1063: Furternity

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 57m
August 26th, 2018
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Executive Producers: Brian Martin, Rodger Boots, Norman Walz, William Alston, Kevin Thomas, Sir Kevlar, Dave Kaplan

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Dewcifer, Erik Cowley, Dame Judy Schwarz, Baroness of Kendall County, Baron Craig Cuttner, Paul, Stephanie Batters, Joshua Krueger, Sir Patrick of the Pugner order, Christopher Blanco, Sir Daniel, Baronet of the Bayonet

Cover Artist: Conan Salada

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Woodstock
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Professor Ted
Sir Ryan Bemrose reminded me of a quote from ISAIF on page 2:
Those who are most sensitive about “politically incorrect”
terminology are not the average ghetto-dweller, abused woman or disabled
person, but a minority of activists, many of whom do not even belong to any
“oppressed” group but come from privileged strata of society. Political
correctness has its stronghold among university professors, who have secure
employment with comfortable salaries, the majority of whom are heterosexual
white males from upper-middle-class families.
The Purge
Why MSFT participated
NA-nonymous from Pacific NorthWest
Dear Adam and John,
First, about Brad Smith.
On the last show you talked about the recent “breaking news”
of Microsoft “disrupting Russian election hacking.” I wanted to add some
background to this story.
Microsoft’s Digital Crime Unit (DCU) for years has been
primarily concerned with malware, bot networks, ransomware, and such. In those
investigations and cat-and-mouse games DCU established the pattern of securing
court permissions to seize Command-and-Control servers used by the botnet
operators. Is it usually done in a very quiet manner except for a couple of
times when major botnets were taken down as a result.
The news of DCU seizing 6 domains via the same mechanism of
court order (https://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2018/08/20/we-are-taking-new-steps-against-broadening-threats-to-democracy/)
doesn’t fit the previous pattern. It stands out as a preventative operation,
and a very politicized one – with strong claims of attribution, alleged
connections to other cases, the “2017 election in France” BS case, and even a
quote from Ben Franklin.
The announcement was written by Brad Smith. Even it were
written by somebody else, it would have to be signed off by Smith anyway. He’s
been Microsoft’s top lawyer since 2002, and was promoted to President in 2015.
The main reason for the promotion was the fact that Microsoft’s CEO Nadella
lacks charisma and posture necessary for dealing with top government officials
or the world. Why would an experienced corporate lawyer of a $700B company
publish a highly politicized post like that? Aren’t lawyers generally publicity
averse?
Of course, there’s a business aspect here with him promoting
Office 365. But wouldn’t irritating the current administration with the
Russiagate claims risk Microsoft’s government business potentially much more?
A few months ago, at a mundane meeting with Microsoft
employees Smith was asked an elementary school kind of question: “what were the
three people in your life that inspired you the most?” How would a lawyer
answer it? There are obviously many ways to give a good answer here: parents,
wife, professor in college, a war hero, the very same Ben Franklin if you
suddenly got a brain freeze.
Here’s the list that Smith gave:
Barak Obama
Tim Kaine
Satya Nadella
To me this gives a good glimpse into what’s in his head. I
would also speculate that he is seriously considering a political career. If
Susan DelBene was able to get elected as a representative (after being only a
VP at Microsoft), Smith can aim higher than that.
Now an OTG idea for Adam.
You raved about Surface Go as the ultimate OTG device. Have
you considered complementing it with Windows Phone? It may sound
counterintuitive at first. It is technically a smartphone, with an app store and
all. However, with Microsoft having discontinued the devices and most popular
apps leaving the sinking platform, it suddenly became essentially a feature
phone. A feature phone with a great camera, a modern browser, good email and
calendar apps, and many other minor conveniences you won’t find in other OTG
devices, running roughly the same Windows 10 that you seem to like.
The plus I see here is that you won’t get any of Google’s
crap you get on Android – there isn’t a single Google app for WP! Unlike Apple,
which is an iPhone company these days, or Google whose business model is built
on surveillance, Microsoft couldn’t care less about WP devices that it
considers dead, so it presumably won’t track you or target ads to you. But you
still get security patches, at least for now. You can buy a good one for
$100-$200. Just a thought.
TYFYC and good donation karma to you both!
NA-nonymous from Pacific NorthWest
No Agenda Social is getting good [public timeline]
Invites can be issued by anyone with an account
A.I. Zombies
"That's what these outfits might be doing, providing
training data for the 'ai'!!... maybe they are watching it at 1.37x speed and
skipping over the empty noise"
When Adam first turned me on to the idea that ai was bs I
decided to look into it.
My understanding is that the way 'it' works is best
described as 2 separate programs. One that does complex multi-variable calculus
problems to figure out the highest/lowest point on a curve defined by all the
variables (think signals). Then there is a "fine tuning" program that
adjusts the variables to have a high enough confidence rating to reliably match
training data!
"That's what these outfits might be doing, providing
training data for the 'ai'!!"
This brings me to my question, how much manpower do
you think would be necessary to review all the videos and not have it be a
bottleneck?
Facebook to add 3,000 employees to review videos of crime and suicide - Chicago Tribune
Fri, 24 Aug 2018 07:11
Facebook is stepping up its efforts to keep inappropriate and often violent material '-- including recent high-profile videos of murders and suicides, hate speech and extremist propaganda '-- off of its site.
On Wednesday, the world's biggest social network said it plans to hire 3,000 more people to review videos and other posts after getting criticized for not responding quickly enough to murders shown on its service.
The hires over the next year will be on top of the 4,500 people Facebook already tasks with identifying criminal and other questionable material for removal. CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote Wednesday that the company is "working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner '-- whether that's responding quickly when someone needs help or taking a post down."
Facebook, which had 18,770 employees at the end of March, would not say if the new hires would be contractors or full-time workers. David Fischer, the head of Facebook's advertising business, said in an interview that the detection and removal of hate speech and content that promotes violence or terrorism is an "ongoing priority" for the company, and the community operations teams are a "continued investment."
Videos and posts that glorify violence are against Facebook's rules, but Facebook has drawn criticism for responding slowly to such items, including video of a slaying in Cleveland and the live-streamed killing of a baby in Thailand. The Thailand video was up for 24 hours before it was removed.
In most cases, such material gets reviewed for possible removal only if users complain. News reports and posts that condemn violence are allowed. This makes for a tricky balancing act for the company. Facebook does not want to act as a censor, as videos of violence, such as those documenting police brutality or the horrors of war, can serve an important purpose.
LIVE STREAM CHALLENGESPolicing live video streams is especially difficult, as viewers don't know what will happen. This rawness is part of their appeal.
While the negative videos make headlines, they are just a tiny fraction of what users post every day. The good? Families documenting a toddler's first steps for faraway relatives, journalists documenting news events, musicians performing for their fans and people raising money for charities.
"We don't want to get rid of the positive aspects and benefits of live streaming," said Benjamin Burroughs, a professor of emerging media at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.
Burroughs said that Facebook clearly knew live streams would help the company make money, as they keep users on Facebook longer, making advertisers happy. If Facebook hadn't also considered the possibility that live streams of crime or violence would inevitably appear alongside the positive stuff, "they weren't doing a good enough job researching implications for societal harm," Burroughs said.
EARNINGS RESULTSFacebook also reported stronger-than-expected quarterly results on Wednesday, as has been its custom. The company earned $3.06 billion, or $1.04 per share, in the January-March period. That's up from 76 percent from $1.74 billion, or 60 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting earnings of 87 cents per share.
Revenue grew 49 percent to $8.03 billion from $5.38 billion. Analysts expected $7.83 billion.
Facebook had 1.94 billion monthly active users as of the end of March, up 17 percent from a year earlier. Daily active users were 1.28 billion, on average, for the month of March.
FUNHOUSE MIRROR?
With a quarter of the world's population on it, Facebook can serve as a mirror for humanity, amplifying both the good and the bad '-- the local fundraiser for a needy family and the murder-suicide in a faraway corner of the planet. But lately, it has gotten outsized attention for its role in the latter, whether that means allowing the spread of false news and government propaganda or videos of horrific crimes.
Videos livestreaming murder or depicting kidnapping and torture have made international headlines even when the crimes themselves wouldn't have, simply because they were on Facebook, visible to people who wouldn't have seen them otherwise.
As the company introduces even more new features, it will continue to grapple with the reality that they will not always be used for positive or even mundane purposes. From his interviews and Facebook posts, it appears that Zuckerberg is at least aware of this, even if his company doesn't always respond as quickly as outsiders would like.
"It's heartbreaking, and I've been reflecting on how we can do better for our community," Zuckerberg wrote on Wednesday about the recent videos.
It's a learning curve for Facebook. In November, for example, Zuckerberg called the idea that false news on Facebook influenced the U.S. election "crazy." A month later, the company introduced a slew of initiatives aimed at combating false news and supporting journalism. And just last week, it acknowledged that governments or others are using its social network to influence political sentiment in ways that could affect national elections.
WHAT TO DOZuckerberg said Facebook workers review "millions of reports" every week. In addition to removing videos of crime or getting help for someone who might hurt themselves, he said, the company's bulked-up reviewing force will "also help us get better at removing things we don't allow on Facebook like hate speech and child exploitation."
Wednesday's announcement is a clear sign that Facebook continues to need human reviewers to monitor content, even as it tries to outsource some of the work to software due in part to its sheer size and the volume of stuff people post.
It's not all up to Facebook, though. Burroughs said users themselves need to decide whether they want to look at violent videos posted on Facebook or to circulate them, for example. And he urged news organizations to consider whether each Facebook live-streamed murder is a story.
"We have to be careful that it doesn't become a kind of voyeurism," he said.
Facebook moderator describes the horrors she had to take down - Business Insider
Fri, 24 Aug 2018 07:08
Monika Bickert, Facebook's head of product policy. Getty
A former Facebook moderator described disturbing imagery she says she would have to remove from the site.In an interview with the BBC, the unnamed woman said she had to make quick decisions about taking down photos and videos containing things like beheadings, animal abuse, and child pornography.She said the work gave her nightmares, and she accused Facebook of not providing enough support to staff members.Facebook's head of product policy told the BBC that graphic content was "a small fraction of what reviewers might see" and that the company is committed to giving moderators the tools to do well. A former Facebook moderator described to the BBC the horrors she was exposed to on the job and criticized the social network for not doing enough to support staff members handling disturbing imagery.
The content reviewer, who worked in a Facebook center in Berlin, spoke to the BBC on the condition of anonymity.
She told the BBC that she would have seconds to decide whether to remove some disturbing photos and videos. Among the worst images, she said, were beheadings, animal abuse, terrorist attacks, and child pornography.
The woman suggested that the work affected her mental health, describing a vivid nightmare she had during her time at Facebook:
"I had nightmares a couple of times. I remember one, for example: people jumping from a building. I don't know why. And I remember people, instead of helping the people jumping, they were just taking photos and videos ... I woke up crying."
She accused Facebook of not providing enough support to content reviewers and said staff members regularly complained to management.
"It's the most important job in Facebook, and it's the worst, and no one cares about it," she said.
In a message directed at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, she added: "How are you allowing this to happen? That young people like us are having to see these things '-- we're treated like nothing."
Facebook did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
Monika Bickert, Facebook's head of product policy, acknowledged to the BBC that Facebook moderating was difficult work and said support systems were in place for employees.
"This work is hard, but I will say that the graphic content, that sort of content, is a small fraction of what reviewers might see," she said. "Increasingly, we've been able to use technology to review and remove some of the worst content."
Bickert added: "We're committed to giving them what they need to do this job well. If they're ever uncomfortable at work, there are counseling resources for them, and they can be shifted to work on a different type of content."
Facebook this week published the internal guidelines its moderators use. The document, which is 8,500 words long, goes into detail about what is and isn't allowed, including its policies about sexual or violent content and hate speech.
Facebook is increasingly relying on artificial intelligence to identify offending items on its site. But Zuckerberg said on Wednesday that it was "easier to build an AI system to detect a nipple than what is hate speech."
More: Facebook Mark Zuckeberg
Facebook Hires Antonio Lucio, Former HP and Visa Exec, as CMO '' Variety
Fri, 24 Aug 2018 14:38
August 24, 2018 6:30AM PTFacebook has turned to marketing pro Antonio Lucio to lead its communications strategy after a series of brand-tarnishing episodes.
Most recently, Lucio was HP's chief marketing and communications officer and previously was Visa's global CMO. At Facebook, he reports to chief product officer Chris Cox, with an official start date of Sept. 4. Lucio replaces Gary Briggs, who stepped down as the social giant's chief marketing officer in January 2018, saying he would consult for companies and Democratic candidates.
Cox, in a Facebook post Thursday (Aug. 23) announcing the hire, praised Lucio's ''extraordinary reputation in the industry as a leader, a marketer, an operator, and a wise, gracious, and deeply principled human being.''
Lucio comes on board as Facebook continues to deal with the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal that erupted earlier this year, which involved the political consulting firm's illicit capture of data on millions of users. Just this week, Facebook disclosed that data on another 4 million users ''may have been misused'' by a third-party app, and it has suspended hundreds of other apps from the platform. The company also has been in the hot seat for its role facilitating attempts by Russia to influence U.S. elections, as well as how it manages content like misinformation and hate speech.
''Facebook's story is at an inflection point,'' Cox acknowledged in his post. ''We have never faced bigger challenges, and we have never had more opportunities to have a positive impact on the world '-- in our families, our friendships, our communities, and our democracy '-- by improving our products at their core, and then by telling the story outside that we all know to be true inside.''
Lucio, born in Spain and raised in Puerto Rico, also will contribute to diversifying Facebook's senior-executive ranks. Cox praised Lucio's outspokenness ''on the importance of building diverse teams at every level in the organization.''
Prior to joining HP in 2015, Lucio spent eight years at Visa, most recently as global chief marketing and communication officer, where he created the company's first global positioning and brand-identity system. He also has held marketing management positions at companies including PepsiCo, Kraft General Foods, RJR Foods International and Procter & Gamble.
Lucio holds a bachelor's degree in history from Louisiana State University. He's fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese, according to his HP bio.
Facebook has turned to marketing pro Antonio Lucio to lead its communications strategy after a series of brand-tarnishing episodes. Most recently, Lucio was HP's chief marketing and communications officer and previously was Visa's global CMO. At Facebook, he reports to chief product officer Chris Cox, with an official start date of Sept. 4. Lucio replaces Gary Briggs, ['...]
Facebook has turned to marketing pro Antonio Lucio to lead its communications strategy after a series of brand-tarnishing episodes. Most recently, Lucio was HP's chief marketing and communications officer and previously was Visa's global CMO. At Facebook, he reports to chief product officer Chris Cox, with an official start date of Sept. 4. Lucio replaces Gary Briggs, ['...]
Facebook has turned to marketing pro Antonio Lucio to lead its communications strategy after a series of brand-tarnishing episodes. Most recently, Lucio was HP's chief marketing and communications officer and previously was Visa's global CMO. At Facebook, he reports to chief product officer Chris Cox, with an official start date of Sept. 4. Lucio replaces Gary Briggs, ['...]
Facebook has turned to marketing pro Antonio Lucio to lead its communications strategy after a series of brand-tarnishing episodes. Most recently, Lucio was HP's chief marketing and communications officer and previously was Visa's global CMO. At Facebook, he reports to chief product officer Chris Cox, with an official start date of Sept. 4. Lucio replaces Gary Briggs, ['...]
Facebook has turned to marketing pro Antonio Lucio to lead its communications strategy after a series of brand-tarnishing episodes. Most recently, Lucio was HP's chief marketing and communications officer and previously was Visa's global CMO. At Facebook, he reports to chief product officer Chris Cox, with an official start date of Sept. 4. Lucio replaces Gary Briggs, ['...]
Facebook has turned to marketing pro Antonio Lucio to lead its communications strategy after a series of brand-tarnishing episodes. Most recently, Lucio was HP's chief marketing and communications officer and previously was Visa's global CMO. At Facebook, he reports to chief product officer Chris Cox, with an official start date of Sept. 4. Lucio replaces Gary Briggs, ['...]
Facebook has turned to marketing pro Antonio Lucio to lead its communications strategy after a series of brand-tarnishing episodes. Most recently, Lucio was HP's chief marketing and communications officer and previously was Visa's global CMO. At Facebook, he reports to chief product officer Chris Cox, with an official start date of Sept. 4. Lucio replaces Gary Briggs, ['...]
TorrentFreak is Blocked as a Pirate Site and Hacking Resource - TorrentFreak
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 14:07
Court-ordered pirate site blockades are pretty common nowadays. While not everyone sees these as the ideal solution for the problem at hand, they follow the letter of the law. More problematic are the private blocking efforts by various Wifi providers, which we are frequently the target of. Apparently, TorrentFreak is a pirate site too.
From Australia to Sweden, all around the world courts have ordered ISPs to block access to pirate sites.
This usually happens after a careful review by a judge, who weighs the arguments from copyright holders and Internet providers before a final decision is made. That's a fair process.
However, these court-ordered blockades are only the tip of the iceberg. Much more common are private blocking efforts where local WiFi providers use broad blocklists to shield people from visiting dangerous sites, including the one you're on now.
This problem is not new but the lack of improvement has become increasingly frustrating.
Earlier this month a reader informed us that he was unable to read our news while staying at a Premier Inn in Croydon. Apparently, the hotel's Virgin WiFi network banned us for our ''Criminal Skills/Hacking, News.''
HackersThis is no temporary or local mistake. In recent months we've received several reports of similar Virgin WiFi blockades, including from our colleagues at ISPreview. They ran into the same TorrentFreak blockade while conducting a study of WiFi performance in UK hotels.
And it's not just Virgin that's doing the blocking here.
This week another reader alerted us that he was unable to access TorrentFreak on a GovWifi connection. This network is used by many government institutions and managed by the Government Digital Service.
Apparently, they, or their blocklist provider, has classified our news site in the ''Piracy and Copyright infringement'' category, and accessing it would be a violation of the acceptable use policy.
No accessThese two recent examples are related to the UK, but these broad blocklists are used elsewhere too. We've seen our site blocked in US libraries and airports, Norwegian trains, and even in a Canadian McDonalds.
We have reached out to both Virgin and the Government Digital Service for a comment on the most recent examples. At the time of publication, we have yet to hear back. Perhaps our email is blocked too?
We hope they can eventually shed some light on their motivations. In the meantime, let's hope our readers have learned enough from our ''hacking skills'' to know how to bypass these blocks'....
Persuasion
Trump's tweet one-naming Crooked's [emails]
Russian Bots!
How Russian bots used Mollie Tibbetts' death to distract from Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort | The Independent
Fri, 24 Aug 2018 06:19
A network of Russian-linked Twitter accounts have been disseminating divisive content about Mollie Tibbetts' death in an apparent attempt to divert attention from explosive news surrounding Donald Trump and his former associates.
Almost immediately after a guilty verdict was announced in the trial of Paul Manafort, the president's former campaign chairman convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud charges, there was a flurry of activity among hundreds of pro-Kremlin Twitter accounts believed to be controlled by Russian government influence operations. Those accounts began posting thousands of tweets about Ms Tibbetts, the 20-year-old University of Iowa student who had been missing for nearly five weeks.
Police had a major break in her case on Tuesday when surveillance footage led them to Cristhian Bahena Rivera, a 24-year-old suspect who brought authorities to a cornfield where they located a body believed to be Ms Tibbetts.
The discovery also coincided with groundbreaking news about Michael Cohen, the president's former personal lawyer and "fixer" who plead guilty on Tuesday to eight counts of fraud and campaign finance violations.
As news networks scrambled to report all three major developments '-- two of which arrived within the same hour '-- the Russian accounts were pushing out stories focusing on Ms Tibbetts' alleged murderer, according to an analysis conducted by the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD) and reviewed by The Independent.
Read more Neighbour's security camera provides evidence in Mollie Tibbetts case
The bipartisan group, which, according to its website, "develops comprehensive strategies to defend against, deter and raise the costs on Russian and other state actors' efforts to undermine democracy and democratic institutions", has tracked Kremlin-oriented influence operations on Twitter since August 2017.
ASD monitors three categories of Russian-linked Twitter accounts, according to Bret Schafer, a social media analyst for the organisation. The first category is comprised of accounts believed to be operated by Russian intelligence officials or influence operations. The second includes pro-Kremlin accounts which typically promote Russian government media. The final pool of Twitter handles are "extremely active" in amplifying the first two categories, along with other pro-Russian media themes.
Mr Schafer described the spike in activity surrounding the murder investigation as "completely unsurprising," noting the timing of the news in relation to developments about the president's former associates.
"I'm not remotely surprised," he said in an interview with The Independent, as Ms Tibbetts was among the top topics being shared by the Russian accounts. "It's almost as interesting to see what they haven't been talking about compared to what they're tweeting about right now."
A screenshot of the Alliance for Securing Democracy's Hamilton 68 Dashboard shows a network of Russian-linked Twitter accounts have been exorbitantly posting hashtags about 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts on 22 August 2017. (Chris Riotta / Alliance for Securing Democracy)Throughout most of Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, #MollieTibbetts was the most shared hashtag among the Russian-linked Twitter accounts monitored by ASD. The accounts tweeted out a link to one Fox News story referring to Mr Rivera in its headline as an ''illegal immigrant'' hundreds of times, among other stories highlighting the 24-year-old suspect's immigration status.
However, it remains unclear whether Mr Rivera is in fact an undocumented immigrant. His defence attorney filed a court request for a gag order in the case, offering work papers which call into question the claims that he has been living in the country illegally for four to seven years while working at a dairy farm in Iowa.
None of that was mentioned in articles and tweets shared by the Russian-linked accounts. The network was mostly posting content from Fox News, RT, Breitbart, Dailywire and other right wing sites which Mr Rivera's supposed immigration status rather than the details behind the disappearance or ongoing investigation.
Of the top 10 urls shared by the network on Tuesday worldwide, seven related to Ms Tibbetts' death. The top trending hashtags also related to polarising issues regarding illegal immigration, including #buildthewall and #buildthedamwall.
White House tweets video of 'permanently separated' families following death of Iowa student Mollie TibbettsMeanwhile, the Russian accounts were nearly silent on news about the president's former associates. The handles that were tweeting about those developments appeared to echo Mr Trump's defence for Manafort, while criticising Cohen for accepting a plea deal, Mr Schafer said Wednesday.
"We've seen a bit more attacking Cohen than defending Manafort," he said. "I think you can look at that in two different ways: they're still tweeting heavily about the broader goal of pushing out the most divisive commentary on any issue that is naturally divisive."
"But I do think there is also some sort of distraction element as well," he continued. "They're discussing Mollie Tibbetts instead of Paul Manafort, and they're shining a light on her death in a way we rarely see".
It's rare for the network of Russian-linked accounts to focus almost exclusively on any particular issue, but it has happened before.
A similar surge in activity occurred on 1 December 2017, when a not guilty verdict was announced in the murder trial of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an undocumented immigrant accused of killing American citizen Kate Steinle in July 2015.
Russian-linked accounts pounced on the news, along with Russian troll accounts not included in the ASD's monitoring dashboard, known as Hamilton 68. Data collected by Clemson University from nearly three million tweets connected to Russian troll factories from 2012 to 2018 show how Ms Steinle's death was also used in an attempt to sow discord in the national conversation surrounding illegal immigration.
Out of the bulk of tweets occurring from 2015 through 2018, the majority focused on her death '-- and the fact that her alleged murderer was an undocumented immigrant. 20 per cent of all tweets included in the data reportedly refer to Ms Steinle or her murder investigation.
World news in pictures 1/52 23 August 2018Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
EPA
2/52 22 August 2018High waves hit Jeju Island, South Korea, as powerful Typhoon Soulik gradually approaches the Korean Peninsula
EPA
3/52 21 August 2018A Palestinian man throws his child in the air following morning prayers marking the first day of Eid al-Adha celebrations on the compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem's Old City. Eid al-Adha is the holiest of the two Muslims holidays celebrated each year, it marks the yearly Muslim pilgrimage (Hajj) to visit Mecca, the holiest place in Islam. Muslims slaughter a sacrificial animal and split the meat into three parts, one for the family, one for friends and relatives, and one for the poor and needy
Reuters
4/52 20 August 2018South Korean Lee Keum-seom, 92, meets with her North Korean son Ri Sung Chol, 71, during a separated family reunion meeting at the Mount Kumgang resort on the North's southeastern coast. Dozens of elderly and frail South Koreans met their Northern relatives for the first time since the peninsula and their families were divided by war nearly seven decades ago
AFP/Getty
5/52 19 August 2018The flag of the United Nations flying at half-mast to mark the death of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, at the European headquarters in Geneva. Kofi Annan died on 18 August, aged 80
EPA
6/52 18 August 2018Newly appointed Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan inspects the guard of honor on his arrival in the Prime Minister House during a ceremony in Islamabad. Imran Khan was sworn in at a ceremony in Islamabad, ushering in a new political era as the World Cup cricket hero officially took the reins of power in the nuclear-armed country
PID/AFP/Getty
7/52 17 August 2018Muslim pilgrims walk out after the Friday prayer at the Grand mosque ahead of annual Haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Reuters
8/52 16 August 2018A man wades through flooded water in Kochi, Kerala state, India. According to reports, the region is on a high alert with schools and offices been closed due to the rising water levels of Periyar river after the gates of the Idukki reservoir were opened. The area has been hit by heavy rains that caused floods and reportedly killed at least 65 people
EPA
9/52 15 August 2018Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets schoolchildren after his speech as part of India's 72nd Independence Day celebrations which marks the 71st anniversary of the end of British colonial rule, at the Red Fort in New Delhi
AFP/Getty
10/52 14 August 2018A large section of the Morandi viaduct upon which the A10 motorway runs collapsed in Genoa, Italy. Both sides of the highway fell. Around 10 vehicles are involved in the collapse, rescue sources said. The viaduct gave way amid torrential rain. It runs over shopping centres, factories, some homes, the Genoa-Milan railway line and the Polcevera river
EPA
11/52 13 August 2018Turkish President Erdogan addresses the 10th annual Ambassadors' Conference in Ankara. Global markets have reacted fearfully to Turkey's financial crash, which Turkish President Erdogan blames on a "political, underhand plot" by Donald Trump's USA. Last week the US doubled steel and aluminium tariffs against Turkey amidst diplomatic tensions over the latter's detaining of an American pastor
Turkish Presidential Press Service/AFP/Getty
12/52 12 August 2018NASA, The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA's Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 12, 2018 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanity's first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. The probe will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth.
NASA via Getty
13/52 11 August 2018An activist confronts Virginia State Troopers in riot gear during a rally on the campus of The University of Virginia one-year after the violent white nationalist rally that left one person dead and dozens injured in Charlottesville, Virginia
AFP/Getty
14/52 10 August 2018A man holds his son before Friday prayers at an evacuation centre in Sambik Bangkol village, in northern Lombok on West Nusa Tenggara province
AFP/Getty
15/52 9 August 2018A rescuers stands next to a damaged tent in a flooded camping as storms and heavy rains sweep across France on August 9, 2018 in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas, southern France. - The bad weather caused large power cuts and a man who was working in a summer camp went missing according to the gendarmerie
AFP/Getty
16/52 8 August 2018A Palestinian girl smiles as she waits to receive aids at a United Nations food distribution centre in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza
AFP/Getty
17/52 7 August 2018An Israeli soldier rides an armoured vehicle during an army drill after the visit of Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israel
Reuters
18/52 6 August 2018Usable items are salvaged from a home destroyed in an earthquake in North Lombok, Indonesia. The powerful earthquake struck the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok, killing a number of people and shaking neighboring Bali, as authorities on Monday said thousands of houses were damaged and the death toll could climb
AP
19/52 5 August 2018Accident investigators and rescue personnel work at the wreckage of a Junkers JU52 aircraft in Flims, after it crashed into Piz Segnas, a 3,000-metre (10,000-foot) peak in eastern Switzerland. Twenty people were confirmed dead after the vintage World War II aircraft crashed into a Swiss mountainside, police reports said. The Junker JU52 HB-HOT aircraft, built in Germany in 1939 and now a collectors item, belongs to JU-Air, a company with links to the Swiss air force, the ATS news agency reported
AFP/Getty
20/52 4 August 2018Members of different security forces stand guard and take evidence after an explosion targeted President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela. The Venezuelan Information Minister, Jorge Rodriguez, confirmed that President Nicolas Maduro was the victim of an attack with 'drone-type flying devices that contained an explosive charge', and that he escaped unharmed from the incident, which occurred during a military ceremony in Caracas
EPA
21/52 3 August 2018People in Mbare celebrate after officials announced the re-election of President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in Harare, Zimbabwe. The election was the first since Robert Mugabe was ousted in a military coup last year, and featured a close race between Mnangagwa and opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC Alliance). Deadly clashes broke out earlier in the week following the release of parliamentary election results, amid allegations of fraud by Chamisa and MDC supporters
Getty
22/52 2 August 2018A supporter of the ruling ZANU-PF walks past a burnt vehicle at the party's offices a day after the clashes between security forces and opposition protesters in Harare, Zimbabwe
Reuters
23/52 1 August 2018A ceremony takes place in a hangar, to mark the return of 55 sets of remains of American troops killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. The ceremony was held five days after a US airplane transported the remains to South Korea from North Korea in a move expected to facilitate ongoing efforts to promote peace on the peninsula
EPA
24/52 31 July 2018Veronika Nikulshina, one of four members of Russia's Pussy Riot protest group who were jailed for 15 days for staging a pitch invasion during the football World Cup final and were detained again after their release on July 30, is escorted by a police officer before a court hearing in Moscow
Reuters
25/52 30 July 2018A relative of a passenger of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 reads the safety report that has concluded that the planes controls were deliberately manipulated and that illegal interference by a third party cannot be ruled out. Flight MH370 disappeared with 239 people on board en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on 8 March 2014
Reuters
26/52 29 July 2018Palestinian activist and campaigner Ahed Tamimi kisses the tombstone of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at his mausoleum in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, after she was released from prison following an eight-month sentence for slapping two Israeli soldiers
AFP/Getty
27/52 28 July 2018Zimbabwe's incumbent President and candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa arrives for his closing presidential campaign rally in Harare, two days ahead of the elections
AFP/Getty
28/52 27 July 2018A house burns during the Carr fire in Redding, California. One firefighter has died and at least two others have been injured as wind-whipped flames tore through the region
Getty
29/52 26 July 2018Supporters of Pakistan's cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan, and head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) party, celebrate in Karachi, a day after a general election. Imran Khan claimed victory in the country's tense general election marred by allegations of "blatant" rigging by rival parties. A visibly tired Khan cut a conciliatory tone in a wide-ranging address to the nation following the controversial contest
AFP/Getty
30/52 25 July 2018A man who was injured in a suspected suicide bomb attack outside a polling station, receives medical treatment at a hospital in Quetta. At least 25 people were killed and 30 injured in the incident. Polling stations in Pakistan opened for the general election for around 105 million constituents. Voters will have to choose from 11,000 candidates to elect 272 members of the Parliament for the next term. These elections are the second in Pakistan's history in which a government was able to complete its term to make way for another government after being ruled by military dictators for half of the 71 years of its existence since its founding in 1947
EPA
31/52 24 July 2018A woman reacts as she tries to find her dog, following a wildfire at the village of Mati, near Athens, Greece. At least 60 people are thought to have been killed
Reuters
32/52 23 July 2018A house is threatened by a huge blaze during a wildfire in Kineta, near Athens. More than 300 firefighters, five aircraft and two helicopters were mobilised to tackle the "extremely difficult" situation due to strong gusts of wind, Athens fire chief Achille Tzouvaras said
AFP/Getty
33/52 22 July 2018Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows a smoke plume rising across the border in Quneitra in southwestern Syria, as rebels destroy their arms stocks prior to their departure
Getty
34/52 21 July 2018A Syrian child looks through the window of a bus as displaced people from the Quneitra province wait at the Morek crossing point to be transfered in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, northwestern Syria. The transfers come under a surrender deal agreed this week between Russia and Syrian rebels in Quneitra province that will see the sensitive zone fall back under state control. Rebels will hand over territory they control in Quneitra and the neighbouring buffer zone with the Israeli-occupied Golan, a war monitor and a rebel
AFP/Getty
35/52 20 July 2018Men push a car past a flooded street in Ahmadabad, India. Hundreds of people have been rescued from flood affected areas in the past week as incessant rains continue to lash Gujarat state
AP
36/52 19 July 2018Arab lawmakers stand up in protest during a Knesset session in Jerusalem. Israel's parliament approved a controversial piece of legislation that defines the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people but which critics warn sidelines minorities
AP
37/52 18 July 2018The 12 boys and their soccer coach who were rescued from a flooded cave arrive for a news conference in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand
Reuters
38/52 17 July 2018President Barack Obama delivers the 16th Nelson Mandela annual lecture, marking the centenary of the anti-apartheid leader's birth, in Johannesburg, South Africa
Reuters
39/52 16 July 2018French supporters celebrate on the Champs Elysees their team's victory after the World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia
EPA
40/52 15 July 2018Hugo Lloris lifts the trophy after France beat Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup final in the Luzhniki Stadium in Russia
AP
41/52 14 July 2018Germany's Angelique Kerber beat seven-time champion US player Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final. Kerber won her first Wimbledon title
PA
42/52 13 July 2018Firefighters using fire helicopters fighting wildfires in Sordal in Setesdalen in the southern part of Norway. The fires are thought to be caused by lightning in the very dry landscape
EPA
43/52 12 July 2018The Syrian national flag rises in the midst of damaged buildings in Daraa-al-Balad an opposition-held part of the southern city of Daraa. Syria's army entered rebel-held parts of Daraa city, state media said, raising the national flag in the cradle of the uprising that sparked the country's seven-year war, following a deal for rebels to hand over their heavy weapons in Daraa al-Balad and other opposition-held parts of the city
AFP
44/52 11 July 2018US President Donald Trump and Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attend a bilateral breakfast ahead of the NATO Summit in Brussels
Reuters
45/52 10 July 2018The last four Thai Navy SEALs come out safely after completing the rescue mission inside a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand. Thailand's navy SEALs say all 12 boys and their soccer coach have been rescued from a flooded cave in far northern Thailand, ending an ordeal that lasted more than two weeks
Royal Thai Navy via AP
46/52 9 July 2018Indonesia worker and firefighters try to extinguish a fire on fishing boats at Benoa harbour in Denpasar, on Indonesia's resort island of Bali. A massive fire laid waste to dozens of boats at a Bali port as firefighters battled to bring the dramatic blaze under control
Getty
47/52 8 July 2018Russia's football team are greeted celebrated by fans during a visit at the Moscow's fan zone after they were knocked out of the World Cup in their quarter final match against Croatia on penalties
Getty
48/52 7 July 2018Residents look over the flooded town by heavy rain in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, western Japan. Heavy rainfall killed 47 people, missing more than 49 people and five others in serious condition in southwestern and western Japan, public television reported on 07 July 2018. Japan Meteorological Agency has warned record rainfall on 06 July for flooding, mudslides in southwestern and western Japan. In nine prefectures in western and southwestern Japan, authorities issued evacuation orders to more than one million of people in southwestern and western Japan
EPA
49/52 6 July 2018An honour guard hold up a picture of Samarn Kunan, 38, a former member of Thailand's elite navy SEAL unit who died working to save 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped inside a flooded cave, at an airport in Rayong province, Thailand
Reuters
50/52 5 July 2018The International Space Station, center, passes in front of the Moon in its Earth orbit as photographed from Salgotarjan, Hungary
MTI via AP
51/52 4 July 2018Former Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak (C) arrives at Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak appeared in court to face graft charges linked to the the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal
EPA
52/52 1/52 23 August 2018Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
EPA
2/52 22 August 2018High waves hit Jeju Island, South Korea, as powerful Typhoon Soulik gradually approaches the Korean Peninsula
EPA
3/52 21 August 2018A Palestinian man throws his child in the air following morning prayers marking the first day of Eid al-Adha celebrations on the compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem's Old City. Eid al-Adha is the holiest of the two Muslims holidays celebrated each year, it marks the yearly Muslim pilgrimage (Hajj) to visit Mecca, the holiest place in Islam. Muslims slaughter a sacrificial animal and split the meat into three parts, one for the family, one for friends and relatives, and one for the poor and needy
Reuters
4/52 20 August 2018South Korean Lee Keum-seom, 92, meets with her North Korean son Ri Sung Chol, 71, during a separated family reunion meeting at the Mount Kumgang resort on the North's southeastern coast. Dozens of elderly and frail South Koreans met their Northern relatives for the first time since the peninsula and their families were divided by war nearly seven decades ago
AFP/Getty
5/52 19 August 2018The flag of the United Nations flying at half-mast to mark the death of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, at the European headquarters in Geneva. Kofi Annan died on 18 August, aged 80
EPA
6/52 18 August 2018Newly appointed Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan inspects the guard of honor on his arrival in the Prime Minister House during a ceremony in Islamabad. Imran Khan was sworn in at a ceremony in Islamabad, ushering in a new political era as the World Cup cricket hero officially took the reins of power in the nuclear-armed country
PID/AFP/Getty
7/52 17 August 2018Muslim pilgrims walk out after the Friday prayer at the Grand mosque ahead of annual Haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Reuters
8/52 16 August 2018A man wades through flooded water in Kochi, Kerala state, India. According to reports, the region is on a high alert with schools and offices been closed due to the rising water levels of Periyar river after the gates of the Idukki reservoir were opened. The area has been hit by heavy rains that caused floods and reportedly killed at least 65 people
EPA
9/52 15 August 2018Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets schoolchildren after his speech as part of India's 72nd Independence Day celebrations which marks the 71st anniversary of the end of British colonial rule, at the Red Fort in New Delhi
AFP/Getty
10/52 14 August 2018A large section of the Morandi viaduct upon which the A10 motorway runs collapsed in Genoa, Italy. Both sides of the highway fell. Around 10 vehicles are involved in the collapse, rescue sources said. The viaduct gave way amid torrential rain. It runs over shopping centres, factories, some homes, the Genoa-Milan railway line and the Polcevera river
EPA
11/52 13 August 2018Turkish President Erdogan addresses the 10th annual Ambassadors' Conference in Ankara. Global markets have reacted fearfully to Turkey's financial crash, which Turkish President Erdogan blames on a "political, underhand plot" by Donald Trump's USA. Last week the US doubled steel and aluminium tariffs against Turkey amidst diplomatic tensions over the latter's detaining of an American pastor
Turkish Presidential Press Service/AFP/Getty
12/52 12 August 2018NASA, The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA's Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 12, 2018 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanity's first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. The probe will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth.
