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- White House refuses Benghazi questions for Obama
The White House and the House Select Committee on Benghazi are at a standoff over whether President Barack Obama should answer a series of questions about the 2012 terrorist attack in Libya that left four Americans dead.Neil Eggleston, counsel to the president, blasted the committee for sending the president a list of questions about the attack — an inquiry the administration deemed inappropriate and a partisan attempt to frame the White House as uncooperative.
Eggleston has encouraged Obama not to answer the committee’s questions “because of the implications of his response on the constitutional separation of powers,” according to a letter sent Saturday to Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and obtained by POLITICO.
“If the president were to answer your questions, his response would suggest that Congress has the unilateral power to demand answers from the president about his official acts,” the letter reads.
Eggleston also accused the panel of asking questions it already knew the answer to — something the committee denies.
And Gowdy’s panel criticized the White House’s response as unhelpful to its investigation. Committee members have been trying to answer several unresolved questions before releasing their final report in the coming weeks.
“It’s no surprise President Obama would rather take questions from Derek Jeter than answer questions for the American people about the Benghazi terrorist attacks, which followed what he himself has called his worst mistake — failing to plan for what happened after the State Department pushed U.S. intervention in Libya,” said committee spokesman Jamal Ware, referring to Obama’s chat a few days ago with the former New York Yankee. “The White House’s fictional narrative today is the latest chapter of the story it has been spinning since 2012, when four of our fellow citizens were murdered by Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists in the tragic terrorist attacks in Benghazi.”
Explosive EAD, Extreme Airbag Danger
- “Urgent” air bag danger for 313,000 Honda owners
The U.S. government is urging owners of 313,000 older Hondas and Acuras to stop driving them and get them repaired after new tests found that their Takata air bag inflators are extremely dangerous.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday that it has data showing that chances are as high as 50 percent that the inflators can explode in a crash, injuring people by sending metal shrapnel into the passenger compartments.
“These vehicles are unsafe and need to be repaired immediately,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “Folks should not drive these vehicles unless they are going straight to a dealer to have them repaired.”
Takata inflators can explode with too much force, blowing apart a metal canister and spewing metal fragments. At least 11 people have died and more than 100 have been injured worldwide from the problem. Authorities in Malaysia are investigating three more deaths that may be linked to the inflators. Seventeen car and truck makers are recalling 69 million inflators in what has become the largest automotive recall in U.S. history.
NHTSA’s urgent advisory covers vehicles that are up to 16 years old including 2001 and 2002 Honda Civics and Accords, the 2002 and 2003 Acura TL, the 2002 Honda Odyssey and CR-V, and the 2003 Acura CL and Honda Pilot, NHTSA said. The vehicles are among the oldest involved in the Takata recalls. They were recalled from 2008 to 2011, and about 70 percent of them already have been repaired, the agency said.
The older the inflators are, and the more time they spend in heat and humidity, the more likely they are to malfunction.
Robot Machine Kills
- Who We’ve Slaughtered with Drones Is Your Holiday Weekend News Dump
Today President Barack Obama’s administration is publicly releasing some information about the collateral damage caused by using armed drones to try to strike down terrorists in foreign countries. Whether anybody believe the figures being provided is another matter entirely.Today the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released numbers for what it claims are combatant and non-combatant deaths for drone strikes in countries outside of formal war zones. This means countries like Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, and Libya, but specifically not Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq.
The federal government says that out of 473 drone strikes in these countries, they’ve killed between 2,372 and 2,581 actual combatants and between 64 and 116 non-combatants. This formal recognition of the number of non-combatants killed is far below what independent observers to be an accurate accounting. The New York Timesnotes:
In a seeming acknowledgment that the long-anticipated disclosure would be greeted with skepticism by drone critics, the administration released the numbers on a Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend. The use of a range of estimated civilian deaths underscored the fact that the government often does not know for sure the affiliations of those killed.
“They’re guessing, too,” said Bill Roggio, editor of the Long War Journal at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, who has tracked civilian deaths for more than a decade. “Theirs may be a little more educated than my guesses. But they cannot be completely accurate.”
Outsiders (depending on the group) estimate between 200 and 1,000 non-combatants have been killed by drone strikes outside of war zones.
- Self-Driving Tesla Was Involved in Fatal Crash, U.S. Says
The race by automakers and technology firms to develop self-driving cars has been fueled by the belief that computers can operate a vehicle more safely than human drivers.
But that view is now in question after the revelation on Thursday that the driver of a Tesla Model S electric sedan was killed in an accident when the car was in self-driving mode.
