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For veterans who may have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to wartime trauma, their first step is to contact their local U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Vet Center or outpatient center.
But if veterans require more care, they can voluntarily check in at inpatient centers such as the Bay Pines VA Medical Center here.
Bay Pines has a 14-bed residential program for veterans with war-caused PTSD.
Tony Taylor, program manager for the warzone PTSD program at Bay Pines, a Marine Corps and Vietnam War veteran who’s worked with the VA for more than 36 years and has PTSD himself.
“I’ve seen tremendous changes,” he said. “We now have comprehensive programs designed to help veterans who suffer from PTSD. It’s a cooperative partnership we’ve established at this hospital where we have teams working together to help the veterans. The primary care doctor does the physical exam. The psychiatrists understand what medications have been proven to be effective for helping veterans with PTSD. We have psychologists and social workers who are trained in providing evidence based care for veterans with PTSD which is throughout the entire VA system,” he continued. “You will get the finest care possible through the VA system if you seek care at a VA hospital.”
Taylor said, "the next step is for veterans to be referred to the voluntary inpatient centers like Bay Pines by local Vet Centers or VA hospitals so there’s a continuity of care, both before the veteran arrives and for follow-up care after the veteran leaves Bay Pines. There are approximately 20 programs like Bay Pines."
Rose Stauffer, a licensed clinical social worker who’s been with the VA for five years and with Bay Pines for six months. She’s been in her career field 16 years.
“We can help bring down the anxiety and provide hope. People do find a way to recover from PTSD in that they can live a life that is meaningful to them, but it’s hard work and it’s a big process. There’s stuff that works and we can help you find it.”
Retired Army Staff Sgt. Manuel “Al” Alcantara, who’d served as a combat medic for more than 21 years, recently graduated from Bay Pines -- his second inpatient PTSD program.
Alcantara served three tours in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and he said his PTSD symptoms started showing up after his second deployment from 2005 to 2006.
He said he was in denial, destructive and had suicidal ideations. Alcantara went through his first inpatient treatment and was full of hope, but he regressed after he retired, having lost some of his battle buddies. He said he started pulling away from his family and friends and got divorced.
“I felt out of control again and the tools that I used to apply were failing. I was always angry at every little thing,” Alcantara said. “So I ended up here.”
“I learned I need support,” he continued. “I can’t do it alone. I’ve isolated myself, withdrawn and just avoided people for the last three years, and that hasn’t worked at all. I’ve learned how to make new friends and open up a little bit. Having someone who can understand you, someone who can empathize with what you’ve been through just helped me a lot. I’m not alone. Knowing my peers are going through what I’m going through helped a lot.”
Alcantara found a lifelong friend in his peer, Marine Corps and Vietnam War veteran Jim Alderman. Alderman said he plans on teaching Alcantara how to cliff dive and other adventurous sports. Alderman said Bay Pines saved his life and he recommends it to other veterans.
Alderman was a force reconnaissance Marine who taught Navy SEALs ground and water survival. He also served as a drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina, and taught close combat at the FBI Academy.
For 50 years, Alderman said he didn’t admit to himself that he had PTSD -- though he would wear a bulletproof vest and arm himself anytime he left his house. He was hesitant to go to Bay Pines for help but his wife, Pat, who he’s been married to since 1972, encouraged him to go.
Alderman said for years he thought, “I’m tougher than a bucket of nails. I am the best trained Marine the Marine Corps has ever had. I’ve been a drill instructor and a sniper. I’ve killed more people in more ways than you can shake a stick at. I can suck it up.”
“I guarantee you, there’s nobody tougher or more skeptical to do this than me and I would recommend anyone to just give it a shot,” he said. “It’s not going to be perfect. It’s not going to be easy. There’s going to be a lot of tears, a lot of heartaches, a lot of just hope and joy."
“And you need support,” Alderman continued. “You’re not going to do this by yourself. If you think you can figure it out by yourself, you’ll be just like you are for the next 10, 20, 30 years to your family, to your friends and you start getting isolated more and more. You’ll start disliking things you used to love to do. I sat in a chair for 15 years playing a video game. I really isolated myself to absolute oblivion. I had a 9 mm sitting on my stand, and I can’t tell you how many times I thought about using it. And then I joined the VA.”
Wiping tears from his eyes, Alderman added, “I have absolute heartfelt gratitude. I just can’t thank everybody in this place enough. I was kind of embarrassed to ask for help, especially with something going on in my head. I was stuck in time, back in 1967. I’m not expecting to get cured. There’s no way you’re going to cure this but they gave me tools to handle it. If you come here and have the same experience I do, you’ll leave here a better person. You’ll have a little hope and purpose, that’s all I was looking for.”
Alderman recently graduated from Bay Pines and he plans to reach out to other veterans.

