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 21 
 on: Today at 04:48 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Light-bending technique helps scientists find planets orbiting two suns

A newly confirmed star system helps validate the use of the microlensing technique in the search for other worlds.

By Lonnie Shekhtman, Staff September 26, 2016

A technique that allows astronomers to pinpoint planets that are too far away from their suns for Earth- or space-based telescopes to identify, has confirmed a new planet that orbits two suns, or stars, in a system scientists call OGLE-2007-BLG-349.

This circumbinary planet, which means it orbits two stars, is located about 8,000 light years away, near the center of our Milky Way galaxy. It’s about 300 million miles away from its suns, which is roughly the distance from the ribbon of asteroids located between Mars and Jupiter to our sun. The two stars in this system, which are red dwarfs, or small and low energy stars, are 7 million miles apart from each other. This distance is 14 times the diameter of the moon's orbit around Earth, according to NASA.

Though the trio was first spotted in 2007 by Earth-based telescopes, astronomers could not discern the third object. "The ground-based observations suggested two possible scenarios for the three-body system: a Saturn-mass planet orbiting a close binary star pair, or a Saturn-mass and an Earth-mass planet orbiting a single star," David Bennett, a scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., said in an online announcement.

Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope observations and a promising technique that spots gravitational microlensing, or bending of light that passes between celestial objects, astronomers finally were able to determine that the third object they had identified was indeed a star. When light from one star is bent and amplified as it aligns with its partner star while the second one momentarily passes in front of it during its orbit, like a magnifying glass passing in front of an object, this is called microlensing. By looking at how the light bends and thus distorts the image of the objects around it during microlensing events, astronomers can glean information about those objects.

Hubble observations revealed that the light coming from this newly discovered system was too faint to be coming from a single star. The level of brightness Hubble recorded is associated most closely with two red dwarf stars orbiting close to each other.

“So the model with two stars and one planet is the only one consistent with the Hubble data,” Dr. Bennett said in the NASA announcement.

These types of star pairs, or binary stars, are common throughout the galaxy, as Universe Today points out. Scientists estimate that half the stars are actually duos, which could mean that about half of exoplanets, or planets that orbit stars other than our sun, could be circumbinary. According to Universe Today, only about 10 circumbinary planets have been discovered so far out of the more than 3,000 exoplanets that have been confirmed.

These have been discovered by NASA's planet-hunting telescope Kepler and are all much closer to their stars than the one spotted by Hubble.

But microlensing could open the door to many more discoveries, scientists hope. “Now that the team has shown that microlensing can successfully detect planets orbiting double-star systems, Hubble could provide an essential role in this new realm in the continued search for exoplanets,” the NASA statement says.

 22 
 on: Today at 04:46 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
+Stephen Hawking warning: If aliens call, should we answer?

Stephen Hawking once more warns that “meeting an advanced civilization could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus — that didn’t turn out so well.”

By Christina Beck, Staff September 26, 2016

Stephen Hawking, perhaps the world’s best-known cosmologist, theoretical physicist and author, has once again issued a warning on Earth’s search for extraterrestrial life, repeating his advice that humans should think twice before we make contact.

Dr. Hawking expressed his concerns on a newly released 25-minute online film called "Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places," in which he takes viewers on a virtual tour of his five favorite places in the universe. As the camera peers into black holes and looks at star systems on the program, Hawking cautions that while life might be out there, it might not be a pleasant thing for humanity to discover.

“We should be wary of answering back,” Hawking said, echoing sentiments he has previously expressed.  “Meeting an advanced civilization could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus — that didn’t turn out so well.”

Although Hawking has long supported the search for life outside our own planet, he has remained cautious through the years, repeatedly warning that if we encounter life elsewhere, there is a good chance that the life we encounter might not be the best kind of neighbor.

“We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet,” Hawking told The Times of London in 2010, adding that: 

“I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach.”

Nevertheless, Hawking is an enthusiastic researcher, ever expressing curiosity in the possible worlds beyond our solar system.

In Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places, released on the online platform Curiosity Stream, he brings viewers to the planet Gliese 832c, located about 16 light years away from our own planet in the constellation Grus. Currently, Gliese 832c is one of the best candidates to date for life outside of Earth.

“It’s a breathtaking sight, a super-Earth five times more massive than ours,” Hawking tells viewers.