Federal regulators, who are in the early stages of setting guidelines for autonomous vehicles, have opened a formal investigation into the incident, which occurred on May 7 in Williston, Fla.
In a statement, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said preliminary reports indicated that the crash occurred when a tractor-trailer made a left turn in front of the Tesla, and the car failed to apply the brakes.
It is the first known fatal accident involving a vehicle being driven by itself by means of sophisticated computer software, sensors, cameras and radar.
The safety agency did not identify the Tesla driver who was killed. But the Florida Highway Patrol identified him as Joshua Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio.
- Your Self-Driving Car Will Be Programmed to Kill You—Deal With It
A recent survey shows that people want self-driving cars to be programmed to minimize casualties during a crash, even if it causes the death of the rider. Trouble is, the same survey shows that people don’t actually want to ride in cars that are programmed this way. That’s obviously a problem—and we’re going to have to get over it.
These are the kinds of thought experiments that are taught to Ethics 101 students during the first weeks of class—but now they’re actually being applied to real life. Similar to the vexing trolley problem, manufacturers are struggling to come up with new rules for autonomous vehicles to guide them when a crash is inevitable, and the lives of people, both inside and outside of the car, are at stake. A new study published in Science shows there’s a big disconnect between the kinds of ethical programming we want these vehicles to have, and the kinds of cars we actually want to ride in. Surveys done last year demonstrate that people tend to take a utilitarian approach to safety ethics. That is, they generally agree that a car with one rider should swerve off the road and crash to avoid a crowd of 10 pedestrians. But when the survey’s respondents were asked if they’d actually ride in a vehicle programmed in this way, they said no thanks.
Patrick Lin, the director of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group at California Polytechnic State University, says we humans are a fickle lot, and that we don’t always know what we want or what we can live with.
“What we intellectually believe is true and what we in fact do may be two very different things,” he told Gizmodo. “Humans are often selfish even as they profess altruism. Car manufacturers, then, might not fully appreciate this human paradox as they offer up AI and robots to replace us behind the wheel.”
What’s particularly bizarre about this latest research is that many of these survey respondents, should they find themselves in a situation where they’re driving a car and are suddenly confronted with a similar situation, would probably go out of their way and make a suicidally evasive maneuver to avoid a crowd. There appears to be a bit of a disconnect between the morality of human decision-making in these matters, and having robots make these decisions on our behalf. We’re clearly uncomfortable with it, but we’re going to have to get over it if we ever want to see safe and responsible self-driving vehicles on the road.
“It shouldn’t be surprising that ordinary people haven’t thought deeply enough about ethics to be consistent,” said Lin, who wasn’t involved in the study. “Most people think that ethics is just about your ‘gut instinct’, but there’s so much more to that. It’s practically a science, complete with guiding principles or laws.”
- AI fighter pilot wins in combat simulation
The AI, known as Alpha, used four virtual jets to successfully defend a coastline against two attacking aircraft – and did not suffer any losses.Alpha, which was developed by a US team, also triumphed in simulation against a retired human fighter pilot.
One military aviation expert said the results were promising.
In the simulation described in the study, both attacking jets – the blue team – had more capable weapons systems.
But Alpha’s red team was able to dispatch the enemy planes after performing evasive manoeuvres.
In their paper, researchers from the University of Cincinnati and defence company Psibernetix describe Alpha as “a deadly opponent”.
Reporting on simulated assaults against retired US Air Force colonel Gene Lee, the researchers wrote: “Not only could he not score a kill against it, he was shot out of the air by the reds every time after protracted engagements.”
Alpha uses a form of artificial intelligence based on the concept of “fuzzy logic” – in which a computer considers a wide range of options before making a decision.
Because a simulated fighter jet produces so much data for interpretation, it is not always obvious which manoeuvre is most advantageous or, indeed, at what point a weapon should be fired.
Fuzzy logic systems can weigh up the significance of these individual pieces of data before making a broader decision.
The researchers’ key achievement here was to do this in real-time with computational efficiency.
“Here, you’ve got an AI system that seems to be able to deal with the air-to-air environment, which is extraordinarily dynamic, has an extraordinary number of parameters and, in the paper, more than holds its own against a skilled and capable, experienced combat pilot,” said Doug Barrie, a military aerospace analyst at think tank IISS.
“It’s like a chess master losing out to a computer.”
- AI Warfare is Here — US & Israel Unveil Autonomous Killing Machines
The two most aggressive military forces in the world have added a new frontier in their immense ability to deal death and destruction. In the same week, an Israeli firm launched the first-ever torpedo from an unmanned sea vessel while a U.S. artificially intelligent fighter pilot easily won combat simulations against human pilots.These achievements are a testament to the sad reality that military interests are often the first to take advantage of wondrous advancements such as AI, just as nuclear physics and other technologies were hijacked for more efficient methods of killing.
