NAACP Leader Speaking Against Cops In Charlotte Financed By George Soros

by Aaron Klein

NEW YORK – As riots continue to plague Charlotte, North Carolina after a police shooting there, Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, has taken center stage in helping to shape the public narrative by commenting on the issue in the news media.

Not only is the NAACP heavily financed by Soros to the tune of millions of dollars, Barber himself was singled out in a hacked document from the billionaire’s Open Society Institute as part of the rationale for offering a local grant to the NAACP’s North Carolina branch, Breitbart News has found.
The memo states that the NAACP’s North Carolina chapter “advances several key OSI (Open Society Institute) priorities,” and describes Barber himself as a “dynamic leader, catalytic speaker, and builder of powerful and diverse alliances.”

On Thursday, Barber participated in a news conference where he demanded, “We all stand together declaring there must be transparency and the videos must be released.”

“At this point, there is speculation because the videos have not been released. Be clear: There is unrest in Charlotte and across America because of what we do know,” he continued, with his quotes being utilized in news media articles about the riots.

On Thursday, Barber also took to MSNBC to accuse Donald Trump of flaming racial tensions and also to describe some cops as trigger-happy.

On Trump, Barber stated:
“He is a man who has inflamed racial tension, applauded members of his rallies, who have actually hit African-Americans. He has joined in this narrative that somehow, to be against racial injustice and against racism engaged in by police is to, in fact, be anti-police, when, in fact, the black and the white community that is also marching with Black Lives Matter and the NAACP and the Latinos are not anti-police, we’re anti-bad police.”

Barber called Trump “exactly the wrong one” to be speaking about racial issues in the country.

Addressing the police shootings, Barber stated, “We need to understand something, this is very simple, and that’s why you see black and white people together with these protests. A badge and a gun, the ability to serve a warrant and take a person’s family member out of their house, the ability to use lethal force is too much power for a bigot, for someone that is trigger happy, and for someone that does not understand that their first role is to protect and serve, not to shoot and kill.”

Barber penned an editorial published at NBCNews.com titled, “Charlotte Is Drowning in Systematic Injustice” in which he claimed the U.S. criminal justice system is aimed at controlling black people.

“We know that the law, as written and enforced, cannot protect us from police violence,” he wrote.

“We know Darryl Hunt and Henry McCollum, two in a long list of African-American men wrongfully convicted in this state. We know our criminal justice system does not function to protect black life, but to control it.”

Soros’s Open Society has long been a significant donor to the NAACP’s national and local branches.

Soros has provided millions of dollars in financing to the NAACP, including a $1,000,000 pledge to the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund in March 2013; $100,000 in 2009; $200,000 in 2008; two grants of $208,000 and $300,000 in 2011; and $350,000 in 2012.

Barber was singled out in a hacked Open Society document from June 30, 2010 titled “Democracy and Power Fund State Funding Recommendations Memo Docket II”

The Democracy and Power Fund is part of the Open Society Institute. In January 2010, the Open Society earmarked $2 million per year for the Fund to provide grants to organizations in North Carolina and Texas.

The hacked memo recommended that Soros’s Fund provide $1,075,000 in grants to eleven local groups, including $120,000 over one year to the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP.

The grant was meant to fund the NAACP’s State Conference in Durham, North Carolina, which, the memo relates, “serves to improve the political, educational, social, and economic status of African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities; to eliminate racial prejudice; to keep the public aware of the adverse effects of discrimination; and to take lawful action to secure the elimination of racial discrimination.”

A section in the hacked memo titled “Rationale for Recommendation,” explains why the grant should be made to the NAACP.

There, the Open Society document boasted about Barber’s work, calling him a “dynamic leader, catalytic speaker, and builder of powerful and diverse alliances.”

The memo states:
The NC NAACP is led by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, a dynamic leader, catalytic speaker, and builder of powerful and diverse alliances who serves as the state president. Rev. Barber entered the position with a promise to increase the relevance of the 100-year old institution to contemporary life and criticized former NC NAACP leaders for having a behind-the scenes approach to civil action, preferring to negotiate with legislators rather than taking the civil rights agenda to the streets. His commitment to organizing and policy advocacy is unique for the institution and he states that while the NC NAACP will continue to work with lawmakers “…the difference is that when we go into the legislature, we don’t check with them to negotiate what’s most politically acceptable. We go in and stand on our principles.” And a broad, diverse, and growing community of organizations and activists stands with them.

Rev. Barber has shared that OSI funding would enable the hiring of two new staff members for the NAACP – it currently only has one staff person, an executive director, and Rev. Barber’s time is supported primarily by his congregations. One of the new positions will be an organizer who will focus on sustaining and expanding the base of support for the organization and the broader HK on J campaign. The second position will enable the hiring of a policy staff person, perhaps with legal expertise, to assist in its advocacy work, including on school desegregation issues, an issue of interest to the Equality and Opportunity Fund.

The memo states that the NAACP in North Carolina “advances” Open Society objectives.

The Democracy and Power Fund and the Equality and Opportunity Fund are excited to recommend this first funding recommendation to support the North Carolina NAACP’s work and provide backing for a statewide advocacy, organizing, and public education that promotes base-building among African-Americans, builds alliances between the state’s diverse populations, advances the broader issues of all North Carolinians who seek social justice, and advances several key OSI priorities.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

With additional research by Joshua Klein and Brenda J. Elliott.

Navy Publishes Guidance Warning Sailors Not to Protest National Anthem

In the wake of two sailors going public with their decision to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement by refusing to stand when the Star Spangled Banner is played, Navy Reserve Forces Command today published guidance warning troops that they can be punished or prosecuted for such protests.

A message directed at active-duty sailors and reserve personnel on active duty cites Navy Regulation 1205, which mandates that personnel in uniform must stand at attention and face the flag when the national anthem is played. It also notes that a Navy administrative message published in 2009 requires Navy active-duty personnel in civilian clothes to face the flag, stand at attention, and place their right hand over their heart.

"Additionally, Sailors receive training on the appropriate usage of social media, and must not use it to discredit the Naval Service, and should be reminded it could potentially be used as evidence against them," the guidance continues, a message apparently directed at the two sailors who published posts on Facebook about their protests.

Failure to comply with these regulations, the message said, is punishable under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and constitutes commission of a serious offense -- grounds for administrative separation from the service.

"While military personnel are not excluded from the protections granted by the First Amendment, the US Supreme Court has stated that the different character of our community and of the military mission requires a different application of those protections," the guidance states.

The actions taken regarding the two sailors who engaged in separate protests have not been publicly announced.

In late August, a sailor attached to the Naval Air Technical Training Center at Pensacola, Florida, posted a video to Facebook of herself sitting down during the base's morning "colors" ceremony, which quickly received viral attention on the social media platform.

Naval Education and Training Command officials confirmed the sailor, who has not been publicly named, had been subject to administrative action, but had been retained for service in the Navy.

And Sept. 21, Petty Officer 2nd Class Janaye Ervin, an intelligence specialist based in Hawaii, wrote in a public Facebook post that she was being punished by the Navy for remaining seated for the anthem two days earlier. A spokesman for Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam said only that actions regarding Ervin are under review.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at@HopeSeck.

George Soros funds Ferguson protests, hopes to spur civil action

Liberal billionaire gave at least $33 million in one year to groups that emboldened activists

- The Washington Times
There’s a solitary man at the financial center of the Ferguson protest movement. No, it’s not victim Michael Brown or Officer Darren Wilson. It’s not even the Rev. Al Sharpton, despite his ubiquitous campaign on TV and the streets.

Rather, it’s liberal billionaire George Soros, who has built a business empire that dominates across the ocean in Europe while forging a political machine powered by nonprofit foundations that impacts American politics and policy, not unlike what he did with MoveOn.org.

Mr. Soros spurred the Ferguson protest movement through years of funding and mobilizing groups across the U.S., according to interviews with key players and financial records reviewed by The Washington Times.

In all, Mr. Soros gave at least $33 million in one year to support already-established groups that emboldened the grass-roots, on-the-ground activists in Ferguson, according to the most recent tax filings of his nonprofit Open Society Foundations.

The financial tether from Mr. Soros to the activist groups gave rise to a combustible protest movement that transformed a one-day criminal event in Missouri into a 24-hour-a-day national cause celebre.

