Nation-states – Creative Room 4 Talk Wed, 16 Nov 2022 19:47:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Nation-states – Creative Room 4 Talk 32 32 Sleepwalking into the abyss | psychology today Wed, 16 Nov 2022 19:12:34 +0000

People have a long history of taking too much the environment. Our excesses catch up with us. How did our species become such a threat to the planet? What can we do about it?

The problem: from killing too many prey to buying too many things

In favorable environments, humans overuse resources and ignore long-term costs. This happened in the “Pleistocene Overkill” when our ancestors wiped out their large prey. Today is a credit-funded Internet spending spree. We must understand these recurring trends if we are to break them.

Conspicuous consumption is a key motive. Our ancestors went beyond killing for food and hunting for prestige. Shopping sprees are also driven by the need to project social success.

The outcome

We are trapped in a contradiction. Economic success and increased GDP are hailed by politicians who also claim to be fighting climate change. These objectives are mostly contradictory. Therefore, we are sleepwalking into the abyss. How to get out of this cognitive trap?

1. Understand the problem.

Climate change is the price we must pay for economic growth and individual prosperity. Yet our assault on the planet is killing the goose that lays the golden egg. We must protect the natural wealth of our planet if we are to survive as a species. By hurting the planet, we hurt ourselves.

When Brazilian farmers destroyed rainforests to cultivate more in Brazil, for example, they made the regional climate hotter, drier and windier, which drastically reduced crop yields. They have also turned the vast carbon sink of the Amazon region into a source of carbon pollution.

2. There is no us against them.

In the face of serious climate threats, all countries in the world must act together to reduce carbon pollution. Unfortunately, the annual Climate Change Conferences (COPs) tend to escalate into a squabble over money.

Developed countries are said to have benefited from carbon pollution and often promise to pay back poorer countries that suffer the most from extreme weather events and disasters. These promises are rarely honored. When they are, the money is misappropriated and misused. It is far better to enlist the help of developing countries to tackle the climate problem.

3. Respect indigenous lands and increase wildlife reserves.

Indigenous peoples still occupy a quarter of the earth’s land surface. They are highly motivated to protect their land because it is the source of their livelihood and because they have ancient emotional and religious ties to specific sites. Researchers found that indigenous peoples were more effective at protecting land than nation states despite having minimal economic resources.1 Just as indigenous peoples have the greatest interest in their own lands, subsistence farmers depend on the land for their livelihood.

4. Protect subsistence agriculture and minimize climate refugees.

Unfortunately, many farmers are on the front lines of climate change, fueling the refugee crisis in places like Somalia and Central America. While much damage has already been done to marginal farmland, it can be made more resilient. This involves planting sturdy vegetation, such as shrubs, trees and bamboo, which holds the soil in place and prevents wind erosion and flooding. Another tactic is to plant a greater diversity of food crops so that failure of one species does not lead to famine.

Can we rise to the challenge?

With a long history of overconsumption, how can we accept to consume less on the planet to mitigate climate change? The answer is that we must become responsible stewards of the planet to preserve and benefit from its riches. The creation of marine protected areas increases fish yields in unprotected areas, for example. Conversely, indiscriminate exploitation depletes fish stocks.

Developing countries have a vital role to play in tackling climate change and will reap economic benefits. Examples include making green stoves, wind turbines, solar cells and harvesting water from the air – green applications that are highly beneficial in less developed countries. Developed countries should invest directly in these companies, thereby boosting the economies of poorer countries.

We are all indebted to the planet for our food and must seek resilient agriculture to feed the population explosion. If climate remediation is to succeed, we need to recruit both indigenous people and subsistence farmers.

We certainly need the full support of developing countries which include both the most threatened lands, the most important indigenous peoples and the most precious carbon sinks.2

There is no point in reducing the use of coal in developed countries if China and India want to increase theirs. We are all in this together and must stop creating divisions with divisive payments for natural disasters. Instead, we must work together to prevent them.

Nkomazi’s revered author publishes new book Mon, 14 Nov 2022 07:23:16 +0000

Revered author Motsedi Mojalefa Maja’s latest book offering is nothing but a page-turner and thought-provoking as well.

Title Religious Bait: The World Under SiegeMaja’s book argues that an urgent spiritual awakening through the indigenous African knowledge systems, Sankofa and Ubuntu, must be internalized by rewriting history and practicing the ancestral ways of Africans, such as Kemetic spirituality.

The book argues that it is important for the African Diaspora to understand how man-made religions have affected spirituality and caused social and mental harm to Diasporas.

Religious Bait: The World Under Siege is a collection of reflections that uncovers the impact of religion in the world, highlighting in particular the religious conflicts and tensions that took place after the arrival of European nations, as well as the missionaries and the dogmas that did not have not resonate with African spirituality. It shines a light on how organizational and religious violence, wars and racism have affected vulnerable and helpless black communities around the world,” Maja said.

He is a social activist, humanist, feminist, philanthropist and free thinker.

Maja is a graduate of Vaal University of Technology and holds degrees in logistics and business administration. He is an unpaid Bantu conceptualist and bestselling author.

ALSO READ: Bushbuckridge Author’s Fourth Book Educates Everyone

His previous book, Confrontationreached corners of Africa, including Gabon and Zimbabwe.

“The popular belief that religion is the cause of the world’s bloodiest conflicts is central to our modern belief that faith and politics should never merge. As we watch Islamic states rampage across the Middle East and West Africa, tearing apart modern nation states established by Western settlers, it can be problematic and difficult for the world to understand the causes of wars and their consequences. impacts.

