, Henrik; Starr, Martin P. (2012). "Introduction". In Bogdan, Henrik; Starr, Martin P. Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 3''14. ISBN 978-0-19-986309-9. Booth, Martin (2000). A Magick Life: The Biography of Aleister Crowley. London: Coronet Books. ISBN 978-0-340-71806-3. Churton, Tobias (2011). Aleister Crowley: The Biography. London: Watkins Books. ISBN 978-1-78028-012-7. Crowley, Aleister (1983). The Holy Books of Thelema. York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser Inc. ISBN 978-0-87728-686-8. Crowley, Aleister (1989). The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography. London: Arkana. ISBN 978-0-14-019189-9. Hanegraaff, Wouter J. (2012). "Foreword". In Bogdan, Henrik; Starr, Martin P. Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. pp. vii''x. ISBN 978-0-19-986309-9. Kaczynski, Richard (2010). Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley (second edition). Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-0-312-25243-4. Moreman, Christopher M. (2003). "Devil Music and the Great Beast: Ozzy Osbourne, Aleister Crowley, and the Christian Right". The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture3 (1). Morgan, Mogg (2012). "The Heart of Thelema: Morality, Amorality, and Immorality in Aleister Crowley's Thelemic Cult". The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies13 (1) (London: Equinox). Moore, John (2009). Aleister Crowley: A Modern Master. Oxford: Mandrake. ISBN 978-1-906958-02-2. Owen, Alex (2012). "The Sorcerer and His Apprentice: Aleister Crowley and the Magical Exploration of Edwardian Subjectivity". In Bogdan, Henrik; Starr, Martin P. Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 15''52. ISBN 978-0-19-986309-9. Spence, Richard B. (2008). Secret Agent 666: Aleister Crowley, British Intelligence and the Occult. Port Townsend, WA: Feral House. ISBN 978-1-932595-33-8. Sutin, Lawrence (2000). Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley. New York: St Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-25243-4. Symonds, John (1997). The Beast 666: The Life of Aleister Crowley. London: Pindar Press. ISBN 978-1-899828-21-0. Tully, Caroline (2010). "Walk Like an Egyptian: Egypt as Authority in Aleister Crowley's Reception of The Book of the Law". The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies12 (1) (London: Equinox). External links[edit]Folk magicCeremonial magicEarly ModernwitchcraftNeopaganwitchcraftPersondataNameCrowley, AleisterAlternative namesCrowley, Edward Alexander (birth); Perdurabo (motto); Therion, Master (pen)Short descriptionpoet, mountaineer, occultistDate of birth(1875-10-12)12 October 1875Place of birthClarendon Square, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, EnglandDate of death1 December 1947(1947-12-01)Place of deathNetherwood, Hastings, East Sussex, England

Monsantooo

Monsanto's winning the World Food Prize?? | SumOfUs

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Tue, 08 Oct 2013 23:07

In an obscene development, a Monsanto executive is winning this year's ''Nobel Prize of agriculture'' -- the prestigious World Food Prize -- for creating GMOs. Receiving it legitimizes the sort of rampant genetic modification Monsanto pioneered, and helps validate a ruthless business model that impoverishes farmers and monopolizes our food.

If that wasn't baffling enough, the founder of Syngenta, the same biotech giant joining Bayer in suing Europe to keep selling bee-killing pesticides, will also win the prize -- and with it, a share of the $250,000 prize money. We cannot allow this prize to legitimize frankenfoods and bee killers. The ceremony is in less than two weeks, so we need to act now.

Tell the World Food Prize Foundation not to reward Monsanto and bee-killer Syngenta's outrageous practices.

Winning this prize will encourage the wider use of genetically engineered crops and be a huge obstacle to those fighting to investigate the long-term effects of its frankenseeds -- which is exactly what Monsanto wants. In 2008, Monsanto made a $5 million pledge to the World Food Prize Foundation, part of its plan to buy the credibility it can't legitimately earn. By handing its benefactor this award, the Foundation risks undermining the credibility of the most respected prize in agriculture.

In protest, 81 Councilors of the World Future Council have penned a statement blasting the World Food Prize Foundation for betraying its purpose. In the words of the esteemed authors: ''GMO seeds reinforce a model of farming that undermines sustainability of cash-poor farmers, who make up most of the world's hungry'... The most dramatic impact of such dependency is in India, where 270,000 farmers, many trapped in debt for buying seeds and chemicals, committed suicide between 1995 and 2012.''

Despite the criticism, Monsanto and Syngenta executives are set to receive their prize on World Food Day, October 16 -- a slap in the face to everyone harmed by their products. We don't have much time, so we need to publicize this obscene decision -- if enough of us get word of this out, and let people know the World Food Prize is threatening its reputation, we can shame it into choosing a more suitable candidate.

