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« Reply #1395 on: Aug 30, 2018, 04:44 AM »

I’ve worn a hijab for decades. Here’s why I took it off

A Muslim woman walks along Coney Island Avenue in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By Saba Ali Freelance journalist
WA Post

For a minute, it felt good, even thrilling, to walk down Main Street exposed. I zipped past the family-friendly brunch district, footloose and fancy free.

I’m a Muslim woman who’s worn a head covering for more than two decades, and I had decided to take my headscarf off for one sunny morning.

Something about showing off my hair to the world made me walk a little taller, with confidence and a devil-may-care attitude. Strolling into a local cafe in Upstate New York, running my fingers through my freshly blown locks, it was as if I were starring in my own Pantene commercial.

But no one looked. There were no sideways glances or quizzical stares. Without my hijab wrapped around my head and pinned tightly under my chin, I was nothing special. I no longer stood out as the oddity or the outsider. Without that thin piece of fabric, I was just like everyone else waiting in line, blending into the background with my Americano and blueberry muffin.

I don’t know what I expected that morning, my trial run at life without the scarf. Would I get struck down by lightning? Would there be applause? Would I be any less Muslim? Or just more me?

Despite chafing under its weight for a couple of years now, the headscarf has always been my choice. My mom doesn’t cover, and my older sister unscarfed years ago. The reasons I started covering in high school were a mix of Koranic scripture and excuses to skip swim practice. But today, in a country where Islamophobia is so rampant, the choice to continue has felt masochistic at times.

Hijab was my version of teenage rebellion. The brazen act pushed an acne-prone, knobby-kneed, shy, brown-skinned girl into the spotlight. Covering gave me permission and sometimes little choice but to speak out, to represent myself and my faith.

In class, I didn’t hesitate to debate my social studies teacher over a line in our textbook stating that my religion was spread by the sword. Before, I wouldn’t have even raised my hand. He didn’t agree with me, but I got points for speaking up. In volleyball, my teammates and I pushed our coach to break with dress-code rules and allow me to play in a headscarf and leggings. At parties, I laughed louder and smiled wider to show that Muslim girls just wanna have fun, too.

The attention brought out my inner narcissist. After college, my first job was at a renowned Manhattan-based feminist magazine. I went after that position not because I wanted to work for women like Gloria Steinem but because I wanted to challenge their perception of feminism. After 9/11, I fought my parents to keep wearing the headscarf. They feared for my safety.

But while the hijab can help make a woman, it can break her, too.

Covering was the perfect facade to hide my insecurities and depression. The busier I was breaking societal stereotypes, the better I was at avoiding cracks in my personal life. The self-imposed pressure to represent Islam and be an example of a “good” and accomplished Muslim was relentless. I worked long hours as a journalist, laughing off comments about being a diversity hire while quietly doubting my value and talent. I found myself emphasizing external practices such as hijab, even when my prayers were distracted and I wasn’t growing spiritually.

I’m a Muslim, not a terrorist. So why did the NYPD spy on me for years?

While I have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and run a half-marathon, life under the hood started to wear me down, like a second force of gravity on my shoulders. My presence felt like a never-ending public-service announcement. At parties, strangers confused small talk for arguments about feminism and politics. Muslims and non-Muslims alike would drop one-liners about not needing to wear their faith on their sleeves, or how religion is a root cause of global conflict. Sometimes a girl just wants to talk about the latest episode of “Game of Thrones.”

Often, I couldn’t argue back, even if I felt like it, because I had more questions than answers myself, especially about the sometimes unnecessary emphasis Muslims place on the headscarf. The Koran does instruct women to cover our bodies out of modesty, and the sayings of the prophet Muhammad specify that we cover our hair and, some say, our faces, too. But modesty is a moving target, and men often define its parameters. As I learned about the diverse range of interpretations, it felt more of a disservice to give easy, one-size-fits-all answers. I didn’t struggle as much with not having all the answers as with not having the right ones for me.

Honest faith has always been slippery. There are days when my hijabi self can take on the world and days when I just want to let it all go. If I chose to take off the hijab, I wouldn’t be the first in my circle to do so. Aside from my older sister, some of my closest friends have also descarfed. They chose to unwrap for reasons I couldn’t argue with: to protect their children from hate and because they weren’t convinced of its religious mandate anymore.

But for me, after that fleeting morning of scarf-less existence, I chose to keep covering.

Lightning did strike that day: I realized I missed being the girl in the headscarf. Uncovering wouldn’t be as simple as just having one less accessory to worry about before leaving the house. To expose myself would mean giving up the me that I am today. I would have to unravel the past 25 years, and I’m not ready for that yet — to stand for something less than my faith.

But there was comfort in taking that walk, in acknowledging the jagged, imperfect edges of my religious practice and in allowing myself room to breathe. So every morning since, I wrap the piece of fabric around my face, an unspoken promise to continue challenging myself, held together by straight pins and a sometimes fragile faith.

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« Reply #1396 on: Aug 30, 2018, 04:48 AM »

Demonetisation drive that cost India 1.5m jobs fails to uncover 'black money'

Costly banknote recall did not flush out untaxed wealth, as PM Narendra Modi had promised

Michael Safi in Delhi
Thu 30 Aug 2018 06.25 BST

More than 99% of the currency that India declared void in a surprise announcement in 2016 was returned to the country’s banks in subsequent weeks, according to a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) report.

The figures suggest prime minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation policy, which likely wiped at least 1% from the country’s GDP and cost at least 1.5m jobs, failed to wipe significant hordes of unaccounted wealth from the Indian economy — a key rationale for the move.

Modi shocked Indians in November 2016 when he announced on live television that all 500 and 1000-rupee notes, equivalent to about £6 and £12, would be banned in four hours’ time.

People were given several weeks to exchange their demonetised currency for new notes at banks. But new notes could not be printed fast enough, and the policy sparked a months-long currency crunch that left tens of millions of Indians cashless or standing in line for hours each day to retrieve small sums of cash.

As India’s massive informal economy reeled, Modi implored the country to give the policy time to work, arguing it would flush out untaxed wealth being hoarded by wealthy Indians, help to digitise the economy — one of the most cash-based in the world — and starve terrorists and criminal gangs of cash.

The RBI’s annual report on Wednesday found 99.3% of the money withdrawn from circulation had been returned to banks, indicating either there was less “black money” than expected, or that schemes to launder money were more successful than thought.

Palaniappan Chidambaram, a finance minister under the previous Congress-led government, said the country had paid a “huge price”.

“Indian economy lost 1.5% of GDP in terms of growth,” he tweeted. “That alone was a loss of Rs 2.25 lakh crore [2.25tn] a year. Over 100 lives were lost. 15 crore [150m] daily wage earners lost their livelihood for several weeks. Thousands of SME units were shut down. Lakhs [hundreds of thousands] of jobs were destroyed.”

Digital transactions have grown, but the RBI found the value of banknotes in circulation had also increased in the past year by 37.7%. Counterfeiters had also shifted to recreating smaller notes and were now able to replicate en masse the new 500 and 2,000-rupee notes, it said.

Gurchuran Das, an economist and author, said the positive side to the exercise was that money stashed at home had been injected into the formal banking system.

“Now all that money can be tracked and it goes into the formal economy and people who have deposited it back have bank accounts and become future taxpayers,” Das said.

“It has helped India move faster towards a digital economy. It will result in India actually skipping the branch phase of banking.

“But this was not the way to do it,” he added. “The cost to the people was high, and we lost about a year of economic growth by my estimates. And to solve the jobs problem of India you need to grow at about 8% for about 20 years.”

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« Reply #1397 on: Aug 30, 2018, 04:50 AM »

Argentina seeks emergency release of $50bn in IMF funds amid financial crisis

President Mauricio Macri says ‘lack of trust from the markets’ forces him to ask for help as peso weakens and inflation runs at 30%

Associated Press in Buenos Aires
30 Aug 2018 23.39 BST

Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri has asked the International Monetary Fund for an early release of funds from a $50bn deal to ease concerns that the country will not be able to meet its debt obligations for 2019.

Macri said in a televised address that Argentina had agreed with the IMF “to advance all necessary funds to guarantee compliance with next year’s financial programme”.

Macri said that in the past week there had been “expressions of a lack of trust in the markets” about Argentina. He said the decision sought to dispel any uncertainty, but he did not specify the amount or when the funds would be released.

Argentina was forced to strike a deal with the IMF earlier this year after a sharp depreciation of its currency and a run on the peso. The three-year standby financing deal is aimed at strengthening its weak economy and helping it fight inflation, which at 30% per year is one of the highest rates in the world.

The Argentinian currency fell again Wednesday to close at an all-time low of 34.2 pesos per US dollar.

The IMF said in a statement that it would “revise the government’s economic plan with a focus on better insulating Argentina from the recent shifts in global financial markets, including through stronger monetary and fiscal policies and a deepening of efforts to support the most vulnerable in society”.

Most Argentinians have bad memories of the IMF and blame the international lending institution for encouraging policies that led to the country’s worst economic crisis in 2001. It ago resulted in one of every five Argentinian being unemployed and millions sliding into poverty.

The IMF has admitted it made a string of mistakes that contributed to the problems. A 2004 report by the IMF’s internal audit unit concluded it failed to provide enough oversight, and overestimated growth and the success of economic reforms, while it continued to lend Argentina money when its debt had become unsustainable.