Shannon Collins
DoD News Features

Ed Note: While this facility has been great for these veterans mentioned, and endeavors to do it’s best for our Vets. recent news shows there’s much room for improvement. In light of news that one vet. who passed away, was left in a shower stall for 9 hours.

On Sunday, June 3, 2007 an unknown subject, later identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as 15-year old high school student Charles Jenkins, sent an e-mail containing a bomb threat to numerous teachers and administrators of Timberline High School, near Seattle, Washington. The high school was evacuated the next day. Jenkins e-mailed bomb threats to the school every day of the next week, causing daily evacuations.
Jenkins used “proxy servers” located in Europe to send his e-mails in a manner that would hide his true location. As a result, local law enforcement officials were not able to identify or locate Jenkins and they requested assistance from the Northwest Cybercrime Task Force, which was supervised by the FBI’s Seattle Division. The FBI immediately opened an investigation.
FBI agents developed a plan to surreptitiously insert a computer program into Jenkins’s computer that would identify his true location. An FBI undercover agent posed as an editor for the Associated Press (AP) and contacted Jenkins through e-mail. During subsequent online communications, the undercover agent sent Jenkins links to a fake news article and photographs that had the computer program embedded within them. Jenkins activated the computer program when he clicked on the link to the photographs, thereby revealing Jenkins’s true location to the FBI.
FBI and local law enforcement agents subsequently arrested Jenkins and he confessed to e-mailing the bomb threats. On July 16, 2007 Jenkins pleaded guilty as a juvenile to several state felony offenses and was sentenced to 90 days of juvenile detention, 2 years of supervised release, 2 years of mental health counseling, and 2 years of probation with restrictions on internet and computer usage. Jenkins was also expelled from school.
The FBI did not publicize the assistance its agents provided local law enforcement. However, on July 18, 2007, 2 days after Jenkins pleaded guilty, the online technology news website Wired.Com released an article entitled “FBI’s Secret Spyware Tracks Down Teen Who Made Bomb Threats” that detailed the method by which the FBI identified Jenkins. Seven years later, on October 27, 2014, The Seattle Times released an article based upon e-mails obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation through a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI. Those e-mails disclosed the fact that the FBI posed as a member of the news media when it contacted and then identified Jenkins as the author of the bomb threats.
On October 30, 2014, the AP sent a letter to then-Attorney General Eric Holder protesting the FBI’s impersonation of a member of the news media in connection with its investigation of the bomb threats. In addition, several newspapers wrote articles questioning the tactics the FBI used to identify and arrest Jenkins.

One week later, on November 6, 2014, FBI Director James Comey wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Times defending the FBI’s actions. In particular, Comey stated that the “technique [the FBI used to identify and apprehend Jenkins] was proper and appropriate under Justice Department and F.B.I. guidelines at the time” and that “today, the use of such an unusual technique would probably require higher level approvals than in 2007, but it would still be lawful and, in a rare case, appropriate.”
The same day, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP), on behalf of 25 other news organizations, wrote a letter to Comey and then-Attorney General Eric Holder voicing its objection to the practice of FBI agents impersonating journalists, saying the practice endangers the media’s credibility and undermines its independence, and that it appeared to violate FBI guidelines for when such tactics are permissible.
We initiated this review to examine whether under Department of Justice and FBI policies in effect at the time of the 2007 investigation, agents obtained the appropriate approval for the undercover activities the FBI conducted to locate Jenkins. We also examined whether the undercover activities in 2007 would require a higher level of approval if conducted today under current Department and FBI polices.
We concluded that FBI policies in 2007 did not expressly address the tactic of agents impersonating journalists. We further found that the FBI’s undercover policies then in effect provided some guidance, but were less than clear. As a result, we believe that the judgments agents made about aspects of the planned undercover activity in 2007 did not violate the undercover policies in place at the time. We also determined that once the undercover plan was launched, certain investigative decisions were made that could have increased the level of approval required, a possibility the investigative team did not appear to fully consider.
On June 8, 2016, as we were finalizing this report, the FBI adopted a new interim policy that provides guidance to FBI employees regarding their impersonation of members of the news media during undercover activity or an undercover operation (defined as a series of related undercover activities over a period of time). Under this new policy, FBI agents may only represent, pose, or claim to be members of the news media when authorized by the FBI Deputy Director, after consultation with the Deputy Attorney General, as part of an undercover operation reviewed by the Undercover Review Committee (UCRC). The policy expressly prohibits FBI employees from engaging in such activity if it is not part of an undercover operation. Therefore, the undercover activities in 2007 would be prohibited today unless they were part of an undercover operation reviewed by the UCRC and authorized by the FBI Deputy Director, after consultation with the Deputy Attorney General.
Based upon our review, we made three recommendations to help ensure that FBI policies governing certain undercover activities and operations are well known, clear, and understood. The FBI concurred with the recommendations.
Recommendation 1: The FBI should move expeditiously to update its undercover policy guide to incorporate the June 2016 interim policy on undercover activities in which FBI employees represent, pose, or claim to be members of the news media or a documentary film crew; and widely inform and educate FBI employees about the policy’s existence and application.
Recommendation 2: The FBI should consider the appropriate level of review required before FBI employees in a criminal investigation use the name of thirdparty organizations or businesses without their knowledge or consent.
Recommendation 3: The FBI should consider whether revisions to the USOPIG are required to ensure that undercover activity involving a significant risk that a subject believes he has entered into a privileged relationship with an undercover agent, is treated as a “sensitive circumstance.”