There are various efforts underway in the search for life beyond this planet - ranging from NASA's Mars mission to the three-decade old Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute in Mountain View, Calif.

Another recently launched initiative, sponsored in part by Hawking himself, is searching for signs of communication from outer space.

"There is no bigger question. It's time to commit to finding the answer – to search for life beyond Earth," said Hawking at the launch of the $100 million Breakthrough Listen project, though he remained cautious about contact with other civilizations.

Sponsored by Hawking, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, Breakthrough Listen project would send thousands of postage stamp sized nanobots through the universe, propelled by light.

While any civilization spotted could be thousands of years ahead of humans, in terms of technology and understanding, and therefore dangerous, Hawking is nevertheless interested in seeing just how much humanity can discover. And, he notes, we might need to look beyond our Earth for survival.

"The Earth is a wonderful place, but it might not last forever," Hawking at a Breakthrough Listen press conference this spring. "Sooner or later we must look to the stars. Breakthrough Starshot is a very exciting first step on that journey."

"The limit that confronts us now is the great void between us and the stars," he added. "But now we can transcend it, with light beams, light sails, and the lightest spacecraft ever built. Today we commit to this next great leap into the cosmos, because we are human and our nature is to fly."

 23 
 on: Today at 04:43 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
September 26, 2016

SpaceX discovers the cause of their rocket’s explosion

by Chuck Bednar
Red Orbit

A “large breach” in the upper stage helium pressurization system caused a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster to explode earlier this month, destroying both the rocket and its $200 million satellite payload,  the California-based aerospace firm has announced.

According to USA Today and Spaceflight Now, a preliminary internal investigation conducted with the assistance of US Air Force, Federal Aviation Administration, and industry officials has determined that a breach of the cryogenic helium system of the second stage liquid oxygen tank took place. The cause of that breach remains unknown at this point, investigators said.

In an update posted to the company’s website, SpaceX said that the even thought the timeline of the September 1 incident was “extremely short – from first signs of an anomaly to loss of data is about 93 milliseconds or less than 1/10th of a second,” the investigative team had reviewed more than 3,000 channels of engineering data along with audio, video and images of the blast.

A review of that data, along with debris that had been recovered an inspected, “suggests that a large breach in the cryogenic helium system of the second stage liquid oxygen tank took place,” the company said. “All plausible causes are being tracked... carefully investigated.”

Company could resume spaceflight as early as November

Earlier this month, SpaceX chief Elon Musk said that he would not rule out the possibility that something had struck the rocket, according to USA Today. The Falcon 9 was being fueled for a test-firing of its nine primary engines prior to the scheduled satellite launch, they added.

SpaceX officials have said that “safely and reliably” returning the Falcon 9 booster to regular use was the investigation’s top priority, Spaceflight  Now said. Thus far, the investigation discovered “substantial” damage to some areas of the pad systems, but the Falcon Support Building adjacent to the pad and the liquid oxygen tanks and plumbing were unaffected, the company noted.

“The RP-1 (kerosene) fuel farm was also largely unaffected,” SpaceX said, and the pad’s control systems were also said to be “in relatively good condition.” Most of the firm’s other facilities are located several miles away, they noted, meaning that they were also unaffected.

At this point, no timetable has been set for when repairs at the launch pad will be complete, USA Today noted, so in the meantime, SpaceX plans to use facilities at nearby Kennedy Space Center. They hope to have that launch pad ready for use by the end of November, although it is currently unclear if the company plans to conduct their next launch in Florida or California.

“Our manufacturing and production is continuing in a methodical manner, with teams continuing to build engines, tanks, and other systems as they are exonerated from the investigation,” SpaceX explained. “We will work to resume our manifest as quickly as responsible once the cause of the anomaly has been identified,” they added. “Pending the results of the investigation, we anticipate returning to flight as early as the November timeframe.”

 24 
 on: Sep 25, 2016, 08:18 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by dollydaydream
Kristin, thank you for the further clarification of skipped steps.

 25 
 on: Sep 24, 2016, 04:32 PM 
Started by Rad - Last post by The Otherside
When ever I feel lost I turn to the paridym of JWG and I'm instantly soothed... It's like a lullaby to my Soul... Thank you  Smiley

Heather

 26 
 on: Sep 24, 2016, 10:46 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by ari moshe
Thanks for sharing this Rad.