NASA via Getty
13/52 11 August 2018An activist confronts Virginia State Troopers in riot gear during a rally on the campus of The University of Virginia one-year after the violent white nationalist rally that left one person dead and dozens injured in Charlottesville, Virginia
AFP/Getty
14/52 10 August 2018A man holds his son before Friday prayers at an evacuation centre in Sambik Bangkol village, in northern Lombok on West Nusa Tenggara province
AFP/Getty
15/52 9 August 2018A rescuers stands next to a damaged tent in a flooded camping as storms and heavy rains sweep across France on August 9, 2018 in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas, southern France. - The bad weather caused large power cuts and a man who was working in a summer camp went missing according to the gendarmerie
AFP/Getty
16/52 8 August 2018A Palestinian girl smiles as she waits to receive aids at a United Nations food distribution centre in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza
AFP/Getty
17/52 7 August 2018An Israeli soldier rides an armoured vehicle during an army drill after the visit of Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israel
Reuters
18/52 6 August 2018Usable items are salvaged from a home destroyed in an earthquake in North Lombok, Indonesia. The powerful earthquake struck the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok, killing a number of people and shaking neighboring Bali, as authorities on Monday said thousands of houses were damaged and the death toll could climb
AP
19/52 5 August 2018Accident investigators and rescue personnel work at the wreckage of a Junkers JU52 aircraft in Flims, after it crashed into Piz Segnas, a 3,000-metre (10,000-foot) peak in eastern Switzerland. Twenty people were confirmed dead after the vintage World War II aircraft crashed into a Swiss mountainside, police reports said. The Junker JU52 HB-HOT aircraft, built in Germany in 1939 and now a collectors item, belongs to JU-Air, a company with links to the Swiss air force, the ATS news agency reported
AFP/Getty
20/52 4 August 2018Members of different security forces stand guard and take evidence after an explosion targeted President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela. The Venezuelan Information Minister, Jorge Rodriguez, confirmed that President Nicolas Maduro was the victim of an attack with 'drone-type flying devices that contained an explosive charge', and that he escaped unharmed from the incident, which occurred during a military ceremony in Caracas
EPA
21/52 3 August 2018People in Mbare celebrate after officials announced the re-election of President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in Harare, Zimbabwe. The election was the first since Robert Mugabe was ousted in a military coup last year, and featured a close race between Mnangagwa and opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC Alliance). Deadly clashes broke out earlier in the week following the release of parliamentary election results, amid allegations of fraud by Chamisa and MDC supporters
Getty
22/52 2 August 2018A supporter of the ruling ZANU-PF walks past a burnt vehicle at the party's offices a day after the clashes between security forces and opposition protesters in Harare, Zimbabwe
Reuters
23/52 1 August 2018A ceremony takes place in a hangar, to mark the return of 55 sets of remains of American troops killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. The ceremony was held five days after a US airplane transported the remains to South Korea from North Korea in a move expected to facilitate ongoing efforts to promote peace on the peninsula
EPA
24/52 31 July 2018Veronika Nikulshina, one of four members of Russia's Pussy Riot protest group who were jailed for 15 days for staging a pitch invasion during the football World Cup final and were detained again after their release on July 30, is escorted by a police officer before a court hearing in Moscow
Reuters
25/52 30 July 2018A relative of a passenger of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 reads the safety report that has concluded that the planes controls were deliberately manipulated and that illegal interference by a third party cannot be ruled out. Flight MH370 disappeared with 239 people on board en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on 8 March 2014
Reuters
26/52 29 July 2018Palestinian activist and campaigner Ahed Tamimi kisses the tombstone of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at his mausoleum in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, after she was released from prison following an eight-month sentence for slapping two Israeli soldiers
AFP/Getty
27/52 28 July 2018Zimbabwe's incumbent President and candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa arrives for his closing presidential campaign rally in Harare, two days ahead of the elections
AFP/Getty
28/52 27 July 2018A house burns during the Carr fire in Redding, California. One firefighter has died and at least two others have been injured as wind-whipped flames tore through the region
Getty
29/52 26 July 2018Supporters of Pakistan's cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan, and head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) party, celebrate in Karachi, a day after a general election. Imran Khan claimed victory in the country's tense general election marred by allegations of "blatant" rigging by rival parties. A visibly tired Khan cut a conciliatory tone in a wide-ranging address to the nation following the controversial contest
AFP/Getty
30/52 25 July 2018A man who was injured in a suspected suicide bomb attack outside a polling station, receives medical treatment at a hospital in Quetta. At least 25 people were killed and 30 injured in the incident. Polling stations in Pakistan opened for the general election for around 105 million constituents. Voters will have to choose from 11,000 candidates to elect 272 members of the Parliament for the next term. These elections are the second in Pakistan's history in which a government was able to complete its term to make way for another government after being ruled by military dictators for half of the 71 years of its existence since its founding in 1947
EPA
31/52 24 July 2018A woman reacts as she tries to find her dog, following a wildfire at the village of Mati, near Athens, Greece. At least 60 people are thought to have been killed
Reuters
32/52 23 July 2018A house is threatened by a huge blaze during a wildfire in Kineta, near Athens. More than 300 firefighters, five aircraft and two helicopters were mobilised to tackle the "extremely difficult" situation due to strong gusts of wind, Athens fire chief Achille Tzouvaras said
AFP/Getty
33/52 22 July 2018Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows a smoke plume rising across the border in Quneitra in southwestern Syria, as rebels destroy their arms stocks prior to their departure
Getty
34/52 21 July 2018A Syrian child looks through the window of a bus as displaced people from the Quneitra province wait at the Morek crossing point to be transfered in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, northwestern Syria. The transfers come under a surrender deal agreed this week between Russia and Syrian rebels in Quneitra province that will see the sensitive zone fall back under state control. Rebels will hand over territory they control in Quneitra and the neighbouring buffer zone with the Israeli-occupied Golan, a war monitor and a rebel
AFP/Getty
35/52 20 July 2018Men push a car past a flooded street in Ahmadabad, India. Hundreds of people have been rescued from flood affected areas in the past week as incessant rains continue to lash Gujarat state
AP
36/52 19 July 2018Arab lawmakers stand up in protest during a Knesset session in Jerusalem. Israel's parliament approved a controversial piece of legislation that defines the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people but which critics warn sidelines minorities
AP
37/52 18 July 2018The 12 boys and their soccer coach who were rescued from a flooded cave arrive for a news conference in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand
Reuters
38/52 17 July 2018President Barack Obama delivers the 16th Nelson Mandela annual lecture, marking the centenary of the anti-apartheid leader's birth, in Johannesburg, South Africa
Reuters
39/52 16 July 2018French supporters celebrate on the Champs Elysees their team's victory after the World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia
EPA
40/52 15 July 2018Hugo Lloris lifts the trophy after France beat Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup final in the Luzhniki Stadium in Russia
AP
41/52 14 July 2018Germany's Angelique Kerber beat seven-time champion US player Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final. Kerber won her first Wimbledon title
PA
42/52 13 July 2018Firefighters using fire helicopters fighting wildfires in Sordal in Setesdalen in the southern part of Norway. The fires are thought to be caused by lightning in the very dry landscape
EPA
43/52 12 July 2018The Syrian national flag rises in the midst of damaged buildings in Daraa-al-Balad an opposition-held part of the southern city of Daraa. Syria's army entered rebel-held parts of Daraa city, state media said, raising the national flag in the cradle of the uprising that sparked the country's seven-year war, following a deal for rebels to hand over their heavy weapons in Daraa al-Balad and other opposition-held parts of the city
AFP
44/52 11 July 2018US President Donald Trump and Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attend a bilateral breakfast ahead of the NATO Summit in Brussels
Reuters
45/52 10 July 2018The last four Thai Navy SEALs come out safely after completing the rescue mission inside a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand. Thailand's navy SEALs say all 12 boys and their soccer coach have been rescued from a flooded cave in far northern Thailand, ending an ordeal that lasted more than two weeks
Royal Thai Navy via AP
46/52 9 July 2018Indonesia worker and firefighters try to extinguish a fire on fishing boats at Benoa harbour in Denpasar, on Indonesia's resort island of Bali. A massive fire laid waste to dozens of boats at a Bali port as firefighters battled to bring the dramatic blaze under control
Getty
47/52 8 July 2018Russia's football team are greeted celebrated by fans during a visit at the Moscow's fan zone after they were knocked out of the World Cup in their quarter final match against Croatia on penalties
Getty
48/52 7 July 2018Residents look over the flooded town by heavy rain in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, western Japan. Heavy rainfall killed 47 people, missing more than 49 people and five others in serious condition in southwestern and western Japan, public television reported on 07 July 2018. Japan Meteorological Agency has warned record rainfall on 06 July for flooding, mudslides in southwestern and western Japan. In nine prefectures in western and southwestern Japan, authorities issued evacuation orders to more than one million of people in southwestern and western Japan
EPA
49/52 6 July 2018An honour guard hold up a picture of Samarn Kunan, 38, a former member of Thailand's elite navy SEAL unit who died working to save 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped inside a flooded cave, at an airport in Rayong province, Thailand
Reuters
50/52 5 July 2018The International Space Station, center, passes in front of the Moon in its Earth orbit as photographed from Salgotarjan, Hungary
MTI via AP
51/52 4 July 2018Former Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak (C) arrives at Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak appeared in court to face graft charges linked to the the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal
EPA
52/52 The ASD believes monitoring these accounts and their trends could provide valuable insight into Russia's information warfare campaigns.
In recent weeks, Twitter and other social media platforms have attempted to crack down on accounts with "inauthentic" or "manipulative" behaviour ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, suspending at least 284 accounts with apparent links to Iran. The platform has also repeatedly removed Russian-linked accounts.
Still, the ASD said it has not noticed "a major change" in the network of Russian-linked accounts or its influence operations ever since US intelligence agencies confirmed Russia performed multi-pronged cyber-attacks on the 2016 presidential election.
Tarriffs
Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Homeland Security, Postmaster General, and Chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 01:57
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE
THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURYTHE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITYTHE POSTMASTER GENERALTHE CHAIRMAN OF THE POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION
SUBJECT: Modernizing the Monetary Reimbursement Model for the Delivery of Goods Through the International Postal System and Enhancing the Security and Safety of International Mail
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Definitions. (a) ''Good'' means any tangible and movable object that can be conveyed by the international postal system, excluding (i) written, drawn, printed, or digital information recorded on a tangible medium that is not an object of merchandise and (ii) money.
(b) ''Non-postal operator'' means a private express carrier, freight forwarder, or other provider of services for the collection, transportation, and delivery of international documents and packages, other than a postal operator.
(c) ''Postal operator'' means a governmental or non'‘governmental entity officially designated by a Universal Postal Union (UPU) member country to operate postal services and to fulfill the related obligations arising out of the Acts of the UPU on its territory.
(d) ''Terminal dues'' means the rates or fees determined through the UPU and paid by the postal operator in the country of origin to the postal operator in the country of destination to compensate for costs incurred in the country of destination for processing, transportation, and delivery of international ''letter post'' items, which may include documents or goods and generally weigh up to 4.4 pounds.
Sec. 2. Policy. (a) The UPU was established in 1874 by 21 countries. The United States played an integral role in the UPU's creation and, since that time, the United States has actively participated in all phases of the UPU's work. The United States is a party to the current Constitution of the UPU '‘'‘ which was adopted in 1964 '‘'‘ and intends to continue to participate fully in and financially contribute to the UPU, as provided in Article 21 of the UPU Constitution. As a member country of the UPU, the United States recognizes the importance of this long-standing organization and is proud of the United States' unbroken record of participation in it.
The Congress has provided that the Secretary of State (Secretary), in concluding postal treaties, conventions, or other international agreements, shall, to the maximum extent practicable, take measures to encourage governments of other countries to make available to the United States Postal Service (USPS) and private companies a range of nondiscriminatory customs procedures that will fully meet the needs of all types of American shippers (39 U.S.C. 407(e)(3)).
The Congress has likewise directed that responsible officials shall apply the customs laws of the United States and all other laws relating to importation or exportation of goods in the same manner to shipments of goods that are competitive products of the USPS and to similar shipments by private companies (39 U.S.C. 407(e)(2)).
It is the policy of the United States to promote and encourage the development of an efficient and competitive global system that provides for fair and nondiscriminatory postal rates.
(b) It is in the interest of the United States to:
(i) promote and encourage communications between peoples by efficient operation of international postal services and other international delivery services for cultural, social, and economic purposes (39 U.S.C. 407(a)(1));
(ii) promote and encourage unrestricted and undistorted competition in the provision of international postal services and other international delivery services, except where provision of such services by private companies may be prohibited by the laws of the United States (39 U.S.C. 407(a)(2));
(iii) promote and encourage a clear distinction between governmental and operational responsibilities with respect to the provision of international postal services and other international delivery services by the Government of the United States and by intergovernmental organizations of which the United States is a member (39 U.S.C. 407(a)(3)); and
(iv) participate in multilateral and bilateral agreements with other countries to accomplish these objectives (39 U.S.C. 407(a)(4)).
(c) Some current international postal practices in the UPU do not align with United States economic and national security interests:
(i) UPU terminal dues, in many cases, are less than comparable domestic postage rates. As a result:
(A) the United States, along with other member countries of the UPU, is in many cases not fully reimbursed by the foreign postal operator for the cost of delivering foreign-origin letter post items, which can result in substantial preferences for foreign mailers relative to domestic mailers;
(B) the current terminal dues rates undermine the goal of unrestricted and undistorted competition in cross-border delivery services because they disadvantage non-postal operators seeking to offer competing collection and outward transportation services for goods covered by terminal dues in foreign markets; and
(C) the current system of terminal dues distorts the flow of small packages around the world by incentivizing the shipping of goods from foreign countries that benefit from artificially low reimbursement rates.
(ii) The UPU has not done enough to reorient international mail to achieve a clear distinction between documents and goods. Without such a distinction, it is difficult to achieve essential pricing reforms or to ensure that customs requirements, including provision of electronic customs data for goods, are met. Under the current system, foreign postal operators do not uniformly furnish advance electronic customs data that are needed to enhance targeting and risk management for national security and to facilitate importation and customs clearance. My Administration's Initiative to Stop Opioids Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand, launched in March of this year, requires accurate advance electronic customs data for 90 percent of all international mail shipments that contain goods and consignment shipments within 3 years, so that the Department of Homeland Security can better detect and flag high-risk shipments.
(d) It shall be the policy of the executive branch to support efforts that further the policies in this memorandum, including supporting a system of unrestricted and undistorted competition between United States and foreign merchants. Such efforts include:
(i) ensuring that rates charged for delivery of foreign-origin mail containing goods do not favor foreign mailers over domestic mailers;
(ii) setting rates charged for delivery of foreign-origin mail in a manner that does not favor postal operators over non-postal operators; and
(iii) ensuring the collection of advance electronic customs data.
Sec. 3. Relations with the UPU. (a) The United States must seek reforms to the UPU that promote the policies outlined in this memorandum. Such reforms shall provide for:
(i) a system of fair and nondiscriminatory rates for goods that promotes unrestricted and undistorted competition; and
(ii) terminal dues rates that:
(A) fully reimburse the USPS for costs to the same extent as domestic rates for comparable services;
(B) avoid a preference for inbound foreign small packages containing goods that favors foreign mailers over domestic mailers; and
(C) avoid a preference for inbound foreign small packages containing goods that favors postal operators over private-sector entities providing transportation services.
(b) If negotiations at the UPU's September 2018 Second Extraordinary Congress in Ethiopia fail to yield reforms that satisfy the criteria set forth in subsection (a) of this section, the United States will consider taking any appropriate actions to ensure that rates for the delivery of inbound foreign packages satisfy those criteria, consistent with applicable law.
Sec. 4. Actions by the Secretary. (a) The Secretary shall notify the Director General of the UPU of the policies and intentions of the United States described in this memorandum.
(b) The Secretary or his designee shall, consistent with 39 U.S.C. 407(b)(1), seek agreement on future Convention texts that comport with the policies of this memorandum in meetings of the UPU, including at the September 2018 Extraordinary Congress.
(c) No later than November 1, 2018, the Secretary shall submit to the President a report summarizing the steps being taken to implement this memorandum. If the Secretary determines that sufficient progress on reforms to promote compatibility of the Acts of the UPU with the policy of this memorandum is not being achieved, the Secretary shall include recommendations for future action, including the possibility of adopting self'‘declared rates.
Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
(d) The Secretary is authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
DONALD J. TRUMP
Homeless in ShitHole
An acquaintance of ours also live downtown, a little closer to ground zero, and there's a new drug in town: K2-Go Wacky taking their clothes off and loving or humping trees
Low-income workers who live in RVs are being 'chased out' of Silicon Valley streets | US news | The Guardian
Fri, 24 Aug 2018 21:01
In a Silicon Valley town where the median home value is $2.5m, next to a university with a $22.5bn endowment, not far from a shopping mall with Burberry and Cartier outlets, they present an eye-popping sight: dozens of run-down RVs and trailers parked in a line along a main road.
Outside in AmericaTheir homeless inhabitants must live in a way that is, to put it mildly, not the norm for somewhere like Palo Alto. ''I try not to use the restroom unless I have to because it costs money to go and drain it, and I don't want an odor to build up,'' said a man called Frank Aldama on Tuesday, with the forested outskirts of Stanford University visible through his screen door.
To keep the grungy carpet in the 30-year-old vehicle clean, he sprays it with Febreze every morning. And he is fastidious about the exterior, ''so people don't have a reason to want you to leave, other than maybe being an eyesore''.
The number of RVs in this part of Palo Alto has spiked this year, and no wonder. For Aldama and others like him, the city feels like a respite. Crime is minimal. Some trailers face groves of oak and eucalyptus trees, others look onto playing fields where parents cheer children playing soccer. But their toehold here has begun to feel tenuous.
Amid complaints from residents, Palo Alto has announced it will enforce a rule that bans vehicles from parking in the same spot for longer than 72 hours. The RV dwellers must accede '' they have few other options. Silicon Valley was recently ranked the second most inaccessible region in the country for low-income workers trying to find a place to live. Palo Alto's minimum wage is $12 an hour, but someone would have to earn $42.69 an hour to rent a two-bedroom apartment while having enough left over for other necessities.
For many people, the RV symbolizes the freedom of the open road, but for those living permanently in their vehicles, perhaps brimming with belongings and containing rudimentary hygiene and cooking facilities, the horizons often seem foreclosed.
The county in which Palo Alto is located is committing $950m for affordable housing, but in the meantime, tolerance of the crisis sometimes ebbs, as in the neighboring town of Mountain View, where the presence of over 200 RVs has prompted complaints.
On Tuesday in Palo Alto, meanwhile, there were 40 to 45 RVs and trailers parked along a busy stretch of road.
Mike Becker, 52, said he arrived in the Bay Area at the age of 20 and began living in the vehicle a few years ago after his rent was raised and he lost a carpentry job. The RV was free on Craigslist and makes sense because if he rented a home, ''I wouldn't have enough to pay for food''. He added, ''I'm stigmatized with the rest of the RVers. I get the sense they think we're dirtbags.''
Nicholas Newbury, 35, emerged from a beaten-up trailer with a tarp tied roughly over the top for privacy and protection from the weather. ''I'm not upset about it,'' he said of the city's plan, ''but at same time, where else do they want us to go?'' (He only sleeps occasionally in the trailer, which is not his; at nights he searches the trash on Stanford's campus looking for cans to sell to recyclers.)
RV dwellers are often local, said Brian Greenberg of LifeMoves, an organization that helps homeless people move into housing. ''There's this myth that we attract people from all over the place, and it really is a myth. Most of the people are what I'd say are our people '' they graduated from local high schools on the peninsula, in Silicon Valley. People aren't as mobile as one would think.''
Another California city with a large homeless population, Santa Barbara, has opened a parking lot where people living in RVs can stay safely overnight, but Greenberg said his organization had opted against that idea. ''Those things tend to become more permanent and take the pressure off finding a real solution,'' he said. ''You look at these vehicles '' they have hundreds of thousands of miles on them, they're not hooked up to septic, there's frequently not running, fresh water, inadequate toilet facilities.'' It is not a way to treat people, he argued, ''in the highest income region of the universe.''
Palo Alto's decision to implement the 72-hour rule was prompted partly by complaints, though the intention is not to banish people living in vehicles, said city spokeswoman Claudia Keith. The city rescinded its ban on inhabiting cars and RVs several years ago. Instead, the goal is to remove vehicles that are abandoned or used as storage, and Keith suggested that the ordinance is relatively toothless. ''They have to move half a mile according to the law, so potentially they could drive around the block, I suppose, and re-park,'' she said.
Stanford, for its part, has ''noted the additional parking of RVs'' on its borders, said spokesman EJ Miranda by e-mail. ''This is a reflection of the very challenging economic circumstances faced by many people in this region,'' he said. He did not respond to a question about whether the university supported the move, but said that the city was acting in accordance with the law.
Aldama, 56, has lived in his RV for four years. His family purchased it for him after he emerged from a spiral in which he became addicted to heroin, went to jail, and lost contact with his children. His generosity of spirit is striking considering his circumstances. Of Palo Altans he said, ''I don't have anything bad to say about these people, they've been good to me since I've been here,'' though he added: ''I wish I had a place to park that's safe like here, and clean, without being chased out.''
He has tried living in a cheaper town a few hours away and had a job at a gas station, but he was asked to leave the area when he was found to be residing full-time in the vehicle. He suffers from poor short-term memory, anxiety, and is kept awake by the cars that constantly rock his RV as they roar past.
Musing about how it would be to take a vacation, his features started to crumple, his face reddened, and his eyes glistened with tears.
''I don't wish this on nobody,'' he said. ''A terrible way to live.''
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OTG
Surface
Surface Go great with msft hardware
Surface better with EDGE browser
MSFT's ad business may be just sheer volume based, in basic age and category slices
Microsoft Surface Laptop Teardown - iFixit
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 14:32
Alright, the Surface Book is out of the box and on our chopping block teardown table. Here's what we're looking to find today:
13.5'' IPS PixelSense' Display with 2256 — 1504 resolution (201 PPI)
Intel Kaby Lake Core i5 (3M Cache, up to 3.10 GHz) or Core i7 (4M Cache, 4.00 GHz) CPU
4 GB/8 GB/16 GB RAM
128 GB/256 GB/512 GB PCIe SSD storage
720p front-facing camera with Windows Hello sign-in
USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, and SurfaceConnect charging port
802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n compatible, Bluetooth Wireless 4.0 technology
Before we delve into (presumably) another repair nightmare, let's get the lay of the land with some sweet X-rays.
Thanks, Creative Electron!
Looks like we're gonna see a lot of battery, a fan, and a beefy heat sink.
Plus, a lot of shielding. This thing already looks scary.
All the usual regulatory markings are hiding out on the lower case alongside the model number: 1769.
We stack it up (literally) against a MacBook Air to play a game of spot the differences...
... But apart from the layout, there's not a ton. Both sport a headphone jack, proprietary charging port, Mini DisplayPort connector, and at least one USB 3.0 port.
Connectivity differences include: an SDXC card reader and a second USB port in the Air.
We take a peek under the suspicious rubber footpads, but find metal feet instead of the screws we were hoping for.
Looks like we have to peel up that (dubiously luxurious) Alcantara after all.
Jimmy in hand, we start popping clips and peeling adhesive. Already, this doesn't feel like it's going back together.
We try to remove the fabric cover, but the going gets a lot tougher south of the keyboard. What's going on here?
We have to pull out the big guns knife now, to cut off the rest of the pelt. Layered underneath we find a metal shield, the meat in our Surface sandwich.
With more adhesive and plastic bits holding the shield from beneath, we fire up the iOpener and get back to popping.
Now that we've got a clear look at the plastic, it seems these aren't reusable clips at all, but weak ultrasonic spot welds that we've been busting through. This is definitely not going back together without a roll of duct tape.
With the keyboard plate finally wrested free of its sticky and plastic-y jailers, we're at least pleased by the long cable connecting it to the body.
Our pleasure is short-lived. The connector is trapped under a clip-on shield on the motherboard, complicating its removal.
This is surprisingly not that uncommon with recent Surface devices.
With the keyboard out, we begin the search for the trackpad. Presumably it's in here somewhere, let's follow that cable trail!
The trackpad is trapped under tape and a metal shield, but it's nothing we haven't handled before.
We take a moment to check the silicon before releasing this trackpad into the wild:
NXP/Freescale MK22FN512 Kinetis K22-120 MHz ARM Cortex-M4 Core MCU
Synaptics S9101B touch controller (as seen in the Surface Book)
We look around for a battery connector to dispatch, but it's nowhere to be seen. Looks like we're doing this live! Time to start pulling out parts!
First up, speakers. What is there to say about speakers? They look like they're pretty good at speaking.
Like in the Surface Pro 4, they are not exactly symmetrical. Just like in the Surface Book, there are two of them.
At first glance, these white dots appear to be water damage indicators. Upon closer inspection, they're actually port covers to contain damping foam, increasing the speakers' bass response.
We are unsurprised to find an antenna nestled behind the plastic RF passthrough on the side of the case.
Turning back to the motherboard, all of the fun bits are hidden under shields packed with thermal pads. Looks like a lot of things get warm in here.
We'll have to just take the heat, because this heat sink is next. Out it comes, and its little fan, too.
Stop. Motherboard time!
Intel SR368 Core i7-7660U CPU
SK Hynix H9CCNNNBJTAL LPDDR3 RAM
Toshiba THNSND256GTYA 256 GB SSD
Marvell Avastar 88W8897 WLAN/BT/NFC SoC
Microsoft X904169 (x3) and X904163 display driver ICs
Nuvoton NPCT650SBBWX TPM IC
Freescale/NXP M22J9VDC Kinetis K22F 512KB 120 MHz ARM Cortex-M4 Based MCU
That's right folks, ten steps in and the battery is finally disconnected!
The Laptop packs a 45.2 Wh battery, roughly the same capacity as the latest Surface Pro (45 Wh), and more than both iPad Pro 10.5" (31 wh) and latest MacBook Retina 41 Wh).
Also visible in the rear case, a secondary heat pipe stuck to the rear case, helping dissipate heat from both sides of the motherboard.
The modular headphone jack, not charged with any crime, is free to go, contacts and all.
No Surface product is complete without a hinge, but these feel a little pedestrian compared to the other offerings. And with that, the display is unhinged.
The Surface Laptop is finally vanquished disassembled!
Verdict: The Surface Laptop is not a laptop. It's a glue-filled monstrosity. There is nothing about it that is upgradable or long-lasting, and it literally can't be opened without destroying it. (Show us the procedure, Microsoft, we'd love to be wrong.)
Here for your viewing pleasure: the parts that will never be whole again...
