Fake News Purveyors Promote “Alt-Right” Claims That Susan Rice And James Comey Imperiled By Supposed FBI Investigation

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Fake news purveyors are promoting dubious claims from “Alt-Right” figures Mike Cernovich And Jack Posobiec that former FBI Director James Comey dropped an FBI investigation into former national security advisor Susan Rice because it would have implicated him. They are also claiming that Rice is in legal jeopardy for unmasking aides of President Donald Trump who were caught on incidental FBI surveillance. There have been no mainstream media reports that Rice or Comey committed any wrongdoing, and both Cernovich and Posobiec have a history of pushing misinformation and conspiracy theories.

Lets recap: F.B.I. Director James Comey Is Fired. On May 9, President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, according to The New York Times. The Times reported that Trump claimed he was following the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who in a memo cited Comey’s July 5 announcement that he would end the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails without prosecuting anyone involved as a reason for the degradation of trust between the FBI and the public. Trump has since contradicted that claim, telling NBC he would have fired Comey regardless of the memo. From the May 9 article:

President Trump last Tuesday fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, abruptly terminating the top official leading a criminal investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s advisers colluded with the Russian government to steer the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

The stunning development in Mr. Trump’s presidency raised the specter of political interference by a sitting president into an existing investigation by the nation’s leading law enforcement agency. It immediately ignited Democratic calls for a special counsel to lead the Russia inquiry.

Mr. Trump explained the firing by citing Mr. Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, even though the president was widely seen to have benefited politically from that inquiry and had once praised Mr. Comey for his “guts” in his pursuit of Mrs. Clinton during the campaign.

But in his letter to Mr. Comey, released to reporters by the White House, the president betrayed his focus on the continuing inquiry into Russia and his aides.

“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau,” Mr. Trump said in a letter to Mr. Comey dated Tuesday. White House officials refused to say anything more about the three occasions Mr. Trump cited.

The officials said that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, pushed for Mr. Comey’s dismissal. But many in Washington, including veteran F.B.I. officers, saw a carefully choreographed effort by the president to create a pretense for a takedown of the president’s F.B.I. tormentor. [The New York Times, 5/9/17; MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell Reports, 5/11/17]

Susan Rice Reportedly Unmasked Trump Officials Caught In Surveillance:

CNN: Susan Rice Accused Of Improperly Unmasking Names Of Trump Officials Caught In Surveillance, With No Proof She Broke Law. CNN reported that some Republicans, including Trump, have claimed that former national security adviser Susan Rice “broke the law by requesting the ‘unmasking’ of … identities” of “US individuals” who were connected to Trump and had been caught in surveillance. “Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers and aides” told CNN they had “so far found no evidence that Obama administration officials did anything unusual or illegal.” From the April 12 article:

After a review of the same intelligence reports brought to light by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers and aides have so far found no evidence that Obama administration officials did anything unusual or illegal, multiple sources in both parties tell CNN.

Their private assessment contradicts President Donald Trump’s allegations that former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice broke the law by requesting the “unmasking” of US individuals’ identities. Trump had claimed the matter was a “massive story.”[…]

One congressional intelligence source described the requests made by Rice as “normal and appropriate” for officials who serve in that role to the president.

And another source said there’s “absolutely” no smoking gun in the reports, urging the White House to declassify them to make clear there was nothing alarming in the documents.

The lawmakers’ assessment comes after Trump, in a New York Times interview last week, accused Rice of breaking the law. [CNN, 4/12/17]

NBC News: “Susan Rice Did Nothing Wrong, Say Both [Democrats] and Republicans.” NBC News on April 17 confirmed CNN’s article, reporting, “A review of the surveillance material flagged by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes shows no inappropriate action by Susan Rice or any other Obama administration official, Republican and Democratic Congressional aides who have been briefed on the matter told NBC News.” [NBC News, 4/17/17]

“Alt-Right” Figures With History Of Dubious Reporting Claim Comey And Rice Implicated In Supposed FBI Investigation Of Rice

Rebel Media’s Jack Posobiec: “FBI Source Tells Me Comey Dropped The Susan Rice Unmasking Investigation [Because] It Would Have Implicated Himself.” On May 12, Rebel Media’s Jack Posobiec wrote on Twitter, “FBI source tells me Comey dropped the Susan Rice unmasking investigation bc it would have implicated himself.” Posobiec has a history of pushing misinformation and conspiracy theories and was one of the main people who spread forged documents targeting then-French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron.

[Twitter, 5/12/17; Media Matters, 5/11/17, 5/5/17]

Infowars’ Mike Cernovich: Rice’s Lawyers Are Seeking “Immunity” For Rice After Comey’s Firing.

On May 10, Infowars host Mike Cernovich claimed that Comey had “protected” Rice and that following Comey’s firing, Rice’s lawyers had “reached out the FBI” in order to get her “immunity” because she committed “multiple felonies.” Cernovich also suggested that Rice had spied on conservatives and conservative media figures. Cernovich, who seems to have been the first to claim that Rice committed nefarious behavior by unmasking officials, has a history of making dubious claims and promoting conspiracy theories. He also pushed the conspiracy theory that a chemical attack in Syria in April was a hoax, and he helped promote the forged documents targeting Macron. [YouTube, 5/10/17; Media Matters, 4/5/17, 5/3/17, 4/6/17, 5/5/17]

Fake News Purveyors Promote Cernovich’s And Posobiec’s Dubious Claims

Angry Patriot: Posobiec’s Claim “Could Potentially Destroy James Comey, and will Only Affirm Trump’s Decision In Giving Him The Boot.” Fake news purveyor The Angry Patriot referenced Posobiec’s claim that “Comey dropped the Susan Rice ‘unmasking’ investigation because it would have implicated himself, adding that without Posobiec, “we wouldn’t have any idea of what happened.” The site also used the unsubstantiated claim to defend Trump’s decision to fire Comey, writing that “what was leaked could potentially destroy James Comey,” and suggesting Posobiec’s claim “will only affirm Trump’s decision in giving [Comey] the boot.” From the May 14 article:

The public is aware now more than ever in terms of White House transparency. What was leaked could potentially destroy James Comey.

Former FBI Director James Comey landed himself in hot water and was fired by President Trump earlier last week. Comey acted out of concern for himself rather than that of the American people. But it’s much worse. A source stated that Comey dropped the Susan Rice “unmasking” investigation because it would have implicated himself. (via Pat Dollard)

The source told this statement to Jack Posobiec. Posobiec is a Washington-based writer and a conservative activist. He is mostly known for sharing Emmanuel Macron’s hacked emails on Twitter during the French election. (via US Defense Watch) […]

We have to respect Posobiec’s efforts to be transparent. He made this information public because he felt that the American people have the right to know any background information pertaining to this.[…]

It’s imperative that conservative commentators and writers continue to serve as a trusting liaison between government officials and the general public. Jack Posobiec was our eyes and ears in the White House, and he publicized exactly what he heard.

Jack Posobiec has a history of making information available to the public. Conservative journalists differ from left-wing journalists because they rely on truth to do their jobs. Liberals rely on whining, ad hominem attacks, and excuses.

We are thankful to Posobiec because we wouldn’t have any idea of what happened without him, but the issue does need to be investigated further. It will only affirm Trump’s decision in giving him the boot. [The Angry Patriot, 5/14/17; Media Matters, 12/14/16]

TruthFeed: Posobiec’s Claim Does “Logically Make Sense.”

On May 13, fake news purveyor TruthFeed claimed that while “we can not be sure of the veracity of Posobiec’s claim, but it does logically make sense” because “Susan Rice, Loretta Lynch and James Comey were among the few that had the ability to unmask U.S. citizens and thus digging deeper into the Susan Rice investigation could have very well led to Comey having improperly unmasked Trump Team members for obvious political motivations.” [TruthFeed, 5/13/17; Media Matters, 12/14/16]

Conservative Daily Post And Washington Feed: Posobiec’s Claim Shows Comey “Covered For” Rice. Fake news purveyor Conservative Daily Post argued that Posobiec’s claim meant Comey “was worried that investigators would’ve found something that he didn’t want them to know about.” It added that “Comey’s past reluctance to help the Senate investigate Rice makes much more sense with this in mind,” and that Comey “was an extremely corrupt individual that not only covered for Clinton and Rice but also compromised their investigation in order to protect himself.” The article was later republished by fake news purveyor The Washington Feed. From the May 12 article:

The Democratic Party is filled with corrupt liberals. They get into office simply so they can engage in illegal behavior and do favors for others. While Barack Obama was the President, he did nothing to hold the left accountable for their misconduct.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that former National Security Adviser Susan Rice had repeatedly asked to “unmask,” or reveal the identities of, people associated with the Trump campaign. Before that, it was proven that Hillary Clinton stored classified information on private servers. Despite this, James Comey, the former FBI Director did not investigate either Democrat’s questionable conduct. If he did, sources close to the FBI say he would’ve implicated himself, which suggests that he dropped both investigations in order to protect himself.