 27 
 on: Sep 24, 2016, 09:21 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Superbugs evolve in waste water, and could end up in our food

The Conversation
24 Sep 2016 at 10:37 ET                   

We are heading into a post-antibiotic era, where common infections could once again be deadly. A phenomenon known as antimicrobial resistance threatens the heart of modern medicine.

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when an antibiotic cannot do its job: killing bacteria. Bacteria become “resistant” to the drugs and continue to reproduce even at high dosages.

This is already happening. We are failing to treat infections, and patients are forced to stay longer in care facilities to overcome them. By 2050, antimicrobial resistance will cause ten million human fatalities annually and lead to a US$100 trillion loss in GDP worldwide.

The misuse and overuse of antibiotics in human medicine and animal husbandry to treat bacterial infections or to promote growth are placing our well-being at risk.

This is why global leaders gathered at the United Nations General Assembly this week to discuss the problem, and accepted an action plan to address it. To date, the only other health topics discussed at this level are HIV, non-communicable diseases and Ebola.

What’s the big deal?

Everywhere in the world, common infections are becoming resistant to the antimicrobial drugs used to treat them. Urinary tract infections and sexually transmittable diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis, once curable with antibiotics, are now highly resistant. Few or none of the antibiotics are effective any more. Put simply, this means longer illnesses and more deaths.

Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies are not showing enough interest in new drug discovery because often the time necessary for a strain of bacteria to develop resistance is shorter than the time needed to test and validate new drugs.

What can the UN achieve?

Implementing change is not possible without concerted action from all states. The meeting in New York is perfectly timed to escalate the issue to a level that befits the magnitude of the problem.

Action to change how antibiotics are used requires proper monitoring. No single country will be able help without coordination from international organisations. To help, the UN should ask for support from member states on data and awareness.

International regulations should be adopted immediately by member states and legally binding global surveillance requested. There is no time to wait – antibiotic resistance is a real threat and is fast reaching the point of no return.

Still missing from the picture

While the conversation on antibiotic resistance has started, one part of the story has not been highlighted. The risks to human and ecosystem health are strongly connected to poor water quality.

After we take an antibiotic to treat bacterial infections, the resistant bacteria in our bodies are excreted, and eventually reach a wastewater treatment plant. Sewers and treatment plants are the principal collectors of household and hospital waste, where mixtures of different types of bacteria create the optimal conditions for the spread of antibiotic resistance genes between bacteria.

Treatment plants bridge the gap between human and natural environments, so both resistant and non-resistant bacteria are able to reach the freshwater ecosystem. Studying wastewater represents a critical part of understanding the spread of antibiotic resistance, especially if treated wastewater is used as reclaimed water. With treated wastewater increasingly being used in agriculture to achieve sustainable water management in arid regions, resistant bacteria may find its way into our food as well.

What is required is a shift from a human health perspective to a systems perspective, taking into account these important environmental aspects.
Where do we go from here?

The action plan from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and World Health Organization declares that the health of all forms of life and the health of the environment are interconnected.

Taking it one step further, the strategy adopted for human and animal health should also include special regard to wastewater.

Water governs most of our activities, and only a comprehensive approach is capable of building an effective global resilience to this problem. By including wastewater to the global action plan, we might be able to slow down the process of developing and spread antibiotic resistance.

While we advocate for awareness, policy, and global standards, at the individual level, you can also take action. At your next doctor’s visit, be informed about antibiotics and take them only with prescription, and only if really necessary.

The Conversation

Serena Caucci, Researcher, United Nations University

 28 
 on: Sep 24, 2016, 08:44 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Kristin
Hi All,

I would like to offer some further thoughts on the nature of skipped steps, and how it can manifest in people's lives.  One of the trickiest, and as a result, the most challenging turns one experiences when working through skipped steps is the feeling that the Soul has resolved what it has needed to, only to come to discover there are remaining remnants of more which is similar to pulling a weed out of the ground, and not getting all the way down to the bottom of its roots, it will undoubtedly return.

The Soul can be under the illusion that they are done, because in truth, the Soul may really desire to be done, but if there is anything left, it will keep repeating whether they want it to be done or not. It will always reveal the truth of where the Soul sits in this process. In other words, if the skipped step are truly resolved the Soul will simply not create any further circumstances which reflect what those skipped steps have been about. If such circumstances continue to manifest, in one form or way after the other, then those skipped steps have not been resolved. This can be very, very tricky because of the previous dynamics within the Soul that has caused the skipped steps in the first place.