For more teardown below the Surface, check out the 2017 Surface Pro teardown!
Final Thoughts This laptop is not meant to be opened or repaired; you can't get inside without inflicting a lot of damage. The CPU, RAM, and onboard storage are soldered to the motherboard, making upgrades a no-go. The headphone jack, while modular, can only be accessed by removing the heat sink, fan, display, and motherboard. The battery is difficult and dangerous to replace, giving the device a limited lifespan. Repairability Score Repairability 0 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)
Vegas Massacre
Feds Scramble after Las Vegas Shooter's Girlfriend Lists FBI as Place of Employment on Loan Application; 'She Might have Been an Asset' '' True PunditTrue Pundit
Fri, 24 Aug 2018 22:04
Featured Politics SecurityFeds Scramble after Las Vegas Shooter's Girlfriend Lists FBI as Place of Employment on Loan Application; 'She Might have Been an Asset'Marilou Danley, the girlfriend of Las Vegas mass shooter Stephen Paddock, worked for the FBI, according to credit application data the Australian national reported as part of a loan application.
That's the same Danley whose fingerprints were found on Paddock's horde of ammunition packed into unused rifle magazines.
Publicly available intelligence obtained from consumer credit reporting bureaus show Danley claimed the ''Federal Bureau of Investigation'' as her place of employment.
Interesting revelation.
When contacted Friday, one FBI source said the Bureau ''might have made payments to Danley but it is above my level,'' the source said referring to access to the FBI's confidential informant participant and payment records. The source said ''bosses are concerned'' with the new revelations about Danley's financial relationship with the FBI.
In FBI speak, Danley could have been a paid asset. And 'concerned' means folks are getting ready to cover their own butts if payments were made to Danley either before or after the massacre.
Perhaps FBI Director Christopher Wray can shed light on the matter.
Or Danley. If you can find her. It took the FBI days to locate her and interview her after the Mandalay Bay massacre.
Danley is an Australian national. She is not a U.S. citizen.
Of course this bombshell Intel is coming from FBI sources in the beltway, not the corrupt Las Vegas FBI field office headed by Aaron Rouse. The same FBI field office that has not been able to pinpoint a motive for the Oct. 1, 2017 massacre that killed 57 people.
Little wonder why the narrative doesn't fit the crime if the person whose fingerprints are on the ammunition also happens to be on your FBI payroll.
A YouTube video surfaced Thursday highlighting a database search with Danley's apparent employment link to the FBI as reported by database giant Intelius as well.
Perhaps a member of Congress can investigate. Who else can we call?
The FBI?
This story is developing.
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Oh Elon!
Move over, Musk: Kalashnikov unveils 'electric supercar'
Thu, 23 Aug 2018 23:06
Moscow (AFP) - Russian arms maker Kalashnikov on Thursday presented its new electric car inspired by a rare 1970s model, saying the new technology will rival Elon Musk's Tesla.
The brand, best known for the AK-47 machine gun, presented the decidedly retro-looking pale blue prototype, the CV-1, at a defense expo outside Moscow.
The look was inspired by a Soviet hatchback model developed in the 1970s called "Izh-Kombi," a statement on the Kalashnikov website said.
Holding company Kalashnikov Concern said it has developed some cutting-edge elements for the "electric supercar", including a "revolutionary" inverter. The vehicle can travel 350 kilometres on one charge.
"We are developing our own concept of an electric supercar, which is based on several original systems developed by the concern," the firm said.
"This technology will let us stand in the ranks of global electric car producers such as Tesla and be their competitor," RIA-Novosti further quoted the Kalashnikov press-service as saying.
"We were inspired by the experience of global market leaders in developing our concept."
Kalashnikov Concern has long been trying to expand its brand, recently launching lines of clothing and other civilian merchandise ranging from umbrellas to mobile phone covers.
Its foray into electric vehicles however was met with mixed reactions from Russians. Comments to the news on the company's official Facebook page ranged from "cyberpunk" to "Izh-Zombie".
"Your tanks are great, but it would be better if you stayed away from cars," one user wrote.
Earlier this week, online users ridiculed Kalashnikov's new bipedal combat robot. The golden-colour machine, reportedly named "Igorek" in production stages, immediately became a subject of social media memes.
"Somebody had watched too much 'Robocop'," tweeted user happy__keanu, referring to the 1987 action film about a cyborg law enforcer.
Related Video: A Look at Elon Musk's Most 'Painful' Year Yet
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Syria
Leugens over de Witte Helmen | Willy Van Damme's Weblog
Thu, 23 Aug 2018 23:15
Met aandacht het gesprek gelezen met Raed al-Saleh van de zogenaamde Syrische Witte Helmen (Als je mensen redt, heb je geen tijd voor angst, Knack 22 augustus). Men stelt daarbij Raed al Salah voor als de baas van die groep maar in feite is dat James Le Mesurier.
De Witte Helmen is immers een onderdeel, in wezen zelfs het enige, van de Nederlandse Stichting Mayday Rescue Foundation, De Cuserstraat 93 te Amsterdam en hiervan is Le Mesurier de enige directeur. Deze stichting werkt volgens haar website uitsluitend met gelden van Denemarken, Duitsland, Nederland en het Verenigd Koninkrijk.
James Le Mesurier was een hogere officier binnen het Britse leger en werkte o.m. voor de Britse militaire veiligheid in het vroegere Joegoslavi. De man ging nadien aan de slag bij private onderaannemers actief in de militaire sfeer zoals de Olive Group, nu een deel van de gekende private contractor Blackwater/Academi.
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James Le Mesurier, de echte baas van de Witte Helmen en een gewezen Brits militair inlichtingenofficier en private militaire contractor. Eigenaardig is dat volgens Bellingcat, de nepnieuwsverspreider, de Witte Helmen hen financieren. Waarna Bellingcat hun verhalen met zogenaamd eigen onderzoek nog eens weet te bevestigen. Van fraude gesproken.
Het is deze Le Mesurier die in maart 2013, ongetwijfeld in opdracht van derden, de Witte Helmen oprichtte met geld van de Britse regering en die daarvoor Raed al-Saleh aantrok. En aangezien de Syrische provincie Idlib grotendeels in handen is van al Qaeda kan de Witte Helmen zonder haar toestemming er niet werken. Zelfs rivaliserende jihadisten worden in Idlib door al Qaeda desnoods gedood.
Verder beweerde Raed al Saleh eerder dat er in de Syrische stad Douma dit jaar meer dan honderd doden gevallen waren bij een regeringsaanval met chemische wapens. Doden die tot heden ondanks meerdere onderzoeken door o.m. de Organisatie voor het Verbod op Chemische Wapens van de VN niet zijn gevonden. En hij wist naar hij stelde waar zijn mannen die doden begraven hadden.
Willy Van Damme
Lezersbrief naar Knack over het interview van Joanie de Rijke met Raed al Saleh. Volgens een publiek afgelegde verklaring vandaag van Brett McGurk, de Amerikaanse generaal verantwoordelijk voor de oorlog tegen Syri, is de provincie Idlib de grootste veilige zone voor al Qaeda sinds de aanslagen van II september 2001.
Met andere worden: Na Turkije laat nu ook de VS de jihadistische terreurgroepen ginds vallen als een baksteen. De smeekbeden van Raed al Saleh en zijn Witte Helmen vandaag in Knack halen dus niets uit. Maar dat is even verrassend als het opgaan van de zon morgenvroeg.
Clearances
Michael Hayden: Donald Trump Deserves the Respect Due Any U.S. President | National Review
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 01:38
Former Director of National Intelligence Michael Hayden in Washington, D.C., August 22, 2018. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)Former CIA director Michael Hayden said in an interview released on Friday that President Trump should receive the respect every U.S. president is entitled to.
''I do think that the office and the occupant, the current occupant of the office, deserves the respect that is due [to] any American president,'' Hayden stated. ''Just in questions of style, I don't refer to the fellow down the street [Trump] with anything other than 'the president.' I never just use his last name without the title.''
Even so, Hayden expressed dismay with Trump's governing style, which he sees as a way for the president to further his personal and political needs.
''This is the most norm-busting president in the history of the United States. There are no norms that seem to bind him. None that he is not willing to cross or break for his personal, policy, or political needs of the moment,'' Hayden said. ''I think it's what frightens people like me.''
He added that officials should be careful not to take a page from the president's book by protesting him too outlandishly.
''We have got to be very, very careful because if we break our own norms in protesting the president's violation of norms, we're not making things better,'' he said.
The former CIA chief's comments come in the wake of Trump's decision to revoke the security clearance of another former CIA director, John Brennan, a move that sparked swift condemnation from a number of other ex-intelligence officials.
The White House cited Brennan's ''unfounded and outrageous statements, wild outbursts on the internet and television about this administration'' and his ''erratic conduct and behavior'' as the basis for the decision. Brennan responded with defiance, calling the move an ''abuse of power.''
''This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech and punish critics,'' Brennan said. ''My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent.''
Earlier this week, Hayden said he would be ''honored'' to have his security clearance stripped as well.
''Frankly, if his not revoking my clearance gave the impression that I somehow moved my commentary in a direction more acceptable to the White House, I would find that very disappointing and frankly unacceptable,'' he said.
The White House is considering stripping security clearances from more current and former officials, including Hayden, former FBI director James Comey, former director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, former national-security adviser Susan Rice, former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, and Justice Department staffer Bruce Ohr.
IN THE NEWS: '[WATCH] U.S. '' Russian Sanctions Go Into Effect Monday'
25 for 45
Omarosa: I'm ready to testify at Trump impeachment trial | TheHill
Fri, 24 Aug 2018 13:08
Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman Omarosa Onee Manigault NewmanSales of Omarosa book surged after Trump attacks Jimmy Kimmel: 'There's clearly something wrong' with Omarosa The Memo: Team Trump fights back MORE said she is ready ''anytime, anyplace'' to appear as a witness against President Trump Donald John TrumpAustralian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull ousted by party rivals CNN's Cuomo clashes with Kellyanne Conway over Cohen hush-money payments Lawmaker who pushed to impeach Nixon: Trump 'systematically' abusing power MORE , including a potential Senate impeachment trial.
''I have the truth on my side as well as a hundred emails and documents and other things,'' said Newman in an interview with the Yahoo News podcast ''Skullduggery'' released Friday, claiming she can testify about her knowledge of Russian ties to Trump's campaign.
Manigault Newman said that congressional committees have not yet reached out to her seeking testimony regarding information relevant to lawmaker probes into election interference and potential collusion with the Trump campaign.
Earlier this month she said that she met with special counsel Robert Mueller Robert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE and would be willing to speak with him again.
Calls for Trump's removal have renewed this week after his former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to charges including a campaign finance violation, implicating the president in the process.
Manigault Newman told the Yahoo News podcast that she still talks to Cohen frequently.
''Michael Cohen and I are still close,'' she said on Wednesday, when Cohen appeared in court. ''I talked to him today and I wanted him to know and reassure him that his friends are still his friends. We still have his back.''
Trump has been lashing out at Cohen in the days since his former lawyer accepted a plea bargain for eight counts related to bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance law violations.
"If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don't retain the services of Michael Cohen!" Trump tweeted on Wednesday.
If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don't retain the services of Michael Cohen!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2018Manigault Newman said on the podcast that she was ''very upset'' about Trump's tweet.
''Why kick a man while he's down, you know? This man is facing jail time, he has a family, he has a beautiful wife. His daughter was my intern at the White House,'' Manigault Newman said. She previously served as the director of communications for the White House's Office of Public Liaison.
''He would not be paying off porn stars if Donald Trump had not slept with them and had these illicit relationships with them and if Donald Trump had not directed him to pay these women off,'' she continued, referring to the payments Cohen made to women alleging affairs with Trump.
Cohen did not refer to Trump by name during his court proceedings but told a judge that he made two six-figure payments to women '-- adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal '-- at the direction of a candidate for federal office.
Manigault Newman has been on a media blitz surrounding her new tell-all memoir, ''Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House,'' which hit No. 1 on The New York best seller list this week.
Opinion | Stormy Daniels, Feminist Hero - The New York Times
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 01:46
For once we're listening to a woman who refuses to wear either a scarlet letter or a superwoman's cape.
By Jill Filipovic
Ms. Filipovic is the author of ''The H Spot: The feminist Pursuit of Happiness.''
Aug. 24, 2018 Image Stormy Daniels signed autographs at an adult entertainment store in West Hollywood, California in May. Credit Credit Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images Let's take a moment for Stormy Daniels.
On Tuesday, Michael D. Cohen pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws, charges stemming from payments he made to two women, one of them Ms. Daniels, with whom Donald Trump is said to have had an affair. Mr. Cohen, a former lawyer for Mr. Trump, says he made the payments at the direction of the president, in an effort to influence the 2016 election.
It's an extraordinary admission, and an extraordinary political moment '-- not just because of what it means for Mr. Trump. It marks an unanticipated feminist turning point. Ms. Daniels is an adult film star and, like the president, an unapologetic self-promoter. Hers is not a female archetype that has historically garnered much respect, trust or sympathy. Yet here she is, an imperfect, entirely self-possessed woman telling her story with clarity and without shame. And here we are, actually listening to her.
Mr. Trump's own incompetence, inexperience and misogyny didn't stop his ascent to the White House; neither could a woman who spent her life cultivating capability, expertise and political pedigree. The usual rules don't seem to apply to Mr. Trump. And under the usual rules, a woman who so thoroughly breaks norms of female decorum and political propriety would be shamed into silence.
Which is why there is so much power in the fact that Ms. Daniels does not believe her job or her involvement with Mr. Trump or the payoff is her shame to carry. She wants him held accountable, and the justice system is actually stepping in. She is refusing to slink away, despite being paid to do exactly that in a pattern we've seen too many times from influential men seeking to maintain their dominance and avoid responsibility.
Ms. Daniels is a sex worker, making her the kind of ''bad woman,'' scorned for her work, who is not often believed when she indicts a powerful man.
This is what Mr. Trump's protectors are banking on. Ms. Daniels' lack of shame about her line of work has led to a right-wing escalation, with conservative media outlets hounding her as a ''prostitute'' once they realized she would meet ''porn star'' with a shrug. Rudy Giuliani, one of Mr. Trump's lawyers, said in June that although he respects ''all human beings,'' Ms. Daniels is apparently one exception: ''I don't respect a porn star the way I respect a career woman, or a woman of substance, or a woman who has great respect for herself as a woman, and as a person,'' he said. ''And isn't going to sell her body for sexual exploitation. So, Stormy, you want to bring a case? Let me cross-examine you.''
The threat is that Mr. Giuliani would do to Ms. Daniels what lawyers have done for centuries to imperfect women (and in particular, rape victims): Humiliate them on the witness stand by suggesting their sexual histories render their testimony unreliable and their credibility questionable.
Mr. Giuliani contrasted Ms. Daniels with the three ''beautiful women, classy women, women of great substance'' who Mr. Trump has married, perfectly encapsulating the profoundly misogynist virgin/whore dichotomy imposed on women, where we can be only perfectly good or entirely bad. A woman who behaved like the thrice-married and affair-prone Mr. Trump '-- going on the radio to brag about her promiscuity, leaking sordid details about her sex life to the tabloids '-- would be unlikely to fall in the ''virgin'' category. But men don't have to navigate these poles at all.
It would be hard to invent two people who better encompass one of the longest-standing sexist double standards than Ms. Daniels and Mr. Trump. But Ms. Daniels also undercuts liberal impulses to turn her into an oversimplified feminist hero. She is a vastly imperfect person by any standard, at times brave and at times venal, obviously admirable and obviously self-interested. These complications, of course, exist in most human beings. But most human beings could not survive the scrutiny she is under, nor so deftly dodge efforts at simplistic caricature. What's incredible is to see Ms. Daniels embody so many human extremes '-- so much boldness, so many flaws, and so many taboos broken '-- and to see her story nonetheless believed and acted upon.
Mr. Trump has built his image on gold-plated decadence and acts of dominance and degradation; in a sexist society, money and power continue to be the blunt masculine equivalents of the more enigmatic female sex appeal (which itself is largely measured and rewarded by men). There's little cost to men flaunting their wealth as extravagantly as Mr. Trump has.
But for women, there is a significant cost to advertising sexual availability and expecting dollars be handed directly over. Women who monetize their attractiveness through conventional acting or modeling, like Mr. Trump's wives, may be seen as less deserving of their resources than a man who was, like Mr. Trump, born rich, but they are generally in the clear. Younger, beautiful women who marry rich men might be princesses (''beautiful women, classy women,'' per Mr. Giuliani), trophy wives or gold-diggers (''the calculating woman who refuses to sign the prenuptial agreement because she is expecting to take advantage of the poor, unsuspecting sucker she's got in her grasp,'' as Mr. Trump put it in ''Trump: The Art of the Comeback'').
Women who have affairs with married men, whether those women are Ms. Daniels or Mr. Trump's second wife, are held more culpable as seductresses than the men who, like Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani, actually broke their vows. But it's women who cross the line from looking sexy for pay to having sex for pay, like Ms. Daniels, who face the most judgment. The men who pay for it, or pay to watch it, are generally unremarkable.
We are far from transcending the pervasive assumption that a woman's sexual decisions are decisive of her character and her integrity. In many swaths of the country, Ms. Daniels continues to be written off as a pole-dancing Hester Prynne '-- a woman not to be trusted.
But the country is also watching her dogged refusal to be quiet and her unflagging insistence that she isn't the one who should be embarrassed. We're seeing a woman who refuses to wear either a scarlet letter or a superwoman cape, and she stands in sharp contrast to a self-aggrandizing president who may face serious consequences once this all unspools. The potential triumph of a deeply imperfect woman over a powerful man won't exactly break a glass ceiling. But it could put a little crack in a stereotype just as tough to shatter.
Jill Filipovic is the author of ''The H Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness'' and a contributing opinion writer.
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Aiding And Abetting | Definition of Aiding And Abetting by Merriam-Webster
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 12:58
formal
: helping and encouraging She is charged with aiding and abetting the thief in his getaway. Word by Word Definitions : to provide with what is useful or necessary in achieving an end
: to give assistance
: the act of helping someone
: help given : assistance
: aide
: to actively second and encourage (something, such as an activity or plan)
: to assist or support (someone) in the achievement of a purpose
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Merriam-Webster unabridged
Enemy of the United States Law and Legal Definition | USLegal, Inc.
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 12:58
According to 50 USCS § 2204 [Title 50. War and National Defense; Chapter 39. Spoils of War], enemy of the United States means any country, government, group, or person that has been engaged in hostilities, whether or not lawfully authorized, with the United States;
(3) the term "person" means
(A) any natural person;
(B) any corporation, partnership, or other legal entity; and
(C) any organization, association, or group.
Aid and Comfort Law and Legal Definition | USLegal, Inc.
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 12:57
Aid and comfort refers to help given by someone to a national enemy in such a way that the help amounts to treason.
Article 3, Section 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution declares, that adhering to the enemies of the United States, giving them aid and comfort, shall be treason. Any act that deliberately strengthens or tends to strengthen enemies of United States or that weakens or tends to weaken the power of United States to resist and attack such enemies is characterized as aid and comfort.
Aid and comfort may consist of substantial assistance or the mere attempt to provide some support. Actual help or the success of the enterprise is not relevant.
U.S. Constitution - Article 3 Section 3 - The U.S. Constitution Online - USConstitution.net
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 12:56
Article 3 - The Judicial BranchSection 3 - Treason<<Back| Table of Contents |Next>>
Treason against the United States, shallconsist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies,giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of twoWitnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except duringthe Life of the Person attainted.
Notes for this section:Note
<<Back| Table of Contents |Next>>
URL: //www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A3Sec3.html
Treason | Definition of Treason by Merriam-Webster
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 12:55
Anglo-French treison crime of violence against a person to whom allegiance is owed, literally, betrayal, from Old French tra¯son, from tra¯r to betray, from Latin tradere to hand over, surrender
Shut Up Slave!
Amazon Employees Tweet Happiness from Fulfillment Centers - Slog - The Stranger
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 14:47
What the workers at the Happiness Center might look like... alvarez/gettyimages.com Seattle Times reports that a "group of more than a dozen Amazon Twitter users in the last two weeks started responding to critics of the company on the social media site." Their job is to counter negative tweets with ones about the wholesome wonderfulness of life in town-sized warehouses called Fulfillment Centers. These workers are "identified by first names and 'Amazon FC Ambassador.'" Each of these Amazon social media ambassadors "opened a Twitter account this month." Their message comes down to this: Amazon is not exploiting their workers because the workers are not sad and screwed but happy to work for the e-commerce giant whose CEO has more money than there are stars in the sky. In mere seconds, he makes more money than the average employee in a warehouse makes in a year. The ambassadors are even positive about the astronomical difference between themselves and their boss. ''As an amazon employee," tweeted Sean, "I leave my shift stress free knowing I completed a hard days work. The company that brings him wealth is still able to treat me and my coworkers with respect and provide us great wages and benefits'...'' In short: What more does an American worker want out of life?
amazon literally has bot accounts that follow the same strict format now. dystopian[Name] - Amazon FC Ambassador ðŸ'... @AmazonFC[Name]
[Role] @ [Amazon location]. [X] year Amazonian. [Hobby], [Hobby], and [Hobby]. Following: 0 Registered in August 2018 pic.twitter.com/N66pfPZ8eR'-- Vanson (@slutaburger) August 24, 2018
But what is wrong with this super-positive social media campaign? Why does it make a depressing situation appear to be even more depressing? Because its purpose is to rob the worker of a happiness that might be their own. Happiness cannot just be outside of work, or when you clock out. The boss also wants that, too. This doesn't mean all work needs to be bad or soul-sucking, but at least you must be free to decide what does and doesn't make you happy. And often, it is not the job, which for most is nothing more than a means to get things you need or desire. This understanding is not subversive. The struggle for higher wages and better benefits is based entirely on it. The purpose of a company is not to make workers happy, but to make a profit. And wages take a big bite out of profits.So, why does the boss want the happiness of workers? French economist and philosopher Fr(C)d(C)ric Lordon's book Willing Slaves of Capital has the answer. It goes something like this: In the old days, workers knew that their time at work was not theirs but bought/owned by the company. Their time was off the clock. And so there was this tension between work and the outside. In the latter, you could be you; in the former, you weren't you. But around the 1970s, there was a massive structural change in the economy, and as a consequence, a transformation of labor/management relations. Unions went into decline, managers became committed not to the companies they ran but to their shareholders, and workers were atomized. Attached to this atomization (or individualization), were the ideas of a school, based at University of Chicago, that replaced "class consciousness" (inside/outside) with a subjectivity that measured all aspects of life in entrepreneurial terms. Drinking, driving, working, stealing, sleeping, fucking, or raising children could be seen as situations that had clear economic outcomes. Gary Becker, the father of human capital, was the leader in this kind of thinking.
These ideas constructed a subject who wasn't really going to work but instead taking advantage of a business opportunity in the market. A he or she was now in competition with other enterprises for available ventures. In this way, the only boss could be you. As Lordon points out, this radical restructuring of the life-world of capitalism resulted in an alignment of the interests of all, from top to bottom, in an enterprise. The entrepreneurial subject had to be happy, in the way his or her boss, also an entrepreneur, was happy. This erased the line between the outside and inside. Home was also inside. The bedroom was inside. For homo economicus, happiness was as much at the desk or counter or factory or boardroom as the bar or cafe or country club or sofa in the living room.
But none of this is new. It's very old. "Making the dominated happy so that they forget their domination is one of the oldest and most effective ruses of the art of ruling," writes Lordon. But as a cultural mode, this form of domination (which claims not only your time but also happiness, and eliminates class issues like higher wages and social benefits'--what usually makes workers happy), was achieved in the past 40 years.
Later, he writes:
Neoliberal... assumes the specific task of producing on a large scale desires that did not previously exist, or that existed only in a minority of capitalist enclaves: desires for happy labour, or, to borrow directly from its own vocabulary, desires for 'fulfilment' and 'self-realisation' in and through work. And the fact is that, at least instrumentally, it gets it right. Intrinsically sad or extrinsically joyful, the affects-desires that capitalism was proposing to its enlistees fell short of taking away the sting of the idea that 'real life is elsewhere.'
Exactly. This is the source of this kind of sadness. The ontology of Amazon's happiness campaign is the removal of the hope that "real life is elsewhere." It is in the warehouse. It is a Fulfillment Center.
Mockingbird - Bernstein
Investigative Classics: Carl Bernstein on Journalists Working for the CIA, 1977 | RealClearInvestigations
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 13:43
Investigative Classics is a weekly feature on noteworthy past examples of the reporting craft. President Trump's decision to remove the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan highlights a startling new trend '' the decision by former spies like Brennan, who works for NBC, to come in from the cold and express their views publicly as paid media consultants.
It also shines a light on an all but forgotten piece of the history of journalism '' the fact it was once common for reporters to be working for the nation's intelligence services.
Fresh off his triumphant coverage of Watergate with Bob Woodward in the Washington Post, Carl Bernstein explored this practice in 1977 in a 25,000-word investigative article for Rolling Stone. Here's his opening:
Carl Bernstein, left, with Bob Woodward in 1973. Top photo: CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.
AP Photo
Top credit: Carol M. Highsmith/LIbrary of Congress/Wikimedia
In 1953, Joseph Alsop, then one of America's leading syndicated columnists, went to the Philippines to cover an election. He did not go because he was asked to do so by his syndicate. He did not go because he was asked to do so by the newspapers that printed his column. He went at the request of the CIA.
Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty-five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. Some of these journalists' relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services'--from simple intelligence-gathering to serving as go-betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors-without-portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested in the derring-do of the spy business as in filing articles; and, the smallest category, full-time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America's leading news organizations.
Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times.
Wikipedia
The history of the CIA's involvement with the American press continues to be shrouded by an official policy of obfuscation and deception for the following principal reasons:
'– The use of journalists has been among the most productive means of intelligence gathering employed by the CIA. Although the Agency has cut back sharply on the use of reporters since 1973 (primarily as a result of pressure from the media), some journalist operatives are still posted abroad.
'– Further investigation into the matter, CIA officials say, would inevitably reveal a series of embarrassing relationships in the 1950s and 1960s with some of the most powerful organizations and individuals in American journalism.
William S. Paley of CBS.
Harris & Ewing/Library of Congress/ Wikimedia
Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were Williarn Paley of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Henry Luce of Tirne Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the LouisviIle Courier-Journal, and James Copley of the Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald-Tribune.
By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with the New York Times, CBS and Time Inc.
Read Full Article
SCOTUS
Kavanaugh argued that a president can be impeached for lies, cover-ups and refusing to testify
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 04:52
The young attorney decided the president deserved to be forced from office for ''his pattern of revolting behavior'' and the ''sheer number of his wrongful acts.''
''The president has disgraced his office.'... He has lied to his aides. He has lied to the American people,'' Brett Kavanaugh wrote in a 1998 memo to his colleagues. ''I'm strongly opposed to giving [him] any 'break' '... unless he either resigns or '... issues a public apology.''
Kavanaugh, a fast-rising Republican legal star, then 33, went back to work on a 132-page memo to his boss, independent counsel Kenneth Starr, that outlined the grounds for impeaching President Clinton.
It was 20 years ago this month that Kavanaugh, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, set out his broad view of obstruction of justice and of what constitutes an impeachable offense, arguing the president could be removed from office even for a rarely charged crime '-- in this case, lying under oath in a civil deposition, to deny a sexual affair with a 22-year-old White House intern. By repeating false stories for months, lying to the public and his aides, trying to cover up the affair with Monica Lewinsky and helping her find a job in New York, the president, Kavanaugh argued, engaged in ''a conspiracy to obstruct justice.''
Now as Kavanaugh prepares to go before the Senate on Sept. 4 for his confirmation hearing, there is again talk of impeachment in Washington.
This week, President Trump was implicated in a scheme to pay hush money shortly before the 2016 election to two women to cover up sexual affairs. His own former attorney, Michael Cohen, has pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws and accused Trump of directing him to make the payments. Trump has publicly denied the women's claims and denied knowing about the secret payments in advance, though he can be heard on tape discussing how to make them.
Trump is also under investigation by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III for possible collusion between his campaign and Russia, and obstruction of justice in trying to hinder that probe.
''The Kavanaugh argument in the Starr Report is highly relevant now,'' says New York lawyer David R. Lurie, because it portrayed a president's false statements and public denials as reflecting a pattern of obstructing justice. If investigators ''wanted a template for charging the president with acts of obstruction meriting impeachment, they could do worse than using sections of the Starr Report drafted by Kavanaugh,'' Lurie said.
The Constitution says the president can be impeached for ''treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors.'' While scholars disagree on how to define an offense that warrants impeachment, most maintain it involves a significant abuse of power by the president.
In 1974, President Nixon faced impeachment for obstruction of justice for arranging to pay hush money to the burglars who broke into the Watergate offices of the Democratic National Committee, and for intervening with the CIA and the FBI to thwart the investigation.
Starr's investigators did not have evidence that Clinton used the machinery of the U.S. government to cover up his crimes as Nixon did. They did, however, have evidence he had lied when questioned under oath by lawyers for Paula Jones, who had sued him for sexual harassment.
Critics of President Trump say he could be vulnerable to obstruction of justice charges for firing FBI Director James B. Comey over the Russia probe and for drafting a misleading statement about a Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign. Mueller has not alleged any legal wrongdoing by the president. Trump has repeatedly denied that his campaign coordinated with Russia's covert effort to defeat Hillary Clinton.
If confirmed to the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh would not likely face the question of what warrants impeachment. That is a question for Congress. But some legal experts say the Starr Report's roadmap could influence a future congressional debate if Trump faces impeachment.
''If the president's telling a false story to the public or to his secretary is an impeachable offense, how is that different from the president tweeting a false story? It could be a signal to witnesses,'' said University of Chicago law professor Daniel Hemel. ''You can imagine [Senate Minority Leader Charles E.] Schumer turning to the Republicans and saying, 'We should rely on the Kavanaugh argument for impeachment.' Of course, [Kavanaugh] won't have a vote, but if there is an impeachment, Kavanaugh would be looming in the background.''
In 1994, after Kavanaugh finished a one-year clerkship at the Supreme Court, Starr recruited him to join his investigation of Clinton and the Whitewater land deal in Arkansas. He spent three years re-investigating the suicide of White House deputy counsel Vince Foster. Conspiracy theorists had alleged Foster may have been murdered to cover-up Bill and Hillary Clinton's role in Whitewater. Kavanaugh and Starr's staff concluded his death was indeed a suicide.
Kavanaugh briefly left the counsel's staff, but returned in the spring of 1998 as the prospect of impeachment loomed. For the first time in his career, he would play a major role in a high-stakes constitutional clash.
Kavanaugh voiced disgust with Clinton and said he found his behavior ''abhorrent.'' The day before the president was set to testify before the grand jury, Kavanaugh urged his colleagues to ask the president highly explicit questions about sex acts to prove he had lied in the earlier deposition.
''It may not be our job to impose sanctions on him, but it is our job to make his pattern of revolting behavior clear '-- piece by painful piece '-- on Monday,'' he wrote in a memo released this week by the National Archives.
Clinton had continued to deny his affair with Lewinsky, in public and in private. Kavanaugh argued that the president's repeated false statements amounted to obstruction of justice and witness tampering because his statements could influence the grand jury. He cited Clinton's refusal to testify for seven months as grounds for impeachment, even after the president had changed his position and testified.
Andrew D. Leipold, a University of Illinois law professor who worked on the Starr Report, said that while Kavanaugh drafted the impeachment articles, ''everyone knew this was a report that reflected the views of the office and ultimately of Ken Starr.''
Clinton's defenders and most Democrats questioned whether the president's lies and cover-up amounted to a ''high crime'' warranting impeachment.
Leipold said the final decision rested with Congress. ''Was the referral aggressive in setting forth the grounds for impeachment? Some people say yes,'' Leipold said. ''I won't say everything was right, but I think we set forth truthful allegations. And what constitutes a 'high crime' is a political question for Congress.''
Critics alleged Starr's investigation was driven by partisan politics. ''They were political warriors and Federalist Society true believers,'' said Nelson W. Cunningham, a former federal prosecutor and a White House lawyer under Clinton. ''Starr had not been a prosecutor, and Kavanaugh had no credentials as a prosecutor or investigator. They were on a mission to bring down the president. No ordinary citizen would be charged for lying in a civil deposition denying an affair.''
In the November election, Democrats surprised political analysts by winning five seats, prompting House Speaker Newt Gingrich to resign. But the Republicans opted to press forward in December and rejected calls to pursue a less aggressive path by censuring Clinton instead. On a largely party-line vote, the House approved impeaching Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice.