READ ALSO: Author and businesswoman from Matsulu publishes her 2nd book

“Today everyone knows that religion has a dangerous tendency to promote violence and wars. The abandonment of spirituality has given religious organizations space to practice their beliefs that dismantle the social fabrics of the world.

It is somewhat trivial, but nonetheless sadly true, to say that more wars have been fought, more people are killed, fraudsters and swindlers profit from the religious bazaar, and religious perpetrators walk away with the violence committed, and nowadays more evil is perpetrated in the name of religion than any other institutional force in human history,” he said.

Death Penalty Information Center Launches Series on Human Rights and the Death Penalty in the United States Fri, 11 Nov 2022 06:37:55 +0000

The Death Penalty Information Centersupported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Federal Republic of Germanylaunched a new project on Human rights and the death penalty in the United States on November 4, 2022, with a live panel discussion at the German Embassy in Washington, D.C. The recorded event, attended by scholars, lawyers and members of the global diplomatic corps, was the first in a series of webinars
which will highlight human rights issues in the use and implementation of the death penalty in the United States and will feature renowned experts.

The program reframed the discussion of capital punishment from a public safety context to whether its existence and practice are inconsistent with basic notions of human rights. Legal historian and law professor John Bessler, author of numerous books on capital punishment, including the forthcoming The denial of fundamental human rights by the death penaltyexamined whether the death penalty, although permitted to a limited degree in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, has become a form of punishment which, by its very nature, is fundamentally incompatible with our evolving understanding of human decency and human rights.

Explaining the expanded understanding of torture, from the physical infliction of excruciating pain to psychological torture and death threats, Bessler said, “We need to think about reclassifying the death penalty as an act of torture. The death penalty, he said, is “essentially a series of death threats. … [A] capital decision, it’s really just a death threat. You think of a death sentence, it’s just an even more believable death threat. … [W]hen we think of the death penalty, we have to think of the use of these types of state-sanctioned or sponsored death threats…”.

Nathalie Greenfield, a human rights lawyer and fellow at the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide, who has represented women on death row in the United States, Tanzania and Malawi, spoke of the dehumanizing treatment of women facing death penalty. capital punishment in the United States, both in the systemic failures to prevent and remedy the gender-based violence to which virtually all women facing the death penalty in the United States have been exposed and in the use of stereotypical arguments gender-related to seek the death penalty. “Prosecutors routinely indulge in these stories that are really rooted in gender stereotypes,” Greenfield said, “and women are ultimately executed after trials that are riddled with this kind of information.”

Diann Rust-Tierney, 2021-2022 Robert F. Drinan Visiting Professor for Human Rights at the Institute of Human Rights at Georgetown University Law Center, explored why the United States has not submitted the racial issues in the US death penalty to the same human rights analysis applied to the practices of other countries. “The death penalty has always been a violation of human rights and it’s something that our human rights allies around the world have always known,” Rust-Tierney said. “[W]When you trace the history of the death penalty and its use today, you see that it has always been used primarily to delineate the relative value of lives based on race and skin color.

Reviewing the evolution of the death penalty from Civil War-era slave laws to its racially disparate application today, Rust-Tierney said, “The death penalty is clearly a violation of human rights…. The gory, heartbreaking nature of the beast was always meant to be a feature. It’s not a bug. And although the death penalty has been disguised as a measure of accountability or in response to criminal activity and public safety, it is a practice that has always been practiced capriciously and biased.

The DPIC Human Rights Project grew out of discussions with staff from the German Embassy. DPIC presented the second event in the series, a webinar on Race, human rights and the death penalty in the United Stateson November 7, 2022, with two additional webinars to follow.

Axel Dittmann, Deputy Chief of Mission of the German Embassy in the United States, opened the embassy event with historical context. He recounted that Germany had abolished the death penalty in its 1949 constitution, explaining that it was the United States “that helped Germany build a constitution” based on the “principles of human dignity and human rights”. Discussing a pending United Nations resolution calling for a global moratorium on the death penalty, Dittmann said that “Europe and Australia together hope for some support from the United States. By not opposing the resolution, the Biden administration could make its position and ambition clear in this area. This would be another good sign for our transatlantic community of combined values ​​and support for human rights.

Speaking on behalf of the European Union, Claire Fitzgibbon, who heads the political, security and development section of the EU Delegation to the United States, called the abolition of the death penalty “the first priority of the ‘EU to Advance Human Rights in the United States’. The European Union, she said, “will continue to advocate for the abolition of the death penalty for as long as it takes”.

Fitzgibbon noted that “one of the biggest differences between the US and EU interpretation of the death penalty is that we view it as a human rights issue, while the US States primarily view capital punishment as a matter of criminal law.” The DPIC webinar series, she said, “will be really important in highlighting how retaining the death penalty perpetuates a wide range of human rights abuses.”

DPIC Executive Director Robert Dunham, quarantined by COVID precautions, provided pre-recorded remarks ahead of the roundtable. “As you will hear throughout this series,” Dunham said, “the mere existence of capital punishment in the United States legitimizes other extreme practices in the administration of this country’s criminal laws and encourages nations to engage in even more serious human rights abuses. The death penalty in the United States is not only a human rights issue per se, it also hampers the efforts United and our friends and allies to respect human dignity, protect fundamental social, economic and political rights and promote the values ​​of a free and open democratic society.

“We hope today’s session will reinvigorate a discussion of these important issues,” Dunham said.

DPIC Deputy Director Ngozi Ndulue moderated the Embassy event.


To watch a video of the roundtable, Click here.