“Our DNA includes a belief that having people participate in government is indispensable to living in a more just, inclusive, democratic society,” said Kenneth Zimmerman, director of Mr. SorosOpen Society Foundations’ U.S. programs, in an interview with The Washington Times. “Helping groups combine policy, research [and] data collection with community organizing feels very much the way our society becomes more accountable.”

No strings attached
Mr. Zimmerman said OSF has been giving to these types of groups since its inception in the early ‘90s, and that, although groups involved in the protests have been recipients of Mr. Soros‘ grants, they were in no way directed to protest at the behest of Open Society.

“The incidents, whether in Staten Island, Cleveland or Ferguson, were spontaneous protests — we don’t have the ability to control or dictate what others say or choose to say,” Mr. Zimmerman said.

“But these circumstances focused people’s attention — and it became increasingly evident to the social justice groups involved that what a particular incident like Ferguson represents is a lack of accountability and a lack of democratic participation.”

Soros-sponsored organizations helped mobilize protests in Ferguson, building grass-roots coalitions on the ground backed by a nationwide online and social media campaign.

Other Soros-funded groups made it their job to remotely monitor and exploit anything related to the incident that they could portray as a conservative misstep, and to develop academic research and editorials to disseminate to the news media to keep the story alive.

The plethora of organizations involved not only shared Mr. Soros‘ funding, but they also fed off each other, using content and buzzwords developed by one organization on another’s website, referencing each other’s news columns and by creating a social media echo chamber of Facebook “likes” and Twitter hashtags that dominated the mainstream media and personal online newsfeeds.

Buses of activists from the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference in Chicago; from the Drug Policy Alliance, Make the Road New York and Equal Justice USA from New York; from Sojourners, the Advancement Project and Center for Community Change in Washington; and networks from the Gamaliel Foundation — all funded in part by Mr. Soros — descended on Ferguson starting in August and later organized protests and gatherings in the city until late last month.

Broaden issue focus
All were aimed at keeping the media’s attention on the city and to widen the scope of the incident to focus on interrelated causes — not just the overpolicing and racial discrimination narratives that were highlighted by the news media in August.

“I went to Ferguson in a quest to be in solidarity and stand with the young organizers and affirm their leadership,” said Kassandra Frederique, policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance, which was founded by Mr. Soros, and which receives $4 million annually from his foundation. She traveled to Ferguson in October.

“We recognized this movement is similar to the work we’re doing at DPA,” said Ms. Frederique.

“The war on drugs has always been to operationalize, institutionalize and criminalize people of color. Protecting personal sovereignty is a cornerstone of the work we do and what this movement is all about.”

Ms. Frederique works with Opal Tometi, co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter — a hashtag that was developed after the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida — and helped promote it on DPA’s news feeds. Ms. Tometi runs the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, a group to which Mr. Soros gave $100,000 in 2011, according to the most recent of his foundation’s tax filings.

“I think #BlackLivesMatter’s success is because of organizing. This was created after Trayvon Martin, and there has been sustained organizing and conversations about police violence since then,” said Ms. Frederique. “Its explosion into the mainstream recently is because it connects all the dots at a time when everyone was lost for words. ‘Black Lives Matter’ is liberating, unapologetic and leaves no room for confusion.”

With the backing of national civil rights organizations and Mr. Soros‘ funding, “Black Lives Matter” grew from a hashtag into a social media phenomenon, including a #BlackLivesMatter bus tour and march in September.

“More than 500 of us have traveled from Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Nashville, Portland, Tucson, Washington, D.C., Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and other cities to support the people of Ferguson and help turn a local moment into a national movement,” wrote Akiba Solomon, a journalist at Colorlines, describing the event.

Colorlines is an online news site that focuses on race issues and is published by Race Forward, a group that received $200,000 from Mr. Soros’s foundation in 2011. Colorlines has published tirelessly on the activities in Ferguson and heavily promoted the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and activities.

At the end of the #BlackLivesMatter march, organizers met with civil rights groups like the Organization for Black Struggle and Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment to strategize their operations moving forward, Ms. Solomon wrote. OBS and MORE are also funded by Mr. Soros.

Mr. Soros gave $5.4 million to Ferguson and Staten Island grass-roots efforts last year to help “further police reform, accountability and public transparency,” the Open Society Foundations said in a blog post in December. About half of those funds were earmarked to Ferguson, with the money primarily going to OBS and MORE, the foundation said.