A conviction required a two-thirds vote in the Senate, and to no one's surprise, the president was acquitted in February 1999. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), now the majority leader, and then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), now the attorney general, were among the Republicans who voted to remove Clinton for obstructing justice.
In his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee next month, Kavanaugh will face several other veteran lawmakers who played roles in the Clinton impeachment drama. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was one of the House members who argued for ousting the president, and Sens. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) voted for conviction.
Schumer fought the charges as a member of the House. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) were among the Democrats who voted to acquit the president.
Bill Clinton Got His Supreme Court Pick While Under Investigation. Trump Should Get His. | The Heritage Foundation
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 16:45
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Aug 24th, 2018 2 min read
Back in July, some Senate Democrats started demanding that the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh be delayed until after the Mueller investigation is finished.
None of them, however, explained the connection between the two.
Now, after Michael Cohen's guilty plea and Paul Manafort's conviction stemming from the Mueller investigation, they are at it again. They make no more sense today than they did a month ago, especially given that some of those senators have openly opposed Kavanaugh from the get-go.
As I wrote in July, President Bill Clinton was under criminal investigation in 1993 when he nominated Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Senate voted 96-3 to confirm her nomination just 42 days later.
A year later, Clinton was actually under subpoena when he nominated Justice Stephen Breyer. The Senate voted 87-9 to confirm his nomination and no Democrat feigned concern or suggested delaying the confirmation process.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said that the American Bar Association's rating is the ''gold standard'' for evaluating judicial nominees.
Eighty percent of Trump's nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals received a ''well qualified'' rating from the ABA'--a higher percentage than any of the previous five presidents of both parties. Yet most Democrats voted against more than three-quarters of those nominees.
Let's be honest, these Senate Democrats oppose Trump's every policy, nomination, decision, thought, word, and deed. So does it surprise anyone that senators who are unalterably opposed to the president and to his judicial nominees would scrounge around for some way to interfere with the Kavanaugh confirmation process?
Schumer said in 2009 that a nominee's judicial record is the best way to evaluate a nominee. Yet most Senate Democrats refuse to look at the 700 opinions that Kavanaugh wrote or joined over a dozen years on the U.S. Court of Appeals.
So does it surprise anyone that senators who aren't even pretending to examine this nominee's record or evaluate his qualifications would grasp at straws to disrupt the confirmation process?
The time between Kavanaugh's nomination and hearing will be 25 percent longer than the last several Supreme Court nominees. The Judiciary Committee has made public hundreds of thousands of pages of documents relating to Kavanaugh's executive branch service.
Yet Senate Democrats insist on seeing emails from hundreds of George W. Bush administration staffers with whom Kavanaugh did not work, about matters for which Kavanaugh was not responsible.
So does it surprise anyone that senators'--many of whom announced opposition to Trump's nominee before they even knew who it was'--would make fake ''arguments'' that serve only to degrade the confirmation process even further?
No, none of this surprises anyone.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal
Mid Term Elections
Democrats Voted To Strip Power From Superdelegates
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 14:09
Democrats voted Saturday to drastically scale back the controversial superdelegate system that gives elected officials and party insiders an outsize say in the party's presidential nominating process, delivering a significant victory for Bernie Sanders and his supporters ahead of 2020.
The vote, held at the Democratic National Committee's annual summer meeting here in Chicago, brings a laborious two-year process to its conclusion, with party members agreeing on a set of sweeping changes to superdelegates, caucuses, primaries, and other rules.
Under the new system for choosing a Democratic nominee, in the first round of voting at the national convention, superdelegates will no longer be entitled to their own delegate to award to the candidate of their choosing. Around 700 people had superdelegate status in 2016. In the case of a contested convention and second round of voting '-- a historically unlikely possibility '-- superdelegates would again be allowed to cast a delegate vote.
Superdelegates make up about 30% of the 2,382 delegates needed to clinch the party's nomination. They include 450 DNC members, Democratic elected officials, and ''distinguished'' party leaders like former presidents and vice presidents. Superdelegates were a major point of contention during the 2016 primary '-- with Sanders supporters arguing that the system unfairly favored Hillary Clinton.
Second to the superdelegate measure, the biggest change made on Saturday was a set of rules meant to make caucuses more fair and transparent: States that hold caucuses over primaries will be asked to offer same-day registration, publicly report the results of caucus voting, create a mechanism for absentee voting, and ensure that every caucus site is accessible to people with disabilities and English-language limitations.
Led by chair Tom Perez and a 12-person whip operation, DNC members backing the proposed changes worked through the four-day meeting here to ensure a wide margin of support. For Perez, a party chair who's stirred some unrest among DNC members since he entered the role early last year, Saturday's meeting came as something of a personal victory. A DNC official noted that he spent more than 100 hours making calls and taking meetings with party members to lock in their votes.
There was some opposition in Chicago to the changes. Not every DNC member '-- all of whom are superdelegates themselves '-- was eager to give up power in the nominating process. Others made the argument that women, people of color, and LGBT members of the party would be stripped of representation.
About a dozen or so Democrats met in the basement of the Hyatt Regency to discuss their problems with the proposals. On the door, a handmade sign encouraged Democrats to ''RESIST,'' showing the letters ''RBC,'' in reference to the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee, circled and crossed out.
At Saturday's meeting, former DNC chair Don Fowler argued that eliminating superdelegates would in particular ''disenfranchise'' some 200 black superdelegates, 100 Latino superdelegates, and dozens of LGBT superdelegates. From the back of the room, members of the audience responded by yelling, ''Lies!''
DNC Vice Chair of Civic Engagement and Voter Participation Karen Carter Peterson, along with other DNC members of color, also made a strong appeal against the changes. ''Are you telling me that I'm going to go to a convention '-- after my 30 years of blood, sweat, and tears for this party '-- that you're going to take away my right?''
Among those supporting the changes were both Sanders and Clinton allies, who wore ''Vote Yes to Our Future'' lapel stickers throughout this week's meeting.
More than two years ago, at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the two rivals established the Unity Reform Commission '-- a 21-person group mandated to review the party's nominating process, scale back superdelegates, make caucuses more accessible, and encourage the use of primaries over caucuses when possible. The commission met eight times before kicking the process to the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee '-- which then spent more than 80 hours in its own meetings.
Before Saturday's vote, Howard Dean, a former DNC chair and governor of Vermont, encouraged members to vote yes to the changes, telling Democrats that as long as superdelegates held a delegate vote in the nominating process, young voters would not trust in the party or a fair primary process.
''Make no mistake: This is a perception that's cost us at the ballot box,'' he said in a taped video that played just before the vote.
Perez, the current DNC chair, followed closely behind. ''It's time to make history,'' he said. ''It's time to make a clear statement to people who share our values that we trust you.
''That's what this package of reforms will do.''
The four-hour process concluded with a voice vote after Fowler, one of the strongest opponents of the proposals, conceded the fight, moving to waive the requirement for recorded paper votes.
Kill The Boer
Waarom de witte boeren in Zuid-Afrika ineens op Trumps agenda staan - NRC
Fri, 24 Aug 2018 14:01
Voor een president die sinds zijn aantreden aanzienlijk minder belangstelling toonde voor het Afrikaanse continent dan al zijn voorgangers, was de timing opmerkelijk. Donderdagochtend vroeg '' Zuid-Afrikaanse tijd '' twitterde president Donald Trump over 'žhet op grote schaal uitmoorden van boeren'' en 'žhet in beslag nemen van boerderijen en boerenland in Zuid-Afrika''. Hij zou zijn minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Mike Pompeo er met spoed naar laten kijken.
Volgen Waar kwamen die beschuldigingen ineens vandaan? De mythe van een 'witte genocide' op de witte boeren in Zuid-Afrika doet al jaren de ronde op extreemrechtse websites, zoals Stormfront. De beschuldigingen vinden ook een gewillig oor bij rechts-populistische partijen als de PVV in Nederland. De Australische minister Peter Dutton zei in maart dat de witte Zuid-Afrikaanse boeren 'žspeciale aandacht'' verdienen en zou kijken of ze recht hadden op een versneld visum, nadat Australische media over 'žeen enorme toename van geweld tegen boeren'' had bericht.
Die cijfers worden stellig tegengesproken door AgriSA, notabene een vakbond van witte boeren. Volgens cijfers die AgriSA in juni bekendmaakte is het aantal moorden op witte boeren in de afgelopen twintig jaar nog nooit zo laag geweest. Werden er in 1998 nog 153 boeren vermoord, vorig jaar was dat gemiddelde gehalveerd tot 74. Onder die slachtoffers waren niet alleen witte, ook zwarte boeren en zwarte knechten. Het Institute for Security Studies benadrukt dat de moorden op boeren slechts 0,3 procent uitmaken van de 19.000 moorden die vorig jaar werden gepleegd in Zuid-Afrika.
Volgens cijfers van een witte vakbond was het aantal moorden op witte boeren in de afgelopen 20 jaar nog nooit zo laag
Debat over landonteigeningWat betreft het in beslag nemen van boerderijen was Trumps tweet ook bezijden de waarheid. De Zuid-Afrikaanse president Ramaphosa maakte deze maand wel bekend dat hij de grondwet wil aanpassen die de onteigening van boerderijen zonder compensatie mogelijk moet maken. De regering is gefrustreerd over het feit dat 25 jaar na de apartheid nog ruim tweederde van het land in handen is van witte Zuid-Afrikanen, die minder dan 10 procent van de bevolking uitmaken.
President Ramaphosa benadrukte woensdag in het parlement dat hij t(C)gen nationalisatie van land is en dat onteigeningen alleen bij hoge uitzondering een instrument mogen zijn.
Dus hoe kwamen de Zuid-Afrikaanse boeren terecht op het bureau van Trump? Trump vermeldde zelf zijn primaire bron in zijn tweet: Fox News. Presentator Tucker Carlson had woensdagavond op Fox gesproken over 'žhet racisme'' van de Zuid-Afrikaanse president Cyril Ramaphosa die 'žland wil afnemen van zijn eigen burgers zonder compensatie omdat ze de verkeerde huidskleur hebben''. De bron van die beschuldiging kwam in de uitzending aan het woord, Marian Tupy van het CATO Institute. 'žIn een vrije en beschaafde samenleving pakken wij geen dingen van mensen af, op basis van hun huidskleur.''
Lees meer over landonteigening in Zuid-Afrika: Kaapse landinvasie leidt tot raciale spanningen Actiegroep lobbyt in VSHet CATO Institute, een libertarische denktank in Washington, werd afgelopen mei bezocht door de Zuid-Afrikaanse boerenactiegroep AfriForum. Voorzitter Kallie Kriel en lid Ernst Roets bezochten toen een aantal leden van het Amerikaanse Congres en gingen ook op de foto met Trumps nationale veiligheidsadviseur John Bolton, die ze toevallig tegenkwamen. 'žIk denk zeker dat onze lobby een impact heeft gehad, omdat we met veel mensen hebben gesproken die contact hebben met president Trump en met veel denktanks, zoals het CATO-instituut'', verklaarde Roets donderdag. Roets publiceerde dit jaar een boek met de titel Kill the Boer, waarin hij schrijft over moorden op witte boeren.
Zijn actiegroep Afriforum ligt in Zuid-Afrika onder vuur omdat ze deze maand een lijst van 139 boerderijen bekendmaakte die door de regering onteigend zouden worden. De actiegroep moest daarna excuses aanbieden, omdat de lijst nepnieuws bleek te zijn. Voorzitter Kallie Kriel zei eerder in een radiointerview dat hij apartheid 'žgeen misdaad tegen de menselijkheid'' vond omdat geen sprake was geweest van massaslachtingen 'žzoals tijdens de holocaust of onder het communisme''.
Felle kritiek vanuit Zuid-AfrikaAfriforum werd in mei ge¯nterviewd door dezelfde Tucker Carlson van Fox News die gisteren Zuid-Afrika in zijn uitzending besprak. Het Amerikaanse CATO-instituut dat in die uitzending aan het woord kwam, was tijdens de apartheid fel tegenstander van economische sancties tegen het apartheidsregime.
In Zuid-Afrika kreeg de lobby van Afriforum bij het CATO-instituut en Amerikaanse Congresleden felle kritiek. De rector van de Witwaterrand Universiteit, Adam Habib, noemde Kriel en Roets zelfs 'žweerzinwekkende mensen''.
De tweet van Donald Trump werd donderdag met dezelfde weerzin ontvangen in Zuid-Afrika. De Zuid-Afrikaanse regering sprak in een reactie over een 'žeenzijdig perspectief dat alleen is bedoeld ons land te verdelen en ons herinnert aan ons koloniaal verleden''.
SJWBLMLGBBTQQIAAPK
Professor to students: Drop class immediately if you're 'triggered' by opinions that offend you - The College Fix
Thu, 23 Aug 2018 23:00
A professor of English at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, fed up with the push to protect college students from ideas they don't like or disagree with, has decided to take matters into his own hands, at least where his classroom is concerned.
Professor Duke Pesta has his students sign a contract at the beginning of class that asks them to ''please drop the class immediately'' if they are ''triggered'' by ideas that offend them.
Pesta, a conservative scholar who has taught at various colleges and universities for the last 25 years and is also host of The College Fix's Campus Roundup YouTube show, said his two-page contract is something he created a year-and-a-half ago to counter the trend of infantilizing college students when it comes to academic debate and the free exchange of ideas on campus.
''In this course, we study literature from cultures that existed before you were born. Their world is not our world. Their beliefs may not be our beliefs. No one asks you to believe or endorse any premise, attitude, precept, theology, political system, or ideology contained in these books or expressed in class. Nor will you ever lose points or be docked grades because of your opinion (written, oral, or otherwise),'' the contract's Statement of Purpose explains.
''We will not malign or trivialize these texts because they do not always parrot our values. We will not assume these books are racist, sexist, or homophobic because of the period in which they were written, or because of the race, class, gender, or religion of the authors,'' it continues.
''People who approach alien cultures with such preconceived notions are bigots masquerading as critically sophisticated advocates, often in the name of 'social justice.' Persons who so diminish the past are neither social nor just, especially when they compel students to adopt their biases.''
The contract goes on to list provisos students must agree to, including:
Please drop the class immediately if you are triggered by free speech, the free exchange of ideas, or people who express and defend ideas or opinions that differ from your own.
Please drop the class immediately if you are triggered by open, direct, and adult discussion of issues, including but not limited to issues of faith, war, violence, race, gender, and sexuality.
Please drop the class immediately if you are triggered by recurring encounters with heterosexuality, traditional gender identities, sympathetic representations of Christianity (or religion in general), positive examples of free markets or capitalism, or unapologetic encounters with patriotism, hierarchies, or meritocracy-based institutions or attitudes.
Please drop the class immediately if you feel entitled to censor the thoughts or words of others or insist they tailor their language or attitudes to your preferences.
Pesta, in an interview with The College Fix, said he's used this exact version of the contract for three semesters. Before that, he said he used a much less specific version for about eight years.
''I have learned through personal experience that university administrators and equity officers are often not willing to defend classroom speech, even if that speech is taken directly from books or used to explain them,'' said Pesta (pictured).
''Students are now keenly aware that they can put professors through an intrusive investigatory process just by complaining, even without any corroborating evidence. I have even had department heads who allow students to substitute required classes for other courses just because students complain about what they have 'heard' a professor's classes are like,'' Pesta added. ''My contract is an attempt to make it harder for these kangaroo court investigations to be launched in the first place.''
New research shows that trigger warnings may be harmful to students, and Pesta said he finds them ''appalling from an educational standpoint.''
''But I have come to realize that they may have more utility for professors than students,'' he said. ''It's one more way to try and indemnify yourself from malicious and unfounded complaints by driving away at the outset students who only want their own preconceived ideas validated.''
So far, students are willing to sign it.
''I've not encountered a student yet who would not sign,'' he said. ''I do tell them, when I pass it out the first day, that if they refuse to sign they will have to meet with me sometime during the first week of classes to discuss the contract and make sure we're on the same page.''
MORE: Professors who voiced conservative views reported to bias response team
MORE: Complaints filed with UMich Bias Response Team often target professors
MAIN IMAGE: Shutterstock
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The Algos
Christie's to Make History With Sale of AI-Generated Art - Barron's
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 13:45
Aug. 24, 2018 10:41 a.m. ETLeonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, and Vincent Van Gogh have fresh competition: an artificial intelligence algorithm.
Christie's is offering the unique opportunity to own an AI-generated portrait at an auction this October, and it's expected to sell for up to $10,000. The auction will take place in New York from Oct. 23 to Oct. 25 and is part of a Prints & Multiples collection, featuring other artwork and antiques.
Coined ''Generative Art,'' Christie's is auctioning a portrait of a fictionalized character called Edmond de Belamy; the character's surname is a French play on the surname Goodfellow, which translates to ''Belamy.''
Ian Goodfellow was the inventor of generative adversarial networks, also known as GAN, the type of AI used by Obvious, a Paris-based collective, to create the portrait of Belamy.
''This new technology allows us to experiment on the notion of creativity for a machine, and the parallel with the role of the artist in the creation process,'' Hugo Caselles-Dupr(C), a representative of Obvious, said in a news release. ''The approach invites the observer to consider and evaluate the similarities and distinctions between the mechanics within the human brain, such as the creative process, and the ones of an algorithm.''
GAN is comprised of two algorithmic components, a generator and a discriminator, which together are fed a data set of 15,000 portraits. The generator makes new images based on the set, while the discriminator reviews all outputs until it deems the result indistinguishable from handmade versions.
''AI has already been incorporated as a tool by contemporary artists and as this technology further develops, we are excited to participate in these continued conversations,'' says Richard Lloyd, international head of prints & multiples for Christie's. ''To best engage in the dialogue, we are offering a public platform to exhibit an artwork that has entirely been realized by an algorithm.''
Vaccine$
Flash - In US, HPV-related cancers on rise - France 24
Fri, 24 Aug 2018 14:47
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Despite rising vaccination rates, cancers related to human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted infection, are on the rise in the United States, particularly cancers of the head, neck and throat, officials said Thursday.
In men, most of the increase was in head, neck and throat cancers, while in women, cases of HPV-related anal cancer rose, according to a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"From 1999 to 2015, the number of HPV-associated cancers increased from 30,000 to over 43,000 annually," said the report.
Even though vaccinations against HPV have been on the rise in recent years, the CDC said the increase in cancers is "likely due to increased HPV exposure over the past few decades."
Cervical cancer rates continue to decline -- about 1.6 percent annually since 1999 -- thanks to screening and early detection, added the report.
But there is no recommended screening for other HPV-associated cancers.
"HPV vaccination can prevent infection with the HPV types most strongly associated with cancer," said the CDC report.
"Increasing HPV vaccination rates among young males and females could prevent many cancers."
The CDC said that last year, nearly 66 percent of adolescents aged 13-17 received the first dose in the vaccine series, and nearly 49 percent of adolescents received all the recommended doses to complete the series.
"This vaccine is the best way to protect our youth from developing cancers caused by HPV infection," said CDC Director Robert Redfield.
After adjusting for rises in population, the overall rate of all HPV cancers in US women declined 0.4 percent from 1999 to 2015, largely due to drops in cervical cancer thanks to better screening, the report said.
In men, the rate of HPV cancers rose 2.4 percent over the same period.
(C) 2018 AFP
#MeToo
Tavis Smiley Stumbling in PBS Lawsuit | Hollywood Reporter
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 11:53
August 24, 2018 3:42pm PTby Ashley Cullins
Earl Gibson III/Getty Images
The ousted anchor can't force PBS to hand over internal documents dating back decades and two of his claims have been dismissed.
Tavis Smiley can't force PBS to turn over documents related to every romantic relationship a network supervisor has had with a subordinate since the early aughts, a judge has ruled.
Smiley in February sued the network after it dropped his show amid sexual misconduct allegations. PBS in March filed a countersuit that claimed Smiley violated the morals clause in his contract and sought to reclaim nearly $2 million it had paid him.
A D.C. judge on Thursday denied Smiley's request for a motion to compel PBS to hand over certain documents as part of a discovery request the network challenged as overbroad.
In its opposition, PBS argued that he was requesting documents that dated back more than a decade and weren't relevant to the contract issues at hand, including the network's sexual harassment policies since 2000 and any records of PBS managers having a relationship with a subordinate and the resulting disciplinary actions, if there were any.
Judge Anthony Epstein found PBS responded reasonably to Smiley's discovery requests.
"TSM is not entitled to conduct a fishing expedition concerning all romantic or personal relationships between superiors and subordinates within PBS or within companies with which PBS did business," writes Epstein. "However, if TSM has information that PBS tolerated behavior inside PBS or within one or more of its partners that is comparable to the behavior in which Mr. Smiley is alleged to have engaged, or if other discovery in this case shows that PBS compared Mr. Smiley's conduct with conduct of other people with whom it did business, targeted discovery may be appropriate."
Smiley also sought information related to PBS' decision to cancel his show. He contends the sexual misconduct allegations were a smokescreen and claims the network is "racially hostile." PBS disputes the claim but argues that it had the contractual right to cancel the show for any reason, including a racially discriminatory one, and therefore documents concerning its motives are irrelevant. Epstein isn't entirely convinced.
"The Court is not inclined to decide in the abstract, and in the discovery context, whether this principle applies if PBS terminated its distribution agreement for racially discriminatory reasons," writes Epstein. "TSM does not provide any specific information supporting its allegation that PBS would not have terminated the distribution arrangement if he were not African-American, but the Court is unwilling to make an open-ended ruling that a contractual provision or the First Amendment gives media companies a license to engage in discrimination based on race."
In denying the motion, Epstein also denied Smiley's request to file a 145-page memorandum in support of his motion to compel. Epstein criticized the filing as "mind-numbing" in its repetition and full of "wholly unnecessary" details, such as where Smiley got his undergraduate degree.
Epstein denied Smiley's motions without prejudice. So there is a chance the host's attorneys could take another shot at it. However, Epstein chided the parties for not trying harder to resolve the issue on their own before seeking his intervention, so they may refrain.
In May, Smiley was dealt another blow when PBS was granted an anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss two of his claims. Epstein found that Smileys causes of action for intentional interference with contract and tortious interference with business expectancy arose from activity protected by the First Amendment and he didn't prove that he was likely to succeed on the merits of those claims.
The claims centered on the network's press statements that said "'multiple credible' allegations of sexual misconduct" by Smiley prompted the decision to stop airing the show. Epstein found that PBS's conduct is "unquestionably" protected by the First Amendment and concerns both a public figure and an issue of public interest.
"PBS made the statement at a time of extraordinary public interest in alleged sexual misconduct by men in positions of power, particularly in news and entertainment," the judge writes in a May 15 order, noting that no amount of targeted discovery would have enabled Smiley to prove PBS didn't have a reasonable basis to believe the allegations were credible. Following the decision, PBS was awarded nearly $100,000 in attorneys' fees.
Out There
Mysterious Field Of Static Electrical Energy At Google In London - Business Insider
Fri, 24 Aug 2018 22:02
YouTube/LessAmazingPhil There's something very strange happening outside Google's office in London.
Multiple people have reported being zapped by a field of static electricity outside the building, and they have started videoing it to prove the weird phenomenon exists.
Google declined to comment on this story when reached by Business Insider.
Reddit user "master_poop" was one of the first people to discover the strange electrical field, posting a video which shows his hair standing on end.
There's even an audible "buzz" from what he guesses is static electricity.
After posting the video online, he explained that both of the people featured in the video had since suffered from toothache, and he had even had a small nosebleed.
Some people on Reddit dismissed the video as fake. After all, people often try and game the popular site by inventing weird phenomenon. They can earn money if enough people watch their videos through ads on YouTube. But more videos have come to light showing the same electricity field outside Google's office.
Back in September, YouTube user "LessAmazingPhil" uploaded a video showing his hair standing on end at exactly the same spot outside Google's London HQ.
And there's even a third video showing another man standing outside Google's office with his hair standing on end from some kind of static electricity field.
There are a number of theories for what might be causing the strange build-up of electricity. Some people theorise that there could be a problem with electrical wires underneath the street outside Google HQ.
Others guess that the design of the building could be to blame. They claim that the building features a mesh of metal poles that could generate static electricity.
Flickr/La Citta Vita
Despite reports of painful tooth fillings and nosebleeds that may have been caused by the electrical field, UK Power Networks has investigated the area and declared it safe.
Earlier today, workmen were seen outside Google's office, digging up the exact spot where the electrical phenomenon was taking place.
Here's where you can find the spot on a map:
Google Maps
Procter & Gamble bids to trademark LOL, WTF and other acronyms | Business | The Guardian
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 14:11
Procter & Gamble, the household products company, has applied to trademark acronyms common in textspeak including ''LOL'' and ''WTF''.
If successful, the terms could be used to market products such as soap, detergents and air fresheners in order to attract younger consumers.
P&G registered the trademark applications with the US Patent and Trademark Office in April. The newly branded products would be sold alongside well known items such as Febreze, Fairy and Mr Clean.
Alongside LOL (laughing out loud) and WTF (what the fuck), other acronyms P&G has applied to trademark are NBD (no big deal) and FML (fuck my life).
The company's applications have not yet been approved. According to Ad Age, the trademark office has requested clarification regarding the applications and P&G has until January to respond.
P&G board member Nelson Peltz told CNBC in March that younger consumers did not want ''one size fits all'' brands but products ''they have an emotional attachment to''. According to the statistics portal Statista, millennials in the US are expected to increase their annual spending to $1.4tn (£1.09tn) by 2020.
P&G are not the first company to try to trademark well known terms. In the US, the New England Patriots tried to trademark ''19-0'', a reference to an unbeaten season, just two weeks before they lost the Super Bowl to the New York Giants.
Walmart tried to trademark the yellow smiley face, which has been around since the 1970s. It got into legal battles with a rival claim from Franklin Loufrani, the president of The Smiley Company in Brussels, and lost in an attempt to sue the artist Charles Smith for parodying the symbol. The court concluded the smiley was in the public domain.
More successful were Facebook, who trademarked the word ''face'' in reference to telecommunication services. Paris Hilton owns the words ''that's hot'' and successfully sued Hallmark greetings cards for using it, while celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe trademarked ''bananas''.
Disney applied to trademark the name D­a de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), but a petition that attracted more than 21,000 signatures in less than 24 hours forced the company to withdraw the application.
In Britain, Chanel's attempt to trademark the name Jersey was denied by the UK's Intellectual Property Office. ''It was important that we challenged this,'' said Jersey senator Alan Maclean at the time. ''This was about ownership of the name Jersey. It is not about stopping Chanel using the name.''
Procter & Gamble has been contacted for comment.
Clips
VIDEO - Conor Daly loses Lilly Diabetes sponsorship over remark his father made over 30 years ago - YouTube
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 14:44
VIDEO - Credit reports are getting a makeover. Here's what to do.
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 14:28
Your credit report might be getting a makeover.
And the three-digit credit score we all carry around, which can determine how likely we are to get a favorable loan to buy a house or a car, could be moving up as a result.
The reason behind the potential boost is a change in the way the three major credit rating firms deal with negative credit information, including unpaid bills and debts.
Some of new practices by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion include more updated reporting, such as noting when an overdue balance has been paid, along with the exclusion of certain debts and items of questionable accuracy.
"To the extent that the bureaus are looking and seeing what's accurate and cleaning up the report, it can improve family financial security," said Caroline Ratcliffe, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan think thank.
Library fines and traffic tickets are also being scrubbed. Medical debts that have been or are being paid by insurance companies will disappear from profiles.
In response to these changes, Americans' credit reports are already showing fewer blemishes and scores are rising.
In June, the number of individuals with a collections account on their credit report fell to 25 million, down from 33 million the previous year, and the total collections balance reported on accounts declined by about $11 billion during that time, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
In addition, some people might have seen their scores take a jump earlier this year when the three major credit companies scrapped tax liens from their reports.
More from Personal Finance:Here's the real reason why your 401(k) fees are fallingHere's why robo-advisors won't replace human financial advisors
Your retirement finances may not be as bad as you think, survey finds
You can see if your score is higher for free on websites like Credit Karma or Credit Sesame.
If it has, resist the urge to go deeper into debt or take a break from checking in with your score.
"Anyone who has experienced a jump in their credit score resulting from these changes should take advantage of the momentum and strive for even more progress toward improving their credit health," said Bruce McClary, vice president of communications at the National Foundation of Credit Counseling.
Consider calling your bank or credit card company and negotiating a lower interest rate. Doing so can result in major savings.
For example, if you have $10,000 in credit card debt with a 25 percent annual percentage rate, you'll have paid around $2,500 in interest over the year. But if you could get that rate down to 18 percent, you'll pay $1,800 over 12 months, and save yourself $700.
You might also consider making other financial moves with that better score, such as refinancing your car, taking out a new loan for a mortgage, checking insurance rates or getting a better credit card, said Kimberly Palmer, personal finance expert at NerdWallet. However, you'll want to be strategic, she added.
"Every application can cause a small ding to your credit," she said. "And if you are planning a big purchase like a car or a home in the next six months, hold off on credit card applications."
To keep your score moving up, pay every bill on time and try to keep your credit utilization low, she said.
"On the Money" airs on CNBC Saturdays at 5:30 a.m. ET, or check listings for air times in local markets.
VIDEO - Real Time with Bill Maher 8/24/18 SHOCKED John Brennan DEFEAT Trump is a traitor or merely treasonou - YouTube
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 12:14
VIDEO - Real Time with Bill Maher 8/24/18 SHOCKED John Brennan DEFEAT Trump is a traitor or merely treasonou - Bing video
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 12:14
Brennan: Trump divide could spill into streets 00:50 HD MSN Brennan: Trump's Attempts To Divide Americans 'Could Spill Over Into The Streets' 00:57 HD MSN Brennan Accuses Trump Of Causing Division That Could 'Spill Over into The Streets' | Gift Of Life 04:40 HD YouTube · 13 views Real Time with Bill Maher 8/24/18 SHOCKED John Brennan DEFEAT Trump is a traitor or merely treasonou 42:58 YouTube · 72 views
VIDEO - Brennan: Trump divide could spill into streets
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 12:13
CNN Duration: 00:50 22 hrs ago
Former CIA Director John Brennan accused President Trump of dividing the US in an interview on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," saying he's "concerned about whether this could spill over into the streets."
VIDEO - Tesla That Rear-Ended Fire Truck May Have Been Self-Driving CBS San Francisco
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 12:05
August 25, 2018 at 10:00 pmSAN JOSE (KPIX) '-- Police were investigating a crash involving what may have been a self-driving Tesla and a fire truck.
The crash happened around 1 a.m. on southbound Highway 101, in San Jose, just south of Bailey Avenue.
A black Tesla slammed into a parked fire truck. No firefighters were injured, witnesses say the driver of the Tesla was put on a stretcher and a CHP officer appeared to give him a sobriety test.
The driver and a passenger were transported to the hospital, but there has been no news as to their condition.
In a Tweet, San Jose firefighters said this is the second time in recent months that a Tesla has rear-ended on of their trucks. They said the car was reportedly in auto-mode, but the braking system was not engaged.
In a statement, Tesla said the company ''has not yet received any data from the car but we are working to establish the facts of the incident.''
Comments
VIDEO - Opus 55 Legacy - YouTube
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 03:57
VIDEO - A Fight Is Breaking Out Over Bitcoin Cash '' And It Just Might Split the Code - CoinDesk
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 10:23
With bitcoin cash developers at each other throats, the year-old cryptocurrency might just split into two.
Created from a hard fork off the original bitcoin network after the scaling debate boiled over last year, bitcoin cash stakeholders seemed unified in their goal of boosting the cryptocurrency's block size parameter in the hopes of attracting more users and enabling more transactions.
But a few cracks started to pop up in this united front over the past year, as bitcoin cash developers had one technical disagreement after another.
And a new software release by leading bitcoin cash implementation, Bitcoin ABC, has been perceived by some as a subtle declaration of war within the developer community.
The software includes a suite of upgrades, including a smart contract feature that would support atomic swaps, a way of trading one cryptocurrency for another without traditional exchanges. And while many cryptocurrency projects are excited about the idea of interoperable coins, some big names in the bitcoin cash community don't agree with the changes and have '' no surprise '' been very vocal about it.
Leading the opposition is Craig Wright, nChain CEO and the cryptographer who claims to be bitcoin's pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto, though he's not provided any proof of this claim so far. And he's teamed up with Calvin Ayre, an entrepreneur and founder of crypto news site CoinGeek, to lead the resistance with a new bitcoin cash implementation called Bitcoin SV.
Bitcoin SV scraps Bitcoin ABC's scripts for its own '' as well as pushes the block size parameter to 128 MB (bitcoin cash's block size is currently at 32 MB).
Taking a dig at Bitcoin ABC developers, the Bitcoin SV release announcement reads:
"Bitcoin SV is intended to provide a clear bitcoin cash implementation choice for miners who support bitcoin's original vision, over implementations that seek to make unnecessary changes to the original bitcoin protocol."
While infighting about the technical direction of a cryptocurrency is no out of the ordinary occurrence, this particular disagreement could have big repercussions for bitcoin cash.
Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV are incompatible software, and both groups behind the implementations are seeking to trigger new code changes in November. As such, if some bitcoin cash users run one software and others run the other, it'll cause a chain split and create a new competing cryptocurrency.
All about 'fake Satoshi'The fire underlying this technical debate was fueled by none other than one of bitcoin cash's more prominent supporters '' Wright.
After ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin took the mic at a cryptocurrency conference to call Wright a "fraud," many developers and other stakeholders in the industry started taking sides. For instance, many devs argue against nChain's Bitcoin SV partly because they've started to distrust Wright's judgment.
Even Jihan Wu, the co-founder of mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain, who has been a proponent of bitcoin cash (his business holds a substantial stake in the cryptocurrency), joined many others on social media calling Wright "fake Satoshi" since they don't believe his claims that he created bitcoin.
Following up on his earlier condemnation, Buterin later tweeted:
"The bitcoin cash community should not compromise with Craig Wright to 'avoid a split' and should embrace it as an opportunity to conclusively ostracize and reject him."
Despite all this, though, Wright is far from alone in supporting the nChain implementation. Ayre promised in a statement to put all CoinGeek's mining power towards it (the mining pool is the largest for bitcoin cash at press time), and Cobra, the pseudonymous owner of Bitcoin.org, took to social media to voice his opinion that those behind Bitcoin ABC are in the wrong.
"This is what happens when you have incompetent rogue developers like Bitcoin ABC lead developer [Amaury Sechet] pushing their agenda instead of compromising," Cobra tweeted. "Tired of these fucking amateurs and morons screwing around with bitcoin cash. Upgrade with consensus, or don't upgrade at all."
Attempts at compromiseWhat's getting lost in the debate, though, is that several notable bitcoin cash developers actually think both sides are acting out and would instead prefer to compromise.
Besides BitcoinABC and nChain, there are still other bitcoin cash implementations, including Bitcoin Classic and Bitcoin Unlimited, two software implementations that actually predate bitcoin cash.
And these veteran developers are skeptical about the two proposals getting the most attention.
"Both ABC and nChain are trying to hard fork. Both of them are not giving any rationale why. Both of them are completely not responsive to any feedback or any compromise requests from the rest of the ecosystem," wrote Bitcoin Classic lead developer Thomas Zander.
And Bitcoin Unlimited lead developer Andrew Stone agrees.
He's not particularly swayed by either side, arguing that both developer groups don't have the best interest of the end user in mind.
"Given the 'no changes, no matter how reasonable, except mine' strategy being pursued by both of these organizations, I can only sadly conclude that this is again about power and ego not about technical merit and end-user adoption," Stone wrote on a popular bitcoin cash forum.
Instead, he believes bitcoin cash proponents need to "stick together," and to that goal, he's working on a code change that would allow Bitcoin Unlimited users to effectively vote on which set of changes they'd like to see activated.
This voting system, he hopes, will help resolve not only this caustic debate but also similar situations in the future.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Cobra announced a similar effort called the Cobra Client. But rather than allow users to vote, the client simply removes all contentious code changes and replaces them with replay protection, a code change that will protect users from accidentally losing their money in the case bitcoin cash does indeed split into two.
Yet, others, such as long-time crypto enthusiast and Bitcoin Magazine reporter Aaron Van Wirdum, remain pessimistic that a compromise will be reached.
Van Wirdum recently tweeted:
"Turns out if you start a coin by hard fork without consensus, precedent is to hard fork without consensus."
Photo by Ivan Vranić on Unsplash
The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.
VIDEO - Why is there a measles outbreak in Europe? - BBC News
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 04:39
Cases of measles in Europe have reached the highest this decade, according to the World Health Organization.
So what's going on?
VIDEO - NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch: Democrats are ''trying to Al Capone the president''
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 04:04
From the August 22 edition of NRATV's Relentless:
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x ADVANCED SEARCHABOUT THE VIDEOSIn addition to reviewing print and online media, Media Matters monitors at least 150 hours of television and radio each week. This section features highlights (or low-lights) from our monitoring efforts, other noteworthy clips as well as original videos.
LATEST 'º'º'º Tucker Carlson: Trump "bragged about his low sexual standards" in Access Hollywood tape video August 24, 2018 8:39 PM EDT Fox News' coverage of Mollie Tibbetts' death spiked after it was linked to an undocumented immigrant blog August 24, 2018 5:48 PM EDT Fox & Friends hosts a QAnon conspiracy theorist who has claimed the Parkland mass shooting was fake blog August 24, 2018 4:50 PM EDT PBS NewsHour provides a model for how media should cover Brett Kavanaugh's threat to Roe'‹ blog August 24, 2018 4:50 PM EDT No crime but a witch hunt: Pro-Trump media's off-the-wall reactions to Manafort's conviction and Cohen's guilty pleaAfter former Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen were found guilty and pleaded guilty, respectively, each on eight criminal counts, right-wing media immediately rose to President Donald Trump's defense. Multiple media figures claimed that none of the charges had anything to do with Trump and that Trump's former associates pleaded guilty to crimes that ''don't exist.''
research August 24, 2018 3:35 PM EDT Brett Kavanaugh will threaten Roe. Susan Collins needs to stop buying right-wing media's excuses. blog August 24, 2018 3:09 PM EDT Alex Jones says he's communicating with Trump: "We are talking to the president through different systems" video August 24, 2018 2:05 PM EDT Paris Dennard's history of commentary on sexual misconduct on CNNCNN has suspended political commentator Paris Dennard after a Washington Post report detailed allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior during his tenure as the events director for Arizona State University's McCain Institute for International Leadership. During Dennard's time as a political commentator at CNN, he staunchly defended President Donald Trump against reports that Trump sexually harassed and assaulted several women, attacking the reporting and complaining that such stories ''destroy[s] people's credibility'' and ''tear people down'' using ''unsubstantiated facts.''
research August 24, 2018 2:02 PM EDT Video: Climate change worsens extreme weather and hurts people of color the most. When will mainstream media tell this story? blog August 24, 2018 1:18 PM EDT NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch: Democrats are ''trying to Al Capone the president'' video August 24, 2018 10:48 AM EDT Infowars host: Hurricane threatening Hawaii has been split in two by energy beam shot from Antarctica, possibly by John Kerry video August 24, 2018 10:25 AM EDT Fox & Friends guest: If NFL players "really have disdain for law enforcement officers and the military, why don't they hire their own?" video August 24, 2018 9:28 AM EDT Study: AP quoted pro-Kavanaugh voices 50 percent more in its Supreme Court coverage blog August 24, 2018 8:46 AM EDT Media portray these tales of perseverance as uplifting and inspirational. They're actually horror stories. blog August 24, 2018 8:41 AM EDT Fox & Friends reacts to CEO of National Enquirer getting immunity: "You cannot blame the president for feeling like he's being surrounded and targeted" video August 24, 2018 8:39 AM EDT
VIDEO - Kamala Harris on Twitter: "As an unindicted co-conspirator of a federal crime, President Trump should not be allowed to appoint someone to a lifetime position on the highest court in our land '' a court which may very well adjudicate on this matt
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 01:20
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VIDEO - Britain Faces Risk of Sperm Shortage in Event of No-Deal Brexit - Bloomberg
Fri, 24 Aug 2018 22:00
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VIDEO - Mystery revealed: Why one woman duped dozens of guys on Tinder - ABC News
Fri, 24 Aug 2018 20:43
The woman whose fake Tinder date with dozens of men became a group competition and later went viral says the stunt was actually a social experiment.
Interested in Tinder? Add Tinder as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Tinder news, video, and analysis from ABC News.Natasha Aponte, the woman who lured the would-be dates to a park in New York City last week, and Rob Bliss, the creative director behind the project, told "Good Morning America" Thursday that the ruse had been in the works for two years.
"The purpose of making this video was to simply take the Tinder experience and bring it into the real world," Bliss explained.
Aponte messaged dozens of men on Tinder and eventually asked them all to meet her at Manhattan's Union Square Park on Sunday. When they arrived, she jumped out on stage, delivered a speech and asked them to compete for the date.
While many of the men went home, a few stayed to partake in the competition.
ABCNews.com VIDEO: Woman dupes dozens of men into public dating contest via TinderBliss, who's behind several other recent viral video campaigns, said the extreme competition-style date provided a great insight into dating habits in the 21st century.
"It's kind of become socially acceptable to like disqualify people and say, like, you have to be X height, you have to work X job," he said, comparing it to Aponte's own disqualifying list for the potential suitors. "This project proved that doesn't matter at the end of the day."
Some outside commenters took issue with the real-life dating game and shared their opinions on social media, while a few men who participated seemed to have hurt feelings and bruised egos.
I TRUST NO ONE. I TRUST NOTHING ANYMORE. VANITY WILL BE THE DEMISE OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION. DON'T GET GOT. THE END.
'-- ???? (@bvdhai) August 19, 2018Aponte said that looking back on the stunt she doesn't have any regrets.
"I'm taking all of the hits right now, but I don't mind that," she said. "Because I know who I am and I'm secure in myself.
Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images, FILE Tinder is displayed on a smartphone in Berlin, Feb. 26, 2018."It's funny cause a lot of the negative [comments] that I'm getting, from these guys, are still in my inbox trying to date me," she added.
Aponte ultimately went on a date with one of the men from the competition and agreed with Bliss that this experience taught her something unexpected in the process.
"Be open because the person you actually might be with is something that you would never, ever choose," she said.
Bliss maintained that they were not selling anything with the viral stunt.
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VIDEO - Ryan Saavedra 🇺🇸 on Twitter: "CNN goes out into normal America, discovers most people don't care about the Cohen and Manafort drama.'... "
Fri, 24 Aug 2018 06:30
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VIDEO - Michael Sheridan on Twitter: "Please listen carefully to @MariaBartiromo and Jeff. After Jeff confirms the 27 leaks he is working on, look at him crack a smile when Maria mentions Hillary's emails 27 leakers Hillary's emails and so much more He is
Fri, 24 Aug 2018 06:18
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VIDEO - Cohen lawyer, in solicitation snafu, promotes nonexistent website that now leads to Trump campaign homepage | Fox News
Thu, 23 Aug 2018 23:12
Michael Cohen website mishapMichael Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, pointed viewers to a website where they could donate funds to help President Trump's former attorney.
Michael Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis on Wednesday mistakenly promoted a nonexistent website where he said supporters could donate to his client's legal fund -- but the site didn't stay dormant for long.
It now redirects to President Trump campaign website donaldjtrump.com, which urges visitors to contribute to re-elect the president and "Make America Great Again."
"I know that when [Cohen] retained me, as recently as yesterday, he's committed to telling the truth, and we've actually set up a website with the name 'truth' in it, called michaelcohentruth.com," Davis told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Wednesday. "And he's looking for help from people who want to give donations to help him tell the truth."
Davis repeated the inaccurate website address later in the interview, saying that Cohen "has gone through a lot, his family has suffered, he's in financial distress -- we've set up a Gofundme site, called michaelcohentruth.com, and we're hoping that people who want him to tell the truth about Donald Trump will contribute to that site."
That website was inactive at the time of Davis' comment early Wednesday, but was snatched up quickly. Publicly available information about the domain name's registration hides the owner of the website through a proxy service, but reveals that the URL was purchased on Wednesday.
Visitors to the website advertised by Michael Cohen's lawyers are instead redirected to donaldjtrump.com. (Trump campaign)
A Trump campaign official denied involvement in a statement to Fox News, saying anyone could have purchased the nonexistent address Davis mentioned and rerouted it to Trump's homepage for as little as $7.
LEGAL EXPERTS WEIGH IN: HOW DOES COHEN'S BOMBSHELL GUILTY PLEA AFFECT TRUMP?
Davis apparently intended to provide a slightly different website address, which as of late afternoon links to a Gofundme page that has raised more than $50,000 for Cohen out of a $500,000 goal.
"Michael decided to put his family and his country first," the Gofundme page says. "Now Michael needs your financial help -- to pay his legal fees. The Michael Cohen Truth Fund is a transparent trust account, with all donations going to help Michael Cohen and his family as he goes forward on his journey to tell the truth about Donald Trump."
Cohen becomes the latest in a string of former Trump administration insiders who have resorted to fundraising amid mounting legal troubles, including FBI Deputy Director Andy McCabe and agent Peter Strzok, who were both fired after internal reviews found that they had violated the agency's policies.
FIRED FBI AGENT PETER STRZOK SETS UP ANTI-TRUMP TWITTER ACCOUNT, GOFUNDME
News that Cohen had reached a deal with federal prosecutors in which he implicated Trump in potential campaign finance violations rocked Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. Cohen, as part of a guilty plea agreement, said that he had made illegally large hush money contributions at the direction of a candidate for federal office, raising the possibility that Trump could have conspired to break campaign finance law.
For his part, Trump has played down Cohen's plea, saying in a series of tweets that campaign finance laws are rarely prosecuted at the criminal level, and are often handled as civil matters -- unless politics gets involved.
"Michael Cohen plead guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime," Trump wrote on Twitter Wednesday. "President Obama had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!"
That was an apparent reference to a nearly $400,000 fine issued in 2013 by the Federal Election Commission against Obama's 2008 presidential campaign for a slew of administrative violations.
Trump also wrote: "If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don't retain the services of Michael Cohen!"
Davis, a longtime Democratic operative who had served as special counsel to former President Bill Clinton, was mum as to whether Cohen had any knowledge about alleged criminal collusion between Trump officials and the Russian government.
"I'm not going to answer questions until Mr. Mueller is finished with his investigation," Davis said, referring to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Davis added that there's "no question" that Trump had committed a federal campaign finance violation, and suggested it would be legally permissible for prosecutors to indict the president.
Gregg Re is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @gregg_re.
STORIES
The Putin Method: All Nice And Legal | Asharq AL-awsat
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 15:04
Whether you like him or not, you can't but admit that Vladimir Putin is a master tactician. When it comes to short and medium-term political coups none can match his success often achieved with minimum cost to himself.
Putin's latest success is the so-called Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea, signed by all five littoral states last week, breaking a 22-year long log-jam. The convention could turn the world's largest lake into an aero-naval military base for Russia and give Moscow the final word in exploiting and marketing the basin's immense energy reserves.
Only 24 hours after the convention was signed, Moscow announced that work had started on a huge new base in Dagestan, one of Russian's ''federal'' republics in the Caucasus. The new base will supplement older facilities that already exist in Astrakhan at the northern tip of the Caspian. Together they will give Russian overwhelming military superiority for operations in Transcaucasia, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Black Sea rim.
But that is not all. Three of the littoral states, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan badly wanted the convention to provide a legal veneer for the juicy contracts they have already signed with American and European oil giants, not to mention other big contract being negotiated. The obstacle to all that was the Republic in Iran which, for two decades, had argued that the Caspian was a lake under joint Irano-Russian sovereignty based on three treaties signed between the two in the 19th and 20th centuries. Both Boris Yeltsin Dmitri and Medvedev, Putin's predecessors as president, failed to make the Tehran mullahs budge through formal negotiations.
Putin broke the log-jam by ignoring the official Iranian government, that is to say the President and the Foreign Ministry, and in 2015 going direct to the ''Supreme Guide'' for a deal. The deal was that Putin will help Iran keep Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad more or less in power in Damascus in exchange for which Iran would remove its veto on the Caspian Convention. In just over two years Putin delivered his part of the bargain, at least for the time being. It was now Iran's turn to deliver on Khamenei's promise of dropping Iran's historic claims on the Caspian.
The beauty of the operation is that the convention was launched and completed within what looks like a perfectly legal framework and with the consent of Russia's neighbors in the Caspian.
Always looking for an extra something, Putin persuaded Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to let Russia have a share of their oil as a reward for ''the taming of the Iranians.''
But that wasn't all either. Putin persuaded the mullahs to hand Iran's biggest energy contract so far to state-owned Russian firms. That is truly historic as it marks the end of over a century of Iranian refusal to let Russia, in its various epiphanies as Tsarist and/or Soviet Empire, a bite of the Iranian oil apple.
All done nice and legal, as is Putin's method.
We saw the same method in August 2008 when Putin did a bit of mise-en-scene by staging a supposed Georgian invasion of Russia as an excuse for counter-attacks that led to the occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, some 25 per cent of Georgian territory. Russia, Putin claimed, had acted in self-defense, and the mise-en-scene was so convincing that inspectors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) couldn't counter it in an effective way.
All nice and legal.
Later, Putin annexed South Ossetia after holding a popular referendum, again nice and legal. As for Abkhazia, the local government unanimously agreed to let Russian troops stay there and pretty much run things in a nice and legal way.
The same nice and legal way was used to annex Crimea where a popular referendum was held under Russia's benevolent auspices.
The same nice and legal method was used to allow Russian ''volunteers'' to operate in eastern Ukraine, complete with their tanks, missile-launchers and fighter jets in defense of Russian-speaking dissidents whose human rights were violated by ''European fascists'' in Kiev.
Putin has also used his nice and legal method on the domestic scene. He didn't change the Russian Constitution to allow himself retaining the presidency for as long as he could. Instead, he enlisted his prot(C)g(C) Medvedev to act as a stop-gap president for one term after which the boss would return to the Kremlin.
Russian oligarchs have had a taste of that method.
Putin didn't use extra-legal means to make them cough out part of their illegally acquired fortunes. Instead, he brought them together, gave them a nice dinner of caviar and borscht, and showed them the very legal dossiers detailing their violation of every Russian law imaginable. The oligarchs were then politely invited to choose between sharing their fortunes and going to jail.
Making himself indispensable has been Putin's chief asset in achieving tactical successes. The mullahs of Tehran need him as a protector against the big bad wolf in Washington.
Bashar al-Assad owes his life to the Russian master. Benjamin Netanyahu needs him to keep the Iranians and their Lebanese, Afghan and Pakistani mercenaries as far away from Israeli ceasefire line as possible.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan needs Putin as a metaphor to back his fantasies about ''new alliances' away from NAT and the US.
The Caspian littoral state chiefs need him if only to make sure he wouldn't pull the carpet from under their feet. Despite their huffing-and-puffing, the Europeans also need Putin to continue the flow of cheap energy that keeps their economies afloat.
With all that one could say: So far, so good!
That ill-omened phrase, however, cannot determine what the longer term might bring. History is full of instances of tactical victories ending in strategic defeats.
Putin's rank in the KGB was that of a lieutenant colonel. And, as military historians know, tactical victories are often the work of colonels while strategic victory can only come from generals.
Companies Shouldn't Be Accountable Only to Shareholders - WSJ
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 14:52
Corporate profits are booming, but average wages haven't budged over the past year. The U.S. economy has run this way for decades, partly because of a fundamental change in business practices dating back to the 1980s. On Wednesday I'm introducing legislation to fix it.
American corporations exist only because the American people grant them charters. Those charters confer valuable privileges'--such as limited legal liability for their owners'--that enable businesses to turn a profit. What do Americans get in return? What are the obligations of corporate citizenship in the U.S.?
For much of U.S. history, the answers were clear. Corporations sought to succeed in the marketplace, but they also recognized their obligations to employees, customers and the community. As recently as 1981, the Business Roundtable'--which represents large U.S. companies'--stated that corporations ''have a responsibility, first of all, to make available to the public quality goods and services at fair prices, thereby earning a profit that attracts investment to continue and enhance the enterprise, provide jobs, and build the economy.'' This approach worked. American companies and workers thrived.
Late in the 20th century, the dynamic changed. Building on work by conservative economist Milton Friedman, a new theory emerged that corporate directors had only one obligation: to maximize shareholder returns. By 1997 the Business Roundtable declared that the ''principal objective of a business enterprise is to generate economic returns to its owners.''
That shift has had a tremendous effect on the economy. In the early 1980s, large American companies sent less than half their earnings to shareholders, spending the rest on their employees and other priorities. But between 2007 and 2016, large American companies dedicated 93% of their earnings to shareholders. Because the wealthiest 10% of U.S. households own 84% of American-held shares, the obsession with maximizing shareholder returns effectively means America's biggest companies have dedicated themselves to making the rich even richer.
In the four decades after World War II, shareholders on net contributed more than $250 billion to U.S. companies. But since 1985 they have extracted almost $7 trillion. That's trillions of dollars in profits that might otherwise have been reinvested in the workers who helped produce them.
Before ''shareholder value maximization'' ideology took hold, wages and productivity grew at roughly the same rate. But since the early 1980s, real wages have stagnated even as productivity has continued to rise. Workers aren't getting what they've earned.
Companies also are setting themselves up to fail. Retained earnings were once the foundation for long-term investments. But from 1990 to 2015, nonfinancial U.S. companies invested trillions less than projected, funneling earnings to shareholders instead. This underinvestment handcuffs U.S. enterprise and bestows an advantage on foreign competitors.
The problem may get worse, because executives have a strong financial incentive to prioritize shareholder returns. Before 1980, top CEOs were rarely compensated in equity. Today it accounts for 62% of their pay. Many executives receive additional company shares as a reward for producing short-term share-price increases. This feedback loop has sent CEO pay skyrocketing. The average CEO of a big company now makes 361 times what the average worker makes, up from 42 times in 1980.
Corporate charters, which define the structure and obligations of U.S. companies, are an obvious tool for addressing these skewed incentives. But companies are chartered at the state level. Most states don't want to demand more of companies, lest they incorporate elsewhere.
That's where my bill comes in. The Accountable Capitalism Act restores the idea that giant American corporations should look out for American interests. Corporations with more than $1 billion in annual revenue would be required to get a federal corporate charter. The new charter requires corporate directors to consider the interests of all major corporate stakeholders'--not only shareholders'--in company decisions. Shareholders could sue if they believed directors weren't fulfilling those obligations.
This approach follows the ''benefit corporation'' model, which gives businesses fiduciary responsibilities beyond their shareholders. Thirty-four states already authorize benefit corporations. And successful companies such as Patagonia and Kickstarter have embraced this role.
My bill also would give workers a stronger voice in corporate decision-making at large companies. Employees would elect at least 40% of directors. At least 75% of directors and shareholders would need to approve before a corporation could make any political expenditures. To address self-serving financial incentives in corporate management, directors and officers would not be allowed to sell company shares within five years of receiving them'--or within three years of a company stock buyback.
For the past 30 years we have put the American stamp of approval on giant corporations, even as they have ignored the interests of all but a tiny slice of Americans. We should insist on a new deal.
Ms. Warren, a Democrat, is a U.S. senator from Massachusetts.
Greece's ''Bailout'' Was a Disaster for Greece - Barron's
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 14:51
Some bailout that turned out to be.
The European Stability Mechanism disbursed its final tranche of loans to the Greek government on Aug. 6. On Aug. 20, the program officially ended, although the loans are not expected to be fully repaid for another half-century.
If their purpose was to support the Greek economy, the emergency loans must be considered a failure. Since 2008, the economy has shrunk by a quarter, and more than 400,000 Greeks have emigrated. House prices are down 43%. Bank credit to the private sector has contracted by a third. Fixed capital formation after depreciation has been consistently negative since 2010. More than '‚¬70 billion ($81.4 billion) worth of assets, including infrastructure, housing, and business plant and equipment, has been destroyed because of a lack of maintenance'--a staggering loss for a '‚¬180 billion economy.
The outcome is less surprising when one realizes why the loans were originally made. The goal was never to help the people of Greece, or even the Greek government, but rather to help its creditors in the rest of Europe.
After Greece joined the euro area in 2001, foreign investors poured in. This led to a boom in domestic consumption and investment. Greek residents spent far more than they earned, with the result that the current-account deficit ballooned from about 5% of gross domestic product in 1999 to 10% by 2006 and to 14% by 2008. Mortgage debt increased by a factor of seven. Inflation remained relatively tame'--about 3.5% a year on average from 2002 through 2007'--which suggests spending was broadly rising in line with productivity, even if the financing of that spending was clearly unsustainable.
While Greece's private nonfinancial sector increased its debt by just as much as the Greek government, households and businesses mostly borrowed via long-term loans from domestic banks. The Greek government, however, borrowed mostly in the form of bonds that needed to be regularly rolled over. By the middle of 2009, the government owed more than '‚¬230 billion to non-Greeks'--roughly 70% of its total financial obligations after excluding intragovernment lending. Meanwhile, the branches and subsidiaries of foreign-owned banks operating in Greece had ballooned to nearly '‚¬200 billion in assets.
The Greek government needed constant additional borrowing from abroad to service its debts. That was easy before the financial crisis, since Greece's rapid growth and apparent convergence in living standards with the richer parts of Western Europe made it an attractive investment destination. After the crisis, however, foreign investors pulled back, hitting both the Greek government and Greece's banks. While the banks had a large supply of foreign assets to help them repay their creditors, the government was less fortunate.
Had Greece been a country with its own currency, such as the Czech Republic or New Zealand, the central bank could have plugged the funding gap and prevented an abrupt collapse in spending. Membership in the euro area removed that option. The government and the banks owed debt in a currency the Bank of Greece could not print, and the European Central Bank was not keen on helping.
The textbook response would have been for the government to default on its debt and get a loan from the International Monetary Fund to help smooth out the adjustment. The amount of money required to buy time after a restructuring would not have been large compared with the nearly '‚¬300 billion that ended up being lent.
That option was blocked, however, by a coalition of Greece's ''European partners'' and the U.S. They were still traumatized by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and had come to believe that its default had made the financial crisis far worse than it otherwise would have been. The result was a firm commitment to avoid any reduction in what the Greek government owed.
Their concern was not about what a default would do to Greece, but about what it would do to them. In addition to the '‚¬230 billion in potential losses on government debt, which by itself might have been enough to wipe out the capital of many large European banks, foreigners had another '‚¬120 billion in exposure to Greek banks. Greek banks did not have much exposure to Greek government debt'--only about 8% of total assets in 2009'--but it was still more than their total capital and loan-loss reserves.
Restructuring the government's debt would therefore have required either the partial liquidation of the Greek banking system or an explicit bailout of Greece's banks paid by someone else. Again, this should have been doable, but U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet were terrified about how it might affect the still-fragile Euro-American financial system.
Instead, the result was a series of loans made to the Greek government so that it could repay its foreign private-sector creditors. As Yiannis Mouzakis of MacroPolis calculated in 2015, only '‚¬27 billion'--or 11% of the money lent to the Greek government by the IMF and the European governments'--was actually used to help cover the budget deficit and pay arrears to Greeks. By contrast, 70% of the ''rescue'' loans went directly out the door in the form of principal repayment, interest payments, and incentive payments to foreign bondholders. (The rest went to bank recapitalization.) As if that were not bad enough, the loans came with strict conditions to raise taxes and cut spending, exacerbating the downturn into a catastrophe on par with the Great Depression.
There was no political will in 2010 to spend hundreds of billions of euros to bail out Dutch, French, and German banks. To Greece's eternal misfortune, however, there was enough ''solidarity'' to launder that Northern European bank bailout through the Greek government.
Write to Matthew C. Klein at matthew.klein@barrons.com
''Thank God This Is Happening'' Russia Says Time Has Come To Ditch The Dollar
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 14:46
Skip to content''There is a common understanding that we need to move towards the use of national currencies in our settlements.''With the US unveiling a new set of sanctions against Russia on Friday, Moscow said it would definitely respond to Washington's latest sanctions and, in particular, it is accelerating efforts to abandon the American currency in trade transactions, said Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
''The time has come when we need to go from words to actions, and get rid of the dollar as a means of mutual settlements, and look for other alternatives,'' he said in an interview with International Affairs magazine, quoted by RT.
''Thank God, this is happening, and we will speed up this work,'' Ryabkov said, explaining the move would come in addition to other ''retaliatory measures'' as a response to a growing list of US sanctions.
Previously, Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said that a growing number of countries are interested in replacing the dollar as a medium in global oil trades and other transactions.
''There is a common understanding that we need to move towards the use of national currencies in our settlements. There is a need for this, as well as the wish of the parties,'' Novak said.
According to the minister, it concerns both Turkey and Iran, with more countries likely to join the growing dedollarization wave.
''We are considering an option of payment in national currencies with them. This requires certain adjustments in the financial, economic, and banking sectors'' to accomplish. Last week, we reported that the Kremlin was interested in trading with Ankara using the Russian ruble and the Turkish lira. India has also vowed to pay for Iranian oil in rupees.
Meanwhile, the world's second-largest economy and Washington's trade war nemesis, China, has been taking steps to challenge the greenback's dominance with the launch of an oil futures contract backed by Chinese currency, the petro-yuan. China and Iran have already agreed to stop using the dollar in global trade as China has ramped up purchases of Iranian oil in defiance of US sanctions.
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Ocasio-Cortez claims solidarity with cab drivers -- while campaign buys rides from Uber, other 'alternatives,' FEC data show | Fox News
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 14:44
New York Socialist Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez once blamed ride-sharing giant Uber for leading a yellow cab driver to suicide. Her campaign then took $4,000 worth of Uber rides.
But Ocasio-Cortez, who rose to prominence after defeating top Democrat Joe Crowley in the party's U.S. House primary in June, is no fan of Uber, if you read her statements on social media.
She frequently criticized the ride-hailing company for what she sees as underpaying its drivers, decrying their pay as ''exploitation'' if they don't get at least $15 an hour, the so-called living wage.
She directly blamed the company for the suicide death of Doug Schifter, a driver in his 60s, who killed himself with a shotgun amid financial difficulties caused by flooding the streets of New York with alternative and cheaper options of taxis, as detailed in a lengthy Facebook post.
''NYC's fourth driver suicide. Yellow cab drivers are in financial ruin due to the unregulated expansion of Uber. What was a living wage job now pays under minimum,'' Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
That was in March, months before the New York socialist, who recently lamented the closing down of a coffee shop over minimum wage hikes that she supports, became the new face of the progressive Democratic Party.
But between April and late June, the Ocasio-Cortez campaign recorded spending nearly $4,000 on Uber for what appears to be 160 rides by its staff, Federal Election Commission (FEC) records reveal.
The payments to California-based Uber ranged from just 59 cents to $82.26 and were filed under ''car service.'' There's no data yet for the months of July and August.
Ocasio-Cortez's campaign does use a New York-based company for travel, but it's not the traditional yellow cabs that receive the money.
The FEC records show that the campaign spent nearly $2,500 for more than 90 rides with the so-called ride-sharing startup company Juno that pitched itself as an alternative to Uber for drivers as it offered slightly better pay and an option to accumulate the company's stock. There's no data yet for any rides taken by the Ocasio-Cortez campaign between in July and August.
But the ''driver-friendly'' startup is barely any better for drivers than other ride-sharing companies. It was sold in April to Israel-based Gett for $200 million and immediately came under fire for scrapping the stock unit program for its drivers.
This prompted a class action by Juno drivers. ''Plaintiffs were victims of the classic 'bait and switch' scheme '' promised equity and then paid off at pennies on the dollar when all other shareholders/investors made out handsomely,'' the suit reads.
The Ocasio-Cortez campaign didn't immediately respond to Fox News' questions about why the campaign doesn't use traditional yellow cabs in New York or California, and whether it will stop using ride-hailing applications such as Uber or Juno.
Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.
Tech CEO uses speaker and podcasts to defend his peach tree from hungry bear - Business Insider
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 14:42
KMW Photography/Shutterstock
Rob Dubbin, CEO of Scripto.computer, had been peacefully enjoying the yield from the peach tree in his backyard when he noticed some unwelcome visitors.Bears had figured out how to get into the fence he built around the tree, and were wastefully eating peaches without even finishing them.After hearing that bears are scared of human voices, his solution was to blare podcasts through a speaker to ward them off. What lengths would you go to in order to protect the things you care about?
That's a question Rob Dubbin, CEO of Scripto.computer, had to ask himself when he realized his beloved peach tree, named Belvis, was being threatened by hungry bears.
In a Twitter thread, Dubbin explained how he first came to notice the peach tree on his property, how he and his partner enjoyed and utilized the yield from Belvis, and how it all came so close to crashing down.
Clearly, this wasn't a proper defense against the forces of nature, so Dubbin took it upon himself to create a proper fence.
Everything was going fine, you could even say peachy, as the two made pies and harvested hundreds of fruits. There were no bears in sight.
Then, out of nowhere, a challenger appeared.
Dubbin had to think fast. Research told him that human voices might scare the bears off, but music might not do the trick.
Before he could come up with a solution, the bear came back '-- and it couldn't figure out how to get out of the fence. It was wastefully eating peaches without finishing them before it finally escaped its confinement and sprinted off to pillage another day.
Dubbin rigged up an old iPhone, loaded it with 100 episodes of the Reply All podcast, hooked it up to a large speaker and battery, and put it under the tree.
All he could do after that was wait.
Somehow, it worked '-- the bears apparently couldn't stand the sound of endless podcasts. They still haven't returned, and the remaining peaches have stayed unharmed. Belvis will live to see another day.
However, this effective defense came with a cost. It apparently began to spook Dubbin's neighbors out, as they wondered why they were hearing strange voices all throughout the night, which he had to eventually explain.
It wasn't long before the Reply All producers caught wind of how their podcast was being used '-- and they appeared to approve.
Wanting to hear what the latest in the peach tree saga was, Business Insider called up Dubbin to talk about his experience, and what he took away from it.
"It brought me so much joy to see the joy that it was bringing other people," Dubbin said, regarding the reactions on Twitter. "I think that kind of joy is like the true essence of peaches."
Dubbin said he wasn't even sure that playing podcasts would be effective, or why conversations were said to be more effective at repelling bears than just music. "Honestly it had just been an inkling," he said. "And then we saw this bear and it became so real that I felt like I had to do everything in my power, sort of just grab at the best theory I had. It felt like one of those split-second decisions on the bridge in Star Trek."
Dubbin expected the bear to simply wait until it was dark out to return, but he was wrong.
"I thought it would avoid the daylight, but it didn't," he said. "I thought I had all day until it would come back at night under the cover of darkness, but it was more brazen than that. And it forced my hand."
Perhaps the most insulting part of the ordeal was the bear's wastefulness with the peaches - not even bothering to finish one before moving on to the next one.
"I was gonna say it felt like wasting a natural resource, but because it's a bear, I feel like it's hard to hold a bear to that standard," Dubbin said. "Having enjoyed a full peach harvest last year, I was very conscious of the fact that we were able to make use of all the fruit, and in a lot of very delicious and nourishing ways. And for me, seeing the peaches unused on the ground was really a symbol of lost potential."
Dubbin said his neighbors were very understanding after he explained why they were hearing voices at night, and he appreciates them "bearing with him" (pun likely not intended).
Although it's only been a few days, and the peach harvesting has just begun, Dubbin has high hopes for Belvis and its podcast-blaring sound barrier. He hasn't seen a bear return since setting the system up.
"We've taken six (peaches) off, so the harvest is just beginning," he said. "And honestly one of the things that brings the harvest along is a nice sunny day, and there's a nice sunny day here today, so I'm optimistic."
So, if you're having bear troubles, take note from Dubbin '-- podcasts are your friend.
More: Bears peaches Danger DIY
Media Giants Rev Up Streaming Services to Compete With Netflix '' Variety
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 14:05
The Netflix effect across the entertainment business has taken root in deep and meaningful ways this year. The turmoil caused by Netflix's meteoric rise is all that media moguls could talk about last month during their annual conclave at the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.
''Just look at the state of our business,'' one prominent CEO observed, with equal parts fear and wonder in his voice.
The direct-to-consumer streaming video business model refined by Netflix is the reason Disney and Comcast chased 21st Century Fox with such fervor. It was a big part of AT&T's motivation for scooping up Time Warner. It marks the biggest shift in entertainment industry economics in decades, and it is an evolution largely driven by a company that has been in the original content business for barely six years.
Trying to play catch-up to Netflix, the largest U.S. media conglomerates are bent on reinventing part of their operations as a direct-to-consumer business model. The industry's biggest content producers aim to tap into the efficiency of streaming video via the internet to build proprietary pipelines into America's living rooms, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
''The modern media company must develop extensive direct-to-consumer relationships,'' AT&T chairman-CEO Randall Stephenson told investors last month. ''We think pure wholesale business models for media companies will be really tough to sustain over time.''
Traditional media conglomerates feel the urgency to act now out of fear that Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google are also busy crafting global content platforms that will dwarf their operations. It's no surprise that Disney '-- the world's biggest media company '-- is leading the race among Hollywood's old guard to catch up with Netflix, et al. Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger calls the planned launch of a suite of DTC services ''the biggest priority of the company during calendar [year] 2019.''
''The modern media company must develop extensive direct-to-consumer relationships. We think pure wholesale business models for media companies will be really tough to sustain over time.''Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman-CEO
In a world awash in streaming video, Disney no longer needs to rely on Comcast and DirecTV and a host of international distributors to deliver its TV shows and (post-theatrical) movies. Netflix eliminated middleman distributors, slashed the monthly price (compared with cable) for a robust content package and made all of its content available 24/7 in a commercial-free, on-demand format.
But as with any historic shift, change won't come easily '-- or cheaply. To build their own platforms, Disney, AT&T and others will have to invest billions of dollars in high-end content while at the same time forgoing much if not all of the traditional licensing revenue that they would have commanded by selling rights to third-party networks and distributors.
Moreover, the emphasis on launching attractive DTC alternatives will likely hasten the pace of cord cutting. That will only put more pressure on the billions of dollars the congloms take in annually in carriage fees from cable operators for channels that may no longer be first in line for the hottest properties coming from their parent studios.
In short, the evolution of the DTC marketplace for content will be costly, messy and risky. For starters, Disney will say goodbye to about $300 million in annual revenue it currently gets from Netflix for pay-TV rights to its theatrical releases, starting with its 2019 movie slate. Those movies '-- including ''Captain Marvel,'' ''Dumbo,'' ''Toy Story 4,'' ''The Lion King,'' ''Frozen 2'' and a new ''Star Wars'' installment '-- will now be key selling points for the new service Iger has referred to as ''Disney Play.''
''All of the media companies will have to become more consumer-oriented,'' says Jessica Reif Cohen, media analyst for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. ''Five years ago, none of us thought people would watch as much as they do on their phones. Content consumption is going mobile, nonlinear and on-demand.
The media universe has never evolved this quickly '-- we haven't seen this kind of change in the last 40 to 50 years. This has been the big concern in the market about media for the past three years.''
The industry's traditional media companies have been experimenting with DTC options for the past few years. CBS surprised skeptics by making a go of its CBS All Access streaming service, which blends live feeds of CBS programming with original series including a new ''Star Trek'' entry, the ''Good Wife'' spinoff ''The Good Fight'' and a growing roster of other originals. CBS All Access won't rival Netflix's growth, but there's enough demand to generate more than 2.5 million subscribers to date.
''From a business-model perspective it's really the Holy Grail for us,'' says Joe Ianniello, chief operating officer of CBS Corp. ''The highest-margin consumers we have are CBS All Access subscribers. Consumers are demanding content on the go at the click of the button, and they're willing to pay a fee for it.''
Hulu has evolved over the past decade from a catch-up service on the previous night's TV shows to a consumer platform now coveted by Disney, which is poised to take majority control of Hulu through its $71.3 billion purchase of Fox assets.
Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, is neither surprised nor daunted that more major players are looking to elbow in on Netflix's turf. ''We knew that direct-to-consumer was a great model and that people would hold us to a high standard,'' Sarandos says. ''The pay-TV business has always been more of a B-to-B model. For us, our customers have always been our users. We have to keep them happy all of the time. The one-click cancel [option] makes us keep the value very high.''
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Netflix's leap into the top echelon of the entertainment industry in just a few years has left Hollywood in a state of near bedlam. While the major studios were fighting with cable operators over carriage fees and retransmission consent deals, a company with roots well outside the Hollywood mainstream was unleashing the biggest innovations in the television-viewing experience.
In the process, Netflix has also rewritten the rules of TV and movie dealmaking, talent paydays, TV scheduling, film release windows and marketing campaigns. It's an extraordinary level of influence exerted on a mature industry dominated by long-established stalwarts.
Consumers have voted with their wallets, taking Netflix from 27 million U.S. subscribers in 2012 to 56 million as of June. Around the world, the number has grown to 130 million as of June. Netflix keeps every penny of the $8 to $14 monthly fee that ''members'' pay for access to the service. Disney and its ilk, on the other hand, receive a small slice of the much larger check written every month by traditional MVPD subscribers.
Banking on the power of the Disney brand halo, the media giant comes to battle armed with Marvel, Pixar, ''Star Wars'' and other gold-plated brands. But Disney also has a big problem that Netflix (so far) hasn't faced: profit expectations from Wall Street.
Netflix has set sky-high industry records for content spending '-- a projected $12 billion-$13 billion in 2018 '-- at a time when it is still in building mode. Investors are more concerned about seeing gains in market share than in earnings per share. Disney doesn't have that luxury. And yet it is embarking on the launch of Disney Play after it takes on considerable debt to acquire 21st Century Fox assets '-- companies and brands that it sees as more building blocks for other DTC businesses.
The stakes couldn't be higher for Iger and his team. Disney has promised to find $2 billion in synergies within two years of the Fox acquisition closing, and it has vowed to chop down its debt load at the same time. Some question how Disney can pull off both of those things at the same time.
''The single worst thing Disney could do is launch a DTC product that consumers find underwhelming,'' analyst Todd Juenger of Bernstein Research wrote this month. ''We struggle to see how Disney can simultaneously make this [sustained] investment while also de-leveraging, even in a stable macro environment. We fear they will either underinvest in the DTC product, or fail to delever.''
The unchartered territory of Disney's DTC ambition was underscored when analysts pressed the company on its most recent earnings call for details about how it would account for its spending on content for the new service (the answer: as a capital expense). Disney chief financial officer Christine McCar­thy was also asked how the company's profit projections for theatrical films would change in the absence of the kind of traditional pay-TV output deal it had with Netflix for the past three years. (The answer: Disney plans to hold an investor conference specifically on the DTC business to address such questions.)
Wall Street speculation about Disney's spending plan for DTC and lost revenue opportunities forced Iger to temper expectations about the studio's blueprint for Disney Play. Disney has no intention of trying to match the tsunami of original TV shows and movies that Netflix is serving up. Nor will it try to pull other Disney- and Fox-owned movies and TV shows from existing SVOD and international licensing deals to funnel everything through the DTC platform. That would be logistically difficult and extremely costly. To wit, in September 2016, Disney struck a massive long-term TV rights deal for 10 ''Star Wars'' movies with Turner that runs through at least 2022. The timing of that deal indicates that Disney's planning for a DTC service with ''Star Wars'' as a cornerstone brand has only recently come into focus for the company.
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''We're going to walk before we run as it relates to volume of content'' for the DTC service, Iger told analysts on Aug. 7.
Disney is counting on the exclusivity factor of selected Marvel, ''Star Wars,'' Pixar and Disney-branded properties to drive interest in the service. Iger has acknowledged that the Disney Play price tag will be less than Netflix's $8-$14 monthly fee '-- a reflection of the lighter content load. ''We have the luxury of programming this product with programs from those brands or derived from those brands, which obviously creates a demand and gives us the ability to not necessarily be in the volume game, but to be in the quality game,'' Iger said.
Juenger has estimated it will take 40 million subscribers paying $6 a month for Disney to break even on its DTC service. As he notes, Disney will have to shell out big bucks not only for programming and marketing costs but for infrastructure such as customer service and payment processing. There will undoubtedly be unforeseen costs on the technology side: Disney spent $2.6 billion to acquire a majority interest in digital streaming firm BAMtech to support its streaming plans.
AT&T faces a similar scenario as Disney after absorbing Time Warner for $85.4 billion (not counting the tens of millions of dollars spent fighting to save the deal in Washington). AT&T also has to weigh the impact of DTC services on the core channel-bundling business of DirecTV, the MVPD it bought for $48.5 billion just three years ago. As DirecTV's subscriber base slowly but surely shrinks through cord cutting, the hope is that the expanded AT&T will leverage all of its customer relationships '-- from DirecTV and its international telco network '-- to entice its subscribers to try new services.
HBO is key to this plan. The premium channel moved into the DTC arena in 2015 with the launch of HBO Now, which marked the first time HBO was available to consumers without a traditional MVPD subscription. HBO Now has more than 5 million subscribers, compared with about 49 million for the linear versions of HBO and Cinemax combined. AT&T sees the HBO brand as a good consumer-marketing platform for a range of high-end services, even those that would not be branded HBO per se.
Tim Burton's upcoming live- action ''Dumbo'' movie likely will be among the offerings in Disney's digital service. Courtesy of Disney John Stankey, the newly appointed head of HBO parent WarnerMedia, has made it clear that AT&T has big plans in the space. HBO siblings Warner Bros. and Turner have launched a few niche streaming DTC offerings '-- notably The WB's DC Universe (which launches in the fall) and the Turner Classic Movies-curated FilmStruck '-- but Stankey has grander ambitions. ''There's a number of different initiatives under way within the WarnerMedia companies, and they're all good within their own right, but they all generate what I would consider to be relatively small-scale audiences,'' Stankey told investors last month. ''A company our size, we want to be generating audiences in the tens of millions, not in the single digits of millions.''
Stankey has also signaled his intent to rev up growth at HBO. The new WarnerMedia chief has been blunt in his internal conversations with HBO executives that the channel needs to drive more engagement with its subscribers.
''We need hours a day. It's not hours a week, and it's not hours a month. We need hours a day,'' Stankey told HBO employees at a town hall meeting in June, according to a transcript of the private event published by website Recode. ''You are competing with devices that sit in people's hands that capture their attention every 15 minutes.''
Some have interpreted this as a sign that Stankey wants HBO to go more mainstream in its programming. The WarnerMedia chief has denied that there is any intention to radically change the mix of high-end programming at HBO. But there's no question that AT&T wants to see the volume go up, and it's willing to invest fresh cash in more programming. As Stankey said in the town hall, the challenge for HBO to compete in the new on-demand world is ''how to expand the aperture of it without losing the quality.''
Meanwhile, Comcast is also looking at changes on the content side of the company at NBCUniversal and at the erosion of the old-fashioned bundle on the cable side of the business. That one-two punch puts Comcast under pressure to make some bold moves in the coming years, which explains the company's dogged pursuit of the 21st Century Fox assets. Comcast is also vying with Fox and Disney to buy out a controlling interest in the European satellite operator Sky '-- a move focused on using Sky's infrastructure to help create a global DTC content platform. Media analysts have pointed to AT&T's experience with DirecTV as a warning sign of how hard it is to reconfigure an MVPD. DirecTV Now launched in late 2016 as a low-cost skinny bundle of channels available via streaming, without the need of a set-top box or satellite dish. It's had modest growth so far, with an estimated 1.5 million subs, and has already seen a price hike of $5 from its initial $35-$70 monthly cost.
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NBCUniversal is known to be developing some internal DTC offerings. It experimented in 2016 and 2017 with a subscription offering, at $4 a month, dubbed Seeso that corralled ''Saturday Night Live,'' ''The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon'' and other NBCU comedy properties as well as acquired and original series. But uptake from subscribers was lackluster. Seeso was shuttered late last summer.
More recently, there have been rumblings about NBCU developing a streaming service that would offer viewers a kind of points system for watching episodes of NBCU TV shows with some advertising included.
''Our future is selling wherever consumers are,'' NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said last month on Comcast's earnings call. ''We're trying to position our company to make sure that all those avenues are open and that we intelligently look at those avenues and maximize the profitability of our video business.''
NBCUniversal's experience with Seeso is a cautionary tale that programming an on-demand outlet is very different from selling linear channels on a wholesale basis to MVPDs. The importance of offering users the ability to custom-tailor their viewing experience is vital.
Hulu has been an important training ground for its parent companies: Disney, Comcast, 21st Century Fox and Time Warner.
''The single worst thing Disney could do is launch a DTC product that consumers find underwhelming.''Analyst Todd Juenger
The streaming service launched in early 2008 as an outlet for ad-supported streaming of programming from its parent companies, which at the outset were Fox and NBCUniversal (prior to NBCU's acquisition by Comcast). Hulu has been a source of friction at times among its partners as they pursued different approaches to streaming. The company was put up for sale in 2013, but when offers from Yahoo and others were underwhelming, the owners opted to invest a collective $750 million to help it grow with original and acquired programming.
For now, Hulu has a unique position in the marketplace as a purveyor of original series '-- it hit big in 2017 with ''The Handmaid's Tale'' '-- and as a fledgling provider of a skinny bundle of cable channels. The service has been growing fast, rising to 20 million subscribers as of May, up from 17 million at the end of last year. (It's not clear how many of those subscribers pay for the $40 skinny bundle, which includes access to Hulu's library and original series). Unlike Netflix and Amazon, Hulu also offers users the option of watching with commercials, for $8 a month, or without for $12 a month.Disney will own a 60% stake in Hulu through its acquisition of Fox's 30% interest. Hulu is expected to become another DTC avenue for Disney, providing an established foundation for a service focused on more adult-themed programming. This is where Fox's FX Networks, Fox Searchlight and 20th Century Fox production operation will come into play for Disney.
The biggest lesson from Hulu's decade of operations is the imperative to focus on the way it relates to customers. ''Anything that truly connects the viewer to Hulu is a good experience,'' says Hulu CEO Randy Freer. ''If I'm commuting and I watch part of an episode on my phone and then I get home and finish it on my TV and [Hulu] knows where it should pick up '-- that's a good experience. If the content recommendations are right for me, that's a good experience. It always comes back to things that are driven by giving the customer more choice and more options.''Netflix's Sarandos counts himself among the many in the industry who are bowled over at times by the pace of change in the biz and Netflix's role in moving it forward.''The evolution of television has taken a very long time,'' he says. ''It's a very exciting time in the business. All of these changes at all of these media companies are phenomenal to watch, as a competitor and as a fan of the product.''
Win For Sanders As DNC Votes To Limit Superdelegates' Power To Choose Presidential Nominee | The Daily Caller
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 13:44
Superdelegates will no longer have the power to vote for the presidential nominee of their party unless certain circumstances are met, thanks to a vote by Democratic Party officials on Saturday.
Under the new rule, superdelegates, who make up 15 percent of all delegates and include governors, congressional leaders, ranking Democratic members and others, will only be allowed to intervene in the vote if the candidate has enough votes from pledged delegates, Fox News reported.
''Today is a historic day for our party. We passed major reforms that will not only put our next presidential nominee in the strongest position possible, but will help us elect Democrats up and down the ballot, across the country,'' Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said in a statement after the vote, which took place in Chicago.
Democrats hope the new rules, which were supported by Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, will drum up support from young Democratic supporters as the party moves to make internal changes ahead of the midterms. (RELATED: Bernie Sanders Speaks Out Against 'Superdelegate'' System That Made Clinton In 2016)
Sanders celebrated the victory on Twitter, saying it is a necessary step ''in making the Democratic Party more open, democratic and responsive to the input of ordinary Americans.''
Today's decision by the DNC is an important step forward in making the Democratic Party more open, democratic and responsive to the input of ordinary Americans. This has been a long and arduous process, and I want to thank @TomPerez and all of those who made it happen. https://t.co/YsFh1UorwV
'-- Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 25, 2018
Superdelegates were angered by the vote that curbed their power.
''What I witnessed was a political murder suicide,'' Bob Mulholland, a super-delegate and DNC member from California told Politico. ''What the DNC voted was to take away the votes of governors, Congress members, and take away their own votes, too. Absurd.''
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Despite Comey Assurances, Vast Bulk of Weiner Laptop Emails Were Never Examined | RealClearInvestigations
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 13:43
When then-FBI Director James Comey announced he was closing the Hillary Clinton email investigation for a second time just days before the 2016 election, he certified to Congress that his agency had ''reviewed all of the communications'' discovered on a personal laptop used by Clinton's closest aide, Huma Abedin, and her husband, Anthony Weiner.
James Comey, above. Top photo: His certification to Congress just before Election Day clearing Hillary Clinton a second time. That certification is challenged by new reporting.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File
Top: AP Photo/Jon Elswick
At the time, many wondered how investigators managed over the course of one week to read the ''hundreds of thousands'' of emails residing on the machine, which had been a focus of a sex-crimes investigation of Weiner, a former Congressman.
Comey later told Congress that ''thanks to the wizardry of our technology,'' the FBI was able to eliminate the vast majority of messages as ''duplicates'' of emails they'd previously seen. Tireless agents, he claimed, then worked ''night after night after night'' to scrutinize the remaining material.
But virtually none of his account was true, a growing body of evidence reveals.
In fact, a technical glitch prevented FBI technicians from accurately comparing the new emails with the old emails. Only 3,077 of the 694,000 emails were directly reviewed for classified or incriminating information. Three FBI officials completed that work in a single 12-hour spurt the day before Comey again cleared Clinton of criminal charges.
''Most of the emails were never examined, even though they made up potentially 10 times the evidence'' of what was reviewed in the original year-long case that Comey closed in July 2016, said a law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the investigation.
Yet even the "extremely narrow" search that was finally conducted, after more than a month of delay, uncovered more classified material sent and/or received by Clinton through her unauthorized basement server, the official said. Contradicting Comey's testimony, this included highly sensitive information dealing with Israel and the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hamas. The former secretary of state, however, was never confronted with the sensitive new information and it was never analyzed for damage to national security.
Even though the unique classified material was improperly stored and transmitted on an unsecured device, the FBI did not refer the matter to U.S. intelligence agencies to determine if national security had been compromised, as required under a federally mandated ''damage assessment'' directive.
The newly discovered classified material ''was never previously sent out to the relevant original classification authorities for security review,'' the official, who spoke to RealClearInvestigations on the condition of anonymity, said.
Other key parts of the investigation remained open when the embattled director announced to Congress he was buttoning the case back up for good just ahead of Election Day.
One career FBI special agent involved in the case complained to New York colleagues that officials in Washington tried to ''bury" the new trove of evidence, which he believed contained the full archive of Clinton's emails '-- including long-sought missing messages from her first months at the State Department.
Timeline: How the FBI Ignored Hundreds of Thousands of Clinton EmailsRealClearInvestigations pieced together the FBI's handling of the massive new email discovery from the ''Weiner laptop.'' This months-long investigation included a review of federal court records and affidavits, cellphone text messages, and emails sent by key FBI personnel, along with internal bureau memos, reviews and meeting notes documented in government reports. Information also was gleaned through interviews with FBI agents and supervisors, prosecutors and other law enforcement officials, as well as congressional investigators and public-interest lawyers.
If the FBI ''soft-pedaled'' the original investigation of Clinton's emails, as some critics have said, it out-and-out suppressed the follow-up probe related to the laptop, sources for this article said.
''There was no real investigation and no real search,'' said Michael Biasello, a 27-year veteran of the FBI. "It was all just show '-- eyewash '-- to make it look like there was an investigation before the election.''
Peter Strzok: numerous investigative irregularities.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Although the FBI's New York office first pointed headquarters to the large new volume of evidence on Sept. 28, 2016, supervising agent Peter Strzok, who was fired on Aug. 10 for sending anti-Trump texts and other misconduct, did not try to obtain a warrant to search the huge cache of emails until Oct. 30, 2016. Violating department policy, he edited the warrant affidavit on his home email account, bypassing the FBI system for recording such government business. He also began drafting a second exoneration statement before conducting the search.
The search warrant was so limited in scope that it excluded more than half the emails New York agents considered relevant to the case. The cache of Clinton-Abedin communications dated back to 2007. But the warrant to search the laptop excluded any messages exchanged before or after Clinton's 2009-2013 tenure as secretary of state, key early periods when Clinton initially set up her unauthorized private server and later periods when she deleted thousands of emails sought by investigators.
Huma Abedin with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011.
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File
Far from investigating and clearing Abedin and Weiner, the FBI did not interview them, according to other FBI sources who say Comey closed the case prematurely. The machine was not authorized for classified material, and Weiner did not have classified security clearance to receive such information, which he did on at least two occasions through his Yahoo! email account '' which he also used to email snapshots of his penis.
Many Clinton supporters believe Comey's 11th hour reopening of a case that had shadowed her campaign was a form of sabotage that cost her the election. But the evidence shows Comey and his inner circle acted only after worried agents and prosecutors in New York forced their hand. At the prodding of Attorney General Lynch, they then worked to reduce and rush through, rather than carefully examine, potentially damaging new evidence.
Comey later admitted in his memoir ''A Higher Loyalty,'' that political calculations shaped his decisions during this period. But, he wrote, they were calibrated to help Clinton: ''Assuming, as nearly everyone did, that Hillary Clinton would be elected president of the United States in less than two weeks, what would happen to the FBI, the Justice Department or her own presidency if it later was revealed, after the fact, that she still was the subject of an FBI investigation?''
Never interviewed: Abedin and Weiner at a divorce proceeding in 2017.
Jefferson Siegel/Daily News via AP
What does it matter now? Republicans are clamoring for a special counsel to reopen the Clinton email case, though a five-year statute of limitations may be an issue concerning crimes relating to her potential mishandling of classified information.
However, conducting a broader and more thorough search of the Weiner laptop may still have prosecutorial justification. Other questions linger, including whether subpoenaed evidence was destroyed or false statements were made to congressional and FBI investigators from 2014 to 2016, a time frame that is within the statute of limitations. The laptop was not searched for evidence pertaining to such crimes. Investigators instead focused their search, limited as it was, on classified information.
Also, the FBI is still actively investigating the Clinton Foundation for alleged foreign-tied corruption. That probe, handled chiefly out of New York, may benefit from evidence on the laptop.
The FBI did not respond to requests for comment.
The BackgroundIn March 2015, it was revealed that Hillary Clinton had used a private email server located in the basement of her Chappaqua, N.Y., home to conduct State Department business during her 2009-2013 tenure as the nation's top diplomat. The emails on the unsecured server included thousands of classified messages, including top-secret information. Federal law makes it a felony for government employees to possess or handle classified material in an unprotected manner.
By July, intelligence community authorities had referred the matter to the FBI.
That investigation centered on the 30,490 emails Clinton handed over after deeming them work-related. She said she had deleted another 33,000 because she decided they were ''personal.'' Also missing were emails from the first two months of her tenure at State '' from Jan. 21, 2009, through March 18, 2009 -- because investigators were unable to locate the BlackBerry device she used during this period, when she set up and began using the basement server, bypassing the government's system of archiving such public records as required by federal statute.
Comey faces media on July 5, 2016.
AP Photo/Cliff Owen
One year later, in a dramatic July 2016 press conference less than three weeks before Clinton would accept her party's nomination for president, Comey unilaterally cleared Clinton of criminal wrongdoing. While Clinton and her aides ''were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,'' he said, "no charges are appropriate in this case.''
Comey would later say he broke with normal procedures whereby the FBI collects evidence and the Department of Justice decides whether to bring charges, because he believed Attorney General Loretta Lynch had engaged in actions that raised doubts about her credibility, including secretly meeting with Clinton's husband, the former president, just days before the FBI interviewed her.
Fast-forward to September 2016.
FBI investigators in New York were analyzing a Dell laptop, shared by Abedin and Weiner, as part of a separate sex-crimes investigation involving Weiner's contact with an underage girl. A former Democratic congressman from New York, Weiner is serving a 21-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to sending obscene material to a 15-year-old.
On Sept. 26, 2016, the lead New York agent assigned to the case found a large volume of emails '' ''over 300,000'' '' on the laptop related to Abedin and Clinton, including a large volume of messages from Clinton's old BlackBerry account.
The headers indicated that the emails on the laptop included ones sent and/or received by Abedin at her clintonemail.com account, her personal Yahoo! email account as well as a host of Clinton-associated domains including state.gov, clintonfoundation.org, presidentclinton.com and hillaryclinton.com.
FBI's Bill Sweeney, at podium.
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
The agents had reason to believe that classified information resided on the laptop, since investigators had already established that emails containing classified information were transmitted through multiple email accounts used by Abedin, including her clintonemail.com and Yahoo! accounts. Moreover, the preliminary count of Clinton-related emails found on the laptop in late September 2016 -- three months after Comey closed his case '-- dwarfed the total of some 60,000 originally reported by Clinton.
The agent described the discovery as an ''oh-shit moment.''
''Am I seeing what I think I'm seeing?'' he asked another case agent.
They agreed that the information needed ''to get reported up the chain'' immediately.
Andrew McCabe: Recollections murky.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
The next day, Sept. 27, the official in charge of the FBI's New York office, Bill Sweeney, was alerted to the trove and confirmed ''it was clearly her stuff.'' Sweeney reported the find to Comey deputy Andrew McCabe and other headquarters officials on Sept. 28, and told Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz that ''everybody realized the significance of this.''
(McCabe told Horowitz he didn't remember Sweeney briefing him about the Weiner laptop, but personal notes he took during the teleconference indicate he was briefed. Sweeney also updated McCabe in a direct call later that afternoon in which he noted there were potentially 347,000 relevant emails, and that the count was climbing. McCabe was fired earlier this year and referred to the U.S. Attorney's office in Washington, D.C., for possible criminal investigation into allegations he made false statements to federal agents working for Horowitz.)
McCabe, in turn, briefed Strzok - who had led the Clinton email probe - that afternoon, text messages show.
Comey was not on the conference call, but phone records show he and McCabe met privately that afternoon and spoke during a flurry of phone calls late that evening. McCabe said he could not recall what they discussed, while Comey told investigators that he did not hear about the emails until early October '-- and then quickly forgot about them. (''I kind of just put it out of my mind,'' he said, because he claimed it did not ''index'' with him that Abedin was closely connected to Clinton. ''I don't know that I knew that [Weiner] was married to Huma Abedin at the time.")
FBI officials in New York assumed that the bureau's brass would jump on the discovery, particularly since it included the missing emails from the start of Clinton's time at State. In fact, the emails dated from the beginning of 2007 and covered the entire period of Clinton's tenure as secretary and thereafter. The team leading the Clinton investigation, codenamed "Midyear Exam," had never been able to find Clinton's emails from her first two months as secretary.
By Oct. 4, the Weiner case agent had finished processing the laptop, and reported that he found at least 675,000 emails potentially relevant to the Midyear case (in fact, the final count was 694,000). ''Based on the number of emails, we could have every email that Huma and Hillary ever sent each other,'' the agent remarked to colleagues. It appeared this was the mother lode of missing Clinton emails. But Strzok remained uninterested. ''This isn't a ticking terrorist bomb,'' he was quoted as saying in the recently issued inspector general's report. Besides, he had bigger concerns, such as, ''You know, is the government of Russia trying to get somebody elected here in the United States?''
Strzok and headquarters sat on the mountain of evidence for another 26 days. The career New York agent said all he was hearing from Washington was ''crickets,'' so he pushed the issue to his immediate superiors, fearing he would be ''scapegoated'' for failing to search the pile of digital evidence. They, in turn, went over Strzok's head, passing their concerns on to career officials at the National Security Division of the Justice Department, who in turn set off alarm bells at the seventh floor executive suites of the Hoover Building.
The New York agent has not been publicly identified, even in the recent IG report, which only describes him as male. But federal court filings in the Weiner case reviewed by RCI list two FBI agents present in court proceedings, only one of whom is male - John Robertson. RCI has confirmed that Robertson at the time was an FBI special agent assigned to the C-20 squad investigating ''crimes against children'' at the bureau's New York field office at 26 Federal Plaza, which did not return messages.
The agent told the inspector general that he wasn't political and didn't understand all the sensitive issues headquarters may have been weighing, but he feared Washington's inaction might be seen as a cover-up that could wreak havoc on the bureau.
''I don't care who wins this election,'' he said, "but this is going to make us look really, really horrible.''
Lisa Page: "Whatever."
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Once George Toscas, the highest-ranking Justice Department official directly involved in the Clinton email investigation, found out about the delay, he prodded headquarters to initiate a search and to inform Congress about the discovery.
By Oct. 21, Strzok had gotten the word. ''Toscas now aware NY has hrc-huma emails,'' he texted McCabe's counsel, Lisa Page, who responded, ''whatever."
Four days later, Page told Strzok - with whom she was having an affair - about the murmurs she was hearing from brass about having to tell Congress about the new emails. ''F them,'' Strzok responded, apparently referring to oversight committee leaders on the Hill.
The next day, Oct. 26, the New York agent finally was able to brief Strzok's team directly about what he had found on the laptop. On Oct. 27, Comey gave the green light to seek a search warrant.
Michael Horowitz: Pressure from New York was key to reopening email case.
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
''This decision resulted not from the discovery of dramatic new information about the Weiner laptop, but rather as a result of inquiries from the Weiner case agent and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office [in New York]," Horowitz said in his recently released report on the Clinton investigation.
Former prosecutors say that politics is the only explanation for why FBI brass dragged their feet for a month after the New York office alerted them about the Clinton emails.
''There's no rational explanation why, after they found over 300,000 Clinton emails on the Wiener laptop in late September, the FBI did nothing for a month,'' former deputy Independent Counsel Solomon ''Sol'' L. Wisenberg said in a recent interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham. ''It's pretty clear there's a real possibility they did nothing because they thought it would hurt Mrs. Clinton during the election.''
