Saturday, March 17, 2018

The naiveté of it....Mexico to follow Venezuela into socialist/communist hell even with the ongoing example of Venezuela nearby.

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican presidential front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday he will hold a referendum on his performance every two years if he wins election in July, and would cut his six-year term short if he loses the consultation. 

Leftist front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, accompanied by his wife Beatriz Gutierrez Mueller, greets his supporters after being registered as a presidential candidate of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) in Mexico City, Mexico March 16, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Romero
The leftist, who is running for president for the third time, promises to end corruption and fight inequality without disrupting the economy. Critics fear he will put the brakes on economic reforms brought in by President Enrique Pena Nieto. 
A former Mexico City mayor, Lopez Obrador has a wide lead in most opinion polls. 

“Every two years there will be a popular consultation to ask if you want me to remain in the presidency or if I should resign,” Lopez Obrador said, in a brief speech after formally registering his candidacy with electoral authorities. 

Leftist front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, accompanied by his wife Beatriz Gutierrez Mueller, addresses his supporters after being registered as a presidential candidate of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) in Mexico City, Mexico March 16, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Romero
Mexican presidents are permitted only one term of six years, and the 64-year-old Lopez Obrador said last week he would not be seeking to change the law to allow him to run again. 
Lopez Obrador cited famous Mexican presidents Benito Juarez, Francisco I. Madero and Lazaro Cardenas, saying he wanted to be remembered as one of the country’s best leaders. 

Leftist front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador arrives to address his supporters after being registered as a presidential candidate of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) in Mexico City, Mexico March 16, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Romero
“I’m conscious of my historic responsibility,” he told supporters. “I won’t fail the people, I won’t betray the country.” 
Lopez Obrador did not give more details of how the “popular consultations” would be carried out. Mexico’s constitution does not mention recall referendums. 
He repeated his plan to amend an article in the constitution to make it possible to try presidents for corruption. 

Venezuela begins power rationing as drought causes severe outages.

Venezuela begins power rationing as drought causes severe outages

By Anggy Polanco and Isaac Urrutia
SAN CRISTOBAL, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuela imposed electricity rationing this week in six western states, as the crisis-hit country's creaky power grid suffered from a drought that has reduced water levels in key reservoirs needed to run hydroelectric power generators.

The four-hour formal outages began on Thursday. But many residents scoffed at the announcement, wryly noting that they have been suffering far more extended blackouts during the last week.
"We have spent 14 hours without electricity today. And yesterday electricity came and went: for six hours we had no power," said Ligthia Marrero, 50, in the western state of San Cristobal, noting that her fridge had been damaged by the frequent interruptions.
Crumbling infrastructure and lack of investments have hit Venezuela's power supply for years. Now, the situation has been exacerbated by dwindling rains.
In the worst-hit western cities, business has all but ground to a halt at a time when the OPEC nation of 30 million is already suffering hyperinflation and a profound recession. Many Venezuelans are unable to eat properly on salaries of just a couple of dollars per month at the black market rate, sparking malnutrition, emigration and frequent sights of Venezuelans digging through trash or begging in front of supermarkets.
Maybelin Mendoza, a cashier at a bakery in Tachira state, said business has been further hit because points of sale stop working during blackouts - just as Venezuelans are chronically short of cash due to hyperinflation.
In the most dramatic cases, the opposition governor of Tachira state said three people, including a four-month-old, died this week because they failed to receive assistance during a power outage.
"Because of electrical failures, the machines weren't able to revive the people and they died," said Laidy Gomez.
Reuters was unable to confirm the report.
Authorities have acknowledged that interruptions will continue for at least two weeks, but they have not said whether they will spread to other states.
"Of a possible 1,100 megawatts, we are only generating 150 right now," Energy Minister Luis Motta told reporters referring to the Fabricio Ojeda dam, in the western Andean state of Merida.
Capital city Caracas and other major cities have not been hit by rationing yet. Two years ago, rationing there lasted five months when a drought hit the Guri dam, the country's largest hydroelectric dam.
But because of the economic crisis, Venezuela has reduced electricity consumption to about 14,000 megawatts at peak hours, according to engineer and former electricity executive Miguel Lara. Two years ago, state-run Corpoelec put the figure at 16,000 megawatts.
(Writing by Andreina Aponte and Girish Gupta; Editing by Corina Pons, Alexandra Ulmer and David Gregorio)

Facebook Bans Trump Campaign’s Data Analytics Firm, Cambridge Analytical

Facebook Bans Trump Campaign’s Data Analytics Firm, Cambridge Analytical

Facebook has banned Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that played a key role in multiple populist political campaigns, including Brexit and the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.

Facebook announced that it would ban the account of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, Strategic Communication Laboratories, in addition to the accounts of Aleksandr Kogan, a psychologist at the University of Cambridge, and Christopher Wylie, an employee of Eunoia Technologies.
In their post explaining the ban, Facebook said that Kogan passed user data obtained via Facebook to Cambridge Analytica and to Wylie, and that both Wylie and Cambridge Analytica failed to delete this data.
Facebook conceded that Kogan “gained access to this information in a legitimate way and through the proper channels that governed all developers on Facebook at that time,” but said by passing the data to third parties “he did not subsequently abide by our rules.”
In 2015, when Facebook learned that Kogan had shared the results of his research on Facebook users with Cambridge Analytica and Wylie, they asked them to delete the data, and received assurances from both that this had been done.
Facebook said that their decision to ban Cambridge Analytica’s parent company was made on the basis of reports that they are currently investigating.
Several days ago, we received reports that, contrary to the certifications we were given, not all data was deleted. We are moving aggressively to determine the accuracy of these claims. If true, this is another unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments they made.
Cambridge Analytica has been at the heart of several high-profile campaigns on the political right. The company initially attracted Ted Cruz as a client during the Republican primaries in 2015-16, and went on to work for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Another client of Cambridge Analytica was Leave.Eu, the successful campaign for British withdrawal from the European Union.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. You can follow him on and add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to

Friday, March 16, 2018

ISIS on the Assembly Line: Volkswagen Ordered to Rehire Suspected Militant Who Threatened Co-workers

By  on March 16, 2018  
  • In 2016, Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg factory fired an employee named Samir B. He had been working for the automaker for 8 years, mounting tires, but after the company said he began threatening co-workers and telling them of his pledge to join Islamist ISIS fighters in Syria, they had to let him go.
    VW felt the threats were serious and worried he might stage a terror attack during a stockholders’ meeting at the company’s Wolfsburg headquarters. Now, a German court has ordered Volkswagen to reinstate him.
    On the face of things, it seems VW had ample reason to be concerned about Samir B. In 2014, two of his known associates travelled to Syria to join ISIS, where they were later killed fighting to establish an Islamic caliphate, the Daily Mail reports. In December of that same year, Samir B. was stopped before boarding a flight for Istanbul, Turkey at the Hanover airport. He was carrying 9,350 Euros (roughly $11,500 USD) in cash and a drone. German authorities wouldn’t let him board the plane and confiscated his passport.
    After threatening his co-workers at VW, saying they would “all die,” the company fired him. He sued for unlawful dismissal at the Hanover State Employment Court. In the company’s defense, VW’s attorneys told the court that it was proven that Samir B. “was involved in the recruitment and support of Islamic fighters from Wolfsburg,” giving the company no choice but to terminate him.
    To avoid a judgment forcing them to put their employees at risk, VW offered a 65,000 Euro cash settlement, but Samir B.’s lawyers declined, according to Bild. While the court accepted Volkswagen’s contention that Samir B. had tried to join ISIS and threatened his co-workers, the judge ruled that VW had not proven that the “operational peace” of the factory had been “specifically disturbed.”
    Volkswagen has a month to rehire him, but it’s likely the automaker will instead appeal the case to a higher court.

    Stephen Hawking Wrote a Popular Book About Physics and Spent the Rest of His Life Crusading for Awful Causes

    Stephen Hawking Wrote a Popular Book About Physics and Spent the Rest of His Life Crusading for Awful Causes