Exit polls: What voters think as America heads to the polls Tue, 08 Nov 2022 23:31:00 +0000


Read below for an analysis of CNN’s 2022 preliminary national exit polls.

According to preliminary national polling results conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research, more voters trust Republicans than Democrats to handle inflation and crime.

About half of voters said they trust GOP candidates on both issues, while more than 4 in 10 voters said they trust Democratic candidates.

On the issue of abortion, however, about half of voters said they trusted Democratic candidates, compared to more than 4 in 10 voters who said they trusted Republican candidates.

6:30 p.m. ET / Tami Luhby

About 8 out of 10 voters in midterm of this year said they were at least somewhat confident that elections in their state were being conducted fairly and accurately, according to preliminary national exit poll results conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research. About half said they were very confident. Only about 2 in 10 said they were not very or not at all confident.

But voters were also deeply concerned about the state of the country’s democracy. Just under 3 in 10 said they consider democracy in the United States today to be at least somewhat secure, with about 7 in 10 believing democracy in the country is somewhat or very threatened.

Just over 6 in 10 voters agreed that Biden had legitimately won the presidency in 2020, while around a third denied the results of that election.

6:46 p.m. ET / Ariel Edwards-Levy

While voters in this year’s midterm election have a negative view of President Joe Bidentheir views of his predecessor are even more negative, according to preliminary national polling results for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research.

Only around 37% of voters in this year’s midterm elections expressed a favorable view of the former President Donald Trump, with about 6 in 10 people viewing it unfavorably. About 16% of voters said their vote in the House this year was to voice support for Trump, with just under 3 in 10 saying it was meant to voice opposition and the rest saying Trump was not. not a factor.

Voters’ views of the GOP were slightly more positive than their views of Trump, with about 43% viewing the Republican Party favorably and just over half viewing it unfavorably. More than half, about 54%, say the GOP is too extreme.

6 p.m. ET / Ariel Edwards-Levy

There is a significant partisan divide in voter priorities and attitudes this year, according to preliminary national polling results conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research.

Nearly half of voters who supported a GOP House candidate named inflation their top issue, with less than 15% choosing any other issue as their priority. Among voters who supported a Democratic candidate, about 44% listed abortion as their top issue, with 15% or fewer choosing any other issue.

Meanwhile, midterm voters were mostly opposed to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision quash Roe v. Wadeaccording to preliminary national exit polls.

Just under 4 in 10 said they were excited or satisfied with the decision, while about 21% said they were dissatisfied and about 4 in 10 said they were angry.

About 60% of all voters said abortion should be legal in most or all cases, compared to 51% among voters who ran in the 2020 general election.

5:52 p.m. ET / Ariel Edwards-Levy

Early indications suggest that midterm of this year According to preliminary national polling results conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research, the electorate may appear older than voters in the 2018 midterm elections.

Only about a tenth of voters in this election were under 30, while about a third were 65 or older. In 2018, about 13% were under 30 and about 26% were 65 or older.

This year, the electorate was roughly split between those who generally identify as Democrats (about 34%) and those who generally identify as Republicans (about 35%), with the remainder made up of political independents and members of other parties. In 2018, Democrats were a slightly larger voting bloc, around 37%.

About 76% of voters were white and about 24% were voters of color. White voters with college degrees appear to make up a slightly larger share of the electorate this year — around 40% according to preliminary data, up from 31% four years ago. In contrast, voters of color without a college degree appear to have made up a slightly lower share of the electorate this year.

5:29 p.m. ET / Ariel Edwards-Levy

Inflation tops voters’ list of concerns in this year’s midterm elections, followed closely by abortion, according to preliminary national polling results conducted for CNN and other news networks by EdisonResearch.

About a third called inflation the most important issue in their vote, with about 27% citing abortion. The rest were roughly split between crime, gun politics, and immigration as primary concerns.

The views of the electorate on the economy are largely bleak. Only around a quarter of voters have a positive view of the current state of the economy, with around three-quarters rating it negatively – and around 4 in 10 saying it’s downright bad.

That’s more pessimistic than in the 2018 midterm elections, when 68% of voters said the state of the economy was excellent or good, and the 2020 presidential election, when 49% said the same thing.

About 46% of voters in this election say their family’s financial situation has deteriorated over the past two years, while only about 1 in 5 said it has improved.

More than three-quarters of voters in this year’s election say inflation has caused hardship for them and their families over the past year, with around 20% saying it has been a severe hardship. And about 6 in 10 say gas prices, in particular, have recently been a challenge.

5:23 p.m. ET / Ariel Edwards-Levy

This year’s voters midterm elections are generally unhappy with the state of the nation and hold largely negative views about President Joe Bidenaccording to preliminary national polling results conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research.

More than 7 in 10 people said they were less than happy with the way things were going in the country, and around a third said they were not just dissatisfied but angry with the state of the nation.

Biden’s approval rating stands at around 45% among voters in this year’s election – nearly identical to Donald Trump’s 45% approval rating four years ago among midterm voters in 2018. And voters in this election were more than twice as likely to strongly disapprove of Biden than to strongly approve of him.

Just under half of voters this year said Biden’s policies mostly hurt the country, with about 36% saying his policies mostly help, and the rest that they make no difference.

Many voters did not see their vote in Congress as a referendum on the president – almost half said Biden was not a factor in their vote, while about 18% said their vote was meant to express support for Biden, and about a third it was to oppose him.

