Terrorism Deaths Quadruple Under Obama

AP Photo
The worldwide number of annual terrorist deaths has more than quadrupled since President Barack Obama was inaugurated in January 2009. Deaths from terrorism increased 80 percent last year to an all-time-record of 32,658 people killed, compared to 18,111 in 2013. The number is up about 426 percent from the 7,654 killed by terrorists in 2008 under President Bush, according to the latest report from ‘Vision of Humanity.’ The 2014 economic cost of 13,370 terrorist attacks in 93 countries included property damage, medical costs, lost income for victims, and the indirect costs of preventing and responding to terrorist acts. The annual “Global Terrorism Index” report estimated those costs hit an all-time-high in 2014 of $52.9 billion. Boko Haram and Islamic State of Iraq and Levant were jointly responsible for 51 percent of all claimed global terrorist fatalities in 2014. About 57 percent of all the attacks and 78 percent of all the deaths occurred in the five nations of Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria. But the number of nations suffering over 500 or more deaths from terrorism increased in 2014 by approximately 120 percent, to 11 countries. Nigeria experienced the largest increase in terrorist activity with 7,512 deaths in 2014, a jump of
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Report: Emails Show Politico’s Mike Allen Offered Chelsea Clinton ‘No-Risk’ Interview

A smoking gun is always a nice thing to have, but it’s not like we need one to prove once and for all that Politico is dedicated to electing Hillary Clinton president. Nevertheless, through a Freedom of Information request, Gawker claims to have found a smoking gun – a series of emails from Politico honcho Mike Allen promising Chelsea Clinton a “no risk … no surprises … something she would like” interview where all the questions would be agreed upon in advance. This is from a January 10, 2013 email from Allen to Phillipe Reines, an aide to Hillary Clinton. Allen is hoping to land Chelsea for an interview — but if these emails are real, I think it’s pretty obvious Allen is hoping to curry favor with Hillary Clinton by offering her daughter a sweet piece of public relations on any subject Chelsea chooses: This would be a way to send a message during inaugural week: No one besides me would ask her a question, and you and I would agree on them precisely in advance. This would be a relaxed conversation, and our innovative format (like a speedy Playbook Breakfast) always gets heavy social-media pickup. The interview would
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Whoopi: Trump’s 9/11 Rhetoric Is Putting American Muslim Women in Danger

Tuesday on ABC’s “The View,” co-host Whoopi Goldberg said Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s claim of seeing thousands of American Muslims in New Jersey cheering the World Trade Center towers coming down on  September 11, 2001, puts Muslim women in danger because their dress style is very identifiable. Goldberg said, “So remember in Germany, people would point and say you know, it’s their fault it’s happening. It’s them. This is the same crap. This is the same crap. You — there are so many — there are 2.5 million American Muslims here. Folks we know. Dr. Oz. You know —who are you talking about? People were not doing this. You know facts are important in the United States. I feel facts are important and they’re on the run.” Joy Behar chimed in,”It’s called scapegoating which is not very nice and it leads too fascist dictatorships so be careful of that.” Goldberg continued, “And keep in mind, you know, the easiest people to spot, the easiest Muslims to spot are women. OK. So when you’re doing this, Donald, you’re putting a lot of people in danger. Think before you talk. Man, please try a fact. Just get a fact. I’ll back
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Coinbase and Shift Payments Introduce a Visa-branded Bitcoin Debit Card That Works Everywhere Visa is Accepted

Coinbase has introduced the first U.S.-issued bitcoin debit card, the Shift Card, in partnership with Shift Payments. The Shift Card is a Visa debit card that currently allows Coinbase users in 24 states to spend bitcoin both online and at physical points of sale at more than 38 million merchants worldwide.

“Merchant adoption has come a long way over the past few years, but it’s still difficult for people to make regular purchases with bitcoin,” notes the Coinbase announcement. “Buying gas at a local gas station or groceries at a neighborhood grocery store with bitcoin has not been possible in most cities in the U.S. Thanks to Shift Payments, it’s now possible to use bitcoin to buy gas, groceries, and much more. With the Shift Card, you can now spend bitcoin anywhere in the world that Visa is accepted.”

Coinbase users living in the states where the service is available can order a Shift debit card for $10 and link it to a Coinbase wallet. When the Shift debit card is used to make a purchase, the equivalent value of bitcoin (based on the current spot price of bitcoin on Coinbase) is debited from the user’s Coinbase bitcoin wallet. For certain transactions, such as gas purchases and dinner bills, Shift will debit more than the purchase amount, and refund the remainder to the user when the final payment amount is settled.