    Stephen Hawking / Getty Images
    "I have received a number of letters from Palestinian academics," Stephen Hawking said in his declaration of support for the BDS movement. "They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott. In view of this, I must withdraw from the conference."
    The conference was in 2013, in Jerusalem, and hosted by Shimon Peres, an Israeli leader who spent his career as an indefatigable advocate of peace. It didn't matter. Hawking joined the BDS movement because he never met a fashionable far-left cause he didn't like, and Israel-bashing was one of his favorites.
    In 2009, when Israel counterattacked after four years of Hamas rocket attacks on its civilians, Hawking managed to cobble together every incoherent and inaccurate trope about the conflict into one soundbite. He told Al Jazeera:
    "A people under occupation will continue to resist in any way it can. If Israel wants peace it will have to talk to Hamas like Britain did with the IRA.Hamas are the democratically elected leaders of the Palestinian people and cannot be ignored … Israel's response to the rocket attacks has been quite out of proportion. Almost a hundred Palestinians have been killed for every Israeli. The situation is like that in South Africa before 1990. It cannot continue."
    Naturally, Hawking promoted conspiracy theories about the Iraq war, claiming that it was based on "two lies" intentionally told by the Bush administration: that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and that he was involved in the 9/11 attacks.
    He campaigned against British nuclear weapons (somehow the Russian, Pakistani, and North Korean arsenals never caught his attention), and was a fan of Jeremy Corbyn, the Hezbollah-loving Labour leader who is currently trying to protect Russia from the consequences of carrying out a nerve agent attack on British soil. "His heart is in the right place and many of his policies are sound," said Hawking of Corbyn, "but he has allowed himself to be portrayed as a left-wing extremist."
    When he weighed in on the Syria war, he was self-congratulatory and dishonest. "The international community has watched from the sidelines for three years as this conflict rages, engulfing all hope," he wrote in 2014. "As a father and grandfather I watch the suffering of Syria's children and must now say: no more."
    In 2014, there was one man with the power to do something about Syria: Barack Obama. Anyone who sought intervention in the war needed to shame the President of the United States, not "the international community." But Obama had given Hawking the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 and was a fellow liberal celebrity. Thus "Barack Obama" doesn't appear anywhere in his piece. But no matter: its real purpose wasn't to help the children of Syria as he claimed, it was to promote Hawking's image as global moral conscience.
    After the celebrity he earned from A Brief History of Time, Hawking grew into that special kind of scold—think Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye—who trades on his reputation as an impartial man of facts and logic in order to condescend to ordinary people.
    "I fear evolution has inbuilt greed and aggression to the human genome," he recently sermonized. "There is no sign of conflict lessening, and the development of militarized technology and weapons of mass destruction could make that disastrous. The best hope for the survival of the human race might be independent colonies in space."
    If greed and aggression are inherent to "the human genome," why would space colonies populated by humans have any fewer problems than human societies on Earth? He never says. But his goal wasn't to say something serious. It was to tell us that we're all backwards and stupid, unlike Stephen Hawking.
    One of the traditional checks in human societies on "inbuilt greed and aggression" is religion—and so one might have thought Hawking would say something nice about western religious observance, which tends to promote humility and respect for life. Of course not: "The scientific account is complete. Theology is unnecessary," he sniffed. The historic account shows that the great secular "scientific" political movements—Communism and Naziism—were also the most aggressive and murderous.
    I am not a physicist and am unable to understand the actual merits of Hawking's contributions to the field. But no amount of scientific greatness can excuse his political crusading—far left, viciously anti-Israel, and contemptuous of the culture and values that sustain western societies.

    If Monty Python were around they would love this...

    Transgender male becomes spokesperson for feminine ‘period’ products company

    Transgender male becomes spokesperson for feminine ‘period’ products company
    Kenny Jones, 23, a transgender male, is the spokesperson for the "I'M ON" campaign for the feminine product company Pink Parcel. Jones recalled feeling confused as he transitioned from female to male and still had periods. (Image source: YouTube screenshot) 

    A transgender male model will be the spokesperson for a new campaign designed to erase the stigma surrounding female monthly periods.
    Why? According to the company, it’s because transgenders are underrepresented when it comes to period-related issues and products.

    Who is the transgender male model?

    Kenny Jones, a bearded transgender male, is working with activists, fashion designers, and writers for the ‘I’M ON’ campaign by Pink Parcel, a company that ships tampons, sanitary napkins, and other feminine care products. It also publishes a newsletter and offers advice on various female issues.
    Specifically, “just eight percent of period related online content depicts the experience of the trans community, with 92 percent viewing periods from a binary perspective only.”
    This means that a person, who does not want to be a woman and who reportedly hasn’t had a period in seven years, is now the face of a distinctly female experience.
    Part of Jones’ campaign will address how he “suffered with his periods” while transitioning, starting at age 14. He “shaved his head and changed his name” at age 16, according to published reports.
    In an interview on Pink Parcel’s website, the 23-year-old Jones reported feeling confused as he transitioned from female to male and still had periods.
    “I remember that my body didn’t understand what was going on,” Jones says in an interview on Pink Parcel’s website. “I didn’t want my period and there was a lot of confusion within myself. It did make me realize that periods weren’t something I wanted to happen to me and it motivated and pushed me to further my transition.”
    A question-and-answer section on the website reads:
    “What do you love most about your body now?
    “My torso! I went from being a skinny boy to a grown man with a six-pack and a beard. It took me years to get to this comfortable place within myself and now I’m going to show the world.”
    Jones also lamented over periods not abruptly ending.
    “I think this is a topic that is rarely discussed since so many transgender individuals will attempt to hide this point of their life,” he said. “I believe the biggest misconception is that it will be over in a flash — it stays with you forever. Even though I no longer bleed, I still have the pain of periods from time to time.”

    Why is Jones doing this?

    In a news release, Jones stated:
    I always found the fact that no one seemed to openly talk about periods quite difficult and made me want to hide mine even more. That’s why I wanted to be involved in [Pink Parcel’s] I’M ON campaign. We need to encourage everyone to talk about periods, whether they experience them directly or not. Sparking conversation is the first step to normalizing periods within society.
    Pink Parcel, a British-based company, recently expanded to the U.S., and is selling the “I’M ON” T-shirts modeled by Jones.
    The company also gives to the charity, Bloody Good Period, which donates menstrual products to refugees and those seeking asylum.

    This is how the Proressives put the lie out there and then the retraction goes Sotto voce.

    One year after this damaging story about Trump’s CIA nominee, a major correction

    One year after this damaging story about Trump’s CIA nominee, a major correction
    A year after a damaging story was published about President Trump's CIA nominee Gina Haspel, ProPublica issued a major correction retracting key details from their original report. (Image Source: YouTube screenshot) 

    The Pulitzer Prize winning news outlet ProPublica is facing criticism after it issued a major correction to a story about President Donald Trump’s nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel.

    Here’s what happened 

    Haspel was nominated to the deputy CIA director post in February 2017. ProPublica published its story alleging that Haspel oversaw the implementation of enhanced interrogation techniques in 2002 at a secret “black site” in Thailand.
    A year after the publication of the original story, ProPublica admitted that Haspel wasn’t in charge of the site until after the specific interrogation that the outlet reported ended. Haspel was nominated this week by the president to be the CIA’s first female director.
    “Correction: Trump’s pick to head the CIA did not oversee waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah,” read a tweet from the official ProPublica account.
    “This error was particularly unfortunate because it muddied an important national debate about Haspel and the CIA’s recent history,” the apology read.  “To her, and to our readers, we can only apologize, correct the record and make certain that we do better in the future.”
    Here’s part of their retraction:
    The story said that Haspel, a career CIA officer who President Trump has nominated to be the next director of central intelligence, oversaw the clandestine base where Zubaydah was subjected to waterboarding and other coercive interrogation methods that are widely seen as torture. The story also said she mocked the prisoner’s suffering in a private conversation. Neither of these assertions is correct and we retract them. It is now clear that Haspel did not take charge of the base until after the interrogation of Zubaydah ended.
    When questions began to swirl about the Bush administration’s use of the “black sites,” and program of “enhanced interrogation,” the chief of base began pushing to have the tapes destroyed. She accomplished her mission years later when she rose to a senior position at CIA headquarters and drafted an order to destroy the evidence, which was still locked in a CIA safe at the American embassy in Thailand. Her boss, the head of the agency’s counterterrorism center, signed the order to feed the 92 tapes into a giant shredder.
    The report from ProPublica had been widely cited in order to impugn Haspel’s credentials for her nomination. The retraction will likely hurt the credibility of those criticizing the nomination.
    Many members of the media remarked on the damage done by the retracted story.
    MSNBC host Chris Hayes called it a “very big error.”
    “This is one hell of a f**king correction!” said Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress. “This is a massive correction from ProPublica’s story on Gina Haspel,” said CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski.
    Here’s a news report about Haspel’s nomination: