Trans-Pacific trade agreement shrouded – What is Obama hiding from us all

(NaturalNews) For some reason, President Barack Obama pushed for fast-track trade authority for a new trade deal that he also doesn’t want anyone in Congress to see before he gets that authority. Even worse, the Senate’s majority Republican leadership just gave Obama exactly what he wants. So much for having an “opposition” party.

For those who don’t know, “fast track trade authority” is the authority to make a trade deal and then offer it to Congress for an up-or-down vote, essentially taking away the ability of lawmakers to offer and add amendments. Obama wants this authority so he can sign off on a the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Ordinary Americans, however, can’t learn anything about it because the administration has refused to make the details public. Even lawmakers — the people’s elected representatives — are sworn to secrecy before shown the details of the deal.

It’s the opponents of the deal who are the problem, not the White House’s secrecy

As reported by Politico:

If you want to hear the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal the Obama administration is hoping to pass, you’ve got to be a member of Congress, and you’ve got to go to classified briefings and leave your staff and cellphone at the door.

If you are a congressperson who wants to actually read the text of the deal — unlike when Democrats writ large passed the massive “Obamacare” legislation — you are asked to go to a room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center to be handed just one section at a time. Then, you are watched over as you read it and then forced to give back any notes you might have taken before you leave.

How can an administration get away with treating the people’s elected representatives this way?

“It’s like being in kindergarten,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro. D-Connecticut, who has become the leader of the opposition to President Barack Obama’s trade agenda, told Politico. “You give back the toys at the end.”

The difference is that this agreement is obviously not a play thing, and it’s equally obvious that this administration is once again trying to hide something. What is the devil in the details of the TPP agreement?

Secrecy is actually hurting Obama this time around, even in his own party. In fact, the push to keep the provisions of this deal hidden is central to the strategy being formed by congressional opponents. As Politico notes, the administration isn’t even telling Congress what it is asking for or what has already been promised to foreign signatories of the deal:

The White House has been coordinating an administration-wide lobbying effort that’s included phone calls and briefings from Secretary of State John Kerry, Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and others. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has been working members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro has been talking to members of his home state Texas delegation.

In typical fashion for this administration, opponents of the deal are being portrayed as the problem rather than casting the blame on the White House.

“Officials from the White House and the United States trade representative’s office say they’ve gone farther than ever before to provide Congress the information it needs and that the transparency complaints are just the latest excuse for people who were never going to vote for a new trade deal anyway,” said Politico.

Oddly, one of the deal’s supporters is none other than Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky. He’s even gone so far as to compliment Obama while promising to bring the deal up for a vote “soon.”

Not all lawmakers are rolling over. Senator Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, has sent Obama a letter demanding that the details of the current and future trade deals be made public before any vote.

“Congress has an obligation to defend the legitimate interests of U.S. workers, and the rights of all Americans as citizens of a sovereign Republic,” he wrote.

Diet cola drinks better for you than water, say scientists funded by the sugar industry

Diet drinks and colas could be better for us than water, claims a new study funded by the sugar industry. The researchers—six of whom have had direct funding from the sugar industry or are employed by sugar manufacturers—claim that the drinks, which use artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, reduce energy intake and body weight, and may do so better even than water.

The researchers based their findings on a survey of previously-published papers, many of which were tests on laboratory rats.

But of the 5,500 papers that were initially reviewed, just one or two—involving 500 people—suggested that diet drinks were better than water, and there was conflicting evidence even for this.

And yet this was the “take home” message from the study, said lead researcher Prof Peter Rogers from Bristol University, who has had funding from the UK’s Sugar Nutrition, which is supported by the sugar industry. In all, six of the 11 researchers had an association with the sugar industry, including two who were directly employed by sugar manufacturers.

AZ lawmaker who believes Earth 6,000 years old leads education panel

An Arizona lawmaker who believes the Earth is 6,000 years old is the new chairwoman of the state Senate committee that oversees education-related legislation.

Republican Sen. Sylvia Allen of Snowflake has a gift for going viral with statements that would be edited out of most school textbooks:

– Buying into conspiracy theories surrounding “chemtrails” — exhaust from aircraft — and suggesting the government is manipulating the weather.

– Sharing her opinion that church attendance should be mandatory, during a legislative debate on whether concealed weapons should be allowed in public buildings (she voted for the bill).

– Declaring the Earth “has been here 6,000 years,” during a debate over allowing access to public lands for mining and other purposes.

Senate President Andy Biggs on Monday named Allen to lead a committee that acts as a gatekeeper for education-related legislation, such as Common Core and spending. Allen succeeds Sen. Kelli Ward, who resigned last week to run full-time in next year’s GOP primary against Sen. John. McCain.