There are no annual fees, no bitcoin-to-dollar conversion fees, and no domestic transaction fees. Coinbase says there are no domestic transaction fees “for a limited time,” which seems to indicate that domestic transaction fees could be added in the future. There is a $2.50 ATM fee and a 3 percent international transaction fee. The daily ATM withdrawal limit is $200, and the default daily spending limit is $1,000.

The card isn’t available to users in New York, Florida, and many other states. Coinbase and Shift Payments say that they are working through legal and regulatory matters in the states where the Shift Card is not yet available.

Shift Payments wants to integrate all payment options available to a user in one debit card. Users can connect a Shift Card to multiple accounts to seamlessly spend all supported payment means, including digital currencies, with the same card.

“The Shift Card works like any debit card today,” notes the Shift website. “Connect your existing accounts and spend Coinbase or Dwolla, immediately and directly, everywhere Visa is accepted.”

The Shift card isn’t the first bitcoin debit card, but the availability of a Visa-branded bitcoin debit card from a major bitcoin exchange and wallet operator is likely to represent a quantum leap in the space.

“At the end of the day, what we’re trying to do is make bitcoin easy to use,” Coinbase vice president of business development and strategy Adam White, told Wired. “We want to make it easy to buy and sell bitcoin, and we want to make it easy to spend. A mainstream debit card based on bitcoin is a key element.”

Of course all U.S. bitcoin users already can spend their bitcoin by converting them to dollars and sending the dollars to their bank accounts, but the process is lengthy and probably overly complex for some users.

Therefore, the Shift Card is likely to make Bitcoin much more useful in daily life.

Wired notes that existing Coinbase customers are now likely to start spending more of their bitcoin, rather than just speculating, and new customers will be attracted to the digital currency because they can more easily spend it. Then, merchants will be more motivated to start accepting bitcoin, which could start a runaway feedback loop that will boost the Bitcoin ecosystem.

The post Coinbase and Shift Payments Introduce a Visa-branded Bitcoin Debit Card That Works Everywhere Visa is Accepted appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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NBC’s Engel: Obama’s Rhetoric About Int’l Cooperation Against Islamic State ‘The Opposite’ Of What’s Happening

NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel stated that despite President Obama’s rhetoric about international coordination against ISIS, “we are seeing just the opposite” on Tuesday’s “MSNBC Live.” Engel said of the rhetoric at President Obama’s press conference, “we’ve heard that many times, that we will win, that the Western civilization will prevail, that democracy will ultimately defeat the extremists, and he called repeatedly for more international cooperation, for unity of interests, that even Russia and the United States should be able to agree that ISIS is a threat to both of them, and that they should coordinate their policy. The problem is, however, we are seeing just the opposite. If you look what happened today where I am, where the Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian jet, Turkey says…that Russian jet was violating its airspace, and Russia says that it was merely on a counterterrorism mission. I think it shows that there is no unity of purpose. There is no unity of goals. Because, multiple sources have told us, that Russian plane was operating in Syria, perhaps violating Turkey’s airspace briefly, but it was operating, not to fight ISIS, but to fight a different group, to fight a group
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Jefferson’s Constitution: Ben Carson Got It 100% Right — DC Media Got It 100% Wrong

Ben Carson
Anyone at all familiar with Thomas Jefferson is well aware of our third president’s vital influence on the crafting of the American Constitution. While Jefferson is primarily known as the chief author of the Declaration of Independence and James Madison is primarily known as the early architect of what would become our Constitution and the prime mover behind the Bill of Rights, the two men were close friends, lived not very far apart in Virginia, and kept regular correspondence. Jefferson and Madison were of like political minds, and during the Constitutional Convention, while Jefferson was across an ocean as U.S. Minister to France, the two men enjoyed an intense and productive correspondence about what the U.S. Constitution should look like. My media hero of the week (more on this below), USA Today editor David Mastio,  accurately sums up the rest of the story: After the Constitution Convention was over, Jefferson had this other idea called a “Bill of Rights,” which you might have heard is a part of the Constitution. Jefferson sorta played a key role in all that First Amendment, Second Amendment stuff. If you don’t believe me, go ask the American Civil Liberties Union, which is big on
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Mining Difficulty Increases by over 10% Due to Bitcoin Price Increase and next-Generation Chips

As the bitcoin price has risen out of the $200’s over the past month, the price increase has driven another important event: more mining hardware is being brought online.

Miners earn revenue two ways. The first is with the block reward, which is 25BTC approximately every 10 minutes. The other way is with transaction fees. The block reward also acts as the mechanism in which new supply of bitcoin is generated. Because mining tends to reward those that can do the most work, miners deploy increasing amounts of hardware to try to be the first to mine each block. To keep a steady block creation rate, Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto put in place a rule that updates the network difficulty every 2016 blocks, or approximately two weeks.

According to Bitcoin Wisdom, the difficulty increase that took place today rose by 10.44%. The last time the difficulty increased by more than 10 percent was on November 5, 2014, when the difficulty increased by 10.05 percent. Further, Bitcoin Wisdom is predicting that the next bitcoin difficulty increase in 2 weeks will be 10.25%. The last time there were two double digit percentage increases in difficulty was August 19, 2014 and August 31, 2014.

But the increase in difficulty makes sense.

The next generation of bitcoin miners have been released by three of the top companies in the space. In August, Bitmain announced the launch of the Antminer S7, which contains the BM1385 ASIC. Each S7 can generate upwards of 4,850 GH/s while only using 0.25 J/GH of power.

In October, the Chinese mining firm BW announced that it was releasing its next stage bitcoin miner, which would contain a 14nm chip. Virgilio Lizardo Jr., head of international at Bitbank, told Bitcoin Magazine that the first batch of servers released would be 48 petahash total. For context, the current network has a hash rate of 550.5 PH/s.

Finally, the original creator of the ASIC miner, Avalon, announced that it was releasing its latest miner, the Avalon6, which would contain the new A3218 mining chip. Each miner would be able to generate 3.65 TH/s of hashing power. While these new miners have just hit the market, it is additional hardware that should come online over the coming weeks.

The reality is simple: As the price of bitcoin increases, the number of people who can make a profit mining increases. That encourages more participation in securing the network, which results in the need for a difficulty increase. As these next generation of bitcoin miners come online, it is expected that the difficulty will continue to counteract the additional hash rate in the network.

Jacob Donnelly is a freelance journalist and a consultant in the bitcoin/blockchain space. He runs a weekly digital currency and blockchain newsletter called Crypto Brief.

The post Mining Difficulty Increases by over 10% Due to Bitcoin Price Increase and next-Generation Chips appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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Obama Lectures on Refugees: ‘We Must Uphold Our Ideals Now’

Tuesday at a press conference with French President Francois Hollande, President Barack Obama declared it “our humanitarian duty” to help out with refugees fleeing the Middle East. Obama said, “Americans will not be terrorized. I say all this because another part of being vigilant, another part of defeating terrorists like ISIL is upholding the rights and freedoms that define our two great republics. That includes freedom of religion. That includes equality before the law. There have been times in our history in moments of fear when we have failed to uphold our highest ideals and it has been to our lasting regret. We must uphold our ideals now. each of us, all of us, must show that America is strengthened by people of every faith and every background.” He continued, “Related to this, I want to note that under President Hollande, France plans to welcome 30,000 additional Syrian refugees over the next two years. Here in the United States, refugees coming to America go through up to two years of intense security checks, including bio-metric screening.  Nobody who sets foot in America goes through more screening than refugees. We’re prepared to share these tools with France and our European partners.
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Sarah Palin on Potential ’16 Endorsement: Immigration ‘Huge on My List’

Associated Press
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said where GOP candidates stand on amnesty and immigration will be “huge” in determining which candidate she potentially endorses in this election cycle if she decides to make an endorsement that may well determine who will win the GOP presidential nomination. In a “Breitbart News Daily special” interview that aired on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125 this past weekend, Palin sat down with Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon in what was her first live interview on her Sweet Freedom book tour. Palin praised Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)—who is the top champion of American workers in Congress—saying that he is “so good on immigration.” She added that it is probably “his number one issue that he thinks is most impacting on the future of America.” “He’s going to pick one candidate who’s strongest on that issue and that is probably the person he’ll give the most attention to,” Palin said. “And immigration is huge on my list.” But Palin added that so is the “understanding of what the federal government’s role is to be in our lives and… protecting our Constitution in order to rein in our government.” She also said that “character counts”
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