Just recently, Jack Posobiec, a reporter for Rebel TV, tweeted, “FBI source tells me Comey dropped the Susan Rice unmasking investigation bc it would have implicated himself. Developing.” Apparently, he was worried that investigators would’ve found something that he didn’t want them to know about.

Comey’s past reluctance to help the Senate investigate Rice makes much more sense with this in mind. Despite the Senate’s repeated attempts to get information about the “Intelligence official who ‘unmasked’ Trump associates by Rice and others, the FBI refused to cooperate. Last month, Adam Housley, a Fox News correspondent, reported that Intelligence Committee members were complaining that the FBI was being extremely difficult. “The information they continue to request from the Intelligence Agencies, now for over a month, has been very little given,” he explained. If this continues, Congress may decide to deauthorize the congressionally approved program that allows them to collect the information in the first place. […]

Trump’s decision to fire Comey was an excellent one. He was an extremely corrupt individual that not only covered for Clinton and Rice but also compromised their investigation in order to protect himself. With this in mind, firing him may not have been enough. President Trump should consider having charged with corruption. [Conservative Daily Post, 5/12/17; The Washington Feed, 5/12/17; PolitiFact 11/4/16; Snopes.com, 1/18/17]

“Susan Rice Freaks! Wants Immunity Says Cernovich!”

Fake news purveyor Before It’s News wrote that “award winning journalist” Cernovich reported that “Susan Rice is freaking out over Trump’s wise decision to fire Comey” because she thought “she would beat the rap of illegally unmasking people as long as Comey was FBI director.” It added that “if we all get this information out and get in front of Susan Rice’s plans, she will be exposed,” and encouraged people to spread the story on social media. From the May 11 article:

According to award winning journalist, Mike Cernovich, Susan Rice is freaking out over Trump’s wise decision to fire FBI Director, James Comey.  Cernovich says his sources have confirmed she felt confident she would beat the rap of illegally unmasking people as long as FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe were in control!  Now that James Comey has been fired, she has freaked out and ordered her lawyers to get an immunity deal with the FBI!   She’s in a panic because she knows she will be going to jail if justice is served!

Get this video out EVERYWHERE so the Fake News can’t spin it.  If we all get this information out and get in front of Susan Rice’s plans, she will be exposed and hopefully Donald Trump will also fire FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe because he is listed as the other person protecting Susan Rice!  Let Trump Know and spread on his Twitter Feed and through all Social Networks and email lists.  This is Key Information that must go viral NOW before she gets a deal to escape jail!  Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and James Comey must be forced to take an NSA, CIA and FBI lie detector test to see if they covered up crimes of the Clintons and others.  I guarantee you that if McCabe is asked to do a lie detector he will resign immediately! [Before It’s News, 5/11/17; Media Matters, 12/14/16]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources\Related:

Washington Reporter Jack Posobiec Says: Comey Dropped Rice …

Jack Posobiec: First press conference as Rebel’s credentialed White …

Jack Posobiec – The Rebel

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Sources: Susan Rice behind unmasking of Trump officials – WND

James Comey

Mike Cernovich And Jack Posobiec About Their White House Press …

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Jack Posobiec on Twitter: “Mike @Cernovich and the Deputy …

Andrew McCabe

acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe

Calling On Jack Posobiec & Mike Cernovich to keep asking about …

So, is this what a coup looks like? – Mark Maynard

Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey | Israel Defense

Congressional Climate May 10th, 2017 | Lobbyit.com

Focus turns to Michael Flynn’s work for Turkey, Russia | McClatchy …

Why Susan Rice’s Role In The Obama Spying Story Is A Big Deal

Trump Fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday, Pointing To …

White House Faces Comey, Russia Questions: Live Coverage

Comey: “Mildy Nauseous” To Think I Affected Election – CNN.com …

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Susan Rice’s Unmasking — Intelligence Agencies Alone Can Make …

White House Faces Comey, Russia Questions: Live Coverage

White House Faces New Russia Questions Russia’s Lavrov on

Calling impeachment talk ‘ridiculous,’ Trump denies pressing Comey .

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s Memo Against James …

Rosenstein On Comey Memo: ‘I Wrote It. I Believe It. I Stand By It …

Former FBI director Robert Mueller appointed special counsel to lead

FBI Broke Rules Talking to the White House About Russia | Time.com

The Fake News Fake Story | The American Conservative

Conservative Daily Post – Media Bias/Fact Checking

List of fake news websites

Video: FBI Source Drops Comey Bombshell, People Are Going To Prison …

Rod Rosenstein

Caught in White House Chaos, Justice Dept. Official Seeks Neutral Ground

Susan Rice Freaks!

FBI Acting Director Andrew Mccabe Also Being Investigated Over …

GOP senator cites ‘concerns’ over Andrew McCabe as acting FBI

Trump Told Russians That Firing ‘Nut Job’ Comey Eased Pressure ..

Developing: Comey Dropped Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice …

Intelligence official who ‘unmasked’ Trump associates is … – Fox News

Alt-right

AltRight.com

Alternative Right | Southern Poverty Law Center

Alt Right: A Primer about the New White Supremacy

Alt-Right Claims on Susan Rice

FBI source tells me Comey dropped the Susan Rice unmasking

Washington Reporter Jack Posobiec Says: Comey Dropped Rice …

Developing: Comey Dropped Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice …

Intelligence official who ‘unmasked’ Trump associates is … – Fox News

Israel in rare overture to Palestinians ‘at Trump request’

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– Photo: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem May 21, 2017

US president and Israeli prime minister speak of hope for regional deal but words shed little light on how to achieve it

Donald Trump has said he has “a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace” to the Middle East after arriving in Israel on the second leg of his first foreign tour as US president.

Trump was greeted on the tarmac at David Ben-Gurion airport by the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the president, Reuven Rivlin.

Descending the steps of Air Force One with his wife, Melania – and apparently referring to the planning problems that have overshadowed a trip Israeli officials have described privately as “chaotic” – Trump asked Netanyahu: “What is the protocol?” Throwing up his hands, the PM replied: “Who knows?”

– Photo: From left: Reuven Rivlin, Donald Trump, Melania Trump, and Benjamin Netanyahu at the airport.

In joint statements on the tarmac, Trump and Netanyahu referred to hopes of a wider peace deal in the region, comments that were heavy on rhetoric but light on details of how that could be achieved.

Netanyahu noted “the forceful” speech delivered by Trump the previous day in Saudi Arabia, when he “called on all nations to drive out terrorists and extremists.”

“Israel’s hand is extended in peace to all our neighbours, including the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said. WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP!

Trump praised Israel, saying it had “built one of the great civilizations: a strong, resilient, determined nation” that he said was “forged in the commitment that we can never allow the horrors and atrocities of the last century to be repeated.”  [Sigh, smh].

“During my travels in recent days, I have found new reasons for hope,” Trump added. “We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace to this region and its people, defeating terrorism and creating a future of harmony, prosperity and peace, but we can only get there working together. There is no other way.”

Officials on all sides have played down hopes of an imminent breakthrough in peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians – described by Trump before his trip as his “ultimate deal.”

Among the officially invited guests at the airport were Israeli ministers, security figures, and religious leaders. Some ministers had been ordered to attend by Netanyahu after the prime minister reportedly discovered that a number planned to skip the reception.

Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister’s wife, was captured by a hot mic telling US first lady Melania Trump: “The majority of the people of Israel, unlike the media, they love us, so we tell them how you are great and they love you.”

From Ben Gurion airport Trump flew by helicopter to Jerusalem for his first official engagement with Rivlin at the president’s official residence. In public remarks made alongside Rivlin, Trump reiterated criticisms of Iran that he had also made in Saudi Arabia.

“The United States and Israel can declare with one voice that Iran must never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon – never, ever – and must cease its deadly funding, training and equipping of terrorists and militias, and it must cease immediately,” Trump said. [too late]

On Monday afternoon, he made private visits in the Old City at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, accompanied by his wife, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, but without any Israeli government officials.

Trump visits the Western Wall on Monday.
– Photo: Photo: Trump visits the Western Wall on Monday.

Later on Monday Trump is due to hold talks with Netanyahu and make more remarks to the press, before dining with the PM.

In his brief time in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, Trump hopes to re-invigorate an Israeli-Palestinian peace process that has been moribund since 2014.

