VIDEO - On Kavanaugh Debate, Senator Mazie Hirono Tells Men Of Country To 'Shut Up And Step Up' | NBC News - YouTube
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 14:31
VIDEO - FanDuel not honoring bet that would have paid more than $82,000 due to line error
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 14:28
1:23 PM ET David Purdum ESPN Staff Writer
Close Joined ESPN in 2014 Journalist covering gambling industry since 2008For one New Jersey bettor, the Denver Broncos were a long shot too good to be true.
New Jersey bookmaker FanDuel declined to honor a $110 bet on the Broncos on Sunday that would have paid more than $82,000, due to an error in the oddsmaking process, the company said.
"The wager in question involved an obvious pricing error inadvertently generated by our in-game pricing system," a FanDuel spokesperson said in a statement.
The bettor, who identified himself to News 12 New Jersey as Anthony Prince, placed the wager over the counter at the sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack with Denver trailing the Oakland Raiders 19-17 late in the fourth quarter.
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After quarterback Case Keenum completed a pass down to the Oakland 18-yard line, putting the Broncos in comfortable field goal range, FanDuel attempted to update the live betting odds to reflect Denver as a -600 favorite. However, according to the company, an error in the live-odds feed caused the Broncos to be posted as 750-1 (+75,000) underdogs to win the game.
Prince went to the counter, bet on the Broncos at the erroneous 750-1 odds and received a ticket that showed a potential payout of $82,610. At the correct odds of -600, he would have won a net $18.35.
Denver kicker Brandon McManus hit the 36-yard winning field goal with 10 seconds to play, giving the Broncos a 20-19 win, but when Prince went to the counter, he was told the bet would not be paid out at the 750-1 odds.
FanDuel instead offered to pay him around $500 and give him tickets to three New York Giants games. Prince declined to take FanDuel's offer and told News 12 New Jersey that he planned to hire an attorney.
"They said their system had a glitch in it and they're not obligated to pay for glitches," Prince told the TV station.
"A small number of bets were made at the erroneous price over an 18-second period," FanDuel said. "We honored all such bets on the Broncos to win the game at the accurate market price in accordance with our house rules and industry practice, which specifically address such obvious pricing errors. We have reached out to all impacted customers and apologized for the error."
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement is investigating the matter. The sports betting regulations that are in place in New Jersey state: "A wagering operator shall not unilaterally rescind any wager ... without the prior approval of the Division."
FanDuel's house rules, however, state that "where a blatant or palpable error is made in offers made, prices offered or bets accepted or in the transmission of any event on which we have purported to offer Live Betting, bets may be settled at the correct price at the time at which the bet was placed, as determined by FanDuel Sportsbook."
Other jurisdictions with legal betting handle the issue differently.
In Nevada, mistakes in the odds are not uncommon and can occur multiple times a month at sportsbooks. If a similar dispute happened in Nevada, the bookmaker would be required to contact the Gaming Control Board in order to investigate the matter.
Some Nevada books have paid off bets that were placed on bad odds but then refused to take action from the bettors who took advantage of the mistakes in the future.
In the United Kingdom, where FanDuel owner Paddy Power-Betfair has operated for decades, mistakes in the odds are called palpable errors or "palps" and generally result in voiding the bet.
VIDEO - The Kavanaugh Showdown | The Ben Shapiro Show Ep. 624 - YouTube
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 14:07
VIDEO - Apple Watch Series 4 review
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 12:56
Tech GuideUntil last year's Apple Watch Series 3, there wasn't a single wearable on the market that I'd wear for an extended period of time. After a week, or maybe a month, I'd get tired of the smart watch or fitness tracker and leave it in a dresser somewhere.
Then I got addicted to the Apple Watch and what it offers. I began to rely on it for dictating a quick text to my wife while driving, for directions while walking around the city and for tracking workouts.
The Apple Watch Series 4, and new watchOS 5 software that's rolling out to older Apple Watch models, continues to build on Apple's already fantastic smart watch and fitness tracker.
There's a lot you need to know about the Apple Watch Series 4, including the differences with the Series 3 that Apple will continue to sell, so let's dive in.
Todd Haselton | CNBC
I love how much information is on the display.
The first thing you'll notice with the Series 4 is the big screen. It's larger than any other Apple Watch.
There are still two sizes, but Apple is selling a 44 mm model and a 40 mm model this year instead of the old sizes of 42 mm and 38 mm. I love the larger screen '-- it's much easier to see. Apple takes advantage of this with new watch faces that show a ton of info, like the weather, the time, the date, your heart rate and shortcuts to Apple Music. You can customize all of this through what Apple calls "complications" '-- or the tiny bits of info that appear on the watch face.
Todd Haselton | CNBC
The bigger display makes typing in a passcode much easier.
Even tasks like entering my passcode are so much easier, since the buttons are larger.
But it still feels right '-- I never felt that it was "too big," as I have with almost every other smart watch I've tested.
There are a few other upgrades from previous versions of the watch as well. The speakers are louder, which was convenient for hearing Siri when I asked her sports scores, and Apple moved the microphones so it's easier for people to hear you during a phone call.
Todd Haselton | CNBC
The Apple Watch Series 4 isn't chunky, even though the screen is bigger.
I tested the GPS and Cellular model, which can continue to stream music to headphones, place calls and send text messages even when you're away from your iPhone. This worked well, and the watch seemed to transfer over to cellular faster than last year's model, which had a delay.
The battery life is good, too. Apple advertises 18 hours of use. I took the Apple Watch Series 4 off of the charger on Friday morning. I drove to the beach that evening and realized I'd forgotten my charger. I turned it off Saturday night and still had 16 percent left on Sunday at 3 p.m. I'd worn the Apple Watch all day each day, and even used it to track workouts and make sure I closed all of my rings. That's good enough for me.
I like the new digital crown on the side, which is used to navigate around apps. It provides haptic feedback '-- a little buzz '-- when you twist it, and you can press it to make a selection. Also, the button below it that brings up the app tray is now more flush with the rest of the body, which is just a tiny aesthetic enhancement.
At its launch event last week, Apple showed off a new electrocardiogram feature that exists inside the digital crown, but it's not active right now. Apple will release a software update that will enable it later this year, but when it works it'll let you take an EKG and send it off to your doctor via PDF.
Todd Haselton | CNBC
There are lots of workouts to choose from. It can track some automatically.
The new software for Apple Watch has a lot of fun new features that will land on older Apple Watch models.
It has automatic workout tracking, for example, but it can take a bit to kick in. After about a third of a mile it asked if I was running and if I wanted to record my workout. I confirmed I was jogging indoors, and it gave me back credit for the distance I had already run, which was really neat.
The watchOS 5 system also has a new walkie-talkie option that lets you talk to other Apple Watch owners on the fly, just like a normal walkie-talkie, but I didn't have any friends who had the new software or a new watch, so I couldn't test it.
Todd Haselton | CNBC
There's a walkie-talkie function in the new watchOS software.
I love the new Apple Watch faces that are in watchOS 5, and many were designed to take advantage of the larger display on the new edition. There's one mode that looks like the Apple Watch face is burning, which just looks cool. But my favorite one lets me set 8 different complications, so I can quickly do things like access the exercise app, the weather and check my heart rate.
Todd Haselton | CNBC
You can turn on fall detection, which can automatically call 911 if you fall and don't say you're OK.
Another neat feature inside watchOS 5 on the new Apple Watch is automatic fall detection. It's off by default, but when I turned it on, it recognized when I fell on the ground and delivered an alert that said it would dial 911 after 60 seconds. I confirmed I fell and closed the notification, but you can see how valuable this would be for the elderly or people with epilepsy or similar health issues.
Todd Haselton | CNBC
The back is ceramic on this model, for better cellular perforamance.
The Apple Watch Series 4 is super expensive, especially if you want the larger screen and cellular.
It starts at $399 with GPS and a 40 mm screen, but I like the model I tested, which has the larger 44 mm screen and cellular. That costs $529, even with the generic rubber wrist strap and aluminum casing. If you want the better-looking stainless steel case and sapphire display, which is more resistant to scratching, you'll pay at least $699.
That's a lot to ask, especially for someone who wants the newest model every year. You can help soften the blow by trading in an old model. Apple's trade-in program will give me $225 for my aluminum Series 3 with GPS and Cellular that I bought last year, but that's less than half of what I paid for it.
Also, the Apple Watch doesn't work with Android. That's not a terribly big deal, but my wife doesn't use an iPhone and I really wish I could get her an Apple Watch so we could compete on workouts.
Todd Haselton | CNBC
The new watch faces, like this fire one, are really neat.
If you're buying a fitness tracker or a smart watch for the first time, buy last year's Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS, which now starts at $279. I think you'll love it, and you won't be out too much money if you end up not wearing it as much as you thought you would.
If you own an Apple Watch Series 1 or Series 2 and like it and wear it daily, then go for the Apple Watch Series 4. It's a good upgrade, you'll love the bigger screen and newer health tracking features. It'll feel a lot faster, too, since the processor has been upgraded significantly.
If you don't care about bells and whistles at all, and just want to track steps, then get something more affordable.
VIDEO - Transcript of comments from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on NBA's probe into Mavericks' sexual harassment allegations
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 12:19
On Wednesday, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban appeared on The Jump to discuss the findings from an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and violence against women in the Mavericks organization. An edited transcript of Rachel Nichols' interview with Cuban appears below:
RACHEL NICHOLS: Mark, I appreciate you being here. I want to get your reaction to this report as it came out.
MARK CUBAN: First, just an apology to the women involved. The women that in a couple cases were assaulted and not just to them, but their families, because this is not something that just is an incident and then it's over -- it stays with people, it stays with families, and I'm just sorry I didn't see it. I'm just sorry I didn't recognize it. And I just hope that out of this, you know, we'll be better, and we can avoid it, and we can help make everybody just smarter about the whole thing.
NICHOLS: You run an NBA franchise where you've talked a lot publicly about how you know everything that goes on there. You did know of a few of these isolated incidents. But even the best case scenario of you not knowing, the best version of it is that women in your office felt unsafe coming to work, that they made official complaints to human resources, that they were threatened, they were not promoted. If you just didn't know any of this, how do you explain that?
CUBAN: I mean, I didn't know, and I don't have an explanation. You know I can give you lots of reasons, but they don't matter. It was my responsibility, and I have to be accountable for it.
Cuban to pay $10M after probe; 'made a mistake'The NBA said Mark Cuban didn't pay enough attention to the "disturbing and heartbreaking" culture within the Mavericks' organization, but he won't be punished for allegations from an SI report in February.
NICHOLS: I think it's hard for some people to reconcile because you are respected as a smart businessman. You have a television show, and your billing on that television show is that you're a great businessman. So how do you match that up with what you're telling me here?
CUBAN: In hindsight, it was staring me right in the face, and I missed it. I wasn't as focused on the business as I should've been. You know when I talk about being actively involved, I could tell you every salary of everybody, every NBA player over the last 15 years. I would talk to Rick and our coaches over the years, and be there at practices, and be there on the basketball side, day in day out live it. If I was in our business office five times in 15 years, that was a lot, you know. It's embarrassing to say. There were people who I just hadn't met and hadn't talked to.
NICHOLS: There are a lot of emails of you asking about ticket sales and marketing, so there are business-side functions you were very involved in.
CUBAN: No question. It all ties back to the basketball: How are we going to fill the arena? And that was important to me. And that's where I had my greatest expertise, and I had a CEO that I defer to, and that was a mistake.
NICHOLS: I want talk about the CEO, who is one of the large focuses of this investigation -- the dozen or so women who were victimized by Terdema Ussery. He was the man who was the Mavs' CEO for 15 of the 18 years that you owned the team. And I want to read off some of this: He was cornering subordinates in elevators. Or he would kiss them. Or he would stick his hand between their thighs. And it's clear in the report that you didn't know about that. The investigators interviewed 215 people. They looked through thousands of emails. I think the public can be assured you didn't know about that. Not one of the women said they came to you directly. But what you did know is that when you bought the team, that he had already been accused of some of this stuff, and accused publicly enough that it made it into the local media.
CUBAN: I didn't know that.
NICHOLS: How do you not know that when you buy the team? It was in the newspapers. It was on the radio.
CUBAN: Yeah, I mean, I literally did not know it. This was in 1998, and I was running Broadcast.com, which I was sleeping and breathing. I was a season-ticket holder and went to games, but I had no idea. From the time I talked to Ross Perot to the time I bought the team in January of 2000 was less than six weeks. Should I have done due diligence? Should they have disclosed it? Yes. You know, it was just this was a dream come true. And you know, should I have interviewed Terdema to make sure he'd be a good CEO and there weren't issues? Yeah. And I didn't. I was just excited to buy the Mavs. It just never dawned on me that within my own company, within the Mavericks, that no one would reach out to me.
NICHOLS: But do you understand why? With this public presence you projected as being this tough boss, and then also with him being kept in that position for so long?
CUBAN: Look, we did a lot of things wrong. And I wasn't there to oversee him. And so, yeah, everybody has every reason to question me. But I just wasn't there. And that was my fault.
Owner Mark Cuban issues an apology to the women who were subjected to physical abuse and sexual harassment by Mavericks employees.
NICHOLS: When you read through the report and you really read the details of things that you hadn't known about before, what stood out to you as the most difficult? Of what people had to go through?
CUBAN: Just the pain that they had to go through, at my company. It was the same way I felt when I stood in front of Mavs employees for the first time, after this came out. And I apologized to them. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this was happening right underneath me. The pain that people went through, the pain that people shared with me as this happened, the tears that I saw -- it just, it hurt. And the way I felt is nothing compared to the way they felt. I have to recognize I made a mistake, learn from it and then try to fix it.
NICHOLS: Was there a person who talked to you, or sat across from you or someone who you've read about, that it stuck with you?
CUBAN: It was just the looks on people's faces when I was sitting -- when I first met with Mavs employees after this happened -- and I didn't know how bad an actor Terdema was. And so I didn't know the degrees of everything. But I could just see it in everybody's face. And these are people that I barely knew, which is just bad enough that it just tore me apart. I mean, there's no other way to explain it.
NICHOLS: The Sports Illustrated article comes out. You're quoted right away. You said, "this stuff isn't acceptable. This matters to me." Also though, investigators found that through an intermediary, you reached out to Terdema Ussery. And the message you had passed along to him is "don't worry I won't throw you under the bus."
CUBAN: Well, context matters.
NICHOLS: That's why I'm asking about it
CUBAN: Right, so when it first happened, like I said, I had no idea how bad it was. I talked to two people who I asked to go to Terdema's former assistant, and I said, "Look, pending everything that happens with the investigation, I don't want to get in a PR shouting match." And it wasn't like we were trying to hide anything, because I told investigators that I did it, you know.
NICHOLS: You can understand how that sentence doesn't sit well when you read it on a piece of paper.
CUBAN: I know. I understand that completely. But again, that's why I was very forthright when the investigators -- I volunteered that to them. It wasn't about them asking me.
NICHOLS: One of the other employees that I know [the investigators] talked to you about is Chris Hyde. He was a high-ranking ticket sales official within the company. And again I'm just going to read this so I get it right: "regularly pressing his co-workers for sex." He would try to kiss them. In one incident he actually licked a woman's face. He regularly viewed pornography at his desk. But instead of firing him, his superiors moved his desk to a different side of the office, against the wall, so that not that many people would see the pornography as he was showing it to other people in the office.
CUBAN: Yeah, I didn't know about that.
NICHOLS: You were notified about the pornography on his computer. In 2008, there was an email trail for that. And you wrote him an email saying, "Hey, you better stop this or I'll fire you."
CUBAN: Yes. On the spot. Right.
NICHOLS: Did you ever follow up to see if he had stopped it?
CUBAN: Well, I got reports back saying he was on probation and that he was being dealt with. So I just assumed it was being dealt with. I didn't have any reason to think otherwise.
NICHOLS: So three years after that, after that email exchange with Hyde, one day he left the office for a two-hour lunch and, again, I'm going to just read this to get the details right: "He returned, and a used condom with bodily fluids in it fell out of his pants leg and onto the office floor for other employees to discover." And again you were notified about this in writing. And your response, the email was that somebody should talk to him. Put him on probation or something. But quote, "Don't make this a bigger deal than it is."
CUBAN: Obviously, that's a huge mistake on my part. I was under the impression that the first issue with pornography was resolved, and obviously wasn't. And I also said if anything happens again, he's fired.
NICHOLS: Wouldn't this qualify?
CUBAN: Well, that was three years earlier, and I hadn't had any follow-up. From my perspective, there were no other issues. But, again, in hindsight, it was stupid on my part.
NICHOLS: I mean, when you read it in black and white, and I say it sitting here across the table and say it for you...
CUBAN: No, it's ridiculous. I messed up. I should have just fired him on the spot. It was a huge mistake. There's no way to downplay it, and if someone showed me this from another company and asked me to read it, I would say you can't make a bigger mistake, because that destroys the whole culture of your organization. And every time I go talk to people about business, I talk about culture. I don't have any excuses. I'm not trying to justify it. It's just I made a bad mistake, and it's not the only one I've said that I made.
Mark Cuban is emotional discussing the hardest part of reading the report investigating abuse and harassment toward female Mavericks employees.
