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22 сентября, 15:24

Interview of Vice President Pence by Mike Porcaro, KENI-Anchorage

Via Telephone 5:55 P.M. EDT THE VICE PRESIDENT: Hi this is Mike Pence. Q Mr. Vice President, Mike Porcaro. How are you, sir? THE VICE PRESIDENT: Hey, Mike, great to meet you over the phone. Appreciate it. Q Same here. Before we get into the interview, I'm giving you an official invite: Come on up fishing, anytime. THE VICE PRESIDENT: Oh, I'd love it. I'd love it. What do you like to catch up there? Q Well, any kind of salmon. I mean, we can catch halibut, but silver salmon are fun to catch. THE VICE PRESIDENT: Oh man. Q They fight, they dance. Mr. Vice President, all I can tell you is you'll just -- it'll blow your mind. THE VICE PRESIDENT: (Laughter.) I have no doubt. I love Alaska. Q Well, come on back up, sir. You're welcome up here anytime. THE VICE PRESIDENT: I will. Q All right, essentially we're looking at a healthcare repeal of the Affordable Care Act. And there's a vehicle that is being used called the Graham-Cassidy Act. And that is being -- well, it's moving very quickly through the Congress. Now, there's a date certain on this one. Tell me why it has to be done so quickly. THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, Mike, the American people know, the people of Alaska know that Obamacare has failed. It's failed the people of this state and people all across the country. in Alaska have increased more than 200 percent since Obamacare took effect. I mean, more than 20,000 Alaskans chose to pay the tax penalty instead of actually enrolling in the health insurance exchange in Alaska because the coverage was so poor. Literally, Obamacare has been collapsing all over America, and the American people know we can do better. President Trump and I are absolutely committed to keep our promise to the American people to repeal and replace Obamacare. And the Graham-Cassidy bill that's making its way through the United States Senate as we speak, we believe, is our best opportunity to repeal the most onerous elements of Obamacare and empower states like Alaska to craft healthcare solutions that will be better suited to the people of your state. And so we're strongly supporting the bill. We're working closely with both of your senators. They're both friends of mine. Senator Dan Sullivan and Senator Lisa Murkowski do a great job for your state. But we're literally reaching out to every member of the United States Senate who knows that we can do better than the failed policies of Obamacare, and urging them to support Graham-Cassidy. We think it's an idea whose time has come, and the core of it very straight forward, Mike. It repeals the individual mandate and the business mandate that's at the center of Obamacare. I mean, right now, ever since Obamacare, every American ordered to buy health insurance or pay a penalty to the federal government -- that's gone. And then the balance of it, block-grants all the resources of Obamacare back to the states so that people in Juno can craft solutions for your state to meet the unique challenges that Alaskans face with regard to access to healthcare and affordability. And that's built on the principle of federalism that I think is one of the most important elements of the American experiment, enshrined in the Constitution. Q Well, you'll get no argument from me on that at all. I think we know best what our healthcare needs are and how to solve our problems. THE VICE PRESIDENT: You bet. Q And no offense to Washington, but I really would much rather trust somebody that I can talk to and get ahold of than somebody 3,000 or 4,000 miles away. THE VICE PRESIDENT: Mike, that's the whole point. And remember before I became Vice President, I was a governor of the great state of Indian. And I can tell you, when I was governor of Indiana, we actually got from the last administration the most expansive waiver in Medicaid in the history of that program, in my state, with just a little bit of flexibility. Now people in our most vulnerable population can have health insurance where they have a health savings account, they choose their own doctor, they get credits for engaging in wellness. We just got a portion of the flexibility that Graham-Cassidy would give Indiana, would give Alaska, and give every state in the Union. I mean, as you said better than I did, I mean, the people of Alaska know what's best at what solutions will work in Alaska just every bit as much as the people of Indiana know what will work in the corn and soybean fields of Indiana. And the principle behind Graham-Cassidy is you get rid of the mandates, you get rid of some of the taxes, and then you block-grant these resources back to the states. And we just -- we've got the vote coming up next week. The reason why it's on a short timeframe, Mike, to answer your first question very simply, is that we're using a budget resolution to pass it. And that lapses at the end of this month. It only requires a budget resolution, only requires 51 votes. And the truth is, no Democrat in the Senate has expressed any willingness to consider repealing Obamacare, so we've got to do this with Republicans. So we have until the end of this month to pass Graham-Cassidy and give the people of Alaska and all of America a fresh start on healthcare. Q Well, let's hope you don’t have to go up and vote. (Laughter.) Let's hope there's enough votes to pass this thing. THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, that's right. We're prepared to do it. The Vice President has the privilege of casting a tie-breaking vote, and I can tell you I would welcome the opportunity to cast my vote in support of Graham-Cassidy. But you're right, we hope every single Republican in the United States Senate supports this bill. Q So, Mr. Vice President, how can we help you? This is a long time coming. This thing has been destroying this country for a long time. How do we help? How do we get this thing passed? THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, it's in the hands of the members of the United States Senate. And our message all across the country is, if people agree with President Trump that Obamacare has failed, if people see that Obamacare premiums have doubled over the past four years, they're rising by double digits again next year, if they see premiums skyrockets, choices plummeting, and know we can do better, now is the time to let our elected representatives hear from you. I mean, I have to tell you, I hold in the highest regard your two senators. They're not only friends but they're outstanding legislators and they're both champions for Alaska. But if any of your listeners agree with President Trump and me and millions of Americans that we need to repeal and replace Obamacare, now is the time to reach out to Senator Dan Sullivan and Senator Lisa Murkowski and let them know that you'd be grateful if they'd stand with President Trump and they'd vote in favor of Graham-Cassidy when it comes to the Senate floor next week. Q All right, Mr. Vice President, I know your schedule is tight. I really appreciate your taking time, and hopefully in the future we'll get to meet face to face, and maybe we'll have an opportunity to talk again soon. I'd like that. THE VICE PRESIDENT: Mike, I'd love to come in. It's great to be on the Mike Porcaro Show. I thank you for having me on KENI. And I'll tell you what -- some of the greatest memories my family ever made were in Alaska, and I would love to come back soon and see if I can figure out that fishing with you. Q Okay. (Laughter.) You're on. Have a great day, Mr. Vice President. END 6:02 P.M. EDT

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29 июня, 15:39

COMPETITION: Amazon’s Whole Foods Deal Adds Pressure on Grocery Services to Deliver. Now, with …

COMPETITION: Amazon’s Whole Foods Deal Adds Pressure on Grocery Services to Deliver. Now, with the e-commerce giant planning to buy Whole Foods WFM -0.31% Market Inc. for $13.7 billion, giving it a large foothold in the food retail industry, the stakes are all the higher for companies such as Instacart Inc., Peapod LLC, Shipt Inc. […]

16 июня, 17:03

Amazon buying Whole Foods in $13.7 billion deal

Online retail giant Amazon is acquiring grocery chain Whole Foods in a deal worth about $13.7 billion, the two companies announced Friday.“Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades — they’re doing an amazing job and we want that to continue," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. Amazon has experimented with local food delivery via its AmazonFresh program, created in 2007, in a handful of cities, including its home base of Seattle, San Francisco and New York. But the purchase of Whole Foods and its 460 stories in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. give the company access to instant infrastructure — including the expensive facilities needed for handling perishables — in scores of urban and suburban markets. Amazon has also dabbled in drone delivery of its books and other packages; the sprawling network of Whole Foods stores could form the basis of the sort of localized distribution network future delivery-by-drone would require.With the purchase, Bezos continues expanding his reach into industries beyond e-commerce. He personally owns both the Washington Post and Blue Origin, a commercial space exploration company. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey will remain in charge of that company after the acquisition is finalized.