“She understands what Arizona students and parents need in our education system,” Biggs said in a prepared statement. “She is a very experienced legislator and I know she will do a wonderful job.”

Allen said her goal is “to highlight the incredible teachers who are the reason for our children’s success. I also want to focus on parents’ responsibility in their children’s education.”

To Protect Marijuana From Monsanto Patenting, Company Begins Mapping Cannabis Genome

A pioneering biotechnology startup has launched an online interactive guide that maps the genetic evolution of the cannabis genome, allowing for specific strains of marijuana that are already in the public domain a form of protection from patenting by large biotech firms such as Monsanto.

After two years of collecting samples, sequencing the plant’s DNA and developing the software to allow for a 3-D visualization of the collected data, the company was ready to unveil their long-awaited project.

“Sample collection was a huge part of this process,” Carolyn White, Sales and Marketing Manager at Phylos Bioscience told Willamette Week. “One side was a collaboration with growers, dispensaries and labs to collect modern samples, and the other a process of hunting down ancient landrace strains from all over the world.”

The Portland company, fittingly on 4/20, went online with its interactive guide, which the company calls Galaxy.

While there are a number of other companies that offer various services in identification and cataloging, none offer actual DNA sequencing, which provides an unparalleled level of accuracy.

According to a report in Willamette Week:

With the Galaxy, users can view the hereditary sequence of each plant by following lines that connect strains to their genetic parent or offspring. Similar plants are located close to each other, while color groups the plants into “tribes” based on their region.

“We’ve collected samples from all over the world, and cataloged the genetic information encoded in their DNA,” Dr. Holmes, Phylos’s chief science officer and molecular and evolutionary biologist, in addition to being a co-founder of Phylos Bioscience, told the NY Times, relating the DNA sequencing to an actual bar code in terms of identification and evolutionary relationship relative to other samples.

The data could theoretically help protect the intellectual property rights of growers from potential big business interests, such as Monsanto, from gaining a patent foothold in the growing industry.

Due to the social media attention given to the subject, Monsanto has attempted to refute any interest in producing GMO cannabis, posting on their website that the companies reported interest in GMO marijuana is nothing more than “an Internet rumor.”

Additionally, on April 25, Monsanto spokeswoman Charla Lord told Willamette Week that the company will not be getting involved in the marijuana business.

“Monsanto has not, is not and has no plans for working on cultivating cannabis,” Lord told WW.

Contrary to the public statements by Lord, White says that he expects companies like Monsanto will attempt to eventually patent cannabis.

“We think Big Pharma and Big Ag will be the primary audience after patents, and it will likely require writing new DNA in to the plant,” White told WW. “None of the folks at Phylos really see patenting as a viable tool for the average breeder.”

Phylos looks to assist in pushing more data into the public domain as a hedge against patenting by large bio-agribusiness as information in the public domain can’t be patented after one year.

“You can’t patent anything that’s been in the public domain longer than a year,” White told WW. “We set out to bring more knowledge and transparency to the industry and that’s still what we’re doing.”

The next step for the innovative company is the launch of a commercial sequencing product to allow for anyone to send in a sample to Phylos and have it sequenced. The sample would be placed into the Galaxy, with the customer being given a detailed analysis of the strains sequenced data.

Wearing a mask at a riot is now a crime

A bill that bans the wearing of masks during a riot or unlawful assembly and carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence with a conviction of the offence became law today.

Bill C-309, a private member’s bill introduced by Conservative MP Blake Richards in 2011, passed third reading in the Senate on May 23 and was proclaimed law during a royal assent ceremony in the Senate this afternoon.

Richards, MP for Wild Rose, Alta., said the bill is meant to give police an added tool to prevent lawful protests from becoming violent riots, and that it will help police identify people who engage in vandalism or other illegal acts. The bill is something that police, municipal authorities and businesses hit hard by riots in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and other cities in recent years, were asking for, according to Richards.

“The provisions of my bill are effective immediately, which means police officers across Canada now have access to these tools to protect the public from masked rioters,” Richards said in a statement being released today.

The bill creates a new Criminal Code offence that makes it illegal to wear a mask or otherwise conceal your identity during a riot or unlawful assembly. Exceptions can be made if someone can prove they have a “lawful excuse” for covering their face such as religious or medical reasons.

The bill originally proposed a penalty of up to five years, but the House of Commons justice committee amended it and doubled the penalty to up to 10 years in prison for committing the offence.

Richards noted in his statement how rare it is for a private member’s bill to become law and said that its final passage is the culmination of two years of work and a lot of consultation with police and business owners.

Bill comes into force immediately upon royal assent

“We can all rest easier tonight knowing our communities have been made safer with its passage,” said Richards.

The bill didn’t have unanimous support, and was opposed by some who are concerned about its effect on freedom of expression and privacy. Critics said the measures are unnecessary because the Criminal Code already includes a section about wearing disguises while committing a crime.

Civil liberties advocates argued the measures could create a chilling effect on free speech and that peaceful protesters can unintentionally find themselves involved in an unlawful assembly. They also noted that there are legitimate reasons for wearing masks at protests; some may be worried about reprisals at work, for example, if sighted at a political protest.

“Any law that infringes upon civil liberties needs to be held to a test of absolute necessity, and I don’t think that test has been met in this instance,” said Michael Byers, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia and a board member of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, in an interview. Byers testified at the Commons justice committee that studied the bill.

Byers said freedom of expression was not properly factored into the design of the bill and that its measures could deter acts of political expression.

Richards argues that his bill will actually help protect the legitimate right to protest because it will help prevent illegitimate protesters from infiltrating a peaceful event and causing trouble. He also said police told him the existing Criminal Code provision about disguises is more geared toward armed robbery offences and is difficult to apply in protest situations.

In a recent interview, Richards said there is a lot of misunderstanding about his bill and that there will always be people who disagree with it.

He said he is proud to have identified a problem and created a solution. The bill becomes law when it receives royal assent.

Native Americans call for ban on Christians entering the United States

Native Americans have controversially called for a complete ban on Christians of any denomination entering the US until representatives can ‘figure out what the hell is going on.’

“Seriously, you guys have screwed this place up,” said Chief Simon with Williams

“Two world wars, I don’t know how many ‘minor conflicts,’ mass-shootings, Adam Sandler, toy dogs, the Star Wars prequels. Ryan Adams covering Taylor Swift, MacDonalds; I mean, all this is bad enough but now you unleash Donald Trump on us?”

“I’m sorry, it’s extreme but we have to say enough is enough.”

The call for a ban has been seen as highly provocative to an already incredibly violent religious group whose more extreme wings are responsible for some of the worst mass-killings in US history.

“Hey, some of my best friends are Christians,” said the Chief.

“And they are good people, seriously. But until we figure out a way to tell the nice ones from the hate-filled, bigoted, war-mongering mass-killers then we’ve got to look after ourselves.”

If the ban was put in place, it would affect such world figures such as the Pope, Bono, and Bill Turnbill, and open up the US to accusations of being profoundly silly.

The chief was conciliatory, “True words, I don’t want the US looking silly. Okay, if we can’t ban all Christians, then let’s just ban Donald Trump?”

One Piece Get Up – All Dressrosa

It is not mine, I must mention that. I thought I would share with you as well though in case you haven’t seen it.

This is my favorite. this AMV encapsulated all of the inspiring things about OP. everything that makes this anime great is represented so well

That depended on the studio (if that’s the right term. Basically who animated the particular episode). There were a few studios back then that went off model almost constantly. I know one was famous for making the girls look like alien toothpick people. Like that scene in Thriller Bark with Robin Laying on the ground and basically not looking human anymore, and that studio was around for quite a while. In early episodes there was also a studio that gave Luffy enormous shoulders all the time, and just in general had a lot of bizarre anatomy moments. I remember 2 studios with quite a bit of fondness (If I had to name episodes they did, the One Where Luffy first used Gear 2 to curbstomp Blueno was one, and the Episode of the G8 arc where Chopper pretended to be a mad man kidnapping Nami and the nurse was another).

One stopped somewhere after Skypeia (the latter one), and the other stopped during Punk Hazard (the former one). We have some good studios now, I can think of two in particular that I like (there’s the one that appears occasionally mid episode like when Sabo destroyed the ring, but that one can be a hit or miss style-wise despite it’s stunning animation), but there aren’t as many that I hate now as there were back before the timeskip. There will surely be more in the future as well since studios will always change over time with a long running anime like One Piece.

This was amazing. Maaaan this reminded me of how much of a baddass cyborg Franky is….Toei may be cheaping out on us, but we gotta give them props for at least bringing that sheer awesomeness of Franky to a whole new light.

Would’ve been nice to include a few Sanji moments. Sadly, there’s nothing too exciting to add from the Brook/Nami/Chopper side of things–even Brook’s final attack on Jora was made more light-hearted than it was in the manga.

This is the type of AMV that changes ones soul. existential thoughts and major life decisions are to be had after feasting ones eyes upon magnificence such as this. I doubt anyone who has doubts about one piece would question it’s sheer awesome beauty after they witness something as unquestionably great as Get Up.

There are some AMVs that overuse it for sure, but One Piece has too many scenes with low framerates, so it removes any sense of fluidity when you go from a scene like Rebecca crying or Zoro’s haki to a bunch of marines or a family member taking a step. There were also a few moments where you slowed down the video just slightly to intensify the scene or fit the beat of the song, but it came out choppy. Interpolation can help you increase the framerate in those scenes, and even throughout the entire AMV if you felt like it.

All in all, this was really satisfying to watch. I don’t watch very many AMVs, or really watch much anime for that matter, but this definitely convinced me that AMVs can be well worth the watch.

Diablo 3 – How to start a Rift

if you right click on an image and click “open image in a new tab”, you can use that URL to link people directly to the image. Not only does it save people on bandwidth so they don’t have to load the whole imgur page, it works with RES so we can open it without leaving Reddit.

The more you know!!!

I ever get is people in public games running ahead, hitting all the goblins, and then not killing them as their not in T6 gear and trying to get carried.

I’ve heard the term but honestly I’ve never known what that meant. He had a bunch of random legendaries, 0 Rerolls in any of his gear, including his weapon. I tried to pm him to help him get his damage up, I’ve been maining WD since vanilla launch, he didn’t respond at all so we booted him. His sheet damage was Pre-ROS and his lack of communication made him even worst. I tried though

ive always assumed it meant zero dps, suggesting it’s a support class. Idk though, we were clearing the runs so fast we didn’t need the support situation. What good would he have done dropping his big bag voodoo when the elites at 10% already. If someone’s gonna play a support build, I’d suggest staying up front or keeping up at the least. He just fell too far behind the whole time and had to be chopped

USA Made A Video Divide And Conquer

In fascist America, we will still hold tight to our Bill of Rights, but the way those rights will be exercised will be altered to our detriment. The government will suggest we're free because we're allowed to own guns and exercise our freedom. All the while, a nefarious Supreme Court will reinterpret the rights that actually matter, and enable the government to do things that were beyond the pale before. Guns mean freedom, and guns are freely available, therefore you are free. This is despite the fact that a militia is nothing compared to the US military, but militia members celebrating their freedom won't care about that. All the while, the freedoms we have that can actually impinge upon a government's power like the 14th amendment. If you asked someone on the street what they thought about the importance of the 14th amendment was, they might not know. So you can damage the 14th amendment, spin it in the news, and only the disgraced experts that no one listens to anymore will care. And yet we will still have our Bill of Rights. We won't wake up tomorrow in fascist America, but if it does happen, it will be by means of our institutions and our values, not opposed to them.

Our institutions are being tested like no other time in our history. I guess we'll see how strong they really are. Sometimes I'm hopeful; sometimes I'm not.

I sound like a total downer here. We've got a fighting chance - I agree with you there. But I've never been so pessimistic. I think part of that is seeing racists and trolls all over Reddit, where I admit I spend too much of my time.

It's not an equivalent also because it's a strawman caricature. There are so few people like that, they're statistically zero. The internet does a great job of magnifying persecution complexes. Gamergate found like a handful of people with somewhat radical views. Under the banner of being worried about ethics in gaming journalism, it only really succeeded in creating this cartoon villain "Other" SJW that now serves as a pejorative to belittle people or identify them as an irrational enemy. The same thing is happening with the nebulous word "Globalist."

There are a million other historic sites you could devote your life to outside of Iran. "I would consider it" is 100% BS. You'll think about it, and how quaint and wholesome it is, and then you'll enjoy the comforts of a clean mattress and hot showers and air conditioning like everyone else. Because, unless someone is passionate enough to make those sacrifices, they shouldn't really be devoting their life to a grain mill anyway.

I know that you probably have access to the internet that isn't restricted by the government in any way, and that you probably have an elected, secular government. I know that you're educated enough to read, and probably much more. If you're not American, you probably have healthcare. If you are American, there are several different military and service organizations that offer healthcare, many of which accept people with no qualifications and provide paid job training. Not ideal, but the National Guard taught me job skills that got me through college and the healthcare (which is amazing) costs me something like $42/mo.

Your life in the first world is something you look at and see the potential in. There's a chance that you could land a gig paying $40k next week and rent a nice apartment. My first real job, which I got at 21 with no college degree, paid $80k. It was in sales and hustled my ass off every day to keep that job. Sales sucks, but they take anyone and if you can make money they'll keep you around forever.

Move to Africa or Iran or South America to care for some heritage site in the middle of nowhere and you lose that. Life is worrying about things like "Will I get killed for my religious convictions or nationality?" or "Is this a blister on my foot, or a parasite that will lead to my leg getting amputated?"

I've been poor in America. I've also seen the poor in a country like Afghanistan. There's no comparison. I don't know you, and I don't know how hard your life has been, but you're trying to pull this "I'd consider it" card when you really wouldn't. Either you'd already be obsessed with it, you'd already be doing it, or you'll never do it. No shame in that, I'd never do it either, but don't act like living in the Iranian desert and dying alone, all for a grain mill, is on the bucket list.