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The complaint, filed by a woman who went to work for anti-Scientology campaigner Leah Remini, is the first of many, her attorneys say.


David Miscavige, chairman of the Church of Scientology International's Religious Technology Center and the ecclesiastical leader of the church, dedicates a church in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2017. A woman who says she was a personal steward to Miscavige has sued him and the church alleging child abuse and human trafficking.

LOS ANGELES — A former Scientologist has filed the first of what her attorneys say will be multiple lawsuits against the Church of Scientology International and its leader, alleging retaliation, child abuse, human trafficking and forced labor against her and other members who have left the church.

The suit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, seeks unspecified general, special and compensatory damages, as well as unpaid wages, from the church, its Religious Technology Center and its "ecclesiastical leader," David Miscavige, and 25 unnamed co-respondents at a jury trial.

Allegations in the lawsuit include libel, slander, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress and seek double or triple damages on claims the plaintiffs violated California labor and human trafficking laws.

An attorney for the Church of Scientology said the church "will vigorously defend itself against these unfounded allegations."

The woman who filed the lawsuit, identified in court papers as "Jane Doe," said she was raised in the church from birth and at age 15 became a personal steward to Miscavige, whose formal title is chairman of the church's Religious Technology Center.

The church identifies Miscavige as the "ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion," which was started in 1952 by the science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Scientology asserts in its official statements of beliefs that man is an immortal spiritual being with unlimited capabilities, and it offers, for a price, one-on-one "auditing" and classes designed to help members achieve a "clear" spiritual state. It strongly opposes the science of psychiatry as "disastrous."

According to the suit, Jane Doe joined the Sea Organization, described as an association of the church's "most dedicated members," who sign 1 billion-year contracts with the quasi-naval group. The lawsuit says she moved to the church's Gold Base in San Jacinto, California, southeast of San Bernardino.

She remained there for 11 or 12 years until 2015, when she was removed as a steward and placed in an isolation program called "the Hole" because, according to the suit, she knew too much about what it describes as marital problems between Miscavige and his wife.

Banished to Los Angeles to work on church publicity, the woman escaped in late 2016 in the trunk of a car driven by a non-Scientologist actor with whom she was assigned to produce promotional videos, according to the complaint.

Scientology actively recruits celebrities to advocate for it. After she left the church, Jane Doe went to work for the actor Leah Remini, a former Scientologist, whose documentary TV series, "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath," has chronicled the stories of former Scientologists who allege the church abused them as members and harassed them after they left.

The Church of Scientology International has mounted a vigorous, often scathing public campaign against Remini and the TV series. It has posted websites condemning both Remini and Jane Doe, which NBC News confirmed were still active at the time of publication but which it isn't linking to in order to protect Jane Doe's identity.

"The lawsuit comprises nothing more than unfounded allegations as to all defendants," Rebecca N. Kaufman, an attorney for the Church of Scientology, told NBC News on Wednesday night, saying it was "littered with anti-religious slurs culled from the tabloids and accusations that have been disproven in courts decades ago."

"We are confident the lawsuit will fail," Kaufman said. "Federal courts have already determined that service in the Church of Scientology's religious order is voluntary and protected by the First Amendment. Moreover, the evidence will establish that while serving the church, plaintiff came and went freely, traveled the world, and lived in comfortable surroundings. The church will vigorously defend itself against these unfounded allegations."

rian Kent, an attorney for Jane Doe, said that for decades, the church "has sought to quash dissension, cover up its long history of physical, emotional and sexual abuse of its members, including its most vulnerable members, its children, and weaponize its doctrine against those who escape and find the courage to speak up."

"This is just the beginning, and we are not going to stop until they do," Kent said.

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Scientology as a tax-exempt religion, a status it won in 1993 after years of litigation. But another of Jane Doe's attorneys, Marci Hamilton, academic director of Child USA, a nonprofit children's advocacy group, argued that religious liberty defenses don't apply in this case.

Church members "have the right to believe anything they want," Hamilton said. "But they cannot do whatever they want. This lawsuit continues the important work of the #MeToo era to bring institutions and individuals to account for child abuse, trafficking and neglect."

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/religion/ex-scientology-member-sues-church-its-leader-alleging-abuse-human-n1019506
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Man guilty of making a gun using a 3D printer
« Reply #13111 on: June 20, 2019, 07:59:37 AM »


A man has been convicted of making a 3D printed gun - which was capable of firing a deadly shot.

Tendai Muswere, 26, from central London, initially told officers he was printing the firearm for a university project.

He pleaded guilty to manufacturing a firearm at Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday.

The Metropolitan Police says it believes it is the first conviction of its kind in the UK.

Police raided Muswere's home in Pimlico, Westminster, in October 2017 after getting a warrant to look for drugs.

During the search, they found parts of a 3D printed gun - which Muswere - then a student - didn't have a firearms licence for.

He told officers he was printing the firearm for a university film project and he didn't know the parts he'd made were capable of firing.


This is the 3D gun Muswere made

Muswere wouldn't tell police what his project was about.

Police found through searching his internet history that he had looked at videos which showed how to use a 3D printer to make guns that could fire ammunition.

They also discovered he had cannabis plants and there was evidence he was growing them.

Officers carried out a second raid on his home in February 2018 and found more parts of a 3D printed gun.

Acting Detective Sergeant Jonathan Roberts, who led the investigation, said: "Muswere claimed that he was printing the firearms for a 'dystopian' university film project but he has not explained why he included the component parts necessary to make a lethal barrelled weapon.

"We know that Muswere was planning to line the printed firearms with steel tubes in order to make a barrel capable of firing.

"This conviction, which I believe is the first of its kind relating to the use of a 3D printer to produce a firearm, has prevented a viable gun from getting into the hands of criminals."

