Is Facebook and Twitter becoming a bit more conscious and aware? Maybe!

Facebook in their media relations page claimed this:

“Over the past few months, we have taken action against fake accounts in France, Germany, and other countries, and we recently stated that we will no longer allow Pages that repeatedly share false news to advertise on Facebook.”

I rejoice since I think at last the manipulations of nefarious activities manipulating the public, whether it is Russians getting conservatives hyped up into a mob mentality against the LGBT community, or having an unqualified real estate maven,  who seemed surprised  that he was chosen to be president, or providing a platform for hate speech for German Nazi’s, which happened to be against the law.

I followed the development of the extreme right groups who are often sponsored and supported by Russia – take hold in Western Europe and I was surprised since it used to be against the law to even whisper the word “Nazi”  in Germany.   The punishment in the 1980s was severe – over $1000 in fines or 2 weeks in prison.

How the world has changed since the Reagan era when we become “one world.”  Germans seem to have forgotten their history and now Neo Nazis are running around demonstrating and promoting their hate freely in public, protected by the free speech laws.  Erdogan’s dictator supporting Turkish soldiers are running around Germany turning in ex-soldiers, if they practice German free speech, and Erdogan tried to shut up a, perhaps a bit tasteless, German comedian.  He launched lawsuits in Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerlands.  Only in Germany he received an audience by politicians who pushed for silencing their own citizens in support of the dictator.

Facebook and Twitter helped these trends, there is no doubt about it.  No matter how much they wanted to deny it or ignore it initially.  They forbade pictures of classic Greek statues and paintings from the Renaissance if they offended some religious desire – but hate speech,  even illegal hate speech was entirely ok to them.  We now know that it was because they made good money with it.  The bot factories paid precious advertising dollars.  Art lovers who shared a beautiful Botticelli painting could not compete with the foreign dictators’ budgets. People who portrayed rape scenes were okay, women’s nipples were not.  When questioned in Germany, they arrogantly proclaimed that the Facebook police were run out of India, thus not subject to German law. Only when Merkel got so frustrated by the public furor that she promised to shut the site down altogether,  was she able to get Zuckerberg’s attention.

Now in Germany they are working on a “Facebook-Gesetz” – a law that is targeting social media companies. the law is meant to stop social media companies from spreading illegal hate speech.  The German press is concerned that while there is an attempt to create such a law, it is far from certain that there will be such a law. Political infighting points that in Germany freedom of speech and the fight against hate speech vs. mob rule attitudes are literally at odds.

While politicians are discussing the pros and cons of the formulation it is up to Facebook to keep order “voluntarily.”  In German fashion, they don’t seem to care if they tacitly allow hate speech free reign while they fight about the way the law is worded.

Thankfully, there definitely have been some improvements as the top management of Facebook finally is starting to become aware that they may be destroying Western Civilization by allowing “free speech” to extremists, while being responsive to complaints by extremists whose goal is quite literally to abolish the Freedoms of  Western Culture as we know it.

Facebook informs us:  “We are also experimenting with changes to help us more efficiently detect and stop inauthentic accounts at the time they are being created.”  

Hopefully this is a priority and completed before the next elections.  Trump fans are right that Western Civilization is under attack, mostly by ourselves.  Business leaders will ultimately decide whether democracy will survive. Business leaders are pro democracy and those who are against democracy will decide our future as they deploy artificial intelligence who write programs which determine how we will be able perceive our world now and in the future.

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American Battle: Which is more important? Wealth or Human Rights?

Photo courtesy Hillsdale College http://online.hillsdale.edu/
Photo courtesy Hillsdale College http://online.hillsdale.edu/
The Battle between Wealth and Human Rights is nearly 250 years old.

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay promoted the ratification of the United States Constitution with articles and essays that were collected and are still available at The Federalist Papers.*

Within these articles and essays these founders outlined their thinking about creating a federal union. They urged people to allow wise and experienced men who have the public good in mind to counter balance the needs, wishes, and desires of individual states. They believed that a federal union would better safeguard national borders, treaties with foreign nations.  National Government would enforce the laws for all people better, instead of having individual states or individuals fall prey to undue influence for personal gain, personal wealth creation, or a desire of personal power, or by foreign powers.

The Federal Papers were used to educate American voters about the benefits of balancing individuals and individual states’ freedoms with the public good and freedom as well as safety and overall wealth for all.

It is amazing how topical these papers are still today when we are engaged in the same exact battle once again.   It is obvious that the current administration and the Congress is not occupied by educated, experienced and wise men who strive for what is best for everyone.  The Constitution which was written with the public good in mind is now under constant attack.

Freedom of the Press is under attack by a President who has falsified Time Magazine covers decorating his golf courses.  He recently stated that the Constitution is “old-fashioned.”

The health care bill that is currently proposed by the House and the Senate leans strongly toward wealth creation for the few, instead of the public good and freedom for all.   The desire for individual wealth and power trumps the desire to protect freedom and safety for all.

The current administration who won due to manipulating the voting regions by gerrymandering, does not have full public support. Trump undoubtedly won over a lot of the working white class voters by promising to improve the health care system.  Now instead his party wants to eliminate coverage for millions, lower coverage for those who are sick, and increase the premiums for when the policies are used when needed. This translates to the fact that millions more will either not be able to afford healthcare as soon as they get ill or they will go bankrupt trying to pay for medical expenses. In Alaska for instance Premiums for a 60 years old man will go up to $34,000 per year a high price to pay even in a state that offers above average median wages ranging from from $84,000 to $37,284 per median family incomes.

Clean water is under attack by the chosen head of the EPA.  Millions of acres of public lands are leased to oil and gas companies with a history of causing oil spills ruining the environment.  The Secretary of State, Tillerson has a known history of ignoring, if not supporting human rights offenses, by working with government known to steal from their inhabitants and in some cases killing entire villages to be able to provide Oil companies, like Exxon, with drilling rights.

In an op-ed piece in “The Hill” David Abramowitz, points out that looking for short term wealth for the few often hurts human rights for the many in the long run.

Right now the US is run by people with a history of siding with Human Rights offenders.  Trump is publicly friends with human trafficker and known child molester Jeffrey Epstein, who ended up with very little jail time due to the Trump’s family intervention; Tillerson who was nearly sued by Indonesia for human rights offenses but “let go by W. Bush;” Joe Sessions lost his bid for the Supreme Court for his racist comments and attitudes;  Steve Bannon, known for garnering support of the KKK, Neo-Nazis; Mike Pence, known for his ties with the tobacco industry and support of ultra conservative Christians oppressive and dangerous to LGBT persons; Sebastian Gorka known for his help to Russia overthrow Democracy in Hungary; and of course Manafort, Flynn and  Trump’s own son in law; Guiliani who consulted helped prop up dictators like Duterte, Erdogan and created havoc in Venezuela.  The list is too long for this article.

