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Why Fashion Has Every Right To Be Political Right Now – W Magazine

Posted: February 19, 2017 at 11:12 am

Is it any surprise that fashion designers have become politically-motivated in the current political climate? It shouldn’t. At its core, theirs is a world about identity and self-expression, and so there’s no time like the present for designers and models and editors to speak out about the ideals and progressive causes they have always embraced and defended.

The topic of politics was unmissable during this past New York Fashion Week. It was on the runway in the form of the obviouspolitical slogans adorning clothing in the collections of Public School, Prabal Gurung, Jonathan Simkhai, Christian Siriano, and the CFDA’s Planned Parenthood campaign, among othersor the slightly more nuancedthe political considerations in the clothes shown at Calvin Klein, Gypsy Sport and even Jeremy Scott.

It was in the street style and in the front row (Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and Tiffany Trump both made multiple appearances; Clinton herself turned up on the last day at a stamp dedication for Oscar de la Renta). It was the talk of even the most raucous after parties. It was in the video W released yesterday of 81 different figures from the fashion world repeating the simple phrase I am an Immigrant.

While there may be an impulse by some to dismiss all these statements as the silly worrying of urban elites who should simply shut up and make pretty dresses, theres something else going on. This isnt a simple matter of left vs. right politics as we knew them in America for decades. All the unease in these corners hasnt sprung up over the idea of tax cuts, a smaller government or how best to deal with the future of Social Security. This isn’t even sour grapes over the fashion industry’s preferred candidate’s loss. This runs much deeper.

It is because the goals and rhetoric of the Donald J. Trump administration, and the formerly fringe movements propping up his mandate, are at direct odds with the vulnerable people and values that have historically found refuge and protection within the fashion industry.

Behind the Scenes of Ws I Am an Immigrant Shoot with Adriana Lima, Anja Rubik, Maria Borges, and More

Fashion is, at its most powerful, about defining yourself through the way you dress and present yourself to the world. Whether it’s someone codifying their social status through the predictablesay an affluent New Englander adorning themselves in the preppy chic of cable knit sweaters and polo shirts, or in turn, working-class Brooklynites appropriating those codes to re-invent themselvesor the proverbial story of the small-town aspiring fashionista who moves to the big city and redefines herself in thrift-store finds and Hood by Air sample sales, the power of clothes is here for both.

The dream of fashion is that identity is not something that is necessarily rigid and fixed from birth and class, but that identity is something that can be self-realized. This has been true especially in recent years as evidenced by the blurring of the masculine and the feminine on the runways, in the mixing of the high and the low in editorials, and in the ever increasing (though with long ways to go) celebration of diversity of all kinds, from race and religion to age and body shape (see Ashley Graham at Michael Kors this season, or the real women at Creatures of the Wind). The fashion world hopes that the clothes it produces lead to expression of one’s chosen self-identity, whether it happens to be something someone adopts for a lifetime or changes every day.

This emerging movement on the right, however, sees identity as something absolute and fixed. They seem aghast at recent social progress and they somehow feel attacked when others speak up. In this emerging conservative mindset, Muslims shouldn’t be offended by the phrase “radical Islamist,” transgender people shouldn’t complain about not having access to bathrooms, and concerns about voting rights are dismissed. The argument behind Trump’s immigration ban seems to be that if you’re a citizen from one of seven Muslim-majority countries, you have to jump through hoops and pass extreme vetting until it’s 100 percent absolutely certain you arent one of the bad ones, or that if you’re from Mexico, you’re not one of the “bad hombres,” in Trump’s inarticulate phrasing. It’s the racially-tinged equivalent of “guilty until proven innocent.” They have defined their enemies at home in strict terms as well. All feminists, in the words of two worryingly prominent trolls whose names need not reprinting, will wake up one day and find themselves depressed, lonely cat ladies. Or, they’re “nasty women,” to quote Trump again. And anyone who has ever been offended by anything is simply a snowflake. These, by the way, are the “nicer” examples of their insults.

We Will Not Be Silenced: Political Statements Hit New York Fashion Week Street Style

This is why fashion has responded the way it has.

Its why Business of Fashion started the #TiedTogether campaign meant to make a clear statement of solidarity, unity, and inclusiveness. The campaigns white bandannas were shown on the runway at Tommy Hilfiger and passed out to guests at Calvin Klein.

Its why Gurung sent models down the runway wearing T-shirts proclaiming love is the resistance and Stronger the fear, and Siriano showed his own People are people shirt. Its why Public School showed hats that read Make American New York because they (wished)[http://www.essence.com/fashion/woke-new-york-fashion-week-moments] “the rest of the states were like New York from an inclusivity standpoint, from a diversity standpoint, from an action standpoint.” It’s why Raf Simons, after showing his namesake collection in New York, told WWD, “If you want to have a voice, you cant walk around it. If you have a voice, use it.

Fashion is a world where freaks and geeks have always been welcomed, if not outright thrived, where everyone from a young Puerto Rican illustrator like the late Antonio Lopez to the Minnesota-born, underground voguer Shayne Oliver can become the toast of Paris, and where immigrants like Oscar de la Renta and the children of immigrants like Alexander Wang can build empires. It’s an industry that has long stood up for charitable causes, like its admirable and early advocacy to raise awareness and funding for HIV/AIDS and breast cancer research.

In other words, what may seem as recent “woke activism” has always been running just under the surface in the fashion community. The underlying message of the recent collections is that despite the niche it occupies in the cultural zeitgeist, for people in fashion, the personal has always been political, and designers are going to use the only platform they have, their runways, to stand up for the causes and individuals they believe in. In the end, there are some values that shouldn’t be politicized at all.

‘Make America New York’ Is the New Motto of the Fashion Elite

I Am an Immigrant: Fashion’s Biggest Names Issue a United Statement

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Why Fashion Has Every Right To Be Political Right Now – W Magazine

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Frankie Meyer: Underground Railroad helped former slaves gain freedom – Joplin Globe

Posted: at 11:07 am

In honor of February being Black History Month, this column is about myths of the Underground Railroad, a term for the system of networks used by slaves to escape.

Slaves were so valuable that slave owners often had large mortgages on them. Owners even carried insurance on them. Thus, when slaves escaped, owners risked great financial loss. To recover their escaped slaves, owners hired bounty hunters and placed ads in newspapers.

In 1793, President George Washington signed a fugitive slave law that gave slave owners the right to recover escaped slaves. Another law, passed in 1850, required governments and residents in free states to enforce the return of escaped slaves. Severe penalties were given to those who helped the escapees.

Numerous people helped slaves escape bondage. Most did so quietly and in secrecy. Had their names and sentiments become public, bounty hunters would have arrived at their doorsteps with arrest warrants.

Some people who helped were known as abolitionists. They wrote articles and gave speeches expressing their anti-slavery feelings in attempts to raise money for clothing, food and transportation that slaves needed as they fled to freedom. Although abolitionists raised money, they were not a direct part of the Underground Railroad. Out of necessity, people who lived along the Underground Railroad and supplied help were only able to do so by not bringing attention to themselves.

A misconception is that the Underground Railroad consisted of specific trails along which escaped slaves traveled. Instead, the pathways were corridors that constantly shifted. While on the journey to freedom, slaves needed clothing, food and a place to stay, and they needed money for transportation. They also needed directions to the next safe site. Many people along the corridors supplied these types of help. Had escaped slaves used the same trails, they would have been quickly captured by bounty hunters.

While on their freedom journey, escaped slaves slept in churches, barns, homes, caves and tunnels. One misconception is that those who helped often placed lights in their windows and placed quilts with unique designs on their wash lines or porches. That rarely happened. Bounty hunters soon learned about such techniques. Then, too, neighbors watched each other and were aware of unusual people coming and going night after night. Neighbors could collect bounties, too.

Another misconception is about the types of people who helped. Although Quaker families sometimes helped, aid also came from a variety of non-Quaker whites and free blacks, as well as escaped slaves.

Another misconception is that all escaped slaves followed the north star to Canada. Although several traveled there, some went to Mexico, some went out west and a few went to Florida, where the Seminole Tribe allowed them to live in freedom. Sometimes, escapees went to Liberia. Between 1822 and the start of the Civil War, more than 15,000 black Americans relocated to that area of Africa.

Suggestions or queries? Send to Frankie Meyer, 509 N. Center St., Plainfield, IN 46168, or contact: frankiemeyer@yahoo.com.

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Robotic process automation makes nearshore outsourcing more … – CIO

Posted: February 18, 2017 at 4:09 am

The traditional benefits of IT outsourcing to nearshore locations have included geographic proximity, time zone alignment, cultural affinity and shared language. The one area these adjacent providers have not been able to compete with their offshore counterparts on has been price.

[ Related: Building a business case for offshore robotic process automation ]

But that could change as robotic process automation (RPA) takes hold. The automation itself will begin to chip away at the offshore competitive advantage of labor arbitrage. But more importantly, argues Marcos Jimenez, CEO of Softtek North America, it will highlight areas in which nearshore providers excel: proximity, agility, and flexibility. A nearly 20-year veteran of the Mexico-headquartered company, Jimenez has doubled the profitability of Softteks U.S. and Canadian business since taking it over in 2011.

CIO.com talked to Jimenez about the potential impact of RPA on the global IT and business process outsourcing market, new demands from customers for outcome-based engagements, the role of digital labor management in the future of IT services, and best practices for RPA success.

CIO.com: Traditionally, what have been the key criteria for customers choosing between offshore and nearshore models?

Marcos Jimenez, CEO, Softtek North America: One traditional advantage of nearshore has been flexibility in accommodating requests outside the specific parameters of contractual obligations and statements of work. Lets say, for example, that a customer asks a member of an application development coding team to collaborate in real time to meet a deadline. Its typically easier for a nearshore provider to accommodate that request because we are working concurrently with clients and matching their work scheduleincluding the same holidays. Under the offshore model, meanwhile, the most experienced people work on different time schedules, since senior people in countries like India typically dont want to work night shifts.

So, when a U.S.-based client has an urgent request they need to either rely on a less experienced person or they need to wait. So under the offshore model, its more difficult to go outside the lines of defined roles and processes. And thats a problem as todays fast-paced digital world demands agility.

Theres also the obvious geographic advantage of proximity. For U.S.-based customers who have to regularly visit service provider operations, traveling to Mexico vs. Mumbai becomes a lot more convenient and productive.

In terms of staffing, the dramatic growth of offshoring has over the years contributed to high turnover rates, as staff constantly seek new opportunities. Nearshore providers tend to have lower turnover and more stability.