NICHOLS: I do want to ask you about Earl Sneed, who you just mentioned. And frankly this is the one I have to tell you, Mark. I've known you for years and years, and when I read what happened here, I can't put together how the person I know and I've talked to for a long time OK'd a lot of this stuff. And for people who aren't familiar, Sneed was the team beat writer for the Mavericks' team website.
CUBAN: One of them.
NICHOLS: And he was arrested outside the office, right at work, for beating his fianc(C)e so badly he left her visibly bruised and with a broken wrist. She went to the hospital for it. He pled guilty to that in court. And you not only didn't fire him, you offered to pay his legal expenses.
CUBAN: Well, no... OK, that's not from my -- the information I had was just coming from Earl.
NICHOLS: His fianc(C)e emailed you directly also, though, according to the investigation.
CUBAN: Right, the information I had, though, came, you know... I sent it back to H.R. And then the information I got was from Earl. And again, one to multiple mistakes applies here: I took his word, we didn't follow up, I didn't request an investigation. I didn't ask for the police report. I deferred to the CEO.
NICHOLS: There was a second incident though. He then started actually dating a fellow co-worker. And because you guys hadn't even suspended him or anything, the women in the office didn't know that he was someone who had beaten up his fianc(C)e and who had broken her bones. And the other Mavericks employee... he got violent with her. She came to work the next day with visible bruises and swelling in her chest and face and arms. And she said she didn't feel safe in the office. And again, you guys didn't fire him. And this is where I break down again on why.
CUBAN: Again, in hindsight I would have done it differently. But, young African-American man, and this is 2014, and I had a decision to make. And the decision was, do I just fire him? And my fear -- and it's documented in the report, and talking to the investigators -- my fear if I just said, 'OK you're fired,' what are you going to do next? And what happens to the next person? And that's what I was thinking to myself. And so I set a series of rules for him, that he had to be accompanied. He had to go to counseling, and there were a variety of things to keep an eye on him.
NICHOLS: I know I'm not the first person to point out to you that you could have removed him from the workplace and still gotten him counseling.
CUBAN: In hindsight you're exactly right. I'm just telling you what I thought, and I said the same thing publicly, and I said the same thing to investigators: If I had to do it all over again I would fire him and still get him counseling.
NICHOLS: Now that you have gone through all of this, what message do you now know that this sent the other women in the office?
CUBAN: Oh, it was horrible.
NICHOLS: You basically told them, 'Hey, one of the guys in this office can hit you and we will still keep him here, coming to the office and sitting next to you.'
CUBAN: I was tone deaf. And I have no excuse. I should have known better, or I could have done better. I've learned. There's just no other way to put it.
NICHOLS: In talking to you and reading all this, it does seem like another real lesson that you have absorbed through this is that it's not just about these specific behaviors, it's about the environment you set up. As recently as the beginning of this calendar year, the report details that in your business office 70 percent of the employees were male. Only 30 percent were female. There were zero women who were at the executive level to where they would be in the top-level meetings. There were zero people of color. And that even the women who did work there -- their salaries were not competitive with the commensurate men who did those jobs at other NBA franchises. What kind of environment do you think that set up in your business atmosphere? About the worth of women?
CUBAN: Obviously not a good one. And once it came to my attention, we immediately jumped to fix it. It wasn't acceptable. It's not something that's going to happen going forward. We immediately stepped in and brought in a CEO who brought all of this to my attention. And I gave her carte blanche to do what she needed to do because it's not right -- and it's not even good business. And so we were doing everything possible to fix it.
NICHOLS: One of the things the NBA announced today is that you personally will donate $10 million to women's organizations, and that is going to strike some people as very significant, because the maximum the league can fine a team owner is $2.5 million. So that's four times that amount. It will strike some people as, 'Hey, this guy is a billionaire. That's not that significant at all. Didn't lose his team. He didn't lose any of the more basketball-related things.' What do you think of that decision?
CUBAN: I think more important than the money is the example we can set. Because there hasn't been anybody who really has had to go through this and set the tone. What's the right way to respond? And what's the right thing to do? And so the goal even more than the money is for me to get out there and teach others from my experiences.
NICHOLS: Was there any point throughout this where Adam Silver discussed with you selling the team?
NICHOLS: Was there ever a point you considered it yourself?
CUBAN: No. I don't run away from my mistakes.
NICHOLS: I know the day the Sports Illustrated article came out you addressed the Mavericks employees at the office. There are former employees mentioned in this report who felt they had to leave the company. Things were so bad they had to leave the profession because they couldn't get another job after unceremoniously leaving your company. Have you called to talk to any of them to apologize?
NICHOLS: Should you?
CUBAN: Well, I don't know the circumstances. I don't know any of the individuals themselves because of the way the report is structured.
NICHOLS: If one of those employees wants to identify herself and come to you to get some closure, are you open to that?
CUBAN: Yeah, I talked to the investigators because, again, I don't know what promises they made. I just don't know if I'd be the right person to try to solve it.
NICHOLS: I wouldn't be surprised if somebody would like to talk to you personally.
CUBAN: I'm not closing any doors yet. I just don't want to violate the privacy.
VIDEO - Gov. Jerry Brown: President Trump 'Sabotaging The World In Many Respects' | Andrea Mitchell | MSNBC - YouTube
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 11:54
VIDEO - Trump says 'hard to imagine' Kavanaugh guilty of allegation
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 11:37
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- President Donald Trump on Wednesday bluntly questioned the allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a fellow high school student over 30 years ago, and Republicans warned the accuser the window was closing to tell her story before a confirmation vote.
Trump's skepticism, the most explicit challenge top Republicans have so far mounted to Christine Blasey Ford's credibility, came as GOP Senate leaders tried to firm up support for Kavanaugh. A potentially climactic Judiciary Committee showdown is scheduled for next Monday with both Ford and Kavanaugh invited, but her attendance is uncertain, casting doubt on whether the hearing will be held at all.
Ford has said she wants the FBI to investigate her allegation before she will testify. Democrats support that, but Trump and Senate Republicans have been emphatic that it won't happen.
Leaving the White House to survey flood damage in North Carolina from Hurricane Florence, Trump conceded that ''we'll have to make a decision'' if Ford's account proves convincing. Despite that glimmer of hesitancy, which few other Republicans have shown publicly, the president stood firmly behind the 53-year-old Kavanaugh, who would fill the second high court vacancy of Trump's term.
President Donald Trump says ''we'll have to make a decision'' if Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's sexual-assault accuser ''makes a credible showing'' before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Sept. 19)
''I can only say this: He is such an outstanding man. Very hard for me to imagine that anything happened,'' Trump said.
The Republicans are resisting all Democratic efforts to slow and perhaps block what once seemed a smooth path to confirmation that would promote the conservative appeals court judge by the Oct. 1 opening of the Supreme Court's new term. Kavanaugh's glide to approval was interrupted last weekend when word of Ford's allegation became public, but GOP senators are showing no signs of slowing their drive to confirm him as quickly as possible.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote to Ford's attorneys that the hearing was still scheduled for Monday morning, and he pointedly said she must submit her written statement by 10 a.m. Friday ''if she intends to testify'' that day.
Lisa Banks, a lawyer for Ford, released a statement late Wednesday that cast no light on whether her client will appear.
She wrote that Ford wants ''a full non-partisan investigation'' and said Ford is willing to cooperate. But she said Grassley's plan to call just Kavanaugh and Ford ''is not a fair or good faith investigation'' and said ''multiple witnesses'' '-- whom she didn't name '-- should appear.
''The rush to a hearing is unnecessary, and contrary to the Committee discovering the truth,'' Banks wrote.
Ford has contended that at a house party in the 1980s, a drunken Kavanaugh tried undressing her and stifling her cries on a bed before she fled. Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied that claim.
Trump's remark was noteworthy because most Republicans have handled the question of Ford's credibility more gingerly. They say they want to give Ford, now a professor at Palo Alto University, every chance to tell her story.
''I'd really want to see her. I really would want to see what she has to say,'' Trump said. ''If she shows up that would be wonderful. If she doesn't show up that would be unfortunate.''
Seven weeks from elections in which congressional control is at stake, Democrats have been unhesitant about casting Republicans as trying to strong-arm a victim of abuse.
The two parties' tactics illustrate how they are trying to navigate a political climate in which the #MeToo movement of outing sexual abusers has galvanized many female voters. A substantial delay could push confirmation past the November elections, when Democrats have a shot at winning Senate control, plus allow more time for unforeseen problems to pop up.
''Dr. Blasey Ford is calling for an impartial FBI investigation of her serious and credible allegations. Meanwhile Republicans are trying to bully her into a rigged hearing before a neutral investigation and without the only identified eyewitness,'' No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Dick Durbin of Illinois tweeted.
Ford and her Democratic allies also want the committee to interview Mark Judge, a Kavanaugh friend who Ford has said was in the bedroom during the attack. Judge has said he doesn't remember the incident, never saw Kavanaugh act that way and has no desire to testify publicly.
There were signs the GOP's strategy of planning a nationally televised hearing while also offering Ford the chance to testify in private was keeping possible Republican defections in check. The party controls the Senate 51-49 and the Judiciary panel by 11-10, so it cannot afford GOP ''no'' votes.
Moderate GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who's had her share of clashes with Trump, said she hoped Ford would reconsider a decision not to testify and ''it's not fair to Judge Kavanaugh'' if she refuses. ''Otherwise, there are these very serious allegations hanging over the head of a nominee who has emphatically denied them,'' she said on WVOM radio in Bangor.
Going further, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Democrats' demands for an FBI investigation were a ploy to delay a confirmation vote. ''It is imperative the Judiciary Committee move forward on the Kavanaugh nomination and a committee vote be taken as soon as possible,'' the committee member said in a statement.
As for a possible FBI intervention, Grassley said in his letter to Ford's lawyers, ''We have no power to commandeer an Executive Branch agency into conducting our due diligence.''
In a separate letter to Democrats, Grassley wrote that committee aides were ''even willing to fly to California, or anywhere else, to meet her.'' He also wrote that GOP aides tried to arrange interviews with two other ''alleged witnesses.'' The letter mentioned no names and committee staff declined to name them.
Only the White House can order the FBI to get involved, since Kavanaugh is not accused of a federal crime. The FBI could interview Ford, Kavanaugh and others about the allegation if Trump asked the bureau to reopen its background investigation, but the president has said the FBI has finished its work.
Kavanaugh did not return to the White House on Wednesday after spending the two previous days there. He spoke by phone with officials working on strategy, according to an aide familiar with the proceedings but not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.
The White House war room largely was centered on shaping the public perception of the nominee, pushing back on reporters' inquiries while circulating positive talking points to allies about Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh spent hours Tuesday in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, part of the White House complex. He prepared for Monday's potential hearing with officials including White House Counsel Don McGahn, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and communications director Bill Shine, as well as Justice Department aides.
Shine was ousted from his previous job at Fox News in part due to his handling of sexual harassment claims at the company.
Associated Press reporters Darlene Superville, Padmananda Rama, Jonathan Lemire, Kevin Freking and Mary Clare Jalonick contributed.
VIDEO - California Gov. Brown on Trump: 'Something's got to happen to this guy...he's going to undermine America' | Fox News
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 06:54
California Gov. Jerry Brown ramped up his criticism of President Trump in an interview that aired Monday '' calling the president a ''saboteur'' in the fight to combat climate change and saying that ''something's got to happen to this guy.''
Speaking to MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell at an environmental summit in San Francisco last week, Brown tore into Trump for the president's controversial tweets about the death toll in Puerto Rico from last year's Hurricane Maria and urged voters to vote for Democrats in November's midterm elections in an effort to thwart Trump's agenda.
''We never had a president who was engaged in this kind of behavior,'' Brown said. ''I mean he's not telling the truth; he keeps changing his mind; he's sabotaging the world order in many respects.''
Brown added: ''It's unprecedented, it's dangerous, and hopefully this election is going to send a strong message to the country; the Democrats will win'...something's got to happen to this guy, because if we don't get rid of him, he's going to undermine America and even the world."
More on this...Under Brown, California has become one of the main opponents to the Trump administration's policies on everything from land use to immigration. But there is perhaps no area where California has been more combative against the White House agenda than the environment.
''California has positioned itself as the center of the Trump resistance,'' Jessica Levinson, a clinical law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, told Fox News. ''It's bloody combat.''
Earlier this month, Brown signed two pieces of legislation effectively banning the construction of any new offshore oil and gas pipelines in the state's waters. The new laws are meant to thwart a Trump plan to open nearly 1.7 billion acres of coastal waters to drilling.
Shortly before the climate conference began last week, the governor also put his signature on legislation phasing out electricity in the state produced by fossil fuels by 2045.
''It's really extraordinary that the president can deny science like that,'' Brown told MSNBC of Trump's questioning the veracity of climate change. ''It's bad, and how we counteract it is with a climate summit, with normal people respecting the truth, and communicating that with other normal people, and combating the President of the United States in what are lies, distortions, and quite frankly, bizarre behavior."
Brown's criticism of Trump appears to have fallen on deaf ears at the White House, as the administration announced on Tuesday that it was rolling back an Obama-era rule meant to curb climate-changing pollution and easing restrictions on energy companies that allow huge volumes of natural gas to escape after drilling it from U.S. lands.
The move rescinds much of a 2016 rule adopted under President Barack Obama that forced energy companies to capture methane, a key contributor to climate change. The replacement rule from the Interior Department does not have the same mandates for companies to reduce gas pollution.
It comes a week after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed weakening a similar rule for emissions from public and private lands.
"We're for clean air and water, but at the same time, we're for reasonable regulations," Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt told reporters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
VIDEO - Russia Election Hack Explained in 3 Minutes - YouTube
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 06:51
VIDEO - ð°ðµ Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un address 150,000 crowd | Al Jazeera - YouTube
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 06:37
VIDEO - Cody Wilson: "I'm about to get owned" - YouTube
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 06:22
VIDEO - Glazov Gang: Ex-Intelligence Agents Expose Brennan's Islamic Conversion | Jamie Glazov Productions
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 03:55
Subscribe to the Glazov Gang's YouTube Channel and follow us on Twitter: @JamieGlazov .
Please donate through our new Unified-4-People Campaign or via our Pay Pal account.
And pre-order Jamie's new book, Jihadist Psychopath: How He Is Charming, Seducing, and Devouring Us . Thank you!
This new Glazov Gang features John Guandolo, an ex-FBI agent and president of Understanding the Threat, and Brad Johnson, a former CIA Station Chief and president of Americans for Intelligence Reform.
John and Brad Expose Brennan's Islamic Conversion, unveiling the ex-CIA Chief's romance with an ideological enemy of America.
Don't miss it!
And make sure to watch Jamie discuss John Bolton Praises My New Book, ''Jihadist Psychopath,'' where he shares how President Trump's National Security Adviser has given his work a glowing thumbs up.
As Jamie's video reveals above, The Glazov Gang is extremely excited to announce Jamie's new BLOCKBUSTER book: Jihadist Psychopath: How He Is Charming, Seducing, and Devouring Us.
Jihadist Psychopath, which is Amazon's #1 New Release in the ''Medical Mental Illness'' category, offers an original and ground-breaking perspective on the terror war. Like no other work, it unveils the world of psychopathy and reveals, step by step, how Islamic Supremacists are duplicating the sinister methodology of psychopaths who routinely charm, seduce, capture, and devour their prey.
Jihadist Psychopath unveils how every element of the formula by which the psychopath subjugates his victim is used by the Islamic Supremacist to ensnare and subjugate non-Muslims. And in the same way that the victim of the psychopath is complicit in his own destruction, so too Western civilization is now embracing and enabling its own conquest and consumption.
And as the video above also announces, President Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton says about Jihadist Psychopath:
Hard as it is to believe, many in the West simply will not take the time and trouble to understand the threat posed by radical Islamicist terrorism. James Burnham once wrote of a similar problem with international Communism in his masterful Suicide of the West. Now, Jamie Glazov has written this century's counterpart to Burnham's classic work and will doubtless upset those determined not to analyze for themselves the nature of the underlying phenomenon.
With a Foreword written by Michael Ledeen, glowing advance praise also comes from Dennis Prager, Geert Wilders, Robert Spencer, Steve Emerson and many other titans and scholars in the international arena. (See Amazon page for many of the blurbs).
Dennis Prager affirms that Jihadist Psychopath is '''...one of the most important books of the present time.''
And that's why you have to pre-order a copy now. Order Jihadist Psychopath Today!
*Subscribe to Jamie Glazov Productions, LIKE Jamie's FB Fan Page and follow him on Twitter: @JamieGlazov .
VIDEO - TV Guide on Tom Arnold: 'Bob Woodward and I' 'Are Basically the Same Guy'
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 03:48
Tom Arnold's The Hunt for the Trump Tapes premieres on Tuesday but unfortunately there seems to be nefarious forces out there trying to hinder his quixotic quest. According to Arnold, one of those trying to stop his hunt is the former producer of The Apprentice, Mark Burnett, whom Arnold is accusing of choking him at a pre-Emmys party in Los Angeles on Sunday night. In another interview, TV Guide summerized the comedian: "Bob Woodward and I" "are basically the same guy."
A barely coherent red-faced Arnold describes the confrontation to a flock of reporters who might be wondering if the former Mr. Roseanne Barr can remain on his feet through the entire conference:
The Hollywood Reporter sets the scene of that emotional press conference that occasionally touched on a bit of reality in this September 17 report:
Arnold, the 59-year-old actor/comedian turned investigative journalist, is speaking to The Hollywood Reporter from the waiting room of a Beverly Hills ear, nose and throat specialist, a flock of paparazzi milling outside. He's been asked the most obvious question first: Was an alleged violent confrontation with reality TV mega-producer Mark Burnett at a pre-Emmys party '-- the one that had all of Twitter buzzing on Sunday night '-- merely a promotional stunt for his new Viceland show?
And now Arnold describes the bravery of his face off with Burnett:
The trouble began almost as soon as Arnold and Fogel arrived. To enter the party, held outside the Century Plaza Hotel, guests had to mount a stairway. At the top, Arnold, outfitted in black horn-rimmed glasses and a grey checker blazer, spotted Burnett standing with several other people. (One likely would have been Burnett's wife Roma Downey, who later tweeted a photo of a bruised hand, alleging it was the result of an "ambush" attempt on the couple.)
According to Arnold, Burnett then proceeded to "straighten out and eyeball me." Undeterred, Arnold then ascended the staircase and, he says, quickly got the sense that Burnett was "moving in [his] direction."
"He's getting closer, he's super chesty, he's breathing heavily," Arnold recalls. "Then he bumps into me. I could smell his f---ing breath. He's in my f---ing face, psycho-eyed. I look at him eyeball-to-eyeball, like, 'Are you f---ing kidding me?'"
Um... Who's the psycho, Tom? And now his excuse about why he was unable to maintain his balance in the fight with former parachute commando Burnett:
It was then, he says, that Burnett took Arnold's throat in one hand '-- what he calls a "kung-fu grip" '-- and began to choke him. "He grabbed my windpipe hard. Maybe it was something he learned in the U.K. Special Forces." (Burnett served as a parachute commando in the British Army from 1978 to 1982.)
Arnold calls the maneuver a "sucker choke" for the way it threw him off-balance at the top of a steep staircase. "So I tried to regain my balance," he recalls. "I'm like, 'You better let me get my balance if we're going to f---ing fight, you c---sucker. You motherf---er.' And I'm also having trouble getting my wind. All of a sudden I hear one of his buddies say, 'Mark! Don't choke him! Mark! Don't choke!'"
Arnold then started yelling at Burnett. "I just hammered in on him: 'You f---ing crazy, psycho, Trump-f---ing bastard!' He had lost it. Did he think he was going to kick me out? 'You're not getting in,' he told me. I don't know if he was drunk or what. Did he think he could keep me from walking past him? Did he think he could out-tough me? He had this blank stare on his fucking face like he's out of his f---ing mind."
As to his new show, Bob Woodward will be thrilled to hear Tom Arnold claim to be him:
"Bob Woodward and I today are basically the same guy," sounds stupid.
So if you're Bob Woodward, Tom, then you must know there is no evidence that he could find of Trump-Russia collusion as Woodward recently admitted.
Finally, the new face of #TheResistance gives us a preview of how he plans to keep it classy in his Hunt for the Trump Tapes.
.@VICELAND found the pee-pee tape.Sort of. #TheHuntForTheTrumpTapes starts tomorrow at 10:30p. #TrumpTapes pic.twitter.com/1MOiEWJsbd
'-- The Hunt For The Trump Tapes (@TrumpTapes) September 17, 2018"Don't worry. Tom Arnold is on it and I'm Tom Arnold."
VIDEO - Germany in the CROSSHAIRS of AMERICAN EMPIRE - YouTube
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 03:36
VIDEO - Sheriff slams FBI's handling of observatory closure: 'It's chicken ... ' - KVIA
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 03:13
Sheriff slams FBIs handling of observatory closureSUNSPOT, New Mexico - Otero County Sheriff Benny House told ABC-7's New Mexico Mobile Newsroom Monday he was infuriated at the way the FBI handled the sudden and mysterious closure of the National Solar Observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico.
"I think it's chicken shit the way the FBI handled it. I have a responsibility to protect my citizens," said House, "I think it's paramount that we know what the threat is so we can provide safety."
The observatory is located 17 miles from Cloudcroft, New Mexico. The facility, and the Sunspot Post Office, located on observatory property, were suddenly closed on Thursday September 6, 2018. The staff at the post office was relocated to the post office in Cloudcroft during the closure.
On Sunday, September 16, 2018, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) announced it was reopening the facilities.
AURA, the agency that runs the observatory, said in a news release the observatory was closed as a precautionary measure while the FBI investigated suspected criminal activity. "During this time, we became concerned that a suspect in the investigation potentially posed a threat to the safety of local staff and residents. For this reason, AURA temporarily vacated the facility and ceased science activities at this location. The decision to vacate was based on the logistical challenges associated with protecting personnel at such a remote location, and the need for expeditious response to the potential threat," AURA said in a news release.
ABC-7 has reached out to AURA and the FBI for additional information on the alleged criminal activity and the suspect in question. AURA has still not returned any of the numerous phone calls made.
Frank Fisher, the New Mexico FBI Public Affairs Officer, Albuquerque Division, did return one of our phone calls today. In the very brief call, he declined to answer any of the questions that we asked regarding the 'dangerous suspect', and would not respond to the Otero County Sheriffs statements regarding the FBI investigation. Fisher told us to refer back to the AURA statement, and quickly hung up the phone.
During the closure, ABC-7 reached out to professors at NMSU, who conduct research at the facility, and the U.S. Postal Service. Both said they were not told why the observatory was closed.
Sheriff House told ABC-7 he had not seen AURA's news release until an ABC-7 reporter showed it to him.
House is demanding answers. "Is there a bomb threat? Is there an active shooter? Is it chemical? We need to know so we know what kind of man power to send up there, and with out knowing, it's dangerous for everybody," House said, "We have a duty to protect and we can't protect them if we don't know what is going on."
House said he reached out to the FBI repeatedly and was kept in the dark. "We've asked and asked (the FBI) and they will not tell us anything," the sheriff said.
VIDEO - Trump to declassify the 'insurance policy' in the Strzok-Page text, Nunes says | Fox News
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 08:02
Rep. Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, told Fox News exclusively on Monday that he believes President Trump's order to declassify several documents related to the FBI Russia investigation will expose the ''insurance policy'' that was referred to in text messages between FBI figures Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
In a text from Strzok to Page dated Aug. 15, 2016, the pair discussed ''an insurance policy'' in the event that Donald Trump went on to win the presidential election.
''I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office '' that there's no way he gets elected '' but I'm afraid we can't take the risk. It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40,'' the text read.
The text messages between Strzok and Page have been used by Trump to bolster his claim that the Russia collusion investigation is a ''rigged witch hunt.'' Democrats, by and large, don't look at these texts as helpful in their case, but claim that the agents were never influenced by their comments.
Nunes said he believes the declassification will provide exculpatory evidence for the president. He said the new information will shed new light on the dozen or so 302s from Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, which could show the interactions between ex-British spy Christopher Steele, Fusion GPS and ''many other rotten apples'' within the FBI.
''A lot of people think that the insurance policy was getting the FISA warrant on [former Trump campaign aide] Carter Page,'' he told Laura Ingraham, host of ''The Ingraham Angle.'' ''We actually believe it was more explicit than that.''
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump had ordered the documents released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the Justice Department "[a]t the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency."
House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., called Trump's decision "a clear abuse of power."
"[Trump] has decided to intervene in a pending law enforcement investigation by ordering the selective release of materials he believes are helpful to his defense team and thinks will advance a false narrative," Schiff said. "With respect to some of these materials, I have been previously informed by the FBI and Justice Department that they would consider their release a red line that must not be crossed as they may compromise sources and methods.
"This is evidently of no consequence to a President who cares about nothing about the country and everything about his narrow self-interest," Schiff added.
Trump also ordered the Justice Department to release text messages from a number of the key players in the Russia investigation "without redaction" -- including Ohr, Strzok, Lisa Page, former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
A Justice Department spokesperson told Fox News that the DOJ and FBI "are already working with the Director of National Intelligence to comply with the President's order."
ODNI spokesperson Kellie Wade told Fox News: "As requested by the White House, the ODNI is working expeditiously with our interagency partners to conduct a declassification review of the documents the President has identified for declassification."
Nunes said the president's orders are clear and anticipates the copies being sent out to the press in days.
''This is really full transparency for the American people,'' Nunes said.
Fox News' Samuel Chamberlain, Jake Gibson, Catherine Herridge and The Associated Press contributed to this report
Edmund DeMarche is a news editor for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @EDeMarche.
VIDEO - Maxine Waters Is Asked What Crime Specifically Trump Has Committed. Her Response Is Both Hilarious - YouTube
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 02:36
VIDEO - Watch: Michael Che and Colin Jost's lackluster Emmys opening monologue - Vox
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 01:44
After a lively opening number (featuring fellow NBC comedic stable members Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson) that only served to drive home what a strange choice they are as Emmy hosts, Michael Che and Colin Jost kicked things off with a comparatively stiff monologue that mostly scored lukewarm laughs.
Though their jokes tackled the expected timely topics '-- sexual harassment, Roseanne, representation '-- they were delivered with an offhand lightness that robbed them of their deserved weight, and thus dulled their comedic impact. Jost noted that the audience members were allowed to drink in their seats, joking about ''losing inhibitions at a work function'' before launching into quips about getting calls from Ronan Farrow (who wrote on the Harvey Weinstein allegations for the New Yorker as well as reporting on misconduct allegations against Les Moonves).
Che continued by saying that Roseanne Barr, recently fired from her own show for racist statements, had ''had a rough year'' '-- notably a sentiment last expressed (and walked back) by Norm Macdonald '-- and gave a sarcastic congratulations to Laurie Metcalf for her supporting actress nomination for the infamously canceled Roseanne revival. He and Jost also joked about the subject of that opening number, representation, calling out ER for having no Filipino nurses and guessing that one day there'd be an all-white reboot of Atlanta.
Though the reception in the Microsoft Auditorium seemed muted on the television feed, reaction shorts from the audience members helped give some life to the lackluster monologue, including Chrissy Teigen's reluctance to play along and Brian Tyree Henry's no-go reaction to the proposed Atlanta reboot.
Nonetheless, the monologue seemed to lose more air as it continued, lending a whiff of sympathy to Jimmy Kimmel's entreaty to applaud as he presented the next award. (''Let's have a hand for Michael and Colin, weren't they great?'') At least we'll always have that opening number.
VIDEO - 9 injured in apparent natural gas explosion in Denver deemed 'suspicious' | FOX31 Denver
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 22:18
DENVER -- Nine people were injured, one critically, by an apparent natural gas explosion on Tuesday afternoon that firefighters deemed "suspicious," the Denver Fire Department said.
The blast collapsed the roof and tore the walls off of a four-plex residential building at the intersection of West Fourth Avenue and Santa Fe Drive.
Fire investigators said they have not ruled out arson, and the Denver Police Department crime lab was on the scene.
Fire department spokesman Capt. Greg Pixley said seven people were treated for minor injuries and released after a portion of a brick rowhouse was leveled in the blast.
A man was critically injured and a woman who was pulled from the rubble is in stable condition.
Denver Fire said rescuers were confident there were no more victims in the rubble.
Pixley said some of the injured were burned, and the fire department is working with Xcel Energy to determine what happened.
A man was driving his car in front of the building when it blew up.
One witness said the structure is an apartment building with five or six residents.
A man living four blocks away said when he heard the blast, he thought the roof of his home was caving in.
Alan Rodriguez said when he went outside to see what happened, he saw a "mushroom cloud" of smoke.
Richard Trujillo lives nearby and said he was walking to a store when he smelled gas before the building "just blew up" and bricks were flying into the street.
He said that just after the explosion, a man was getting out of a car when a person "dragged him away and took a baby out of the car."
Most streets in the area were reopened Tuesday night.
VIDEO - Joe diGenova: Comey, McCabe, and Strzok Are 'Going Down' Over FISA Warrant Abuses (VIDEO) '' True PunditTrue Pundit
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 06:55
Politics TVJoe diGenova: Comey, McCabe, and Strzok Are 'Going Down' Over FISA Warrant Abuses (VIDEO)In the wake of newly released text messages between fired FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, former federal prosecutor Joe diGenova said he believes ''the walls are closing in'' on Obama-era FBI and Department of Justice Department officials.
Damning new texts obtained by Fox News this week show former FBI lovebirds Strzok and Page talking about government employees ''leaking like mad'' and media outlets competing for scoops in the run-up to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
''The walls are closing in, but they're not closing in on the president. They're closing in on the FBI and the Department of Justice under President Obama,'' diGenova said on Fox News' ''Hannity'' Thursday night.
He explained that the new Strzok-Page texts exposed a strategy to ''illegally and criminally'' release Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant information, including releasing the name of a U.S. citizen caught up in the surveillance abuse.- READ MORE
A newly revealed text message suggests that former FBI official Peter Strzok sought to capitalize on news reports in January 2017 that President Donald Trump had been briefed about allegations in the infamous Steele dossier.
Strzok wanted to use a CNN report related to the dossier as a reason to interview witnesses as part of the FBI's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government, according to the text message.
''Sitting with Bill watching CNN. A TON more out,'' Strzok, a former FBI counterintelligence official, texted to FBI lawyer Lisa Page on Jan. 10, 2017.
''Hey let me know when you can talk. We're discussing whether, now that this is out, we use it as a pretext to go interview some people,'' continued Strzok, according to a CNN reportpublished Friday.
Just before Strzok sent the message, CNN had reported that top government officials, including then-FBI Director James Comey, briefed then-President-Elect Trump on Jan. 6, 2017 about some of the salacious allegations in the dossier, which was authored by former British spy Christopher Steele and financed by Democrats. '' READ MORE
VIDEO - Bank Of England Warns Of UK House Price Crash and ''Catastrophic'' Financial Crisis As Bad As 2008 | Max Keiser
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 06:21
News, Market Updates, Charts and Videos You May Have Missed
Here is our Friday digest of the important news, market updates, charts and videos we were informed by this week.
We felt it important to do a video update which considers the risks that Brexit poses to the London property market. This is a very real risk that has not been assessed in the British and Irish media.
Our timing was good and the Bank of England must have been listening to us! Yesterday, Bank of England governor Mark Carney confirmed that there are real risks to UK property investors and the UK economy, when he warned that a ''no- deal Brexit'' would likely result in economic chaos and a UK house price correction or crash of some 35%.
In a stark warning to the British government, Mark Carney told ministers that the impact of a no-deal Brexit could be as ''catastrophic'' as the 2008 financial crisis.
Needless to say this would result in a very serious recession indeed in the UK and would have consequences for the Irish economy, EU economies and other over-valued property markets '' one of which is in Dublin, Ireland.
Enjoy and have a nice weekend!
Video This Week
Market Updates and News This Week
Video: BREXIT To Contribute To London Property Bubble Bursting
Australia's Banking System May Be The ''Bloody Big Butterfly'' Which Triggers Next ''Financial Storm''
Biggest Driver of 2008 Financial Crisis Has Only Got Worse '' Ten Years Since Lehman
London Property: Here Comes the Crash
Protestors hold signs behind Richard Fuld, Chairman and Chief Executive of Lehman Brothers Holdings after its collapse led to the last global financial crisis. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
Perth Mint Gold Bullion Sales Rally in August to Ten-Month High
China to Continue Driving Global Silver Market Forward
Putin Says Russia and China Will Reduce Use of Dollar in Trade
New Zealand Is The Doomsday Escape Plan For Super Rich of Silicon Valley
Charts This Week
London median, Islington, Wandsworth & Southwark prices. Must See Interactive Graphic Piece From Bloomberg News
Source: Australian Financial Review
News and Commentary
Perth Mint Gold Bullion Sales Rally in August to Ten-Month High (CoinNews.net)
Gold prices settle lower in pullback from 2-week high (MarketWatch.com)
Gold gains as dollar dips on soft US data (CNBC.com)
Head of Russian bank warns customers they may not get dollars back (Bloomberg.com)
Housing market dangers are ''especially acute'' in Australia, Hong Kong, Canada and Sweden (Bloomberg.com)
Gundlach: US Economy And Stocks Could Be ''Burnt Out'' (AdvisorPerspectives.com)
Ten years on: was it right to bail out the banks? (MoneyWeek.com)
Here's what J.P. Morgan says could cause the next financial crisis (MarketWatch.com)
Precious Metals Price Suppression Aimed At Commodities (DaveJanda.com)
Paper Gold Market Is Screaming ''Short Squeeze'' (DollarCollapse.com)
This Is About To Trigger A Major Short Squeeze In The Gold & Silver Markets (KingWorldNews.com)
Listen on SoundCloud , Blubrry & iTunes. Watch on YouTube below
Gold Prices (LBMA AM)
13 Sep: USD 1,206.65, GBP 924.41 & EUR 1,038.68 per ounce12 Sep: USD 1,197.80, GBP 919.07 & EUR 1,033.10 per ounce11 Sep: USD 1,194.00, GBP 915.92 & EUR 1,028.75 per ounce10 Sep: USD 1,195.80, GBP 923.28 & EUR 1,032.45 per ounce07 Sep: USD 1,200.75, GBP 928.30 & EUR 1,031.32 per ounce06 Sep: USD 1,204.30, GBP 931.65 & EUR 1,035.82 per ounce
Silver Prices (LBMA)
13 Sep: USD 14.23, GBP 10.90 & EUR 12.24 per ounce12 Sep: USD 14.16, GBP 10.90 & EUR 12.22 per ounce11 Sep: USD 14.13, GBP 10.85 & EUR 12.19 per ounce10 Sep: USD 14.22, GBP 10.99 & EUR 12.28 per ounce07 Sep: USD 14.19, GBP 10.90 & EUR 12.20 per ounce06 Sep: USD 14.27, GBP 11.03 & EUR 12.27 per ounce
Recent Market Updates
'' Video: BREXIT To Contribute To London Property Bubble Bursting'' Australia's Banking System May Be The ''Bloody Big Butterfly'' Which Triggers Next ''Financial Storm'''' Ten Years Since Lehman: Biggest Driver of 2008 Financial Crisis Has Only Got Worse'' London Property: Here Comes the Crash'' This Week's Golden Nuggets'' Gold Remains An ''Excellent Way to Hedge'' for Longer Term '' BNP Interview'' Video: Gold Surges To Record Highs In Emerging Market Currencies '' New Highs In USD, EUR, GBP In the Coming Months?'' September Is The Best Month For Gold and Worst Month For Stocks'' Pound Investors Face Months of Volatility Into Brexit Endgame'' This Week's Golden Nuggets'' Video: ''Financial War'' Deepens as Russia Buys Gold and Dollar Hegemony At Risk '' Rickards on CNN'' Will Indebted Nations Globally Follow Venezuela Into Hyperinflation?