It may be a good idea to reread the Atlantic Monthly Time Capsules as we watch Democracy, Human Rights, Ecology, Education, and everything that has made this country great in the past under attack.

Will the battle for democracy and freedom for all people, regardless of sex, race, religion and national heritage as outlined in the US Constitution be won – AGAIN?

* Kindle Edition free from Amazon and the Gutenberg Press.

 

 

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America for several hundred years stood for freedom, and now?

Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence
Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence

Since this nation was started it strongly associated with certain principles. During a time when a very large part of Americans brought in a man who seems to hold no respect the principle of freedom in his heart, we do well to remind ourselves what Freedom actually means and why the US wanted to be free from arbitrary rules of George III of England, who did not respect Americans as enjoying these inalienable rights.  Somehow nearly half of Americans seem to have forgotten and are now promoting Trump and his compadre Putin’s style of government which does not promote Freedom.

 

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have  connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

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GOP who stopped Obama from releasing Russian cyber attacks. How they will respond to the Trump and Putin alliance will determine the future or demise of the free world.

World Peace in the hands of Tillerson?
World Peace in the hands of Tillerson?

“The sanctions are targeted, not sectoral, and will have a very limited impact,” said Thomas Wright, a fellow and director of the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institute. “This will not deter Putin from interfering in French or German elections in 2017.”

Thomas Wright also suggests that:  “Trump is opposed to America’s alliance arrangements, he is opposed to the open global economy, and he is pro-authoritarian and pro-Russian.  That it is pretty clear this is the most important election anywhere in the world since the two German elections of 1932,” he wrote, in reference to the parliamentary elections that ultimately resulted in Adolf Hitler coming to power. “No other election has had the capacity to completely overturn the international order—the global economy, geopolitics, etc.”

In the Atlantic Monthly article Thomas Wright further explains: “Trump’s isolationist ideology has three components, according to Wright: 1) opposition to U.S. alliances; 2) opposition to free trade; and 3) support for authoritarianism. In Wright’s view, these three beliefs, if translated into policy in a Trump administration, could do away with the liberal international order that the United States helped design after World War II and has led ever since.  Full Article

Thomas Wright explains in a report for the Lowy Institute for International Policy:  “To understand Donald Trump’s foreign policy, we must distinguish between his three core beliefs that he has held for many decades and rarely if ever wavered from, the central themes of his campaign, and other issues. His core beliefs are opposition to America’s alliance arrangements, opposition to free trade, and support for authoritarianism, particularly in Russia. If he is elected president and governs in a manner consistent with these beliefs, the United States will be transformed from the leader of a liberal international order into a rogue superpower that withdraws from its international commitments, undermines the open global economy, and partners with Putin’s Russia.” Full Report

How the GOP responds to the Trump and Putin alliance forged to transform the US into a rogue country that works solely for a few chosen corporation – just like Russia is now – will determine our future and the future of the free world.

Source: Thomas Wright quotes from a variety of sources. For more information feel free to contact him directly at The Brookings Institute

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Cyber Warfare attacks by Russians are happening all over the US

Down the Rabbit Hole we go.
Down the Rabbit Hole we go.
The US Government released a report and recommends that all citizens and companies take pre-cautions.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommends that network administrators review the IP addresses, file hashes, and Yara signature provided and add the IPs to their watchlist to determine whether malicious activity has been observed within their organizations. The review of network perimeter net flow or firewall logs will assist in determining whether your network has experienced suspicious activity. When reviewing network perimeter logs for the IP addresses, organizations may find numerous instances of these IPs attempting to connect to their systems. Upon reviewing the traffic from these IPs, some traffic may correspond to malicious activity, and some may correspond to legitimate activity. Some traffic that may appear legitimate is actually malicious, such as vulnerability scanning or browsing of legitimate public facing services (e.g., HTTP, HTTPS, FTP). Connections from these IPs may be performing vulnerability scans attempting to identify websites that are vulnerable to cross-site scripting (XSS) or Structured Query Language (SQL) injection attacks. If scanning identified vulnerable sites, attempts to exploit the vulnerabilities may be experienced.

Commit to Cybersecurity Best Practices

A commitment to good cybersecurity and best practices is critical to protecting networks and systems.

Here are some questions you may want to ask your organization to help prevent and mitigate against attacks.

1. Backups: Do we backup all critical information? Are the backups stored offline? Have we tested our ability to revert to backups during an incident?

2. Risk Analysis: Have we conducted a cybersecurity risk analysis of the organization?

3. Staff Training: Have we trained staff on cybersecurity best practices? 4. Vulnerability Scanning & Patching: Have we implemented regular scans of our network and systems and appropriate patching of known system vulnerabilities?

5. Application Whitelisting: Do we allow only approved programs to run on our networks? 6. Incident Response: Do we have an incident response plan and have we practiced it?

7. Business Continuity: Are we able to sustain business operations without access to certain systems? For how long? Have we tested this?

8. Penetration Testing: Have we attempted to hack into our own systems to test the security of our systems and our ability to defend against attacks?

For the full document with more valuable advice:  Click

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Another Media Company bites the dust… another one down, another one down.

Huffington Post now committed to attracts News audiences.
Huffington Post now committed to attracts Fox News audiences.
Huffington Post under Verizon Board’s management now targets media toward Fox News Audiences

Today the Huffington Post had a live Facebook interview with Linda McMahon of Worldwide Wrestling Fame.  It seems confusing to people who used to think that the Huffington Post was a “liberal” media that reported on culture and politics.  It greatly delighted the new audiences of “Winners who are making America Great Again” through their vote for the Trump administration. This pivot toward the middle class and investors and the Democratic Party mistakenly calls the working class is understandable when you read AOL’s mission.  Code the company is all about code – measuring audiences, gaining audiences, redirecting audiences and undoubtedly listening in to audiences every move.  The CEO of Verizon was in charge of NSA’s largest listening program. Naturally, the number of people must expand, and the editorial has to be low brow indeed.

But why is that confusing?  If you keep up with the news, AOL purchased the Huffington Post years ago for $350,000,000 dollars.  Currently AOL serves 500,000,000 people globally.  AOL’s  mission, according to their website, is:

"We live in a time when culture defines code and code defines culture. Code is about the evolution of technology, the natural force of human ingenuity that moves culture forward. Culture is about the content experiences that make technology meaningful, enhancing our lives both online and off.  Culture + Code is our North Star — the philosophy that guides the way we organize, run and grow our business."

AOL has always been part of the world in which ethics don’t necessarily mean as much as earnings.  AOL started as a services provider that overcharged people. They still owe me close to $700 that were deducted from my Bank Account automatically.  I only could stop the monthly theft them by closing the Bank Account, back in 1996.