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« Reply #1398 on: Aug 30, 2018, 04:58 AM »

‘They wanted to kill us’: masked neo-fascists strike fear into Ukraine's Roma

After a spate of brutal attacks on Roma settlements by far-right groups, authorities have been accused of failing to act. As the violence escalates, human rights groups are suing the police for failing to protect families from raids by masked men

by Alex Sturrock (reporting and images); additional reporting by Hannah Summers
30 Aug 2018 07.00 BST

The Roma mother pulls her young daughter close as she describes how her family’s home in western Ukraine’s Ternopil settlement was attacked and razed.

“People wearing masks attacked us,” says Iryna, 42, who fled with her two children. “Inside our home were our documents, and money we had been saving, but everything was burned.”

They have been taken in by another family living near the now-abandoned settlement. “We had a police guard for two weeks but don’t feel safe here. We stayed here because we want justice.”
Iryna and her two children fled their home in Ternopil after an attack

However, police stand accused of failing to protect the Roma from a growing number of ethnically-motivated attacks by far-right groups. In recent months there have been at least eight brutal incidents, with two people killed and others injured.

Marking the start of the wave of violence was an arson attack on the Lysa Hora nature reserve settlement in Kiev on 21 April by roughly 30 members of C14, a neo-Nazi group. Police arriving at the scene allegedly failed to protect the families and instead advised them to leave Kiev.

Similar attacks followed. In early July, a Romani woman was stabbed to death in Zakarpattia Oblast in the eighth violent incident against Roma in less than three months. The perpetrators have not yet been identified.

The previous month, a man in his early 20s was killed and others injured – including a 10-year-old boy – after masked men raided a Romani community outside Lviv.

David Popp, who made a living collecting plastic bottles and scrap metal, was stabbed in the head and chest by a suspected ultranationalist gang member.

Eight men who allegedly tore through the settlement, attacking dwellings with knives and chains, were arrested. But there has been criticism the police are not doing enough.

“The failure of national police to adequately respond to at least eight violent incidents … and harassment involving public officials, is fostering a culture of impunity,” says Neil Clarke of Minority Rights Group International.

After the Ternopil attack in May, Andriy, a 43-year-old Romani whose house is on the outskirts of the city, took in some of the people who had lost their homes.

“I have lived here for 10 years and I don’t know what Roma have done to these nationalists. I don’t know why they have attacked us and I have no idea what will happen next,” he says.

Regina, 23, now staying with Andriy after fleeing the settlement, thinks the Russians are responsible for fuelling tensions. “Maybe the Russians are behind it and trying to destabilise Ukraine. After this attack we feel very anxious. If we hear a dog barking, we run to see who it is. I used to always go to the shop at 10pm but now I won’t go out later than 6pm.”

Against the backdrop of Ukraine’s confrontations with Russia and corruption-riddled domestic politics, extreme nationalist groups such as C14 and others have become increasingly popular in recent years.

Animosity towards Roma, who live in tarpaulin camps and abandoned buildings in and around Kiev, is high with many residents complaining the Roma settlements are unsightly and messy.
They have become an easy target for far-right groups, with tensions stoked by the authorities allegedly turning a blind eye.

Now the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) is suing the national police for failing to investigate the attacks properly, and for negligence in protecting the Romani citizens from ethnic violence. Along with the National Roma Centre, they will allege failings under the European convention on human rights.

They claim there is growing evidence of collusion between the national police and far-right militias. Activists allege that, after the attack in Ternopil, a Romani woman said: “I don’t trust the police. The next day I saw the police officer drinking coffee with one of the guys who attacked our camp.”
Ternopil head of police Oleksander Bohomol meets ERRC Volodymyr Navorotsky and Jonathan Lee

The head of the police in Ternopil, Oleksandr Bohomol, met with Volodya Navorotskyy and Jonathan Lee from the ERRC.

Bohomol told them he regretted that such a shameful act should have happened in the region, and said the police under his control had been very proactive in terms of protection measures, and reacting to and preventing further attacks. “In my opinion this was planned by someone we don’t know,” he said, “we have a not very friendly neighbour to this country and it looks like the worse the situation is here, the better he feels.”

Lee told the Guardian he thinks Bohomol and many others blame Russia for the attacks.

“Ukraine is a wartime country and people look for an enemy in everything,” he says.

“The fact remains however, that regardless of who is funding these far-right groups, these attacks were carried out by young Ukrainian men who needed no encouraging to go and attack Romani families. This is a Ukrainian problem, which reflects the level of deeply entrenched anti-gypsyism in society.”
Beregovo has segregated a Romani settlement

    A walled-off Romani settlement in Beregovo

In the town of Beregovo lies a walled-off settlement where many fleeing the violence have returned after many years. More than 5,000 people inhabit the area, which the Roma have called home since the 1860s. Most houses have no running water, electricity or gas, and work is scarce.

Ali used to work in Kiev but has returned to Beregovo while he plans his exit strategy. “I will get a passport for foreign travel – my family hope to get Hungarian citizenship so we can be safe.”

He was returning from work when friends and relatives survived an attack on the Lysa Hora nature reserve in Kiev in April.

“They had sought refuge at the train station when a ‘friend’ of the police called and said we were allowed to return to the camp. But when we got back there, nationalists were waiting and began shooting.”

Police did nothing until a video, showing terrified women and children fleeing gas and stones launched at them by masked men, went viral.

Illona, 65, was among those who fled to Beregovo. “They demolished our settlement and wanted to kill us,” she says.

“The police were asking the nationalists questions like they knew them, and they warned us. They told us: ‘Get your things, some people will come.’ The police knew what was going to happen but they didn’t stop it.”

Daryna is the unofficial matriarch at a Roma settlement in the western city of Uzhgorod. She looks after people and deals with the local authorities.

She grew up with Ukrainians, Russians and Lithuanians, and says relations have changed in recent times.
Daryna says Roma and non-Roma kids used to play together but that has changed

“When I was young we were friends, chatting and playing. Now white kids and Roma kids see themselves as totally different.

“Our kids have no friends from outside the settlement and are abandoned here. Last week, when I went to the store, there were white kids calling us ‘dirty gypsies’ and saying: ‘Why are you here?’” She says she blames their parents. “They make their kids hate us.”

Nadiya, 45, who lives in the same settlement, agrees things have got worse.

Surrounded by framed photos of her family dating back several generations, she explains: “The city is dividing us. Here they have built a wall around us because they don’t want customers at a new car wash to see Romani people here.

“The attacks continue and, if the authorities do not step in to prosecute these people and bring justice, then in three or four years time we will find ourselves completely cut off from society.”

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« Reply #1399 on: Aug 30, 2018, 05:00 AM »

Arrest warrant leak fuels suspicions of far-right links with German police

Authorities confirm leak after arrest warrant for Iraqi murder suspect sparked violent anti-foreigner protests

Kate Connolly in Berlin
30 Aug 2018 13.14 BST

The leak of an arrest warrant to far-right groups has heightened widespread suspicions of links between German police and xenophobic demonstrators.

Authorities have confirmed reports of the leak after the arrest warrant – containing the full name of the main suspect in the murder of a 35-year-old man, which triggered violent anti-foreigner protests in the eastern city of Chemnitz – was tweeted by Lutz Bachmann, the founding member of the far-right protest group Pegida. The suspect is a 22-year-old Iraqi man.

Police in Chemnitz are under fire for being inadequately prepared for far-right protests in the city on Sunday night, following the stabbing of Daniel H, whose surname has not been released in line with German practice.

The demonstration attracted around 6,000 people and 1,500 counter-protesters and quickly turned violent with far-right groups breaking off into smaller mobs and hunting foreigners through the city streets in riots that continued on Monday evening. Some protesters shouted: “For every dead German, a dead foreigner,” in scenes reminiscent of Nazi-era pogroms.

A police spokeswoman confirmed the authenticity of the arrest warrant to German media. “The document is real,” she said. “We have already instigated a judicial inquiry ... regarding the violation of official secrets.”

The photo of the arrest warrant was quickly circulated online, in particular via a WhatsApp group of the far-right movement Pro Chemnitz, which originally called the demonstration on Sunday.

Martin Dulig, the deputy premier of Saxony state, called the leak scandalous. “To hear that the arrest warrant was probably leaked by the police to rightwing extremist circles means that we have a huge problem to deal with. This is an egregious occurrence,” the SDP politician said.

The leak has fuelled existing concerns about links between Saxony’s police force and the anti-immigrant party Alternative für Deutschland and the Pegida protest movement, which has led to an increasing use of the nickname “Pegizei” to describe the police – a portmanteau of polizei police and Pegida.

The police were accused last week of standing up for Pegida protesters after stopping a camera team from the state broadcaster ZDF from filming a demonstration in Dresden for 45 minutes after complaints by a protester, who it later emerged was a police employee.

They faced further accusations on Wednesday that they had lied over their claim to have underestimated the numbers who would attend the Chemnitz demonstration, after it emerged that Saxony’s office for protection of the constitution had warned them in advance that a large number of extremists from across Germany – including neo-Nazis, as well as football hooligans and martial artists with a known far-right background – were expected in the city, in the “low to medium four-figure realm”.

Around 591 officers were deployed, a figure police chiefs later admitted had been totally inadequate.

Following Sunday and Monday’s riots, Chemnitz was quiet on Tuesday evening, but Michael Kretschmer, Saxony’s premier, said he expected the protesters would want to build on the momentum they had created, and would continue to call further rallies.

He said he was confident, however, that security forces were ready for a demonstration called by Pro Chemnitz in the city on Thursday.