Also, almost inevitably, when any Soul experiences a quantum leap in their personal evolution, a true feeling of release from the hard past, there will be something on the heels of the good growth that tries to undermine the positive steps taken. This in itself becomes yet another challenge. While this occurs for all Souls whether one is dealing with skipped steps or not, this experience can be particularly intense for someone with this signature because the groove in the record of resistance can be so deep, and the tendency to fall back on old patterns can be so tempting and fierce. Self determination will be essential and must become the Soul's front line of attack, especially when the Soul feels like forward steps taken may feel to be lost. It is in those moments when the Soul turns and faces the TRUTH of what it needs, with the inner gates wide open, that an acceleration of the Soul's evolution can take place, a true freedom feeling like no other.

It is important to remember that everything unresolved will be carried forward. If the Soul is not successful in getting all the way under the repeating theme, which will require the individual to EMOTIONALLY work all the way through this dynamic, it will be carried into the next, which is why it can take lifetimes to work through.

As it relates to the example that Rad shared here with Venus in the 7th square the Nodes, South Node in the 4th and North Node in the 10th, this Soul will continue to pull in relationships where they are forever feeling thrown back upon themselves, also in cases where they may feel they are giving more than they are getting, and that painful feeling of 'expectations not met' presents let down after let down. This Soul has set this up so they are forced to inwardly mature, to establish their own inner sense of security versus feeling as if thy need to be filled up by another, leaning too heavily on parents or partners for sustenance and comfort.

The very nature of the type of Soul this person will be attracting will force this theme to repeat BECAUSE of the very energy of NEED that the Soul is emanating. The Soul has no choice but to look TO and lean ON themselves. In time, through repeated experiences along these lines, the inner growth can occur as the Soul creates a new groove for itself, the Soul turns IN for strength versus looking OUTside of themselves for someone to complete them or to fix a feeling.

The true marker of knowing that growth has been gained in this case is for the Soul to carry an energy that says, "I do not need you to feel happy or whole, I am whole unto myself, I am here because I want to be, not out of need." At this point, the types of relationships this Soul would then be pulling in will be rooted far more in equality, because of the inner balance that has been established. While the balance does not occur over night, so too will this Soul be experiencing a progression of evolution in terms of the nature of the relationships that they call in.

If that same old theme stops repeating, the Soul will know it is well on its way.

Peace,
Kristin

 29 
 on: Sep 24, 2016, 06:20 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
U.S. Elections

The lies Trump told this week: drugs are a 'big factor' in North Carolina protests

From touting the successes of stop and frisk in New York to the state of African American communities across the US, here’s a fact check of Trump’s statements

Alan Yuhas
Guardian
Friday 23 September 2016 15.37 BST

“That was never said, you know that.” – 22 September, Philadelphia.

Only a few hours before he visited Geno’s Steaks in South Philadelphia, Trump told a crowd – and rolling cameras – in Pittsburgh that “drugs are a very, very big factor in what you’re watching on television at night”, referring to riots against police abuses in Charlotte, North Carolina, the night before.

He denied having said this to a reporter who asked him about it in Philadelphia. He added, as if in support of his original statement: “Drugs are a big problem all over the country. They’re flowing in like never before. Drugs are a big, big problem.”

“I think stop and frisk, in New York City, it was so incredible, the way it worked. Now, we had a very good mayor. But New York City was incredible the way it worked.” – 21 September, on Fox News.
Who supports Donald Trump? The new Republican center of gravity
Read more

The controversial police tactic of stop and frisk, which became a hallmark of New York policing through the mayorships of Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, has landed the city in federal court, where a judge ruled it unconstitutional. One research paper, unpublished through peer review, found modest drops in some crimes. A second paper, published through peer review, found problems in the first study and “few significant effects” of the tactic.

A New York Civil Liberties Union report, on 12 years’ worth of police data, found young black and Hispanic men were targeted for stops at a vastly higher proportion than white men: more than half the people searched were black and about 30% were Hispanic. Among more than 5m stops during the Bloomberg administration, police found a gun less than 0.02% of the time, according to the report. NYPD records between 2004 and 2012 show similar figures: in 4.4m stops, weapons were seized from 1.0% of black people, 1.1% from Hispanic people and 1.4% of white people.