Then later they fancied themselves a “Unicorn” and “bought Time Inc.” during a time when every other media company paid millions for small tech companies, like AOL.  AOL purchased Time Inc. for $162 Billion, but allowed them to keep their name and their board of directors, and most of their managers. Only one of my very good techie media friends and I thought it was funny when they fell for that brilliant Time Inc. move. Most people were very impressed.  Needless to say, my funny friend and I, thought it was equally funny when AOL was spun out again from the company they had “bought.”

Their first success was more a matter of being at the right place at the right time and squeezing money out of their customers with vastly overpriced product offerings and illegally taking money that was not theirs. I still want my close to $700 dollars back, that AOL deducted from my bank account for several months after I cancelled their overpriced service.

After they were spun out from Time Inc. they went through a lot of reiterations and finally were led by a very good CEO, Tim Armstrong. Before joining the “Cable Business and Telecom” Industry he used to be a formidable media / new media guy.  Tim spent almost a decade at Google, where he served as President of Google’s Americas Operations and Senior Vice President of Google Inc. as well as serving on the company’s global operating committee. Tim started in his career by co-founding a newspaper in Boston, MA before moving into the Internet industry, where he has worked as a team member, investor or co-founder at many companies, including Starwave (sold to Disney / ESPN / ABC Internet Ventures), Snowball (IPO), Associated Content (sold to Yahoo), and Patch (sold to AOL). Tim has also been an active investor in the start-up community, both on and offline.

Tim Armstrong is smart, hard-working and has vision.  Living in the world where he is undoubtedly in a bit of a creative straight jacket, reporting to military, telecom and “healthcare” executives must be hard sometimes. He is channeling his “good man” energies by supporting an amazing amount of causes. He works with a Charter school, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Foundation, IAB Education Foundation, and more. Tim was honored by the Ad Council with their 60th Annual Public Service Award in 2013. The past few years must have challenged him, despite the amazing financial success he brought to his investors.  Buy-outs are always challenging.

He reported to a board that consisted a few old media execs and large corporate advertisers (Knight Ridder and PepsiCo, etc.) and of Eve Burton, a lawyer who grew her chops at Hearst Corporations and perhaps more importantly at a legal firm called Weil, which has extensive experience working with international media and entertainment companies and investors in transactions as diverse as mergers and acquisitions and related financings, cross-border transactions, spin-offs, IPOs, intellectual property licensing and counseling, royalty, debt and equity offerings, and restructurings. Their experience encompasses all areas of global media, publishing and telecommunications in matters of industry-wide significance. Their media and entertainment transactional practice involves particularly close collaboration among our M&A and Private Equity, Capital Markets and Technology & IP Transactions practices.

Essentially Weil attorneys are a team of globally connected mercenaries who wrote the book on Restructuring, Chapter 11, Buy Outs, with an army 1100 lawyers strong and an alumni group that stretches into 150 government agencies, financial sector, etc.  Weil is an amazingly knowledgeable firm that helps private equity investors make the most of their money and assists families keep their money while dancing knowledgeably around the laws, often having their Alumni’s create the laws.  Ms. Burton surely had a lot to do with the sale to Verizon since Weil advised Verizon on the $4.4 billion dollar buy-out.  What ana amazing return of investment.  Under Tim Armstrong’s leadership AOL grew quite a bit. Weil also has a prominent white-collar defense unit.

In 2012 the rest of the board of AOL consisted of actual media executives and officers in large corporations who were typically very large advertisers. Now he reports to a telecom based intelligence firm.

Down the Rabbit Hole we go.
Down the Rabbit Hole we go.

Verizon is run by an ex Naval Officer, Lowell C. McAdam, who most likely oversaw the creation of one of the most in-depth surveillance program for the NSA, initially at Pacific Telesis under the Bush Administration, and eventually via AirTouch, under the Obama Administration.   Other members of the board include:

Karl-Ludwig Kley, a German Industrialist, who held leading positions at Merck, E-On, Deutsche Bank, Bertelsmann, and now Lufthansa.  Martha Francis Keeth, an attorney who was previously employed as Independent Director by Peabody Energy Corp., Executive Vice President-Chemicals by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, President & Chief Executive Officer by Shell Chemicals Ltd., President & Chief Executive Officer by Shell Chemicals LP, and Chief Accounting Officer & Controller by Mobil Corp.

Shelley Archambeau is Chief Executive Officer of MetricStream, Inc., a leading provider of governance, risk, compliance and quality management solutions to corporations across diverse industries.  Prior to joining MetricStream in 2002, Ms. Archambeau served as Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President of Sales for Loudcloud, Inc., Blockbuster, and IBM. Interestingly Loudcloud is told to have been the server provider for the initial NSA surveillance program.

Mr. Mark Bertolini is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aetna Inc., a Fortune 100 diversified healthcare benefits company.  Prior to assuming the role of Aetna’s CEO in 2010 and Chairman in 2011, Mr. Bertolini served as President from 2007, responsible for all of Aetna’s businesses and operations across the company’s range of healthcare products and related services, and as Executive Vice President and head of Aetna’s regional businesses before that.  He joined Aetna in 2003 as head of Aetna’s Specialty Products after holding executive positions at Cigna, NYLCare Health Plans and SelectCare, Inc.

Mr. Carrión has served for over 20 years as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Popular, Inc., a diversified bank holding company. He also served as a director of NYNEX Corporation, one of Verizon’s predecessor companies, from 1995 to 1997.  Mr. Carrión provides our Board with financial, operational and strategic expertise developed during his long tenure as Chairman and CEO of Popular, Inc. This experience, combined with his board service at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2008 to 2016, also provides our Board with deep risk management expertise.

Verizon’s Executives are teaming with members of GSMA an organization that specializes in “intelligence” gathered about Mobile Customers around the globe.  Data Driven content will play a relatively minor part of the new Bot, AI, and machine learning world. From now on AOL will be all about the Code that holds, influences and tracks a global audience – legally.

So good-bye Huffington Post,and hello “Brave New World” Aldous Huxley Style.

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What is the Trump phenomena about?

http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-36253275

http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-36253275Why do rural blue color workers and rural college educated people love Trump?

The Guardian’s Thomas Frank, pointed out on March 7, 2016:  “..what motivates the supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump? I call it a “mystery” because the working-class white people who make up the bulk of Trump’s fan base show up in amazing numbers for the candidate, filling stadiums and airport hangars, but their views, by and large, do not appear in our prestige newspapers. On their opinion pages, these publications take care to represent demographic categories of nearly every kind, but “blue-collar” is one they persistently overlook.” Full Article

The Atlantic Monthly received letters from a range of people who support Trump for president in August 2015.  The reasons they quote are similar:

A self proclaimed Liberal who voted for Obama wrote: “Rather, I genuinely believe that Trump feels the need to fight for the country he loves. There once was a time when people could actually feel proud to be Americans, and Trump comes from a generation that experienced that feeling. Now, many are embarrassed to be associated with this country. Jobs are being outsourced with reckless abandon and this country is literally being hollowed out. Economic statistics do no justice to this reality, and the average American knows this to be true.”

