Sunday, October 22, 2017

PNN - Listen Tonight and you will become an Eleven

PNN TONIGHT! ( and all this Week )
PNN - Listen Tonight and you will become an Eleven
Brook Hines - Flightless DNC cannibals eat Progressive Wings!
And in other headlines: Mr Fox to Guard Chicken Coop

Michelle Allen  - from Food and Water Watch speaks about an UPCOMING EVENT!

W - goes Trumpster Diving
Drew Martin - asks about Lake Okeechobee’s 100 year decline
Dr Reins  - discusses Algae Blooms and You!
Ken Hinkle -  asks about Green Beach Futures?

Gwen Holden Barry -  on Free Speech & Hate Speech the Moral Hazard!
Tonight 7pm East / 4pm Pacific


Exploring canine mind with dog-friendly methods

A total of 31 dogs of 13 different breeds attended the study. Prior the experiment the dogs were clicker-trained to stay still in front of a monitor without being commanded or restrained. Due to positive training approach, dogs were highly motivated to perform the task.

The study is part of the collaboration project of Faculties of Veterinary Medicine and Behavioural Science, University of Helsinki and Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering, Aalto University. Previously, the research group of professor Outi Vainio from the University of Helsinki has discovered that socially informative objects in images, as personally familiar faces and social interaction, attract dogs' attention.

The research group of Professor Outi Vainio explores cognition and emotion in dogs in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Helsinki. The study has been supported inter alia by the Academy of Finland and the Emil Aaltonen Foundation.


1. Dogs produce more facial expressions when humans are looking at them, according to new research from the University of Portsmouth.

Scientists at the University's Dog Cognition Centre are the first to find clear evidence dogs move their faces in direct response to human attention. Dogs don't respond with more facial expressions upon seeing tasty food, suggesting that dogs produce facial expressions to communicate and not just because they are excited.

Brow raising, which makes the eyes look bigger -- so-called puppy dog eyes -- was the dogs' most commonly used expression in this research.

Dog cognition expert Dr Juliane Kaminski led the study, which is published in Scientific Reports.

She said: "We can now be confident that the production of facial expressions made by dogs are dependent on the attention state of their audience and are not just a result of dogs being excited. In our study they produced far more expressions when someone was watching, but seeing food treats did not have the same effect.

"The findings appear to support evidence dogs are sensitive to humans' attention and that expressions are potentially active attempts to communicate, not simple emotional displays."

Most mammals produce facial expressions -- such expressions are considered an important part of an animal's behavioural repertoire -- but it has long been assumed that animal facial expressions, including some human facial expressions, are involuntary and dependent on an individual's emotional state rather than being flexible responses to the audience

Dr Kaminski said it's possible dogs' facial expressions have changed as part of the process of becoming domesticated.

The researchers studied 24 dogs of various breeds, aged one to 12. All were family pets. Each dog was tied by a lead a metre away from a person, and the dogs' faces were filmed throughout a range of exchanges, from the person being oriented towards the dog, to being distracted and with her body turned away from the dog.

The dogs' facial expressions were measured using DogFACS, an anatomically based coding system which gives a reliable and standardized measurement of facial changes linked to underlying muscle movement.

Co-author and facial expression expert Professor Bridget Waller said "Dog FACES captures movements from all the different muscles in the canine face, many of which are capable of producing very subtle and brief facial movements.

"FACS systems were originally developed for humans, but have since been modified for use with other animals such as primates and dogs."

Dr Kaminski said: "Domestic dogs have a unique history -- they have lived alongside humans for 30,000 years and during that time selection pressures seem to have acted on dogs' ability to communicate with us.

"We knew domestic dogs paid attention to how attentive a human is -- in a previous study we found, for example, that dogs stole food more often when the human's eyes were closed or they had their back turned. In another study, we found dogs follow the gaze of a human if the human first establishes eye contact with the dog, so the dog knows the gaze-shift is directed at them.

"This study moves forward what we understand about dog cognition. We now know dogs make more facial expressions when the human is paying attention."

It is impossible yet to say whether dogs' behaviour in this and other studies is evidence dogs have flexible understanding of another individual's perspective -- that they truly understand another individual's mental state -- or if their behaviour is hardwired, or even a learned response to seeing the face or eyes of another individual.

Puppy dog eyes is a facial expression which, in humans, closely resembles sadness. This potentially makes humans more empathetic towards the dog who uses the expression, or because it makes the dog's eyes appear bigger and more infant-like -- potentially tapping into humans' preference for child-like characteristics. Regardless of the mechanism, humans are particularly responsive to that expression in dogs.

Previous research has shown some apes can also modify their facial expressions depending on their audience, but until now, dogs' abilities to do use facial expression to communicate with humans hadn't been systematically examined.

2. How dogs see your emotions:
Dogs view facial expressions differently

A recent study from the University of Helsinki shows that the social gazing behavior of domestic dogs resembles that of humans: dogs view facial expressions systematically, preferring eyes. In addition, the facial expression alters their viewing behavior, especially in the face of threat. The study was recently published in the science journal PLOS ONE.

Threatening faces evoke unique responses in dogs

The study utilized eye gaze tracking to demonstrate how dogs view the emotional expressions of dog and human faces. Dogs looked first at the eye region and generally examined eyes longer than nose or mouth areas. Species-specific characteristics of certain expressions attracted their attention, for example the mouths of threatening dogs. However, dogs appeared to base their perception of facial expressions on the whole face.

