Tag Archives: interview

Whats Trumps Position on NATO?

Posted: October 8, 2016 at 10:23 pm

Hillary Clinton went too far when she claimed that Donald Trump said we should pull out of NATO. Trump has said that he would certainly look at pulling the United States out of the international security alliance, because it is obsolete and is costing us a fortune. But the Clinton campaign provided nothing indicating that Trump advocates pulling out now.

Trump, who has nearlyclinched the Republican nomination for president, has been critical of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which was established in 1949 by the U.S., Canada and 10 Western European nations to defend against the former Soviet Union. Trumps main criticisms of NATO, which now has 28 member nations, are that the alliance no longer serves its founding purpose and that it is too costly to the U.S., which pays about 22 percent of direct spending by NATO, the most of any nation, according to budget information. The U.S. also pays a much larger portion of the organizations indirect costs, NATO says.

During a campaign speech in Milwaukee on March 28, Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, said that Trump wants us to pull out of NATO. That was the week after Trump, during campaign events and interviews with the editorial boards of the Washington Post and the New York Timesandothers, talked about the U.S. role in NATO.

In an interview with CBS News John Dickerson that aired May 8, Clinton again claimed that Trump, whom she referred to as a loose cannon, wants out of NATO.

Clinton, May 8: Being a loose cannon is saying we should pull out of NATO, the strongest military alliance in the history of the world and something that we really need to modernize, but not abandon.

While Trump has gone so far as saying that, as president, he would consider pulling the U.S. out of NATO if it is not restructured, weve found no instance of him saying he wants to do so at this point. And the Clinton campaign hasnt been able to point to an example of Trump saying that either.

In fact, it was during the interview with the Post, which initially brought attention to Trumps feelings about NATO, that Trump said that he doesnt want the U.S. to leave the alliance.

Charles Lane, Washington Post, March 21:So, Id like to hear you say very specifically, you know, with respect to NATO, what is your ask of these other countries?Right, youve painted it in very broad terms, but do you have a percent of GDP that they should be spending on defense?Tell me more, because it sounds like you want to just pull the U.S. out.

Trump: No, I dont want to pull it out. NATO was set up at a different time. NATO was set up when we were a richer country. Were not a rich country anymore. Were borrowing, were borrowing all of this money. Were borrowing money from China, which is sort of an amazing situation. But it was a much different thing. NATO is costing us a fortune and yes, were protecting Europe with NATO but were spending a lot of money. Number one, I think the distribution of costs has to be changed. I think NATO as a concept is good, but it is not as good as it was when it first evolved.

Later on March 21, during a CNN town hall event with Wolf Blitzer, Trump said the U.S. should reconsider its role in NATO, especially with concern to how much itspends compared with other nations.

Blitzer: Do you think the United States needs to rethink U.S. involvement in NATO?

Trump: Yes, because its costing us too much money. And frankly they have to put up more money. Theyre going to have to put some up also. Were paying disproportionately. Its too much. And frankly its a different world than it was when we originally conceived of the idea. And everybody got together.

But were taking care of, as an example, the Ukraine. I mean, the countries over there dont seem to be so interested. Were the ones taking the brunt of it. So I think we have to reconsider keep NATO, but maybe we have to pay a lot less toward the NATO itself.

Blitzer: When we say keep NATO, NATO has been around since right after World War II in 1949. Its been a cornerstone of U.S. national security around the world. NATO allies hear you say that, theyre not going to be happy.

Trump: Well, they may not be happy but, you know, they have to help us also. It has to be we are paying disproportionately. And very importantly if you use Ukraine as an example and thats a great example, the country surrounding Ukraine, I mean, they dont seem to care as much about it as we do. So there has to be at least a change in philosophy and there are also has to be a change in the cut out, the money, the spread because its too much.

Blitzer: So youre really suggesting the United States should decrease its role in NATO?

Trump: Not decrease its role but certainly decrease the kind of spending. We are spending a tremendous amount in NATO and other people proportionately less. No good.

Then, on March 25, in an interview with the New YorkTimes editorial board, Trump again said that NATO needed to be changed to deal with costs and other issues, such as terrorism.

Trump, March 25:Ill tell you the problems I have with NATO. Number one, we pay far too much. We are spending you know, in fact, theyre even making it so the percentages are greater. NATO is unfair, economically, to us, to the United States. Because it really helps them more so than the United States, and we pay a disproportionate share. Now, Im a person that you notice I talk about economics quite a bit, in these military situations, because it is about economics, because we dont have money anymore because weve been taking care of so many people in so many different forms that we dont have money and countries, and countries. So NATO is something that at the time was excellent. Today, it has to be changed. It has to be changed to include terror. It has to be changed from the standpoint of cost because the United States bears far too much of the cost of NATO.

It was on March 23, during an interview withBloomberg Politics Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, that Trump, when asked, said he would certainly look at getting rid of NATO because it may be obsolete (16:12 in the video).

Halperin, March 23: Should America be the leader of NATO or not necessarily?

Trump: I think NATO may be obsolete. NATO was set up a long time ago many, many years ago when things were different. Things are different now. We were a rich nation then. We had nothing but money. We had nothing but power. And you know, far more than we have today, in a true sense. And I think NATO you have to really examine NATO. And it doesnt really help us, its helping other countries. And I dont think those other countries appreciate what were doing.

Heilemann: So, just to be clear, you made two slightly different arguments there and I just want to clarify. One of them is that you might want to see the U.S. pay less money into NATO because

Trump: That one definitely. That one definitely.

Heilemann: But its possible that NATO is obsolete and should be gotten rid of?

Trump: Its possible. Its possible. I would certainly look at it. And Id want more help from other people. The one thing definitely were paying too much. As to whether or not its obsolete, Ill make that determination.

Then, at a campaign rally in Milwaukee on April 4, Trump said that he wasnt saying thatNATO should disband during his interview with CNNs Blitzer. Instead, he said he meant that if countries cant pay their bills theyve got to go.

Trump, April 4: And Wolf Blitzer asked me a question on television. He said, let me just ask you about NATO. And he asked me about it. Now, I havent been asked about NATO a lot, but I understand NATO and I understand common sense and Im, like, a smart person, like many of the people in this room, hopefully all of the people in this room.

But he asked me about NATO. I said its obsolete. This is my first thing. And you know what? Im the first one. Guys that study NATO and good people, but they study NATO and they say, I dont believe it, what he just said, I never thought of that. They study it because theyre so into it that they dont realize.

Because it was really put there you had the Soviet Union and now you have Russia, which is different, but Russia is very powerful, so we can sort of say thats a balance, so well leave it. But it doesnt really cover terrorism like its supposed to. It doesnt have the right countries. I mean, many of the countries in there arent, you know, that you associate with terrorism.

And so I said, number one, its obsolete. I said, number two, to the best of my knowledge, the United States pays far too much proportionately, and why are we always paying the bills to protect other people?

And the press, which is so totally dishonest, the press goes headlines the next day Trump doesnt want NATO, wants to disband. Thats not what I said. I said youve got to pay your bills. And you know what? If they cant pay their bills, honestly there should be theyve got to go. Because we cant do this.

And most recently, in his April 27 foreign policy speech, Trump said that theU.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves if they are unwilling to pay more.

Trump, April 27:They look at the United States as weak and forgiving and feel no obligation to honor their agreements with us. In NATO, for instance, only fourof 28 other member countries besides America, are spending the minimum required 2 percent of GDP on defense. We have spent trillions of dollars over time on planes, missiles, ships, equipment, building up our military to provide a strong defense for Europe and Asia. The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defense, and if not, the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves. We have no choice.

So, Trump has clearly outlined changes he would like to see made to NATO. And he has said that, under a Trump administration, the U.S. might no longer be a part of the alliance if it isnt restructured and other nations dont start to pick up more of the costs. But even that isnt the same thing as saying that we should pull out of NATO, as Clinton claims Trump said.


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Whats Trumps Position on NATO?

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Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Health: Whats …

Posted: August 10, 2016 at 9:12 pm

Weve all seen the words complementary, alternative, and integrative, but what do they reallymean?

This fact sheet looks into these terms to help you understand them better and gives you a brief picture of NCCIHs mission and role in this areaofresearch.

Many Americansmore than 30 percent of adults and about 12 percent of childrenuse health care approaches developed outside of mainstream Western, or conventional, medicine. When describing these approaches, people often use alternative and complementary interchangeably, but the two terms refer to differentconcepts:

True alternative medicine is uncommon. Most people who use non-mainstream approaches use them along with conventionaltreatments.

There are many definitions of integrative health care, but all involve bringing conventional and complementary approaches together in a coordinated way. The use of integrative approaches to health and wellness has grown within care settings across the United States. Researchers are currently exploring the potential benefits of integrative health in a variety of situations, including pain management for military personnel and veterans, relief of symptoms in cancer patients and survivors, and programs to promote healthybehaviors.

Chronic pain is a common problem among active-duty military personnel and veterans. NCCIH, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and other agencies are sponsoring research to see whether integrative approaches can help. For example, NCCIH-funded studies are testing the effects of adding mindfulness meditation, self-hypnosis, or other complementary approaches to pain management programs for veterans. The goal is to help patients feel and function better and reduce their need for pain medicines that can have serious sideeffects.

More information on pain management for military personnel andveterans

Cancer treatment centers with integrative health care programs may offer services such as acupuncture and meditation to help manage symptoms and side effects for patients who are receiving conventional cancer treatment. Although research on the potential value of these integrative programs is in its early stages, some studies have had promising results. For example, NCCIH-funded research has suggestedthat:

More information oncancer

Healthy behaviors, such as eating right, getting enough physical activity, and not smoking, can reduce peoples risks of developing serious diseases. Can integrative approaches promote these types of behaviors? Researchers are working to answer this question. Preliminary research suggests that yoga and meditation-based therapies may help smokers quit, and NCCIH-funded studies are testing whether adding mindfulness-based approaches to weight control programs will help people lose weight moresuccessfully.

More information on quittingsmoking

More information on weightcontrol

NCCIH generally uses the term complementary health approaches when we discuss practices and products of non-mainstream origin. We use integrative health when we talk about incorporating complementary approaches into mainstream healthcare.

Most complementary health approaches fall into one of two subgroupsnatural products or mind and bodypractices.

This group includes a variety of products, such as herbs (also known as botanicals), vitamins and minerals, and probiotics. They are widely marketed, readily available to consumers, and often sold as dietary supplements.

According to the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which included a comprehensive survey on the use of complementary health approaches by Americans, 17.7 percent of American adults had used a dietary supplement other than vitamins and minerals in the past year. These products were the most popular complementary health approach in the survey. (See chart.) The most commonly used natural product was fishoil.


Researchers have done large, rigorous studies on a few natural products, but the results often showed that the products didnt work. Research on others is in progress. While there are indications that some may be helpful, more needs to be learned about the effects of these products in the human body and about their safety and potential interactions with medicines and other naturalproducts.

Mind and body practices include a large and diverse group of procedures or techniques administered or taught by a trained practitioner or teacher. The 2012 NHIS showed that yoga, chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation, meditation, and massage therapy are among the most popular mind and body practices used by adults. The popularity of yoga has grown dramatically in recent years, with almost twice as many U.S. adults practicing yoga in 2012 as in2002.

Other mind and body practices include acupuncture, relaxation techniques (such as breathing exercises, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation), tai chi, qi gong, healing touch, hypnotherapy, and movement therapies (such as Feldenkrais method, Alexander technique, Pilates, Rolfing Structural Integration, and Trager psychophysicalintegration).

The amount of research on mind and body approaches varies widely depending on the practice. For example, researchers have done many studies on acupuncture, yoga, spinal manipulation, and meditation, but there have been fewer studies on some otherpractices.

The two broad areas discussed abovenatural products and mind and body practicescapture most complementary health approaches. However, some approaches may not neatly fit into either of these groupsfor example, the practices of traditional healers, Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, and naturopathy.

NCCIH is the Federal Governments lead agency for scientific research on complementary and integrative healthapproaches.

The mission ofNCCIHis to define, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and integrative health interventions and their roles in improving health and healthcare.

NCCIHs vision is that scientific evidence will inform decisionmaking by the public, by health care professionals, and by health policymakers regarding the use and integration of complementary and integrative healthapproaches.

To learn more, visit the NCCIH Facts-at-a-Glance and Mission page.

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Evolution : Pictures , Videos, Breaking News

Posted: August 2, 2016 at 4:38 pm

Mostly evolution this week, except for one excellent piece on “what about that 3% of climate scientists who reject the consensus?” Could they be on to…

Ann Reid

Executive Director, National Center for Science Education

Let’s pretend for a moment that you are a giraffe. You live on the grasslands of the African savannah. You have a neck that is 7 feet long (2.1 meter…

James Clear

Entrepreneur, weightlifter, and travel photographer at http://jamesclear.com

One thousand years ago, when the United States of America did not exist and Oxford and Cambridge were backwaters of ignorance, the light of human reason shone brightly in places like Tunis, Cairo, and Baghdad. During the Abbasid caliphate for much of the 8th through middle 11th centuries, and also sporadically thereafter, tolerance of certain non-Muslim groups was enshrined in law.

What do you think? Does the sacred express itself in the material world? Or are we mortals pretty much on our own here in this humongous universe? Here’s what a friend of mine, neonatal pathologist Geoff Machin has to say on the question:

Lots of great stuff last week, but if you only have time to read one thing this week, read the interview with Mary Schweitzer below. What might the wo…

Ann Reid

Executive Director, National Center for Science Education

“So shall I do to the freshest things now reigning, and make stale the glistering of this present” (TIME, as the Chorus in The Winter’s Tale by Shakes…

Ajay Chaturvedi is the founder of HarVa, the first BPO set up in rural India which employs only women and author of the widely acclaimed, Lost Wisdom …

Ajay Chaturvedi

Entrepreneur, Thinker, Author, Wanderer, Yogi, Apprentice to a Himalayan Master! Founder – HarVa, Author – ‘Lost Wisdom of The Swastika’, http://www.ajaychaturvedi.in

We must realize we aren’t grown up. We must realize we have to grow up and extend the vision that change is possible. We must learn about the nature of the human mind and ego and how it traps us in limited, fear-based thinking, and then teach our children how to be greater.

Cate Montana

Author of The E Word: Ego, Enlightenment & Other Essentials

One of the great things about the minds of creatives is how well they think outside the box. They – or you – have the ability to see things not only f…

We all are guilty of procrastination from time to time, putting off those important tasks and saying ‘oh, I’ll do it tomorrow.” For many of us though, tomorrow never comes. So how do we defeat procrastination?

Atif Rashid

Freelance writer, community events organiser, speaker on religious platforms and aspiring journalist.

I concur with the New York Times editorialists who, among others, declared President Obamas speech in Dallas this week a rhetorical highpoint…

STEM is steadily earning a place as the dazzling star in the high school curriculum and for good reason. The benefit of high-level science and math co…

We are a species. Perhaps thats a bit of a blow to our modern, so-over-biology, Homo sapien arrogance; but its true just the same. Lik…

Owing to a technical difficulty, I can’t provide any illustration to accompany today’s What We’re Reading feature. But hey, you don’t only read it for…

Ann Reid

Executive Director, National Center for Science Education

While a bunch of NCSE staff members are rafting down the majestic Colorado River and another is making his way to Washington DC for the National Edu…

Ann Reid

Executive Director, National Center for Science Education

Playing ‘Spore’ is a good way to explore evolution. ‘Spore’ screenshotBy Alex Leith, Michigan State University You look down from the …

The Conversation US

Independent source of news and analysis, from the academic and research community.

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Alan Watt: The Neo-Eugenics War On Humanity Alex Jones …

Posted: July 12, 2016 at 5:33 am

Infowars.com October 22, 2010

Alan Watt continues to divulge his fascinating in-depth insights into how culture is created from the top down and used by the elite to manipulate and pervert natural human instincts towards their own ends. Every change in culture, right down to fashion and music, points out Watt citing Plato, had to be authorized and promoted from the top. This science of mass mind control is still taught today by the insiders and mediums such as television are used as weapons of social control to prevent humanity from ever realizing its full potential.

Watt talks about how the elite technocrats plan for the long term, in 50, 100 and even 150 year cycles in which to implement the different aspects of their agenda, and how each cultural shift was deliberately timed to be implemented at a certain time. The current cultural bombardment surrounds the emergence of neo-eugenics, with big foundations and organizations like the Optimum Population Trust pushing the idea that humans are superfluous, virus-like, and therefore worthless.

Watt discusses how sperm counts across Europe and America have dropped at an alarming rate of up to 80 per cent over the past 50 years, and how the medias complete ignorance of this crisis proves that it was authorized as a deliberate program of de-population. Watt traces the program back to its origins in the 1950s, where synthetic female hormones like estrogen were put in baby foods by companies like Proctor and Gamble, as well as baby milk bottles washed with Bisphenol A, the very substance that attacks male genitalia and prevents it from developing properly. Watt also outlines how Bisphenol A in womens cosmetic products contributes to toxifying their bodies, leading to an environment for male babies that leads them to have a reduced sperm count or even become sterile.The foundation of the agenda can be discovered in the writings of people like Bertrand Russell and the Huxley brothers, who talked about the need to sterilize the masses as far back as the 1930s.

Watt also divulges how the elites ultimate goal for every human allowed to be born is for them to serve the state and be deceived into accepting this enslavement as a natural form of existence. The elites greatest fear is that the inferiors will out-breed the superiors, which is why they continually push neo-eugenics and are obsessed with inter-breeding to keep their own genetics intellectually pure.

This one hour interview is part two to the previous Alan Watt feature video Shock And Awe The Manipulation Of The Human Psyche and we encourage all our subscribers to watch it now by visiting the video reports section at http://www.prisonplanet.tv not a subscriber or have let your subscription lapse? Please consider becoming a member at http://prisonplanet.tv/signup.html

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Ayn Rand Institute eStore : Ayn Rand

Posted: July 5, 2016 at 7:20 am

The first volume to offer a comprehensive scholarly treatment of Rands entire corpus (including her novels, her philosophical essays, and her analysis of the events of her times), this Companion provides vital orientation and context for scholars and educated readers grappling with a controversial and understudied thinker whose enduring influence on American (and…See More

The Atlas Shrugged app contains the novel and a selection of manuscript pages; notes from Ayn Rands journals; video and audio excerpts from her talks; information about her life and major works; and a photo gallery. Readers can share quotes from the novel in social media and take a quiz to test their knowledge of the book.

As part of their celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first Playboy Interview, the editors of Playboy have republished their interview with Ayn Rand, from the March 1964 issue. (Kindle Edition)

Ayn Rand was an American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system known as Objectivism.

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Bill Gates, Monsanto, and eugenics: How one of the worlds …

Posted: June 19, 2016 at 3:41 am


The Gates Foundation, aka the tax-exempt Gates Family Trust, is currently in the process of spending billions of dollars in the name of humanitarianism to establish a global food monopoly dominated by genetically-modified (GM) crops and seeds. And based on the Gates family’s history of involvement in world affairs, it appears that one of its main goals besides simply establishing corporate control of the world’s food supply is to reduce the world’s population by a significant amount in the process.

Gates also admitted during the interview that his family’s involvement in reproductive issues throughout the years has been extensive, referencing his own prior adherence to the beliefs of eugenicist Thomas Robert Malthus, who believed that populations of the world need to be controlled through reproductive restrictions. Though Gates claims he now holds a different view, it appears as though his foundation’s initiatives are just a modified Malthusian approach that much more discreetly reduces populations through vaccines and GMOs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Robert_Malthus).

The Gates Foundation has admittedly given at least $264.5 million in grant commitments to AGRA (www.gatesfoundation.org/about/Documents/BMGFFactSheet.pdf), and also reportedly hired Dr. Robert Horsch, a former Monsanto executive for 25 years who developed Roundup, to head up AGRA back in 2006. According to a report published in La Via Campesina back in 2010, 70 percent of AGRA’s grantees in Kenya work directly with Monsanto, and nearly 80 percent of the Gates Foundation funding is devoted to biotechnology (http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_21606.cfm).

The same report explains that the Gates Foundation pledged $880 million in April 2010 to create the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), which is a heavy promoter of GMOs. GAFSP, of course, was responsible for providing $35 million in “aid” to earthquake-shattered Haiti to be used for implementing GMO agricultural systems and technologies.

Back in 2003, the Gates Foundation invested $25 million in “GM (genetically modified) research to develop vitamin and protein-enriched seeds for the world’s poor,” a move that many international charities and farmers groups vehemently opposed (http://healthfreedoms.org). And in 2008, the Gates Foundation awarded $26.8 million to Cornell University to research GM wheat, which is the next major food crop in the crosshairs of Monsanto’s GM food crop pipeline (http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_21606.cfm).

Rather than promote real food sovereignty and address the underlying political and economic issues that breed poverty, Gates and Co. has instead embraced the promotion of corporately-owned and controlled agriculture and medicine paradigms that will only further enslave the world’s most impoverished. It is abundantly evident that GMOs have ravished already-impoverished people groups by destroying their native agricultural systems, as has been seen in India (http://www.naturalnews.com/030913_Monsanto_suicides.html).

Some may say Gates’ endeavors are all about the money, while others may say they are about power and control. Perhaps it is a combination of both, where Gates is still in the business of promoting his own commercial investments, which includes buying shares in Monsanto while simultaneously investing in programs to promote Monsanto.

Whatever the case may be, there is simply no denying that Gates now has a direct interest in seeing Monsanto succeed in spreading GMOs around the world. And since Gates is openly facilitating Monsanto’s growth into new markets through his “humanitarian” efforts, it is clear that the Gates family is in bed with Monsanto.

“Although Bill Gates might try to say that the Foundation is not linked to his business, all it proves is the opposite: most of their donations end up favoring the commercial investments of the tycoon, not really “donating” anything, but instead of paying taxes to state coffers, he invests his profits in where it is favorable to him economically, including propaganda from their supposed good intentions,” wrote Silvia Ribeiro in the Mexican news source La Jornada back in 2010.

“On the contrary, their ‘donations’ finance projects as destructive as geoengineering or replacement of natural community medicines for high-tech patented medicines in the poorest areas of the world … Gates is also engaged in trying to destroy rural farming worldwide, mainly through the ‘Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa’ (AGRA). It works as a Trojan horse to deprive poor African farmers of their traditional seeds, replacing them with the seeds of their companies first, finally by genetically modified (GM).”

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Jitsi –

Posted: May 24, 2016 at 5:45 pm

^ “Index of /jitsi/windows”. Download.jitsi.org. Retrieved 2015-02-01.

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^ “SIP Communicator: Interview with Emil Ivov”. Gulli.com. Retrieved 2013-06-08.

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^ “Jitsi: commits@jitsi.java.net: Archive Project Kenai”. Java.net. Retrieved 2013-06-08.

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^ “ice4j.org”.

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The Age of Transhumanist Politics Has Begun

Posted: April 13, 2015 at 11:41 am

The founding of the Transhumanist Party of the United States, the intensifying of the U.S. BRAIN-Initiative and the start of Google’s project “Ending death” were important milestones in the year 2014, and potential further steps towards “transhumanist” politics. The most significant development was that the radical international technology community became a concrete political force, not by chance starting its global political initiative in the U.S. According to political scientist and sociologist Roland Benedikter, research scholar at the University of California at Santa Barbara, “transhumanist” politics has momentous growth potential but with uncertain outcomes. The coming years will probably see a dialogue between humanism and transhumanism in – and about – most crucial fields of human endeavor, with strong political implications that will challenge, and could change the traditional concepts, identities and strategies of Left and Right.

Roland Benedikter is the co-author of two Pentagon and U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff White Papers concerning the future of Neurotechnology and the Ethics of Neurowarfare (2013 and 2014), several books about global strategic matters (two of those on Xi Jinping’s China) and of the upcoming book Neuroscience and Neuroethics: Impacting Human Futures (in cooperation with James Giordano, Springer New York) which will be published in 2015. He has co-authored the commentary “Neuroculture: How to keep ethical pace with the current ‘deep’ transformations through neurotechnology? for “Leftist Review” with James Giordano in March 2012. Katja Siepmann and Annabella McIntosh conducted the interview.

In the book you co-authored with Pentagon-advisor and Georgetown-neuroscientist and neuroethicist James Giordano “Neuroscience and Neuroethics: Impacting Human Futures” you state that these two fields at the interface between science and politics might lead to bigger changes in the coming years than either conventional politics or science. The reason: Technology is becoming an increasingly more powerful political and social force – not only sectorially or nationally, but globally.

Roland Benedikter: In recent years technology has indeed emerged as a concrete social and political force. 2014 has seen a noticeable intensification of that trend. The traditional political players are poorly prepared for it. What, for example, nowadays takes place in just one year at the interface between the human brain and technology, until recently required a decade. It is an exponential development. The mechanization of society and humanity is occurring within many disciplines- for example, in the form of neurotechnology, which is increasingly used for medical and both dual-use and direct military purposes. But there are other fields too. From neuroeconomics to, neuroaesthetics, neurosprituality, neurosociology and even neuropolitics, the “neuro”-prefix is becoming omnipresent in the understanding and meaning of our time and civilization – and with regard to its self-ascribed identity.

What exactly is going on?

Roland Benedikter: Supporters of “human enhancement”[1], which encompasses scientists, entrepreneurs and politicians and transcends language, cultural and ideological barriers, advocate mechanization of the human body in general and the broad “culturalization” of brain-machine interfaces in particular as the progressive, transformative path for humanity in the 21st century. By playing a consulting role in the “high spheres” of politics, science, and management, representatives of the transhumanist movement (including the World Transhumanist Association), which was initiated in the 1980s, are promoting the fusion of humans and computers. Among other things, they recommend the broad use of implants to enhance cognitive abilities, neural engineering to expand human consciousness and the cyborgization of the body and its tissues and systems in order to increase resilience, flourishing and lifespan.

Sounds gruesome at first. What is the idea behind all this?

Roland Benedikter: The name “transhumanism” is the basic concept that tells it all. Its followers want to go beyond the present human condition. At its core it means to overcome the “natural” limitations inherent in human existence, which is to be born, live relatively short, half-conscious lives, and then die. The supporters of “human enhancement” and “transhumanism” intend to break through these current physical and cognitive (and perhaps even spiritual) barriers. In order to do that, they will pursue biotechnological upgrades to the human body and thus, conceivably, try to eliminate the negative effects of ageing and eventually (at least in their aspiration) even death.

You state (in a scientifically “neutral” sense) that the first breakthrough of this development could now be imminent, but there will also be inescapable associated ethical problems?

Roland Benedikter: Possibly. Those who view the future human being as a technoid being, if not as a body fully integrated into technology – as seem to do, for example, Google’s chief engineer Ray Kurzweil or the Oxford professor of philosophy Nick Bostrom, who is the head of the “Future of Humanity Institute” at the faculty of philosophy and the Oxford James Martin 21st Century School — regard the mid of the century as a probable date for reaching the “singularity.” That’s the moment when artificial intelligence allegedly surpasses that of human intelligence and becomes in some way “self-conscious”, as these thinkers expect.[2] Kurzweil has recently even referred to the year 2029 as the date when technology could reach a level of self-conscious “intelligence”.[3] If that happens, even on an approximate basis, it will without doubt affect virtually everything, even though it will likely not occur in as spectacular ways as predicted.

Originally posted here:
The Age of Transhumanist Politics Has Begun

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PunditFact: Fact-checking John Oliver's interview with Edward Snowden about NSA surveillance

Posted: April 11, 2015 at 7:50 am

Most Americans have a fuzzy understanding of what the National Security Agency can and cannot see with its surveillance programs, much less what a former NSA contractor named Edward Snowden tried to do about it.

That’s the finding, anyway, of informal street interviews by John Oliver’s crew at Last Week Tonight on HBO.

Oliver devoted his April 5 show to the NSA spying story. It included an exclusive interview with Snowden, who is living in Russia after the State Department canceled his passport. And it included the topic of this fact-check: Can emails sent between two people living in the United States unwittingly end up on the computer screen of some NSA analyst?

Oliver, who blends comedy with journalism, framed the discussion around the NSA peeping on nude pictures.

Oliver asked Snowden to describe the capability of various NSA surveillance programs in relation to nude pictures sent by Americans, starting with “702 surveillance.” This refers to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. This section was added in 2008 and was renewed under President Barack Obama in 2012.

Could the NSA see a picture of, say, Oliver’s privates under this provision, he asked?

“Yes,” Snowden said, “the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which Section 702 falls under, allows the bulk collection of Internet communications that are one-end foreign.”

After an Oliver joke about “bulk collection,” Snowden continued, “So if you have your email somewhere like Gmail, hosted on a server overseas or transferred overseas or any time crosses outside the borders of the United States, your junk ends up in the database.”

Oliver jumped in and asked Snowden to clarify that the racy picture if you’ve seen the interview, you know we’re paraphrasing wouldn’t necessarily have to be sent to Germany in order to end up in NSA storage.

“No,” Snowden said. “Even if you sent it to someone within the United States, your wholly domestic communication between you and your wife can go to New York to London and back and get caught up in the database.”

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PunditFact: Fact-checking John Oliver's interview with Edward Snowden about NSA surveillance

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Presidential candidate Ron Paul's response to abortion questions: Go ask Wasserman Schultz

Posted: April 8, 2015 at 5:42 pm

As he grew increasingly irritated with being asked about his position on abortion Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul finally told questioners: Go ask Debbie Wasserman Schultz “if she’s OK with killing a 7-pound baby that’s just not born yet.”

Wasserman Schultz, the Weston congresswoman, is chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Paul would not say where, in his view, a pregnant woman’s rights begin and those of the fetus end. The Kentucky U.S. senator wouldn’t say what exceptions, if any, should be made if the procedure were to be banned.

In the past, Paul has supported legislation that would ban abortion except in cases of rape or incest or to save the mother’s life. At other times, he has backed bills seeking a broader abortion ban without those exceptions.

Paul grew testy when pressed in the interview on the question of exceptions. “I gave you about a five-minute answer. Put in my five-minute answer,” he said.

Later in the day, Paul was asked about the interview at a New Hampshire campaign stop. “Why don’t we ask the DNC: Is it OK to kill a 7-pound baby in the uterus?” he said.

“You go back and go ask Debbie Wasserman Schultz if she’s OK with killing a 7-pound baby that’s just not born yet,” Paul said. “Ask her when life begins, and ask Debbie when she’s willing to protect life. When you get an answer from Debbie, come back to me.”

Wasserman Schultz responded in a statement issued by the Democratic Party.

“Here’s an answer: I support letting women and their doctors make this decision without government getting involved. Period. End of story. Now your turn, Senator Paul. We know you want to allow government officials like yourself to make this decision for women but do you stand by your opposition to any exceptions, even when it comes to rape, incest, or life of the mother? Or do we just have different definitions of ‘personal liberty’? And I’d appreciate it if you could respond without ‘shushing’ me.”

Her final comment is a reference to Paul’s comment during a February interview with Kelly Evans of CNBC. She asked a follow up question while he was still talking, prompting him to say, “Shhh. Calm down a bit here, Kelly. Let me answer the question.”

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Presidential candidate Ron Paul's response to abortion questions: Go ask Wasserman Schultz

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