“We will make it clear that the state has the monopoly on the use of force,” he said, promising a tougher line compared with earlier in the week on demonstrators who habitually use the Hitler salute, which is outlawed.

Kretschmer described the fight against the far right as “a battle which we will win”. He said Chemnitz had become increasingly attractive for the far-right movement and a central focus point for its mobilisation, in part because of the widespread media attention given to demonstrations there.

Germany’s leadership is desperately seeking strategies to deal with the political fallout from the events in Chemnitz, which are largely being blamed on Angela Merkel’s refugee policy. Her Christian Democrat party (CDU), which has held power in Saxony since 1990, is widely accused of failing to recognise or effectively confront the growing far-right movement.

The state faces a crucial election next year in which the CDU could lose 10% of its support to Alternative für Deutschland, according to current opinion polls. The AfD, which has been quick in the last few days to exploit the xenophobic mood in Chemnitz, mainly via social media, is on course to gain as much as 25% of the vote, which could make it the second largest party in the state parliament.

Former states of the communist German Democratic Republic such as Saxony have never come to terms with the presence of the far right, having inadequately tackled the legacy of the Nazi era under communism.

Chemnitz, a former industrial hub during communism called Karl Marx Stadt, has struggled economically in recent years, suffering from high unemployment and a loss of around 80,000 of its citizens – more than 20% – to migration since reunification.

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« Reply #1400 on: Aug 30, 2018, 05:24 AM »

Mueller has ‘prosecutorial parachute’ to continue investigations if Trump pulls a Saturday Night Massacre: report

Dominique Jackson
Raw Story
30 Aug 2018 at 17:07 ET                   

On Wednesday, Frank Figliuzzi, former assistant director for Counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation told MSNBC’s Katy Tur that special counsel Robert Muller has a ‘prosecutorial parachute’ set in place.

“Let’s talk about the intersection between Robert Mueller, Jeff Sessions, and Don McGahn,” Tur said. “Mr.McGahn was unsuccessful and the president erupted in anger in front of numerous White House officials.”

Figliuzzi said that President Donald Trump has not been held accountable for his actions.

“So we’re looking increasingly now at an unchecked president and no one left to even try to balance his actions out,” Figliuzzi said. “If that happens, the domino effect may start. So he’s talking increasingly about getting rid of Sessions. And we’re hearing prominent Republican senators kind of giving the blessing for that.”

Figliuzzi warned that firing Sessions will not fix Trump’s problems.

“The danger signal to me is we’re hearing people say, well, as long as he picks an attorney general who lets Mueller finish. Letting Mueller finish is only half the equation,” he said.

“How do you properly deal with Mueller’s and his potential request to subpoena the president for an interview and his potential request to indict a sitting president. If a new attorney general is there and he’s a lackey for this president, look out,” he added.

“I think there are plans being put in place. What I call prosecutorial parachute with maybe sealed cases tied up in those for certain state, U.S. state district attorney’s offices and various U.S. attorneys around the states. The clock is ticking.”

Watch the video via MSNBC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kh86wxnvD08


Mueller probing suspicious transactions made by Russian embassy around the election and inauguration

Travis Gettys
Raw Story
30 Aug 2018 at 14:02 ET                   

Special counsel Robert Mueller and the FBI are investigating two suspicious financial transactions by the Russian embassy around the 2016 election and shortly after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Those transactions go along with other unusual financial activity involving the embassy — including a $29,000 wire transfer to “finance” the 2016 election, $325,000 in payments to the Russian Cultural Centre in Washington and $2.4 million paid to home-improvement companies controlled by a Russian immigrant, reported Buzzfeed News.

American bank examiners flagged the two transactions that have now fallen under investigation into Russian election interference.

The first was a $120,000 payment to then-ambassador Sergey Kislyak that was twice as large as any he’d received in the previous two years, the website reported.

The check, which came 10 days after the 2016 election, was marked “payroll,” and Kislyak deposited the money into his Citibank account and then wired the money to his account in Russia in two $60,000 installments.

The second transaction came five days after President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.

A Citibank relationship manager blocked that attempt to withdraw $150,000 in cash because he feared it was meant for Russians the U.S. had just expelled as punishment for the election interference.

Embassy officials refused to provide the bank official with the names of the Russians the payments were intended for, and they would not say why they needed the cash in the U.S. if the employees had already gone back to their home country.


Here’s how Trump’s handling of the Flynn firing could be Mueller’s linchpin to prove corrupt intent

Brad Reed
Raw Story
30 Aug 2018 at 14:29 ET                   

The way that President Donald Trump decided to fire national security adviser Michael Flynn back in February 2017 could be the linchpin used by special counsel Robert Mueller to prove the president had a corrupt intent in an obstruction of justice case.

Reporter Maury Waas, in a new report for the New York Review of Books, claims that senior White House attorney John Eisenberg first reviewed intercepted conversations between Flynn and former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak on or about February 2, 2017.

Most crucially, writes Waas, Eisenberg concluded that the intercepted calls conclusively proved that Flynn had lied to FBI investigators about the nature of the conversations he’d had with Kislyak.

Despite this, it took the Trump White House six days to begin acting on Flynn, and that was only after it had been contacted by the Washington Post, which informed the administration that it was writing a story about Flynn lying about his contacts with Russian officials. Flynn eventually resigned on February 13th, 11 days after Eisenberg reviewed his intercepted calls.

It was this delay, writes Waas, that could establish that Trump had a corrupt intent when he asked former FBI Director James Comey if he could drop Flynn’s case — and then subsequently fired Comey months later after he had refused to do so.

“The president’s legal team has claimed that Trump did nothing wrong because he did not understand that Flynn was in criminal jeopardy when, according to the former FBI director’s testimony, he asked Comey to go easy on Flynn,” writes Waas. “The new information that Trump and others in the White House were aware that the intercepts revealed that Flynn had lied to the FBI directly contradicts those claims.”


Ex-CIA analyst running as Democrat fears doxxing after allegations that Paul Ryan outed a former CIA agent

Raw Story
29 Aug 2018 at 14:51 ET                   

The rise of Donald Trump and his open warfare with the American intelligence community has inspired a record number of former CIA agents to run for Congress as Democrats. This trend has alarmed Russians and Julian Assange, who have lashed out at what they see as a Deep State plot to topple Trump.

Now, Democrats with intelligence ties who are running for Congress fear that Republicans may be illegally using their security clearance forms, known as SF-86s, to get damaging information that can be used in their campaigns.

Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat running for Congress in Virginia, has publicly accused a Paul Ryan-aligned Super PAC of illegally obtaining a copy of her security clearance application form, which includes deeply personal information. The Super PAC then published the form. Republicans claim they obtained the information through a “Freedom of Information Act request,” which Spanberger’s lawyer says is a lie.

A Michigan Democrat is expressing fear that the same will happen to her. Elissa Slotkin is a former CIA analyst and senior Pentagon official who is running against Republican Mike Bishop in a suburban and rural district north and west of Detroit.

Slotkin tells the Daily Beast that she worries the Trumpist Republicans will do the same to her.

    The actions of CLF to seek out private information provided in the security clearance process demonstrate its willingness to put political gain over the interests of those who have served in the intelligence community and the military. https://t.co/8cHhD7EHme

    — Elissa Slotkin (@ElissaSlotkin) August 29, 2018

“Obviously I was very disappointed and surprised they had obtained and then leaked a copy of someone’s SF-86, so you have to assume they’re willing to do the same thing with any other candidate that has a security clearance,” Slotkin said. “These are the kinds of techniques we have to assume our foreign adversaries use, and have used… and it’s just deeply concerning that an American political organization would absorb and adopt those techniques in our own American democracy.”

Slotkin has appealed to Republicans to disavow these tactics and not use them in her own district, Michigan’s 8th, where Ryan’s Super PAC has been active in trying to buttress Bishop.

    This is the type of tactic we’ve come to expect from foreign adversaries, not political organizations within our own democratic system. Given how active CLF is in MI08, I appeal to GOP officials to disavow these tactics & respect the privacy of those who have served their country

    — Elissa Slotkin (@ElissaSlotkin) August 29, 2018


‘This is the dictator’s playbook’: Intel expert explains Trump’s ‘eliminationist rhetoric’ that is just like in Rwanda

Bob Brigham
Raw Story
29 Aug 2018 at 16:26 ET                   

Counterterrorism and intelligence expert Malcolm Nance slammed President Donald Trump for telling Evangelical leaders that there would be violence from the left if Republicans lose in the 2018 midterm elections.

“Malcolm, I can’t overstate how troubling I find this,” MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi noted. “History is littered with lots of examples, starting before World War II, actually going back hundreds of years, but World War II or Rwanda or the Balkans, where leaders said this, they said if those people take power, there will be violence, they will do something to you, they will take your privileges away.”

“That is the root of the weaponization of culture,” Velshi concluded.

“You’re absolutely right, this is the dictator’s playbook,” Nance replied.

“This is what happens when an elected leader decides that they are going to use the levers of power and the power of fear to split their nation and to actually pit one group against the other,” he explained.

Nance is the author of the new book, The Plot to Destroy Democracy: How Putin and His Spies Are Undermining America and Dismantling the West.

“I worked the Rwanda mission when Radio Mille Collines — the broadcast channel in Rwanda — was extorting people to seek out their neighbor, to find the cockroaches,” Nance recalled.

“We have an intelligence term for this, it’s called ‘eliminationist rhetoric.’ And I’m not saying it has gone all the way there, but Donald Trump uses this,” he explained.

“Let’s talk about Bosnia, let’s talk about Germany in 1931, that was actually about religion, that was about someone else’s religion and what they’re gaining at your expense,” Velshi noted. “I’m not making the argument that’s the direction in which we are going, but when the leader of a country tells people that I’m fighting for you and your religion and they’re not, I think that’s incredibly dangerous.”

“It’s extremely dangerous,” Nance agreed. “You referenced Bosnia, another mission that I performed, where Slobodan Milošević literally went back 600 years to justify the mass murder of Croatians and Bosniak Muslims.”

“This is dangerous for any leader,” he continued. “We need to defend democracy and not listen to this type of eliminationist rhetoric.”

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8mND41CamQ


Trump falsely claims NBC’s Lester Holt ‘got caught’ faking interview where he admitted to firing Comey over Russia

Brad Reed
Raw Story
30 Aug 2018 at 07:09 ET                   

President Donald Trump on Thursday issued a bizarre tweet in which he accused NBC’s Lester Holt of “fudging” an interview in which the president admitted he fired former FBI Director James Comey over the Russia investigation.

“What’s going on at CNN is happening, to different degrees, at other networks – with NBC News being the worst,” the president wrote. “The good news is that Andy Lack(y) is about to be fired(?) for incompetence, and much worse. When Lester Holt got caught fudging my tape on Russia, they were hurt badly!”

    What’s going on at @CNN is happening, to different degrees, at other networks – with @NBCNews being the worst. The good news is that Andy Lack(y) is about to be fired(?) for incompetence, and much worse. When Lester Holt got caught fudging my tape on Russia, they were hurt badly!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2018


Donald Trump is the Bernie Madoff of politics: Con men from Queens who prospered from lies

Lucian K. Truscott IV, Salon - COMMENTARY
30 Aug 2018 at 06:07 ET                   

He was born in Queens and moved to Manhattan to make his fortune.

He got up in the morning and started telling lies and didn’t stop until he went to bed at night.

The scam he ran was based on telling everybody he was doing one thing, when behind the scenes he was doing another.

He had spoiled-brat kids who’ve never done anything but work for their daddy, who live in high-rise condos in New York, go out to the best restaurants, vacation in the south of France and spend their daddy-gotten millions.

Donald Trump?

Nope, Bernie Madoff.

Trump and Madoff are lying, thieving, soulless luxo-thugs for whom chasing the almighty dollar and lying practically every minute of every day was their reason for being.

They even got involved in their scams the same way: Almost by accident.

Madoff started out running a hugely successful business on the backroom end of stockbroking, completing trades for larger firms like Charles Schwab and making markets in small stocks not listed on the major exchanges. Most of his money was made in the so called “pay for order flow,” whereby Madoff was able to legally skim off 12.5 cents between the buy and sell price of each trade. He pumped up his business by paying firms like Schwab a few cents per trade to funnel their business through his firm. But in the 1990’s, the share of the trading spread was cut from 12.5 cents to 6.5 cents, and in 2001, it was slashed to a penny. Madoff’s main source of funds was drying up.

To make up for his losses, on a separate floor of his building, Madoff started a shoestring investment firm with a few employees and a lot of secrecy. The business was a kind of hedge fund when it began, but Madoff attracted his investors in a unique way, by guaranteeing them a return on their investments. When Madoff’s investments of his clients’ funds failed to make the profits he was promising them, he stopped investing his funds in the market and started paying a few investors’ profits from new money he brought into his fund with big promises, big dreams and big lies. Madoff was the best investor anyone had ever seen. You could give him your money and sit back and not worry about a thing. Bernie would take care of everything. It was a classic Ponzi scheme.

When Madoff’s scam blew up in 2008, he told prosecutors and interviewers he couldn’t remember exactly when it began. “It kind of happened by accident,” he told one interviewer.

Sound familiar? Consider Donald Trump.

Trump began at his father’s real estate firm in Queens, building apartment buildings and renting out apartments. The business produced enough money to make his father a very rich man. But that wasn’t enough for Trump. He took an initial loan from his father and his connections to investors who wanted to put their money in real estate and moved to Manhattan. Trump began slapping his name on buildings all over Manhattan. But putting up buildings and selling condos and collecting rents wasn’t enough for Trump, so he branched out into casinos in Atlantic City, an airline, a phony college called “Trump University” and everything from frozen steaks to Trump vodka and bottled water.

When his casinos went belly-up, Trump vodka took a powder, Trump steaks sat in their freezers and his investments in buildings like the Plaza Hotel failed to make money, Trump turned to the banks. “I’m the king of debt!” he told one interviewer as his fortunes soared and fell. When one too many bankruptcies drove away the banks, he started unloading condos to Russian oligarchs, who paid in cash, and plastering the Trump on hotels and condo developments in places like Azerbaijan and Panama. Nobody could tell how much money he was worth, so he lied. Six billion, 10 billion, the Forbes list of the richest Americans. Who knew? He just kept lying.

All the while, he was dabbling in politics. He toyed with running for president in 1999, forming an exploratory committee and eventually running in Reform Party primaries before pulling out in 2000. He flirted with running again in 2004 and 2012, eventually endorsing Mitt Romney in that election and gaining a foothold in the Republican Party by obsessively pushing the racist lie that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States and was likely a Muslim.

Sound familiar? Madoff learned he could rake in the bucks by lying his head off to investors. Trump was learning he could gain political currency by lying about everything from Obama’s birthplace to the evils of immigration.

When Trump announced he was running in 2015, his campaign was a shoestring organization with a small office in Trump Tower, a few political professionals for employees and his private jet, which he used to fly to rallies and Republican Party debates. People who worked for Trump at the early part of his campaign, like Sam Nunberg, have told interviewers that Trump never expected to win his race for president, figuring it was another exercise in expanding his brand. He’d build up his profile and use his fame to expand his business.

Sound familiar? Madoff attracted more investors than he ever expected, too. He brought in more and more money, owed more and more profits. Trump started attracting more votes than he expected. He expanded his band-of-amateurs campaign staff by adding professional liars and crooks, like Paul Manafort, and people with shady international connections, like George Papadopoulos and Carter Page.

When both men saw their fortunes soar unexpectedly, they knew exactly what to do.

Keep lying.

Madoff and Trump were both skillful, instinctual liars and con men. Madoff lied to attract investors. Trump lied to attract voters. The people who were drawn to them wanted to believe their lies. They wanted to believe in their impossible dreams that were too good to be true.

Madoff’s victims trusted him so implicitly, they kept giving him money right up until the day his Ponzi scheme fell apart. Madoff couldn’t have pulled off his scam without a few big banks and investment firms turning a blind eye to his obvious crimes.

Trump’s voters trusted him implicitly. They’ve kept giving him their support – 89 percent of Republicans have a positive view of this president, according to the latest polls – even in the face of his lies as they’ve mounted one after another, day after day. And Trump couldn’t have pulled off his scam without an entire political party turning a blind eye to his obvious crimes.

Investigators have spent years trying to unwind how much money Madoff stole. Prosecutors initially estimated the total fraud to be about $65 million. Investigators for Irving Picard, the trustee assigned by the courts and the SEC to search for Madoff’s millions, estimated later that as much as $36 billion was invested with Madoff. Eighteen billion was returned as profits to a few investors, and the other $18 billion was lost.

Sounds a lot like Trump, doesn’t it? Trump pushes through a tax cut for a few billionaires and millionaires which returns billions to their bank accounts. Meanwhile, the deficit balloons to $1 trillion for the first time in history, leaving ordinary taxpayers stuck with the bill.

How does that old saying go? There’s a sucker born every minute?

Words to live by for Bernie Madoff and Donald Trump, fast-talking New York scam artists, soul brothers from different mothers. Madoff ended up being convicted of 11 felonies and sentenced to prison for 150 years. The feds auctioned off his collection of expensive watches, his Upper East Side penthouse, and his houses in Palm Beach, Montauk and the French Riviera. He will die behind bars.

We’ll have to wait and see how following the old gambler’s creed works out for the man currently occupying the White House.


CNN does an epic takedown of Donald Trump’s irrational conspiracy theories

Dominique Jackson
Raw Story
29 Aug 2018 at 22:19 ET                   

On Wednesday, CNN’s John Berman said that President Donald Trump is no stranger to conspiracy theories. Trump attacked search engines such as Google and claimed they were filtering positive content about him out of search results. Google has denied it saying they tailor results to individuals.

However, Trump’s claims that Google is out to spread bad news about him has zero proof.

“It’s no overstatement that Donald Trump’s path to the White House began with a single conspiracy theory. That being that Barack Obama wasn’t an American — the so-called birther conspiracy,” Berman said.

“Then citizen Trump made hay with it, making unproven accusations, saying he had sent his own team of investigators to Hawaii to investigate it. None of it was true,” he said.

“All of it was debunked many times over. But no matter, it served as a launch pad for Mr. Trump’s embrace of conspiracy theories extending right into his presidency, right into this week,” he added.

A segment then rolled through the ways in which Trump came to his conspiracy about Google and another one about Hillary Clinton’s email server being hacked by the Chinese.

During a hearing with former FBI investigator Peter Strzok, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) invented a conspiracy theory that the FBI was hiding Clinton’s server was hacked by a foreign adversary and it wasn’t Russia. He never said which country.

From there, conservative media outlets like The Daily Caller picked up the story, turning it into the Chinese. That made it to Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s show Tuesday night, which is how it made it to Trump’s Twitter fingers.