Horowitz concurred. The IG cited suspicions that the inaction "was a politically motivated attempt to bury information that could negatively impact the chances of Hillary Clinton in the election.''
He noted that on Nov. 3, after Comey notified Congress of the search, Strzok created a suspiciously inaccurate ''Weiner timeline'' and circulated it among the FBI leadership.
The odd document, written after the fact, made it seem as if New York hadn't fully processed the laptop until Oct. 19 and had neglected to fill headquarters in on details about what had been found until Oct. 21. In fact, New York finished processing on Oct. 4 and first began reporting back details to top FBI executives as early as Sept. 28.
Fearing LeaksFears of media leaks also played a role in the ultimate decision to reopen the case and notify Congress.
FBI leadership worried that New York would go public with the fact it was sitting on the Weiner emails, because the field office was leaking information on other sensitive matters at the time, including Clinton-related conflicts dogging McCabe, which the Wall Street Journal had exposed that October. At the same time, Trump surrogate and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was still in touch with FBI sources in the city, was chirping about an ''October surprise'' on Fox News.
Loretta Lynch: Stop those leaks.
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
During the October time frame, McCabe called Sweeney in New York and chewed him out about leaks coming out of his office. On Oct. 26, then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch was so worried about the leaks, she called McCabe and Sweeney and angrily warned them to fix them. Sweeney confirmed in an interview with the inspector general that they got ''ripped by the AG on leaks.'' McCabe said he never heard the attorney general "use more forceful language.''
Lynch -- who had admonished Comey to call the Clinton case a ''matter'' and not an investigation, aligning FBI rhetoric with the Clinton campaign, and who inappropriately agreed to meet with Bill Clinton aboard her government plane five days before the FBI interviewed Hillary Clinton '-- sought to keep the Weiner laptop search quiet and was opposed to going to Congress with the discovery so close to the election.
"We were quite confident that somebody is going to leak this fact, that we have all these emails. That, if we don't put out a letter [to Congress], somebody is going to leak it,'' then-FBI General Counsel James Baker said. ''The discussion was somebody in New York will leak this.''
Baker advised Comey that he also was under obligation to update Congress about any new developments in the case. Just a few months earlier, the director had testified before Hill oversight committees about his decision to close the case. Baker said the front office rationalized that since Clinton was ahead in the polls, the notification would not have a big impact on the race. The Democratic nominee would likely win no matter what the FBI did.
But this time, Comey made no public show of his announcement. On Oct. 28, 2016, Comey quietly sent a terse and private letter to the chairs and the ranking members of the oversight committees on the Hill, informing them, vaguely, that the FBI was taking additional steps in the Clinton email investigation.
Those steps, of course, started with finally searching the laptop for relevant emails.
'Giant Nothing-Burger'Prosecutors and investigators alike, however, approached the search as an exercise in futility, even prejudging the results as a ''giant nothing-burger.''
That was an assessment that would emerge later from David Laufman, then a lead prosecutor in the Justice Department's national security division assigned to the Clinton email probe. He had ''a very low expectation'' that any evidence found on the laptop would alter the outcome of the Midyear investigation. And he doubted a search would turn up ''anything novel or consequential,'' according to the IG report.
Mary McCord: Discounted laptop trove, and she wasn't the only one.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File
Hired by former Attorney General Eric Holder, Laufman complained it was ''exceptionally inappropriate'' to restart the investigation so close to the election. (Records show Laufman, who sat in on Clinton's July 2016 interview at FBI headquarters, gave money to both of Barack Obama's presidential campaigns.)
His boss, Mary McCord, discounted the laptop trove as emails they'd already seen. "Hopefully all duplicates,'' she wrote in notes she took from an October 2016 phone call she had with McCabe, who shared her hope.
McCord opposed publicly opening the case again ''because it could be a big nothing.''
In an Oct. 27 email to the lead Midyear analyst, Strzok suggested the search would not be serious, that they would just need to go through the motions, while joking about ''de-duping,'' or excluding emails as ones they'd already seen.
The reactivated Midyear investigators were not eager to dive into the new emails, either. They also prejudged the batch as evidence they had already analyzed -- while at the same time expressing pro-Hillary and anti-Trump sentiments in internal communications.
For example, the Midyear agent who had called Clinton the ''future pres[ident]'' after interviewing her in July, pooh-poohed the idea they would find emails substantively different than what the team had previously reviewed. Even though he expected they'd find some missing emails, even new classified material, he discounted their significance.
''My best guess '-- probably uniques, maybe classified uniques, with none being any different tha[n] what we've already seen,'' the agent wrote in an Oct. 28 instant message to another FBI employee on the bureau's computer system. (Back in May 2016, as Clinton was locking up the Democratic primary, the agent had revealed in another IM that there was ''political urgency'' to wrap up her email investigation.)
The unnamed agent, who is identified in the IG report only as ''Agent 1," is now married to another Midyear investigator, who on Election Day IM'd her then-boyfriend to say Clinton ''better win,'' while threatening to quit if she didn't. Known as ''Agent 5,'' she also stated, ''fuck trump,'' while calling his voters ''retarded.''
At the same time, the lead FBI attorney on the Midyear case, Sally Moyer (whose lawyers confirmed is the anonymous ''FBI Attorney 1'' cited in the IG report), was in no hurry to process the laptop. Before examining them, she expressed the belief that the massive volume of emails ''may just be duplicative of what we already have,'' doubting there was a ''smoking gun'' in the pile.
A Hurried, Constrained SearchMoyer, a registered Democrat, was responsible for obtaining legal authority to review the laptop's contents. She severely limited the scope of the evidence that investigators could search on the laptop by setting unusually tight parameters.
Working closely with her was Strzok, who forwarded a draft of the warrant to his personal email account in violation of FBI policy, where he helped edit the language in the affidavit. By processing the document at home, no record of his changes to the document were captured in the FBI system.
(Strzok had also edited the language in the drafts of Comey's public statement about his original decision on the Clinton email investigation. He changed the description of Clinton's handling of classified information from ''grossly negligent'' '-- which is proscribed in the federal statute '-- to ''extremely careless,'' eliminating a key phrase that could have had legal ramifications for Clinton.)
The next day, the search warrant application drafted by Strzok and Moyer was filed in New York. It was inexplicably self-constraining. The FBI asked the federal magistrate judge, Kevin N. Fox, to see only a small portion of the evidence the New York agent told headquarters it would find on the laptop.
''The FBI only reviewed emails to or from Clinton during the period in which she was Secretary of State, and not emails from Abedin or other parties or emails outside that period,'' Horowitz pointed out in a section of his report discussing concerns that the search warrant request was ''too narrow."
That put the emails the New York case agent found between 2007 and 2009, when Clinton's private server was set up, as well as those observed after her tenure in 2013, outside investigators' reach. The post-tenure emails were potentially important, Horowitz noted, because they may have offered clues concerning the intent behind the later destruction of emails.
Also excluded were Abedin's Yahoo emails, even though investigators had previously found classified information on her Yahoo account and would arguably have probable cause to look at those emails, as well.
Clinton with Blackberry.
AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool, File
Also removed from the search were the BlackBerry data -- even though the FBI had previously described them as the ''golden emails,'' because they covered the dark period early in Clinton's term.
''Noticeably absent from the search warrant application prepared by the Midyear team is both any mention that the NYO agent had seen Clinton's emails on the laptop and any mention of the potential presence of BlackBerry emails from early in Clinton's tenure,'' Horowitz noted.
Even though the BlackBerry messages were ''critical to [the] assessment of the potential significance of the emails on the Weiner laptop, the information was not included in the search warrant application,'' he stressed, adding that the application appeared to misrepresent the information provided by the New York field agent. It also grossly underestimated the extent of the material. The affidavit warrant mentioned ''thousands of emails,'' while the New York agent had told them that the laptop contained ''hundreds of thousands'' of relevant emails. That meant that the Midyear team never got to look, even if it wanted to, at the majority of the communications secreted on the laptop, further raising suspicions that headquarters wasn't really interested in finding any evidence of wrongdoing '' at least on the part of Clinton and her team.
''I had very strict instructions that all I was allowed to do within the case was look for Hillary Clinton emails, because that was the scope of our work,'' an FBI analyst said, even though Horowitz said investigators had probable cause to look at Abedin's emails as well.
In addition to limiting the scope of their probe, the agents were also under pressure from both Justice Department prosecutors and FBI headquarters to complete the review of the remaining emails in a hurry.
One line prosecutor, identified in the IG report only as ''Prosecutor 1,'' argued that they should finish up ''as quickly'' as possible. Baker said there was a general concern about the new process ''being too prolonged and dragged [out]."
Lynch urged Comey to process the Weiner laptop ''as fast as you can,'' according to notes from a high-level department meeting on Oct. 31, 2016, which were obtained by the IG.
On Nov. 3, Strzok indicated in a text that Justice demanded he update the department twice a day on the FBI's progress in clearing the stack. ''DOJ is hyperventilating,'' he told Page.
De-Duplicating 'Wizardry'Before the search warrant was issued, the Midyear team argued that the project was too vast to complete before the election. According to Comey's recently published memoir, they insisted it would take "many weeks" and require the enlistment of "hundreds of FBI employees." And, they contended, not just anybody could read them: ''It had to be done by people who knew the context,'' and there was only a handful of investigators and analysts who could do the job.
''The team told me there was no chance the survey of the emails could be completed before the Nov. 8 election,'' Comey recalled, which was right around the corner.
But after Comey decided he'd have to move forward with the search regardless, Strzok and his investigators suddenly claimed they could finish the work in the short time remaining prior to national polls opening.
At the same time, they cut off communications with the New York field office. ''We should essentially have no reason for contact with NYO going forward on this,'' Strzok texted Page on Nov. 2.
Strzok followed up with another text that same day, which seemed to echo earlier texts about what they viewed as their patriotic duty to stop Trump and support Clinton.
''Your country needs you now,'' he said in an apparent attempt to buck up Page, who was ''very angry" they were having to reopen the Clinton case. ''We are going to have to be very wise about all of this.''
''We're going to make sure the right thing is done,'' he added. ''It's gonna be ok.''
Responded Page: ''I have complete confidence in the [Midyear] team.''
''Our team,'' Strzok texted back. ''I'm telling you to take comfort in that.'' Later, he reminded Page that any conversations she had with McCabe ''would be covered under atty [attorney-client] privilege."
Suddenly, however, the impossible project suddenly became manageable thanks to what Comey described as a ''huge breakthrough.'' As the new cache of emails arrived, the bureau claimed it had solved one of the most labor-intensive aspects of the previous Midyear investigation '' having to sort through the tens of thousands of Clinton emails on various servers and electronic devices manually.
Advanced new ''de-duplicating" technology would allow them to speed through the mountain of new emails automatically flagging copies of previously reviewed material.
Strzok, who led the effort, echoed Comey's words, later telling the IG's investigators that technicians were able ''to do amazing things'' to ''rapidly de-duplicate'' the emails on the laptop, which significantly lowered the number of emails that he and other investigators had to individually review manually.
But according to the IG, FBI's technology division only ''attempted'' to de-duplicate the emails, but ultimately was unsuccessful. The IG cited a report prepared Nov. 15, 2016, by three officials from the FBI's Boston field office. Titled ''Anthony Weiner Laptop Review for Communications Pertinent to Midyear Exam,'' it found that ''[b]ecause metadata was largely absent, the emails could not be completely, automatically de-duplicated or evaluated against prior emails recovered during the investigation.''
Trump at rally Nov. 7, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. : ''You can't review 650,000 emails in eight days.''
AP Photo/Charles Krupa
The absence of this metadata -- basically electronic fingerprints that reveal identifying characteristics such as To, CC, Date, From, Subject, attachments and other fields '' informed the IG's finding that ''the FBI could not determine how many of the potentially work-related emails were duplicative of emails previously obtained in the Midyear investigation.''
Contrary to Comey's claim, the FBI could not sufficiently determine how many emails containing classified information were duplicative of previously reviewed classified emails. As a result, hundreds of thousands of emails were not actually processed for evidence, law enforcement sources say.
''All those communications weren't ruled out because they were copies, they were just ruled out,'' the federal investigator with direct knowledge of the case said. The official, who wished to remain anonymous, explained that hundreds of thousands of emails were simply overlooked. Instead of processing them all, investigators took just a sample of the batch and looked at those documents.
After Comey announced his investigators wrapped up the review in days '' then-candidate Donald Trump expressed skepticism. ''You can't review 650,000 emails in eight days,'' he said during a rally on Nov. 7.
He was more correct than he knew.
Exoneration Before InvestigationAt the urging of Lynch, Comey began drafting a new exoneration statement several days before investigators finished reviewing the sample of emails they took from the Weiner laptop. High-level meeting notes reveal they even discussed sending Congress ''more-clarifying" statements during the week to "correct misimpressions out there.''
A scene from the documentary "Weiner."
IFC Films via AP
As the search was under way, one of the Midyear agents '' Agent 1 -- confided to another agent in a Nov. 1 instant message on the FBI's computer network that ''no one is going to pros[ecute Clinton] even if we find unique classified [material]."
On Nov. 4 '' two days before they had completed the search '' Strzok talked about ''drafting'' a statement. ''We might have this stmt out and be substantially done,'' Page texted back about an hour later.
The pair seemed confident at that point that Clinton's campaign had weathered the new controversy and would still pull off a victory.
''[O]n Inauguration Day,'' Page texted Strzok, ''in addition to our kegger, we should also have a screening of the Weiner documentary!'' The film, ''Weiner,'' documented the former Democratic lawmaker's ill-fated run for New York mayor in 2013.
FilteringEven after the vast reservoir of emails had been winnowed down by questionable methods, the remaining ones still had to be reviewed by hand to determine if they were relevant to the investigation and therefore legally searchable as evidence.
Moyer, the lead FBI attorney on the Midyear team who had initially discounted the trove of new emails as ''duplicates" and failed to act upon their discovery, was also head of the ''filtering'' team. After various searches of the laptop, she and the Midyear team came up with 6,827 emails they classified as being tied directly to Clinton. Moyer then culled away from that batch emails she deemed to be personal in nature and outside the scope of legal agreements, cutting the stack in half. That left 3,077 which she deemed ''work related.''
On Nov. 5, Moyer, Strzok and a third investigator divided up the remaining pool of 3,077 emails '-- roughly 1,000 emails each '-- and rifled through them for classified information and incriminating evidence in less than 12 hours, even though the identification of classified material is a complicated and prolonged process that requires soliciting input from the original classification authorities within the intelligence community.
''We're doing it ALL,'' Strzok told Page late that evening.
The trio ordered pizza and worked into the next morning combing through the emails.
''Finishing up,'' Strzok texted Page around 1 a.m. that Sunday.
By about 2 a.m. Sunday, he declared they were done with their search, noting that while they had found new State Department messages, they had found ''no new classified'' emails. And allegedly nothing from the missing period at the start of Clinton's term that might suggest a criminal motive.
Later that evening of Nov. 6, after he announced to Congress that Clinton was in the clear again, an exuberant Comey gathered his inner circle in his office to watch football.
As news of the case's swift re-closure hit the airwaves, Page and Strzok giddily exchanged text messages and celebrated. ''Out on CNN now '... And fox '... I WANT TO WATCH THIS WITH YOU!'' Strzok said to Page. ''Going to pour myself a glass of wine '... .''
Page noted that ''Trump is talking about [Clinton]'' on Fox News, and how ''she's protected by a rigged system.''
New Classified InformationLike a self-fulfilling prophecy, earlier prognostications that the results of the laptop search would not be a game-changer turned out to be accurate. Yet investigators nonetheless found 13 classified email chains on the unauthorized laptop just in the small sample of 3,077 emails that were individually inspected, and four of those were classified as Secret at the time.
Contrary to the FBI's public claims, at least five classified emails recovered were not duplicates but new to investigators.
RCI has learned that these highly sensitive messages include a Nov. 25, 2011, email regarding talks with Egyptian leaders and Hamas, and a July 9, 2011, ''call sheet'' Abedin sent Clinton in advance of a phone conversation she had that month with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The document runs four pages.
Another previously unseen classified email, dated Nov. 25, 2010, concerns confidential high-level State Department talks with United Arab Emirates leaders. The note, including a classified ''readout'' of a phone call with the UAE prime minister, was written by Abedin and sent to Clinton, and then forwarded by Abedin the next day from her huma@clintonemail.com account to her then-husband's account identified under the rubric ''Anthony Campaign."
Tom Fitton: "sham" investigation.
Gage Skidmore/Peoria, AZ/Wikimedia
Judicial Watch, a Washington-based government watchdog group which has filed a lawsuit against the State Department seeking a full production of Clinton records, confirmed the existence of several more unique classified emails it has received among the rolling release of the 3,077 ''work-related'' emails.
''These classified documents are not duplicates," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton told RCI. ''They are not ones the FBI had already seen prior to their November review.''
He accused the FBI of conducting a ''sham'' investigation and called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to order a new investigation of Clinton's email.
The unique classified emails call into question Comey's May 2017 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, when he maintained that although investigators found classified email chains on the laptop, ''We'd seen them all before.''
No Damage AssessmentComey, in subsequent interviews and public testimony, maintained that the FBI left no stone unturned.
This, too, skirted the truth.
Although Comey claimed that investigators had scoured the laptop for intrusions by foreign hackers who may have stolen the state secrets, Strzok and his team never forensically examined the laptop to see if classified information residing on it had been hacked or compromised by a foreign power before Nov. 6, law enforcement sources say. A complete forensic analysis was never performed by technicians at the FBI's lab at Quantico.
Nor did they farm out the classified information found on the unsecured laptop to other intelligence agencies for review as part of a national security damage assessment -- even though Horowitz confirmed that Clinton's illegal email activity, in a major security breach, gave ''foreign actors'' access to unknowable quantities of classified material.
Without addressing the laptop specifically, late last year the FBI's own inspection division determined that classified information kept on Clinton's email server ''was compromised by unauthorized individuals, to include foreign governments or intelligence services, via cyber intrusion or other means.''
Judicial Watch is suing the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the State Department to force them to conduct, as required by law, a full damage assessment, and prepare a report on how Clinton's email practices as secretary harmed national security.
Comey and Strzok also decided to close the case for a second time without interviewing its three central figures: Abedin, Weiner and Clinton.
Abedin was eventually interviewed, two months later, on Jan. 6, 2017. Although summaries of her previous interviews have been made public, this one has not.
Investigators never interviewed Weiner, even though he had received at least two of the confirmed classified emails on his Yahoo account without the appropriate security clearance to receive them.
The IG concluded, ''The FBI did not determine exactly how Abedin's emails came to reside on Weiner's laptop."
Premature Re-ClosureIn his May 2017 testimony, however, Comey maintained that both Abedin and Weiner had been investigated.
Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana: Investigating investigators.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.): Is there an investigation with respect to the two of them?
Comey: There was, it is '-- we completed it.
Pressed to answer why neither of them was charged with crimes, including mishandling classified information, Comey explained:
''With respect to Ms. Abedin, we didn't have any indication that she had a sense that what she was doing was in violation of the law. Couldn't prove any sort of criminal intent.''
At the time, the Senate Judiciary Committee was unaware that the FBI had not interviewed Abedin to make such a determination before the election.
What about Weiner? Did he read the classified materials without proper authority? the committee asked.
''I don't think so,'' Comey answered, before adding, ''I don't think we've been able to interview him."
Pro-Clinton BiasThe IG report found that Strzok demonstrated intense bias for Clinton and against Trump throughout the initial probe, followed by a stubborn reluctance to examine potentially critical new evidence against Clinton. These included hundreds of messages exchanged with Page, embodied by a Nov. 7 text referencing a pre-Election Day article headlined, ''A victory by Mr. Trump remains possible,'' about which Strzok stated, ''OMG THIS IS F*CKING TERRIFYING.''
Strzok is a central figure because he was a top agent on the two investigations with the greatest bearing on the 2016 election '' Clinton emails and the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. These probes overlapped in October as the discovery of Abedin's laptop renewed Bureau attention on Clinton's emails at the same time it was preparing to seek a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Some Republicans have charged that the month-long delay between the New York office's discovery of the laptop and the FBI's investigation of it can be explained by Strzok's partisan decision to prioritize the Trump investigation over the Clinton one.
Among the evidence they cite is an Oct. 14 email to Page in which Strzok discussed applying ''hurry the F up pressure'' on Justice Department attorneys to secure the FISA surveillance warrant on Page approved before Election Day. (This also happened to be the day the Obama administration promoted his wife, Melissa Hodgman, a big Hillary booster, to associate director of the SEC's enforcement division.) On Oct. 21, his team filed an application for a wiretap to spy on Carter Page.
IG Horowitz would not rule out bias as a motivating factor in the aggressive investigation of Trump and passive probe of Clinton. ''We did not have confidence that Strzok's decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Midyear-related investigative lead discovered on the Weiner laptop was free from bias,'' he said.
Asked to elaborate in recent Senate testimony, Horowitz reaffirmed, ''We did not find no bias in regards to the October events.''
Throughout that month, the facts overwhelmingly demonstrate that instead of digging into the cache of new Clinton evidence, Strzok aggressively investigated the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Moscow, including wiretapping at least one Trump adviser based heavily on unverified allegations of espionage reported in a dossier commissioned by the Clinton campaign.
In a statement, Strzok's attorney blamed the delays in processing the new emails on ''bureaucratic snafus,'' and insisted they had nothing to do with Strzok's political views, which he said never ''affected his work."
The lawyer, Aitan D. Goelman, a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP in Washington, added that his client moved on the new information as soon as he could.
''When informed that Weiner's laptop contained Clinton emails, Strzok immediately had the matter pursued by two of his most qualified and aggressive investigators,'' Goelman said.
Still, contemporaneous messages by Strzok reveal he was not thrilled about re-investigating Clinton. On Nov. 5, for example, he texted Page: ''I hate this case.''
Recovering the LaptopA final mystery remains: Where is the Weiner laptop today?
The whistleblower agent in New York said that he was ''instructed'' by superiors to delete the image of the laptop hard drive he had copied onto his work station, and to ''wipe'' all of the Clinton-related emails clean from his computer.
But he said he believes the FBI ''retained" possession of the actual machine, and that the evidence on the device was preserved.
The last reported whereabouts of the laptop was the Quantico lab. However, the unusually restrictive search warrant Strzok and his team drafted appeared to remand the laptop back into the custody of Abedin and Weiner upon the closing of the case.
''If the government determines that the subject laptop is no longer necessary to retrieve and preserve the data on the device,'' the document states on its final page, ''the government will return the subject laptop."
Wherever its location, somewhere out there is a treasure trove of evidence involving potentially serious federal crimes -- including espionage, foreign influence-peddling and obstruction of justice -- that has never been properly or fully examined by law enforcement authorities.
What did Angela see? Russians ridicule Merkel for spying on 'Putin's base' with large binoculars '-- RT World News
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 00:28
The Russian internet was amused by German Chancellor Angela Merkel's stop for a glance at a Russian military base through a pair of large binoculars during her visit to Georgia. Some said she should quit being shy and come visit.
Footage of Merkel, attentively gazing with binoculars, was captured on Friday during the chancellor's visit to Georgia. In a small village of Odzisi, 50 kilometers away from the nation's capital Tbilisi, Georgian officials had offered Merkel a peek at the Russian military base across the border in the breakaway republic of South Ossetia, whose independence was recognized by Moscow in 2008.
Social media users found the image of Merkel spying on Russian troops amusing, and began guessing what she might have spotted through the large lenses. ''This is what the Frau Chancellor saw,'' one person wrote, posting a viral picture of Russian President Vladimir Putin shirtless on a horseback. ''Angela, quit peeking, just come over.''
Ð'от что увидеÐ>>а ÑÑау канцÐ>>еÑин АнÐ"еÐ>>а Ð'еÑкеÐ>>ь, ÑассматÑивая в бинокÐ>>ь Ñоссийскую военную базу в Южной Осетии. АнхеÐ>>ика, не@уй ÐодÐ"Ð>>ядывать, заходи в Ð"ости. pic.twitter.com/4T2NedCNPI
'-- Ð--емьян ПоÐ>>уÐьяноÑÑ (@polupianoff) August 25, 2018''She could've just asked to come over,'' another user agreed.
Ð'еÑкеÐ>>ь во вÑемя визита в Ð'Ñузию ÑассматÑиваÐ>>а в бинокÐ>>ь Ñоссийскую военную базу в Ð...хинваÐ>>е. Ð'ожно быÐ>>о ÐÑосто ÐоÐÑоситься в Ð"ости. pic.twitter.com/7Au0bf16Yw
'-- КатÑин ÐаÑаканова (@tatyakuku) August 25, 2018The commentators were joking that the German leader can't stop gazing across the border because the Russian troops might be lined up in their birthday suits or bathing outside.
Some users had a hunch that Merkel could be actually spying and plotting something. ''Tremble, Russia,'' one of them warned, while others speculated that the chancellor was indeed hoping to catch a glimpse of Putin himself. Questions were also raised as to what would happen if Putin were to take her binoculars to peek at NATO troops from Russia's westernmost Kaliningrad region.
A user named ta va kom found Merkel's interest touching and endearing. ''There were times when people had telescopes for gazing on the Moon, the Sun and the stars. Now the Russia Army is like space: it's being gazed on, being observed,'' she wrote.
Ð'от так-то....... ПÑоÑÐ>>и те вÑемена, коÐ"да в теÐ>>ескоÐы Ð>>юбоваÐ>>ись 🌛🌞🌟. ÐеÐеÑь АÑмия России - это космос, её Ð>>юбуются, за неё набÐ>>юдают👍. Ð'еÑкеÐ>>ь осмотÑеÐ>>а Ñоссийские войска чеÑез бинокÐ>>ь https://t.co/Kbsn4CLbfZ
'-- Ð'акаÑена (@ta_va_kom) August 25, 2018There was room for harsh criticism as well, though, with one person asking, ''Where was Merkel with her binoculars when Georgia was shelling Tskhinval?'' The commentator was referring the 2008 South Ossetia War which erupted after Georgian troops launched a full-scale assault on the South Ossetian capital, also targeting Russian peacekeepers stationed there.
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Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses to protest sex abuse scandals at Pa. convention
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 16:30
Chessa Manion insists she's not looking for revenge, or to spark an ugly confrontation, when she heads to Berks County this weekend.
The plan that she and a group of former Jehovah's Witnesses have cobbled together is fairly simple: They'll gather in front of the Reading Santander Arena on Sunday with signs and artwork, and try to catch the eyes of some current followers of the millenarian religion who will be streaming into the building for a convention that's expected to draw thousands from Pennsylvania and Maryland congregations.
For some of the ex-Witnesses, it'll be a chance to share painful experiences that they tried to bury for years '-- in Manion's case, the rape that she suffered as a 5-year-old at the hands of a teenage Witness in a small Illinois town in 1994. Others hope to encourage active Witnesses to question the organization's leaders, who have responded to a growing number of child sex abuse cases around the world with denials and instructions to destroy records that could prove harmful in litigation.
"We just want to have an open dialogue," said Manion, 29, who now lives in Delaware and organized the protest, which will run from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Ex-Witnesses from 13 countries attended similar protests at a Jehovah's Witnesses convention earlier this month in London, in the wake of British authorities' receiving reports of more than 100 child sexual assaults that occurred at numerous congregations. (The organization's officials have declined multiple interview requests.)
Martin and Jennifer Haugh will be among those in attendance. The couple have become the most recognizable ex-Witnesses in Pennsylvania since telling the Inquirer and Daily News earlier this year about the 2005 molestation of their daughter, which unfolded in a York County kingdom hall that once felt like a second home for their family.
Tim Tai Martin, left, and Jennifer Haugh shown at their home in New Cumberland, Pa., home earlier this year. Their daughter was sexually abused at a Jehovah's Witness kingdom hall when she was 4.
The Haughs said elders discouraged them from contacting police about their daughter's abuse, even they though they knew the identity of her alleged attacker, a family relative named John Logan Haugh. (The 26-year-old was arrested in May, and charged with two counts of indecent assault on a minor. He's receiving therapy as part of a stipulated court agreement that was filed in York County this month.)
When the Haughs decided to leave the religion and seek justice for their daughter, they were shunned by their closest friends and family, some of whom even held a wake in their memory.
"I think many of us who have left have this feeling of, 'I have to do something, but what?'" Jennifer Haugh said.
Establishing a visible presence outside of a convention felt like a logical step, especially at a time when the general public has shown increased interest in religious sex abuse scandals, coming on the heels of a Pennsylvania grand jury report on decades of molestation that occurred in Catholic dioceses across the state.
Haugh knows that Witness leaders label people like her '-- ex-followers who question some of the organization's rules, like one that requires sexual abuse survivors to produce two eyewitnesses to support their claims '-- as "apostates," nonbelievers who can't be trusted.
"We're not going to be shouting and waving signs, because we're not going to feed into the apostate trope that we're all possessed by Satan," Haugh said. "We're going with the intention of trying to open some minds, and posing questions that someone could Google later."
Manion's efforts won't end with the demonstration in Reading; she's formed a foundation, Use Our Voice, to help sex abuse survivors find a path beyond the wreckage others brought to their lives. She knows that for some people to move forward, they have to make peace with their past. For Manion, that's meant reaching out to authorities in Illinois to see if they'll revisit her rape case, which didn't result in an arrest, if she files a new complaint.
"I'm still trying to figure it out," she said.
Omzet Nederlandse drugshandel 18,9 miljard | Binnenland | Telegraaf.nl
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 11:50
Dit bedrag, hoger dan de jaaromzet van bedrijven als Philips en Albert Heijn, is te beschouwen als de bijdrage van Nederlandse synthetischedrugscriminelen aan de illegale wereldeconomie. Een flink deel van dat bedrag - geschat wordt zo'n 3 tot 5 miljard - verdwijnt in de zakken van de Nederlandse drugscriminelen zelf, aldus het onderzoek onder leiding van Pieter Tops. Hij is hoogleraar bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit van Tilburg en lector politie en openbaar bestuur aan de Politieacademie.
Voor het eerst is berekend wat er in Nederland wordt verdiend aan de synthetische drugs. De onderzoekers noemen 18,9 miljard een voorzichtige schatting. Het bedrag ligt waarschijnlijk beduidend hoger.
Lees ook: 'Een land van pillendraaiers en poederstampers'Volgens de onderzoekers vormen synthetische drugs een nationaal probleem met internationale consequenties voor de positie en het imago van Nederland. 'žHet is alleen met voldoende, volhardende en toegewijde capaciteit en een constant brede internationale aanpak te bestrijden. Daaraan heeft het de afgelopen jaren ontbroken'', concluderen ze.
LiggingDe mondiale toppositie is onder meer te verklaren omdat Nederland vanwege de ligging en infrastructuur een ideaal vestigingsklimaat heeft voor criminelen. Ook de tolerante houding ten opzichte van gebruik en productie van synthetische drugs speelt een belangrijke rol. Er zijn te weinig agenten die strafrechtelijk onderzoek verrichten, waardoor de pakkans laag is. En de strafmaat is laag.
De georganiseerde drugscriminaliteit leidt echter tot veel geweld. De brede aanpak ervan zou volgens de onderzoekers daarom topprioriteit moeten zijn voor de regering.
ProblematiekHet rapport maakt volgens minister Ferd Grapperhaus (Justitie) de ernst duidelijk van de drugsproblematiek en de rol die Nederland daarin speelt. Hij vindt het 'žschokkend als je het zo bij elkaar ziet.'' Hij zegt zich bewust te zijn van de 'žbeschamende positie'' die ons land inneemt op de internationale ranglijst van drugs producerende landen.
'žIk ben van de urgentie doordrongen. Hier moeten we enorm op gaan inzetten, dat doen we en gaan we nog steviger doen'', aldus de minister. Het kabinet heeft extra geld en capaciteit vrijgemaakt voor de aanpak van deze vorm van criminaliteit, zegt hij.
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Resistance Rhetoric Gets Nasty | SUPERcuts! #610
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 11:36
Infowars' return to Twitter proves once again Jack Dorsey doesn't get it | Technology | The Guardian
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 11:11
E ighteen long years ago, a young man named Jack traded in his youth for some magic beans. Jack planted those beans and, before long, a beanstalk would grow from the ground, pierce the clouds and stretch into the sky.
Upon climbing the beanstalk, Jack found a castle laden with riches beyond his wildest dreams.It seemed too good to be true. And, as it turns out, it was.
Jack didn't expect that a formidable foe would find him: a giant named Alex. This giant was so mean and so vicious that he was banished from almost every other castle. He harassed, threatened and cursed everyone in his path. Jack, frightened by the prospect of removing this giant, made him a deal instead: if you leave me alone to collect my riches, you can stay as long as you want.