OBS and MORE, along with the Dream Defenders, established the “Hands Up Coalition” — another
so-called “grass-roots” organization in Missouri, whose name was based on now-known-to-be-false claims that Brown had his hands up before being shot. The Defenders were built to rally support and awareness for the Trayvon Martin case and were funded by the Tides Foundation, another recipient of Soros cash.

Hands Up Coalition has made it its mission to recruit and organize youth nationwide to start local events in their communities — trying to take Ferguson nationwide.

Years and weekends of ‘resistance’
Hands Up Coalition has dubbed 2015 as “The Year of Resistance,” and its outreach program strongly resembles how President Obama’s political action committee — Organizing for Action — rallies youth for its causes, complete with a similarly designed Web page and call to action.

Mr. Soros, who made his fortune betting against the British pound during the currency crisis in the early ‘90s, is a well-known supporter of progressive-liberal causes and is a political donor to Mr. Obama’s campaigns. He committed $1 million to Mr. Obama’s super PAC in 2012.

Mr. Soros‘ two largest foundations manage almost $3 billion in assets per year, according to their most recent respective tax returns. The Foundation to Promote Open Society managed $2.2 billion in assets in 2011, and his Open Society Institute managed $685.9 million in 2012.

In comparison, David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers whom liberals often call a threat to democracy — and worse — for their conservative influence, had $308 million tied up in their foundation and institute in 2011.

One of the organizations that Mr. Soros funds, and which fueled the demonstrations in Ferguson, is the Gamaliel Foundation, a network of grass-roots, interreligious and interracial organizations. Mr. Obama started his career as a community organizer at a Gamaliel affiliate in Chicago.

The Rev. Traci Blackmon of Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant, Missouri, which is part of the Gamaliel network, said in one of the group’s webinars that clergy involved with Gamaliel must be “protectors of the narrative” of what happened in Ferguson.

The Gamaliel affiliate in St. Louis — Metropolitan Congregations United — organized the “Weekend of Resistance” in October, in which clergy members from around the nation were called to come to Ferguson to protest.

Clergy involvement
Representatives of Sojourners, a national evangelical Christian organization committed “to faith in action for social justice,” attended the weekend. The group received $150,000 from Mr. Soros in 2011.

Clergy representatives from the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference, where the Rev. Jeremiah Wright serves as a trustee, also showed up. Mr. Wright was Mr. Obama’s pastor in Chicago before some of his racially charged sermons, including the phrase “God damn America,” forced Mr. Obama to distance himself. SDPC received $250,000 from Mr. Soros in 2011.

During Gamaliel’s weekend protest event, Sunday was deemed “Hands Up Sabbath,” where clergy were asked to speak out about racial issues, using packets and talking points prepared for them by another religion-based community organizing group, PICO.

PICO is also supported by the Open Society Foundations, according to its website.

The weekend concluded Monday, when clergy members were asked to lead in acts of civil disobedience, prompting many of them to go to jail in the hopes of gaining media attention.

It worked, as imagery of clergy members down on their hands and knees in front of police dominated the mainstream news cycle that day — two months after Brown’s shooting.

“After the initial shooting, we were all hit in the face with how blatant racism really is,” said the Rev. Susan Sneed, a Gamaliel organizer who helped stage the October weekend event. “We began quickly hearing from our other affiliates offering support.”

At the end of August, Gamaliel had a large organizational meeting to discuss its Ferguson strategy, Ms. Sneed said.

It had its affiliates in New York and California handling the St. Louis Twitter feed and Facebook page, helped in correcting any inaccurate stories in the press and promoted their events, she said.

“When we started marching down the street, saying, ‘hands up, don’t shoot,’ those images reached all over the world,” said Ms. Sneed, referring to the moment she realized Ferguson was going to become a movement. “The Twitter images, Facebook posts of burning buildings — it’s everywhere, and the imagery is powerful. And the youth — the youth is so engaged. They’ve found a voice in Ferguson.”

National activists descend
Larry Fellows III, 29, a Missouri native, did find his voice in the chaos of Ferguson with the help of outside assistance backed by Mr. Soros.

Mr. Fellows is co-founder of the Millennial Activists United, a key source of video and stories developed in Ferguson by youth activists used to inspire other groups nationally.