An undecided voter writes: “..the preeminence of political correctness among the culture class indicates a momentous shift away from formerly prominent middle-class cultural values and towards something entirely different. Even if Donald Trump were to accomplish little in his presidency, I think there is a hope that were he president, he could in some way alter that prevailing Washington/media culture and set a new cultural tone. Many would probably question why, of all people, a decadent, rude, and pompous billionaire should be trusted to meddle with American culture? I think it comes down to a perception that America has already drowned in a post-modernist nightmare of moral relativism, from which extreme political correctness and protest culture stem. Trump, on the other hand, is all absolutes.”  Full Article

Kathy Kramer shared with Kevin Drum in an interview for Mother Jones, November 8, 2016, that her political science study showed this:

“What I was hearing was this general sense of being on the short end of the stick. Rural people felt like they not getting their fair share. That feeling is primarily composed of three things. First, people felt that they were not getting their fair share of decision-making power….Second, people would complain that they weren’t getting their fair share of stuff….And third, people felt that they weren’t getting respect….So it’s all three of these things — the power, the money, the respect. People are feeling like they’re not getting their fair share of any of that.” Full Article

So let’s take a close look and let’s see if what they feel is true.

The Brookings Institute states that Republican States have more entrenched poverty than Democratic States. Republican districts have more poor residents overall: 25.1 million poor people lived in red districts in 2010-14 compared with 22.7 million in blue districts.

Between 2000 and 2010-14, the poor population grew faster in red districts than blue. The number of people living below the poverty line (e.g., $24,230 for a family of four in 2014) in Republican districts climbed by 49 percent between 2000 and 2010-14 compared with a 33 percent increase in Democratic districts. As a result, Republican districts accounted for 60 percent of the increase in the nation’s poor population during that time. At the same time, poverty rates rose by similar margins in both red and blue districts (3.3 and 3.2 percentage points, respectively).

Table 1. Congressional Districts with the Fastest Growth in Poor Population, 2000 to 2010-14

Party State District Representative Percentage Change in Poor Population   Share of Poor in Suburbs
R NV 3 Heck, Joseph J. 268.4% 51.0%
R GA 7 Woodall, Rob 223.6% 100.0%
D GA 13 Scott, David 213.1% 100.0%
R AZ 8 Franks, Trent 188.5% 93.5%
R AZ 5 Salmon, Matt 177.7% 50.4%

Source: Brookings Institution analysis of decennial census and American Community Survey data

Hunger in Rural Communities is higher than Urban

According to the United States Department of Agriculture report, Household Food Security in the United States in 2014, 14% of U.S. households were food insecure at least some time during the year. The prevalence of food insecurity was higher in rural areas than metropolitan areas.

Food Insecure Households

Source: Household Food Security in the United States in 2015, page 14.

The Digital Divide created by lack of Internet Access

55 percent of people living in rural areas have access to the speeds that currently qualify as broadband, while 94 percent of the urban population does. As of 2015, 74 percent of households in urban areas of the U.S. had residential broadband connections, compared with only 64 percent of rural households. This gap has persisted over time. Research reveals that  adoption can help improve the economy in these rural areas (including increasing income, lowering unemployment rates and creating jobs). In addition, we know that roughly 40 percent of the rural-urban adoption gap is because rural areas don't have the same level of broadband access. This is because large providers are not interested in serving these communities and in some instances have refused Federal Subsidies to get rural communities connected. 

Source:  http://phys.org/news/2016-06-technology-rural-broadband-access-problem.html#jCp

Suicides in Rural Areas are double of those than in Cities

A study by the JAMA states that Suicide is a serious public health problem. For youths between the ages of 10 and 24 years, suicide was the third leading cause of death in 2010 behind only unintentional injuries and homicide.1 Males are at higher risk, accounting for 81% of suicide deaths in the 10- to 24-year age group. Suicide risk increases with age, with 6% occurring in individuals younger than 15 years, 34% in those between 15 and 19 years, and 60% in young adults aged 20 to 24 years.1

Rates of suicide also vary by rural-urban residence, with higher rates in rural compared with urban areas. Suicide rates among rural men were higher than those of urban men, with rural-urban differences widening over time. Higher rates of suicide attempts have also been reported8 among rural compared with urban adolescents. The studies conclusion stated Although low population density per se may be operative, efforts to improve access to mental health services and offer social support at the local level could narrow the gap in risk for youths in rural as opposed to urban settings. Additional study is warranted and of potentially great public health significance. Full Article

Rural communities as our research shows are genuinely struggling with problems that are not adequately addressed by neither the major political parties nor the major media outlets.  It seems that one of Trump’s appeal is that at least give this audience the feeling they are seen and heard. While this does not qualify him to do anything about the issues he has succeeded in mobilizing millions of Americans to vote for him to “stick it to the elite.”  Rural people are angry for having been ignored as their lives have grown ever more depressing. Trump has pulled them out of this feeling of helplessness and he has unleashed their anger.

Next we will investigate why a supposedly educated people would vote for Trump.

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Patrick Henry said: “United we Stand, divided we fall.”

Throughout history there have always been ill mannered, dishonest men and women.  It is up to us if we let them tear us apart, or whether we use them as an inspiration to improve the fabric of our society.

For the past 40 years, we have allowed our wages to dwindle, our integrity as people and as states, and a country to dwindle.  We have stood by as investors have sucked ever more money out of the economy, and as the entertainment industry allowed philanderers, sexual predators and adulterers become pop idols.  We have allowed men and women into politics who abused their power for personal gain, and who have used blackmail to gain ever more power.

We all agree that this is not a wonderful situation.  Young women are raped at colleges, young men are raped in the army, unarmed people are shot in the streets and in parks, and management no longer is urged to build strong companies but instead they are representing themselves and the investors, who view themselves more and more as the “ruling class.”   Workers’ rights have diminished through lack of organization, and because many Union leaders are not reasonable and often corrupt.

We can be overwhelmed and start the “blaming” game, or we can pull together and hold ideals that we cherish up high for all to see.  We can stand together to give “the people” a voice once more.  This is not a matter of right wing or left wing.  This is not a matter of North or South, coastal states or inland states.

This is a matter of getting a back bone and uniting to stand up for what we know is right.  It is time that we stop the excesses of all the people who take advantage of those weaker than themselves.  It is time to unite to keep freedom of the press alive and to stop all people who think that dishonesty in whatever shape or form it takes, from holding positions in public office. Let’s evaluate one person at a time.  We know that when we are called to turn a blind eye to people who support those who have no regard for truth, justice and honor we are complicit.  This has nothing to do with politics. It is a matter of personal responsibility and decency.  If we don’t stand up for this free country, we will lose our freedoms.

Violence, dishonesty, adultery, sexual assault, oppression, slavery, should be pointed out in every corner of this country. When we shine the light on the truth and on what is really going on, we can make room for leaders who actually care and who are smart and honorable.

Right now one thing should be clear to everyone who is upset about what is going on, is that we all have a lot of work to do to clean up the mess we allowed this beautiful country to become.  As Patrick Henry said:  United we stand and divided we fall.  He also said:  “Give me liberty or give me death.”

The idea that we have to be silent about abuse, disgusting behavior, and oppression, greed, public theft, excesses, and sexual assault, assault on our water, earth, and air, about anything that is just plainly wrong, has been shaped by those who want to silence us so they can take advantage of us and take our rights away.

The US is the first free country and we should shout that from the mountain tops and across the sea.  United we stand and divided we fall.  By urging us to pick sides they want to distract from what is wrong on each sides.  Let’s pick truth, honor, justice and liberty for all.  We the people have a right to pursue happiness and right now we are not happy at all.

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Good Guy Billionaire: Who is Marc Benioff?

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce - a values-based leader
Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce – values-based leader

Marc Benioff is chairman and CEO of Salesforce, in a $106 Billion dollar industry, as businesses are expected to spend $106 billion on SaaS in 2016. He became a millionaire at age 25 and his ideas and followthrough have turned him into a billionaire.

Benioff created the 1-1-1 model of philanthropy, which leverages the resources of Salesforce to improve communities around the world: donating 1% of Salesforce’s product, 1% of its equity and 1% of employees’ time to help nonprofits achieve their missions. Today, more than 700 companies have adopted the 1-1-1 model through the Pledge 1% movement. Benioff and his wife, Lynne, have focused their personal philanthropy on children’s health, including building UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland, as well as on public education, homelessness and other social issues. Marc and Lynne Benioff have made an extraordinary $100 million gift to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, which is officially renamed the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. See full press release and on Philanthropies.

In his book “Behind the Cloud,” Marc Benioff explains that every company needs to integrate the Hawaiian Spirit of Mahalo.  The spirit of gratitude and praise.  He remembered that when he used to work for Apple, as a programmer on the MacIntosh, what made him happiest were the fact that he could have fresh fruit smoothies.  So when he started Salesforce he provide fresh and healthy foods in the kitchen, a fully paid gym membership and after every product release he ordered massages for all his technical team as a big thank you, free yoga lessons with a renowned teacher and discount tickets on Hawaiian Airlines.

In order to inspire the team and create the all important team spirt, he created a peer reward system.  People could nominate their peers and the winners would receive $500 bonus checks for various recognition categories.  The most unusual award system were life size posters of distinguished employees for everyone so see and recognize.  One thing that always bothered him that in most industries sales people were “coin-operated.” They were rewarded exclusively with money.  At Salesforce everyone who met their sales quota would receive a 3 day fun filled experience in Hawaii with a friend or their partner.  It surely worked as between 45 to 65% of the sales people met the quota and received their trips.  In most sales organizations only the top 20% of the sales team is rewarded. By setting the bar within reach, the morale in the company soared creating a positive experience for the Salesforce team and their customers.

A pioneer of cloud computing, Benioff founded the company in 1999 with a vision to create a new kind of enterprise software company, with a new technology model based in the cloud, a new pay-as-you-go business model and a new integrated corporate philanthropy model.  Salesforce has been named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies five years in a row by Forbes Magazine, one of Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies in the software industry and a Fortune Best Company to Work For. 

Benioff has been widely recognized for his visionary leadership and pioneering innovations. He has been named one of the 50 World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune, Businessperson of the Year by Fortune readers, one of the Best CEOs in the World by Barron’s and received The Economist’s Innovation Award. Benioff is also a member of the World Economic Forum Board of Trustees.

Benioff believes that businesses are the greatest platforms for change in the world. He has embraced World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab’s multi stakeholder approach to leadership, serving not only shareholders but all stakeholders–including customers, employees, partners, communities and the environment–to make the world a better place. Benioff is also inspiring fellow business leaders to do the same. He led a group of CEOs and business leaders in opposing state legislation that discriminated against LGBTQ communities, and instituted a company-wide salary assessment at Salesforce to ensure men and women were being paid equally for comparable work.

Benioff is a 35-year veteran of the software industry. Prior to launching Salesforce, he spent 13 years at Oracle Corporation. He founded his first company, Liberty Software, which created video games, at the age of 15. He also worked as an assembly language programmer in Apple Computer’s Macintosh Division. Benioff received a B.S. in Business Administration in 1986 and an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in 2014 from the University of Southern California.

He is the author of three books, including the national best seller, Behind the Cloud.

He runs a most transparent company.  Enjoy his Keynote speech to his employees at the DX conference. Watch Marc Benioff, Chairman & CEO of Salesforce kick off the TrailheaDX 2016 Keynote. He interviews special guest Corinne Warnshuis, Executive Director, GDI about the organization’s partnership with Salesforce. Recorded live on June 7, 2016.

Learn more on www.salesforce.com 

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TTIP want to put GMO based food ahead of local populations’ preference for health

TTIP is negotiated by officials who were not voted for and who wish to oppress local populations for big business. It provides permission for big multi national companies to sue local populations if they are against these poisons. Big business at its most offensive level since the Oligarch era of days past.

These offensive practices are already happening on a wide scale with big business oppressing third world countries. Now these offensive companies want to oppress all European countries.

Tobacco companies were limited from advertising in the US lowering he rate of smokers to 18% of the US populations, down from a high of 48%.
So they moved their business to third world countries. They started to sue small countries insisting by removing warning labels. This is what the TTIP and the TTP is all about. Giving corporations free reign pretending that they are fighting China has nothing to do with free trade. World populations need to step up and get informed.

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Misinformation … CNN has long been accused as a “cross-dressing” Media company

 Jane Fonda with Ted Turner
Jane Fonda with Ted Turner

CNN wrote in an article covering that the Trump/Putin joint effort to influence the US election was normal. We agree with the fact that every country always wants to influence as many other countries as possible.  Of course to keep a country safe and for its economic advantage politicians in the foreign office promote the countries values.  However CNN provides examples that are factually incorrect or at minimum slanted and actually seem to spread misinformation.  Full Article

For example the article claims that UK intelligence “spread rumors” about Charles Lindbergh. However, in fact the rumors were factually correct as the actual Autobiography of Charles Lindbergh shows.

Hermann Göring presents Nazi Medal to Charles Lindbergh on behalf of Hitler
Hermann Göring presents Nazi Medal to Charles Lindbergh on behalf of Hitler

The US government was not correctly informed about the rise of Hitler by Charles Lindbergh.  The UK government did not spread rumors it corrected the point of view that was based on false information, by Hitler fans, Charles Lindbergh and his Nazi admiring wife.  Here is a quote from a PBS article :

Charles Lindbergh was convinced that no other power in Europe could stand up to Germany in the event of war. "The organized vitality of Germany was what most impressed me: the unceasing activity of the people, and the convinced dictatorial direction to create the new factories, airfields, and research laboratories...," Lindbergh recalled in "Autobiography of Values." His wife drew similar conclusions. "...I have never in my life been so conscious of such a directed force. It is thrilling when seen manifested in the energy, pride, and morale of the people--especially the young people," she wrote in "The Flower and the Nettle." By 1938, the Lindberghs were making plans to move to Berlin.

The public’s cry for authenticity shows that there is a world wide trend of people being tired of being misled. While it is natural that every person wants to present their best possible public image, as they should, ideally people’s expressions and assertions are backed up by facts.

Particularly in the “new GOP” the Trump led GOP in contrast of the previous economically conservative GOP, the concept of facts being replaced by feelings that have nothing to do with facts is widely used and accepted.

Media, particularly the most prominent media companies, should return to fact based reporting. CNN has more people watching than any other media company. CNN recently hired Corey Lewandowski despite his rather questionable behavior toward women to tap deeper into the Fox TV audience. People who like history know that CNN was started by the successful advertising executive, Ted Turner in 1980. His business philosophy was so flexible it was aptly described by Eric Guthey (2001). Ted Turner’s Corporate Cross-Dressing and the Shifting Images of American Business Leadership. Enterprise and Society, 2, pp 111-142. doi:10.1093/es/2.1.111.  Until media companies like CNN who hold the largest audiences and therefore influence the majority of the people returns to seeking truths and spreading fact. We each need to take responsibility of getting out of the emotionally based echo chambers that erode out grasp on reality.

Today when even the top media companies are using feelings and opinions inter changeable with facts every intelligent person is required to fact check before choosing to be influenced.  Let’s to keep civilization alive.

 

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Michelle Obama is beautiful inside out and outside in. True Beauty!

Vogue shows Michele Obama's outer beauty - her speech shows her inner beauty as a mother and leader.
Vogue shows Michelle Obama’s outer beauty – her speech shows her inner beauty as a mother and leader.

Her speech reflects the beauty of her mind and soul.  What a classy and beautiful woman.

When someone sais what they do and does what she says we can trust and admire that person with all our might.

The first Lady genuinely cares about the US, the world and people. She now is working with an organization called called Let Girls Lean.

Let Girls Learn is a U.S. government initiative launched by the President and First Lady that helps adolescent girls attain a quality education and enables them to reach their full potential. Educating girls is essential to healthy and thriving communities but, globally, 62 million girls are not in school, and barriers to adolescent girls completing school are particularly significant. In some countries, fewer than 10% of teenage girls complete secondary school. Learn more about it and how we can genuinely improve the lives for people, empower people to get jobs, improve countries infra structure and stop the hunger and power based wars and resulting refugee flows.

https://letgirlslearn.peacecorps.gov/

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Happy Fourth of July 2016 and the fight for democracy continues

Chris Van Etten appears in the new Jockey campaign What's Underneath (PRNewsFoto/Jockey)
Chris Van Etten appears in the new Jockey campaign What’s Underneath
(PRNewsFoto/Jockey)
Chris Van Etten symbolizes the American Can-Do Spirit or did he do it in vain because we are too lazy to protect Democracy?

Marine Chris Van Etten, who lost both legs in Afghanistan in July 2012, returned to his family’s Illinois home for the holidays, after spending half a year at a Californian rehabilitation center. He was met with racist graffiti on his family home which was particularly strange as he is Caucasian. Someone spray-painted racial slurs on and threw raw eggs at the Van Etten’s house, likely as the family slept. Van Etten was critically injured from a roadside bomb explosion, which killed his best friend. Lance Cpl. T.J. Baune from Minnesota while on night patrol June 13.  Full Article

Chris Van Etten, a Marine fought for America, presumably to spread Democracy to Afghanistan.  He fought to stop Al-Qaeda from spreading their terror attacks to the West. He fought to uphold our freedom that began on July 4th of 1776 when Americans declared their independence from the British Tax System which they perceived as a yoke.

A few weeks ago the British Population declared that they wish to be freed from the yoke of the EU.  In a recent podcast, Mr. Krugman, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics in 2008, says that “Brexit” was “a terrible blow to the elite leadership in Europe,” explains how the people who are most likely to emerge on top as a result of the move are “the Donald Trumps of England” and talks about the way in which the E.U. is fundamentally at odds with democracy and the idea of a democratically elected government.  Full article and podcast

The world is once again at a cross road.

Shall a few rule over the many and subjugate them or shall the many fight for freedom of information which demands the protection of freedom of speech? In the EU a few bureaucrats rule over the many without regards for their opinion, wishes, preferences. The European Parliament gave them the power to do so, without any recourse but extreme measures for the pubic. Is the Brexit a good idea? Many agree that it is not and that it is based on misinformation presented by the originally Australian Rupert Murdoch’s news empire. He also is working on his fascists aims in breaking Democracy in the US using Fox TV and since a few years the Wall Street Journal.

A book by Larry Bartels promoted by Princeton University explains what is going on in a succinct way:

Unequal Democracy debunks many myths about politics in contemporary America, using the widening gap between the rich and the poor to shed disturbing light on the workings of American democracy. Larry Bartels shows the gap between the rich and poor has increased greatly under Republican administrations and decreased slightly under Democrats, leaving America grossly unequal.” The review goes on to say: “Bartels demonstrates that elected officials respond to the views of affluent constituents but ignore the views of poor people. He shows that Republican presidents in particular have consistently produced much less income growth for middle-class and working-poor families than for affluent families, greatly increasing inequality.”

All of us have to choose whether the Independence our forefathers fought for should regress because we are too passive and allow the fascists and hyper-wealthy, uncaring people to repurchase yokes that make our lives miserable. The Brexit shows what dis-information can do to a civilized country. Will it happen here in the US?

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With TTIP corporations will no longer be liable for any damage they cause. Time to remind us what freedom means?

Would TTIP have passed during the times of the Declaration of Independence?

declaration_of_independence_stone_630

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

TTIP is against democracy and it creates a framework for oligarchy to reign supreme.  Read this article for details.

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Ray Arata, champion of change, advises corporations why gender equality is truly worthwhile

RayArata-GenderLeadershipGroupcom


Ray Arata, UN Women’s HeForShe Champion For Change describes The Power of The Heart for Inclusionary Leaders as he shares his vision for gender equality and gender partnership within our personal and professional lives along with other closing statements at the inaugural Better Man Conference 2016 by Gender Leadership Group.

Sponsors include: PG & E, Hanson Bridgett, Genentech, Mankind Project, PwC, San Francisco Giants, and the 3% Conference.

Marketing partners include: Lean In, The Bay Area Council, The Representation Project, Anita Borg Institute, WiRL, Institute For Women’s Leadership, Institute For Gender Partnership, Griggs Productions, Women In Technology International.

Learn more about Ray Arata.

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Muhammad Ali died after a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease with his family by his side

Muhammad Ali engaging in some of his famous trash poetry talks

Cassius Marcellus Clay was born in the West End district of Louisville on January 17, 1942. His father Cassius, was a sign-writer with artistic ambitions and his mother, Odessa, a domestic servant. His father, who was told to be a womanizer and heavy drinker, was named after his great-grandfather’s slave owner. His father owned a home and Cassius Clay had only one sibling, his brother Rudy Clay. As a result Cassius Clay grew up in a middle class home, which was unusual in those days.

His mother’s grand father was an Irish man, Abe Grady, who had married her African American grandmother. When Cassius was only 12 years of age he saw someone steal his Schwinn bicycle and he reported it to the police. He told the officer he was going to “whup” the thief. The kind officer told him he better learn how to box first. The police man, Joe Martin, took a liking of the talkative young boy and persuaded him to join his boxing club. Six weeks later, Clay won his first bout in a split decision. Cassius Clay trained with him for six years after which Joe Martin turned professional.

Cassius Clay, just like his father, was named after Cassius Marcellus Clay, a 19th-century farmer who did not believe in slavery. He became an anti-slavery crusader. Although he inherited 40 slaves from his father he emancipated them once he had a chance to do so. This abolitionist edited an anti-slavery newspaper, he commanded troops in the Mexican-American War and served as minister to Russia under President Abraham Lincoln. Even though he was a second cousin to the Kentucky Senator Henry Clay, he put himself in considerable danger with his abolitionist attitudes. Clay faced death threats, beatings, and was stabbed and shot by political opponents. Despite the ordeal he lived to the ripe old age of 92.

The young boxer, Cassius Clay was academically challenged as he spent most of his time in school day dreaming instead of focusing on his academics. Atwood Wilson, the school’s principal, had a soft spot for the entertaining young Cassius and introduced him to the school assembly: ‘Here he is, ladies and gentleman, Cassius Clay! The next heavyweight champion of the world. This guy is going to make a million dollars.” Their shared dream came true with a glorious beginning of Mohamed Ali’s illustrious boxing career. For the last four years of Clay’s amateur career he was trained by boxing cut man, Chuck Bodak. Clay went on to win six Kentucky Golden Gloves titles, two national Golden Gloves titles, an Amateur Athletic Union National Title, and the Light Heavyweight gold medal. Clay’s amateur record was 100 wins with five losses. At the young age of 18 Clay won gold as a light-heavyweight amateur at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.

After he took gold in Rome’s Olympic games, Cassius Clay immediately took the opportunity to go professional since he was offered to financially backed by a local Kentucky Millionaire. This relationships was short lived since Cassius Clay did not enjoy being treated with contempt as a slave by that man and his ill mannered family. He left and chose the backing of a small consortium of eleven business man in Louisville, KY. He tried to be trained by Sugar Ray Robinson but was rebuffed due to his boisterous personality and refusal to participate in the training duties such as cleaning dishes and washing the floors. More

Cassius Clay successfully recruited Angelo Dundee who ran the legendary Fifth Street Gym in Miami Beach. Dundee encouraged Cassius Clay to freely express himself as did the assistant trainer, Drew ‘Bundini’ Brown. Bundini came up with the phrase ‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’, and started Clay’s habit of forecasting the round in which he would fell his opponent.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

While he had a string of successes in beating many of his opponents he annoyed many boxing fans with his belligerent psychological war fare and insults of the opponents before entering the ring. He won his first professional fight against Tunney Hunsaker in October 1963. Thereafter Clay amassed a record of 19–0 with 15 wins by knockout. He defeated boxers including Tony Esperti, Jim Robinson, Donnie Fleeman, Alonzo Johnson, George Logan, Willi Besmanoff, Lamar Clark, Doug Jones and Henry Cooper. Clay also beat his former trainer and veteran boxer Archie Moore in a 1962 match.

Cassius Clay had been greatly moved by his father’s enraged account of the lynching of a 14-year-old black boy, Emmett Till, in Mississippi in 1955. And it was his father who was encouraged by the political leader Marcus Garvey to be proud of and retrace their ancestral roots. Growing up he was upset by segregation in Louisville, especially when his mother was refused a drink of water in a whites-only café. He started going to the rallies of religious leader Elijah Muhammad from 1959 and befriended Malcolm X in 1962. He secretly converted to Islam at age 18.

During that time he was attended by Ferdie Pacheco, his doctor, who said of Clay: ‘In 1961, 1962, 1963, he was the most perfect physical specimen I had ever seen … perfectly proportioned, handsome, lightning reflexes and a great mind for sports.’

Cassius Clay was a devout Muslim and dedicated member of the Nation of Islam, having fallen under the tutelage of Malcolm X in 1962.

Columbia Records released a 1963 spoken word album called “I Am the Greatest” in which the 21-year-old rising star performed his poetry, backed my musical accompaniment, before an audience. The album also included two songs by the boxer, including a cover of the Ben E. King hit “Stand by Me.”

By late 1963 he was qualified to challenge Sonny Liston for the title. Cassius Clay wanted to announce that he had converted to Islam but what asked to wait after the fight with Sonny Liston to prevent a back lash that was sure to happened before the fight. The fight was set for February 25, 1964, in Miami. Liston was an intimidating personality, a dominating fighter with a criminal past and ties to the mob. Cassius Clay was blinded during the fight by ointment that Liston put on his gloves. Liston had been accused previously by two other fighters of “burning” eyes. But, Cassius Clay won the fight and was declared champion. Liston claimed he had an injured shoulder and others rumored that Liston had bet against himself to pay of his own debts. By winning this fight, Clay became at age 22 the youngest boxer to take the title from a reigning heavyweight champion.

By 1964 Clay had won 19 straight fights, all but four of them by knockouts, and was ready to challenge for the world title.

In March 1964 Cassius Clay was bestowed the name Mohammad Ali by his religious teachers. He was initially inspired by Malcolm X, choosing to change his last name to X for a while during his religious Muslim training. He stayed with the Nation of Islam, despite the rift between the founder and Malcolm X following the Kennedy assassination. Malcolm X was expelled and started his own competing Islamic organization. When rumors began circulating that year that Cassius Clay had joined the Nation of Islam, one of his bouts was nearly canceled, and when he officially joined in 1964, he had his boxing titles stripped from two organizations, including the WBA.

When Cassius Clay announced that he had changed his name for religious reasons the press reacted strongly. The Saturday Evening Post wrote: “For a time, when he was confining himself to bad poetry, Cassius was a loudmouth but a likable character who seemed to be harmless in or out of the ring. Then he won the championship and became, in his own estimation, “The Greatest.” After the fight, he acknowledged that he was a Black Muslim, converted by the arch-extremist, Malcolm X, the man who crowed that President Kennedy’s assassination was “a case of the chickens coming home to roost.” Malcolm X was separated from the Black Muslim movement after that remark and is now attempting to organize his own black nation. He wants to arm all the Negroes in the U.S. and ultimately take them back to Africa.” It went on to say: “Clay’s history of calculated deceptions now prompts the suspicion, of course, that his present case of galloping religion is but another decoy to serve who knows what end. Clay himself strengthened the suspicion when he declared, “Just by my being a Muslim, that should draw a bigger gate…” In actuality his commitment to Islam has cost him roughly two million dollars in commercial endorsements.

In July 1964 he met a cocktail waitress named Sonji Roi and they married after a one month courtship. But the pair separated when she refused to conform to the strict edicts by which the group thought women should live. They were divorced by January 1966.

April 28, 1967 Mohammad Ali reported to the Military Entrance Processing Station in Houston. As officials called his name for induction to the Army to fight in the Vietnam War he wouldn’t step forward. He was eventually arrested, but that wasn’t even close to the end of his legal woes. A week before appearing in Houston, he told reporters in his home town of Louisville, Kentucky, that he planned to not accept induction in military service. He stated to the press: “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?”

Two months later, a jury took just 20 minutes to convict Ali of draft evasion. He was given a five-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine; he was stripped of his passport and his heavyweight title, and was banned from fighting in the United States. It took four years to eventually settle the case after he had taking it all the way to the Supreme Court. Ali would remain out of jail on posted bail while his case was being appealed, he would not fight again until October 1970. The following year, the US Supreme Court overturned his conviction in a unanimous 8-0 ruling. Full Transcript

Between February 25, 1964 and September 19, 1964 Muhammad Ali reigned as the undisputed heavyweight boxing champion. Nicknamed “The Greatest”, Ali was involved in several historic boxing matches. Notable among these were the first Liston fight, three with rival Joe Frazier, and one with George Foreman, in which he regained titles he had been stripped of seven years earlier. After the Superior Court reversed the ruling of the lower courts and agreed that he refused military service legally as a conscientious objector he finally was able to fight again. At last he was able to fight again. After being prevented from fighting for four years he lost the first fight against Joe Frazier.

Joe Frazier wins over Mohammad Ali

After Joe Frazier lost the title to George Foreman Mohammad Ali urged George Foreman to a fight which organized by Don King in Africa.

Mohammad Ali fights George Foreman to regain ‘his’ world champion title.

His doctor, Freddie Pacheco, resigned when Mohammad Ali was in his 30s and starting to show the effects of taking too many punches, yet refusing his advice to retire before he suffered permanent injury.

He was then married to Belinda Boyd from 1967 until 1975. During his relationship with Belinda, Muhammad started seeing Veronica Porsche in 1975. He converted to Sunni Islam in 1975. The affair ruined his second marriage with Belinda Boyd by 1977. In 1977 he married Veronica that summer who was already pregnant with their daughter, Hana. Their second daughter, Laila, was born in Dec. 1977, and the couple split up in 1986. Muhammad then married Yolonda Williams in Nov. 1986, and they adopted a son, Assad Amin. He was married to Yolonda, who he’d been friends with since 1964, at the time of his death on June 3. Yolonda took care of him throughout his very difficult 40 years while he suffered from Parkinson Disease.

In 1986 he began adhering to Sufism a rather peaceful and mature religion.  It helped him live his life out gracefully despite the fact he suffered from Parkinson Disease.  He was a true blessing to many people and raised the awareness about the beauty of grace, personal commitment to truth and ones’ own convictions.  Mohammad Ali was a great man and he will be truly missed.

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Misinformation wars shape our minds and hearts unless we analyze the source of information.

Russia shapes opinions in the West by sponsoring anti-government media content

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Supporters of anti-immigration right-wing movement PEGIDA take part in a demonstration march, in reaction to mass assaults on women on New Year’s Eve, in Cologne, Germany, January 9, 2016. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay Full Article

The war for “hearts and minds” is in full force like never before.  The internet has liberated both the distribution and the reception of content.

In the East, Radio Free Europe in particular has spread Western News and Western concepts for many years to counter act the spread of Communism in the Border States of the Soviet Empire.  This created a cushion of discontent and mistrust against the Soviet Union and eventually its disintegration. The Soviet people dreamed of living in a “free world” and they wished especially to gain the Western style material comforts.  What they had not learned while growing up in an oppressive society is the concept of trust, sharing, caring, and the fact that you have to actually work and earn that material wealth.  Many were well versed in “working the system.”  As a result the economies quickly became the personal playgrounds of oligarchs who were not at all interested in creating a strong middle class.  History shows that a strong middle class is a prerequisite of a free society.  It takes a lot of political will to support a strong middle class.  The oligarchs take and take and take and use the public without their knowledge.  This works primarily through misinformation.

For the past decades and especially since the inception of Cable TV and the Internet Russia has joined the information war.

Their press release reads:

RT’s (Russia Today) Spanish channel and pan-Latin American network TeleSUR in Venezuela launched a new joint project on Monday, aimed at providing a different perspective to Western mainstream media. RT is already the leading news provider on YouTube. Last December, RT hit 2 billion views on the popular video hosting resource. Only a year earlier, RT International was the first news channel to achieve over 1 billion views.

Are you aware how impactful the spread of the Communist point of view is?

On a daily basis misguided news clips that are fantastically well produced and design to spread hate and discontent are not only shown on YouTube but are spread on facebook, twitter and other social media outlets.

When watched without analysis as to the source of the material it may look like a “normal” news report.  But when viewed through the lens of what the news provider in RT’s case the Putin government and in TeleSUR’s Case the Venezuelan Communist Party are trying to accomplish it is rather ominous.

We are now entering an era of true democracy of information.  Everyone has access to every point of view.  When someone shares information make sure you analyze the source of the information before you swallow it hook, line and sinker.  One of the best ways to know if the source of information is trust worthy is to check whether the owners and their countries providing it protect freedom of the press. If a country openly suppresses journalists you already know dictators and/or would be dictators are trying to get you to support their nefarious cause to suppress knowledge and public opinion. Their goal is to undermine and destabilize countries that offer freedom of speech.   Let your friends know when they are being brainwashed by horrid people without realizing it.  Promote critical and analytical thinking.  Russia does not love freedom of speech as it is reported that 56 Journalists were killed since 1992.  When they sponsor people like Abby Martin to do their bidding in the West – Buyer Beware, know the source.  More When watching her Russia / Venezuela sponsored content knowing it comes from Russia makes it sound entirely different.

Reuters reported recently that until a few years ago Germany had been left out of the misinformation war stemming from Russia.  Those days are gone and while Putin is railing and making fun of Germany’s problems with Neo Nazi’s the Russian government is actually sponsoring it.  Full Reuter’s Article

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