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China Manipulated Its Currency?

by Gerry Del Angel

5/31/18

 

President Trump on Sunday April 14, 2017  addressed the United States with the China manipulator problem. Defending his reversal on a vow to label China a currency manipulator, suggesting the move is part of a strategic plan to convince China to work with the U.S. to confront North Korea’s missile build up. There’s only one problem- it’s not true anymore, China, the world’s second biggest economy behind the United States, hasn’t been pushing down it’s currency to benefit Chinese exporters in years. And even if it were, the law targeting manipulators requires the U.S. spend a year negotiating a solution before they retaliate. Trump spent most of the campaign blaming China for the U.S. economics woes. And it’s true that the U.S.- China trade relationship is lopsided. China sells a lot more to the U.S. than it buys. The resulting trade deficit in goods amounted to a staggering $289 billion through the first ten months of 2016. But in fact, for the past couple of years China has been intervening in markets to prop up its currency, the yuan, not push it lower. It went a step further on that Thursday, watering down the significance of the dollar and adding 11 additional currencies in a foreign-exchange basket, according to a document released by the China Foreign exchange trading system. What does currency have to do with the trade gap? When China’s yuan falls against the U.S. dollar, Chinese products become cheaper in the U.S. market and American products become more costly in China. So the U.S. Treasury Department monitors China for signs it is manipulating the yuan lower. Treasury has guidelines for putting countries on it’s currency blacklist. They must, for example, have spent the equivalent of two percent of their economic output over a year buying foreign currencies in an attempt to drive those currencies and their own currencies up. Treasury hasn’t declared China a manipulator since 1994.

Mark Zuckerberg gets Grilled

by Weber

4/25/18

 

Facebook under fire for: private profile usage, rigged elections, and liberal bias. We’re going to talk about the recent congressional hearings, and how facebook is using your information (even through almost everyone on Earth knows that facebook uses your information). The talks started on April 10 (Senate), and April 11 (House of Representatives). During this time they asked Mark Zuckerberg about 600 hundred questions, and Zuckerberg steered away, patiently answered, are told them my team is better suited of answering this question. The ones Mark did answer were vague, so that he didn’t tell on himself, and Facebook. It didn’t help Mark Zuckerberg when he said “We have a “download your information” tool, and Mark answered “We’ve had that tool for years”. “You can go to it in your settings and download all of the content that you have on Facebook”. Lawmakers wanted to now how much information there actually is, and Mark said “There's two types”. The first type is all the pictures, and photos, and the second type is under the table, and is the shady stuff, which includes your web history, and your location. Facebook does this because the information goes to your ads. Thats why your Facebook is really bias to what you like, and doesn't show the other side. For example if your a Dodgers fan, you’ll only get Dodgers stuff (unless your friends posted something about another team).

Facebook policy record states it collects hardware version, device settings, and more, but none of them are on list of data Facebook tells it’s user. Of course the question came out “ who owns the the information”, and Mark Zuckerberg of course said “the user”, and this brought up a lot of comments, and most where about how he’s lying about the whole deal. Mark Zuckerberg answered “users own all the information.” A little bit later they asked about delatied information, and Zuckerberg answered with “when you delete IP content, it is deleted in a similar manner to emptying the recycle bin on a computer”, which than Facebook tells us “ However, you understand that removed information may persist in backup copies for a reasonable amount of time.” Zuckerberg even explained the who user owns everything more. “You own it in the sense that you chose to put it they're, and take down at anytime.” Zuckerberg didn’t tell the whole truth about the information, because the last comment was different than earlier. One of the last thing that was interesting is a tool that helps search for people on your phone. That tool can take up to seven percent, said Mike Schroepfer (chief technology at Facebook). Than Mark Zuckerberg played stupid, and said Facebook didn't know the tool was being abused until two weeks ago, but they're is evidence of this in 2013. The scary thing Facebook doesn't see this as a vulnerability to our security. When did all these start? Kogan’s app was kinda the beginning, and these app “helped” users of Facebook personalize they're account. Even through the majority of users didn’t even download it, so how did all the information get out? Well Zuckerberg answer was to blame Mr. Kogan saying that his app was going against Facebook terms.

Questions now.

Will Facebook be hurt from this scandal. Most studies say that the usage is going down, and especially from 2016, but we’re going make a safe guess, and say that Facebook is going to weather the storm just fine. Next Question why is Facebook losing users? On The guardian the article says the parents ruined it. They're a lot of different reasons, like Snapchat, parents don’t want they're kids on it, because of hearings. It’s like Facebook is getting old, and it’s getting boring.

Trump Punishes Assad for Chemical Weapons Use

by Matthew Rodriguez

4/24/18

 

Trump counter attacked on April 9, 2018. President Trump attacked Syria to punish Bashar al Assad after he was accused of using chemical weapons.