Genetically-modified crops do not deserve the highest praise. Don't reward Monsanto and Syngenta.

**********More Information:

And The Winner Of The World Food Prize Is ... The Man From Monsanto, NPR, 19 June 2013Choice of Monsanto Betrays World Food Prize Purpose, Say Global Leaders , NPR, 26 June 2013

In an obscene development, a Monsanto executive is winning this year's ''Nobel Prize of agriculture'' -- the prestigious World Food Prize -- for creating GMOs. Receiving it legitimizes the sort of rampant genetic modification Monsanto pioneered. If that wasn't baffling enough. The founder of Syngenta, the same biotech giant joining Bayer in suing Europe to keep selling bee-killing pesticides, will also win the prize. The ceremony is in less than two weeks, so we need to act now.

Tell the World Food Prize Foundation not to reward Monsanto and bee-killer Syngenta's outrageous practices.

Haiti

UN caused deadly cholera in Haiti, covered it up, lawsuit says - Investigations

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Wed, 09 Oct 2013 01:12

NBC News

Dr. Nancy Snyderman of NBC News with Dieumene Bastien in Haiti.

By Anna SchecterProducer, NBC News

Survivors and family members of nearly 700,000 Haitians who have contracted cholera are suing the United Nations for billions of dollars, accusing the U.N. of covering up its role in starting the worst outbreak of the deadly disease in modern history.

''They have to help us because there are so many kids that are orphans now, that lost their mom, that lost their dads,'' said plaintiff Felicia Paule, 45, who survived cholera but lost a daughter, brother and nephew to the disease. ''They're responsible, so they have to help.''

The suit will be filed in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday despite the U.N.'s longstanding immunity to all legal claims of wrongdoing.

The U.N. has cited its immunity, and has not accepted responsibility for the epidemic, even though medical experts '' including members of an independent panel appointed by the U.N. -- agree that the disease was probably introduced by U.N. peacekeepers. During an interview in Port-au-Prince Monday, a top U.N. official repeatedly refused to answer questions from NBC News' Chief Medical Editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman about whether the U.N. was to blame.

''I can't answer that question,'' said Sophie de Caen, senior country director for the United Nations Development Programme. ''It's an ongoing legal case and it's something that needs to be discussed with the U.N. legal office in New York.''

Watch Dr. Nancy Snyderman on 'NBC Nightly News' with more on the cholera epidemic

NBC News

Lisette Paul, 41, said that the worst part of losing her 18-month old daughter Jumara to cholera was having to bury her in a hole. Her daughter got sick in the first outbreak of cholera in late 2010, and her brother and father also died. Lisette got the disease in 2012, but survived.

''I think what's important is to see what we've been doing since the outbreak,'' she added.

Since the cholera outbreak began near Mirebalais, Haiti in late 2010, just ten months after a devastating earthquake, more than 650,000 Haitians have contracted the disease, which had been unknown in the country for centuries. It has now spread to Venezuela, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, and has now killed more than 8,500 people.

Numerous scientific studies have linked the disease to a group of U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal who arrived at a camp near Mirebalais in October 2010. Tests show that the strain of cholera circulating in Haiti is genetically similar to cholera found in Nepal.

Members of an independent panel appointed by the U.N. initially said that the evidence pointing to the peacekeepers was not conclusive, but have since said that new evidence indicates the soldiers were the likely source.

NBC News

Lisette Paul (leaning on crypt) and her mother Dieumene Bastien say that some family members who died of cholera were put in plastic bags and buried in holes in the ground because people were afraid of contracting the disease during a proper burial. One cholera victim, Dieumene's son '' Lisette's brother '' is buried in the crypt.

The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, the advocacy group that will file the suit Wednesday, first tried to file a claim with the U.N. in 2011. The United Nations did not respond for more than 15 months, but then invoked a sweeping immunity from nearly all legal claims that dates back to its founding. Though the U.N. has committed hundreds of millions of dollars to fight the disease, it has not indicated a willingness to settle individual claims from victims.

''We felt it would be much easier to resolve this out of court, to spend less money on lawyers and litigation and more money on stopping cholera in Haiti,'' said Brian Concannon of the IJDH. ''The U.N. refused to take that opportunity and left us no choice but to go to court.''

The IJDH suit, however, goes beyond placing blame on the U.N., accusing the international body of covering up its role in introducing the disease.

NBC News

Felicia Paule, 45, lost a daughter, brother and nephew to cholera.

''Because no one was telling anyone the truth,'' claimed Concannon, ''there (were) a lot of people who were getting sick.''

