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- It’s Police Appreciation Week — Here are 8 Cops Who Risked Their Jobs & Lives to Expose Corruption
Now that Police Appreciation Week is upon us, rather than criticizing the hundreds of cases of brutality affected by law enforcement on civilians each year, it would be good to remind everyone that the term good cop isn’t necessarily an oxymoron. Though corruption and violence may permeate many departments, good cops have repeatedly tried to stand against their less honest colleagues — but all too often run into the Blue Wall of Silence for their efforts.
Whistleblower cops need all of our support if we ever hope to solve rampant issues now inundating life in Police State, USA — and what better time to revisit eight of them than Police Appreciation Week.
Former Wilmington Police Sergeant Curt Stansbury came forward in 2014 when his department’s morale seemed to be at an all-time low, in an attempt to suggest solutions. Stansbury explained,
“In June of 2014 I told the chief that moral [sic] was the lowest that I have seen in 25 years and that officers were doing the minimal and a lot of in fighting was going on. I told him that rookies were being hazed and pressured to quit. I informed him that divisions were not communicating with each other and that the communication was at an all-time low and that is cause of some of the violent crime issues.”
Not surprisingly, after calling out the problems, Stansbury was fired.
“Shortly after this, I was told that the chief had made it open season on me and wanted to discredit me. He wanted to prevent me from going public and having creditability [sic]. After this, my work life became tremendously stressful,” Stansbury wrote in a letter to local media outlets following his termination.
Repercussions, up to and including the loss of a job, are unfortunately common for whistleblowing officers.
Taken By Disadvantage
- ‘We want food!’: Venezuela crisis deepens
It was around noon when a food truck rolled up to a Venezuelan state-subsidized supermarket in the town of Guarenas just east of the capital.
But, to the fury of the long line of people waiting out front, the cargo wasn’t unloaded. Instead soldiers took it away.
“We want food!” the crowd roared in protest, to no avail. Some tried to run after the truck.
Under the state of emergency imposed by President Nicolas Maduro, the military, along with government-organized civilian committees, ensures that food packets are delivered door-to-door in order to — as officials say — cut out black market operators.
Haydee Teran, a 48-year-old housewife who had been lining up for hours at the supermarket hoping to buy some scarce essentials, said Guarenas officials ordered that half of the food deliveries heading to shops and markets be instead diverted for local distribution.
“This decree isn’t solving anything,” Teran told AFP, showing a video of the incident she posted on Twitter.
“What the people want is food. There hasn’t been looting, but we are closing the streets to protest,” she said.
- The Shift To A Cashless Society Is Snowballing
Love it or hate it, cash is playing an increasingly less important role in society.
In some ways this is great news for consumers. The rise of mobile and electronic payments means faster, convenient, and more efficient purchases in most instances. New technologies are being built and improved to facilitate these transactions, and improving security is also a priority for many payment providers.
However, as Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins explains,there is also a darker side in the shift to a cashless society. Governments and central banks have a different rationale behind the elimination of cash transactions, and as a result, the so-called “war on cash” is on.
- Yes, lead poisoning could really be a cause of violent crime
At first it seemed preposterous. The hypothesis was so exotic that I laughed. The rise and fall of violent crime during the second half of the 20th century and first years of the 21st were caused, it proposed, not by changes in policing or imprisonment, single parenthood, recession, crack cocaine or the legalisation of abortion, but mainly by … lead.
I don’t mean bullets. The crime waves that afflicted many parts of the world and then, against all predictions, collapsed, were ascribed, in an article published by Mother Jones last week, to the rise and fall in the use of lead-based paint and leaded petrol.
It’s ridiculous – until you see the evidence. Studies between cities, states and nations show that the rise and fall in crime follows, with a roughly 20-year lag, the rise and fall in the exposure of infants to trace quantities of lead. But all that gives us is correlation: an association that could be coincidental. The Mother Jones article, which is based on several scientific papers, claimed causation.
I began by reading the papers. Do they say what the article claims? They do. Then I looked up the citations: the discussion of those papers in the scientific literature. The three whose citations I checked have been mentioned, between them, 301 times. I went through all these papers (except the handful in foreign languages), as well as dozens of others. To my astonishment, I could find just one study attacking the thesis, and this was sponsored by the Ethyl Corporation, which happens to have been a major manufacturer of the petrol additive tetraethyl lead. I found many more supporting it. Crazy as this seems, it really does look as if lead poisoning could be the major cause of the rise and fall of violent crime.