16 июня, 16:03

Grocery Stocks Crash After Amazon Buys Whole Foods

Whole Foods stock was halted for 'news pending'... and now we have the answer - Amazon to acquire Whole Foods Market for $42/share in an all-cash transaction valued at ~$13.7b, including Whole Foods Market’s net debt. With 9% of the float short this stock, we can only imagine the squeeze onm this 27% premium over last night's close. Full Statement: Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) today announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Amazon will acquire Whole Foods Market for $42 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $13.7 billion, including Whole Foods Market’s net debt. “Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO.   “Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades – they’re doing an amazing job and we want that to continue.”   “This partnership presents an opportunity to maximize value for Whole Foods Market’s shareholders, while at the same time extending our mission and bringing the highest quality, experience, convenience and innovation to our customers,” said John Mackey, Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO. Whole Foods Market will continue to operate stores under the Whole Foods Market brand and source from trusted vendors and partners around the world. John Mackey will remain as CEO of Whole Foods Market and Whole Foods Market’s headquarters will stay in Austin, Texas. Completion of the transaction is subject to approval by Whole Foods Market's shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The parties expect to close the transaction during the second half of 2017. The purchase of Whole Foods is Amazon's largest acqusition in history: Amazon expects to finance the acquisition with debt. Amazon enters into commitment letter for 364-day senior unsecured bridge term loan facility in an aggregate principal amount of up to $13.7 billion. Expects to finance deal with debt financing, which may include senior unsecured notes issued in capital markets transactions, term loans, bridge loans, or any combination thereof, together with cash on hand, co says in a filing Goldman Sachs, BofA-Merrill Lynch to lead debt financing Amazon stock is up 3% on the news...   The sellside was delighted: here is Credit Suisse: We view this acquisition as an offensive TAM-expansion move to accelerate its progress in the largest consumer spend category. In other words, Amazon is paying roughly 3% of its enterprise value for an improved position in an addressable segment that amounts to ~$1.6t according to the US Dept. of Agriculture’s ERS, especially as progress at Amazon Fresh (in terms of regional rollout) has been admittedly slower than we expected. The knock-on strategic benefit over the longer term should be 1) higher consumer engagement as the frequency of shopping for food and groceries should be greater versus the other verticals, 2) improved consumer selection in the category, 3) likely better bargaining terms with some of its current groceries/fresh produce suppliers, and as an ancillary benefit (while not as meaningful for the near to medium term) a 4) physical store footprint for Amazon-branded merchandise both hardware and softlines. Others, such as Opennheimer, expect overbids, and OpCo raised its PT from $40 to $45 just on that. Some context on the relative size.   And Kroger, Wal-Mart, Sprouts, and Target are plunging... (WMT -4%, TGT -5.5%, SFM -7.6%, KR -12%)   And European supermarkets are getting hammered - *AHOLD, CARREFOUR, TESCO FALL TO LOWS ON AMAZON/WHOLE FOODS DEAL *AHOLD DELHAIZE SLUMPS 6.8% IN AMSTERDAM ON AMAZON NEWS With good reason probably. Grocery margin are 1-2% at best, and if Amazon can truly create smart stores with no check outs and cut employees in half they can kill regular supermarkets... As Bloomberg's Gadfly recently opined, Amazon wil kill your local grocer... Amazon's done it to books. And electronics. And clothing. Now it wants to rule the grocery aisles.   But Amazon still has a ways to go -- the online retailing behemoth has taken a slow, yet calculated approach to attacking the grocery store. After years of testing the AmazonFresh program in its Seattle hometown, it began expanding the grocery delivery service to other cities in 2013. Today, it delivers fresh fruit and meat in parts of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, California, Washington and Maryland. It also delivers food through its Amazon.com website and its Prime Now program.   And even though research from Cowen & Co. pegs Amazon's market share of food and beverages sold online in 2015 at about 22 percent, that overall online grocery market in the U.S. is pretty small. Out of the $795 billion Cowen expects Americans to spend on food and drinks this year, it estimates only about $33 billion of it will be spent online.   That's because it has taken shoppers a long time to grow comfortable with buying their apples, chicken breasts and granola online when they can stop by a physical store on the way home from work and actually touch and smell the food they're buying. Companies struggle to profit from the very expensive business of picking, packing and transporting fresh food to their customers. It's much easier to mail a video game or book, which doesn't have to be kept cold or free of bruises.   But for Amazon, the grocery business not only brings more sales, it could also make its business more profitable. People tend to buy groceries weekly or daily, so getting them hooked on delivery justifies sending trucks out more frequently. Then any general merchandise, like a book or toy, that Amazon sells along with the food adds to profits. And since Amazon will need more trucks for grocery delivery, it could reduce its reliance on shipping companies, which have contributed to soaring costs. For now, Amazon is likely to take added grocery costs on the chin, in hopes it will pay off down the line.   Growing its AmazonFresh and Prime Now offerings suggests Amazon is gearing up for the long haul in grocery. Though traditional grocers are not likely to see sales migrate to Amazon right away, that luxury won't last. And just like bookstores, your local grocer could be toast. Thank you Feds...

10 июня, 10:10

The Prescription Medications Most Parents Don’t Realize Their Kids Are Misusing

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Drugs may be a parent's worst nightmare, but it's not just the usual suspects they have to watch for. These prescription medications are commonly misused.

10 июня, 04:44

Travel Ban Challengers Lose Bid For Rudy Giuliani's Purported 'Muslim Ban' Memo

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); A federal judge in Detroit agreed Friday to put a halt to court proceedings that sought the release of a legal memorandum believed to have been created by Rudy Giuliani to help justify President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban. The former New York City mayor made a splash in late January — a day after an early version of the travel order was signed — when he said on Fox News that the president had asked him before his inauguration to assemble a commission that would look for ways to “legally” institute a travel ban targeting Muslims. Since then, a number of courts have cited Giuliani’s comments as evidence that the president’s executive orders to institute travel restrictions were fueled by anti-Muslim sentiment, which would violate the Constitution’s establishment clause on religious bias. The most recent ruling came from the federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, which prevented Trump’s second order, a ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of six Muslim-majority countries, from going into effect and said that the executive order “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.” “Giuliani was quite clear that the President wanted to enact a ‘Muslim ban’ and had assembled a commission to study how to create a ‘Muslim ban’ legally,” wrote one of the 4th Circuit judges who agreed that the travel restrictions, which also included refugees, shouldn’t be reinstated. Because that ruling is now pending before the Supreme Court and the justices could in time determine the bottom-line legality of the executive order, U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts concluded that it wouldn’t make much sense to let the challengers in the Detroit case get ahold of the Giuliani memo. “Requiring the parties and the Court to devote time and resources to resolve these matters ... would not be economical, because the Supreme Court’s decision will be significantly relevant to, and possibly control, the Court’s consideration of issues raised in this suit,” Roberts wrote in an order putting a freeze on the proceedings. Roberts had already ordered the Department of Justice to hand over the so-called “Muslim ban” memo last month. But government lawyers resisted her order, citing executive privilege, presidential immunity and other defenses that lawyers for the travel ban challengers characterized as no more than “a laundry list of objections.” In a nod to the plaintiffs, which include the Arab American Civil Rights League, the judge did agree to revisit her order in the event that the Supreme Court declines to hear the appeal of the 4th Circuit’s ruling. And she directed the Trump administration to preserve any relevant documents, official or not, predating Trump’s inauguration, which presumably would cover the elusive Giuliani memo. In court filings, government lawyers have declined to say if the memo even exists. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

18 мая, 02:36

Here's Why Democrats Are Not Storming The Gates, Demanding Impeachment

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump fired the FBI director in charge of investigating his associates’ ties to Russia. The next day he gave Russians classified information in the Oval Office. And now it’s reported that Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to let go of an inquiry on the Russian entanglements of fired national security adviser Michael Flynn. That leaves out a lot, but just from those facts, some Republicans are starting to use the word “Watergate” to describe the scope of unfolding revelations about Trump. Yet few Democrats at this point are using the word that describes what Watergate was leading to: “impeachment.” “I’m not there,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) told reporters Wednesday. “I just want to get the information.” “I’m not afraid of the I-word,” said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.). “Independent ― independent commission.”  It might seem like a surprisingly reticent approach for a party that could stand to benefit politically. But Democrats are also looking at history and the damage the last impeachment proceedings, against President Bill Clinton, did to both the country and political parties involved. They find themselves walking a fine line between legitimate freak-out and overreach, and they do not want to blow it. If lawmakers get ahold of Comey’s Trump memo and others he reportedly wrote, and they confirm Trump tried to coerce the former FBI director, it should add pressure against Trump without Democrats having to manufacture it. If the facts lead Congress toward impeachment, Democrats want to make sure all of the evidence is lined up, and, well, unimpeachable. The strategy to avoid “Dump Trump” talk is such a deliberate stance that when Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) took to the House floor Wednesday to call for impeachment, he ended by noting his was a “voice in the wilderness,” at least for now. And there are certainly Democrats who do not feel constrained. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) mentioned, as she has before, the possibility of impeachment Tuesday. “We don’t have to be afraid to use the word ‘impeachment,’” she said. But most Democrats are exercising what appears to be genuine caution around something so momentous. Just to be sure, there have been talking points circulated to the Democratic talking heads who may get questions about impeachment. The suggested response is: “That’s not a question that can be answered until we get more facts. We need Director Comey to testify in a public hearing, all memos and tapes turned over, a special prosecutor to be appointed and an independent commission to take this investigation outside of Congress,” according to a memo from a Democratic operative. It sounds an awful lot like the words that are in fact coming from the mouths of lawmakers. But that doesn’t necessarily make the tactic cynical. Democratic sources asked about the reluctance to leap to the impeachment argument said that trying to use Trump’s current, not-fully-known troubles as fodder to remove him would actually undercut the seriousness of what Democrats fear the country is facing. “The worst thing Democrats could do is to make this move too early. There are many unanswered questions and facts to be learned and revealed,” one Senate Democratic aide said, speaking anonymously to discuss the private thinking of lawmakers. “It’s a serious step and requires a full understanding of the facts before making the leap.” There is a precedent for a take-it-slow approach. Looking back at the impeachment case against Clinton ― which became almost entirely partisan and ultimately focused on conduct that didn’t involve his official duties ― the then-GOP leaders, Newt Gingrich in the House and Trent Lott in the Senate, went out of their way to urge Republicans not to raise the issue of impeachment. Indeed, the House did not vote to start the process until a month after an independent counsel released the full investigation. The ongoing case against Clinton also backfired, with Democrats picking up seats in the 1998 midterm election when they had been expected to lose many.  You are empowering Trump surrogates if you first go to impeachment. senior Democratic aide Democratic strategists see a similar danger in trying to overreach in the case against Trump. “You are empowering Trump surrogates if you first go to impeachment,” said a senior Democratic aide who requested anonymity to discuss congressional reasoning. “That’s all they have been trying to harp on over and over again ― ‘Democrats are sore losers, they want to nullify the results of the election, they want to impeach this president.’ That’s what they are using to motivate their base.” And, the aide said, starting an impeachment drumbeat now undercuts the arguments for getting full, fair investigations from an independent counsel and a 9/11-style commission. “Republicans are not going to support these things if all we’re talking about is impeachment. It is damaging to the effort to secure these independent investigations,” the aide said. Lawmakers also were adamant that launching premature talk about removing the president does more than muddy the political waters. It also has the potential to drive an even deeper wedge of distrust and anger into the already divided population. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, said Congress members need to ask themselves if they want to “discharge” their duties and whether Trump’s actions call for removal from office. “In order for that remedy to be appropriate, the country has to believe that the series of conduct is such that this president cannot continue in office,” Schiff said. “It cannot be perceived as an effort to nullify the election by other means.” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, wouldn’t say if what Trump asked of Comey was an impeachable offense because senators don’t know if it actually happened or the “depth and breadth of it,” she said. “I’ve been through an impeachment hearing, and they’re not good for the country let alone the individual. And until we know much more than this, it should remain where it is today ― off the table,” Feinstein said. Asked why Democrats were comfortable with pursuing an independent commission to investigate the president’s conduct concerning the ongoing FBI probe when such bodies are known to take years to finish their work, Cummings replied: “to get it right.” “We are at a very significant moment in this country’s history. This is our watch. So if it takes a year, if it takes two years, if it takes three years, we need to get this right. Yeah, it may take a little time, but this is not about us; this is bigger than us; this is bigger than President Trump. This is about the soul of our democracy,” Cummings said. “Will it lead to impeachment? I don’t know. But one thing is for sure ... if there was a moment that we needed to leave our party hats outside the door, this is that moment.” Sam Stein contributed to this report. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

16 мая, 01:19

Why people are blaming the global cyberattack on the NSA

This week's worldwide cybersecurity crisis is just the latest black eye for the National Security Agency and its practice of stockpiling secret means of snooping into computer systems. That’s because whoever launched the global series of ransomware assaults is using a flaw in Microsoft Windows that the U.S. spy agency had apparently exploited for years — until someone leaked the NSA’s hacking tools online and allowed cyber criminals to copy them. Now, critics ranging from Microsoft to Vladimir Putin to fugitive NSA leaker Edward Snowden are denouncing the agency’s practice of stockpiling computer vulnerabilities for its own use instead of informing the developers or manufacturers so they can plug the holes. And some privacy advocates and technology experts want Congress to make the agency rein in the practice. Here’s POLITICO’s summary of where that debate stands: How did hackers get ahold of the NSA’s tools? That’s a good question. But the ransomware racing around the globe is based on a cache of apparent NSA hacking software and documents that a group calling itself “the Shadow Brokers” posted online on April 14. (Shadow Brokers first began making these kinds of dumps last year.) The Trump and former Obama administrations have refused to confirm that the NSA had lost control of its tools, but former intelligence officials say the leaked material is genuine. How the hacking tools escaped the NSA is unknown. But there are three main possibilities: An NSA employee or contractor went rogue and stole the files; a sophisticated adversary such as the Russian government hacked into the spy agency and took them; or an NSA hacker accidentally left the files exposed on a server being used to stage a U.S. intelligence operation, and someone found them. Contractors, who can lack the institutional loyalty of regular employees, have long been a source of heartache to the intelligence community, from the 2013 Snowden leaks to the arrest last year of Harold Martin, a Maryland man charged with stealing reams of classified files and hoarding them in his home. Which NSA tool are the hackers using? It appears to be a modified version of an NSA hacking tool, a software package dubbed “ETERNALBLUE,” that was buried in the Shadow Brokers’ leak. The tool took advantage of a flaw in a part of Windows called the Server Message Block, or SMB, protocol, which connects computers on a shared network. In essence, the flaw allows malware to spread across networks of unpatched Windows computers, a dangerous prospect in the increasingly connected world. After the cache leaked, cybersecurity researchers, realizing that the SMB vulnerability could expose organizations to massive hacks, “reverse engineered” the tool, checking how it worked and evaluating how to defeat it. These researchers posted their work online to crowdsource and accelerate the process. But their work also helped digital thieves. At some point, the criminals behind the ransomware attack grabbed the reverse-engineered exploit and incorporated it into their malware. This separated their attack tool from previous popular iterations of ransomware. Whereas normal ransomware locks down an infected computer’s files and stops there, this variant can jump from machine to machine, infecting entire businesses like the internet’s earliest computer worms. What did the NSA do after learning of the theft? The spy agency probably warned Microsoft about the vulnerability soon afterward. Microsoft released a patch for computer users to repair the flaw in March, a month before the Shadow Brokers leak. But that’s not good enough for civil liberties advocates, who want stricter limits on how long the government can hold onto vulnerabilities it discovers. “These attacks underscore the fact that vulnerabilities will be exploited not just by our security agencies, but by hackers and criminals around the world,” said Patrick Toomey, a national security attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, in a statement. “Patching security holes immediately, not stockpiling them, is the best way to make everyone’s digital life safer.” The agency’s defenders disagree. “That nobody else discovered these vulnerabilities as far as we know suggests that it is right for the NSA to hold onto them if they have confidence that nobody else has a copy of their tools,” Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the University of California in Berkeley, told POLITICO. “It actually is a problem that the NSA can’t or won’t claim credit for properly notifying Microsoft. The NSA did the right thing, and they aren’t getting the credit for it they deserve.” Is this a new controversy for the NSA? No. But the crisis that began on Friday is giving it prominence like never before. Privacy advocates and tech companies have long criticized the U.S. spy agencies for keeping knowledge of security flaws a secret and building hacking tools to exploit them. And they say it’s especially bad when the government can’t keep its secret exploits out of the hands of cyber criminals. “When [a] U.S. nuclear weapon is stolen, it’s called an ‘empty quiver,’” tweeted Snowden, whose 2013 leaks exposed the vast underbelly of the government's spying capacity. “This weekend, [the NSA’s] tools attacked hospitals.” Microsoft President Brad Smith also denounced the NSA’s inability to secure its tools. “An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen,” he wrote in a weekend blog post. Putin later picked up that theme, telling reporters in Beijing that U.S. intelligence agencies were clearly “the initial source of the virus.” “Once they're let out of the lamp, genies of this kind, especially those created by intelligence services, can later do damage to their authors and creators," the Russian leader said. But former national security officials say the government needs to build hacking tools to keep the U.S. safe. And White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert downplayed the possible origin of the code Monday.“Regardless of the provenance of the exploit here used,” he told ABC, “who is culpable are the criminals that distributed it and the criminals that weaponized it, added additional details to it, and turned this into something that is holding ransom data but also putting at risk lives and hospitals.” What’s Congress doing? The government uses a system called the “Vulnerability Equities Process” to determine whether and when agencies must tell companies about code flaws they discover. Following recent spy agency leaks, former government officials, cyber experts and tech companies have proposed changes to the VEP that would limit the intelligence community’s ability to hoard vulnerabilities.Some are calling for Congress to act. Those include Rep. Ted Lieu, a California Democrat with a computer science degree, who has led the charge to reform the VEP. Lieu, a leading congressional voice on cybersecurity, called the process “not transparent” in a statement Friday, saying “few people understand how the government makes these critical decisions.” The ransomware campaign, he added, “shows what can happen when the NSA or CIA write malware instead of disclosing the vulnerability to the software manufacturer.” But Lieu’s bill is unlikely to become law. Not only does the intelligence community have numerous defenders in Congress, but politicians simply aren’t paying much attention to the issue. Lawmakers haven't rushed to join Lieu in calling for VEP changes. There have only been a few hearings on ransomware in recent years, and no pending legislation mentions either ransomware or the VEP.Martin Matishak contributed to this report.

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01 мая, 22:23

Why the Phrase 'Late Capitalism' Is Suddenly Everywhere

An investigation into a term that seems to perfectly capture the indignities and absurdities of the modern economy

28 апреля, 18:09

What Photographers Of The LA Riots Really Saw Behind The Lens

Few people in their right minds would have stayed outside the night the verdicts came down. On April 29, 1992, a Los Angeles court found four police officers not guilty in the brutal beating of black motorist Rodney King. Within hours, the city was on fire, and it burned for days, becoming a defining moment for black resistance and the long, dark history of race in America. Los Angeles was primed to erupt. The video of King’s beating compounded months of tension between the police and Angelenos — and it sparked a nationwide uproar about racial bias and police brutality that made the story of the riots much more complex than black versus white, looters versus shop owners, or police versus the people. The Los Angeles Times won a Pulitzer for its coverage of the riots, and for good reason: The reporters and photographers it sent to cover them literally dodged bullets to offer a small window into the chaos. Twenty-five years later, those journalists have plenty more to tell. We interviewed three former and current LA Times photographers who braved those violent nights to bring back some of the images that defined a broken city. Jesus, what did I just live through? - Steve Dykes, former Los Angeles Times photographer Kirk McKoy The first few hours after the verdicts, Kirk McKoy almost died a few times. McKoy, who is black, was standing near the intersection of Florence and Normandie ― which the LA Times dubbed “ground zero of the unrest” ― and he didn’t feel safe. While the rest of the world was watching white truck driver Reginald Denny get beaten by black men on TV, he was witnessing a free-for-all. In fact, McKoy has a hard time labeling what he saw as a race riot, or civil disobedience, or an uprising. Within the first two hours, he says, he saw all three. It was “mayhem,” he said, and nobody was spared. He saw a fellow photographer ― a white woman in “a very rough African-American” neighborhood, McKoy said ― lying bloodied on the ground after taking a rock to the head. He traded swings in a fistfight with two guys who were trying to steal his camera. Then he gave up his first canister of film because a man holding a gun to his head didn’t like that he was taking photos of the looting. McKoy described the experience to HuffPost: A guy pulls out a .45 and puts it to my temple and says, “If you take my picture, I’ll blow your head off.” He’s got the gun, he’s shaking it at me, and I’m saying, “I didn’t take your picture!” And he says, “Yeah you did, I oughta waste you right now!” And at that point, I just opened up the back of the camera and gave him the film and said, “Here, whatever I just shot, take it.” It wasn’t worth it. Wasn’t worth arguing with this guy over it. He pulled the film all the way out and went on about his business. At that point, I’m scared out of my mind, hands trembling. I’m trying to figure what I’m going to do. When he was finally able to get his bearings, McKoy got ahold of his editors back at the office to tell them it wasn’t safe to send other photographers out there. It’s hard to imagine keeping your wits about you when the city around you is on fire. McKoy kept his cool and captured moments that helped define the lawlessness that overtook Los Angeles over the course of several days. But he admits that he made plenty of mistakes ― several on that first day: At some point, around 11 o’clock at night, [Times photographer Mike Meadows and I] were both exhausted, figuring out what’s next ... we’re back on Florence and we’re sitting in the car, buildings are burning on both sides of us, and we stop for a traffic light. We’re sitting there obeying traffic signals ― and buildings are burning on both sides of us, people are running around ― and we’re sitting there calmly trying to figure out where to go. And then some guy runs up and sticks a gun in the car [and tells] us, “You’re both about to die.” We both duck, and Mike hits the accelerator with his hand and just shot through the intersection and hoped no one was in front of us. We were not about to wait to find out if that guy was serious. Later, McKoy recalled standing in front of a crowd photographing some looters outside a store when someone pointed a gun at him and started firing in his direction. He hopped back in Meadows’ car and they got out of there. “So that was my first day,” he said. Hyungwon Kang From the start, Hyungwon Kang was looking to capture context. He saw a inner-city Korean-American community that society had abandoned long before the riots started. And over those few days, he saw it standing on its last legs, getting the rug pulled out from under it. “In real time, [Korean-Americans] had to decide whether to take this lying down or whether they were gonna stand up for their basic rights,” he said. “Not everybody survived that process.”  Koreatown was an epicenter of looting and violence during the riots, and Korean-Americans owned many of the businesses in South Central Los Angeles. Korean-owned businesses suffered half of the $1 billion total in damage across the city, and the people there had to fend for themselves when the looting began, Kang said. “They were standing up for their own survival. They were merely trying to protect what was rightfully their own,” he said. “For most immigrant businesses, all of your savings and assets are in the inventory of the stores, and most of those stores don’t have insurance. When their stores went up in flames, they lost life savings; they lost everything.” Kang, who is Korean-American, captured that fear and upheaval in two sobering photos. The first, a photo of two men carrying pistols and defending shops, reveals how people were left to defend their livelihoods with no expectation that the cops or anyone else would come to help them. In another photo, Kang captured the killing of 18-year-old Edward Song Lee. Lee was responding to calls over the radio asking for help protecting Koreatown businesses, Kang says, when the car he was riding in came under fire. “In the absence of police protection, people were calling into Radio Korea asking, ‘Can someone come and help guard our store? We’re being broken into,’” he said. “Koreatown volunteers ― these college students, most without any guns ― went to provide protection to the shops. This group of four kids in one car was one of them. It was unfortunate that they got shot at on the way over there.” Kang said he arrived to see Lee being pulled out of the car. Twenty-five years later, Kang says the Korean-American community in Los Angeles is still struggling. Many immigrant families couldn’t get banks to bail them out after the riots; businesses and families were torn apart. Kang said he hopes his photos tell the story of the “silent victims” of the riots and shed more light on racial conflict and violence that he says is often mischaracterized: These immigrant families made great sacrifices to build what they have; to be able to educate their children in America, and they were victimized at the expense of the mainstream community turning this into a black vs. Asian fight. It was not. This was a mainstream issue that has been in American history for many generations. The generations now are expressing that through Black Lives Matter and other movements ― and I hope they’ll study the LA riots and learn from them and the greater society’s mistakes, so we don’t repeat them. Steve Dykes The gravity of the story you’re working on doesn’t always hit you right away. All three of the photographers we spoke to noted that their training taught them to be cautious, but also obligated them to keep shooting. Steve Dykes was driving alongside a fellow journalist with the Oregonian to shoot the Lakers/Trail Blazers playoff game, when the pair got their first taste of what was to come. “I looked in the rearview mirror and I could see two African-American men pointing to where my car was at a stop light,” Dykes said. “I went up over the grass near a library, between a telephone pole and a guideline, and got away. I never heard the gunshots but I found a bullet hole in the tailgate of my company car.” He remembers looking up at the Lakers game and watching video of Reginald Denny getting beaten half to death. He remembers radioing his desk at the LA Times for assignments, and then realizing that the Times building itself was under siege. In particular, he remembers one of his best shots from the riots, because it was the one that humbled him. When Dykes captured a photo of an officer collapsing as he chased a bloodied looter, he said he wasn’t thinking about the riots or the implications or the danger popping off all around him. He was in full photographer mode; he was thinking of his shot. “While you’re in it, you never really think about it,” he said. “I was thinking, ‘That picture, if it was on any other corner, the background would have been a burning building.’ It was a park fence. But I remember thinking, ‘If it was on any other corner, it would have been a more impactful photo.’” But whatever switch kept his emotions at bay on the job eventually got flipped: I remember driving home the second day and driving over the Hollywood freeway, and down past the Capitol Records Building, and the radio was playing a blurb of a Martin Luther King speech, and then right after, they played “Under The Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. When I hear that song, it still gives me chills, because I was looking south and just remember seeing 20 fires at least, scattered everywhere … and then it was just like, “Jesus, what did I just live through?” That moment still makes the hairs on his neck stand on end. “I was going home to see my family, I mean, I was alive,” he said. “I remember thinking, ‘Well, shit, this will go down in history.’” -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

28 апреля, 18:09

What Photographers Of The LA Riots Really Saw Behind The Lens

Few people in their right minds would have stayed outside the night the verdicts came down. On April 29, 1992, a Los Angeles court found four police officers not guilty in the brutal beating of black motorist Rodney King. Within hours, the city was on fire, and it burned for days, becoming a defining moment for black resistance and the long, dark history of race in America. Los Angeles was primed to erupt. The video of King’s beating compounded months of tension between the police and Angelenos — and it sparked a nationwide uproar about racial bias and police brutality that made the story of the riots much more complex than black versus white, looters versus shop owners, or police versus the people. The Los Angeles Times won a Pulitzer for its coverage of the riots, and for good reason: The reporters and photographers it sent to cover them literally dodged bullets to offer a small window into the chaos. Twenty-five years later, those journalists have plenty more to tell. We interviewed three former and current LA Times photographers who braved those violent nights to bring back some of the images that defined a broken city. Jesus, what did I just live through? - Steve Dykes, former Los Angeles Times photographer Kirk McKoy The first few hours after the verdicts, Kirk McKoy almost died a few times. McKoy, who is black, was standing near the intersection of Florence and Normandie ― which the LA Times dubbed “ground zero of the unrest” ― and he didn’t feel safe. While the rest of the world was watching white truck driver Reginald Denny get beaten by black men on TV, he was witnessing a free-for-all. In fact, McKoy has a hard time labeling what he saw as a race riot, or civil disobedience, or an uprising. Within the first two hours, he says, he saw all three. It was “mayhem,” he said, and nobody was spared. He saw a fellow photographer ― a white woman in “a very rough African-American” neighborhood, McKoy said ― lying bloodied on the ground after taking a rock to the head. He traded swings in a fistfight with two guys who were trying to steal his camera. Then he gave up his first canister of film because a man holding a gun to his head didn’t like that he was taking photos of the looting. McKoy described the experience to HuffPost: A guy pulls out a .45 and puts it to my temple and says, “If you take my picture, I’ll blow your head off.” He’s got the gun, he’s shaking it at me, and I’m saying, “I didn’t take your picture!” And he says, “Yeah you did, I oughta waste you right now!” And at that point, I just opened up the back of the camera and gave him the film and said, “Here, whatever I just shot, take it.” It wasn’t worth it. Wasn’t worth arguing with this guy over it. He pulled the film all the way out and went on about his business. At that point, I’m scared out of my mind, hands trembling. I’m trying to figure what I’m going to do. When he was finally able to get his bearings, McKoy got ahold of his editors back at the office to tell them it wasn’t safe to send other photographers out there. It’s hard to imagine keeping your wits about you when the city around you is on fire. McKoy kept his cool and captured moments that helped define the lawlessness that overtook Los Angeles over the course of several days. But he admits that he made plenty of mistakes ― several on that first day: At some point, around 11 o’clock at night, [Times photographer Mike Meadows and I] were both exhausted, figuring out what’s next ... we’re back on Florence and we’re sitting in the car, buildings are burning on both sides of us, and we stop for a traffic light. We’re sitting there obeying traffic signals ― and buildings are burning on both sides of us, people are running around ― and we’re sitting there calmly trying to figure out where to go. And then some guy runs up and sticks a gun in the car [and tells] us, “You’re both about to die.” We both duck, and Mike hits the accelerator with his hand and just shot through the intersection and hoped no one was in front of us. We were not about to wait to find out if that guy was serious. Later, McKoy recalled standing in front of a crowd photographing some looters outside a store when someone pointed a gun at him and started firing in his direction. He hopped back in Meadows’ car and they got out of there. “So that was my first day,” he said. Hyungwon Kang From the start, Hyungwon Kang was looking to capture context. He saw a inner-city Korean-American community that society had abandoned long before the riots started. And over those few days, he saw it standing on its last legs, getting the rug pulled out from under it. “In real time, [Korean-Americans] had to decide whether to take this lying down or whether they were gonna stand up for their basic rights,” he said. “Not everybody survived that process.”  Koreatown was an epicenter of looting and violence during the riots, and Korean-Americans owned many of the businesses in South Central Los Angeles. Some in L.A.’s black and Korean communities point to the case of Soon Ja Du, a Korean-American grocer who was sentenced to probation and community service for killing black teen Latasha Harlins in 1991, as a factor in the riots and a big reason Korean shops were targeted. Korean-owned businesses suffered half of the $1 billion total in damage across the city, and the people there had to fend for themselves when the looting began, Kang said. “They were standing up for their own survival. They were merely trying to protect what was rightfully their own,” he said. “For most immigrant businesses, all of your savings and assets are in the inventory of the stores, and most of those stores don’t have insurance. When their stores went up in flames, they lost life savings; they lost everything.” Kang, who is Korean-American, captured that fear and upheaval in two sobering photos. The first, a photo of two men carrying pistols and defending shops, reveals how people were left to defend their livelihoods with no expectation that the cops or anyone else would come to help them. In another photo, Kang captured the killing of 18-year-old Edward Song Lee. Lee was responding to calls over the radio asking for help protecting Koreatown businesses, Kang says, when the car he was riding in came under fire. “In the absence of police protection, people were calling into Radio Korea asking, ‘Can someone come and help guard our store? We’re being broken into,’” he said. “Koreatown volunteers ― these college students, most without any guns ― went to provide protection to the shops. This group of four kids in one car was one of them. It was unfortunate that they got shot at on the way over there.” Kang said he arrived to see Lee being pulled out of the car. Twenty-five years later, Kang says the Korean-American community in Los Angeles is still struggling. Many immigrant families couldn’t get banks to bail them out after the riots; businesses and families were torn apart. Kang said he hopes his photos tell the story of the “silent victims” of the riots and shed more light on racial conflict and violence that he says is often mischaracterized: These immigrant families made great sacrifices to build what they have; to be able to educate their children in America, and they were victimized at the expense of the mainstream community turning this into a black vs. Asian fight. It was not. This was a mainstream issue that has been in American history for many generations. The generations now are expressing that through Black Lives Matter and other movements ― and I hope they’ll study the LA riots and learn from them and the greater society’s mistakes, so we don’t repeat them. Steve Dykes The gravity of the story you’re working on doesn’t always hit you right away. All three of the photographers we spoke to noted that their training taught them to be cautious, but also obligated them to keep shooting. Steve Dykes was driving alongside a fellow journalist with the Oregonian to shoot the Lakers/Trail Blazers playoff game, when the pair got their first taste of what was to come. “I looked in the rearview mirror and I could see two African-American men pointing to where my car was at a stop light,” Dykes said. “I went up over the grass near a library, between a telephone pole and a guideline, and got away. I never heard the gunshots but I found a bullet hole in the tailgate of my company car.” He remembers looking up at the Lakers game and watching video of Reginald Denny getting beaten half to death. He remembers radioing his desk at the LA Times for assignments, and then realizing that the Times building itself was under siege. In particular, he remembers one of his best shots from the riots, because it was the one that humbled him. When Dykes captured a photo of an officer collapsing as he chased a bloodied looter, he said he wasn’t thinking about the riots or the implications or the danger popping off all around him. He was in full photographer mode; he was thinking of his shot. “While you’re in it, you never really think about it,” he said. “I was thinking, ‘That picture, if it was on any other corner, the background would have been a burning building.’ It was a park fence. But I remember thinking, ‘If it was on any other corner, it would have been a more impactful photo.’” But whatever switch kept his emotions at bay on the job eventually got flipped: I remember driving home the second day and driving over the Hollywood freeway, and down past the Capitol Records Building, and the radio was playing a blurb of a Martin Luther King speech, and then right after, they played “Under The Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. When I hear that song, it still gives me chills, because I was looking south and just remember seeing 20 fires at least, scattered everywhere … and then it was just like, “Jesus, what did I just live through?” That moment still makes the hairs on his neck stand on end. “I was going home to see my family, I mean, I was alive,” he said. “I remember thinking, ‘Well, shit, this will go down in history.’” This article has been updated with information about the killing of Latasha Harlins. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

19 апреля, 08:00

The Woman Who Blew Up The Race For The Cure Faces Jon Ossoff In Georgia

Remember a few years ago when Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Planned Parenthood got in a big fight and it nearly blew up the Race For The Cure? It turned out that Komen had a die-hard anti-abortion activist as a senior official who had orchestrated the plan ― and she resigned. If it’s not ringing a bell, go back and read Laura Bassett’s reporting from 2012 on the whole affair. She got ahold of emails showing that a Komen official named Karen Handel had schemed to yank Komen funding from the women’s health group, precipitating a public relations crisis that nearly destroyed the cancer research organization.  It did not, however, destroy the career of Karen Handel. She went on to a long string of election losses, including a failed bid for the Republican nomination for governor and another for the nomination in a U.S. Senate race. This year, she lowered her sights and went for Tom Price’s vacated U.S. House seat in Georgia. The 6th Congressional District had been in Republican hands since the 1970s. How could she lose?  Never question Karen Handel’s ability to find a way to lose.  On Tuesday, Handel pulled in roughly 20 percent of the vote in the primary, finishing second to a 30-year-old Democrat in a district Republicans won by 24 percentage points just five months ago. The Republican vote was split widely among a slew of candidates ― all of them apparently worse than Handel.  Handel will face Democrat Jon Ossoff in the runoff on June 20.  Back in 2012, when Handel left Komen, Dave Weigel ― then of Slate, now of the Washington Post ― satirized the American political system with a story suggesting she’d soon make a comeback and win the presidency by 2028. I remember the story, because the fake reporter byline he used was none other than my daughter’s name.  Weigel’s fake dispatch: NOVEMBER 2028 Handel wins presidency; All-female team will be nation’s firstby Iris Grim, Buzzfeed ATLANTA ― Republican nominee Karen Handel has won the 2028 presidential election, an astonishing comeback for a woman who became a national martyr in the early-century abortion wars. “This is not a victory for me,” Handel told 100,000 supporters at a celebration here. “This is a victory for the American people.” The victory was closer than late polls suggested, with Handel’s victory over Democrat-Scientology fusion candidate Gavin Newsom only becoming clear after ballots from Wisconsin’s Waukesha County were counted. Some analysts suggested that Handel’s running mate, Bristol Palin, weakened the ticket with “inexplicable” campaign trail antics. In an interview with ABC News, a subsidiary of Buzzfeed-Halliburton, Handel’s chief strategist Ari Fleischer downplayed that criticism. The passage of the 35th Amendment, which granted full voting rights at conception, gave the Handel-Palin campaign an early cushion of votes, something the Newsom-Cruise ticket never overcame. “It probably didn’t hurt that a flood took out the entire Eastern Seaboard,” Fleischer added.   -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

12 апреля, 18:00

The Easy Self-Defense Moves You Must Know to Protect Yourself

When you're walking home alone at night, you need to know how to protect yourself. Here are a few easy self-defense moves to have on hand.

11 апреля, 20:45

Background Press Briefing on Syria, 4/11/2017

James S. Brady Briefing Room  12:10 P.M. EDT SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  This briefing today is about a declassified -- or it's a summary based on declassified information about the attacks on the 4th of April.  So this is on background only.  Attribution is senior White House official, and it will be embargoed until the end of the brief.  And I'll have each of my colleagues come up here and introduce themselves.   SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  My understanding is you'd just like to ask some questions.  So I'm happy to go through some details of the narrative, or just take questions incoming, if you have them. Q    Do you mind walking through some of the narrative related to the chemical weapons attack -- what Russia knew perhaps beforehand, or during, or after, and some of the reporting that has come out about a Russian drone, et cetera? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So let me start with the narrative of what we think happened in the attack.  And let me tell you, to start with -- what we've done here is we've declassified a lot of intelligence with great thanks to our colleagues in the intelligence community so that we can be very forthcoming with you about the amount that we know about this attack and why we believe the Russian and Syrian narratives are false.  And we think it's really important for you to understand the depth of information that we have that supports this narrative.   I would say that since we started coming forward, in the immediate wake of the attack, all of the way through to today, we continued to get additional information.  And the information we get about this attack continues to be clear and consistent with our understanding of the attack, starting on the day of the attack, April 4th, and working all the way through today. And I would say we, even as recently as last night, for today, declassified additional information that, again, lends additional weight and credibility to the narrative I want to share with you today. The information we have downgraded and declassified includes a wide body of open-source material, both social media accounts.  It include open-source videos, reporting, open-source imagery, et cetera, as well as our own geospatial intelligence, our signals intelligence, and it include physiological samples of victims of the attack.  And again, all of that tells a very clear and consistent story about what we think happened. So to be clear, based on the pro-opposition social media reporting, those reports indicate that the chemical attack began in Khan Sheikhun at about 6:55 local time on April 4th.  Our information makes quite clear that the attack came from SU-22 fixed-wing aircraft out of the Shayrat airfield, which is regime-controlled.  These aircraft were in the vicinity of Khan Sheikhun for about 20 minutes before reports of the chemical attack came out, and they vacated the area shortly after the attack.  And I think some of you have seen the information that we shared previously about the tracks of those aircraft that came out of the Khan Sheikhun airfield -- or out of the Shayrat airfield, lingered over Khan Sheikhun, and came back to that airfield. In addition, we have information that suggests that personnel historically associated with the chemical weapons program were at Shayrat airfield in late March preparing for this attack.  On the dates surrounding the attack, and the day of the attack, they were again present at that airfield.  Hours after the attack, there were hundreds of accounts of victims of the particular chemical weapons attack.   The victimology, the symptomology of those victims is very consistent with nerve agent and sarin exposure.  And now, as I will note, we do have physiological samples from a number of victims that confirm sarin exposure.  The symptomology was quite consistent.  We saw miosis, or pin-point pupils.  We see frothing at the noise and mouth, twitching.  All of those are consistent with nerve agent.  They are not consistent with chlorine.   Also, the victimology shows that those people don’t have other wounds or injuries that would be consistent with a conventional attack.   I would note, as well, that another clear symptom of sarin or nerve agent exposure is that the secondary responders also started to have symptoms consistent with sarin exposure.  And those were the people that were there that took in the victims, that were touching them, that were removing their clothing.  Some of those also passed out and had other symptoms of sarin exposure. So by about 12:15 local time, the open source was very clear:  It showed images of dead children of varying ages.  And then we started to get accounts of the hospital, where some of those victims were being taken, being bombed at about 1:10 p.m. local.  It showed, again, victims flooding to that particular hospital before there was a conventional attack against that hospital.   The impact craters that we have in imagery and open source show conventional weapons being used around that hospital, not chemical weapons there.  The other information we have shows that leakage around the actual weapon that we think the sarin came from, not explosive debris that we would expect if it had been an explosive munition that it hit chemicals or something that would be consistent with a Russian attack.  And again, we think that is not true. Q    Sorry, can you just go over that one --  SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, I'll come back through it.  Let me hit the Russian narrative all the way through, and I'll help you there. We also think -- some people have alleged that videos had been fabricated, that a lot of this information had been fabricated.  The absolute massive data we have, and all the different vehicles we've gotten it from -- open-source videos, to victim accounts, to imagery, to signals intelligence -- it's just too massive for really any intelligence organization to fabricate in that short a period of time.  We just think that's not a feasible explanation.   And then we did confirm that some of the videos that were shot of the account, we did go to independently confirm that the times at which those videos were taken were consistent with the times of the attack and not from prior footage of other attacks, other places. So let me walk through a little bit -- and, I would also note the World Health Organization came up with similar analysis on April 5th.  It, too, felt that the victims had been exposed to nerve agent based on the same kind of symptomology along the board.  And we do expect that as others continue -- and we would expect we are looking forward to the OPCW's fact-finding mission, looking into this event itself, and we think it's really important for them to get out there, for them to have access to the site of the attack, to the airfield, to other places that might be affiliated.  And we expect that any samples they find will again be consistent with what we've found so far. In terms of the Russian narrative -- and I’ll get back to your question about them and the inconsistency -- across the board, starting in 2013 and then since, we've seen both the Russians and the Syrians have a very clear campaign to try to obfuscate the nature of attacks, the attackers, and what has happened in any particular incident. They've thrown out a bunch of potential agents, a bunch of potential responsible or accountable parties.  And, often, their own information is inconsistent with their own narrative. They certainly have dismissed the allegations of a chemical weapons attacking Khan Sheikun.  They called it a “prank of a provocative nature.”  But again, we don't think it’s remotely possible for the Syrians or the Russians to have fabricated this much information so fast and so consistently on this attack. I’d also note that we’ve, of course, got extensive media observers and we have our own intelligence information.  And the intelligence information and the accounts we've gotten from our partners, again, suggest very similar outcomes in this attack. They noted, as I said -- the Russians did -- that this was a regime attack against a munitions depot, and that perhaps that terrorists had been holding chemical munitions that were attacked and then exploded from there.  As I noted, we think that the information is inconsistent with that narrative.  There is, as I said, leakage, and not in this hospital or this area where they said a building was attacked, but in a separate place where we can see the leakage from that munition.  It is inconsistent with where the Russians would say that this attack happens and where the gas came from.  And similarly, again, it’s leakage; it does not show explosive dissemination of the chemicals.  And we don't see a building, again, with that chemical residue we would expect if the Russian narrative was true. Q    When you say leakage, that's how a chemical weapon is supposed to work.  It's deliberate leakage?  SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Right.  Yeah, absolutely. Q    It's dispersed. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  It's dispersed.  But there’s always leakage around the outside, or almost always leakage around the outside that shows that the material inside has leaked out as it disseminates.   Q    Rather than it was bombed and then exploded.   SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Exactly.  Exactly. Q    Do you believe it was only one munition that was dropped on the 4th?  SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So I don't have details on the number of munitions here for you, but I think it’s fair to say we think it’s at least one munition.   And we have one particular munition that we've seen via overhead that we think is a munition that contains sarin.   Q    How do you explain the Russian drone at the hospital?  SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So I don't think we have information for you today to talk about the Russian drone or any other information on the Russians, per se.  We just want to walk right through the narrative here.  We're still looking into what we think the intelligence community assessment or other is about Russian knowledge of involvement, et cetera.  And I’m sure we’ll come forward with more information on that, if we have it. Q    (Inaudible) on the question foreknowledge of Russia.  SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  We don't have information on that, per se.  I think it’s clear that the Russians are trying to cover up what happened there.   SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I’ll say we're still looking into that, into the particulars of that question.  And there’s not a consensus on our side about the extent or how to interpret the information that we have and continue to get.   However, what we do know from looking at a history of the Russian military and the Syrian military operating together for the better part of two years now closely, since the Russian advisory mission and assistance mission began in earnest in 2015.  And in addition, two militaries that have a decades-long support relationship.  Based on that historical pattern, we've seen that these two militaries operate very closely, even down to an operational and tactical level. And so considering the fact that there were Russian forces co-located with Syrian forces at the Shayrat airfield, in addition to many other installations -- many other Syrian regime installations around the country -- we do think that it is a question worth asking the Russians about how is it possible that their forces were co-located with the Syrian forces that planned, prepared, and carried out this chemical weapons attack at the same installation, and did not have foreknowledge. Q    So just to be clear, the attack that you mentioned against the hospital, which you said was aimed at covering up the initial chemical weapons attack, was that carried out by munitions that are linked to Russia? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  No, we don’t have information on that today. Q    Is it the assessment at this point, though -- can you say the least that -- and you spoke to this a little, and, [senior administration official], I want to get your take -- that the Russians tried to cover up the chemical weapons attack?  Do you believe that that is the case? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  No, we don’t know the tactical intentions of the Russians on that day on any operations that they may have been involved in.   SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So what I would say, in terms of cover-up -- just in terms of cover-up to follow there, I’m talking about the absolute -- coming out afterwards to say it was terrorists, to say that they’re -- SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The cover-up is the -- Q    (Inaudible) stockpile --     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  No, I would say -- Q    -- you would say is absolutely an attempt to cover up a -- SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  To cover up Syrian regime culpability in a chemical weapons attack. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The cover-up is the disinformation that has happened from the day of the attack to today. Q    In your estimation, does this action show an increase in Russian involvement?  Or is it has always been with Russia? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  What I’d like to do right now is get back to going through the narrative, and then we’ll take more of the questions.  If you can just finish going through the -- SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, if I can just finish why we think the Russian narrative is false. So getting back to why we think the Russian narrative is false -- Moscow, as I noted, said that the release of chemicals was caused by the terrorist -- a strike on a terrorist ammunition depot, but a Syrian military source told Russian state media on April 4th that regime forces had not carried out any strike in Khan Sheikhun, which contradicted Russia’s claim directly.   An open-source video shows where we believe the chemical munition landed -- again, not on a facility with weapons, but in the middle of a street in the northern section of Khan Sheikhun.  The imagery of that site from April 6th, after the allegation, shows a crater in the road that corresponds to the open-source video, so we can track to where we think that particular munition was. The Russians also allege that the terrorists -- this was a bombing on a terrorist ammunition depot.  We do not assess and have not assessed that ISIS or other terrorists in the area have sarin.  So while ISIS is using sulfur mustard -- and we’ve documented that quite well, and certainly oppose chemical weapons use by any actor, state or non-state, and are working, of course, to be able to push back ISIS chemical use as well -- it is quite clear to us that in this case this is not a terrorist holding of sarin or terrorist use of sarin.  But we do know that the Syrian regime has sarin, that it used it in the 2013 attack, and there are outstanding questions from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that make quite clear that Syria has not fully come clean on the locations, facilities, types of agents, or personnel involved with its chemical weapons program, causing us additional questions on what’s there. In terms -- is there more you want me to hit from the Russian piece? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Go ahead. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I think it’s a clear pattern of deflecting blame.  We’ve seen this in multiple accounts, including when the OPCW-U.N. joint investigative mechanism came out with reports in August and October of last year identifying Syria as culpable in three chemical weapons attacks.  In these three cases these were chlorine attacks.  They were from a different airfield here.  The United States did come out with designations on personnel affiliated with that attack on that airfield to condemn that use, as well. This is quite concerning, given that the Russians were part of setting up the deal by which Syria was supposed to give up its chemical weapons.  It was party to the deal to create the Joint Investigative Mechanism to investigate these attacks.  The JIM did come forward with clear attribution calls, and Russia has refused to accept those along the way. And I think I would leave it there on the narrative.   SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Okay.  So stepping back to some of your earlier questions, we’re going to open this up again to questions.  But to be clear, you’re going to receive a 3.5-page background document at the end of this that’s going to run you through this narrative that will be very detailed. One thing I want to address is the questions come up before.  We had a lot of questions about a hospital, about munitions use on that hospital, about who was responsible for bombing that hospital.  So, at this time, what you’ll see in this document is a discussion of the Russian use of information and disinformation for obfuscatory purposes in an attempt to shift blame or to transfer blame away from the Assad regime, to prevent counter-narratives about U.S. actions.  That’s what we’re addressing and discussing today. We don’t have any comment right now on who may have been involved in bombing that hospital and why and how.  So that piece, just to be clear -- because there was some confusion about that -- we’re talking -- when we talked about the Russian role, we talked about the obfuscatory information campaign, not the other thing that you asked on.  We don’t have a comment on that at this time.  And I’ll open it up to questions. Q    Have you exchanged any information with the Russians?  Because it’s easy -- they say one thing, you say another thing.  Why don’t exchange the information, compare it?   SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Well, so we’ve come forward with a lot of the information we have publicly already.  This is another attempt to come forward publicly with that information.   We have had conversations at a variety of levels with the Russians, as well, to explain to them what we understand about the attack, and ask them to be helpful to our efforts to get the Syrians to come clean.  We have not done a full intelligence exchange, and I’m not sure that’s particularly likely at this point. Q    I think I heard you mention signals intelligence.  Do you have any SIGINT that actually indicates any level of collusion between Russia and Syria, or any indication that Assad himself ordered this strike? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So we don’t have any comment on that right now. Q    On the question of the delivery mechanism for the sarin, are you sure that the (inaudible) was Syrian air force? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  We are confident, as I noted, that the SU-22 took off from the Shayrat airfield, which is regime-controlled, and dropped the strike, and we believe the Syrian regime is culpable. Q    Do you have any details about the origin of the sarin? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  We don’t have additional details on the origin of the sarin.  It’s well-documented that the Syrians produce sarin as part of their chemical weapons program.  They were supposed to, of course, have destroyed -- declared and destroyed all of that agent. Q    You had talked about the movement, in late March, indicating that personnel were moved to this base to prepare these weapons.  Do you have any intelligence that indicates these types of personnel were moved to other airbases within Syria, that they may be preparing more chemical weapons attacks in the future? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So I can tell you that we take very seriously the possibility that Syria may have additional agents elsewhere.  We are working with our intelligence community to understand every piece of information they have about where such munitions might be located, who might be ahold of them, and I can tell you that that’s going to be part of what we try to figure out and where we go from here. Q    Do you believe that the Assad regime still owns a large stock of chemical weapons, especially sarin and the nerve gas, or is it the small (inaudible) amount that they use, like we saw in (inaudible)? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So I don’t think we have any comment on how much we think is left.  As I noted, we’re working with our intelligence community to figure out what it is.  But our clear goal right now, and the goal of this strike, was, in large part, to deter further chemical weapons uses by the Syria regime. Q    In the end, is there any indication that this action is an increase in Russian involvement? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  No, I don’t think it’s -- I don’t think it indicates an increase.  I mean, in the whole -- let’s say, in the whole environment of operational cooperation between the Russian military and Syrian military, the level of cooperation is quite high, so we’ve seen.  We haven’t seen that peak or drop.  It’s been steady. Q    So following, then this isn’t a provocative action aimed at the U.S., per se? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Don’t see any indication of that.  There were clear operational reasons, we think, probably, why they employed the weapons. Q    My question is about what President Putin said this morning, suggesting, according to him, the rebels were preparing other attacks around -- outside Damascus.  Can you give us any insight on that, and your view of those statements? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Of chemical attacks? Q    Yes.  Yeah, well, I don’t think it was -- I don’t think there was a specification.   Q    He specifically said that there will be other provocations like this one that -- and then the General Staff of the Russian Forces -- armed forces -- already said that the rebels, whom you call rebels, are already bringing in the substances. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I would just say -- so to be clear, we are very confident that terrorists, or non-state actors, did not commit this particular attack.  We are confident as well that these terrorists or rebels don’t have sarin, so they would not be able to conduct a follow-on attack of this sort, given especially that they didn’t conduct the first one. Q    Given the fact that chemical weapons were used in this attack, do you have a sense of whether Syria got rid of any of its chemical weapons -- where that stockpile stands at this point?  And have you thought about next steps in terms of trying to get rid of it? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So we do know that Syria gave up a huge amount of its chemical weapons -- over 1,000 tons of chemical weapons.  They declared them.  And we had, through and incredible international effort with our partners, removed those chemical weapons and destroyed them.   Nevertheless, Syria -- it is clear that Syria’s declaration was not complete.  The OPCW has additional questions, and we look to the OPCW and the entire international community to support the OPCW’s effort to press Syria for answers to the outstanding questions, to get them to declare any agent, facilities, personnel, or others involved in the chemical weapons program, and most certainly get rid of anything that’s left. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Okay, we’re going to hold for a second.  [Senior administration official] is going to make a quick point here, and then we’ll jump back into Q&A. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, I think it’s important to understand the context in which these weapons were employed, what motivated the regime -- the fact that they were losing in a particularly important area, and that’s what drove it.   SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, so in the middle of March, opposition forces launched an offensive from Southern Idlib province toward the major city of Hama, which is a strategic city in Syria.  It’s Syria’s third city, and it’s also the location of a key Syrian regime airbase that has been crucial for the regime and the forces that support it for projecting power from central Syria, both along the western spine, from Aleppo down to the south, and also further to the east to support operations in Palmyra.  So that is an airbase that the regime had to calculate that it could not lose. The opposition offensive approach was able to penetrate to within just a couple of miles of that strategic airbase and also threatened the Hama population center within just a few miles. At that point, the regime we think calculated that with its manpower spread quite thin, trying to support both defensive operations and consolidation operations in Aleppo and along that north-south spine of western Syria, and also trying to support operations which required it to send manpower and resources east toward Palmyra, we believe that the regime probably calculated at that point that chemical weapons were necessary in order to try to make up for the manpower deficiency.   That's why we saw, we believe, multiple attacks of this nature against locations that the regime probably determined were support areas for the opposition forces that were near Hama -- for example, in the town of Al-Tamanah and then in the town of Khan Sheikhun, both of which are in what would be, in military terms, the rear area for the opposition forces that were on the front line.   So we believe certainly that there was an operational calculus that the regime and perhaps its Russian advisors went through in terms of the decision-making. Q    You said there was an operational reason for this attack. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Correct.  Q    So just to clarify what you just said, this was an attack on civilians, but your understanding is that these civilian areas were seen as providing some sort of operational support for the opposition forces, which is what they're --  SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yes.  Now, I don't mean -- I don't mean that that means that the munitions were aimed at some sort of military capability.  What I --  Q    They were aimed at civilians. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  They were clearly aimed at areas that were most likely civilian areas.  However, what I mean is that they were most likely intended to create pressure in what was deemed a rear area for those opposition forces that were fighting. Q    So understanding that, just a quick follow-up on that, is there anything about the timing, why this took place now -- or when it did? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  In terms of the timing? Q    So you explained to us why you think they chose to attack where they did.  Why did they do it then? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yes, if you look at sort of the punch-counterpunch of opposition and regime forces that are fighting in the vicinity of Hama, yes, you can see that -- in that context, you can see that the chemical weapons attacks seem -- could fit within the flow of a punch-counterpunch -- operational punch-counterpunch. Q    You said just a second ago, multiple attacks of this nature.  So multiple sarin attacks, not just (inaudible)? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So it’s a multiple chemical weapons attacks.  So we think that the regime has consistently used chemical weapons over time, not necessarily all sarin, to be able to fill conventional voids in its ability to reach the opposition. Q    -- the context of your colleague’s conversation with us about this particular one, so I’m just trying to clarify if they're all sarin attacks, or just the one in Khan Sheikhun, which you have established with your high degree of confidence. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So we would say that there are more than 200 allegations of regime chemical use since 2013, when Syria promised to give up its chemical weapons.  We assess that many of those are credible.  In terms of what we've been able to say right now, at least one of those is sarin, and we're continuing to look into -- Q    Khan Sheikhun, correct? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  It’s Khan Sheikhun, right. Q    With all of this confirmation that you have today, how are you employing the world community, to include the U.N., as it relates to what’s happening with the punch-counterpunch?  And also with the collusion with Russia and Syria together, how are you employing them?  And also is this clarification and confirmation ramping up efforts against Syria? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So I’ll start, and then I’m going to let these guys follow on.   In terms of the chemical weapons piece of this, it’s incredibly important that we speak with one voice at the United Nations and at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.  We need to speak with a clear message:  That chemical weapons use of any kind, by any actor, is absolutely intolerable.  That is our goal, and we need to do everything we can, collectively, to make sure that comes across clearly. We’re working with all of our partners, and we’ve made this message clear to the Russians as well, and will continue to do so, that we believe it’s in no state’s interest that any actor uses chemical weapons. Q    Support of additional forces, especially now that you believe to think that they have more agents left, be it sarin or what have you --  SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So we’re still working through our partners.  We have to get through U.N. and OPCW this week.  We’re continuing engagement there, and then we’ll work with the international community.  Really important is going to be for the fact-finding mission at the OPCW to do its job, to turn over any information that it has to the Joint Investigative Mechanism so that we have an outside body confirm, I think, is what they will do, what we already very strongly believe -- that the Syrian regime is behind this attack. And again, I don’t think there’s evidence to the contrary at all, but we need to let the international community -- and empower those mechanisms of the international community to do their jobs.  And our hope is that that will lend additional weight to what we’ve already talked here about. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  We’re going to let my colleague set up there.  And do you want to follow on with that? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  No, no, that’s fine.   SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Quickly, we’re going to end here.  But what I’d like to say on this is it’s also -- you guys have asked about this several times.  Speaking with one voice is what we just said.  This is an opportunity.  We have a clear, concise and definitive analysis here.  We understand what happened there with a very high degree of confidence.  And this is an opportunity, going back to an earlier question, for the Russians to choose to stop the disinformation campaign and make the commitment to accept what happens and work forward to eliminate WMDs from Syria together. And that’s it, we’re going to leave it there.  Thank you.  The document will be handed out.  Thank you for being here.  And this is on background.  I’m going to finish off -- on background, senior White House officials, embargoed until we walk out of the room.  Document is coming to you. END  12:40 P.M. EDT

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31 марта, 20:00

Abigail Adams Wrote To John In 1776: Remember The Ladies Or We'll Rebel

Abigail Adams wanted her husband John Adams to “remember the ladies” when writing the Constitution of The United States.  According to History.com, a 32-year-old Abigail wrote a letter to John dated March 31, 1776. Abigail wrote that she hoped Continental Congress would be more “favorable” to women than their ancestors had been. “I long to hear that you have declared an independency,” Abigail wrote. “And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands.”  The letter came just a few months before America’s independence from Britain in July 1776. Little did Abigail and her husband know, John was to become the second president of the United States in 1797.  In possibly the best line of the letter, Abigail reminded John what happens when men get ahold of “unlimited power.”  “Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could,” she wrote. “If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”  She continued:  That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend. Why then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the Lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity. Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your Sex. Regard us then as Beings placed by providence under your protection and in immitation [sic] of the Supreem [sic] Being make use of that power only for our happiness. Well, this is pretty much a perfect note to end Women’s History Month on. Head over to The Massachusetts Historical Society to read the full letter.  This Women’s History Month, remember that we have the power to make history every day. Follow along with HuffPost on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in March using #WeMakeHerstory. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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03 марта, 01:18

Christian, Conservative And Parenting A Transgender Child In Texas

Kimberly Shappley calls herself an “accidental activist.” The Pearland, Texas mom says she was “born a Republican.” Most of her life, she never really thought about politics and just assumed it was her duty as a Christian Southern woman to show up and vote straight ticket for the conservative party. She also bought wholesale into the church’s ideas about LGBTQ people: that their “lifestyle” was a choice and that Satan “had ahold of them.” And then, everything changed. “When you’re the parent of a transgender kid, it’s not just the kid who comes out. Your whole family comes out of the closet together,” Shappley told The Huffington Post.  Shappley’s 6-year-old transgender daughter Kai was denied use of the girl’s bathroom by the Texas school district last May, marking the first time Shappley truly felt what it was like to be a member of a marginalized group. The family is still fighting for this right almost a year later.  According to district policy, children must use the bathroom for the sex indicated on their birth certificate. (School leaders have also offered Kai the use of the nurse’s bathroom.) Later that May, President Obama issued a directive for schools to let transgender children use the bathrooms that match their gender identity ― what should have been a hopeful development. But then, the district superintendent, Dr. John Kelly, gave a statement to the Pearland Journal calling the directive an “unconstitutional interference and social engineering by the federal government.” He compared transgender people to pedophiles and polygamists. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told district superintendents, in no uncertain measures, not to enact the policy.  I can’t use the bathroom with you, because you’re still being a discriminatory person, but I’m here. After realizing they wouldn’t be able to handle the issue quietly, the family decided to come out of the closet. It was three days later that Shappley did her first press conference, an appeal to the school board on the bathroom issue. During a local new broadcast, an overwhelmed Shappley made a tearful apology to the LGBTQ community she had “hurt with the Bible.” “It was sincere, and I got a lot of feedback. At that moment, coming out of the closet and apologizing to the LGBTQ community, that’s when I started being attacked by the church and embraced by the LGBTQ community.” “It’s Been A Long Few Years For Me” The same community Shappley had once viewed so negatively now helps her family weather the immense pressure of ongoing discrimination from her daughter’s school, the rejection from their friends and family and the constant fear of violence. Shappley has formed friendships with grown-up transgender women whom Kai calls her “aunties.” The risk of suicide among transgender individuals is high, and the mom hopes good trans role models will help ease that risk for her daughter. But Shappley’s heart and mind didn’t change overnight.  “I’m a really strict southern mom. It was a process. It took me three or four trips to Walmart to buy girl panties. I would go pick them up, and I would leave them in the store. I would leave crying. I would be so upset, and then I’d feel bad about not getting them,” she said.  Kai was just a toddler when she started to present as a girl. By 2, Kai was gravitating toward the toys that she saw other girls playing with. Her two best friends were girls ― she didn’t like to play with boys, whom she found “gross.” Family members began to make comments.  It took me three or four trips to Walmart to buy girl panties. I would go pick them up and I would leave them in the store. “I was very concerned, because at the time I was leading a small ministry at my church and teaching Bible study, and here I have this kid who people in my family were flat asking me if this kid was gay.” The family tried to redirect Kai to more “masculine” pursuits ― hunting, fishing, sports ― and Shappley punished her when she did anything “feminine.” By 3, Kai was pulling T-shirts down around her waist to make skirts and tying long-sleeve shirts around her head to make long hair.   By 3-and-a-half, Kai was verbalizing that she was a girl six times a day or more, which would lead to time-outs, spankings and yelling matches.  “It got to the point where Kai would wait until your hands were full, or you were busy, and she knew that you couldn’t come after her and she would march into the room and say, ‘You know I’m a girl!’ just so that she could get her point across.” ”As Christians, I don’t know how we’ve gotten separated from compassion” Kimberly’s decision to let Kai transition was spread out over months. She spoke to child psychiatrists, one of whom asked her, “If you and Kai were alone on a deserted island, would you let Kai wear ‘girl clothes’?” When Kimberly responded that she probably would, the psychiatrist told her that it wasn’t God she had a problem with, but what other people would think of her.  She overheard her child praying to God to take “Joseph,” Kai’s birth name, away to be with Jesus, and realized she was essentially overhearing a prayer for death.  And then she was connected to a secret Facebook group of over 1,000 moms like her ― Christians who are raising transgender children. The women call themselves “mama bears” and refer to each other as a “tribe,” because so many of them lose their family and friends when they decide to accept their children.  She knows who she is and she has no problem making sure that everyone knows who she is. She began to study scripture with different eyes. Always a daily Bible reader, she’d felt before as if the words were condemning her. She began to focus on the New Testament, on the teachings of Jesus and his interaction with the Pharisees. She noticed that when the Pharisees would use scripture to justify attacking or judging people, Jesus would ask them to look at the words through a different lens. She ultimately found her way to a new kind of Christianity, one that centered around love and the idea that her child was “fearfully and wonderfully made.” “Having a transgender child, and loving her, has made me a much better Christian,” she said. “I am less judgmental, and I am more empathetic. As Christians, I don’t know how we’ve gotten separated from compassion. Where did we lose that?”  “I Think About Leaving All The Time” Shappley, who prefers to keep the rest of her family life private, says they are working on rebuilding their community after relatives and longtime friends removed themselves just when they needed them the most. They still attend the same church, no matter who glares at them in their pew. They’re still fighting for Kai to be able to use the girl’s bathroom at school, an issue that only looks less hopeful since President Donald Trump rescinded Barack Obama’s mandate that attempted to provide protections for transgender students. (Not that Kai was able to benefit much from the order in the first place.) Kimberly pays the family’s utility bills in someone else’s name, and doesn’t receive mail at her home address because she fears harassment or worse. She thinks about moving somewhere else, somewhere where people won’t “hate her child just for being born.” Having a transgender child, and loving her, has made me a much better Christian. “I think about moving somewhere more accepting all the time, but what I will tell you is if marginalized people continue to move to places that are safe and welcoming, then this country is going to continue to win elections based on gerrymandering. The majority will never be represented again,” she said. And she and Kai, she says, can make a difference just by refusing to hide.   “We change more people’s opinions of what it means to be transgender just by being visible. We’re saying, ‘Look here I am, I’m sitting right next to you at church.’ And, ‘Look, here I am I’m in the cubicle next to you at work.’ ‘Here I am. I’m at school. I can’t use the bathroom with you, because you’re still being a discriminatory person, but I’m here.” She hopes that by standing up and speaking out, no matter how uncomfortable, they’ll reach at least one person. Maybe two.  Despite all the setbacks and controversy, Kai is exceedingly resilient. “She is just a loud, happy, joyful Pollyanna,” said Shappley. “She just expects that everybody’s gonna be kind and good. It’s the persistent spirit that she has that is the reason that she was able to transition so young. Because she knows who she is and she has no problem making sure that everyone knows who she is.”  -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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01 марта, 15:19

Чистая прибыль Royal Ahold Delhaize упала в четвертом квартале на 43% г/г

Компания Royal Ahold Delhaize, созданная в июле прошлого года путем слияния ритейлеров Royal Ahold и Delhaize Group, зафиксировала 43%-ное снижение чистой прибыли в четвертом квартале ввиду более высоких расходов. Так, чистая прибыль составила 144 млн евро ($178,2 млн) по сравнению с 254 млн евро годом ранее, а продажи увеличились с 9,79 млрд евро годом ранее до 15,12 млрд евро. Кроме того, совет директоров компании сообщил о том, что выплатит дивиденды в размере 57 евроцентов на одну акцию.