A group of Nepalese peacekeepers were rotated into an existing camp a mile south of Mirebalais, Haiti, on a tributary of the Artibonite River in October 2010. The Artibonite is a major source of drinking water for Haitians. Within five days, a Haitian living downstream had died of cholera. Within a month, the disease had reached every corner of the country.

Plaintiff Lisette Paul of Mirebalais said that the disease spread quickly. ''When the cholera first came we didn't have access to hospitals so everyone passed it on to one another,'' she recalled.

Her daughter, only 1 ½ years old, began vomiting , developed diarrhea and then died. ''The worst part,'' said Paul, ''is after you have a child die like that, you can't even give her a proper burial. You just dig a hole, because that's all we could afford.''

Suspicion about the source of the disease soon centered on the peacekeepers. Cholera is endemic in Nepal, and there was an ongoing outbreak in the Himalayan country. Reporters who visited the peacekeepers' camp noted a strong smell of sewage and saw exposed and leaking sewage pipes over a drainage canal and brown sludge in a drain leading into the river.

The plaintiffs, however, say it is a ''question of law and fact'' whether ''defendants illegally sought to cover up their actions."

The suit alleges that U.N. officials falsely claimed that peacekeepers had been tested for cholera and none had come back positive, and barred Haitian health officials from the camp in late October. The suit also alleges that the U.N. issued a false statement that its septic tanks were up to U.S. EPA standards, and that an official told a reporter that a pipe carrying sewage was carrying only kitchen waste.

''Defendants released false statements and misleading information about the evidence,'' alleges the suit, ''which placed anyone relying on their assertions at additional risk of contracting cholera.'' Plaintiffs also claim in their complaint that ''defendants '... willfully delayed investigation into the outbreak and obscured the discovery of the outbreak's source, resulting in additional harm.''

In its suit, the IJDH is asking for an unspecified amount for victims, and for the U.N. to make improvements to Haiti's water and sanitation infrastructure that are projected to cost $2.4 billion.

The IJDH's Concannon acknowledged that no one had ever successfully sued the U.N. in court, but said he was hopeful about the outcome. ''In terms of actually winning a judgment in a court, there has never been a case against the U.N. where the liability is so clear and the damage is so great,'' he said.

He also noted that some parties with grievances against the U.N. had received satisfaction despite the body's legal immunity. In 1965, for example, UN peacekeepers in the Congo were accused of damaging properties and injuring people. They submitted claims to the UN, and the UN settled some of the claims.

''Many people, through a combination of political pressure and public pressure and showing the merits of the case, have received compensation from the U.N.,'' he said. ''The U.N., in fact, time and time again, acknowledges an obligation to pay for the injuries it causes. ''

In a statement, a spokesperson for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who is named as a defendant in the IJDH suit, told NBC News that it could not comment because ''it is not the United Nations' practice to discuss in public claims filed against the Organization."

The spokesperson said the U.N. is working ''on the ground'' in Haiti to ''do all that the Organization can do to help the people of Haiti overcome the cholera epidemic.'' The U.N. has spent $118 million to date to respond to the outbreak, and plans to spend millions more, depending on the level of international contributions.

A representative of MINUSTAH, the U.N's mission in Haiti, which is also named as a defendant, referred questions to the U.N.'s legal office in New York. Edmond Mulet, who headed MINUSTAH at the start of the outbreak and is also named as a defendant, did not respond to requests for comment.

More from NBC News Investigations:

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Investigate this!Read and vote on readers' story tips and suggested topics for investigation or submit your own.

Vaccine$

First Malaria Vaccine Moves A Step Closer To Approval : Shots - Health News : NPR

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Tue, 08 Oct 2013 21:32

A health worker administers the malaria vaccine at a clinical trial in Kilifi, Kenya.

Joseph Okanga/Reuters /LandovA health worker administers the malaria vaccine at a clinical trial in Kilifi, Kenya.

Joseph Okanga/Reuters /LandovA malaria vaccine studied in more than 15,000 African children has been found to reduce the number of cases of disease by 27 to 46 percent.

That's only modest efficacy compared to most accepted vaccines. But this would be the first anti-malarial immunization on the market, and its developers emphasize that it still prevents a lot of cases. Its main sponsor, GlaxoSmithKline, says it's good enough to justify seeking regulatory approval in 2014.

Specifically, for every 1,000 toddlers who had the three-dose vaccination, there were 941 fewer cases of malaria over the following 18 months. Those who didn't get the vaccine had 1,800 cases per 1,000 children '-- a rate reflecting the fact that most of them suffer more than one case a year.

Preventing 941 cases for every 1,000 young children vaccinated "suggests that it has potential for a pretty big public health impact," says Dr. David Kaslow of the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, one of the study's sponsors. "Those are some pretty big numbers of cases averted."