Office of the Inspector General
U.S. D.o.J.

For complete report:

Sunday, 25 December 2016 11:16

Facebook and the 'Fake News' Crackdown

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg is under enormous pressure from the left to crack down on the "fake news" circulating on the social-media giant. He is well-advised to run as far as he can from the News Police.
In a recent note on Facebook, Zuckerberg claimed he wanted to err "on the side of letting people share what they want whenever possible. ... We do not want to be arbiters of truth ourselves, but instead rely on our community and trusted third parties." The hard left, beginning with President Obama, wants to be that community, that supposedly disinterested third party. It is another step in the long march toward silence conservative thought in America.
Make no mistake about it: Fake news does exist. Everyone is used to false click-bait, like the recent "Megyn Kelly leaving Fox?" story floating around the internet, which claims she's leaving to promote some blah-blah-blah skin care product. Then there are the offshore fake news factories churning out "shocking" reports about Pope Francis backing Donald Trump.
Are these annoyances? Yes. Are they threats to Western civilization? Hardly.

he left saw an opening with talk of fake news and pounced. On the campaign trail, Obama said: "If they just repeat attacks enough, and outright lies over and over again, as long as it's on Facebook and people can see it, as long as it's on social media, people start believing it. And it creates this dust cloud of nonsense." It was an obvious slam of the Trump team.
If what Trump states is false, then to give it endless oxygen by writing story after story on it is to engage in fake news.
Fox News is mocked as Faux News by this camp. Obama told Rolling Stone that part of the problem is seeing "Fox News in every bar and restaurant in big chunks of the country," which is as inappropriate a complaint as it was exaggerated. He doubled down and praised the hippie hoaxmeisters of campus rape, saying: "Good journalism continues to this day. There's great work done in Rolling Stone."
Are the red flags for fake news only going to target stories that upset liberals? The leftist group Media Matters for America is claiming it will de-emphasize its Fox News obsession to focus instead on websites like Breitbart and the "alt-right" platforms in an effort to be that "trusted third party" to help run Facebook's algorithms.
Do you think they would ever call out leftist fake news outlets like, oh, themselves?
The networks have labored mightily to avoid videotapes demonstrating Planned Parenthood allegedly sold dead baby parts to fetal-tissue researchers. The left said those taped admissions are somehow faked, even after all the footage, which shows no such thing, was made available. Then there's hidden camera footage of Democratic operatives who discussed sending thugs in "Trump is a Nazi" T-shirts to agitate Trump supporters and "draw them out to punch (them)" in front of the cameras. Clearly that is fake news. Where are Obama and Media Matters when we need them?
If messing up and publishing or broadcasting false news ruins an entire outlet as fake news, then goodbye, mainstream media. ABC faked the sales of rancid meat at Food Lion. CBS offered unverified Texas Air National Guard memos against former President George W. Bush. NBC faked a pickup truck explosion. The Washington Post had Janet Cooke. The New York Times had Jayson Blair. CNN had Peter Arnett ... and Brian Williams, Brian Williams and Brian Williams.
Mark Zuckerberg really doesn't want to mess with this mess. It is censorship at its ugliest.


Friday, 23 December 2016 22:06

“English Only” Not Allowed On The Job

The cultural problems in this country are getting out of control. Now, asking people to speak English on the job is a violation of their rights!
A new document originated by the office of legal counsel last month, the EEOC enforcement guidance on national origin discrimination transmittal covers the insurance of a sub regulatory document that provides guidance regarding the statutes enforcement. It is intended to communicate the commission's position on important legal issues.
The Obama administration went further into the affairs of businesses across the nation stating that any business that requires employees to speak english only violates federal law under a sweeping order that cracks down on
“national origin discrimination” in the workplace.“
However the document goes on to say that requiring an employee to be bi-lingual is allowed ?????????
The administration claims the new rules, which cover various scenarios that could possibly get employers in trouble, were enacted because the workforce is “increasingly ethnically diverse.”
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that enforces the nation’s workplace discrimination laws, made them public last month. “The increased cultural diversity of today’s workplaces presents new and evolving issues with respect to Title VII’s protection against national origin discrimination,” the document states. “This enforcement guidance will assist EEOC staff in their investigation of national origin discrimination charges and provide information for applicants, employees, and employers to understand their respective rights and responsibilities under Title VII.”
Two years ago, the administration sued a private American business for discriminating against Hispanic and Asian employees for not speaking English on the job.
The case against a Green Bay Wisconsin metal and plastic manufacturer for firing a group of Hmong and Hispanic workers over their English skills. “Forcing employees to speak English in the U.S. violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the EEOC“ claimed the lawsuit.
The Civil Rights Act protects employees from discrimination based on national origin, which includes the linguistic characteristics of a national origin group. Therefore, the EEOC argued, “foreigners have the right to speak their native language even during work hours at an American company that requires English.”
Now the agency has official federal rules to support this theory as well as other innovative discrimination categories, including “multiple protected bases.”
The new rules mention discrimination against Middle Easterners perceived to “follow particular religious practices.”
Among the ‘scenarios’ in the rules is an Egyptian, “Thomas” who claims he was harassed by his coworkers about his Arab ethnicity and Islam. “Thomas’ charge should assert national origin, race and religious discrimination,” the EEOC writes, referring to its new “multiple protected bases” category. Reassuring that it will protect Middle Easterners, The agency stated that “Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on the perception that someone is from the Middle East or is of Arab ethnicity, regardless of how she identifies herself or whether she is, in fact, from one or more Middle Eastern countries or ethnically Arab.”
Wait, there’s more...
Employers using Social Security requirements to screen applicants are warned they may be charged with discrimination because it disproportionately eliminates individuals of a certain national origin and has a disparate impact based on national origin. Making Social Security screening “unlawful under Title VII unless the employer establishes that the policy or practice is job related and consistent with business necessity,” the new rules say.
It further adds “Reliance on word-of-mouth recruiting may magnify existing ethnic, racial or religious homogeneity in a workplace and result in the exclusion of qualified applicants from different national origin groups,” That would constitute a violation of federal law, the EEOC points out, because the employer’s actions have a discriminating effect based on national origin.
The agency has been on a roll since, taking legal action against businesses across the country accusing them of discriminating against minorities for running criminal background checks and to discriminating against Muslims for not permitting hijabs on the job. “The criminal background disproportionately exclude blacks from hire,” according to EEOC lawsuits against several companies and businesses that forbid Muslim women from wearing a hijab on the job violate religious rights guaranteed under the nation’s civil rights laws even when all head coverings are banned for all employees, the EEOC states.
This is ridiculous, but fortunately this document has and expiration date listed at the top that states “This Notice will remain in effect until rescinded or superseded.”
Hopefully we can get our president elect to act on this when sworn in.
Personally I believe that if you come to America, you should learn to speak English as our forefathers did. You should be able to communicate effectively with almost everyone in this country. I believe that all government testing for any licensure should be in English, I can say this, because English isn’t my native language (keeping our editing staff busy)
I believe myself to be an American with Italian heritage, not an Italian-American, I think immigrants that come to the US should want to assimilate into our society and not try to change our society to be more like where they came from, otherwise why are they here?
If you want what you had in your home-country, then stay there.

Al DiPasquale

Friday, 23 December 2016 19:35

S B Diaries

Dear Readers: Welcome to the launch of a new column:
The Sun Bunny Diaries
by Serena MacNicol,
She lives in Bonita Beach
Being single is an adventure for everyone who finds themselves in that boat—and if you’re in your late twenties or early thirties, said boat is as packed as a makeshift raft from Cuba washing up on Little Hickory Island.
Living single in a tourist mecca like Southwest Florida, I’ve seen it all.
I’m Serena, and in the coming weeks and months, I’m going to share the good, the bad and the ugly with you—relationships, dating disasters and what it’s like to navigate the social scene flying solo.
You see, I love being single. But it’s not always a day at the beach. A lot of people have the
mindset that if you’re not married with several kids by the time you’re in your midtwenties, there’s
something wrong with you. “Oh, it’ll happen for you someday, don’t worry, dear.” If I had a dollar for
every time I heard that phrase, I wouldn’t be lurking around the Tiki Bar at the Lighthouse Resort to take advantage of Taco Tuesdays; I’d be living it up with 5 course meals at the Ritz! Unfortunately, the world is not a wish-granting factory, it would seem. Finding someone with no baggage or baby mama drama—
someone who doesn’t live in mommy’s basement on a futon—that’s no cake walk, let me assure you.
I’ve got plenty of education, and that can be a deterrent to plenty of men—especially if they’re looking for something serious. Having to dumb yourself down just to get a date is pretty weird. Of course, there are men out there who look for more than just a pretty face, but that’s as rare as the
green flash on the beach at sunset!
What I prefer to do? Look for Mr. Right Now. If he’s worthy,
eventually, that ‘now’ part will fall away—naturally. In the meantime, I get to deal with a parade of
workaholics, alcoholics, mama’s boys, porn addicts, sex addicts, and the occasional illegal substance addict...
I think my favorites honestly have to be the Gold’s Gym beta males who spend more time checking in at the gym on facebook so everyone knows they’re going there. They then spend the next half hour preening in front of the mirror and flexing their muscles at the girls who come to the gym in lots of spandex, makeup and perfectly coiffed hair with no intention of actually working out.
But you’ll get to hear all about the alpha and beta males, bimbos, narcissists and even the sweet but utterly boring men I encounter on a daily basis on the beach and in my travels.
I can promise some super
stories guaranteed to make my readers flush with embarrassment and some cringeworthy first date disasters. Crushes, love, summer flings and the whole crazy thing—
I’ll impart the good, the bad and the ugly, Southwest Florida Sun Bunny style.
Stay tuned—it’s going to be quite a ride!

Xoxo, Serena

For those who hoped against hope that Trump could be kept out of office, the time to fight his election is now at an end, and the time to begin the real political work America needs has arrived.
And whatever is to be said about Trump, his presidency will be one where new political coalitions are possible and likely influential. Right and left, his foes ought to take heart. He is a Washington, D.C., novice who needs to establish some track record of success. Even in his comfort zone, he much prefers cutting deals and notching victories to simply stonewalling. His base of power is small, shifting and potentially unreliable -- characteristics President Barack Obama found among his own voters.
Nevertheless, too many of Trump's opponents still see him as someone who must be repudiated and rebuked at every turn. Cooler heads will have to prevail over those who reveled so desperately in fantasies of saving the country by stopping Trump at the electoral goal line.
Trump comes into office with an unusual set of weaknesses and liabilities -- from the popular vote to Russia to his sprawling businesses. But that can't justify grinding America's political and economic progress to a halt, the likely result of reflexively blocking Trump's proposals and sapping energy in an effort to hobble his administration. Trump's supporters, opponents and those in between have a patriotic obligation to tackle the country's structural challenges, not just to talk about it.
The American people are in a mood to demand results. Presidents Obama and George W. Bush left the U.S. strong enough for what is to come but weak enough to have left Trump with a daunting list of major tasks.
Americans know our infrastructure and energy needs must not only be met but well-exceeded to set the economy on a sounder footing and maintain our primacy on the world stage. Immigration law has been neglected for so long that its illegitimacy has begun to bleed over quickly into other regulatory realms, such as health care. Whatever the particular outcome, rules must be redrawn with clear, authoritative lines. Economic activity is concentrated too strongly in enterprises where only experts in speculation can participate and profit. Trump can't fix these things alone. Disgruntled Republicans and Democrats must help.
Until they do, with problems as deep as today's, popular frustration will continue to vent itself on smaller struggles, such as identity politics and political correctness. Although there are real issues at stake here as well, the fruitless vitriol and exhausting performances surrounding them will only make it harder to focus on ensuring a dynamic but stable future over the next several generations, while huge global and technological changes will continue to whipsaw the beleaguered American people.
Elected officials must join with Trump on enough fundamental reforms that where the typical inevitable disagreements remain, we will continue to enjoy the privilege of our cherished political disagreements.


Working together, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council have designated a large offshore area in the Mid-Atlantic Ocean for the protection of deep-sea corals.
The new coral-protection zone encompasses more than 38,000 square miles of federal waters off the Mid-Atlantic coast, an area roughly the size of the state of Virginia.
The Council approved the Deep Sea Corals Amendment to the Mackerel, Squid, Butterfish Fishery Management Plan in 2015 in order to protect deep sea corals from the impacts of bottom-tending fishing gear in the new Frank R. Lautenberg Deep-Sea Coral Protection Area.
Most deep sea corals are slow-growing and fragile, making them vulnerable to damage from fishing gear that contacts the sea floor. This final rule designates a large “deep sea coral zone” in areas where corals have been observed or where they are likely to occur.
Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, regional fishery management councils have the authority to designate zones where fishing may be restricted to protect deep sea corals.
Although corals have been protected as essential fish habitat, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council is the first of the eight U.S. regional fishery management councils to use this new discretionary authority.
The Council named the protected area in honor of the late Senator Frank Lautenberg, a five-term U.S. senator from New Jersey, who was responsible for several pieces of ocean conservation legislation, including the MSA provisions allowing for deep sea coral protections.
The Frank R. Lautenberg Deep Sea Coral Protection Area encompasses areas of known or highly likely coral presence in underwater canyons or slope areas along the continental shelf edge, as well as deeper areas where the presence of corals is uncertain, but where little or no fishing effort currently occurs.
Because deep-sea corals live in very deep, hard-to-reach places, finding and studying them is very expensive, says David Stevenson of NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Region, Habitat Conservation Division.
Still, on the U.S. Atlantic coast, deep-sea corals have been the subject of a recent and intensive NOAA-funded research program.
Based on the results of a model that predicts the locations of the most suitable coral habitats, NOAA conducted a series of research surveys during 2012-2015 to map coral habitats and assess their distribution and abundance, said Stevenson.
The data provided by these surveys and by the predictive model were used to determine what areas should be closed to bottom trawling and where the boundaries for those areas should be.
Habitat staff from the Greater Atlantic Region worked closely with staff from the Council and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center to select candidate deep-sea protection zones.
The success of the Council’s effort to protect deep-sea corals was due to collaboration between the fishing industry and environmental organizations that championed the cause of deep-sea coral conservation, Stevenson said.
Faced with concerns from fishermen, who agreed that corals deserve protection from fishing, but did not want to give up important fishing grounds on the outer shelf, the Council organized a workshop to try and resolve their differences.
After negotiation and compromise, with some help from scientists and habitat managers, industry spokespeople and representatives of the environmental groups agreed to a new set of area boundaries that were approved by the Council two months later.
Within the protected area, commercial fishermen are prohibited from using most types of bottom-tending fishing gear such as trawls, dredges, bottom longlines, and traps.
The rule does not apply to recreational fishing, commercial gear types that do not contact the sea floor, or the American lobster trap fishery. An exemption is also provided for the deep sea red crab commercial trap fishery.
Vessels may transit through the area if fishing gear is stowed and not available for immediate use.
“The Mid-Atlantic Council is extremely pleased that NOAA Fisheries has approved the Council’s recommended protection of deep sea corals in the Mid-Atlantic,” said Council chairman Michael Luisi. “We are proud of this achievement and want to thank and congratulate all those who contributed to this ground-breaking effort in the Atlantic.”
Officials praised former Council Chair Rick Robins, who led the effort to establish the large protected area, and the Council’s current Vice Chairman Warren Elliott, who chaired the two-day workshop where all stakeholders negotiated to agree on the boundaries of the area to protect.
John Bullard, regional administrator for NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, said, “This is a great story of regional collaboration among the fishing industry, the Mid-Atlantic Council, the research community, and environmental organizations to protect what we all agree is a valuable ecological resource.”

© Environment News Service (ENS) 2016. All rights reserved.

Donald Trump once called the Rev. Al Sharpton "a con man," meaning that Sharpton plays the race card less out of sincerity and more as a method to make demands and extract concessions.
But has there ever been a bigger legislative con man than the soon-to-be-retired Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., currently the second-longest serving member of the House? His glossary of race-baiting is exhaustive. Just a few examples:
In criticizing the Republican-run house, Rangel said, "It's not 'spic' or 'n-----' anymore. (Instead) they say, 'Let's cut taxes.'"
In accusing the then-President of racism, Rangel said "George (W.) Bush is our Bull Connor" (referring to the racist Southern lawman who sicced dogs and turned water hoses on civil rights marchers).
In accusing the Republican Party in general of racism, Rangel said, "Everything we believe in, everything we believe in, (Republicans) hate. They don't disagree -- they hate. ... Some of them believe that slavery isn't over and that they won the Civil War."
On the tea party, Rangel said: "(Obama) really thought -- and maybe it was the water they drink at Harvard -- that he could deal with the tea party. They are mean, racist people. Now why do I say that? Because in those red states, they're the same slaveholding states -- they had the Confederate flag. They became Dixiecrats -- they had the Confederate flag. They're now the tea party."
And: "(The tea party) is the same group we faced in the South with those white crackers and the dogs and the police. They didn't care about how they looked. It was just fierce indifference to human life that caused America to say enough is enough. 'I don't want to see it and I am not a part of it.' What the hell?! If you have to bomb little kids and send dogs out against human beings, give me a break."
Yet now as the clock winds down on his career, Rangel is free -- free to tell the truth about "race." Rangel, in assessing why Hillary Clinton lost the race to Donald Trump, rejects the analysis advanced by the losing Clinton camp. At the Harvard post-election symposium, top Clinton aides accused Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway of blatantly courting America's white racists. But Rangel argues that root cause is middle-class economic anxiety.
His takeaway? It's the economy, stupid.
In an interview with Roll Call, Rangel said, "Hard workers, for a variety of reasons, have seen economic and social advancement ceilings put on their ambitions." He continued: "The old thing, if you work hard in this country, you can get ahead. Well, the misconduct of Wall Street, the recession, globalization, inventions, science, technology, have really put a damper on middle-class people to advance as rapidly as they have in the past."
Rangel added: "It's the middle class that the jobs come from. If people don't have disposable income, if they're not able to purchase the basics, if small businesses can't hire people, then you have a problem. And we did have a problem during the election, and we still have it."
What?! Even "race card" Rangel sized up his party's election loss as one in which the middle class felt economically beleaguered? He didn't say "whitelash," as CNN's Van Jones did. He didn't blame it on adverse reactions to "a black president" as Jones did. He didn't rant about how Trump pitched his message as an attaboy to rednecks, Klansmen and the Aryan Brotherhood.
Years ago, Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., invited me for lunch in the House cafeteria at the U.S. Capitol. Shortly after we sat down, Rangel, with his trademark flashy pocket square, came in. Dreier leaped up and walked over to him, and the two greeted each other like fraternity brothers who had taken a blood oath.
I asked Dreier to explain the affection, given the race-card rhetoric Rangel uses against Republicans. I gave examples. Dreier rolled his eyes and said: "Oh, that's just Charlie being Charlie. Nobody takes that stuff seriously." "Yeah," I said, "nobody except the voters in his district."
As to Clinton vs. Trump, Rangel, at one time, would have whipped out the race card and, with a straight face, shouted, "White supremacy!" He would have pounced on Trump's comment that Mexicans are "rapists"; that he called an Indiana-born federal judge of Mexican descent "a Mexican"; that Trump allegedly "mocked" a handicapped reporter; and on and on. No matter that such a characterization of Trump's statements would have been either the worst possible interpretation, taken out of context or flat-out untrue. That's how Rangel rolled.
But free from the pressures of getting reelected, Rangel told the truth. The charge that Trump is racist, sexist, homophobic and Islamophobic is bogus -- and the voters saw through it. Rangel knows this and said so. His implicit message: Race is no longer a major factor in America. Now we know. Rangel, throughout his career, cynically played the race card to stoke anger to retain his Harlem seat.
It is the very definition of a con man. The real question is why it worked for so long.

Larry Elder

Friday, 23 December 2016 19:09

Immigration & Language Hypocrisy

Numbers 14:18
“…visiting the iniquity of the
fathers upon the children…”

Many people are unhappy with the immigration phenomenon today--- people crossing our borders illegally and also being allowed in by Presidential directive.
Where these issues present actual constitutional concerns they need to be FACTUALLY addressed, and not simply emotionally reacted to. People here need to remain diligent and deny the fear-mongering intended by those whom are ultimately behind these events.
We need to determine who is engineering these events and why.
Why are they being allowed to happen, and who is benefitting? Nothing happens in this world any more that does not benefit somebody.
While some trouble may indeed come from any of these immigrants, more trouble may come from those who will stir up fear here for allowing their entry.
On the subject of an “official” language? I’ve read our Constitution and as far as I can tell it did not mandate one, and for good reason--- we do not need one. We are a free country, and people are free to speak any language they like (well, earlier Native Americans were punished for doing so). This being said, English is easily our established and dominant language, and if you can’t speak it your life will be more difficult.
To legislate its primacy is needless. There is also something of a cultural laziness and even arrogance that should be addressed, we are one of the very few first-world countries that does not encourage its people to learn a second language. Why is this?
Do you want to know one reason this country is less respected now than in years past? It is not because we are not tough enough--- I believe it is because we are not smart enough. We cannot see that we are being played, though people around the world are watching it happen.
Important as these matters appear to be, we are a nation that holds to an image of itself: one of being moral, fair and honest, however, this image is built upon an unavoidable lie, like a house of cards.
What about Native America? We are pleased to see that the people of Standing Rock have fended off the cowboys once more. (corporate/governmental)
Standing Rock: 1, Cowboys: 0.
For the minority of Americans who happen to be aware of the life of people in Native Nations anymore--- and yes, they are actual nations, as real as ours! But we do not want to think about their conditions any further, because in truth, we, as a nation, are not actually as strong, as moral, as honest and fair that we’d like to imagine. This is our shame and our disgrace. The American people are by and large good, but we need to insist that our government reflect who we are.
When issues of immigration and language come up, and they should be thoughtfully discussed, if one wishes to bring up the related issues of Native conditions and recognition--- we, the original uninvited immigrants, typically respond by saying that “I am not responsible”, or “there is nothing I can do.” Wrong on both counts.
Maybe this is just what we are encouraged to believe, for this means that the government has to change nothing. There is indeed something we can do--- not the easy thing, but the right thing.
Believing ourselves to be a moral, fair and honest people, we should show leadership in this world and take responsibility for our obligations, by insisting that our elected government now do what it should have done from the start: HONOR EVERY TREATY our Nation has made with any Native Nation within our boundaries, like we would do with any Nation outside our boundaries.
If this had been done from the start it would have entailed far less sacrifice than it will now.
Until it is done, though, we cannot speak as a nation of immigration and language issues without being hypocrites.

Dave Bowman
Fort Myers

As his tenure as Defense Secretary comes to a close, Ash Carter was in Israel last week, underscoring the increasing strength of the United States-Israel relationship.
Since Israel’s founding, the United States has maintained an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security. The deep bond between the two countries dates back decades and has spanned collaboration on joint exercises, technology transfers, a tiered missile defense system that includes the Iron Dome and Arrow, research and development of tunnel detection and mapping technologies, and development of new technologies for GPS-guided weapons. Combined, these efforts total more than $120 billion in bilateral assistance, and underscore the unparalleled U.S. commitment to Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge in the region.

F-35 comes to Israel

Carter’s trip to Israel marks another milestone in the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security by making available the most current technology. During his visit, Carter attended the arrival ceremony for Israel’s first two F-35 Lightning II fighter jets from the United States. Israel will be the first U.S. partner in the region and the only one in the Middle East with the fifth-generation F-35 aircraft. Over the next several years, Israel has requested to receive up to fifty fighter jets, modernizing their air fleet with this single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft that can execute a variety of missions ranging from intelligence, surveillance and electronic attack missions.
The U.S. Air Force worked with Israel’s air force to provide training in F-35 simulators and to familiarize their maintainers with the aircraft ahead of its arrival at Israel’s Nevatim Air Base, ensuring a smooth transfer of aircraft to the Israeli air force.

Unshakeable Commitment

In September, Israel and the United States concluded a new ten-year Memorandum of Understanding, where the United States pledged $38 billion in security assistance. This MOU will ensure Israel has continued access to the most advanced technology and that Israel’s military edge remains paramount in the region. Together, the United States and Israel continue to develop, coordinate and collaborate together on an impressive array of security and defense capabilities, challenges and opportunities. This F-35 delivery is just one piece in a strong and critical defense relationship for the United States.

Yolanda R. Arrington
DoD News,
Defense Media Activity


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