Updated 5:13 p.m. ET / Ariel Edwards-Levy

The 2022 exit polls include interviews with thousands of voters, both those who voted on Election Day and those who voted early or absent. This scope makes it a powerful tool for understanding the demographics and political views of voters in this year’s election. And their conclusions will ultimately be weighed against the ultimate benchmark: the election results themselves. Even so, exit polls are still polls, with margins of error — meaning they are most useful when treated as estimates rather than precise measurements. This is especially true for the early exit numbers from the polls, which have yet to be adjusted to match the final election results.

CNN’s exit polls are a combination of in-person interviews with Election Day voters and in-person interviews, telephone and online polls measuring the opinions of early and absentee voters via email. They were conducted by Edison Research on behalf of the National Election Pool. In-person interviews on election day were conducted in a random sample of 250 polling stations. The results also include interviews with early and absentee voters conducted in person at 72 early voting locations, by phone or online. Results for the full sample of 12,458 respondents have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points; it is larger for subgroups.

This story has been updated with additional information.

Sump or civility? Elon Musk’s Twitter at a crossroads Sun, 06 Nov 2022 08:52:52 +0000

Speech has never been so courteous on Twitter. Louder vocals often drowned out softer, more nuanced takes. After all, it’s much easier to tweet in rage at a perceived enemy than to seek common ground, whether the argument is about transgender kids or baseball.

In the chaos that has enveloped Twitter the platform — and Twitter the company — since Elon Musk took over, it’s become clear that isn’t going to change anytime soon. In fact, it is likely to get worse before it gets better, or even get better at all.

Musk, along with his band of tech industry devotees, arrived on Twitter just over a week ago, ready to tear down the bluebird’s nest and rebuild it in his vision at breakneck speed. He quickly fired senior executives and the board, installed himself as sole director of the company (for now), and declared himself “Chief Twit”, then “Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator” on his biography.

He began mass layoffs at the San Francisco-based company on Friday, firing about half of its employees by email to bring it back to staffing levels not seen since 2014.

All the while, he continued to tweet a mix of rude memes, half-jokes, SpaceX rocket launches and maybe no Twitter plans that he seems to be working on the site in real time. After he floated the idea of ​​charging users $20 a month for the “blue check” and some extra features, for example, he seemed to quickly cut it back in a Twitter exchange with author Stephen King, who posted: “If instituted, I’m gone like Enron.

“We have to pay the bills one way or another! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8? Musk replied. On Saturday, the company announced a subscription service for $7.99 a month that lets anyone on Twitter pay a checkmark fee “just like the celebrities, businesses, and politicians you already follow.” as well as some premium features – not yet available – like having their tweets appear above those from accounts without a blue check.

The billionaire Tesla CEO has also repeatedly spoken to right-wing figures calling for looser restrictions on hate and misinformation, received congratulations from Dmitry Medvedev, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top associate, and tweeted — then deleted — a baseless conspiracy theory about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband. , who was assaulted at his home.

More than three dozen advocacy organizations have written an open letter to Twitter’s top 20 advertisers, calling on them to pledge to stop advertising on the platform if Twitter under Musk undermines ‘brand safety’ and undermines content moderation.

“Extremists not only celebrate Musk’s takeover of Twitter, they see it as yet another opportunity to post the most abusive, harassing and racist language and imagery. This includes clear threats of violence against people they interact with. disagree,” the letter reads.

One of Musk’s first moves was to fire the woman in charge of trust and security on the platform, Vijaya Gadde. But he kept Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of security and integrity, and took steps to reassure users and advertisers that the site won’t turn into a “free-for-all hellscape.” all” as some fear.

On Friday, he tweeted that “Twitter’s strong commitment to content moderation remains absolutely unchanged. In fact, we’ve actually seen hate speech at times this week fall (asterisk) below (asterisk) our prior standards, unlike From what you may read in the press, however, a growing number of advertisers are suspending spending on Twitter as they re-evaluate how Musk’s changes could increase objectionable content on the platform.

Musk also met with civil rights leaders “about how Twitter will continue to fight hate. & harassment & enforce its election integrity policies,” according to a tweet he sent on November 1.

But representatives of the LGBTQ community were notably absent from the meeting, even though its members are much more likely to be victims of violent crime than those who are not part of these communities. Twitter did not respond to a post about whether Musk plans to meet with LGBTQ groups.

The mercurial billionaire said he won’t make major decisions about content or restoring banned accounts – like former President Donald Trump’s – before setting up a ‘content moderation board’ with points of diverse views. The council, he later added, would include “the civil rights community and groups facing hate-fueled violence.” But experts pointed out that Twitter already has a trust and safety advisory board to answer moderation questions.

“Really, I can’t imagine how it would be any different,” said Danielle Citron, a University of Virginia law professor who has served on the board and worked with Twitter since its 2009 debut to fight online harm. such as threats and harassment. “Our council has the full range of views on free speech.”

A certain amount of chaos is expected after a corporate takeover, as are layoffs and layoffs. But Musk’s dark plans for Twitter — particularly its policies on content moderation, misinformation and hate speech — are ringing alarm bells over the direction one of the world’s most high-profile news ecosystems is headed. All that seems certain is that for now, at least, as Elon Musk says, the same is true for Twitter.

“I hope responsibility and maturity win out,” said Eddie Perez, a former Twitter civic integrity team leader who left the company before Musk took over. “It’s one thing to be a billionaire troll on Twitter and try to make memes laugh and rage. You’re now the owner of Twitter and there’s a new level of accountability.

For now, however, memes seem to be winning. It’s about pundits like Perez, who worry that Musk is moving too fast without listening to the people who have worked to improve civility on the platform and instead using his own island experience as one of the most popular users of the platform with millions of fanatical fans who greet her every move.