The new data, presented Tuesday at a malaria vaccine conference in Durban, South Africa, extends results released last November, which gave the first indication that this vaccine, called RTS,S, has limited effectiveness.

But Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chief of vaccine development at GlaxoSmithKline, says even a vaccine of modest effectiveness can have a big impact because malaria is such a monumental problem in Africa.

"Malaria in sub-Saharan Africa kills around 600,000 children every year, which is an enormous number," Slaoui tells Shots. He's been working on the RTS,S vaccine for nearly 30 years.

The African study, which involves 11 sites in seven countries, couldn't demonstrate the vaccine's impact on malaria deaths. That's because children in the study all got the very best treatment, so very few died of the disease. But those who got the vaccine were 36 percent less likely than those who didn't to get severe malaria, which often results in death for many victims.

Still, malaria specialists acknowledge that it's not going to be easy to decide how to use the RTS,S vaccine.

The new data show that 18 months after vaccination, it's 46 percent effective in preventing illness in children immunized between 5 months and 17 months of age. For infants younger than that, it was only 27 percent effective. Those efficacy rates are somewhat lower than shorter-term results presented last year, indicating that the protection falls off a bit over time.

Work is underway to see if a booster shot can strengthen that protection.

"There's no question that everybody would want a higher efficacy on this vaccine," says Dr. Johanna Daily of Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Standard vaccines against other diseases have over 80 percent, sometimes 90 percent, efficacy, she says. "But malaria has always been such a challenge. And we may not ever get those levels."

Even when people actually catch malaria '-- the most effective, though undesirable, form of immunization '-- protection against future infection is far from complete.

"It's hard to improve upon nature," Daily says. "So perhaps ... a more efficacious vaccine is unlikely, and therefore [RTS,S] would be the thing to go with."

About two dozen other malaria vaccines are in the pipeline. Some target more than one protein on the malaria parasite's surface, and some aim to protect at more than one stage in the parasite's complex life cycle. But it's going to be awhile before anyone knows if these other candidate vaccines are more effective than RTS,S.

Meanwhile, if the World Health Organization gives the green light to the Glaxo vaccine, it's going to have to compete for scarce public health funds with other malaria-prevention measures, such as insecticide-treated bed nets to keep malaria-infected mosquitoes away from sleeping children.

Figuring out the vaccine's role in malaria prevention is "going to be a very tough question," Daily says.

"Each country is going to have a pot of money and [is] going to have to decide how to spend it," she says. "Should it go to vaccine? Should it go to bed nets? Should it go to diagnosis? Should it go to community health workers? Each Minister of Health can decide if this is something they want to put their money toward."

Glaxo has pledged to keep the cost of the vaccine low '-- no more than the cost of production plus a 5 percent profit that the company says it will devote to developing other vaccines against neglected diseases. Slaoui says RTS,S won't be pennies per dose. Most likely, it'll be a few dollars.

Pfizer Gets Drug Approval For Hot Flashes, Targets 33 Million Women In The U.S.

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Viagra Blue

Dear John and Adam,

Here's some research if you are interested that may fall in the Pharm commercial meme and your theory that folks take the drug for the side effects warned about.

Have you noticed that Viagra has in the past few years gone to a blue tint in their advertising?

When this medication was released the side effect of blue-tinged vision was not yet reported. It was found that patients thought that "if one is good, two must be better" and so reports sprang up only after it's approval by the FDA around 1998.

Eye doctors are worried about this side effect which is technically called cyanopsia.

We still do not understand the long term risk of this symptom but worry that it may precede vision loss.

NBC news article here: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/8004291/ns/health-mens_health/t/blindness-noted-men-using-impotence-drugs/#.UlIG4lBzGH8

Yellow and Blue vision changes are associated with acquired color vision difficulties - as opposed to Red / Green color vision changes which are nearly always x-linked and present from birth.

Rather than oppose the research, Pfizer takes ownership of the issue so they can control it.

So much so that the ads ALL NOW HAVE A BLUE TINT.

Viagra Website

http://www.viagra.com/index.aspx

Blue Viagra commercials (2013)

http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7ZLq/viagra-the-age-where-giving-up-isnt-who-you-are

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1ZqQ55T25c

Section of Prescribing Info with the warning in italics

VIAGRA can cause some side effects. These are usually mild to moderate and usually don't last longer than a few hours. Some of these side effects are more likely to occur with higher doses of VIAGRA. With VIAGRA, the most common side effects are headache, facial flushing, and upset stomach. VIAGRA may also briefly cause bluish or blurred vision or sensitivity to light. (blue emphasis by me) If you experience chest pain, nausea, or any other discomfort during sex, or an erection that lasts longer than 4 hours, seek immediate medical help.