Threatening faces evoked attentional bias, which may be based on an evolutionary adaptive mechanism: the sensitivity to detect and avoid threats represents a survival advantage. Interestingly, dogs' viewing behavior was dependent on the depicted species: threatening conspecifics' faces evoked longer looking but threatening human faces instead an avoidance response. Threatening signals carrying different biological validity are most likely processed via distinctive neurocognitive pathways.

"The tolerant behavior strategy of dogs toward humans may partially explain the results. Domestication may have equipped dogs with a sensitivity to detect the threat signals of humans and respond them with pronounced appeasement signals," says researcher Sanni Somppi from the University of Helsinki.

Results provide support for Darwin's views of animal emotions

This is the first evidence of emotion-related gaze patterns in non-primates. Already 150 years ago Charles Darwin proposed that the analogies in the form and function of human and non-human animal emotional expressions suggest shared evolutionary roots. Recent findings provide modern scientific support for Darwin's old argument.

3, USA Liberty Act Won’t Fix What’s Most Broken with NSA Internet Surveillance

legal linchpin for the National Security Agency’s vast Internet surveillance program is scheduled to disappear in under 90 days. Section 702 of FISA—enacted in 2008 with little public awareness about the scope and power of the NSA’s surveillance of the Internet—supposedly directs the NSA’s powerful surveillance apparatus toward legitimate foreign intelligence targets overseas. Instead, the surveillance has been turned back on us. Despite repeated inquiries from Congress, the NSA has yet to publicly disclose how many Americans are impacted by this surveillance. 

With the law’s sunset looming, Congress is taking up the issue. The USA Liberty Act, introduced by Representatives Goodlatte (R-Va.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), and others, may offer a chance to address some of the worst abuses of NSA Internet surveillance even as it reauthorizes some components of the surveillance for another six years. 

But the first draft of the bill falls short.

The bill doesn’t effectively end the practice of “backdoor searching,” when government agents—including domestic law enforcement not working on issues of national security—search through the NSA-gathered communications of Americans without any form of warrant from a judge. It doesn’t institute adequate transparency and oversight measures, and it doesn’t deal with misuse of the state secrets privilege, which has been invoked to stave off lawsuits against mass surveillance.  

Perhaps most importantly, the bill won’t curtail the NSA’s practices of collecting data on innocent people. 

The bill does make significant changes to how and when agents can search through data collected under 702. It also institutes new reporting requirements, new defaults around data deletion, and new guidance for amicus engagement with the FISA Court. But even these provisions do not go far enough. 

Congress has an opportunity and a responsibility to rein in NSA surveillance abuses. This is the first time, since 2013 reporting by the Washington Post and the Guardian changed the worldwide perception of digital spying, that Congress must vote on whether to reauthorize Section 702. Before this debate moves ahead, leaders in the House Judiciary Committee should fix the shortcomings in this bill. 

The Problems of 702

Section 702 is supposed to give the NSA authority to engage in foreign intelligence collection. The NSA is only allowed to target non-Americans located outside U.S. borders. This legal authority has been the basis for two controversial data collection programs:

Upstream surveillance: data collection that siphons off copies of digital communications directly from the “Internet backbone,” the high-capacity fiber-optic cables run by telecommunications companies like AT&T that transmit the majority of American digital communications.

PRISM (also known as “downstream surveillance”): data collection gathered from the servers of major Internet service providers, such as Google, Facebook, and Apple.

These programs flourished under President Bush and President Obama. As the Washington Post reported, their NSA director took an expansive view on data collection:

Rather than look for a single needle in the haystack, his approach was, ‘Let’s collect the whole haystack,’ ” said one former senior U.S. intelligence official who tracked the plan’s implementation. “Collect it all, tag it, store it. . . . And whatever it is you want, you go searching for it.”

Unfortunately, the Liberty Act won’t address most of these fundamental problems.  Here’s an analysis of some of the key provisions in the bill, and we’ll have future articles exploring specific topics in more detail.

Leaving the Backdoor Ajar

Agents for the NSA, CIA, and FBI have long rifled through the communications collected under Section 702, which include American communications, as well as the communications of foreigners who have no connection to crime or national security threats. With no approval from a judge, they’re able to search this database of communications using a range of personal identifiers, then review the contents of communications uncovered in those searches. Government agents can then use these results to build a case against someone, or they may simply review it without prosecution.

Ordinarily, if the FBI wants to intercept or collect a U.S. person’s communications, they must first get permission from a judge. But as a result of Section 702, the FBI today reviews NSA-collected communications of U.S. persons without permission from a judge. Privacy advocates call this the “backdoor search loophole.” 

This practice violates the Fourth Amendment right to privacy against unreasonable searches and seizures. And it can be difficult to prove because government agents may not disclose when they use evidence from the 702 database in prosecutions or for any other purposes. 

The first draft of the Liberty Act doesn’t resolve the problem. It still allows government agents—including domestic law enforcement agents—to query the 702 database, including using identifiers associated with American citizens, such as the email address of an American. The main improvement is that when an agent conducts a query looking for evidence of a crime, she must obtain a probable cause warrant from a judge to access the results. 

But the warrant requirement is limited due to a number of troubling carve-outs. First, this court oversight requirement won’t be triggered except for those searches conducted to find evidence of a crime. No other searches for any other purposes will require court oversight, including when spy agencies search for foreign intelligence, and when law enforcement agencies explore whether a crime occurred at all.

Metadata—how many communications are sent, to whom, at what times—won’t require court oversight at all.  In fact, the Liberty Act doesn’t include the reforms to metadata queries the House had previously passed (which unfortunately did not pass the Senate). In the Massie-Lofgren Amendment, which passed the House twice, agents who conducted queries for metadata would be required to show the metadata was relevant to an investigation. That relevance standard is not in the Liberty Act.