Muswere will be sentenced on 9 August.

https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-48695173
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Florida city pays $600,000 to hackers who seized its computer system
« Reply #13112 on: June 20, 2019, 08:04:31 AM »
Fort Lauderdale Fla. — A Florida city agreed to pay $600,000 in ransom to hackers who took over its computer system, the latest in thousands of attacks worldwide aimed at extorting money from governments and businesses.

The Riviera Beach City Council voted unanimously this week to pay the hackers' demands, believing the Palm Beach suburb had no choice if it wanted to retrieve its records, which the hackers encrypted. The council already voted to spend almost $1 million on new computers and hardware after hackers captured the city's system three weeks ago.


Florida city pays $600,000 to hackers who seized its computer system

June 20, 2019 / 10:23 AM / CBS/AP

Fort Lauderdale Fla. — A Florida city agreed to pay $600,000 in ransom to hackers who took over its computer system, the latest in thousands of attacks worldwide aimed at extorting money from governments and businesses.

The Riviera Beach City Council voted unanimously this week to pay the hackers' demands, believing the Palm Beach suburb had no choice if it wanted to retrieve its records, which the hackers encrypted. The council already voted to spend almost $1 million on new computers and hardware after hackers captured the city's system three weeks ago.

The hackers apparently got into the city's system when an employee clicked on an email link that allowed them to upload malware. The city had numerous problems, including losing its email system and 911 dispatchers not being able to enter calls into the computer.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, ransomware is the fastest growing malware threat, targeting both individuals and organizations. In 2018, the massive "SamSam" virus disrupted the flight information system, baggage displays and email at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, while another attack crippled computers at the Port of San Diego.

City governments in Atlanta, Newark, N.J., and Sarasota, Fla., also have been hit by ransomware schemes. And hackers have taken the information systems of dozens of U.S. hospitals hostage.

"Ransomware is commonly delivered through phishing emails or via 'drive-by downloads,'" according to Homeland Security. "Phishing emails often appear as though they have been sent from a legitimate organization or someone known to the victim and entice the user to click on a malicious link or open a malicious attachment."

The FBI, Homeland Security and U.S. Secret Service are investigating the Florida attack, according to The Palm Beach Post.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/riviera-beach-florida-ransomware-attack-city-council-pays-600000-to-hackers-who-seized-its-computer-system/
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Re: Man guilty of making a gun using a 3D printer
« Reply #13113 on: June 20, 2019, 08:13:26 AM »


A man has been convicted of making a 3D printed gun - which was capable of firing a deadly shot.

Tendai Muswere, 26, from central London, initially told officers he was printing the firearm for a university project.

He pleaded guilty to manufacturing a firearm at Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday.

The Metropolitan Police says it believes it is the first conviction of its kind in the UK.

Police raided Muswere's home in Pimlico, Westminster, in October 2017 after getting a warrant to look for drugs.

During the search, they found parts of a 3D printed gun - which Muswere - then a student - didn't have a firearms licence for.

He told officers he was printing the firearm for a university film project and he didn't know the parts he'd made were capable of firing.


This is the 3D gun Muswere made

Muswere wouldn't tell police what his project was about.

Police found through searching his internet history that he had looked at videos which showed how to use a 3D printer to make guns that could fire ammunition.

They also discovered he had cannabis plants and there was evidence he was growing them.

Officers carried out a second raid on his home in February 2018 and found more parts of a 3D printed gun.

Acting Detective Sergeant Jonathan Roberts, who led the investigation, said: "Muswere claimed that he was printing the firearms for a 'dystopian' university film project but he has not explained why he included the component parts necessary to make a lethal barrelled weapon.

"We know that Muswere was planning to line the printed firearms with steel tubes in order to make a barrel capable of firing.

"This conviction, which I believe is the first of its kind relating to the use of a 3D printer to produce a firearm, has prevented a viable gun from getting into the hands of criminals."

Muswere will be sentenced on 9 August.

https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-48695173

Since the gun never got the steel tubes he should not have been convicted. I think it was not yet a gun.  Growing green in London is dangerous.  Lots of sticks in the mud there.
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Black Leaders Denounce Juul’s $7.5 Million Gift to Medical School
« Reply #13114 on: June 20, 2019, 08:22:48 AM »

Students on the campus of Meharry Medical College in Nashville. The school has been criticized for accepting a large grant from Juul Labs, the e-cigarette manufacturer.

Earlier this month, Meharry Medical College, a 143-year-old historically black institution in Tennessee, proudly announced that it had received the second-largest grant in its history — $7.5 million to start a center to study public health issues that affect African-Americans.

But the gift has prompted a vehement backlash from African-American health experts and activists because of the source of the funds: Juul Labs, the fast-growing e-cigarette company, now partially owned by the tobacco giant Altria.

Black people in the United States have a higher death rate from tobacco-related illnesses than other racial and ethnic groups. Research into the health effects of tobacco products, including newer nicotine delivery systems like Juul’s popular vaping devices, was to be the first order of study for the new center.

The announcement set off several days of frantic phone calls and meetings among black public health leaders, who remember the tobacco industry’s history of targeting black communities with menthol cigarettes — and who don’t want black youths becoming addicted to nicotine through vaping.

“Juul doesn’t have African-Americans’ best interests in mind,” said LaTroya Hester, a spokeswoman for the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network, which is sending a letter of protest to Meharry. “The truth is that Juul is a tobacco product, not much unlike its demon predecessors.”

Over the past year, Juul has hired numerous leaders with close ties to the black community as consultants and lobbyists. Among them are Benjamin Jealous, the former head of the N.A.A.C.P.; Heather Foster, a former adviser to President Obama who served as his liaison to civil rights leadership; and Chaka Burgess, co-managing partner of the Empire Consulting Group, who serves on the governing boards of the N.A.A.C.P. Foundation and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and its political action committee.