The same thing happened with the Google conspiracy. Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was removed from YouTube and Facebook for hate speech and other things the networks said violated their terms of service. Suddenly, Trump is attacking Google and Facebook for censorship.

The FBI was forced to release a statement Wednesday denying anything the president said was true. Google released a statement this week saying that their algorithm doesn’t take into account the political leanings of stories. Rather, the company likely focuses on results that are tailored to the user that can likely result in something profitable for them.

Listen to CNN’s Randi Kaye special report: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6suhaa

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Beto O’Rourke’s rock-star status is cemented by Texas GOP, handing Dems an icon they desperately need

Beto O’Rourke was in a punk rock band. The Texas GOP tried to shame him.

By Isaac Stanley-Becker
WA Post
August 30 2018

In their quest for an icon, someone to lift their spirits and usher them out of the wilderness, Democrats were shown the way this week by an unlikely guide: Texas Republicans.

The state GOP identified a rock star in a faded monochrome from the 1990s. A loose, floral-print dress (or perhaps a tunic), cut wide at the neck, hangs over his lean frame. His hair is parted down the middle, the rest disappearing behind his head in what looks like a loose ponytail. His square jaw accentuates his long, angular face.

The man gazing out from the black-and-white image is college-aged Beto O’Rourke. An electric bassist, he toured the United States and Canada in the early 1990s with his punk rock band, “Foss,” meaning “waterfall” in Icelandic and Norwegian.

Watch: <iframe width='480' height='290' scrolling='no' src='https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/f8f25f68-ac38-11e8-9a7d-cd30504ff902' frameborder='0' webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>

The photograph might have collected dust in an obscure corner of rock history were it not for an attempt this week by Texas Republicans to showcase skeletons in O’Rourke’s closet. The El Paso native has hung up his guitar and is now a three-term Democratic congressman taking on Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in the midterm elections this fall. The campaign leaves time for only occasional musical interludes, such as a Fourth of July performance with Willie Nelson.

    Maybe Beto can’t debate Ted Cruz because he already had plans... pic.twitter.com/LdqKTh3yK4
    — Texas GOP (@TexasGOP) August 28, 2018

The maneuver by the state party had its drawbacks. The evidence dredged up and circulated on Twitter, rather than incriminating O’Rourke, made him appear, well, downright seductive to some. It turned the congressman into a symbol of the connection between music and politics, expressed in everything from patriotic hymns to antiwar ballads to contemporary hip-hop.

The more offbeat side of the candidate revealed this week appeared especially alluring to those most staunchly opposed to President Trump and his legislative allies, including Cruz. Lauren Duca of Teen Vogue asked: “are we all dating Beto now[?]”

Others opined that O’Rourke’s more colorful past — and specifically his appearance in what seems to be a dress — would prove divisive in Texas. “He wouldn’t dare!” wrote Jeff Roe, a Republican strategist who managed Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign.

    He wouldn’t dare! Wearing a dress? That would be an instant classic, Clinton on Arsenio with the sax, Obama in Denver with the columns and Beto on Ellen in a dress. Dare to dream... https://t.co/azEqRKMfYG
    — Jeff Roe (@jeffroe) August 29, 2018

The congressman’s campaign didn’t return a request for comment on Wednesday.

O’Rourke, 45, is a rising Democratic star. Town & Country called him “Kennedyesque.” The Texas Democrat has captured the attention of celebrities, from Ellen DeGeneres to LeBron James. “Is Beto O’Rourke the left’s Obama-like answer to Trump in 2020?” asked Vanity Fair this week, quoting a Texas journalist noting, “It seems like Iowa in 2007.”

His popularity on the national stage was elevated by a viral video clip from a town hall last week in Houston, where O’Rourke defended football players who kneel during the national anthem to protest police violence. His eloquent delivery and ease in drawing on the nation’s civil rights history recalled the oratory of the underdog Democrat who promised hope and change a decade ago.

The anthem issue has become a fault line in what is likely to be a bitter race. An Emerson College poll this week showed Cruz, a 2016 Republican presidential contender who is seeking his second term in the Senate, leading O’Rourke by a single point. Cruz, 47, has made the NFL — one of President Trump’s favorite topics — a focal point of his strategy against O’Rourke, who is trying to become the first Democrat to win statewide office in Texas since 1994.

Apparently incensed by the congressman’s refusal to debate Cruz on Friday in Dallas, the state GOP took to Twitter to launch a series of attacks in the form of theories about why “Beto has been ducking debates with Senator Ted Cruz.”

“Sorry, I’m going to have to skate on the debate Friday,” read the white text superimposed on an image of O’Rourke holding a skateboard. “I just got this killer board. I’m sure the voters won’t mind.”

Earlier this month, O’Rourke zipped around the parking lot of a Whataburger, the San Antonio-based chain, on a skateboard borrowed from a supporter. After hours on the campaign trail, O’Rourke told a Dallas Morning News reporter at the time, “you need a little, like, moment.” He said the board offered him “zen.”

The congressman seemed relatively at ease on wheels, bending his knees and spreading his arms out like wings as he made a “whoosh” noise. When he gave a passerby a high-five, he wobbled just a bit. No tricks were attempted.

The Texas GOP had additional explanations for his absence from the proposed debate.

“There’s always the chance,” the party observed on Twitter, that O’Rourke can’t show up to the debate “because he got into a hazy situation.” The tweet included a decades-old mugshot highlighting the congressman’s criminal record, which O’Rourke has acknowledged. He was twice arrested in the 1990s, according to public records and the candidate’s own statements — in 1995 for trespassing when he attempted to sneak past a fence at the University of Texas at El Paso and again in 1998 for driving under the influence of alcohol. The first charge was dropped, and the second later dismissed.

The incidents have come up occasionally during election season. O’Rourke told the El Paso Times in 2005, when he was first running for city council, that he has “owned up to it and . . . taken responsibility for it.”

    There's always the chance that Robert “Beto” O’Rourke won’t debate Senator Cruz because he got into a hazy situation... pic.twitter.com/4nmd42AEkl
    — Texas GOP (@TexasGOP) August 29, 2018

The most popular image circulated by the state Republicans, according to the authoritative metric of Twitter “likes,” was the photograph of O’Rourke’s band. An excuse was scrawled on the bottom, “Sorry, can’t debate. We have a gig.”

Foss is described by the music magazine Spin as an “all-but-forgotten Texas post-hardcore band.” Roll Call labeled the group a “veteran of the ’90s emo-progressive invasion.” Its drummer, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, went on to greater musical fame than did the band’s bassist. Bixler-Zavala was the lead singer and lyricist of the Grammy Award-winning The Mars Volta and has been the only consistent member of At the Drive-In, for which he sings vocals. Both are cult favorites. O’Rourke has said that the bandmates were grade school and high school friends.

Streaming services don’t carry Foss tunes, but YouTube clips preserve several gigs, including a 1993 performance at the music venue Wild Hare’s in El Paso and a 1994 appearance on a talk show, “Let’s Get Real.” On the talk show, O’Rourke sported a T-shirt and a matching knit hat and jumped up and down as he plucked vigorously at his guitar.

The image circulated by the Texas Republicans is drawn from the band’s 1993 record, “The El Paso Pussycats.” The band toured North America, but O’Rourke’s foray into punk rock was short-lived. He was finishing an undergraduate degree in English at Columbia University at the time.

“I wasn’t that good at it,” he told The Washington Post last year, saying he felt pressure from his father to move on from the punk scene. “He won’t say it, but the expectation is: We didn’t take out loans for you to go to Columbia and then play in a punk band your whole life.”

O’Rourke is hardly alone among politicians in pursuing music. Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, returned to his band, “O’Malley’s March,” after ending his 2016 presidential bid. Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, took his band, “Capitol Offense,” on the road with him during his 2008 campaign for the White House. Some, like O’Rourke, left their bands when they were young. Former Secretary of State John Kerry performed with “The Electras” when he was in prep school in New Hampshire.

Cruz, for his part, has said that his music tastes have shifted over time. He came of age listening to classic rock but turned away from the genre because he didn’t like how its musicians responded to the Sept. 11 attacks, he said.

“I actually find this intellectually curious, but on 9/11, I didn’t like how rock music responded,” Cruz told CBS News in 2015. In contrast, he said, “country music collectively, the way they responded, it resonated with me, and I just have to say just at a gut level, I had an emotional reaction that said these are my people.”

The Texas senator has chosen other means of connecting with voters. He frequently quotes movies and TV shows. He has also tried sports. Campaigning in Indiana in 2016, he likened his candidacy to the underdog basketball team in the film “Hoosiers.” Yet he raised eyebrows when he referred to the hoop as the “basketball ring.” He took to the court to reclaim some credibility in June, challenging late-night host Jimmy Kimmel to a charity match. Cruz won 11-9, though neither was especially graceful.

O’Rourke supporters responded to the jabs from the Texas GOP by hauling out old footage of Cruz struggling on the basketball court. Others noted that the images of O’Rourke were more flattering than comparable material from Cruz’s past.

    The ambition of every college Republican is to be 40. pic.twitter.com/PvB8b5kNEc
    — Schooley (@Rschooley) August 29, 2018

According to The Daily Dot, an Austin-based media company, an image of Cruz in white face paint came from a high school yearbook, which documented a performance in which he acted out the biblical creation story, playing Adam in a stage adaptation of the Book of Genesis.

The website created a catalogue of positive reactions to the images shared by the Texas GOP, arguing that the party’s strategy had backfired. Vice said the “humiliating evidence” showed only that the country “might be interested in dating Beto O’Rourke.” GQ observed that the only “scandal” unearthed by Republicans was that “Beto O’Rourke has friends, is cool.”

