“I had been looking for leaders, but I realized that leadership is about being the first to act. I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end.” – Edward Snowden
“The original American patriots were those individuals brave enough to resist with force the oppressive power of King George. I accept the definition of patriotism as that effort to resist oppressive state power. The true patriot is motivated by a sense of responsibility and out of self-interest for himself, his family, and the future of his country to resist government abuse of power. He rejects the notion that patriotism means obedience to the state.” – Ron Paul
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14074 on: Dec 29th, 2015, 09:35am »
GOOD MORNING TO OUR LOVELY UFOCASEBOOKERS
Skeptic's Boot blog
Tuesday, 29 December 2015
The Caspers 2015: The Year's Worst Paranormal Photography.
So it's the end of the year, and what a year it's been for the advancement of paranormal photography. We certainly aren't making, all the same, mistakes we've been making for decades. No sir. *Ahem*
It's only proper that we celebrate this advancement with a trophy every bit as resplendent. It certainly isn't exactly the same as last year's trophy with a "5" crudely scratched on it with the pin of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles badge. Once again nominees are more than welcome to display this badge proudly on their websites and social media. You've earned it guys! As with last year the only criteria for entry the photo had to be shared or reported on during 2015, One change that you will note this year, the awards cover a broader subject matter than ghosts alone. This is simply because I had no idea last year that I may want to do this again, now that I am I'm going to need that wider range.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14075 on: Dec 29th, 2015, 9:16pm »
Swamp..you were soooo Right.. NSA and WhiteHouse Get Caught Spying On Congress After Promise Not To Do So On top of alist of who not to they had a list of allies..like Turkey who they could..so we can assume they knew well in advance what Turkey was doing..
Below are the key highlights from his January 17, 2014 speech:
Our capabilities help protect not only our nation, but our friends and our allies, as well. But our efforts will only be effective if ordinary citizens in other countries have confidence that the United States respects their privacy, too. And the leaders of our close friends and allies deserve to know that if I want to know what they think about an issue, I’ll pick up the phone and call them, rather than turning to surveillance. In other words, just as we balance security and privacy at home, our global leadership demands that we balance our security requirements against our need to maintain the trust and cooperation among people and leaders around the world.
The bottom line is that people around the world, regardless of their nationality, should know that the United States is not spying on ordinary people who don’t threaten our national security, and that we take their privacy concerns into account in our policies and procedures. This applies to foreign leaders as well.
The president lied, and the privacy concerns of "people around the world" have clearly never once been taken into account in Obama's policies and procedures.
Just three days prior, on January 14 2014, Vermont Senator and current Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders had written an email to then NSA Chief Keith Alexander asking if the NSA has or is currently spying "on members of Congress or other American elected officials." The letter went on to define spying as including "gathering metadata on calls made from official or personal phones, content from websites visited or emails sent, or collecting any other data from a third party not made available to the general public in the regular course of business."
The response: the National Security Agency's director, responding to questions from independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, says the government is not spying on Congress.... "Nothing NSA does can fairly be characterized as 'spying on members of Congress or other American elected officials." Alexander wrote in the letter, dated Friday and released Tuesday.
The former NSA head also lied.
We know this because in the latest WSJ report on the NSA's spying scandal from this evening, we find that even though Obama announced two years he would curtail eavesdropping on friendly heads of state, the spying continues and "behind the scenes, the White House decided to keep certain allies under close watch. Topping the list was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu."
The spying, or rather counterespionage, was in order to facilitate the US-Iran nuclear negotiations and deal which took place this summer over Netanyahu's firm objection to scuttle any lifting of the Iran embargo (an embargo which Iran had skirted for years by importing billions of dollars worth of gold from Turkey via Dubai).
That in itself would not be quite so scandalous considering the frosty diplomatic relations between the two nations in recent years, if it didn't also involve the direct and indirect spying by the NSA and the executive branch, on members of Congress.
The National Security Agency’s targeting of Israeli leaders and officials also swept up the contents of some of their private conversations with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups. That raised fears—an “Oh-s— moment,” one senior U.S. official said—that the executive branch would be accused of spying on Congress.
White House officials believed the intercepted information could be valuable to counter Mr. Netanyahu’s campaign. They also recognized that asking for it was politically risky. So, wary of a paper trail stemming from a request, the White House let the NSA decide what to share and what to withhold, officials said. “We didn’t say, ‘Do it,’ ” a senior U.S. official said. “We didn’t say, ‘Don’t do it.’ ”
As for the official White House National Security Council, the response is "no comment":
"We are not going to comment on any specific alleged intelligence activities," says @NSCPress in response to @wsj report on surveillance.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) December 30, 2015
This may well be because Obama was on the golf course in Hawaii when the WSJ article hit.
Finally, while all of the above is at this point largely expected if anything, what is surprising is that as the WSJ notes, among the "allies" excluded from the protected list, were "Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of NATO ally Turkey, which allowed the NSA to spy on their communications at the discretion of top officials."
In other words the Obama administration has been fully aware Turkey has been providing not only training, weapons and supplies to ISIS, it is also Turkey, and especially people from Erdogan's own family, who served as the source of financial support for the CIA-created Islamic State, whose only purpose from the beginning was to topple Bashar al Assad.