“You have a single billionaire controlling something as influential as a social media platform like Twitter. And you have entire nation states (whose) political goals are hostile to ours, and they’re trying to create chaos and they’re directly courting favors” with Musk, Perez said.

“There just isn’t a world in which all of this is normal,” he added. “That should absolutely concern us.”

Twitter didn’t start out as a cesspool. And even now, there are pockets of funny, weird, cheesy subgroups on the platform that remain somewhat isolated from the messy, confrontational place it can seem to be if one follows too many agitators. impetuous. But as with Facebook, the rise of Twitter has also coincided with growing polarization and a measurable decline in online civility in the United States and beyond.

“The big understanding that happened between 2008 and 2012 is that the way to get traction, the way to get attention on all social media, including Twitter, was to use inflammatory language – to challenge the fundamental humanity of the opposition,” said Lee Rainie. , director of internet and technology research at the Pew Research Center.

Things continued to evolve as the 2016 US presidential election approached and passed, and the new president cemented his reputation as one of Twitter’s most incendiary users. After it was revealed that Russia was using social media platforms to try to influence elections in the United States and other countries, the platforms found themselves at the center of political debate.

“Do they have too much power? Do their content moderation policies favor one side or another? said Rainie. “Companies themselves have found themselves at the heart of the culture’s most intense arguments. And so that’s the environment that Elon Musk is entering now.

And beyond the bluster and overblown personality, Musk’s own description of his new job – “Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator” – may prove to be his biggest challenge yet.


AP Technology Writer Frank Bajak contributed to this story.

Biden to warn of ‘disastrous consequences’ if GOP states succeed in blocking student debt relief efforts Thu, 03 Nov 2022 23:09:42 +0000
(Al Drago/Getty Images)

The House race leans heavily towards the GOP, but what makes this cycle interesting is the unpredictability of the Senate map. here are the seats that could tip:

1. Pennsylvania: The race to replace incumbent GOP Senator Pat Toomey represents the Democrats’ best pick-up opportunity. President Joe Biden narrowly won the Commonwealth in 2020, after former President Donald Trump carried it in 2016, making it a crucial battleground for midterms and the upcoming presidential contest. The tight Senate race pits Republican Mehmet Oz against Democrat John Fetterman, the current lieutenant governor.

2. Nevada: Incumbent Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto’s task of winning over disgruntled Biden voters is complicated with a transient population in a state that has been hit hard by the pandemic and where average gasoline prices remain near $5 a gallon. . Cortez Masto and his GOP challenger Adam Laxalt were tied at 47% in a New York Times/Siena Poll – a finding similar to a recent CBS poll and CNN poll from early October, which showed no clear leader.

3. Georgia: No race has seen more drama in the past month than Georgia, where Trump’s hand-picked candidate Herschel Walker is face allegations of two women that he urged them to have abortions, which he denied. But the accusations, which have played into the Democratic narrative that the retired soccer star is a hypocrite, don’t appear to have done much harm to his standing in the race against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, who is seeking a full term. six years old. . After initially avoiding the allegations, Warnock used them in a recent ad against his opponent.

4. Wisconsin: As the only Republican senator seeking re-election in a state Biden won in 2020, Sen. Ron Johnson is the most vulnerable GOP incumbent in the chamber. A law school at Marquette University poll published on Wednesday showed no clear leader in the race between Johnson and Democratic Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes – similar to a CNN survey from mid-October – which is comparable to the race for the near governor. Biden only carried Wisconsin by less than half a point in 2020, so it’s still a tough state.

5. Arizona: The race between Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and Republican Blake Masters has also tightened. A Fox News Poll released on Tuesday shows no clear leader, with Masters receiving support from Republicans. But Kelly, who won a special election in 2020 and is running for a full six-year term, has proven to be a much more resilient Democrat to tarnish than some of the other GOP targets. That made this race — in a purple state that Biden won by less than half a point — more competitive for Democrats.

6. North Carolina: The race to replace retired GOP senator Richard Burr looks like closer than many observers expected at the start of the cycle. Democrat Cheri Beasley and Republican Rep. Ted Budd were tied among registered voters in a Marist poll in late October. Budd, a third-term congressman, had a small advantage among certain voters. North Carolina has a history of shutting down elections — Trump only won it by about 1 point in 2020. But Democrats haven’t won a Senate race here since 2008, the last time the State turned blue at the presidential level.

seven. New Hampshire: This race’s position in the standings continues to be one of the biggest surprises of the 2022 cycle. The retired Army Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc faces Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan for the first term after running through the September primaries.

8. Ohio: GOP Sen. Rob Portman’s race for retirement was not meant to be competitive. Trump won the state by 8 points and, with the exception of Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown’s success, the trend has been red over the past decade. Given these fundamentals and the national mood, the Republicans still have the edge here, which is why they’re in the bottom half of this list. But there’s no denying that Trump’s handpicked Republican nominee, JD Vance, has struggled to raise funds and shore up GOP support after a divisive primary. Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan has had the airwaves mostly for him over the summer, and his vast fundraising advantage has allowed him to air numerous ads in which he says he sided with Trump. on trade and takes its own side. The candidates were essentially tied in a Marist survey at the end of October.

9. Florida: The Sunshine State ranked lower on the list of seats most likely to flip because Republican Sen. Marco Rubio — despite being outscored by a strong challenger to Democratic Rep. Val Demings — is a two-term incumbent who seems to be doing whatever he has to do to win in this environment.

ten. Colorado: Democratic Senator Michael Bennet is being used to close the races; he won his last re-election in 2016 by just 6 points against a GOP challenger whom the national party had abandoned. He faces a much tougher opponent this time in businessman Joe O’Dea, who voiced his support for abortion early in pregnancy and has criticized Trump. Biden’s smaller margin in Colorado — he won Washington by 19 points — makes him more likely to swing if the national environment gives Republicans a chance to land a seat in a state considered blue safely.