In rare instances, men taking PDE5 inhibitors (oral erectile dysfunction medicines, including VIAGRA) reported a sudden decrease or loss of vision, or sudden decrease or loss of hearing. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop taking PDE5 inhibitors, including VIAGRA, and call a doctor right away. VIAGRA may cause other side effects besides those listed here. If you want more information or develop any side effects or symptoms you are concerned about, call your doctor.

--

Doug Cook, OD, FAAO, FCOVD

Optometric Physician

VIDEOS

VIDEO-Chris Wallace Grills Treasury Sec Jack Lew, Who Refuses To Say How Many People Actually Signed Up For Obamacare | Weasel Zippers

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Sun, 06 Oct 2013 22:05

So the fact that ''thousands 'rushed' to look at the website'' is a sign of the success of Obamacare? I went to the site several times to look at it, as did many in media. Many went just to see if it worked.

Via Weekly Standard:

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew refused to answer Fox host Chris Wallace's simple question this morning: How many people have signed up for Obamacare?

''I'm going to ask you one last time,'' said Wallace, ''because, forgive me sir, you haven't answered it: do you not know how many people signed up, which would seem to indicate another major software glitch, or is it that the numbers are embarrassingly small?''

''Chris, our metric for this week was, could people get online, get the information they need to make an informed,'' said Lew, sidestepping the straightforward question. ''They have been getting that information. We are confident that they are going to make the decision '-- they have 6 months to make the decision.''

Wallace tried again: ''So do you not know or is that the number is ''''

''Well, it's obviously not my primary area of responsibility,'' said the treasury secretary.

VIDEO-Geldof 2030 all dead

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Mon, 07 Oct 2013 11:40

Bob Geldof, the musician who made a big name for himself in the mid-1980s by spearheading efforts to feed the hungry around the world via the Live Aid concerts, isn't feeling too chipper these days about our chances on this planet.

Sir Bob, now 61, says the world may end in 2030, notes the Daily Star.

Sir Bob Geldof, Irish musician and activist, speaks during the opening ceremony for the world's biggest youth summit, One Young World, in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Credit: AP)

Geldof blames what could be our imminent demise on the effects of climate change.

''There will be a mass-extinction event,'' he said, the Independent reports. ''This could well happen on your watch. All the signs are there that it will happen and it will happen soon.''

''The world can decide in a fit of madness to kill itself.''

Geldof made his remarks during the opening ceremonies of the One Young World youth summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, earlier this week.

The former Boomtown Rats singer also predicted that ''the next war will not be a World War One or a World War Two, it will be the end.''

And with that he calculated, ''You can set a date of 2030; that's possible,'' adding that the recent climate-change report says as much. ''We need to address the problem of climate change urgently.''

Geldof concluded with an apology for being ''bloody miserable as usual'' but added: ''Just get on with it.''

Here's a clip of Geldof's remarks; his warnings start at about the 17-minute mark and his specific prediction about the world ending in 2030 happens just after the 20-minute mark:

And lest we forget that in the decade of mullets and MTV, Geldolf didn't feel bloody miserable every day'...just on Mondays:

(H/T: Daily Star)

''

VIDEO-WH: We Will Release Obamacare Enrollment Data on Monthly Basis | MRCTV

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Mon, 07 Oct 2013 21:58

If the player does not load, please check that you are running the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday that the administration would release enrollment data on how many people have signed up for Obamacare through the health care exchanges on a monthly basis the same way similary data is handled in Massachusetts and with Medicare Part D.

VIDEO-'More Than a Glitch': Watch the New Hilarious Yet Scathing Obamacare Ad From the Heritage Foundation | TheBlaze.com

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Thu, 10 Oct 2013 09:42

With Obamacare's seriously bumpy rollout, it was only a matter of time before the parody ads mocking President Barack Obama's signature health care law started popping up. A new video put together by the Heritage Foundation puts a comedic spin on all the glitches, endless wait times and premium rate increases that are now associated with Obamacare.

The Heritage Foundation provided TheBlaze with the exclusive sneak peak at the new ad.

''If you've been waiting to be covered in mandates, regulations and new fees, the time is finally here '-- sort of,'' the ad's narrator says as the screen shows the common ''the system is down'' message at the healthcare.gov website. ''You guys, stop showing that screen.''

The video goes on to rattle off a long list of warnings, similar to the kind of list you would hear during a commercial for a prescription drug.

''Obamacare may cause wait times, a decline in health care quality, money loss, political activism, anger, despair, hopelessness, frustration, European envy, dependence and nausea.''

''If you wish to opt out of Obamacare for any reason, please start a multimillion dollar business, join a union or run for Congress,'' the video's narrator concludes.

Sometimes you have to laugh so you won't cry.

Watch the video via the Heritage Foundation:

''

Sean Hannity and Anthony Weiner Throw Down in Explosive Debate: 'What the Hell Were You Thinking?' | Video | TheBlaze.com

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Thu, 10 Oct 2013 10:37

Former Congressman and failed New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner joined Sean Hannity on Wednesday night to discuss important issues like the government shutdown, the debt ceiling and, of course, Weiner's past mistakes.

However, the debate quickly devolved into a heated back-and-forth as things got tense '-- and a little awkward '-- almost immediately.

First addressing the elephant in the room, Hannity asked Weiner ''what the hell'' was he was thinking regarding his past sexting scandals that continued even after he left Congress. Weiner said he is completely done talking about that. As Hannity continued to pry, the former congressman said he is currently focused on the important issues that matter to people in the ''middle class.''

(Fox News)

The two went on to debate the debt ceiling and whether or not Republicans are ''playing a game of stand-off with the economy.'' Weiner admitted that Democrats have used the debt ceiling as political leverage in the past, but that Republicans are now threatening the economy.

Weiner relentlessly pressed Hannity to say whether the debt limit should be raised, and he eventually said ''we have to in the end'' '-- but argued policy changes to reduce the deficit should be included with it.

''The president doesn't dispute that,' Weiner replied.

But as he repeatedly interrupted Hannity, things got a little personal.

''You're auditioning for MSNBC! You're auditioning,'' Hannity said. ''You want Chris Matthews' job, I can tell!'... You never shut up like Chris Matthews either!''

''Why do you always have patsies on?'' Weiner replied, adding that ''Fox apparently has much loaded standards.''

That set up Hannity for this zinger: ''You want to talk about low standards? You really want to go there?''

Watch the entire segment via Fox News:

(H/T: Mediaite)

''

American Blackout | National Geographic Channel

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Wed, 09 Oct 2013 02:59

WORLD PREMIERE MOVIE EVENTSUNDAY OCTOBER 27 at 9P#americanblackoutMore on this SeriesPublished Aug. 30, 2013More on This Episode:American Blackout Rail Related ContentWhat Would You Do?Tell Us What You ThinkOct. 3, 2013How would you prepare in order to survive a long-term blackout?

CharactersPrepper FamilyOct. 4, 2013This family of preppers have been readying themselves for a catastrophe.

Young FamilyOct. 4, 2013Young parents prepare for the arrival of their second child.

Trapped StudentsOct. 4, 2013A group of college students are stuck in an elevator.

Yuppie CoupleOct. 4, 2013A wealthy New York couple find themselves lost without their platinum cards.

Teen VloggerOct. 4, 2013VJ is well-equipped with the necessary camera gear to document his blackout.

Latest Tweetshighasakite11#americanblackout its about to get REAL, real quick when that goes down people Are gonna go into mass chaos its us vs themabout 3 hours ago

SaferLifeMarket On October 27, The Lights Will Go Out. http://t.co/idtvNwwpEx#blackout#americanblackoutabout 5 hours ago

GandSOnline RT @DoomsdayPrepper: On October 27th, You. Will. Be. Powerless. http://t.co/pMwZYytNqv#AmericanBlackoutabout 6 hours ago · 9 retweets

ThomasRusen#AmericanBlackout NGC 10/27/13about 6 hours ago

PatrickCMiller RT @chrissistrunk: "@NatGeoChannel: On October 27th, You. Will. Be. Powerless. http://t.co/bspo6fjo6X#AmericanBlackout" #cyber#SCADA#FUD'...about 8 hours ago · 1 retweet

chrissistrunk "@NatGeoChannel: On October 27th, You. Will. Be. Powerless. http://t.co/bspo6fjo6X#AmericanBlackout" #cyber#SCADA#FUD#Halloween#scaryabout 8 hours ago · 1 retweet

Kanitami '¥ RT @NatGeoChannel: On October 27th, You. Will. Be. Powerless. http://t.co/a3y3pgt66u#AmericanBlackoutabout a day ago

JillSebben RT @NatGeoChannel: On October 27th, You. Will. Be. Powerless. http://t.co/CzXuoobl9a#AmericanBlackoutabout a day ago · 12 retweets

JillSebben#AmericanBlackout looks interesting, yet terrifying!about a day ago

SirCrushAlot69#AmericanBlackout looks crazy afabout a day ago

tankofalltrades Hey @NatGeo if American Blackout is a true blackout how could there be news channels board casting about it? #blackout#americanblackoutabout a day ago

stephenacott#AmericanBlackOut looks good!about a day ago

GageJanek#AmericanBlackout looks so goodabout a day ago

Tarmarat RT @NatGeoChannel: On October 27th, You. Will. Be. Powerless. http://t.co/CzXuoobl9a#AmericanBlackoutabout a day ago · 12 retweets

EnergyTopics RT @NatGeoChannel: On October 27th, You. Will. Be. Powerless. http://t.co/CzXuoobl9a#AmericanBlackoutabout a day ago · 12 retweets

jesaisquoi i totally get the marketing scheme behind #americanblackoutabout a day ago

EmergencyTpod RT @DoomsdayPrepper: On October 27th, You. Will. Be. Powerless. http://t.co/pMwZYytNqv#AmericanBlackoutabout a day ago · 9 retweets

tom_koll RT @DoomsdayPrepper: On October 27th, You. Will. Be. Powerless. http://t.co/pMwZYytNqv#AmericanBlackoutabout a day ago · 9 retweets

NaclarkTig Oh... That show isn't about a party or alcohol? Nevermind. #americanblackoutabout a day ago

NaclarkTig Just saw a commercial on NATGEO for a show called "American Blackout".... Sounds like a good weekend to me! #americanblackoutabout a day ago

19CL67 RT @FreedomPreppers: What's it like when the Power Grid goes down? Watch #AmericanBlackout On @NatGeo 9/27. http://t.co/34eVCVvEav via @Fre'...about a day ago · 1 retweet

FreedomPreppers What's it like when the Power Grid goes down? Watch #AmericanBlackout On @NatGeo 9/27. http://t.co/34eVCVvEav via @FreedomPreppers#Preppersabout a day ago · 1 retweet

PreppersGuide RT @DoomsdayPrepper: On October 27th, You. Will. Be. Powerless. http://t.co/pMwZYytNqv#AmericanBlackoutabout a day ago · 9 retweets

papercutclub#americanblackout looks interesting; once again another show about an intentional or man-made world blackout.about a day ago

Nat Geo TV BlogsShop Nat GeoAmerican Blackout Bottom Related ContentNational Geographic TV ShowsMain Footer Navigation(C) 1996''2013 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved.

VIDEO- Jon Stewart interview with Kathleen Sebelius Part 2 - YouTube

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Tue, 08 Oct 2013 21:42

VIDEO- Newtown Residents Vote To Spend 50 Million Dollars Rebuilding Sandy Hook Elementary School - YouTube

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Wed, 09 Oct 2013 21:10

VIDEO-Former Greek defence minister found guilty of corruption | euronews, world news

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Mon, 07 Oct 2013 22:04

There have been two more fatal attacks in Egypt, a day after bloody clashes left at least 50 people dead. Gunmen shot dead five soldiers sitting in a car at a checkpoint in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia. In the southern Sinai town of al Tour, two people were killed by a car'...

VIDEO-Lew: 'It's the Wrong Question' to Ask How Many People Have Signed up for Obamacare | MRCTV

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Wed, 09 Oct 2013 21:51

MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them -- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.

MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 1900 Campus Commons Drive, Reston, VA 20194. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.

Copyright (C) 2013, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.

VIDEO: 'Nobody is reading all your emails'

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Source: BBC News - Home

Wed, 09 Oct 2013 01:01

Former GCHQ Director Sir David Omand has said he believes the British public support the idea of the state monitoring communications in order to tackle and prevent terrorism and serious crime.

His comments came as the director general of MI5 Andrew Parker gave a speech in which he warned that thousands of Islamist extremists in the UK see the British public as a legitimate target for attacks.

Mr Parker said that despite huge investment over the past decade, the reality was that MI5 focused the most intense intrusive attention on only a small number of cases at any one time.

VIDEO- European Union To Vote On Reclassifying Electronic Cigarettes As A Medicine! - YouTube

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Wed, 09 Oct 2013 20:50

VIDEO- Lawsuit Claims United Nations Caused Cholera Outbreak In Haiti Then Covered It Up! - YouTube

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Wed, 09 Oct 2013 20:36

VIDEO- Attorney Explains Class Action Lawsuit Against United Nations For Bringing Cholera To Haiti - YouTube

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Wed, 09 Oct 2013 20:34

Greek archbishop suspected of sexual harassment

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Source: ynet - News

Wed, 09 Oct 2013 20:25

Police question Elias Chacour, head of Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Israel, over lewd acts he allegedly committed five years ago Eli Senyor

Elias Chacour, the archbishop of Akko, Haifa, Nazareth and all of Galilee of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church is suspected of sexually harassing a woman who works in the community he heads, Ynet learned on Wednesday.

Earlier this week Chacour was questioned under caution for a number of hours. He was released on bail under restricting conditions.

Related stories:

According to the police, the incident in question took place some five years ago and they are not aware of any others.

The woman filed the compliant some two years ago, but due to the suspect's status, various law enforcement agencies had to give their authorization before an investigation was launched.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein approved the investigation against Chacour, which is headed by Israel Police's National Fraud Unit. The archbishop reportedly cooperated with the investigators but has denied the allegations. The investigators, however, found the complainant's version to be credible.

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VIDEO-Wasserman Schultz: "Unfair" To Ask For Obamacare Enrollment Numbers Right Now | RealClearPolitics

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Wed, 09 Oct 2013 20:13

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) gave a long, rambling and incoherent answer when asked by an MSNBC host what the Obamacare enrollment numbers are and why the rollout was disastrous. Wasserman Schultz said it would be "unfair" to ask for enrollment numbers right now given that the rollout is set to last 180 days.

THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC: So how would you respond to the messaging and the criticism that there has been about the rollout of Obamacare, the access to the exchanges, the glitches in the system that do exist and the fact that there isn't any hard data? Even though the government is not running the actual insurance exchanges, it is running the rollout and should be able to provide every curious American about the data and certainly journalists about the data of how many people are actually signing up accessing Obamacare. So where is that number?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL): So clearly we're eight days in and to be insisting on data being produced day by day for a six-month enrollment program is a little bit unfair. And, you know, the good news that came out of this problem and HHS has acknowledged that there's obviously been some technological problems with the server, but the good news out of that is that the servers were apparently designed to anticipate about 50,000 people a day going on the website and moving around and they -- it turns out it's been 250,000 a day. So it's very clear that there is demand.

It's also clear that they need to fix those technological bugs. I don't know any software program or app, for that matter, by any high-tech company that doesn't have bugs and fixes that need to be made in the first few days of the rollout. And so that's why, in part, there's a six-month enrollment plan. So what the analogy that I've used repeatedly is that the Republicans, because they don't like their kitchen redesign, are trying to burn their house down. And that's what they're doing by trying to take the government down with them and our economy.

We need and we've acknowledged all along, like we've done for more than 200 years, Thomas, if there are problems that arise through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which inevitably with a change this big there will be, we need to work together to fix those. What the Republicans are trying to do, they don't really want to fix the problems. They don't even acknowledge or agree that everyone should have access in America to quality, affordable health care. That is the rub.

And they don't accept that President Obama was re-elected last November. It is time to work together and move on. even Al Gore, who didn't -- who vehemently disagreed with the Supreme Court decision that made George W. Bush president in 2000 accepted that the Supreme Court's ruling was the final say and moved on. And the country moved on. That's what our democracy is all about. We have to work together, accept when we win and accept when we lose and work together to move our democracy forward. The Republicans are controlled by extremists.

VIDEO-DC Unarmed Woman Murdered '-- The Most Controversial Footage

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Wed, 09 Oct 2013 14:40

The best compilation yet of the most controversial footage, proof that we are being lied to. This woman was murdered in cold blood. Will her family ever find justice? This footage shows that there was a second adult in the car. It also shows that her car had no front or rear damage which is odd considering she supposedly drove into concrete barriers by the White House. Why did the cops kill her when they could have just tased her? A witness came out on CNN and said that she saw the cops pull the child out of the car right before they opened fire. How can ANYONE justify this? Some could say that she broke the law but since when was the death penalty proper justice? We hope you can manage to rest in peace Miriam Carey. We're going to do our best to help you try!

Click below to see the other video that was posted the other day, revealing MANY oddities about the incident including a claim by someone close suggesting that she may have been a victim of ''radio waves'' and the fact that she was on TWO different type of psychotropic drugs, which are known to have side effects such as murder and suicide. Nearly all mass-shooters are on these same types of prescribed drugs.http://majormindjob.com/fox-news-admits-woman-gunned-down-in-dc-possible-victim-of-mk-ultra-mind-control-video/

VIDEO-Capitol Hill shooting eyewitness describes the scene '' The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer - CNN.com Blogs

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Tue, 08 Oct 2013 21:17

StephenSo she crashed her car, police rush the vehicle, remove the baby, and then fill an unarmed mother full of bullets...Wow...And this is the United States of America? This country is turning into a dictatorship faster than it takes Obama to spend 9 trillion dollars. Its obvious the woman panicked when all the guns were drawn on her. She had her baby in the car...My wife would have done the same thing. She turned around and left the scene as quickly as possible trying to protect her baby. She gets shot, crashes, Then, they take her baby and shoot her many more times just to make sure she was dead.

It just doesn't make sense...

October 5, 2013 at 4:01 am | Reply

VIDEO- Interview with Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR) Ross Ulricht of The Silk Road - YouTube

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Mon, 07 Oct 2013 20:54