2020-07-01 00:00:00 ..
2020-08-09 09:04:26 UTC
2020-08-10 13:10:21 UTC
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US lawmakers opened a debate Tuesday over privacy legislation in the first step by Congress toward regulation addressing a series of troublesome data protection abuses by tech firms.
Most companies have said they would accept new federal legislation in the wake of bombshell revelations about Facebook and other online platforms' mishandling of users' personal data.
Lawmakers face several key choices, including whether to adopt the model in the European Union's data protection rules, and whether to pre-empt the strict privacy rules adopted by California.
A House of Representatives committee hearing on Tuesday is to be followed by a Senate panel Wednesday where industry and interest groups will make recommendations on US legislation.
Legislators are likely to find broad agreement on the need for greater transparency regarding the collection and sharing of data, and on tougher enforcement for violations.
Beyond that, sharp differences exist on how tightly tech firms should be reined in.
"A federal law must include basic rights for individuals to access, correct, delete and port their personal data," said Nuala O'Connor, president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a digital rights group, in testimony prepared for the House Energy and Commerce panel.
Soldiers from the Venezuelan national guard have left their posts ahead of an opposition-led effort to bring aid into the country, Colombia's migration agency said. In a separate development, Venezuelan troops have fired tear gas at people looking to cross into Colombia to work. Tensions have been rising over a row about the delivery of humanitarian aid.
President Nicolás Maduro said the border with Colombia is partly closed to stop aid being delivered. But self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó has vowed that hundreds of thousands of volunteers will help bring in the aid deliveries, which include food and medicine, on Saturday. The first delivery of aid has already entered Venezuela through Brazil, Mr Guaidó tweeted. The delivery of aid to the stricken country has proven to be a key area of contention between the two men who see themselves as Venezuela's leader.
Venezuela's National Guard fired tear gas on opposition activists at a barricaded border bridge to Colombia on Saturday, and two protesters were killed near the border in Brazil, as the opposition tried to execute a high-risk plan to deliver humanitarian aid over the obstinate refusal of President Nicolas Maduro.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido pulled himself onto a semitruck and shook hands with its driver as he and Colombian President Ivan Duque gave a ceremonial send-off to an aid convoy looking to transport nearly 200 metric tons of mostly U.S.-supplied emergency food and medical supplies from the Colombian border city of Cucuta. "Our call to the armed forces couldn't be clearer: put yourself on the right side of history," he said in an appeal to troops constituting Maduro's last-remaining major plank of support in a country ravaged by hyperinflation and widespread shortages.
Amid the aid push, Maduro struck back, breaking diplomatic relations with Colombia, whose government he accuses of serving as a staging ground for a U.S.-led effort to oust him from power. "My patience has run out," Maduro said, speaking at a rally of red-shirted supporters in Caracas and giving Colombian diplomats 24 hours to leave the country.
The opposition is calling on masses of Venezuelans to form a "humanitarian avalanche" to escort the trucks across several border bridges. But clashes started at dawn in the Venezuelan border town of Urena, when residents began removing yellow metal barricades and barbed wire blocking the Francisco de Paula Santander bridge. Venezuela's National Guard responded forcefully, firing tear gas and buckshot on the protesters who demanded that the aid pass through. Some of the protesters were masked youth who threw rocks and later commandeered a city bus and set it afire. At least two dozen people were injured in the disturbances, according to local health officials in Urena.
Related: Voting Company Finds Manipulation in Venezuela Election
Venezuela Agents Arrest Opposition Leaders in Midnight Raids
U.S. Bans Venezuela's Cryptocurrency
Venezuela Blocks Access to the Tor Network
It's no secret that some of our federal legislators don't have a firm grip on scientific evidence; it only takes watching a session of the House Science Committee, where one member suggested the climate-driven rise of the oceans might instead be caused by rocks falling into the ocean.
What's often overlooked is that state legislators are even worse (though it's not clear how much this is a product of there simply being more of them). Each year, they oversee a variety of attempts to introduce pseudoscience into the public schools of a number of states.
[...] The legislator in question is Republican Joe Read, who represents an area north of Missoula, home of many fine scientists at the University of Montana. Read has eight bills under consideration in the current session of the legislature, and two of those focus on climate change.
As a result, the [first] bill would prohibit state agencies, officials, and employees from doing anything to cooperate with federal efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions. If passed, the Montana government "may not implement or enforce in any way any federal regulation, rule, or policy implementing a federal greenhouse gas regulatory program."
But if you thought Read's grasp of constitutional law was shaky, you should check out his reason for objecting to doing anything about climate change. That's laid out in his second bill, which targets both science education and in-state programs designed to reduce carbon emissions. And it doesn't mince words, suggesting that pretty much all the scientists have it wrong: "the [US] National Climate Assessment makes the same errors as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the National Academy of Sciences is also fundamentally wrong about climate change."
What are those errors? They are not reality based. Rep. Read claims "all Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change arguments to prove claims of increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide have failed," even though we've measured that increase in a number of ways. There are also things that are difficult to comprehend, like the statement that "the carbon-14 data shows that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claim that human emissions have decreased the 'buffer capacity of the carbonate system' is an invalid claim."