The giant's conspiracies became more far flung. The harassment campaigns more intense. Jackasked that the giant stop harassing everyone for one week. He then embarked on a press tour explaining why it was important for everyone to hear what the giant had to say.
Now, the giant has returned to Jack's castle: Twitter.
One week ago, Jack Dorsey effectively gave Alex Jones, a conspiracy-peddling hate monger a slap on the wrist and a license to continue to use his platform as he has for the last several years: to harass the parents of kindergartners killed at Sandy Hook, to paint Las Vegas shooting victims as actors and to threaten the special counsel. It will probably serve not as a deterrent, but an accelerant.
In the week leading up to this suspension, while Apple, Spotify, YouTube and Facebook finally admitted that Jones had been broken their clear terms of service, Jack Dorsey demurred. While his reluctance to simply jump on the bandwagon should be respected, it became increasingly clear through his many contortions that Alex Jones had indeed broken the Twitter terms of service as well. Many, many times. And yet, Dorsey refused to enforce his own policies, banning him as the other companies had.
In an age when social media companies are trying to find the line between what is appropriate on their platforms and what is not, what can be monetized and what can't, what they should be responsible for and what they shouldn't, one thing remains absolutely clear: bad people will use their platforms to do bad things and, if the tide is not stemmed, if their rules aren't enforced, then those bad people will multiply.
It's not like this hasn't happened to Twitter before. In the very recent past, they found themselves overrun with racism, foreign political influence and harassment while those who have attempted to follow the rules felt alienated. A platform that admits to wrongdoing but won't correct it is a clear target for anyone looking to take advantage of lenient policies.
This doesn't get better, it only gets worse.
Yet, as evidenced by Jones's return to Twitter, Dorsey remains stubbornly idealistic that not even people who intend to do harm could possibly do any damage to his utopian dream of a town square where everyone gets a voice (and the Twitter valuation stays high). He seems to be intent on ignoring the rules that his company established to keep the discourse safe for both the people who use it and for the advertisers that sell to them, who have already expressed their reticence to be juxtaposed with anything inflammatory. Jack also doesn't seem to comprehend that harassment is actually the biggest barrier to free speech, that conspiracies spread on his platform cause damage to people off his platform and that voices that spout hate are always louder than the voices that look to challenge them. Dorsey's dream has become a nightmare for many of the people who inhabit it.
If Jack is going to keep people and the advertisers that want to reach them on his platform, he is going to have to sacrifice a bit of his original idealistic vision for his company and, yes, some of the golden eggs that have come with it. He can't hold the line for long, as the people who use Twitter for good will soon tire of the caustic nature of the discourse coming from those who want to use it for evil.
Yes, the giant is back again and his behavior will inevitably get worse, but it is not too late for Jack to do something about it. Even if it requires chopping down his precious beanstalk.
He just has to get his head out of the clouds first.
Matt Rivitz is the founder of founder of Sleeping Giants, which campaigned to convince advertisers not to spend on far-right sites like Breitbart.
Migrants 'go on hunger strike' as Italian government refuses to accept them
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 11:04
Migrants stranded on a ship off the coast of Italy have gone on hunger strike after the country refused to let them disembark, authorities said.
Italy's populist government will not allow the 150 migrants to get off at Sicily unless fellow EU countries commit to taking them.
Many are reported to have gone on hunger strike as they reached the ninth day since they were rescued.
There had been 177 refugees on the boat but 27 teenagers were allowed to disembark in Catania on Wednesday.
Thirteen young children and ailing adults were earlier evacuated from the Diciotti coastguard vessel.
Deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini shrugged off reports of the hunger strike, tweeting: "They can do whatever they believe."
Image: Some young people were allowed to disembark the vessel on WednesdayThe Diciotti crew took in the migrants on 16 August after they were spotted on a foundering human trafficker's boat in the Mediterranean.
It has been docked for days in the port of Catania on the Italian island of Sicily.
Opposition politician David Faraone said port officials had told them "there's tension" on the ship and migrants have stopped eating.
Mr Salvini, who is also the country's interior minister, has said the government will not allow any of the 150 migrants to disembark unless other EU nations commit to taking them.
All but 18 of those on the coastguard ship after Eritrean.
The others are from Somalia, Syria and Sudan.
They have told authorities they suffered months and even years of inhumane treatment in detention in Libya, while waiting to leave aboard smugglers' boats.
Image: 150 migrants have spent nine days docked off the coast of SicilyAnother opposition politician who went aboard on Thursday expressed particular concern about 11 women, some as young as 19 or 20.
Appealing to Mr Salvini, Laura Boldrini said: "As a father, they could be your daughter.
"At least let the young women off."
Sky's Italian news channel TG24 said some women aboard ate lunch on Friday but the men refused the meal.
Mr Salvini and fellow deputy premier Luigi Di Maio have refused to back down.
Mr Di Maio threatened that Italy could withhold some of its yearly '‚¬20billion (£18 billion) contribution to the bloc, if EU nations did not make good on promises earlier this year to offer them more support with refugees.
The country has seen more than 600,000 rescued migrants brought to Italian shores in recent years.
Mr Di Maio said that if the European Commission meeting does not "decide anything about the Diciotti ship and the re-distribution of the migrants, I and all the 5-Star Movement are no longer willing to give 20 billion to the European Union."
EU Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein said in Brussels: "The European Union is a community of rules and it operates on the basis of rules, not threats."
He urged "all parties involved to work constructively together to find a swift solution".
Tesla To Remain Public, Elon Musk Says : NPR
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 10:41
Elon Musk in Hawthorne, Calif., on July 22. He announced late Friday that Tesla would remain a publicly traded company. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images Elon Musk in Hawthorne, Calif., on July 22. He announced late Friday that Tesla would remain a publicly traded company.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images Less than a month after CEO Elon Musk created a stir in the stock markets by suggesting he might take the company private, electric car maker Tesla says it will remain as a publicly traded company after all.
"Given the feedback I've received, it's apparent that most of Tesla's existing shareholders believe we are better off as a public company," Musk said in a statement Friday. The electric car manufacturer has been publicly traded since 2010.
He said institutional shareholders told him that because of "internal compliance issues" they were limited in how much they could invest.
"Although the majority of shareholders I spoke to said they would remain with Tesla if we went private, the sentiment, in a nutshell, was 'please don't do this,' " Musk said.
He said going private also would be "more time-consuming and distracting than initially anticipated" at a time the company needs to focus on speeding production of the company's Model 3 car, which has missed production targets in the past.
The sedan, with a starting price of $49,000, is Tesla's attempt to create a mass-market car.
Six members of Tesla's board issued their own statement Friday, saying that a committee to evaluate taking the company private had been dissolved and that "The Board and the entire company remain focused on ensuring Tesla's operational success, and we fully support Elon as he continues to lead the company moving forward."
Tesla's stock shot up when Musk tweeted on Aug. 7 that he was considering taking the company private at $420 a share with "funding secured."
Musk said the goal of taking the company private would be to avoid the pressures of short sellers, market swings and quarterly earnings cycles, and suggested the following week that Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund could help with the deal.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is now investigating Musk's tweet, according to The Wall Street Journal, as under the law "companies and corporate officers can't give shareholders misleading information about meaningful company events."
Huddersfield child sex inquiry: Thirty-one people charged - BBC News
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 05:00
Thirty men and one woman have been charged with offences linked to child sexual exploitation in Huddersfield.
The offences relate to five women when they were aged between 12 and 18, and are alleged to have taken place between 2005 and 2012.
Charges those accused face include rape, trafficking and sexual assault.
Twelve men, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have been charged with "numerous offences in connection with the same investigation", police said.
Yorkshire breaking news: Station protests over rail fare increase; York boss is 'highest paid executive'
The accused are due at Kirklees Magistrates' Court on 5 and 6 September.
West Yorkshire Police said the accused who can be named are:
Banaras Hussain 37, of Shipley, charged with one count of rape of a female over 16Banaris Hussain, 35, of Huddersfield, charged with one count of rape of a girl aged 13-15Mohammed Suhail Arif, 30, of Huddersfield, charged with rape of girl aged 13-15Iftikar Ali, 37, of Huddersfield, charged with attempted rape of girl aged 13-15 and three counts of rape of a girl aged 13-15Mohammed Sajjad, 31, of Huddersfield, charged with four counts of rape of a female age 13-15, one rape of a girl under 13 and facilitating the commission of a child sex offenceFehreen Rafiq, 38, of Huddersfield, charged with two counts of facilitating the commission of a child sex offenceUmar Zaman, 30, of Huddersfield, charged with two counts of rape of a female aged 13-15Basharat Hussain, 31, of Huddersfield, charged with two counts of rape of a female aged 13-15Amin Ali Choli, 36, of Huddersfield, charged with two counts of rape of a female over 16-years-old Shaqeel Hussain, 35, of Dewsbury, charged with rape of a female aged 13-15 and two counts of traffickingMubasher Hussain, 35, of Huddersfield, charged with rape of a female aged 13-15 and sexual assaultAbdul Majid, 34, of Huddersfield, charged with two counts of rape of female aged 13-15Mohammed Dogar, 35, of Huddersfield, charged with two counts of facilitating the commission of child sex offenceUsman Ali, 32, of Huddersfield, charged with two counts of rape of a female aged 13-15Mohammed Waqas Anwar, 29, of Huddersfield, charged with five counts of rape of a female aged 13-15Gul Riaz, 42, of Huddersfield, charged with rape of a female aged 13-15Mohammed Akram, 41, of Huddersfield, charged with two counts of trafficking with a view to sexual exploitation of a female and rape of a female aged 14-15Manzoor Akhtar, 29, of Huddersfield, charged with trafficking and three counts of rape of a female aged 13-15Samuel Fikru, 30, of Camden, charged with two counts of rape of a female aged 13-15
David Hogg gets FACT CHECKED on his new NRA-Betsy DeVos conspiracy theory '' twitchy.com
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 04:42
On Thursday, anti-gun activist David Hogg made the ludicrous claim that the NRA wants the federal government to allow schools to use federal funds to arm teachers ''to increase gun sales in a record low year'':
So we can't
-afford textbooks for our children -regularly fund inner-city schools -pay our teachers a livable salary-have free public college
Yet, we can arm teachers sounds like the @NRA is pulling strings to increase gun sales in a record low year. https://t.co/Ca8NbMCpyk
'-- David Hogg (@davidhogg111) August 24, 2018
This just isn't true:
Gun sales are nearing a record high. Go back to school and learn some math. https://t.co/EhKOGU2bv0
'-- Mike Beasley (@MikeBeas) August 24, 2018
Gun sales are nearing a record high. Go back to school and learn some math. https://t.co/EhKOGU2bv0
'-- Mike Beasley (@MikeBeas) August 24, 2018
More from 2nd Amendment reporter Stephen Gutowski:
There have been about 1 million more FBI background checks, the most reliable indicator of gun sales, this year than last year and this year is on pace to be the second-best in the history of NICS. So, no, gun sales are not experiencing a record low year. https://t.co/3TuvrVnvOu
'-- Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) August 24, 2018
As the kids say, Gutowski brought receipts:
Here's the FBI report that shows the number of checks every month since NICS began. For a number of reasons, NICS check numbers are not a one-to-one representation of gun sales but nearly every sale of a new gun and many used sales require a NICS check. https://t.co/ajfqxG16C1
'-- Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) August 24, 2018
And:
I redid this tweet to add "nearly" to "every sale of a new gun" because some states don't require NICS checks on new gun sales to those with gun-carry permits. It's important to be as precise and transparent as possible whenever fact checking somebody else, obviously.
'-- Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) August 24, 2018
In conclusion, THIS:
Poster child for homeschooling. https://t.co/1IVuhGNIbr
'-- Larry O'Connor (@LarryOConnor) August 24, 2018
***
Related:
THIS FRIGGIN' KID! If David Hogg's head gets any BIGGER, it's going to straight-up EXPLODE https://t.co/69RFcpRcuw
'-- Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) August 21, 2018
AWKWARD! Kyle Kashuv calling David Hogg on 'I don't endorse' candidates claim had him quickly spinning this July tweet https://t.co/QJtbGKtag2
'-- Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) August 17, 2018
'OH GOD LOL'! Meet the Democratic gubernatorial candidate who just got David Hogg's blessing https://t.co/cwjOtSoO8q
'-- Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) August 14, 2018
Is this real life? David Hogg invokes 1967 treaty to try and call off launch of Trump's Space Force https://t.co/abuPDljfmr
'-- Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) August 9, 2018
AWS cuts in half the price of most of its Lightsail virtual private servers '' TechCrunch
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 04:06
AWS Lightsail, which launched in 2016, is Amazon's answer to the rise of Digital Ocean, OVH and other affordable virtual private server (VPS) players. Lightsail started as a pretty basic service, but over the course of the last two years, AWS added features like block storage, Windows support and additional regions.
Today, the company announced it is launching two new instance sizes and cutting in half the price of most Linux-based Lightsail instances. Windows instances are also getting cheaper, though the price cut there is closer to 30 percent for most instances.
The only Linux instance that isn't getting a full 50 percent cut is the $5/month 512 MB instance, which will now cost $3.50. That's not too bad, either. Depending on your needs, 512 MB can be enough to run a few projects, so if you don't need a full 1 GB, you can save a few dollars by going with Lightsail over Digital Ocean's smallest $5/month 1 GB instance. Indeed, it's probably no surprise that Lightsail's 1 GB instance now also costs $5/month.
All instance types come with attached SSD storage, SSH access, a static IP address and all of the other features you'd expect from a VPS hosting service.
As usual, Windows instances cost a bit more (those Windows licenses aren't free, after all) and now start at $8 per month for a 512 MB instances. The more usable 1 GB instance will set you back $12 per month.
As for the new instance sizes, the new 16 GB instance will feature 4 vCPUs, 320 GB of storage and a generous 6 TB of data transfer. The 32 GB instance doubles the vCPU and storage numbers and offers 7 TB of data transfer.
'Sex boxes,' built by taxpayers, succeed in Switzerland
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 04:04
Drive-in movies may be a thing of the past, but in Zurich, drive-ins are alive and well. Instead of seeing a movie, patrons in Switzerland '-- where prostitution has been legal since the 1940s '-- can receive the services of sex workers.
In 2012, 52 percent of Zurich citizens voted in favor of the government setting aside $2 million to build drive-in structures, which are referred to as ''sex boxes,'' in a discreet area. To operate the facilities each year, $800,000 is set aside for security and on-site social services. Previously, sex workers were mostly located at the city's riverfront area, but residents complained about the noise and traffic jams.
A prostitute faces ''sex boxes'' in Zurich on the opening day of Switzerland's first sex drive-in, Aug. 26, 2013. (Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)
The sex boxes opened in 2013. Five years later, city officials have deemed the project a wild success.
These government-sanctioned areas are effective in preventing violence against sex workers and human trafficking, Nadeen Schuster, Zurich's spokesperson, told USA Today. With the government's involvement in the industry, sex workers are more protected and healthier overall. Prostitutes, who must register with public health authorities and submit to regular health checks, pay taxes on their work and contribute to social insurance.
Since they were introduced, the sex boxes have seen improvements. In 2014, other structures were added that featured plank beds, as some customers did not want to stay in their cars. Motorbikes and bicycles are allowed, ''to meet the needs of the population,'' according to authorities, but foot traffic is not. Walk-ins are encouraged to go to another city-sanctioned prostitution area.
The working women set the price with their customers, and once there is an agreement, they drive to one of the free boxes. There are no security cameras inside, but there is an alarm button, which will alert security if they need help. According to USA Today's reporter, so far there have been no serious incidents.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
Sen. John McCain is discontinuing treatment for brain cancer '-- here's why glioblastoma is so deadlyTaraji P. Henson knows she looks like a member of the Jackson 5 in recent photo, and fans are shockedC(C)line Dion makes a splash in lingerie for steamy 'midnight pool shoot': 'Wanted to have a little fun on a hot and sticky night'Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.
FACT CHECK: Did MSNBC Use a 'Trump Worried About Pecker Leaking' Chyron?
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 04:02
CLAIM A screenshot from an MSNBC broadcast captures a chyron reading "Trump Worried About Pecker Leaking."
RATING ORIGIN On 24 August 2018, news outlets reported that David Pecker, the CEO of the National Enquirer, had been granted immunity by federal prosecutors in exchange for providing information about President Trump and his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, in regards to hush payments made to at least two women during the 2016 presidential election. Shortly afterwards, an image purportedly showing a screenshot of an MSNBC broadcast featuring the chyron ''Trump Worried About Pecker Leaking'' started making its way around the internet:
While Pecker's last name certainly creates the opportunity for some punny humor, and while President Trump may indeed be worried about the National Enquirer CEO's leaking information to federal prosecutors, this is not a genuine chyron that aired on MSNBC.
This doctored image was created from a screenshot of an 11 January 2018 MSNBC broadcast which featured Nicole Wallace, the host of ''Deadline: White House,'' expressing outrage over President Trump's alleged ''shithole'' comment in regard to African countries:
Here's a comparison of an image featuring the genuine chyron (left) and the doctored image (right):
Snopes.com has long been engaged in the battle against misinformation, an effort we could not sustain without the support of our readers.
If you'd like to learn more about how you can support us, click here.
US 'redirecting' $200 million in aid from West Bank and Gaza '-- RT US News
Sat, 25 Aug 2018 02:08
The Trump administration is ''redirecting'' $200 million in economic aid earmarked for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to projects elsewhere, the State Department has informed Congress.
''At the direction of President Trump, we have undertaken a review of US assistance to the Palestinian Authority and in the West Bank and Gaza to ensure these funds are spent in accordance with US national interests and provide value to the US taxpayer,'' a State Department official said on Friday.
More than $200 million originally designated for programs in the Palestinian territories ''will now address high-priority projects elsewhere,'' said the unnamed official, according to Reuters.
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- The Trump administration has decided to cut more than $200 million in bilateral #US assistance to the #Palestinians, following a review of the funding for the West Bank and Gaza.The @StateDept notified Congress of the decision Friday afternoon.
'-- Matt Lee (@APDiploWriter) August 24, 2018The US has already frozen hundreds of millions in funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and Friday's announcement follows through on President Donald Trump's threat to cut aid to the Palestinians over their refusal to strike a peace deal with Israel.
Read more
J Street, a liberal US Jewish group that gained prominence during the Obama administration, condemned the move as a ''moral outrage and a major strategic blunder.''
''The cuts will have a devastating impact on innocent women, children and families,'' including programs for 50,000 youths designed to prevent radicalization, J Street said.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), the ranking member on the appropriations subcommittee handling the State Department, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, also criticized the announcement.
''Inhabitants of Gaza are already suffering severe hardships under the tyranny of Hamas and border restrictions imposed by Israel. It is the Palestinian people, virtual prisoners in an increasingly volatile conflict, who will most directly suffer the consequences of this callous and ill-advised attempt to respond to Israel's security concerns,'' said Leahy.
Over 160 Palestinians have been killed and thousands injured in the Great March of Return protests along the Gaza border with Israel, which began in March and continue daily. Israel maintains the blame for the deaths rests squarely on Islamic resistance movement Hamas, the elected government in Gaza, which both Israel and the US consider a terrorist group.
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EPA rollback (1).mp3
Furternity_Leave (1).mp3
going over the new bridge (1).mp3
inventions secrecy act (1).mp3
ISO lip reading redux (1).mp3
John Brennan Bill Maher -1- Intro and monetizing security clearance (1).mp3
John Brennan Bill Maher -2- Treasonous and Rand Paul (1).mp3
John Brennan Bill Maher -3- full rotatation into spilling into the streets (1).mp3
Kamela Harris on the Future of our Republic in jeopardy Unindicted Co-Conspirator-SCOTUS (1).mp3
Kara Swisher Maher -1- Anonymity-Privacy-Zuckerberg No scruples - Romanticizing nerds - Russia Used the Network against them (1).mp3
Kara Swisher Maher -2- Tech hearings on the hill (1).mp3
Kara Swisher Maher -3- Buildings like playgrounds - Move fast and break things - Weaponize (1).mp3
Manafort juror (1).mp3
mccain ISO nothing done (1).mp3
McCain rundown CBS (1).mp3
Money Honey Barteromo with Jeff Sessions on investigation with a smile (1).mp3
NA Jingles - Oedipus and Shit (Just 17)-EOS-Chris Wilson (1).mp3
NA Jingles - Poopin in the Streets-EOS-Chris Wilson (1).mp3
nancy cordes on McCain (1).mp3
NASCAR Virtue Signalling AD BASED TAKEDOWN (1).mp3
new coal plant rules lies from obama (1).mp3
Pecker story ABC Misdirection ISO (1).mp3
Pecker story ABC Misdirection TWO ISO (1).mp3
police hitting girl in UK (1).mp3
reality winner Trump and DN (1).mp3
some polling results CBS college women (1).mp3
some polling results TWO CBS college women (1).mp3
Steve Pieczenik - Opus 55 on McCain-Patreus-Bob Kerri (1).mp3
Tesla That Rear-Ended Fire Truck May Have Been Self-Driving (1).mp3
Tesla Whistleblower on tech (1).pdf
trump versus kocj brothers csb (1).mp3
trump versus sessions (1).mp3
wine replication story (1).mp3
All Alcohol is bad (1).mp3
  • 0:00
    but I had to leave the grandkids alone
  • 0:02
    to defend the curry this is no agenda
  • 0:28
    news and nice one no one walks away from
  • 0:41
    free soup they have it at Google not for
  • 0:45
    long soup they have it at Google not for
  • 0:47
    that's Facebook you keep Twitter it was
  • 0:51
    actually Twitter I think we were both
  • 0:52
    wrong they shouldn't no one should have
  • 0:54
    that support your local vendors people
  • 0:58
    well I don't know where to start
  • 1:00
    I mean travel report McCain so much data
  • 1:03
    stuff that's just well we traditionally
  • 1:05
    start with the travel report so I think
  • 1:09
    we should go with that okay I went to
  • 1:11
    Chicago Chicago this was really nice
  • 1:17
    Tina was there all week for the Ronald
  • 1:19
    McDonald House global conference
  • 1:21
    you got some good weather I guess
  • 1:23
    completely shit on Friday it rained
  • 1:25
    oh well then you're done well no it was
  • 1:29
    a good trip Tina had a great time you're
  • 1:32
    very well organized conference and
  • 1:34
    really invigorated her in the central
  • 1:36
    Texas team and so I'm like we'll come
  • 1:38
    out I'll come out there and we'll just
  • 1:40
    tack on two extra days and you're fun to
  • 1:42
    be in a different city and we're in love
  • 1:45
    we're best friends so it's it's fun to
  • 1:47
    be somewhere else oh and I got this
  • 1:48
    fantastic deal at Loews Hotel you
  • 1:52
    familiar with the lows the lose
  • 1:56
    those ever just went by yes of course
  • 1:59
    well you make them make the sound you
  • 2:04
    were counting cars
  • 2:06
    no I need to have this thing on stand
  • 2:08
    body I need to have this thing on stand
  • 2:09
    say it again John you were counting cars
  • 2:19
    so what is former mean you know I very
  • 2:22
    foaming at the foaming at the mouth I
  • 2:23
    presume yep anyway so I got the yes I've
  • 2:27
    actually stayed at that Hotel so I got I
  • 2:29
    mean I got an upgrade to a junior suite
  • 2:31
    a fantastic deal like this is a nice
  • 2:34
    hotel Hotel you know with Tina excited
  • 2:38
    about you know the tour job at the
  • 2:39
    conference and the collective mission it
  • 2:41
    was nice you know was to see everyone's
  • 2:42
    paws did really good of course to get
  • 2:44
    there after the show on Thursday you
  • 2:48
    know we have our little a little
  • 2:49
    procedure takes about you know 30 35
  • 2:52
    minutes to get the show up and out and
  • 2:53
    it's a selecting title and artwork and
  • 2:55
    doing credits and you know editing and
  • 2:59
    open to the show and the playback was
  • 3:01
    all garbled and jumpy like oh I gotta
  • 3:05
    catch a flight now we have this
  • 3:08
    so I'm pulling stuff from the from the
  • 3:10
    backup tape but I haven't done it from
  • 3:11
    this new recorder yet and you say wisely
  • 3:14
    hey it's Windows let's just check that
  • 3:16
    again check that playback again thank
  • 3:19
    you you saved me a lot of hassle with
  • 3:21
    that to the rescue
  • 3:24
    so yes tada you know so I have like two
  • 3:28
    hours to get everything together and get
  • 3:30
    out and get to the airport and I Drive
  • 3:34
    myself I'm not you know I got plenty of
  • 3:37
    time I gonna take an uber of course I
  • 3:39
    didn't have pre checked because I'm
  • 3:40
    traveling alone even though I paid for
  • 3:42
    the for the privilege but I never get it
  • 3:44
    and probably based on my FICO score only
  • 3:47
    when I travel with the keeper him so
  • 3:51
    let's take him a while to get through
  • 3:53
    the TSA oh my god okay I'm finally here
  • 3:57
    flight delayed for two hours yeah you
  • 4:00
    know this story what was the rush
  • 4:04
    exactly and then he walk around
  • 4:06
    austin-bergstrom Airport Southwest is
  • 4:10
    typically good I had don't this is weird
  • 4:12
    because Southwest recently has have been
  • 4:14
    having a lot of delays and I can't
  • 4:16
    figure out why they've had him on the
  • 4:17
    west coast to him I think he sees these
  • 4:19
    fires or something there's something
  • 4:20
    going on hang-ups and it's it affects
  • 4:25
    the entire system unfortunately yeah I
  • 4:26
    mean usually when you have like a
  • 4:28
    scheduled line flight like a American
  • 4:31
    Airlines to much bigger problem because
  • 4:33
    they don't have these plans just
  • 4:34
    shuttling back and forth you know that
  • 4:36
    to get a plane from a different
  • 4:37
    trajectory and that can really screw you
  • 4:40
    over in southwest they can be late but
  • 4:42
    then they're just late the whole day and
  • 4:43
    they have to catch up somewhere
  • 4:44
    overnight or whatever they do so it was
  • 4:46
    it was atypical but now I don't leave
  • 4:49
    until 8:15 or 8:20 and Boston Airport
  • 4:53
    has become such a commercial piece of
  • 4:55
    crap you know you have all these oh this
  • 4:59
    is the cool austere Salt Lick it's the
  • 5:01
    airport version of Salt Lick barbecue
  • 5:04
    which is very famous barbecue place in
  • 5:06
    Austin and I have an airport version of
  • 5:08
    it it doesn't feel right the old Austin
  • 5:13
    Airport on the entire other hat side of
  • 5:16
    town on the entire other hat side of
  • 5:17
    it was a better Airport
  • 5:20
    yeah I never witnessed that one and it
  • 5:22
    was oh it was cool it was quaint it was
  • 5:24
    kind of like the airport you'd find in
  • 5:26
    Hilo or Long Beach or you know or even
  • 5:29
    Burbank or Long Beach or you know or even
  • 5:30
    we're like Burbank but Austin's Airport
  • 5:32
    the new one was pretty cool a couple
  • 5:35
    years ago she's all the all the
  • 5:36
    concessions that we have a store called
  • 5:38
    booked people not far from real downtown
  • 5:43
    and it's one of the last independent
  • 5:45
    bookstores and it's really nice to go in
  • 5:47
    there browse and people are helpful and
  • 5:49
    they're knowledgeable you know it's it's
  • 5:51
    a real book stars it's not like a Barnes
  • 5:53
    & Noble and people support it they have
  • 5:56
    a book book people at the airport which
  • 6:00
    is like two cases of books you know the
  • 6:03
    top ones and then it's all the other
  • 6:05
    tchotchkes and kids and weird bullcrap
  • 6:08
    now just as a souvenir shop and they've
  • 6:10
    branded it is book people shirts yes
  • 6:13
    it's a key the whole thing is a key
  • 6:15
    anyway so I get to the hotel and I was
  • 6:18
    like 11:45 went into through Midway and
  • 6:23
    Dean it also has a little bit of a
  • 6:25
    throat ache because it caught something
  • 6:27
    I'm sure with thousand people at the at
  • 6:29
    the conference and you know yeah a
  • 6:31
    little throat ache little scratchy
  • 6:33
    little little congest now I never heard
  • 6:35
    that one a throat ache I never heard
  • 6:38
    throat a sore throat
  • 6:39
    I'm session yeah that's what people
  • 6:40
    normally say sorry it's the Dutch in me
  • 6:42
    I like it though so I realized this
  • 6:46
    great deal I got on the whole I'm the
  • 6:48
    junior suite yeah it was a handicap
  • 6:51
    suite now I know I was such a great deal
  • 6:53
    oh well that wasted got a special seat
  • 6:59
    in the shower and sat of way high on the
  • 7:02
    toilet like it's not exactly a junior
  • 7:04
    suite throne so of course unfortunately
  • 7:13
    it was raining Friday that we did we did
  • 7:17
    wind up walking around quite a bit and
  • 7:18
    and just yeah Tina used to live there so
  • 7:21
    it had good fun and I couldn't get in
  • 7:24
    any of the restaurants she recommended
  • 7:25
    which she didn't expect for a Saturday
  • 7:27
    night I did say don't you know who I am
  • 7:30
    and they said no and hung up I tried at
  • 7:32
    least they said no and hung up I tried at
  • 7:33
    as we wound up having dinner at ism they
  • 7:35
    have a couple place in Chicago Beatrix
  • 7:37
    you ever heard of them no not nice it's
  • 7:40
    just you know the Wagyu beef and wasn't
  • 7:45
    you know like cooked for 20 hours yeah
  • 7:49
    it was good in Saturday I was actually
  • 7:52
    fantastic cook Wagyu beef for 20 it was
  • 7:55
    just good
  • 7:56
    I didn't ask it would taste it good we
  • 7:58
    had a good time we drank rose' it was a
  • 8:00
    Saturday was a big park day they had
  • 8:04
    danced all kinds of dance groups in the
  • 8:06
    park all kinds of dance groups in the
  • 8:06
    although to get into the park you had to
  • 8:08
    go through security including Eldo we'd
  • 8:11
    have to go through that but there was a
  • 8:12
    TSA Viper team
  • 8:16
    disease oh yeah but that giant parked
  • 8:18
    has got the Giri stuff in it yeah well
  • 8:20
    they got in the the bean millennial park
  • 8:25
    that's an open-air park is this guys is
  • 8:27
    it everyone every Street every entrance
  • 8:30
    it off every entrance they had a
  • 8:32
    security checkpoint
  • 8:34
    yeah with metal detectors look in your
  • 8:36
    bags aiyah
  • 8:39
    my somebody's gonna blow up a park I
  • 8:41
    don't well the only thing I could think
  • 8:43
    is there were a lot of that grass fly
  • 8:46
    yeah there were a lot of urban dance
  • 8:49
    groups and maybe there was some worry
  • 8:50
    that gangbangers would show up I don't
  • 8:53
    know yeah fight that could happen fight
  • 8:55
    yeah something like that
  • 8:57
    now on the way back though I learned
  • 8:59
    something very important I think is
  • 9:01
    important for for the show we took an
  • 9:03
    uber to Midway and the guy was very
  • 9:08
    talkative retired guy I learned
  • 9:10
    something new about what they're doing
  • 9:12
    in uber they just released a new new
  • 9:14
    version of the app I think it's for the
  • 9:15
    possibly for the drivers only I don't
  • 9:18
    use the app anymore so I don't know if
  • 9:20
    there's a if there's a new one for for
  • 9:23
    the for the riders but
  • 9:26
    uber no longer is stating surge pricing
  • 9:29
    when it's in effect on the app so we
  • 9:32
    were just quoted a price and the guy
  • 9:35
    said oh you know did surge I said no
  • 9:38
    there's no surge said yeah they're
  • 9:39
    search they don't they don't say surge
  • 9:41
    pricing anymore they don't tell you what
  • 9:42
    they're tacking on so well that's kind
  • 9:44
    of crap he says aw it gets better
  • 9:46
    see that price their pricing took what
  • 9:49
    we already know that pricing rides
  • 9:51
    dynamically based upon what they know
  • 9:52
    about you the rider and that's kind of
  • 9:55
    how to determine how much they're going
  • 9:57
    to charge initially and what the surge
  • 9:59
    fee will be but they also you know the
  • 10:03
    making assumptions about your tolerance
  • 10:04
    level basically he said if you don't
  • 10:07
    like just you should always reject the
  • 10:08
    first fare they quote request a ride
  • 10:10
    again he says ninety-nine percent of the
  • 10:13
    time you get a different quote and it's
  • 10:15
    also usually lower so they're probing
  • 10:17
    you to see what your tolerance level is
  • 10:20
    but get this they're playing the spread