The state party dug in its heels, dismissing those who looked favorably on the images as irrelevant to Texas politics.

    Based on the reaction to our tweets we can confirm that Beto is in fact going to receive 100% of the vote from Buzzfeed contributors, out of state liberals, and people who use the word "rad." We feel very owned Cry— Texas GOP (@TexasGOP) August 29, 2018


Beto O’Rourke yard signs are everywhere. Where are Ted Cruz’s?

Texas Tribune
30 Aug 2018 at 07:45 ET                  

As O’Rourke’s yard signs are popping up in neighborhoods around the state, frustrated Cruz supporters are having trouble finding ones promoting the current U.S. senator’s re-election bid. Until recently, that was by design, according to Cruz’s camp.

The conversation unfolding before a campaign event for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz here last week echoed similar ones popping up among Republican groups around Texas. With a mixture of frustration and bewilderment, attendees were discussing the proliferation of black-and-white yard signs in their neighborhoods brandishing a single four-letter word: BETO.

The signs have become a signature calling card of Democrat Beto O’Rourke‘s bid to unseat Cruz. While Democrats posting yard signs for candidates is nothing new, even when it happens in some of Texas’ most conservative enclaves, what’s been different this summer is the extent to which O’Rourke’s signs have seemingly dominated the landscape in some neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, Cruz signs are far tougher to spot, and many Cruz supporters have become increasingly agitated by their inability to obtain signs to counter what they see on their daily drives.

Once the event in Georgetown got started, one of the earlier speakers — a candidate for county office — jokingly pleaded with the crowd to quit asking him for Cruz signs because he could not provide them.

Cruz later fielded a question about signs from the local member of the State Republican Executive Committee, Mike McCloskey.

“The one question I get asked universally, everywhere is, ‘We’re seeing signs that say ‘Robert Francis’ in our neighbors’ yards, and we want to claim our territory and have your signs in our yards,'” McCloskey told Cruz, using O’Rourke’s birth name. “I think people here are wanting those. What can we do to get those in the hands of the folks that want to have them in their yard?”

“That’s a question we hear a lot,” Cruz said. “Yes, there are a lot of signs for my opponent, Beto O’Rourke. They invested a ton of money and they put that money, part of it, into having signs everywhere.”

The sign disparity is not necessarily indicative of an enthusiasm gap, but of differences in campaign spending priorities. But more broadly, Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe has an aversion to yard signs — he said he views them as a far-less-effective use of campaign money than door knocking, television and radio advertising, phone banking or direct mail. That’s not a new strategy in Cruz world. Roe said the Cruz 2016 presidential campaign spent no money on yard signs.

“It would be an easier campaign to win if we just used yard signs, and whoever wins is who puts up the most yard signs,” Roe told The Texas Tribune.

Even so, the Cruz campaign has distributed 10,000 signs so far, and ordered another 25,000 for these anxious supporters.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Cruz campaign sent out an email to supporters with the subject line, “Yard Signs are Here – Get Yours!” The signs are available on its website for $10 – the same price O’Rourke is selling signs on his own site. Both campaigns also offer sets of 100 or more at discounted rates.

“We respect and admire the contributions of our volunteers and the people coming to the rallies for the senator and admire their participation in the process,” Roe said. “They said loud and clear they would like those signs, and we are happy to oblige while maintaining the efficient and effective voter campaign while being outspent.”

So how many O’Rourke yard signs are there actually around Texas? An O’Rourke spokesman said the campaign has not tracked the number of signs they’ve sold or given away.

Texas hasn’t elected a Democrat statewide in over 20 years. But recent polls show the race between Cruz and O’Rourke within single digits. O’Rourke has also taken the lead in fundraising.

While the paucity of Cruz signs does not appear to reflect a lack of enthusiasm on the Republican side of the race, the decision has nonetheless begun to have a psychological impact in some communities, energizing O’Rourke backers and, at the very least, unnerving some Cruz voters.

The topic has come up repeatedly at Republican gatherings in recent weeks. On a telephone town hall Cruz held with supporters earlier this month, one caller introduced himself as an Uber driver from Keller who said he travels “all over the Mid-Cities and Tarrant County and whatnot, and Beto signs are everywhere.” The man told Cruz he has “not seen one sign for you other than the one that’s on my back patio.” He asked whether the lack of signs was due to the Cruz campaign taking Republican-leaning Tarrant County for granted, or whether the campaign simply lacked the money to offer its supporters signs.

“I hear that all across the state, and there are a lot of Beto O’Rourke signs that are out there,” Cruz replied. “And the reason is they invested big, big dollars early on.”

Cruz went on to recall his “famously cheap” campaign for U.S. Senate in 2012 – one in which he defeated Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who put millions of dollars of his own money into the race and was widely viewed as the frontrunner until Cruz’s upstart bid gained traction. “We watch our pennies very, very closely,” Cruz told the man, saying supporters were similarly frustrated six years ago with the availability of yard signs, but that was “because we were saving our money to use it when it has the greatest effect.”

Last week, at a GOP gathering in Salado, a small, community halfway between Waco and Austin, attendees distributed a bulletin that highlighted all the O’Rourke signs popping up in conservative neighborhoods. A speaker urged patience among local Republicans on the lack of Cruz signs, telling the relieved crowd that she was working with a local printer on getting legal clearance to print their own local Cruz campaign signs and that the campaign would purchase more signs in the coming weeks.

It was a very different scene at an O’Rourke rally in Fort Worth over the weekend, in which staffers and volunteers put together signs with assembly-line speed and happily distributed them. When asked how many signs they had given out that evening, the O’Rourke staffers shrugged, a nod to how difficult it was to keep track.

O’Rourke told the Tribune Tuesday that the signs have helped boost his campaign’s reach — particularly in more conservative communities.

“We go to a town hall in Waco, or we were in Huntsville the day before yesterday, and folks are hopeful — and I’m in turn hopeful — they say, ‘Hey, there are yard signs all over the place in neighborhoods that I never would’ve expected to see one. That gave me some courage to come out to this town hall or to get a yard sign myself,'” O’Rourke said. “‘Now I know it’s OK in this suburb of Houston or this stretch of West Texas to be for you or to be with other people who think the way that I do.’ It’s been a real surprise for us, but a positive one.”

The congressman echoed Cruz’s campaign manager in asserting that door knocking and candidate appearances are a more effective means of campaigning, but he insisted signs matter as personal endorsements.

“The more human, the more powerful it is,” he said. “But literally planting that sign … you’re personally and powerfully saying, ‘Look, I’m part of this amazing thing that’s going on in Texas right now.’ That’s really powerful.'”

The difference in tactics goes back to a 2006 political science experiment. At the time, former Gov. Rick Perry was running for his second full term and allowed for researchers to try different tactics in some communities to test which were most effective at motivating voters. Daron Shaw, a government professor at the University of Texas at Austin and co-director of the Texas Tribune/University of Texas Poll, worked on experiments involving yard signs in Perry’s race and saw little evidence that they moved Perry’s numbers.

Four years later, Perry’s team essentially abandoned the entire practice of distributing yard signs during his third re-election campaign. He soundly defeated now-former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Republican primary and Democrat Bill White in the general election.

Since then, more academic research backed up Shaw’s findings, and yard signs have largely fallen out of vogue within the Texas GOP consultant class, at least among statewide candidates.

But that 2006 campaign marked Perry’s fifth statewide race — when he already had near-universal name identification in Texas, much like Cruz does now. As such, Shaw cautions not every campaign should follow Perry’s lead.

“It varies race by race and year by year,” he said. “So I wouldn’t claim that that study should be used as evidence that you ought not to be doing it this time around.”

For a candidate like O’Rourke, who began the race as a relative unknown, there is anecdotal evidence that the signs have helped him build his name identification.

Jo Johns is a retired physical education teacher who recently attended an organizing rally for O’Rourke in Weatherford.

She told the Tribune she first learned about O’Rourke by seeing his signs while driving to yoga class.

“I didn’t know who he was, and I wanted to know about him,” she added. “I saw Beto, Beto, Beto. I thought he must be a Republican because they’re everywhere.”

Shaw pointed back to the 2014 governor’s race, when Democrat Wendy Davis’ signs outnumbered her opponent, now-Gov. Greg Abbott, in some communities. Davis still lost by 20 points. But this time around, the political scientist suggests O’Rourke’s yard signs are possibly signaling momentum to voters, priming some who may have otherwise assumed Cruz was unbeatable that O’Rourke has a shot.

“In this race, it probably is more of a positive because it reinforces information you’re getting in public polls, stories you’re getting in the media and fundraising,” said Shaw.

Roe and the Cruz campaign intend to continue to prioritize other ways of getting out the vote.

“At the end of the day,” Roe said, “our campaign will be measured by one thing and one thing only: Whether we win the race.”

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« Reply #1402 on: Aug 30, 2018, 06:26 AM »

If you live in America please watch this: It is what American used to be, and can still be.....

'I can think of nothing more American': Beto O’Rourke responds to question on NFL protests

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAw9eXXVwfM

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« Reply #1403 on: Aug 30, 2018, 07:56 AM »

Meanwhile here is your 'president' .. the 24/7 tv addict eating cheeseburgers

White House aides growing alarmed by Trump’s decision-making: ‘He’s watching TV and relying on his gut instincts’

Raw Story
Travis Gettys
30 Aug 2018 at 08:13 ET                   

White House officials are growing alarmed as an increasingly isolated President Donald Trump tunes them out in favor of television news.

The president rants against the media on a nearly daily basis on Twitter, but he spends hours watching TV every day — and his aides say that factors heavily into his decision-making process, according to Washington Post reporter Robert Costa.

“The way it’s really described to me by a lot of Trump sources is that the president is isolated,” Costa told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “He has these aides and advisors he counts on, but he’s really watching television and relying on his own gut instincts.”

“That’s caused some alarm inside the president’s circle,” he added, “that as he becomes more besieged by political and legal problems that he could rely more on the fiery types around him and his own gut instincts than bringing in establishment Republicans.”

Costa said the departure of White House counsel Don McGahn will leave yet another empty office upstairs in the West Wing.

“Inside the White House it’s pretty sparse,” Costa said. “You have Kellyanne Conway, you have John Kelly, who’s been pretty beleaguered, not really a political chief of staff, also looking perhaps for the exit.”

“Sarah Huckabee Sanders has made it clear she may not stay forever in this term,” he added.

Even as the White House staff withers, Costa said the president’s outside legal team may soon expand.

“(Rudy) Giuliani (and) Jay Sekulow, probably not enough if you’re facing more challenges ahead,” Costa said. “You may need to bring in more lawyers on the outside team so the White House can try to function as a White House and have a more sprawling bolstered legal team on the outside.”

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« Reply #1404 on: Aug 31, 2018, 04:06 AM »

The surprising role cheese played in human evolution

The Conversation
31 Aug 2018 at 06:58 ET                   

A solid white mass found in a broken jar in an Ancient Egyptian tomb has turned out to be the world’s oldest example of solid cheese.

Probably made mostly from sheep or goats milk, the cheese was found several years ago by archaeologists in the ancient tomb of Ptahmes, who was a high-ranking Egyptian official. The substance was identified after the archaeology team carried out biomolecular identification of its proteins.

This 3,200-year-old find is exciting because it shows that the Ancient Egyptian’s shared our love of cheese – to the extent it was given as a funerary offering. But not only that, it also fits into archaeology’s growing understanding of the importance of dairy to the development of the human diet in Europe.

Dairy in diets

About two-thirds of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. So although dairy products are a daily part of the diet for many living in Europe, Northern India and North America, drinking milk in adulthood was only possible from the Bronze Age, over the last 4,500 years.

For most of human history, adults lost the ability to consume milk after infancy – and the same is true of people who are lactose intolerant today. After weaning, people with lactose intolerance can no longer produce the enzyme lactase. This is necessary to break down the lactose sugars in fresh milk into compounds that can be easily digested. People with lactose intolerance experience unpleasant symptoms if they consume dairy products such as bloating, flatulence and diarrhoea.

Ancient DNA analysis on human skeletons from prehistoric Europe places the earliest appearance of the gene lactase gene (LCT) – which keeps adults producing lactase – to 2,500BC. But there is plenty of evidence from the Neolithic period (around 6,000-2,500BC in Europe) that milk was being consumed.

This is not totally surprising though, as the Neolithic marks the start of farming in most regions of Europe – and the first time humans lived closely alongside animals. And although they were unable to digest milk, we know that Neolithic populations were processing milk into substances they could consume.
Archaeological evidence

Using a technique called “lipid analysis”, sherds of ancient pottery can be analysed and fats absorbed into the clay identified. This then allows archaeologists to find out what was cooked or processed inside them.
We have ancient ancestors to thank for the cheese we eat today.

Although it is not yet possible to identify the species of animal, dairy fats can be distinguished. It is also challenging to determine what techniques were being used to make dairy products safe to consume, with many potential options. Fermenting milk, for example, breaks down the lactose sugar into lactic acid. Cheese is low in lactose because it involves separating curd (from which cheese is made) from whey, in which the majority of the lactose sugars remain.

Clay sieves from Poland, similar to modern cheese sieves, have been found to have dairy lipids preserved in the pores of clay, suggesting that they were being used to separate curds from the whey. Whether the curds were then consumed or attempts made to preserve them by pressing into a harder cheese is unknown. Fermentation of milk was also possible to our ancestors, but harder to explore with the techniques currently available to archaeology.

Early cheese making

While the techniques from bioarchaeology have provided this fantastic detail on Neolithic diets, where the science stops, experimental archaeology can explore what was possible.

We have been making cheese using the utensils, plants and techniques available to Neolithic farmers. The aim of the experiments is not to faithfully recreate early cheeses, but to begin to capture some of the decisions available to early cheese makers – and the experiments have thrown up some interesting results.

By using these ancient techniques, we have discovered that a wealth of different means of curdling the milk would have been possible, each producing different forms, tastes and amounts of cheese.

And such specialist knowledge may have been akin to the spread of bronze smelting at the end of the Neolithic. Dairy may have had a special status among foodstuffs. For example, at the major late Neolithic feasting site of Durrington Walls, not far from and contemporary with Stonehenge, dairy residues were found in a particular kind of pottery vessel and concentrated in the area around a timber circle – a form of Late Neolithic monument.

From the Bronze Age, however, lactase persistence offered an advantage to some people who were able to pass this on to their offspring. It also seems that this advantage was not solely because of increased calorie and nutrient intake alone – but because of the special status dairy foods may have had. The development of this biological adaption to fresh milk took place after humans had already found ways to safely include dairy products in the diet.

This shows that humans are not only able to manipulate their food to make it edible, but that what we consume can also lead to new adaptations in our biology.The Conversation

Penny Bickle, Lecturer in Archaeology, University of York

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« Reply #1405 on: Aug 31, 2018, 04:08 AM »

Sleek, Sustainable Mobile Accessories Tackle World's E-Waste Problem


These days, mobile phone chargers and cables can be picked up at just about any drug store or gas station. But these products can be cheaply made, come in unnecessary plastic packaging, and certainly add to world's toxic and growing electronic waste, or e-waste, problem

With that in mind, Nimble has launched a line of sustainably made mobile accessories that include wireless charging pads, stands and travel kits.

The devices have features such as plant-based bioplastic, 100 percent organic hemp, recycled PET from plastic bottles and recyclable aluminum, as well as USB cables that are BPA- and PVC-free.

Instead of using paint or toxic adhesives, they're speckled with natural mineral crystals to create a unique design. They also come packaged in 100 percent recycled scrap paper with no inks, adhesives or dyes, making them completely compostable.

The battery cells themselves are made of standard lithium-ion, which are non-biodegradable, of course. But to make up for that, the startup has a One-for-One Tech Recovery Project that aims to recycle one pound of e-waste for every product sold. Each gadget comes with a recyclable bag that you can stuff with any old and unwanted phones, tablets and other electronics you have lying around. You then print out a free-shipping label from the Nimble website and send it directly to their e-waste recycling partner, Homeboy Electronics Recycling in Los Angeles, for proper reclamation.

Nimble aims to be e-waste neutral by 2022 through recovery of an equal amount of e-waste as it adds in new items to their line.

The three founders, Ross Howe, Jon Bradley and Kevin Malinowski, are all ex-employees of the mobile accessory maker Mophie.

"We all came from the consumer electronics industry and we realized that that business model is really broken," Howe, the CEO of Nimble, said in a company video, adding that typical packaging for phone accessories are not only unrecyclable, it also adds $8-10 dollars to the item.

Wired noted that Nimble's pricing is competitive—more expensive than the budget stuff, but cheaper than big-name brands. Nimble's products won't be sold at traditional retail shops, which cuts prices even more.

Their least expensive option is the $40 wireless pad that can power all the latest iPhones at 7.5 watts and other smartphones at up to 10 watts. The portable chargers are available at 10K, 13K, 20K and 26K mAh capacities and range from $50 to $100.

The devices can be purchased directly on their website and on Amazon in the coming days. It ships straight from their facility in Orange County, California. At this time, Nimble only ships to addresses in the U.S.

"We believe people should know how their products are made, where they come from and what the impact is on the world," said Howe in a press release. "Simply put, we make great personal tech products, more thoughtfully."

Watch here to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7sZU4Aso9w

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« Reply #1406 on: Aug 31, 2018, 04:10 AM »

Why Glitter Must Be Banned

By Daniel Ross

All that glitters ain't gold, or so the old adage goes. And when it comes to the glitter used in everyday cosmetics, specialty make-up, hair products and party paraphernalia, the negative effects on human health and the environment are indeed far from golden.

"They really do get into everything, and despite their tiny size, they can have a devastating impact on humans and non-human animals," wrote Trisia Farrelly, a social anthropologist at Massey University in New Zealand and an expert in waste plastics, in an email to AlterNet.

Glitter is one member of a large family of microplastics—tiny little bits of plastic less than five millimeters in size. Think microbeads, microfibers and fingernail-sized fragments of much larger plastic wastes that have broken down over time. When washed or flushed away, microplastics make their way into our oceans and great lakes, slowly accumulating over time, creating all sorts of health and environmental hazards, the full breadth of which is still being grasped.

For one, there's the issue of how microplastics like cosmetic glitter—made by bonding aluminum with polyethylene terephthalate (PET)—impact sensitive ecosystems. That's because PETs leach out endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which, when eaten by marine life, can cause adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects, said Farrelly. In this recent study, microplastics are shown to significantly impact the reproduction rates of oysters.

Then there's the domino-like effect of microplastics through the food-chain, for the sheer volume of microplastics consumed by seafood-loving humans is staggering. This study from the University of Ghent found that Europeans who eat shellfish can consume as much as 11,000 microplastics per year. But what are some of the long-term implications from glitter passing through the food-chain?

PETs attract and absorb persistent organic pollutants and pathogens, adding an extra layer of contamination. When those at the bottom of the ladder—like molluscs, sea snails, marine worms, and plankton—eat pathogen or pollutant-carrying particles of glitter, these minuscule poison pills can concentrate in toxicity as they move up the food chain, all the way to our dinner plates, said Farrelly.

"When we eat Kai moana [Maori term for seafood], we are taking on these toxins," she wrote. "When they enter the gut, the toxins and pathogens are very easily taken up."

A growing body of research is shining a light on the resulting effects of these toxins and pathogens on humans. Studies connect endocrine disrupting chemicals with marine and freshwater fish population collapses, as well as declines in sex ratios in human populations that live adjacent to plastic factories.

All of which is prompting many marine experts and environmentalists to advocate for the same ban on glitter as there has been on microbeads—the tiny little balls of plastic used in things like exfoliating beauty products.

"At the rate we are going, there could be one pound of plastic for every three pounds of finfish in the ocean in the next ten years," wrote Nick Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas Program, in an email. "And unless action is taken, the problem is only going to get bigger."

At the end of 2015 after a sustained campaign at the state level, the Obama administration signed the Microbead-Free Waters Act, banning plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products. Other countries have subsequently followed suit. The U.K. and New Zealand announced their own prohibitions on microbeads earlier this year.

Importantly, these bans aren't necessarily a reflection of the singular impact from microbeads. Rather, they're a nod to a much wider understanding of the pervasiveness in the environment of microplastics in general, for the amount of microplastics entering the ocean alone is staggering. According to estimates made in 2014, there are between 15 and 51 trillion microplastic particles, weighing between 93 and 236 thousand metric tons, sitting in the world's seas.

What's more, their impacts are myriad

.A number of studies have shown that tiny plastic particles have been detected in sea salts sold commercially. In an interview with the Guardian, Sherri Mason, a professor at the State University of New York at Fredonia who led one of these studies, described plastics as being "ubiquitous in the air, water, the seafood we eat, the beer we drink, the salt we use—plastics are just everywhere." Microfibers have even been found in honey.

Microplastic had also made their way into 83 percent of tap water samples from more than a dozen countries around the world including India, Lebanon, France and Germany, according to an investigation by Orb Media. The U.S. languished at the bottom of the pile, with plastic fibers appearing in 94 percent of samples.

But microplastics comprise only a fraction of the global plastic pollution problem. The world's oceans are pockmarked, for example, with massive clusters of marine debris and plastics—the Great Pacific Garbage Patch found in the North Pacific Ocean proving to be the largest such gyre. According to the U.N., more than 8 million tons of plastic makes its way into the ocean each year—equal to a garbage truck of plastic dumped every minute.

Data shows that rapidly developing economies, where population growth and consumption are outpacing waste collection and recycling capacity, are responsible for the largest amounts of plastic wastes entering the oceans, said Nick Mallos. And he warned that, without intervention, growing economies would likely exacerbate these "unintended consequences of development spread." Still, he remains optimistic.

"By raising awareness of the issue of ocean plastic," Mallos wrote, "we can curb the flow through reduced consumption, improved waste management and innovative product and material solutions."

Reposted with permission from our media associate AlterNet.

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« Reply #1407 on: Aug 31, 2018, 04:11 AM »

Facebook Joins 100% Renewable Energy Revolution


Facebook announced Tuesday it will slash greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent and transition global operations to 100 percent renewable energy by the end of 2020 in efforts to "help fight climate change."

Similarly, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted over the weekend that his company's enormous Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada will run entirely on Tesla Solar by the end of 2019.

The switch would drastically reduce the electric car maker's manufacturing-related emissions, CleanTechnica noted.


Facebook, which has more than 30,000 employees and data centers around the world, said Tuesday it has already bought more than 3 gigawatts of new solar and wind energy since its first renewable energy purchase in 2013. The social media giant's goal of supporting half of its facilities with renewable energy was met a year early in 2017.

As the world becomes increasingly digitized, our smartphones, tablets and other internet-connected devices could produce 3.5 percent of global emissions within 10 years and 14 percent by 2040, Climate Home News reported last year.

A 2015 Greenpeace report found that if the internet were a country, its electricity demand would currently rank sixth. The report underscored the importance of tech companies going green, as they have immense clout to drive a renewable energy revolution.

"CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reaffirmed Facebook's place among business leaders in the race to be coal-free and 100 percent renewable-powered," Greenpeace senior corporate campaigner Gary Cook said in a statement.

Cook added, "If we are to stay within the 1.5 degree threshold that scientists say is crucial to avoid catastrophic climate change, we need many more companies stepping up to adopt aggressive renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals."

Other Silicon Valley titans have made clean energy strides. Google and Apple separately announced in April they have reached 100 percent renewables.

The Gigafactory is part of Musk's vision to fast-track a cleaner, more sustainable future. It was always designed to be entirely powered by renewable energy sources, with the goal of achieving net zero energy.

The Gigafactory is being built in phases so Tesla and its partners can manufacture products while the building continues to expand. It officially kicked off the mass production of lithium-ion battery cells in January 2017.

The structure already has a footprint of more than 1.9 million square feet and more than 4.9 million square feet of operational space across several floors. It's currently about 30 percent complete, but once it's finished it will likely hold the title of world's largest building by footprint, Tesla says.

In March, Tesla started building a massive rooftop solar array on top of the giant building. Once finished, the 70-megawatt system will be the largest in the world by far; the current record-holder is the comparatively shrimpy 11.5-megawatt array in India that can power 8,000 homes.

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« Reply #1408 on: Aug 31, 2018, 04:13 AM »

Stunning Victory for Indigenous Nations as Canada Halts Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion


A Canadian court "quashed" approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on Thursday, a major setback for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose government agreed to purchase the controversial project from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion Canadian dollars (U.S. $3.5 billion) in May.

It's a stunning victory for Indigenous groups and environmentalists opposed to the project, which is designed to nearly triple the amount of tar sands transported from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia.

The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the National Energy Board's review—as explained by the Canadian Press—"was so flawed that the federal government could not rely on it as a basis for its decision to approve the expansion."

The project has been at the center of widespread protests from environmental groups and First Nations ever since November 2016, when Trudeau approved a $7.4 billion expansion of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline that would increase the transport of Alberta tar sands oil from the current 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day and increase tanker traffic nearly seven-fold through the Burrard Inlet.

Specifically, the court said it was an "unjustifiable failure" that the National Energy Board did not consider the environmental impacts of the increased tanker traffic.

The court additionally concluded that the government "fell well short" with properly consulting with the Indigenous groups involved in the case, including the Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish on British Columbia's south coast.

The ruling will force the National Energy Board to redo its review of the pipeline and the government to restart consultations with the Indigenous groups. It also means that the construction that has already began in central Alberta must cease.

In effect, the court has halted the 1,150-kilometer project indefinitely and it will remain in "legal limbo until the energy regulator and the government reassess their approvals to satisfy the court's demands," CBC wrote about today's decision.

Notably, the decision was made the same day Kinder Morgan's shareholders voted to approve the $4.5 billion sale to Canada, which means the country owns a proposed pipeline project that could be subject to years of further review, the publication pointed out.

The court's judgment could be appealed a final time to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Minister of Finance Bill Morneau said that the government has received the ruling and will review the decision.

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« Reply #1409 on: Aug 31, 2018, 04:15 AM »

Warm Waters Under Arctic Ice a 'Ticking Time Bomb'


Scientists warn that a warm layer of salty ocean water accumulating 50 meters beneath the Arctic's Canadian Basin could potentially melt the region's sea-ice pack for much of the year if it reaches the surface.

The findings were published Thursday in the journal Science Advances by researchers from Yale University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

This "archived" heat is currently trapped under a surface layer of colder freshwater, but if the two layers mix, "there is enough heat to entirely melt the sea-ice pack that covers this region for most of the year," lead author Mary-Louise Timmermans, a professor of geology and geophysics at Yale University, told YaleNews.

The researchers discovered that the heat content of the warm, salty layer doubled from 200 to 400 million joules per square meter in the past 30 years.

The warming layer is "a ticking time bomb," the study's co-author John Toole of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution told CBC.

"That heat isn't going to go away," he added. "Eventually ... it's going have to come up to the surface and it's going to impact the ice."

Scientists believe the warm water is coming from the Chukchi Sea in the south, where ice cover has been rapidly melting and being exposed to the summer sun. Strong northerly winds are driving these warm waters north and flowing beneath the Canadian Basin.

The Canadian Basin is a major basin of the Arctic Ocean that's fed by waters from the North Chukchi Sea, just north of the Bering Strait between Alaska and Siberia.

"This means the effects of sea-ice loss are not limited to the ice-free regions themselves, but also lead to increased heat accumulation in the interior of the Arctic Ocean that can have climate effects well beyond the summer season," Timmermans explained.

The Arctic is warming at a rate twice as fast as the rest of the globe due to climate change. Earlier this month, The Guardian reported that the Arctic's thickest and oldest sea ice—also known as "the last ice area"—is breaking up for the first time on record. The breakage has opened up waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen-solid even in the peak of summer, a phenomenon that has been described as "scary."

Ships have even begun to traverse across the melting Arctic. Such routes have been historically impossible or prohibitively expensive to cross.

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