The curve is much the same in all the countries these papers have studied. Lead was withdrawn first from paint and then from petrol at different times in different places (beginning in the 1970s in the US in the case of petrol, and the 1990s in many parts of Europe), yet despite these different times and different circumstances, the pattern is the same: violent crime peaks around 20 years after lead pollution peaks. The crime rates in big and small cities in the US, once wildly different, have now converged, also some 20 years after the phase-out.
Nothing else seems to explain these trends. The researchers have taken great pains to correct for the obvious complicating variables: social, economic and legal factors. One paper found, after 15 variables had been taken into account, a four-fold increase in homicides in US counties with the highest lead pollution. Another discovered that lead levels appeared to explain 90% of the difference in rates of aggravated assault between US cities.
- This is but one of several times the courts have slapped back the EPA for overreaching
When Wyoming rancher Andy Johnson decided to create a stock pond for horses and cattle on his 8-acre property, he did what any conscientious landowner would do. He got permits from both the state and local government before moving any dirt.
What he didn’t count on was a power-mad Environmental Protection Agency, which in January 2014 said Johnson’s pond violated the Clean Water Act — even though the CWA exempts stock ponds — told him to get rid of it, and threatened him with a $37,500 fine for every day he delayed.
Rather than cave to federal thuggery, Johnson refused the order, and then sued the EPA with the help of the invaluable Pacific Legal Foundation. Environmental experts he commissioned said the pond was exempt, and served as a habitat for migratory birds, fish and wildlife.
More than two years later, Johnson won. In a settlement reached with the EPA, he gets to keep his pond, he won’t need to get a federal permit, the EPA fines have been removed, and all Johnson agreed to do was plant some willow trees and limit access to a portion of his pond for a while.
Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Jonathan Wood called the settlement “a win for the Johnson family, and a win for the environment.”
But what kind of win is this? The federal government storms onto private property and threatens a family with massive fines, upends their lives for two years, and walks away only after being countersued.
A real win would be if the EPA were banned from engaging in such tactics. Instead, the EPA gets away with almost anything because it’s always in the name of the environment. And it is endlessly testing the limits of its power.
Crime Adjusts For The Gov Bottom Line
- Ohio lawmakers have voted to scrap a cap on alcohol content for beer
In a move that would allow craft brewers the freedom to make boozier beers, Ohio lawmakers have voted to scrap a cap on alcohol content for beer that’s been on the books since just after Prohibition.
Ohio legislators this week followed the lead of other states in voting to get rid of the 12 percent cap to make life easier for the booming craft beer industry, which has flinched at anything restricting brewers’ ability to be creative and make stronger ales.
The bill now heads to Republican Gov. John Kasich, whose spokesman said does not yet have any specific plans for signing it.
State leaders who slapped alcohol caps on beer in the 1930s to try to control drunkenness likely couldn’t have envisioned a day when beer would be meticulously crafted and aged for discerning palates at thousands of independent microbreweries, sipped and critiqued by hobbyists and paired with gourmet foods much like fine wine. Craft beer was a $22.3 billion industry in the U.S. last year, with sales growing by nearly 13 percent over the previous year. Exports were up by more than 16 percent.
Lawmakers say the move levels the playing field and makes Ohio even more attractive to smaller breweries like BrewDog, a Scottish craft beer company that’s building its $30 million U.S. headquarters — including restaurant and taproom — in suburban Columbus. A handful of beers BrewDog makes at its UK plant range from 14 percent to 28 percent alcohol.
BrewDog says its most popular high-alcohol beer is an American double imperial stout called Tokyo, with 18.2 percent alcohol.
“I think more and more people began to comprehend that this is a good industry, a thriving industry we want to encourage in Ohio,” said state Rep. Dan Ramos, a Democrat from Lorain, near Cleveland, who has pushed for the change for years. “This is one of those anchor industries that entertainment districts tend to be built around. If you can get a good, successful brewery that people like, it can revitalize a whole neighborhood.”
Most states have gotten rid of alcohol content caps for beer or at least raised them to accommodate craft brewers.
- Millstone reactor shuts down due to hydrogen gas leak
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is investigating a hydrogen gas leak that has shut down the Millstone Unit 3 nuclear reactor.
The NRC says the leak occurred Sunday morning in a turbine building at the Connecticut plant, and workers responded by manually shutting down the reactor.
Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, tells The Day of New London that leak occurred after a sealant plug for hydrogen in the main generator came lose. He says workers successfully vented out the hydrogen.
- Origami Robot Heralds New Possibilities and Concerns For Ingestible Medicine
Ingestible medicine continues to be a controversial, but quickly arriving technology. In this video you will see a product of researchers at MIT, the University of Sheffield, and the Tokyo Institute of Technology – a tiny origami robot that can unfold itself from a swallowed capsule and, steered by external magnetic fields, crawl across the stomach wall to remove a swallowed button battery or patch a wound. As Daniela Rus, Director at MIT CSAIL states, if all goes according to plan, the robot will one day be able to break away from external control and become autonomous.
The use of robotic technology has raised concerns about the introduction of foreign organisms into natural systems, most particularly the use of DNA nanobots, which already are well on the way toward human trials. Futurist and a director of engineering at Google, Ray Kurzweil, has dubbed the robotic engineering of the human body as “Human Body 2.0.”
- Ex-Google Engineers Launch “Otto”: Completely Driverless Truck Testing Underway
Movement in the autonomous vehicle space accelerated once again.
Four ex-Google engineers, including the man who built Google’s first self-driving car, announced “Otto”, an autonomous truck retrofitting business.
The service isn’t vaporware. “Otto” is currently operating on Nevada highways.
BackChannel reports The Man Who Built Google’s First Self-Driving Car Is Now a Trucker.Founded by four ex-Google engineers?—?including Anthony Levandowski, the man who built Google’s very first self-driving car?—?Otto is applying Google’s all-or-nothing approach to commercial big rigs: ditch human drivers, avoid thousands of road deaths, help the environment, and if all goes well, make a ton of money along the way.
Otto, which is based in San Francisco, currently has around 40 employees, some of whom previously worked at Apple, Tesla, Cruise Automation and Here Maps. Although the company was formed in January, the LinkedIn profiles of three of Otto’s four founders still show them working at Google.
Otto, which came out of stealth today, is less interested in brand new trucks than in the estimated 4.3m big rigs already on American roads. Otto has already bought and retro-fitted three Volvo cabs with lidar, radar and cameras, and driven a handful of fully autonomous miles?—?without even a safety driver?—?on the highways of Nevada.
It says its aftermarket self-driving kit will sell for a “small fraction” of the $100,000-$300,000 price of a new tractor cab.
Q&A With “Otto” Co-Founder
Backchannel discussed “Otto” with co-founder Lior Ron, an ex-product lead for Google Maps and Google’s Motorola smartphones.
- Uber testing self-driving car in Pittsburgh
Uber says it has outfitted a Ford Fusion hybrid with radars, laser scanners and high-resolution cameras. It’s using the car to test self-driving capability and collect mapping data.
A trained driver remains behind the wheel for now. Uber says it’s still in the early stages of its self-driving tests and needs to make sure the technology is safe.
The San Francisco ride-hailing company says Pittsburgh is an ideal place to test self-driving cars because it has a wide variety of weather and road types.
Uber Technologies Inc. announced a partnership with Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University last year. It has also opened its own Advanced Technologies Center, which is led by a former Carnegie Mellon robotics engineer.
Big Data: Incrimination Without Borders
If two senators have their way, it may soon be harder for the government to search and seize information stored on electronic devices around the globe.
Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are cosponsoring a bill that would halt the implementation of a newly promulgated change to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, a rule that privacy advocates have denounced as a “massive expansion of the surveillance state.”
What is perhaps most disturbing about this proposed rule change is the fact that Congress, the only body in the federal government possessed of lawmaking authority, was not even involved in writing it and, in fact, was never consulted, or allowed to consider the new language at all.
The Obama administration’s Justice Department wants a magistrate to be able to issue a warrant to search, seize, and copy data within the judge’s own district, and outside of the judge’s district “when the district where the media or information is located has been concealed through technological means.”
It should come as no surprise that the FBI is trying to backdoor its way into greater computer surveillance power.
The Obama Justice Department has asked that a committee be empaneled to amend Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (FRCP).
Section (b) of that provision begins:
Authority to Issue a Warrant. At the request of a federal law enforcement officer or an attorney for the government:
(1) a magistrate judge with authority in the district — or if none is reasonably available, a judge of a state court of record in the district — has authority to issue a warrant to search for and seize a person or property located within the district;
(2) a magistrate judge with authority in the district has authority to issue a warrant for a person or property outside the district if the person or property is located within the district when the warrant is issued but might move or be moved outside the district before the warrant is executed.
“This is a major policy change,” Wyden told the LA Times. “This has been buried from the public and from their elected officials. And they should know about it. This is not just a modest administrative change.”
In other words, the American people are about to have a significant piece of their right to be free from government surveillance removed not by their elected representatives, but by bureaucrats at the Justice Department acting as petty tyrants.
- Senators introduce bill to block controversial change to government hacking rule
When the U.S. Supreme Court authorized changes to Rule 41 that would expand the government’s hacking authority, Senator Ron Wyden immediately indicated that he would try to block the ruling. Now, Wyden and several other senators have introduced legislation to counter the Rule 41 changes and limit the hacking power extended to the government.
In the past, Rule 41 has restricted magistrate judges from issuing search warrants beyond their own districts — which has prevented them from authorizing the Justice Department to hack computers located elsewhere. In late April, the Supreme Court changed Rule 41 to allow judges to issue search warrants for electronic media beyond their normal reach.
The change says it will allow judges to “issue a warrant to use remote access to search electronic storage media and to seize or copy electronically stored information located within or outside that district,” and will go into effect on December 1 if Congress does not try to block it.
- Stanford quantifies the privacy-stripping power of metadata
More proof, if proof were needed, of the privacy-stripping power of metadata. A multi-year crowdsourced study, conducted by Stanford scientists and published this week, underlines how much information can be inferred from basic phone logs cross-referenced with other public datasets.
(Reminder: the former director of the NSA and the CIA, General Michael Hayden, has asserted: “We kill people based on metadata” — which suggests rock solid confident in the inferences that spy agencies are able to draw from metadata. Hayden reiterated this point in an on stage interview last week at TechCrunch Disrupt New York. “Metadata’s incredibly powerful,” he said. “Metadata shouldn’t get a free pass.”)
The research paper, entitled Evaluating the privacy properties of telephone metadata, details how the scientists investigated what they describe as the “factual assumptions that undergird policies of differential treatment for content and metadata”, underlining how easily they were able to generate detailed intelligence from metadata.
Their study is based on crowdsourced telephone metadata from more than 800 volunteers (using an Android app to pull the relevant metadata off the participants’ phones) cross-referenced with social networking information and other public data sets, such as Yelp and Google Places.
“We find that telephone metadata is densely interconnected, susceptible to reidentification, and enables highly sensitive inferences,” the paper authors write.
- Microsoft Auto-Scheduling Windows 10 Updates
Windows 10 has been with us for a little over eight months now, which means there are only about four months remaining to get a free upgrade from an older Windows operating system. As the clock counts down, Microsoft has begun to auto-schedule PCs to upgrade to Windows 10 with or without consent from end users.
When Microsoft created Windows 10, it tied in numerous monitoring and data collection tools. The operating system is capable of gathering your search history, web usage, Windows Store usage, details of what applications you use, voice recordings, emails, geographic information and just about anything else that is on your PC. This information is gathered in part for improving Windows-based services, but it is also used for market research and advertising purposes.
Because each user on Windows 10 increases the amount of advertising information available to Microsoft, which in turn enables Microsoft to earn more revenue from selling this data, it is not surprising that Microsoft wants everyone to use its new OS. This lead to Microsoft offering Windows 10 as a free upgrade to both Windows 7 and Windows 8, as users of either OS were unlikely to want to pay for a new OS on an already relatively new PC.
Still, there were numerous users that opted to stick with their older Windows OSes, but they were still subject to annoying pop-ups trying to get you to move to Windows 10. Even after you close the pop-up, it returns after a few short hours, relentlessly probing you to upgrade.
Now, as we near the end of the free upgrade period, Microsoft’s malware-like upgrade system is becoming even more intrusive by autoscheduling upgrades to Windows 10. I noticed that the Windows 10 upgrade reminder pop-up on a Windows 7 PC was no longer asking me to upgrade; instead, it’s now informing me that it has already scheduled an update for May 17.
The FBI wants the cryptographer, who goes by Isis Agora Lovecruft, to testify in a criminal hacking investigation, but privacy advocates — as well as Lovecruft herself — believe the Bureau will attempt to coerce her into helping them crack the system.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the leading nonprofit organization defending electronic civil liberties, has also taken on the case.
“The FBI needs to open up and tell Isis what it is they want before she can decide if she will meet with them,” EFF Senior Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo told Sputnik. “They’ve said she isn’t under investigation, but there are still too many unanswered questions. Isis has a right to know what’s going on instead of playing this strange guessing game as she’s pursued by federal agents.”
While Lovecruft was vacationing with her family around Thanksgiving in 2015, FBI Agent Mark Burnett left his business card, with an additional phone number written on it and a note to call him, at her parents’ home in California.
Concerned, her family contacted Ben Rosenfeld, a technology and surveillance law attorney, who in turn contacted the FBI. Instead of providing answers, the agent informed Rosenfeld that the Bureau would attempt to contact Lovecruft without him.
“Burnett said the FBI simply wanted to ask me some questions,” Lovecruft wrote on her blog of her hired legal counsel’s phone call with the FBI. Burnett then reportedly added, “if we happen to run into her on the street, we’re gonna be asking her some questions without you present.”
“We have teams in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and Atlanta keeping an eye out for her,” the agent reportedly told Lovecruft’s lawyer.
Still unsure what the FBI wanted badly enough to have agents in five US cities on the case, Lovecruft began to panic. She had been planning to eventually move to Germany — but with the news of the FBI’s interest in her, she decided to rush the plans.
Lovecruft says she did not know whether she was legally allowed to leave the country, with the FBI requesting to speak to her, but she booked a round trip flight to Berlin. She hoped that the return flight, despite the fact that she did not intend to use it, would keep the FBI from becoming suspicious.
“My lawyer and I discussed what the FBI could possibly want,” Lovecruft wrote. “Theories ranged from attempted entrapment, to the recent and completely unethical Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) attacks on the live Tor network, to a Grand Jury subpoena for someone else, to some shady request for a backdoor in some software I contribute to.”
Ransomware Decryption Key
- TeslaCrypt shuts down and Releases Master Decryption Key
In surprising end to TeslaCrypt, the developers shut down their ransomware and released the master decryption key. Over the past few weeks, an analyst for ESET had noticed that the developers of TeslaCrypt have been slowly closing their doors, while their previous distributors have been switching over to distributing the CryptXXX ransomware.
When the ESET researcher realized what was happening, he took a shot in the dark and used the support chat on the Tesla payment site to ask if they would release the master TeslaCrypt decryption key. To his surprise and pleasure, they agreed to do so and posted it on their now defunct payment site.
Now that the decryption key has been made publicly available, this allowed TeslaCrypt expert BloodDolly to update TeslaDecoder to version 1.0 so that it can decrypt version 3.0 and version 4.0 of TeslaCrypt encrypted files. This means that anyone who has TeslasCrypt encrypted files with the .xxx, .ttt, .micro, .mp3, or encrypted files without an extension can now decrypt their files for free!
How to use TeslaDecoder to decrypt Teslacrypt Encrypted Files
With the release of the master decryption key for TeslaCrypt, victims can now download TeslaDecoder to decrypt files encrypted by TeslaCrypt. Simply use the download link below and save TeslaDecoder to your desktop. Master Decryption Key
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In This Doge Eat Doge World
- The people know that they have created this farce and financed it with their own taxes (consent), but they would rather knuckle under than be the hypocrite.Factor VI – Cattle
Those who will not use their brains are no better off than those who have no brains, and so this mindless school of jelly-fish, father, mother, son, and daughter, become useful beasts of burden or trainers of the same.
- Mr. Rothschild’s Energy Discovery
What Mr. Rothschild  had discovered was the basic principle of power, influence, and control over people as applied to economics. That principle is “when you assume the appearance of power, people soon give it to you.”
The Law of War
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE FIELD
Where Not Throwing Oppression Off, You Live Either Under an Occupation or by Conquest.
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