On the eve of Trump’s arrival, Israeli ministers approved measures aimed at improving the Palestinian economy and facilitating crossings, initiatives said to have been made at the US president’s request hours before his arrival.

The “confidence-building measures” – announced ahead of his talks with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, on Tuesday – include the enlargement of a Palestinian industrial zone on the edge of the southern West Bank.

– Photo: President Donald Trump is welcomed by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Tuesday.

The moves are likely to be seen as small beer by most Palestinians. “It is all incredibly small stuff,” one Palestinian official said. “Most of what has been mentioned is either vague or covered under previous agreements. It is management of occupation. The same non-solution that Netanyahu has always pursued.”

Some of the moves – not least plans to issue more building permits to Palestinians in so-called Area C, the 60% of the West Bank under full Israeli security and administrative control – are opposed by key ministers in Netanyahu’s coalition.

Trump has sent mixed signals about how he will approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He cast uncertainty over years of international efforts to foster a two-state solution when he met Netanyahu at the White House in February.

During his election campaign, Trump advocated breaking with decades of precedent by moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, alarming Palestinians. He has since said the move was still being looked at.

After visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories, Trump will head to the Vatican as well as Brussels and Italy for Nato and G7 meetings.

The foreign trip comes as he contends with a series of problems at home, including a special counsel investigating alleged collusion with Russia.

As Trump arrived, Palestinians in the West Bank observed a general strike in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners in Israeli jails.

Israeli forces shoot and wound 11 Palestinians in West Bank, as prisoners’ mass hunger strike enters sixth week.

– Photo: Palestinians have called for a “day of rage” on Tuesday, when Trump visits the West Bank

But in a sign of the difficulties ahead for Trump’s peace initiative, hundreds of protesters blocked roads in cities and towns of the West Bank as the hunger strike entered its 36th day on Monday. A Palestinian advocacy group said several of the hundreds of hunger-striking prisoners have been treated in hospital.

 

 

 

 

Resources\Related:

Area C

West Bank Areas in the Oslo II Accord

UN: Israel ‘systematically’ emptying Area C of Palestinians | The Times

Hot Mic Catches Sara Netanyahu Bashing The Media – The Daily Caller

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Israel illegal settlements | Lisa’s leaks – ‘Madness in the Magnolias’

U.S.-Israel relationship | Lisa’s leaks – ‘Madness in the Magnolias’

Acting the Landlord: Israel’s Policy in Area C, the West Bank | B’Tselem

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The trick for Trump: Sustain foreign trip successes – Axios

 

Degrowth Politics and Policies for Degrowth

As a provocative minority and plural community, degrowth would die in internal conflicts and face political irrelevance if it were to present a full political proposal by setting out a coherent and complete set of policies for a new society. While degrowth may inspire a “new left” alternative to the extractivist and growth-led model of recent Latin American left government experiences, the construction of a fully-fledged alternative or the political agenda of a minority party should not be the priority. Instead, degrowth should speak to existing political forces and engage with policies that can be implemented by existing governments (at various scales).

Lisa's leaks - 'Madness in the Magnolias'

The degrowth community and other forums formulated a number of concrete policies and identified alliances with other movements. Acknowledging the diversity of perspectives and a more concise set of proposals by Research and Degrowth, this article puts together a number of policies and proposals consistent with degrowth.

View original post 3,325 more words

Degrowth Politics and Policies for Degrowth

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The degrowth community and other forums formulated a number of concrete policies and identified alliances with other movements. Acknowledging the diversity of perspectives and a more concise set of proposals by Research and Degrowth, this article puts together a number of policies and proposals consistent with degrowth. These are policies that either contribute to reduce societies’ throughput of energy and raw materials, or help people and companies to understand their impact and contribute to social equity. The proposals below are a synthesis of collective reflections in various degrowth fora; mistakes are mine.

As a provocative minority and plural community, degrowth would die in internal conflicts and face political irrelevance if it were to present a full political proposal by setting out a coherent and complete set of policies for a new society. While degrowth may inspire a “new left” alternative to the extractivist and growth-led model of recent Latin American left government experiences, the construction of a fully-fledged alternative or the political agenda of a minority party should not be the priority. Instead, degrowth should speak to existing political forces and engage with policies that can be implemented by existing governments (at various scales).

Working within existing institutions

The degrowth community should work to challenge and change social norms, particularly in terms of growth as social objective. More importantly, however, it should engage with existing institutions. Imagining new institutions for a degrowth society is an important thought-exercise, but building new institutions takes enormous efforts. At the same time, there is no guarantee that new institutions would be more democratic and better than the old ones, because institutions are the result of long, non-linear and complex processes. Moreover we need to start working right now. Therefore, we need to work within the existing institutions of society, towards incremental pragmatic policy changes.

Autonomous groups searching for alternative ways of living and experimenting with degrowth-inspired forms of living outside the mainstream economic system offer interesting experiences to their participants. However, these attempts do not offer a way forward for the implementation of degrowth in the wider society where most people live. Therefore I argue that degrowth should find a way to operate within and shape the existing political space. Degrowth politics needs to support other groups or actors in specific proposals which embed some of the key degrowth principles. These may be policies on various scales and at different levels of radicalism. Some of these would explicitly acknowledge degrowth principles. Others might have been designed with different intentions, while their outcomes are nevertheless a contribution towards degrowth.

Within current society, taxation and regulation are some of the most effective tools available. Given that people have complex lives and little time to study and evaluate every consumption decision, the appropriate and critical use of behavioral economics principles is key to help people reduce their consumption of nature. It is also important to acknowledge that many policies only make sense in certain contexts and might be irrelevant or need adaptation in others.

The entry points for degrowth policies are multiple and the connection is not always obvious. Some important degrowth policies need implementation at national level and others on international scale. Often, a particularly productive scale seems to be the city level. Cities offer the possibility of a direct and democratic political participation, and collective decisions on city-level can significantly change city metabolism and reduce throughput of energy and raw materials.

The degrowth community should praise all of these policies, acknowledge their contribution towards a degrowth society and build alliances with people whose choices and action are critical for degrowth. For example, a significant part of the vegan movement is a movement of compassion for animals, rather than grounded in ecological motivations. A dialogue with the vegan movement could help add a new important ally whose lifestyle practice can greatly contribute to degrowth. At the same time there is a sharing of values and a cross-pollination that could potentially strengthen degrowth. Phisosophically for instance, veganism rejects all forms of human discrimination from an animal rights perspective. Like others it is a movement of the left who seeks justice in broader terms, and is inherently anti-racist and feminist.

Here is a list of policy proposals that could contribute to degrowth:

  1. Making banks liable for the environmental impact of their credits

The role of banking and corporate debt as a way to force companies into a continuous growth process in order to repay interests and generate profit is a key focus of degrowth analyses which explore the impact of current monetary and debt system. While a radically redesign of such a system is unlikely under capitalism, banks could be made liable for the environmental impact of their credits. The example of some multi-lateral investment banks who already undertake social and environmental impact assessments before funding projects could be extended to all banking credits and push for stricter assessments and liabilities.

  1. Shifting taxation from labour to material consumption

This would be an overall policy goal, broken down into some concrete proposals of what this might mean:

  1. Cutting taxation on labour-intensive services with low energy throughput and consumption of nature

While increased consumption of nature is not sustainable, the increased consumption of certain services may be beneficial to society by creating meaning, improving well-being and providing jobs with low consumption of energy and nature. Some examples are: teachers of foreign languages, dance, yoga, massage therapists, psychotherapists. Taxes should shift to the consumption of materials goods.

  1. Taxing pollution, energy and nature embedded in products

It is fundamental to refuse (or heavily tax) the import of products that pollute in the course of the production process. Taxes should be levied at the final point of purchase so that companies cannot avoid them by producing in less regulated countries. Such measures may include agreements to spend such taxes in ways that also benefit the citizens of the producing countries (e.g. environmental protection, initiatives to address climate change).

  1. Linking international trade agreements to frameworks on climate change and consumption of nature.

Trade agreements are key to the existing economic system, and thus need to embed concerns regarding the consumption of nature and climate change.

  1. Reducing working hours.

A number of companies and some countries are experimenting with the significant reduction of working hours. Most contracts in the UK Charity Sector are already 35 hours per week. This may also be facilitated by reduced labour costs due to lower taxes on labour.

  1. Implementing an inheritance cap

Inheritance could be limited for example to 10 million euro per child, sibling or spouse. This would still mean 1,000 euro per day for over 30 years.

  1. Implementing bank holiday if the weather is good

In countries such as the UK, the summer season is unpredictable and often short. So people plan holiday in southern Europe to enjoy some guaranteed sun, while often struggling to benefit from the few days of sunny weather on working days at home. Moreover, air-conditioning in offices significantly increases energy consumption on some of the hotter days.