Mr. Fellows explained how he started his organization in an interview with the American Civil Liberties Union (another Soros-backed entity that sent national representatives to Missouri) in November.

“Initially, it would just be that we would show up for protests, and the next day we’d clean up the streets. A lot of the same people were out at the protests and going out to lunch and talking about what was happening. That became a cycle until a lot of us figured out we needed to have a strategy,” Mr. Fellows explained to the ACLU, which posted the interview in its blog.

“Then a lot of organizers from across the country started to come in to help us do the planning and do the strategizing. That helped us start doing it on our own and planning out actions and what our narratives were going to be,” he said.

MAU has listed on its website that it has partnered with Gamaliel network churches. They’ve also received training on civil disobedience from the Advancement Project — which was given a $500,000 grant from Mr. Soros in 2013 “to build a fair and just, multi-racial democracy in America through litigation, community organizing support, public policy reform, and strategic communications,” according to the Foundation’s website.

The Advancement Project, based in Washington, also arranged the meeting between community organizers in Ferguson and Mr. Obama last month to brief him on the situation in Ferguson and to set up a task force that examines trust between police and minority communities.

In addition, the Advancement Project has also dedicated some of its staff to lead organizations in Ferguson, like the Don’t Shoot Coalition, another grass-roots group that preaches the same message, links to the same Facebook posts and “likes” the same articles as DPA, ACLU, Hands Up Coalition, OBS, MORE and others.


Suspect In Chelsea, Seaside Park Explosions In Custody

Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, Was Wanted For Questioning In Both Incidents

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A suspect wanted in the bombings that rocked Chelsea and Seaside Park, New Jersey was captured Monday after an intense manhunt that ended in a gun battle with Linden police.

The arrest came just hours after the FBI, NYPD and New Jersey State Police issued bulletins and photos of Ahmad Khan Rahami, a 28-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan with an address in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

The gunfight erupted after Linden Mayor Derek Armstead said he owner of a bar reported someone asleep in his doorway late Monday morning. A police officer went to investigate and recognized the man as Rahami, police and the mayor said.

“The suspect pulled out a gun and fired at the officer and striking him in the abdomen,” Capt. James Sarnicki with Linden police told CBS2. “The gentlemen got up and started walking down the street in a westerly direction. I’m told that he was randomly discharging his handgun and one of the officers was able to get close enough to him and return fire.”

Sarnicki said Rahami was shot several times. The suspect is said to be alert, but his condition is not known. He has since been taken to the hospital.

The officer who was shot was wearing a protective vest and was not seriously hurt. Another officer may have been hurt in the face and a third was suffering from high blood pressure, Sarnicki said.

Earlier Monday, FBI agents swarmed an apartment above a fried chicken restaurant in Elizabeth that’s tied to Rahami.

The activity there came hours after one of five devices found at the nearby Elizabeth train station exploded while a bomb squad robot attempted to disarm it.

Sarnicki said Rahami was shot several times. The suspect is said to be alert, but his condition is not known. He has since been taken to the hospital.

The officer who was shot was wearing a protective vest and was not seriously hurt. Another officer may have been hurt in the face and a third was suffering from high blood pressure, Sarnicki said.

Earlier Monday, FBI agents swarmed an apartment above a fried chicken restaurant in Elizabeth that’s tied to Rahami.

The activity there came hours after one of five devices found at the nearby Elizabeth train station exploded while a bomb squad robot attempted to disarm it.

The Seaside Park incident happened Saturday morning when a device exploded before a charity 5K race to benefit Marines and sailors. The race was canceled and no one was injured.

Then on Saturday night, a device exploded on West 23rd and 7th Avenue, injuring 29 people. The unexploded device was found several blocks away on West 27th Street.

New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said as investigators gathered information they learned there were “certain commonalities among the bombs,” leading authorities to believe “that there was a common group behind the bombs.”

Cuomo were careful to say there was no evidence of a link to international terrorism. Both said Monday that appears to be changing.

“There may very well turn out to be a link to foreign organizations,” Cuomo said.

“I think that it is premature to use a word like ‘cell,'” de Blasio told 1010 WINS. “This may have been the work of one individual, it may be more than one individual. We need more information.”

On Sunday night, FBI agents in Brooklyn stopped “a vehicle of interest” in the investigation of the Chelsea explosion, according to FBI spokeswoman Kelly Langmesser.