Finally, some may interpret vague language in the bill as putting responsibility for assessing probable cause in the hands of the Attorney General, the main governmental prosecutor, rather than in the hands of the FISA Court. This language should be clarified to ensure the judge’s role in approving the applications is the same as in other FISA proceedings.

Targeting Procedures

The bill will require the NSA to exercise “due diligence in determining whether a person targeted is a non-United States person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States,” and requires agents to consider the “totality of the circumstances” when making that evaluation.

At face value, this sounds promising. We do want the NSA to exercise due diligence when evaluating targets of surveillance. However, this provision is more of a fig leaf than a real fix, because even if targeting is improved, it won’t resolve the problem of Americans’ communications being collected. Right now, countless Americans are surveilled through so-called “incidental collection.” This means that while the official target was a non-American overseas, American communications are swept up as well. Even though Americans were never the intended “target,” their emails, chats, and VOIP calls end up in a database accessible to the NSA, FBI, and others. Tightening up targeting won’t address this problem.

In addition, the bill doesn’t change the NSA’s practice of intercepting communications of countless innocent foreigners outside the United States. People outside our national borders are not criminals by default and should not be treated as if they were. If the United States wants to uphold our obligations to human rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, we must respect the basic privacy and dignity of citizens of other countries. That means not vacuuming up as many communications as possible for all foreigners overseas. This is an especially pressing issue now, as the European Union decides whether to limit how European data can be held by American companies. The recently enacted Privacy Shield falls short of the privacy commitments enshrined in European law. 

Retention of Communications

After the NSA uses Section 702 to collect vast quantities of communications, the NSA stores these records for years to come. Every day the NSA holds these sensitive records is a day they can be misused by rogue government employees or deployed by agency leadership in new ways as part of inevitable “mission creep.” That’s why privacy advocates call for legislation that would require the NSA to purge these Section 702 communications by a fixed deadline, except for specific communications reasonably determined by analysts to have intelligence or law enforcement value.

Unfortunately, the Liberty Act does not solve this problem. Rather, it would only require that if the NSA determines that a communication lacks foreign intelligence value, then the NSA must purge it within 90 days. However, it’s unclear how often the NSA reviews its collected data to assess its foreign intelligence value. Since the bill requires no review, this provision may have little practical effect.

Whistleblowers Left Unprotected

Whistleblowers like Thomas Drake, Mark Klein, Bill Binney, and Edward Snowden were fundamental to the public’s understanding of NSA surveillance abuses. But they risked their careers and often their freedom in the process. The United States has a pressing need to improve protections for whistleblowers acting in the public good—including federal contractors who may be witness to wrongdoing.

The Liberty Act includes a section that would extend certain whistleblower protections to federal contractors. However, these protections only apply to “lawful disclosure” to a handful of government officers, such as the Director of National Intelligence. It does not provide any protection when a whistleblower speaks to the media or to advocacy organizations such as EFF.

Furthermore, the bill only protects whistleblowers against “personnel action,” so whistleblowers could still face criminal prosecution. The Espionage Act—a draconian law from 1917 with penalties including life in prison or the death penalty—has become the tool de jour to intimidate and punish public-interest whistleblowers. The Liberty Act will provide whistleblowers no protection against prosecution under the Espionage Act. 

To make matters worse, the bill also creates new penalties for the unauthorized removal or retention of classified documents, including when done negligently. This will likely be another tool used to go after whistleblowers. This section of the bill must be significantly narrowed or cut. 

Ending “About” Collection 

The National Security Agency announced in April the end of a controversial form of spying known colloquially as “about surveillance.” After collecting data directly from the backbone of the Internet and doing a rough filter, government agents use key selector terms about targeted persons to search through this massive trove of data. In the past, these searches would not merely search the address lines (the to and from section of the communications) but would directly search the full contents of the communications, so that any mention of a selector in the body of the email would be returned in the results. Thus, communications of people who were not surveillance targets, and were not communicating with surveillance targets, were included in the results. 

The NSA was unable to find a way to conduct this type of “about” searching while adhering to restrictions imposed by the FISA Court, and thus the agency discontinued the practice in April. However, this is currently a voluntary policy, and the agency could begin again. In fact, NSA Director Mike Rogers testified before Congress in June that he might recommend that Congress reinstitute the program in the future.

The Liberty Act codifies the end of “about surveillance.” It provides that the NSA must limit its targeting “to communications to or from the targeted person.” While the NSA’s upstream program will still collect the communications passing through the Internet backbone, including the communications of vast numbers of innocent U.S. and foreign citizens, the end of “about” surveillance will reduce the number of communications stored in the 702 database. 

Other Positive Changes in the Bill 

Critically, unlike some other pending reauthorization proposals, the Liberty Act will maintain Section 702’s “sunset,” ensuring that Congress must review, debate, and vote on this issue again in six years. Permanent reauthorization, which we strongly oppose, would prevent this Congressional check on executive overreach.

The Liberty Act makes some other modest improvements to the NSA’s surveillance practices. It gives the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board the ability to function without an appointed chair, which has been a persistent problem with this accountability body. It also puts in place new reporting requirements. 

The bill would require the FISA Court to appoint an amicus curiae to assist it in reviewing the annual “certification” from the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence regarding the NSA’s Section 702 targeting and minimization procedures. This would be a helpful check on this currently one-sided process. However, the FISA Court could dispense with this check whenever it found the amicus appointment “not appropriate” – a nebulous test that could neuter this new safeguard.

A Few More Missing Pieces 

Many vital fixes to the worst surveillance abuses of the NSA are missing from this bill. 

