Category Archives: Government

Millennials Have The Power But Are not Using It In The Polls

By : Eric Levitz of Intelligencer

The United States, circa 2018, looks like a place run by people who know they’re going to die soon.

As “once in a lifetime” storms crash overour coasts five times a year — and the White House’s own climate researchsuggests that human civilization is on pace to perish before Barron Trump — our government is subsidizing carbon emissions like there’s no tomorrow. Meanwhile, America’s infrastructure is already “below standard,”and set to further deteriorate, absent hundreds of billions of dollars in new investment. Many of our public schools can’t afford to stock their classrooms with basic supplies, pay their teachers a living wage, or keep their doors open five days a week. Child-care costs are skyrocketing,the birth rate is plunging, and the baby-boomers, retiring. And, amid it all, our congressional representatives recently decided that the best thing they could possibly do with $1.5 trillion of borrowed money was to give large tax breaks to people like themselves.

There are many plausible explanations for why America has embraced “carpe diem” as its governing philosophy. Our ruling political party is dominated by geriatric billionaires and millenarian Christians; our electoral system gives politicians little incentive to prioritize the nation’s long-term well-being over their constituents’ immediate gratification; and the conservative movement’s decades-long assault on “big government” has constrained the public sector’s capacity to invest in the future. But all these causes of American misrule are informed and exacerbated by this overriding fact: Young people vote much less than those who aren’t long for this Earth.

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Americans Ruled by a Minority

By: Anne Applebaum

Now that the predictable result has been achieved, it’s worth taking a moment to think about the longer-term impact of the bizarre, emotional events of the past two weeks in Washington. Reasonable people can still disagree about what happened in a house in suburban Maryland in the summer of 1982; reasonable people can even disagree about whether now, more than three decades later, those events should matter. But reasonable people cannot disagree about the political orientation of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. In his testimony, he revealed himself to be an extreme partisan, a Republican Party activist and a man at least willing to bend the truth in public.

He did not reveal himself to be a man dedicated to upholding a neutral idea of the rule of law. On this point, Kavanaugh’s opponents and supporters are in total agreement. Just after he was sworn in to the job he might hold for many decades, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, tweeted: “Congratulations Judge Kavanaugh! Instead of a 6-3 liberal Supreme Court under Hillary Clinton, we now have a 5-4 conservative Supreme Court under President @realDonaldTrump, cementing a tremendous legacy for the President and a better future for America.” Note the expression “under President @realDonaldTrump”: This was a partisan contest, and the winning side is crowing in triumph that one of the partisan faithful has been victorious.

But what now? Thanks to the quirks of our Constitution and the vagaries of our politics, the result is that all three branches of the U.S. government are dominated by minorities. In the White House, we have, for the second time in less than two decades, a president who did not win the popular vote. He was elected thanks to the electoral college, a system originally designed to block demagogues, but which no longer does. Electoral college delegates are not independent, as they once were; instead, they vote as their state party chairman decides. The effect is to skew the result.

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Pence’s $300k Trip To a Football Game May Have Been A Staged Walkout

By: Chuck Schilken of La Times

Vice President Mike Pence’s early departure from an NFL game last yearbecause of players kneeling during the national anthem was very likely staged and also expensive for taxpayers, according to a new report.

The former Indiana governor visited Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Oct. 8, 2017, with the stated intention of being on hand as Peyton Manning’s jersey was retired at halftime of the Colts’ game against the San Francisco 49ers.

But he didn’t stick around long enough for that ceremony or any part of the game.

Pence stood with hand over heart for the playing of the national anthem prior to the game. At the same time, several 49ers players knelt on the sideline, continuing the protest against social injustice started by former teammate Colin Kaepernick.

So Pence left the game, stating later on Twitter, “I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem” and “I stand with @POTUS Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem.”

Trump then tweeted “I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.”

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Pepsi Showing Interest in Cannabis

By: Lauren Hirsch of CNBC

PepsiCo is taking a hard look at the cannabis industry as other beverage makers explore the market.

“I think we’ll look at it critically, but I’m not prepared to share any plans that we may have in the space right now,” Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston told Jim Cramer and Sara Eisen on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street on Tuesday.

Cannabis, which is federally illegal in the U.S., but legal in some states and in Canada, has attracted increasing attention from food and beverage companies as either an opportunity for future growth, or conversely, a threat to their brands.

Corona beer maker Constellation this summer announced an additional $4 billion stake in Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth, following up on a previous investment in October.

Coca-Cola last month said it is “closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages,” after reports surfaced it may be eyeing the cannabis-infused drink market.

The CBD is derived from the marijuana plant that some people believe provides therapeutic relief. It does not include THC, which is what gives cannabis-users a “high.”

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Netflix competitors and pirating are becoming inversely proportional

By : Karl Bode of Motherboard

A new study shows that after years of declines, BitTorrent usage and piracy is on the rise again. The culprit: an increase in exclusivity deals that force subscribers to hunt and peck among a myriad of streaming services to actually find the content they’re looking for.

