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Member since: Wed Nov 10, 2004, 12:55 AM
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Journal Archives

Democracy Now! EXCLUSIVE: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange on Releasing DNC Emails That Ousted Debbie Wass

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez interview Julian Assange on todays most important news story.

Part 1: EXCLUSIVE: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange on Releasing DNC Emails That Ousted Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Part 2: Assange: Why I Created WikiLeaks' Searchable Database of 30,000 Emails from Clinton's Private Server

Part 3: Julian Assange: Choosing Between Trump or Clinton is Like Picking Between Cholera or Gonorrhea

Wikileaks posts nearly 20,000 hacked DNC emails online

Source: Washington Post

Wikileaks posted a massive trove of internal Democratic National Committee emails online Friday, in what the organization dubbed the first of a new "Hillary Leaks" series.

The cache includes nearly 20,000 emails and more than 8,000 file attachments from the inboxes of seven key staffers of the DNC, including communications director Luis Miranda and national finance director Jordan Kaplan, according to the Wikileaks website. The emails span from January 2015 through late May and are presented in a searchable database.


A hacker known as Guccifer 2.0 claimed credit for handing the documents over to Wikileaks on Twitter. However, some experts have expressed skepticism about his involvement, citing differences between the data Wikileaks released and Guccifer 2.0's previous leaks of hacked data.

The Democratic Party has had its share of cybersecurity woes recently. Last month, the DNC acknowledged that its systems had been breached.


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/07/22/wikileaks-posts-nearly-20000-hacked-dnc-emails-online/

New coalition rallies against proposed rate hike by SCE&G

Source: Post and Courier

Leaders from small business, environmental and community groups joined forces Monday to challenge South Carolina Electric & Gas’ largest rate increase proposal in years.

The Coalition to Stop the Blank Check said the utility’s 3.06 percent rate increase plan is detrimental for low-income customers and small businesses. The increase would cover ballooning costs at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Jenkinsville, north of Columbia.

Frank Knapp Jr., president and CEO of the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce, said the state needs to stop letting SCE&G’s pass along the costs to customers.

“Right now there’s a blank check that the company holds and they are exercising that blank check by raising costs dramatically and delaying the plant’s construction,” Knapp said during a Statehouse news conference Monday.


Read more: http://www.postandcourier.com/20160718/160719429/new-coalition-rallies-against-proposed-rate-hike-by-sceg

Some earthquakes on San Andreas fault are triggered by gravitational tug of sun and moon

Source: Los Angeles Times

The gravitational tug between the sun and moon is not just a dance of high and low tides: It can also trigger a special kind of earthquake on the San Andreas fault.

This phenomenon has fascinated scientists for years. Like sea levels, the surface of the Earth also goes up and down with the tides, flexing the crust and stressing the faults inside. Further study found that during certain phases of the tidal cycle, small tremors deep underground – known as low-frequency earthquakes – were more likely to occur.

“It's kind of crazy, right? That the moon, when it's pulling in the same direction that the fault is slipping, causes the fault to slip more – and faster,” said Nicholas van der Elst, a U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist and lead author of a new study on the subject published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “What it shows is that the fault is super weak – much weaker than we would expect – given that there's 20 miles of rock sitting on top of it.”

Studying how these low-frequency earthquakes respond to the tides can reveal new information about the San Andreas and what it might mean for larger earthquakes, researchers say. The data offer a window into deeper parts of the fault – as much as 20 miles underground – that would otherwise be inaccessible.


Read more: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-la-me-earthquakes-tides-san-andreas-20160718-snap-story.html

FDA: Electroshock has risks but is useful to combat severe depression

Source: Washington Post

After years of consideration, the Food and Drug Administration has determined that for carefully selected patients with profound depression, the benefits of electroconvulsive therapy, long demonized, outweigh the risks of possible memory loss caused by its use.


The devices that are used to administer ECT are regulated by the agency as Class III. That is the highest-risk designation, and it makes the equipment subject to the highest level of regulatory control. The FDA is proposing to downgrade that assessment to Class II for those whose depression has not responded to other treatments or is so severe that they need the kind of rapid response that only ECT can provide.


An estimated 100,000 of the 3 million people in the United States with treatment-resistant depression undergo ECT each year, a figure that could rise if the proposed new designation is finalized. By generating a brief pulse of electricity to the brain, the devices induce a generalized seizure. For reasons not fully understood, the result is that many patients feel better afterward.


If in fact finalized, the new assessment would bring to a close decades of wrangling over how best to regulate the controversial treatment. The FDA first proposed to classify ECT as Class II in 1978, before backing away after public opposition arose. It tried again in 1990 but did not finalize the change. In 2011, it invited an advisory panel to consider the issue yet again.

Following two days of contentious hearings, that panel voted, 10 to 8, against easing the classification, saying that not enough was known about the risks and benefits of ECT devices and that more research was needed.

Although the FDA generally follows the recommendations of its advisory panels, the agency finally decided against accepting that advice, publishing its proposal to ease the classification in the Federal Register on Dec. 28 of last year.