New York’s long-term decline in crime rates began before Giuliani took office in the 1994, and its causes were and are diverse: data-driven policing with the Compstat system, the growth of the police force by 35% over the decade, incarceration increases by 24%, and the 39% unemployment decline that matched with national economic growth. Not even the loudest supporters of stop and frisk, including Bloomberg, whose last term Trump has called “a disaster”, have argued the tactic alone reduced crime to its current lows.

Trump also told Fox and Friends stop-and-frisk would let police “look and they will take the gun away” from people, which seems to fly in the face of his avowed support for gun rights for legal owners by ceding authority to police to decide “who shouldn’t be having a gun”.

“Our African American communities are absolutely in the worst shape they’ve ever been in before, ever, ever, ever.” – 20 September, Kenansville, North Carolina.

This statement defies most of American history, and if meant to refer to the past 50 years it is still wrong by most if not all metrics. Trump’s surrogates have argued that his use of the word “ever” did not actually include the history of slavery, Jim Crow laws, the Great Depression and segregation – nearly two full centuries from 1776 through the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1968.

Data on employment, education and health show empirical evidence for the persistent reality of discrimination against black Americans, but also show major gains in the last few decades. In 2015, black people earned just 75% as much as whites in median hourly earnings, whether full- or part-time, according to a Pew Research analysis. The black unemployment rate in August 2016 was 8.1%, compared with 4.4% for white people, but still lower than for most of the last 40 years. Black life expectancy has increased from the mid-30s around 1900 to the mid-70s in 2016, according to the CDC. Education rates have similarly increased in the last 40 years, according to the census.

“Fifty-eight percent of African American youth are not working. Can’t get a job.” 16 September 2016, Miami.

The August unemployment rate for African Americans aged 16-19 was 26.1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For young black people in a slightly wider age range, the rate was 20.6% in July, compared with 9.9% of young white people.

Trump may have used a statistic called the “employment-population ratio”, which was 45.2% in August for black people aged 16-24, but this figure includes everyone, including high school and college students who aren’t looking for work. The ratio for white people in this group was 54.2% in August. Trump ignores who is looking for work and who is not.

“It can’t get any worse. The crime. The jobs. No jobs. Worst education. More unsafe. You go to Afghanistan, right? We hear Afghanistan. I mean, we have cities that are far more dangerous than Afghanistan. Inner cities.” – 16 September 2016, Miami.

Trump often cites Chicago’s shooting crisis as evidence that the US is plagued by dangerous crime, but even that city, which has the most homicides in the US, does not compare to Afghanistan. In 2015, Chicago had 2,988 people who were victims of gun violence, according to the Chicago Tribune, and 488 homicides in all. The city has more than 500 homicides so far this year, per the paper, and more than 2,100 victims of gun violence.

In Afghanistan between January and June 2016, 1,601 civilians have been killed and 3,565 injured, according to the United Nations. The figures include 388 killed and 1,121 injured children. The UN reported 3,545 civilians killed and 7,457 injured in 2015. More than 80,000 people have been displaced by violence this year. The US and Afghan forces control only about 70% of the country, while the Taliban and militants control the other 30%, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff told the Senate on Thursday.

“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy.” – 16 September, Washington DC.

There is no evidence that Clinton or her campaign had anything to do with the false rumors that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, nor did Clinton have anything to do with Donald Trump’s five years of questions about birth certificates, which he finally recanted last Friday.

Trump’s campaign has tried to blame several people who were, if at all, tangentially related to the Clinton campaign. A former aide named Mark Penn wrote a 2007 memo that Obama’s “lack of American roots” could “hold him back”. But he added: “We are never going to say anything about his background.” The Clinton campaign never acted on his advice, and he was dismissed in April 2008.

Some Clinton supporters have been blamed over anonymous chain emails questioning Obama’s citizenship, but none of the rumormongers were linked to the campaign. Philip Berg, a former Pennsylvania official who supported Clinton, filed a lawsuit in 2008 over Obama’s birth certificate; the suit was thrown out because it was groundless. Sidney Blumenthal, an old friend of the Clintons who frequently sent them unsolicited advice, reportedly asked reporters to investigate Obama’s birth, but he has denied this and denounced the conspiracy.

As fellow fact-checkers at Politifact have noted, a Texas volunteer for Clinton named Linda Starr eventually joined Berg’s failed lawsuit; there is nothing to suggest Starr had any influence in the campaign at any level. Campaign volunteers who forwarded emails falsely alleging Obama is Muslim resigned when they were found out.


***************

‘You want to punch his face’: New ad full of sexist Trump quotes leaves Morning Joe panel seething

Brad Reed
RAW STORY
23 Sep 2016 at 09:51 ET                   

The Clinton campaign put out a new ad this week called “Mirrors” that shows young women looking at themselves in the mirror while clips of Donald Trump saying horribly sexist things play in the background.

Past Trump quotes played in the ad include:

    “I’d look her right in that fat, ugly face of hers.”
    “She’s a slob, she ate like a pig.”
    “A person who is flat-chested, it’s very hard to be a 10.”

At the end, the ad asks people to consider, “Is this the president we want for our daughters?”

MSNBC’s Morning Joe panel showed the ad this morning and they thought it was very effective — so effective, in fact, that some panelists had a visceral reaction to it.

“You grow up as a young girl and a young woman in America, and the first thing that you’re hit with as a girl is all those types of things,” said co-host Mika Brzezinski. “And it hurts.”

Panelist Donny Deutsch took things a step further.

“You want to punch him in that ad,” he said. “You want to literally punch his face… to me, the biggest concern about a Trump presidency, beyond the nuclear codes, is how does it set up for our behavior?… He is setting the mark for what is appropriate, acceptable and even aspirational behavior.”

New York Times reporter Nick Confessore’s reaction to the ad wasn’t quite as violent as Deutsch’s, but it was still very direct.

“I have two daughters, I feel that ad right here,” he said while pointing at his heart.

Click to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZueTaJO0pWg

*************

New bombshell: Trump committed perjury or lied about trying to bribe Jeb — ‘there’s no third option’

Newsweek
23 Sep 2016 at 13:24 ET   

Donald Trump committed perjury. Or he looked into the faces of the Republican faithful and knowingly lied. There is no third option.

It has become an accepted reality of this presidential campaign that Trump spins a near-endless series of falsehoods. For months, the media has struggled with this unprecedented situation—a candidate who, unlike other politicians who stretch the truth, simply creates his own reality. Trumps regularly peddles “facts” that aren’t true, describes events that never happened or denies engaging in actions that everyone saw him do. He utters his falsehoods so fast that before reporters have the chance to correct one, he has tossed out five or six more.

This time, it is different. Trump can’t skip past his perfidy here. There are two records—one, a previously undisclosed deposition of the Republican nominee testifying under oath, and the second a transcript/video of a Republican presidential debate. In them, Trump tells contradictory versions of the same story with the clashing accounts tailored to provide what he wanted people to believe when he was speaking.

This fib matters far more than whether Trump was honest about why he abandoned his birther movement or the corollary fib that Hillary Clinton started the racist story that President Obama was born in Kenya. In the lie we are examining here, Trump either committed a felony or proved himself willing to deceive his followers whenever it suits him.

Trump told the public version of this story last year, during the second Republican presidential debate.

Trump had been boasting for weeks at his rallies that he knew the political system better than anyone, because he had essentially bought off politicians for decades by giving them campaign contributions when he wanted something. He also proclaimed that only he—as an outsider who had participated in such corruption of American democracy at a high level—could clean it up. During the September 2015 debate, one of Trump’s rivals, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, verified Trump’s claim, saying the billionaire had tried to buy him off with favors and contributions when he was Florida’s governor.

"The one guy that had some special interests that I know of that tried to get me to change my views on something—that was generous and gave me money—was Donald Trump,” Bush said. “He wanted casino gambling in Florida."

Trump interrupted Bush:

Trump: I didn’t—

Bush: Yes, you did.

Trump: Totally false.

Bush: You wanted it, and you didn’t get it, because I was opposed to—

Trump: I would have gotten it.

Bush: Casino gambling before—

Trump: I promise, I would have gotten it.

Bush: During and after. I’m not going to be bought by anybody.

Trump: I promise, if I wanted it, I would have gotten it.

Bush: No way. Believe me.

Trump: I know my people.

Bush: Not even possible.

Trump: I know my people.

If Trump was telling the truth that night, so be it. But if he was lying, what was his purpose? His “If I wanted it, I would have gotten it,” line may be a hint. Contrary to his many vague stories on the campaign trail about being a cash-doling political puppet master, this story has a name, a specific goal and ends in failure. If Bush was telling the truth, then Trump would have had to admit he lost a round and, as he assured the audience, that would not have happened. When he wants something, he gets it.

But that wasn’t the point he needed to make in 2007. The deposition was part of a lawsuit he’d filed against Richard Fields, who Trump had hired to manage the expansion of his casino business into Florida. In the suit, Trump claimed that Fields had quit and taken all of the information he obtained while working for Trump to another company. Under oath, Trump said he did want to get into casino gambling in Florida but didn’t because he had been cheated by Fields.

A lawyer asked Trump, “Did you yourself do anything to obtain any of the details with respect to the Florida gaming environment, what approvals were needed and so forth?”

Trump: A little bit.

Lawyer: What did you do?

Trump: I actually spoke with Governor-Elect Bush; I had a big fundraiser for Governor-Elect Bush…and I think it was his most successful fundraiser, the most successful that he had had up until that point, that was in Trump Tower in New York on Fifth Avenue.

Lawyer: When was that?

Trump: Sometime prior to his election.

Lawyer: You knew that Governor Bush, Jeb Bush at that time, was opposed to expansion of gaming in Florida, didn't you?

Trump: I thought that he could be convinced otherwise.

Lawyer: But you didn't change his mind about his anti-gaming stance, did you?

Trump: Well, I never really had that much of an opportunity because Fields resigned, telling me you could never get what we wanted done, only to do it for another company.

One of these stories is a lie—a detailed, self-serving fabrication. But unlike the mountain of other lies he has told, this time the character trait that leads to Trump’s mendacity is on full display: He makes things up when he doesn’t want to admit he lost.

Assume the story he told at the debate is the lie. Even though Bush’s story reinforced what Trump was saying at rallies—he had played the “cash for outcomes” political game for years—he could not admit he had tried to do the same in Florida because he could not bring himself to say that he had lost. Instead, he looked America in the eye and lied. And then he felt compelled to stack on another boast: His people are so wonderful that they would have gotten casino gambling in Florida, regardless of Bush’s opposition—if Trump had wanted it.

Now consider the other option, that Trump committed perjury in the 2007 testimony. There, he admitted pushing for casino gambling in Florida, but said he would have gotten what he wanted if he hadn’t been tricked by Fields. The rationale for the perjurious testimony is simple—Trump wants money from a man who stopped working for him and, once again, the story lets him deny he is anything less than perfect.

No question, these two stories must be investigated if there is ever a President Trump. In their impeachment of President Bill Clinton for lying under oath about an extramarital affair, Republicans established the standard that failing to tell the truth while testifying—even in the most understandable of circumstances—rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. Surely perjury for pecuniary purposes or to inflate one’s self-image cannot be ignored.

Finally, the lie here matters because it shows how shameless Trump is and how reckless. He told this lie even though he knew he was standing next to a credible witness—Bush—who could contradict him, and gambled that no one would discover his sworn testimony.

Trump’s penchant for this type of baldfaced lying could undermine American foreign policy—when he meets with a foreign official, will he try to deceive the world about what happened? That question already came into play in early September when Trump flew to Mexico to talk with that country’s president in a bizarre publicity stunt. He came out of the meeting and declared the two had never discussed his signature issue—that he would compel the Mexican government to pay for a wall along America’s southern border. Before an hour passed, a Mexican official declared that Trump’s statement was false, and that President Enrique Peña Nieto had told the Republican nominee that his country would never pony up the cash for the wall. Either Trump lied or Peña Nieto did. The government of Mexico—one of America’s most important trading partners and allies—knows whether a President Trump will be trustworthy or will lie out of convenience, on matters large or small. Shouldn’t the American public know the same before it votes in November?

Trump must be called upon to answer the troubling questions raised by the episode regarding Bush and gambling in Florida: Is the Republican nominee a perjurer or just a liar? If he refuses to answer—just as he has refused to address almost every other question about his character and background—Trump supporters must carefully consider whether they want to vote for a man who at best has treated them like fools over the past year, and who at worst, committed a crime

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 on: Sep 24, 2016, 06:10 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Political violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – in pictures

Guardian
9/24/2016

Police and demonstrators have clashed in the DRC in the latest round of violence sparked by an ongoing political crisis in the troubled central African state. President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled since 2001, is banned under the constitution from running again but has given no inclination he will stand down in December

Friday 23 September 2016

Click to view: https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2016/sep/23/political-violence-in-the-democratic-republic-of-the-congo-in-pictures

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