Juul has contributed to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and to the National Newspaper Publishers Association, a trade group for African-American community newspapers.

But Meharry officials stressed that they approached Juul, not the other way around. The college’s president, Dr. James E.K. Hildreth Sr., has said he was confident that the new center’s work would be free of Juul’s influence.

And, he said, research on nicotine and tobacco is of vital importance to the six million African-Americans who are smokers.


Dr. James E.K. Hildreth Sr., president and chief executive of Meharry Medical College. “We have paid a heavy price for being shut out,” he said.

“We have historically found ourselves occupying the last seat at the table when research is conducted on emerging public health issues that profoundly affect minority communities,” Dr. Hildreth wrote in a letter to the Meharry community. “We have paid a heavy price for being shut out.”

The debate highlights an ongoing, and heated, quandary in scientific research: Is it possible to take so much corporate money and not become biased in the funder’s favor?

Lindsay Andrews, a spokeswoman for Juul, said the company had no specific conditions for the grant, which will be paid over five years.

“There are many questions about the overall public health impact of vapor products, and Juul products in particular, that a robust body of public health research must help answer,” Ms. Andrews said.

Meharry, founded in Nashville in 1876, is the nation’s largest medical research center at a historically black institution. Dr. Hildreth, a Rhodes scholar with a Ph.D. from Oxford and an M.D. from Johns Hopkins, became president of the university in 2015 and is determined to expand its research. To do so, he has been in discussion with technology companies, foundations and the federal government, in addition to Juul.

Last summer, Dr. Hildreth and Patrick Johnson, Meharry’s senior vice president for institutional advancement, met with Juul representatives in Washington to ask the company to help underwrite a research program which would study, among other things, e-cigarettes.
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They were close to an agreement when Juul executives told them they were in talks with Altria to pay Juul nearly $13 billion for a 35 percent stake, a transaction that would give the e-cigarette maker access to Altria’s shelf space in stores and buttress its lobbying muscle.

Meharry, like many medical schools, has had a policy of turning down tobacco company donations. The disclosure led to considerable soul-searching among the administrators.

“We have an anti-tobacco stance, and one of the things that caused pause for everyone involved was Altria,” Mr. Johnson said. “The whole thing had to be re-examined with more detail.”

After months of discussion, Mr. Johnson said, Meharry agreed to accept the money.

“Altria is an investor in this device company,” he said. “They don’t have a voice or say-so. To this date, as we stand here, Juul does not sell tobacco products. As long as that remains, we are comfortable with the decision that we came to.”

Dr. Hildreth said the new program, to be called the Meharry Center for the Study of Social Determinants of Health, will conduct research into health conditions and issues related to tobacco and nicotine-delivery products, including e-cigarettes.

The center will later study the impact of alcohol use and food instability on underserved communities, among other issues.

Juul will not suggest studies, Mr. Johnson said, nor have any input before publication. The center will also convene annual meetings on tobacco and nicotine-delivery products, and develop public education campaigns.

But many public health groups said independence from Juul will be impossible.

“That’s a fantasy,” said Sharon Y. Eubanks, who was lead counsel for the United States in the landmark lawsuit in which the tobacco industry was found in 2006 to have conspired for decades to hide the dangers of smoking.

Ms. Eubanks, who is an advisory board member of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, is particularly troubled by the industry’s record of promoting menthol cigarettes in black neighborhoods. These brands are especially addictive because the menthol flavor masks the cigarette’s harshness.

Altria’s best-selling Marlboro cigarette brand comes in menthol and regular tobacco flavors, as do Benson & Hedges and other cigarettes. Juul has refused to stop selling menthol flavor pods in stores, though it has agreed to discontinue selling most of its other flavors, except online.

According to the N.A.A.C.P.’s Youth Against Menthol campaign, about 85 percent of African-American smokers aged 12 and older smoke menthol cigarettes, compared with 29 percent of white smokers.

“Juul is cozying up to the black community, and that makes it harder for some parts of the black community to call them out on their targeting of African-Americans,” Ms. Eubanks said.

Hilary O. Shelton, director of the N.A.A.C.P.’s Washington bureau, said he is glad that Meharry took the money.

Mr. Shelton said he had spoken with Juul and that he believed the company sincerely wants to sell its products to adult smokers as an alternative to cigarettes. Beyond that, he said, he is confident in Meharry’s integrity.

“It really is an issue of whether we trust in the integrity of the institution to do this very important research,” said Mr. Shelton. “I can’t think of anyone I’d trust more than Meharry.”

Juul is under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration and at least two state attorneys general for alleged marketing to youths. The company also has struggled to give away some of the money earned from its 70 percent share of the United States vaping market.

Researchers at Yale University, Boston University, Stanford University, Johns Hopkins and the University of Louisville, among others across the country, have shunned Juul’s grant offers.

Those rejections have presented a problem for Juul, which needs strong science to prove that “juuling” offers more public health benefit than risk. The company now has until 2022 to submit that evidence — and the deadline might be moved up, pending the outcome of a case in federal court.

Dr. Ross McKinney Jr., chief science officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges and a longtime bioethicist, studies the impact of donations on research.

“What do you do with money from a source that is in some way contaminated?” he said. “Tobacco has a specific history of hiring scientists to confuse the overall picture so that policies that might be restrictive would not go forward.”

But, he added, there are questions about Juul that need answers and for which independent funding might be very difficult to get.

“If they do it right, in terms of studying who and how people become addicted, you could make a judgment that it is worth taking the money,” he said.

In a newspaper editorial last week, Dr. Hildreth said his eyes were wide open. The tobacco industry, he said, “has taken our money and delivered sickness and death in return. We at Meharry intend to advance the fight for better health and longer life by turning that insidious relationship on its head.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/science/juul-meharry-grant-vaping.html
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AOC’s Generation Doesn’t Presume America’s Innocence
« Reply #13115 on: June 21, 2019, 08:25:57 AM »
Ocasio-Cortez’s “concentration camps” comment questions an old orthodoxy: that only other countries—and not the U.S.—are capable of evil.





On Monday night, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declared in an Instagram video that “the United States is running concentration camps on our southern border.” The following morning, Liz Cheney tweeted, “Please @AOC do us all a favor and spend just a few minutes learning some actual history. 6 million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust. You demean their memory and disgrace yourself with comments like this.” After that, the fight was on.

On its face, the fight was about using “concentration camp” outside of the context of the Holocaust. In a subsequent tweet, Ocasio-Cortez linked to an Esquire article that noted that the term predates World War II. It quoted historian Andrea Pitzer, who defines “concentration camp” as the “mass detention of civilians without trial.” To Ocasio-Cortez’s critics, this was too cute by half. Whatever the term’s historical origins or technical meaning, in American popular discourse “concentration camp” evokes the Holocaust. By using the term, they argued, the New York congresswoman was equating Trump’s immigration policies with Nazi genocide, whether she admitted it or not.

But whether you believe Ocasio-Cortez’s terminology was appropriate or offensive, the deeper question is why it provoked such a ferocious debate. The answer: Because for the first time in decades, the left is mounting a serious challenge to American exceptionalism.

“American exceptionalism” does not merely connote cultural and political uniqueness. It connotes moral superiority. Embedded in exceptionalist discourse is the belief that, because America has a special devotion to democracy and freedom, its sins are mostly incidental. The greatest evils humankind has witnessed, in places like the Nazi death camps, are far removed from anything Americans would ever do. America’s adversaries commit crimes; America merely stumbles on its way to doing the right thing. This distinction means that, in mainstream political discourse, the ugliest terms—fascism, dictatorship, tyranny, terrorism, imperialism, genocide—are generally reserved for phenomena beyond America’s shores.

A half-century ago, Vietnam so radicalized the American left that it seriously challenged these semantic boundaries. Exceptionalist assumptions underlay America’s rationale for war: The North Vietnamese were communists; communists were totalitarians; totalitarians committed aggression, as Hitler had in the 1930s. Thus, Hanoi was the aggressor in Vietnam, not the freedom-loving United States.

The anti-war movement inverted this moral logic. In the 1969 book that helped make him famous, American Power and the New Mandarins, Noam Chomsky argued that “By any objective standard, the United States has become the most aggressive power in the world.” Invoking some of the most notorious fascist crimes of the 1930s and 1940s, the anti-war leader Jerry Rubin declared, “Vietnam is the Guernica, the Rotterdam, and the Lidice of the 1960s.” This anti-exceptionalist discourse—which denied America’s moral superiority over the adversaries it had long contrasted itself against—even penetrated the Democratic Party. In 1971, George McGovern—who the Democrats would nominate for president the following year—called Richard Nixon’s bombing of Southeast Asia “the most barbaric act committed by any modem state since the death of Adolf Hitler.”

But when the anti-war and other protest movements of the 1960s faded, so did their challenge to exceptionalist language. By the 1980s, Democrats were playing catch-up to Ronald Reagan’s flag-waving patriotism. Exceptionalism was further bolstered in the 1990s when the fall of the Soviet Union and the seemingly global embrace of American-style democracy and capitalism appeared to reaffirm the fundamental superiority of America’s political system. In the Obama years, questioning American exceptionalism was considered a career-imperiling transgression. When Republicans questioned his commitment to the creed, Obama in 2014 replied, “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.”   

In recent years, however, a resurgent left fueled by an influx of Millennial voters has launched a new challenge to exceptionalist discourse. Partly, that’s because a higher percentage of Millennials are people of color, who generally look more skeptically on America’s claims of moral innocence. Partly, it’s because the financial crisis has cast doubt on whether America’s economic model is preferable to those practiced in other nations. Younger Americans—a majority of who embrace “socialism”—believe it’s not. Most of all, the challenge to exceptionalism is a response to Trump.

The generational divide is evident in polls. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found that Americans over the age of 65 were 37 points more likely to say the “U.S. stands above all other countries in the world” than that “there are other countries that are better than the U.S.” Americans under 30 split in the opposite direction. By a margin of 16 points, they said some other countries were better. A similar divide separates liberals and conservatives. While conservatives affirm America’s superiority by a margin of almost 10 to one, liberals reject it by more than two to one.

These numbers help explain why left-leaning politicians and commentators up and down the age spectrum have grown more willing to challenge the linguistic conventions that traditionally reserved certain epithets for America’s adversaries. A few years ago, commentators rarely evoked the specter of American “authoritarianism.” Now it’s commonplace. Books such as George Orwell’s 1984 and Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here” hit the bestseller lists after Trump’s election. Anti-Trump activists began calling themselves “the resistance,” a term that, by evoking the French or Polish resistance to Nazism implies opposition to a tyrannical regime in the United States.

With his embrace of foreign authoritarians and his cultivation of conservatism’s xenophobic and racist fringes, Trump has become a galvanizing figure for the left, which for the first time since the 1960s has begun regularly evoking the specter of American “fascism.” Ocasio-Cortez refers to Trump’s “fascist presidency.” In a video last year, Bernie Sanders quoted a scholar who accused Trump of “flirting with fascism in the open, in broad daylight.” This week, former Obama speechwriter Ben Rhodes described parts of Trump’s kickoff reelection speech as “indistinguishable from fascist rhetoric.”

The new prominence of the “antifa” movement also testifies to this linguistic shift. The term—which is shorthand for “antifascist action”—comes from Europe, where communists and anarchists waged street battles against fascists in the 1930s, and against neo-Nazi skinheads in the 1970s and 1980s. But when anti-skinhead activists began Americanizing the movement in the 1980s, many adopted the term: “antiracist action.” Fascism didn’t seem like an American problem. That’s no longer the case. Leftist street activists now embrace the term “antifa,” and the movement has grown dramatically under Trump.

In their anti-exceptionalist turn, Trump-era progressives aren’t just sounding alarms about authoritarianism and fascism in the United States today; they’re also reinterpreting the American past. New scholarship has, for instance, muddied the distinction between German Nazism and early 20th-century American white supremacy. Yale Law School Professor James Whitman’s 2017 book, Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law has gained favorable attention in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Atlantic. After then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared that last year’s Pittsburgh synagogue shooting was “utterly repugnant to the values of this nation,” my Atlantic colleague Adam Serwer excavated the work of World War I-era racial theorists such as Madison Grant to show that the “seed of Nazism’s ultimate objective—the preservation of a pure white race, uncontaminated by foreign blood—was in fact sown with striking success in the United States.”

This willingness to equate American white supremacy with the barbarism that occurs in other countries has also shaped the way the left describes “terrorism.” In past decades, the term was reserved almost exclusively for America’s enemies, particularly in the Muslim world. Now it’s become common, not only among leftist commentators but among Democratic politicians, to apply the term to violence committed by native-born white Americans. “America’s greatest terrorist threat?” asked New Jersey Congressman Tom Malinowski in an op-ed last month. “White supremacists.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s comment about “concentration camps” is only the latest example of this broad challenge to American exceptionalism. She didn’t claim that Trump’s detention centers are the equivalent of Auschwitz. But she denied that America is a separate moral category, so inherently different from the world’s worst regimes that it requires a separate language. On Tuesday night she retweeted the actor George Takei, who wrote, “I know what concentration camps are. I was inside two of them, in America.” This was another act of linguistic transgression. When remembering the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II, Americans have generally employed the term “internment camps”—largely, the historian Roger Daniels has argued, to create a clear separation between America’s misdeeds and those of its hated foes.

It’s that separation that Ocasio-Cortez and others on the Millennial-led left are challenging now. They are challenging not only the physical and legal barriers that Trump is erecting against immigrants entering the United States but also the conceptual barriers that American exceptionalism erects against seeing the United States as a nation capable of evil. And for Ocasio-Cortez’s critics, removing those ideological barriers is every bit as frightening as allowing migrant “caravans” to pass unimpeded across the Rio Grande.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/aoc-isnt-interested-american-exceptionalism/592213/
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New drug to boost women’s sex drive approved in US
« Reply #13116 on: June 21, 2019, 04:34:29 PM »

This image provided by Amag Pharmaceuticals in June 2019 shows packaging for their drug Vyleesi. The medication OK'd Friday, June 21, 2019 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is only the second approved to increase sexual desire in a women, a market drugmakers have been trying to cultivate since the blockbuster success of Viagra for men in the late 1990s.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. women will soon have another drug option designed to boost low sex drive: a shot they can give themselves in the thigh or abdomen that raises sexual interest for several hours.

The medication OK’d Friday by the Food and Drug Administration is only the second approved to increase sexual desire in a women, a market drugmakers have been trying to cultivate since the blockbuster success of Viagra for men in the late 1990s. The other drug is a daily pill.

The upside of the new drug “is that you only use it when you need it,” said Dr. Julia Johnson, a reproductive specialist at UMass Memorial Medical Center who was not involved in its development. “The downside is that it’s a shot — and some people are very squeamish.”

The drug’s developer, Amag Pharmaceuticals, could also face some of the same hurdles that have plagued the lone pill previously approved for the condition, including unpleasant side effects and limited insurance coverage. The company declined to release price information.

The FDA approved the new drug, Vyleesi (pronounced vie-LEE’-see), for premenopausal women with a disorder defined by a persistent lack of interest in sex, causing stress. The most common side effect in company studies was nausea. The approval was based on women’s responses to questionnaires that showed increases in sexual desire and decreases in stress related to sex. The women didn’t report having more sex, the original goal for the drug.

“Women are not desiring more sex. They want better sex,” said Dr. Julie Krop, Amag’s chief medical officer.

Flushing, injection site reactions and headache are other common side effects.

Women with high blood pressure or heart disease should not take the drug because increases in blood pressure were observed after injections, the FDA said. It also could interfere with oral naltrexone, a drug for people with alcohol and opioid dependence, the FDA said.

Because so many factors affect sexual desire, doctors must rule out other causes before diagnosing the condition, including relationship issues, medical problems and mood disorders. The condition, known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder, is not universally accepted, and some psychologists argue that low sex drive should not be considered a medical problem.

Still, the pharmaceutical industry has long pointed to surveys — some funded by drugmakers — suggesting that it is the most common female sexual disorder in the nation, affecting roughly 1 in 10 women. Amag estimates nearly 6 million U.S. women meet the criteria for the drug.

Cynthia Pearson, executive director of the National Women’s Health Network, urged women to avoid using the drug “until more is known about its safety and effectiveness.” She noted in a statement that Amag had not yet published full clinical trial results.

The search for a pill to treat women’s sexual difficulties was once a top priority for many of the world’s biggest drugmakers, including Pfizer, Bayer and Procter & Gamble. Those companies and others studied and later abandoned drugs acting on blood flow, testosterone and other targets.

Vyleesi acts on receptors for a brain-stimulating hormone called melanocortin, which is associated with sexual arousal and appetite in both men and women.

Waltham, Massachusetts-based Amag plans to pitch the drug to consumers through social media, including a website called unblush.com that tells women that low sex drive “is nothing to blush about.”

Amag’s campaign has some of the hallmarks that helped launch the first female libido drug, Addyi, a once-a-day pill approved in 2015. The FDA decision followed a contentious four-year review that included a lobbying effort funded by Addyi’s maker, Sprout Pharmaceuticals, which framed the lack of female sex drugs as a women’s rights issue.

Women taking Addyi showed a slight uptick in “sexually satisfying events” per month and improved scores on psychiatric questionnaires. Those results were only slightly better than what women taking a placebo reported, but they were significant enough to meet FDA effectiveness standards.

The pink pill — originally developed as an antidepressant — was ultimately approved with a bold warning that it should not be combined with alcohol, due to risks of fainting and dangerously low blood pressure.

Most insurers refused to cover the drug, citing lackluster effectiveness, and many women balked at the $800-per-month price. Last year, Sprout slashed the price to $400. It was prescribed just 6,000 times last year, according to investment analyst data.

UMass’s Johnson said drugs should not be the first choice for treating women’s sexual problems. Instead, she recommends counseling to help women “separate all the stresses of life” from their sex life.

“But if that doesn’t work, having a medication that may help is worth trying,” she said.

https://apnews.com/e05529a07a7942479327843ddfa1896c
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Briarwood Presbyterian Church, in Birmingham, Alabama.

An Alabama megachurch plans to start its own police force thanks to a new law permitting the church to do just that.
The law, signed by Gov. Kay Ivey, authorizes Briarwood Presbyterian to "appoint and employ one or more suitable persons to act as police officers to protect the property of the school or academy."
A similar bill was proposed four years ago, but it was dropped by the Alabama legislature amid a public outcry over the Presbyterian Church in America's racist history, as well as criticism that the bill was unconstitutional and violated the Establishment Clause's separation of church and state. Briarwood Presbyterian is part of the PCA.
Briarwood Presbyterian's congregation is overwhelmingly white. Nearby Birmingham is two-thirds black.

The PCA is a conservative denomination that originated early 1970s Alabama. In 2016 it apologized for "racial sins" that included "the segregation of worshipers by race" as well as "the participation in and defense of white supremacist organizations," among other things.
Officials at Briarwood Presbyterian Church say that a police force is necessary in order to adequately protect its 4,100 members, including 2,000 students and faculty on its two campuses.
The church hopes its new security force will keep intruders and prevent trespassers from accessing the property, it said in a press release that was posted by CNN affiliate WBRC.
The officers will complete state certified training by the Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission. The officers will also be trained on the proper use of a non-lethal weapon.
The ACLU of Alabama tweeted the new law undermines the separation of church and state are is "a threat to our freedom of religion and a violation of the Establishment Clause."

"We expect this law to be challenged in the courts," it said.
The new law is expected to go into effect in the fall.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/21/politics/alabama-megachurch-police-force-trnd/index.html
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Inuit were 'forcibly used as human guinea pigs' in 'outrageous and questionable' experiments, says law firm

Five Inuit have filed a lawsuit against the federal government over medical experiments they say were performed on them in the 1960s and '70s in Nunavut.

A statement of claim filed in Iqaluit on June 7 says the experiments included skin grafts being taken from them and grafted onto the bodies of other Inuit as well as being made to stand outside in the cold while improperly dressed.

The plaintiffs also allege they were prodded with sharp instruments to assess their reaction to pain.

The claim says the experiments were performed in Igloolik between 1967 and 1973 and involved three Canadian universities working with an international scientific program.

Edmonton lawyer Steven Cooper with Cooper Regel says he's aware of at least 30 people who were affected, primarily in Igloolik. He says experiments were also possibly performed on Inuit in Hall Beach.


Three Inuit show scars from skin graft procedures they say were done decades ago by researchers. The photos were taken recently, but the people wish to remain anonymous.

"All of this happened with the knowledge, and it would appear, support of the Canadian government directly or indirectly," says a news release from Cooper Regel.

"The government of Canada did not protect its citizens but rather made them available as subjects of the outrageous and questionable experiments," it adds.

The statement of claim alleges the plaintiffs suffered irreparable psychological harm, along with other severe impairments and disabilities, including mistrust of people in positions of power, humiliation and betrayal, and avoidance of medical practitioners.

None of the claims made in the lawsuit have been tested in court.

The plaintiffs are seeking general and punitive damages totalling $1,100,000, plus special and aggravated damages.
International Biological Program

The International Biological Program was a large-scale multi-year project aimed at co-ordinating research among scientists worldwide. It looked at everything from pest control to pollution and how people adapted to their environments.

The experiments in Igloolik are outlined in the 2005 book Beyond the Hippocratic Oath: A Memoir on the Rise of Modern Medical Ethics by Dr. John B. Dossetor, a celebrated Canadian physician who was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1994.

In his book, Dossetor writes that his research in Igloolik received "community consent," which he claims was granted by elders via a non-Inuk translator. Although he ultimately concludes in the book that his team did not do enough to secure meaningful consent.

Dossetor declined an interview request for an article on Inuit concerns over the experiments.

The news release from Cooper Regel says Inuit were "forcibly included as human guinea pigs" in the research program and that it took place "during a time of transition from a very tranquil and traditional way of life to one mandated by the government of Canada."

"Every element of an Inuk's life was made subject to decisions made usually by bureaucrats and politicians in faraway places," it reads, highlighting the Indian residential school and hospital systems. "The Inuit were compelled to follow government directions."

Former Nunavut premier among plaintiffs


Paul Quassa says he never gave his consent to be experimented on.

Former Nunavut premier Paul Quassa, who is one of the plaintiffs, told CBC News earlier this year, he, his uncle and cousin were among those who had skin grafts performed on them.

He also said after returning from hunting one February while wearing caribou clothing, researchers made him stand outside for 20 minutes before letting him inside.

Quassa said he never gave his consent to be experimented on and has never received an apology.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/inuit-experiments-skin-grafts-lawsuit-1.5185181
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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Friday that Mexico would meet with 19 countries in the coming weeks in an attempt to boost support for a plan to stem illegal migration toward the United States.

Tens of thousands of mostly Central American migrants have been crossing Mexico to reach its northern border with the United States, with an angered U.S. President Donald Trump threatening to impose tariffs on Mexico.

“We already have 19 countries we will meet in the next couple of weeks so that this plan and its actions will grow,” Ebrard said during the president’s regular morning news conference. “Now it is about developed countries participating.”

Ebrard said Mexico was investigating a network of human smugglers, including that of unaccompanied minors, which he said was on the rise, and the financing of these operations.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that Mexico would evaluate the results of the deal it had reached with the United States to stem migration north.

“We want a good relationship with President Trump,” Lopez Obrador reiterated, adding that, regardless of the often difficult and complex relationship, he had seen a willingness from Trump to come to an agreement.

Lopez Obrador met on Thursday with El Salvador’s new president, Nayib Bukele, in the southern Mexican city of Tapachula, near the border with Guatemala, to launch a development plan aimed at stemming illegal migration.

Lopez Obrador said Mexico’s priority was to address the root causes of illegal migration: poverty, violence and a lack of democracy in the countries of origin.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trade-mexico/mexican-foreign-minister-says-mexico-will-meet-with-19-countries-over-migration-plan-idUSKCN1TM1Q5?utm_source=reddit.com
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Cops for Jesus.

RE
Save As Many As You Can

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Harley-Davidson will make small motorcycles in China with a new partner
« Reply #13121 on: June 22, 2019, 05:00:33 AM »
Harley-Davidson has found a new partner in China as it ramps up efforts to sell more motorcycles abroad.
The company said Wednesday that it's teaming up with Qianjiang Motorcycle Company to make a small motorcycle that will go on sale in the country next year. Qianjiang is a subsidiary of Geely, which owns Volvo and has a joint venture to assemble cars in China with Mercedes Benz parent company Daimler (DDAIF).
For Harley, China is a major growth market.

Sales in the country increased 27% in 2018 compared to the previous year, according to the American motorcycle maker.
Growing internationally
Harley-Davidson (HOG) wants half of its sales to come from international markets by 2027. This strategy aims to offset declining US sales as its customer base there gets older.
The company has been increasing production in places like Thailand to make that happen.
But tariffs have also played a role in its plans to make more bikes in Asia.
The company said last year it was moving some manufacturing to Thailand due to European Union tariffs on motorcycles shipped from the United States. The European Union raised its 6% tariff to 31% last June in response to the Trump administration's tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.


Harley-Davidson has struck a partnership to start making a small motorcycle in China for sale in the country.

"It's unfortunate, but we're pushing forward with our strategy to make sure that we preserve the integrity and the growth potential within the European market," CEO Matthew Levatich said on the company's most recent earnings call.
The Thailand plant also makes motorcycles for sale in Asia. It will begin shipping motorcycles to China by the end of the year.
Harley's shift overseas has angered President Donald Trump, who last year encouraged consumers to boycott the company as a result.
"Most other companies are coming in our direction, including Harley competitors," he tweeted at the time. "A really bad move! U.S. will soon have a level playing field, or better."

It's not clear if the Harley motorcycle that will be made in China would have been subject to Chinese tariffs had it been manufactured in the United States. A spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are due to meet on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Japan later this month as they seek to avoid further escalating their damaging trade war.

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/19/business/harley-davidson-china/index.html
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Exhausted polar bear captured after being found wandering city streets
« Reply #13122 on: June 22, 2019, 05:07:47 AM »
1 minute video

The tired and hungry polar bear is being taken to the zoo after straying hundreds of kilometres from its natural habitat.

Russian officials say scientists have captured a hungry polar bear found roaming the streets of an Arctic city, and will take it to a zoo to recover.

"Zoologists have caught the female polar bear wandering around Norilsk," the authorities of the industrial city said in a statement, adding that the bear had apparently trekked south from the shores of the Kara Sea, which is part of the Arctic.

Polar bears have been increasingly wandering into inhabited areas of northern Russia as climate change and regional development reduce their habitat and food supply and they turn to other sources such as waste bins.

The animal - estimated to be around one year old and weighing some 200 kilogrammes (440 pounds) - is being inspected by veterinarians.


The polar bear was spotted roaming the streets of Norilsk, Russia.

Officials plan to send the bear to a zoo in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk on Friday.

"The animal's health does not allow for her to be released into the wild," the statement said.

"In Krasnoyarsk, the bear will be fully examined and receive the necessary treatment."


The polar bear was captured and is being taken to a zoo to recover.

Images of the visibly exhausted animal roaming Norilsk in search of food have gone viral.

Sightings of polar bears so far south from their usual habitat are rare.

In February, officials declared an emergency after dozens of polar bears entered a settlement on the far northern Novaya Zemlya archipelago, attracted by its rubbish tip, and some wandered into buildings.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/exhausted-polar-bear-captured-after-being-found-wandering-city-streets
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Militia threat shuts down Oregon Statehouse amid walkout
« Reply #13123 on: June 22, 2019, 05:14:00 AM »
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Capitol will be closed Saturday due to a “possible militia threat” from right-wing protesters as a walkout by Republican lawmakers over landmark climate change legislation drags on.

Republican state senators fled the Legislature — and some, the state — earlier this week to deny the majority Democrats enough votes to take up the climate bill, which would dramatically reduce fossil fuel emissions by 2050. It would be the second program of its kind in the nation after California if passed.

Gov. Kate Brown then dispatched the state police to round up the rogue lawmakers, but none appeared in the Capitol on Friday and the stalemate seemed destined to enter its third day with a week left in the legislative session.

Right-wing groups posted their support for the GOP lawmakers Friday on social media — in one instance offering to provide escorts to them should the state police come for them.

A group of local Republicans were set to protest inside the Capitol on Saturday when lawmakers were present, and anti-government groups threatened to join, prompting the statehouse shutdown.

One of the groups, the Oregon Three Percenters, joined an armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016. Dozens of people occupied the remote Oregon refuge for more than a month to protest federal control of Western lands. The standoff began to unravel when authorities fatally shot the group’s spokesman and arrested key leaders as they headed to a community meeting.

“The Oregon State Police has recommended that the Capitol be closed tomorrow due to a possible militia threat,” Carol Currie, spokeswoman for Senate President Peter Courtney, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press late Friday.

The governor’s office also confirmed the threats.

Oregon State Police, in a statement, said it has been “monitoring information throughout the day that indicates the safety of legislators, staff and citizen visitors could be compromised if certain threatened behaviors were realized.”

Also late Friday, Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek, both Democrats, condemned comments made by Sen. Brian Boquist, a Republican from Dallas, Oregon, that urged the state police to “send bachelors and come heavily armed” when they come to bring him back to the Capitol.

“His comments have created fear among employees in our workplace,” the leaders said in a joint statement. “We will always defend free speech and welcome frank policy discussions, but threats like these are unacceptable.”

Boquist has not responded to multiple requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Senate Republicans did not respond to queries about the statehouse closure.

Democrats have an 18 to 12 majority in the chamber, but they need 20 members present for a quorum. One GOP senator recently died and has not yet been replaced.

Under the proposed cap-and-trade bill, Oregon would put an overall limit on greenhouse gas emissions and auction off pollution “allowances” for each ton of carbon industries plan to emit. The legislation would lower that cap over time to encourage businesses to move away from fossil fuels: The state would reduce emissions to 45% below 1990 levels by 2035 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Those opposed to the cap-and-trade plan say it would exacerbate a growing divide between the liberal, urban parts of the state and the rural areas. The plan would increase the cost of fuel, damaging small business, truckers and the logging industry, they say.

Democrats say the measure is an efficient way to lower emissions while investing in low-income and rural communities’ ability to adapt to climate change. It has the support of environmental groups, farmworkers and some trade unions.

California has had for a decade an economy-wide cap and trade policy like the one Oregon is considering. Nine northeastern states have more limited cap-and-trade programs that target only the power sector.

https://apnews.com/6f244646d3624ad89013d88c539aeabb
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The David Gilmour Guitar Collection sells for $21.5 million
« Reply #13124 on: June 22, 2019, 05:25:25 AM »
Bidders from all over the world compete to buy guitars from the personal collection of the Pink Floyd singer and songwriter, including ‘The Black Strat’, which realises $3,975,000

On the eve of the sale David Gilmour announced on social media that proceeds would be donated to the charity ClientEarth. ‘The global climate crisis is the greatest challenge that humanity will ever face,’ he wrote, ‘and we are within a few years of the effects being irreversible.

‘As Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, said in a speech earlier this year, “Either we choose to go on as a civilisation, or we don’t”. The choice really is that simple and I hope that the sale of these guitars will help ClientEarth in their cause to use the law to bring about real change. We need a civilised world that goes on for all our grandchildren and beyond in which these guitars can be played and songs can be sung.’

The David Gilmour Guitar Collection, the largest and most comprehensive sale of guitars ever offered at auction, told the story of one of the world’s most influential guitarists. The 126 lots, which included iconic instruments played by Gilmour on Pink Floyd’s greatest tracks as well as his solo albums, totalled $21,490,750 — the most valuable musical instruments sale in auction history — with proceeds being donated to .

In the months leading up to the auction, over 12,000 fans attended the tour stops in London, Los Angeles and New York to get up-close to the guitars played by the Pink Floyd guitarist, singer and songwriter. In excess of 500,000 people viewed the content around the sale on Christies.com, and more than 2,000 bidders from 66 countries registered for the sale, which took place at Christie’s Rockefeller Center HQ.

On the day of the auction, the unprecedented level of interest was evident in the queues that snaked around the block and the fact a second saleroom had to be opened up to accommodate the crowds. The lucky ones who made it inside witnessed some extraordinary results.

The best, however, was saved until last when ‘The Black Strat’, which was integral to the recording of Pink Floyd albums The Dark Side Of The Moon  (1973), Wish You Were Here  (1975), Animals  (1977) and The Wall  (1979), sold for $3,975,000 — a new world record for a guitar at auction.



The clamour to own a piece of rock history was evident from the very first lot — a 1966 solid-body Fender Stratocaster bought by Gilmour in 1970. Carrying an estimate of $10,000-15,000, it sold for $423,000.

Immortalised for its part in legendary Pink Floyd tracks Wish You Were Here  and Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Gilmour’s Martin D-35 was the next instrument to the block. The acoustic had an estimate of $10,000-20,000 but sold for $1,095,000 — a new world auction record for a C.F. Martin guitar.

The opening riff on Wish You Were Here  was actually composed on another Martin acoustic, a D12-28 12-string guitar that Gilmour bought from a friend in 1974. The instrument was estimated at $5,000-10,000 but realised $531,000.



Lot 20, the star’s 1954 White Fender Stratocaster #0001 (estimate: $100,000-150,000), was used on several recordings, including Another Brick in the Wall (Parts 2  and 3). It sold for $1,815,000, which was, for a couple of hours at least, a new world record for a Fender Stratocaster.

Further highlights included a 1955 Gibson Les Paul, famous for Gilmour’s guitar solo on Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2). Estimated at $30,000-50,000, it sold for $447,000, a new auction record for a Gibson Les Paul, surpassing the previous record set for Les Paul’s own 1954 Les Paul Custom.

A little later, an incredibly rare Gretsch White Penguin 6134 purchased by Gilmour in 1980 for his private collection, also realised $447,000 — a new auction record for a Gretsch.

https://www.christies.com/features/David-Gilmour-Collection-auction-results-9974-3.aspx



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