Prior to the advisory panel’s meeting in 2011, the FDA said it had received more than 3,000 comments from patients, family members of patients, researchers and others. About 80 percent of those comments opposed an easing of controls, the FDA reported late last year. Among the most common possible side effects mentioned by patients, the agency said, were memory loss, cognitive complaints and brain damage.


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/fda-electroshock-has-risks-but-is-useful-to-combat-severe-depression/2016/07/18/4a109cbc-2f4e-11e6-9de3-6e6e7a14000c_story.html

SpaceX successfully lands Falcon 9 rocket on solid ground for the second time

Source: The Verge

SpaceX has successfully landed another Falcon 9 rocket after launching the vehicle into space this evening from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Shortly after takeoff, the vehicle touched down at SpaceX’s Landing Complex 1 — a ground-based landing site that the company leases at the Cape. It marks the second time SpaceX has pulled off this type of ground landing, and the fifth time SpaceX has recovered one of its rockets post-launch. The feat was accomplished a few minutes before the rocket's second stage successfully put the company's Dragon spacecraft into orbit, where it will rendezvous with the International Space Station later this week.


Read more: http://www.theverge.com/2016/7/18/12208560/spacex-falcon-9-ground-landing-success

Democratic Convention Host Chair Ed Rendell: Trump Is Right On Trade And China

Source: BuzzFeed

Former Gov. Ed Rendell says Donald Trump's message on trade is largely correct, but that his tone is sometimes wrong on the subject.

Rendell, who is the chair of the Democratic convention host committee, made the comments on SiriusXM radio's The Dean Obeidallah Show.

"The interesting thing is, I talk about China and the fact that China took advantage of us in trade and cost Pennsylvania some significant jobs, and I quoted Donald Trump in the book," Rendell said, noting Trump backed him heavily when he ran for governor.

Rendell's 2012 book praises Trump as "a friend" who is right on China.

"You know all that Donald Trump says isn't wrong," continued Rendell. "It's the way he says it — and there are many things he does say that's wrong. But he's right about China. We have for some reason not stood up to China. We've allowed them to manipulate their currency, which gives their businesses tremendous advantage in selling to America. They came in here and tried to dump low-priced, subsidized steel pipe to get rid of the steel pipe industry in the U.S."


Read more: https://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/democratic-convention-chair-ed-rendell-trump-is-right-on-tra

Funding flows for UK’s ‘revolutionary’ Sabre rocket engine

Source: BBC

The £60m UK government investment in the "revolutionary" Sabre rocket engine concept has finally started to flow.


Farnborough witnessed the signing of an £8m (€10m) contract between REL and the European Space Agency, which will result in Esa keeping its role as the "technical auditor" on the project.


"The contract we sign today will take us to a Preliminary Design Review in 2018 and we're looking for a demonstrator to be tested on the ground in 2020."


In the past, Reaction Engines has talked of a total financial package of £200-300m. However, REL CEO Mark Thomas said engineers had recently re-scoped the test engine, making it more modular and smaller. "We now need much less than that old figure," he told BBC News.


Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36773074

NY nuclear plan would cost $1B over 2 years

Source: Poughkeepsie Journal

A newly proposed plan to save upstate New York's aging nuclear plants would cost electric utilities nearly $1 billion in its first two years, according to the state Department of Public Service.

The proposal, unveiled late last week, would require electric utility companies -- and ultimately, their customers -- to purchase energy from the three remaining upstate nuclear power plants at an inflated rate in an attempt to keep them in service.


Unlike an earlier outline, the state's formal proposal does not completely shut the door on Indian Point receiving the credits.


A public comment period will be open until July 18, after which the state Public Service Commission can vote on it.


Critics of nuclear energy were angered by the new proposal, which was significantly costlier than original projects.

In a cost analysis earlier this year, the state determined zero-emissions credits may cost between $59 million and $658 million by 2023. But the new proposal bumped up the credits to account for the "social costs" of carbon pollution.

In a joint statement, the Alliance for a Green Economy and the Nuclear Information and Resource Service -- nuclear-energy critics -- called the plan "ill-conceived."

“This new proposal doesn’t change the fact that the Public Service Commission and the governor are still intending to throw away billions of dollars on uneconomical dirty nuclear plants, when that money should be going toward renewables and efficiency," the groups wrote.


Read more: http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/new-york/2016/07/11/ny-nuclear-plan-1b/86958844/

The exact same story appears at many newspaper websites:

Japan's Landslide Election Result Sets Stage For Constitution Fight

Source: Reuters

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition won a landslide victory on Sunday in an election for parliament’s upper house, despite concerns about his economic policies and plans to revise the nation’s post-war pacifist constitution for the first time.

Media projections showed Abe’s coalition, like-minded parties and independents had won the two-thirds “super majority” needed to try to revise the constitution’s restraints on the military, a step that could strain ties with China, where memories of Japan’s past militarism run deep.

Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) fell short of winning a simple majority, which would have increased its clout within the coalition. Earlier projections had shown it was within their grasp for the first time since 1989.

Nevertheless, the overall victory will still bolster Abe’s grip over the conservative party that he led back to power in 2012 promising to reboot the economy with hyper-easy monetary policy, fiscal spending and reforms.


Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/japan-election-result_us_57825da5e4b0344d514faf70

Neocons now have a firm grip on Japan.
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