Actually scratch that: did we say "surprising"? We meant precicesly the opposite
« Last Edit: Dec 29th, 2015, 9:18pm by Sys_Config »
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14076 on: Dec 30th, 2015, 09:34am »
'Star Trek’ Fan Film Producer Sued by CBS, Paramount
By Joe Otterson on December 30, 2015 @ 7:26 am
Companies claim crowdfunded project “Axanar” violates copyright law
Parmount Pictures and CBS Studios are suing the producer of the crowdfunded “Star Trek” fan film, “Axanar.”
The companies are going after producer Alec Peters of Axanar Productions for copyright infringement in a suit filed Wednesday in California district court. The suit concerns “Axanar” and the prequel film “Prelude to Axanar,” collectively referred to as “the ‘Axanar’ Works.”
“The ‘Axanar’ Works infringes plaintiffs’ works by using innumerable copyrighted elements of ‘Star Trek,’ including its settings, characters, species, and themes,” the complaint reads. CBS and Paramount are seeking up to $150,000 for every copyrighted “Star Trek” element present in the films.
“Axanar” follows Garth of Izar, a Federation captain from “Star Trek: The Original Series,” who was idolized by Captain Kirk (William Shatner).
According to the description on the film’s official website, “‘Axanar’ tells the story of Garth and his crew during the Four Years War, the war with the Klingon Empire that almost tore the Federation apart. Garth’s victory at Axanar solidified the Federation and allowed it to become the entity we know in Kirk’s time.”
In an interview with TheWrap in August, Peters said he and his team met with CBS but the network didn’t offer any specific guidelines concerning what his crew can and cannot do — the network simply told him that they can’t make money off the project.
“CBS has a long history of accepting fan films,” Peters said at the time. “I think ‘Axanar’ has become so popular that CBS realizes that we’re just making their brand that much better.”
Originally seeking just $100,000 from a Kickstarter campaign, “Axanar’s” producers eventually generated nearly seven times that, raising more than $638,000. On Indiegogo, the crew made 189 percent of their target sum.
They’ve since budgeted the feature film, which will be broken into four installments, at a total of $960,000, or $240,000 per episode.
CBS announced in Nov. that they would debut a new “Star Trek” series exclusively on CBS All Access in 2017. In addition, Paramount will release the third film in the rebooted franchise, “Star Trek Beyond,” on July 22, 2016.
In a clash of the titans, Warren Buffett just defeated Elon Musk.
The fight was over solar net-metering in Nevada, a state that has the fifth largest installed solar capacity in the country. Nevada is home to Tesla’s ‘Gigafactory,’ which will produce batteries for electric vehicles. In addition to CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk is also the chairman of SolarCity, and net-metering – the policy that allows homeowners with solar panels to be paid for the power they produce – is central to solar economics.
But while Musk has quite a bit of sway in the Silver State, he came up short against Warren Buffett. NV Energy, a major Nevada utility and subsidiary of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, strongly opposed the net-metering provision.
Earlier this year the Nevada state legislature ordered the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to formulate a new net-metering payment by the end of 2015 after the state maxed out the allotted 235 megawatt net-metering program. Vivint Solar, another solar developer, pulled out of Nevada last summer after the net-metering program became fully subscribed, which forced solar installations to grind to a halt. The impasse meant that a lot was riding on the PUC’s decision.
Just days before a New Year deadline, the Nevada Public Utility Commission (PUC) voted 3-0 to slash the payments that homeowners receive for solar energy and also increase charges on them. The solar industry cried foul, saying that the PUC decision was made without evidence or debate, and that it “flies in the face of Nevada law, which requires the state to 'encourage private investment in renewable energy resources, stimulate the economic growth of this State; and enhance the continued diversification of the energy resources used in this State' through net metering,” as Bryan Miller, Senior Vice President of Public Policy at solar developer Sunrun, said in a statement. “We believe the Commission, appointed by Governor Sandoval, has done the exact opposite today.”
The move also does not grandfather in homeowners who have already installed solar, even though many of those people likely made solar investments based on the net-metering payments. The retroactive penalty could be a death blow for solar in Nevada, and one that the solar industry says might also be illegal. The Alliance for Solar Choice, an industry trade group, filed a lawsuit against the PUC. Sunrun also filed a lawsuit against Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (R) in order to obtain records of text messages between him and NV Energy lobbyists.
The main proponent of the move is Warren Buffett’s NV Energy, which pays residential homes for the solar energy they produce. NV Energy says that lowering payments avoids shifting the costs to other ratepayers. NV Energy proposed to lower net-metering payments and to increase fixed charges on solar homes, a decision that the PUC went with. The PUC decision will cut those payments by 75 percent.
SolarCity threatened to leave the state if the PUC moved forward on slashing the net-metering payments. "It will destroy the rooftop solar industry in one of the states with the most sunshine...There is so much wrong with the decision, the only option for the PUC is to reject it," SolarCity’s CEO Lyndon Rive told Bloomberg ahead of the vote. "The one beneficiary of this decision would be NV Energy, whose monopoly will have been protected."
After the PUC voted to roll back net-metering payments, SolarCity followed through on its threat. On December 23, SolarCity announced that it would stop selling and installing solar panels in Nevada. "The PUC has protected NV Energy's monopoly, and everyone else will lose," SolarCity’s Rive said. "We have no alternative but to cease Nevada sales and installations, but we will fight this flawed decision on behalf of our Nevada customers and employees."
NV Energy said it was reviewing the PUC’s decision to determine how it would affect its customers.
December has been a busy month of SolarCity, which saw its share price skyrocket following the federal budget deal that extended tax credits for solar. But now it has been chased out of Nevada.
« Last Edit: Jan 1st, 2016, 12:27am by Sys_Config »