The 2022 election could be a turning point in American democracy Tue, 01 Nov 2022 12:06:06 +0000

What is happening

Americans will head to the polls on November 8 to vote in major statewide and congressional elections.

why is it important

Democracy advocates say it’s especially important for people to vote this year, as candidates who continue to push the ‘big lie’ that the 2020 election was stolen are running with Republican tickets for office. the state, including the governor, secretary of state, and attorney general.

And after

If elected, these candidates could push through laws that infringe the right to vote under the guise of improving election security, suffrage advocates say. Many of these candidates campaigned on the promise to do just that. They could also refuse to certify the results of future elections if they do not agree with them.

There is no shortage of people – both in the United States and abroad – who are actively trying to overturn next week’s US election. While it may be tempting to stay home, experts say it’s absolutely essential that people get out and vote because the very future of American democracy could hang in the balance this year.

Despite concerns about foreign interference dating back to before the 2016 presidential race, security experts say the US election is safer than it has ever been. But that hasn’t stopped proponents of the “big lie” from making groundless claims that the 2020 presidential race was robbed by some kind of fictitious voter fraud. In the two years that followed, none of these allegations were proven.

It is these misrepresentations and the people pushing them that experts say are conspiring to keep some Americans from voting this year, while embroiling the electoral process in frivolous and lengthy court battles.

Meanwhile, about 35 campaign dollars are running on Republican tickets in key statewide races in more than half the country, according to the non-partisan group United States. If elected, they could affect the conduct of elections and the counting of votes in future contests, including the 2024 presidential race.

“It’s not pretty, and if someone had told me ten years ago that this is where we would be right now, I wouldn’t believe it,” said Tammy Patrick, senior advisor for elections to the non-partisan organization. Democracy Fund. “There’s no way.”

The irony, she says, is that it’s really to those who vote in the midterm elections on November 8 to decide which way they want things to go.

Domestic Threats

This year, the biggest threat, experts say, comes not from abroad, but from Americans at home. Over the past two years, proponents of the “big lie” – people who continue to support former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him by some kind of voter fraud – have also pledged to bring down the system by any means necessary.

Election officials say the armies of 2020 denarii have went down to their officesdemanding to inspect election materials, taking photos and video to document alleged “abnormalities” that could be used in later legal challenges.

These threats worry many election officials both about the sanctity of the elections they oversee and the possibility of protracted court battles. It also raised the specter of potential violence against election officials, poll workers and voters themselves.

In Arizona, a group of people, many of whom are armed, masked and wearing bulletproof vests, watched the ballot boxes in the open air. Suffrage activists have asked a judge to bar them from the polls, saying their activities amount to voter intimidation. The judge, who was appointed by Trump, refused, saying it could violate the group’s constitutional rights.

While some people have clearly abused the process, local officials across the country have gone to great lengths to bolster transparency at the local level, giving outside observers close insight into how the process works before and during the elections.

This transparency, along with the ability for ordinary people to engage in the electoral process constructively, is key to combating misinformation and the outright lies of those who seek to destroy it, said Matt Masterson, the former top responsible for electoral security. for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the federal agency responsible for protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure from cyber threats.

“The best response to this doubt, this distrust and this dissent, this push to undermine our democracy, is strong participation from Americans from all political backgrounds,” said Masterson, who is now director of integrity for information at Microsoft, during a recent round table. organized by the Aspen Institute.

Yes, our elections are secure

Former CISA director Chris Krebs, who led a campaign to tackle election-related misinformation, called the 2020 presidential election that year “the safest” in American history.

Krebs’ statement, made in the days after the election and overwhelmingly backed by election security experts, countered the lies continually tweeted by then-President Trump, falsely claiming that the election had been rigged by voting systems, fanning the flames of misinformation and misinformation that months later would be followed by the deadly January 6, 2021, Storming of the US Capitol by some Trump supporters.

Two years later, Krebs says the system remains secure. While nation states love Russia, China and Iran have long attempted to undermine US elections through cyber espionage and cyberattacks, their interest and ability to do so has not changed much in the past two years, Krebs told CNET in a September interview.

This year, cybersecurity researchers have spotted disinformation campaigns on social media that they believe are the work of Russia and China, but note that they have failed to gain traction.

In particular, Russia’s efforts appear to have been undermined by the ongoing war it has unleashed in Ukraine, according to Recorded Future. Meanwhile, a campaign involving fake Twitter accounts and edited news articles that Mandiant researchers say is likely the work of a group acting in the political interests of China that has received little exposure on social media.

Speaking at Mandiant’s recent mWise conference in Washington, D.C., current CISA Director Jen Easterly noted that election security has come a long way since 2017, when elections were first named. times as critical infrastructure. This change opened the door to increased federal funding and involvement.

“Americans should go to the polls knowing that an incredible job has been done to secure our election infrastructure,” Easterly said. There are hundreds of thousands of people in government and the private sector working to ensure elections continue to be safe and resilient, Easterly added.

So what happens to Holocaust deniers?

Then there are the Holocaust deniers. This is where things get a little scary and why experts say it’s so important to vote this year.

What could have the biggest effect on the future of democracy this year are the contests for statewide positions.

Voters across most of the country will elect new governors, secretaries of state and attorneys general. And 2020 election results deniers are running for at least one of those offices in each of the 27 states, according to UNITED STATESthe research.

Many of these candidates have pledged to adopt policies that restrict the right to vote of certain people under the pretext of improving election security. These kinds of laws have already been adopted in several statesincluding Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Oklahoma, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, which also notes that they disproportionately affect people of color.

Additionally, in three states – Alabama, Arizona and Michigan – Holocaust deniers are running for those three state offices. If they win, suffrage advocates say, state officials working in tandem could refuse to certify the results of an election if they simply disagree with the outcome.

At the federal level, more Holocaust deniers in Congress could also overturn future election results. The same day Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol, a total of 147 Republicans in the House and Senate voted together to nullify the presidential election results, despite no evidence of fraud.

While some of those candidates are running in heavily Democratic areas and facing long odds, the majority of them are expected to win, according to an analysis by the Washington Post. Of the 299 registered to vote for the House, Senate and major statewide races, 174 are running for Republican seats safely, the Post found. 51 others are run in hotly contested races.

Meanwhile, state election officials are bracing for a possible series of court fights after the results are announced. High profile ‘Big Lie’ promoters, such as former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who worked to overturn the 2020 election, are already building challenges to potential Republican losses.

Not only could that prolong the election, but it could jeopardize the results, Patrick, of the Democracy Fund, said at the same Aspen Institute event at which Microsoft’s Masterson spoke. She notes that the courts themselves have not been immune to problems in recent months.

“I think there will be a lot of appeals, and if things end up in the Supreme Court, I don’t know if there’s anyone who is very confident about what that outcome could actually be. ” she says.

The case for an Australian cybersecurity law Mon, 24 Oct 2022 07:43:08 +0000

Australia demands a specific federal government Cyber ​​Security Act. It’s all too easy to blame the Optus and Medibank data breaches entirely when what these attacks reveal is a lack of effective and comprehensive federal legislation.

Home Secretary Clare O’Neil – who is also cybersecurity minister – was right when she said Australia was a decade behind the rest of the world.

The good news is that we have an example of successful international work – the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which we can iterate on. There is no need to reinvent the wheel’.

The bad news is the urgency with which we must pass this bill. We urgently need frameworks that encourage businesses and government agencies to build cybersecurity capabilities – cyber defense and data protection in case defenses fail.

And we need tough penalties that deter them from acting irresponsibly with customers and other sensitive data.

The big picture

The Optus and now Medibanks data breaches and ensuing community outrage should not be limited to citizen privacy concerns alone. The issue is much larger and requires one comprehensive federal cybersecurity law.

Cyberattacks are not simply acts of criminals seeking financial gain through stolen identities.

They are also used as weapons of national and economic destruction – even of war – designed to destroy critical national infrastructure; cause catastrophic damage to corporate and government computer systems; and render defense and military systems ineffective. The war in Ukraine and the Russian cyberattacks against Ukraine and its allies are proof of this.

Similarly, the effectiveness of cybersecurity should not be limited to failures of cyber defense systems alone. The Optus and Medicare breaches highlight organizations’ failure to protect sensitive customer data with encryption, ensuring it is useless when stolen by cybercriminals.

So when our Federal Cybersecurity Minister (faced with a nationwide data breach affecting a third of our population’s personal identities) turned to Australia’s cybersecurity legislation to find it was “absolutely unnecessary”, we we have a much bigger problem than simply protecting the privacy of Australian citizens.

Fragmented responsibilities

The Australian government’s and intelligence agencies’ swift responses to the Optus breach highlighted the fact that cybersecurity is not an IT issue – it’s a national security issue. Cybersecurity legislation should receive the same treatment.

Currently, cybersecurity responsibilities are fragmented into a myriad of laws covering privacy, national infrastructure security, and corporations.

A confusing assortment of legal rabbit holes makes it difficult for organizations to achieve a consistent level of transparency, let alone a unified set of standards that everyone adheres to.

To see sweeping cybersecurity legislation, there needs to be consensus between the states and territories and the federal government, or we risk repeating the mistakes of the United States.

Frustrated with federal cybersecurity law, the Biden administration can only take care of federal responsibilities such as health, telecommunications or financial services, the rest is done by individual states.

In Australia, some of our most sensitive data is in our state-run health and education sectors.

If we are to enact comprehensive laws, these areas must be at the center of a collaborative government approach. It cannot be allowed to be a breeding ground for lobbyist negotiations leading to a self-interested outcome.

Europe has set the standard for a specific global cybersecurity law with the GDPR. Its mandate is to protect sensitive information. Therefore, if you have information that could reveal identities, the managers and the companies themselves are responsible.

For example, if an email exchange server is found to be vulnerable and its owner does not apply an available patch to prevent the attacker from using that vulnerability, if that organization is then breached, it will not be compliant. .

On the other end of the spectrum, if it is breached but the data in it is protected by “strong encryption”, it is considered not to be a breach because you have effectively protected this data against misuse. It’s sensible, easy to understand, and motivating without requiring executives to become cybersecurity experts to ensure compliance.

The key to creating legislation that maintains a healthy balance between preventative technology (which works to keep hackers out) and protective technology (which protects data when hackers inevitably find a way in ) lies in the establishment of similar non-technical standards.

This way we can ensure that cybersecurity is ongoing and effective, but does not prescribe a method.

That said, a simple copy-paste of the GDPR would be insufficient. An Australian cybersecurity law must address more than citizens’ privacy, as the GDPR shows. It has been four years since the GDPR was proclaimed and there are areas where time has shown it could be improved.

However, it acts as an excellent example of how to assign responsibilities clearly and should be considered in the development of our own frameworks.

In the two years that EU nation states drafted and approved the GDPR, changes to Australia’s 2018 Notifiable Data Breach Regime to the Privacy Act took nearly five years .

Effective penalties

A decade of relative inaction on cybersecurity has a lesson; sanctions that cause both financial and reputational problems are a way to set an example of bad behavior, but they do not help solve the underlying problems.

In the United States, violations of federal cybersecurity laws can be a criminal matter, not just a civil one. A violation of the EU GDPR can result in a maximum penalty of €20 million or 4% of annual international turnover, whichever is greater.

What these harsh penalties do not address is corporate apathy, especially at the management level.

Accountability after a breach can give customers a sense of justice, but positive behavior change within an organization can be best achieved by additionally penalizing failure to listen to or follow the advice of cybersecurity employees. organizations.

This can address both the need to hold cybersecurity personnel accountable and negate the “she’ll be right” philosophy of some commercial and government organizations.

Whatever motivating factors are chosen, Australia needs clear and comprehensive cybersecurity legislation with sharp teeth. It must set the highest legislative standard required for a national security issue, while allowing organizations the freedom to find their own solutions.

The Optus Breach was horrific for everyone involved, but we have an unprecedented opportunity.

We must avoid the mistakes of the United States and take advantage of the European GDPR to create cybersecurity law that will help protect our citizens, intellectual property, government and long-term trade secrets.

Francois Galbally is the founder and chairman of the ASX-listed cybersecurity company Senetas Corporation Ltd. Senetas is a world leader in the development of high performance encryption security solutions.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley by email.

State Democrats hold hearing to discuss TANF funds Wed, 19 Oct 2022 01:35:00 +0000

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) — Mississippi House Democrats say they want to get to the root of the problem over the misuse of TANF funds.

“We stand in the poorest state in the country to face the greatest attack on the poorest people in the country,” said Senator Derrick Simmons.

Thousands of Mississippians live below the poverty line. Mississippi Democrats want to figure out how to help more families using the Temporary Needy Family Assistance program, better known as TANF. It is a program that many believe has been abused in the past.

“The federal TANF rules give states a lot of flexibility and very little oversight, and Mississippi takes advantage of that,” said Carol Burnett of the Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative. “TANF spends more on administration than cash assistance to families.”

Brandy Nichols relied on the support of TANF and says there is a lot of paperwork just to receive a small amount each month.

“If the program really cares about us being job ready, we will be trained and supported and transitioned into meaningful work that pays enough for us to use for our families,” Nichols said.

Presenter says there’s a better way for Mississippi to audit use of TANF funds, suggests process that provides more consistent oversight to avoid leaving millions of dollars unused while thousands are on the roster waiting for help.

Representative House Minority Leader Robert Johnson said he and other Democratic leaders would push for such reforms in the next legislative session.

“It’s designed to get people back on their feet, or just get them back on their feet, so they can find jobs and get to work,” Rep. Johnson said. “The idea that a so-called conservative wants to put people to work would ignore the idea that this is about the foundation and people have to get there and refused to fund it, to make it difficult for people to receive these funds. It’s just a dishonest and hypocritical claim on their part, and they’re not doing the job they need to be doing.

Want more WLBT news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Mexican national sentenced to 108 months in prison following record seizure of fentanyl and methamphetamine | USAO-SDCA Fri, 14 Oct 2022 22:48:04 +0000

SAN DIEGO – Carlos Martin Quintana-Arias of Mexico was sentenced today in federal court to 108 months in prison for the record seizure of 17,584 pounds of methamphetamine and 388.93 pounds of fentanyl from a commercial trailer attempting to enter the United States at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.

The seizure, on Nov. 18, 2021, was the nation’s largest so far in each drug category for calendar years 2021 and 2022, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

According to his plea agreement, Quintana-Arias admitted to driving the drug-laden tractor-trailer into the United States through the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. He acknowledged that he knew the tractor-trailer contained methamphetamine, fentanyl or another federally controlled substance.

“This massive seizure prevented an enormous amount of deadly drugs from saturating our community,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Because of the vigilance of the border agents, this fentanyl did not kill anyone, and this methamphetamine did not destroy a single life. We will continue to work with dedication and passion to intercept these drugs and prosecute the traffickers, because drug seizures mean lives are saved. Grossman thanked the prosecution team and investigative agencies for their excellent work on this case.

“This was a brazen attempt to smuggle a record amount of deadly narcotics into our country, and as this conviction reflects, those seeking to make a quick profit from smuggling narcotics will be subject to ‘vigorous investigations and prosecutions,’ said Chad Plantz, special agent in charge, HSI San Diego. “HSI, along with our federal and local partners, is firmly committed to dismantling criminal organizations that blatantly ignore the laws of this nation.”

“The San Diego and Imperial Valley ports of entry account for approximately 61% of all CBP fentanyl seizures nationwide,” said Anne Maricich, acting director of field operations for the bureau. of land in San Diego. “This significant seizure illustrates the hard work and dedication of our officers to the mission. It’s our unwavering commitment to keep dangerous narcotics like fentanyl and methamphetamine off the streets and out of our communities. The sentencing announced today by Judge Janis L. Sammartino is the result of strong multi-agency cooperation and local departments working toward a common goal.

Carlos Martin Quintana-Arias Residence: Mexico

Title 21, USC, Sections 952 and 960 Importing a Controlled Substance

Maximum penalty: forty years in prison and a mandatory minimum of five years; and a $5 million fine

Homeland Security Investigations

United States Customs and Border Protection

* The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are only charges, and the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty.