1064: Post Racial

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 3m
August 30th, 2018
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Executive Producers: Anonymous, Kevin McLain, Aaron Christianson, Arch Duke Sir Thomas Nussbaum

Associate Executive Producers: Lori Igel, Sir Mark Wilson, Baron of Glasgow

Cover Artist: Darren O'Neill

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Any Collusion?
Kremlin Sources Go Quiet, Leaving C.I.A. in the Dark About Putin's Plans for Midterms - The New York Times
Mon, 27 Aug 2018 16:38
Image Vital C.I.A. informants in or close to the Kremlin have largely gone silent ahead of November's midterm elections, American officials said. Credit Credit Christopher Furlong/Getty Images WASHINGTON '-- In 2016, American intelligence agencies delivered urgent and explicit warnings about Russia's intentions to try to tip the American presidential election '-- and a detailed assessment of the operation afterward '-- thanks in large part to informants close to President Vladimir V. Putin and in the Kremlin who provided crucial details.
But two years later, the vital Kremlin informants have largely gone silent, leaving the C.I.A. and other spy agencies in the dark about precisely what Mr. Putin's intentions are for November's midterm elections, according to American officials familiar with the intelligence.
The officials do not believe the sources have been compromised or killed. Instead, they have concluded they have gone to ground amid more aggressive counterintelligence by Moscow, including efforts to kill spies, like the poisoning in March in Britain of a former Russian intelligence officer that utilized a rare Russian-made nerve agent.
Current and former officials also said the expulsion of American intelligence officers from Moscow has hurt collection efforts. And officials also raised the possibility that the outing of an F.B.I. informant under scrutiny by the House intelligence committee '-- an examination encouraged by President Trump '-- has had a chilling effect on intelligence collection.
Technology companies and political campaigns in recent weeks have detected a plethora of political interference efforts originating overseas, including hacks of Republican think tanks and fake liberal grass-roots organizations created on Facebook. Senior intelligence officials, including Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, have warned that Russians are intent on subverting American democratic institutions.
But American intelligence agencies have not been able to say precisely what are Mr. Putin's intentions: He could be trying to tilt the midterm elections, simply sow chaos or generally undermine trust in the democratic process.
The officials, seeking to protect methods of collection from Russia, would not provide details about lost sources, but acknowledged the degradation in the information collected from Russia. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal classified information. A spokesman for the C.I.A. declined to comment.
To determine what the Russian government is up to, the United States employs multiple forms of intelligence, including intercepted communications and penetrated computer networks.
Image Emergency crews investigate the site where Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found poisoned in Britain. C.I.A. informants in Russia are believed to be underground, fearing aggressive campaigns by Moscow to hunt spies. Credit Ben Stansall/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images The United States continues to intercept Russian communication, and the flow of that intelligence remains strong, said current and former officials. And Russian informants could still meet their C.I.A. handlers outside Russia, further from Moscow's counterintelligence apparatus.
But people inside or close to the Kremlin remain critical to divining whether there is a strategy behind seemingly scattershot efforts to undermine American institutions.
Spies and informants overseas also give American intelligence agencies early warning about influence campaigns, interference operations or other attempts to compromise the United States. That information, in turn, can improve the ability of domestic agencies, like the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I., to quickly identify and attempt to stop those efforts.
Because clandestine meetings can take months to set up and complete, a lengthy lag can pass before the C.I.A. realizes a key source has gone silent, according to former officials. It is rare for the agency to discover immediately that informants have eroded or are running scared. Only after several missed meetings might C.I.A. officers and analysts conclude that a source has decided it is too dangerous to pass information.
In 2016, American intelligence officials began to realize the scope of Russia's efforts when they gathered intelligence suggesting that Moscow wanted to use Trump campaign officials, wittingly or not, to help sow chaos. John O. Brennan, the former director of the C.I.A., testified before the House Intelligence Committee in May 2017 about a tense period a year earlier when he came to believe that Mr. Putin was trying to steer the outcome toward a victory for Mr. Trump.
Mr. Brennan described the broad outlines of the intelligence in his congressional testimony, and his disclosures backed up the accounts of the information provided by the current and former officials. ''I was convinced in the summer that the Russians were trying to interfere in the election. And they were very aggressive,'' Mr. Brennan told lawmakers.
This year, Mr. Coats issued a series of warnings saying the Russian government, and Mr. Putin in particular, is intent on undermining American democratic systems.
At an appearance this month at the White House, Mr. Coats said intelligence agencies ''continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try and weaken and divide the United States.'' He added that those efforts ''cover issues relevant to the elections.''
Video We know that trolls on social media are trying to sow discord on contentious subjects like race, guns and abortion, but how do they do it? Here is a visual guide to their strategy. Published On Aug. 21, 2018But officials said there has been no concrete intelligence pointing to Mr. Putin ordering his own intelligence units to wade into the election to push for a certain outcome, beyond a broad chaos campaign to undermine faith in American democracy. Intelligence agencies do not believe Mr. Putin has changed his strategy; instead, officials believe they simply do not have the same level of access to information from the Kremlin's inner circle.
Intelligence collection appears to have suffered after Russia expelled officials from American diplomatic outposts there in retaliation for the United States removing 60 Russian officials this year, said John Sipher, a 28-year veteran of the C.I.A. who served in Moscow in the 1990s and later ran the agency's Russia program.
The C.I.A.'s Moscow presence, according to former officers, was always small, at least in light of the importance of the target, the difficulty of spycraft and the amount of counterintelligence the Russians dedicated to thwarting American spies.
''The Russians kicked out a whole bunch of our people,'' Mr. Sipher said. ''Our station in Moscow is probably really small now and they are under incredible surveillance.''
Mr. Putin has also said he is intent on killing so-called traitors, comments he made just ahead of the high-profile assassination attempt of the former Russian intelligence officer, Sergei V. Skripal.
''The Russians are very focused and upset,'' Mr. Sipher said. ''They have shown they are willing to kill sources.''
Informants close to Putin are very rare, according to current and former officials. The United States, in recent years, has had only a few, and at times been reliant on only one or two for the most important insights on Mr. Putin, according to former officials. If those people go silent for their own protection, it can make it very hard for the agency to look inside Moscow.
The United States still should have a clear view of Mr. Putin's strategies and intention to interfere in the elections, said Michael Carpenter, a Russia expert and former Obama administration official. He pointed to fake social media accounts created as part of Russian intelligence operations that have drummed up support for white nationalists and the Black Lives Matter movement, and have supported far right, far left and pro-Russian candidates in the United States and in Europe.
Image Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, issued warnings in recent weeks that Russia is intent on undermining American democratic systems. Credit Erin Schaff for The New York Times ''Clearly Russia is playing both sides of controversial issues precisely to sow chaos. But that said it is not just chaos, there are certain candidates Russia prefers to see in office,'' said Mr. Carpenter, now at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. ''The Russians are trying to support anti-establishment and pro-Russian candidates, not just in the U.S. but everywhere.''
Still, there is little doubt about the crucial nature of informants, said Seth G. Jones, who leads the transnational threats project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a policy research organization.
''It is essential to have sources coming from inside the government. It was during the Cold War and it is today,'' Mr. Jones said. ''There are multiple ways to collect intelligence against your adversary, in this case the Russian government. But sources can provide you things you might not otherwise get, like documents, intelligence assessments.''
Sources can provide photographs of Russian documents and intelligence that are hard to intercept electronically, and that can help the United States figure out what Russia is targeting, not just with its election meddling but with its attempts to infiltrate financial systems, the power grid and other critical infrastructure, Mr. Jones said.
The full reasons the sources have gone silent are not known. But current and former officials also said the exposure of sources inside the United States has also complicated matters.
This year, the identity of an F.B.I. informant, Stefan Halper, became public after House lawmakers sought information on him and the White House allowed the information to be shared. Mr. Halper, an American academic based in Britain, had been sent to talk to Trump campaign advisers who were under F.B.I. scrutiny for their ties to Russia.
Current American officials said there is no direct evidence that the exposure of Mr. Halper has been cited by overseas informants as a source of concern.
But the officials said that some allies have cited the exposure of the informant and other intelligence leaks in curbing some of the intelligence they share. And former spies believe that, long-term, the exposure will hurt overseas collection.
''Publicizing sources is really bad for the business,'' Mr. Sipher said. ''The only thing we can offer people is that we will do anything in our power to protect them. And anything that wears away at that trust, hurts.''
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U.S. in the Dark On Russia's Plan For the Election
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Lanny Davis Says He Was A Source For CNN's Trump Tower Story
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 10:21
Attorney Lanny Davis says he was an anonymous source in a July CNN story that reported his client, Michael Cohen, had privately claimed that President Trump had advance knowledge of the infamous Trump Tower meeting between his son and Russians '-- contradicting Davis's own words on CNN's air last week.
In the story, Cohen was reported to claim he had personally witnessed Donald Trump Jr. informing then-candidate Trump about the June 2016 meeting. Such a claim from Cohen would directly contradict Trump's statements about his knowledge of the meeting, where Russians were set to offer dirt on Hillary Clinton.
CNN's July 26 story has come under fresh scrutiny in recent days after Davis acknowledged he had served as an anonymous source for multiple news outlets who were seeking to confirm the CNN article in the hours after it published. Davis has backed away from the story in recent days, telling the Washington Post that he is not certain if the claim is accurate, and that he could not independently corroborate it.
Last week, Davis told Anderson Cooper, ''I think the reporting of the story got mixed up in the course of a criminal investigation. We were not the source of the story.''
On Monday evening, Davis told BuzzFeed News that he regrets both his role as an anonymous source and his subsequent denial of his own involvement.
Davis told BuzzFeed News that he did, in fact, speak anonymously to CNN for its story, which cited ''sources with knowledge'' '-- meaning more than one person.
''I made a mistake,'' Davis said. Regarding his comments about a month later to Cooper, he added, ''I did not mean to be cute.''
After Davis publicly backtracked from the claims, the New York Post and the Washington Post outed him as their confirming source and published apologies from Davis, a lawyer and communications expert who became well known for his work for Bill Clinton. The original CNN story '-- broadcast during Chris Cuomo's prime-time show and written by Jim Sciutto, Marshall Cohen, and Watergate reporting legend Carl Bernstein '-- said that Davis had ''declined to comment.'' His involvement in the story, on so-called ''background,'' has not been previously reported.
After publication of this story, Davis added to BuzzFeed News that he did not lie to Cooper, but that he "unintentionally misspoke."
"We stand by our story, and are confident in our reporting of it,'' a CNN spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.
The unfolding saga around CNN's July report highlights an uncomfortable reality for reporters in the Trump era '-- about the pitfalls of anonymous sourcing, the dangers of the reliance on capricious narrators, and what it means for news outlets when the backstory can matter as much as the story.
As Trump-Russia bombshells often do, the story sparked a dash from media competitors to confirm the news. One by one '-- from NBC News to CBS News to the Washington Post '-- they did. When another outlet breaks a story, reporters tend to call up the requisite spokesperson to ask for comment. In this case, that spokesperson was Davis. BuzzFeed News wrote an article about CNN's story, citing reporting from CNN and NBC News. (Neither Cohen nor his lawyers responded for comment for that BuzzFeed News story.)
Even for the uninitiated Trump-Russia reader, CNN's article appeared a clear message from the beleaguered Cohen team to the special counsel's office. The story went a step further than just Cohen's personal knowledge: Cohen, CNN's sources said, was willing to make his claim to special counsel Robert Mueller. The article came amid the storm of legal troubles for the embattled Cohen, who weeks later pleaded guilty to eight federal crimes stemming from a separate investigation led by the US attorney's office for the Southern District of New York.
CNN's story was made all the more convincing thanks to the series of mainstream media rivals ''matching'' elements of the account, thanks in large part to Davis, who had requested and received anonymity to confirm that CNN's reporting was accurate. Trump, for his part, tweeted that he did not have prior knowledge about the meeting. His lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, sought to knock down the report, as did Trump Jr.
About a month later, Cohen pleaded guilty to criminal charges, including campaign finance violations. Freed from self-imposed media silence, Davis began making the TV rounds to defend his client. He appeared across cable news and said that Cohen had information that would be of interest to Mueller, including what Trump knew of Russian hacking. But Davis's complicated role in the Trump Tower story was about to become apparent after he appeared on CNN with Cooper.
The host pressed Davis on a statement issued by Sens. Richard Burr and Mark Warner of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The statement said that Cohen had told the committee in a sworn testimony that he learned of the Trump Tower meeting when it was reported in July of last year. Cooper asked how Cohen's statement to the committee could be true if he also had prior knowledge of Trump's awareness of the meeting.
Davis responded that Cohen did not have any knowledge that Trump knew about the meeting. Davis has since told multiple outlets, including BuzzFeed News, that the Cohen camp could not seek to correct the CNN story at the time because it was in the midst of a criminal investigation.
But Davis's media tour set in motion his outing as a confirming source for other outlets following the Trump Tower story. Davis said he should have been much more clear to reporters that he did not personally know the information was accurate. ''I'm glad to take ownership of the mistake. Now I'm taking the heat, and it's justified,'' Davis told BuzzFeed News.
CNN's decision to stand by the story has irked some staffers inside the network, which has taken strong action on errors in the past, forcing out three employees last summer over a bungled Trump-Russia article.
The network, in effect, doesn't appear to believe it made a mistake '-- the story was, some inside CNN argue, carefully worded to hedge against those in the Cohen camp changing their tune. In other words, the story reports claims that Cohen had said he was willing to make, not the underlying truth of those claims.
The decision from CNN to continue to stand by the story suggests that it believes the strength of its other sources outweighs any waffling from Davis '-- or that the network believes Davis was telling the truth then, and not now. But Davis's new statement that he was a source for a story he now refutes raises questions about what action, if any, the network might take.
''We should address Lanny Davis's comments in our reporting and be more transparent with our readers about our reporting,'' one CNN staffer told BuzzFeed News.
In recent days, conservative outlets such as the Daily Caller have hammered the network, claiming that Davis's public admission of his involvement in confirming the story amounts to a debunking of the original story. The Daily Caller also criticized CNN host Brian Stelter for not asking Bernstein to defend the report when he appeared on the network's weekly media show.
Davis's role in the CNN story also offers a window into the kind of anonymous sourcing common across newsrooms. Some news outlets have a policy to not let sources speak ''on background'' '-- that is, as a ''person familiar with the matter'' or some other unnamed moniker '-- and also be allowed to decline to comment on the record.
In practice, however, reporters and sources often find a good degree of wiggle room, maneuvering that covers for anonymous sources but can also deceive readers over the provenance of information.
Reporters will sometimes offer sources inelegant solutions, like allowing someone to decline to comment on a specific matter so as to allow them to become a background source on another piece of information the story. In the Washington Post's case, for instance, Davis had declined to comment on the record, though he appeared as an anonymous source in the same story.
OTG
The Mission
With a modern webbrowser.
But its designed to be as undesirable as possible to use.
This forces focus and consideration when you do use it, especially when writing on a numeric keypad.
Reduces distraction by 95%
Reduces tracking by at least 50%
Improves sanity by 100%
Cortana
I have a friend who "works" at Microsoft, and
really he is contracted by Microsoft and works for avanade as a data engineer.
He said he worked on data collection coding/compiling, and let me tell you, he
thinks Microsoft has the best monetization of data out there. Basically from
what I understand, they collect every possible electrical output on their
devices and are able to establish trends like what games have to be ejected
from the Xbox the most. I wish I could convince him to tell me more, but that's
the jyst.
==================================================================
Knew a Bing architect.
You are dead wrong. Microsoft’s
Cortana unit captures EVERYTHING. OS /
Search / Server registry
You forget how much of Microsoft operates at the local
city / federal level. They don’t need to
know who “you” are. They have your
voting / tax records.
See Snowden PRISM docs for the rest of the story.
Cortana is the $$$ maker.
Division has gobbled up EVERYTHING.
So much data, I have heard, M doesn’t know what to do with it all.
Bing / Cortana #1 market Is p0rn. So you do the math. ;-P
Yahoo, Bucking Industry, Scans Emails for Data to Sell Advertisers - WSJ
Wed, 29 Aug 2018 09:48
The U.S. tech industry has largely declared it is off limits to scan emails for information to sell to advertisers. Yahoo still sees the practice as a potential gold mine.
Yahoo's owner, the Oath unit of Verizon Communications Inc., has been pitching a service to advertisers that analyzes more than 200 million Yahoo Mail inboxes and the rich user data they contain, searching for clues about what products those users might buy, said people who have attended Oath's presentations as well as current and former employees of the company.
Oath said the practice extends to AOL Mail, which it also owns. Together, they constitute the only major U.S. email provider that scans user inboxes for marketing purposes.
The strategy bucks a recent Silicon Valley trend toward more data privacy and shows an industry divided on where to draw the line between user protections and technologies that many advertisers crave.
Alphabet Inc.'s Google, the most popular email provider with 1.4 billion users, said it stopped scanning messages in Gmail for ad targeting last year, citing user privacy. Microsoft Corp., the former email leader, said it has never used email data for advertising.
Yahoo's practice began more than a decade ago and expanded over the years, said a person familiar with the matter. The company has increasingly looked for new ways to wring revenue out of its aging portfolio of web properties, which have stagnated in the era of smartphones and social networking.
When Verizon created Oath last year, it envisioned the new unit as a future advertising rival to Google and Facebook Inc. for its potential to marry data on Verizon's vast pool of wireless subscribers with Yahoo's highly trafficked online hubs, Verizon executives have said.
Oath owns dozens of popular websites, such as HuffPost and Yahoo Finance. It helps advertisers show messages on these sites as well as across the web, using a variety of ad-placement services.
Email scanning has become one of the company's most effective methods for improving ad targeting, said Doug Sharp, Oath's vice president of data, measurements and insights. He said that the practice applies only to commercial emails in people's accounts'--from retailers, say, or mass mailings'--and that users have the ability to opt out.
Mr. Sharp said that being served ads is part of the trade-off users make in exchange for free online services, and that Yahoo's research shows they prefer ads that are relevant to them.
''Email is an expensive system,'' Mr. Sharp said. ''I think it's reasonable and ethical to expect the value exchange, if you've got this mail service and there is advertising going on.''
He said Yahoo offers an ad-free email service for which customers pay $3.49 a month. It also scans the emails sent in that service. Yahoo provides an opt-out option to users of both the free and paid services.
Yahoo's algorithms look for commercial emails and identify them using a database of commonly sent emails. The algorithms link certain types of emails to certain consumer preferences, and then place a ''cookie,'' a piece of tracking code, on that user's computer to help advertisers show them messages in the future.
Oath promises to give advertisers an edge by identifying groups of users who have bought certain products or services based on the receipts, travel itineraries and promotions in their inboxes, said Mr. Sharp. For example, he said, Yahoo's system labels people who receive trade confirmations from online brokerage accounts as ''investors'' who can be targeted for finance-related advertisements.
Privacy questionsOath is testing the boundaries of what users may be comfortable sharing. Unlike with web-browsing habits and search histories, many users expect a greater degree of privacy when it comes to personal-communication tools such as email, said Lauren Gelman, an online-privacy lawyer and former executive director of Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society.
Google previously sold ads related to keywords in email messages. It used the information in personal and commercial email messages to show users relevant ads while they were looking at Gmail'--not to target any users elsewhere on the web'--a Google spokeswoman said.
The scanning practice excluded paid users of Gmail, she said. Google and Oath said they prevented advertisers from targeting users based on certain sensitive categories of email, such as health conditions.
Google said it stopped targeting ads based on Gmail data last year, saying it wanted users to ''remain confident that Google will keep privacy and security paramount.''
Google already collects so much data from its search engine that it no longer needed to rely on email data, said Andreas Reiffen, chief executive of digital-ad consultant Crealytics GmbH.
Oath's email scanning appears to go a step further than Google's former system, by creating interest profiles of users based on the data in their email and using that intelligence to target them elsewhere on the web. Oath groups similar users together as an ''audience'' to which marketers can target ads, Mr. Sharp said.
Yahoo Mail users who receive frequent emails about driving for Lyft Inc. are sometimes placed into a ''self-employed'' audience, Mr. Sharp said. Some people who bought several plane tickets in the past year are labeled frequent travelers. A spokeswoman for Lyft declined to comment.
The cookies Oath places on users' computers allow it to identify which audience they are part of and show them ads without ever providing any personally identifiable information to marketers, Mr. Sharp said.
Oath's systems are designed to ignore personal messages and look for only commercial emails, which make up the vast majority of the messages that arrive in Yahoo Mail inboxes, Mr. Sharp said. Its algorithms strip out all personal information, such as names and email addresses.
At one point, Oath's computers mistakenly labeled invitations to Indian weddings'--which traditionally are sizable, multiday gatherings'--as commercial emails, ''because they end up as mass-mailed forms'' to so many people, Mr. Sharp said. The company fixed that problem by looking for phrases common to wedding invitations and discarding any results.
In its privacy policy, Oath says all Yahoo Mail users may have portions of some emails reviewed by human employees. Oath employees may manually review sections of mass-mailed commercial emails that appear to be ''boilerplate,'' or the same for many users, the policy says.
A small number of users have explicitly opted in to letting human beings read all of their emails as a way to refine the algorithms and make sure no personal emails are being mislabeled, Mr. Sharp said. This is how the company discovered the Indian wedding problem, he said.
Scanned receiptsOath uses receipts in Yahoo Mail inboxes as proof that an ad campaign convinced a user to buy a product, a person familiar with the matter said.
Yahoo has scanned email for years and included language in its privacy policy saying the company can scan and analyze all email messages. Over time, it added some detail to that disclosure, including an explanation of how it looks for mass-mailed commercial emails.
But Yahoo executives haven't widely discussed the email-data collection, and many people never read the fine print. Some Yahoo Mail users only became aware of this practice when Oath emailed them in April with an update to its terms of service.
In one message prompting users to respond, Yahoo gave two options: ''I Accept,'' or ''I'll do this later.'' Users can opt out of all Yahoo ad personalization by visiting its ''ad interest manager'' page and clicking a button.
The new privacy policy is ''telling me all of my stuff is basically going to be rifled through and used however they want to use it,'' said Lisa Bell Roden, 53, who lives in Ashburn, Va., and relies on the email service for her work with small businesses and entrepreneurs on media production. ''That, to me, is rather off-putting,'' she said, although she has no plans to close the Yahoo account.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission requires companies to clearly disclose how they collect personal data in privacy policies. The EU's new data-protection rules require companies to obtain users' express consent for all data collection before they begin using a product or service.
Mr. Sharp said the company changed its terms of service this year to comply with the European regulations. ''It's an odd thing, consent,'' he said, ''because I think the people who care about it are aware of it, and that's as it should be.''
Yahoo paid $4 million in 2016 to settle a federal class-action lawsuit that claimed its scanning of email violated federal wiretap laws. Yahoo, which didn't admit wrongdoing, agreed as part of the settlement terms to make a technical change: Rather than scanning emails while they are ''in transit,'' Yahoo now waits until they arrive in an inbox to scan them.
Oath's new privacy policy prevents users from filing class-action suits and instead requires them to pursue their grievances through arbitration or small-claims court.
Initially, Yahoo mined users' emails in part to discover products they bought through receipts from e-commerce companies such as Amazon.com Inc., people familiar with the practice said. Yahoo salespeople told potential advertisers that about one-third of Yahoo Mail users were active Amazon customers, one of the people said. In 2015, Amazon stopped including full itemized receipts in the emails it sends customers, partly because the company didn't want Yahoo and others gathering that data for their own use, someone familiar with the matter said.
Yahoo Mail, an email pioneer, struggled as users defected to Gmail. When Marissa Mayer, a former Google executive, joined Yahoo as CEO in 2012, she made email central to her strategy. Yahoo's reputation took a hit in 2016, when it said a data breach compromised many users' privacy. Ms. Mayer, who left Yahoo after Verizon bought it, didn't respond to requests for comment.
Verizon created Oath following its Yahoo and AOL acquisitions, putting former AOL head Tim Armstrong in charge. Oath didn't make Mr. Armstrong available for comment.
In meetings with marketers, Oath representatives have acknowledged that many people use Yahoo Mail as their primary service for unwanted commercial email, one of the people who heard the pitch said. They indicated this is an advantage for advertisers who want to collect as much commercial data on users as possible, the person said.
Some Oath advertisers said the pool of potential Yahoo Mail users is too small to send highly targeted ads. Even out of tens of millions of users, only a small portion are likely to have bought specific items, one advertiser said.
Others have raised questions about user privacy under Oath's system. ''I think the challenge of it,'' said Rob Griffin, chief technology officer of digital-ad consultancy Tovo Labs, ''is how do you monetize it without the icky factor?''
Write to Douglas MacMillan at douglas.macmillan@wsj.com, Sarah Krouse at sarah.krouse@wsj.com and Keach Hagey at keach.hagey@wsj.com
The Purge
CASE LAW: Big Tech Companies Are Government Contractors, So Suppressing Free Speech Is Illegal - Big League Politics
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 20:35
''Big Tech'' is no longer private and the major Silicon Valley companies are actually an extension of the Intelligence Community (IC). Existing legislation and case law shows that Big Tech companies are technically government entities by way of subcontracting. Judge Collyer's recent memo confirms this. In her Memorandum of Opinion (MOO) dated April 2017 she made it clear that Crowdstrike was not considered a government entity, nor did they fulfill IC scope because no Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was in place between the company and the government intelligence agencies.
Thus, any entity with a valid MOU in place with the FBI or any division of the CIA, in the eyes of the law, is considered an Intelligence Community Element.
Why is this important?
According to Executive Order 12333, as amended in its entirety by former President Bush in 2008 right before he left office and the executive order's Section 2.3 that Obama amended right before he left office, it is clear that the Intelligence Community is now composed of ELEMENTS not employees and these elements INCLUDE private companies. Thus, in the eyes of the law private companies are actually government entities because they are treated as such. Thus, they are MANDATED to provide scheduled reports as part of their contractual obligations such as providing data, collected, RAW intercepted communications upstream.
Trending: PBS Host Lindsay Ellis: 'I Get Really Excited About White Genocide'
These Memorandums of Opinion are considered law in novel situations such as in the case of Crowdstrike in the case of Carter Page. Our piece EXCLUSIVE: Judge Who Signed FISA Warrant Strongly Criticized Lynch and Clapper, indicated in the MOO (Memorandum of Opinion HERE IS THE DOCUMENT) that Crowdstrike having no contract, no training or guidelines set by the FBI meant that the company was NOT considered a member of the IC (Intelligence Community) thus their audit of the ''DNC Hack'' cannot be accepted as determination at face value that protocols according to the law were not followed.
This is where we now have the law dictating what constitutes an Intelligence Community Element.
Here are the guidelines:
They have to have a contract : All social media companies have Memorandums of Understanding with the FBI, DOJ and other IC agencies. Most recently, Amazon reported such with facial recognition.
They have to have initial and ongoing training: All social media companies have such training. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google most recently had a training seminar by the NSA advising them on how to collect, disseminate and store data collected on their websites. This is a key element in the George Papadopoulos case where the warrant indicated Facebook's compliance in providing texts as noted in their agreement. This further reinforces that the law acknowledges Facebook as a PARTNER and part of the Intelligence Community.
There have to be set guidelines for scope of work: This is something most MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) and MOA (Memorandums of Agreement) have whole sections dedicated to. That alone would suffice, but per project, request and demand new scopes are outlined as in the case with Apple and their technology when requesting further access outside of their scope of MOA that has been in place for a decade.
Thus, with the above, I believe a solid argument indicating that ''Big Tech'' in the eyes of the law is considered an IC element. It would be exciting and valuable to see this argued in a court of law to further clarify the vague definitions in Section 702 and EO 12333. In my opinion, this argument is necessary.
Considering that ''Big Tech'' companies are IC elements the laws cited below and how they apply have heavier penalties if done by government employees and or contractors. And case law holds that ''Big Tech'' companies are considered contractors.
Look at the laws government contractors cannot violate:
18 U.S. Code § 241 '' Conspiracy against rights''If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; ''
Considering the recent attacks from Big Tech companies working in concert to eliminate voices like Alex Jones, Laura Loomer, Liz Crokin and many more (just in the last few days) we can easily surmise that this indeed fulfills the requirement of two or more persons because the term ''person'' as defined in Title 1 is :
the words ''person'' and ''whoever'' include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals;
Evidently, they are indeed oppressing the Right to Free Speech and their claim that they are a private company and set rules for ''safety'' would fail in the eyes of the law because they are technically Intelligence Community Elements and I am willing to bet they are getting some form of Title Funding, from property, operations, tax credit but also due to their government agreements. This would mean they are in violation of stipulation of any person or organization receiving funds.
Look at all these verified accounts that have called for violence against @RealDonaldTrump that I found @getongab! ðŸ" #VerifyLoomer
I wonder why these accounts are still verified? ðŸ¤-- #VerifiedHate pic.twitter.com/bbyJUNBFXg
'-- Angel ''Π(@AngelOfficial) August 15, 2018
MUST READ: @Twitter employees are openly tweeting about how they are targeting and censoring Conservatives.
All of this will be used as evidence in court. @jack, please fix this'...
This is unacceptable behavior.
via @pdabroscahttps://t.co/cz6VAKXe7Z
'-- Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) August 19, 2018
Exclusive: Twitter Employee Admits to Using Internal Channels to Censor 'Hate Speech'Bottom line is even if they only get ONE DOLLAR (even as tax relief through any Title program) their ''Rules of Safety'' must align with federal laws. If we analyze who and what is being suppressed online it will indicate that safety is definitely not their goal nor their intent. In essence, their Conspiracy Against Rights feeds into the next Criminal count I believe would have some foundation to fly which is that of Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the United States. How are Twitter, Facebook, YouTube/Google et al conspiring to defraud the USA?
18 U.S. Code § 371 '' Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United StatesFor the purposes of this chapter, the term ''scheme or artifice to defraud'' includes a scheme or artifice to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.
This is a law that is usually applied to those that operate in the public interest, either as elected officials and or government employees. Aforementioned, the MOO (Memorandum of Opinion) by Judge Collyer has indeed laid a foundation by which in a court it can be determined that Big Tech is deemed to be operating and acting in capacity of public interest. In turn, having already determined that all these ''Big Tech'' companies have former Barack Hussein Obama National Security Advisors in positions that dictate public policy this law indeed may be upheld.
Caroline Atkinson was a former National Security Advisor to Barack Hussein Obama and now she is the Director of Global Public Policy for Google Inc. We also know that ''Big Tech'' CEOs have funded the Democratic Party heavily. It can be safely inferred that their actions of selectively suppressing FREE SPEECH is for personal gain which is an element necessary to be satisfied by this law. How can we prove that? Suppressing conservative voices is not fiscally sound, thus the decisions they take are for purposes that are not substantiated with business acumen but rather personal gain. In essence, they are defrauding the people of the United States by depriving them of the right to honest services.
What's the honest service? Communications. These companies are governed by the FCC thus they are deemed a communications service which in turn reinforces my notion that they are in some shape or form receiving federal funding by way of grant and or tax relief which would mean that their actions indicate discrimination and that is punishable by law. In turn, they can be found to be operating as a public entity as they do satisfy the guidlines set forth by Judge Collyer and may be deemed part of the Intelligence Community.
Imagine if a public school banned all children from wearing pro-life shirts but allowed those that are pro-Abortion? That would be considered punishable by way of removing federal funding. The same can be applied to Big Tech. Remember, the Christian baker received some form of federal funding by tax relief and or grant money and that is why he was put through the court system. In the end religious freedom conquered, but what will be the excuse of BIG TECH? #HesNotMyPresident?
Remember when #ProjectVeritas released #undercover series about Twitter & #engineers #admitting 2 #censoring & targeting #conservatives they don't like?
Well, @jack,here's 1 of your engineers admitting u targeted me over my #politics.pic.twitter.com/Wr3rjKuFPq #Q #QAnon #QAnon2018
'-- Bill D ''Π(@zeusFanHouse) August 19, 2018
Everyone is angry. Everyone is outraged. Accounts are being unverified and abusive accounts are being verified '....
Conservative voices are being silenced, demonetized, denied access to platforms and suppressed in visibility'....which all leads to one thing:
With elections coming up, this would be considered election meddling right? Literally silencing political free speech of citizens?! Meddling isn't really a crime thus no one can find remedy with claiming election meddling. But conspiring against rights and defrauding the United States are crimes. It's about time we stop complaining and holding meetings with them and start filing lawsuits. After all there are some states that have state laws against political discrimination.
Political discrimination is exactly what Big Tech is doing.
The world is a terrible place right now, and that's largely because it is what we make it. '' WIL WHEATON dot NET
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 11:49
Here's a picture of Marlowe to make this post suck less.As most of you know, I deactivated my Twitter account earlier this month. It had been a long time coming, for a whole host of reasons, but Twitter's decision to be the only social network that gives Alex Jones a platform to spew hate, hurt innocent people, and incite violence was the final straw for me. But I haven't regretted leaving for even one second. Having that endless stream of hate and anger and negativity in my pocket wasn't good for me (and I don't think it's good for anyone, to be honest).
I was on Twitter from just about the very beginning. I think I'm in the first couple thousand accounts. I remember when it was a smallish group of people who wanted to have fun, make jokes, share information and tips on stuff that was interesting, and oh so many pictures of our pets. It was awesome.
It started to get toxic slowly at first, then all at once, starting with the misogynist dipshits who were behing the gate-which-shall-not-be-named. That was clearly a turning point for Twitter, and it never really recovered from it. I watched, in real time, as the site I loved turned into a right wing talk radio shouting match that made YouTube comments and CSPAN call-ins seem scholarly. We tried for a couple of years to fight back, to encourage Twitter to take a stand against bad actors (HA HA LIKE ME BECAUSE I AM A BAD ACTOR RIGHT YOU GOT ME HA HA HA). Twitter doesn't care about how its users are affected by themselves, though. Twitter cares about growth and staying on the good side of President Shitler's tantrums.
I mean, honestly, the most lucid and concise indictment I can give Twitter is: it's the service that Donald Trump uses to communicate with and incite his cultists.
Anyway, enough about how terrible Twitter is. We all know how terrible it is. That's never going to change, by the way.I know some very good people who are working on making Twitter better, but I honestly don't think they can overcome the institutional inertia that has allowed it to get to the point its at now. It may get incrementally better, but the fundamental problem of random, mostly-anonymous people being terrible isn't going to change, because that's not a Twitter problem. That's a humanity '-- and specifically a social media '-- problem.
I thought that if I left Twitter, I could find a new social network that would give it some competition (Twitter's monopoly on the social space is a big reason it can ignore people who are abused and harassed, while punishing people for reporting their attackers), so I fired up this account I made at Mastodon a long time ago.
I thought I'd find something different. I thought I'd find a smaller community that was more like Twitter was way back in 2008 or 2009. Cat pictures! Jokes! Links to interesting things that we found in the backwaters of the internet! Interaction with friends we just haven't met, yet! What I found was '... not that.
I found a harsh reality that I'm still trying to process: thousands of people who don't know me, who have never interacted with me, who internalized a series of lies about me, who were never willing to give me a chance. I was harassed from the minute I made my account, and though I expected the ''shut up wesley''s and ''go fuck yourself''s to taper off after a day or so, it never did. And even though I never broke any rules on the server I joined (Mastodon is individual ''instances'' which is like a server, which connects to the ''federated timeline'', which is what all the other servers are), one of its admins told me they were suspending my account, because they got 60 (!) reports overnight about my account, and they didn't want to deal with the drama.
I respect and support that person's decision, because it's a private server and it's run with their time, energy, attention, and (presumably) money. I don't agree with it at all, and I think it's deeply unfair, as well as rewarding abuse of a reporting system that's meant to protect users, but it's their site and it's their rules, and I can't say I blame them. The people going after me were pretty awful, and I can only imagine that an admin would get fed up with them, too.
I want to share the message I posted there when I left (Twitter is called 'birdsite' on Mastodon):
Anyway, take your victory lap and collect your prizes. You've made it clear that I'm not welcome here, and even though I disagree with the action this Admin is taking (banning me when I didn't break any rules doesn't seem right), I respect and support the Admin's decision to run their instance the way they see fit.
Please do your very best to be kind to each other. The world is a terrible place right now, and that's largely because it is what we make it.
Bye.
6/end
This isn't limited to Mastodon.cloud (the worst attacks and dogpiling came from a few other instances before the instance I was on became awful) and it isn't limited to Twitter.com. I see this in the online space all the time now: mobs of people, acting in bad faith, can make people they don't know and will likely never meet miserable, or even try to ruin their lives and careers (look at what they did to James Gunn). And those mobs' bad behaviors are continually rewarded, because it's honestly easier to just give them what they want. We are ceding the social space to bad people, because they have the most time, the least morals and ethics, and are skilled at relentlessly attacking and harassing their targets. It only takes few seconds for one person to type ''fuck off'' and hit send. That person probably doesn't care and doesn't think about how their one grain of sand quickly becomes a dune, with another person buried beneath it. That's a huge problem that seems to be baked into social media, and I tried to mitigate it with a blocklist that I never intended to be problematic, but ultimately was. (And for what it's worth, the part of me that wants to apologize to the people who ended up on it by mistake is overwhelmed by the part of me who was attacked really viciously by a lot of those people and feels like maybe blocking them wasn't such a bad idea, after all.)
At the end of the day, I'm lucky and privileged as fuck. I can sign off from a website (or multiple websites), and go live my life with my amazing family and our dogs. I'm not a marginalized person who has to fight every moment of every day, just to live my life. So I'm keeping that in mind and keeping that perspective in my heart. Yes, the accusations and the big lie that took hold in remarkably short time about me is hurtful. Yes, it's upsetting to know that there are a lot of people out there who have decided to take time out of their lives to actively hate me, without knowing anything about me other than a story they were told by someone else who doesn't know me. But I can sign off and get away from it, so I will. And I will be grateful that I can.
Buuuuuuuuuut '... I'm done with social media. Maybe I just don't fit into whatever the social media world is. I mean, the people who are all over the various Mastodon instances made it really clear that I wasn't welcome there (with a handful of notable, joyful, exceptions, mostly related to my first baby steps into painting), and it seems as if I was just unwelcome because '... I'm me? I guess? Like, I know that I'm not a transphobe, but holy shit that lie just won't die, and right now as I am writing this, someone at Mastodon is telling me that I am, because people said so, and I should apologize to them. I mean, how am I supposed to respond to that, when it happens over and over and over again? ''You've been lied to about me. Please give me a chance'' just doesn't seem like a viable way forward with people who are, for whatever reason, very, very angry. And these people seem to have an idea of me in their head that doesn't fit with the idea of myself that I have in my head. It's honestly caused me to rethink a lot of stuff. Like, am I really the terrible person they say I am? I don't think I am, but I'm doing my best to listen, and when I say, ''please stop yelling at me and let's have a conversation that I can grow from'' I get yelled at for ''tone policing'' and honestly I just get exhausted and throw up my hands. Maybe I'm not this person they tell me I am, but I represent that person in their heads, and they treat me accordingly? This is one of those times when my mental illness makes it very hard for me to know what's objective reality and what's just in my head.
But I don't deserve to be treated so terribly by so many random people, so I'm not going to put myself in a place where I am subjected to it all day long. As the saying goes, I'm too old for this shit. What we used to call microblogging isn't worth the headache for me. I'm gonna focus my time and my energy on the things that I love, that make me happy, that support my family.
Please do your best to be kind, and make an effort to make the world less terrible. Thanks for listening.
The users are in control- can't monetize the network - No Ads - Sleeping Giant has it figured out
Government contractors are not allowed to discriminate?
Soros' Role In Social Media Censorship Exposed In Leaked Document | Zero Hedge
Mon, 27 Aug 2018 13:26
Authored by Isaac DAVIS via WakingTimes.com,
Social media censorship is here and out in the open, and it has become clear that the major tech companies are working together to shut down and silence members of the free press for political reasons.
Of course, this has everything to do with Donald Trump being in office, and whether you support him or not, what is being lost in the effort to depose him will eventually affect everyone.
Censorship is not the American way, and while people today may think that the 'other' side is dead wrong and shouldn't be allowed to speak up, it takes a special kind of influence to achieve the level of social media and platform banning that we've seen in recent weeks.
It turns out, according to a leaked 49 page document, that this special influence may be none other than George Soros himself, the world's wealthiest liberal political agitator. Soros has long been known to exert influence, via his immense personal wealth, at the grass-roots level of many political struggles around the world.
''A confidential, 49-page memo for defeating Trump by working with the major social-media platforms to eliminate ''right wing propaganda and fake news'' was presented in January 2017 by Media Matters founder David Brock at a retreat in Florida with about 100 donors, the Washington Free Beacon reported at the time.
The document obtained by The Free Beacon states that Media Matters and other Soros funded groups have ''access to raw data from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites'' so they can ''systemically monitor and analyze this unfiltered data.'' [Source]
The full confidential memo, which reads like a subversive political manifesto, was written by American liberal political activist and author, David Brock, also the founder of Media Matters for America.
Entitled, Democracy Matters: Strategic Plan for Action, and composed in early 2017, it lays out the Democratic plan to oppose Trump's presidency at all costs by waging a daily media war, and we have been feeling the results of this strategy since Trump took office, and after nearly two years as president, the media landscape is in utter chaos, and the population is more divided than it has been since the American civil war.
Regarding Soros, he is a known financier of Media Matters, of which he has supported since 2010 in an overt effort to counter news organizations like Fox News. Soros has developed the reputation of being the world's leading agit-prop bankroller.
''Media Matters is one of the few groups that attempts to hold Fox News accountable for the false and misleading information they so often broadcast. I am supporting Media Matters in an effort to more widely publicize the challenge Fox News poses to civil and informed discourse in our democracy.'' - George Soros
The effort to censor social media began in earnest with the election of Trump which saw the rollout of the term 'fake news,' and the Brock memo clearly outlines how this plan was intended to bring about the resulting censorship we see today.
From the Brock memo:
Futhermore, the memo discusses how big tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter (all of which are openly censoring user accounts today) will be recruited and called upon to collude with the Soros and Brock agenda in order to manipulate the political landscape.
Collusion between Media Matters and social media platforms runs rather deep, as noted by WND:
The document claims Media Matters and far-left groups have ''access to raw data from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites'' so they can ''systemically monitor and analyze this unfiltered data.''
''The earlier we can identify a fake news story, the more effectively we can quash it,'' the memo states. ''With this new technology at our fingertips, researchers monitoring news in real time will be able to identify the origins of a lie with mathematical precision, creating an early warning system for fake news and disinformation.''
Final ThoughtsAgain, if open censorship of American independent media is allowed to take root, everyone will suffer in the long run. While politics may seem like the biggest game in town, above this spectacle are the values and traditions that have made this country worth living in. Once this is gone, America will be totally unrecognizable, and billionaires like Soros will be become our de facto kings and lords.
U.S. Senator's White Paper Floats Ideas for Social Media Regulation
Mon, 27 Aug 2018 15:12
WASHINGTON'--After the scandal created by the revelations that Cambridge Analytica misused the personal information of 87 million Facebook users, members of Congress began considering ways to rein in the unbridled power of social media companies and the companies known on Capitol Hill as Big Tech.
To that end, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), co-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, put together a white paper that contains a list of 20 proposals for regulating social media companies and those big technology companies. Senator Warner discussed those proposals in a wide-ranging interview with eWEEK.
Warner is a tech-savvy legislator with a background in communications. He was the founder of Nextel and points out that he's been in the technology business longer than he's been in the Senate. With that background, he looked at Russian interference in the 2016 election and at other recent failures of public trust'--notably at Facebook'--as a part of his work on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
With that background, he compiled that list of those 20 regulatory proposals, some of which he says are close to the point where they could be turned into legislation and others that were offered as points of discussion on the issues.
''We have to educate members about this,'' Warner said. He said that already technology is moving faster than the laws ever could, and because of this, private industry is taking action in ways that you might expect governments to work in other cases. He mentioned Microsoft's continuing efforts to shut down Russian espionage sites and Facebook's recent expulsion of hundreds of fake accounts being used for disinformation.
''The white paper is meant to spark a long overdue discussion,'' Warner explained in a follow-up email. ''Some of the ideas proposed are more suitable for near-term legislation than others. The majority of the concerns highlighted in the white paper are related to social media platforms.''
Part of the process will be to hold hearings in which social media companies will be asked to explain their actions to protect users' information and to fight misuse of their platforms. The first of those hearings are set for Sept. 5 in Washington. Warner said that representatives from Google, Twitter and Facebook have been asked to testify.
''My hope is that I can get some of them react to some of these ideas,'' he said.
In his paper, Warner notes that the capacity for fast communications has been working to promote disinformation which in turn undermines trust in democracy, the free press and in markets. He points out that this threat isn't new, but the advent of platforms such as Facebook have enhanced the spread of disinformation. He also said that new aspects of consumer protection have to be considered because of the role that online platforms are playing in people's lives.
One of the areas Warner mentions in his paper is the practice of user tracking. ''User tracking can have important consumer benefits,'' he says in his paper, including making ads more relevant and enhancing the user experience, but he says that the resulting user profiles, ''could provide opportunities for consumer harm'--and in surreptitious, undetectable ways.''
Warner puts the issue of disinformation and misinformation at the top of his list. He's suggesting that online services have a duty to clearly and conspicuously label bots. In his interview, Warner discussed California legislation that requires letting people know when they're being contacted by a bot versus a real person.
On a related note, Warner worries about posts on social media coming from where they appear to be, rather than where they actually are. ''There should there be some sort of method to indicate when posts being not from where people say they are,'' Warner said, pointing out that much of the disinformation that appeared on Facebook during the 2016 election was posted from Russia and elsewhere, rather from in the U.S., where the poster claimed to be.
In a similar fashion, Warner says he thinks that online services need to be able to quickly identify inauthentic accounts. He called these a major enabler of disinformation, and included bots as well as accounts that are based on false identities, but he worries about mandatory identity verification and its impact on user privacy.
''Mandatory identity verification is likely to arouse significant opposition from digital privacy groups and potentially from civil rights and human rights organizations who fear that such policies will harm at-risk populations,'' he said in his paper.
Other proposals would require some enabling legislation, such as opening up online services to liability for state-law torts such as defamation, public disclosure of private facts and false light (meaning to invade a non-public person's privacy) due to their failure to remove fake or manipulated content.
Some of the proposals, such as disclosure requirements for online political ads are already in the works, as are initiatives similar to the European Union's General Data Protection Rules (GDPR) and giving the Federal Trade Commission rulemaking authority over privacy issues. California recently enacted its own Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 that follows the general outline of the GDPR.
Warner has stressed repeatedly that it's time to try making U.S. laws reflect the current reality of how technology impacts people. Rather he has said repeatedly, including in a USA Today op-ed, it's time to learn from our failures.
''Some people say don't regulate because government is too slow,'' Warner said. But he suggested that what's needed is another way, such as industry self-regulation that would allow a way to keep up with current practices while still having the backing of legal authority.
At this point, Warner's white paper is just intended to be a set of proposals for discussions, but it's clear that some of them could soon start becoming part of the legislative process. The fact that some of these proposals will be aired in the hearings that are set to begin in September and the fact that the leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee acts as a group rather than being fractured by partisan divisions suggests that the outcome of the 2018 mid-term elections is unlikely to have much impact on the progress of legislation.
This means that we can expect some sort of regulation of social media companies, especially those that are part of Big Tech. We just need to wait for the details.
Tech giants hold a secret meeting ahead of the US 2018 midterms - Business Insider
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 06:04
The meeting is expected to take place at Twitter's San Francisco headquarters. Reuters
Silicon Valley giants are said to be holding a private meeting Friday to discuss how to tackle misinformation ahead of the 2018 midterm elections in November.BuzzFeed News first reported on the meeting after obtaining an email sent by Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy inviting a dozen companies to meet at Twitter's headquarters.The companies are expected to present the work they've done to counter misinformation campaigns and discuss the problems they each faces. Silicon Valley giants including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, and Snap are said to be holding a private meeting Friday to discuss the problem of misinformation ahead of the US midterm elections in November.
The meeting was first reported by BuzzFeed, which obtained an email sent by Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher. In the email, he invited representatives from 12 companies to meet in San Francisco at Twitter's headquarters.
"As I've mentioned to several of you over the last few weeks, we have been looking to schedule a follow-on discussion to our industry conversation about information operations, election protection, and the work we are all doing to tackle these challenges," Gleicher wrote.
According to Gleicher's email, the meeting has a three-part agenda. It calls for each company to present work it has done to combat misinformation before the companies are to discuss the particular problems each faces and, finally, decide whether they should hold the meeting on a regular basis.
Eight tech giants held a similar meeting in May with US government representatives present. Christopher Krebs, an undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security, as well as Mike Burham from the FBI's "foreign influence" task force reportedly provided the companies with scant information, leaving them frustrated.
Foreign influence campaigns on social media ahead of the midterms have been in the spotlight in recent weeks. At the end of July, Facebook announced it had it had banned 32 pages after it uncovered a coordinated effort to influence US politics. It said that it was not sure of the provenance of the operation but that it bore similarities to previous Russian disinformation campaigns.
Microsoft also recently announced it had detected Russian hacking attempts targeted at Republicans, just weeks after it came out that Russian hackers had tried to infiltrate the systems of Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.
Business Insider has contacted Facebook, Google, and Snap for comment. Microsoft and Twitter declined to comment.
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Trump calls out Google for 'rigged' search results, 'illegal' censorship, vows to take action '-- RT US News
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 15:06
President Donald Trump has accused search giant Google of deliberately highlighting negative news about his administration, and ''controlling what we can and cannot see.'' Trump vowed that the situation ''will be addressed.''
''Google search results for 'Trump News' shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD,'' the president exclaimed via Twitter on Tuesday morning.
Google search results for ''Trump News'' shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal? 96% of...
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018''Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good,'' he continued. ''They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!''
....results on ''Trump News'' are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018In one of his early-morning tweets, Trump pondered whether Google's apparent search bias, which he claims shows 96 percent of results from 'National Left-Wing Media,'' is ''Illegal.'' He did not elaborate on what kind of action he may be considering taking, but his sentiment is in line with earlier statements on censorship.
Last week, Trump tweeted his concern that ''Social media giants are silencing millions of people,'' but ruled out intervening, ''even if it means we must continue to hear Fake News like CNN.''
Trump's Tuesday rant comes following a report by conservative news commentary site PJ Media. The report found that when searching for 'Trump News' on Google, the first page of results was entirely dominated by articles from left-leaning American media. Out of the first 100 results, only five were from right-leaning sites; two from the center-right Wall Street Journal, and three from Fox News.
The outlets that Trump often feuds with feature prominently in the first 100 results. CNN appeared most frequently, followed by the Washington Post, and then by NBC. Right-wing news sites like Breitbart, National Review, OAN, and the Daily Caller were all completely absent from the results.
Last year, a Harvard study found that 93 percent of both CNN and NBC's coverage of the Trump administration was negative in tone. The Washington Post was slightly more positive, but 83 percent of its stories about Trump were still negative.
Read more
Google and other tech giants have been repeatedly accused of censorship by conservatives in the US. Whether it's Twitter's 'shadowbanning' of Republicans, Facebook's ranking of news sources by an opaque 'trust' score, or Youtube's 'accidental' removal of conservative channels; the American right feels mistreated by liberal-leaning Silicon Valley.
But Google has denied any accusations of political bias. Responding to Trump's allegations of censorship on Tuesday, the company said that search results are not ordered according to any political preferences. "When users type queries into the Google Search bar, our goal is to make sure they receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds," Google said in a statement, adding that results are not skewed toward any "political ideology" or "political agenda".
Anti-war movement feels the pressureWhile calls to regulate the increasing dominance of the tech titans have come mostly from the right, censorship is increasingly a threat to the left too. Earlier this month, Telesur English '' a Latin American news network partly funded by the Venezuelan government '' found its page abruptly removed from Facebook. No explanation was given, and the page was eventually restored. However, the removal fit in to a wider trend. Another Venezuelan news site was removed a week previously, as was a Facebook page belonging to leftist group Occupy London.
The World Socialist Web Site reported last year that changes to Google's algorithms had negatively impacted left-wing socialist and anti-war websites. An analysis by WSWS found that 13 such websites had seen their traffic plunge by a whopping 55 percent in the six months since Google had changed its algorithms. WSWS itself experienced a 74-percent drop in traffic between April and July last year. The changes also affected sites like Alternet, which saw its traffic plunge by 71 percent between April and September, Democracy Now (50-percent drop) and Truth-out.org (49-percent drop).
What could Trump do?One of the actions Trump could take would be to have the Justice Department threaten Google with antitrust legislation. First seen in the US with the introduction of the Sherman Act of 1890, antitrust legislation targeted the railroad and oil monopolies at the time, allowing the federal government to step in and take legal action to keep the market competitive.
Read more
This idea has been touted by New York attorney general candidate Zephyr Teachout, who promised a ''major antitrust investigation'' if elected. It has also been discussed in the editorial pages of the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and the Guardian, all of whom expressed concern at the ever-expanding reach of the nascent tech monopolies.
The George W. Bush administration threatened Google with antitrust action in 2008, as Google sought to form a search advertising partnership with competitor Yahoo, a move that would have seen the potential partnership control 90 percent of the search market.
Today, Google does control 90 percent of that market. However, in prosecuting an antitrust case, the onus would be on the government to prove that not only is Google a monopoly, but that it acted maliciously to reach that position. In 2000, the Department of Justice convicted Microsoft of an antitrust monopolization offense for illegally requiring manufacturers to pre-install the Windows operating system, and for pre-installing Internet Explorer as the default web browser.
In Europe, Google has already been fined billions of euros this year for antitrust violations. EU regulators found that by forcing Android users to rely on Google's search engine, it was unfairly restricting competition. In a addition, Google was fined $2.7 billion last year by the EU for manipulating search results to favor its own shopping services.
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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.
SSRI's
Multiple fatalities in shooting at video game tournament in Florida | Reuters
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 20:32
(Reuters) - A shooter killed four people and wounded 10 others on Sunday at a video game tournament that was being streamed online from a restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida, local media said citing police sources.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said a suspect was dead at the scene. ''Searches are being conducted,'' it said on Twitter.
Emergency crews and law enforcement flooded into The Jacksonville Landing, a waterfront dining, entertainment and shopping site in the city's downtown.
The shooting took place during a regional qualifier for the Madden 19 online game tournament at the GLHF Game Bar inside a Chicago Pizza restaurant, according to the venue's website.
It was livestreaming the tournament when several shots rang out, according to video of the stream shared on social media. In the video, players can be seen reacting to the gunfire and cries can be heard before the footage cuts off.
One Twitter user, Drini Gjoka, said he was in the tournament and was shot in the thumb.
''Worst day of my life,'' Gjoka wrote on Twitter. ''I will never take anything for granted ever again. Life can be cut short in a second.''
The Los Angeles Times reported the shooter was a gamer who was competing in the tournament and lost. Citing messages from another player in the room, the Times said the gunman appeared to target several victims before killing himself. Reuters could not immediately confirm that account of events.
The Florida shooting occurs amid a debate about U.S. gun laws that was given fresh impetus by the massacre in February of 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
Two years ago a gunman killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
The sheriff's office said many people were transported to hospital, and its deputies were finding many people hiding in locked areas at The Landing.
''We ask you to stay calm, stay where you are hiding. SWAT is doing a methodical search,'' it said on Twitter. ''We will get to you. Please don't come running out.''
A spokesman for Jacksonville's Memorial Hospital, Peter Moberg, said it was treating three victims, all of whom were in stable condition.
Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican who is challenging longtime Democratic Senator Bill Nelson in November's election, said he had offered to provide local authorities with any state resources they might need.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio said both the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were coordinating with local authorities to provide assistance.
President Donald Trump has been briefed and is monitoring the situation in Jacksonville, the White House said.
Reacting to news of the shooting during the tournament involving its video game, Madden 19 maker Electronic Arts Inc said it was working with authorities to gather facts.
''This is a horrible situation, and our deepest sympathies go out to all involved,'' the company said on Twitter.
Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales, Devika Krishna Kumar and Maria Caspani; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Chris Reese
Jacksonville gaming tournament shooter had been hospitalized for mental illness, documents show | Fox News
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 14:26
The gunman who opened fire on a "Madden NFL 19" tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, on Sunday was hospitalized previously for mental illness, according to court records.
Divorce filings from the parents of 24-year-old David Katz of Baltimore showed that as a teenager he was hospitalized twice in psychiatric facilities and was prescribed anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medications, The Associated Press first reported Monday.
Katz, a competitor at the gaming event, had two handguns and extra ammunition inside the restaurant where the competition was taking place, officials said at a news conference Monday afternoon.
JACKSONVILLE SHOOTING VICTIMS REMEMBERED AS TALENTED GAMERS
The divorce filings showed that Katz's parents disagreed deeply on how to care for their son. Katz's father claimed his estranged wife was exaggerating symptoms of mental illness as part of the couple's long-running and acrimonious custody battle. They divorced in 2007.
Katz legally purchased his firearms '-- .45 caliber and 9mm handguns '-- in Baltimore, Maryland, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams told reporters. He bought them within the past month from a licensed dealer, officials said.
"One of [the guns Katz used] did have like an after market laser sight that attaches to the trigger guard," Williams added.
Police said there was no indication Katz planned his shooting prior to Sunday. He had lost in the tournament earlier in the day.
FBI SWARMS FAMILY HOME OF JACKSONVILLE LANDING GUNMAN DAVID KATZ
The suspect shot and killed two people at the event inside the Chicago Pizza restaurant of The Jacksonville Landing before turning the gun on himself, police said. Katz also wounded 10 others, all of whom are expected to recover from their injuries.
Williams said it was clear Katz "targeted other gamers" at the competition.
Police, however, "have yet to determine a concrete motive" in the case, which remains under investigation by several agencies. Both Katz's mother and father "have so far been fully cooperative" with the FBI.
Eli Clayton, 22, of California, and Taylor Robertson, 27, of West Virginia, were identified by Electronic arts, the company which develops "Madden," as the victims who were fatally shot on Sunday.
"Their deaths are an inconceivable tragedy, and we offer our deepest sympathies to their families, to those injuries and everyone affected by this," the statement from EA read. "Many of us at EA knew Elijah and Taylor well, and their positive, competitive spirit and respect for other players were evident to everyone."
"They earned the admiration of all who watched them compete, and we will miss them greatly," EA said of Clayton and Robertson.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.
Jacksonville Madden Shooter Criticized 'Trumptards' On Reddit
Mon, 27 Aug 2018 13:58
Jacksonville mass shooter David Katz, 24, was a Redditor who hated Trump supporters and mocked "mericans" as "retarded.""You trumptards seriously can never stop amazing everyone with how mentally challenged you guys are," Katz wrote late last year on the Pro-Donald Trump r/The_Donald subreddit under the name "ravenchamps."
Katz also said, "mericans are retarded."
Liberal Redditors should not be allowed to own firearms. This is common sense.
The shooting occurred in a "gun-free zone":
Leftists immediately tried to politicize the deaths (after spending all last week saying deaths should never be politicized):
Coming after a week of being lectured we shouldn't politicize deaths https://t.co/E75F4WmdAg
— Scott Greer (@ScottMGreer) August 26, 2018Here's more on the story from the Times of Israel:
Two people were killed and 11 others wounded Sunday when a video game tournament competitor went on a shooting rampage before turning the gun on himself in the northern Florida city of Jacksonville, local police said.Sheriff Mike Williams named the suspect of the shooting at a Madden 19 American football eSports tournament as 24-year-old David Katz from Baltimore, Maryland.
The Forward reported that Katz was Jewish.
'There were three deceased individuals at the scene, one of those being the suspect, who took his own life,-- Williams told reporters.
He said local fire and rescue transported nine victims — seven of whom had gunshot wounds — to local hospitals, while another two people who were shot took their own transportation to hospital.
Odds are this story will drop out of the news cycle fast as it doesn't fit the narrative.Follow InformationLiberation on Twitter, Facebook, Gab and Minds.
Bingeing
Netflix tells its actors to stop saying 'binge-watching' because it wants to seem more luxe '' BGR
Wed, 29 Aug 2018 16:05
''Guy, we asked you to do one thing.''
Before the cast of The Innocents, a new teenage supernatural original series from Netflix, set out to make the rounds with the press promoting the show, Netflix had at least one specific instruction to convey. An instruction that actor Guy Pearce actually says Netflix ''strictly'' made clear: Don't use the term ''binge-watching'' in your interviews.
We know this, because in an interview with Empire Magazine's film podcast, Guy answered a question by saying ''we're not allowed to say binge-watching because Netflix asked us not to.
One thing to do Guy'...
From Business Insider: '''I don't think Netflix likes the term 'binge,'' Pearce said when Empire asked him if viewers would binge-watch The Innocents. 'When we did the promotion for [The Innocents] in the [United States], we were strictly sort of instructed beforehand not to talk about 'binge-watching.'''
BI goes on to speculate, since Netflix didn't say why it's being weird about this, that it might be because the company wants to extricate its brand from all things binge-y. Like Binge-eating. Binge-drinking. Basically from all the bad things, and indeed they're all bad, that a person does during any kind of binge.
Even though Netflix, as if any of us needed to be reminded, kind of popularized the idea of binge-watching, even using the term in a December 2013 press release with this as the headline: ''Netflix Declares Binge Watching is the New Normal.'' The first sentence? '-- 'Selfies' may be the official new word of 2013, but Binge-Watching was a runner up for a reason.
Oh, to be young again.
There may indeed be something to the suspicion here that Netflix is trying to get away from the term as part of a move to make its brand seem more '-- highbrow, maybe?
That may be a stretch, but consider. Variety is out with a report today speculating that Netflix raising prices recently may be keeping low-income customers away. As proof, it cites data from Peter Griffin, an economist for cash advance company Earnin that says growth of Netflix usage among its members has stalled.
''The percentage of Earnin customers who subscribe to Netflix has been flat for some time, the company's economist Peter Griffin wrote in a blog post Tuesday,'' Variety notes. ''That's despite the fact that the overall usage of paid streaming services has grown notably among Earnin users, with both YouTube and Hulu adding paid users.
''That trend has been particularly pronounced ever since Netflix's most recent price increase. The streaming service raised its prices at the end of 2017, bumping the monthly charge for its HD tier from $9.99 to $10.99. The price for the company's family plan, which includes the ability to stream to up to four devices and access streams in 4K HDR, increased from $11.99 to $13.99.''
Image Source: Etienne Laurent/Epa/REX/Shutterstock
Vaccine$
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
What's Up With Southwest?
Hello Adam, Rebecca’s daughter came to visit last week.
her flight on Southwest was cancelled on her way here. When asked, she was told
it is a systematic pulling of planes for a complete check over and maintenance.
I believe this is their response in a positive way to the incident iApril 17th
of this year, when the woman from Albuquerque April 17th of this year. These
maintenance events are not released to the public and can occur without notice.
Passengers are advised to check all flights to verify schedule arrivals and
departures.
Jeff
BTC
Cosby Using Bitcoin To Keep Creditors, Government & His Wife From $500M Fortune
Mon, 27 Aug 2018 12:39
Desperate to salvage what's left of his $500 million fortune, Bill Cosby is converting cash into ''virtual currency'' '-- so he can keep it away from his creditors, the government and long-suffering wife Camille, RadarOnline.com has learned exclusively!
''He moved close to $5 million in Bitcoin after an expert told him it's practically untraceable and impossible for anyone but him to retrieve,'' an insider revealed to Radar.
''The expert said it couldn't be taken in a divorce, bankruptcy or by the government in any liens!''
PHOTOS: The Most DISGUSTING Claims Against Bill Cosby In 15 Clicks
As Radar has reported, the convicted sex fiend owes $25 million in unpaid legal bills for his failed criminal defense and has taken out mortgages on his New York and California homes to improve his cash flow.
But a source inside Cosby's camp revealed the fallen comic has ''no intention'' of paying his legal fees.
What's more, his humiliated wife, Camille, 74, is set to walk out on the twisted TV sleaze when he goes to prison '-- and sources said the pervert knows Camille will fight for every nickel in divorce court.
Cosby's Bitcoin scheme could also finance a potential escape from justice, according to a fugitive expert.
PHOTOS: Bill Cosby Back On Stage For First Time Since Explosive Rape Trial
''To me, it raises a huge red flag,'' said Frank Ahearn, author of ''How to Disappear.''
''Cryptocurrency has decreased in value, and you'd have to be crazy to buy Bitcoin now. But it's a great tool if you're planning an escape.
''He could basically have a middleman in another country receive the money. He'd just need to go there to collect it.''
The sicko was convicted on April 26 of drugging and sexually abusing Andrea Constand in the same Cheltenham, Pa., estate where he's now confined and wearing an ankle bracelet to track his every move.
The 81-year-old monster '-- who will be sentenced on Sept. 24 and faces up to 30 years behind bars '-- is now preparing for the worst by hiring a prison consultant to coach him on life in the big house.
PHOTOS: Drug Addiction, Abuse & Murder! Bill Cosby's Daughter Ensa's Dark Past Before Death
Sources within his inner circle confirmed Cosby locks himself in a makeshift prison cell in his mansion's third floor attic, eats prison-style meals prepared by his chef and demands his staff scold him if he goes off schedule!
''He moved a bed, a television, a table and a telephone into an old storage space,'' an insider revealed. ''He comes out of the 'cell' six times a day!''
The twisted funnyman has even had his lawyers draw up a proposal to fight his ''sexually violent offender'' designation, claiming that it would ruin his ''reputation.''
''That label is the one thing you don't want to carry into prison,'' noted a prison expert. ''Sex criminals are instant targets on the inside.''
We pay for juicy info! Do you have a story for RadarOnline.com? Email us at tips@radaronline.com, or call us at (866) ON-RADAR (667-2327) any time, day or night.
The anti-dollar awakening could be ruder and sooner than most economists predict
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 11:03
The United States is currently waging economic warfare against one tenth of the world's countries with cumulative population of nearly 2 billion people and combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $15 trillion.
These include Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, North Korea and others on which Washington has imposed sanctions over the years, but also countries like China, Pakistan and Turkey which are not under full sanctions but rather targets of other punitive economic measures.
Nicolas Asfouri | AFP | Getty Images
In addition, thousands of individuals from scores of countries are included in the Treasury Department's list of Specially Designated Nationals who are effectively blocked from the U.S.-dominated global financial system. Many of those designated are either part of or closely linked to their countries' leadership.
From a U.S. perspective, each one of the economic entities is targeted for a good reason be it human rights violations, terrorism, crime, nuclear trade, corruption or in the case of China, unfair trade practices and intellectual property theft.
But in recent months it seems that America's unwavering commitment to fight all of the world's scourges has brought all those governments and the wealthy individuals who support them to a critical mass, joining forces to create a parallel financial system which would be out of reach of America's long arm. Should they succeed, the impact on America's global posture would be transformational.
America's global supremacy has been made possible not only thanks to its military power and its alliance system but also due to its control over the plumbing of global finance and particularly the broad acceptance of the dollar as the world's reserve currency. The unique status of the U.S. currency has anchored the global financial system since World War II.
Any transaction done in U.S. dollars or using a U.S. bank automatically brings the trading parties under American legal jurisdiction. When the U.S. decides to impose unilateral sanctions, as in the case of Iran, it essentially tells the world's governments, corporations and individuals they must choose between halting business with the sanctioned country or be shut off from the world's number one economy. This is a powerful stick.
Not many companies or banks can afford to give up on the U.S. market or be denied access to U.S. financial institutions.
Revisionist countries that wish to challenge the U.S.-led system see this as an affront to their economic sovereignty. Which is why both Russia and China have developed their own versions of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), the global network that allows cross-border financial transactions among thousands of banks. Both countries are also urging their trading partners to ditch the dollar in their bilateral trade in favor of indigenous currencies.
This month Russia was quick to recruit Turkey into the anti-dollar bloc, announcing it would back non-dollar trade with it, after a financial feud between Ankara and Washington broke out. China for its part is using its trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative as a tool to compel countries to transact in yuan terms instead of dollars. Pakistan, the number one recipient of Belt and Road money, and Iran have already announced their intention to do just that. Last month's BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit in Johannesburg was a call to arms against the dollar hegemony with countries like Turkey, Jamaica, Indonesia, Argentina and Egypt invited to join in what is known as "BRICS plus" with the goal of creating a de-dollarized economy.
The main front where the future of the dollar will be decided is the global commodity market, especially the $1.7 trillion oil market. Ever since 1973, when President Richard Nixon unilaterally severed the U.S. dollar from the gold standard and convinced the Saudis and the rest of the OPEC countries to sell their oil only in dollars, the global oil trade has been linked to the American currency. This paved the way for the rest of the commodities to be traded in dollars as well. The arrangement served America well. It created an ever growing demand for the greenback, which in turn enabled consecutive U.S. governments to freely run their growing deficits.
Not anymore. Because so many of the members of the anti-dollar alliance are exporters of commodities they no longer feel that their products should be either priced by a dollar-denominated benchmark like WTI and Brent or be traded in a currency they no longer crave.
For example, when China buys oil from Angola, gas from Russia, coal from Mongolia or soybeans from Brazil it prefers to do so in its own currency and thereby avoid unwanted exchange rate fees on both sides of the transaction. This is already beginning to happen.
Russia and China have agreed to transact some of their traded energy in yuan. China is pushing its main oil suppliers Saudi Arabia, Angola and Iran to receive yuans for their oil. And last year China introduced gold-backed futures contracts, dubbed "petro-yuan" in the Shanghai International Energy Exchange - the first non-dollar crude benchmark in Asia.
The gradual acceptance of digital currencies, backed by blockchain technology offers another way for the revisionists to ditch the dollar in their trading. The Russian central bank indicated that it was considering launching a national cryptocurrency called "cryptoruble" and in the interim it helped Venezuela's launch of its own cryptocurrency, the "petro," which is backed by the country's vast oil reserves. Now BRICS members are discussing a BRICS-backed cryptocurrency.
All of those actions and others point to one direction: In the coming years the dollar will be facing a barrage of attacks with the goal of eroding its hegemony and the energy trading market will be one of the main battlefields where the future of America's economic dominance will be decided. Any successful attempt to delink commodity trading from the dollar will have a cascading impact not only on the global economic system as we know it but also on America's posture abroad.
With the overall positive state of the U.S. economy and the remarkable strength of the dollar compared to the currencies of the dollar-busters including the Russian ruble, the yuan, the Turkish lira and the Iranian rial it may be easy to sink into complacency and dismiss the actions of the revisionists as mere pinpricks.
But ignoring the growing anti-dollar coalition would be to America's detriment. Bull markets eventually come to an end and with a national debt of $21 trillion and growing at a rate of a trillion dollars a year, the awakening could be ruder and sooner than most economists predict.
In the midst of America's economic euphoria it is worth remembering that one of every four people on the planet lives today in a country whose government is committed to end the dollar hegemony. Thwarting their effort should be Washington's top national priority.
Gal Luft is co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and senior advisor to the United States Energy Security Council.
Cartoons
Pakistan condemns blasphemous Dutch cartoon contest | Netherlands 2017 News | Al Jazeera
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 14:19
Pakistan's senate has unanimously passed a resolution condemning an anti-Islam cartoon contest planned by a far-right Dutch politician - one of the first actions taken by the assembly since last month's general election.
Senators in the upper house of parliament formally protested on Monday the announcement by Dutch opposition MP Geert Wilders to hold a Prophet Muhammad caricature competition in the Netherlands later this year.
In his first address to the senate in the capital, Islamabad, newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed to take the issue to the United Nations General Assembly in September, calling it a "collective failure of the Muslim world".
"Very few in the West understand the pain caused to Muslims by such blasphemous activities," said Khan.
"Our government will raise the matter in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and get the countries there to come up with a collective policy that could then be brought up at international forums. This should have been done a long time ago.
"I understand the Western mindset as I have spent a lot of time there. They do not understand the love Muslims feel for the Prophet."
Last week, Pakistan foreign office summoned the Dutch ambassador to lodge a protest against the blasphemous competition, expressing its "deep concern at this deliberate and malicious attempt to defame Islam".
'We will be out on the streets'Pakistan's far-right Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a Barelvi political party, has threatened to lead a protest march from the eastern city of Lahore to the capital Islamabad on Wednesday unless the government "cuts diplomatic ties" with the Netherlands.
"We will be out on the streets," Ejaz Ashrafi, TLP's information secretary, told Al Jazeera. "If there's an attack on the Prophet's honour, how can a Muslim sit at home? This is against our faith!"
pic.twitter.com/CMMkN3pVpR
'-- Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) August 6, 2018Ashrafi said his party would lead a march "of thousands" and would hold a sit-in protest if their demands were not met.
In November, the TLP blockaded the capital for three weeks, protesting a minor change in an electoral oath that firebrand cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the TLP's chief, declared to be "blasphemous".
"We want action, not words, now," said Ashrafi. "This issue must be resolved in an emergency manner, otherwise we will be out on the streets."
Physical depictions of God or the Prophet Muhammad are forbidden in Islam.
Pakistan's blasphemy laws prescribe a mandatory death penalty for anyone found guilty of insulting Prophet Muhammad, and life imprisonment for those found to defile the Quran.
Wilders, widely known for his fierce criticism of Islam and Muslims, announced in June his plans to organise a competition of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in November.
The Dutch government has distanced itself from the event.
Wilders, who leads the second-biggest party in the Dutch parliament, claims to have received more than 200 entries so far. Last date for entry is August 31.
Winners of the competition will be announced at his Freedom Party offices in The Hague, local media reported, with a $10,000 cash award going to the first-place entry.
With additional reporting by Asad Hashim in Islamabad
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''.
Tarriffs & Taxes
ABBVIE $100mm to RMHC because of tax breaks
Trump Falsely Calls Preliminary Pact Between U.S. and Mexico 'Maybe the Largest Trade Deal Ever' - The New York Times
Mon, 27 Aug 2018 23:06
Fact Check of the Day
''I cannot imagine any metric in which an agreement between the U.S. and Mexico can be the largest,'' a trade expert said.
what was said
''This is one of the largest trade deals ever made. Maybe the largest trade deal ever made.''
'-- President Trump, in a phone call with President Enrique Pe±a Nieto of Mexico on Monday
the facts
False.Mr. Trump announced on Monday that the United States and Mexico had reached a preliminary agreement to revise key portions of the North American Free Trade Agreement. That is not the same thing as signing a new bilateral deal.
Nor would a United States-Mexico trade agreement potentially rank as the ''largest trade deal ever made.''
It is premature to consider the bilateral agreement a done deal. Canada, the third country that was a party to Nafta in 1993, has not yet agreed to the changes. Participating in Monday's announcement via conference call, Mr. Pe±a Nieto, the outgoing Mexican president, said he hoped Canada would rejoin the negotiations.
Congress would also need to approve the changes before the trade deal could go into effect.
Even if Mexico eventually agreed, and Congress approved the two-country deal, it would by definition be smaller than Nafta, a three-country deal. In 2017, trade between the United States and Mexico totaled $615.9 billion in goods and services. That same year, trade between the United States and Canada was about $57 billion more, at $673.1 billion.
Gene M. Grossman, a professor of international economics at Princeton University, called Mr. Trump's claim ''at best a vacuous statement, and almost surely misleading or outright dishonest.''
''I cannot imagine any metric in which an agreement between the U.S. and Mexico can be the largest,'' Mr. Grossman said.
Several other trade agreements eclipse the size of a potential bilateral deal between the United States and Mexico.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership between the United States, Canada, Mexico and nine other Pacific Rim countries, would have represented 40 percent of global gross domestic product and a third of global trade. (Mr. Trump abandoned this multilateral deal last year.)
The European Union signed a trade agreement with Japan in July, covering a third of the global economy and 40 percent of international trade. The European Union itself is a single market and trade between members totaled about $4 trillion in 2017.
The Uruguay Round of trade talks that culminated in 1994 created the World Trade Organization and involved 123 countries that accounted for 90 percent of international trade. It now includes more than 160 economies and affects nearly all global trade.
''By any measure, the Uruguay Round was the biggest trade agreement ever reached in terms of countries (all W.T.O. members) or amount of trade affected,'' said William A. Reinsch, a trade expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Sources: Office of the United States Trade Representative website, Eurostat, World Trade Organization, Gene M. Grossman, Scott Miller, William A. Reinsch, The New York Times
Linda Qiu is a fact-check reporter, based in Washington. She came to the Times in 2017 from the fact-checking service PolitiFact. @ ylindaqiu
PedoBear
Former Vatican ambassador says Pope Francis, Benedict knew of sexual misconduct allegations against McCarrick for years - The Washington Post
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 20:35
DUBLIN '-- A former Vatican ambassador to the United States has alleged in an 11-page letter that Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis '-- among other top Catholic Church officials '-- had been aware of sexual misconduct allegations against former D.C. archbishop Cardinal Theodore McCarrick years before he resigned this summer.
The letter from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigan², who was recalled from his D.C. post in 2016 amid allegations that he'd become embroiled in the conservative American fight against same-sex marriage, was first reported by the National Catholic Register and LifeSite News, two conservative Catholic sites. The letter offered no proof, and Vigan² on Sunday told The Washington Post he wouldn't comment further, beyond confirming that he was the letter's author.
''Silence and prayer are the only things that are befitting,'' he said.
The accusations landed as Francis was wrapping up one of the most fraught trips of his papacy, coming face-to-face with the church's damaged credibility in a country reeling from decades of abuse. In a Mass at Dublin's Phoenix Park, Francis spoke in Spanish and asked for forgiveness for what he called ''abuses of power, conscience, and sexual abuse perpetrated by members with roles of responsibility in the church,'' according to a translation of his remarks by Vatican News.
''We ask forgiveness for some members of the church's hierarchy who did not take charge of these painful situations and kept quiet,'' Francis said.
Some 500,000 had been expected to attend the Mass, but the crowd was noticeably smaller, with patches of grass visible in areas that had been intended for spectators.
The sexual abuses '-- in Ireland, the United States, Australia, Argentina, Belgium Brazil, Canada, Chile and other countries '-- have fed and amplified the bitter polarization within the Catholic Church. Some of Francis' critics, including Vigan², are calling for the pope to step down.
The Vatican had no immediate comment.
The letter was the latest dramatic development stemming from a fresh wave of allegations related to clergy sex abuse and its coverup. Rumors that had swirled for decades about McCarrick exploded in June when Pope Francis suspended the cardinal. Last month, McCarrick, facing credible allegations of abusing seminarians and minors, became the first U.S. cardinal in history to resign.
Vigan², 77, was the Holy See's apostolic nuncio, or ambassador, in Washington from 2011 until 2016. He has been a lightning rod within the Vatican who lost a power struggle in Rome under Benedict, emerged as a Francis critic, and reportedly ordered the halt of an investigation into the alleged sexual relations between an archbishop in Minnesota and seminarians.
Jason Berry, who has written several investigative books about the Vatican, said he believes this is the first time a pope has been accused from within.
''From within the Vatican hierarchy, from within the Roman Curia, I don't think anyone has ever publicly accused a pope of covering up for a sex abuser,'' Berry said. ''That's why this is such a big deal.''
Vigan²'s letter said that McCarrick had been privately sanctioned under Benedict '-- though only after years of warnings about his alleged behavior toward seminarians and young priests '-- not toward minors. Vigan² wrote that the measures, taken ''in 2009 or 2010,'' banned McCarrick from traveling, holding Mass, or participating in public meetings.
Yet McCarrick appears to have done essentially the opposite. He regularly appeared as a speaker and celebrant at church functions and represented the church in prominent foreign diplomatic efforts in places like China and Iran. A video from 2013 shows Benedict warmly greeting McCarrick in Rome, at the pope's resignation (and the subsequent election of the new pope), where McCarrick gave round-the-clock television interviews and stayed at a seminary.
It wasn't immediately clear why a pope taking the dramatic step of suspending a cardinal from ministry, as Vigano said, wouldn't monitor McCarrick in any way.
However, when the archdiocese of New York last year began its investigation into analtar boy's allegation against McCarrick '' the first accusation involving a youth '' the Vatican ambassador Archbishop Christophe Pierre told McCarrick to be less public while the probe was underway, a personal familiar with McCarrick said Sunday. However McCarrick still appeared in public as he wished, the person said, including attending an ordination ceremony in May in his cardinal's garb.
Vigan²'s letter says that in 2013, he met Francis months into his papacy and told him face to face that there was ''a dossier this thick'' about McCarrick. He says he then told Francis about Benedict's order that McCarrick remove himself from public life.
''He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance,'' Vigan² says he told Francis. ''The Pope did not make the slightest comment about those very grave words of mine and did not show any expression of surprise on his face, as if he had already known the matter for some time, and he immediately changed the subject.''
Vigan² also alleges in that conversation that Francis told him American bishops ''must not be ideologized, they must not be right-wing .'‰.'‰. and they must not be left-wing, and when I say left-wing I mean homosexual.''
Barry Coburn, McCarrick's lawyer, said in a statement: ''These are serious allegations. Archbishop McCarrick, like any other person, has a right to due process. He looks forward to invoking that right at the appropriate time.''
He declined to elaborate further.
It was not possible to reach Benedict or his representatives right away. Francis has not commented previously about what he was told about McCarrick, and on Sunday Vatican spokesman Greg Burke did not respond to a request seeking comment.
The American Catholic Church is deeply divided over Francis's leadership, with fault lines similar to those seen in the political realm. Francis's comments and teachings about everything from immigration and global warming to the death penalty are frequently adopted or refuted along partisan lines.
The Vigan² document uses American culture-war lingo, such as ''right-wing'' and ''left-wing,'' and concludes the letter by blaming ''homosexual networks'' for sexual abuse and corruption.
U.S. conservative Catholics who have suspected Francis of surreptitiously opening the door for liberalizing changes around sex and marriage have in recent years focused on the increased acceptance of LGBT people. Common targets for right-wing blogs like LifeSite and ChurchMilitant are bishops and cardinals they deem too moderate or liberal. Constantly on this list is D.C.'s Donald Wuerl, Chicago's Blas(C) Cupich and Joe Tobin of Newark. All are named by Vigano as being linked by ''wickedness.''
In the letter, Vigan² described several figures who could corroborate parts of his account. Those people could not be immediately reached.
Before moving to D.C., Vigan² spent time as delegate within the Secretary of State's office, working with the Vatican's embassies around the world. He says in his letter that his job included ''the examination of delicate cases, including those regarding cardinals and bishops.''
''I can imagine Vigan² wanted to unburden his conscience,'' said Marcello Pera, a retired professor who knows Vigan², co-authored a book with Benedict XVI, and has spoken critically about the direction of the church under Francis.
''The author is a reliable person who has suffered because of events,'' Pera said. ''His warnings were not listened to.''
Vigan² was sent to Washington '' reportedly as punishment '' in 2011 and was there until May 2016. He arranged a hugely controversial meeting between Francis and an American woman, Kim Davis, who had lost her job as a municipal clerk for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples. Allies of Francis alleged he set up the pope during a high-profile U.S. visit, and that Francis didn't intend to affirm Davis' cause.
The letter also includes an allegation against Wuerl, D.C.'s current archbishop and McCarrick's immediate successor. He is a close ally of Francis and is already under scrutiny following a grand jury report in Pennsylvania about clerical child sex abuse and an alleged coverup. Wuerl for years led the diocese of Pittsburgh.
Vigan² is vague in the allegation against Wuerl. The letter says ''obviously'' Wuerl knew about Benedict's restrictions, because the then-ambassador, Pietro Sambi, was ''responsible, loyal and direct'' and must have told him. Vigan² says he brought up the subject himself with Wuerl, and he writes that Wuerl ''was fully aware of it.''
Wuerl's spokesman, Ed McFadden, denied the report.
''In spite of what Archbishop Vigan²'s memo indicates, Cardinal Wuerl did not receive any documentation or information during his time in Washington regarding any actions taken against'' McCarrick,'' he said Sunday.
Victims and Catholics around the world have been demanding more transparency from Pope Francis and the church in general, and insisting that clerics who covered up for priest-abusers be held accountable.
The letter says Francis ''must honestly state when he first learned about the crimes committed by McCarrick, who abused his authority with seminarians and priests.''
Pitrelli reported from Moena, Italy. Boorstein reported from Washington. Julie Zauzmer contributed from Washington.
Read more
As rumors of sexual misdeeds swirled, Cardinal McCarrick became a powerful fundraiser for the Vatican
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, facing sexual abuse reports, resigns from the College of Cardinals
Cardinal Wuerl target of rising anger after Pa. grand jury report
Today's coverage from Post correspondents around the world
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Paus Franciscus: ''Stuur homoseksuele kinderen naar psychiatr... - Gazet van Antwerpen
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 11:05
Paus Franciscus heeft tijdens een persconferentie gezegd dat ouders het best psychiatrische hulp zoeken voor kinderen die ''homoseksuele neigingen'' vertonen.
Een journalist vroeg de paus tijdens een persconferentie aan boord van het vliegtuig dat hem zondag van Ierland terugvloog naar Rome wat ouders moeten doen wanneer ze merken dat hun kinderen mogelijk homoseksueel zijn.
''Op de eerste plek zou ik de ouders zeggen te bidden, hun kind niet te veroordelen, hun zoon of dochter te proberen begrijpen en hun de nodige ruimte te geven'', antwoordde de paus.
Daarna zei hij echter ook dat ouders de leeftijd van hun kind in gedachten moeten houden. ''Zijn de homoseksuele neigingen van een kind al op erg jonge leeftijd duidelijk, dan kan er nog heel wat gedaan worden in de psychiatrie. Het is een ander verhaal wanneer die neigingen zich pas manifesteren rond het twintigste levensjaar.''
De paus benadrukte wel dat ouders zich nooit in stilte mogen hullen. ''Een zoon of dochter met homoseksuele neigingen negeren is een kapitale fout.''
''Ernstig en onverantwoordelijk''
Franse homorechtenorganisaties zijn niet te spreken over de verklaringen van de paus. ''Wij veroordelen zijn opvattingen, die opnieuw doen uitschijnen dat homoseksualiteit een ziekte zou zijn. Als er al sprake zou zijn van een ziekte, dan is het de homofobie die vastgeworteld zit in de samenleving'', zegt een woordvoerder van de organisatie Inter-LGBT aan het Franse persbureau AFP.
SOS Homophobie noemt de uitspraken van Franciscus ''ernstig en onverantwoordelijk''. ''Ze zetten aan tot haat, en dat in een samenleving die nu al gekenmerkt wordt door heel wat homofobie en transfobie'', zegt de groepering op Twitter.
De controversile uitspraken van de paus volgen amper enkele dagen na zijn bezoek aan Ierland dat werd overschaduwd door een groot schandaal over seksueel misbruik in de kerk. Naar aanleiding van de misbruik eiste een gewezen pauselijke nuntius zelfs het ontslag van Franciscus.
Pope Under Fire for Backing Psychiatric Help for Gay Children | News | teleSUR English
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 14:04
Pope Francis is under fire Monday after he said that children who show "homosexual tendencies" should be treated with understanding and not to be condemned or ignored while flying to Rome after the end of his papal visit to Ireland.
RELATED:Argentina: 3,000 Renounce Catholicism After Abortion Bill Fails
The Vatican later removed his phrase from its official account, saying he had not meant to suggest that homosexuality was a mental illness.
Francis was asked by a journalist what he would say to parents who observe homosexual traits in their children.
"When it shows itself from childhood, there is a lot that can be done through psychiatry, to see how things are. It is something else if it shows itself after 20 years," he said. The pope added that ignoring a child who showed homosexual tendencies was an "error of fatherhood or motherhood".
However, when the Vatican later published the pope's answer, the reference to psychiatry had been removed.
When asked why a Vatican spokeswoman told AFP it had been done in order to not "change the thoughts of the Holy Father." "When the pope referred to 'psychiatry', it is clear that he was doing it to highlight an example of 'things that can be done'. But with that word he didn't mean to say that it (homosexuality) was a 'mental illness'," she said.
Francis' trip to Ireland was fraught with controversy amid accusations that he ignored sexual abuse allegations against prominent U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
Pope Francis said Sunday he would not respond to a former top Vatican official who accused him of having known for years of allegations of sex abuse by a prominent U.S. cardinal, calling on the pontiff to resign in an unprecedented broadside against the pope by a Church insider.
In a detailed 11-page bombshell statement given to conservative Roman Catholic media outlets during the pope's visit to Ireland, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano accused a long list of current and past Vatican and U.S. Church officials of covering up the case of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who resigned last month in disgrace.
SJWBLMLGBBTQQIAAPK
Lilly Diabetes back story
I was glad to hear you discuss the incident involving Conner
Daley on the show. I wanted to let you know while you discussed he most
ridiculous part of the story you left off two parts that lead up to Conner
losing his sponsorship from Eli Lilly. It's possible you knew this and just
felt it was not important.
This entire event started last week when the local play by
play caller for the Indianapolis Colts Bob Lamey retold a story about an indy
car driver in the 80s that dropped the n word while being interviewed. Bob told
this story while at work to a few fellow coworkers. The problem was he told the
story actually using the word. and one employee uncomfortable told HR. The
colts forced Lamey to retire. When the news broke that story was linked to
local racing news analyst Derek Daley as being the guy Lamey talked about using
the N word in the story. The news station fired Daley upon hearing this. Daley
stated when he used the word he was describing himself. At the time he was from
Europe and he said that word didn't have the same racial undertones like it did
in America. He promptly removed it from his vocabulary.
Now we can add the part you discussed on top of this where
Lilly pulled their sponsorship due to what his dad said 30+ years earlier.
Hope you find this useful if you didn't already know of it.
--
Zach Brown
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.
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.
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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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
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VIDEO - Dog sitting gone wild: Owner comes home to find shirtless men, lube in living room
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 12:47
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A dog sitting gone wrong has one Colorado Springs homeowner warning others about a popular app, called Wag!
Klete Keller said after scheduling the dog sitting at his home on the west side, he came home early Monday morning, around 1 a.m., to something which he described only as horrific.
"The general smell in the house is disgusting, I've had all the windows and doors open," said Klete Keller, a homeowner in Colorado Springs.
Keller said when he walked inside he noticed two shirtless men sitting on his couch. When he asked them to leave, he noticed something even more strange.
"There was an open bottle of personal lubricant and a camcorder on the end table, so it's pretty self-explanatory what was going on," said Keller.
The dog sitter he had hired was nowhere to be seen though. He later learned that she was in the bathroom showering.
FOX21 reached out the dog sitter, who wanted to remain anonymous, this is what she had to say about the incident.
"To be completely honest, I didn't have WD-40 and my keys were stuck in my car, so I ended up grabbing what I had in my car, for things, that you know, I do on my personal time and I didn't think to put it back in my car," said the woman.
According to Keller, those weren't the only odd things he spotted in his house, he noticed this too.
"There is also, what I can only assume, are bodily fluids on the couch," said Keller.
The dog sitter said that she didn't know anything about that.