NWO Finance Control
- Gold And Silver Investors Smell Central Bank Blood
The Central Banks went overboard with the latest round of stock market intervention. The recent increased movement of investment funds from fiat-based “assets” into gold/silver reflects the more widespread perception that the Central Banks are trapped by long series of bad policy decisions. The obvious conclusion is that Central Banks are now forced to hyperinflate the money supply or face a total stock market collapse.Of course, the hyperinflation of currencies will do nothing to stimulate real economic growth or fix the completely unmanageable global debt and derivatives problem.
Perhaps the poster-child example of the damage done to the markets by radical Central Bank intervention and manipulation is Tesla (TSLA). If not Amazon, TSLA is perhaps the greatest stock Ponzi scheme in U.S. history. Aside being riddled with total accounting fraud, TSLA is technically insolvent and overloaded with debt that it will eventually impale itself on. It was reported today that the test driver in a TESLA self-driving car was killed when the car crashed into tractor-trailer at high speed. The test-driver was watching a movie in the car. At least he didn’t know what hit him.
TSLA stock in a freely trading market would have been decimated today on that news. But today it’s trading unchanged from yesterday’s close. The only bigger tragedy than this fact is the death of someone who put their faith in Tesla.
- New EU ‘superstate plan’ by France, Germany: report
The document in which the proposals appear is to be presented to Visegrad Group countries meeting in Prague on Monday by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, TVP Info said, adding that the document was an “ultimatum”.
TVP Info said the proposals would mean members of a superstate would in practice have no right to their own army, to a separate criminal code or a separate tax system, and would not have their own currency.
In addition, TVP Info said, member states would lose control over their own borders and procedures for admitting and relocating refugees.
Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski told TVP Info: “This is not a good solution, of course, because from the time the EU was invented… a lot has changed.
“The mood in European societies is different. Europe and our voters do not want to give the Union over into the hands of technocrats.
“Therefore, I want to talk about this (in Prague) — whether this really is the right recipe today in the context of a Brexit.”
Martin Schaefer, a spokesman for the German foreign ministry, said: “Berlin does not want superstate, it wants a better Europe.”
Meanwhile, Waszczykowski said later on Monday that the document by Germany and France was drawn up before the Brexit decision. He said it included “old ideas” and “does not take into account what happened during the… referendum.”
- Massive Leak of Secret Database Used by World’s Banks and Spy Agencies
A confidential database used by the world’s largest banks to help them judge who to take on as clients has been leaked online, the company’s operator has confirmed.
Chris Vickery, an internet security researcher, posted a Reddit message on Tuesday saying that he had been able to access a mid-2014 version of World-Check, the database run by financial information giant Thomson Reuters.
He said the copy of the database, also used by intelligence agencies and law firms, has more than 2.2 million records about individuals and organisations, under categories ranging from terrorism to corruption to organised crime.
The database raised controversy last year when Middle East Eye contributor Peter Oborne and BBC journalist Anne Meisel first revealed that the HSBC bank accounts of several Muslim institutions and individuals, including the chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque, were closed after they were listed under the terrorism category on the database.
Journalists cannot get access to World-Check, but a client gave Oborne and Meisel access for 30 minutes during which time they were able to confirm how the groups and individuals had been labelled.
World-Check stresses on its website that “accuracy of the information found in the underlying media sources should be verified with the profile subject before any action is taken” and that the decision to open or close accounts lay with the banks.
While profiles on the database are created from publicly available information that anyone can access, questions remain about whether banks and others can always reach an informed decision about clients based on World-Check’s information.
Vickery, who did not disclose how he obtained the copy in his Reddit post, said he is considering whether he should leak the database, soliciting opinions from readers.
“At the very least, this should jump-start a little online conversation regarding the appropriateness of having private entities maintain lists utilised by government agencies and banks,” he wrote.
- Home Computers Connected to the Internet Aren’t Private, Court Rules
A judge in Virginia rules that people should have no expectation of privacy on their home PCs because no connected computer “is immune from invasion.”