Congress should clear a pathway for individuals to contest privacy abuses by the NSA. This includes ensuring that Americans whose data may have been “incidentally” collected by the NSA under Section 702 have legal standing to go to court to challenge this violation of their constitutional rights. It also requires an overhaul of the controversial state secrets privilege, a common law doctrine that government agencies have invoked to dismiss, or refuse to provide evidence in, cases challenging mass surveillance.

Congress should crack down on “incidental collection,” and ensure the communications of innocent Americans are not collected in the first place. 

Finally, we need to empower the FISA court to review and approve the targets of NSA surveillance. Currently, the NSA receives only general guidelines from the FISA Court, with no individual review of specific targets and selector terms. This means the NSA has little obligation to defend its choice of targets, resulting in little recourse when agents are over-inclusive of inappropriate targets. 

Next steps for the Judiciary Committee 

Congress still has time to get this right. This bill hasn’t gone to markup yet, and the Judiciary Committee is likely to amend the bill before passing it to the floor. We urge the Judiciary Committee members to make changes to the bill to address these shortcomings.

As public awareness of NSA surveillance practices has grown, so too has public outrage. That outrage is the fuel for meaningful change. We passed one bill to begin reining in surveillance abuses in 2015, and from that small victory springs the political will for the next, more powerful reform. Join EFF in calling on Congress to rein in these surveillance abuses, and defend privacy for Internet users of today and in the years to come. 


Daphne Caruana Galizia, an investigative journalist from Malta who was known for her reporting on governmental corruption, was killed in an explosion near her home Monday, officials say.
Galizia, who had just published a story on her blog, was driving away from the house in a rented Peugeot 108 around 3 p.m. when the car went up in flames, according to local media reports.
The explosion sent detritus far into the surrounding fields and badly burned the body. Photos showed the Peugeot’s mangled shell in a field, dozens of yards from the blast site. Witnesses described a small explosion followed seconds later by a larger one as the burning car skidded down the road and into the field.
“I am never going to forget, running around the inferno in the field, trying to figure out a way to open the door, the horn of the car still blaring, screaming at two policemen who turned up with a single fire extinguisher to use it,” Galizia's son, Matthew, wrote on Facebook the morning after his mother's death. “They stared at me. 'I’m sorry, there is nothing we can do', one of them said. I looked down and there were my mother’s body parts all around me. I realised they were right, it was hopeless.”

Daphne Caruana Galizia, a blogger whose investigations focused on corruption, was described as a ‘one-woman WikiLeaks’
The journalist who led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption in Malta was killed on Monday in a car bomb near her home.
Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday afternoon when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device which blew the vehicle into several pieces and threw the debris into a nearby field.
Murdered Panama Papers journalist’s son attacks Malta’s ‘crooks’
 Read more
A blogger whose posts often attracted more readers than the combined circulation of the country’s newspapers, Caruana Galizia was recently described by the Politico website as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”. Her blogs were a thorn in the side of both the establishment and underworld figures that hold sway in Europe’s smallest member state.
Her most recent revelations pointed the finger at Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, and two of his closest aides, connecting offshore companies linked to the three men with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan.
No group or individual has come forward to claim responsibility for the attack.
Malta’s president, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, called for calm. “In these moments, when the country is shocked by such a vicious attack, I call on everyone to measure their words, to not pass judgment and to show solidarity,” she said.
After a fraught general election this summer, commentators had been fearing a return to the political violence that scarred Malta during the 1980s.
In a statement, Muscat condemned the “barbaric attack”, saying he had asked police to reach out to other countries’ security services for help identifying the perpetrators.
“Everyone knows Ms Caruana Galizia was a harsh critic of mine,” said Muscat at a hastily convened press conference, “both politically and personally, but nobody can justify this barbaric act in any way”.
Muscat announced later in parliament that FBI officers were on their way to Malta to assist with the investigation, following his request for outside help from the US government.
The Nationalist party leader, Adrian Delia – himself the subject of negative stories by Caruana Galizia – claimed the killing was linked to her reporting. “A political murder took place today,” Delia said in a statement. “What happened today is not an ordinary killing. It is a consequence of the total collapse of the rule of law which has been going on for the past four years.”
According to local media reports, Caruana Galizia filed a police report 15 days ago to say that she had been receiving death threats.
The journalist posted her final blog on her Running Commentary website at 2.35pm on Monday, and the explosion, which occurred near her home, was reported to police just after 3pm. Officers said her body had not yet been identified. According to sources, one of her sons heard the blast from their home and rushed out to the scene.
Caruana Galizia, who claimed to have no political affiliations, set her sights on a wide range of targets, from banks facilitating money laundering to links between Malta’s online gaming industry and the Mafia.
What are the Panama Papers? A guide to history's biggest data leak
What is Mossack Fonseca, how big is it, and who uses offshore firms? Key questions about one of the biggest ever data leaks
 Read more
Over the last two years, her reporting had largely focused on revelations from the Panama Papers, a cache of 11.5m documents leaked from the internal database of the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca.
The data was obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with media partners around the world, including the Guardian, by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in Washington.
Caruana Galizia’s son, Matthew Caruana Galizia, is a journalist and programmer who works for the ICIJ.
Her family have filed a court application demanding a change of inquiring magistrate. Investigations into the case are being led by Consuelo Scerri Herrera, the magistrate who was on duty at the time. But Herrera had come under criticism by Galizia in her blog. The family’s petition states that they “have no trust” in Scerri Herrera and “do not believe that she can conduct a magisterial inquiry through the seriousness and impartiality that is needed in the search for truth”.
Earlier this year, during Malta’s presidency of the European Union, her revelations caused major concern in Brussels.
MEPs openly called for Muscat’s departure amid a growing scandal involving his wife, a Panamanian shell company and alleged payments from the president of Azerbaijan’s daughter.
Muscat, who has been premier since 2013, went to the polls a year early after his wife was implicated in the scandal. He has always denied any wrongdoing and promised to quit if any evidence emerges of his family having secret offshore bank accounts used to stash kickbacks – as Caruana Galizia had alleged.
Responding to news of the attack, the German MEP Sven Giegold, a leading figure in the parliament’s Panama Papers inquiry, said he was “shocked and saddened”.
“It is too early to know the cause of the explosion but we expect to see a thorough investigation,” said Giegold. “Such incidents bring to mind Putin’s Russia, not the European Union. There can be absolutely no tolerance for violence against the press and violations of the freedom of expression in the European Union.”
Opposition politicians claim rule of law has been under threat since Muscat returned Malta’s Labour party to power in 2013 following a long period in opposition. Four police commissioners have resigned under his leadership. The fifth, Lawrence Cutajar, took up his post in August 2016.
There have been several car bomb killings in Malta during recent years. While the perpetrators have not been identified, the violence is thought to have been linked to disputes between criminal gangs. None are thought to have been politically motivated.
Caruana Galizia was 53 and leaves a husband and three sons.
Former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil testified in court this morning, as did the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, that crook Keith Schembri, in the case he himself brought against Dr Busuttil for libel damages.
Mr Schembri is claiming that he is not corrupt, despite moving to set up a secret company in Panama along with favourite minister Konrad Mizzi and Mr Egrant just days after Labour won the general election in 2013, sheltering it in a top-secret trust in New Zealand, then hunting round the world for a shady bank that would take them as clients.
(In the end they solved the problem by setting up a shady bank in Malta, hiding in plain sight.)
His government salary is just peanuts to him, Mr Schembri said, because he has retained his companies and his shares and that is where he makes his money. But the way he is using his government influence to benefit his private business in Malta is entirely a separate corruption/trading in influence issue and is not an argument in his defence.
He also said that he was unable to reply to the corruption accusations in the past two years – but it hasn’t been two years – because of a “medical condition”. Would this be the medical condition that they claimed he didn’t have, when the Prime Minister’s chief of staff disappeared for months, I wondered why, found out, and then reported on it?
There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