"I wouldn't know anything about that, because I, I know that I took a shower at his house and I sat on the couch in a towel and that was before my friends got there," she explained.
Keller said his dog, Jimbo, was also locked in a bedroom, sitting in his own urine, acting terrified.
"It was just, just a total mess and I can only imagine what poor Jimbo saw in there," said Keller.
According to Wag, this specific dog sitter had a rating of 4.96 out of 5 and had completed a combination of 305 walks and dog sittings. As far as her experience with Keller though, the sitter had this to say.
"I'd like to apologize to him for making him feel like I violated his house because that wasn't my intention, I misinterpreted information and I had guests over when I shouldn't have," said the sitter.
FOX21 also received a couple statements from Wag! who addressed their action on the matter.
We have launched an investigation into this incident and have suspended the sitter from our platform. The circumstances around this incident are unacceptable, and we expect everyone on our platform to conduct themselves in a professional manner. The trust and safety of the Wag! community is a top priority, and we are working with the dog's owner to restore his trust.
Wag! explained that they have an extensive vetting process.
Wag! does extensive background checks on all its walkers and sitters. This includes a SSN Trace (an Identity Check), a Facial Recognition Check (against all official documents provided), a Document Check, a National Criminal Check, a County Criminal Check, a Sex Offender Check and a Global Watchlist check. In this case, the walker/sitter passed all of them.
VIDEO - Wife Of Trump Ethics Lawyer Fined After She Was Busted Boffing Inmate In Car | Zero Hedge
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 12:42
The CIA / FBI - linked wife of a prominent Washington D.C. attorney caught having sex in the backseat of her Maserati with a Fauquier County Jail inmate was fined $2,500 on Monday, reports NBC Washington.
Teresa "Terri" Jo Burchfield, 53, pleaded no contest on Monday to charges of disorderly conduct after a concerned citizen called police to report "suspicious behavior" in September 2017. Upon arriving at the scene, deputies discovered Burchfield and 23-year-old inmate Garrett Portela in the car. Portela was allowed to work outside the jail under a trustee program.
"Burchfield and the 23-year-old inmate were having sex in the car," reported the Fauquier Times shortly after her arrest, citing court records filed by police and prosecutors.
Burchfield was initially charged with unauthorized delivery for giving Portela a bag of vitamins.
"The female subject was delivering unauthorized articles to the inmate," Maj. Jeremy Falls told News4.
Court documents reveal more details. Portela told investigators he had been meeting with Burchfield for a month. She would bring him cigarettes and they would have sex in her car, court documents say. -NBC Washington
According to Heavy, Teresa is an "independent research consultant" in the Washington D.C. area - and according to her Linkedin page, she has consulted with the government, including the FBI and CIA, as well as several defense contractors, including Booz Allen Hamilton - which whistleblower Edward Snowden famously worked for, along with another employee accused of stealing NSA documents.
She has worked a government information specialist at FCi Federal, Inc, which has a contract with the FBI. She also worked at USIS, another contractor that has worked with the FBI. Burchfield was a senior support specialist and consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton from 2008 to 2012 and a finance administrator at the CIA from 2006 to 2008.
Burchfield also worked for ObjectVideo, ''a cutting edge firm working on key homeland security technologies,'' according to her bio on a charity website. -Heavy
A two-year analyst for Goldman Sachs, Terri also worked for Congress on the Committee on Banking and Financial Services in the House, specializing in "financial derivatives" and other banking issues, as well as the Whitewater investigation, according to a bio on a charity website.
Burchfield's husband, Bobby Burchfield, is listed on his firm's website as an ethics advisor to President Trump's businesses. Bobby, a partner at Washington's King and Spalding, also served as counsel to President George W. Bush in the 2000 Florida recount. Bush later appointed him to the Antitrust Modernization Commission. He has also been the chairman of Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, a GOP advocacy group.
Pleased to see WFU trustee Bobby Burchfield receive the DC Boy Scouts atty of the yr award #wfualumni #wfumagazine pic.twitter.com/ssTg00ifBv
'-- Jennifer Richwine (@Richandwine) December 10, 2015Since being cuckolded, Bobby Burchfield has filed for divorce. In an email obtained by NBC News, Burchfield cited his wife's arrest in the filing.
In an email to her husband after she was arrested, Teresa Burchfield emailed Bobby with the subject line "please hire a crisis management firm" - which continues in the body "Which you should have done yesterday ... We could have put out a statement that I was not arrested for having sex in the back of a car. In fact we were just talking and I was arrested for the items."
In other words, the wife of this prominent DC attorney who was busted for her extramarital affair with a jail inmate was busting her husband's chops for failing to clean up her sticky situation.
Burchfield was fined $2,500 with $1,000 suspended, and she has nine months to pay it.
Just when you think you know a person...
VIDEO - DeSantis: Florida voters shouldn't 'monkey this up' by voting for Gillum | TheHill
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 12:34
Rep. Ron DeSantis Ronald Dion DeSantisFormer RNC Chair on DeSantis 'monkey' comment: 'It's how white folks talk about black men who are successful' Dan Rather blasts 'openly racist rhetoric' from political figures Gillum to face tougher road in Florida after primary stunner MORE (R) on Wednesday warned Florida voters not to "monkey this up" by voting for his Democratic gubernatorial opponent Andrew Gillum, a comment that prompted fierce backlash.
''You know, this is a guy, although he's much too liberal for Florida, I think he's got huge problems with how he's governed Tallahassee," DeSantis said of the Democratic mayor during an appearance on Fox News.
DeSantis, who won his GOP primary the previous night, called Gillum "an articulate spokesman for those far-left views" and a "charismatic candidate" after his upset Democratic primary victory on Tuesday night.
''I watched those Democrats debate and none of that is just my cup of tea, but he performed better than the other people there, so we gotta work hard to make sure that we continue Florida going in a good direction,'' DeSantis said.
He then launched an attack on Gillum, a candidate backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders Bernard (Bernie) SandersOvernight Health Care: Why CBO isn't scoring Sanders's Medicare for All bill | ObamaCare repeal could come back next year | Dem pushes to overturn Trump health rules Hillicon Valley: Trump steps up attacks on Google | Amazon pushes back at Bernie Sanders | Sinclair files counter-lawsuit against Tribune | Republicans seize on Ohr interview | Facebook's conservative employees speak out Dan Rather blasts 'openly racist rhetoric' from political figures MORE (I-Vt.) who would be the first black governor of Florida if elected, accusing him of embracing a "socialist agenda."
''Let's build off the success we've had on Gov. Scott. The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases bankrupting the state. That is not going to work," DeSantis said.
Uh Ron DeSantis just said FL shouldn't "monkey this up" by electing Andrew Gillum pic.twitter.com/nDPp3Hx7zc
'-- Steve Morris (@stevemorris__) August 29, 2018Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo slammed DeSantis after the interview.
"It's disgusting that Ron DeSantis is launching his general election campaign with racist dog whistles," Rizzo said in a statement.
Geoff Burgan, Gillum's campaign spokesman, told the Tallahassee Democrat that his campaign was letting Rizzo respond to DeSantis's comments.
"DeSantis's comments speak for themselves," he said.
DeSantis's campaign quickly pushed back on critics, saying it was "absurd" to claim that the Florida Republican was doing anything other than criticizing Gillum's agenda.
''Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses. To characterize it as anything else is absurd," DeSantis communications director Stephen Lawson said in a statement to The Hill.
"Florida's economy has been on the move for the last eight years and the last thing we need is a far-left democrat trying to stop our success," Lawson added.
In a follow-up segment on Fox, interviewer Sandra Smith denounced DeSantis's "monkey" remark, saying, "We do not condone this language and wanted to make our viewers aware that he has since clarified his statement." She noted that Gillum was set to appear on the network later in the day.
The Florida Republican's remarks came shortly after Gillum pulled off a stunning win in Florida's Democratic gubernatorial primary on Tuesday night.
DeSantis, who was endorsed by President Trump Donald John TrumpCuomo, Nixon exchange blows in tense primary debate Trump tried to convince GOP senators to turn on Sessions: report Trump discussed preparing for impeachment proceedings with his legal team: report MORE in the race, also won his party's primary to compete for the seat held by retiring Gov. Rick Scott (R).
Gillum said in an interview with CNN later on Wednesday morning that he believes Florida and its "rich diversity" are going to be looking for a governor who "is going to bring us together, not divide us. Not misogynist, not racist, not bigots. "
Updated: 12:52 p.m.
VIDEO - Jimmy Carter Warns Democrats Against Impeaching Trump - YouTube
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 11:57
VIDEO - CNN Analyst: Criticism of Antifa Is 'Donald Trump's Appeal to Racism' - YouTube
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 11:56
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VIDEO - Jacksonville shooting: Suspect had strange online persona, mental health issues
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 12:48
CLOSE
Gamer Derek Jones of Santa Fe, New Mexico was outside a Jacksonville, Florida video game tournament venue when he heard gunshots on Sunday. Authorities say a gunman killed two people before killing himself. Nine people were hurt. (Aug. 27) AP
Baltimore FBI and ATF searched a home on the 1200 block of Harbor Island Walk Sunday in connection with the shooting rampage in Jacksonville, Fla. (Photo: N'dea Yancey-Bragg)
BALTIMORE '' The suspect in the deadly shooting at a video game competition in Florida had a "weird" online presence and spent time in and out of psychiatric facilities as a teenager, according to court records and people who knew him.
The suspect, David Katz, 24, of Baltimore, killed two and wounded 11 before taking his own life, according to Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams. Katz came to Florida to participate in the Madden NFL 19 competition at the Jacksonville Landing entertainment complex.
New details about Katz emerged Monday, including the fact that he had been hospitalized for mental illness.
More: Jacksonville shooting: Gunman's motive probed; gamers call for more security at events
Related: Here are the victims of the Jacksonville shooting at Madden tournament
Divorce filings from Katz's parents say that as a teenager he was twice hospitalized in psychiatric facilities and that he was prescribed anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medications.
The suspect's father, Richard Katz of Baltimore, and his mother, Elizabeth Katz of Columbia, Maryland, did not respond to phone messages from the Associated Press Sunday or Monday.
Katz is believed to have stayed in the Jacksonville area the night before the shooting, possibly at a hotel, the Baltimore Sun said.
Jacksonville Sheriff Williams said Katz carried two guns but used only one during the attack. Investigators say the guns were purchased legally in Baltimore from a licensed dealer.
Williams said the suspect died from a self-inflicted gunshot.
Katz allegedly got upset about losing the game, according to some media reports. The Los Angeles Times said Sunday's killer was a losing contestant at the tournament.
Other gamers at the tournament said Katz was rather quiet. Shane Kivlen, a friend of one of the people killed, said Katz didn't talk much with fellow gamers, either online or when they met face-to-face for Madden tournaments.
He said much of what he and others knew of Katz, they learned from his baffling style of playing the game.
''(Katz) would do kind of weird stuff online that other people wouldn't do," Kivien said. "He would catch a ball and just start jumping out of bounds and stuff when he could have gotten more yards, just hurting himself. I don't know what he was doing.''
David Katz is the suspect in the Jacksonville, Florida video game tourney shooting (Photo: YouTube)
Kivlen said Katz was smart, ''but something was off about him.''
The game's maker, EA Sports, lists a David Katz as a 2017 championship winner.
On Monday night, EA's CEO, Andrew Wilson, said he was "filled with shock and grief" in a statement posted on the company's website and across its social media platforms. He also announced that EA was cancelling the remaining three Madden Classic qualifying events to "run a comprehensive review of safety protocols for competitors and spectators."
"First and foremost, it is an unthinkable tragedy that Taylor Robertson and Elijah Clayton, two of our top Madden competitors, lost their lives in this way. They were respected, positive and skilled competitors, the epitome of the players and personalities at the heart of our community," Wilson said. "Their love of competition was evident through their participation in our events over the past few years. We are committed to supporting Taylor and Elijah's families through this difficult time, and we send our deepest sympathies to their loved ones, to those injured yesterday, and everyone affected."
Related: 'Two of our brothers are gone:' Gaming community reacts, comes together after shooting
Katz was active in eSports, tournaments where video game players compete, and get seen on social media playing. He was believed to be known as "Bread" and won the February 2017 Buffalo Bills tournament of the Madden NFL football game.
Katz was a 2011 graduate of Hammond High School in Howard County, according to the Balitmore Sun. He also attended the University of Maryland previously, but was not a enrolled this semester, university President Wallace Loh said.
He enrolled beginning in September 2014 and majored in environmental science and technology, a university spokeswoman said. He did not live on campus.
ATF and FBI agents searched a Baltimore home on the 1200 block of Harbor Island Walk on Sunday night in connection with the rampage. They arrived at the quiet row of nearly identical brick townhouses around 6 p.m. and searched the property for just over four hours, according to Baltimore ATF Public Information Officer Amanda Hils.
The street is steps away from the Pataspco River near Baltimore's Inner Harbor, a major tourist hub.
Hils did not say why the home was being searched or comment on what was found inside. Property records show that the Harbor Island Walk home is owned by a man named Richard Katz. FBI spokesman Dave Fitz confirmed that agents had gone to the house of the suspect's father in Baltimore. He declined to release specifics, citing the ongoing investigation.
Residents in the area seem largely indifferent to or unaware of the late night search. Larry Chen said he was walking his dog Piper around 10:30 p.m. when he saw lights in the neighborhood.
''We heard that the ATF came though here from a neighbor, but that's about it,'' Chen said.
CLOSE
Witnesses describe gunshots and panic at a Jacksonville, Florida video game tournament. Officials say a gunman killed two people and himself. The Jacksonville sheriff says authorities believe the gunman was 24-year-old David Katz of Baltimore. (Aug. 27) AP
Chen, who has lived in the area for 11 years, said the law enforcement presence in the area was ''pretty unusual.'' He didn't recognize a photo of the shooter.
Steve Buchness, a bartender at Little Havana, a Cuban restaurant across the street from Katz's neighborhood, said he heard the alleged shooter lived nearby, but he didn't recognize photos of Katz he saw online.
''I bet you he's a loner, but I don't know,'' he said. ''You've got to come in a lot for us to recognize you as a regular.''
Buchness, who's lived nearby for 20 years, said the area is home to a diverse population and is generally safe. He said he doesn't feel unsafe after hearing about the shooting, but he isn't surprised by it either.
''People are on some weird stuff these days, you know?'' He said ''So no, that doesn't shock me.''
He said customers haven't been talking about the search so far this afternoon but probably would once word gets around.
''Probably tonight they will, when it sinks in a little more,'' he said.
Contributing: Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
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VIDEO - WATCH: MSNBC Guest STUNS, Says Armed Teachers May Shoot Minority Students
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 10:58
A MSNBC contributor disgustingly claimed on Thursday that if teachers are armed in classrooms at schools, it will lead to minority students being unfairly targeted and shot.
During an interview on MSNBC, the panel was discussing an anonymously sourced report claiming that Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering a proposal to allow schools to use federal grants to purchase firearms for teachers.
The discussion prompted network contributor Yamiche Alcindor to claim that she has spoken to ''people'' who argue the policy would have ''racial impacts'' on minority students:
''There are some people I have talked to, some advocates, who are very worried about the racial impacts that this will have. If you start arming teachers, you look at the statistics and say there are black and brown students who are being disciplined more than their white counterparts, you could then start seeing statistics where potentially black students are getting shot or in accidents when their teachers are trying to shoot.''
''The NAACP and other advocacy groups say, not only are we looking at this as an issue, but it's also the idea that racially it's going to be a problem.''
Watch below:
Many would agree that Alcindor's comments are undeniably jaw-dropping,but they are indicative of how far many liberals have gone to attack the Trump administration.
She didn't misspeak nor were her comments taken out of context. She flat-out claimed that statistics show minority students are punished more than white students, and then bizarrely implied that teachers would pull their guns on black and brown students because of it.
She apparently has no faith in teachers at all, and unconscionably claimed that America's educators would deliberately shoot students based on their race. Such comments should not be taken lightly, and would never be tolerated if a conservative made those some remarks.
There are obviously a number of issues with her sickening comments.
For starters, the Education Department has not confirmed that such a proposal is even under consideration. So, they were debating a hypothetical idea in order to stir up hatred against the Trump administration.
She also didn't cite the study she claims proves black and brown students are punished in U.S. schools more than white students. Perhaps she made that claim up, too?
And lastly, Alcindor strongly implied that teachers are apparently killers who will target minorities. Her disgusting comments show that she apparently believes teachers are racist and, if armed, will start shooting minority students as punishment.
One would think Democrats would hold America's educators in a higher regard given the tens of millions of dollars they have accepted from liberal-controlled teacher's unions, but this is apparently what it takes to make everything about Trump.
And more importantly, Alcindor was able to make her disgusting comments without any push back from anyone sitting on the liberal panel, and it speaks volumes about how the left apparently has no respect for teachers.
Labeling teachers as racist killers who are apparently too incompetent to operate a firearm will not sit well with many Americans.
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VIDEO - What Closing A Government Radio Station Would Mean For Your Clocks : NPR
Mon, 27 Aug 2018 15:38
Many clocks sync with a government radio station that's been proposed to be closed. Scott Simon talks with Thomas Witherspoon of the website The SWLing Post.
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Shortwave listeners might recognize this signature ID.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: National Institute of Standards and Technology time - this is radio station WWV, Fort Collins, Colo.
SIMON: WWV is the oldest continuously operating radio station in the United States. It's been on the air since 1920. It's signal provides a frequency standard for receivers. The time stamp is regulated by an atomic clock. But a 2019 budget proposal for NIST would close WWV, WWVH in Hawaii and WWVB, which syncs up the time for about 50 million radio-controlled clocks, wristwatches and appliances. Thomas Witherspoon wrote about this on his shortwave listener website, SWLing.com He joins us from the studios of the CBC in Quebec City - that's a lot of alphabet soup to get through in this intro. Thanks for being with us, Mr. Witherspoon.
THOMAS WITHERSPOON: Oh, thank you very much. It's my pleasure.
SIMON: So what would the effect of the closing of WWV be?
WITHERSPOON: Well, these little WWVB receivers are embedded in lots of devices that look for accurate timing - clocks, watches, weather stations, even irrigation systems. So if the WWVB signal goes away, these devices will have to be changed manually. They're not going to update themselves.
SIMON: Isn't that all taken care of on the Internet these days? I mean, we set the time according to what we see on our iPhones. I venture most Americans do.
WITHERSPOON: Yeah, a lot of them do. But a lot of people think that devices are actually connecting to the Internet to get their time signal. But I've got an alarm clock next to my bed, for example. The little embedded receiver, they don't require a lot of resources. This kind of runs in the background and doesn't need the internet - doesn't need anything else. They kind of hum along.
SIMON: Now, one of our producers spoke with the president of La Crosse Technology. They make a lot of these radio-controlled clocks that are found in schools and factory floors and homes. He says that he thinks Congress would never approve this cut because there are so many millions of devices. Does that reassure you?
WITHERSPOON: That's nice to hear someone in industry saying that. But right now as the budget sits, it does cut out all of the WWV time stations. So if it goes through as proposed right now, it will be cut in 2019.
SIMON: I think I know the answer because I used to listen to shortwave and haven't in years. It's all on the web now. What's the state of that as a hobby these days?
WITHERSPOON: That's a really good question. So I am absolutely in love with the shortwaves. I'm an amateur radio operator, so I actually communicate over the shortwaves. I've been listening to shortwave radio since I was 8 years old. In fact, one of the very first things I heard on shortwave radio was WWV, when my father would set his watch manually to it from a little console radio in our living room.
The state of shortwave radio right now - a lot of the large international broadcasters are dropping out of the scene. It's expensive to run shortwave radio stations. But there are surprisingly a lot of stations that are still out there that you can hear. The BBC World Service still broadcasts on shortwave - the Voice of America. You know, one of the reasons I love it so much is someone could be in a country under a repressive regime and listen to a shortwave radio, and there's no way the powers that be could actually track them.
SIMON: Are you just being nostalgic about WWV.
WITHERSPOON: (Laughter) I'm a nostalgic guy. So I'm always nostalgic about WWV. But I use them all the time. I mean, the thing is they're sort of the heartbeat of shortwave radio. When something goes wrong, you check the WWV to see if you're picking up their signal. And you know then everything's OK. So you know, maritime operators, military operators, amateur radio operators, we all listen to and use WWV stations regularly.
SIMON: Thomas Witherspoon, from the radio blog SWLing.com, thanks so much for being with us.
WITHERSPOON: Thank you very much, Scott. It was a pleasure.
Copyright (C) 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.
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VIDEO - Raising 'theybies': Letting kids choose their gender
Mon, 27 Aug 2018 11:35
Running to remember: Fallen service members honored with a run across America 03:25
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VIDEO - [VIDEO] Jacksonville Shooting: Footage of Gunman Attack at Madden Event '' Variety
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 23:24
August 26, 2018 12:40PM PTFootage has surfaced of a gunman opening fire during a ''Madden NFL 19'' livestream event in Jacksonville, Fla. According to the Jacksonville police department, there were ''multiple fatalities,'' including the suspect, after a mass shooting at the video game competition.
The tournament, which was held at GLHF Game Bar in the Landing along the St. Johns River, was broadcast on Twitch. Multiple loud gunshots can be heard over footage of gamers playing ''Madden NFL 19.'' As the controller disconnects, audio can be heard of an attendee saying, ''F'--, what is he shooting with?'' More shots are fired, and screaming can be heard in the background.
A competitor in the tournament told the Los Angeles Times that the shooter was a player who lost and opened fire on others before taking his own life. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Department held a press conference following the shooting. Sheriff Mike Williams said the suspect is a white male and the department is ''working to confirm his identity.''
EA Sports, the company behind ''Madden NFL,'' released a statement on Twitter saying, ''We are aware of an incident at a sanctioned Madden Championship Series competition in Jacksonville. We are working with authorities to gather facts at this stage. This is a horrible situation, and our deepest sympathies go out to all involved.''
WARNING: This video contains audio and language some may find distressing.
Footage has surfaced of a gunman opening fire during a ''Madden NFL 19'' livestream event in Jacksonville, Fla. According to the Jacksonville police department, there were ''multiple fatalities,'' including the suspect, after a mass shooting at the video game competition. The tournament, which was held at GLHF Game Bar in the Landing along the St. ['...]
Footage has surfaced of a gunman opening fire during a ''Madden NFL 19'' livestream event in Jacksonville, Fla. According to the Jacksonville police department, there were ''multiple fatalities,'' including the suspect, after a mass shooting at the video game competition. The tournament, which was held at GLHF Game Bar in the Landing along the St. ['...]
Footage has surfaced of a gunman opening fire during a ''Madden NFL 19'' livestream event in Jacksonville, Fla. According to the Jacksonville police department, there were ''multiple fatalities,'' including the suspect, after a mass shooting at the video game competition. The tournament, which was held at GLHF Game Bar in the Landing along the St. ['...]
Footage has surfaced of a gunman opening fire during a ''Madden NFL 19'' livestream event in Jacksonville, Fla. According to the Jacksonville police department, there were ''multiple fatalities,'' including the suspect, after a mass shooting at the video game competition. The tournament, which was held at GLHF Game Bar in the Landing along the St. ['...]
Footage has surfaced of a gunman opening fire during a ''Madden NFL 19'' livestream event in Jacksonville, Fla. According to the Jacksonville police department, there were ''multiple fatalities,'' including the suspect, after a mass shooting at the video game competition. The tournament, which was held at GLHF Game Bar in the Landing along the St. ['...]
Footage has surfaced of a gunman opening fire during a ''Madden NFL 19'' livestream event in Jacksonville, Fla. According to the Jacksonville police department, there were ''multiple fatalities,'' including the suspect, after a mass shooting at the video game competition. The tournament, which was held at GLHF Game Bar in the Landing along the St. ['...]
Footage has surfaced of a gunman opening fire during a ''Madden NFL 19'' livestream event in Jacksonville, Fla. According to the Jacksonville police department, there were ''multiple fatalities,'' including the suspect, after a mass shooting at the video game competition. The tournament, which was held at GLHF Game Bar in the Landing along the St. ['...]
VIDEO - REMINDER: Why Did Neocon John McCain Loathe Russia? - YouTube
Sun, 26 Aug 2018 21:04
STORIES
Samuel Burke - Wikipedia
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 14:59
Samuel Burke Samuel Burke at the 2015 Philadelphia train crash
Alma materThe Cronkite SchoolOccupationCNN reporter and anchor (2009''present)Years active2009''presentSamuel Burke is a business and technology news correspondent for CNN who anchors programs on both CNN International and CNN en Espa±ol. He hosts the program iReport in English and anchors the Cyber Caf(C) daily on the Spanish-language morning program CafeCNN. Previously, he served as producer for war correspondent Christiane Amanpour. In 2014 he won an Emmy Award for his reports on the technology show CLIX.[1]
Early life and education [ edit ] Samuel Burke was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. He learned to speak Spanish at a young age, travelling to Mexico frequently as a child and spending summers in Mexico at a language college as a teenager.[2] Burke attended the Phoenix's North High School and in 2003 he was a member of the United States House of Representatives Page Program after he was nominated by Congressman Ed Pastor.[3]
Burke attended the Arizona State University, graduating with a BA in Spanish.[4] Samuel Burke then went to graduate studies at the university, graduating from a master's degree in journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.[5] While pursuing his graduate studies there, Burke worked as the teaching assistant to former CNN anchor Aaron Brown.[6] Since his 2009 graduation, Burke has returned several times to give seminars for current students attending the school.[5][7] He is a member of the Cronkite School National Board of Advisors.[8]
Journalism [ edit ] Burke was a co-anchor for the Spanish college news program Cronkite Newswatch in 2008 through 2009, which was broadcast every two weeks on PBS and Telefutura television affiliates, and was produced at the Walter Cronkite School.[9] While attending graduate studies, Burke held an internship with CNN, specifically working for the television program Anderson Cooper 360°. He also wrote for the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix. His first job out of college was as Christiane Amanpour's digital producer for the CNN show Amanpour. Initially there were no jobs available on the show, so he had decided to potentially take a job as a security guard at the CNN headquarters in New York City, work the nightshift, and volunteer for CNN programming during the day. Just before the start of the show, however, he was offered a temporary job with Amanpour, which turned into a full-time position.
Following his work with Christiane Amanpour, Burke was tapped to become the anchor for the CNN en Espa±ol program Europa Hoy from 2010 to 2011, a program based in London that was broadcast in both Latin America and North America. In 2011 he then became the anchor of the daily Cyber Caf(C) on CafeCNN. He also reports a nightly segment for the business news show CNN Dinero and a weekly segment on the technology news show CLIX.[2] In addition Burke reports about technology on CNN International,[10] appears on World Business Today,[11] and reports on privacy and security on social media for the CNN U.S. news network.[12] Burke is a CNN.com contributor; he once wrote a daily column on a range of international affairs, mainly in the Middle East.
References [ edit ] ^ Emmy Awards (December 14, 2014). "THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF TELEVISION ARTS & SCIENCES ANNOUNCES THE 41ST ANNUAL DAYTIME EMMY® AWARD NOMINATIONS". Emmy Awards . Retrieved December 14, 2014 . ^ a b "Anchored Abroad". Jewish News of Greater Phoenix. June 24, 2011. Archived from the original on June 10, 2012 . Retrieved May 13, 2013 . ^ Jessica Barber (March 14, 2003). "North High School student named congressional page". Jewish News of Greater Phoenix. Archived from the original on June 9, 2012 . Retrieved May 13, 2013 . ^ "Awards and Honors". SamuelHoodBurke.com . Retrieved May 13, 2013 . ^ a b Marshall Terrill (November 18, 2011). "Amanpour Accepts 2011 Walter Cronkite Award". ABC News . Retrieved May 13, 2013 . ^ Julie Newberg (September 16, 2008). "Ex-CNN anchor is back in classroom". Phoenix Citizen Reporter . Retrieved May 13, 2013 . ^ Preston Sotelo (November 18, 2011). "CNN editor suggests rigorous work ethic, networking are necessary for success". Downtown Devil . Retrieved May 13, 2013 . ^ "Cronkite School National Board of Advisors" . Retrieved May 13, 2013 . ^ Luis Ram­rez (March 27, 2009). "Estudiantes y pioneros: presentan noticiero en espa±ol". The Arizona Republic . Retrieved May 13, 2013 . ^ "CNN Newsroom transcript". CNN. April 10, 2013 . Retrieved May 14, 2013 . ^ "Viber v. Skype". CNN. May 13, 2013 . Retrieved May 14, 2013 . ^ "Twitter tool could save you from yourself". CNN. March 28, 2013 . Retrieved May 14, 2013 . External links [ edit ] Official websiteCNN en Espa±ol article contributions
Whistleblower Exposes Key Player in FBI Russia Probe: "It was all a Set-up" - Sara A. Carter
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 14:21
A dam Lovinger, a former Defense Department analyst, never expected that what he stumbled on during his final months at the Pentagon would expose an integral player in the FBI's handling of President Donald Trump's campaign and alleged Russia collusion.
Lovinger, a whistleblower, is now battling to save his career. The Pentagon suspended his top-secret security clearance May 1, 2017, when he exposed through an internal review that Stefan Halper, who was then an emeritus Cambridge professor, had received roughly $1 million in tax-payer funded money to write Defense Department foreign policy reports, his attorney Sean Bigley said. Before Lovinger's clearance was suspended he had taken a detail to the National Security Council as senior director for strategy. He was only there for five months before he was recalled to the Pentagon, stripped of his prestigious White House detail, and ordered to perform bureaucratic make-work in a Pentagon annex Bigley calls ''the land of misfit toys.'' His security clearance was eventually revoked in March 2018, despite the Pentagon ''refusing to turn over a single page of its purported evidence of Lovinger's wrongdoing,'' Bigley stated. Conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, recently filed a federal lawsuit against the Defense Department to obtain the withheld records.
L ovinger also raised concerns about Halper's role in conducting what appeared to be diplomatic meetings with foreigners on behalf of the U.S. government because his role as contractor forbids him from doing so, according to U.S. federal law.
WATCH: Sara Explains Her Bombshell Report on 'Hannity' An investigation by SaraACarter.com reveals that the documents and information Lovinger stumbled on and other documents obtained by this news site, raise troubling questions about Halper, who was believed to have worked with the CIA and part of the matrix of players in the bureau's 'CrossFire Hurricane' investigation into Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. Halper, who assisted the FBI in the Russia investigation, appears to also have significant ties to the Russian government, as well as sources connected directly to President Vladimir Putin.
Halper did not respond to requests for comment.
Mr. Lovinger simply did what all Americans should expect of our civil servants
''When Mr. Lovinger raised concerns about DoD's misuse of Stefan Halper in 2016, he did so without any political designs or knowledge of Mr. Halper's spying activities,'' Bigley told SaraACarter.com. ''Instead, Mr. Lovinger simply did what all Americans should expect of our civil servants: he reported violations of law and a gross waste of public funds to his superiors.''
And for that, Bigley said, Lovinger has paid the ultimate price in his 12-year career as a strategist in the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment. According to Bigley, shortly after Lovinger began reporting and asking questions about suspicious contracts given to Halper and others, including one person closely associated Chelsea Clinton, his security clearance was suspended. Later, on April 3, 2018, the DoD's Washington Headquarters Services Director Barbara Westgate sent a letter to Lovinger indefinitely suspending him from duty and pay status after his clearance was removed in March. The letter stated, ''The purpose of this memorandum is to notify you that I am proposing to indefinitely suspend you from duty and pay status in your position as a Foreign Affairs Specialist.''
Lovinger, who is married with three children and is the family's primary breadwinner, has been living off the generosity of family members since his pay was removed.
The retaliation for whistleblowing was something Bigley expected. ''So, we weren't surprised when DoD bureaucrats moved shortly thereafter to strip Mr. Lovinger of both his security clearance and his detail to the National Security Council, where he had been Senior Director for Strategy as a by-name request of the incoming Trump Administration,'' said the attorney.
''Yet, we were puzzled by the unprecedented ferocity of efforts to discredit Mr. Lovinger, including leaks from DoD of false and defamatory information to the press,'' he said. ''Our assumption was that the other contractor about whom Mr. Lovinger explicitly raised concerns '' a close confidante of Hillary Clinton '' was the reason for the sustained assault on Mr. Lovinger, and that certainly may have played a role.''
Mr. Lovinger unwittingly shined a spotlight on the deep state's secret weapon
Bigley suspects it was more than the Clinton-connected contracts adding, ''Mr. Lovinger unwittingly shined a spotlight on the deep state's secret weapon '' Stefan Halper '' and threatened to expose the truth about the Trump-Russia collusion narrative than being plotted: that it was all a set-up.''
Halper's Ties to Russian Officials Raise Serious Questions
Halper has had a long career and worked in government with several GOP administrations. At 73, the elusive professor spent a career developing top-level government connections''not just through academia but also through his work with members of the intelligence apparatus.
Those contacts and the information Halper collected along the way would eventually, through apparent circumstance, become utilized by the FBI against the Trump campaign. But, it was during his time hosting the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar at the University of Cambridge where Halper shifted from a professor and former government consultant to FBI informant on the Trump campaign.
I n 2016, Halper was an integral part of the FBI's investigation into short-term Trump campaign volunteer, Carter Page. Halper first made contact with Page at his seminar in July 2016. Page, who was already on the FBI's radar, was accused of being sympathetic to Russia and sought better relations between the U.S. and Russian officials. Halper stayed in contact with Page until September 2017.
During that time, the FBI sought and obtained a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to spy on Page and used Halper to collect information on him, according to sources. The House Intelligence Committee Russia report and documents obtained by this outlet revealed that the bulk of the warrant against Page relied heavily on an unverified dossier compiled by Former British Spy Christopher Steele and the matter is still under congressional investigation. Steele, who was a former MI6 agent, also had ties to many of the same people, like former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove, who were part of the seminar.
Stefan Halper
Halper, along with Dearlove, left the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar in December 2016, saying they were concerned about Russian influence. Halper had told reporters at the time that it was due to ''unacceptable Russian influence.''
Ironically, documents obtained by SaraACarter.com suggest that Halper also had invited senior Russian intelligence officials to co-teach his course on several occasions and, according to news reports, also accepted money to finance the course from a top Russian oligarch with ties to Putin.
Several course syllabi from 2012 and 2015 obtained by this outlet reveal Hapler had invited and co-taught his course on intelligence with the former Director of Russian Intelligence Gen. Vladimir I. Trubnikov.
On May 4, 2012, the course syllabus states, ''Ambassador Vladimir I. Trubnikov will comment on the challenges faced while directing the Foreign Intelligence Service, his tenure as Ambassador to India, President Putin and the likely course of Russia's relations with Britain and the U.S.''
In May 2015, Trubnikov returned to teach with Halper at his seminar in Cambridge on ''current relations between the Russian Federation and the West.'' Other notable intelligence experts attended the event in 2015, including Major Gen.Peter Williams, a former British commander of the mission to the Soviet Forces in Germany.
Halper's partner in the seminar, Cambridge Professor Neil Kent has also espoused better relations with Russia and Putin in his writings and told Russia Today in a 2014 interview that ''everyone is attacking and demonizing Russia.'' According to Kent's biography, he was a professor from 2002 to 2012 at Russia's St. Petersburg State Academic Institute.
Even more interesting are reports from the British Media outlet, The Financial Times, that state Halper received funds for the Cambridge seminar from Russian billionaire Andrey Cheglakov, who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Cheglakov also funded Veruscript in 2016, which raised the suspicion of Dearlove and those connected to the seminar. Veruscript, a publisher for a Russian academic journal, was suspected by MI6 of being a front for Russian intelligence. Kent also happened to be the editor and chief of the journal. He published the inaugural article in the journal ''The Journal of Intelligence and Terrorism'' blaming the West for the Russian invasion into Crimea but the journal closed down due to their suspicions.
Dearlove was also concerned ''that Russia may be seeking to use the seminar as an impeccably credentialed platform to covertly steer debate and opinion on high-level sensitive defense and security topics,'' according to the Financial Times sources.
A former senior intelligence official told this news outlet, ''It's all smoke and mirrors. Halper was well aware when he was bringing in Trubnikov in 2012 that the Russian's were already there at his invitation. The FBI uses Halper to get more information on Trump aides but it's Halper who has the real connection to Russia.''
Lovinger raised concerns with top officials at the Pentagon in 2016 and noted that Halper went far beyond his work as a contractor after he discovered that the amount of money the professor was being paid for his research did not make sense. Lovinger stressed his concern that Halper was not just being utilized as a contractor, but that he was also conducting diplomatic work for the Pentagon ''in violation of federal law,'' according to Bigley.
In one email from Stephan Halper to Andrew May, the second highest ranking official in Lovinger's office, Halper writes about a planned trip to conduct meetings in India.
''I am in Cambridge en route to India '' arriving Saturday. So far 14 meetings have been scheduled with various parts of the political-military community. On Monday, a meeting is planned with the Delhi Policy Group where I will meet with Brigadier Seghal who is, apparently working with ONA (Office of Net Assessment) Can you tell me anything about him,'' according to the document obtained by SaraACarter.com.
Halper and George Papadopoulos
Halper was not only spying on Page for the FBI in 2016, but he had also made contact in September 2016 with another Trump campaign volunteer, George Papadopoulos. He invited Papadopoulos to London that September, luring him with a $3,000 paycheck to work on a research paper under contract. By this time the young Trump campaign volunteer had already been in contact London-based professor, Josef Mifsud, who had basically informed him that the Russians had damaging material about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Misfud's role has also come into question by Congress.
Eventually, Papadopoulos was swept into Robert Mueller's Special Counsel investigation and pled guilty to one count of lying to the FBI. His wife, Simona Papadopoulos, who's been a vocal advocate for her husband, told SaraACarter.com that essentially he was forced to plead guilty because of threats from Mueller's team and lack of financial resources.
After testifying behind closed doors last month to the House Intelligence Committee, Simona told this outlet that she testified to Congress ''as far as George is concerned, he met with individuals following the same pattern of behavior'....and all of a sudden (Halper) was asking if he was doing anything with Russians'.... This is the case with Halper, who is now proven to be a spy, possibly with (Australian Ambassador) Alexander Downer'' who her husband met with in London.
Halper and Michael Flynn
Before Page and Papadopolous, there was the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Flynn had been invited to Cambridge in February, 2014 for a a dinner hosted by both Dearlove and Halper.
The investigation into Trump didn't start with Carter Page or George Papadapolous, but with Flynn
But during that time, Flynn was already walking a fine line with the Obama Administration and battling President Obama and the CIA over his deep disagreement with the administration's narrative that al-Qaeda and extremists groups, had been defeated or were on the run. Several months later Flynn was forced to resign early and ended his tenure as the director of the DIA.
Stefan Halper
''Flynn was pushed out by Obama and then became a thorn in the side of Obama and the Clintons when he joined the Trump campaign,'' said a former senior intelligence source with knowledge of what happened. ''The investigation into Trump didn't start with Carter Page or George Papadapolous, but with Flynn. Flynn was already on the CIA and Clinton target list. Those same people sure as hell didn't want him in the White House and they sure as hell didn't want Trump to win.''
Flynn's career with Trump ended as quickly as it came. He was forced to resign as Trump's National Security Advisor 27 days after taking the job. The highly classified conversation between Flynn and former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak was leaked to the Washington Post in January 2017 and he was later questioned by the FBI on that conversation. According to former FBI Director James Comey, the agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe he was lying, but in the end, Flynn pled guilty to one count of lying to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He had already spent more than $1 million in lawyers fees and sold his home to help with the debt. According to sources, Flynn's family was being threatened by the Mueller team.
Halper's involvement in the bureau's investigation started much earlier than the FBI's opening of its Crossfire investigation into the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016. He was already providing information on Page, Papadopolous, and Flynn earlier that year.
And it was in 2016 when Halper had told the FBI that he witnessed concerning interactions between Russian academic, Svetlana Lokhova, and Flynn at the February 2014 seminar dinner. This suspicion '' without any proof '' was then leaked to papers in London and eventually discussed in the U.S. media. Lokhova told the BBC in May 2017 that when she first saw the allegations raised in the media she thought it was a joke.
Numerous sources with knowledge of the allegations Halper made about Flynn, said that they were ''absolutely'' false and that Flynn and Lokhova only spoke for a short time at the dinner. Several email exchanges between Lokhova, Flynn and his assistant that took place after the dinner were generic in nature, as Flynn had asked her for a copy of a historical 1930s postcard she had brought to the seminar.
''But it didn't matter that it wasn't the truth,'' said the former senior intelligence official. ''It was already out there because of Halper's allegations and the constant leaking and lying of false stories of those to the media.''
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SOURCES: China Hacked Hillary Clinton's Private Email Server | The Daily Caller
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 13:42
A Chinese-owned company penetrated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private server, according to sources briefed on the matter. The company inserted code that forwarded copies of Clinton's emails to the Chinese company in real time. The Intelligence Community Inspector General warned of the problem, but the FBI subsequently failed to act, Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert said during a July hearing. A Chinese-owned company operating in the Washington, D.C., area hacked Hillary Clinton's private server throughout her term as secretary of state and obtained nearly all her emails, two sources briefed on the matter told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Chinese firm obtained Clinton's emails in real time as she sent and received communications and documents through her personal server, according to the sources, who said the hacking was conducted as part of an intelligence operation.
The Chinese wrote code that was embedded in the server, which was kept in Clinton's residence in upstate New York. The code generated an instant ''courtesy copy'' for nearly all of her emails and forwarded them to the Chinese company, according to the sources.
The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found that virtually all of Clinton's emails were sent to a ''foreign entity,'' Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, said at a July 12 House Committee on the Judiciary hearing. He did not reveal the entity's identity, but said it was unrelated to Russia. (RELATED: Gohmert: Watchdog Found Clinton Emails Were Sent To 'Foreign Entity')
Two officials with the ICIG, investigator Frank Rucker and attorney Janette McMillan, met repeatedly with FBI officials to warn them of the Chinese intrusion, according to a former intelligence officer with expertise in cybersecurity issues, who was briefed on the matter. He spoke anonymously, as he was not authorized to publicly address the Chinese's role with Clinton's server.
Among those FBI officials was Peter Strzok, who was then the bureau's top counterintelligence official. Strzok was fired this month following the discovery he sent anti-Trump texts to his mistress and co-worker, Lisa Page. Strzok didn't act on the information the ICIG provided him, according to Gohmert.
Gohmert mentioned in the Judiciary Committee hearing that ICIG officials told Strzok and three other top FBI officials that they found an ''anomaly'' on Clinton's server.
The former intelligence officer TheDCNF spoke with said the ICIG ''discovered the anomaly pretty early in 2015.''
''When [the ICIG] did a very deep dive, they found in the actual metadata '-- the data which is at the header and footer of all the emails '-- that a copy, a 'courtesy copy,' was being sent to a third party and that third party was a known Chinese public company that was involved in collecting intelligence for China,'' the former intelligence officer told TheDCNF.
''The [the ICIG] believe that there was some level of phishing. But once they got into the server something was embedded,'' he said. ''The Chinese are notorious for embedding little surprises like this.''
The intelligence officer declined to name the Chinese company.
''We do know the name of the company. There are indications there are other 'cutouts' that were involved. I would be in a lot of trouble if I gave you the name,'' he told TheDCNF.
A government staff official who's been briefed on the ICIG's findings told TheDCNF that the Chinese state-owned firm linked to the hacking operates in Washington's northern Virginia suburbs. The source was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.
The company that penetrated Clinton's server was not a technology firm and it served as a ''front group'' for the Chinese government, the source told TheDCNF.
The Fairfax and Loudoun county governments told TheDCNF that 13 state-owned Chinese companies operate in the area. Of those, three were not technologically oriented.
Fairfax County Economic Development Authority communications manager Seth Livingston told TheDCNF that all of the nine firms operating in his county were there in 2009 when Clinton began as secretary of state.
''Our Asian folks believe that all of the companies have been around and known to us since that time period,'' he said in an email.
''This is the most combed over subject in modern American political history,'' Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill told TheDCNF. ''The FBI spent thousands of hours investigating, and found no evidence of intrusion. That's a fact.''
''But in an age where facts are alternative and truth isn't truth, it's no surprise that an outlet like the Daily Caller would try to distract us from very real and very immediate threats to our democracy brought by the man occupying the White House,'' he continued.
Department of State Inspector General Steven A. Linick and then-ICIG I. Charles McCullough III scrutinized Clinton's server in 2015. McCullough told Congress in July 2015 that her emails contained classified material.
''IC IG was involved in the classification review of certain information drawn from the private email server,'' an agency spokeswoman told TheDCNF. She declined to comment further.
The two IGs asked the Department of Justice to investigate whether the classified information was compromised, according to a July 23, 2015, New York Times report based on unnamed senior government officials.
The FBI issued a referral to the Justice Department in July 2015. The bureau warned that classified information may have been disclosed to a foreign power or to one of its agents.
''FBIHQ, Counterespionage Section, is opening a full investigation based on specific articulated facts provided by an 811 referral from the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, dated July 6, 2015 regarding the potential compromise of classified information,'' a July 10, 2015, FBI memo stated.
An 811 referral informs the FBI of classified information that was potentially released to a foreign power or agent of a foreign power.
''This investigation is also designated a Sensitive Investigative Matter (SIM) due to a connection to a current public official, political appointee or candidate,'' the memo stated.
Then-FBI Deputy Director Mark F. Giuliano sent a follow-up memo on July 21, 2015, to President Barack Obama's deputy attorney general, Sally Yates, about two conversations he had with her about the criminal referral.
''On 13 July 2015 and 20 July 2015, I verbally advised you of a Section 811(c) referral from the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community received by the FBI on 06 July 2015. The referral addressed the mishandling of classified information on the personal e-mail account and electronic media of a former high-level us Government official,'' according to the FBI memo, which was hand delivered to Yates.
Justice Department spokesman Devin M. O'Malley declined to comment on this story.
Former FBI Director James Comey acknowledged in his recent book, ''A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,'' that the FBI was conducting a criminal investigation into Clinton's conduct.
London Center for Policy Research's vice president of operations, retired Col. Anthony Shaffer, told TheDCNF that Clinton's server was vulnerable to hacking.
''Look, there's evidence based on the complete lack of security hygiene on the server. Fourteen-year-old hackers from Canada could have probably hacked into her server and left very little trace,'' Shaffer said. ''Any sophisticated organization is going to be able to essentially get in and then clean up their presence.''
And a former consultant to the U.S. trade representative, Claude Barfield, told TheDCNF: ''The Chinese were in the process of really gaining technological competence in 2009 to 2010. This begins to really take off in the early years of the Obama administration. The Obama administration was kind of late and there was this slow reaction about how sophisticated the Chinese were.''
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Jack Nicklaus Backs Tiger On Trump: 'Respect The Office' | Daily Wire
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 13:10
Golf is a game of honor and integrity. In what other sport do the athletes call penalties on themselves?
So it's no surprise that golfers at the highest level of the game are honest men '-- like Jack Nicklaus, often considered the greatest player ever.
Nicklaus, who won 18 major championships, the most in history, came to the defense of another all-time great, Tiger Woods, who himself holds 14 major trophies, second only to the Golden Bear. Woods, you'll remember, made news this week when he said that the office of the presidency should be respected '-- no matter who inhabits the White House.
Nicklaus agrees.
"No matter who's president '-- whether it was Barack Obama or Donald Trump '-- I think you respect the office, and I'm much in Tiger's camp on that," Nicklaus said Wednesday in an appearance on "Fox and Friends."
"I thought Tiger handled it very well," Nicklaus said.
The whole gotcha' game began Sunday after Woods had just completed his final round at a PGA Tour event in New Jersey. Answering questions from the media, sweat still pouring down his forehead, Woods was asked: ''Your relationship with Donald Trump, how would you describe that personally and professionally?''
''I've known Donald for a number of years,'' he said. ''We've played golf together. We've had dinner together. And so, yeah, I've known him pre-presidency and obviously during his presidency.''
The writer '-- of course from The New York Times '-- followed up.
''At a time, especially 2018, I think a lot of people, especially people of color, immigrants feel threatened by him, by his policies. He's thrown himself in sports debates in terms of race with [NBA player] LeBron James, with the [national] anthem. What do you say to people who might find it interesting, I guess, that you have a friendly relationship with him?''
Woods then delivered the most diplomatic of answers.
''Well, he's the president of the United States and you have to respect the office. And no matter who's in the office, you may like, dislike the personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office,'' Woods said.
He's the president of the United States and you have to respect the office. And no matter who's in the office, you may like, dislike the personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office.
-Tiger Woods
The reporter from the liberal paper tried one last time.
''Do you have anything to say more broadly about the state, I guess, the discourse of race relations?''
''No,'' Woods said with a slight smile. ''I just finished 72 holes and I'm really hungry.''
Everybody was pretty much OK with Woods' answer '-- everybody but ESPN's Max Kellerman. ESPN, you'll recall, has been hemorrhaging viewers, especially after the network began dabbling in partisan politics. (Case in point: Last year, ESPN star Jemele Hill famously called Trump a ''white supremacist.'')
Kellerman ripped Woods' answer, saying it was a ''thoughtless statement dressed up as a thoughtful statement.''
''It either holds in contempt the intelligence of people who hear it or else it's just a stupid thing to say. '... To say you must have respect for the office '-- Tiger, be clear. Are you saying that the office, therefore, confers respect onto its present temporary occupant? No. Having respect for the office means principally, in my view, is the office holder should have respect for the office,'' he said.
He blathered on. ''We are held to a standard of behavior, we at our jobs, right, people in their daily lives. The president, if anything, is held to a higher standard of behavior. It is not such that we have such great respect for the office that no matter what the behavior of its occupant, we must respect the occupant because of the office. No. Tiger Woods '... is being slick. We must respect the office therefore that confers respect to the occupant. Tiger, is that is what you are saying? If that is what you are saying, that is a stupid comment.''
Kellerman's co-host, Stephen A. Smith, simply declared that Woods is ''not black.'' Huh?
Trump saw the ham-handed move for what it was: a weak attempt to sandbag a world-class athlete.
''The Fake News Media worked hard to get Tiger Woods to say something that he didn't want to say. Tiger wouldn't play the game '-- he is very smart. More importantly, he is playing great golf again!'' he tweeted on Monday.
Twitter Reverses Ruling After Backlash, Concedes It's Against The Rules To Wish Death Upon Dana Loesch's Children | The Daily Caller
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 13:10
Twitter reversed course Monday and suspended a Twitter account that said National Rifle Association (NRA) spokeswoman Dana Loesch ''has to have her children murdered.''
''The only way these people learn is if it affects them directly,'' Twitter user Milan Legius wrote in a reply to Loesch on Sunday. ''So if Dana Loesch has to have her children murdered before she'll understand, I guess that's what needs to happen.''
Twitter initially ruled on Sunday that after ''carefully'' reviewing the reported tweet, that it had ''no violation of the Twitter Rules against abusive behavior.'' (RELATED: Twitter Algorithm Buried Republicans For Something Totally Out Of Their Control)
Following news coverage from media outlets including The Daily Caller News Foundation, Twitter ''re-reviewed'' the report on Monday and changed its ruling.
''We have re-reviewed the account you reported and have locked it because we found it to be in violation of the Twitter Rules,'' Twitter wrote in an email to Dana's husband Chris Loesch, who shared it with TheDCNF.
''You may not make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people,'' Twitter's rules state.
''If the account owner complies with our requested actions and stated policies, the account will be unlocked,'' Twitter wrote in the email to Loesch, who initially reported the threat against the couple's children.
''I wish Twitter just treated all users consistently,'' Dana told TheDCNF. She is used to abuse on Twitter, where the replies to her tweets are often misogynistic.
Screenshot/Twitter
Screenshot/Twitter
Twitter did not immediately return a request for comment.
The NRA in general has become a popular target for the activist left, which often scapegoats the NRA for mass shootings its members didn't commit. (RELATED: NRA Boycotts Have Backfire Effect, Energize Conservatives)
Leftist activists have sought to silence the NRA by getting the nonprofit's media arm banned from Amazon, Apple and Google's streaming services. So far, the three have allowed NRATV to remain on their platforms.
Twitter's reversal on Monday was similar to its reversal on suspending Turning Point USA communications director Candace Owens.
Twitter suspended Owens in April for imitating New York Times editorial board member Sarah Jeong's anti-white tweets, but restored Owens' account access following a backlash on social media.
The company attributed Owens' suspension to an ''error.''
Follow Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.
'Met liefde bestrijden': imam roept moslims op Wilders te beschermen | Binnenland | AD.nl
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 12:45
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Sarah Palin Is Not Invited to John McCain Funeral | PEOPLE.com
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 12:31
President Donald Trump and former John McCain presidential running mate Sarah Palin are not invited to memorial services for the iconic Arizona senator, multiple sources tell PEOPLE.
''Two names you won't see on the guest list: Trump and Palin,'' says a Capitol Hill source with knowledge of funeral plans for McCain, who died of brain cancer Saturday at age 81.
''Invitations were not extended'' to the two political figures, confirms Carla Eudy, a fundraiser who has worked with and been friends with the McCain family for decades.
A source with knowledge of the funeral arrangements adds that several longtime McCain staffers were also removed from the invite list in recent days by Eudy.
The fundraiser, who helped plan the memorial services, did not specifically address where the requests originated, nor how they were conveyed.
Speculation in Washington, D.C., is that they came from ''the family.''
''My guess is, it came from Cindy,'' says a source close to the McCain family. ''She is very protective of John's memory and legacy. She's also a grieving widow. I think she wants to get through this as best she can.''
Speculation also has focused on the process of disinviting someone to a funeral.
''Donald Trump and Sarah Palin were not served official notice outright,'' says the source close to the McCain family. ''I want to make that clear. It wasn't a no-trespass order. They won't be turned away by guards if they show up at the funeral.''
The stay-away messages were sent through intermediaries, the friend tells PEOPLE.
The messages were received, sources say.
RELATED VIDEO: John McCain's Mom, 106, Is 'Proud' of His Legacy '-- But It's 'Tough' to 'Bury Your Child': Source
Trump and McCain had a heated and very public feud, stemming from days leading up to the Republican primary. In that sense, a Senate source says, it ''follows that the family could feel less than warm'' about Trump.
Not so with Palin, other political operators say.
''It's sad'' that Palin was told to stay away, says a Republican source with ties to both camps. ''They had a good friendship.''
Wednesday marks the 10-year anniversary of McCain selecting Palin as his vice presidential running mate. Palin is credited with reenergizing McCain's poll numbers during his failed presidential bid in the fall of 2008. She also helped his re-election when he needed a boost.
In McCain's two-hour HBO documentary and book, The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and other Appreciations, released in May, he praised Palin for her work on the campaign but admitted for the first time that he regretted choosing her as his running mate.
Palin said at the time that she feels a ''perpetual gut punch'' every time she hears reports about McCain's regrets, but added that ''that's not what Sen. McCain has told me all these years.''
Palin paid tribute to McCain on Saturday after news broke of his death.
''Today we lost an American original. Sen. John McCain was a maverick and a fighter, never afraid to stand for his beliefs. John never took the easy path in life '-- and through sacrifice and suffering he inspired others to serve something greater than self.''
She continued, ''John McCain was my friend. I will remember the good times.''
Another source close to Palin tells PEOPLE now that ''out of respect for Sen. McCain and his family we have nothing to add at this point. The Palin family will always cherish their friendship with the McCains and hold those memories dear.''
Washington, meanwhile, is already looking past the funerals to see who will be appointed to replace McCain in the Senate.
Rumors that Cindy McCain is a candidate spring from Cindy herself, a source tells PEOPLE.
''I didn't hear it directly from her, but that's the common inside knowledge,'' says the Senate source. ''It was Cindy's idea.''
Insiders expect the replacement to be named soon.
''The Governor of Arizona is coming into town [Washington, D.C.] on Saturday,'' a Capitol Hill source says. ''He's going to meet with some folks to discuss the replacement.''
''We expect to know who it is next week,'' says a political source. ''It's a hot topic in Washington. Everyone is caught up in this.''
John McCain Memorial to Feature Tributes From Biden and Other Friends - The New York Times
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 11:33
Image John Goody saluting as Senator John McCain lay in state in the Arizona Capitol on Wednesday. A memorial service on Thursday is to be held in the Phoenix church that Mr. McCain once attended. Credit Credit Ralph Freso/Getty Images PHOENIX '-- Thousands of Arizonans were expected to gather Thursday morning for a memorial service here honoring Senator John S. McCain, with tributes expected from sports stars, family members and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to an adopted son of this state who became one its most iconic figures.
One day after his family, friends and fellow lawmakers paid their respects to Mr. McCain as he lay in state inside the rotunda of Arizona's Capitol, the late senator was to be remembered for his 35-year-career in Congress, in a service suffused with the culture of the Southwest.
A Navajo flutist was planning a hymn, recalling Mr. McCain's relationship with his state's native tribes; a leader in Arizona's Hispanic community was expected to offer remarks; and the Arizona Cardinals great Larry Fitzgerald was also expected to speak from the pulpit of the sprawling North Phoenix Baptist Church that Mr. McCain once attended.
[See the full schedule of memorial events planned for Mr. McCain.]
Following the service, the coffin carrying Mr. McCain will be taken by motorcade to the Air National Guard base at the Phoenix airport and transferred to military aircraft for one final trip to the nation's capital. In Washington, Mr. McCain will lie in state in the Capitol on Friday before a memorial service on Saturday at the National Cathedral. He will be buried near his alma mater, the Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Md., on Sunday.
Saturday's events in Washington will include planned eulogies by the two former presidents who extinguished his own White House ambitions, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. But first Mr. McCain is being remembered in the state he served and the place he spent his final months.
Before he married his wife, Cindy, and moved to Arizona in 1981, Mr. McCain had lived longer in a Hanoi prisoner of war camp than he had any other place, a point he made with devastating effect when questioned about his ties to the state in his first House campaign. But Arizona voters elected him the following year and supported him every time he was on the ballot, including in two failed presidential bids, up through his re-election to the Senate two years ago.
With his Vietnam heroism and celebrity preceding him, the rootless son and grandson of admirals would eventually become as identified with this state as the political giants he succeeded, Representative John Rhodes in the House and Barry Goldwater in the Senate, before ultimately eclipsing both.
Video Senator John McCain's wife, Cindy, and his children paid their respects at a ceremony in the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix. Published On Aug. 29, 2018 Credit Credit Image by Ross D. Franklin/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images ''When all of us here traveled and told people we were from Arizona, people knew two big things about it: John McCain and the Grand Canyon,'' Gov. Doug Ducey recalled Wednesday in remarks at a private ceremony in the state Capitol. ''Imagining Arizona without John McCain is like picturing an Arizona without the Grand Canyon '-- it's just not natural.''
[Read the New York Times obituary for Mr. McCain.]
While the service on Thursday was expected to focus on Mr. McCain's legacy in his adopted state, Mr. Biden was expected to use his eulogy to remember his former colleague and close friend, a relationship that evoked an earlier era of bipartisan comity in Washington.
The two served together for over two decades in the Senate, often sparring over policy disagreements, and faced each other from opposing presidential tickets in 2008. But the garrulous Delaware Democrat and the sardonic Arizona Republican forged a deep friendship that was cemented when Mr. Biden's eldest son, Beau, learned he had brain cancer. He eventually died from the disease, the same one that Mr. McCain succumbed to on Saturday.
Visiting Mr. McCain at his ranch near Sedona, Ariz., this past spring for what they both knew was a moment to say goodbye, Mr. Biden recalled that his former colleague encouraged him to consider another presidential bid. And that he told Mr. McCain what he had meant to him.
''I wanted to let him know how much I love him and how much he matters to me and how much I admire his integrity and his courage,'' Mr. Biden said in an interview earlier this year.
The service on Thursday was to begin with an honor guard meeting Mr. McCain's family and his coffin. Hundreds of the late senator's constituents were invited, and another thousand seats were made available for the public.
The planned schedule includes readings from Scripture by two of his seven children; a tribute from a close confidant and former chief of staff, Grant Woods; a bagpiper; and a singing of ''Arizona'' by an ensemble from the school two of his sons attended.
And in a nod to Mr. McCain's affection for both tradition and rebellion, the service was to start with the singing of ''Amazing Grace'' and end with a rendition of Frank Sinatra's ''My Way.''
Polling got Andrew Gillum's victory in Florida very wrong. 8 experts explain why. - Vox
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 11:22
Going into the Florida governor's primaries on Wednesday, top-line polls had the eventual Democratic winner Andrew Gillum in fourth place, with most showing him getting just 12 percent of voters' support on average. Gillum '-- the state's first African-American gubernatorial nominee '-- ended up pulling off a major upset and taking the nomination with more than 34 percent of the vote.
The unexpected outcome led to many observers wondering how exactly the polls '-- which consistently favored a victory by establishment candidate Gwen Graham '-- could have gotten it so wrong, again. Polling experts say there are likely a few factors at play, including the heightened volatility of polling in primary elections, when it can be more challenging to identify likely voters.
''Only a small percentage of the electorate actually vote and that electorate is not stable from election to election,'' said Chris Jackson, a vice president at Ipsos, a market research firm. Because of this, ''it's tougher sometimes to get a representative sample [during primaries],'' Quinnipiac's Peter Brown said. The sample of people polled may not have fully captured what the ultimate electorate ended up looking like.
Young voters and African-American voters '-- who ended up turning out heavily for Gillum '-- were potentially among the groups that were underrepresented in these polls, Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster, said. Undecided voters, who accounted for more than 20 percent of the folks who were surveyed, on average, and whose preferences were likely masked in earlier surveys, appeared to go heavily for Gillum on Election Day as well, according to Florida-based political consultant Doug Kaplan.
Here's what eight experts had to say about the polling disconnect in the Tuesday primary.
These responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
African-American voters and younger voters were among the groups to give Gillum a boost. They may have been underestimated by the polls.Celinda Lake, Lake Research Partners, president
Polls missed youth turnout, and that happened in other races like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's. The campaign also targeted campuses that just got back [in session]. Polls missed the enthusiasm and solidification of the African-American vote and the base Andrew had there.
Doug Kaplan, Gravis Marketing, president
The race was very close. The undecided voters on Election Day broke toward Gillum. [Philip] Levine and [Jeff] Greene collapsed on Election Day, along with an increased turnout. [Compared to the 2016 primary], the GOP saw increased voter turnout by 13.5 percent; Democrats saw increased voter turnout by 35 percent.
Jay Leve, SurveyUSA, president
SurveyUSA's poll had Gillum leading among African-American voters, leading among urban voters, leading in northwest Florida, and tied for the lead among voters age 35 to 49. Our published analysis '-- written two weeks before the primary and well before late liberal cash poured to Gillum '-- called the contest a ''free-for-all,'' which it was. Ours was the only poll that did not show Gwen Graham as a clear frontrunner.
That said: there were a total of nine polls released by five different pollsters in the four months leading up to yesterday's primary, and eight of the nine polls had Gillum in fourth place; 1 poll had Gillum tied for third. No poll gave Gillum more than 16 percent of the vote '-- less than half the 34 percent he won with.
Gillum pulled together a broad coalition of liberals and progressives, many of whom were white and Hispanic. He consolidated young voters from one end of the state to the other. For a Tallahassee mayor to win Broward County by more than 20,000 votes over a Miami Beach mayor speaks to the depth and breadth of his primary support.
Brandon Finnigan, Decision Desk HQ, director
(Vox live results are provided by DecisionDesk.)
While his better-financed opponents were roaming about the state, Gillum resonated with African-American voters as the first potential black Governor of Florida. He won every county with a significant number of voters and an African-American population that exceeded the national average.
In counties with very large African-American populations, he absolutely destroyed Graham. While all of the Democratic nominees made their rounds with African Americans, the big ones were basically fighting over white and Latino voters, leaving Gillum to dominate among African Americans and pull off the surprise win.
In a state where the Democratic Party is heavily dependent on nonwhite voters, a candidate that connects strongly with a minority bloc can win in a crowded field that spreads its energy across all blocs more evenly. This isn't to say every Democratic voter that pulled for Gillum was black, but most black voters did so.
Primary polling is volatile and proper methodology is crucialChris Jackson, Ipsos Public Affairs, vice president
In the Florida Democratic primary, about 1.5 million votes were cast or about 15 percent of the total Florida population. For a poll to accurately identify the correct 15 percent of the population is a significant undertaking.
The public polls that were conducted in the Florida primary either had small samples '-- less than 500 interviews '-- or were conducted by computer interviewing, or both. These methods of polling, while quite affordable, can really struggle with identifying small populations. These two points appear to have combined in Florida with polls understating the support for Gillum.
Jay Leve, SurveyUSA, president
Primaries with more than two candidates on the ballot '-- there were seven candidates in Florida '-- can be volatile, with complex dynamics that are too subtle for pollsters to pick up. In Florida, all pollsters missed the fact that liberals who said in May, June, and July that they were flirting with Graham or Levine were in fact just waiting for the real thing to come along. In late August, it became clear that the real progressive was Gillum, and that's who voters went home with.
Patrick Murray, Monmouth University polling, director
Turnout for both parties was significantly higher than in prior Florida gubernatorial primaries, with the ''populist'' candidate doing better than projected in both contests. It seems highly likely that the 2018 primary electorate included a large number of voters with a history of only turning out in general elections.
Only Mason-Dixon used a full telephone frame (live calls to landlines and cell phones) drawn from a voter list. The others used an online panel for all interviews (SurveyUSA), or a hybrid of an online panel to ''replace'' cell phone calls and interactive voice response (IVR) calls to landlines either drawn from a voter list (FAU) or randomly dialed from all phone exchanges in Florida (Gravis).
Obviously, every poll missed the performance of Gillum, and to a lesser extent DeSantis, regardless of their methodological approaches.
Larry Sabato, University of Virginia's Center for Politics, director
Because there is no party cue to nudge voters a certain way [in a primary] '-- all candidates have a D next to their name '-- people depend on other cues to push them to the polls. These cues can kick in late, and not just because the primary is held in brutally hot late August. Voters mainly do not feel urgency to solidify their primary choice, again because in November they'll vote for any Democrat nominated.
No doubt the [Sen. Bernie] Sanders endorsement did help Gillum, and it came late. Gillum didn't air many TV ads compared to the others, so primary voters may have learned what they needed to know about him only in the last couple of weeks.
This was a big candidate field, relatively, and with a lot of moving parts in a primary, there can be fluctuation right up to Election Day.
How every cross-posted tweet disappeared from Facebook - Axios
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 11:15
A number of Facebook users were surprised Tuesday when some of their old posts disappeared '-- specifically, all the updates that had been cross-posted from Twitter. It turns out Twitter was surprised, too.
The bottom line: Facebook had announced in January that it was removing a feature that allowed people to cross-post updates from Twitter. As a result, Twitter deleted its Facebook platform app, which had been rendered useless when the changes went into effect earlier this month. But it had no idea old posts would go away once the app was removed.
Here's what happened, according to a source close to Twitter.: Twitter had initially asked Facebook for more time to see if there was a way for users to continue joint posting to both social networks, but Facebook said no.
As a result, the Twitter app for the Facebook platform was essentially made useless earlier this month once Facebook officially removed the ability to cross-post. With the app's sole function eliminated, Twitter decided to delete it from the Facebook platform, having no reason to think that doing so would remove old tweets that were cross-posted. It's not clear whether Facebook knew this would happen, either.
That said, the content has apparently now been restored.
''A Twitter admin requested their app be deleted, which resulted in content that people had cross-posted from Twitter to Facebook also being temporarily removed from people's profiles," Facebook said. "However, we have since restored the past content and it's now live on people's profiles.''
Why it matters: The deletions were brief, but the snafu served as a reminder that it's not always clear who has control over user data on giant social platforms '-- and it's often not the user.
People cause most California autonomous vehicle accidents - Axios
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 11:14
A year since Axios first examined the data, there are now 55 companies with self-driving car testing permits in California and 54 new accidents, based on filings of incident reports in the state. But one thing has remained constant: Humans continue to be the cause of most accidents.
By the numbers: All those beige cars in the chart above indicate incidents where autonomous vehicles were not considered "at fault" '-- that is, people were. Even when AVs are at fault, that's most often been in cases where humans were at the wheel ("conventional mode").
The bottom line: Unless self-driving cars magically replace all conventional cars in the country overnight, robots will have to drive alongside humans. What's more, they'll have to drive alongside pedestrians, cyclists and other humans with whom they share the road. And at the moment, self-driving car tech doesn't seem to be advanced enough to handle all these humans.
This is in part why some companies are deploying their first vehicles on specific routes or defined regions, where the cars will interact with a limited set of surprises. For example, Drive.ai is starting in an office park in Frisco, Texas, while Voyage got its start giving rides to residents in retirement communities, and May Mobility is developing shuttles for company and school campuses. Recently, artificial intelligence expert Andrew Ng also suggested (stirring up some controversy) that it's pedestrians who need to improve their behavior and train to maneuver safely around self-driving cars. Yes, but: It's still hard to compare self-driving car accident rates to those of human drivers, despite the widespread hope that self-driving cars will be much safer than humans, as University of Central Florida professor Peter Hancock pointed out in a blog post.
One new thing: In three incidents, humans intentionally attacked a self-driving car, such as by hitting it, or climbing on top of it.
Flashback: Axios's first look at the data in August 2017
With Ships and Missiles, China Is Ready to Challenge U.S. Navy in Pacific - The New York Times
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 11:12
Image China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, at sea in April. First launched by the Soviet Union in 1988, it was sold for $20 million to a Chinese investor who said it would become a floating casino, though he was in reality acting on behalf of the People's Liberation Army Navy. Credit Credit Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images DALIAN, China '-- In April, on the 69th anniversary of the founding of China's Navy, the country's first domestically built aircraft carrier stirred from its berth in the port city of Dalian on the Bohai Sea, tethered to tugboats for a test of its seaworthiness.
''China's first homegrown aircraft carrier just moved a bit, and the United States, Japan and India squirmed,'' a military news website crowed, referring to the three nations China views as its main rivals.
Not long ago, such boasts would have been dismissed as the bravado of a second-string military. No longer.
A modernization program focused on naval and missile forces has shifted the balance of power in the Pacific in ways the United States and its allies are only beginning to digest.
While China lags in projecting firepower on a global scale, it can now challenge American military supremacy in the places that matter most to it: the waters around Taiwan and in the disputed South China Sea.
That means a growing section of the Pacific Ocean '-- where the United States has operated unchallenged since the naval battles of World War II '-- is once again contested territory, with Chinese warships and aircraft regularly bumping up against those of the United States and its allies.
To prevail in these waters, according to officials and analysts who scrutinize Chinese military developments, China does not need a military that can defeat the United States outright but merely one that can make intervention in the region too costly for Washington to contemplate. Many analysts say Beijing has already achieved that goal.
To do so, it has developed ''anti-access'' capabilities that use radar, satellites and missiles to neutralize the decisive edge that America's powerful aircraft carrier strike groups have enjoyed. It is also rapidly expanding its naval forces with the goal of deploying a ''blue water'' navy that would allow it to defend its growing interests beyond its coastal waters.
''China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States,'' the new commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, Adm. Philip S. Davidson, acknowledged in written remarks submitted during his Senate confirmation process in March.
He described China as a ''peer competitor'' gaining on the United States not by matching its forces weapon by weapon but by building critical ''asymmetrical capabilities,'' including with anti-ship missiles and in submarine warfare. ''There is no guarantee that the United States would win a future conflict with China,'' he concluded.
Last year, the Chinese Navy became the world's largest, with more warships and submarines than the United States, and it continues to build new ships at a stunning rate. Though the American fleet remains superior qualitatively, it is spread much thinner.
''The task of building a powerful navy has never been as urgent as it is today,'' President Xi Jinping declared in April as he presided over a naval procession off the southern Chinese island of Hainan that opened exercises involving 48 ships and submarines. The Ministry of National Defense said they were the largest since the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949.
Even as the United States wages a trade war against China, Chinese warships and aircraft have picked up the pace of operations in the waters off Japan, Taiwan, and the islands, shoals and reefs it has claimed in the South China Sea over the objections of Vietnam and the Philippines.
When two American warships '-- the Higgins, a destroyer, and the Antietam, a cruiser '-- sailed within a few miles of disputed islands in the Paracels in May, Chinese vessels rushed to challenge what Beijing later denounced as ''a provocative act.'' China did the same to three Australian ships passing through the South China Sea in April.
Only three years ago, Mr. Xi stood beside President Barack Obama in the Rose Garden and promised not to militarize artificial islands it has built farther south in the Spratlys archipelago. Chinese officials have since acknowledged deploying missiles there, but argue that they are necessary because of American ''incursions'' in Chinese waters.
When Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited Beijing in June, Mr. Xi bluntly warned him that China would not yield ''even one inch'' of territory it claims as its own.
Image Ballistic missiles designed to strike ships on display at a military parade in Beijing in 2015. Credit Pool photo by Andy Wong 'Anti-Access/Area Denial'China's naval expansion began in 2000 but accelerated sharply after Mr. Xi took command in 2013. He has drastically shifted the military's focus to naval as well as air and strategic rocket forces, while purging commanders accused of corruption and cutting the traditional land forces.
The People's Liberation Army '-- the bedrock of Communist power since the revolution '-- has actually shrunk in order to free up resources for a more modern fighting force. Since 2015, the army has cut 300,000 enlisted soldiers and officers, paring the military to two million personnel over all, compared with 1.4 million in the United States.
While every branch of China's armed forces lags behind the United States' in firepower and experience, China has made significant gains in asymmetrical weaponry to blunt America's advantages. One focus has been in what American military planners call A2/AD, for ''anti-access/area denial,'' or what the Chinese call ''counter-intervention.''
A centerpiece of this strategy is an arsenal of high-speed ballistic missiles designed to strike moving ships. The latest versions, the DF-21D and, since 2016, the DF-26, are popularly known as ''carrier killers,'' since they can threaten the most powerful vessels in the American fleet long before they get close to China.
The DF-26, which made its debut in a military parade in Beijing in 2015 and was tested in the Bohai Sea last year, has a range that would allow it to menace ships and bases as far away as Guam, according to the latest Pentagon report on the Chinese military, released this month. These missiles are almost impossible to detect and intercept, and are directed at moving targets by an increasingly sophisticated Chinese network of radar and satellites.
China announced in April that the DF-26 had entered service. State television showed rocket launchers carrying 22 of them, though the number deployed now is unknown. A brigade equipped with them is reported to be based in Henan Province, in central China.
Such missiles pose a particular challenge to American commanders because neutralizing them might require an attack deep inside Chinese territory, which would be a major escalation.
The American Navy has never faced such a threat before, the Congressional Research Office warned in a report in May, adding that some analysts consider the missiles ''game changing.''
The ''carrier killers'' have been supplemented by the deployment this year of missiles in the South China Sea. The weaponry includes the new YJ-12B anti-ship cruise missile, which puts most of the waters between the Philippines and Vietnam in range.
While all-out war between China and the United States seems unthinkable, the Chinese military is preparing for ''a limited military conflict from the sea,'' according to a 2013 paper in a journal called The Science of Military Strategy.
Lyle Morris, an analyst with the RAND Corporation, said that China's deployment of missiles in the disputed Paracel and Spratly Islands ''will dramatically change how the U.S. military operates'' across Asia and the Pacific.
The best American response, he added, would be ''to find new and innovative methods'' of deploying ships outside their range. Given the longer range of the ballistic missiles, however, that is not possible ''in most contingencies'' the American Navy would be likely to face in Asia.
Image Soldiers with the People's Liberation Army Navy patrolling Woody Island in the disputed Paracel archipelago in 2016. Credit Reuters Blue-Water AmbitionsThe aircraft carrier that put to sea in April for its first trials is China's second, but the first built domestically. It is the most prominent manifestation of a modernization project meant to propel the country into the upper tier of military powers. Only the United States, with 11 nuclear-powered carriers, operates more than one.
A third Chinese carrier is under construction in a port near Shanghai. Analysts believe China will eventually build five or six.
The Chinese military, traditionally focused on repelling a land invasion, increasingly aims to project power into the ''blue waters'' of the world to protect China's expanding economic and diplomatic interests, from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
The carriers attract the most attention but China's naval expansion has been far broader. The Chinese Navy '-- officially the People's Liberation Army Navy '-- has built more than 100 warships and submarines in the last decade alone, more than the entire naval fleets of all but a handful of nations.
Last year, China also introduced the first of a new class of a heavy cruisers '-- or ''super destroyers'' '-- that, according to the American Office of Naval Intelligence, ''are comparable in many respects to most modern Western warships.'' Two more were launched from dry dock in Dalian in July, the state media reported.
Last year, China counted 317 warships and submarines in active service, compared with 283 in the United States Navy, which has been essentially unrivaled in the open seas since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Unlike the Soviet Union, which drained its coffers during the Cold War arms race, military spending in China is a manageable percentage of a growing economy. Beijing's defense budget now ranks second only to the United States: $228 billion to $610 billion, according to estimates by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
The roots of China's focus on sea power and ''area denial'' can be traced to what many Chinese viewed as humiliation in 1995 and 1996. When Taiwan moved to hold its first democratic elections, China fired missiles near the island, prompting President Bill Clinton to dispatch two aircraft carriers to the region.
''We avoided the sea, took it as a moat and a joyful little pond to the Middle Kingdom,'' a naval analyst, Chen Guoqiang, wrote recently in the official Navy newspaper. ''So not only did we lose all the advantages of the sea but also our territories became the prey of the imperialist powers.''
China's naval buildup since then has been remarkable. In 1995, China had only three submarines. It now has nearly 60 and plans to expand to nearly 80, according to a report last month by the United States Congressional Research Service.
As it has in its civilian economy, China has bought or absorbed technologies from the rest of the world, in some cases illicitly. Much of its military hardware is of Soviet origin or modeled on antiquated Soviet designs, but with each new wave of production, analysts say, China is deploying more advanced capabilities.
China's first aircraft carrier was originally launched by the Soviet Union in 1988 and left to rust when the nation collapsed three years later. Newly independent Ukraine sold it for $20 million to a Chinese investor who claimed it would become a floating casino, though he was really acting on behalf of Beijing, which refurbished the vessel and named it the Liaoning.
The second aircraft carrier '-- as yet unnamed '-- is largely based on the Liaoning's designs, but is reported to have enhanced technology. In February, the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation disclosed that it has plans to build nuclear-powered carriers, which have far greater endurance than ones that require refueling stops.
China's military has encountered some growing pains. It is hampered by corruption, which Mr. Xi has vowed to wipe out, and a lack of combat experience. As a fighting force, it remains untested by combat.
In January, it was embarrassed when one of its most advanced submarines was detected as it neared disputed islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. The attack submarine should never have been spotted.
The second aircraft carrier also appears to have experienced hiccups. Its first sea trials were announced in April and then inexplicably delayed. Not long after the trials went ahead in May, the general manager of China Shipbuilding was placed under investigation for ''serious violation of laws and discipline,'' the official Xinhua news agency reported, without elaborating.
Image Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea. The deployment of missiles on three man-made reefs in the disputed Spratly Islands '-- Subi, Mischief and Fiery Cross '-- has prompted protests from the White House. Credit DigitalGlobe, via Getty Images Defending Its ClaimsChina's military advances have nonetheless emboldened the country's leadership.
The state media declared the carrier Liaoning ''combat ready'' in the summer after it moved with six other warships through the Miyako Strait that splits Japan's Ryukyu Islands and conducted its first flight operations in the Pacific.
The Liaoning's battle group now routinely circles Taiwan. So do Chinese fighter jets and bombers.
China's new J-20 stealth fighter conducted its first training mission at sea in May, while its strategic bomber, the H-6, landed for the first time on Woody Island in the Paracels. From the airfield there or from those in the Spratly Islands, the bombers could strike all of Southeast Asia.
The recent Pentagon report noted that H-6 flights in the Pacific were intended to demonstrate the ability to strike American bases in Japan and South Korea, and as far away as Guam.
''Competition is the American way of seeing it,'' said Li Jie, an analyst with the Chinese Naval Research Institute in Beijing. ''China is simply protecting its rights and its interests in the Pacific.''
And China's interests are expanding.
In 2017, it opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, saying that it will be used to support its participation in multinational antipiracy patrols off Somalia.
It now appears to be planning to acquire access to a network of ports and bases throughout the Indian Ocean. Though ostensibly commercial, these projects have laid the groundwork for a necklace of refueling and resupply arrangements that will ''facilitate Beijing's long-range naval operations,'' according to a new report by C4ADS, a research organization in Washington.
''They soon will be able, for example, to send a squadron of ships to somewhere, say in Africa, and have all the capabilities to make a landing in force to protect Chinese assets,'' said Vassily Kashin, an expert with the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.
The need was driven home in 2015 when Chinese warships evacuated 629 Chinese and 279 foreigners from Yemen when the country's civil war raged in Aden, a southern port city.
One of the frigates involved in the rescue, the Linyi, was featured in a patriotic blockbuster film, ''Operation Red Sea.''
''The Chinese are going to be more present,'' Mr. Kashin added, ''and everyone has to get used to it.''
Image Fighter jets on the Liaoning in the East China Sea in April. Credit Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images Olivia Mitchell Ryan and Claire Fu contributed research.
Follow Steven Lee Myers on Twitter: @stevenleemyers.
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Inside The Trump Administration's Secret War On Weed
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 11:10
WASHINGTON '-- The White House has secretly amassed a committee of federal agencies from across the government to combat public support for marijuana and cast state legalization measures in a negative light, while attempting to portray the drug as a national threat, according to interviews with agency staff and documents obtained by BuzzFeed News.
The Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee, as it's named in White House memos and emails, instructed 14 federal agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration this month to submit ''data demonstrating the most significant negative trends'' about marijuana and the ''threats'' it poses to the country.
In an ironic twist, the committee complained in one memo that the narrative around marijuana is unfairly biased in favor of the drug. But rather than seek objective information, the committee's records show it is asking officials only to portray marijuana in a negative light, regardless of what the data show.
''The prevailing marijuana narrative in the U.S. is partial, one-sided, and inaccurate,'' says a summary of a July 27 meeting of the White House and nine departments. In a follow-up memo, which provided guidance for responses from federal agencies, White House officials told department officials, ''Departments should provide '... the most significant data demonstrating negative trends, with a statement describing the implications of such trends.''
As several states have approved laws allowing adults to use and purchase cannabis, critics have contended lax attitudes will promote drug abuse, particularly among youth, and they have pressed for a federal crackdown. The White House at one point said more pot enforcement would be forthcoming, though President Donald Trump has never said he was onboard with that agenda and he announced in June that he "really" supports new bipartisan legislation in Congress that would let state marijuana legalization thrive.
However, the committee's hardline agenda and deep bench suggest an extraordinarily far-reaching effort to reverse public attitudes and scrutinize those states. Its reports are to be used in a briefing for Trump ''on marijuana threats.''
''There is an urgent need to message the facts about the negative impacts of marijuana.''
''Staff believe that if the administration is to turn the tide on increasing marijuana use there is an urgent need to message the facts about the negative impacts of marijuana use, production, and trafficking on national health, safety, and security,'' says the meeting summary.
The White House declined to discuss the committee's process, but indicated it was part of an effort to remain consistent with the president's agenda.
''The Trump Administration's policy coordination process is an internal, deliberative process to craft the President's policies on a number of important issues facing the American people, and ensure consistency with the President's agenda," Lindsay Walters, Deputy White House Press Secretary, told BuzzFeed News.
None of the documents indicate that officials are seeking data that show marijuana consumption or legalization laws, which have been approved in eight states, serve any public benefit or do a better job of reducing drug abuse.
Coordinated by White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the committee met on July 27 with many of the largest agencies in the federal government, including the departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and State. An unclassified summary of the meeting, obtained by BuzzFeed News, says the memo is ''predecisional and requires a close hold.'' And it says the notes were not to be distributed externally.
The White House followed up the next week by sending agencies and other departments '-- including the departments of Defense, Education, Transportation and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency '-- instructions to submit two-page, bulleted fact sheets that identify marijuana threats and issues with the initiatives by Aug. 10.
While spokespeople at those agencies declined to comment on the committee itself, asked if the Education Department had submitted its response to the White House, Liz Hill, a spokesperson for the agency, told BuzzFeed News this week, ''I'm told we did turn it in on time to the WH.''
A State Department spokesperson told BuzzFeed News, ''The State Department regularly coordinates with ONDCP on a wide range of drug control issues. For specific questions about the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee, we refer you to ONDCP.''
Neither the ONDCP officials or White House press office responded to requests from BuzzFeed News to comment on the committee.
Departments were told to ''identify marijuana threats; issues created by state marijuana initiatives; and consequences of use, production, and trafficking on national health, safety, and security.''
The agencies should also provide an example of a ''story, relating an incident or picture, that illustrates one or more the key areas of concern related to use, production, and trafficking of marijuana,'' the White House guidance says. The agencies were asked to describe how the drug poses threats to their department and the consequences of marijuana ''on national health and security.''
''We are asking each agency to provide information on marijuana,'' White House ONDCP staffer Hayley C. Conklin wrote in an email to department leaders on Aug. 1. She cited the guidance document, saying, ''it will assist you in providing the appropriate information.''
Contacted by BuzzFeed News about the committee, Conklin told BuzzFeed News, ''Thank you so much for calling, but I cannot comment,'' then hung up the phone.
A number of agencies also declined to comment '-- including the departments of Labor, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and Transportation.
None of the 14 agencies BuzzFeed News contacted for this story, the DEA, or the White House denied the marijuana committee's existence.
John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, blasted the committee's slanted approach to the facts and the ''alienating effort on behalf of the president. ''
''This is a terrible political move by the administration,'' he told BuzzFeed, saying that the committee's agenda betrays Trump's pledges to protect states from federal intervention '-- a position with overwhelming public support.
Hudak added it would be ''policy malpractice'' to only collect one-sided data. ''The coordination of propaganda around an issue that the president ostensibly supported is fairly unprecedented.''
''This is a president who is not serious about states rights and regulatory reform in areas like drug policy, and is not serious about telling the truth to the American people or members of Congress from his own party," Hudak said, pointing to Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, who authored legislation that would protect states rights on marijuana and has praised Trump on the issue.
Gardner's office did not reply to requests to comment on the committee.
Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat who is also running for governor this year, slammed the committee in a statement Wednesday. ''Pres. Trump is flailing on marijuana policy, sometimes saying the states should decide, while also allowing the Attorney General and other prohibition supporters in his purview to run amuck. If the White House is actually spreading misinformation about marijuana to undercut states' rights, it's appalling but not out of the ordinary for President Trump and his gang of prohibition supporters,'' Polis said.
Although the White House said last year that it expected ''greater enforcement'' of marijuana in states where it's legal, Trump has since suggested he'd support Gardner's legislation to allow states to legalize marijuana untouched by the Justice Department. The move seemed to jab at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has relentlessly threatened a pot crackdown. As leader of the Justice Department, Sessions has recited 1980s-style rhetoric about saying no to marijuana.
But Americans have diverged from the federal government's hardline stance on pot prohibition '-- with eight states having now legalized its adult recreational use and authorizing systems to sell it like alcohol. A Quinnipiac University poll in April found that 63% of Americans support legalization.
While marijuana consumption rose in the 15 years before Colorado and Washington became the first states to start allowing adults to buy marijuana in 2013, according to JAMA Psychiatry, federal data indicate marijuana abuse disorder has dropped nationally since then.
Daryl Hannah and Neil Young Double Down on the Secret Wedding | Vanity Fair
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 11:03
By Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images.
This is the summer of a lot of things, including but not limited to some extremely public displays of affection between very young and engaged celebrities. But it's also the summer, as [Ed Sheeran]https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2018/08/did-ed-sheeran-get-secretly-married) can likely attest, of revealing secret marriages. And it's not just a hip, new trend for the youths.
Per a Facebook post from blues guitarist Mark Miller, Neil Young and Daryl Hannah quietly married over the weekend.
''Congratulations to Daryl Hannah and Neil Young on their wedding today,'' Miller wrote Saturday. ''May they have a long and happy relationship.''
The Mirror was first to report that Young, 72, and Hannah, 57, married at a small ceremony in Atascadero, California, over the weekend. This followed a reported earlier, separate ceremony on Young's yacht near the San Juan Islands, off the northwestern coast of Washington state. The date of that wedding is yet to be shared by any of Young's rocker friends.
The two have been together for four years, after Young split from his wife, Pegi, of 36 years. At first, as Yahoo Entertainment reported in March, the relationship caused some drama, including criticism from Young's former Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young bandmate David Crosby, who called Hannah a ''poisonous predator.'' He later apologized.
At SXSW this year, Young [opened up to Yahoo Entertainment] (https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/neil-young-daryl-hannah-talk-new-paradox-film-lucky-found-174341754.html) about his relationship with Hannah, who he said gets him to do Pilates and do exercises with weights in the pool. They attended the festival for the premiere of Hannah's directorial debut, Paradox, in which Young appears.
''We're very lucky to have found each other,'' he said. ''I'm eternally thankful for the opportunity to share my life with her, and she feels the same.''
Miller reportedly did not attend the wedding, but he was among many well-wishers, including Rosanna Arquette and CNN commentator Sally Kohn, who wrote ''Yaaaaaaaaaaay in every sense. So sorry not to be there'' in a comment on Hannah's cryptic Instagram post:
This was only a photo of a barn owl, but apparently, Hannah's friends knew the true meaning. To review: they had not one secret wedding but two. There was a yacht at one and at least one barn owl present at the other. Take note, Pete and Ariana and Justin and Hailey. This is how you do a wedding.
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Full ScreenPhotos: The V.M.A.s Red Carpet and the Couples That Time Forgot Richie Sambora and Cher, 1989Cher dated Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, 13 years her junior, during the late 80s. In 2011, Sambora
told Racked that Cher had influenced his personal style saying, ''Obviously she's a fashionista, she taught me a lot.''
Photo: By Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.Brad Pitt and Christina Applegate, 1989As the legend goes, Applegate and Pitt went on one date together'--the 1989 V.M.A.s'--but Applegate ditched him before the night was over for another man. On
Watch What Happens Live in 2015, Applegate revealed some clues about who the other man was: he wasn't an actor, he was known to the public, and they did not date after that night. Your guess is as good as ours.
Photo: By Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr., 1990Parker and Downey dated from 1984 until 1991, making an appearance on the V.M.A. carpet together shortly before breaking up.
Photo: By Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.Fiona Apple and David Blaine, 1997Yes, the magician and singer dated during the 1990s. Apple
told Spin in 1997, ''David and I are both completely fucked-up. We're the most fucked-up couple I know.''
Photo: By Evan Agostini/Liaison.Riff Raff and Katy Perry, 2014The two never dated, but they did
attempt to re-create Justin Timberlake and
Britney Spears's 2001 matching denim look.
Photo: From Broadimage/REX/Shutterstock.Logic and Jessica Andrea, 2017Logic and Andrea married in 2015 after two years of dating, but the couple announced that they would be splitting up in March 2018.
Photo: By David Crotty/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images.Pete Davidson and Cazzie David, 2017Davidson and David dated for two years before their split was announced in May 2018. Very shortly after, Davidson was linked to Ariana Grande, who he proposed to the very next month.
Photo: By Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.
Kwestie-Wilders wordt eerste grote test voor Pakistaanse premier Khan | De Volkskrant
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 10:58
In Karachi wordt 'Geerts Wilders' gezien als bedreiging voor de wereldvrede. Foto EPAImran Khan is een man met twee zielen in zijn borst. De nieuwe premier van Pakistan is een voormalig sportheld die van zijn land een moderne, welvarende natie wil maken (door om te beginnen binnen 100 dagen 10 miljoen nieuwe banen te scheppen). Maar ook een ambitieus politicus die de macht veroverde dankzij zijn hervonden islamitische geloof en met de steun van islamisten.
Hoe serieus we Khans geloof moeten nemen, zal komende tijd blijken. Dankzij een Nederlandse anti-islamitische politicus genaamd Geert Wilders en zijn plan voor een cartoonwedstrijd en -expositie over de profeet Mohammed in het gebouw van de Tweede Kamer. Het is de eerste diplomatieke rel voor de regering-Khan.
ProtestmarsDe gemoederen lopen in Pakistan al hoog op. Boze islamisten demonstreren al weken tegen Wilders' voornemen. Woensdag ging een grote protestmars van Lahore naar Islamabad van start. De eis: als Nederland de cartoonwedstrijd niet verbiedt, moet de regering-Khan de diplomatieke betrekkingen verbreken. 'Wij beschermen de eer van de profeet tot de dood', scandeerden de duizenden demonstranten, die donderdag in Islamabad zullen aankomen.
Drijvende kracht achter de protesten is Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP), een kleine extreem-islamitische partij die voor strikte handhaving van de Pakistaanse blasfemiewet is, en die het bij de verkiezingen in juli goed deed. Leider Khadim Hussain Rizvi verklaarde in juni dat hij als hij de macht had een Pakistaanse atoombom op Nederland zou gooien om Wilders' plan te blokkeren.
De Pakistaanse blasfemiewet is een van de strengste ter wereld. Op belediging van de profeet staat de doodstraf, op het onteren van de Koran levenslang. Onder belediging valt niet alleen het afbeelden van de profeet (verboden in de islam, al helemaal in karikaturale zin), maar ook nuancering van zijn 'finaliteit', het geloof dat Mohammed de laatste boodschapper van God was.
De blasfemiewet leidt tot gewelddadige aanvallen op religieuze minderheden, nepaanklachten en lynchpartijen, met zeker 70 doden sinds 1990. Geen politicus durft tegen de wet in te gaan. De laatste die dat deed (Salman Taseer, gouverneur van Punjab) werd in 2011 vermoord. Ter ere van zijn moordenaar werd de TLP opgericht, de partij die nu de protesten tegen Wilders aanvoert.
Betogers in Peshawar, Noordwest-Pakistan, verbranden een portret van Geert Wilders. Foto AP Extreem-islamitische partijenDe kwestie-Wilders brengt premier Khan in een lastig parket. Zijn partij TPI won de verkiezingen in juli mede met steun van kleine extreem-islamitische partijen als de TLP. En hij wekte bij de islamistische achterban verwachtingen door de blasfemiewet in de campagne fel te verdedigen.
En dus ontbood minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Shah Mehmood ­Qureshi vorige week de Nederlandse ambassadeur om te protesteren tegen Wilders' 'opzettelijke en kwaadaardige poging de islam te defameren'. Deze week werd er een schepje bovenop gedaan toen de senaat als een van haar eerste acties unaniem een resolutie aannam waarin Wilders' plan werd veroordeeld.
Khan speelde in zijn toespraak tot de senaat de blasfemiekaart met verve. Hij beloofde de kwestie in september op de agenda van de Verenigde Naties te zullen zetten. Ook wil hij een spoedzitting van de organisatie van Islamitische staten. Hij sprak van een 'collectief falen' van de islamitische wereld die dit soort blasfemie steeds weer laat gebeuren, een verwijzing naar Mohammed-cartoons in de Deense Jyllands-Posten, het Franse Charlie Hebdo en Wilders' Fitna.
'Ik begrijp de westerse mentaliteit omdat ik daar lang heb gewoond', sprak Khan. 'Ze begrijpen de liefde niet die moslims voelen voor de profeet.' Weinigen in het Westen begrijpen ook 'hoeveel pijn godslasterlijke acties moslims aandoen'. Hij trok een vergelijking met de Holocaust-ontkenning die in het Westen als pijnlijk wordt ervaren, en stelde voor dat westerse landen wetten opstellen tegen blasfemie zoals ze die hebben tegen de Holocaustontkenning.
Khans dilemmaVoor de boze demonstranten zal Khan niet kunnen volstaan met een simpele veroordeling van Nederland. TLP-leider Rizvi ziet 'alleen ­jihad' als oplossing. En met de TLP valt niet te spotten. November vorig jaar blokkeerden duizenden aanhangers de weg tussen Islamabad en Rawalpindi. Dat gebeurde toen de vorige regering een verwijzing wilde afzwakken naar de finaliteit van Mohammed in de eed die nieuwe parlementarirs moeten afleggen. Drie weken, tweehonderd gewonden en drie doden later hadden ze gewonnen: de minister van Justitie stapte op en de nieuwe eed werd ingetrokken.
De grote vraag is nu of Khan de TLP-islamisten met fluwelen handschoenen zal aanpakken of ze gaat trotseren, om het imago van zijn nieuwe regering in het Westen te beschermen. E(C)n ding is al zeker: hij gaat komende maand niet naar de VN in New York om de blasfemie aan te kaarten. Hij blijft in Pakistan om zijn volledige aandacht te geven aan de economie, bleek woensdag. Het land worstelt met acute betalingsproblemen en moet wellicht naar het IMF.
VerkiezingsbelofteWilders plaatst Khan in elk geval voor een acuut dilemma. Moet hij voorrang geven aan zijn belofte de economie te redden en 10 miljoen ­banen te scheppen, het hoofdpunt van zijn succesvolle campagne, of aan zijn belofte de blasfemiewet te verdedigen? Zijn aanhang zal het hem hoe dan ook niet in dank afnemen als hij zijn eerste verkiezingsbelofte breekt.
U.S. denying passports to American citizens along Mexico border - The Washington Post
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 05:43
PHARR, Tex. '-- On paper, he's a devoted U.S. citizen.
His official American birth certificate shows he was delivered by a midwife in Brownsville, at the southern tip of Texas. He spent his life wearing American uniforms: three years as a private in the Army, then as a cadet in the Border Patrol and now as a state prison guard.
But when Juan, 40, applied to renew his U.S. passport this year, the government's response floored him. In a letter, the State Department said it didn't believe he was an American citizen.
As he would later learn, Juan is one of a growing number of people whose official birth records show they were born in the United States but who are now being denied passports '-- their citizenship suddenly thrown into question. The Trump administration is accusing hundreds, and possibly thousands, of Hispanics along the border of using fraudulent birth certificates since they were babies, and it is undertaking a widespread crackdown.
In a statement, the State Department said that it ''has not changed policy or practice regarding the adjudication of passport applications,'' adding that ''the U.S.-Mexico border region happens to be an area of the country where there has been a significant incidence of citizenship fraud.''
But cases identified by The Washington Post and interviews with immigration attorneys suggest a dramatic shift in both passport issuance and immigration enforcement.
In some cases, passport applicants with official U.S. birth certificates are being jailed in immigration detention centers and entered into deportation proceedings. In others, they are stuck in Mexico, their passports suddenly revoked when they tried to reenter the United States. As the Trump administration attempts to reduce both legal and illegal immigration, the government's treatment of passport applicants in South Texas shows how U.S. citizens are increasingly being swept up by immigration enforcement agencies.
Juan said he was infuriated by the government's response. ''I served my country. I fought for my country,'' he said, speaking on the condition that his last name not be used so that he wouldn't be targeted by immigration enforcement.
The government alleges that from the 1950s through the 1990s, some midwives and physicians along the Texas-Mexico border provided U.S. birth certificates to babies who were actually born in Mexico. In a series of federal court cases in the 1990s, several birth attendants admitted to providing fraudulent documents.
Based on those suspicions, the State Department during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations denied passports to people who were delivered by midwives in Texas's Rio Grande Valley. The use of midwives is a long-standing tradition in the region, in part because of the cost of hospital care.
The same midwives who provided fraudulent birth certificates also delivered thousands of babies legally in the United States. It has proved nearly impossible to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate documents, all of them officially issued by the state of Texas decades ago.
A 2009 government settlement in a case litigated by the American Civil Liberties Union seemed to have mostly put an end to the passport denials. Attorneys reported that the number of denials declined during the rest of the Obama administration, and the government settled promptly when people filed complaints after being denied passports.
But under President Trump, the passport denials and revocations appear to be surging, becoming part of a broader interrogation into the citizenship of people who have lived, voted and worked in the United States for their entire lives.
''We're seeing these kind of cases skyrocketing,'' said Jennifer Correro, an attorney in Houston who is defending dozens of people who have been denied passports.
In its statement, the State Department said that applicants ''who have birth certificates filed by a midwife or other birth attendant suspected of having engaged in fraudulent activities, as well as applicants who have both a U.S. and foreign birth certificate, are asked to provide additional documentation establishing they were born in the United States.''
''Individuals who are unable to demonstrate that they were born in the United States are denied issuance of a passport,'' the statement said.
When Juan, the former soldier, received a letter from the State Department telling him it wasn't convinced that he was a U.S. citizen, it requested a range of obscure documents '-- evidence of his mother's prenatal care, his baptismal certificate, rental agreements from when he was a baby.
He managed to find some of those documents but weeks later received another denial. In a letter, the government said the information ''did not establish your birth in the United States.''
''I thought to myself, you know, I'm going to have to seek legal help,'' said Juan, who earns $13 an hour as a prison guard and expects to pay several thousand dollars in legal fees.
In a case last August, a 35-year-old Texas man with a U.S. passport was interrogated while crossing back into Texas from Mexico with his son at the ­McAllen-Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge, connecting Reynosa, Mexico, to McAllen, Tex.
His passport was taken from him, and Customs and Border Protection agents told him to admit that he was born in Mexico, according to documents later filed in federal court. He refused and was sent to the Los Fresnos Detention Center and entered into deportation proceedings.
He was released three days later, but the government scheduled a deportation hearing for him in 2019. His passport, which had been issued in 2008, was revoked.
Attorneys say these cases, where the government's doubts about an official birth certificate lead to immigration detention, are increasingly common. ''I've had probably 20 people who have been sent to the detention center '-- U.S. citizens,'' said Jaime Diez, an attorney in Brownsville.
Diez represents dozens of U.S. citizens who were denied their passports or had their passports suddenly revoked. Among them are soldiers and Border Patrol agents. In some cases, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have arrived at his clients' homes without notice and taken passports away.
The State Department says that even though it may deny someone a passport, that does not necessarily mean that the individual will be deported. But it leaves them in a legal limbo, with one arm of the U.S. government claiming they are not an American and the prospect that immigration agents could follow up on their case.
It's difficult to know where the crackdown fits into the Trump administration's broader efforts to reduce legal and illegal immigration. Over the past year, it has thrown legal permanent residents out of the military and formed a denaturalization task force that tries to identify people who might have lied on decades-old citizenship applications.
Now, the administration appears to be taking aim at a broad group of Americans along the stretch of the border where Trump has promised to build his wall, where he directed the deployment of National Guardsmen, and where the majority of cases in which children were separated from their parents during the administration's ''zero tolerance'' policy occurred.
The State Department would not say how many passports it has denied to people along the border because of concerns about fraudulent birth certificates. The government has also refused to provide a list of midwives whom it considers to be suspicious.
Lawyers along the border say that it isn't just those delivered by midwives who are being denied.
Babies delivered by Jorge Trevi±o, one of the regions most well-known gynecologists, are also being denied. When he died in 2015, the McAllen Monitor wrote in his obituary that Trevi±o had delivered 15,000 babies.
It's unclear why babies delivered by Trevi±o are being targeted, and the State Department did not comment on individual birth attendants. Diez, the attorney, said the government has an affidavit from an unnamed Mexican doctor who said that Trevi±o's office provided at least one fraudulent birth certificate for a child born in Mexico.
One of the midwives who was accused of providing fraudulent birth certificates in the 1990s admitted in an interview that in two cases, she accepted money to provide fake documents. She said she helped deliver 600 babies in South Texas, many of them now being denied passports. Those birth certificates were issued by the state of Texas, with the midwife's name listed under ''birth attendant.''
''I know that they are suffering now, but it's out of my control,'' she said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of her admission.
For those who have received passport denials from the government, it affects not only their travel plans but their sense of identity as Americans.
One woman who has been denied, named Betty, said she had tried to get a passport to visit her grandfather as he was dying in Mexico. She went to a passport office in Houston, where government officials denied her request and questioned whether she had been born in the United States.
''You're getting questioned on something so fundamentally you,'' said Betty, who spoke on the condition her last name not be used because of concerns about immigration enforcement.
The denials are happening at a time when Trump has been lobbying for stricter federal voter identification rules, which would presumably affect the same people who are now being denied passports '-- almost all of them Hispanic, living in a heavily Democratic sliver of Texas.
''That's where it gets scary,'' Diez said.
For now, passport applicants who are able to afford the legal costs are suing the federal government over their passport denials. Typically, the applicants eventually win those cases, after government attorneys raise a series of sometimes bizarre questions about their birth.
''For a while, we had attorneys asking the same question: 'Do you remember when you were born?''‰'' Diez said. ''I had to promise my clients that it wasn't a trick question.''
Read more
As border crossings surge, a Mexican couple tests Trump's policies
Citizenship service conspired with ICE to 'trap' immigrants at visa interviews, ACLU says
'Deleted' families: What went wrong with Trump's family-separation effort
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Breaking: Judge in 'Extremist Muslim' Compound Case Dismisses All Charges on 3 Suspects
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 05:34
Crime Culture US News (Roberto E. Rosales/The Albuquerque Journal via AP, Pool FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 13, 2018, file photo defendant Siraj Ibn Wahhaj sits in court in Taos, N.M., during a detention hearing. New Mexico forensic investigators announced Thursday, Aug. 16, that a highly decomposed body found at a desert compound in New Mexico has been identified as a missing Georgia boy with severe disabilities. The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator said Thursday that the remains were those of Abdul-ghani Wahhaj. (Roberto E. Rosales/The Albuquerque Journal via AP, Pool, File)
A judge dismissed child neglect charges Wednesday against three of five people arrested at a New Mexico desert compound where 11 children were found living in filth and the body of a 3-year-old boy was discovered.
Judge Emilio Chavez ruled that he could not keep the three in custody because prosecutors missed a 10-day deadline for a court hearing to establish probable cause for the neglect charges.
Prosecutors have other options for pursuing charges against the three '-- Lucas Morton, Subhannah Wahhaj and Hujrah Wahhaj. That could include refiling the charges or asking a grand jury to indict them.
Prosecutors had pressed to keep them behind bars and planned to present new evidence of an anti-government plot and talk of jihad and martyrdom among some members of the extended Muslim family that settled at the compound last winter.
Defense attorneys say their clients have no record of criminal convictions and pose no risk to the public.
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Authorities are pushing ahead with other charges against the dead boy's father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, and his partner, Jany Leveille.
They were due in court Wednesday on charges of child abuse resulting in death, which could carry life sentences in connection with the death of Abdul-ghani Wahhaj. The severely disabled boy's badly decomposed remains were found this month inside a tunnel at the high-desert compound near the Colorado state line.
Prosecutors and law enforcement officials have accused Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Leveille of denying the boy proper medicine and health care as the boy died in December 2017 during a religious ritual aimed at casting out demonic spirits. They have not yet entered pleas.
The boy's mother initially reported him missing last year from Jonesboro, Georgia, after Siraj Ibn Wahhaj said he was taking the child to a park and didn't return. Forensic medical investigators have not identified the cause and manner of the boy's death as they continue their analysis.
Do you think the judge made the wrong call?Chavez ruled that the other three defendants could be released as early as Wednesday depending on what action prosecutors take. Prosecutor John Lovelace said he respects the judge's ruling and that no decisions have been made yet on how the district attorney's office will proceed.
Defense attorneys said the state Supreme Court put in place the rule on an evidentiary hearing as a fundamental protection of individual liberty and the right to due process.
''We're talking about a month that someone was in custody, it's an absolute deprivation of liberty and that is very precious,'' said Aleks Kostich, who is representing Morton.
Prosecutors had planned to present as evidence a hand-written document called ''Phases of a Terrorist Attack'' that was seized from the compound and includes vague instructions for ''the one-time terrorist'' and mentioned an unnamed place called ''the ideal attack site.''
Prosecutors wrote in court documents that new interviews with some of the children removed from the compound revealed that one of the adults, Morton, stated he wished to die in jihad as a martyr and that Leveille and Subhannah Wahhaj joked about dying in jihad.
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The new charges of child abuse resulting in death against Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Leveille are tied to an extensive account of Abdul-ghani's death in a journal that prosecutors attribute to Leveille.
Federal immigration authorities say Leveille, a native of Haiti, has been in the United States unlawfully for 20 years after overstaying a visitor visa.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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The 10 Best New Austin Restaurant Openings of Fall 2018 - Eater Austin
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 03:26
Upcoming restaurants will dish out sausages, Tex-Mex diner dishes, and Taiwanese soup dumplings Sausages and snacks from Easy TigerEasy Tiger/Facebook Soon, Austin's hot summer will be over and fall's cool(er) temperatures will take over the city, which means it's time for another busy season of restaurant openings.
The fall will bring about first-timers (Taiwanese restaurant Sweet Chive, bread bakery ThoroughBread), Austin expansions (bakery/beer garden Easy Tiger to north Austin, Jewish-style spot Biderman's Deli to downtown, Quack's two-part growth in Mueller and far south Austin), out-of-town extensions (Dallas' poke joint Malibu Poke, San Antonio's Bakery Lorraine), and familiar local groups opening new establishments (summer leftover Joann's from McGuire Moorman Hospitality/Bunkhouse Group, East Austin Hotel from La Corsha Hospitality Group), and much more.
With that, here are the ten most anticipated Austin restaurant openings of the fall season, plus a wider look at what autumn will bring to the city as well as what's in store for the rest of the year and beyond.
Know of an impending fall restaurant opening missing below? Send it through the tipline. This guide will be updated throughout the season as details change and places open.
Sweet ChiveLocation: 2515 East Cesar Chavez Street, HollyKey Players: Heather Pai Yu, PhoenixProjected Opening: September
Heather and her mother Phoenix know their way around Chinese restaurants: Phoenix worked in various Chinese-American restaurants around Austin for the past 30 years, and now the family wants to showcase their own home cooking with their new restaurant. With an emphasis on northern Chinese and Taiwanese fare, there will be homemade soup dumplings, noodles, rice bowls, vegetables, and teas.
Easy Tiger Easy Tiger's pretzel, jerky, and Chex mixEasy Tiger/Facebook Location: 6406 North Interstate 35 Frontage Road, edge of HighlandKey Players: David Norman, Bob GillettProjected Opening: October
Finally, the bakery and beer garden's long-awaited expansion in the north Austin area is finally almost here, fresh off its break from the ELM Restaurant Group, Easy Tiger's new much-more sprawling space (three times bigger than the downtown location) will include a massive commercial bakery, various production areas for fermentation and sausage-making, dining room, coffee drive-thru, and beer garden with stage. Expect the same beloved menu of baked goods, sausages, beers, and cocktails, including an emphasis on whiskey. This will mark its fourth overall Austin location.
Joann's Austin Motel's iconic signBunkhouse Group [Official] Location: 1220 South Congress Avenue, Austin Motel, Bouldin CreekKey Players: Bunkhouse Group, McGuire Moorman HospitalityProjected Opening: September 2018
The iconic South Congress hotel the Austin Motel is getting a newly updated restaurant courtesy of McGuire Moorman Hospitality and Bunkhouse Group. The result will be Joann's, an all-day Tex-Mex diner, which means tacos, breakfast sandwiches, salads, migas, chilaquiles, as well as fish and beef prepared on a pecan-burning grill. Renovations will include an updated indoor dining space and outdoor patio. Plus there are plans for a new pool bar
ThoroughBread Loaves from ThoroughBreadThoroughBread/Facebook Location: 1709 Bluebonnet Lane, ZilkerKey Players: Ryan GoebelProjected Opening: September
ThoroughBread will focus on breads, from loaves like sourdough, baked goods like morning buns and cookies, and toasts topped with avocado, eggs, hummus, ricotta, and more, if its recent pop-ups are any indication.
Biderman's Deli A meaty sandwich from Biderman's DeliBiderman's Deli/Facebook Location: 800 Brazos Street, DowntownKey Players: Zach BidermanProjected Opening: September
The Northwest Hills Jewish-style deli is bringing its bagels, Reubens, and matzo ball soups to downtown Austin. Along with the menu of sandwiches and the such, it'll expand with more breakfast combinations and large platters for the office sets.
Lady Quackenbush's CakeryCaptain Quackenbush's Coffeehouse and Bakery Cookies from Quack'sLady Quackenbush's Cakery/Facebook Locations: Lady Quackenbush: 1900 Simond Avenue, Mueller; Captain Quackenbush's: 5326 Manchaca RoadMajor Players: Art Silver, Heather O'ConnorProjected Openings: Lady Quackenbush: September; Captain Quackenbush's: mid- to late-fall
Both of Quack's 43rd Street Bakery's upcoming bakeries, the bakery and cake shop Lady Quackenbush's Cakery in Mueller (the previous Bribery Bakery) and bakery and bar Captain Quackenbush's Coffeehouse and Bakery on Manchaca Road (the former Strange Brew), are close to finally opening. Lady Quackenbush will house Quack's cake and cookie production facility, as well as bake up retail goods, brew up coffee, and serve beer and wine. Captain will feature coffee, pastries, a full bar, as well as Quack's bakery production facility and live music. They're focusing on the Mueller shop, and then turning their attention towards the Manchaca bakery.
Malibu Poke The wasabi-ponzu salmon bowl from Malibu PokeMalibu Poke [Official] Location: 211 Walter Seaholm Drive, DowntownKey Players: Jon Alexis, Matt McCallisterProjected Opening: October
While Dallas chef Matt McCallister isn't planning on opening an Austin restaurant anytime soon, the next best thing is his menu at Malibu Poke, the Dallas-based poke restaurant which is opening its first Austin location. The fast-casual spot will serve up customizable poke bowls with offerings from tuna to shrimp, bases from rice to seaweed, and toppings, like aioli, ponzu, and curries. Owner Jon Alexis knows his seafood, since he owns Dallas market and restaurant TJ's Seafood. Unique to Malibu Poke is its ordering kiosks which will employ facial recognition software.
Bakery Lorraine A cake from Bakery LorraineMisha Hettie Location: 11600 Rock Rose Avenue, Domain NorthsideKey Players: Anne Ng, Jeremy Mandrell, Charlie BiedenharnProjected Opening: September or October 2018
The lauded San Antonio bakery is marking its first Austin location. Expect French pastries like macarons, tarts, and croissants, alongside breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes like pot pies, quiches, and roast beef sandwiches.
East Austin Hotel Rendering of the pool at East Austin HotelRendering: East Austin Hotel [Official] Location: 1108 East 6th Street, East AustinKey Players: La Corsha Hospitality GroupProjected Opening: November 2018
La Corsha Hospitality Group's forthcoming hotel project contains three new drinking and eating establishments. First, there's restaurant Sixth and Waller, which will serve up comfort food with international influences from chef Jason Stude. Then there are two bars, rooftop spot Upside Bar and poolside bar the Pool Bar, both of which will be open to the public.
Also tracking:Barbecue trailer Micklethwait Craft Meats' brick-and-mortar is on track for a fall opening in Smithville. Expect barbecue and sandwiches, with the latter recalling its short-lived trailer Romanouskas Deli. (114 Northeast 2nd Street, Smithville)Portuguese spot Tio Pepe Chicken is projected to open its grilled chicken restaurant within the Linc sometime this September, boasting per-peri sauces, chicken wings, and desserts. (6406 North I-35, edge of Highland)One of Austin's very best taco trucks, Veracruz All Natural, is opening a third truck up in the Mueller area starting on Tuesday, September 4. (4209 Airport Boulevard, Mueller)Although without a head chef, the Line Austin Hotel's rooftop restaurant P6 is still expected to open in the fall. (111 East Cesar Chavez Street, Downtown)American-Asian restaurant Anthem is aiming for an early fall opening. On deck will be, well, American dishes with Asian influences, like chicken and bubble waffles, karaage chicken sandwiches, and vegan bulgogi hot dogs, along with beer taps and tiki cocktails. (91 Rainey Street, Downtown)Parkside Projects' replacement restaurant pegged for the former home of Spanish tapas spot Bullfight is supposed to open this fall, but nothing is known about the new restaurant. (4807 Airport Boulevard, Hyde Park)Israeli slider chain Burgerim is making its Austin mark on Rainey Street sometime this fall, bearing sliders featuring a variety of patties, from wagyu to merguez to salmon to falafel, along with milkshakes, beer, and sodas. (51 Rainey Street, Downtown)Oak Hill restaurant Shore Raw Bar and Grill will bring Mexico City-influenced seafood to Oak Hill starting on Sunday, October 28, under the guidance of chef Brandon Silver. (8665 Highway 71 West, Oak Hill)Oregon-based vegetarian chain Next Level Burger is opening its first Austin restaurant within the flagship Whole Foods Market in downtown Austin this fall. (525 North Lamar Boulevard, Downtown)Now that Australian-Thai restaurant Sway's Rock Rose restaurant is open, it's time to turn its attention to its third location in Westlake. The original summer opening is now being pushed back into the fall. (3437 Bee Caves Road, West Lake Hills)Amy's Ice Creams is opening a new ice cream shop with those beloved flavors in cups and cones in Cherrywood sometime in the fall. (2002 Manor Road, Cherrywood)Japanese sweet shop Crªpeful is aiming for a fall opening with cone-shaped crepes filled with fruits, creams, and sauces. (6550 Comanche Trail, Lake Travis)P. Terry's taco drive-thru Taco Ranch is opening its second location near campus during the first week of October. (517 West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, North Side)That Irish pub that is replacing Austin Java's vacated address on Barton Springs has a name: Darcy's Donkey Irish Pub and Restaurant. It should be opening sometime this fall with late hours and meat pies, but there is no set date as of yet. (1608 Barton Springs Road, Zilker)Southern California-based juice bar chain Nekter Juice Bar is opening its first Austin store with juices, smoothies, acai bowls, and vegan ice cream made with cashew milk in the late fall. (3637 Far West Boulevard, Northwest Hills)Texas coffee shop mini-chain Houndstooth is opening its fourth local cafe (and seventh altogether) up in Rock Rose in the fall. It'll pay close attention to its coffee and espresso drinks, as well towards its cocktails, beer, and wine. (11501 Rock Rose Avenue, Domain Northside)Austin Cheese Co. will bring cheeses, chocolates, jams, sandwiches, and salads to the Arboretum sometime in the late September. (10000 Research Boulevard, the Arboretum)Luxury resort Camp Lucy is opening a public fine dining restaurant, Tillie's, with chef Brandon Martin's take on high-end New American starting on Monday, October 1. (3509 Creek Road, Dripping Springs)Steakhouse chain Saltgrass Steak House is opening another Austin-area location out in the Hill Country Galleria this fall. (12613 Galleria Circle, Bee Cave)Rest of 2018: Batch Brewery; Bobo's Snack Bar; El Tacorrido [East Riverside]; Franklin Barbecue's taco and coffee truck; Gati; Schaller's Stube Sausage Bar [brick-and-mortar]; Swedish Hill Bakery & Deli; Ways & Means Oyster House
2019: Austin Proper; Chispas; Kerbey Lane's unknown restaurant; Mignette [St. Elmo]; Philip Speer's unknown restaurant; Perry's Steakhouse [Domain]; Punch Bowl Social [downtown]; Salt & Time [St. Elmo]; Tacodeli [Downtown]; Tiki Tatsu-ya; Velvet Taco [Music Lane]; WineLair
Unknown: 24 Diner [Rock Rose, Austin airport]; Bee's Knees; Bonchon; Carpenter Hotel; Cat's Pajamas; The Goodnight [downtown]; Hold Out Brewing; Jugo [Rosedale]; LeRoy & Lewis [brick-and-mortar]; Little Brother; Marinas; Mayfair; Nobibi; P. Terry's [Near Austin airport]; Parkside [Austin airport]; Peli Peli; Pinthouse Pizza [Round Rock]; Ranch 616's Unknown Rattle Inn bar; TenTen; Torchy's Tacos [downtown]; Unknown Damien Brockway restaurant; Unknown third Line Austin Hotel restaurant; Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ [brick-and-mortar]
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Lady Quackenbush's Cakery 1900 Simond Avenue, Austin, Texas 78723
Sweet Chive 2515 East Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, Texas 78702
Joann's 1220 South Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78704
Bombshell: John Brennan's Disturbing Connection To 9/11 Will Forever Convince You He's A Traitor - Tea Party News
Wed, 29 Aug 2018 16:31
(TeaParty.org) '' You probably don't need to be told that John Brennan is a very dirty player in Washington. Everyone in the Obama administration was.
But is it possible that by revoking his security clearance, Trump also may have done far more than simply protect his administration from someone who may have been working with the deep state to overthrow his administration'...but someone who has actively been plotting against the US for years?
Obama, Clinton, Kerry, Jarrett'...far too many people in the previous administration had highly troubling ties to the terrorist state of Iran and in Obama's case, there is quite a bit of evidence pointing to the fact that he was a Muslim, a fact which remained in question throughout the entirety of his presidency and he did little to dispel by always referring to the Koran as ''The Holy Koran'' and the Bible simply as ''the Bible.''
However, while it is well-known Obama was (well, supposedly) born to a Muslim father, it has also been rumored that Brennan was a Muslim convert.
While that's just a theory, keep it in mind when your read this, from Freedom Outpost:
''John Brennan was Chief of the CIA station in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at the time 9-11 hijackers had their visas approved. And it is alleged that he gave the final approval.''
From DC Clothesline:
On September 18, 2014, on the Ground Zero radio program, a whistle blower named Greg Ford of the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion claimed that Brennan, as chief of the CIA station in Jeda [sic], overrode concerns and ordered that the visas of the 19 plane-hijackers be stamped. At 1:32:47 into the interview, Ford talked about ISIS and how it was created. Someone called in with a question about 9/11. Ford said:
''All 19 high jackers? Where did they get their visas stamped before they came to this country to launch 9/11? They got their visas stamped in the CIA station in Jeda [sic]. And the second in command said 'No way, absolutely we are not going to stamp those visas.' And the fellow who was in charge, his name was John Brennan. He was the person who overrode those concerns and cautions and ordered those visas stamped in Jeda [sic].''
Here is the interview; the portion of interest begins at the 1:32:47 mark.
''Michael Springmann was the head of the visa bureau in Saudi Arabia at the time those visas, and numerous other questionable visas, were stamped.'' Freedom Outpost continues. ''In this interview, Springmann recounts the time when his decisions were consistently overruled and many highly questionable visas were being issued, against his recommendations.''
And from National Review, we already know that each of the hijacker's visas were incorrectly completed:
All 19 of the hijacker applications were incomplete in some way, with data fields left blank and questions not fully answered. Every application should have been round-filed. Yet U.S. officials approved 22 of the 23 hijacker visa applications. Of the 15 Saudis, four got their visas after the creation of the Visa Express Program in June 2001. Eight other conspirators tried to get visas during the course of the plot. Three succeeded, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11.
Each of these men's visas should have been rejected. Instead, they traveled to the US were they orchestrated an event that led to the death of nearly 3,000 people, the largest number of Americans killed in a single incident since Pearl Harbor.
There is a very good argument to be made that not only did this happen on Brennan's watch, but that if he had actually done his job correctly, 9/11 never would have happened.
And the left is trying to convince us it was petty of Trump to revoke Brennan's security clearance.
The New York Times on Twitter: "Comedians and more reflect on Louis C.K.'s re-emergence 9 months after admitting to sexual misconduct. "I'm still on the same shampoo bottle as when Louis C.K.'s time out started." https://t.co/8PDDL6NasY"
Wed, 29 Aug 2018 16:31
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Louis C.K.'s Return to the Stage Incites a Range of Emotions - The New York Times
Wed, 29 Aug 2018 16:26
Image Louis C.K. in 2016 at a Television Critics Association event. Credit Credit Kevork Djansezian/Reuters Nine months ago, after five women and fellow comedians accused him of sexual misconduct, it was impossible to know how Louis C.K. might plot his re-emergence. FX Networks had canceled his production deal; a film he wrote, directed and starred in, in which his character engages in behavior similar to that which he admitted, had been quickly called off; and Louis C.K. himself had announced that he would ''step back and take a long time to listen,'' echoing similar comments made by other powerful men capsized in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
Now, with the news that he made a surprise appearance at the Comedy Cellar in New York on Sunday night, it appears that listening period is over. Comedy fans and other entertainment figures reacted to the unexpected turn of events on Monday and Tuesday morning with a range of emotions, from outrage that it had come too soon to forbearance for a long-revered performer who admitted to misconduct.
''I understand that some people will be upset with me,'' said Noam Dworman, owner of the Comedy Cellar, who described Louis C.K.'s 15-minute standup set as ''typical Louis C.K. stuff'' including riffs on race and tipping at restaurants. But, he added, ''there can't be a permanent life sentence on someone who does something wrong.''
[Read more: Louis C.K. made a surprise appearance at a New York club Sunday night.]
'Less than the minimum of decency'The most commonly expressed sentiment online was that the consequences for Louis C.K.'s behavior '-- a nine-month absence and canceled TV and film deals after he admitted to masturbating in front of colleagues '-- haven't yet matched up to the transgressions.
The prominent comedian Aparna Nancherla wrote on Twitter that the audience's reportedly warm reception to his set so soon ''tells you all you need to know about how society applauds powerful men for doing less than the minimum of decency.'' (Ms. Nancherla's tweet refers to a ''standing ovation'' but the audience was not on its feet.)
On Facebook, Katie McClure pointed out that although Louis C.K. had lost business opportunities, he is not known to have made an effort to address the problem of harassment. ''All he did was release one poorly written apology and have one movie canceled,'' she wrote. ''He hasn't done any work, made any donations, supported any women's rights, or done anything to make me think he's changed. He lied about these accusations for years and needs more consequences.''
And the comedian Sarah Lazarus underscored the brevity of Louis C.K.'s exile with a novel unit of measurement:
'Still doesn't get it'Some said the surprise show reflected a lack of consideration for the club's patrons '-- at least one unhappy audience member called the Comedy Cellar the next day to say he should have been told in advance and allowed to decide whether to attend '-- and drew a parallel between that obliviousness and the comedian's original offense.
''Informed consent still appears to be a remarkably fuzzy concept for him,'' tweeted Charlotte Clymer.
What about the women?Many argued that any sympathy extended to Louis C.K. was misdirected in light of the enduring backlash against the women he victimized.
''Talk to me about 'redemption' when women who are harassed by their colleagues get more than a headline and five seconds of sympathy if they're lucky,'' the culture writer Sady Doyle tweeted.
He's no 'Weinstein' or 'Cosby'But some came to the comedian's defense, arguing that he deserves a second chance.
On Facebook, Brendan O'Connell suggested that Louis C.K.'s acknowledged misconduct shouldn't make him a pariah on the scale of other #MeToo era offenders like Harvey Weinstein, who faces sexual assault charges, and Bill Cosby, who was found guilty of sexual assault.
''Welcome back, Louis!'' Mr. O'Connell wrote. ''Yea, you did some shameful things but you shouldn't be treated the same as Weinstein or Cosby. You fessed up immediately and took ownership.''
The prominent comedian and filmmaker Michael Ian Black tweeted a widely discussed call for charity, saying that people ''have to be allowed to serve their time and move on with their lives.''
That tweet prompted the writer Kara Brown to respond, in one of many such rebuttals from others, that the notion of time served was, in this case, not strictly warranted.
''It seems I missed the part when Louis CK 'served time,''' she wrote. ''I just remember him living quietly as a millionaire for a less than a year.''
Logged off: meet the teens who refuse to use social media | Society | The Guardian
Wed, 29 Aug 2018 16:19
F or 17-year-old Mary Amanuel, from London, it happened in Tesco. ''We were in year 7,'' she remembers, ''and my friend had made an Instagram account. As we were buying stuff, she was counting the amounts of likes she'd got on a post. 'Oooh, 40 likes. 42 likes.' I just thought: 'This is ridiculous.'''
Isabelle, an 18-year-old student from Bedfordshire who doesn't want to disclose her surname, turned against social media when her classmates became zombified. ''Everyone switched off from conversation. It became: 'Can I have your number to text you?' Something got lost in terms of speaking face to face. And I thought: 'I don't really want to be swept up in that.''' For 15-year-old Emily Sharp, from Staines in Surrey, watching bullying online was the final straw. ''It wasn't nice. That deterred me from using it.''
It is widely believed that young people are hopelessly devoted to social media. Teenagers, according to this stereotype, tweet, gram, Snap and scroll. But for every young person hunched over a screen, there are others for whom social media no longer holds such an allure. These teens are turning their backs on the technology '' and there are more of them than you might think.
While many of us have been engrossed in the Instagram lives of our co-workers and peers, a backlash among young people has been quietly boiling. One 2017 survey of British schoolchildren found that 63% would be happy if social media had never been invented. Another survey of 9,000 internet users from the research firm Ampere Analysis found that people aged 18-24 had significantly changed their attitudes towards social media in the past two years. Whereas 66% of this demographic agreed with the statement ''social media is important to me'' in 2016, only 57% make this claim in 2018. As young people increasingly reject social media, older generations increasingly embrace it: among the 45-plus age bracket, the proportion who value social media has increased from 23% to 28% in the past year, according to Ampere's data.
This is part of a wider trend. According to a study by US marketing firm Hill Holliday of Generation Z '' people born after 1995 '' half of those surveyed stated they had quit or were considering quitting at least one social media platform. When it comes to Gen Z's relationship to social media, ''significant cracks are beginning to show'', says the firm's Lesley Bielby.
She believes we will definitely see an increase in younger people quitting or substantially reducing their use. ''And as younger Gen Zers notice this behaviour among their older siblings and friends, they too will start to dial down their use of social media.''
As the first generation to grow up online, Gen Z never had to learn social media, or at least not exactly. They glided through every iteration: Facebook (2004), Twitter (2006), Instagram (2010) Snapchat (2011) in real time, effortlessly adopting each one. But a life lived in pixels from your earliest age is no easy thing.
''You start doing things that are dishonest,'' says Amanuel, who quit social media aged 16. ''Like Instagram: I was presenting this dishonest version of myself, on a platform where most people were presenting dishonest versions of themselves.''
Like Amanuel, Jeremiah Johnson, 18, from Luton, grew weary of the pressures of sustaining an online persona. ''It's a competition for who can appear the happiest,'' he says. ''And if you're not happy and want to vent about it on social media, you're attention-seeking.''
After being ''bugged'' by his friends to get Instagram (he had stopped using Facebook aged 16), Johnson joined. He lasted six months. ''If you're having a bad day and scrolling through it, you're constantly bombarded with pictures of people going to parties. Even if that's not an accurate portrayal of their lives, that's what you see. So I stopped using it. It became depressing. It was this competition of who's the happiest.'' He pauses. ''Participating in that is not something I'm interested in.''
Hyper-connected teens have been faced with a surfeit of clicks, retweets and likes '' and the dopamine rush of online validation '' since the neural pathways in their brains were formed.
''They're becoming overwhelmed with the responsibility of maintaining their social sites and with upholding the somewhat inflated persona many have created on these sites, where they are constantly seeking approval via the amount of likes they get for any given post,'' Bielby says.
''The people who are the most honest about themselves do not play the game of Instagram,'' Amanuel says. ''The game of Instagram is who can maximise their likes by being the most risque, outrageous or conformist as possible. I didn't want to play that game.''
At school, social media can be a brutal barometer of popularity. ''If you meet someone new and they ask for your Instagram and you only have 80 followers,'' says Sharp, ''they're going to think: 'You're not that popular', but if you have 2,000 followers they're going to be like: 'You're the most popular person in school.''' Sharp quit social media at 13. ''I'd rather not know what other people think of me.''
A desire to build authentic, offline friendships motivated some to quit. ''I'm so much better at real-life socialising now,'' says Amanuel. ''Not just those people you accept on a friend request who are friends of a friend.''
For Tyreke Morgan, 18, from Bristol, being a hard man to get hold of '' he has no social media presence at all '' has its advantages. ''Everyone goes through other people to find me,'' Morgan laughs, ''and when I hear that they're been trying to get hold of me I say: 'Great!' Why would I need 500 flakey friends?''
But when you are from a digitally native generation, quitting social media can feel like joining a monastery. Amanuel was recently asked by co-workers if she had Snapchat. ''I said no,'' Amanuel remembers, ''and I instantly heard, like, gasps. It was like I'd revealed something disgusting.'' She explained that she did have a Snapchat handle, but never used it. ''Relief came out of their eyes! It was really weird.''
Teenagers not ready to quit entirely are stepping back for a while. Dr Amanda Lenhart, who researches young people's online lives, conducted a survey of US teenagers, asking them about taking time off social media. ''We found that 58% of teenagers said they had taken at least one break from at least one social media platform. The most common reason? It was getting in the way of schoolwork or jobs, with more than a third of respondents citing this as their primary reason for leaving social media. Other reasons included feeling tired of the conflict or drama they could see unfolding among their peer group online, and feeling oppressed too by the constant firehose of information.''
Bielby agrees that young people are becoming more aware of the amount of time they waste online. Of the young people Hill Holliday surveyed who had quit or considered quitting social media, 44% did so, she says, in order to ''use time in more valuable ways''.
''I don't know how people doing their A-levels or GCSEs have the time for it,'' says Isabelle. ''They're constantly studying, but their only distraction is social media.'' Rather than get sucked into a ''mindless vortex of never-ending scrolling,'' as she puts it, when Isabelle isn't studying she prefers to be outdoors.
The fact that Gen Z have had their every move documented online since before they could walk, talk, or even control their bowels helps explain their antipathy to social media: it makes sense for them to strive for privacy, as soon as they reach the age when they have a choice over their online image.
''I've seen parents post pictures of their child's first potty online,'' says Amy Binns of the University of Central Lancashire. ''You think: 'Why are you doing this to your child? They wouldn't want this to be public.''
Gen Z has an interest in privacy that subtly sets them apart. ''Young people want to get away from the curtain-twitching village, where everyone knows everything about you,'' Binns says. So while today's teens spend a lot of time online, they don't actually share that much personal information. And when they do share, it's strategic. ''You're painting a picture of who you are and your image,'' says Binns. ''It's your own shop window or brand.''
''Framing a picture and posting it on there is not a five-minute thing,'' says Amanuel, explaining that any post will be well-thought-out in order to project a certain image and maximise likes. ''It takes hours of deliberation.''
''When social media started, we didn't really know what it was going to mean,'' says Binns. ''Young people are more aware of the value of privacy than we were 10 years ago.''
Amanuel says that the Cambridge Analytica story, with its exposure of widespread data harvesting, helped prompt her to get off social media, and many more young people seem to be turning against Facebook; on Tuesday, it was reported that the number of Facebook users aged 18 to 24 in Britain is expected to fall 1.8% this year.
Some of the teens I spoke to were concerned about how technologies such as Snap Map '' a Snapchat feature that tracks your friends geographically, in real time '' were spreading through their schools, and mistrustful of the privacy consequences of being surveilled by your followers wherever you go. ''Snap Map is this big thing with a lot of my friends, but there is a sense of privacy that is being breached as well,'' Isabelle says.
Teenagers are also educated about the ramifications of an offensive tweet, or explicit picture, as well as the health consequences of too much screen time. ''Young people are being taught in schools about sharing nudes and how tweets can travel around. They've seen the horror stories,'' says Binns.
Isabelle agrees. ''Constant screen time damages your ability to see, and it also causes internal damage, such as anxiety.'' Studies have shown that social media use can negatively affect mental wellbeing, and adolescents are particularly susceptible: one nationally representative survey of US 13- to 18-year-olds linked heavier social media use to depression and suicide, particularly in girls. And 41% of the Gen Z teens surveyed by Hill Holliday reported that social media made them feel anxious, sad or depressed.
But quitting social media can create new anxieties. ''Our research shows that the biggest fear of quitting or pausing social media is missing out,'' Bielby says. Some are more sanguine than others. ''Do I miss out on stuff?'' Morgan asks. ''Yeah, of course. People find it hard to keep in contact with me. They say: 'It would be easier if you had this or that.' But I don't think it's that hard to type in my number and send a text. You're just not willing to do it.''
Others struggle with the fear of missing out. ''It's like everyone in your friend group has gone to a party without telling you,'' Johnson says. At times, he questions himself. ''I second-guess myself a lot. There are some days I'm really convinced I want to reinstall it, not for myself, but because I want to appear normal.''
Still, refuseniks such as Johnson may not be outliers for ever. In a world in which everyone is online, renouncing social media is a renegade, countercultural move: as quietly punk as shaving your head or fastening your clothes with safety-pins. Morgan has become a svengali for classmates wanting to escape. ''My friends come to me and say: 'Tyreke, I don't have social media any more,' and I go: 'Why? I thought that's what you guys do.' And they say: 'Thanks to you, because of the things you said and the stuff you're doing.' It's quite cool.''
Quitting social media is a determined move: apps including Facebook and Instagram are designed to be addictive. ''Social media is so ingrained in teenage culture that it's hard to take it out. But when you do, it's such a relief,'' Amanuel says. She has received a lot of ''admiration'' from her peers for quitting. ''They wish they were able to log off. People feel like social media is a part of them and their identities as teenagers and something you need to do,'' she says. ''But I'm no less of a teenager because I don't use it.''
What's your trustworthiness according to Facebook? Find out! - EDRi
Wed, 29 Aug 2018 16:06
29 Aug 2018By Bits of Freedom
On 21 August 2018 it was revealed that Facebook rates the trustworthiness of its users in its attempt to tackle misinformation. But how does Facebook judge you, what are the consequences and'... how do you score? Ask Facebook by exercising your access right!
Your reputation is 0 or 1In an interview with the Washington Post, the product manager who is in charge of fighting misinformation at Facebook, said that one of the factors the company uses to determine if you're spreading ''fake news'', is a so-called ''trustworthiness score''. (Users are assigned a score of 0 or 1.) In addition to this score, Facebook apparently also uses many other indicators to judge its users. For example, it takes into account if you abuse the option to flag messages.
Lots of questionsThe likelihood of you spreading misinformation (whatever that means) appears to be decided by an algorithm. But how does Facebook determine a user's score? For which purposes will this score be used and what if the score is incorrect?
Facebook has objected to the description of this system as reputation rating. To the BBC a spokesperson responded: ''The idea that we have a centralised 'reputation' score for people that use Facebook is just plain wrong and the headline in the Washington Post is misleading.''
It's unclear exactly how the headline is misleading, because if you'd turn it into a question ''Is Facebook rating the trustworthiness of its users?'' the answer would be yes. In any event, the above questions remain unanswered. That is unacceptable, because Facebook is not just any old actor. Together with a handful of other tech giants, the company plays an important role in how we communicate and which information we send and receive. The decisions Facebook makes about you have impact. Therefore, assigning you a trustworthiness score comes with great responsibility.
Facebook has to share your score with youAt the very least, such a system should be fair and transparent. If mistakes are made, there should be an easy way for users to have those mistakes rectified. According to Facebook, however, this basic level of courtesy is not possible, because it could lead to people gaming the system.
However, with the new European privacy rules (GDPR) in force, Facebook cannot use this reason as an excuse for dodging these important questions and keeping its trustworthiness assessment opaque. As a Facebook user living in the EU, you have the right to access the personal data Facebook has about you. If these data are incorrect you have the right to rectify them.
Assuming that your trustworthiness score is the result of an algorithm crunching the data Facebook collects about you, and taking into account that this score can have a significant impact, you also have the right to receive meaningful information about the underlying logic of your score and you should be able to contest your score.
Send an access requestDo you live in the European Union and do you want to exercise your right to obtain your trustworthiness score? Send an access request to Facebook! You can send your request by post, email or by using Facebook's online form. To help you with exercising your access right, Bits of Freedom created a request letter for you. You can find it here.
Read more:Example of request letter to send by regular mail (.odt file download link)https://www.bof.nl/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/facebook-access-request-trustworthiness-assessment-physical-mail.odt
Example text to use for email / online form (.odt file download link)https://www.bof.nl/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/facebook-access-request-trustworthiness-assessment-form-or-email.odt
Don't make your community Facebook-dependent! (21.02.2018)https://edri.org/dont-make-your-community-facebook-dependent/
Press Release: ''Fake news'' strategy needs to be based on real evidence, not assumption (26.04.2018)https://edri.org/press-release-fake-news-strategy-needs-based-real-evidence-not-assumption/
(Contribution by David Korteweg, EDRi member Bits of Freedom, the Netherlands)
Nieuwe Nederlandse vertaling Mein Kampf bij de drukker - RTL Nieuws
Wed, 29 Aug 2018 09:37
Mein Kampf.(C) ANP
'Mijn Strijd'. Zo heet de nieuwe Nederlandse wetenschappelijke vertaling van Adolf Hitlers Mein Kampf. Het boek ligt vanaf vandaag bij de drukker. Vermoed wordt dat sommige boekhandels het boek wel op voorraad nemen, maar niet zichtbaar te koop zullen aanbieden.
Mein Kampf, waarin Hitler zijn fascistische en anti-semitische gedachtengoed openbaarde, was sinds de Tweede Wereldoorlog verboden om in Nederland te verkopen. Maar omdat het hier gaat om een wetenschappelijke vertaling, verwacht de uitgever geen problemen.
'Op een verantwoorde wijze Mein Kampf lezen'In 2016 verscheen de wetenschappelijke editie al in Duitsland, waarna de Nederlandse uitgever Promotheus besloot dat het ook in Nederland tijd was om de lezer 'op een verantwoorde wijze kennis te laten maken met het boek'.
Ook het feit dat het vaak in 'dubieuze edities' op internet te vinden is, speelde een rol. "In deze kritische uitgave wordt Mein Kampf niet alleen in de historische context geplaatst, maar worden ook de talloze mythen en leugens erin ontmaskerd", zegt de uitgeverij.
'Het is niet tegen te houden'Het boek ligt vanaf vandaag bij de drukker en zal over enkele dagen te koop zijn voor zo'n 50 euro. Veel weerstand lijkt er vooralsnog niet te zijn.
"Het boek is niet tegen te houden, dan is het vooral zaak om alles goed uit te leggen", zegt de directeur van het Centrum Informatie en Documentatie Isral (CIDI) Hanna Luden op de site van Prometheus. Ze doelt hiermee op het feit dat het kinderlijk eenvoudig is om de originele Mein Kampf op internet te vinden.
Meer op rtlnieuws.nl:
Prometheus wil verboden Mein Kampf in Nederland uitgevenVrijspraak galeriehouder na verkopen Mein KampfOM wil Wilders vrijspreken voor Mein Kampf-vergelijkingRTL Nieuws / ANP
Iraanse president Rohani onder vuur in parlement vanwege Amerikaanse sancties | De Volkskrant
Wed, 29 Aug 2018 09:31
Iraanse president Rohani arriveert bij het Iraanse parlement in Teheran, op 28 augustus. Foto AFPDe Iraanse president Hassan Rohani heeft dinsdag spitsroeden moeten lopen in het parlement. Het economisch beleid van de gematigde president ligt onder vuur, nu de gevolgen van de nieuwe Amerikaanse sancties voelbaar beginnen te worden. De conservatieven slijpen hun messen.
Het debat, waarin Rohani het zwaar te verduren had, was live te zien op de Iraanse televisie. De parlementarirs keurden in meerderheid het beleid van de president af inzake vier van de vijf economische dossiers die op de agenda stonden. Het was voor het eerst sinds Rohani's aantreden in 2013 dat hij door het parlement ter verantwoording was geroepen.
Het parlement heeft zondag de minister van Financin naar huis gestuurd. Eerder al moest de minister van Arbeid opstappen. Zeventig parlementarirs hebben een motie ondertekend waarin ook het vertrek van de minister van Industrie wordt geist. Het hoofd van de centrale bank is door de president ontslagen. Extra wrang voor de president was dat de conservatieven in het parlement niet eens de meerderheid hebben.
Sancties van TrumpRohani weet de verslechtering van de economische situatie aan de sancties die de Amerikaanse president Donald Trump heeft ingesteld. 'We kunnen niet toestaan dat een anti-Iraanse bende, verzameld in het Witte Huis, tegen ons samenzweert', zei hij. 'De mensen zijn niet bang voor de Verenigde Staten, ze zijn bang voor onze verdeeldheid.'
Rohani's verdediging werd echter verworpen door het parlement, dat meende dat de president en zijn team hebben gefaald vier grote problemen aan te pakken: werkloosheid, lage economische groei, de val van de rial (de Iraanse munt) en de smokkel. Alleen zijn beleid met betrekking tot de banksector ontsnapte de dans. Het parlement legde zich erbij neer dat de regering niet de middelen heeft iets te doen tegen de internationale bancaire sancties.
Rohani, vertegenwoordiger van de pragmatische stroming in de Iraanse politiek, werd vorig jaar met een ruime meerderheid (57 procent) van de stemmen herkozen. Veel kiezers geloofden in zijn belofte van een economische opleving, nadat hij in 2015 met de internationale gemeenschap een akkoord had gesloten over Irans nucleaire programma.
De komst van president Trump echter verstoorde dit scenario. Die trok zich dit voorjaar terug uit het internationale akkoord en stelde nieuwe sancties in. In november volgt een tweede ronde van Amerikaanse strafmaatregelen, die waarschijnlijk nog harder zal uitpakken. Washington stuurt erop aan de Iraanse olie-export terug te brengen naar nul.
Buitenlandse huiverDe dreiging van nieuwe Amerikaanse sancties alleen al heeft buitenlandse investeerders huiveriger gemaakt dan ooit. Ondernemingen die zaken doen met Iran, zullen volgens Washington worden gestraft door de VS. Vorige week maakte het Franse energiebedrijf Total bekend zich uit Iran terug te trekken. Het geleidelijk opheffen van internationale sancties na het sluiten van het nucleair akkoord had tot gevolg dat buitenlandse ondernemingen weer voorzichtig zaken gingen doen met en in Iran.
Voor de Iraanse bevolking echter had de verlichting van het sanctieregime nog geen merkbare gevolgen. De rial heeft dit jaar tweederde van zijn waarde verloren. Begin dit jaar werd in een reeks Iraanse steden gedemonstreerd tegen de economische malaise. Betogers riepen leuzen tegen Rohani en de Opperste Leider, ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
In het parlement stelde Rohani dinsdag dat die betogingen president Trump ertoe hebben aangezet de duimschroef tegen Iran aan te draaien. 'De protesten hebben Trump in de verleiding gebracht het kernakkoord op te zeggen', zei hij.
Welke stappen zullen volgen op de stemming dinsdag is niet duidelijk. Mogelijk stapt het parlement naar de rechter, met de aantijging dat de president met zijn wanbeleid de wet heeft overtreden. Waarnemers menen echter dat het parlement niet zal aansturen op afzetting van de president, waarover uiteindelijk ayatollah Khamenei zou moeten beslissen.
World's Leading Human Rights Groups Tell Google to Cancel Its China Censorship Plan
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 21:18
Leading human rights groups are calling on Google to cancel its plan to launch a censored version of its search engine in China, which they said would violate the freedom of expression and privacy rights of millions of internet users in the country.
A coalition of 14 organizations '-- including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, Access Now, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology, PEN International, and Human Rights in China '-- issued the demand Tuesday in an open letter addressed to the internet giant's CEO, Sundar Pichai. The groups said the censored search engine represent s ''an alarming capitulation by Google on human rights'' an d could result in the company ''directly contributing to, or [becoming] complicit in, human rights violations.''
The letter is the latest major development in an ongoing backlash over the censored search platform, code-named Dragonfly, which was first revealed by The Intercept earlier this month. The censored search engine would remove content that China's ruling Communist Party regime views as sensitive, such as information about political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest. It would ''blacklist sensitive queries'' so that ''no results will be shown'' at all when people enter certain words or phrases, according to confidential Google documents.
Google launched a censored search engine in China in 2006, but ceased operating the service in the country in 2010, citing Chinese government efforts to limit free speech, block websites, and hack Google's computer systems. The open letter released Tuesday asks Google to reaffirm the comm i tment it made in 2010 to no longer provide censored se arch in China.
''I t is difficult not to conclude that Google is now willing to compromise its principles.''The letter states: ''If Google's position has indeed changed, then this must be stated publicly, together with a clear explanation of how Google considers it can square such a decision with its responsibilities under international human rights standards and its own corporate values. Without these clarifications, it is difficult not to conclude that Google is now willing to compromise its principles to gain access to the Chinese market.''
The letter calls on Google to explain the steps it has taken to safeguard against human rights violations that could occur as a result of Dragonfly and raises concerns that the company will be ''enlisted in surveillance abuses'' because ''users' data would be much more vulnerable to [Chinese] government access.'' Moreover, the letter said Google should guarantee protections for whistl e blowers who speak out whe n they believe the company is not living up to its commitments on human rights. The whistleblowers ''have been crucial in bringing ethical concerns over Google's operations to public attention,'' the letter states. ''The protection of whistleblowers who disclose information that is clearly in the public interest is grounded in the rights to freedom of expression and access to information.''
Google has not yet issued any public statement about the China censorship, saying only that it will not address ''speculation about future plans.'' After four weeks of sustained reporting on Dragonfly, Google has not issued a single response to The Intercept and it has refused to answer dozens of questions from reporters on the issue. The company's press office did not reply to a request for comment on this story.
It is not only journalists, however, who Google has ignored in the wake of the revelations. Amnesty International researchers told The Intercept they set up a phone call with the company to discuss concerns about Dragonfly, but they were stonewalled by members of Google' s human rights policy team , who said they would not talk about ''leaks'' of information related to the Chinese censorship . The open letter slams Google's lack of public engagement on the matter, stating that the company's ''refusal to respond substantively to concerns over its reported plans for a Chinese search service falls short of the company's purported commitment to accountability and transparency.''
''This is a world none of us have ever lived in before.'' Google is a member of the Global Network Initiative, or GNI, a digital rights organization that works with a coalition of companies, human rights groups, and academics. All m embers of the GNI agree to implement a set of principles on freedom of expression and privacy, which appear to prohibit complicity in the sort of broad censorship that is widespread in China. The principles state that member companies must ''respect and work to protect the freedom of expression rights of users'' when they are confronted with government demands to ''remove content or otherwise limit access to communications, ideas and information in a manner inconsistent with internationally recognized laws and standards.''
Following the revelations about Dragonfly, sources said , members of the GNI's board of directors '' which includes representatives from Human Rights Watch, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and the Committee to Protect Journalists '' c onfronted Google representatives in a conference call about its censorship plans. But the Google officials were not responsive to the board's concerns or forthcoming with information about Dragonfly, which caus ed frustration and anger within the GNI.
Every two years, members of the GNI are assessed for compliance with the group's principles. One source said that Google's conduct is due to be reviewed this year, and it is likely that its Chinese censorship plans will be closely scrutinized through that process. If the company is found to have violated the GNI's principles its status as a member of the organization could potentially be revoked.
Inside Google, the company's intense secrecy on Dragonfly has exacerbated tensions between employees and managers. Rank-and-file staff have circulated a letter saying that the project represents a moral and ethical crisis, and they have told bosses that they ''urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table, and a commitment to clear and open processes.''
Pichai, Google's CEO, told employees during a meeting on Aug ust 16 that he would ''be transparent as we get closer to actually having a plan of record'' and portrayed Dragonfly as an ''exploratory'' project. However, documents seen by The Intercept show that the project has been in development since early 2017, and the infrastructure to launch it has already been built . Last month, Google's search engine chief Ben Gomes told employees working on Dragonfly that they should have the censored search engine ready to be ''brought off the shelf and quickly deployed.''
Gomes informed the employees working on Dragonfly that the company was aiming to release the censored search platform within six to nine months, but that the schedule could change suddenly due to an ongoing U.S. trade war with China, which had slowed down Google's negotiations with officials in Beijing, whose approval Google needs to launch the search engine . Sources said Gomes joked about the unpredictability of President Donald Trump while discussing the potential date the company would be able to roll out the censored search.
''This is a world none of us have ever lived in before,'' Gomes said, according to the sources. '' We need to be focused on what we want to enable, and then when the opening happens, we are ready for it.''
Louis C.K. did a comedy show for the first time in months - Vox
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 15:07
Celebrities accused of sexual misconduct aren't being ''ruined'' by accusers. Christina Animashaun/Vox; Getty Images Louis C.K. performed at a New York comedy club on Sunday night, a return to the stage 10 months after he admitted to routinely masturbating in front of disgusted women, some of them colleagues in the comedy industry who feared the professional repercussions of saying anything about it.
He's the latest high-profile man to reemerge after less than a year locked up in #MeToo jail '-- the place wealthy and powerful men go to hide out while the storm blows over. Critics of the #MeToo movement compare it to death.
''You get accused, you're obliterated,'' Barry Diller told Maureen Dowd in an interview. ''Charlie Rose ceases to exist.''
Charlie Rose, of course, still exists. He's been living in his waterfront home since the world learned that he liked to walk around with an open bathrobe in front of the women who worked for him. He's reportedly been in initial talks to get back into TV.
The great fear among #MeToo skeptics '-- that men will be unfairly ruined for their own behavior '-- is not coming true. The time in exile endured by men who are credibly accused of wrongdoing is spent in lavish digs, it's short, and it's all the penance some of their supporters believe they deserve. Many of them have already been released.
Abusers are making a comebackBill O'Reilly, who racked up tens of millions of dollars in settlements with women (including one for $32 million), is in talks to return to cable news.
Back in 2016, he was spotted eating breakfast in town with Matt Lauer, who also went on to serve time in #MeToo jail after women accused of him appalling behavior at NBC. One woman said Lauer would lock the door to his office by hitting a button under his desk so no one could come in during these incidents. (NBC claims the button is not as bad as it sounds.)
Lauer, too, appears to be inching his way back into New York life after he was ousted from NBC when eight women accused him of years of harassment and serious abuse.
Four months after Mario Batali apologized for decades of sexual misconduct, he started taking meetings in New York to figure out a comeback. (Since attempting a comeback, things have gotten worse for Batali. The Boston Police are investigating him.)
#MeToo jail is not jail Wealthy men have been fired and exiled. But to call it serious punishment is a stretch.
C.K. lost his deal with FX. Lauer and Rose were fired. O'Reilly hung on until reporters found out that Fox News knew about a $32 million check he cut to a woman who accused him of harassment. They all laid low, pretty much taking the greatest vacation none of the rest of us will ever be able to afford.
O'Reilly escaped to his mansion in Montauk, nestled among nature preserves and overlooking a bluff. O'Reilly bulldozed a historic cottage when he bought the property in 2014, to the dismay of his neighbors. According to the New York Daily News, he hired the developer Farrell Building Co., known for its McMansions, to replace it.
Lauer, meanwhile, said after he was caught and fired that ''repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul-searching and I'm committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full-time job.''
Lauer, apparently, defines ''a lot of time'' as four months, doing his soul-searching at one of his compounds in the Hamptons:
Strongheart Manor in North Haven, previously listed on the real estate site Corcoran for more than $30 million, is where Lauer has been self-confined.Corcoran.com Lauer bought the 14,000-square-foot property from Richard Gere for $33 million in 2016. His #MeToo prison cell overlooks the Peconic Bay and includes 12 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, a 60-foot heated swimming pool, a private 240-foot dock, and an ''island-inspired'' teahouse, whatever that means.
The Strongheart Manor was advertised on the real estate site Corcoran as a 6.3-acre gated compound offering complete privacy, serenity, and tranquility.Corcoran Charlie Rose skipped town last year after he was accused of walking around naked or with a bathrobe open in front of his underlings for decades.
''Ceases to exist,'' as Diller said to Dowd, means that Rose isn't spending as much time glad-handing in Manhattan restaurants. Instead, he's retreated to his ''sanctuary,'' a large house outside New York City, in a town called Bellport on Long Island. He enjoys panoramic views of the water from his house and can see Fire Island in the distance.
James Cury wrote for the Hollywood Reporter that Rose has made ''occasional, mostly disastrous forays into Manhattan.''
Charlie Rose took sanctuary in his waterfront home in Bellport, New York, after he was accused by multiple women who worked for him of walking around in an open bathrobe.James Cury #MeToo perpetrators don't really take responsibility There's a pantomime that plays out in many of these situations. Credible accusations come to light. The accused says something vaguely apologetic. But they do not really take any kind of responsibility. In fact, they will try their best to squelch the stories in the first place. Several have even hired the same lawyer.
Even Harvey Weinstein pleaded for ''a second chance'' 10 days after the New Yorker and the New York Times dropped damning reports detailing accusations that the Hollywood mogul carried out decades of abuse, including rape. ''I'm hanging in. I'm trying my best,'' Weinstein said to a TMZ reporter on video. ''I'm not doing okay, but I'm trying. I gotta get help. We all make mistakes. Second chance, I hope.''
When forgiveness didn't materialize in a week and a half, Weinstein retreated to the desert, taking a trip to a luxury Arizona rehab facility where he spent $58,000 on a 45-day sex addiction treatment plan. He didn't complete the program, which had stringent requirements like waking up sort of early to meditate. The facility, called the Meadows, offers patients a swimming pool and beautiful views. (Kevin Spacey also paid the Meadows a visit for sex addiction after 15 accusers came forward with accounts of abuse and assault by the actor.)
The Meadows, a residential drug rehabilitation center in Wickenburg, Arizona.Will Powers/Getty Images In November, Croc-wearing celebrity chef Mario Batali apologized directly for how he's treated women for decades. ''My behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility,'' Batali wrote in an email newsletter message. But he also included a recipe for cinnamon rolls, which pretty much negated the whole thing.
He was seen walking around Manhattan 10 days after the accusations surfaced. Since then, it's hard to say exactly where he's spent his time. He considered flying to Rwanda and Greece to help refugees (no word on that). He considered a move to the Amalfi Coast, the New York Times reports. Then there's speculation that he went to his Michigan retreat, a waterfront home overlooking the Grand Traverse Bay. Batali reportedly spends his summers there making pizza in his outdoor wood-fired oven.
The Leelanau Peninsula, near Traverse City, Michigan, where Mario Batali has a home.Jeff Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images They want us to believe they paid their debt These high-profile bad actors want us to believe they did real time. Many of their allies say their sentences are as bad as it gets. ''Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,'' President Trump wrote in a supportive note on Twitter, referring to staffer Rob Porter, who lost his job in the White House when credible accusations that he abused both of his ex-wives and a former girlfriend became public.
But the fact is, losing a job and relying on money, accumulated power, and powerful friends to continue to live in luxury while plotting your return is not the same as real jail.
For example, unlike Lauer or Rose's #MeToo jail, in real jail, there are no ocean views:
A real jail cell is different from a #MeToo jail cell. Shutterstock And in general, you stay imprisoned much longer. In New York, for example, if you're, theoretically, convicted of a sex crime, you could face up to 25 years in prison. One instance of a misdemeanor offense, like unwanted grabbing or pinching, could land you in jail for up to a year.
And you don't get to decide to slip out of prison to eat at a nice restaurant or take a walk through New York City.
But unlike in criminal cases, where a rubric is supposed to be applied to behavior to determine the punishment, we've looked at these cases as unique examples. Each man's behavior is assessed on the specifics of his situation and the question of whether it merits him being fired.
We ended up here in large part because of the role the media played in starting this long-overdue national conversation. #MeToo emerged alongside investigative reporting that outed individual men. The media did its job. Reporters gave us stories that exposed and humanized a rampant problem.
But the media isn't designed to execute large-scale changes to tackle systemic problems. That's the big question about what's next for the #MeToo movement. As my colleague Anna North writes, ''Talk of comebacks at this early date risks replicating one of the flaws critics saw in earlier phases of the #MeToo conversation: an excessive focus on individual men to the exclusion of the systemic factors that allowed them to harass colleagues with impunity.''
Until we start to rely on regulators, the legal system, and even employers to see the issue of sexual harassment as a serious, deeply rooted, and structural problem that requires significant change, we'll continue to find ourselves gawking at individual men. It'll be those few powerful men and their allies who'll get to define what the punishment for these offenses should be. They'll call it exile. They'll call it banishment. They'll try to claim #MeToo jail is enough.
It won't come close to real jail. And it won't solve the problem.
German rival protests end in violence - BBC News
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 14:57
Several people were injured as objects were hurled on both sides of the protests about the status of migrants in east Germany.
Read more: Protesters face off in tense German city
Iran Expected to Turn to Regulation After Ineffective Crypto Ban - BitcoinNews.com
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 14:55
Comments from the Central Bank of Iran's Deputy for Innovative Technologies Nasser Hakimi indicate that Iran will legalize and regulate crypto activity sometime in September 2018, putting an end to an ineffective ban that started in April.
On 22 April, the Central Bank of Iran declared that all Iranian financial institutions are prohibited from facilitating crypto trading or any other crypto activity. The official explanation for the crypto ban was to prevent money laundering and terrorism but Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, admitted that the ban was to prevent capital outflows amid a worsening hyperinflation situation in Iran. This currency crisis is partially the result of the abrupt ending of the Iran Nuclear Deal, leading to progressively more intense international sanctions.
Crypto exchanges operating in Iran briefly halted trading after the announcement of the ban but within two weeks resumed operations. Additionally, peer-to-peer trading on Localbitcoins and other platforms greatly increased, rendering the ban ineffective. Iranians mostly disregarded it and bought as much crypto as they wanted, especially since it was one of the only safe harbors in the current economic storm.
Cryptocurrency is inherently unstoppable due to its decentralized nature. It is impossible for any government to stop Bitcoin if its citizens really want to use it. Iran reportedly went as far as using sophisticated technology to block crypto-related web traffic even if people were using VPNs. The government may now be realizing the futility of trying to prevent the use of crypto, deciding that legalizing and regulating crypto would allow some control over the market.
The Iranian government has allegedly been developing a national cryptocurrency during the ban. Some see it as a way to possibly circumvent international sanctions, which have prevented the country from using standard international financial infrastructure. Iran is expected to launch an official cryptocurrency backed by its native fiat currency the rial (IRR) before winter.
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Can Army Futures Command Overcome Decades Of Dysfunction? Breaking Defense - Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 14:52
The head of Army Futures Command, Gen. John ''Mike'' Murray (left), and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley (right), formally unfolded the new command's colors in Austin.
ARMY S&T CONFERENCE: How broken is the procurement system the new Army Futures Command was created to fix? It's not just the billions wasted on cancelled weapons programs. It's also the months wasted because, until now, there has not been one commander who can crack feuding bureaucrats' heads together and make them stop bickering over, literally, inches.
''I have not always been an Army Futures Command fan,'' retired Lt. Gen. Tom Spoehr told the National Defense Industrial Association conference here. But as he thought about his own decades in Army acquisition, he's come around.
Lt. Gen. (ret.) Thomas Spoehr
How bad could things get? When he was working in the Army resourcing office (staff section G-8), Spoehr recalled, the Army signals school at Fort Gordon wanted a new radio test kit that could fit in a six-inch cargo pocket. The radio procurement program manager, part of an entirely separate organization, reported back there was nothing on the market under eight inches. The requirements office insisted on six inches, the acquisition office insisted they had no money to develop something smaller than the existing eight-inchers, and memos shot back and forth for months. At last, Spoehr warned both sides that if they didn't come to some agreement, he'd kill the funding. Suddenly Fort Gordon rewrote the requirement from ''fit in a cargo pocket'' to ''cargo pouch'' and the procurement people could go buy an eight-inch kit.
That kind of disconnected dithering is what Army Futures Command is intended to prevent. ''I had the money, but nobody really had control of all of this,'' Spoehr said. As a result, he said, ''we probably spent six months trading memos back and forth on the size of the radio frequency test kit.''
Multiplying that by thousands of requirements over hundreds of systems, and the wasted time and money gets pretty bad. But what's often worse is when the requirements are unrealistic and no one pushes back. Most notoriously ,Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki demanded easily airlifted Future Combat Systems vehicles that weighed less than 20 tons but had the combat power of a 60-ton M1 Abrams tank. The designs eventually grew to 26 tons, and the performance requirements came down, but by then FCS had lost the confidence of both Congress and Defense Secretary Bob Gates, who canceled it in 2009. It was another casualty of overly ambitious requirements drawn up by staff officers in isolation from the people who'd actually have to build them. Army Futures Command is structured to force those two groups to talk to each other from the start.
Army slide showing the elements of the (later canceled) Future Combat System
''I Was Part Of The Problem''
Admittedly, Future Combat Systems and other cancelled programs were victims of Pentagon-wide budget cuts as well as uniquely Army dysfunctions, Spoehr emphasized. The service has also had successes, he said, especially in fielding urgently needed equipment to Afghanistan and Iraq.
So after a career struggling to make the current system work, ''when I first heard about Army Futures Command, perhaps like you, I was like, 'there's nothing wrong with the system, we just need to push harder and do better,''' Spoehr admitted with a Freudian slip, ''because I have been a prisoner '-- a participant in Army modernization for as long as I can remember.''
There's plenty in Spoehr's career to be proud of, but, he said frankly, ''looking back, I can see points in time where I was part of the problem.''
Google Car
Sometimes it takes a fresher perspective. Spoehr once accompanied a senior official on what's become the ritual Pentagon pilgrimage to Silicon Valley. During one meeting at Google, Spoehr lamented how much worse the Army was at innovating. Everyone in the room agreed '-- except for one ex-Army captain who'd joined Google after multiple combat tours. In his experience, the former officer said, Army soldiers on the front line innovated constantly, trying out new tactics and new technologies, particularly to counter roadside bombs. In his experience, the young veteran told Spoehr, it was Google that was less innovative than the Army.
''There are ways to be innovative in the Army,'' Spoehr summed up. But you have to protect the innovators from the institutional culture. You can isolate them organizationally, he said, like the Rapid Equipping Force at Fort Belvoir, just half an hour from the Pentagon but independent of the bureaucracy. Or you can isolate them physically, he said, by sheer distance. That doesn't require deploying them to Afghanistan or Iraq to innovate under fire, like the young captain, he said: ''You can send them some place else like Austin.''
Austin, of course, is where Army Futures Command officially stood up its headquarters just last Friday.
''Totally Focused On The Future''
Futures Command is the Army's biggest reorganization in 40 years. One key component of it is brand-new: the eight Cross Functional Teams created last fall. Each CFT pull together experts in technology, requirements, and acquisition from disparate bureaucracies and put them in one room under one combat-hardened commander to solve a particular high-profile problem, like long-range missiles or armored vehicles.
Gen. John Murray, first chief of Army Futures Command, speaks at its formal activation Friday in Austin.
But much of Army Futures Command is just a new leader for existing organizations to report to. The new commander in Austin, Gen. John ''Mike'' Murray, will take over the Army's in-house research, development, and engineering labs (RDECOM) from Army Materiel Command (AMC), whose main focus is maintaining and sustaining current equipment. Murray will also take over the service's in-house think-tank on future warfare, the Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC), from Training & Doctrine Command (TRADOC), whose main focus is training and educating the current force. The idea is to extract the future-focused fragments of the Army from organizations preoccupied with day-to-day demands and instead put them under a commander whose only mission is to think about the long term.
Gen. James McConville
''It's the first organization that is totally focused on the future,'' the Army's Vice-Chief of Staff, Gen. James McConville, said of Army Futures Command. ''For the last 16, 17 years we've been focused on combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we've been focused on the present. When you focus on the present you tend to incrementally improve the force'...not getting those leap-ahead technologies that we know we need.''
''We're going to have operators, technologists, and acquisition professionals working together,'' McConville told the NDIA conference. ''We're seeing this happen very quickly already with our Cross Functional Teams.''
That said, while RDECOM and ARCIC will report to Army Futures Command, their people aren't physically moving to Austin, which would be expensive and uproot them from existing infrastructure. Even so, the change will be disruptive at first, warned the Army's civilian acquisition chief, Bruce Jette.
Bruce Jette
''The benefit is'... now really we've an organization focused on the future,'' Jette told the NDIA conference. ''The difficulty is that it takes so much to put together an organization in place that you kind of stall (other efforts).'' It'll take ''six or 12 months'' to work out how the Army labs will need to change, he estimated.
But change is necessary, Jette said: ''There are great people in the lab system, there are great facilities in the labs, (but) how we use them sometimes doesn't capitalize on those capabilities.''
The same is true at Training & Doctrine Command. With soldiers dying to guerrillas and terrorists since 9/11, TRADOC has gotten pretty good at training for irregular warfare in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. But it had largely neglected great-power conflict, which roared back onto the agenda after Russia invaded Crimea in 2014.
The Army's M1 Abrams tank and other mainstay weapons systems were developed in the 1970s and fielded in the 1980s, during the last great period of reform.
Back To The Future?
The last time the Army had to shift gears and play catch-up on this scale was in 1973, the year the US military both pulled out of Vietnam and saw Israelis using US equipment get badly mauled by Soviet-armed Arabs. The reorganization that followed created the current ruling trinity of Training & Doctrine Command, Army Materiel Command, and Army Forces Command. That troika laid the technological and intellectual foundation for revival in the 1970s, then built a new and better army with Reagan buildup funds.
Maj. Gen. Bil Hix
But after 1986, recalled retired Maj. Gen. Bill Hix, the structure began to fall apart. The Soviet threat lost its urgency before fading away entirely, and the big three commands began to lose their close connections to each other and to Army headquarters in the Pentagon. ''(With) the atomization of that community, that singularity of purpose, we wound up with individual organizations that were variously connected to each other,'' he told the NDIA conference. ''Authorities and responsibilities became increasingly ambiguous over time.''
Strong leaders who worked well together could still bridge the gaps and get things done, but that happened in spite of the system, as ''an accident of personality,'' Hix said. ''In the absence of that accident, we have bled money and chased after shiny objects.''
''The fundamental idea of AFC is to regain that vertical and horizontal integration'' that we had in the 1970s after the last big reform, Hix said.
Army Secretary Mark Esper checks out a helicopter cockpit during a visit to Fort Knox, Ky.
Success will require continued focus from the top. The Army's current crew of senior leaders '-- Secretary Mark Esper, Undersecretary Ryan McCarthy, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Vice-Chief McConville, and senior acquisition executive Jette '-- are working closely together and paying ''unprecedented'' attention to fixing acquisition, Spoehr said. That includes not only creating Army Futures Command and the Cross Functional Teams, he said, but also reviving the Army Requirements Oversight Council, which now actually holds frequent high-level meetings on key programs rather than just passing memos back and forth.
But new leaders will take over long before today's reforms bear fruit by delivering new weapons to frontline units. ''That level of interest has to be maintained,'' Spoehr said. ''Otherwise this train could very easily go off the track.''
James Fetzer: In Solidarity with Alex Jones '' Sandy Hook Impostors seek Social Media Giants Protection for their Criminal Acts '' Public Intelligence Blog
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 14:46
James Fetzer: In Solidarity with Alex Jones '' Sandy Hook Impostors seek Social Media Giants Protection for their Criminal Acts
Mr. President,
In an astonishing exhibition of chutzpah, fake Sandy Hook parent imposters are seeking protection from exposure on the fantastic ground they are being subjected to harassment and bullying, which, under the circumstances, is completely absurd. The Sandy Hook hoax made them rich beyond belief, splitting between $28-130,000,000 in donations from sympathetic but gullible Americans who mistakenly believed that they had lost children''a myth massively propagated by the mainstream media.
Their appeals to Facebook have nothing to do with harassment or bullying but a desperate attempt to ward off their exposure through the social media. The mainstream has already been co-opted by the Deep State, which has been sponsoring fake school shootings in a determined effort to constrict and eventually abolish American's right to keep and bear arms under the 2nd Amendment''where a nation with 100,000,000 armed citizens cannot be dominated by the forces of tyranny. (See my video below.)
They took an abandoned school and used it as the stage to conduct a two-day FEMA drill. There was a rehearsal on the 13th, going LIVE on the 14th. We have proven they faked the kids out of photographs of older kids when they were younger. Some ''parents'' may have used photos of themselves as children. Wolfgang has produced photos of eight of the girls all grown up and looking very much alive, where he has affidavits from 3 of them (now high school graduates), who want to regain control over their lives.
You may think of Sandy Hook as a primer on how to make obscene amounts of money by staging faux acts of terrorism The 26 fake families spilt the donations and pocketed at least $1,000,000 apiece. The Newtown School Board was given a grant of $50,000,000 for a new K-4 elementary school, even though the average cost across country is only $7,000,000. With the help of their friends in the media, including Facebook, they are going to continue to profit by their criminal acts of fraud and of theft by deception.
As Wolfgang observed during our conversation on ''The Power Hour'' (24 January 2018), children from Sandy Hook were featured at the Super Bowl that year and no doubt vast sums were donated on their behalf, but no one knows what happened to the money. The Super Bowl Program did not identify them by name and an injunction has been issued to prevent any of them from being interviewed about their participation. The perps are using the law to protect and benefit themselves. That's the American way!
Very respectfully,James Fetzer
References:
Christopher Carbone, ''Facebook slammed by Sandy Hook parents over lies, hoax claims'' (25 July 2018),
Jim Fetzer, ''The 2nd Amendment and the Politics of Gun Control'' (video, 28 May 2018),
Jim Fetzer and Wolfgang Halbig, ''The Power Hour: Jim Fetzer, Guest Host'' (24 January 2018)
Jim FetzerJim Fetzer, a former Marine Corps officer, is Distinguished McKnight Professor Emeritus on the Duluth Campus of the University of Minnesota. He co-founded moonrockbooks.com with Mike Palecek, when they discovered amazon.com was banning their books. He has published widely on conspiracies, including ''False Flags on Five Fronts: Sandy Hook, Boston, Charlottesville, Las Vegas and JFK'', ''How to Spot a 'False Flag': A Sampler of Representative Events'', and ''The Parkland Puzzle: How the Pieces fit Together'', at 153news.net, BitChute, real.video and other secure sites.
DOC (2 Pages): Fetzer Sandy Hook Imposters Seek Censorship Protection
See Especially:
Memoranda for the President on Sandy Hook: Is FEMA A False Flag Fake News Terrorist Node? Should #GoogleGestapo Be Closed Down?
See Also:
Memoranda for the President on 9/11: Time for the Truth '-- False Flag Deep State Truth!
Dr. Eowyn: In Solidarity with Alex Jones '-- Wolfgang Halbig has stunning evidence Sandy Hook was moving to Chalk Hill months before 'massacre' '' Public Intelligence Blog
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 14:16
Dr. Eowyn: In Solidarity with Alex Jones '-- Wolfgang Halbig has stunning evidence Sandy Hook was moving to Chalk Hill months before 'massacre'
Mr. President,
We have been told that after, the massacre on 14 December 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School (SHES) relocated to an empty school in neighboring Monroe, CT '-- Chalk Hill Middle School at 375 Fan Hill Rd. '-- until a swanky new SHES was rebuilt with the $50 million from Connecticut. But Wolfgang Halbig has now acquired five proofs that SHES had moved to Chalk Hill months before the massacre:
An email exchange between the principal and the school custodian on moving the school.An invoice from Dean Foods of a food delivery to SHES at Chalk Hill in Monroe.A spreadsheet listing invoices of Dean Foods deliveries to SHES in Monroe.A Dean Foods employee email confirming food deliveries were sent to SHES in Monroe.A USAC form indicating that services were provided Chalk Hill Middle School, even though that specific school has not been used by the Monroe School District since June 2011.(1) Email on moving SHES
On 19 July 2012, SHES principal Dawn Hochsprung exchanged conspiratorial-toned (''mum's the word'') email with school custodian Kevin Anzellotti, bemoaning the moving of SHES and a screenshot thereof:
Here are the words as extracted from the screen shot:
Hochsprung: ''How does this look? NOT set in stone! I have to notify teachers after we meet next Thursday then we can get moving. Of course, they will need to come in and pack'....This is going to be really hard!''
Anzellotti: ''I got it and it is what it is it's bad for us but I could not what [sic] to be in your shoes as your [sic] telling them but all still have jobs I guess that's a good thing mums the word.'' Emphasis added.
(2) Food service invoice
Dean Foods is a national food and beverage company and the largest dairy company in the United States. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, the company has 66 manufacturing facilities and distributes its products across all 50 states. On April 26, 2012, 8 months before the alleged massacre, Dean Foods prepared an invoice of an order from Sandy Hook Elementary School for ''American/Continental'' style cuisine. Strangely, the food was to be sent not to 12 Dickinson Drive, Sandy Hook, CT 06482, but to the address of Chalk Hill Middle School at 375 Fan Hill Rd., Monroe, CT. Here's a screenshot of the invoice:
(3) Dean Foods Spreadsheet
Here is a screenshot of a Spreadsheet listing 15 invoices from 1 September 2012 to 15 December 2012, for food deliveries to SHES at 375 Fan Hill Road in Monroe, which confirms the change in location:
(4) Email from Dean Foods Employee
Halbig received the invoice and spreadsheet from X, an employee of Dean Foods. I have verified the identity of X on LinkedIn, but I'm not revealing X's name to protect his/her life. Halbig fully intends to introduce X's emails, the invoice and spreadsheet as evidence should a malicious lawsuit against him go to trial. Below is the email from X confirming that the food orders for SHES were being delivered to the Chalk Hill Middle School address in Monroe, CT. I've blacked out the sender's name:
(5) USAC Form 471
After reading the above, one might well ask: If Sandy Hook Elementary School was moved to Chalk Hill Middle School in Monroe, what happened to Chalk Hill's own teachers and students? The answer: Chalk Hill Middle School has also been empty since June 2011! (See news report in CTPost of 30 April 2017.)
Though officially empty since June 2011, Chalk Hill Middle School curiously applied for broadband and Internet connectivity services from Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), as indicated in an USAC Application Form 471 on 13 March 2012. All U.S. public schools and libraries are required by the FCC to use USAC Form 471. Obviously, if Chalk Hill were not in use, there would have been no point:
Nothing about Sandy Hook turns out to be as it was presented to the public. The school itself was closed by 2008 and there were no students there. It was refurbished to serve as the stage for a two-day FEMA drill, for which we even have the manual. Anticipating they would have to be able to account for moving their classes to another location following the fake massacre, they set up Chalk Hill for that role, never in their dreams imagining that anyone would take the time and effort to sort out such an elaborate fraud.
Very respectfully,Dr. Eowyn
References:
John Burgeson, ''Monroe: What to do about Chalk Hill Middle School?'', Connecticut Post (30 April 2017)
Dr. Eowyn, ''Wolfgang Halbig has stunning evidence that Sandy Hook Elementary School was closed months before 'massacre''' (18 June 2018) My blog was abruptly removed on 15 August 2018, no doubt because of posts like this one.
Dr. Eowyn, Ph.D., professor emeritus of political science at a U.S. university and author of university press books and countless peer-reviewed articles, is the owner of the blog, Fellowship of the Minds (FOTM), where more than 80 articles of original research on Sandy Hook had already been archived before the publication of Nobody Died at Sandy Hook (2015).. In the early morning hours of August 15, 2018, WordPress arbitrarily and without forewarning took down FOTM, blocking Dr. Eowyn and her readers from accessing the blog. Five days after the site was taken down, WordPress gave the reason as the vague and all-purpose ''we no longer feel that your account aligns with our Terms of Service and User Guidelines. As such, you will no longer be permitted to use WordPress.com.''
Phi Beta Iota: Subsequent investigation determined that one persistent fake parent from Sandy Hook was able to get a New York Times article done that initimidated the founder of WordPress.com into closing down any site showing photos of the fake Sandy Hook victims under the pretense of invading the privacy of minors. There will come a day when all those complicit in the US Government cover-up of any false flag operation can be sued for damages '-- but first an honest government must be restored.
Reference:
Mongoose, ''WordPress.com Joins #GoogleGestapo, Censoring Sandy Hook False Flag Material,'' Phi Beta Iota Public Intelligence Blog, 18 August 2018.
DOC (5 Pages): Eowyn Sandy Hook Staff and Students Moved
See Especially:
Memoranda for the President on Sandy Hook: Is FEMA A False Flag Fake News Terrorist Node? Should #GoogleGestapo Be Closed Down?
See Also:
Memoranda for the President on 9/11: Time for the Truth '-- False Flag Deep State Truth!
Court case puts PRISM back in the spotlight -- FCW
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 14:00
Privacy
Court case puts PRISM back in the spotlight By Derek B. JohnsonAug 27, 2018The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear arguments on a long-running Fourth Amendment case that has broad implications for digital privacy and how much freedom the government has to use national security surveillance programs targeted at foreigners to later prosecute American citizens and residents in unrelated crimes.
The case deals with Agron Hasbajrami, an Albanian native and New York City resident arrested in 2011 and charged with providing material support to terrorist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Hasbajrami pleaded guilty to a single count but later appealed when the government informed him that it intended to offer evidence ''derived from acquisition of foreign intelligence information conducted pursuant to the [2008 FISA Amendments Act.]''
While monitoring the communications of a Pakistani target under Section 702 surveillance authorities, the National Security Agency intercepted email communications between the target and Hasbajrami. The FBI then used the content of those emails to build the government's case against Hasbajrami. Lawyers for Hasbajrami have sought to suppress those emails as evidence, arguing that they were collected and used without a search warrant and violated his Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
The practice of allowing the FBI to search the digital communications of U.S. persons (citizens and residents) collected under a surveillance program designed to target foreigners, has been the subject of intense scrutiny and legal action. Civil liberties organizations have called the practice an end run around traditional Fourth Amendment and search warrant legal protections.
Hasbajrami's case touches on the heart of those complaints. The government claims that since it was monitoring a foreign target, the collection of Hasbajrami's emails was ''incidental'' and thus does not constitute a warrantless search that violated his rights, an argument previous courts have upheld.
However, Fourth Amendment legal experts have sharply questioned those findings. Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Brennan Center for Justice's liberty and national security program, believes the government and previous courts have misinterpreted existing case law around incidental collection, giving law enforcement far broader powers to read and use the digital communications of U.S. persons without satisfying Fourth Amendment scrutiny.
''In short, [previous] cases carefully limit the communications that government may 'incidentally' obtain even with a warrant, to ensure that the material acquired will relate to a crime supported by a probable cause showing,'' Goitein wrote in a piece for Just Security. ''The notion that they support unlimited 'incidental' collection in cases where no warrant exists -- indeed, where no crime has even been specified -- is specious.''
Orin Kerr, a digital surveillance expert and law professor at the University of Southern California, echoed those concerns, writing on Twitter Aug. 25 that he hopes the Second Circuit court doesn't follow the ''very weird'' precedent set by previous courts, which found that whom the government intended to surveil matters more than whom it actually surveilled and collected communications from. Essentially, Kerr argued that it is irrelevant if the government is technically targeting a foreigner when it collects the communications of U.S. persons. What matters is what information the government collects and what constitutional rights the person attached to that information has.
''In Fourth Amendment law, the concept of 'targeting' doesn't exist,'' Kerr wrote back in 2016 while discussing a similar case. ''According to the Supreme Court, the Fourth Amendment uses objective rules. Fourth Amendment law focuses what the government does, not what the government is thinking when it does it.''
The case may also impact whether and how law enforcement agencies like the FBI are allowed to search and use communications to and from American citizens under the program. The NSA collects billions of communications under the program, dubbed PRISM, of which an undetermined number involve U.S. citizens. Those communications, collected under the auspices of fighting terrorism, are then stored in a shared database that the FBI and CIA can query and use for unrelated cases (drug smuggling, for instance).
Hasbajrami's lawyers want to know if the government's case started with those searches, something they and Goitein believe would represent an unconstitutional search.
''If the initial review of Section 702 resulted from a warrantless query '... the subsequent obtaining of court orders wouldn't cure the constitutional defect,'' writes Goitein. ''The information obtained under those would be ''fruit of the poisonous tree'' and subject to suppression.
If Hasbajrami succeeds, the decision could sharply limit the extent that the federal government is able to search and use evidence gleaned from its FISA surveillance authorities to prosecute U.S. persons. The question surfaced during last year's contentious fight in Congress to reauthorize FISA Section 702. However, reformers wound up splintering and backing multiple bills, allowing supporters of more-robust surveillance to reauthorize the program while expanding the ability of organizations like the FBI to query the communications of U.S. persons absent a court order.
Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have joined the defense, and gave arguments on Aug. 27 urging the court to declare the government's PRISM program unconstitutional.
About the Author
Derek B. Johnson is a senior staff writer at FCW, covering governmentwide IT policy, cybersecurity and a range of other federal technology issues.
Prior to joining FCW, Johnson was a freelance technology journalist. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, GoodCall News, Foreign Policy Journal, Washington Technology, Elevation DC, Connection Newspapers and The Maryland Gazette.
Johnson has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Hofstra University and a Master's degree in public policy from George Mason University. He can be contacted at djohnson@fcw.com, or follow him on Twitter @derekdoestech.
Click here for previous articles by Johnson.
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Full David Brock Confidential Memo On Fighting Trump | Trump Family | American Political People
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 13:41
Full David Brock confidential memo on fighting Donald Trump obtained by the Washington Free Beacon at the Jan. 19-21, 2017, 'Democracy Matters' Florida donor retreat at Turnberry Isle Resort in Ave...
Full descriptionFull David Brock confidential memo on fighting Donald Trump obtained by the Washington Free Beacon at the Jan. 19-21, 2017, 'Democracy Matters' Florida donor retreat at Turnberry Isle Resort in Aventura, Fla.
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Reporters should out Kavanaugh - Columbia Journalism Review
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 11:56
Judge Brett Kavanaugh at his July 9 nomination to the US Supreme Court. Via Wikimedia Commons. In 1998, Brett M. Kavanaugh was working for Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel conducting an investigation of Bill Clinton's affair, as president, with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern. If Kavanaugh, now a Supreme Court nominee, spilled information to reporters about that investigation, which resulted in Clinton's impeachment, or about any of Starr's other projects, reporters should be able to remember. If Kavanaugh never leaked privileged information, members of the press could say so. If he did, and they don't say so, Kavanaugh will likely be placed on the court for the rest of his natural life. If he did, and reporters do say so, they are outing a source.
Did Kenneth Starr's office leak? Without a doubt. On June 13, 1998 , Starr acknowledged that he and his aides had divulged information about Clinton and Lewinsky to journalists. Starr told Steve Brill, the editor of Brill's Content, a media watchdog magazine, that the leaks were neither illegal (because they did not refer to testimony before a grand jury) nor did they violate Justice Department policy. That claim was not exactly true. The law rules out leaks of ''matters occurring before the grand jury,'' but only the narrowest possible interpretation of that phrase would confine the rule to testimony in particular. According to the federal rules of criminal procedure'--specifically, rule 6 (e) (2) '--any ''attorney for the government, or any person to whom disclosure is made . . . shall not disclose matters occurring before the grand jury, except as otherwise provided by this rule.'' Leaks of information gathered by government officials, and relevant to putting a charge before a grand jury, ought to be likewise prohibited.
Reporters face a stark conflict between their professional code'--don't name your sources'--and a First Amendment obligation'--inform the American people about the record of a judge about to receive a lifetime appointment to the most important nine-person body in the world.
''I have talked with reporters on background on some occasions,'' Starr told Brill. He named Jackie Bennett, his deputy, as someone who had ''talked 'extensively about the case' to three reporters'--Michael Isikoff of Newsweek , Susan Schmidt of The Washington Post and Jackie Judd of ABC News.'' None of those reporters confirmed Starr's statement. He did not name other leakers.
But we know now that at least one reporter received information from Kavanaugh: Dan Moldea, who published a book, A Washington Tragedy: How the Death of Vincent Foster Ignited a Political Firestorm , that April. At the time, Kavanaugh had just completed a stretch working for Starr on an investigation of the death of Vincent Foster, a White House adviser; the case was ruled a suicide. Soon after speaking with Moldea, Kavanaugh returned to Starr's office in a formal job. During the period in between, when he was chatting with Moldea, was he serving as a cutout for Starr'--not technically on the books, but privy to his work? We don't know what information Kavanaugh shared.
In July, Kavanaugh acknowledged having ''been a source for several books written about the Starr investigation.'' Last week, he told Washington Post reporters Tom Hamburger, Robert Barnes, and Robert O'Harrow, Jr., ''I have also spoken to reporters on background as appropriate or as directed.'' Moldea told the Post that Kavanaugh ''was the designated person'' the Office of the Independent Counsel ''puts with people like me.'' As evidence, Moldea kept recordings of his conversations with Starr deputies and has played them for Judiciary Committee lawyers. According to the Post, ''The recordings suggest that Starr's top deputies referred Moldea to Kavanaugh for answers to questions about the Foster matter.''
To whom else did Kavanaugh leak? And what did he leak?
There's no way around it. Reporters face a stark conflict between their professional code'--don't name your sources'--and a First Amendment obligation'--inform the American people about the record of a judge about to receive a lifetime appointment to the most important nine-person body in the world. Silence matters. So does the predictable consequence of breaking a silence. To my mind, if Kavanaugh leaked from Starr's office and is covering that up, he is ethically disqualified to serve on the Supreme Court. Reporters owe us, and the Senate, information that helps determine who deserves a spot on the highest bench in the land.
RELATED: Washington Post kills story over retweet
Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today. Todd Gitlin , who chairs the interdisciplinary Ph.D program in Communication based at the Columbia Journalism School, is the author of 17 books, of which the next is a novel, The Opposition.
Glenn Greenwald, the Bane of Their Resistance | The New Yorker
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 11:40
A leftist journalist's bruising crusade against establishment Democrats'--and their Russia obsession. Greenwald's focus on ''deep state'' depredations has exiled him from MSNBC but has given him a place on Fox News.
Photograph by Pari Dukovic for The New YorkerA leftist journalist's bruising crusade against establishment Democrats'--and their Russia obsession. Greenwald's focus on ''deep state'' depredations has exiled him from MSNBC but has given him a place on Fox News.
Photograph by Pari Dukovic for The New YorkerLike a man in the first draft of a limerick, Tennys Sandgren is a tennis player from Tennessee. Last winter, after scraping his way onto the list of the top hundred professional players, he secured a spot at the Australian Open. He advanced to the quarter-finals. At a press conference, he responded happily to questions about his unexpected achievement. Then someone asked him about his Twitter feed. Sandgren had tweeted, retweeted, or ''liked'' disparaging remarks about Muslims and gays; he had highlighted an article suggesting that recent migration into Europe could be described as ''Operation European Population Replacement''; he had called Marx's ideas worse than Hitler's. He had also promoted the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, which accuses Hillary Clinton of human trafficking. Sandgren told reporters that, though he didn't support the alt-right, he did find ''some of the content interesting.''
This became a small news story. Sandgren then lost his quarter-final, and, at the subsequent press conference, he read a statement condemning the media's willingness to ''turn neighbor against neighbor.'' Later that day, he was surprised to receive a supportive message from Glenn Greenwald, the journalist, whom he followed on Twitter. (Sandgren also followed Roger Federer, Peter Thiel, and Paul Joseph Watson, of Infowars.)
Greenwald, a former lawyer who, in 2013, was one of the reporters for a Pulitzer Prize-winning series in the Guardian on Edward Snowden's disclosures about the National Security Agency, is a longtime critic, from the left, of centrist and liberal policymakers and pundits. During the past two years, he has further exiled himself from the mainstream American left by responding with skepticism and disdain to reports of Russian government interference in the 2016 Presidential election. On Twitter, where he has nearly a million followers, and at the Intercept, the news Web site that he co-founded five years ago, and as a frequent guest on ''Democracy Now!,'' the daily progressive radio and TV broadcast, Greenwald has argued that the available evidence concerning Russian activity has indicated nothing especially untoward; he has declared that those who claim otherwise are in denial about the ineptitude of the Democrats and of Hillary Clinton, and are sometimes prone to McCarthyite hysteria. These arguments, underpinned by a distaste for banal political opinions and a profound distrust of American institutions'--including the C.I.A., the F.B.I., and Rachel Maddow'--have put an end to his appearances on MSNBC, where he considers himself now banned, but they have given him a place on Tucker Carlson's show, on Fox News, and in Tennys Sandgren's Twitter feed. Greenwald is also a tennis fan'--and a regular, sweary player. He recently began working on a documentary about his adolescent fascination with Martina Navratilova.
Sandgren told me that Greenwald's message had celebrated his success in the tournament, adding, ''He knows quite a lot about tennis'--enough to know it was the result of my lifetime. And he wanted to encourage me in that particular moment to continue to learn, to continue to grow, and to remember to be kind'--to yourself and to your critics.''
Greenwald has experienced his own share of criticism, but is not known for showing kindness to critics. Michael Hayden, the former director of the C.I.A. and the N.S.A., has written that debating him was like looking ''the devil in the eye.'' Leading American progressives'--speaking off the record, and apologizing for what they describe as cowardice'--call Greenwald a bully and a troll. One told me that ''he makes everything war.'' The spouse of one of Greenwald's friends visualizes him as the angry emoji. On Twitter, he has little use for agree-to-disagree courtesies, or humor: he presses on. More than one tweet has started with ''No, you idiot.'' He'll tweet ''Go fuck yourself'' to a user with twenty or so followers. A few years ago, Greenwald had a Twitter disagreement with Imani Gandy, a legal journalist, who tweets as @AngryBlackLady; another Twitter user, in support of Greenwald, proposed to Gandy that ''Obama could rape a nun live on NBC and you'd say we weren't seeing what we were seeing.'' Greenwald replied, ''No'--she'd say it was justified & noble'--that he only did it to teach us about the evils of rape.''
Sandgren thanked Greenwald for his message, and the next day tweeted an apology for an old post in which he'd described his ''eyes bleeding'' after visiting a gay club. A month later, in February, Sandgren played in Brazil, at the Rio Open. Greenwald lives in Rio de Janeiro with his husband, David Miranda, their two sons, and two dozen dogs, former strays; Sandgren offered Greenwald and his children tickets, and they all met at the venue. Video of one match shows Greenwald, in the front row, applauding every point with dad-outing gusto. He and Sandgren subsequently formed what Greenwald called a ''very intense'' friendship.
Sandgren described their trade in tennis and politics. ''Glenn asks me what it's like to return Ivo Karlović's serve'--a six-foot-eleven guy'--and then I ask him what's going on in the political world,'' he said. ''Maybe he respects the fact that I'm very interested in learning.'' Greenwald has sent him YouTube links to speeches he has made. Since meeting Greenwald, Sandgren has also watched Oliver Stone's film ''Snowden,'' in which Greenwald is played by Zachary Quinto, the actor best known for his role in the ''Star Trek'' movies. Sandgren recalled thinking, ''They got Spock to play Glenn? That's fitting: very interested in factual information, truth and reason and logic. And, if he does get a little frustrated or angry, then look out.''
Greenwald told me about his friendship with Sandgren during one of several recent conversations at his home. We sat in a high-ceilinged room with a baby grand piano; the space echoed with the sound of dogs barking'--and with the sound of Greenwald responding to the barking by shouting, ''The fuck?''
Greenwald, who is fifty-one, and was brought up in Florida, has lived largely in Rio for thirteen years. For most of that time, he and Miranda, a city-council member, rented a home on a hillside above the city, surrounded by forest and monkeys. Last year, they moved to a more residential neighborhood. The house is in a baronial-modernist style, and built around a forty-foot-tall boulder that feels like the work of a sculptor tackling Freudian themes: it exists partly indoors and partly out. Greenwald has a pool, and his street is gated. A thousand feet away is the crush of Rocinha, Brazil's largest favela, from which Greenwald often hears gunfire.
He seemed happy. He was wearing shorts and flip-flops; he has a soft handshake and an easy, teasing manner that he knows will likely confound people who expect the sustained contentiousness that he employs online and on TV. (On cable news shows, Greenwald draws his lower lip over his bottom teeth, blinks slowly, and seems able to state his position on the Espionage Act of 1917 while inhaling.) Greenwald, though untroubled about being thought relentless, told me that he was ''actually trying to become less acerbic, less gratuitously combative'' in public debates. He recently became attached to the idea of mindfulness, and he keeps a Buddha and a metal infinity loop on a shelf behind the sofa; a room upstairs is used only for meditation. He has turned to religious and mystical reading, and has reflected that, in middle age, one's mood ''is more about integrating with the world.''
Greenwald has tried to cut back on social media. ''My No. 1 therapeutic goal is to reduce my Twitter usage,'' he said. He gave a glimpse of his relationship with that site when, half seriously, he recalled his reaction to a difficult moment of parenting: ''I went to pick a bunch of fights on Twitter to get it out of my system.'' Miranda used to encourage Twitter breaks by unplugging the Wi-Fi router; a few months ago, he took away Greenwald's phone. Miranda said that ''Glenn receives so much hate'' on Twitter. He went on, ''Subconsciously, that goes somewhere. To not be exposed to that energy, it's better for him.'' Greenwald no longer carries a phone; he does all his tweeting from a laptop, and aims to finish before lunch. He told me this at the end of a day that included an afternoon tweet calling a Clinton-campaign official a ''drooling partisan hack.'' Reminded of this, Greenwald said, ''I'm still a work in progress,'' and laughed. Several weeks later, he announced to colleagues, on Slack, that he was further disengaging from Twitter; he also deleted twenty-seven thousand old tweets, saying that there was a risk that their meaning could be distorted. This was two weeks after he had criticized Matt Yglesias, a journalist at Vox, for regularly deleting recent tweets, ''like a coward,'' so that ''you have no accountability for what you say.''
Greenwald told me that he and Tennys Sandgren had been communicating every day. ''He was pilloried in a way that I just found so ugly,'' he said. ''I could tell he wasn't a bad person. He worked his whole life to get to this point, and the moment he gets there they turn him into Hitler.'' When I later disputed this description, Greenwald pointed to unfriendly reactions from Serena Williams and from John McEnroe; McEnroe had responded by making what Greenwald called a ''revolting'' video about tennis players contending with prejudice. Greenwald then acknowledged that, having perceived Sandgren as vulnerable'--as someone suddenly exposed to intense public scrutiny'--he might have misread the dominant tone. (The most forceful mainstream headline was on Deadspin: ''What Does Pizzagate Truther Tennys Sandgren Find 'Interesting' About the Alt-Right?'')
Greenwald was particularly struck by Sandgren's ''brave and defiant'' second press conference. In response to the media's ''bullying groupthink,'' he hadn't apologized. This perception of Sandgren's circumstances helps illuminate Greenwald's political writing, which focusses on dramas of strength and weakness, and on the corruptions of empires. Greenwald writes aggressively about perceived aggression. His instinct is to identify, in any conflict, the side that is claiming authority or incumbency, and then to throw his weight against that claim, in favor of the unauthorized or the unlicensed'--the intruder. Invariably, the body with authority is malign and corrupt; any criticisms of the intruder are vilifications or ''smears.'' He rarely weighs counter-arguments in public, and his policy goals are more often implied than spoken.
Greenwald's model will satisfy readers, on Twitter and elsewhere, to the extent that they recognize the same malignancy, or agent of oppression. Many might find this kind of framing appropriate, and inspiringly forthright, in a discussion of policing in Ferguson, Missouri, or of the American meat industry's efforts to thwart animal-rights activists'--a current interest of Greenwald's. Many readers, though certainly not all, could also agree that Edward Snowden had engaged in a courageous insurgency. (In Laura Poitras's 2014 documentary, ''Citizenfour,'' Greenwald tells Snowden that, once Snowden's identity becomes known, ''the fearlessness and the 'fuck you' to the bullying tactics has got to be completely pervading everything we do.'') Fewer people, though, would interpret Sandgren's story this way, if showing sympathy for him must be accompanied by disparagement of everyone else'--if one must agree that the reporters covering Sandgren were bullying when they noted that a public figure, however na¯vely, had promoted conspiracy-minded and white-supremacist ideas.
In the buildup to the 2016 election, Greenwald detected a conflict between actors defiantly contemptuous of American norms'--the Republican Presidential nominee, WikiLeaks, Vladimir Putin'--and the establishment forces that he hates, including the U.S. intelligence services, ''warmonger'' neoconservatives like William Kristol, and big-money Democrats. That August, in an Intercept article that used the word ''smear'' a dozen times, and ended with an image of Senator Joseph McCarthy, Greenwald argued that ''those who question, criticize or are perceived to impede Hillary Clinton's smooth, entitled path to the White House are vilified as stooges, sympathizers and/or agents of Russia: Trump, WikiLeaks, Sanders, The Intercept, Jill Stein.'' He wrote that both Trump and Stein, the Green Party's Presidential candidate, were being ''vilified for advocating ways to reduce U.S./Russian tensions.'' (Even though this article included Trump on the list of those being ''smeared,'' Greenwald told me that he had only ever invoked McCarthyism in reference to ''Democrats who accused me and others like me of being Kremlin agents.'') After the election, he scorned those ''screaming 'Putin,' over and over.'' Later, on an Intercept podcast, he said that Democrats had embraced, without evidence, various ''conspiracy theories'' about collusion; American liberals were caught up in an ''insane, insidious, xenophobic, jingoistic kind of craziness.''
In the period since then'--these months of Guccifer 2.0 and Natalia Veselnitskaya and Carter Page'--Greenwald has continued to portray the Trump-Russia story as, essentially, one of rotten American (C)lites and unruly insurgents. Although he has acknowledged the failings (not to mention the indictments) of some people in the insurgent category, he has focussed his editorial energy on documenting the past infractions and continuing misjudgments of people'--in the intelligence agencies, the Department of Justice, Congress, and the media'--who have provided apparent evidence of Russian interference and Trump-campaign collusion. Greenwald has questioned their reliability, and has disputed their evidence, to a degree that has frustrated even some colleagues at the Intercept. On Twitter, Greenwald recently described the self-identified ''resistance'' to Trump as ''the first #Resistance in history that venerates security state agencies.'' He has denounced the congressman Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, who has sought to investigate Trump-Russia in the face of Republican obstruction, as ''one of the most hawkish, pro-militarism, pro-spying members of the Democratic Party.'' He has tweeted, ''I don't regard the F.B.I. as an upholder of the rule of law. I regard it as a subverter of it.'' Greenwald told me, ''Robert Mueller was the fucking F.B.I. chief who rounded up Muslims for George Bush after 9/11, and now, if you go to hacker conferences, there are people who wear his image, like he's Che Guevara, on their shirt.'' Maddow and other liberals may show respect to the former C.I.A. director John Brennan when he accuses Trump of colluding with Russia, but Greenwald's view is that Brennan, who sanctioned extraordinary rendition, should be shunned.
These critiques have changed Greenwald's place in American political life. ''My reach has actually expanded,'' he told me. ''A lot of Democrats have unfollowed me and a lot of conservatives or independent people have replaced them, which has made my readership more diverse, and more trans-ideological, in a way that's actually increased my influence.'' His audience now ranges from leftist opponents of Hillary Clinton, such as Susan Sarandon and Max Blumenthal, to right-wing figures such as Sebastian Gorka and Donald Trump, Jr.
To liberals grateful for institutional counterweights to the Trump Administration's crookedness, cruelty, and mendacity, Greenwald has been discouraging: U.S. institutions have long been broken, he maintains, and can offer only illusory comfort. To protest the flouting of American norms is to disregard America's perdition'--from drone strikes and unwarranted surveillance to the Democratic Party's indebtedness to Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Shortly before Trump's Inauguration, Greenwald wrote an article for the Intercept titled ''The Deep State Goes to War with President-Elect, Using Unverified Claims, as Democrats Cheer.'' The Drudge Report promoted the article, and it went viral. This had the effect of offering the phrase ''deep state'''--which, until then, had been a murmur among political scientists and fringe bloggers'--as a gift to Trump defenders. Roger Stone referred to the article in an interview with Alex Jones, on Infowars; Greenwald spoke of ''deep-state overlords'' on ''Tucker Carlson Tonight.'' According to data from the GDELT Project, the phrase ''deep state'' then took off'--first on Fox, then on other networks, and then in the tweets of the President and his family.
Betsy Reed, the editor-in-chief of the Intercept, recently told me that ''Glenn has a core of incredibly passionate and dedicated followers.'' But, she added, she is wary of ''a kind of pale imitation of Glenn'--people who may be partly inspired by him, but don't have the nuance or intelligence that he has.'' She was referring to Russia skeptics of the left, on Twitter and elsewhere, ''who are so convinced that they are being lied to all the time that anything that the intelligence community says can't possibly be true.'' Reed's view is that, at this point, ''it's not helpful to the left and to all the candidates and causes we favor to continue to doubt the existence of some kind of relationship between Russia and the Trump campaign. We know some basic contours of it now, thanks to Mueller, but I think we may learn more. And we can't refuse to see what's in front of us.''
Joan Walsh, the national-affairs correspondent of The Nation, and Greenwald's former editor at Salon, recently said that left-wing Trump-Russia skepticism contains ''real disdain for what the Democratic Party has become.'' She went on, ''That would mean its closeness to finance, and Wall Street.'' But she thinks that it also means ''the ascendance of women and people of color in the Party, and the fact that that coalition defeated Bernie Sanders.'' (After the election, in an e-mail to the Intercept staff, Greenwald, a Sanders admirer, defended himself vigorously against internal suggestions that the site's coverage of Clinton had been ''anti-woman.'') A former Intercept staff member told me, ''I feel bad for Glenn. I feel that Trump winning is the worst possible thing that could have happened to him, and it sort of ruined him as a valuable voice in American discourse.'' Reed told me that Greenwald would surely have been ''more comfortable being part of the #Resistance'' had Clinton become President.
In 2011, Greenwald published a book whose title'--''With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful'''--could serve as a headline for much of what he had written in the previous six years. He had given up a career as a litigator in New York, moved to Brazil, and started to write, first as a blogger and then as a columnist for Salon. In the book's first chapter, he wrote, ''It has become a virtual consensus among the elites that their members are so indispensable to the running of American society that vesting them with immunity from prosecution'--even for the most egregious crimes'--is not only in their interest but in our interest, too.''
When Greenwald and I first met in Rio, we sat at a dining table made of dark, heavy wood, and he served extraordinarily strong coffee. I asked him whether, despite his wariness about the discourse surrounding Trump and Russia, he took any satisfaction from the discomforts of (C)lites, such as Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, who were losing layers of immunity each day.
''On one level, I agree,'' he said. ''It's great that people like Paul Manafort are finally being held accountable for their sleazy K Street practices, and their money laundering and all of that.'' He talks fast, and often at a volume suited to a poor Skype connection. ''But I really don't think it's about justice. I think the people who are doing this are genuinely offended by the entire Trump circle, in part for political and ideological reasons, and in part because he has broken all of the rules of their world, in terms of who gets to be in power, and what you have to do to get it.'' He went on, ''They're just using the law as a political weapon against Trump, just as Brazilian (C)lites are using it against Lula.'' He was referring to Luiz Incio Lula da Silva, the leftist former President, who had just begun a prison term for corruption and money laundering.
Greenwald told me, ''I don't think that, once Trump leaves office, we're going to have a revolution in law where rich and powerful people are going to be held accountable in the way that poor people are.'' Trump is a criminal, he said, surrounded by ''fifth-tier grifters'' who, under normal circumstances, would be ''generating PowerPoints to defraud pensioners.'' But most public expressions of distress about corruption in Trump's circle struck him as a ''pretense.'' He said, ''The people who hate Trump the most are the people who have been running Washington for decades. It's not so much that they're bothered by his corruption'--they're bothered by his inability to prettify and mask it.'' Greenwald then made an analogy that placed a Trump associate like Manafort in the unexpected role of a racial-bias victim: ''Let's say there's a city where drivers are driving recklessly, and lots of people are being killed because of it. And the police department decides that, from now on, if we see any black drivers speeding, we're going to give them a ticket, but we're going to let white drivers continue to speed with impunity.''
To Greenwald, an agonized response to Trump carries with it the delusional proposition that previous Presidents were upstanding. He said, extravagantly, ''When Trump invited President Sisi'''--the Egyptian strongman'--''to the White House, everybody acted like this is the first time an American President ever embraced a dictator.''
I asked him if anti-Trump sentiment implies that America, absent Trump, is virtuous. ''It does, yes,'' Greenwald said. ''What was the campaign slogan of Hillary Clinton? She said, 'America is already great.' This was the platform that Democrats ran on.''
Becoming an expatriate served Greenwald's reputation. However pleasant (and, in the end, moneyed) his life became, he remained apart from despised American (C)lites'--and felt able to tweet that Katie Couric's purchase of a twelve-million-dollar Manhattan condo had underscored her remove from ''the political impulses & circumstances of ordinary Americans.'' There was also a hint of martyred exile. The Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, denied Miranda the immigration opportunities of a spouse, and, over the years, Greenwald reminded people who questioned his long absence from America that he was a victim of discrimination. ''I could throw that back in people's faces,'' he said. ''And then, fortunately for the whole world but unfortunately for that excuse, in 2013 the Supreme Court struck down that law. So I lost my excuse, and now I just admit I'm here because I love the country.''
After it turned dark, we drove across the city to a television studio, in order to allow Greenwald to have an argument with Eli Lake, the Bloomberg columnist, whom Greenwald has called a ''rabid cheerleader'' for the Iraq War. Miranda had been delayed at work, so Greenwald brought the children. They are brothers, now aged nine and ten, from the poor northeast of Brazil; the couple adopted them last fall. They sat in the back seat, looking amused and a little restless, alongside a temporary member of the family's staff'--a security officer hired after Marielle Franco, one of Miranda's colleagues and closest friends, was murdered, in March. Franco, like Miranda, was a black, gay, working-class member of the city council. In what was likely a political crime, Franco's car was followed one evening by men who then shot her and her driver.
A jacket and a pressed shirt were hanging by an open back window. We drove down to the beach, then followed the ocean, eastward, through the neighborhoods of Ipanema (where Greenwald met Miranda, in 2005, on a gay section of the beach, at the start of a vacation) and Copacabana. Here, Greenwald's sons saw a friend playing soccer on the sand, and while we were stopped at a traffic light they repeatedly yelled his name, laughing after they failed to get his attention.
Greenwald speaks Portuguese, but the boys have only begun to learn English, so he was speaking privately when he complained to me about how, a few days earlier, they'd woken him at dawn. ''They were fighting over a video game,'' he said. ''I almost murdered them. I almost drowned them in the pool.'' (He was laughing'--he uses the same language when describing spousal disharmony.) ''I called my mother later that day, and I said, 'They're fighting so much, and I just hate their fighting.' And she's, like, 'This is proof there's karmic justice, because all you did was fight with your brother, all day and night. I'm so happy that you're getting this.' And I'd completely forgotten. I was, 'Oh, my God, that's so true, I hated my brother.' We love each other, but . . .''
Greenwald was an infant when his parents moved from Queens to Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, and he was six when they separated. In a later conversation, Greenwald said of his father, ''He was fucking the woman next door. They didn't divorce because of that, but it was a factor.'' His father, an accountant, moved into an apartment, but for a while he often stayed with the neighbor. ''I would see him in the morning coming out of that house,'' Greenwald said. ''Still a good father'--I had good parents'--but that was the first breach.'' His father died in 2016, after a chaotic and drunken decline; he had refused all help, and had not taken medication. When Glenn told a therapist that he'd found this refusal enraging, her response had a Greenwaldian tint: ''She's, like, 'I see this as such a powerful and courageous thing he did'--he basically told all of you to go fuck yourselves, that he was going to live his life, and die, the way he wanted.' ''
Greenwald's older son, he told me, has frequent bursts of anger, which reminded him of his own emotions at that age. He noted, ''What I went through is nothing compared to what he's been through''; still, he said, ''I fought with everybody, I argued with everybody.'' At school, he said, he ''felt smarter than my teachers,'' adding, ''Things came very easy to me, so I felt like I could get away with a lot.'' He identified as poor, in part because his house was uncared for: roaches, holes in the couch. And, when he began to understand that he was gay, he felt that others judged him to be ''radically broken and diseased and evil.''
Greenwald's planned documentary, produced by Reese Witherspoon's company, will trace the personal and cultural impact of Navratilova's coming out, in 1981, when he was fourteen. In a proposal for the film, Greenwald frames his regard for Navratilova in his preferred way, with reference to her ''radical defiance,'' ''vulnerability,'' and ''incredible strength.'' (He presents her as someone who never described herself as ''bisexual'''--a hedge used by some gay celebrities of the era. This is wrong: Navratilova did sometimes call herself bisexual, notably in her 1985 autobiography.)
Greenwald noted that some gay teens respond to persecution by assimilating, or by escaping into the arts. He then said, ''My strategy was: you have waged war on me, and now I'm going to wage war back on you. I had to hide who I was, because it was shameful and wrong. And I wanted to make them feel the same way'--'No, you're shameful and wrong.' '' This force, he said, had propelled his success on debate teams in high school and in college, at George Washington University.
The TV studio was in a tower above a mall. Leaving the boys to run around in the stores with the security officer, we went to the thirty-seventh floor. It was about 8 P.M. Greenwald disappeared for a minute, and returned wearing self-administered makeup, a jacket, a shirt, and a tie, as well as his shorts and flip-flops. He contrasted his preparedness with the baggier TV impression made by Noam Chomsky, a friend and a frequent ideological ally: ''He won't make compromises to have greater access'--he won't put on a shirt and tie, he won't speak in sound bites. I think you have the obligation, if you believe in what you're saying, to maximize your audience.'' Chomsky and Greenwald have described the Trump Presidency differently. In a recent television interview, Chomsky said that Trump is an agent of American (C)lites more than he is an offense to them. He also recognized a stark moral line between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, arguing that the G.O.P.'s opposition to addressing climate change has made it ''the most dangerous organization in human history.''
Greenwald sat on a stool, and a technician affixed an earpiece. As he waited for an Al Jazeera studio in Washington to be ready, he put on red-framed glasses and read from his laptop. Hearing Lake's voice in his ear, he said, ''Hi, Eli. Do you like my glasses?''
Greenwald and Lake debated the case for American bombing in Syria, as a response to a recent chemical attack in Douma, which had killed dozens of people. (The next day, U.S. missiles hit three targets in Syria.) Lake favored intervention; Greenwald did not. He briefly acknowledged the scale of human suffering, calling it ''a problem in the world that's really horrendous,'' but he emphasized, as Chomsky has done, that a humanitarian rationale for American armed intervention was ''generally the excuse that's used'' for geopolitical maneuvering.
One of Greenwald's debating assets is charmlessness. He brings scant greenroom bonhomie onstage, and rarely smiles; he seems content to risk appearing disagreeable, or wrongheaded. This approach works best when it is set against eye-rolling disdain or fear. Lake was measured and genial. After the segment, Greenwald felt dissatisfied. ''I just know Eli too well,'' he said. ''We've just fought and argued on every medium.'' Lake's views were ''horrible'''--he was a ''hard-core neocon and a loyalist to Israel'''--but he ''doesn't take himself super seriously.'' He'd also been supportive of the Snowden reporting.
Lake later told me that he thinks Greenwald is mistaken in believing ''that everything that the U.S. government does is malevolent.'' But he added, ''In a weird way, I'm grateful that there's somebody as articulate, unrelenting, and consistent as Glenn making that argument.'' He also described the discomforts of being criticized by Greenwald on Twitter: ''There's a Greenwald Effect,'' he said. ''His followers are like the flying monkeys in 'The Wizard of Oz.' They crush you in your mentions.''
''Kane, shut the fuck up'--seriously,'' Greenwald said. Some of his dogs are allowed inside; others live outdoors, and now and then strike wolflike poses at the summit of the boulder. Because there was always someone arriving at or leaving the house'--friends, couriers, domestic staff'--there was always a new reason to bark.
During the Presidential transition, the Washington Post ran a story with the headline ''RUSSIAN HACKERS PENETRATED U.S. ELECTRICITY GRID THROUGH A UTILITY IN VERMONT, U.S. OFFICIALS SAY.'' This didn't hold up well: a computer at Burlington Electric had triggered a malware alert, but it may have been false, and the computer wasn't connected to the grid. The paper appended a correction and published a self-admonishing article by its media critic. Greenwald, unsatisfied, went on Tucker Carlson's show and called the Post story ''the grandest humiliation possible.'' He also wrote a dozen tweets, and a two-thousand-word article. ''The level of groupthink, fearmongering, coercive peer pressure, and ¼ber-nationalism has not been seen since the halcyon days of 2002 and 2003,'' he argued. A year later, CNN and other outlets published, and then retracted, the claim that, in the fall of 2016, Donald Trump, Jr., had learned about hacked Democratic National Committee e-mails before WikiLeaks posted them online. Greenwald declared the error a ''humiliation orgy,'' and he appeared on Laura Ingraham's show, above a chyron reading ''MALFEASANCE IN THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA.'' He claimed that there had been a ''huge series'' of media mistakes about Russian interference.
Greenwald's other critiques of Trump-era reporting'--of oversold scoops and neglected non-Trump stories, from Yemen to Catalonia'--are valuable. But it's not easy to see that the media has been disgraced by a handful of mistakes that were quickly corrected. To many people, Greenwald has looked ravenous and gleeful. He disputed this characterization. ''The screwups have been quite numerous,'' he told me. Errors are inevitable, he allowed, but ''my problem with these mistakes is that they're all in the same direction of exaggerating the Russian threat.'' One could argue that Carlson and other Fox journalists may have made errors of threat-underestimation by, say, breezing past Trump-Russia revelations or failing to pursue investigations. But it might be fairer to say that, until we learn all there is to know about the Trump Administration's involvement in the Russian scheme, the seriousness of any journalistic neglect is hard to measure. Either way, Greenwald surely can't be confident that he's witnessed a grievous imbalance in screwups.
He sought to clarify his position on Russian interference: ''I've said that of course it's possible that Russia and Putin might have hacked, because this is the kind of thing that Russia does to the U.S., and that the U.S. has done to Russia, and to everybody else in the world'--and far worse'--for decades.'' He'd never insisted ''on the narrative that Russia didn't do it.'' When James Risen, the former Times investigative reporter, who joined the Intercept last year, recently debated Greenwald on a podcast'--a public airing of internal tensions'--Greenwald bristled at the suggestion that he had ever considered the idea of Russian interference a hoax. ''I never said anything like that,'' he said, explaining that his demand for serious evidence was connected to the deceptions propagated before the Iraq War.
If Greenwald has never proposed that a Russian hacking scheme was inconceivable, his rhetoric hasn't always signalled an open mind on the issue. In the summer of 2016, he referred to narratives of Russian malfeasance as smears. That October, the Department of Homeland Security and the director of National Intelligence firmly accused the Russian government of hacking; Greenwald characterized this as an ''assertion'' that presented ''no evidence.'' (Classified intelligence is generally withheld.) Since then, as the accusation has been fleshed out and gained almost universal acceptance, Greenwald has chosen to highlight the commentary of people who sound deranged about Russian interference. His work has sought to create the impression that the pervasive voice of concern about the Trump-Russia story is found not in articles by national-security reporters, including those at the Intercept, or in congressional questioning of Erik Prince, or in Mueller's indictments, but in jokes and unhinged theories'--in a Twitter oddball like Louise Mensch suggesting that ''Andrew Breitbart was murdered by Putin, just as the founder of RT was murdered by Putin,'' or in Howard Dean asking if the Intercept is funded by Russia. When Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, jokingly fantasized, on Twitter, about Jeff Bezos buying the platform and then deleting Trump's account, Greenwald described this as ''moronic, plutocratic dreck'' and added ''#Resist.'' He received fourteen thousand likes.
Tommy Vietor, Barack Obama's former National Security Council spokesman and the host of ''Pod Save the World,'' recently said of Greenwald, ''He's rightly pointing out that there are some liberals, some Democrats and activists, who ascribe every problem in the world to Russian interference.'' (For years, Greenwald mocked Vietor as an emblem of ''imperial Washington,'' but the two men have had a slight rapprochement, to become ''sort of friends,'' in Greenwald's description.) Vietor continued, ''That said, clearly something happened.'' Greenwald's distaste for #Resistance dreck, and for its reach into the mainstream, is surely sincere, but his unabated marshalling of it has looked tactical. Even if Greenwald came to accept that some kind of intrusion by some Russians was likely, he could still continue to taint the idea by highlighting nuttiness.
''Ninety per cent of what he's done on the Trump-Russia story is media criticism,'' Risen told me. He said that Greenwald, through such commentary, has implied that the Trump-Russia story is bogus, even as he has maintained an official agnosticism. This is disingenuous, Risen said, adding, ''I wish he was more honest and open in the way he wrote about this.''
Greenwald told me that his role was ''to evaluate convincing evidence and then report to my readers what it is that happened, based not on my beliefs but on the actual evidence.'' Such a stance could never be ''disproved.'' Betsy Reed recalled Greenwald telling her that it's never wrong to be skeptical. One could argue that overriding, sustained skepticism, in response to reports of bad acts, could indeed be a mistake, and wouldn't be an ideal posture for, say, a 911 dispatcher.
Greenwald asked me, ''What evidence has ever been presented for the central claim that Putin ordered the D.N.C. and John Podesta's e-mail to be hacked, as opposed to the hacking being done by people of Russian nationality?'' Did Greenwald dispute that Guccifer 2.0, the persona responsible for distributing hacked D.N.C. e-mails to WikiLeaks and other outlets, had come into focus as an agent of Russian military intelligence? (A month before the 2016 election, Greenwald co-wrote an article, about the Clinton campaign's handling of the press, that was based on exclusive access to material supplied by Guccifer 2.0.) We were speaking shortly before the indictments, in July, of twelve Russian intelligence officers. I mentioned a recent article in the Daily Beast, '' 'Lone DNC Hacker' Guccifer 2.0 Slipped Up and Revealed He Was a Russian Intelligence Officer,'' which had been co-authored by Spencer Ackerman, a former Guardian colleague of Greenwald's who had worked on the early Snowden stories. ''Each story you can dissect and pick apart, right?'' Greenwald said. ''They're based on anonymous sources. They're based on evidence that you can question.''
Ackerman told me that he liked and respected Greenwald, and that ''people can be interested in what they're interested in.'' But, he said, ''it's conspicuous when they're not interested in a massive story for which the simplest explanation is that there was a Russian intelligence operation to elect Donald Trump President.'' He added, ''Some people are interested in reporting this out. Some people'--I would include myself'--are interested in reporting this out without any contradiction of the impulse that led us to report the Snowden story. Some people are not.''
Greenwald and I talked about his definition of ''evidence.'' In the case of Russia, he seemed to use the word to mean ''proof.'' His evidentiary needs in this context could be contrasted with his swift, easy arrival at certainty in many other contexts. Greenwald assured me that Tennys Sandgren ''didn't have a racist bone in his body.'' He had recently tweeted that Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain's Labour Party, was not anti-Semitic, and that suggestions otherwise were ''guilt-by-association trash.'' It would be truer to say that Corbyn's record provides some evidence of anti-Semitism, and that supporting him requires a response to that.
Shortly before we met, Greenwald tweeted a link to an article about the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, in the South of England, using Novichok, a nerve agent. It was ''100% clear,'' Greenwald wrote, that Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Secretary, was ''lying'' when he told a reporter that British scientists had confirmed that the agent had originated in Russia. To be precise, the scientists had merely identified the chemical, not its origin (though the Russians invented it). Johnson's remarks were inexact, but he almost surely wasn't being deceitful. To show one's skepticism about an official narrative by proclaiming that one knows the narrative to be a lie could be defended as an act of anti-authoritarian pluck. But it doesn't tell readers ''what it is that happened.'' Asked about this tweet, Greenwald said, with good grace, that a British friend had made the same point to him. Perhaps he had erred. Greenwald's offline openness to rebuttal'--in contrast to his online bloodlust and sarcasm'--was always a nice surprise. But he hadn't corrected his remarks, which were retweeted several hundred times.
''We have, all the time, different levels of evidentiary certainty based on the context, based on the role that we're playing,'' Greenwald said. To allege Russian interference in 2016 was to levy a charge against ''a longtime adversary of the United States, one that is still in possession of thousands of nuclear weapons aimed at American cities.'' He continued, ''Before we all accuse that country of having done something so grave as have its leader order the hacking of these e-mails in order to interfere in an election, I think the evidence we demand ought to be pretty high.''
Was the charge ''grave''? He had just called it the stuff of everyday international relations. ''I personally don't think it's grave,'' he said. ''But there are millions of Americans who believe the election of Trump is this grave threat. So if you convince them that what has endangered them is Putin'--you hear Democrats comparing this to 9/11 or Pearl Harbor'--that's really dangerous rhetoric. I don't think it's particularly grave at all, even if it's true. I think it's a very pedestrian event.'' The risk, then'--one also identified by President Trump'--was that unfounded American hysteria could set off a nuclear war. Put another way: the choice is between Greenwald and the end of the world.
He later said, ''If there was evidence inside the U.S. government that genuinely proved collusion'--an intercepted call, an e-mail'--it would have been leaked by now.'' (He seemed to be disregarding the discipline displayed by Mueller's investigation.) He added that, even if Putin himself had ordered the hacking, ''and worked with WikiLeaks and Michael Cohen and Jared Kushner to distribute the e-mails,'' then this was still just ''standard shit.''
I said that he sometimes seemed to be giving argumentative form to a psychological preference: it was perhaps more satisfying to defend a besieged opinion than to share an agreed one and thereby become tainted with tribalism. This was ''totally accurate,'' he said, kindly. Then: ''Maybe not totally.'' He went on, ''I think the role we end up playing in politics, in public discourse, in life, is almost always a by-product of who we are psychologically.'' Greenwald's preference, then, is to enact the dynamics of an unequal power struggle, even as he describes one.
His choice of journalistic subjects was also pragmatic, he said. Over the years, he could have written more often about gay rights, or abortion, areas where his views largely conform to progressive orthodoxy. But he didn't feel that his time was ''best spent saying things that zillions of other people are already saying.''
Upon the release of Mueller's July indictments, which contained detailed descriptions of Russian methods, Greenwald tweeted that ''indictments are extremely easy to obtain & are proof of nothing.'' He urged ''skepticism toward the claims of prosecutors who have turned the U.S. into a penal state, and security state agencies which have turned the U.S. into a militaristic imperial state.'' After Michael Tracey, another journalist who is largely dismissive of Trump-Russia reporting, wrote mockingly about the respect being paid to ''our Lord and savior Mueller,'' Greenwald expressed fellowship by noting that the act of ''asking for evidence, and refusing to believe it until you see it, is literally heretical.''
A few days later, on the phone, Greenwald had news. He had ''talked to a bunch of people and figured out what I thought, in the most rational way possible,'' and now regarded the indictments as genuine evidence of Russian hacking'--the first he'd seen in two years. To think otherwise, he said, ''you'd pretty much have to believe that Mueller and his team fabricated it all out of whole cloth, which I don't believe is likely.''
He hadn't tweeted about this yet. He was still pondering the best way to announce it. ''I want it to be substantive'--I don't want it to be distorted,'' he said. ''If I did it on Twitter, it would be 'Oh, Glenn Greenwald admits he's wrong!' I don't actually think I've been wrong about anything.''
In 1994, not long after Greenwald graduated from N.Y.U. School of Law and took a job that he quickly came to hate, at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, a New York firm, he learned about Town Hall, a conservative forum, sponsored by National Review and the Heritage Foundation, on Compuserve's dial-up network. He applied to join, at a cost of twenty-five dollars a month. In his teens, Greenwald had been close to his paternal grandfather, a left-wing member of the Lauderdale Lakes city council. After his grandfather retired, Greenwald, at eighteen and again at twenty-two, ran for the same council'--inspired more by the promise of conflict than by an impatience to serve. (''I don't think I'm a politician,'' he told me. ''My skill is not making everybody like me.'') As a student, Greenwald had paid little attention to politics. ''There weren't big wars, big causes,'' he said. But his career in competitive debating had been stellar, and he knew that he disliked Rush Limbaugh conservatism. He joined Town Hall ''just to start fucking with them,'' he said. ''I guess it was trolling, before trolling existed.'' He posted comments as DerWilheim, a name chosen for reasons he says he cannot recall. ''I often think about how happy I am that nobody will find those,'' he said. ''I'm pretty sure those things are gone.''
He was the forum's exotic. ''They knew I was gay and a lawyer in New York,'' he said. He found the community to be ''incredibly welcoming.'' In 1996, he flew to Indiana to attend a Town Hall conference. ''My friends were, 'Are you fucking insane?' ''
He later added, ''That early Internet experience'--the Wild West'--was really important to my development. For gay people, and for anybody who felt any sense of shame or constraint about their sexual identity and their sexual expression, the Internet was this incredibly powerful tool. And not just sexually, but whatever parts of yourself are there and you're not really sure about and you know you can't really show most people. I think that part of my bond with Snowden was that the Internet was so crucial to his own development.'' Snowden used to post on Ars Technica, about sex and programming, as TheTrueHOOHA. Greenwald said of him, ''He grew up in a lower-middle-class household in central Maryland'--very stultifying, and homogenous. When you have a place where you can be anything, or do anything, or say anything, you realize how emancipating that is, and to lose that is a huge loss.'' In ''Citizenfour,'' Snowden says to Greenwald, ''I remember what the Internet was like before it was being watched.''
In 1996, Greenwald set up his own law firm. He didn't vote in 2000, but after 9/11 he paid closer attention to politics, from a position of some confidence in George W. Bush. Greenwald has written that, in 2003, he trusted Bush about Iraq: ''I accepted his judgment that American security would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country.'' That trust was soon lost. And by 2005, when Greenwald started his blog, he wrote as a critic of U.S. torture and rendition policies, and of legal theories defending them.
But the blog's name, Unclaimed Territory'--a reference to ''Deadwood,'' the HBO frontier drama'--indicated Greenwald's self-image as an independent spirit. When he wrote that Howard Dean was ''non-ideological, sensible, solidly mainstream,'' he was being nice. Bush Administration horrors were transgressions, not signs of chronic imperial disorder. In 2005, Greenwald censured anti-Americanism, which he defined as the inclination ''to vigilantly search for America's guilt while downplaying, ignoring, or excusing the guilt of its enemies'''--to be driven by the idea that the U.S. ''is a uniquely corrupt and evil country.''
The younger Greenwald might have blanched at a question Greenwald asked last summer: ''Who has brought more death, and suffering, and tyranny to the world over the last six decades than the U.S. national security state?'' At one point, Greenwald told me that he saw no difference between Putin's use of Novichok against a political antagonist'--if such a thing had happened'--and Obama's use of military drones. ''I don't think the U.S. government is morally superior to the Russian government in terms of the role it plays in the world,'' he said. Greenwald responded to Russia's shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, in 2014, by tweeting a reference to the U.S. Navy's shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655, in 1988. When ISIS filmed a captured Jordanian pilot being burned alive, in 2015, Greenwald immediately published a post on the Intercept about civilian injuries from napalm, during the Vietnam War, and from U.S. drone strikes. His headline was ''Burning Victims to Death: Still a Common Practice.''
In 2006, he wrote a slim, sharp book, ''How Would a Patriot Act?,'' which became a best-seller. Greenwald wrote fast; by 2008, he had published two more books. He was an early adopter of Twitter, although in 2009 he observed, on C-SPAN, that it might ''degrade our discourse even further.'' (Greenwald told me, ''I was so prescient! I wish I'd listened to myself.'') His writing became more polemical and less legalistic, emphasizing debate-team reiteration of an argument's greatest strength. As Joan Walsh, then at Salon, recently put it, ''He was not interested in convincing people'--he was interested in telling the truth.'' His book ''Great American Hypocrites,'' published in 2008, opens with an essay that repeats a single thought'--that conservative politicians ''talk tough and prance around as wholesome warriors,'' like John Wayne, while leading personal lives that are ''the exact opposite'''--to the point that it reads like a mechanical malfunction.
Before Barack Obama became President, in 2009, Greenwald was optimistic about the candidate's likely respect for civil liberties. He recalls telling himself, ''He's a law professor, it's embedded in him the way it is in me.'' But Obama was unable to close Guantnamo, and, as Greenwald saw it, he failed to stem abuses of executive privilege, and security-state excesses. Ben Rhodes, a speechwriter and a deputy national-security adviser in the Obama Administration, told me, ''I think that anything short of the President attempting to completely dismantle the national-security apparatus of the United States was going to leave Greenwald disappointed.'' In Greenwald's view, the start of the Obama Presidency revealed ''a dichotomy between the people who were actually serious in their critiques of the Bush Administration and people who were just Democrats. And I became the critic of the Democratic Party from the left.''
Walsh recalled that, ''for a long time, we were absolutely on the same side, and then suddenly we weren't always.'' She added, ''He's always had a libertarian streak, but I thought of him as on the left'--in his own lane, but on the left.'' As the divide between Greenwald and Obama supporters widened, ''we did have conversations about race and about gender,'' Walsh said. ''I thought he could persuade people if he occasionally paid more attention to the concerns of black people who saw Obama as being in an impossible situation, and being held to a different standard. Those conversations I don't think went anywhere.''
One morning at the house in Rio, Miranda met with some of his colleagues, and with Greenwald, to discuss electoral strategy. Miranda, now thirty-three, stopped attending school at thirteen. He later re-started his education, and in the summer of 2013, while Greenwald was in Hong Kong with Snowden'--in a sour-smelling hotel room filled with a week's worth of room-service trays'--Miranda was taking his final exams for a degree in advertising and communications. Three years later, he ran for the Rio city council, as a member of a small party, the Socialism and Liberty Party, and won. This fall, he is running for Congress. As the meeting broke up, Greenwald said that he and Miranda had decided to ''make a film in Jacarezinho, the favela where David grew up'--huge and very deprived'--and get David's family with him, and talk about how that formed him.'' Miranda, who didn't know his father and whose mother is dead, is lighter-skinned than other family members, ''but he is black,'' Greenwald said, ''and it's about how to claim that identity, not to let people take away that identity.'' (Miranda had recently stopped using hair-straightening products.)
Greenwald, who had earlier compared Miranda's electoral appeal to Obama's, acknowledged that, in 2016, after he interviewed Dilma Rousseff, in Bras­lia, in the Presidential palace, he and Miranda wondered for a moment how easily the building could accommodate two dozen dogs. When Miranda sat with us, Greenwald used the phrase ''if you're successful in your congressional race,'' and Miranda laughed. ''I will be!'' he said. ''Be positive, dude.''
Greenwald left the table to get food. Miranda said that, for most of Rio's electorate, his having a foreign partner wasn't a liability, but he allowed that his relationship with Greenwald had drawn some unfriendly local commentary. (A senior media figure in the city later told me, with amusement, that Miranda now spoke Portuguese with a slight American accent.) Miranda told me, ''I'm black and he's white, a lawyer from New York. I'm younger and'''--shrug, slight hand movement'--''good-looking, and I came from the favelas.'' He went on, ''But here we are, thirteen years together. Two fucking kids who we love! Twenty-four fucking dogs! I think we proved we love each other.''
Greenwald brought out some brittle baked pasta. Miranda, who takes cooking seriously, looked despairing and said, ''You overcooked his pasta, Glenn.''
''Not as much as I overcooked mine,'' Greenwald said, cheerfully.
''Oh, God,'' Miranda said.
They talked about the day, in May, 2013, when Snowden, already in Hong Kong, sent Greenwald some samples of the N.S.A. material he had obtained. This included a presentation about PRISM, the then unknown program that facilitated the collection of data from major American Internet companies. That day, Greenwald and Miranda, stunned, talked for five hours. ''We knew our lives would change,'' Miranda said. ''We made a promise that the only thing that cannot change is us.'' (Greenwald has changed a little, Miranda told me: ''He was pretty big, but he became this monster.'' He was referring to the size of his reputation.) Later, Miranda showed me photographs that he took while sitting with Beyonc(C), Jay Z, and Jennifer Lopez at the Vanity Fair Oscar party in 2015, after ''Citizenfour'' won the award for Best Documentary. ''Jay Z was asking me to sit in his lap,'' he said. By then, Greenwald had gone back to their hotel. (''It was suffocating, it was too much,'' Greenwald told me.)
''Journalists don't just get sources'--journalists create sources,'' Snowden told me, speaking on a video line from Russia during the World Cup. (He had established, he said, that in soccer each side has ''a maximum of eleven players.'') He recalled first noticing Greenwald during the Bush Administration; he read the blog, and felt a sense of fraternity in their shared disillusionment. ''I signed up for the Iraq War when everyone else was protesting it,'' Snowden said. Greenwald struck him as unbeholden to official sources, and unencumbered by ''a fear of being taken to be unserious, or shrill, if you go over the boundaries of polite conversation.'' Over the years, Snowden said, reading Greenwald ''probably caused me to become more skeptical.''
In December, 2012, Snowden reached out to Greenwald, who had recently been hired away from Salon by the Guardian. (As at Salon, and now at the Intercept, Greenwald's Guardian contract stipulated that, unless he requested an editor's guidance, his columns would be published directly to the Internet.) Snowden e-mailed him, using a pseudonymous account, and encouraged him to set up encryption that would allow them to communicate safely. Greenwald didn't get around to it. Snowden began to talk with Laura Poitras, and then with the journalist Barton Gellman. In April, Greenwald and Snowden finally started an encrypted conversation. Three days after opening the PRISM file, Greenwald flew to New York, and from there, with Poitras and Ewen MacAskill, a Guardian reporter, to Hong Kong. In the Mira Hotel's lobby, ''this fucking kid shows up,'' Greenwald recalled, laughing. ''Honestly, my first reaction was 'O.K., our source is gay and this is, like, his lover. His little wispy young lover.' '' Snowden, for his part, was struck by the level of Greenwald's attention: ''He had a consuming incandescence about this story. He was driven. Things weren't happening fast enough, there were always more questions. There was just a carnivorous desperation to learn what was going on, and then to tell people about it.''
They met on Monday, June 3rd, and by the end of the day Greenwald had drafted his first Snowden story, about the N.S.A.'s access to Verizon phone records. On Wednesday, Spencer Ackerman, in Washington, invited the White House and the N.S.A. to respond. Ben Rhodes, who was then in the White House, recalled that ''it kind of hit us like a freight train.'' In Hong Kong, Greenwald became impatient with what he perceived to be unnecessary delays. It was a ''very simple'' story, he said, based on a single document. Greenwald went on, ''I was taking sleeping pills and Xanax and every conceivable narcotic to sleep just a little bit'--but I couldn't. I was filled with adrenaline and nerves.'' He sent a draft of his article to Betsy Reed, at the time the executive editor of The Nation. ''She got back to me thirty minutes later and said, 'We're happy to publish this.' ''
Miranda said, ''I wouldn't let him publish in The Nation.''
''It's a step down,'' Greenwald said.
''It's a step down.''
Miranda recalled urging Greenwald to tell the Guardian that, if it didn't publish the story soon, ''we're going to put the documents on a Web site.'' (He added, ''That's when the idea of the Intercept was created, right there.'') The Guardian published it that evening.
James Risen told me, ''I think that Snowden, and that story, brought out the best in Glenn.'' Rhodes, disagreeing, said that, given Greenwald's ''Chomsky-like'' distrust of American power, ''the core challenge here is trying to understand to what extent this was a matter of whistle-blowing on behalf of a public debate about transparency, and to what extent this was just about undermining U.S. foreign policy.''
Greenwald later said that, in Hong Kong, he had worried that Snowden might slip into China, thus creating the impression that he was an asset of Chinese intelligence. Had Snowden actually been one, Greenwald said, it would not have affected his reporting, but it would have changed his opinion of his source. Moreover, he said, ''what protected me legally was the popularity of the story, and its popularity would certainly have been lessened if he'd been revealed as a Chinese spy.''
But Greenwald said that he had not felt unnerved when Snowden eventually was granted asylum in Russia. He accepted Snowden's account: that, upon leaving Hong Kong, his intention was to reach Latin America, but the plan was thwarted by the revocation of his passport, leaving him unable to transfer flights in Moscow. Snowden has said that, before arriving in Russia, he relinquished his access to his material. Rhodes told me, ''It's impossible for me to believe that the Russians haven't debriefed him on multiple occasions.'' When I asked Greenwald if Snowden could have co¶perated in ways other than giving up documents, he said, ''I can't guarantee that he didn't share information with them.'' But Snowden had told him that he hadn't done so; Greenwald added, ''In all the time I talked to Snowden, I've never, ever known him to lie to me.''
He went on, ''I think the reason Putin accepted Snowden in Russia is because he just liked the idea of being the protector of human rights against the United States. So, instead of the United States getting to say, 'You, Russia, are persecuting people who are political dissidents,' Putin got to say, 'We're giving him rights, because he's going to be persecuted in the United States.' ''
Trolling? ''Yes, exactly.''
Snowden and Greenwald used to talk every day. Now a week or two can pass without contact. Greenwald visited Snowden in the spring of 2014, and then again this summer, when he appeared on a panel discussion in Moscow, broadcast on RT, the Russia-backed English-language news network, and moderated by RT's editor-in-chief. Greenwald told the audience that, after Trump's victory, ''the American political system needed an explanation about why something like that could happen, and why they got it wrong.'' One explanation, he said, was that ''it was this other foreign country over there that was to blame. And that's a major reason why fingers continue to be pointed at the Russian government.'' (When Greenwald was criticized online for appearing on RT, he claimed, incorrectly, that the BBC is also ''state-controlled.'') On Instagram, Greenwald posted a photograph of Snowden eating an ice-cream cone. Snowden had told me, ''We're not like buddy-buddy. There's a distance. We don't talk about our personal lives. We don't call every Wednesday and say, 'Hey, you want to play bingo online?' ''
Greenwald is not naturally collegial. In Rio, on a conference call about his Navratilova film, he faced gentle resistance to one of his ideas. Smiling, he raised a middle finger to the phone, and then started exchanging back-channel texts with someone else on the call. Afterward, he congratulated himself on his restraint, saying, ''People come into working with me assuming I'm this, like, demanding, abrasive asshole, so I don't want to play into that stereotype right away. I want to wait at least a month.''
Greenwald co-founded the Intercept in 2013, with Poitras and Jeremy Scahill; the funding came from Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay. (The site paid Greenwald half a million dollars in its first year.) Greenwald does sometimes consult with an editor before posting, but there have been times when Reed has regretted that he did not. And it's clear that there's a category of Greenwald article for which there's limited appetite in New York. Reminded about a fifteen-hundred-word article, in January, animated by the fact that Neera Tanden'--the president of the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank'--had retweeted a foolish remark about Chelsea Manning, Reed smiled, in a ''tell me about it'' way.
In the Trump era, Greenwald seems to be most energized when he discovers flaws in Democratic messaging, or in the output of an MSNBC contributor; this summer, he wrote a piece about a single uncorrected error by Malcolm Nance, a former intelligence officer, who had mistakenly said that Jill Stein had a show on RT; Greenwald used the words ''lie,'' ''fabrication,'' and ''falsehood,'' and their variants, twenty times, and proposed that ''NBC News and MSNBC have essentially merged with the C.I.A. and intelligence community,'' and that ''anyone who criticizes the Democratic Party or its leaders is instantly accused of being a Kremlin agent.''
Some of Greenwald's admirers seem to register only the fighting spirit, and not the actual claims, in this kind of writing. Dan Froomkin, who until last year was the Washington editor of the Intercept, told me that, after someone had criticized this article on Facebook, he had replied, ''Do you dispute the accuracy of a single thing Glenn wrote?'' When I asked Froomkin about the claim of an MSNBC/C.I.A. merger, he laughed, and said, ''Oh, God, did he really say that?,'' before defending it as hyperbole.
Some people at the Intercept have questioned Greenwald's decision to appear on Fox News. According to Reed, ''It's become so entirely an organ of not even just the Republican Party but the Trump Administration, and it has no compunction about spreading lies, so I think there are real questions about why anyone would go on there.'' Greenwald told me, ''I don't know why it's O.K. to ally with Bill Kristol but not Tucker Carlson.'' I reminded him that he has mocked MSNBC and CNN for giving Kristol airtime. ''I think there's a difference between giving someone a platform'--inviting Bill Kristol on'--and my going and using Tucker Carlson's audience,'' he said.
Greenwald's position on Trump and Russia has come to define the Intercept: recently, when I was in an elevator at the New York office, an employee made a joke about the ''Russian-funded'' opulence of the premises. When the Intercept hired Risen, last September, Greenwald suspected that the move was intended to offset his Trump-Russia opinions. ''People have denied it, but I disbelieve those denials,'' he told me. This skepticism seems to be well founded. Risen told me that his focus on Trump and Russia was ''to help change the perception'' of the site. (Reed, describing Risen's hiring, said he needed reassurance that Greenwald would have no editorial influence over him.) Greenwald said, ''I don't think the majority of people who work at the Intercept'--because they're good liberals'--are supportive of my whole posture with regard to Trump and Russia. That's fine with me. If they want to get someone who sounds like David Gregory to write at the Intercept, it doesn't really take away from anything I'm doing.'' (He later said that this wasn't a reference to Risen, whom he called a journalistic hero.) Risen said of Greenwald, ''He looks at stories and thinks, What are the implications of this story for the political positions that I hold? And I try to look at a story and say, 'Is this a good story or not?' '' He added, ''I consider him a friend. We have good conversations.''
Greenwald went on to describe his frustration with an Intercept story, published last summer, that was based on an N.S.A. report leaked by Reality Winner, an N.S.A. contractor. The article described an attempt by Russian military intelligence to introduce malware into the computers of U.S. election officials in 2016. In Greenwald's view, the story was overblown: the N.S.A. analysis included no underlying evidence. Before publication, Greenwald vetoed a suggestion that Snowden be invited to examine the leaked material. ''I said, 'I think it's not a very good idea to send a top-secret N.S.A. document that purports to describe Russia to Russia.' '' He laughed. ''Not even I would look very kindly on that, if I were in the Trump Justice Department.'' He was also dismayed, as many people were, that the Intercept had not properly disguised the document before showing it to the government for verification, making it easy for Winner to be identified as its leaker; she was arrested shortly before publication. The Intercept apologized, and supported her legal defense. The site ''fucked up,'' Greenwald said. He added that, if he didn't work there, he might be wondering aloud why nobody was fired. (On August 23rd, Winner was sentenced to five years in prison.)
WikiLeaks offered ten thousand dollars for the name of whoever at the Intercept was responsible for Winner's exposure. Greenwald and Julian Assange had become allies during the Bush Administration, but their relationship was disrupted in 2013, when Snowden chose not to work with WikiLeaks. And, after Greenwald was exposed to Snowden and his trove, he became less supportive of the WikiLeaks approach, which typically involves publishing data in bulk, without curating or redaction. In our conversations, Greenwald noted that among the Podesta e-mails published by WikiLeaks were remarks about a campaign worker's serious mental-health problems; publishing that, he said, was ''grotesque and incredibly immoral.''
I was told that Greenwald now speaks harshly about Assange in private, but in our conversations he described a civil relationship that navigated around ''Julian being Julian.'' Greenwald told me that he had three visits with Assange late last year. And he framed the prelection alliance between WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign as a human response to extreme conditions. Assange was understandably focussed on escaping from what he has defined as imprisonment, in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and Trump could potentially help him. Moreover, Greenwald said, Assange ''likes to be a big player'--that's super important to him'--and if you're releasing stuff and Donald Trump is talking about it every day, that massively increases your importance.''
Greenwald has a daily tennis lesson. One afternoon in April, on a hotel's court, his coach asked him how he'd performed in a tournament the previous weekend. Greenwald had been beaten thoroughly, despite intensive preparation. He'd mentioned this defeat to me, which was at the hands of a ''ridiculously good'' young man who had clearly entered the tournament at the wrong level. ''I didn't want to complain, because I try not to inject lawyer-journalist energy into my recreational activities,'' Greenwald said, laughing. ''But at the same time I felt it was a bureaucratic injustice.'' He had ''only once'' intentionally served the ball, without a bounce, directly at his opponent.
After he played with the coach for twenty minutes, cursing, it began to rain. I told Greenwald that, during his lesson, it had been reported that Sean Hannity had been named as a client of Michael Cohen's, and that Trump had blocked sanctions against Russia that Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, had announced the previous day. In our conversations, Greenwald had made much of Trump's willingness, earlier that month, to apply sanctions against twenty-four Russian oligarchs and officials. And he had tweeted that ''the Trump Administration has been more willing to confront Russia & defy Putin than the previous president.''
He began to respond to this news while trying to get out of the hotel's parking lot. The machine wouldn't accept his ticket. Looking at the barrier in front of us, he said, ''I'm so tempted to just ride through it, which is a fantasy of mine, from childhood. Look at how weak that is'--I could definitely break that.'' He added, ''I want to do something violent.''
He moved a cone, and drove around.
Greenwald asked me: What was being suggested by those who found it significant that Trump had undermined an expansion of U.S. sanctions? Even if nobody was quite arguing, he said, ''that Putin called Trump and said, 'Hey, I'm about to release the peepee tape unless you pull this back,' '' it was surely implied. But wasn't it as likely, he went on, that ''Trump, like Obama, simply believes it makes more sense for the Russians and the Americans to co¶perate?''
He seemed to be running parallel arguments: Trump was tough on Russia; Trump, wisely, was not tough. Greenwald said, ''You can punish them occasionally but have an over-all philosophy'--that over-all philosophy of 'Let's just get along with the Russians' has been turned into something treasonous.'' He went on, ''Even if he has weird dealings with Russia, I still think it's in everybody's interest not to teach an entire new generation of people, becoming interested in politics for the first time, that the Russians are demons.'' (Later, shortly before the Helsinki meeting between Trump and Putin, Greenwald told ''Democracy Now!'' that the meeting was an ''excellent idea.'' Risen wrote that Trump's decision to meet Putin alone was ''at best reckless.'')
If, for many years, a writer has described his fears about the state of America, does he find it galling when others make much of their sudden new fear? Embedded in Greenwald's hostility to Trump's critics seems to be the aggrieved question ''What took you so long?''
''Yes, yes!'' Greenwald said, emphatically, as he drove. Years after he began writing critically about expanded Presidential powers, ''all these powers are now in the hands of Donald Trump,'' he said. ''He gets to start wars. So I do get a sense that, O.K., people are going to finally understand that this model of the American Presidency'--this omnipotence, this lack of checks and balances'--is so dangerous. But the problem is they're being told that the danger is endemic to Trump, and not to this broader systemic abuse that's been created. And that's why I'm so opposed to the attempt to depict Trump as the singular evil. It's not just partial or incomplete'--it's counterproductive, it's deceitful.''
He was acknowledging an ideological incentive for minimizing criticism of the President. ''We all make choices in what we're going to prioritize,'' he said. ''I could go online and denounce Trump all day, and my life would be easier and more relaxing.''
Greenwald, who didn't vote in 2016, and who sees Bernie Sanders as the best likely candidate for 2020, later told me that, compared with current conditions, a Clinton Presidency would have been ''better in some ways, and worse in other ways.'' He referred to the likelihood that Clinton would have pursued military action in Syria. Trump's election, he said, had energized public debate about ''what kind of country we should be.''
Greenwald took me to see a dog shelter that he and Miranda opened last year. Staffed by homeless people, most of them gay or transgender, it's in the garden of a once grand house, now occupied by squatters, on a forested hillside. A dozen abandoned cars surrounded a swimming pool half-filled with green water. He talked with a colleague about how to defuse a conflict between two factions of homeless people living on the property. A woman had announced that she intended to kill an antagonist. ''It's a war,'' Greenwald told me, matter-of-factly. He lay on his back with a dog in his arms, and looked serene. '...
An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Betsy Reed's role at The Nation; she was the executive editor, not the editor. It also described the timing of Reality Winner's arrest incorrectly; Winner was arrested shortly before the Intercept published its story, not shortly after.
Bitcoin shows the scale of change needed to stop the climate crisis
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 11:16
Bitcoin is burning a hole in our future. The cryptocurrency now produces as much CO2 a year as a million transatlantic flights. What's more, that number is set to grow by design. Bitcoin is essentially a computational race among a peer-to-peer network to crack increasingly complex algorithms without any intrinsic meaning or utility, calculations that demand ever more processing power to complete, devouring energy overwhelmingly sourced from fossil fuels.
In an era of accelerating climate crisis, driven primarily by carbon emissions, it is a technological innovation of violence towards current and future generations. The scaling of Bitcoin and the proliferation of similar technologies and practices would all but lock in deep and violent climatic instability, from extreme weather events and collapsing food and water security to rising sea levels and biodiversity loss in the decades ahead. Driven by techno-libertarians deeply opposed to collective institutions and public governance, the idea of Bitcoin is rooted in a politics that will guarantee growing environmental crisis given the need for economic and political co-ordination to bring us rapidly within the safe operating spaces of the planet.
If we wanted a metaphor for the worst excesses and circuits of accumulation driving us deeper into the Anthropocene, our new geological era of human-driven planetary breakdown, Bitcoin would be a good candidate. But what, practically, is Bitcoin? In brief, Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a purely digital medium of exchange based on computational code breaking. The architecture of the currency is designed to do away with the need for a centralised ''treasury'', central bank or other actors that reconcile and oversee transactions; it is a peer-to-peer currency, based not on social confidence or collective monetary or governance institutions but mathematics and private computing power.
Critically, ''mining'' '' the decentralised process by which a transaction is computed, validated and added to the permanent record of the network '' is a voracious consumer of energy. The scale of consumption is astonishing. The bitcoin network is estimated to consume at least 2.6GW of power globally. To put this into context, according to the International Energy Agency, if Bitcoin were a country it would already be the 39th biggest energy consumer. The journal Nature, meanwhile, has calculated that the annual carbon footprint of Bitcoin and Ethereum (the other major cryptocurrency) is comparable to a country of roughly seven million European inhabitants. Moreover, energy economists have predicted the network's consumption could rise to 7.7GW before the end of the year. This would be equivalent to almost 0.5 per cent of the world's electricity consumption.
These numbers are only likely to grow at present. The network is designed to continue to ratchet up energy use. Each transaction requires a huge and growing amount of calculation to process a financial transaction, which in turn requires energy. As Alex Hern, the Guardian's technology reporter, succinctly puts it, ''in simplified terms, bitcoin mining is a competition to waste the most electricity possible by doing pointless arithmetic quintillions of times a second.''
If the energy used was renewable and the network's computing infrastructure built through non-extractive means, rapidly scaling energy use might be less of a problem. However, roughly two-thirds of all cryptocurrency mining is conducted in China and is overwhelmingly powered by coal plants, driven by a peculiar marriage of libertarian technologies, the directive power of Chinese state capitalism, and the energy geography of the Middle Kingdom.
At the same time, the network is designed to adjust to the difficulty of mining so that no matter how much computing power there is on the network, only one block is produced every ten minutes. As such, we can't rely on the rising power efficiency of mining computers to lessen the network's environmental impacts. Given the zero-sum nature of Bitcoin, efficiency improvements will only encourage ''miners'' to run more machines for the same power use, increasing their chance of cracking the algorithm, rather than seeing a tailing off of energy consumption.
As we confront a world of mounting environmental collapse '' collapse rooted and driven by extractive and carbon-heavy models of development that Bitcoin exemplifies in many ways '' there are three wider lessons we can learn from considering the network and its effects.
First, we need to recognise that digitalisation does not mean complete de-materialisation, and the separation of economic and social activities from having a physical footprint. Computation, whether used for cryptocurrency mining or performing the calculations that make our smartphones tick over, is not a magic, weightless act. It is a thermodynamic process. Calculation is powered by energy, energy that remains predominantly carbon-based in source, and will likely remain so globally for decades to come, as Jeremy Grantham '' funder of the Grantham Institute at LSE and Imperial College researching climate change - has recently and worryingly pointed out.
These emissions, in turn, are driving natural systems breakdown on a growing scale. In other words, we cannot escape from natural constraints and finite limits by retreating to a digital world. Even there, we are connected to depleting physical systems and contained by planetary boundaries. To paraphrase Beckett, ''we're on Earth, there's no cure for that''.
It is critical we grasp this, as the environmental footprint of digital technologies is set to explode. Data centres '' the vast calculating nodal points of contemporary life '' are shortly set to overtake the entire aviation industry in terms of its carbon footprint. Indeed, the ''datafication'' of society '' as the amount of connected devices that generate and transmit data exponentially expands '' is predicted by some to consume one fifth of global electricity by 2025, and generate 14 per cent of global emissions by 2040. These growing challenges are on top of the brutal conditions by which most rare earth minerals that underpin ''smart'' devices are mined.
In other words, decarbonisation on the scale and pace we need, both in the UK and globally, will necessarily involve increasing de-materialisation and the adoption and use of more efficient technologies. We should actively seek to accelerate this process. But we must also recognise, and not turn a blind eye to, the material impacts that digitalisation is having around the planet. As such, we must not await salvation in technological change but instead actively organise to change the conditions by which energy and materials are produced and consumed.
Second, the political impulse behind Bitcoin and its intertwining with questions of planetary limits and political economy demands that we better interrogate technologies and their use. Technologies, as the voracious demand of cryptocurrencies show, have the power to reshape flows of energy and matter, attention and information. This is the purpose not just of technology, but ultimately, of politics. Rather than uncritically embracing the technological moonshots of Silicon Valley '' from geoengineering of the Earth's atmosphere to Thorium reactors funded by Bill Gates '' we should examine what hierarchies of power technologies sustain or amplify and recognise how they and they wider technical systems they constitute intimately pattern and structure our lives.
If technologies are systems embedded in wider social, economic and natural systems, we can and should seek to more actively shape their development and use through politics. What could this mean in practical terms? For a start, the shutting down of power to large server farms powering bitcoin mining in parts of China and Canada suggest there are direct and powerful ways of intervening in the case of the network. It could also mean seeking to repurpose the blockchain technology that in part underlies Bitcoin, but use it to improve co-operation in economic activities in ways that can reduce our environmental activities. Allied to the exponential expansion of data matched to accelerating computing power, it could help us solve questions of co-ordination we need to resolve to build a sustainable and resilient economy.
Third, Bitcoin is rooted in a desire to build a currency and network that evades the need for intermediary institutions to govern our interactions, whether that is the central bank or the nation-state. As the urbanist and technologist Adam Greenfield argues, it is a deeply private political project. But at whatever institutional setting, the challenges of the Anthropocene will demand more co-ordination and collaboration, not less, if we're to have any hope of navigating our future and avoiding conditions of collapse.
If we can learn these lessons, we can consign Bitcoin to being a metaphor for a dying carbon civilisation, while we build a better, more sustainable and just alternative.
Mathew Lawrence is senior research fellow at IPPR and editor of IPPR Progressive Review. He works on project on understanding and responding to environmental collapse and tweets @dantonshead
''We'll Find Out About Brennan'' | Frontpage Mag
Tue, 28 Aug 2018 10:50
John Brennan became head of the Central Intelligence agency in 2013 and after leaving in 2017 he retained his security clearance, which President Trump recently revoked. Brennan is threatening a lawsuit, a prospect that delights the president's lead lawyer.
''I'd volunteer to do that case for the president,'' Rudy Giuliani told Fox News. ''I'd love to have Brennan under oath for I don't know how many days, two or three days? We'll find out about Brennan.'' As the former New York mayor is doubtless aware, there is plenty to find out. Consider, for example, Brennan's role in the famous passport case.
Back in 2008, State Department contractors ''unnecessarily reviewed'' the passport file of Illinois Senator Barack Obama. The breach came without the knowledge of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who called the senator to apologize. ''I myself would be very disturbed if I learned somebody had looked into my passport file,'' Rice told reporters.
According to the State Department, two of the contract employees were fired for the security breach and a third was disciplined but remained on the job. The department did not reveal the identities of the employees nor what they might have been looking for in the presidential candidate's passport file. On the other hand, some information did emerge.
''The CEO of a company whose employee is accused of improperly looking at the passport files of presidential candidates is a consultant to the Barack Obama campaign,'' CNN reported on March 22, 2008. ''John O. Brennan, president and CEO of the Analysis Corp., advises the Illinois Democrat on foreign policy and intelligence issues,'' CNN reported. ''Brennan briefed the media on behalf of the campaign this month. The executive is a former senior CIA official and former interim director of the National Counterterrorism Center.''
Brennan also ''contributed $2,300 to the Obama campaign in January'' but State Department officials told CNN, ''We ethically awarded contracts. Political affiliation is not one of the factors that we check.'' According to CNN, the two fired employees worked for the Stanley Inc. firm. John Brennan's Analysis Corp. employee was only disciplined and remained on the job.
The State Department inspector general conducted polygraph tests ''to find out whether there was any political motive'' but no results have come to light. Some speculated that the intruder was digging up dirt, but the objective was more likely a coverup.
In April, 2008, after the story became public, candidate Obama told a San Francisco crowd that during his college years he took a trip to Pakistan. This came as a surprise to reporters, and the candidate's two autobiographies, Dreams from My Father (1995) and The Audacity of Hope (2006), made no mention of any trip to Pakistan.
What the college student did there is not exactly clear, and some in the region found it disturbing. ''Why did he keep mum on his visit to Pakistan till this question was raised?'' wondered India's former counterterrorist chief Bahukutumbi Raman. ''Has he disclosed all the details regarding his Pakistan visit? Was it as innocuous as made out by him '' to respond to the invitation of a Pakistani friend or was there something more to it?''
The passport file breach could have been related to this long unmentioned visit, and as Pam Geller notes there is more to the story. Lt. Quarles Harris Jr., a witness cooperating with federal authorities investigating the passport breach, was found dead, ''shot in the head in his car, in front of his church.'' According to the Washington Times, which first reported the passport breach story, ''city police do not know whether his death was a direct result of his cooperation with federal investigators.''
Maybe John Brennan knows. After all, it was Brennan's employee who accessed the passport file of the presidential candidate Brennan supported. So in a deposition over the security clearance, Rudy Giuliani could ''find out'' about that, and other episodes before Brennan took over the CIA.
Back in 1976, when the USSR was persecuting dissidents and exporting violence around the world, college student John Brennan voted for Gus Hall. This slobbering Stalinist was the presidential candidate of the Communist Party USA, a party founded and financed by Soviet Russia. The CPUSA was also the party of the beloved ''Frank'' in Dreams from My Father, the African American Frank Marshall Davis (1905-1987), who for decades defended the white Communist dictatorship of Soviet Russia.
As Commies and The Rosenberg File author Ronald Radosh notes, former Clinton National Security Adviser Anthony Lake failed to become CIA director partly because he thought Alger Hiss might be innocent. As Radosh noted of Brennan, ''in a sane world, he would have been turned down.''
If the Gus Hall voter sues to get his clearance back we could learn a great deal about John Brennan. Maybe he knows what his former boss was up to on that trip to Pakistan he tried to hide. Maybe Brennan can explain why Frank disappeared from the audio version of Dreams from My Father and makes no appearance in The Audacity of Hope. Still a lot to ''find out'' about POTUS 44, formerly known as Barry Soetoro.
Hackers Stole Personal Data Of 2 Million T-Mobile Customers
Mon, 27 Aug 2018 17:20
UPDATE, Friday, Aug. 24, 3:00 pm ET: After this story was first published, a T-Mobile spokesperson told me that ''encrypted passwords'' were included in the compromised data. In its original announcement, the company said: ''no passwords were compromised.''
When I asked why the company used that wording, the spokesperson said in a message: ''Because they weren't [compromised]. They were encrypted.''
The spokesperson declined to specify how those passwords were encrypted, or what hashing algorithm was used. Hours after this story was published, security researcher Nicholas Ceraolo reached out claiming that the data exposed in the breach was more than what T-Mobile disclosed. The researcher shared a sample of allegedly compromised data that included a field called ''userpassword'' and what looks like a hash, which is a cryptographic representations of a password. (Ceraolo said he was not involved in the hack but obtained the sample from a "mutual friend.")
According to two different security researchers, with whom Motherboard shared that hash, it may be an encoded string hashed with the notoriously weak algorithm called MD5, which can potentially be cracked with brute-forcing attacks.
Jeremi M. Gosney, a well-known password expert and CEO of the password-cracking firm Terahash,
analyzed the hash for Motherboard. Gosney said that while the hash algorithm is not totally clear, algorithm could likely be reverse engineered with access to a larger sample of hashes from the database.
Customers should assume their passwords have already been cracked and should change it, he told me in an online chat.
T-Mobile's CEO John Legere said in a tweet that "it's always a good idea to regularly change account passwords."
The original story follows.
On late Thursday, T-Mobile revealed that hackers stole some of the personal data of 2 million people in a new data breach.
In a brief intrusion, hackers stole "some" customer data including names, email addresses, account numbers, and other billing information. The good news is that they did not get credit card numbers, social security numbers, according to the company.
In its announcement, T-Mobile said that its cybersecurity team detected an ''unauthorized capture of some information'' on Monday, Aug. 20.
Got a tip? You can contact this reporter securely on Signal at +1 917 257 1382, OTR chat at lorenzofb@jabber.ccc.de, or email lorenzo@motherboard.tv
''Our cyber-security team discovered and shut down an unauthorized access to certain information, including yours, and we promptly reported it to authorities. None of your financial data (including credit card information) or social security numbers were involved, and no passwords were compromised'' the announcement published on the company's website read. ''However, you should know that some of your personal information may have been exposed, which may have included one or more of the following: name, billing zip code, phone number, email address, account number and account type (prepaid or postpaid).''
A company spokesperson told me that the breach affected ''about'' or ''slightly less than'' 3% of its 77 million customers.
''Fortunately not many,'' the spokesperson said in a text message, adding she could not disclose the exact number.
The spokesperson added that the ''incident'' happened ''early in the morning on Aug. 20,'' when hackers part of ''an international group'' accessed company servers through an API that ''didn't contain any financial data or other very sensitive data.''
According to the spokesperson, on the same day of the intrusion, the cybersecurity team detected it.
''We found it quickly and shut it down very fast,'' the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said she couldn't give ''specifics'' of the attack and did not know whether the hackers were criminals or part of a government.
T-Mobile is reaching out to victims directly via text message to notify them, she said.
The company wrote in the announcement that ''all affected customers have been, or shortly will be, notified. If you don't receive a notification than that means your account was not among those impacted by this incident.'' T-Mobile also encouraged customers to contact customer service through 611 if they were concerned.
This is the latest in a seemingly endless series of security incidents for T-Mobile in the last year. In October of 2017, Motherboard revealed that hackers had found a nasty bug in a company website that allowed them to look up customers' personal data just by having their phone numbers. The criminals used it to access customers' personal information, leveraging it to steal cell phone numbers in the increasingly pervasive scam known as SIM swapping, or SIM hijacking.
T-Mobile initially said it had ''found no evidence of customer accounts affected,'' but that turned out not to be accurate. Days later, T-Mobile alerted ''a few hundred customers'' who had been targeted by hackers. Then, in February of this year, T-Mobile sent out a mass text warning customers of the threat of SIM swapping.
In February, a security researcher reported a ''critical'' bug in another T-Mobile site that would've allowed hackers to hijack customer's accounts. It was fixed before anyone exploited it, according to the company.
Also, in 2015, T-Mobile was breached and lost the personal data'--this time including social security numbers'--of 15 million people.
This story has been updated with more information about previous security issues at T-Mobile, and the update about the passwords.
Solve Motherboard's weekly, internet-themed crossword puzzle: Solve the Internet.

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  • 0:00
    hey hey Pope don't worry about it
  • 0:03
    Adam curry Jhansi Dvorak this is your
  • 0:08
    award-winning Gitmo nation media
  • 0:09
    assassination episode 1064 this is no
  • 0:13
    agenda for your protection and all along
  • 0:33
    I thought it was for freshness gee just
  • 0:37
    for protection who knew you know ah yes
  • 0:42
    good morning to you sir in the morning
  • 0:46
    to you yes
  • 0:47
    hey you don't have to yell at me like
  • 0:50
    you're mad in the morning all ships at
  • 0:52
    sea yeah and the boots on the ground
  • 0:56
    well it was a show day on Sunday and of
  • 1:00
    course we had a shooting I think if it's
  • 1:03
    if three people died then it's
  • 1:05
    considered a mass shooting but you
  • 1:07
    wouldn't know it from the mainstream
  • 1:08
    media they kind of came and went
  • 1:14
    what shooting you're referring to oh the
  • 1:17
    at the the Madden game oh yeah
  • 1:20
    competition yeah so the kid was I guess
  • 1:25
    he might have been on some kind of
  • 1:27
    psychotropic drugs he was under
  • 1:30
    psychiatric care but worse all the
  • 1:33
    elements that you want but worst of all
  • 1:35
    he was a Trump hater so we just are not
  • 1:38
    hearing much about this anymore now are
  • 1:40
    we well it's that apparently the
  • 1:44
    elections are underway we're kind of we
  • 1:47
    got the last couple of primaries out of
  • 1:49
    the way we're heading to the midterms
  • 1:52
    finals way we're heading to the midterms
  • 1:54
    yes and November and we have to focus on
  • 1:59
    other things yes we can't be focusing on
  • 2:01
    what's killing our young people that
  • 2:03
    would be ludicrous
  • 2:06
    and since you've been you might Center
  • 2:07
    at Central mention you might as well
  • 2:09
    play my clip on the what's the name of
  • 2:12
    this clip it's a big farm I just picked
  • 2:15
    us off of the off the internet some guys
  • 2:17
    on one of the second podcast elaborate
  • 2:22
    podcast where they have these different
  • 2:23
    kinds of what you get aurilla lysing and
  • 2:27
    this is the I saw this media and drug
  • 2:32
    companies yeah this is just the
  • 2:34
    beginning of it with the exception of
  • 2:35
    CBS every major media outlet in the
  • 2:38
    United States shares at least one board
  • 2:40
    member with at least one pharmaceutical
  • 2:42
    company let me put that into perspective
  • 2:44
    these board members wake up the go-to
  • 2:47
    meeting at Merck or Pfizer then they
  • 2:49
    have their driver take them over to
  • 2:51
    meeting with NBC to decide what kind of
  • 2:53
    programming that network is going to air
  • 2:56
    and for those board members who aren't
  • 2:58
    pulling double-duty with a media
  • 3:00
    conglomerate in a big drug company they
  • 3:03
    still understand that they can't be mean
  • 3:06
    to big pharma because big pharma pays
  • 3:09
    their bills drug companies spend about
  • 3:11
    five billion dollars a year on
  • 3:12
    advertising with these media outlets I
  • 3:14
    think we do a better job than whatever
  • 3:16
    you pick that up but the point is about
  • 3:20
    this last shooting you'll note yeah this
  • 3:23
    is one of the few times where that it
  • 3:25
    was actually brought into the
  • 3:26
    conversation that this really well he
  • 3:29
    had been hospitalized
  • 3:30
    there's nothing about drugs I don't see
  • 3:31
    that discussed okay
  • 3:36
    no as that happens they pulled up they
  • 3:38
    pull the story it's all over now isn't
  • 3:40
    it interesting that CBS gets it pass in
  • 3:42
    that in that little carefully they only
  • 3:46
    get a pass because they don't have a
  • 3:47
    board yeah yeah that's the only drug
  • 3:49
    company still well I was gonna pass for
  • 3:51
    advertising I was gonna go completely
  • 3:53
    the opposite way as we were talking
  • 3:55
    about elections
  • 3:55
    oh boy I'm really excited do you know
  • 3:58
    who's running for 2020 maybe possibly
  • 4:00
    could be
  • 4:03
    well there's been a lot including Oprah
  • 4:05
    yeah no we know Oprah's not gonna do it
  • 4:08
    no no no our favorite petite man with
  • 4:11
    the big head let's talk about where
  • 4:12
    you've been standing a lot congressman
  • 4:14
    and that is in Iowa ten times over the
  • 4:17
    last year and a half is what has been
  • 4:19
    reported and I like Iowa my dad's from
  • 4:21
    Iowa I was born there yeah you were born
  • 4:24
    there there you go people running for
  • 4:26
    president also like Iowa do you know who
  • 4:29
    it is yet well it's not corker it's not
  • 4:33
    done petite petite male yeah there's a
  • 4:36
    bunch of him do I mean I should just say
  • 4:38
    that I think of that guy were here at
  • 4:40
    Cal did the professor now this is small
  • 4:43
    well oh well he's only a congressman
  • 4:50
    from California has never done anything
  • 4:52
    he's deluded he's floating balloons are
  • 4:55
    you gonna run for president well I'm
  • 4:57
    gonna do all I can first to win my way
  • 4:59
    back to Congress I'm helping a lot of
  • 5:01
    colleagues particularly there's three
  • 5:03
    three seats in Iowa where we have a two
  • 5:05
    of our candidates there the age of 40
  • 5:07
    and then after the midterms poppy I'm
  • 5:08
    gonna consider it but right now you know
  • 5:11
    I'm helping candidates who are stepping
  • 5:12
    up to protect our healthcare protect
  • 5:14
    paychecks and protect the democracy and
  • 5:16
    I'm just inspired by so many new
  • 5:18
    candidates who are bursts of new energy
  • 5:21
    inspire and leadership where are all
  • 5:25
    these leaders with leadership that's
  • 5:29
    inspiring him so much the only one I
  • 5:32
    know of is aoc she's she's rather
  • 5:35
    inspiring considering it
  • 5:36
    so not a denial you're thinking about
  • 5:38
    running for president why do you think
  • 5:41
    that you would be a your party's best
  • 5:44
    shot at the Oval Office and be the
  • 5:46
    single best person to leave this country
  • 5:49
    well poppy that this president has just