Witnesses to Assadś attack and activists say warplanes attacked Khan Sheikhoun, about 50km (30 miles) south of the city of Idlib, early on 4 April, when many people were asleep. Mariam Abu Khalil, a 14 year old resident who was awake, told the New York Times that she had seen an aircraft drop a bomb on a one-story building. The explosion sent a yellow mushroom cloud into the air that stung her eyes. "It was like a winter fog," she said. She sheltered in her home, but recalled that when people started arriving to help the wounded, "they inhaled the gas and died". Hussein Kayal, a photographer for the pro-opposition Edlib Media Center (EMC), was reported as saying that he was awoken by the sound of an explosion at about 06:30 (03:30 GMT). When he reached the scene, there was no smell, he said. He found people lying on the floor, unable to move and with constricted pupils. Another photo published by the group showed the bodies of at least 14 men, women and children on a street outside a hospital in Khan Sheikhoun. The opposition-run health directorate in Idlib province - which is almost entirely controlled by rebel fighters and al-Qaeda-linked jihadists - says at least 89 people were killed, including 33 children and 18 women. Another 541 people were injured. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, put the death toll at 86 and said it was likely to rise, with many of the injured in a serious condition in hospital.

New Assault Weapons Ban Effective 6/30/18

 

 

by Spencer Hill

4/23/18

 

California’s newest gun laws, Senate Bill 880 and Assembly Bill 1135, ban assault style weapons and detachable magazines; furthermore, any assault rifles already in the state must be registered by June 30th 2018. According to the bills that were passed in 2016, the transfer and sale of assault weapons has been prohibited since 2017, and weapons already procured must be registered as assault weapons by June 30th.

Previous attempts to ban assault weapons in California led to the exploitation of a loophole allowing bullet buttons to change an illegal weapon into a legal one by requiring a tool to remove the magazine. SB 880 and AB 1135 have closed the loophole that allowed the use of bullet buttons to circumvent the intended ban. Residents who do not register any legally acquired assault weapons by the end of June, would be in violation of state law.

Opiate Epidemic

by Devin Weber

4/10/18

 

America has a drug epidemic, and opiates are the main cause. Let's look at how many people died from 1999 to 2016. In the year 1999 just under 20,000 people died from an drug overdose (counting illegal, and prescription drugs). Looking at 2016, overdose deaths tripled since 1999, and this graph didn’t ever decrease during that period. What killed most the people - opiates. An opiate is a drug with morphine effect, derived from opium. The difference between opioids, and opiates, is that an opiate is more natural, like morphine, opium, or codeine. Opioids are mostly made in labs, but both can be really deadly if when used as recreational drugs.

Why does this involve me, you might ask? I’m not just talking about the street drugs (heroin), were also talking about painkillers. The information I have gathered says two things, and they are: males use more than females, and most opiate overdoses aren’t just from illegal street drugs. Most of the ones that were killing people were legal painkillers. Heroin killed approximately 15,446, and pharmaceuticals have killed approximately 20,145. Pharmaceuticals  opiates are just as dangerous as heroin. In 2016, opiates have killed a total of approximately 53,332. Comparatively cocaine and methamphetamine have killed a total of 18,282 people.

What shall we do? Well we could start by monitoring the doctors that are just handing out the pills like candy. Monitoring and prosecuting doctors is a prime solution because the problem isn’t traditional hardcore street drugs, it’s the pills that physicians prescribe. If we start monitoring and watch what the doctors are handing out, this country’s opiate epidemic could be controlled at least. For rehab, the doctors should be liable to cover the cost of treatment. If that sounds weird, then think about who gave out must of those pills. Don’t they help some people, yes they do, but lots of people overuse opiates anyway. Also the risk of getting hooked, isn’t worth getting rid of a backache.

 

The following graph's information is from the Center for Disease Prevention

 

CDC Overdose Statistics

Drought is Back

by Matthew Rodriguez

3/30/18

 

 

Less amounts of water fell in the West last winter period, helping to restore the below normal seasonal mountain snow-pack in the Sierras. In the lower elevations, the atmospheric river event caused flash flooding and mudslides in the same places devastated by forest fires last December. Little to no precipitation fell during the week in Arizona and New Mexico. Despite the recent precipitation in California, departures are beyond 30 days. At the 6 month time scale, precipitation amounts are 30-50 percent of normal in Southern California. However, for the same period (6-month), the recent storm brought the precipitation totals closer to normal in the central and northern Sierras. River basin snow water content now measures 75-90 percent of average in the central Sierra. The recent storm allowed the contraction of drought across much of the West this USDM period.

In the Klamath basin and also Siskiyou county we have seen less snow and rain this past winter. We estimated that it at least rained eight times this year and snowed ten times. Up in the hills heading to Medford, Oregon on highway 140, there was at least four inches of snow. Last year the snow was up to seven feet tall to this year nothing. With these results many people in the Klamath Basin and Siskiyou County are scared that there will not be enough water for all the farmers and ranchers in this area. All we could do is hope for the best and hope we get heavy snow and rain for the remainder of this winter season.