Exploiting the accuracy of weather forecasts, city councils could declare bank holidays, discretionary when weather conditions are particularly good. In many countries, governments already declare national holidays when major events happen, e.g. death or birthday of a head of state. This policy would improve well-being of the citizens, have positive health benefits, and possibly reduce overall energy consumption and traffic while reducing production by fewer working days.

  1. Implementing ecological footprint product & service labeling

A very serious product certification system should establish the ecological footprint of every product and service. This would be part of the labeling in order to make it easier for consumers to understand the ecological impact of their consumption choices in a transparent and robust way.

There are already labeling rules: in some countries, every product has to indicate high levels of sugar, salt, and fat. The new labeling system could tell you that a product is equivalent to 10% of your daily fair ecological footprint allowance. This would allow consumers (individuals but also companies and public sector) to choose a product not only based on price but also on ecological criteria.

Many industries, particularly within the EU, already have very complex regulations and standards, for instance around food safety, but fail to capture the most important dimension of nature consumption. The EU has an eco-label program and has already developed Eco-labelling guidelines for some sectors. However, it is a voluntary program, little known to the public, and only provides very limited information to the consumer.

Only when people will be able to assess the ecological costs of a product that they can understand what is actually convenient. It is also a way to translate the bio-physical limits of the planet into everyday life.

The certification process should be managed by an independent agency with an internationally agreed methodology. Such transparency and certification might then lead to policies encouraging certain consumption patterns and incentivising certain types of production.

  1. Implementing reparability scoring

A labeling system such as the above may take a long time to be approved. However, there are already civil society groups who work on assessing products on the basis of their reparability, durability, capacity to be updated, software support, provision and pricing of spare parts, and official repair guides. This work put pressure on companies and calls for the introduction of reparability standards in products. Such organizations and movements around repairing, for instance iFixit or Restart on the electronic repairs, are important allies of the degrowth community. They change the culture and people’s consumption patterns, while concretely reducing the need for new products and advocating for more repairable and durable products. There is also an aspect of learning new skills and labor intensive activities which contributes to reduce overall consumption of nature.

  1. Removing VAT from repairs

– Photo: The proposed removal of the the zero VAT rating for listed buildings will be devastating for churches, charities, communities and our heritage.

It is not only important to lower taxes on labor but also on services which lead to an overall reduction of energy throughput and other materials. There is a proposal, for instance, to remove VAT or other forms of taxes from repair work, with the possible exclusion of products such as cars. Sweden and other countries are already implementing policies in this direction.

  1. Changing social norms and the imaginary of a well-being

Advertising and media portray owners of big/costly cars as successful and powerful. Ownership of big cars should be portrayed as what it is. It should be associated with people compensating a sense of inadequacy in a society that construct a perverse mainstream masculinity.

If you drive an SUV in a congested city constantly beyond acceptable air quality limits (which in London causes over 9,000 deaths per year) you are a selfish, not someone to emulate. Similar changes over the last years have taken place with parents smoking in cars with children, with people drinking and driving. These behaviors had been celebrated in popular culture and movies but are now strongly seen in a negative light and sanctioned. The same should happen in the field of other harmful consumption behaviors.

  1. Changing social norms on consumption

A strong body of evidence indicates that measures at national level promoting specific social norms can change behaviors of individuals. The education system also plays a key role building social norms. If resources are invested in changing social norms about consumption and identifying new representations of well-being and success through institutions and schools, people’s aspirations will change into something different than material consumption.

  1. Reducing advertisement

Various cities experimented with a reduction of advertisement displayed in their streets (e.g. Sao Paulo in Brazil and Grenoble in France). Advertisement creates anxiety, pushes status consumption and exacerbates positional competition while damaging people’s well-being.

  1. Implementing measures and policies to change small daily behaviors

Fees on plastic bags, congestion charges, car-free days are important reminders that there are limits to our personal consumption to allow others to live in the same environment. These are very limited measures. However, these small behavior-change measures have a very important educational role like the following two proposals.

  1. Incentivizing clean air and new urban mobility

In many cities, the problem of air pollution is more and more recognized by city authorities. Measures to limit personal car use would involve incentives for alternative mobility, e.g. low speed areas, congestion charges, etc. These campaigns are often framed in terms of public health. This certainly also resonates with degrowth claims.

  1. Regulating the reduction of packaging

Policies in different countries have led to very different packaging behaviors. Some countries are exponentially better than others. In this field, any intervention towards reduction or reuse of packaging is important.

  1. Increasing taxes on flights

In many EU countries,short-haul flights are significantly cheaper than trains. This is despite the fact that railways have been built with huge public funding and produce a much lower level of emissions. This is partly due to the difficulty of taxing flights and aviation fuel. A number of proposals, including a European Carbon-based Flight Ticket Tax, can help redress the huge incentives that air transport currently enjoys.

  1. Investing in non-commercial public spaces.

In our towns and cities, it is increasingly difficult to find spaces to socialize that are not linked to consumption. Socializing spaces are increasingly privatized where the owner needs people to consume to sustain the space. Even public spaces are often tendered to private companies and transformed into consumption spaces. An investment in public spaces designed for citizens to interact and engage in relationships without necessarily involving consumption is needed.

– Photo: Community gardens, like this one in San Francisco, can help achieve sufficiency.

The idea is to create an expanding list of policies, initiatives and struggles. While the promoters/roots of such interventions may not consider themselves as part of degrowth, these policies, initiatives and struggles nevertheless contribute towards a degrowth society.

 

 

 

 

Resources\Related:

How degrowth relates to other movements | degrowth.de

In What Way Does Degrowth Reconstruct the Ethical System of Modernity?

Imaginaries of hope: The utopianism of degrowth

Décroissance: a project for a radical transformation of society

Transforming Education in the Degrowth Society

Learning for degrowth | co-munity

The Pedagogy of Degrowth: Teaching Hispanic Studies in the Age of Social Inequality and Ecological Collapse

Hyper-individualism and ultrasociality in a Veblenian framework

Summer School 2017 | degrowth.de

Degrowth Politics and Policies for Degrowth | degrowth.de

Removing the zero VAT rating for listed buildings will be devastating …

Research & Degrowth

MOVE UTOPIA: Everything Is Possible – Moving Towards A New Story .

Agrowth – should we better be agnostic about growth?

INVESTING IN THE PUBLIC REALM

Placemaking and the Future of Cities – Project for Public Spaces

De-growth and critical community psychology: Contributions towards …

Limits to economic growth? | Feasta

Club for Degrowth – Home | Facebook

2016 Budapest International Degrowth Conference and … – Facebook

In Defense of Degrowth – Opinions and Minifestos | degrowth.de

Accelerationism… and degrowth?

Uneven Earth » No degrowth without climate justice

Scholarly articles for Degrowth and Communitarianism

Undoing the Ideology of Growth: Hegemony, Path Dependencies and ..

From The Limits to Growth to “Degrowth”: Discourses of Critique of …

Malign Confusion About Growth, Economic Growth or “Degrowth …

Should rivers be granted legal rights? | degrowth.de

The Taxes That Raise Your International Airfare

Trump proposes to hike TSA fee on airline tickets – USA Today

How much tax do you pay for a plane ticket? – USA Today

Removing the zero VAT rating for listed buildings will be devastating ..

Socially sustainable degrowth as a social–ecological transformation: repoliticizing sustainability

Degrowth: A “missile word” that backfires?

Degrowth: between a scientific concept and a slogan for a social movement

The Stirrings of a “Degrowth Movement” | On the Commons

Academic paper (PDF): Development and … – ResearchGate

Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt – Contributions – ResearchGate

Collection: Metabolism Studies | Metabolism of Cities

Fridolin Krausmann – Citations – ResearchGate

the dematerialization of design Free unlimited pdf search and

Academic paper: The material footprint of nations – ResearchGate

GGSD 2016 Issue Note – Measuring urban green growth by OECD …

An International Study – PLOS

Development and Dematerialization: An International Study

Dematerialization: An International Study – NCBI – NIH

Development and dematerialization: An international study by …

Study: Technological progress alone won’t stem resource use | MIT ..

Dematerialization | Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities …

Radical dematerialization and degrowth

Persuasive Technology: Development and Implementation of …

Ecological Footprint Analysis

A review and comparative assessment of existing approaches to calculate material footprints

Accounting for “land-grabbing” from a biocapacity viewpoint

Resource footprint of Europe: Complementarity of material flow analysis and life cycle assessment for policy support

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The Democrats are once again leading the country towards Civil War

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– Photo: Democrats riot in Washington DC in resistance to President Donald Trump on Inauguration Day.

Democrats Launch ‘Civil War’ in America with Violence, Lies and Rejection of Trump Election Win


With the latest outright lies promoted by the media and Democrat politicians, the violence at nearly every Trump rally and interruptions at all Trump rallies, the left is leading America to a very dangerous place.

Journalist Daniel Greenfield at Frontpagemag.com penned another great post laying out the direction the liberal Democrats are taking the country.

A civil war has begun.

This civil war is very different than the last one. There are no cannons or cavalry charges. The left doesn’t want to secede. It wants to rule. Political conflicts become civil wars when one side refuses to accept the existing authority. The left has rejected all forms of authority that it doesn’t control.– Photo: Leftist agitators viciously attacked attendees at a Donald Trump presidential campaign fundraiser in Minneapolis.The left has rejected the outcome of the last two presidential elections won by Republicans. It has rejected the judicial authority of the Supreme Court when it decisions don’t accord with its agenda. It rejects the legislative authority of Congress when it is not dominated by the left.

It rejected the Constitution so long ago that it hardly bears mentioning.

It was for total unilateral executive authority under Obama. And now it’s for states unilaterally deciding what laws they will follow. (As long as that involves defying immigration laws under Trump, not following them under Obama.) It was for the sacrosanct authority of the Senate when it held the majority. Then it decried the Senate as an outmoded institution when the Republicans took it over.

It was for Obama defying the orders of Federal judges, no matter how well grounded in existing law, and it is for Federal judges overriding any order by Trump on any grounds whatsoever. It was for Obama penalizing whistleblowers, but now undermining the government from within has become “patriotic.”

There is no form of legal authority that the left accepts as a permanent institution. It only utilizes forms of authority selectively when it controls them. But when government officials refuse the orders of the duly elected government because their allegiance is to an ideology whose agenda is in conflict with the President and Congress, that’s not activism, protest, politics or civil disobedience; it’s treason.

After losing Congress, the left consolidated its authority in the White House. After losing the White House, the left shifted its center of authority to Federal judges and unelected government officials. Each defeat led the radicalized Democrats to relocate from more democratic to less democratic institutions.

This isn’t just hypocrisy. That’s a common political sin. Hypocrites maneuver within the system. The left has no allegiance to the system. It accepts no laws other than those dictated by its ideology.

The treasonous left has also become the violent left.  The GWP has noted numerous isolated violent attacks on conservatives by the left.  (query violent and see violence against Trump Supporters and the many violent acts from the left).

Conservatives have been bloodied and knocked unconscious by violent left wing anarchists in Berkley, San Jose and across the county.

The mainstream media (MSM) adds gas to the flames of the liberal politicians and Democrats in a constant stream of hate and lies for our President and our country. Large institutions are now factories of hate and fake news.

Conservatives need to be ready and courageous because the President and our country are under an all out assault by the left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources\Related:

US Message Board …

Is the Growing Political Divide Leading America Towards Another Civil …

Is A Real Civil War Possible? | Zero Hedge

What event would have to happen for the United States to have …

Why Removing Trump Will Lead to Civil War | Armstrong Economics

Town halls of Republicans interrupted by ambush attacks by left …

Stop Shaming Trump Supporters – NYTimes.com – The New York Times

Violence Against Trump Supporters: Who Is to Blame? | The National .

Liberals are perpetrating violence against Trump Supporters – Daily Kos

Trump supporter physically attacked outside Oscars

The Corner | National Review

Trump Surge Freakout: More Violence Against Supporters

Considering Globalization’s Dark Side

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In the Silicon Valley circles where I have spent much of the past four years, the word “innovation” is often thrown around as if it were a panacea to all of the world’s problems. Innovation, whether technological or otherwise, has certainly propelled the global economy ever forward over the past few centuries, but this movement has not always been so clearly one-directional. Perhaps the term “creative destruction,” popularized by the economist Joseph Schumpeter, ought to accompany “innovation” in such discussions more frequently. This term describes the dislocation associated with technological advancement. For instance, during the early Industrial Revolution the dislocated ones were the weavers, displaced by the first power looms; today they are the taxi drivers, beat out by ride-hailing apps like. These innovations, among so many others, make economies far more efficient as a whole, but they also temporarily disrupt certain industry sectors and the livelihoods of those who work in them.
This issue has found its way back into the headlines in recent months as voters vented their frustration over the loss of manufacturing jobs in the West and competition from low-cost producers overseas. In a manner not unlike the Luddite weavers of 19th-century Britain, who smashed the new machines that had rendered them obsolete, many Western voters who have been outpaced by globalization have taken a metaphorical hammer to the political and economic establishment that was perceived to support their misfortune. They have thrown their weight behind fringe parties and candidates running on the promise of a return to the old ways.
With a look at the tumultuous history between technology and labor, many have started to wonder what trouble we may be in for next. As self-driving cars become more common on our roads, what will happen to the millions of Americans who make their living as cabbies, truckers, and delivery drivers? Or to those who work in the service industries, as artificial intelligence grows smarter by the day? These are concerns that have already been raised and debated in the mainstream media.
But the questions that few are asking may be some of the most important: What will be the effect of certain emerging technologies, namely improved manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing and advanced robotics, on the future growth prospects for undeveloped countries around the world? What happens if these advances, often referred to as the “Third Industrial Revolution,” leave many of the world’s developing countries behind? And what if these countries are not willing to quietly accept their fate?

Climbing the Value Chain

In a globalized world, different economies specialize in different parts of the production process, some of which require greater skills and capital investment than others. The spectrum of skills and profit margins different economies operate at is referred to as the value chain. At the lowest end of the value chain are low-skill, low-margin industries like resource extraction and manufacturing assembly, while at the high end are high-skill, high-margin activities such as design, engineering, and finance.
 
Consider the creation of an iPhone, from start to finish. An Apple product’s label reads Designed in California but Assembled in China.” But of course that’s not the whole story. Production occurs at all levels of the value chain: at the low-end with manufacturing taking place in China and at the high-end with design and engineering activities in California, but between the two a Taiwanese firm manages manufacturing operations while companies in Japan, South Korea, France, and Germany produce complex component parts. Raw material extraction had to take place across the globe to supply these processes. Today, most complex products boast similar sourcing and value chains crisscrossing the world.
Countries aren’t necessarily stuck in one place on the value chain. They can climb it over time, investing the proceeds of their low-end exports in fields such as infrastructure and education to give their economies the opportunity to someday pursue higher-value endeavors. But critically, this process requires a source of capital; without it, they cannot hope to invest in the foundation they need to compete with their more developed peers.
If history serves as a guide, there are two main ways in which countries have successfully moved up the value chain: low-cost manufacturing and natural resource / staples exports. Of the two, the former has the most consistent track record. Think of the 20th century’s “Asian Tigers,” such as South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. They are the archetypes of economic development, cheaply manufacturing goods for the developed world, investing in their education and infrastructure systems, and eventually becoming hubs of finance and technological innovation.
 
Pursuing economic development through resource extraction can work, but its track record is less promising. Resource extraction usually requires fewer workers than manufacturing, enabling wealthy elites to keep the bulk of the profits without reinvesting them in growth potential. Because of rampant corruption, money often amasses for only a privileged few. Still, there are some exceptions that have overcome this problem, thanks to certain institutional and incentive structures.
Norway, for instance, has grown rich from exporting oil, but its democratic political system and egalitarian culture have provided the basis for wealth distribution and investment in the economy’s well-being. Though the United Arab Emirates isn’t known for institutions of this sort, it too has dodged the curse of corruption because its resources are smaller than its neighbors.’ This reality has required Emiratis elites to build out other industries to ensure a steady influx of cash in the years ahead. But these success stories are the exceptions rather than the rule when it comes to rising up the value chain via natural resource extraction. Low-cost manufacturing still remains the most proven route.

An Ascent Interrupted

– Image above: General Electric illustration of their idea of a “Smart Grid.” Note there is no nuclear plant getting cooled by the stream in the woods. From (http://ge.ecomagination.com/smartgrid/preview)
It may not be long, however, before extraction is almost the only course of action undeveloped countries have left. Over the next few decades, a series of technological developments appear to be on the horizon that could make it very difficult for economies to move up the value chain through the most proven route. The “Third Industrial Revolution” will bring new manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing and advanced robotics to the fore, and these may well rob developing countries of their primary advantage in manufacturing.
As this revolution unfolds, manufacturing will no longer have to rely on cheap labor inputs, as it does today. Rather, the new automated systems will depend on the design and supervision of highly technologically sophisticated engineers and managers. The majority of the workers with those skills, along with the biggest markets for the goods those systems produce, are located in the developed world. It follows that advanced manufacturing facilities will be situated primarily in developed economies as well.
At the same time, the global demand for and supply of raw natural resources may diminish. The manufacturing methods of the next industrial revolution are generally expected to be less resource-intensive than our current ones. Meanwhile, advances in “green tech” will likely make products more resource-efficient and alternative energy more accessible. Over the next few decades, moreover, many resource exporters are predicting that their reserves will decline sharply – especially when it comes to oil.
 Globalization is an unstoppable force that is sweeping over the globe, taking out cultures, languages, values with its tidal waves of advanced communication, transportation, frequent travels and the huge multinational corporations. It cannot be stopped, and there are winners and losers in this game of globalization.
All of these changes will have an enormous impact on life in the developed world. But their effect on developing countries could be even more transformational – by removing any hope of transformation at all. Rather than climbing the value chain by leveraging their cheap labor costs or exporting their resources, these nations will have little choice but to watch from afar as the developed world houses the most efficient manufacturing and consumes fewer natural resources. Much as the power loom shuttered the weavers’ shops, 3D printers and robots may close the doors of sweatshops in the not-too-distant future. And while that may bring a welcome respite for those who toil under such difficult conditions, their countries will have few prospects for pulling themselves out of poverty.

A Revolution in the Making

Believe it or not, last year’s electoral surprises in the West may serve as a sign of what’s to come in the developing world. In some ways, the position that displaced Western voters are in now may be similar to that of undeveloped countries once the Third Industrial Revolution gets off the ground. Many citizens of Western countries have come to expect opportunities for upward mobility – or at the very least that their lots will improve with time. When Western workers in manufacturing and other affected industries were made obsolete by technological advances and foreign competition, they saw their prospects for a brighter future begin to dim, and protested against the system they blamed for it.
Under the global system of manufacturing, a norm has emerged where countries expect that they can become more developed, or rise up the value chain, over time. A country like Bangladesh or Vietnam can accept sweatshops and poverty today because they will lead to a brighter future. Previously China had these and they served as a tool to make the country dramatically richer over a short span of time. Before China, others like Japan and South Korea went through the same process. But if undeveloped countries come to believe that they no longer have future growth prospects due to the Third Industrial Revolution, they or their people may not accept such an outcome quietly.
Much like Western voters, these nations may decide that today’s global economic framework is no longer acceptable and must be torn down.

 

 

 

 

 

Resources\Related:

Stratfor Worldview

Forecasts

Forums

What is Globalization?

Pros and Cons of Globalization | hubpages

From the Dark Side: On Ghettos, Guns and Crime

Abuse of American Workers By Globalization

Why Apple’s products are ‘Designed in California’ but ‘Assembled in China’

Emiratis

United Arab Emirates

The third industrial revolution

Office of Jeremy Rifkin

The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming …

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means and how to respond …

The 2016 World Economic Forum Misfires With Its Fourth Industrial .

Third Industrial Revolution to Save Ourselves – VICE

How Multinational Companies Behave Like Countries

Are Patriotism and Nationalism ideas past their sell-by …

globalisation | The Economist

Brookings Institution

Extraction of Raw Materials – RHI AG

Raw materials – Eurostat – European Commission

Exploring Green Criminology: Toward a Green Criminological Revolution

Global Patterns of Material Flows and their Socio-Economic and …

Global Patterns of Material Flows and their Socio-Economic – MDPI

Cumulative material flows provide indicators to quantify the ecological

The economy-wide material balance model

Environmental Taxes, Inequality and Technical Change | Cairn.info

Development and Dematerialization: An International Study

The material footprint of nations

Common Approach Framework Document

Dematerialization: An International Study – NCBI – NIH

Study: Technological progress alone won’t stem resource use | MIT …

Radical dematerialization and degrowth

University of Leeds | News > Environment > A wake-up call about the …

Collection: Metabolism Studies | Metabolism of Cities

Emigrant

“Worst-Ever Recorded” Ransomware Attack Strikes Over 57,000 Users Worldwide, Using NSA-Leaked Tools

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Update 4: According to experts tracking and analyzing the worm and its spread, this could be one of the worst-ever recorded attacks of its kind. The security researcher who tweets and blogs as MalwareTech told The Intercept “I’ve never seen anything like this with ransomware,” and “the last worm of this degree I can remember is Conficker.” Conficker was a notorious Windows worm first spotted in 2008; it went on to infect over nine million computers in nearly 200 countries.

Details:

Today’s WannaCry attack appears to use an NSA exploit codenamed ETERNALBLUE, a software weapon that would have allowed the spy agency’s hackers to break into any of millions of Windows computers by exploiting a flaw in how certain version of Windows implemented a network protocol commonly used to share files and to print. Even though Microsoft fixed the EternalBlue vulnerability in a March software update, the safety provided there relied on computer users keeping their systems current with the most recent updates. Clearly, as has always been the case, many people (including in governments) are not installing updates. Before, there would have been some solace in knowing that only enemies of the NSA would have to fear having ETERNALBLUE used against them–but from the moment the agency lost control of its own exploit last summer, there’s been no such assurance.Now we see exactly what’s at stake when government hackers can’t keep their virtual weapons locked up.

As security researcher Matthew Hickey, who tracked the leaked NSA tools last month, put it, “I am actually surprised that a weaponized malware of this nature didn’t spread sooner.”

Update 3: Microsoft  has issued a statement, confirming the status the vulnerability:

Today our engineers added detection and protection against new malicious software known as Ransom: Win32/WannaCrypt.

In March, we provided a security update which provides additional protections against this potential attack.

Those who are running our free antivirus software and have Windows updates enabled, are protected. We are working with customers to provide additional assistance.

Update 2: Security firm Kaspersky Lab has recorded more than 45,000 attacks in 74 countries in the past 10 hours. Seventy-four countries around the globe have been affected, with the number of victims still growing, according to Kaspersky Lab. According to Avast, over 57,000 attacks have been detected worldwide, the company said, adding that it “quickly escalated into a massive spreading.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources\Related:

Ransomware WannaCry

WannaCry: What is ransomware and how to avoid it | News | Al Jazeera

Massive ransomware attack hits 99 countries – May. 12, 2017

An NSA-derived ransomware worm is shutting down computers …

Ransom: Win32/WannaCrypt

Microsoft’s WannaCrypt ransomware update takes unusual step of …

linux – Ransomware Ransom:Win32.WannaCrypt Attack Strikes Using …

74 countries hit by NSA-powered WannaCrypt ransomware backdoor …

using NSA exploit codenamed Eternalblue – The GenX Times

EternalBlue

ETERNALBLUE: Windows SMBv1 Exploit (Patched) – SANS Internet Storm

An NSA-derived ransomware worm is shutting down computers …

The Shadow Brokers Leaked Exploits Explained | Rapid7 Community …

How to Rapidly Identify Assets at Risk to WannaCry Ransomware and …

Leaked NSA Malware Is Helping Hijack Computers Around the World

74 countries hit by NSA-powered WannaCrypt ransomware backdoor …

using NSA exploit codenamed Eternalblue – The GenX Times

What’s Going On With That Massive Ransomware Attack?

Leaked NSA hacking tools are a hit on the dark web

NSA’s powerful Windows hacking tools leaked online

Leaked NSA Malware Is Helping Hijack Computers Around the World

How leaked NSA spy tools created a hacking free-for-all

Continue reading

Jason Chaffetz Rolls Toward Infamy

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Last week, one photo punctuated, perhaps with a story-ending period, Congressman Jason Chaffetz’s odd turn on the national stage.

Last week, just before House Republicans cast their votes to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the inexplicably destructive American Health Care Act, the Roll Call photographer Bill Clark set his sights on the Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz. Chaffetz had returned to Washington just to take this vote—he’d recently undergone surgery on his foot, and entered the chamber with the aid of a sleek, metallic scooter.

The photo punctuates—possibly with a story-ending period—Chaffetz’s bizarre turn on the national stage, which began last October, shortly after the infamous release of the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape that definitively unearthed Donald Trump’s boorish, violent understanding of fame and power, sublimated into sex. As the recording played again and again on cable TV, convincing the political class that Trump’s candidacy had suffered a mortal wound, Chaffetz made a morally narcissistic performance of rescinding his endorsement. “My wife and I, we have a fifteen-year-old daughter, and if I can’t look her in the eye and tell her these things, I can’t endorse this person,” he said. A few weeks later, with nary a clarifying explanation, or an apology to his kid, he declared himself a Trump voter afresh. “HRC is that bad,” he offered weakly. “HRC is bad for the USA.” HRC bad, USA good, ergo: ILU, DJT.

After Trump’s Inauguration, Chaffetz, who had been licking his chops at the prospect of questioning a President Hillary, took a conveniently lax approach to his job as House Oversight chairman. “He’s already rich,” he said in an interview, in answer to questions about Trump’s apparent conflicts of financial interest. Then, in April, following months of complaints from his constituents—including a contentious and widely YouTubed town hall, after which he whined that the voters had come to “bully and intimidate” him—he announced that he wouldn’t seek reëlection in 2018, and might even quit Congress before his term ends.

Perhaps he’s preparing for Utah’s 2020 gubernatorial race, or even a bid for the Presidency later on. More likely, he senses the danger—reputational, at least—in continuing to stand between Trump and the scrutiny he deserves. (He’s also been transparent about his desire to “enter the private sector,” as the buck-chasing euphemism goes. “I started poking around to see what I might be worth and what sort of possibilities are there,” he told Politico.) Only a week later, adding injury to incoherence, he announced that he’d be taking a monthlong leave of absence in order to undergo surgery on his foot.

All of this is a prologue to Clark’s very funny, and quickly viral, photograph. Chaffetz, summoned from his convalescence to vote, yet again, on the A.H.C.A., slides onto the House floor, his right leg strapped to his scooter. Aside from the leg, he’s as slick as ever: smoothed-back hair, red tie, dark suit. He seems to have been slightly surprised by Clark’s lens: he’s just in the middle of propping up a smile—his mouth’s turned up but his eyes are still unready for the flash.

The picture is a perfectly concise joke about his conference’s callousness vis-à-vis health-care reform. It doesn’t help that he’s framed by chandeliers, marble walls, and pristine tiles. Or that the state of his foot makes him perfect as an emblem of Republican inner confusion. The photograph has already inspired a raft of memes, and—if the Democratic social-media managers are at all smart—will probably reëmerge during the 2018 congressional midterms. Chaffetz—hollow, hobbled, half-retired—is a man coming apart, steadily dismantled by the venality of his President and the careless incoherence of his party.

Still, despite his odd few months, he looks like a gleeful child—like he’d love to give that scooter one big, galloping push with his good foot. (Or have his wife give him a boost.) The narrator of the book of Proverbs complains about sinners whose “feet run” on the way to malfeasance. Chaffetz and his colleagues do one better: they roll.

 

 

 

 

Resources\Related:

Summary of the American Health Care Act

American Health Care Act of 2017

H.R.1628 – 115th Congress (2017-2018): American Health Care Act of …

House Passes Measure to Repeal and Replace the Affordable Care …

Jason Chaffetz Is Now A Health Care Meme

U.S. Congressman Jason Chaffetz

The New Yorker

The House GOP’s Shameful Health-Care Victory – The New Yorker

How the shocking hot mic tape of Donald Trump was exposed – Oct. 7 …

Jason Chaffetz Is Fleeing Scandal—But Maybe Not His Own | Mother …

Ryan offers new warning for Chaffetz on email probe – POLITICO

Jason Chaffetz is ethically bankrupt.

 

Lab-Grown Black Hole May Have Just Proven That Hawking Radiation Exists

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– This computer-simulated image shows a supermassive black hole at the core of a galaxy. The cosmic monster’s powerful gravity distorts space around it like the mirror in a fun house, smearing the light from nearby stars. NASA/ESA/D. Coe, J. Anderson and R. van der Marel (Space Telescope Science Institute)

Physicist Jeff Steinhauer spent the last seven years perfecting a method to replicate black holes in a quest to find whether Hawking radiation exists. His laboratory simulation of a black hole showed entangled particles breaking apart as one falls back into the black hole and the other dissipates into “space,” consistent with Hawking’s theory.

Lab-Grown Acoustic Black Hole

A few months ago, someone started working on building a black hole in a laboratory in a quest to find out whether Hawking radiation could really exist. It took physicist Jeff Steinhauer, of the Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa seven years to single-handedly perfect his method to recreate black holes. And now the results have been published in Nature Physics.

Jeff Steinhauer single-handedly imitates black holes in a lab. Credit: Nitzan Zohar, Office of the Spokesperson, Technion.
– Jeff Steinhauer single-handedly imitates black holes in a lab. Credit: Nitzan Zohar, Office of the Spokesperson, Technion.

His lab-grown black hole implies that Hawking was right.

In 1974, Hawking theorized that, contrary to the belief that a black hole would continuously and infinitely suck in everything around it, energy could in fact, seep out of it in the form of radiation. This eventually became known as “Hawking radiation.” This causes a black hole’s eventual demise, as the energy seeps out and the black hole dissipates into nothing.

Recent findings did confirm that there are some things that could escape a black hole’s supposedly inescapable pull, such as light.

And this time, Steinhauer’s lab-grown black hole simulation showed what is the closest evidence we could find (as of now) of Hawking radiation, emanating from its event horizon.

4,600 Times to be Sure

Steinhauer cooled rubidium atoms to a few billionths of a degree above absolute zero to cause them to enter a quantum state of matter, behaving like clones of each other and clumping together to form a “super particle” known as Bose–Einstein condensate (BEC). This process of recreating black holes was proposed in the 1980s but nobody bothered to try building it until 2009.

Lasers are then used to force the atoms to move at supersonic speeds, causing sound waves to get trapped inside the quantum fluids.

Steinhauer ran his experiment a staggering 4,600 times, and as Hawking predicted, pairs of phonons, or packets of sound energy, appeared spontaneously at the event horizon. One of them is then expelled away and the other falls back into the black hole. This separation of the pairs is consistent with Hawking radiation’s description of entangled particles annihilating each other unless they exist in either side of a black hole’s event horizon.

Credit
– Credit: IOPscience.

While this is quite a remarkable achievement in demonstrating the feasibility of Hawking radiation, other physicists say that it’s not enough to win Hawking a Nobel prize. Some doubt that what Steinhauer generated were in fact, credible BECs, and that several replications must be made in order for this to stand strong. Physicists also say that only a direct observation from a real black hole could confirm his theory—something that would most probably not happen within Hawking’s lifetime, or possibly any of our’s.

 

 

 

Resources\Related:

Hawking radiation makes sure black holes do not stay forever. Please read A Brief History of Time book by Hawking to understand what is the radiation concept all about.

Black Holes: Gravity’s Relentless Pull interactive: Encyclopedia : A black hole as massive as a cruise ship would disappear in a bright flash in less than a second.

Hawking radiation

Hawking Radiation – Radiation Emitted from Black Holes – ThoughtCo

quantum effects of Hawking …

Jeff Steinhauer Atomic Physics Laboratory

One-man band: the solo physicist who models black holes in sound …

Physics – Jeff Steinhauer

Bose–Einstein condensate (BEC)

Bose-Einstein Condensation at NIST

Accelerating Scientific Discovery Through Computation and Visualization

acoustic black hole

Acoustic black holes and their applications for … – ISMA conference

Acoustic Black Hole Created in Bose-Einstein Condensate – MIT …

New Scientist

black holes

Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

The Israeli research that’s bringing Stephen Hawking closer to the …

 

Occult Trajectories: Magic and modernity

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The complexities of Aleister Crowley’s magical relationship with anhalonium lewinii

Aleister Crowley (1875 – 1947) had a complex relationship with drugs. Although his uses and abuses of drugs are now legendary, even notorious, his relationship with drugs was not purely recreational or simply hedonist. On the contrary, he thought himself a scientific experimenter of sorts. He closely analyzed the effects that drugs had upon his consciousness and developed theories about the relationship between chemically-induced alterations of consciousness and the ecstatic results of meditative and magical practices.1
Crowley’s formal magical education began in 1898, when he was initiated into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.2
 His formal training in the magical uses of drugs, however, began a year later under the tutelage of Allan Bennett (1872 – 1923).3
 
The Golden Dawn was an initiatory secret society composed of men and women founded in 1888. Initiates were instructed in the theory and practice of ceremonial magic as they advanced through the graded degrees of the Golden Dawn initiatory system. The syncretic ritual theory of the Golden Dawn drew on an eclectic range of sources, including Graeco-Egyptian Magical Papyri, Medieval grimoires, Renaissance and Elizabethan manuscripts, the rituals of Freemasonry, and modern works of occultism. Bennett was a senior magician in the Order and a close friend of its leader. He also trained and worked as an analytic chemist and possessed an extensive collection of drugs to treat his own asthma.4

He brought this with him when he moved in with Crowley and began teaching him ceremonial magic. Thus, in the privacy of Crowley’s Chancery Lane apartment, these two intrepid magicians experimented with every form of evocatory and invocatory magical practice they knew of, their consciousnesses ritually exalted and chemically augmented by liberal doses of cocaine, morphine, and chloroform as the need arose. In the following decades, Crowley conducted many operations of ritual magic enhanced by the use of drugs. His diaries record decades of these magical experiments. Posthumous analyses of these diaries have revealed many details of his personal ceremonial practices. Some of this information was veiled in the accounts of these magical escapades which he published during his lifetime, particularly information relating to sex and drugs.

Some information was omitted entirely from the public version of events. His use of the drug Anhalonium Lewinii is a striking example of such a case. This paper will show that Crowley was very guarded about his own personal use of anhalonium, especially for magical purposes. Accordingly, one cannot construct a truly accurate picture of Crowleys magical relationship with anhalonium solely from source material he published while living.

To construct a thorough picture, Crowley’s public statements must be contextualized by additional evidence sourced from private diaries or personal correspondences, although even the evidence of diary entries shall be shown to have its own limitations. The picture which thereby emerges reveals a Crowley who had a considerably more involved and complex magical relationship with anhalonium than his own public narrative would suggest.

 Anhalonium lewinii is a now-defunct name for peyote (Lophophora williamsii).5
Peyote  is a small, blue-green spineless cactus which grows in dry regions of Mexico and some parts of the United States. It contains a number of psychoactive alkaloids including mescaline, its primary visionary component. Mescaline is considered one of the so-called ‘classical psychedelics’, along with LSD, DMT, and psilocybin.6
 
It typically causes long-lasting brilliantly colorful and powerfully intense kaleidoscopic visions, and sometimes even ‘religious’ ecstasy. Peyote has a long history of indigenous ceremonial and religious usage in North America. It has functions both as a religious sacrament and as a healing medicine, often simultaneously. Although traditions vary according to local customs, indigenous peyote use is typically a highly ritualized affair. Rituals tend to be group happenings, normally led by a shaman or medicine-man, in which rhythmic drums and rattlers are played and traditional songs are sung. (Peyote: The Divine Cactus.)7
Scientific research into peyote and its psycho-activity began at the end of the nineteenth century. In 1888, German pharmacologist Louis Lewin (1850 – 1929) published the first scientific paper on the chemistry of peyote.8
 Lewin’s source for dried peyote was the Parke-Davis pharmaceutical company in Detroit. Arthur Heffter (1859 – 1925), another German pharmacologist and a rival of Lewin’s, also conducted experiments with peyote obtained from Parke-Davis.9
 

Heffter self-experimented with the compounds he managed to isolate from the cactus. He discovered its primary psychoactive alkaloid and named it ‘mescaline’. Thus, Heffter became the first human to ingest pure mescaline. American novelist, physician, and ‘father of neurology’ Silas Weir Mitchell (1829 – 1914) published the first description of peyote intoxication in 1897.10

 Seemingly inspired by Mitchell, British sexologist Havelock Ellis (1859 – 1939) experimented with peyote buttons that same year and became the first Westerner to take a full dose of mescaline more than once. He later published an account of his visions entitled Mescal: A New Artificial Paradise.11
 
The most significant achievement in the chemistry of peyote in the first half of the twentieth century comes from the work of Austrian chemist Ernst Späth (1886 – 1946), who became the first chemist to synthesize mescaline in 1919.12
The late 1920s saw the publication of two works devoted to the subject by German researchers. Neurologist and psychiatrist Kurt Beringer (1893 – 1949), a student of Lewin’s who conducted hundreds of human trials with peyote, published Der  Meskalrausche in 1927 and the following year psychologist Heinrich Kluver (1897 – 1979) published Mescal, the Divine Plant and Its Psychological Effects.13

 After Spath synthesized mescaline, he carried on into the late-30s with his research. Between 1918 and 1939, he and his colleagues published nineteen papers on the chemistry of peyote. Psychedelic research soon developed into a field of its own in the wake of discovery of the psychoactive effects of LSD by Albert Hofmann (1906 – 2008) in 1943.14

 Shortly after that scientific studies of peyote and mescaline became subsumed within the broader domain of this new domain of research.Peyote use outside its native habitat was largely unheard of in the first half of the twentieth century.
One notable exception is the impromptu ‘ceremony’ hosted at the Greenwich Village apartment of Mabel Dodge Luha (1879 – 1962) in 1914. Dodge was a wealthy American patroness of the arts. She was persuaded to host the ‘ceremony’ by Mark Raymond Harrington (1882 – 1971), the American archaeologist. Harrington had discovered peyote while researching the Kiowa tribe in Oklahoma. It was not until the 1950s that knowledge of mescaline and its effects reached a large audience of educated and curious Westerners. 

Under the supervision of Humphry Osmond (1917 – 2004), a psychiatrist conducting research into psychedelics and schizophrenia, English novelist Aldous Huxley (1894 – 1963) experimented with mescaline in 1953. The following year, Huxley published an account of his experiences entitled ‘The Doors of Perception’.15

 

This enormously influential work is now considered a classic of psychedelic literature. Many writers and other artists, inspired by Huxley, went on to experiment with peyote and mescaline themselves including Allen Ginsberg (1926 – 1997), Alan Watts (1915 – 1973), and William S. Burroughs (1914 – 1997).

According to diary fragments from the time, Crowley’s relationship with anhalonium lewinii began in 1907.16

 The actual substance was a tincture or liquid extract of peyote. An entry for Tuesday March 12th of that year records that he began experimenting with drops of the tincture in water. Since the minimum dosage stated on the bottle was two drops, Crowley chose to begin carefully at 10pm with one drop in warm water. He proceed to increase the dosage over time, and recorded its effects or lack thereof. By 11:50pm Crowley had taken 10 drops, the maximum dosage according to the label, so he stopped. His midnight entry states:
[Concentration] not interfered with by drug. Maybe one gets occasional brilliant pictures with eyes shut; but it is not enough to record. I could get as good with plain expectation. Am apparently very sleep. Pupils certainly not dilated. Eyes bloodshot, which is no surprise, after staring hard at the electric globe for over 10 minutes.
Crowley experimented with anhalonium again on March 15th when he took 16 drops, this time in cold water, between 9:15pm and 11:30pm. His record states: ‘No result; but felt as if near something. Also slight stomach discomfort’. These diary entries reveal a lot about Crowley’s personal technique of analyzing drug effects. He begins tentatively and deliberately with half the stated minimum dose, then proceeds to gradually increase the dosage. It seems that during his earlier experiments at least, Crowley halted at or around the maximum stated dosage, only surpassing it if the effects remained imperceptible. He pays particular attention to the phenomenological effects of the drug, in contrast to the phenomenology of everyday consciousness. For instance, he records that his concentration remains unaffected, while the minor visual effects he experienced were not particularly noteworthy and could be achieved without the use of the drug. He also carefully notes the physiological effects he experienced.It is unclear from whom Crowley received his tincture of anhalonium.
The most likely source is the distinguished pharmacist, Edward Whineray (1861 – 1924), who ran a chemist shop on Stafford Street in London.17

 When the Dangerous Drugs Act 1920 was introduced in the United Kingdom, the sale of drugs like morphine, heroin, and cocaine became severely restricted by legislation and was penalized heavily. At the beginning of the twentieth century however, these and many other drugs were stocked by pharmacies and were even available ‘over-the-counter’ without a prescription. Whineray’s shop was no exception. In fact, Whineray was the supplier of intoxicants to a large portion of London’s wealthy, including many society ladies who had acquired the taste for morphine.18

 He was also an occasional contributor to Crowley’s journal of occultism

The Equinox. Whineray penned a scientific article examining the history and effects of hashish, entitled ‘The Pharmacy of Hashish,’ included in the very first issue of the journal published in 1909. 19 He later contributed a review of a book about the history of pharmacy. 20

Crowley visited Whineray regularly for year to procure various magical necessities, such as ingredients for perfumes and incenses, as well as hashish. 21
 
Presumably Whineray also supplied Crowley with anhalonium. In 1908, Crowley wrote The Drug,a short story published in The Idler Magazineof January 1909. 22
 
The narrator describes a visit to the house of a ‘quiet friend. ’To the narrator’s surprise, he discovers that his friend operates a secret laboratory where, by various occult and alchemical means, he creates a mysterious ‘liquor’ which he calls ‘the drug that giveth strange vision.’ Upon drinking the mysterious liquid, the narrator is plunged into an intensely powerful visionary and transformative experience, during which he is regularly assaulted by the question ‘Am I insane?’
The presumably semi-autobiographical experience described in ‘The Drug’ would not look out of place alongside the accounts of psychedelic experiences written in the 1960s. It is therefore extremely likely that the drug which inspired ‘The Drug’ is anhalonium.23