A federal judge for the Eastern District of Virginia has ruled that the user of any computer that connects to the Internet should not have an expectation of privacy because computer security is ineffectual at stopping hackers. The June 23 ruling came in one of the many cases resulting from the FBI’s infiltration of PlayPen, a hidden service on the Tor network that acted as a hub for child exploitation, and the subsequent prosecution of hundreds of individuals. To identify suspects, the FBI took control of PlayPen for two weeks and used, what it calls, a “network investigative technique,” or NIT—a program that runs on a visitor’s computer and identifies their Internet address. Such mass hacking using a single warrant has riled privacy and digital-rights advocates, but Senior U.S. District Judge Henry Coke Morgan Jr. upheld the use of the warrant and even stated that the warrant is unnecessary because of the type of crime being investigated and because users should have no “objectively reasonable expectation of privacy.” Even using countermeasures, such as the Tor network, does not mean that the user should expect their location or their activities to remain private, according to the judge.
“It is clear to the Court that Defendant took great strides to hide his IP address via his use of the Tor network,” the judge wrote in the ruling. “However, the court FINDS that any such subjective expectation of privacy—if one even existed in this case—is not objectively reasonable.”
- Now Juncker to force all remaining EU countries to adopt the euro after Brexit paves way for single monetary union
The eight EU members who do not currently use the euro may be forced to adopt it in a bid to speed up monetary union in the wake of Brexit.
The Daily Express reports that Denmark, Sweden, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania will be given an ultimatum by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker .
The German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung claimed there were plans afoot to accelerate the ‘completion’ of the monetary union.
Brexit campaigners claim the plans show that the Leave vote in last week’s referendum proved a ‘great escape’ for Britain.
- European SUPERSTATE to be unveiled: EU nations ‘to be morphed into one’ post-Brexit
The foreign ministers of France and Germany are due to reveal a blueprint to effectively do away with individual member states in what is being described as an “ultimatum”.
Under the radical proposals EU countries will lose the right to have their own army, criminal law, taxation system or central bank, with all those powers being transferred to Brussels.
- Former Federal Reserve Chairman Warns of Imminent Crisis — Urges Return to Gold Standard
On Monday, Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006, dropped a bombshell that will both incite panic as well make people scratch their heads in disbelief.
Speaking on Bloomberg in an extensive 30-minute interview, Greenspan gave his assessment of Brexit. The former fed chair said David Cameron made a “terrible mistake” by even holding the referendum. Greenspan went on to explain that Brexit will inevitably lead to both Scotland and Northern Ireland declarations of independence as well.
“We are in very early days of a crisis which has got a way to go,” asserted Greenspan.
Today’s comments come after his already shocking assessment of Brexit on Friday, in which he said this was the worst situation he’s ever seen.
“This is the worst period, I recall since I’ve been in public service. There’s nothing like it, including the crisis — remember October 19th, 1987, when the Dow went down by a record amount 23 percent? That I thought was the bottom of all potential problems. This has a corrosive effect that will not go away. I’d love to find something positive to say.”
As if Greenspan’s predictions weren’t ominous enough, on Monday, he managed to top them. In his appraisal of the situation, Greenspan noted that unsustainable entitlement spending is eventually going to lead to a crisis.
Power In The Peeps? – In Depends Dance Day
- After ‘Brexit,’ Can We Exit a Few Things Too?
Last week’s UK vote to leave the EU may have come as a shock to many, but the sentiment that led British voters to reject rule from Brussels is nothing unique. In fact it is growing sentiment worldwide. Frustration with politics as usual, with political parties that really do not differ in philosophy, with an economy that serves the one percent at the expense of the rest of society is a growing phenomenon throughout Europe and in the United States as well. The Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump phenomena are but one example of a frustrated public sensing something is very wrong with society and looking for a way out.
What is happening in the UK, in Europe, and in the US, is nothing less than a breakdown of the entire system. The EU was meant to be a customs union where post-World War II Western Europe could rebuild itself through free trade and a reduction in bureaucracy. Through corruption and political ambition it became an unelected bully government in Brussels, where the well-connected were well compensated and insulated from the votes of mere citizens. Likewise, the US would do well to exit the various phony “free trade” agreements that provide advantage to the well-connected elites while harming the rest of us.
The act of exit is liberating. We should make a longer list of those things we would like to get out of. I am only getting started.
Outcome Is The Preferred Plan
- FEMA Contractor Predicts ‘Social Unrest’ Caused by 395% Food Price Spikes
The US national security industry is planning for the impact of an unprecedented global food crisis lasting as long as a decade, according to reports by a government contractor.
The studies published by CNA Corporation in December 2015, unreported until now, describe a detailed simulation of a protracted global food crisis from 2020 to 2030.
The simulation, titled ‘Food Chain Reaction’, was a desktop gaming exercise involving the participation of 65 officials from the US, Europe, Africa, India, Brazil, and key multilateral and intergovernmental institutions.
The scenario for the ‘Food Chain Reaction’ simulation was created by experts brought in from the State Department, the World Bank, and agribusiness giant Cargill, along with independent specialists. CNA Corp’s Institute for Public Research, which ran the simulation, primarily provides scientific research services for the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Held from November 9-10 in 2015, the “game” attempted to simulate a plausible global food crisis triggered by “food price and supply swings amidst burgeoning population growth, rapid urbanization, severe weather events, and social unrest.” By 2024, the scenario saw global food prices spike by as much as 395 percent due to prolonged crop failures in key food basket regions, driven largely by climate change, oil price spikes, and confused responses from the international community.
“Disruptions affected developed and developing countries alike, creating political and economic instability, and contributing to social unrest in certain areas,” the project’s technical report states.
The report notes that at the end of the simulation, the teams highlighted the important role of “extreme weather events” and “food insecurity” in exacerbating “instances of significant internal and external migration and social unrest.” These, in turn, greatly “contribute to conflict.”
Although the scenario was not produced as a forecast, it was designed to provide a plausible framework to test the resilience of the national security system from the perspective of the US government, private industry, and civil society.
CNA Corporation is a government contractor established in 1942 to provide scientific research for the US Navy and Marine Corps. Its CEO, Dr. Katherine A. W. McGrady, is a scientific analyst to the US military’s Chief of Naval Operations and the Vice Chief of Naval Operations.
Four different organisations commissioned CNA Corp to conduct the exercise: the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Center for American Progress, giant food corporation Cargill, which controls a quarter of US grain exports, and Mars Inc., the global sweet manufacturer.
One outcome was a panel hosted on Tuesday by the Center for American Progress on ‘The National Security implications of Climate Change and Food Security’, featuring Nancy Stetson, the US State Department’s Special Representative for Global Food Security.
Deadly Psychopath Silliness
- ‘Elites’ Called To Arms: “It’s Time To Rise Up Against The Ignorant Masses”
It appears the powers that be just are not going to take it anymore. Having mistakenly allowed the people of Britain to exercise their free will, Foreign Policy’s James Traub exclaims, “It’s time for the elites to rise up against the ignorant masses.”
The Brexit has laid bare the political schism of our time. It’s not about the left vs. the right; it’s about the sane vs. the mindlessly angry…
I was born in 1954, and until now I would have said that the late 1960s was the greatest period of political convulsion I have lived through. Yet for all that the Vietnam War and the civil rights struggle changed American culture and reshaped political parties, in retrospect those wild storms look like the normal oscillations of a relatively stable political system. The present moment is different. Today’s citizen revolt — in the United States, Britain, and Europe — may upend politics as nothing else has in my lifetime.
In the late 1960s, elites were in disarray, as they are now — but back then they were fleeing from kids rebelling against their parents’ world; now the elites are fleeing from the parents. Extremism has gone mainstream. One of the most brazen features of the Brexit vote was the utter repudiation of the bankers and economists and Western heads of state who warned voters against the dangers of a split with the European Union. British Prime Minister David Cameron thought that voters would defer to the near-universal opinion of experts; that only shows how utterly he misjudged his own people. . . .
The issue, at bottom, is globalization. Brexit, Trump, the National Front, and so on show that political elites have misjudged the depth of the anger at global forces and thus the demand that someone, somehow, restore the status quo ante. It may seem strange that the reaction has come today rather than immediately after the economic crisis of 2008, but the ebbing of the crisis has led to a new sense of stagnation. With prospects of flat growth in Europe and minimal income growth in the United States, voters are rebelling against their dismal long-term prospects. And globalization means culture as well as economics: Older people whose familiar world is vanishing beneath a welter of foreign tongues and multicultural celebrations are waving their fists at cosmopolitan elites.
Perhaps politics will realign itself around the axis of globalization, with the fist-shakers on one side and the pragmatists on the other. The nationalists would win the loyalty of working-class and middle-class whites who see themselves as the defenders of sovereignty. The reformed center would include the beneficiaries of globalization and the poor and non-white and marginal citizens who recognize that the celebration of national identity excludes them.
The schism we see opening before us is not just about policies, but about reality. The Brexit forces won because cynical leaders were prepared to cater to voters’ paranoia, lying to them about the dangers of immigration and the costs of membership in the EU. Some of those leaders have already begun to admit that they were lying. Donald Trump has, of course, set a new standard for disingenuousness and catering to voters’ fears, whether over immigration or foreign trade or anything else he can think of. The Republican Party, already rife with science-deniers and economic reality-deniers, has thrown itself into the embrace of a man who fabricates realities that ignorant people like to inhabit.
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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.”
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