Sandvine’s new Global Internet Phenomena report offers some interesting insight into user video habits and the internet, such as the fact that more than 50 percent of internet traffic is now encrypted, video now accounts for 58 percent of all global traffic, and Netflix alone now comprises 15 percent of all internet downstream data consumed. 

But there’s another interesting tidbit buried in the firm’s report: after years of steady decline, BitTorrent usage is once again growing.

According to Sandvine, file-sharing accounts for 3 percent of global downstream and 22 percent of upstream traffic, with 97% of that traffic in turn being BitTorrent. While BitTorrent is often used to distribute ordinary files, it remains the choice du jour for those looking to distribute and trade copyrighted content online, made easier via media PCs running Kodi and select plugins.

Back in 2011, Sandvine stated that BitTorrent accounted for 52.01% of upstream traffic on fixed broadband networks in North America. By 2015, BitTorrent’s share of upstream traffic on these networks had dipped to 26.83 percent, largely thanks to the rise in quality, inexpensive streaming alternatives to piracy.

But Sandvine notes that trend is now reversing slightly, with BitTorrent’s traffic share once again growing worldwide. That’s especially true in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa, where BitTorrent now accounts for 32% of all upstream network traffic.

One major reason for BitTorrent’s rising popularity? Annoying exclusivity streaming deals.

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REPUBLICAN SENATOR JEFF FLAKE DELAYS KAVANAUGH VOTE FOR JUSTICE

Amidst the controversial and political divides in Judge Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court Justice appointment, Republican Senator Jeff Flake took a brave and honorable stand to delay the Senate Judiciary Committee vote and allow the FBI to investigate the sexual assault claims made by Dr. Christine Ford.  This opportunity for due diligence is viewed by many as a civil way to appease both sides and reveal the truth about Dr. Ford’s claims that Judge Kavanaugh assaulted her in High School.

Senator Flake’s decision to take a stand for justice was motivated by two young women who confronted him in an elevator about Kavanaugh’s credibility and the crowds’ request for an FBI investigation.   Voting for Kavanaugh without the FBI’s due diligence implied that achieving political agendas are more important than Dr. Ford’s assault and women’s rights, in general.

The FBI investigation should help to clear Judge Kavanaugh or Dr. Ford’s name as the facts are investigated.  Although, many of Dr. Ford’s alleged witnesses are already saying that they do not remember the incident.

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KAVANAUGH HEARINGS MARK AN IMPORTANT MOMENT IN US HISTORY

Millions of Americans watched the Judge Brett Kavanaugh hearing as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified about being sexually assaulted by him during High School.

Although the incident happened a long time ago, it challenges Judge Kavanaugh’s character and questions if he is the appropriate person to be appointed to the highest court in our country for life.  Dr. Ford tried to make her allegations known when it was publicized that Judge Kavanaugh was on President Trump’s short list of candidates.  She stated in her testimony that she felt it was her civic duty to let her truth about his character be known as she tried to remain anonymous.  By the time she made it through the necessary channels to be heard, President Trump had already announced that Judge Kavanaugh was the Supreme Court nominee.

Supreme Court decisions are upheld by laws that impact future generations.  That is why composed, fair, honorable, and unbiased people are sought after for this lifetime position.  We have to wonder why Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment was being rushed through to confirmation with these outstanding accusations that were not fully investigated.  One of the greatest privileges of a US President is to appoint a Supreme Court Justice for life.  President Obama was blocked from doing this for over a year and never got the opportunity before he left office.  Yet, President Trump, amidst personal controversy over his own election, leadership, and sexual misconduct, has appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch and now pushes the appointment of Judge Kavanaugh amidst more controversy.

Beyond the sexual assault charges by Dr. Ford that Judge Kavanaugh vehemently denies, his composure under pressure was clearly broken, his position was partisan and accusatory in an appointment that must uphold the law for all people regardless of political party, and his portrayal as a spoiled white privileged brat that is entitled to such an honor regardless of his behavior, leaves many questions about him being an appropriate Supreme Court Justice for the United States of America.

Moreover, the lives of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh are forever changed.  Dr. Ford is a highly educated and credible witness who gave a believable testimony that won the hearts and sympathy of viewers around the world.  She is being called a hero for her courage to come forward with her truth about someone whose position of power would affect the lives of Americans for generations to come.   However, she has received death threats and had to move her family twice since coming forward.  Judge Kavanaugh maintains that he was never at the parties, never drank in excess, was a model student, and his good name has been ruined with these accusations.  Regardless of the outcome in his Supreme Court appointment, and regardless if the accusations are true, Judge Kavanaugh’s reputation, integrity, and truth is now questionable.

This is a moment in our American history that we will not forget.  Are political agendas ruining a perfectly innocent man’s career and life?  Or are political agendas overlooking a woman’s sexual assault and deeming such violations as insignificant?  Either outcome has a historical impact on the current women’s movement that has vindicated many women who have experienced sexual misconduct by men in power positions.