More coverage at the Billings Gazette.
Millions of Chinese individuals and businesses have been labelled as untrustworthy on an official blacklist banning them from any number of activities, including accessing financial markets or traveling by air or train, as the use of the government’s social credit system accelerates.
[...] Over 3.59 million Chinese enterprises were added to the official creditworthiness blacklist last year, banning them from a series of activities, including bidding on projects, accessing security markets, taking part in land auctions and issuing corporate bonds, according to the 2018 annual report released by the National Public Credit Information Center.
[...] According to the report, the authorities collected over 14.21 million pieces of information on the “untrustworthy conduct” of individuals and businesses, including charges of swindling customers, failing to repay loans, illegal fund collection, false and misleading advertising, as well as uncivilized behavior such as taking reserved seats on trains or causing trouble in hospitals.
About 17.46 million “discredited” people were restricted from buying plane tickets and 5.47 million were restricted from purchasing high-speed train tickets, the report said.
I, for one, welcome our new, well-behaved party overlords.
An article at vice.com reports The Number of U.S. Hate Groups Keeps Surging, Largely Thanks to Young, White men:
The number of hate groups nationwide reached a record high in 2018, driven partly by the persistent growth of white nationalist groups catering to young, college-aged men.
There are currently 1,020 active hate groups in America — up from 954 in 2017, and 917 the previous year, according to an annual tally by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The new, young face of hate emerged from the shadows during the 2016 election and organized through a shared language of memes and under the banner of the “alt-right.” Many hailed then-candidate Donald Trump, with his hard-line views on immigration, as a hero. In celebration of his election, the alt-right’s one-time de facto leader Richard Spencer led a room full of young men in suits to give Nazi salutes.
Since then, Spencer and other prominent actors, entangled in costly lawsuits and tired of being heckled by anti-fascist protesters, have faded into relative obscurity.
At the same time, groups like Identity Evropa — whose khaki-clad members were a formidable presence at the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017— have proliferated and expanded their reach by setting up new chapters across the country. Patriot Front also grew significantly in 2018 after splintering from Vanguard America, the group linked to the 19-year-old neo-Nazi who rammed his car into a crowd of protesters during the Charlottesville rally and killed Heather Heyer.
"NASA has largely been living off the successes of space projects launched up to a decade ago — including the now 'dead' Mars Opportunity rover. It hopes to launch its first manned space flight since the demise of the Space Shuttle program in 2011.
But now the Trump administration appears to be determined to get a new Moon project off the ground. And it's eager to pay private companies to carry its cargoes.
NASA has been considering the prospect of a 'Lunar Gateway' space station placed in orbit around the Moon, acting as a stopover point for missions to the surface and, perhaps, Mars.
NASA documents indicate the earliest date for an American to tread the lunar surface again is 2028." foxnews.com/science/nasas-new-grand-space-race-plan
Hopefully we can speed that one up.
"Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)........is launching a second run for the White House in 2020." breitbart.com/politics/2019/02/19/bernie-sanders-2020-bid
"Reaction to the news was split......with some supporting the 77-year-old and others upset with the move." foxnews.com/politics/trump-campaign-pokes-fun-at-bernie-sanders-2020-announcement-as-reaction-splits-on-candidacy
At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a panel moderator asked Michael Dell, America's 17th-richest man, what he thought about the idea of raising the top marginal tax rate to 70 percent.
This idea has been in the headlines since Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez floated it in a 60 Minutes interview on January 6 as a way to pay for a Green New Deal.
The Davos panel found the question hilarious. When the laughing died down, Dell, the founder and CEO of Dell Technologies, dismissed the idea out of hand, claiming it would harm U.S. economic growth.
"President Trump will sign the border security compromise package on Capitol Hill to avert another government shutdown and will take the extraordinary step of declaring a national emergency to obtain funding for the border wall, the White House announced Thursday."
The Senate passed legislation on Thursday breaking with President Trump's Syria policy. Senators voted 77-23 to send the legislation to the House that includes a provision warning Trump against a "precipitous" withdrawal of troops from Syria and Afghanistan. It also asks the administration to certify that certain conditions have been met "for the enduring defeat of al Qaeda and ISIS before initiating any significant withdrawal of United States forces from Syria or Afghanistan."
[...] In addition to the Syria amendment, the bill also included sanctions against the Syrian government, increased support for Israel and Jordan and a provision that would let states penalize businesses that take part in boycotts or divestments of Israel.
Both the Syria amendment and the anti-BDS provisions sparked division among Democrats. [...] Democrats had raised First Amendment concerns about the anti-BDS provision, which splintered most of the party's 2020 contenders and caucus leadership. "While I do not support the BDS movement, we must defend every American's constitutional right to engage in political activity. It is clear to me that this bill would violate Americans' First Amendment rights," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement last week.
[*] BDS: boycott, divestment and sanctions.
Also at NYT.