PNN - N.O.W. and Zevon and Fred too

PNN - NOW & Zevon
PNN Brings you More Progressive Voices. Insights and perspectives on the daily challenges on the TRUMPERIUM.
Our Senior Political Commentator Brook Hines discusses her latest political Insights and then is joined by her colleague Fred Barr her partner in their Political Consulting firm PROGRESSION PARTNERSHIP.

Brook and Fred will discuss in a New Segment on POP-CULTURE - a report on the FSOCIETY from the Mr. Robot Show.
Next we are joined by Crystal Zevon an ACTIVIST Extraordinaire who works as a Highly Committed Peace Activist spends much time and Energy on Indigenous Peoples Rights from the East Coast to the West Coast and is very engaged in a wide range of Environmental Issues. This is a voice you need to hear.

Our final guest this week is, another Giant of Human Rights Meredith Ockman who's efforts so many of us are aware of as SE District Director of the NATIONAL ORGANIZATION of WOMEN and President of the Board of the South Florida Women's Health Foundation, her tireless human rights efforts, her ongoing work with Planned Parenthood and on a local level she's actually also somehow finds time to work on Animal Welfare projects


PNN - 10/15/17

1. Top Trump Official for Pipeline Safety Profits from Selling Oil Spill Equipment
A newly appointed federal regulator charged with overseeing pipeline safety personally profits from oil spill responses, a DeSmog investigation has found.
Drue Pearce is the acting administrator for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), an agency in the Department of Transportation responsible for ensuring oil and gas pipeline integrity. However, she is also associated with a company specializing in the sale of oil spill equipment.
Pearce, a Republican from Alaska, was appointed on August 7 by the Trump administration to serve as PHMSA’s deputy administrator, a position that does not require U.S. Senate confirmation. However, since at the time the administration had yet to nominate an administrator for the agency, Pearce stepped into the role as acting administrator.
In early September, Trump finally nominated, and last Friday the Senate confirmed rail transport executive Howard Elliot as PHMSA administrator. Once Elliot formally takes the helm at PHMSA, Pearce will serve as his deputy.

Pearce’s Oil Spill Business
Business records filed in the state of Alaska and reviewed by DeSmog show that since 2009 Pearce and her husband, Michael F. Williams, have owned Spill Shield Inc., an Anchorage-based company selling equipment for oil spill responses. The company’s website offers various products, including booms, baffles, skimmers, absorbents, and oil spill response kits.
The company advertises itself as “the Arctic’s preferred partner for environmental compliance products & Oil Spill Response,” and says its products “are very popular in small northern communities, in mining industrial and construction industries, and fishing and hunting lodges.”

2. SLAVE LABOR... by any other name PLEASE!
California inmates are fighting on the front lines to contain raging wildfires, all while state leaders secretly worked to keep them imprisoned and fighting fires for little to no cost.
In recent weeks, parts of the drought-stricken state have ravaged by wildfires, leaving at least 34 people dead and forcing some 20,000 residents to evacuate. The flames have charred over 190,000 acres of land and damaged and/or destroyed around 3,500 structures.
Among those battling the blazes are 3,800 inmates, both men and women, who make up 13 percent of California’s firefighting force and whose cheap labor saves taxpayers $124 million per year, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Working on salaries of just $2 a day and an extra $1 per hour for their time on a fire line, inmates earn next to nothing for their work, compared to civilian firefighters who have a starting salary of $40,000 per year.
Some have compared the work to slave labor.
“The pay is ridiculous,” La’Sonya Edwards, a female inmate who battles blazes in Southern California, told The New York Times in August. “There are some days we are worn down to the core — and this isn’t that different from slave conditions. We need to get paid more for what we do.”
Former mayor of Richmond, Calif., and lieutenant governor candidate Gayle McLaughlin agreed, telling NBC News, “No matter how you may want to dress it up, if you have people working for nothing or almost nothing, you’ve got slave labor, and it is not acceptable.”
Using prison labor to battle blazes is nothing new for the Golden State, however. A recent New York Times report said the state has been employing inmates to fight fires during fire season since the mid-19th century. In 2014, the federal court system began talks to shrink California’s inmate population of almost 115,000 men and women.
State leaders hesitated on the plans, however, because inmates (including those who are eligible for release) serve as a cheap, yet critical source of labor as firefighters.
Lawyers from the office of then-Attorney General Kamala Harris argued that releasing too many inmates “at this time would severely impact fire camp participation — a dangerous outcome while California is in the middle of a difficult fire season and severe drought.” Harris, who now represents California in the U.S. Senate, told Buzzfeed News she was shocked upon hearing her attorneys’ reasoning.
Her office’s argument was one recently echoed by Louisiana Caddo Parish Police Chief Steve Prator, who was upset over the release of “good,” nonviolent inmates “you could work — the ones who can pick up trash.”
“I don’t want state prisoners, [but] they’re a necessary evil to keep the doors open, that we keep a few,” Prator said during a news conference, drawing an immediate backlash from critics who said his comments evoked slavery.

3. Demand an End to BackDoor Web Searches

EFF and 57 organizations, including American Civil Liberties Union, R Street, and NAACP, spoke out against warrantless searches of American citizens in a joint letter this week demanding reforms of the so-called “ backdoor search ” loophole that exists for data collected under Section 702. The backdoor search loophole allows federal government agencies, including the FBI and CIA, to, without a warrant, search through data collected on American citizens. Applying a warrant requirement only to searches of Section 702 data...
Many were shocked to learn that the U.S. indiscriminately vacuums up the communications of millions of innocent people – both around the world and at home – through surveillance programs under Section 702, originally enacted by the FISA Amendments Act. This warrantless, suspicionless surveillance violates established privacy protections, including the Fourth Amendment.
The U.S. government uses Section 702 to justify the collection of the communications of innocent people overseas and in the United States by tapping into the cables that carry domestic and international Internet communications through what's known as Upstream surveillance. The government also forces major U.S. tech companies to turn over private communications stored on their servers through a program often referred to as PRISM. While the programs under Section 702 are theoretically aimed at foreigners outside the United States, they constantly collect Americans’ communications with no meaningful oversight from the courts.
These programs are a gross violation of Americans’ constitutional rights. Communicating with anyone who is potentially located abroad does not invalidate your Fourth Amendment protections.
Tell your representatives in Congress that it is time to let the sun set on this mass Internet spying.

I get really emotional when I watch videos of members of the armed forces coming home after a long deployment to surprise their loved ones. I put myself in the shoes of these families who were separated for months and can feel the love.
Then I get angry.
I get angry because these reunions are as touching as they are senseless.
Sixteen years ago yesterday, the US-led invasion of Afghanistan began. Since then, nothing has been gained but so much has been lost.
Thousands of American soldiers — as well as hundreds of thousands of civilians — have been killed. Many more returned irreparably damaged. They might have come home but their limbs — and often their mental health — have remained behind on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq.
What did they get in return for their sacrifice? Not much. Members of the armed forces are neither well-paid nor particularly well-cared-for once they return home. As WhoWhatWhy has pointed out, one US veteran commits suicide roughly every hour.
The war has also taken a brutal toll on the families of service members. You can see it in those videos. More than 2.5 million American men and women have served in Afghanistan and Iraq. That means hundreds of thousands of families have been torn apart — many of them forever. In addition, countless children had to spend part of their formative years without their mom or dad, constantly worrying about whether they would see their parent again. Think of the strain that places on families.
And all that for what?
The US isn’t one bit safer. Neither is the Middle East. In fact, the region seems much-less stable now than it was 16 years ago, and the worldwide threat of terrorism has only increased.
Americans are being told that their liberties are under attack — and that the troops are defending them abroad. But the only people who have taken anybody’s freedoms away are sitting in the halls of power in Washington.
They happen to be the same people who apparently never have seen a war they didn’t like — regardless of the consequences for millions of Americans and their families.
So excuse me if I can’t get upset about NFL players supposedly “disrespecting the troops” by taking a knee to protest an injustice. Personally, I can’t think of anything more disrespectful to the men and women in uniform than sending them into harm’s way to fight endless wars with no objective.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

PNN - The Falling Screeds

PNN - Falling Screeds -
Get the latest on Healthcare Alternatives from New Thought Leader Ann Fonfa of Appleseed Annie
threatened by cancer, not getting what you need from Business as Usual Medicine - Contact Annie Appleseed Project   for additional resources.

We are also visited by Denis Campbell of The Three Muckrakers, and the UK Progressives, follows up on his several books investigating contemporary political movements. With the clarity an international journalist with over 20 years of international political leadership. Denis has a new book out about the first 200 plus days of the dangerous Trump presidency.
Denis's New Book - Donald Trump Deplorable Bully

Our Political Commentator Brook Hines returns with her astute political insights. also found at the FLORIDA SQUEEZE

TUNE IN - Live 7pm or anytime.


PNN Stories for 10/8/17

1. The Prez just I can't get no Respect Edition - Who called him what and what did he call who?

2. "Somebody didn't pickup their shift this am at the presidential adult daycare center" -
Corker (Tenn.) tweeted, “It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”

3. Robert Reich on The Troubles of Tillerson:
"You are Secretary of State – the nation’s chief diplomat – under a president who’s dangerously nuts.
Last weekend, for example, Trump publicly said you were wasting your time trying to open talks with North Korea. Does he have a better idea? Any halfway rational president would ask his Secretary of State to try to talk with Kim Jong-Un.
And there’s Iran. You and Defense Secretary James Mattis have both stated the nuclear agreement should be retained. That, too, is only rational. The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran has been honoring the agreement. Without it, Iran would restart its nuclear program.
But Trump is on the verge of decertifying the agreement in order to save face (in the 2016 campaign he called it an “embarrassment to America”) and further puncture Barack Obama’s legacy. His narcissism is endangering the world.
You tried to mediate the dispute between Qatar and its Arab neighbors. That, too, was the reasonable thing to do.
But then Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner sided with the United Arab Emirates, where they have business interests. Less than one hour after you called for a “calm and thoughtful dialogue” between Qatar and its neighbors, Trump blasted Qatar for financing terrorism. That was also nuts."

4. Pence leaves football game to save DONNIE's Face! - the Pence team prewarned the press he might go - and seeing KNEELING thought they'd gone catholic on him! - He split!

5. PREZ Calls for Senate Investigate of faux press -
    “Why Isn’t the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!” Trump wrote

6. Prez throws soft KOCH INDUSTRIES Paper Towels at PR Confab
and is denounced for insensitivity - Initially he had planned on distributing loaves and fishes - but they couldn't find any!

7. Analysis is said to show, the President is playing Zero Dimensional CHESS

8. Mayor of Charlottesville VA denounces RACIST NAZIS who held another TIKI POWERED MARCH in his City
"Another despicable visit by neo-Nazi cowards. You’re not welcome here! Go home! Meantime we’re looking at all our legal options. Stay tuned."

9. Puerto Rico - Two-Step
So does this helps explain why the infrastructure in Puerto Rico has been so long neglected—the first priority is to serve this foreign debt and tax breaks for the wealthy?
Absolutely, and it’s only going to get worse because of the PROMESA Act [NB: Passed by Congress to deal with the financial crisis and bankruptcy]. Some critics have dared to describe it as a kind of bailout or aid package, but that’s not so.

There is absolutely no transfer of money from the federal government to Puerto Rico as part of the PROMESA Act. If anything, there’s an imposition of an economic burden on the Puerto Rican government which now has to pay the overhead of the PROMESA board—which is estimated to cost 200 million dollars in its first year alone—and an astronomical, unjustifiable salary of over half a million dollars a year to its manager Natalie Jaresko.

This completely overpaid expensive board arrives in Puerto Rico and the first thing that they say is that everyone has to tighten their belts. There are “furloughs” of government workers, the government has to reduce its payroll by about 30 percent. Now they are going to privatize a lot of the services. The first target was the University of Puerto Rico, which they completely gutted leading to a massive strike at the university.

10.Reality Winner - daze in Court(Innocent until proven guilty?) - Not so Much!
On Thursday, a federal judge denied a second request for bail from Reality Winner, a former National Security Agency contractor accused of violating the Espionage Act, despite an admission from the federal prosecutor in charge of the case that the government relied on false information in Winner’s initial bail hearing.
In his decision denying bail, Judge Brian Epps did not acknowledge or reference the prosecutor’s false statements, despite the statement having been a principal reason the defense moved for the renewed hearing.
The fight over whether Winner should be released pending trial stemmed from her bail hearing shortly after she was indicted in June. Winner was initially denied bail partly on the basis of alleged jailhouse recordings that suggested she may have other classified documents that she wanted to make public...
With no evidence Winner was in possession of more documents, U.S. Attorney Jennifer Solari instead shifted focus during a bail hearing last week to Winner’s character, internet privacy habits, and political views, arguing that the young former NSA contractor had shown “nothing but contempt for our country and our security.”
“The court denies defendant’s motion for release from custody,” Epps wrote in the decision, “and finds by clear and convincing evidence that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the safety of the community; and by a preponderance of the evidence that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of defendant as required.”

11. TRUMPFT's Choice for the EPA pretends not to know his ABCs.
William Wehrum is the Trump administration’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Air and Radiation. “Bill,” the first line of his bio at his law firm, Hunton & Williams, boasts, “is well known for his thorough grasp of environmental issues.”

The senator produced a large graph for Wehrum from NASA, tracking levels of both greenhouse gas emissions and warming from 1880 through 2005. The lines follow one another fairly closely, including a dramatic upward spike through the latter half of the 20th century and early 21st. “Can you acknowledge,” Merkley asked, “that these lines generally track each other?”

“I’m not familiar with those data. I have no idea what it depicts,” Wehrum answers.

Merkley prods. “But you can see the lines. Do the lines track each other?”
“What’s important, senator, is to know how the data is depicted.”
“Yes it is,” Merkley agrees, “But I’m just asking a question: Can you see those two lines, and do they generally track each other?”

Wehrum does not answer the question, leading Merkley to give up on his graph-related line of inquiry for another. “What we see is this Koch Brother-inspired determination not to acknowledge even the most fundamental facts. … Why should the American people put into an office of significant influence someone who refuses to look at the facts directly that are so important to the health of this planet?”

“As I said, these are complex issues and very important issues.”

So Merkley sought to make it a little less complex, asking Wehrum whether he acknowledges a series of basic scientific facts about recent ecological trends tied to rising temperatures: the increasing acidification of the ocean, growing snowpacks on the cascade mountains, longer fire seasons. Wehrum, again, does not respond, saying of ocean acidification that he’s aware there “is an allegation,” before being cut off.

"Bill is well known for his thorough grasp of environmental issues, gleaned from his training as an environmental engineer and prior work in the EPA. In 2017, the Legal 500 described him as "hands down one of the finest Clean Air Act attorneys in the country" He has worked on precedent-setting cases and is at the forfront of some of the most significant environmental issues of the day."

Sunday, October 01, 2017

PNN - A life vest for Civilization

PNN - A Life Vest for Civilization
PNN welcomes several activists all of whom, are working to uphold the civilized values.

Happily the return of Brook Hines our Senior Political Commentator, on the mend!

Antonio Tovare from the Farm Workers Association of Florida discusses some of the hardships facing the agricultural workers in Florida.

We also are visited by Ellyn Stevenson with the organization called Indivisible Martin and the Safety Pin Alliance who literally just returned from a delivery of donated supplies to the farmworkers of Immokalee, FL. 33455.

We also have the great pleasure of welcoming Pam Goodman, President of the League of Women Voters who will discuss some of the projects they are undertaking.

Join us Sunday Live or Anytime 7pm East / 6pm Central / 4pm Pacific

PNN - Antonio

Rick Spisak, News, Director
Progressive News Network

PNN 10/1/17 - News Stories

1. Free Press was recently hit with a sophisticated series of
cyberattacks that attempted to gain access to staff emails.

This wasn’t your standard spam — it was a coordinated attack by professionals. We were targeted because of our outspoken leadership on Net Neutrality.

This was a startling and negative experience. But if there’s a silver lining (beyond the fact that we thwarted the hackers), it’s that this prolonged attack tells us that our work is effective — so effective that the opposition is resorting to dirty tricks to try and stop us.

2. GOOGLE / Censorship De-monitiz-ation (TAKING THE MONEY) [its good to be the monopoly]

Though legacy media has framed this issue as one of Neo-Nazis using an alternative right wing website, it is important to recognize that Google has also censored the left-leaning outlet Counterpunch. Youtube has also come under fire recently for demonetizing content creators from across the political spectrum.

Gab stated via twitter: “Gab’s domain registrar has given us 5 days to transfer our domain or they will seize it. The free  and open web is in danger.” Gab also pointed out the fact that the issue with their domain had occurred less than a day after their law suit against Google was filed. As of today, Gab stated via twitter that “Update: Gab has secured our domain away from Asia Registry.”

Gab had been notified of the domain issue less than 24 hours after filing a lawsuit against Google for allegedly violating  anti-trust laws. The Washington Post reported the words of Gab CEO Andrew Torba on the suit: “Google is the biggest threat to the free flow of information…

Gab started to fight against the big tech companies in the marketplace, and their monopolistic onduct has forced us to bring the fight to the courtroom.”

Further explaining the impetus for the suit, he told the Washington Post: “Imagine if a private orporation owned all the highways and they decided to close them down whenever  they feel like it — that is what it’s like. You cannot deny people a fundamental staple of the Internet.”

In the wake of the news from Asia Registry, Torba told Breitbart that “This action from Asia Registry, just days  after our lawsuit with Google was filed, is unprecedented. We have acted in good faith with Asia Registry and had no problems up until we raised our funding round and launched
our lawsuit against Google.”

Julian Assange also responded to Gab’s plight, writing: “anti-censorship” Twitter alternative “” discovers the dangers of using Australia during the current Western  pro-censorship hysteria.” Assange has long warned of the danger posed by Google becoming enmeshed with the deep

Erroneous settings on water gauges lowered groundwater levels to three feet below the required safety levels.

Radioactively contaminated water from Japan's damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor may have leaked, according to the plant operator. Erroneous settings on water gauges lowered groundwater levels at half of the dozen nearby wells to three feet below the required safety levels.

When groundwater at one well briefly sank below the level of the contaminated water in May, it might have caused radioactive  water to leak into the soil.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) is the firm responsible for Fukushima.

Tepco spokesman Shinichi Nakakuki said that their samples did not show an abnormal increase in radioactivity and leaks to the outside are unlikely.Risks of a leak were unlikely because groundwater levels at wells dug closer to the reactors have stayed above minimum safety levels, said Mr Nakakakuki.
Tepco is investigating the potential contamination after it discovered the problem this week.

Three former executives with the operator of the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have pleaded not guilty to charges of professional negligence, in the only criminal action targeting officials since the triple meltdown more than six years ago. In the first hearing of the trial at Tokyo district court on Friday, Tsunehisa Katsumata, who was chairman of Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) at the time of the disaster, and two other former executives argued they could not have foreseen a tsunami of the size that knocked out the plant’s backup cooling system, triggering a meltdown in three reactors.
“I apologise for the tremendous trouble to the residents in the area and around the country because of the serious accident that caused the release of radioactive materials,”  Katsumata said, bowing slightly.

Prosecutors alleged that the 77-year-old, along with his co-defendants, Sakae Muto, 67, and Ichiro Takekuro, 71 – both former Tepco vice-presidents – had been shown data that anticipated a tsunami of more than 10 metres in height that could cause a power outage and other serious consequences.

election commission: