AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 1471458 times)

Offline knarf

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The administration and the Republican party are nests of lobbyists and con artists who make Greedo look like a saint


Greedo: a Star Wars character who would be at home in Trump’s Washington.

Trump has been ramping up his “Deep State” rhetoric again. He’s back to blaming a cabal of bureaucrats, FBI and CIA agents, Democrats and “enemies of the people” in the mainstream media for conspiring to remove him from office, in order to allow the denizens of foreign “shitholes” to overrun America.

But with each passing day it’s becoming clearer that the real threat to America isn’t Trump’s Deep State. It’s Trump’s own Corrupt State.

Not since the sordid administration of Warren G Harding have as many grifters, crooks and cronies occupied high positions in Washington.

Trump has installed a Star Wars cantina of former lobbyists and con artists, including several whose exploits have already forced them to resign, such as Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke, Tom Price and Michael Flynn. Many others remain.

When he was in Congress, the current White House acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, pocketed tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from payday lenders, then proposed loosening regulations on them. Mulvaney was also acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, of all things.

When he was Trump’s special adviser on regulatory reform, the Wall Street billionaire Carl Icahn sought to gut the Environmental Protection Agency rule on ethanol credits, which was harming his oil refinery investments.

This week the Guardian reported that a real estate company partly owned by Trump son-in-law and foreign policy adviser Jared Kushner has raked in $90m from foreign investors since Kushner entered the White House, through a secret vehicle run by Goldman Sachs in the Cayman Islands. Kushner’s stake is some $50m.

All this takes conflict of interest to a new level of shamelessness.

What are Republicans doing about it? Participating in it.
The latest major Trump resignations and firings
Read more

The secretary of transportation, Elaine Chao, who also happens to be the wife of the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has approved $78m in grants for her husband’s home state, Kentucky, including a highway improvement project twice rejected in the past. Chao has even appointed a special liaison to coordinate grants with McConnell’s office. Did I say McConnell is up for re-election next year?

Under normal circumstances, news that a cabinet secretary is streamlining federal funding for her husband’s pet projects would be a giant scandal. But in the age of Trump, ethics have gone out the window.

Since he was elected in November, congressman Greg Pence, who just happens to be the brother of Vice-President Mike Pence, has spent more than $7,600 of campaign funds on lodging at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. Federal election law forbids politicians from using campaigns dollars to cover housing costs.

The Corrupt State starts with Trump himself, giving new meaning to the old adage about a fish rotting from the head down.

When foreign governments aren’t currying favor with Trump by staying at his hotel, they’re using state-owned companies to finance projects that will line his pockets, like China’s $500m for an entertainment complex in Indonesia that includes a Trump-branded hotel.

Trump claims the Deep State allows foreigners to take advantage of America. The reality is Trump’s Corrupt State allows Vladimir Putin and his goon squad to continue undermining American democracy.

“I’d take it” if Russia again offered campaign help, Trump crowed this week, adding that he would not necessarily tell the FBI. Just days before, Trump acknowledged “Russia helping” him “get elected” the first time.

Despite evidence that Russia is hacking and trolling its way toward the 2020 election, Republican defenders of Trump’s Corrupt State won’t lift a finger.

McConnell refuses to consider any legislation on election security. He and Senate Republicans even killed a bill requiring campaigns to report offers of foreign assistance to federal authorities.

The charitable interpretation is McConnell and his ilk don’t want to offend Trump by doing anything that might appear to question the legitimacy of his 2016 win. The less charitable view is Republicans oppose more secure elections because they’d be less likely to win them.

Trump and his Republican enablers are magicians who distract us by shouting “look here!” at the paranoid fantasy of a Deep State, while creating a Corrupt State under our noses.

But it’s not a party trick. It’s the dirtiest trick of our time, enabled by the most corrupt party in living memory.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/15/welcome-to-trumps-corrupt-state-the-star-wars-cantina-of-world-politics
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Offline knarf

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Their masked faces are upturned, looking for the smoking arc of incoming tear-gas fire. The instant the flaming device bounces onto the asphalt, they race into action – eight people bearing umbrellas and bottles, squirting water. Within four seconds, the smoke has been doused, and the impromptu extinguishment brigade dashes off to the next device. Seconds later that one, too, has been tossed off the highway overpass. The smoke has been cleared from the road, at least until the next volley.

I captured video of this brief scene – only 16 seconds in length – just before 6 p.m. on Wednesday, near the end of a concerted police effort to clear protesters from streets surrounding Hong Kong’s Legislative Council. It was in many ways an unremarkable moment in a remarkable day, with police aiming rubber bullets at unarmed students in a violent conflagration that left more than 80 in hospital.

VIDEO - 16 seconds

Some of the most dramatic images of the day showed a mother beseeching men in riot gear not to attack, a protester in a yellow rain slicker standing up against water cannons, umbrella-bearing young people silhouetted against clouds of tear gas and a foreign journalist yelling to police: “This is still Hong Kong, not China. Not yet!”

Yet the 16-second video of the extinguishment brigade came to define the protest for some on social media. It has been viewed nearly three million times on Twitter, and retweeted by people in France, Turkey, Thailand, Spain, the Philippines, Japan, Haiti, Honduras, Poland, Indonesia, Senegal and Sudan, among others.

“If there is ever a video to give you hope for civil disobedience, then this is it…!” wrote one person. “Brave young men and women, they are the future of Hong Kong,” wrote another.

“Thanks guys,” responded Jordan Chan, 24, who was part of the protest Wednesday. “We are really fighting hard here. Even being significantly out-geared by the police, people are still trying,” he wrote on Twitter.

That fight included smothering tear-gas devices with cloths, placing the smoking canisters under helmets and traffic cones – and helping those affected. Strangers poured water into each other’s eyes to cleanse the chemicals.

For Mr. Chan, “this video captures how the Hong Kongers have really grown up and learned. We have changed from being afraid of the slightest bit of suppression to bravely handling the situation,” he said.

In mainland China, authorities have sought to censor all mention of the protests. Still, for some from China, the sight of people successfully quelling the power of the state – even as they ran from it – offered a sense of hope.

It’s a “picture of Hong Kongers, especially young guys in Hong Kong, fighting against the extradition bill,” said Shane Yue, a former Chinese journalist now living abroad. “They are brave, they have intelligence and patience, and they are working together.”

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-hong-kong-protest-video/
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Offline knarf

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Thousands of women walk off jobs in Switzerland
« Reply #13052 on: June 15, 2019, 04:46:14 AM »

Protesters carry banners and placards at a demonstration during a women's strike

Thousands of women across Switzerland held a strike Friday to highlight their nation's poor record on women’s rights. The wealthy country, surrounded by other progressive countries, has long been lacking in women's rights.

In Switzerland, women did not get the right to vote in federal elections until 1971, and it was not until 1996 that women had the legal right to work and to not be discriminated against in the workforce. Friday's event echoes a strike in 1991, five years before the Gender Equality Act came into force, that banned workplace discrimination and sexual harassment and protected women from bias or dismissal over pregnancy, marital status or gender.

In 2019, Switzerland still lags behind other developed economies in female pay and workplace gender equality.

Marie-Louise Fries is a feminist and women’s rights activist who was active in the protests.

"If you look at the average salary, we still earn 20% less than men," Fries said. "There are more women in Switzerland that have a university degree but the amount of women who are really in the leading positions — in top leading positions — is extremely low."

Louise spoke with The World's Carol Hills regarding her thoughts on the inequality that modern women face in Switzerland and the impact that the protests have had on both Swiss men and women. 
Carol Hills: Now, I know there was a huge general strike by women in Switzerland in 1991. Is it the case that some of the same people participating in that march are out there today?

Yes, there are a lot of women who participated already in 1991 because unfortunately a lot of what we are claiming for has not been put in practice and that's also the reason why we re-do this second general strike.
Are there a lot of women out there today for this general strike? Has it struck a chord for Swiss women? Are they really out there taking part in this?

So, the participation is quite good but still in the preparation of this strike, we realized that also many women feel like we should not be complaining because yes we are Switzerland, we are a very high-standard country, but often they don't know what it looks like in the neighboring countries. For example, now we are fighting for a father's leave if there is a baby. And in all the other countries surrounding Switzerland, they have father's leave in case of births. Some people have this picture in their minds that we are the best country and we don't need to improve anything, so they just don't move because they think we should not be complaining.
Marie Louise, you're young, you're in your 30s. What are the big issues for you? What are you out there fighting for?

So one of my biggest issues is that if I would get pregnant now and become a mom, I would probably need to lose my job because there is no legal basis that assures for women to have childcare. It depends, in fact, on the commune where you're living. If you're living in the city of Bern, you may get some subvention for childcare so that you can continue working, but if you just live in the village next to Bern, this village might not offer this for the children. So, the mother would be forced to stay at home.
What sort of support are you getting from Swiss men?

So, this is the very paradox. Some men, they really see and understand the reasons why we were asking women to strike today, and other men, they somehow feel aggressed by us. It's a bit tricky because they take it so personally even though we think it's a system problem, not an individual person problem.

https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-06-14/thousands-women-walk-jobs-switzerland
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Offline knarf

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Arctic Permafrost Melting 70 Years Sooner Than Expected, Study Finds
« Reply #13053 on: June 15, 2019, 04:49:16 AM »
Scientists studying climate change expected layers of permafrost in the Canadian Arctic to melt by the year 2090.

Instead, it's happening now.

A new study published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters revealed that unusually warm summers in the Canadian High Arctic between 2003 and 2016 resulted in permafrost melt up to 240% higher than previous years.

Louise Farquharson, a researcher at the Permafrost Laboratory at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the study's lead author, told weather.com the three areas of melting permafrost studied in remote northern Canada are believed to have been frozen for thousands of years.

“This change is unprecedented on this kind of time scale,” Farquharson said.

She noted that while scientists had predicted the permafrost wouldn't melt for another 70 years, those forecasts didn't take into account the unusually warm summers that have happened in recent years. While researchers believe all indicators point to warmer temperatures continuing, there's no way to know for sure just how quickly the permafrost will continue to melt.

As permafrost disappears, it creates what's known as thermokarst, a sinking landscape often pockmarked with lakes, holes and mounds. In one area the researchers studied, the ground sank about three feet.

“I was very surprising to just see how rapidly the landscape changed," Farquharson said. "We started monitoring these sites back in the early 2000s and this landscape surrounding each of our stations was fairly flat. It was fairly easy to walk across the area.”

The transformation was startling.

“It’s pretty amazing," Farquharson said. "There are these troughs of up to 90 centimeters (about 35 inches). It's kind of like the elevation of a kitchen countertop. There are small ponds in many of these troughs. It’s quite a profound change.”

Vegetation never before seen in the area is also creeping in.

Not only is rapidly melting permafrost a harbinger of climate change, it exacerbates the problem by exposing thawing biological material to the atmosphere where it decomposes and releases CO2, a key element in global warming.

Research has also shown that loss of permafrost can wreak havoc on everything from animal habitat, migration and diet in the wild to agriculture and infrastructure in populated areas.

Houses are sinking into the earth in parts of Alaska, Canada and Russia, for example, and the 92-mile road in Alaska's Denali National Park is slowly being moved by sliding land caused by melting permafrost.

“Locally, these changes, they affect the vegetation, the ecology, the hydrology,” Farquharson explained. “It’s kind of a canary in the coal mine situation I would say."

https://weather.com/science/environment/news/2019-06-14-permafrost-melting-sooner?par=flipboard
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Pope backs carbon pricing to stem global warming and appeals to deniers
« Reply #13054 on: June 15, 2019, 04:59:31 AM »
Carbon pricing, via taxes or emissions trading schemes, is used by many governments to make energy consumers pay for the costs of using the fossil fuels that contribute to global warming

VATICAN CITY, June 14 (Reuters) - Pope Francis said on Friday that carbon pricing is "essential" to stem global warming - his clearest statement yet in support of penalising polluters - and appealed to climate change deniers to listen to science.

In an address to energy executives at the end of a two-day meeting, he also called for "open, transparent, science-based and standardised" reporting of climate risk and a "radical energy transition" away from carbon to save the planet.

Carbon pricing, via taxes or emissions trading schemes, is used by many governments to make energy consumers pay for the costs of using the fossil fuels that contribute to global warming, and to spur investment in low-carbon technology.

The Vatican said attendees of the closed-door meeting at its Academy of Sciences, a follow-up to one a year ago, included the CEOs of Royal Dutch Shell, Eni, BP, Repsol, Conoco Phillips, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and executives of investment funds.

"Collectively, these leaders will influence the planet's future, perhaps more than any in the world," said Father John Jenkins, president of the U.S. University of Notre Dame, which organised the meeting.

A small group of demonstrators gathered outside a Vatican gate. One held a sign reading "Dear Oil CEOs - Think of Your Children".

Francis, who has made many calls for environmental protection and has clashed over climate change with leaders such as U.S. President Donald Trump, said the ecological crisis "threatens the very future of the human family".

"WE HAVE FAILED TO LISTEN"

He criticised those who, like Trump, doubt the science that shows human activity is causing the earth to heat up.

"For too long we have collectively failed to listen to the fruits of scientific analysis, and doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain," Francis said. Discussion of climate change and energy transition must be rooted in "the best scientific research available today".

Trump, asked in an interview if he accepted climate science, said last week: "I believe there's a change in weather, and I think it changes both ways."

He has said the United States will withdraw from the Paris accord, a 2016 global agreement to fight climate change.

Francis, who wrote an encyclical - a significant document on Church teaching - in 2015 on protection of the environment, and strongly supports the Paris accord, said time was running out to meet its goals.

"Faced with a climate emergency, we must take action accordingly, in order to avoid perpetrating a brutal act of injustice towards the poor and future generations," he said.

"We do not have the luxury of waiting for others to step forward, or of prioritising short-term economic benefits."

Oil companies have come under growing pressure from investors and activists to meet the Paris goals.

Companies including Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Total have laid out plans to expand their renewable energy business and reduce emissions. Critics say such gestures are minor parts of businesses that overwhelmingly depend on an economy that continues to pollute.

BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley said after the meeting that "the world needs to take urgent action to get us on a more sustainable path and it is critical that everyone plays their part - companies and investors, governments and individuals".

http://news.trust.org/item/20190614124558-n22zt
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Offline knarf

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Scientists at Stanford are doing their part to create what will be an inevitable dystopian nightmare.

The staff at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Princeton University and Adobe Research have developed software that allows you to now edit and change what people are saying in videos, allowing anyone to edit anybody into saying anything, according to Observer.

The software uses machine learning and 3-D models of the target's face to generate new footage which allows the user to change, edit and remove words that are coming out of a person's mouth on video, simply by typing in new text. Not only that, the changes appear to have a seamless audio/visual flow without cuts.

Here’s a video of the frightening software at work.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/0ybLCfVeFL4&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/0ybLCfVeFL4&fs=1</a>

We're sure there will be absolutely no blowback at all to this. After all, just last week, there was public outrage with somebody jokingly edited a video of Nancy Pelosi to make her seem drunk. What would happen if somebody edited a video of her speaking to have her swear wildly, or say racist things?

This deepfake software is already being described as "the equivalent of Christmas coming early for a Russian troll farm", now that the 2020 election is underway. We're sure it'll eventually also be a topic du jour on MSNBC and CNN if Trump wins again in 2020.

And we have to ask: how long before the software is incorporated into Adobe‘s retail video editing software? After all, the software company already forces users to read a massive disclaimer that states:

    We also believe that it is essential to obtain permission from the performers for any alteration before sharing a resulting video with a broad audience.

And…

    We acknowledge that bad actors might use such technologies to falsify personal statements and slander prominent individuals. We are concerned about such deception and misuse.

Are they covering themselves legally for this "technology" to go mainstream?

Meanwhile, joke deepfakes continue to pop up, like this fake video of Mark Zuckerberg sitting at a desk giving a nefarious sounding speech about Facebook‘s power.

Joe Rogan was also victim to a deepfake by the AI company Dessa recently, who released audio making it sound like he is discussing chimpanzee hockey.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/DWK_iYBl8cA&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/DWK_iYBl8cA&fs=1</a>
Don’t worry though, we’re sure this won’t fall into the wrong hands.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-06-13/watch-scientists-create-deepfake-software-allowing-anyone-edit-anything-anyone-says


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Offline knarf

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At least 36 people dead in one of India's longest heatwaves
« Reply #13056 on: June 15, 2019, 05:33:11 AM »
New Delhi (CNN)At least 36 people have died this summer in one of India's longest heat waves in recent history, Anshu Priya, a spokeswoman for India's National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), told CNN.
Intense heat has scorched the country for more than 30 consecutive days, primarily in northern and central India. Temperatures reached 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit) in New Delhi on June 10 -- the highest ever recorded in the capital in June.

In Churu, in the western state of Rajasthan, temperatures exceeded 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) on June 1.

A delayed monsoon has contributed to the prolonged hot weather, arriving in southern India around June 8, seven days later than usual. Northern India is still waiting for its annual rains.
Raghavan Krishnan of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology told CNN that the heat waves are becoming "more intense and frequent."

n summer 2016, the NDMA launched a series of initiatives to mitigate the deadly impact of heat waves, including opening shelters for homeless people, adjusting state government working hours to avoid extreme hot weather, establishing drinking water kiosks, and painting roofs white to reduce heat absorption.
As a result, the country has seen a dramatic drop in deaths from heat waves in recent years. In 2015, more than 2,400 people died in a heat wave. The following year, a heat wave killed just 250 people.

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/14/india/india-heat-wave-deaths-intl/index.html?no-st=1560601794
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Their masked faces are upturned, looking for the smoking arc of incoming tear-gas fire. The instant the flaming device bounces onto the asphalt, they race into action – eight people bearing umbrellas and bottles, squirting water. Within four seconds, the smoke has been doused, and the impromptu extinguishment brigade dashes off to the next device. Seconds later that one, too, has been tossed off the highway overpass. The smoke has been cleared from the road, at least until the next volley.

I captured video of this brief scene – only 16 seconds in length – just before 6 p.m. on Wednesday, near the end of a concerted police effort to clear protesters from streets surrounding Hong Kong’s Legislative Council. It was in many ways an unremarkable moment in a remarkable day, with police aiming rubber bullets at unarmed students in a violent conflagration that left more than 80 in hospital.

VIDEO - 16 seconds

Some of the most dramatic images of the day showed a mother beseeching men in riot gear not to attack, a protester in a yellow rain slicker standing up against water cannons, umbrella-bearing young people silhouetted against clouds of tear gas and a foreign journalist yelling to police: “This is still Hong Kong, not China. Not yet!”

Yet the 16-second video of the extinguishment brigade came to define the protest for some on social media. It has been viewed nearly three million times on Twitter, and retweeted by people in France, Turkey, Thailand, Spain, the Philippines, Japan, Haiti, Honduras, Poland, Indonesia, Senegal and Sudan, among others.

“If there is ever a video to give you hope for civil disobedience, then this is it…!” wrote one person. “Brave young men and women, they are the future of Hong Kong,” wrote another.

“Thanks guys,” responded Jordan Chan, 24, who was part of the protest Wednesday. “We are really fighting hard here. Even being significantly out-geared by the police, people are still trying,” he wrote on Twitter.

That fight included smothering tear-gas devices with cloths, placing the smoking canisters under helmets and traffic cones – and helping those affected. Strangers poured water into each other’s eyes to cleanse the chemicals.

For Mr. Chan, “this video captures how the Hong Kongers have really grown up and learned. We have changed from being afraid of the slightest bit of suppression to bravely handling the situation,” he said.

In mainland China, authorities have sought to censor all mention of the protests. Still, for some from China, the sight of people successfully quelling the power of the state – even as they ran from it – offered a sense of hope.

It’s a “picture of Hong Kongers, especially young guys in Hong Kong, fighting against the extradition bill,” said Shane Yue, a former Chinese journalist now living abroad. “They are brave, they have intelligence and patience, and they are working together.”

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-hong-kong-protest-video/

Nice Job by the Boys in Black Pajamas!  :icon_sunny:

Of course, once the Tear Gas becomes ineffective, they'll bring on the LRAD.  I wonder if Noise-Cancelling Headphones work against LRAD? ???   :icon_scratch:

RE
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Their masked faces are upturned, looking for the smoking arc of incoming tear-gas fire. The instant the flaming device bounces onto the asphalt, they race into action – eight people bearing umbrellas and bottles, squirting water. Within four seconds, the smoke has been doused, and the impromptu extinguishment brigade dashes off to the next device. Seconds later that one, too, has been tossed off the highway overpass. The smoke has been cleared from the road, at least until the next volley.

I captured video of this brief scene – only 16 seconds in length – just before 6 p.m. on Wednesday, near the end of a concerted police effort to clear protesters from streets surrounding Hong Kong’s Legislative Council. It was in many ways an unremarkable moment in a remarkable day, with police aiming rubber bullets at unarmed students in a violent conflagration that left more than 80 in hospital.

VIDEO - 16 seconds

Some of the most dramatic images of the day showed a mother beseeching men in riot gear not to attack, a protester in a yellow rain slicker standing up against water cannons, umbrella-bearing young people silhouetted against clouds of tear gas and a foreign journalist yelling to police: “This is still Hong Kong, not China. Not yet!”

Yet the 16-second video of the extinguishment brigade came to define the protest for some on social media. It has been viewed nearly three million times on Twitter, and retweeted by people in France, Turkey, Thailand, Spain, the Philippines, Japan, Haiti, Honduras, Poland, Indonesia, Senegal and Sudan, among others.

“If there is ever a video to give you hope for civil disobedience, then this is it…!” wrote one person. “Brave young men and women, they are the future of Hong Kong,” wrote another.

“Thanks guys,” responded Jordan Chan, 24, who was part of the protest Wednesday. “We are really fighting hard here. Even being significantly out-geared by the police, people are still trying,” he wrote on Twitter.

That fight included smothering tear-gas devices with cloths, placing the smoking canisters under helmets and traffic cones – and helping those affected. Strangers poured water into each other’s eyes to cleanse the chemicals.

For Mr. Chan, “this video captures how the Hong Kongers have really grown up and learned. We have changed from being afraid of the slightest bit of suppression to bravely handling the situation,” he said.

In mainland China, authorities have sought to censor all mention of the protests. Still, for some from China, the sight of people successfully quelling the power of the state – even as they ran from it – offered a sense of hope.

It’s a “picture of Hong Kongers, especially young guys in Hong Kong, fighting against the extradition bill,” said Shane Yue, a former Chinese journalist now living abroad. “They are brave, they have intelligence and patience, and they are working together.”

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-hong-kong-protest-video/

Nice Job by the Boys in Black Pajamas!  :icon_sunny:

Of course, once the Tear Gas becomes ineffective, they'll bring on the LRAD.  I wonder if Noise-Cancelling Headphones work against LRAD? ???   :icon_scratch:

RE


So THAT'S what a Chinese fire drill actually looks like  :icon_sunny:

Keep up the good work homo sushi, bring on the death ray  :evil4:
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline RE

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Keep up the good work homo sushi

Sushi is a Japanese dish, not Chinese.

More like Homo Chop Suey.

RE
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Offline knarf

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Top Gaza News Agency Mocks Tel Aviv Pride Attendees with Homophobic Slurs
« Reply #13060 on: June 15, 2019, 04:40:43 PM »
A major Palestinian news agency linked to the terrorist group Hamas mocked revelers at Tel Aviv’s annual gay pride parade with homophobic slurs in a series of widely-shared Facebook posts.

The Gaza-based Shehab News Agency used derogatory terms for gay men and women in its coverage of the LGBT community’s annual parade along the Mediterranean coast, which drew hundreds of thousands of people. The agency called the Israeli city a “settlement” and claimed that Israel has one of the world’s highest rates of homosexuality, which it described as an “anomaly.”

One of the most popular social media sites in the Palestinian territories, Shehab’s Arabic-language Facebook page has nearly 6 million followers.

Over 200,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv to participate in the region’s largest gay pride parade on June 3rd. “The sun is out and everybody is partying and having fun, the atmosphere is great,” Christian Tummann, a German tourist, told the Associated Press. “I feel so happy, so happy, that I can go to the Middle East and still be proud, it’s very nice,” added Dona Ulzen, who was visiting from Sweden.

Pride week is merely the highlight of year round activities in what is arguably the Middle East’s most open city. “Israel is widely tolerant of gay people, and Tel Aviv has emerged as one of the world’s most gay-friendly travel destinations,” the AP noted. “The city stands in sharp contrast to much of the region, where people are persecuted and may even be killed because of their sexuality.”

According to a 2015 survey by the Pew Research Center, 89% of Muslims in the Palestinian territories favor making sharia—a legal code based on Islamic scriptures, which forbid homosexuality—the official law of their country. A 2013 survey by Pew found that 89% of the same demographic views homosexual behavior as being “morally wrong.”

A survey carried out by the advocacy group Hiddush ahead of Tel Aviv Pride found that 76% of Israelis believe that civil marriage should be available for same-sex couples. Days before the poll was published, Ta’alin Abu Hanna, a 21-year-old Catholic Israeli-Arab, was crowned the first winner of the Miss Trans Israel pageant.

“If I had not been in Israel and had been elsewhere—in Palestine or in any other Arab country—I might have been oppressed or I might have been in prison or murdered,” Abu Hanna said at the time. “Our country allowed me, a Christian Arab from Nazareth, to end the war between my soul and my body.”

http://www.thetower.org/3488-gaza-news-agency-mocks-tel-aviv-pride-attendees-with-homophobic-slurs/
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Offline knarf

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Fortified schools: A sobering but growing response to U.S. shootings

It looks like a bank vault and is guaranteed to work, but Terry Shaw knew he had to test it for himself.

So the Oklahoma public school superintendent stepped inside the bulletproof storm shelter, roughly the size of a walk-in closet, closed the door behind him and sat down. Outside of the structure, a group of sharp shooters picked up their guns, took aim and fired.

"AR-15s, 9 mms, 380s, full metal jackets — they unloaded on us and they enjoyed it," he said. "It was a surreal feeling."

When he stepped back out, unscathed, Shaw was so impressed that he bought seven of the units for classrooms in his school system in Healdton, Okla.

Watch as Terry Shaw tests the bulletproof storm shelter, made by Shelter-In-Place:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/iqkH1vq_D4I&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/iqkH1vq_D4I&fs=1</a>

The multilayer steel structures serve a dual purpose: They're primarily intended to provide shelter from tornadoes, but, by design, they also offer protection an ever-present threat in all American schools — active shooters.

With summer school now in session here, the shelters sit in the back of Shaw's elementary classrooms while his young students are put through drills to ensure they know what to do in an emergency situation.

When an alarm goes off over the PA system, the students drop their pencils and make their way into the shelter, in an orderly fashion, along with their teacher, who locks the door behind them.


The multilayer steel structures can hold about 30 people and come equipped with a ventilation system and a TV camera to monitor what's happening outside.

The units come complete with a ventilation system and a TV camera facing outward, so they can see what's happening in their classroom while they're locked inside. Each unit fits roughly 30 people.

"If that inevitable event happens, where a bad guy's on campus, we've already taken care of that," said Shaw. "We've already put in the work to help protect as many kids as possible."

The $30,000 US price tag per unit is a fair price for peace of mind, he said, and the feedback from parents has been wonderful.

While school shootings remain statistically rare in the United States, there were 24 that resulted in either injury or death in 2018, according to Education Week, a journal that tracks education issues. This year, there have been 13 such incidents so far.

It's given rise to a school security industry now worth some $3 billion US annually, with many Americans eager to embrace anything that will keep their kids safe.

Gun safes and AI

At the International Security Conference and Exposition, the country's largest annual security technology convention in Las Vegas last March, vendors from around the world showed off the latest in school security tech.

On display was everything from biometric gun safes, unlocked only with a passcard and a fingerprint, allowing for guns deemed necessary for protection to be stored safely in classrooms, to artificial intelligence software for school security cameras, which can detect guns in the hands of potential shooters as they approach, immediately sending an alert to officials.

The gun-detection software was developed by former U.S. Navy SEAL Mike Lahiff, co-founder and CEO of the Philadelphia-based security company ZeroEyes. The goal, he said, is to stop shooters before they get inside a building.

"My wife's a school teacher," said Lahiff. "And I got tired of turning on the news and seeing active shooter events almost every week. It's disgusting. And there's not really a good solution out there."

One of the featured guests at the convention was Guy Grace, who is head of security for Littleton Public Schools, a school district outside Denver. His security department is seen as a model for educators in the rest of the country.

Grace oversees nearly two dozen public schools, where he's installed roughly 1,100 security cameras. It's to protect students from "all hazards," he says, including burglaries and vandalism.

But the threat of a so-called active shooter remains the priority.

"If nothing is done, we would have more school shootings," said Grace, who also chairs a security advisory association called Partner Alliance For Safer Schools.

"We would have more suicides, we would have more negative actions taking place on campuses. It would be tremendously worse than where it is right now."


ZeroEyes has developed security-camera software that uses artificial intelligence to detect the presence of guns, aiming to stop potential shooters before they enter a building.

Critics say the push toward this so-called "hardening" of schools is driven in large part by the security industry itself, stoking fear to make a buck.

But Grace counters that in his school district alone, there have been two school shootings in the past six years, leaving three dead and eight injured.

Right next door to Grace's district sits Columbine High School, where 12 students and one teacher were shot dead in 1999. To this day, uniformed police regularly station themselves outside Columbine in response to continued threats of gun violence.
'Gun laws aren't changing'

Lauren Reese, a mother of two whose children attend schools in Grace's district, was a 15-year-old student at Columbine on the day of the shooting 20 years ago. Today she's an advocate for strengthening school security.

"In a sense, this is the world we live in now," she said. "Gun laws aren't changing, and regardless, if there's a law in place or not, if someone wants to get a gun, they're going to get a gun."

Reese credits Grace for keeping her kids safe. "I feel safe knowing [he's] watching over them and that he really does want to protect our kids," she said.

But one key concern for some is whether too much security can have an adverse effect on students.

Dr. Christina Conolly, director of psychological services for Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, emphasizes the importance of that.

"The goal of school security is not just to go and make … schools look like prisons. The goal is to find a balance of both physical and psychological safety," she said. "Too much security can lead kids to sometimes feel anxious and nervous."

It's a line Grace is careful not to cross, saying he believes in keeping security measures in the background as much as possible.

Along with all the cameras in his schools, the classrooms come equipped with emergency alarm buttons. But those are hidden underneath teachers' desks, kept out of sight for students.

And although Grace doesn't like to mention "guns" or "shooters" when he runs emergency drills with his students, it's clear that kind of threat is certainly the implication.

While conducting a safety exercise on an elementary school playground earlier this month, an alarm went off, prompting the students to immediately run and hide behind anything they could find — trees, curbs, hillsides.

"It's giving them some confidence to make sure that they're not living in fear," Grace said.


Guy Grace, director of security and emergency planning for Littleton Public Schools, watches as elementary students practise techniques for hiding from an active shooter.

Back in Oklahoma, Terry Shaw agrees, saying such lessons are a sobering but necessary part of schooling in the U.S. today.

"When you're faced with a problem, I think it's our job as parents, administrators and humans to deal with that problem," he said.

"I hate the fact that our society is at [this] point. But that's where we're at."

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/fortified-schools-a-sobering-but-growing-response-to-u-s-shootings-1.5174149
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Offline knarf

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Cleveland Is Paying $225,000 to a Man Who Burned the American Flag
« Reply #13062 on: June 15, 2019, 05:55:31 PM »

In 1984, Mr. Johnson was arrested for burning a flag outside the Republican National Convention in Dallas. It was a crime in Texas at the time.

Gregory L. Johnson claims police officers violated his rights after his act of protest. Those rights were established 30 years ago in a Supreme Court case that bears his name.

After Cleveland police officers arrested Gregory L. Johnson in 2016 as he burned an American flag outside the Republican National Convention, Mr. Johnson sued the city, saying the officers had violated his First Amendment rights.

He should know.

The Supreme Court had ruled decades before that flag burning was a protected form of speech. The case was Texas v. Johnson, and the defendant was the same Gregory L. Johnson. He had doused a flag with kerosene in 1984 during the Republican convention in Dallas.

This week, three decades after the court invalidated prohibitions on flag desecration in 48 states, the city of Cleveland agreed to pay Mr. Johnson $225,000 to settle his claim that officers had retaliated against him for an exercise of free expression.

Mr. Johnson, 63, said in his lawsuit that officers had used fire extinguishers to put out the burning flag and pushed him to the ground during the protest outside the convention hall in July 2016. He was charged with misdemeanor assault after two people claimed they had been burned in the incident. The charges were later dropped, and a judge dismissed charges against 15 other people arrested at the protest.

Cleveland did not admit to any of the claims in Mr. Johnson’s lawsuit and denied liability, a city spokesman said, adding that the city’s insurer will pay the settlement.

Mr. Johnson, a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, has spent decades protesting what he describes as American imperialism and inequality, and said that he planned to use the settlement money to support causes in line with his ideology. “I’m a full-on volunteer for the revolution,” he said.

Legal experts said they were surprised to learn that Mr. Johnson had been arrested again, in part because the legal precedent for flag burning is clear — and also because they were surprised by his commitment.

“I didn’t know he was still at it,” said Amy Adler, a professor at the New York University School of Law.

The city’s agreement to pay Mr. Johnson to settle the lawsuit was announced just before Flag Day, which has been observed on June 14 for more than a century, although it is not an official federal holiday.

In 1989, when the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that the Texas law under which Mr. Johnson had been charged with burning a flag was unconstitutional, the decision was met with fierce opposition. Months later, Congress passed the Flag Protection Act of 1989, which the Supreme Court overturned the next year.

A Gallup poll in 2005 found that a majority of American adults wanted to allow states to outlaw flag burning. In 2006, a proposed constitutional amendment failed to garner the two-thirds majority needed to be sent to the states for ratification by just one vote.

Leading politicians and presidential candidates from both parties have supported proposals to outlaw some forms of flag burning. On Saturday, President Trump backed a constitutional amendment proposed by Senator Steve Daines of Montana that would ban the practice outright. Mr. Trump suggested after the 2016 election that flag burners should be punished with jail time or loss of citizenship.

There are no signs that the current court will reconsider the issue any time soon, and at least two members of the court’s conservative majority, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, have indicated that they hold the court’s 1989 decision in high esteem.

Ms. Adler said the most difficult First Amendment cases often involve speech or expression that a large portion of the public finds reprehensible. “It was a very painful case for the court and the country,” Ms. Adler said.

Katie Fallow, a senior lawyer at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, said many Americans often disagree with court rulings on “lightning rod” issues like flag burning.

“The First Amendment and the Bill of Rights have long been viewed as — and were intended to be — somewhat counter-majoritarian to protect the rights of a minority,” she said, citing opinions that restrict prayer in schools or allow protests near funerals.

One of the nation’s foremost flag wavers, John Janik, chairman of the National Flag Day Foundation, said that although he found flag-burning protests despicable, he does not support laws that seek to criminalize the act.

“Anyone who would disgrace that flag or harm the flag is terrible and deserves all the disrespect you can give him, but this is the land of the free,” Mr. Janik said. “I’m not for a law that takes away that freedom.”

Mr. Johnson said he has burned many flags since he was first arrested for doing it in 1984, but he always does it deliberately, as a form of protest — not on a whim.

“It’s not a gimmick,” he said. “It’s something to make a serious condemnation of this system.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/us/flag-burning-cleveland.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=US

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Offline K-Dog

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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #13063 on: June 15, 2019, 08:42:44 PM »
🌋 over 200 K 63 years old and a hero of the people’s revolution.  All while living in the global 1%.  What could be sweeter than that.
Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #13064 on: June 16, 2019, 01:05:26 AM »
🌋 over 200 K 63 years old and a hero of the people’s revolution.  All while living in the global 1%.  What could be sweeter than that.

Maybe I should burn a flag.  Then I could buy my boat!  :icon_sunny:

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