A successful nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court amidst these accusations without proper investigation will tell every woman in America that crimes against her do not matter.  Politics are more important than any women’s rights and male white privilege rules in America regardless of justice.   The only way to show that this is not so is to postpone the vote and have a proper investigation for this type of allegation.  Meanwhile, even if he is found innocent of the accusations by Dr. Ford, Judge Kavanaugh’s arrogant, biased, and angry disposition during his testimony is concerning and definitely a questionable disposition for an Honorable Supreme Court Justice.

More women are coming forward with their truth about being sexually violated.   The  #MeToo movement and accusations of sexual misconduct have brought down the careers of many seemingly untouchable and powerful men, bringing them into accountability.   While some accusations are true,  some men have been accused and lives destroyed in the court of public opinion before proper investigation.   Therefore, is it possible that some men are being brought down unjustly?  The proper investigation goes both ways; to confirm the victim’s truth or to vindicate the accused for a crime they did not commit.

The future outcomes and historical accounts will reside in the conversations we have today with our children.  What will we tell our daughters in America, the land of the free, about their country, their worth, their potential, our leaders, our values, our morals, and trust in the American judicial system?  What will we tell our sons about appropriate behavior, respect, and justice?

This historic appointment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, or not, will mark who we are as a country at this date in time because of the statement it will make to all women and the men who respect women.  It is a historic stand that we will take for our daughters and their liberation from having to endure inappropriate sexual behavior without recourse.  It is a historic moment for us to seek justice and truth over achieving political agendas.  This truth must not be ignored if we are to ever take our country’s judicial system seriously.

 

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Mexican Military Steps In To Stop Acapulco’s Corrupted Police Force

By: Harriet Agerholm of Independent

Mexican authorities have taken control of the entire police force in the southern Mexican city of Acapulco, claiming the department has been infiltrated by drug gangs.

Two police commanders have been accused of murder, while the rest of the force officers have been stripped of their guns, radios and bulletproof vests and taken for background checks.

Acapulco – a beach resort – was a fashionable location favoured by movie stars in the 1950s and 60s, but has since been plagued by escalating violence due to warring drug gangs.

State police and the military will now assume the law enforcement responsibilities in the city, which has some 800,000 residents.

The state government said it took the step ” because of suspicion that the force had probably been infiltrated by criminal groups” and “the complete inaction of the municipal police in fighting the crime wave”.

Last year, Acapulco had a murder rate of 103 per 100,000 residents, one of the highest in Mexico and the world.

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Are The Chinese Using Loans and Debt To Conquer and Colonize Africa?

Chinese investments in Africa may appear to be beneficial, however, countries are falling into China’s debt trap.   Political leaders making these deals with China may be set for life, but is it at the expense of the people they serve?  The following perspectives Chinese investments present the consequences of China’s investments in Africa.

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Canadian Government Takes a Jab At U.S. Pharmaceuticals

By: Jeff Lagerquist of Yahoo

Canadian officials are considering how to take aim at the massive U.S. pharmaceutical industry in the event of a full-blown trade war with the United States, according to an Ottawa-based law professor with knowledge of the situation.

The plan would target valuable U.S. patents, granting Canada’s generic pharmaceutical firms the right to copy, sell and potentially export American drugs.

Amir Attaran, a biomedical scientist and University of Ottawa law professor, said the move would stun Wall Street and the White

House, while mobilizing the powerful U.S.

pharmaceutical lobby behind Canada’s cause.

“Canadian officials are aware of and studying the proposal in case the United States decides to impose a major retaliation on Canada,” he told Yahoo Canada Finance on Tuesday.  “I’m positive it’s being considered.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland travelled back to Washington to resume NAFTA negotiations on Wednesday. U.S. officials have demanded a deal by Oct. 1., upping the pressure to resolve long-held sticking points such as the dispute resolution mechanism, cultural protections, and the supply-managed dairy industry.

Attaran spelled out how Canada could employ a pharma-based retaliation strategy in a magazine column in June. He declined to disclose who in the federal government is now considering the plan, saying only that it is not the officials negotiating the trade deal with the U.S.

Global Affairs Canada did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

“I think one plausible reaction for the Canadian government would be to say if the Americans operate radically outside of NAFTA, as by penalizing our car industry, we will pursue their pharmaceutical industry’s interests,” Attaran said. “At that point, you have exited the negotiating model of resolving our differences, and you are resorting to brute force.”

The Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America was the fourth largest U.S. lobby group in 2017, spending nearly US$26 million that year, according to the nonpartisan Centre for Responsive Politics. The Washington D.C.-based trade group’s members include drug industry giants Pfizer, Sanofi, and Johnson & Johnson.

Attaran said a threat by Canada to suspend U.S. patents on Canadian soil would be impossible for those companies to ignore.

“Pharma would be putting in phone calls out to everyone in Congress whom they made campaign donations to. And that is nearly everyone,” he said. “Pharma spends more on lobbying than banking and defence combined, and each of those are a huge lobby.”

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