Sources told CBS2 that five men inside the vehicle are believed to be associates of Rahami. At least one of the men in that vehicle was Rahami’s relative, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported.

“There was a vehicle that came to the attention of the NYPD and it was trailed, it was stopped,” de Blasio said. “Individuals were questioned.”

The FBI stopped the vehicle because they had reason to believe that Rahami was inside, but he was not. Investigators suspect that the five men were driving from Staten Island heading to John F. Kennedy Airport when investigators ordered them to pull over.

The men were taken in for questioning and are still being detained by the FBI. They have not been charged. It’s not clear what, if any, knowledge they had about any of the incidents.

Before Rahami’s capture, Cuomo said investigators have no reason to believe there are further threats, but the public should “be on constant guard.”

Around the time Rahami was taken into custody, President Barack Obama was in New York on a previously scheduled visit for a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, and said it was “extremely fortunate” nobody was killed in the bombings.

He called on Americans to show the world “we will never give in to fear.”

“We all have a role to play as citizens to make sure we don’t succumb to that fear. And there’s no better example of that than the people of New York and New Jersey,” the president said. “Folks around here, they don’t get scared.”

Elizabeth Mayor Christian Bollwage said Rahami’s father, Mohammad Rahami, and two brothers sued the city after it passed an ordinance requiring the First American Fried Chicken restaurant to close early because of complaints from neighbors that it was a late-night nuisance.

Ryan McCann, of Elizabeth, said that he often ate at the restaurant and recently began seeing the younger Rahami working there more.

“He’s always in there. He’s a very friendly guy,” McCann said. “That’s what’s so scary. It’s hard when it’s home.”
Heather Scallion waits for a job at the Command Center temporary employment agency in Williston, North Dakota, a once booming oil town (AFP Photo/Robyn Beck)
Williston (United States) (AFP) - In the chilly air before dawn, a handful of men and women huddle in front of a small, one-story building on the outskirts of Williston.

They are waiting for Central Command, a temporary work agency, to open.

Workers in this oil town in the US state of North Dakota, just an hour from the Canada border, once had their pick of jobs. Many are now looking for any work they can find.

"They don't have very many jobs for us right now," said Heather Scallion, who traveled some 1,300 miles (2,100 km) from Arkansas, thinking there was still low-skilled work here.

"Hurting for money, honestly," she explained.

Nearby, a ragged man in his 30s slept on a couch. Scallion was fairly certain he was homeless, because he slept on the same spot every day, wearing the same clothes.

Just minutes from this temporary work site, at the state-run employment agency Job Service North Dakota, it is a far different world. There is a shortage of workers for highly skilled positions in drilling and oil pump maintenance, among others.

"There were layoffs when oil really tanked," said Cindy Sanford, who heads the agency's Williston branch. "Now what's happening is those companies are bringing people back."

North Dakota is now seeing hints of a recovery from the bust. As crude prices have rebounded to the $40 range after a stunning crash, there are signs that the industry is slowly regaining its footing.

But the recovery has been uneven, a distinct case of the haves and the have-nots, as skilled laborers see their prospects improving, while the less desirable workforce feels little optimism.

- Oil boomtown -
The Command Center offices are just across from the train tracks that used to ferry coal, livestock and grains, but now shoulder trains loaded with crude from the vast oil and gas deposits that lie deep underfoot, known as the Bakken and Three Forks formations.

When hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and horizontal drilling techniques made those deposits easier to reach, Williston became the epicenter of North Dakota's oil production.

The industry turned the sparsely populated state into a buzzing hub of investment and hiring starting in 2010, while the rest of the US economy was still stuck in low gear.

At the height of the boom in 2014, Sanford said that they could be so desperate to recruit workers they just had to make sure candidates were alive.

"We'd laugh and we'd say, 'Breathe into the mirror. Oh, it didn't fog up. Try again,'" said Sanford.

In those heady days, low-skilled workers could easily earn $18 an hour. Williston doubled in size in about four years, to roughly 30,000 people.

Then, the price of oil plummeted, from highs above $100 a barrel to below $30, forcing many drillers to shut down their operations and lay off tens of thousands. Booming Williston went bust.

- Hints of recovery -
From his truck, Monty Besler points to so-called "man camps," make-shift mobile housing developments once buzzing with out-of-town workers. They now sit empty.

"We've lost a lot of companies," said Besler, an oil industry consultant, whose license plate reads 
"Fracn8r" - as in "frackenator," a nickname given to him by colleagues.

Besler has seen boom and bust cycles before.

"We'll have a winnowing, and in the process the stronger companies will survive," he said.
He has reason for such optimism.

While oil production still continues to decline, analysts expect it to stabilize next year. Meanwhile, the number of active oil rigs is rising again and they have become more efficient and productive, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

"The industry is going to resume a very modest, but positive, growth in supply in 2017," said Raoul LeBlanc, a US energy analyst at IHS.

He cautioned that even though jobs are starting to return, salaries are generally lower than in boom times. "We may never get back to the levels of employment that we had," LeBlanc said.

But Besler believes the industry can rise again. If prices can be sustained in the $50-60 per barrel range, Besler said, "that starts to bring the outside money back in, the investment groups that were pouring money into the Bakken before."

The city of Williston is anticipating that Bakken will power the local economy for decades to come, budgeting $1 billion on roads, bridges, and a new airport.

Companies are once again competing for workers. A recent job fair had 56 companies planning to fill 300 positions.

This is all cold comfort at the Command Center, where few of those jobs are expected to reach low-skilled workers any time soon. Kyle Tennessen, the center's manager, is certain he will continue to have more people lining up for work every morning than the number of jobs he can offer them.

"There's going to be another boom. When is the giant question mark," Tennessen said.

BREAKING NEWS! 5 people taken into custody in connection with Chelsea explosion

(Vinny Oliveri)

Sources say 5 people were taken into custody in connection with Saturday's bombing in Chelsea.

At 8:45 p.m. Sunday the FBI and NYPD conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle of interest in the investigation into the bombing.

The men were in a car stopped on the Belt Parkway. They were headed from Staten Island to Brooklyn on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Stay with Eyewitness News for the latest breaking details.
Related Topics:
newschelsea explosionChelseaNew York City

Liberal, Moderate or Conservative? See How Facebook Labels You

Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, in San Francisco in April. Credit 

by Stephen Lam/Reuters
You may think you are discreet about your political views. But Facebook, the world’s largest social media network, has come up with its own determination of your political leanings, based on your activity on the site.

And now, it is easy to find out how Facebook has categorized you — as very liberal or very conservative, or somewhere in between.

Try this (it works best on your desktop computer):

Go to facebook.com/ads/preferences on your browser. (You may have to log in to Facebook first.)
That will bring you to a page with your ad preferences. Under the “Interests” header, click the “Lifestyle and Culture” tab.

Then look for a box titled “US Politics.” In parentheses, it will describe how Facebook has categorized you, such as liberal, moderate or conservative.

(If the “US Politics” box does not show up, click the “See more” button under the grid of boxes.)
Facebook makes a deduction about your political views based on the pages that you like — or on your political preference, if you stated one, on your profile page. If you like the page for Hillary Clinton, Facebook might categorize you as a liberal.

Even if you do not like any candidates’ pages, if most of the people who like the same pages that you do — such as Ben and Jerry’s ice cream — identify as liberal, then Facebook might classify you as one, too.
Facebook has long been collecting information on its users, but it recently revamped the ad preferences page, making it easier to view.

The information is valuable. Advertisers, including many political campaigns, pay Facebook to show their ads to specific demographic groups. The labels Facebook assigns to its users help campaigns more precisely target a particular audience.

For instance, Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign has paid for its ads to be shown to those who Facebook has labeled politically moderate.

Campaigns can also use the groupings to show different messages to different supporters. They may want to show an ad to their hard-core supporters, for example, that is unlike an ad targeted at people just tuning in to the election.

It is not clear how aggressively Facebook is gathering political information on users outside the United States. The social network has 1.7 billion active users, including about 204 million in the United States.

Political outlook is just one of the attributes Facebook compiles on its users. Many of the others are directly commercial: whether you like television comedy shows, video games or Nascar.

To learn more about how political campaigns are targeting voters on social media, The New York Times is collecting Facebook ads from our readers with a project called AdTrack. You can take part by visiting nytimes.com and searching for “Send us the political ads.”