All of that said, by virtue of their ability to effectively leverage labor arbitrage, offshoring has clearly had the advantage when it comes to price. In that arena, the nearshore model has historically not been able to compete. And, of course, for many customers in many situations, price is the key factor in making a sourcing decision.

[ Related: 11 ways to address RPA and AI in IT outsourcing contracts ]

CIO.com: How have you seen that dynamic begin to shift?

Jimenez: At Softtek, weve been able to leverage RPA and other types of automation to shrink the traditional price gap between offshore and nearshore.

In the last year, were also seeing more interest in nearshore based on our managed services offerings, with fixed price annual cost rather than just labor arbitrage and rate per full time equivalent (FTE). Our clients are asking us for year-over-year annual cost or efficiency improvements with a strong focus on automation.

CIO.com: Can you share an example of what might have tipped the scales in favor of the nearshore approach for one of your customers?

Jimenez: Many of our customers are looking to agile development methodologies to drive innovation quickly and in a cost-effective manner. Agile requires close collaboration between different teams. So you can have a U.S.-based team at a client site working with remote teams in Monterrey and Latin America, which makes collaboration easier. If the teams are in the U.S., India and Europe, that works well for the follow the sun model where you have teams handing off development work at the end of each day, but it tends to be less effective for agile.

One specific example is a major U.S. airline customer of ours. After working for more than 10 years with large Indian providers, this customer consolidated all of their application services with Softtek. The airline had more than 500 FTEs in a labor arbitrage model and faced significant challenges accelerating response time and innovation. In addition to offering a competitive price, Softtek transformed the application management model from labor arbitrage to SLA-based, digitized governance, and lean sigma to drive innovation and continuous improvement.

CIO.com: Its clear how automation could erode the labor cost advantage of offshore providers. But how about the role of IT service provider in helping customers implement RPA internally?

Jimenez: The providers role is to work with the customer to assess the automation opportunity, define the processes and functions that will be automated, and implement the automation software. The actual software can be either a third partys, such as Blue Prism or IPsoft, or a home-grown solution. The provider also typically oversees the transition and change process and then manages the new environment on an ongoing basis.

The extent of the providers involvement can vary depending on the situation. In some cases, the tool developer will be directly involved in the implementation, while in others the tool will be licensed to the service provider. Indeed, as the market matures, the major automation tool providers are figuring out how they want to position themselves in terms of doing implementation work vs. simply licensing. That will certainly play a role in the competitive landscape going forward.

[ Related: Robotic process automation is killer app for cognitive computing ]

CIO.com: What threats and opportunities does RPA pose for offshore and nearshore providers?

Jimenez: At a high level the threats and opportunities are the same for offshore and nearshore providers. The basic threat is that RPA undermines established models of service delivery, while the basic opportunity lies in delivering more value to customers more efficiently.

For large offshore providers, the most pressing immediate threat is the cannibalization of their labor arbitrage-based BPO businesses. This threat will continue to extend to their IT services business. Theres also the issue of how to redefine their business models. There are lots of headlines about the large India heritage providers scaling back on hiring and how, rather than adding 10,000 new people, they are looking at cutting staff or redeploying large numbers of staff.

There is a big opportunity here for second tier traditional offshore providersas well as for nearshore playersto challenge the tier one with a more advanced portfolio of services that relies significantly on automation.

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Is the NSA the real president of the United States? – Personal Liberty – Personal Liberty Digest

Posted: at 3:57 am

The US intelligence community continues its war to kick Donald Trump to the curb and destroy his presidency.

Obviously, the NSA, the CIA, and their silent partners want to continue to run this country.

So they spy and leak, spy and leak.

Well get to the guts of the problem in a minute, but first a word from Bill Binney.

William Binney, a former highly placed NSA official turned whistleblower, contended in an exclusive interview today that the National Security Agency (NSA) is absolutely monitoring the phone calls of President Donald Trump.

Binney was an architect of the NSAs surveillance program. He became a famed whistleblower when he resigned on October 31, 2001 after spending more than 30 years with the agency.

Asked whether he believes the NSA is tapping Trump, Binney replied: Absolutely. How did they get the phone call between the president and the president of Australia? Or the one that he made with Mexico? Those are not targeted foreigners.

Binney further contended the NSA may have been behind a data leak that might have revealed that Michael Flynn, Trumps national security adviser, allegedly misled Vice President Mike Pence and other Trump administration officials about the contents of his phone calls with Russias ambassador to Washington.

Regarding Flynns case, Binney stated of the NSA:

If they werent behind it, they certainly had the data. Now the difference here is that FBI and CIA have direct access inside the NSA databases. So, they may be able to go directly in there and see that material there. And NSA doesnt monitor that. They dont even monitor their own people going into databases.

So, they dont monitor what CIA and FBI do. And theres no oversight or attempted oversight by any of the committees or even the FISA court. So, any way you look at it, ultimately the NSA is responsible because they are doing the collection on everybody inside the United States. Phone calls. Emails. All of that stuff.

Utilizing data provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Guardian and Washington Post in June 2013 released a series of articles reporting that the NSA was collecting the telephone records of millions of Americans.

they [the NSA, Binney said]] are given too much money anyway. When they are given too much money, they get to do wild and crazy things. And this is wild and crazy. Violations of the Constitutions 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments.

Now we come to the guts of the problem. Here is my complete article from April 10, 2014:

The Surveillance State has created an apparatus whose implications are staggering. Its a different world now. And sometimes it takes a writer of fiction to flesh out the larger landscape.

Brad Thors novel, Black List, posits the existence of a monster corporation, ATS, that stands alongside the NSA in collecting information on every move we make. ATS intelligence-gathering capability is unmatched anywhere in the world.

On pages 117-118 of Black List, Thor makes a stunning inference that, on reflection, is as obvious as the fingers on your hand:

For years ATS had been using its technological superiority to conduct massive insider trading. Since the early 1980s, the company had spied on anyone and everyone in the financial world. They listened in on phone calls, intercepted faxes, and evolved right along with the technology, hacking internal computer networks and e-mail accounts. They created mountains of black dollars for themselves, which they washed through various programs they were running under secret contract, far from the prying eyes of financial regulators.

Those black dollars were invested into hard assets around the world, as well as in the stock market, through sham, offshore corporations. They also funneled the money into reams of promising R&D projects, which eventually would be turned around and sold to the Pentagon or the CIA.

In short, ATS had created its own license to print money and had assured itself a place beyond examination or reproach.

In real life, whether the prime criminal source is one monster- corporation or a consortium of companies, or elite banks, or the NSA itself, the outcome would be the same.

It would be as Thor describes it.

We think about total surveillance as being directed at private citizens, but the capability has unlimited payoffs when it targets financial markets and the people who have intimate knowledge of them.

Total security awareness programs of surveillance are ideal spying ops in the financial arena, designed to suck up millions of bits of inside information, then utilizing them to make investments and suck up billions (trillions?) of dollars.

It gives new meaning to the rich get richer.

Taking the overall scheme to another level, consider this: those same heavy hitters who have unfettered access to financial information can also choose, at opportune moments, to expose certain scandals and crimes (not their own, of course).

In this way, they can, at their whim, cripple governments, banks, and corporations. They can cripple investment houses, insurance companies, and hedge funds. Or, alternatively, they can merely blackmail these organizations.

We think we know how scandals are exposed by the press, but actually we dont. Tips are given to people who give them to other people. Usually, the first clue that starts the ball rolling comes from a source who remains in the shadows.

What we are talking about here is the creation and managing of realities on all sides, including the choice of when and where and how to provide a glimpse of a crime or scandal.

Its likely that the probe Ron Paul had been pushingaudit the Federal Reservehas already been done by those who control unlimited global surveillance [NSA]. They already know far more than any Congressional investigation will uncover. If they know the deepest truths, they can use them to blackmail, manipulate, and control the Fed itself.

The information matrix can be tapped into and plumbed, and it can also be used to dispense choice clusters of data that end up constituting the media reality of painted pictures which, every day, tell billions of people whats news.

In this global-surveillance world, we need to ask new questions and think along different lines now.

For example, how long before the mortgage-derivative crisis hit did the Masters of Surveillance know, from spying on bank records, that insupportable debt was accumulating at a lethal pace? What did they do with that information?

When did they know that at least a trillion dollars was missing from Pentagon accounting books (as Donald Rumsfeld eventually publicly admitted on September 10, 2001), and what did they do with that information?

Did they discover where billions of dollars, in cash, shipped to post-war Iraq, disappeared to?

When did they know the details of the Libor rate-fixing scandal? Press reports indicate that Barclays was trying to rig interest rates as early as January 2005.

Have they tracked, in detail, the men responsible for recruiting hired mercenaries and terrorists, who eventually wound up in Syria pretending to be an authentic rebel force?

Have they discovered the truth about how close or how far away Iran is from producing a nuclear weapon?

Have they collected detailed accounts of the most private plans of Bilderberg, CFR, and Trilateral Commission leaders?

For global surveillance kings, what we think of as the future is, in many respects the present and the past.

Its a new world. These overseers of universal information-detection can enter and probe the most secret caches of data, collect, collate, cross reference, and assemble them into vital bottom-lines. By comparison, an operation like WikiLeaks is an old Model-T Ford puttering down a country road.

Previously, we thought we needed to look over the shoulders of the men who were committing major crimes out of public view. But now, if we want to be up to date, we also have to factor in the men who are spying on those criminals, who are gathering up those secrets and using them to commit their own brand of meta-crime.

And in the financial arena, that means we think of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan as perpetrators, yes, but we also think about the men who already know everything about GS and Morgan, and are using this knowledge to steal sums that might make GS and Morgan blush with envy.

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Trump goes full Nixon on law-and-order, vows ruthless war on drugs and crime – Salon

Posted: February 17, 2017 at 1:50 am

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

In a sharp break with the Obama administration, which distanced itself from harsh anti-drug rhetoric and emphasized treatment for drug users over punishment, President Trump this week reverted to tough drug war oratory and backed it up with a series of executive orders he said are designed to restore safety in America.

Were going to stop the drugs from pouring in, Trump told law enforcement professionals of the Major Cities Chiefs Associationon Wednesday. Were going to stop those drugs from poisoning our youth, from poisoning our people. Were going to be ruthless in that fight. We have no choice. And were going to take that fight to the drug cartels and work to liberate our communities from their terrible grip of violence.

Trump also lambasted the Obama administration for one its signature achievements in criminal justice reform, opening the prison doors for more than 1,700 drug war prisoners who had already served sentences longer than they would have under current, revised sentencing guidelines. Obama freed record numbers of drug traffickers, many of them kingpins, Trump complained.

And in a sign of a return to the dark days of drug war over-sentencing, he called for harsher mandatory minimum prison sentences for the most serious drug offenders, as well as aggressive prosecutions of drug traffickers and cracking down on shipping loopholes he claimed allowed drugs to be sent to the U.S. from other countries.

In a New Hampshirecampaign speechduring the campaign, Trump called for more treatment for drug users and more access to overdose reversal drugs, but there was no sign of that side of the drug policy equation in Wednesdays speech.

On Thursday, Trump backed up his tough talk with action as, at the Oval Office swearing in of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, he rolled out three executive orders he said were designed to restore safety in America, but which appear to signal an increasingly authoritarian response to crime, drugs, and discontent with policing practices.

The first, which Trump said would reduce crime and restore public safety, orders Sessions to create a new Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Policy, which will come up with strategies to reduce crime, including, in particular, illegal immigration, drug trafficking and violent crime, propose legislation to implement them, and submit a report to the president within a year.

The second, regarding transnational criminal organizations and preventing drug trafficking, directs various federal law enforcement agencies to increase intelligence sharing and orders an already existing inter-agency working group to submit a report to Trump within four months describing progress made in combating the cartels, along with any recommended actions for dismantling them.

Im directing Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to undertake all necessary and lawful action to break the back of the criminal cartels that have spread across our nation and are destroying the blood of our youth and other people, Trump said Thursday.

The thirddirects the Justice Department to use federal law to prosecute people who commit crimes against police officers, even though they already face universally severe penalties under existing state laws.

Its a shame whats been happening to our great, truly great law enforcement officers, Trump said at the signing ceremony. Thats going to stop as of today.

The tough talk and the executive orders provoked immediate alarm and pushback from human and civil rights advocates, drug reformers, the Mexican government, and even the law enforcement community. The apparent turn back to a more law-and-order approach to drugs runs against the tide of public health and public policy opinion that the war on drugs has been a failure.

In areport released Friday, dozens of senior law enforcement officials warned Trump against a tough crackdown on crime and urged him instead to continue the Obama administrations efforts to reform the criminal justice system. The report was co-authored for Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration by former Dallas police chief David Brown, who won wide praise for his response after a gunman killed five of his officers last year.

Decades of experience have convinced us of a sobering reality: Todays crime policies, which too often rely only on jail and prison, are simply ineffective in preserving public safety, the report said.

The presidents crime plan would encourage police to focus on general lawbreaking rather than violent crime, the report said. The Justice Department already spends more than $5 billion a year to support local police, much of it spent on antiquated law enforcement tools, such as dragnet enforcement of lower-level offenses and Trumps plan would repeat this mistake, the officials wrote. We cannot fund all crime fighting tactics.

Drug reformers also sounded the alarm.

This rhetoric is dangerous, disturbing, and dishonest, said Bill Piper, senior director for national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. We have had a war on drugs. It has failed. Tough talk may look good before the cameras, but history has taught us that cracking down on drugs and building walls will not stop the supply or use of drugs. It mostly causes the death and destruction of innocent lives. Trump must tone down his outrageous rhetoric and threats, and instead reach out to leadership from both parties to enact a humane and sensible health-based approach to drug policies that both reduce overdose and our countrys mass incarceration crisis.

Most public health experts argue that the prohibitionist approach to drugs has been afailure.They point to research such as a2013 studyin theBritish Medical Journalthat found that despite billions spent on drug prohibition since 1990, drug prices have only decreased and purity increased, making getting high easier and more affordable than ever before.

These findings suggest that expanding efforts at controlling the global illegal drug market through law enforcement are failing, the authors conclude.

Public health analysts also point to research showing that between 1991 and 2001, even when the drug war was in full effect,rate of illicit drug useamong teens rose sharply, while their cigarette smoking rate fell off a bit and their alcohol use dropped sharply. The substances that are legal for adult use were less likely to see increases than ones that are prohibited, the analysts point out.

Mexican Foreign Affairs SecretaryLuis Videgaray also chimed into note that there wouldnt be any Mexican drug cartels without American demand for drugs and to remind Washington that its not just whats being exported from Mexico that is a problem, but whats being imported.

For years, from the Mexican perspective, people say, OK, the problem with drugs that its creating so many violence, so many deaths of young people in Mexico is because theres demand for drugs in the U.S., Videgaray said. We happen to be neighbors to the largest market for drugs. From the American perspective, its just the other way around, he said, adding that both countries need to get past the blame game.

If the U.S. is serious about helping Mexico disrupt the cartels business model, it needs to stop the southbound traffic in cash and guns.

We need to stop illegal weapons flowing from the U.S. into Mexico, Videgaray said. We always think about illegal stuff moving through the border south to north, but people forget that most guns and were not talking small guns, were talking heavy weapons they get to the cartels and create literally small armies out of the cartels.

Human Rights Watch reactedto a comment from Attorney General Sessions at his swearing-in ceremony that crime is a dangerous permanent trend that places the lives of American people at risk, by noting that crime is down dramatically by all measures over the past 20 years despite a slight increase in violent crimes between 2014 and 2015. There is no dangerous permanent trend in violent or non-violent crime, it noted.

AndAmnesty International swiftly reactedto the executive order calling for new federal penalties for crimes against police.

Law enforcement officers face unique hardships and challenges due to the nature of their work, said Amnestys Noor Mir. Authorities are already able to vigorously prosecute crimes against law enforcement officers, and there is no history to suggest that officers are not fully protected by current laws. This order will not protect anyone, and instead it creates additional penalties that could cause people to be significantly over-prosecuted for offenses including resisting arrest.

There is a better way, said Mir, but that would require going in a radically different direction than where the Trump administration is headed.

This order does nothing to address real and serious problems in the U.S. criminal justice system, he said. Relationships between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve could instead be improved by investing in reform of the criminal justice system and better training for officers. Police already have laws protecting them, but there is no federal standard for the prosecution of officers who unlawfully kill civilians. Implementing a standard for lethal force in line with international standards will protect both police and civilians.

The Trump administration has outlined an approach to drugs and criminal justice policy with dark Nixonian and Reaganite underpinnings, promising more, more, more heavy-handed policing, more swelling prison populations, and morenot lessdistrust and suspicion between police and the communities they are supposed to serve and protect.

In typical Trump fashion, his brash, draconian approach to the complex social problems around crime and drugs is creating a rapid backlash. Whether the rising opposition to Trump can rein in his authoritarian impulses and regressive policy approaches to the issue remains to be seen, but a battle to stop the slide backward is brewing.

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Donald Trump touts promise progress at press conference – PolitiFact

Posted: at 1:12 am

President Donald Trump addressed a variety of topics during a Feb. 16, 2017, news conference in the East Room of the White House.

Were tracking more than 100 of President Donald Trumps campaign pledges on our Trump-O-Meter. In a lengthy press conference Feb. 16, Trump listed several actions hes taken since his Jan. 20 inauguration to meet these promises.

Heres a quick rundown of the promises he listed. (We fact-checked the press conference in a separate article.)

“We’ve withdrawn from the job-killing disaster known as Trans Pacific Partnership.”

We rated this a Promise Kept after Trump signed a presidential memoranda officially directing the United States to withdraw from the free trade deal. The TPP, negotiated by former President Barack Obama, had yet to be ratified by Congress and was unlikely to be. Trump’s withdrawal is a largely symbolic move but underscores the new administration’s very different outlook on global trade.

“We’ve imposed a hiring freeze on nonessential federal workers.”

We rated this promise In the Works, after Trump signed a presidential memorandum imposing a hiring freeze on federal employees, with exceptions for employees in national security, public safety and the military sectors. But the real measure of success for this pledge will come down to how much he is able to reduce the scope of the government through attrition.

“We’ve issued a game-changing new rule that says for each one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated.”

We rated this a Promise Kept, when he signed a Jan. 30 executive order directing that for every new regulation, two be repealed. Several regulation categories are exempt from Trump’s order, including the military, foreign affairs and personnel management.

“We’ve begun preparing to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

We rated this claim In the Works after Trump signed a broad executive order to minimize the laws economic burden on his first day in office. However, the executive order did not repeal the former presidents signature health care law or offer executive branch agencies any new authority with regard to the policy.

“We have also taken steps to begin construction of the Keystone Pipeline and Dakota Access Pipelines.”

We rated Trumps promise to build the Keystone XL pipeline In the Works after he signed a presidential memorandum advancing the construction of the pipeline on Jan 25. He also signed another memorandum ordering the Army to “review and approve” the Dakota Access Pipeline. Both represent direct reversals of actions taken by the Obama administration, which took steps to halt construction of both pipelines.

We are “now in the process of beginning to build a promised wall on the southern border.”

We rated this promise as In the Works after Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 25 calling for the walls “immediate construction of a physical wall.” Trump didnt mention in the press conference a key component of his promise that Mexico would pay for for the wall. Mexican government officials say the country wont pay.

“We’ve ordered a crackdown on sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with federal law and that harbor criminal aliens.”

Trump promised to “end” sanctuary cities during his campaign. We rated this promise In the Works after he signed an executive order on Jan. 25 directing the attorney general’s office and the secretary of homeland security to withhold grant money from cities that protect undocumented immigrants.

“We have taken decisive action to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of our country.”

Trump promised to suspend immigration from terror-prone places. We rated this promise In the Works when he signed an executive order Jan. 27 temporarily halting entry into the United States of people from seven countries impacted by terrorism. The order is currently facing significant legal challenges.

“I’ve started by imposing a five-year lobbying ban on White House officials…

We rated this promise a Compromise. Trump signed an executive order Jan. 28 that will restrict some of the lobbying White House officials can do after they leave his team. But like most presidential crackdowns on ethics, it has caveats. For example, the order only bans White House officials from lobbying their former agency, not from becoming lobbyists.

and a lifetime ban on lobbying for a foreign government.”

We rated this a Promise Kept. Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 28 banning administration officials from ever lobbying the United States on behalf of a foreign government.

“I have kept my promise to the American people by nominating a justice of the United States Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, who is from my list of 20.”

We rated this a Promise Kept. Not even two weeks into his presidency, Trump nominated Gorsuch to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court. Gorsuch, a conservative, is currently a judge for the Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit based in Colorado.

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Republicans’ health care overhaul still a work in progress – Press Herald

Posted: at 1:11 am

WASHINGTON Top House Republicans unveiled a rough sketch of a massive health care overhaul to rank-and-file lawmakers Thursday, but a lack of detail, cost estimates and Republicanunity left unresolved the problem thats plagued them for years: Whats the partys plan and can Congress pass it?

At a closed-door meeting in the Capitol basement, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and other party leaders described a broad vision for voiding much of President Obamas 2010 statute and replacing it with conservative policies. It features a revamped Medicaid program for the poor, tax breaks to help people pay doctors bills and federally subsidized state pools to assist those with costly medical conditions in buying insurance.

Lawmakers called the ideas options, and many were controversial. One being pushed by Ryan would replace the tax increases in Obamas law with new levies on the value of some employer-provided health plans a political no-fly zone for Republicans averse to any tax boosts.

Were not going to get out of this overnight, Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich.

The scant health care progress mirrors a lack of movement on other issues in a capital run by the GOP. No proposals have surfaced to pursue President Donald Trumps campaign promises to build a border wall with Mexico or buttress the nations infrastructure, and Republicans have yet to coalesce around another priority, revamping the tax code.

Senate Republicans have criticized a House Republicanplan to change how corporations are taxed. Trump has said he will release his own proposal in the coming weeks, but nothing had been produced, drawing mockery from Democrats.

The health care outline was aimed at giving Republicans something to exhibit during next weeks congressional recess, at a time of boisterous town hall meetings packed with supporters of Obamas law. Ryan told reporters that Republicans would introduce legislation voiding and replacing Obamas statute after Congress returns in late February, but offered no specifics.

Many Republicans took an upbeat tone after Thursdays meeting, with Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., saying, Were only 27 days into the new administration, so we have time.

But they have repeatedly failed for seven years to rally behind a substitute plan, and there are no guarantees of success in replacing a law that has extended coverage to 20 million Americans.

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Trump Attacks the First Amendment to Discredit The Facts About His Russian Connections – PoliticusUSA

Posted: at 12:59 am

President Donald Trump used his press conference about his new labor nominee to launch an attack on the First Amendment by blaming the free press for reporting on his campaigns Russia connections.

We need unity, Trump said just minutes before he began launching missiles at the First Amendment from the bully pulpit in an attempt to discredit the source of his Russian connections.

In the East Room of the White House, Trump called for unity and then devolved into a campaign type speech during a press conference that needed to stay on message if it were to work as a pivot. Trump left Alex Acosta behind as he stumbled his way through trying to silence the press.

Many of our nations reporters will not tell you the truth, Trump said. The press is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control.

Trump accused reporters of speaking not for the people, but for special interests. The press has become so dishonest.

Trump claimed that Reince Priebus has to put out fake fires.

Asked about Flynn, Trump said he asked for Flynns resignation, but Flynn did nothing wrong, I dont think he did anything wrong. If anything, he did something right.

What went wrong with Flynn wasnt Flynn talking to Russia, it was the medias reporting on Flynns activities, Trump claimed.

Trump claimed the Russia stories were fake news. Later in questioning, Trump tried to explain that the leaks were real but the news is fake because the news is fake.

This was followed up later when Trump claimed that the tone was such hatred. He repeated this again, the tone is such hatred. Fox and Friends are very honorable people But they have the most honest morning show. The tone, the hatred, I mean.

Trump complained about the hatred and venom from almost exclusive anti-Trump people. Trump said, When I go to rallies they start screaming about CNN.

Trump ranted about how the press was publishing classified information, which he said was illegal.

I called, as you know, Mexico All of a sudden, its out there for the world to see. Its classified, Trump claimed, as he tried to build his case for silencing the leaks that are revealing his Russian connections.

Some of the information Trump was talking about was not actually classified, but that isnt even the point since Trump gleefully used leaks that came from a hostile, aggressive foreign country against Hillary Clinton. Trump claimed that was okay because it wasnt classified. He justified Wikileaks saying they didnt publish classified information.

That is also inaccurate.

Trump would not answer the question about whether or not his campaign was in contact with Russia during the campaign. He pivoted, ranted, and moved the goal posts but would not say definitively that they had not.

Trump said he has no loans in Russia and no deals in Russia. He asked if anyone thought Clinton would be tougher on Russia than him. (The answer to that is everyone who is being honest thinks that including most importantly Putin.)

Then Trump pivoted to whining about how no one reported on Hillary Clinton allegedly cheating on debates by a heads up about questions in advance (a thing that Trump also did, according to Megyn Kellys book).

CNNs Jim Acosta pointed out that when Trump calls news Fake news, he is attacking the First Amendment and undermining the free press.

Trump got lost in weeds of trying to explain that hes there, and he wants an honest press. He couldnt actually point out anything inaccurate. Trump kept falling back on the idea that the people dont believe the press anymore, which of course, has been a result of his campaign against the press.

Kelly ODonnell pointed out that Trump actually has good relationships with some journalists, What is hard for public to see @POTUS criticizes media broadly but has some good relationships with journalists he knows.

Trumps press conference was all about how to silence and control the free press because he has no other response to reality.

What Trump doesnt realize is that he has no control over the First Amendment.

Trump attacking the press is meant to make the press the issue, instead of his contacts with Russia. Trump is trying to make the public doubt the reports about his activities with Russia by smearing the sources.

Trump refused to answer what he was going to do about the Russian spy ship off of the coast of Connecticut, claiming he doesnt announce actions in advance of doing them.

Trump doesnt think Putin is asserting himself with that ship. If Trump believes that, Vice President Pence should step in immediately.

Trump attacks the First Amendment at press conference, Trump first amendment, Trump press conference

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UNM students express freedom of speech on giant beach ball – KRQE News 13

Posted: February 15, 2017 at 9:04 pm

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) Words were flowing on the University of New Mexico campus Wednesday afternoon.

Students were given the opportunity to write whatever they wanted on a huge beach ball in the center of campus.

The group behind it, Young Americans for Liberty, said their goal was for students to take advantage of their rights and get the conversation going.

Go ahead and write whatever you like on the free speech ball, Andres Del Aguila, UNM student, said.

UNM student Shaya Golafshani decided to share a positive message Wednesday.

Hello gorgeous world, she wrote, adding she sees too much negativity around her.

I just love to see people smile and so when you tell someone theyre gorgeous, they smile so I just think thats awesome, Golafshani said.

She is just one of dozens of UNM students who wrote on a giant beach ball, exercising their constitutional right.

This is for their freedom of speech, they can say whatever they want, they have a voice, their voice matters, Jessamine Cerron, Young Americans for Liberty, said.

The groups aim is to educate all students, regardless of their political beliefs, about their rights.

I decided to draw an eye with a heart and art next to it because Im an art student and I believe that expression through art is pretty amazing, Ashleigh Ortega said.

Some students used the opportunity to have a little fun.

I put, make slime, smoke drugs, because people need to not take everything so seriously sometimes, Eli Bartlit, UNM student, said.

Others opted for a more political message.

I just felt like writing Mexican American cause thats how I feel right now, J.C. Santistevan, UNM student, said.

The group organizing the event says theyve seen examples of censorship on college campuses lately, citing the Milo Yiannopoulos event at UNM last month.

The event featuring the conservative speaker sparked protests and controversy on campus.

Were against all forms of censorship whether it be from the government or from fellow citizens, explained Del Aguila.

Organizers say they want UNM to remain an inviting campus, open to different ideas.

The Young Americans for Liberty have put on the free speech ball event before.

They say its a good way to get students to interact with each other on campus about important issues.

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EXCLUSIVE NSA Whistleblower: Agency ‘Absolutely’ Tapping Trump’s Calls – Breitbart News

Posted: at 9:00 pm


Binney was an architect of the NSAs surveillance program. He became a famed whistleblower when he resigned on October 31, 2001 after spending more than 30 years with the agency.


Asked whether he believes the NSA is tapping Trump, Binney replied: Absolutely. How did they get the phone call between the president and the president of Australia? Or the one that he made with Mexico? Those are not targeted foreigners.

Binney further contended the NSA may have been behind a data leak that might have revealed that Michael Flynn, Trumps national security adviser, allegedly misled Vice President Mike Pence and other Trump administration officials about the contents of his phone calls with Russias ambassador to Washington.

Regarding Flynns case, Binney stated of the NSA:

If they werent behind it, they certainly had the data. Now the difference here is that FBI and CIA have direct access inside the NSA databases. So, they may be able to go directly in there and see that material there. And NSA doesnt monitor that. They dont even monitor their own people going into databases.

So, they dont monitor what CIA and FBI do. And theres no oversight or attempted oversight by any of the committees or even the FISA court. So, any way you look at it, ultimately the NSA is responsible because they are doing the collection on everybody inside the United States. Phone calls. Emails. All of that stuff.

He was speaking on the podcast edition of this reporters talk radio program, Aaron Klein Investigative Radio, broadcast on New Yorks AM 970 The Answer and Philadelphias NewsTalk 990 AM.

During the interview, Binney referred to a 2008 report referencing two NSA whistleblowers who said they worked at the agencys station in Fort Gordon, Georgia and were asked to not only monitor phone calls of U.S. citizens but transcribe them.

Utilizing data provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Guardian and Washington Post in June 2013 released a series of articles reporting that the NSA was collecting the telephone records of millions of Americans.

Prior to those reports, National Intelligence Director James Clapper claimed on March 12, 2013 during an open session of the Senate Intelligence Committee that the NSA was not wittingly collecting data on Americans.

Not wittingly, Clapper said when asked whether the NSA was spying on U.S. citizens. There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly.

During the interview, Binney charged that the NSA was over-funded and out of control.

He offered recommendations for how he says Trump can reign in the agency:

He can order that they put a filter on the front end of all their collection that eliminates any U.S. citizens anywhere in the world unless they have a warrant for it. If they dont, then he has to put people in jail if they violated.

So, I mean, thats the way to do it. The other way is to cut their budget. I mean they are given too much money anyway. When they are given too much money, they get to do wild and crazy things. And this is wild and crazy. Violations of the Constitutions 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments.

On Wednesday, Trump singled out the NSA and FBI in a series of tweets about Flynns case as well as reports in the New York Times and Washington Post claiming further contacts between Trump advisors and Russia.

The Times on Tuesday seemed to be quoting from intercepted phone calls to report on alleged contacts between Trump campaign aides and Russian intelligence agents.

The Times reported:

Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trumps 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said.

Aaron Klein is Breitbarts Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, Aaron Klein Investigative Radio. Follow him onTwitter @AaronKleinShow.Follow him onFacebook.

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