VIDEO - Ocasio-Cortez: Maria Is 'Worst Humanitarian Crisis In Modern American History' '' Talking Points Memo
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 04:48
6 hours ago
Kavanaugh Committee Vote Still On For Thursday Despite On-Record Assault Claim
8 hours ago
Unnamed 'Lawyer Close To The WH': 'No Way' Assault Allegation Derails Kavanaugh Nom
9 hours ago
Feinstein, Schumer Call For Pause In Kavanaugh Nom Over Assault Allegation
Matt ShuhamSeptember 16, 2018 9:31 am
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Hurricane Maria was "the worst humanitarian crisis in modern American history." pic.twitter.com/LJXw2mjQXL
'-- TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) September 16, 2018
China accuses Sweden of violating human rights over treatment of tourists | World news | The Guardian
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 15:16
A disagreement between Chinese tourists and a hostel in Stockholm over check-in time has turned into a diplomatic spat between China and Sweden, after Beijing criticised Sweden for violating the human rights of Chinese citizens.
China has demanded an apology from Sweden and issued a safety alert for its tourists in the country after it said that three tourists had been ''brutally abused'' by Swedish police on 2 September.
The Zengs, a family of three, had arrived at a hostel in Stockholm around midnight, hours before their booking. They were allowed to wait in the lobby until the staff ordered them to leave and police forcibly ejected them.
Bizarre video footage posted online shows police carrying the group outside, while the son yells in English: ''This is killing. This is killing.'' Another clip shows the three lying on the ground crying loudly while the mother wails in Chinese: ''Save me.''
The Chinese embassy in Sweden said on Saturday that China's ministry of foreign affairs and the embassy had ''made solemn representations'' to the Swedish government ''stressing that what the police had done severely endangered the life and violated the basic human rights of the Chinese citizens.''
The incident comes as ties between China and Sweden have come under pressure. The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who Beijing considers a violent separatist, visited Sweden last week, and China continues to hold Gui Minhai, a Chinese-born Swedish citizen and book publisher, in custody.
News of the altercation has attracted widespread attention in China where the search term ''Chinese tourists mistreated by Swedish police'' has received more than 130m views and 85,000 posts on the microblog Weibo. Discussion of the incident has turned into a debate about the behaviour of Chinese tourists at home and abroad.
''This is shameful. The image of China has been disgraced in the hands of these people,'' one Weibo user wrote.
''The Dalai Lama visits Sweden and the foreign ministry uses this incident as a pretext to make a fuss. That's more embarrassing than the performance of this family,'' another wrote.
''These people feel the world should move around them, if not, then they lie down on ground and scream for help,'' one commentator wrote in an essay posted on WeChat.
Zeng told the Global Times he had asked the hostel to let his parents, who are elderly with health problems, stay until their room was available. The staff refused and called police to remove them.
''I broke down and lost my mind,'' Zeng said. ''I was not able to think whether it was appropriate or not. I just wanted to denounce the police and seek help from pedestrians.''
A manager at the hostel told Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet, the family had arrived the day before their booking and refused to leave. The hostel said staff called police sometime after midnight, when the tourists began to make verbal threats.
''We only know that we have done everything we could do for this guest, but at the same time we cannot accept that our staff are exposed to threats and that other guests will suffer from a threatening situation,'' the hostel manager said, according to Aftonbladet.
Additional reporting by Wang Xueying
Former FBI official Andrew McCabe has book deal
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 15:06
Aaron P. Bernstein | Reuters
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., June 7, 2017.
Just months after the publication of James Comey's "A Higher Loyalty," another former FBI official will take on President Donald Trump.
Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director ousted this year amid repeated attacks from Trump and a critical Justice Department report, has a book deal. St. Martin's Press announced Tuesday that "The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump" will come out Dec. 4.
St. Martin's is calling the book a candid account of his career and defence of the FBI's independence. According to the publisher, McCabe will describe "a series of troubling, contradictory, and often bizarre conversations" with Trump and other high officials that led him to believe the "actions of this President and his administration undermine the FBI and the entire intelligence community" and threaten the general public.
"I wrote this book because the president's attacks on me symbolize his destructive effect on the country as a whole," McCabe said in a statement issued through St. Martin's. "He is undermining America's safety and security, and eroding public confidence in its institutions. His attacks on the most crucial institutions of government, and on the professionals who serve within them, should make every American stand up and take notice."
With the bureau, McCabe had worked on everything from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to the Boston Marathon bombing. "The Threat" is likely to draw comparisons to "A Higher Loyalty," the bestseller by Comey, whom Trump fired in 2017. Both books come from divisions of Macmillan.
McCabe had been with the FBI for more than 20 years when Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired him in March, just before McCabe's planned retirement. His ouster came as a report from the Department of Justice's inspector general faulted him for misleading investigators looking in to the leak of information for a 2016 Wall Street Journal story about the FBI's probe into the Clinton Foundation. McCabe denied the charges.
Meanwhile, Trump had accused him of bias against Republicans because McCabe's wife had accepted campaign contributions from the political action committee of then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, during a failed state Senate run.
The Republican president also was angered that the FBI was investigating his campaign's ties to Russia and that it did not bring criminal charges against his 2016 Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton over her handling of emails while secretary of state.
After McCabe was fired, Trump tweeted "Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy."
He has since threatened to revoke McCabe's security clearance, and this week directed the Justice Department to publicly release some of his text messages related to the Russia probe.
Beto O'Rourke - Wikipedia
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 14:46
Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke ( ; born September 26, 1972) is an American politician and businessman serving as the U.S. Representative for Texas's 16th congressional district since 2013. He is the nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2018 Texas U.S. Senate race, running against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz.
A native of El Paso, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2012 by defeating incumbent Democratic U.S. Representative Silvestre Reyes in the Democratic primary that year. The district includes most of El Paso County. Prior to his election to Congress, O'Rourke was on the El Paso City Council from June 2005 to June 2011.
Early life, education and music career [ edit ] O'Rourke is a fourth-generation Irish American, born in El Paso, the son of Melissa Martha (Williams) and El Paso County Judge[a] Pat Francis O'Rourke. He was nicknamed "Beto", which is a common Spanish nickname for "Roberto", before kindergarten. His father was a political associate of former Texas Governor Mark White. Judge O'Rourke was killed in July 2001, at the age of fifty-eight, when he was struck from behind by a car while riding his bicycle over the New Mexico state line.
O'Rourke attended Carlos Rivera and Mesita Elementary Schools and El Paso High School. He graduated from Woodberry Forest School in 1991. In the early 1990s, he was a bassist in the band Foss, which included Cedric Bixler-Zavala (vocalist for At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta) on vocals and drums, Arlo Klahr on vocals and guitar, and Mike Stevens on vocals and guitar. The group released a self-titled demo and a 7" record, "The El Paso Pussycats", on Western Breed Records in 1993. They released a subsequent album, Fewel Street, in 1995, also on Western. Foss toured the United States and Canada in the summer of 1993 and again, along with Bixler's concurrent band, Los Dregtones, in the summer of 1994.
O'Rourke attended Columbia University where he captained Columbia's rowing crew. He graduated from Columbia in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature. He is fluent in Spanish.
O'Rourke was arrested by University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) police in 1995 on burglary charges after jumping a fence on the university's property. The UTEP police department later declined to pursue charges. In 1998, O'Rourke was arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), but the charges were later dismissed in 1999 after he completed a court-recommended DWI program. He has publicly discussed the incident since that time and has apologized for it.
Business career (1995''2005) [ edit ] Following college, O'Rourke worked at Internet service providers in New York City before his return to El Paso in 1998. The following year, he co-founded Stanton Street Technology, an internet services and software company that develops websites and software. His wife, Amy, operates the business as of March 2017.
El Paso City Council (2005''2011) [ edit ] In mid-2005, O'Rourke ran for the El Paso City Council and defeated two-term incumbent City Councilman Anthony Cobos, 57%''43%. O'Rourke is one of the youngest representatives to have ever served on the City Council. In 2007, he won re-election to a second term, defeating Trini Acevedo, 70%''30%.
In January 2009, O'Rourke sponsored a resolution calling for a "comprehensive examination" of the War on Drugs and "the repeal of ineffective marijuana laws". The resolution, which was unanimously supported by his colleagues on the El Paso City Council, was vetoed by then-Mayor John Cook and spurred a larger national discussion on the topic. He told reporters that the reason he decided to speak up about what he called the failed war on drugs was the thousands of people who have been killed in the drug war in the adjoining city of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. "I hope it has all had its intended effect of starting the national discussion of the wisdom of the war on drugs ['...] and probably more importantly, helping to bring about a better solution than the status quo, which has led to the terror and tragedy in Juarez."
U.S. House of Representatives (2012''present) [ edit ] Elections [ edit ] 2012
In 2012, O'Rourke filed for the Democratic primary against the eight-term Silvestre Reyes to represent Texas's 16th congressional district. The primary was seen as the real contest in this deeply Democratic, Latino-majority district. O'Rourke took 50.5 percent of the vote, just a few hundred votes above the threshold required to avoid a runoff against Reyes. He was contrasted with Reyes in his support for LGBT rights and drug liberalization. He defeated his Republican opponent, Barbara Carrasco, in the general election with 65 percent of the vote.
O'Rourke was re-elected in 2014 with 67% of the vote.
During the fall of 2014, O'Rourke donated at least $28,000 from his own campaign funds to fellow Democratic candidates for House seats.
In October 2015, O'Rourke announced his bid for a third term in 2016. He won the Democratic primary and defeated his Green and Libertarian opponents in the general election.
Committee assignments [ edit ] Committee on Armed ServicesSubcommittee on Emerging Threats and CapabilitiesSubcommittee on Strategic ForcesCommittee on Veterans' AffairsSubcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial AffairsSubcommittee on Oversight and InvestigationsCaucus memberships
New Democrat CoalitionCongressional Arts Caucus2018 Senate campaign [ edit ] On March 31, 2017, O'Rourke formally announced his candidacy for the United States Senate seat held by incumbent Republican Party member Ted Cruz. O'Rourke raised $2 million within the first three months, mostly from small donations. O'Rourke pledged during the campaign not to accept PAC contributions for his Senate campaign. During the campaign, PolitiFact rated his claim of not taking PAC money as "true".
In March 2018, O'Rourke became the Democratic Party nominee, winning 61.8% of the primary vote. He received his first major organizational endorsement from End Citizens United in June 2017, which found that he had raised triple the funds of Cruz without accepting corporate special interest money.
Political views [ edit ] O'Rourke is a member of the New Democrat Coalition, which is described as moderate or centrist. He is sometimes considered to be a progressive or liberal Democrat. The non-partisan National Journal gave O'Rourke a composite ideology of 85% liberal and 15% conservative in 2013. Describing himself, O'Rourke has said that he does not know where he falls on the political spectrum, and he has sponsored bipartisan bills as well as broken with his party on issues like free trade.GovTrack places Representative O'Rourke near the ideological center of the House Democrats, being to the right of some and to the left of others; the American Civil Liberties Union gave him an 88% rating, while the United States Chamber of Commerce, a more fiscally conservative group, gave him a 47% rating. According to FiveThirtyEight, which tracks Congressional voting records, O'Rourke has voted in line with President Trump's position on legislation 28.7% of the time as of August 2018.
Drug policy [ edit ] O'Rourke favors the decriminalization of possession and sale of small amounts of cannabis. In 2011, O'Rourke co-authored a book, Dealing Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the U.S. and Mexico, which in part argues for an end to the prohibition on marijuana. He has called for the arrest records of individuals sentenced for possession of small amounts of cannabis to be expunged. During the 2018 Senate campaign, O'Rourke's opponent, Ted Cruz, falsely claimed that O'Rourke sought to legalize heroin; what he had actually called for in 2009 was an "honest, open national debate on ending the prohibition on narcotics".
Criminal justice reform [ edit ] O'Rourke has called for an end to cash bail, saying it disproportionately places poor individuals in jail as they cannot afford bail.
Abortion [ edit ] O'Rourke has a lifetime score of 100% from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and a rating of 100% from NARAL Pro-Choice America. He voted against the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017, which made a permanent prohibition on the use of federal funds for abortions and made reforms to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to prohibit qualified health plans from including coverage for abortions.[non-primary source needed ]
LGBT rights [ edit ] O'Rourke told the Dallas Voice that he called marriage equality a core civil rights issue during his House primary campaign. While on the El Paso City Council, O'Rourke led a successful fight to overturn the domestic partnership ban. He was a co-sponsor of the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2013 (H.R. 3135).
Immigration [ edit ] O'Rourke favors comprehensive immigration reform. O'Rourke opposed Trump's decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which granted temporary stay to some undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors. O'Rourke said it is a "top priority" to protect DREAMers. He has criticized President Donald Trump's rhetoric on immigration, saying: "[Trump is] constantly stoking anxiety and fear about Mexicans, immigrants and the border with Mexico. Unfortunately this President takes another step into a dark world of fear, isolation and separation."
Ted Cruz asserted in 2018 that O'Rourke wanted "open borders and wants to take our guns."PolitiFact found that Cruz's claims were "false," noting that O'Rourke had "not called for opening the borders or for government agents to take guns from law-abiding residents."
In June 2018, O'Rourke led protests in Tornillo, Texas, to protest the Trump administration family separation policy which involved the separation of children of immigrant families. The city is located just miles from the Rio Grande, the river that creates the border of the United States and Mexico in the state of Texas. The Trump administration had created a "tent-city" in Tornillo, where separated children were being held without their parents. O'Rourke called this practice "Un-American" and the responsibility of all Americans.
Health care [ edit ] O'Rourke has expressed support for single-payer legislation to achieve universal health coverage, but has released a statement saying he's critical of John Conyers' Medicare For All bill (HR 676) for not allocating funds toward for-profit healthcare providers. He supports stabilization of the insurance markets to improve the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He also supports the expansion of Medicaid and is a co-sponsor of the Medicare-X Choice Act of 2017.
Gun policy [ edit ] On the evening of June 22, 2016, O'Rourke participated in the sit-in in the House of Representatives that attempted to force a vote on gun control legislation. When the Republicans ordered C-SPAN to turn off its normal coverage of the chamber, O'Rourke and Representative Scott Peters transmitted images by cell phone to social media for C-SPAN to broadcast.
He supports universal background checks for gun purchases. On March 7, 2018, O'Rourke told Alisyn Camerota of CNN: "We have a great tradition and culture of gun ownership and gun safety for hunting, for sport, for self-defense... I think that can allow Texas to take the lead on a really tough issue, which the country is waiting for leadership and action on." He has called for a complete ban on assault rifles.
Trump''Putin Summit [ edit ] In July 2018, O'Rourke said that Trump's performance while attending the 2018 Russia''United States summit in Helsinki warranted impeachment. Addressing the Trump''Putin joint press conference of July 16, he said standing "on stage in another country with the leader of another country who wants to and has sought to undermine this country, and to side with him over the United States'--if I were asked to vote on this I would vote to impeach the president".
Israel [ edit ] O'Rourke denounced the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem as "provocative".
Racial inequality [ edit ] O'Rourke has spoken out against racial inequality. He supports the football players who have taken part in the "Take a knee" protests. Speaking in a video that went viral, O'Rourke said he believes there is "nothing more American than to peacefully stand up, or take a knee, for your rights, anytime, anywhere or any place."
Other [ edit ] O'Rourke has signed the Pro-Truth Pledge.
2016 endorsements [ edit ] In 2016, when Nancy Pelosi faced a leadership challenge from Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, O'Rourke backed Ryan. O'Rourke said that he believed in term limits, and therefore that it was time for new leadership.
In June 2016, O'Rourke endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. As a sitting member of Congress, O'Rourke was a superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention.
Personal life [ edit ] O'Rourke married Amy Hoover Sanders, the daughter of Louann and William Sanders of El Paso, on September 24, 2005, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The couple has three children. Louann Sanders is the director of education development for the La Fe Community Development Corporation and executive director of the La Fe Preparatory charter school.
In 2013, LegiStorm reported that O'Rourke may have violated the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which prohibits members of Congress from participating in the initial public offering (IPO) of company stocks. O'Rourke had purchased seven stocks, including stock in Twitter, at IPO prices, seeing a 39 percent increase on shares that he sold either the same day or within days of IPOs. After being contacted by LegiStorm, O'Rourke reported himself to the United States House Committee on Ethics. The case was closed by the ethics committee after O'Rourke acknowledged that he may have violated the law and agreed to sell his remaining IPO shares and surrender his $7,136 in profit to the U.S. Treasury.
Publications [ edit ] O'Rourke, Beto and Byrd, Susie (2011). Dealing Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the U.S. and Mexico, Cinco Puntos Press ISBN 1933693940Note [ edit ] References [ edit ] ^ Draper, Robert (November 14, 2014). "Texas, 3 Ways". The New York Times . Retrieved June 23, 2016 . ^ Fernandez, Manny (February 17, 2016). "Pope's Presence Crosses Border Into U.S., Even if He Doesn't". The New York Times . Retrieved June 23, 2016 . ^ Robert Francis Orourke. Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997 Familysearch.org ^ "Obituaries from the El Paso Times, July 1-7, 2001". ^ Stanton, John (October 14, 2014). "Juarez's Biggest Booster Is An Irish-American Congressman". BuzzFeed News . Retrieved June 24, 2016 . ^ Tilove, Jonathan (March 9, 2018). "`So he changed his name to Beto and hid it with a grin.' On the deeper purposes of the Cruz jingle". myStatesman. Austin American-Statesman. ^ a b Bill Lambrecht, "From border to brink of Senate run," San Antonio Express-News, March 17, 2017, pp. 1, A9 ^ Cush, Andy (October 4, 2017). "A Chat With Beto O'Rourke, the Ex-Punk Bassist Running for Ted Cruz's Senate Seat". Spin . Retrieved March 1, 2018 . ^ "Does Beto O'Rourke Stand a Chance Against Ted Cruz?". Texas Monthly. January 2018 . Retrieved February 2, 2018 . ^ a b "Beto O'Rourke (D)". The Wall Street Journal . Retrieved January 3, 2013 . ^ a b Roberts, Chris (May 23, 2012). "New Silvestre Reyes ad attacks Beto O'Rourke's character". El Paso Times. Archived from the original on September 19, 2014. ^ a b Fernandez, Manny (May 30, 2012). "House Democrat Is Defeated in Texas Primary". The New York Times . Retrieved June 23, 2016 . ^ a b "Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas)". The Washington Post. December 21, 2012. ^ a b c Gardner Selby, W. (August 22, 2018). "Beto O'Rourke arrested in 1990s for burglary and DWI". Politifact.com. Poynter Institute . Retrieved August 23, 2018 . ^ "Texas Republicans are trying to use Beto's punk rock days against him" . Retrieved September 14, 2018 . ^ a b "Controlling Cyberspace: What's at stake with net neutrality". KFOX-TV . Retrieved March 31, 2017 . ^ "Meet Beto O'Rourke, the Texas punk rocker who could beat Ted Cruz". March 6, 2018 . Retrieved September 14, 2018 . ^ "Beto O'Rourke". Archived from the original on October 17, 2011 . Retrieved March 29, 2017 . ^ Lovegrove, Jamie (March 31, 2017). "Beto O'Rourke launches 2018 Senate campaign in underdog bid to unseat Ted Cruz". Dallas News . Retrieved March 31, 2017 . ^ "El Paso City Council District 8 Race '' May 07, 2005". Our Campaigns . Retrieved May 20, 2013 . ^ "2005 General Election". City of El Paso . Retrieved May 20, 2013 . ^ "Beto O'Rourke: Why he's not running". El Paso Inc. Archived from the original on July 10, 2011 . Retrieved February 24, 2010 . ^ "Our Campaigns '' El Paso City Council District 8 Race '' May 12, 2007". ourcampaigns.com. ^ "Low turnout not as big a surprise as voting trends". El Paso Times.com. [permanent dead link ] ^ a b Smith, Phillip S. (February 16, 2010). "The First City in America to Criminalize Marijuana Passes Resolution Criticizing Drug War". AlterNet . Retrieved November 11, 2017 . ^ Smith, Jordan (January 12, 2009). "El Paso Council Wants to End the War on Drugs". The Austin Chronicle . Retrieved July 2, 2018 . ^ "El Paso's small step". The Economist. September 24, 2009 . Retrieved July 2, 2018 . ^ Sledge, Matt (April 18, 2012). "Rep. Silvestre Reyes, Challenger Beto O'Rourke Square Off Over Drug War In Fierce Texas Primary". Huffington Post . Retrieved July 2, 2018 . ^ Crowder, David (January 9, 2009). "O'Rourke in national headlights over 12 words in Drug War resolution". Newspaper Tree. Archived from the original on March 7, 2009 . Retrieved April 2, 2017 . ^ "Beto O'Rourke defeats Silvestre Reyes in 2012 primary election for Congress". El Paso Times. [permanent dead link ] ^ Taffet, David (January 4, 2013). "El Paso's Beto O'Rourke among strongest new LGBT allies in Congress". Dallas Voice . Retrieved June 24, 2016 . ^ Ortiz Uribe, M"nica (May 14, 2012). "West Texas Congressional Race Could Yield Surprises". Fronteras. KJZZ . Retrieved June 24, 2016 . ^ "U.S. House District 16 | The Texas Tribune". The Texas Tribune . Retrieved 2018-07-02 . ^ Willis, Derek (November 2, 2014). "House Democrats Dig Deep for Cash, From Their Colleagues' Campaigns". The New York Times . Retrieved June 23, 2016 . ^ Valdez, Diana Washington (October 13, 2015). "Congressman O'Rourke to seek re-election". El Paso Times . Retrieved June 24, 2016 . ^ "Texas U.S. House 16th District Results: Beto O'Rourke Wins". The New York Times. August 1, 2017 . Retrieved July 2, 2018 . ^ a b "Members". New Democrat Coalition . Retrieved 5 February 2018 . ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus . Retrieved March 13, 2018 . ^ Livingston, Abby (March 29, 2017). "Rep. Beto O'Rourke to launch Senate run against Ted Cruz Friday". The Texas Tribune . Retrieved November 11, 2017 . ^ Mekelburg, Madlin (July 13, 2017). "Democratic congressman raises $2M in bid against Sen. Ted Cruz". USA Today . Retrieved November 11, 2017 . ^ Rahman, Fauzeya (July 27, 2017). "Beto O'Rourke claims near-uniqueness in not taking corporate or PAC contributions". Politifact . Retrieved May 11, 2018 . ^ "Beto O'Rourke says he doesn't take PAC donations". @politifact . Retrieved 2018-08-27 . ^ Lee, Jasmine C.; Almukthar, Sarah; Bloch, Matthew (March 7, 2018). "Texas Primary Election Results". The New York Times . Retrieved March 7, 2018 . ^ Lovegrove, Jamie (June 2017). "Well-funded anti-Citizens United group backs O'Rourke in Senate challenge against Cruz". Dallas News. ^ Relman, Eliza (March 1, 2018). "A Democrat no one's heard of just raised triple the amount Ted Cruz did, despite rejecting special interest money". Business Insider. ^ Rice, Andrew (July 9, 2018). "Can a Democrat Ever Win in Texas? Beto O'Rourke Says Yes". Daily Intelligencer. New York . Retrieved August 2, 2018 . ^ Bradner, Eric (April 14, 2018). "Why Democrats everywhere are watching Beto O'Rourke's Senate campaign in Texas". CNN . Retrieved August 2, 2018 . ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart . Retrieved August 2, 2018 . ^ Dovere, Edward-Isaac (March 20, 2018). "Beto O'Rourke Doesn't Want to Be Democrats' Next National Cause". Politico Magazine . Retrieved August 2, 2018 . ^ "Beto O'Rourke, Representative for Texas's 16th Congressional District '' GovTrack.us". GovTrack.us . Retrieved August 2, 2018 . ^ Bycoffe, Aaron; Silver, Nate (January 30, 2017). "Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump". FiveThirtyEight . Retrieved August 2, 2018 . ^ a b c d "Beto O'Rourke calls on Texas to decriminalize pot, stop arresting so many students". Dallas News. 2018-08-28 . Retrieved 2018-08-29 . ^ Corchado, Alfredo (March 10, 2018). "Beto O'Rourke's El Paso roots may be key in his uphill battle against Ted Cruz". ^ O'Rourke, Beto; Byrd, Susie (July 10, 2011). Dealing Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the U.S. and Mexico. Cinco Puntos Press. ISBN 978-1-933693-94-1. ^ Baumann, Michael (February 28, 2018). "How Beto O'Rourke Explains America". The Ringer . Retrieved July 2, 2018 . ^ "Beto O'Rourke (D)". NARAL Pro-Choice America . Retrieved July 2, 2018 . ^ O'Rourke, Rep Beto (January 26, 2017). "Why I voted no on H.R. 7". ^ "El Paso's Beto O'Rourke among strongest new LGBT allies in Congress". Dallas Voice. January 4, 2013. ^ "Cosponsors '' H.R.3135 '' 113th Congress (2013''2014): Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2013". Congress.gov. January 22, 2014. ^ O'Keefe, Ed (March 6, 2018). "Ted Cruz calls out challenger Beto O'Rourke in a sign of a tough fight to come in Texas". The Washington Post . Retrieved March 16, 2018 . ^ a b Borunda, Daniela (September 15, 2017). "Protecting 'Dreamers' top priority, O'Rourke says at State of Congress luncheon". El Paso Times . Retrieved March 16, 2018 . ^ Sanchez, Sara (November 28, 2016). "O'Rourke addresses needs, concerns related to DACA". El Paso Times . Retrieved March 16, 2018 . ^ O'Rourke, Beto (March 1, 2017). "Thoughts on the joint session of Congress". Medium . Retrieved March 16, 2018 . ^ a b Selby, W. Gardner (March 15, 2018). "Ted Cruz: Beto O'Rourke wants open border and to take guns". PolitiFact . Retrieved March 16, 2018 . ^ Gonzlez, Mara Cort(C)s (June 17, 2018). "Beto O'Rourke leads Tornillo protest against separation of immigrant families". El Paso Times. ^ "Separating Children From Parents at Border Is 'Un-American' and 'on All of Us,' Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke Says". KTLA. CNN Wire. June 17, 2018. ^ Novack, Sophie (September 20, 2017). "Where do Texas Democrats Stand on Single-Payer Health Care?". The Texas Observer . Retrieved March 16, 2018 . ^ "Universal Health Care". 2018-07-26 . Retrieved 2018-07-26 . ^ "Healthcare is a human right". www.facebook.com . Retrieved 2018-08-27 . ^ Evans, Glenn (March 1, 2018). "In Longview stop, O'Rourke says he's confident gun measure will pass". Longview News-Journal. ^ "Healthcare Texans Can Trust". Beto for Senate. ^ Brian, Higgins (October 27, 2017). "H.R.4094 '' 115th Congress (2017''2018): Medicare-X Choice Act of 2017". Congress.gov. ^ Woolf, Nicky (June 23, 2016). "Democrats stream gun control sit-in on Periscope after Republicans turn TV cameras off". The Guardian . Retrieved July 2, 2018 . ^ Benson, Eric (December 21, 2017). "Does Beto O'Rourke Stand a Chance Against Ted Cruz?". Texas Monthly . Retrieved May 11, 2018 . ^ Stracqualursi, Veronica (March 7, 2018). "O'Rourke defends gun control stance in Texas Senate race". CNN. ^ Greene, Sydney; Pollock, Cassandra (February 23, 2018). "We asked all 38 Texans in Congress about gun control after the Florida school shooting. Ten answered". The Texas Tribune. ^ Hagen, Lisa (July 18, 2018). "Russia raises problems for GOP candidates". The Hill . Retrieved July 19, 2018 . ^ Panetta, Grace (July 17, 2018). "A major Democratic Senate candidate just called for Trump's impeachment after his press conference with Putin". Business Insider . Retrieved July 18, 2018 . ^ "O'Rourke: U.S. Moving Embassy to Jerusalem Was 'Provocative,' Provided 'Incentives and Incitement to Violence ' ". June 25, 2018 . Retrieved September 14, 2018 . ^ Johnson, Jenna. "Why so many people are coming to see Beto O'Rourke: A revolt against Trump and a demand for compassion". The Washington Post . Retrieved August 31, 2018 . ^ "Public Figures and Organizations That Signed the Pledge". Pro-Truth Pledge . Retrieved June 9, 2018 . ^ a b Svitek, Patrick (September 23, 2017). "O'Rourke praises Pelosi but doesn't want her help in Senate bid". The Texas Tribune . Retrieved March 16, 2018 . ^ Moore, Robert (June 10, 2016). "Rep. Beto O'Rourke endorses Hillary Clinton". El Paso Times . Retrieved June 23, 2016 . ^ "U.S. Rep. Robert "Beto" O'Rourke". The Texas Tribune . Retrieved March 31, 2017 . ^ "Congressman may have broken ethics rules with Twitter stock purchase". The Denver Post. El Paso Times. November 26, 2013 . Retrieved 11 May 2018 . ^ Phillips, Lauren (November 26, 2013). "El Paso congressman's IPO stake in Twitter questioned". Dallas News . Retrieved May 11, 2018 . ^ Horwitz, Jeff (May 7, 2015). "Millionaire Florida Congressman flipped shares in IPO despite US law". Business Insider. Associated Press . Retrieved May 11, 2018 . ^ "Congressman Disgorges IPO Stock Profits". November 29, 2013 . Retrieved May 11, 2018 . External links [ edit ] Representative Beto O'Rourke official U.S. House websiteBeto O'Rourke for SenateBeto O'Rourke at Curlie (based on DMOZ)Appearances on C-SPANBiography at the Biographical Directory of the United States CongressProfile at Vote SmartFinancial information (federal office) at the Federal Election CommissionLegislation sponsored at the Library of CongressArticlesBeto leading "Bike-To-Work Week" (subscription required) The Bloody Border, Time, April 23, 2009Lights, Camera, Mayhem!, Melissa del Bosque Texas Observer, April 17, 2009
Google G Suite launches Work Insights tools to track app adoption
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 14:34
NBC | Getty Images
Scene from NBC's "The Office"
Google is launching a new tool for its business customers that allows managers to see whether employees are actually using its G Suite productivity apps like Gmail, Docs for document creation and sharing, Sheets for spreadsheets, or Slides for presentations.
G Suite is a distant rival to Microsoft's Office 365 offering. As it tries to wrest marketshare and win new customers, the so-called "Work Insights" feature will help tech administrators at companies understand if employees are actually using the apps they're paying for and which products might require more training.
The tool will track adoption at a team level (aggregated at 10 people or more), so an admin can see which business groups are using which tools:
Admins will also be able to see which teams are collaborating, whether through overlapping usage of documents, or meetings held through Google's Hangouts chat and video tool.
"This insight can help executives identify opportunities to strengthen collaboration and reduce silos," Google says in a blog post introducing the tool.
WATCH: How to download everything Google knows about you
Florence hits North Carolina agriculture, drowns 1.7 million chickens
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 14:31
Steve Helber | AP
Chicken farm buildings are inundated with floodwater from Hurricane Florence near Trenton, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018.
Florence, the storm that swept into the American Southeast as a hurricane last week, inundated wide swaths of the Carolinas, leaving more than 30 people dead.
The storm, which is now broken into remnants, moved out of the area, leaving behind massive destruction, including in the region's agricultural industry.
North Carolina's poultry sector suffered the loss of at least 3.4 million birds, including chickens and turkeys, as a result of Florence, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced late Tuesday. The swine industry losses are now estimated at about 5,500 hogs, the department added.
Previously, one of the state's major poultry producers had estimated the loss of about 1.7 million chickens.
At the same time, the state agency warned that the livestock losses "could change based on further recovery efforts."
There also have been widespread power failures and roads being damaged or flooded, which have made it difficult to get feed to livestock operations and to bring in fuel to run backup generators at poultry houses and tobacco curing barns.
The harvesting of sweet potatoes has been interrupted due to flooding, and there are fears the storm caused damage to the tobacco crop left in fields.
"The biggest crisis we've got is certainly flooding and water down east," said Larry Wooten, president of the North Carolina Farm Bureau. "Many of the creeks and rivers have not crested yet."
Tobacco, sweet potatoesWooten, a corn and tobacco grower, said the crop most affected by Florence's heavy rain and wind is tobacco that was left in the field. "Tobacco was only about 50 percent out of the field and so it was probably the most impacted of any of the crops we had out," he said.
About 50 percent of the tobacco produced in the U.S. comes from North Carolina. The tobacco production alone represented about $724 million to the state's economy last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
North Carolina is the largest producer of sweet potatoes in the nation, and the crop was only about one-fourth harvested before Florence struck. Sweet potatoes generated nearly $350 million in crop value last year for the Tar Heel State.
Harvesting of sweet potatoes ceased in many areas of the state after the storm hit but could resume later this week when packing facilities reopen. That said, some fields remained flooded Tuesday, and there are concerns some of the crop may develop rot and result in millions of dollars in losses.
Pig-manure lagoon breachThe National Weather Service in Raleigh estimated early Tuesday that Florence had dumped about 8.04 trillion gallons of rain on North Carolina. Florence also caused at least 33 deaths, with 26 of those in North Carolina, according to The Associated Press.
The North Carolina Pork Council said late Monday it was aware of at least one breach of a pig-manure lagoon on a swine farm in Duplin County, located about 60 miles north of Wilmington. The trade group also said at least four lagoons were known to "have been inundated by flood waters" and another seven lagoons were at capacity after the storm "and appear to have overtopped."
About 9 million hogs are raised in North Carolina. The state ranks second in production, and the industry contributes approximately $2.9 billion annually to the local economy.
There have been concerns given the heavy rainfall from Florence that pig-manure lagoons and coal-ash ponds at power facilities could overflow and spread hazardous and toxic waste across nearby lands and into waterways.
"We do not believe, based on on-farm assessments to date and industrywide surveying, that there are widespread impacts to the more than 2,100 farms with more than 3,000 anaerobic treatment lagoons in the state," the state pork group said in a statement.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a statement Monday it has staff "monitoring hog lagoons in storm-impacted areas and is coordinating with North Carolina, as needed, to assess impacts to downstream drinking water intakes due to possible releases. EPA on-scene coordinators and equipment stand ready to deploy, if needed."
3.4 million birds lostFlooding also affected poultry operations in North Carolina. The state is a major poultry producer and ranks second in total turkey production.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, North Carolina's ag agency said poultry losses as of Sept. 18 were estimated at 3.4 million birds. "This does exceed poultry losses in [2016's] Hurricane Matthew," it said.
Sanderson Farms, the nation's third-largest poultry producer, on Monday had estimated about 1.7 million broiler chickens at independent farms were destroyed as a result of the flooding and indicated there were areas still isolated by flood waters where there could be additional losses of live inventory.
"Out of 880 broiler houses in North Carolina, 60 have flooded," the company said Monday. "Another six houses experienced damage and will be unable to house broilers until repairs are made."
Sanderson also said there were four chicken breeder houses affected in North Carolina by the flooding, and 33 pullet houses with young hens were found to have "serious damage."
Still, Sanderson said it "does not believe the loss of housing capacity will affect its ongoing operations, as it can shorten layouts and take other temporary measures to compensate for these losses.
Elsewhere, Tyson Foods said Tuesday it had only "minimal impact" to its live poultry operations in North Carolina and Virginia from Florence.
"Two farms in the Fayetteville, North Carolina, area were affected and we're leveraging our regional supply chain to ensure there's no disruption to business," said company spokesman Worth Sparkman. "We're helping the affected farmers."
Butterball, based in Garner, North Carolina, and the country's largest producer of turkey products, said Tuesday it was "in the process of confirming the exact impact of this storm at the corporate, facility and farm level."
A company representative added, "While that review continues, our priority remains helping our partners and their families who have been directly impacted by this storm. Due in part to our preparations prior to the storm, none of our facilities sustained any major damage."
South Carolina impactsMeantime, South Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers said Tuesday in an interview with the Southern Farm Network that cotton farmers in the state will suffer the most impact from the storm.
Weathers said the cotton crop's bolls opened before Florence hit, so sustained winds of between 30 and 50 mph plus moisture from the rains made the cotton heavy and produced a mess. "It literally knocked it out of the bolls onto the ground," he said.
"Some of our farmers had to plant late because of a cold wet spring, so that could be a blessing," Weathers said. "If it's later planted, its chances are better."
South Carolina's cotton crop is valued at more than $150 million annually and is usually harvested in late September.
Finally, the state official said the storm could also have an impact on peanuts. The hurricane halted most of the peanut harvesting, and Weathers said the quality of the crop could be harmed if peanuts are left in the ground too long.
-Updated with new animal livestock losses provided by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
How That Fake DNC 'Hack' Got Shut Down so Fast
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 14:10
Photo: APThe Democrats are on edge for good reason. They have a little experience with this.
What appeared to be an attempt by hackers to phish Democratic officials and obtain access to the party's voter file this week turned out to be nothing more than a security exercise in Michigan. And while the party line now is that the incident shows how tight its security really is'--with calls placed to the FBI before anyone got tricked into giving up a password'--the real credit belongs to a San Francisco-based company that, like the Democratic National Committee itself, was oblivious to what was really going on until less than 24 hours ago.
It's been one hell of a busy week at Lookout, the mobile security firm that first discovered the fraudulent page trying to the capture login credentials of VoteBuilder, the platform Democrats use to track potential voters. Work at the firm has been basically shut down as its security pros are now spending most of their time explaining how phishing works to reporters.
''We've been on the phone since Monday,'' said Aaron Cockerill, chief strategy officer. ''We haven't been able to do much else,''
Late Wednesday, the DNC revealed that the attack it had announced earlier that day was no attack at all, but a security test conducted without its knowledge. Gizmodo confirmed Thursday that the test was ordered by Michigan Democrats who are trying, wisely, to keep staff members on their toes in the face of cyber threats from foreign adversaries. With the help of an outside firm, state party officials created a fake login page on a remote server. The plan was to trick campaign staffers into unwittingly surrendering access to the platform used by Democratic campaigns at every level'--for fundraising activities, to create call lists, to develop canvassing strategies, and more.
What the Democrats didn't foresee is the possibility of their fake page being detected by someone else who would in turn notify the DNC. That's exactly what happened. By the time Michigan knew what was going on, newspapers nationwide were reporting a federal law enforcement investigation into another potential attack on the Democratic Party.
''We're seeing thousands of phishing sites a day. And that's because they have to cycle so quickly to avoid being blocked by traditional means.'' That the phishing attempt turned out to be fake doesn't take away from the fact that Lookout, a security company most consumers have never heard of, not only detected the page but had it shut down in about 24 hours. Had the attempt been real, the firm would have been widely recognized for saving the Democrats from another fateful episode.
The application Lookout credits with detecting the fake phishing page was developed based on the research of Jeremy Richards, the company's principal security intelligence engineer. Roughly a year ago, Richards began researching ways to detect phishing kits; not after they were used, but as they were launched. The system responsible for detecting the fake VoteBuilder page doesn't yet have a fancy name. Lookout simply calls it ''Phishing AI.''
As a security researcher, Richards has a background in reverse engineering threats. His work previously focused on examining signatures in network traffic caused by the execution of malware, where discovered an overlap between malware command and control servers and phishing infrastructure. ''I started to learn how phishers deploy and where they deploy,'' he said. ''I started watching what kind of signals are created, what kind of signals are generated during that process.''
Around this time last year, Richards began coding an application capable of detecting the deployment of phishing kits online, creating models that could identify and classifying phishing sites in real time. In most cases, phishing sites are detected only after they've served their purpose'--after a malicious link has been sent to dupe someone into betraying sensitive piece of information. By the time a phishing site is actually discovered, it's usually too late. Identifying them at this stage is what Lookout calls a ''sacrificial lamb-based solution.''
DNC Now Says 'Hacking Attempt' Was Just a Phishing Test [Updated]A widely reported hacking attempt on the main voter file of the Democratic National Party turns out '...
Read more Read ''We're seeing thousands of phishing sites a day,'' Richards says. ''And that's because they have to cycle so quickly to avoid being blocked by traditional means.'' The ways by which Lookout's application detects phishing sites is something of a secret, not only because it's a proprietary product, but because disclosing too much about how it works would only give its targets the key to defeat it. The game, Richards says, is cat and mouse.
''It's a game you're familiar with coming from a malware protection standpoint. It's not unfamiliar to me,'' he says. ''The phishing kits when they first came out were typically poorly written, bad copies, written in PHP, and they would either store credentials that were harvested or email them out. And while there's still plenty of that'--thousands per every day, in fact'--it definitely trends now toward more sophisticated campaigns.''
The messages carrying the phishing links, too, are becoming more sophisticated, relying less on a traditional email, which people have become naturally suspicious of. Attackers have expanded significantly into SMS and social media, and are displaying a preference for targeting personal email over corporate. There's far more reconnaissance involved today, which helps phishers craft unique messages for finely targeted attacks.
Lookout has even seen messages carrying malicious links that tell parents, using real names, that their sons or daughters have been in an accident. ''The kits have gotten more advanced, they can detect when they're being analyzed, and the reconnaissance has dramatically improved because of how much our lives are online these days,'' Richards says.
''From the perspective that they were trying to emulate a real phishing attack, they did really well. Otherwise it would have been very obvious from the beginning.'' When Lookout's application first launched eight months ago, it focused primarily on detecting threats imitating roughly a dozen brands, mostly the big ones such Microsoft, Google, and so on. Today, it's trained to monitor for more than 40 different brands. But even with all those, it's still the phishing sites Lookout doesn't immediately recognize that are the most interesting. The DNC's voter file program, VoteBuilder, was an unknown. That's the only reason it bubbled to the top.
The fake VoteBuilder page was flagged as being a high-probability phishing page, but Lookout's AI could not by itself tell who or what the page was trying to imitate. It required the developer's attention. ''We saw this domain start to evolve over time. We were able to watch it change from not a phishing kit, to a very poor phishing kit with broken images, to a very sophisticated look alike,'' Richard says.
On Thursday, a California-based company called DigiDem confirmed that it had been hired by the Michigan Democratic Party to assist in conducting the test. ''As part of that training, we ran tests on the Michigan state party campaign's internal security measures which tripped an external alarm,'' the group's co-executive director, Alicia Rockmore, told Gizmodo.
According to Lookout, DigiDem did a bang up job.
''From the perspective that they were trying to emulate a real phishing attack, they did really well,'' said Richards. ''Otherwise it would have been very obvious from the beginning.''
While the test was not authorized by the DNC, and sounding a false alarm so loudly is likely to lead to some harsh criticism, the kind of test the Michigan Democrats conducted should be happening more, not less. At a White House briefing not two weeks ago, the nation's top national security officials cautioned that foreign influence operations and attempts to undermine the country's election infrastructure are on the rise, not abating simply because of America's newfound hyperawareness.
''Our adversaries are trying to undermine our country on a persistent and regular basis,'' warned FBI Director Christopher Wray. ''Whether it's election season or not.''
Danske Bank CEO quits over $234 billion money laundering scandal | Reuters
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 14:09
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danske Bank's (DANSKE.CO ) chief executive Thomas Borgen resigned on Wednesday after an investigation revealed payments totaling 200 billion euros ($234 billion) through its small Estonian branch, many of which the bank said were suspicious.
The Danish bank detailed compliance and control failings amid growing calls for a European Union crackdown on financial crime after a series of money laundering scandals which have attracted the attention of U.S. authorities.
''Even though I was personally cleared from a legal point of view, I hold the ultimate responsibility. There is no doubt that we as an organization have failed in this situation and did not live up to expectations,'' Borgen, who will stay on until a new CEO is appointed, told a press conference.
Borgen, 54, was in charge of Danske Bank's international operations, including Estonia, between 2009 and 2012.
While the report shed some light on the bank's activities in Estonia, investors are concerned whether the United States, which has placed sanctions on Russia, will punish it.
''As this is the largest money laundering scandal in European history, and Danske Bank is a major bank that sends dollars around the world, I imagine that this will certainly get the attention of the U.S. authorities,'' Bill Browder, the founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management who has campaigned against corruption in Russia, told Reuters.
Danish politicians were critical of Danske Bank for not revealing exactly how much money was allegedly laundered and not saying who was legally responsible for the lapses.
''It is deeply embarrassing that for so many years there have been transactions that should not have taken place. Much of it is expected to be money laundering, and that is simply not good enough by Danske Bank,'' business minister Rasmus Jarlov, who oversees Denmark's banking sector, told a press conference.
Danske Bank said in its summary of a report covering around 15,000 customers and 9.5 million payments between 2007 and 2015 that Borgen, Chairman Ole Andersen and the board ''did not breach their legal obligations''.
Andersen said the bank had made an assessment of whether it violated U.S. laws but declined to share its conclusion when asked at a press conference.
The Estonian non-resident portfolio's around 10,000 customers were registered in 90 different countries, with Russia, Britain, the British Virgin Islands and Finland the main ones, Danske Bank said, adding that around a third of them became clients of the branch in 2007.
Danske Bank, whose already battered shares fell by nearly 8 percent, said some 6,200 customers had been examined and it expected ''a significant part of the payments to be suspicious''.
Shares in Danske Bank had doubled in value from when Borgen took over in 2013 to July 2017, but have since lost more than a third as allegations of suspicious transactions increased and Denmark and Estonia began criminal investigations.
Slideshow (7 Images) The bank said it had taken action including ''warnings, dismissals, loss of bonus payments and reporting to the authorities'' against current and former staff, as well as overhauling systems found to have failed.
In an indication of the costs such lapses can have, Dutch bank ING (INGA.AS ) agreed to pay 775 million euros ($900 million) this month after admitting criminals had been able to launder money through its accounts.
And earlier this year U.S. authorities accused Latvia's ABLV of covering up money laundering, leading to the bank being denied U.S. dollar funding and its swift collapse.
While Danske does not have a banking license in the United States, banning U.S. correspondent banks from dealing with it would amount to shutting it out of the global financial network.
GRAPHIC: Danske Bank share price performance - reut.rs/2plB6Om
SERIOUS SHORTCOMINGS The report found that Danske Bank failed to take proper action in 2007 when it was criticized by the Estonian regulator and received information from its Danish counterpart that pointed to ''criminal activity in its pure form, including money laundering'' estimated at ''billions of rubles monthly''.
And when a whistleblower raised problems at the Estonian branch in early 2014 the allegations were not properly investigated and were not shared with the board, Danske said, adding that measures to get its business there under control had been insufficient.
Danske Bank also said the Estonian branch did not employ its anti-money laundering procedures because it had not migrated its Baltic banking activities onto the bank's IT platform as this would have been too expensive.
''The report describes serious shortcomings in the organization of Danske Bank, where risk-appetite and risk control were not in balance,'' the head of Estonia's FSA financial regulator Kilvar Kessler said in a statement.
Danske Bank, which cut its forecast for annual net profit to 16-17 billion Danish crowns, from a previous 18-20 billion, has successfully overcome previous traumas.
The government had to step in when international markets froze in 2008 and in 2012 it was criticized for an advertising campaign that sought to improve its image, borrowing symbols linked to anti-establishment movement Occupy Wall Street.
Prior to the money laundering scandal, Borgen had managed to improve the bank's image and earnings in part by cutting costs, shifting its focus to wealthier clients and expanding in Sweden and Norway to rival the Nordic region's biggest bank, Nordea (NDA.ST ).
Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Teis Jensen, additional reporting by Emil Gjerding Nielson; editing by Jason Neely and Alexander Smith
Some Students Want to Abolish In-Class Presentations - The Atlantic
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 14:07
Some students say having to speak in front of the class is an unreasonable burden for those with anxiety and are demanding alternative options.
Taylor Lorenz Sep 12, 2018 GettyFor many middle- and high-school students, giving an in-class presentation was a rite of passage. Teachers would call up students, one by one, to present their work in front of the class and, though it was often nerve-racking, many people claim it helped turn them into more confident public speakers.
''Coming from somebody with severe anxiety, having somebody force me to do a public presentation was the best idea to happen in my life,'' one woman recently tweeted. According to a recent survey by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, oral communication is one of the most sought-after skills in the workplace, with over 90 percent of hiring managers saying it's important. Some educators also credit in-class presentations with building essential leadership skills and increasing students' confidence and understanding of material.
But in the past few years, students have started calling out in-class presentations as discriminatory to those with anxiety, demanding that teachers offer alternative options. This week, a tweet posted by a 15-year-old high-school student declaring ''Stop forcing students to present in front of the class and give them a choice not to'' garnered more than 130,000 retweets and nearly half a million likes. A similar sentiment tweeted in January also racked up thousands of likes and retweets. And teachers are listening.
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'-- leen (@softedhearts) September 8, 2018Teachers, please stop forcing students to present in front of the class & raise their hand in exchange for a good grade. Anxiety is real.
'-- amberlicious. ð'§ (@DAMNBlEBERS) January 30, 2017Students who support abolishing in-class presentations argue that forcing students with anxiety to present in front of their peers is not only unfair because they are bound to underperform and receive a lower grade, but it can also cause long-term stress and harm.
''Nobody should be forced to do something that makes them uncomfortable,'' says Ula, a 14-year-old in eighth grade, who, like all students quoted, asked to be referred to only by her first name. ''Even though speaking in front of class is supposed to build your confidence and it's part of your schoolwork, I think if a student is really unsettled and anxious because of it you should probably make it something less stressful. School isn't something a student should fear.''
''It feels like presentations are often more graded on delivery when some people can't help not being able to deliver it well, even if the content is the best presentation ever,'' says Bennett, a 15-year-old in Massachusetts who strongly agrees with the idea that teachers should offer alternative options for students. ''Teachers grade on public speaking which people who have anxiety can't be great at.''
''I get that teachers are trying to get students out of their comfort zone, but it's not good for teachers to force them to do that,'' says Henry, a 15-year-old also in Massachusetts.
To the thousands of teens who support the effort to do away with in-class presentations (at least enough to like a tweet about it), anxiety is no small issue. Students said they understood why older people might tell them to ''suck it up,'' but that doing so was unproductive. Some responses to the most recent viral tweet, though, noted that giving a presentation in spite of anxiety might reduce a student's fear of public speaking.
Just so you know, ''Exposure therapy'' is commonly used amongst psychologist as a behavior therapy to help treat anxiety disorder. So your point about '' it can't be cured facing your fears.'' Is just false.
'-- Mightykeef (@MightyKeef) September 10, 2018Being a high schooler in 2018 is more stressful than ever. Academic demands on students are high, kids participate in more extracurricular activities than in the past, and they are saddled with extra hours of homework.
''Kids doing sports don't get home till 7:00 p.m. I get home at 5:30 p.m. tonight but it's going to get worse,'' Bennett says. ''Kids ... can't be holed up in their room every night till 1:00 a.m. finishing homework on their third Red Bull.'' These stressors and more have led to an unprecedented level of anxiety in their generation. Anxiety is increasing at a faster rate than depression as the leading mental-health issue affecting teenagers, a recent study in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics found. Throwing things like in-class presentations on top of other stressors kids are dealing with, teens say, can be unbearable.
''Teachers think it's just a fear,'' says Jess, a 16-year-old in New Jersey. ''We'll skip school. I've skipped school a lot of times if I had to present. Even if a teacher lets me present alone in front of them I still wouldn't because that's how nerve-racking it is,'' she said.
These students want more options. They say that every student has unique strengths and abilities and that they should be allowed to present their work in ways that speak to those strengths. This might mean presenting alone in front of the teacher, or choosing between several alternatives like producing a piece of art or an essay for private judgment instead of presenting their work orally.
''The resounding theory that education is holding on to right now is the idea of multiple intelligences,'' says Travis Grandt, a high-school history teacher in Colorado who says he tries to accommodate students with special needs, including anxiety. ''There [are] a lot of ways for kids to present information. It doesn't have to be through a formal presentation.''
Joe Giordano, a high-school teacher in Baltimore, says that he's also sympathetic to the movement away from mandatory in-class presentations. As an art teacher, he hosts ''crit'' sessions where students' work is critiqued. He always gives the teenagers a choice as to whether or not they want to speak about their own work.
''It kind of irks me when I see a lot of other teachers say, 'But we have to get them up there.' These kids are living under more stressful situations than I did as a student. Their anxiety runs pretty high,'' he said. ''I know we should put them in uncomfortable situations, but if they suffer from anxiety they're already in an uncomfortable situation. As a teacher I try to show compassion. It's not about being a drill instructor.''
Kathleen Carver, a high-school history teacher in Texas, says teaching has changed since the days when she grew up. ''I think in this day and age there [are] different pressures. We expect different things from our students,'' she said. ''We're in a day and age where we have to acknowledge our students' feelings. I have to listen to them and hear their feedback and respond to that. That's how I can be a more effective teacher. If I ignored their feelings I don't think they would like me or my class or walk away learning things.''
Those campaigning against in-class presentations said that it was important to distinguish between students with actual diagnosable anxiety disorders and those who might just want to get out of the assignment. Addie, a 16-year-old in New York, said that schools like hers already make accommodations for students with certain learning issues to get extra time on tests. She thinks similar processes could be put in place for students with public-speaking anxiety. ''I think it's important these accommodations are accessible, but that they're also given to those who are need it instead of those who just say they don't want to present,'' she said. ''There's a big difference between nervousness and anxiety.''
Students who have been successful in the campaign to end in-class presentations credit social media. Unlike previous generations, high schoolers today are able to have a direct impact on their educational system by having their voices heard en masse online. Teenagers, most of whom are extremely adept at social media, say that platforms like Twitter and Instagram have allowed them to meet more kids at other schools and see how other school districts run things. They can then wage campaigns for changes at their own school, sometimes partnering with teens in other districts to make their voice louder.
Henry said that he's seen the effects of these types of campaigns firsthand. This year his district shifted the school start time an hour and fifteen minutes later, something he and his fellow students campaigned for aggressively on social media, which he believes played a role in the decision. High-school students across the country have also waged social-media campaigns against discriminatory dress codes, excessive homework, and, most notably, to advocate for gun-control policies on campus. ''Teens view social media as a platform to make changes,'' Carver says.
Part of why students feel social media is such a powerful mechanism for changing education is because so many teachers are on these platforms. Nicholas Ferroni, a high-school teacher in New Jersey, said that ''a lot of teachers use social media as a great way to learn methodologies.''
''Instead of trying to go to a school-board meeting with a bunch of adults in suits'--that's how it was'--you can just talk to everyone directly,'' said Addie. ''We don't have to do all that stuff formally. We can go online and say what we want to say and people have to listen to us.'' ''I think social media is a great way to reach educators,'' said Bennett.
But when it comes to abolishing in-class presentations, not everyone is convinced.
''We need to stop preaching to get rid of public speaking and we need to start preaching for better mental health support and more accessibility alternatives for students who are unable to complete presentations/classwork/etc due to health reasons,'' one man tweeted.
Some educators agree. ''My thoughts are that we are in the business of preparing students for college, career, and civic life. Public speaking is a piece of that preparation,'' says Ryan Jones, a high-school history teacher in Connecticut. ''Now, some kids (many) are deathly afraid to do it, but pushing outside of comfort zones is also a big part of what we do.''
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.
Taylor Lorenz is a staff writer at
The Atlantic, where she covers technology.
How to market your podcast | SmartBrief
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 14:04
Having great, engaging content for your podcast is a start -- but marketing it so that people will actually hear it will determine its success level.
In my previous two articles, I outlined reasons why brands benefit from podcasting and outlined how to get started with your own branded podcast. In this final installment, I will cover essential marketing strategies to maximize reach, engagement and ROI from your podcasting efforts.
Podcast production best practicesWith an overall format and frequency refined, the next step is producing a single show. For best results, consider starting with a storyboard or outline. This provides an opportunity to talk through the most important elements of the show, including segment timing and transitions. Consider mapping out the show with minute marks, like the professionals. If needed, create a script for your hosts and questions for your guests (ideally provided in advance). Prepare a strong open and close that includes calls-to-action like subscribing, sharing a link to your website, thanking sponsors or sharing advertising options.
While there is always a chance your podcast doesn't make it to a second season, it's always prudent to plan for the long-term. Consider archiving your podcasts for free via YouTube. Beyond saving monthly hosting fees for old podcast episodes, YouTube offers an opportunity to reach a global audience (and is the second largest search engine by volume). It is important to include a compelling thumbnail as the visual element to support your podcast audio on YouTube. As a bonus tip, consider recording your podcasts with a digital camera (DSLR) or camcorder from day one, so you'll have native video and images ready for YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and other platforms.
Fundamental elements of a podcast to be optimizedEach key element of a podcast can and should be optimized for reach and engagement. It all starts with the show title, which should be unique, memorable, relevant and of course, keyword optimized. Next up is the show description: which should be descriptive, yet intriguing and keyword-infused. One element podcasters typically don't spend as much time thinking about is the show category. It's an important decision and should be researched before finalizing. The trick is balancing topical accuracy with the desire to maximize visibility with potential audiences. Most podcasts pick a category and stick with it, but flexible show formats may consider unique categories for each podcast. Don't forget the small elements that provide polish, like introduction or transition music (check out Serial for inspiration).
From a bigger picture perspective, podcasting provides an opportunity to repurpose content, whether it starts with video or audio, it can be leveraged into images, text and other form factors. Even unused content can be repurposed for promotions or future episodes. Creating bonus materials can also help maximize reach and engagement. Consider developing additional video, checklists, worksheets and resource lists for your website or blog to keep listeners engaged outside of the podcast. Bonus content has the added benefit of measurability, especially if it lives online, outside of the podcast.
Marketing your podcastBeyond optimizing podcast episode title and description, consider creating a show summary on a blog or website and embedding the audio file within the page. Google appreciates the added context and will rank websites and blogs that incorporate multimedia higher than those that don't. Transcribe episodes for the blog or to create additional content to promote the episode on social media or your website. Syndicate the blog or episode summary page via social media in addition to syndicating a link to a podcatcher or host site. When syndicating each episode on social media, leverage hashtags, especially for Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Beyond industry-specific language, consider podcast-specific terms like #podcast, #podcasting, #podcastguest or #instapodcast.
For visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, utilize behind-the-scenes images or video as teasers for upcoming (and archived) episodes. Don't forget to syndicate to Google+, as the platform is utilized by Google to inform organic search results. For YouTube, leverage playlists to combine relevant episodes. If your podcast is business-related consider posting teasers and episodes to LinkedIn, as well as support via targeted advertising to maximize listenership.
To maximize reach and rankings, boost posts on platforms like Facebook and consider testing a targeted ad campaign to grow your subscriber-base. The added benefit of advertising is that you can grow your listenership quickly, and influence visibility on podcatchers. Generating significant listens in the first 24-48 hours can help earn a spot on iTune's New & Noteworthy section, for example. Speaking of rankings, the best way to maximize visibility on podcatchers is to maximize downloads, subscribes, ratings and reviews, so remind listeners to support you with calls-to-action. For podcasters looking to grow a large following and revenue, explore a pay-per-conversion affiliate program for referring site traffic resulting in listeners. Also consider expanding advertising to Google with text and display ads.
Don't forget marketing fundamentals when promoting your podcast. Incorporate a link to your latest podcast or episode page in your email signature file. Promote episodes in your newsletter and on your home page. Provide pre-made promos to guests and partners to maximize reach. A more advanced strategy is to identify and engage superlisteners (evangelists). Bonus marketing ideas include leveraging timely news and media outlets and exploring cross-promotional opportunities with other podcasters/shows.
Creating a podcast doesn't have to be daunting, but it does require a reasonable investment of time and money to do it right. The investment is typically much less than video and other form factors, and podcasts have the added benefit of expanding into a relatively under-appreciated but fast-growing format: audio branding. Take advantage of the current excitement and growing consumption of podcasts to build your brand.
Kent Lewis is the president and founder of Anvil Media.
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NBA announces penalties against Dallas Mavericks for workplace misconduct
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 14:02
The NBA's investigation into the Dallas Mavericks confirmed allegations of widespread sexual harassment and workplace misconduct, the league announced on Wednesday. As a result, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has agreed to donate $10 million to organizations committed to combating domestic violence and supporting the professional development of women in the sports industry.
The $10 million far exceeds the maximum $2.5 million penalty the NBA can levy against an owner, as the league did in response to racist remarks by former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
The NBA has also recommended that the Mavericks increase the number of women on staff, implement regular anonymous employee surveys and revamp both its reporting and investigative processes for sexual harassment claims. The Mavs will be required to provide the league office with quarterly reports on the progress of those recommendations. The team must also immediately report any further instances of workplace misconduct and mandate training for all staff, including Cuban, on issues related to respect in the workplace, domestic violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver's statement''The findings of the independent investigation are disturbing and heartbreaking and no employee in the NBA, or any workplace for that matter, should be subject to the type of working environment described in the report,'' NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. ''We appreciate that Mark Cuban reacted swiftly, thoroughly and transparently to the allegations first set forth in Sports Illustrated '-- including the immediate hiring of Cynthia Marshall as CEO to effect change, but as Mark has acknowledged, he is ultimately responsible for the culture and conduct of his employees. While nothing will undo the harm caused by a select few former employees of the Mavericks, the workplace reforms and the $10 million that Mark has agreed to contribute are important steps toward rectifying this past behavior and shining a light on a pervasive societal failing '-- the inability of too many organizations to provide a safe and welcoming workplace for women.''
The allegations against the MavericksFollowing a February 2018 Sports Illustrated article exposing a systematic failure to protect women inside the Mavericks organization, the NBA announced an investigation into the allegations headed by three former prosecutors. The league conducted 215 interviews with current and former Mavericks employees and reviewed more than 1.6 million documents, including electronic correspondence.
That investigation substantiated claims made to Sports Illustrated against former Mavericks president and CEO Terdema Ussery and former Mavs.com reporter Earl Sneed, as well as allegations levied in a Dallas Morning News report against former ticket sales employee Chris Hyde, a.k.a. ''Pants DJ.''
According to an NBA statement, the league's investigation discovered:
' Improper workplace conduct toward fifteen female employees by the Mavericks' former President and CEO Terdema Ussery, including inappropriate comments, touching, and forcible kissing;
' Improper workplace conduct by former Mavericks ticket sales employee Chris Hyde, including inappropriate comments to women of a sexual nature, the viewing and sharing of pornographic images and videos, unsolicited and unwanted sexual advances, and violent and threatening outbursts toward co-workers; and
' Two acts of domestic violence perpetrated by former Mavs.com reporter Earl Sneed, including one against a team employee.
How much did Mark Cuban know?While investigators found no evidence that Cuban was aware of the allegations against Ussery prior to the Sports Illustrated report, the NBA's investigation did fault Mavericks management for failing to fire Sneed and Hyde following their respective incidents of domestic violence and inappropriate behavior.
For more than two decades, management's missteps ''permitted the growth of an environment in which acts of misconduct and the individuals who committed them could flourish,'' the NBA said.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will pay $10 million to to women's causes in the wake of an NBA investigation. (Getty Images)Cuban apologizes on ESPN: 'I'm just sorry I didn't see it'Cuban was in studio for ESPN's ''The Jump'' shortly after news of the investigation's findings broke on Wednesday. Clearly shaken up on the broadcast, Cuban began the interview with an apology.
''First, just an apology to the women involved, the women who in a couple cases were assaulted, and not just to them, but to their families,'' he said, ''because this is not something that is just an incident and then it's over. It stays with people. It stays with families, and I'm just sorry I didn't see it. I'm just sorry I didn't recognize it, and I just hope that out of this, we'll be better and we can avoid it and we can just help make everybody smarter about the whole thing.''
Asked by host Rachel Nichols how such a hands-on owner and respected businessman could have missed such rampant misconduct, Cuban took ownership of his failures but had few answers beyond previous claims that he was more focused on basketball than finances when it came to the Mavericks.
''If I was in our business office five times in 15 years, that was a lot,'' Cuban said on the national broadcast. ''It's embarrassing to say. There were people who I just hadn't met and hadn't talked to.''
Cuban said he was not aware of public allegations against Ussery made prior to his purchasing of the team in 2000. In February, Cuban told ESPN that the decision to keep Sneed on staff despite multiple domestic violence incidents was his ''final decision'' and ''a horrible mistake in hindsight.'' According to the investigation, Cuban was informed of Hyde's behavior multiple times over the past decade.
What steps have already been taken?The NBA credited Cuban for fully cooperating with its investigation and following the league's recommendations prior to the completion of its investigation. Cuban hired former AT&T senior executive Cynthia Marshall as his new CEO, and she took several immediate steps to revamp the team's workplace environment, replacing the team's general counsel and head of human resources in addition to creating new positions for executives in charge of ethics and diversity.
An advisory council made of several NBA executives and Mavericks officials, including Cuban and Marshall, will determine the women's organizations to receive the billionaire's $10 million pledge.
The NBA has also established a confidential hotline for employees to report misconduct.
Criticism of and allegations against CubanFollowing the original Sports Illustrated report, former Mavericks employee Melissa Weisenhaupt went public with details of Ussery's alleged sexual harassment. She also took issue with Cuban's claim that his focus was on the basketball operations side of the team rather than day-to-day business dealings.
''Sorry. It doesn't work that way,'' Weisenhaupt wrote to Sports Illustrated. ''You own 100 percent of the team, Mark. The buck stops with you. When I worked on the Mavs' business side, all marketing, promotional and broadcasting decisions went through you. Nothing was decided without your approval.
''I am using my name because I am convinced that Cuban still doesn't recognize the culture he's helped create or the plight of the women who still work for him. From where I sit, Mark's response was to rush in like some white knight in a T-shirt and jeans and yell, 'Don't worry, ladies of the Mavs, I will help you with paid counseling and a hotline you can call!'''
In 2011, Cuban was reportedly investigated for an alleged sexual assault at a bar in Portland, Oregon. Police never filed charges. Cuban denied the allegations when they were made public this past March.
'' '' '' '' '' '' ''
Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach
More from Yahoo Sports:' Meyer's grim warning to NFL team about Aaron Hernandez ' School official sorry for racist remark about Texans QB ' New book claims Brady feels 'trapped' with Belichick ' Red Sox fans make problematic discovery
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Judge orders Cody Wilson's arrest, but he skipped his return flight from Taiwan | Ars Technica
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 13:14
Deep in the heart of Texas '-- New court docs detail child sexual assault allegations against the digital firearms activist. Nathan Mattise and Cyrus Farivar - Sep 19, 2018 8:03 pm UTC
Enlarge / Cody Wilson, owner of Defense Distributed company, holds a 3D printed gun, called the "Liberator", in his factory in Austin, Texas, on August 1, 2018.
KELLY WEST/AFP/Getty Images
AUSTIN, Texas'--On Wednesday morning, a county judge signed the arrest warrant for 3D-printed gun rights activist Cody Wilson, who is accused of sexually assaulting an unnamed underage girl.US Marshals
On Wednesday afternoon, the Austin Police Department told the public that Wilson still wasn't in custody. The Defense Distributed founder's last known whereabouts are Taipei, Taiwan, and he skipped his flight back to the States. Authorities believe he received a tip about the new allegations.
"We know Mr. Wilson frequently travels for business," Commander Troy Officer, of APD's Organized Crime Division, told assembled press shortly after 2pm Central Time. "We don't know why he went to Taiwan, but we do know that he was informed that he was being investigated."
Just after 6pm Central Time, the United States Marshals Service released a wanted poster for Wilson, which is pictured at right.
The allegationsIn a five-page affidavit obtained earlier in the day by Ars, APD detective Shaun Donovan outlines what allegedly took place between Wilson and the unnamed victim. The Defense Distributed founder initially met with the girl on August 15 at Bennu Coffee on 515 South Congress Ave.
APD later obtained surveillance video from the area, which showed the girl at around 8:09pm that evening. She also told police that she next got in Wilson's black Ford Edge SUV. The affidavit notes that a Ford Edge is registered to Defense Distributed.
The girl told police that she accompanied Wilson to the Archer Hotel, about 13 miles north of Bennu, and that Wilson parked using the hotel's valet service. APD discovered hotel surveillance video showing that Wilson and the girl exited the car at the hotel around 8:35pm. Police also obtained "digital valet receipts," which showed that the SUV was returned to Wilson around 9:17pm.
According to the girl, she and Wilson took an elevator to the 7th Floor, where they entered Room 718. Again, hotel surveillance video corroborated her account, and hotel records confirmed that Wilson was registered for the hotel that evening. After their encounter, Wilson allegedly paid her with five $100 bills.
Police say Wilson next drove the girl 33 miles south and dropped her off at a Whataburger. Once more, police found that video footage corroborated her account.
A week after the alleged encounter, a counselor contacted APD on August 22 to inform them that one of her clients had been involved in this incident. Detectives then interviewed the girl, who provided numerous details about her alleged encounter with Wilson.
The girl's parents also allowed the police to search the girl's iPhone. There, authorities found numerous messages and links to SugarDaddyMeet.com, the website where Wilson and the girl apparently met.
Police ultimately matched a Texas driver's license of Wilson, who allegedly went by the handle "Sanjuro," with Sanjuro's profile picture on the website.
Wilson and the girl exchanged messages first through SugarDaddyMeet and later via iMessages. Reportedly, he eventually told the girl that he was a "big deal." When she attempted to learn more about him, the girl found numerous news articles about the digital firearms activist.
She was interviewed a second time on August 30 by Austin police, and at that time she told authorities she and Wilson had exchanged nude photos of one another.
Today, Travis County Magistrate Judge Tamara Needles set a bond at $150,000 and required that Wilson surrender his passport. Upon arrest, Judge Needles also ordered police to take photographs of the inside of Wilson's "upper legs," presumably as a way to be identified by the victim. Wilson apparently has a "uniquely identifiable skin condition," according to court documents.
Enlarge / APD's Cmdr. Troy Officer speaks to the press about a new warrant regarding child sexual assault allegations against Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson.
Wilson still not in custodyAPD notified the press shortly after 1pm that it would be sharing updates on the Wilson situation. Cmdr. Officer started by outlining the details from the affidavit before revealing the fact that Wilson wasn't yet in custody and was last known to be in Taipei, Taiwan. Cmdr. Officer did not know the precise date when Wilson flew out to Taiwan, nor did he know the exact date of Wilson's missed return flight.
According to the US State Department website, there is no extradition treaty in force between Taiwan and the United States (should Wilson still be in the country).
APD is now working with US Marshals and international partners to carry out the arrest warrant. Wilson has also been entered into a national law enforcement database for sexual assault of a child, Cmdr. Officer said.
At the press conference, APD shared a few more details on the situation not previously included in the court documents. The alleged victim is 16 years old and lives in Central Texas. Regarding her entry on SugarDaddyMeet, Cmdr. Officer said authorities have no reason to believe that "anyone other than the victim" signed up for the site.
''The charge is sexual assault, and the statute says a victim under 17 is considered a child," Cmdr. Officer said. "My detectives have interviewed and spoken with this victim, and in their opinion if someone mistakes their age, it'd be because she's younger not older.''
Cmdr. Officer added that the allegations against Wilson would constitute a second degree felony, which is punishable by up to 20 years and a $10,000 fine.
When asked if Wilson said anything indicating he knew the reality of the situation, Cmdr. Officer didn't share any details from the messages between Wilson and the girl referenced in court documents. ''Any time you solicit'--whether as a child or as an adult'--it's illegal," Cmdr. Officer said. "This happens to be a child, but I don't think my detectives have ever sat down with an [alleged perpetrator] that said, 'I knew the victim was underage.'''
Cmdr. Officer fielded a few other questions, like if the APD knew whether Wilson had a history of this alleged action (right now, they're only aware of this particular incident) or whether anything indicates this might be entrapment. "That's why we have the courtroom and attorneys," Cmdr. Officer said. "Our job is to enforce the law and make an arrest on the front end. We felt we had enough to charge him with and we had the District Attorney and Judge signing off on the affidavit.''
Cmdr. Officer ended the press conference by encouraging anyone with information related to this case or any case where someone was victimized to reach out to the APD tip line. Below, you can watch the short information session in full via the APD Facebook page. Ars will also be sending a few follow-up questions to the APD regarding the status of the search for Wilson, and we'll update this story should any new details become available.
The Major Attack On Syria Followed Putin-Erdogan Agreement For Demilitarized Zone In Idlib | Zero Hedge
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 13:07
The world once again was taken to the brink of World War 3 Monday night, and the situation is still extremely dangerous. A massive wide-ranging assault on multiple Syrian provinces, including the coastal cities of Latakia and Tartus, occurred Monday evening reportedly by Israel and possibly with the help of France or the US, though the Pentagon is denying any US assistance during the assault.
With Syrian and Russian air defenses responding during the over hour-long attack which targeted among other things an alleged chemical weapons research center, and in the confusion of missiles cross the sky, a Russian maritime patrol plane was shot down with 14 personnel on board. The Pentagon is claiming it was Syrian defense which "accidentally" downed the plane, while Russia is pointing out its radar observed a French frigate firing in the area just before the plane went down.
Regardless, this is an incredibly dangerous situation which puts world powers closer to major war. And crucially, the whole event came immediately after Russia and Turkey announced they've agreed to establish a "demilitarized zone" around Idlib.
Before talks in Sochi on September 17, via AP.The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced just hours before the reported Israeli attack was initiated that Russia and Turkey have agreed to establish a 15-20km demilitarized zone along Syrian government positions.
This means the widely reported Syrian-Russian offensive is off for the time being, according to the Russian MoD.
But this raises the following questions given the timing of Monday's night's escalation: with Putin negotiating for a 'world power deescalation' over Idlib after the US threatened attack, was Monday's attack part of an Israeli (and Western allies) strategy for keeping regime change in Damascus on the table? Why escalate now?
The skyline of #Tartus this evening after multiple strikes & Syrian air defenses clearly active. #Syria pic.twitter.com/Na3BMTS3fD
'-- Danny Makki (@Dannymakkisyria) September 17, 2018This at the very least appears a conscious effort to keep the fires burning in Syria, to prevent Putin from being in the driver's seat, and to continue to provoke hostilities with the Tehran-Damascus axis, and to further keep alive the possibility of the eventual military ouster of Assad.
After Monday's meeting with President Erdogan in Sochi, Putin related to reporters the details of the Russia-Turkey-Syria demilitarization deal: "At the meeting, we discussed in detail this situation (in the Idlib governorate) and decided to establish a 15-20km-wide demilitarized zone along the contact line between government troops and the armed opposition by October 15, 2018 and evacuate radical militants, including Jabhat al-Nusra," he said.
Putin explained that at the Turkish president's initiative, there will be a planned "withdrawal from this zone heavy weapons, tanks, multiple missile launcher systems, artillery systems and mortars of all opposition groups" by October 10". "Control in the demilitarized zone will be exercised by mobile patrol groups of Turkish units and units of Russian military police," Putin said.
He added that the sides agreed to "resume transit traffic along the Aleppo-Latakia and Aleppo-Hama highways by the end of 2018, also at the initiative of the Turkish side."
"Russia and Turkey are working closely to resolve the Syrian crisis, to strengthen the ceasefire and improve the humanitarian situation," Putin said. Putin further said the deal involves Syria agreeing to "coordinated solutions," but that the details of the deal are still being worked out with Damascus.
"In general, the Syrian leadership supports this approach," he said. "We will hold additional consultations with the Syrian authorities soon."
"Russia and Turkey reiterated their commitment to continue anti-terrorism efforts in Syria in any of its forms or manifestations," Putin stressed. "We agreed that practical implementation of the steps we plan will give a fresh impetus to the process of political settlement of the Syrian conflict and will make it possible to invigorate efforts in the Geneva format and will help restore peace in Syria."
Putin also emphasized that the sides will work together to root out terrorists across Syria.
But given Monday night's massive escalation, it doesn't appear Israel or its Western allies want to see to this deal take effect.
'WaitList.dat' Windows File May Be Secretly Hoarding Your Passwords, Emails - Slashdot
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 12:58
binspamdupenotthebestofftopicslownewsdaystalestupidfreshfunnyinsightfulinterestingmaybedescriptive 102890012 story 'WaitList.dat' Windows File May Be Secretly Hoarding Your Passwords, Emails (zdnet.com) Postedby BeauHDon Wednesday September 19, 2018 @06:40PM from the security-risks dept.A file named WaitList.dat, found only on touchscreen-capable Windows PCs,
may be collecting your sensitive data like passwords and emails. According to ZDNet, in order for the file to exist users have to enable "
the handwriting recognition feature that automatically translates stylus/touchscreen scribbles into formatted text." From the report:
The handwriting to formatted text conversion feature has been added in Windows 8, which means the WaitList.dat file has been around for years. The role of this file is to store text to help Windows improve its handwriting recognition feature, in order to recognize and suggest corrections or words a user is using more often than others. "In my testing, population of WaitList.dat commences after you begin using handwriting gestures," [Digital Forensics and Incident Response expert Barnaby Skeggs] told ZDNet in an interview. "This 'flicks the switch' (registry key) to turn the text harvester functionality (which generates WaitList.dat) on." "Once it is on, text from every document and email which is indexed by the Windows Search Indexer service is stored in WaitList.dat. Not just the files interacted via the touchscreen writing feature," Skeggs says.Since the Windows Search Indexer service powers the system-wide Windows Search functionality, this means data from all text-based files found on a computer, such as emails or Office documents, is gathered inside the WaitList.dat file. This doesn't include only metadata, but the actual document's text. "The user doesn't even have to open the file/email, so long as there is a copy of the file on disk, and the file's format is supported by the Microsoft Search Indexer service," Skeggs told ZDNet. "On my PC, and in my many test cases, WaitList.dat contained a text extract of every document or email file on the system, even if the source file had since been deleted," the researcher added. Furthermore, Skeggs says WaitList.dat can be used to recover text from deleted documents.
Put your Nose to the Grindstone!-- Amalgamated Plastic Surgeons and Toolmakers, Ltd.
Why Trump Won't Forcefully Defend Kavanaugh
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 12:37
Gabriel Sherman: ''According to sources, several factors are at play. White House advisers are worried that more damaging information about Kavanaugh could come out. Two sources told me the White House has heard rumors that Ford's account will be verified by women who say she told it to them contemporaneously. People worry, without apparent evidence, of another Ronan Farrow bomb dropping. One source says Ivanka Trump has told her father to 'cut bait' and drop Kavanaugh.''
''Another reason Trump hasn't gone to the mat for Kavanaugh is that he's said to be suspicious of Kavanaugh's establishment pedigree. 'He's a Bush guy, why would I put myself out there defending him?' Trump told people, according to a former White House official briefed on the conversations. Trump also has expressed frustration with White House counsel Don McGahn, who aggressively lobbied for him to choose Kavanaugh.''
''But the threat of losing the House and Senate seems to have helped convince Trump not to go scorched-earth on Ford. If Trump antagonizes women voters, it could increase the odds Republicans would lose both houses in Congress.''
Said one outside adviser: ''Trump knows the Senate is not looking good. It's all about the impeachment, he knows it's coming.''
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Amerikaan verplettert Nederlands fietsrecord | Buitenland | Telegraaf.nl
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 12:13
Vandaag, 07:30 in BUITENLAND
Met bijna 300 km/uur fietst deze Amerikaanse vrouw het 23 jaar oude snelheidsrecord aan gort.
Portrait of Kavanaugh Accuser Christine Blasey Ford: Thorough, Guarded, Accomplished Academic - WSJ
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 12:12
Christine Blasey Ford sent an unusual Facebook message to her best college friend this summer with a question: Had she ever mentioned a sexual assault that occurred when she was in high school?
Her friend, Catherine Piwowarski, her onetime roommate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said she had no memory of that. She didn't know at the time that Dr. Ford was considering coming forward with her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in the 1980s, when both were teenagers in suburban Maryland.
Interviews with friends and acquaintances of Dr. Ford paint a picture of a guarded person, one more interested in discussions of sports and science than politics and personal trauma. Her decision to go public this week with the explosive accusation has thrust her into an uncomfortable spotlight and put her three-decade-old memories at the center of a fight over the fate of President Trump's second Supreme Court nominee.
Democrats have pointed to her allegation as a reason to disqualify Judge Kavanaugh. Republicans, without dismissing her claim, have questioned why her allegation wasn't aired sooner, before hearings were held earlier this month. They also say that her recollections are spotty and imprecise but potentially tarnishing to a nominee they see as extremely qualified for the court.
In recent days, Dr. Ford has faced online intimidation and death threats, and her family relocated from their northern California home, her lawyers said. This harassment, her lawyers said late Tuesday, has made her reluctant to testify Monday about details of a night she has rarely discussed and has said she struggles to remember. While she had initially agreed to testify, her lawyers said she would only do so after an FBI investigation into her allegation, which Republicans have rebuffed, saying nothing new would be learned.
Dr. Ford didn't return calls for comment or answer the door this week at her home in Palo Alto, Calif., where she lives with her husband and two sons. Her lawyer Debra Katz also didn't respond to requests for more information.
Dr. Ford, a 51-year-old research psychologist, said in a Washington Post article that she and Judge Kavanaugh were teenagers at a party in the early 1980s when he and a friend, whom she identified as Mark Judge, pulled her into a bedroom. Judge Kavanaugh pinned her down on the bed, groped her and tried to take off her clothes before she escaped, she said. Dr. Ford told the Post she didn't tell anyone about the alleged incident in detail until a couples therapy session with her husband in 2012.
Judge Kavanaugh, 53, unequivocally denied the allegation, saying he didn't know who had made the claim until Dr. Ford identified herself in the story on Sunday.
''I have never done anything like what the accuser describes'--to her or to anyone,'' he said.
Mr. Judge has told lawmakers he has no memory of the alleged incident.
Dr. Ford's friends describe her as credible and trustworthy; Judge Kavanaugh's have defended him as respectful and honorable.
Dr. Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University in California, graduated from the all-girls Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Md., not far from the Georgetown Preparatory School Judge Kavanaugh attended. High-school classmates recalled her as a kind and popular cheerleader who played soccer and was on the diving team.
''She was one of the nicest ones,'' said Eliza Knable, who was in the same high-school class but not part of the same friend group as Dr. Ford.
Many Holton-Arms students socialized with or dated boys from nearby prep schools, including Judge Kavanaugh's, said Samantha Semerad Guerry. She was among a group of Holton alumnae from the class of 1984 who signed a letter to lawmakers in support of Dr. Ford.
''One friend said, 'If she can't prove it, she doesn't put pen to paper,''' Ms. Guerry said of Dr. Ford's allegation. ''She's not an overly sentimental person. She brought logistical reasoning.''
Judge Kavanaugh's friends are similarly convinced he is an honorable man incapable of the offenses Dr. Ford described.
''In every situation where we were together he was always respectful, kind and thoughtful,'' Maura Kane, who dated him in high school, said in a statement. ''The accusations leveled against him in no way represent the decent young man I knew.''
None of Dr. Ford's high school or college friends interviewed for this story remembered her talking about the alleged incident at the party. Betsy Kingsley, a high-school friend, said she recalled a different gathering that both Dr. Ford and Mr. Judge attended during her sophomore year of high school.
Friends said it was clear Dr. Ford remained traumatized decades later. Jim Gensheimer, a friend in Palo Alto, said she confided in him that she needed more than one exit door in her bedroom to prevent her from feeling trapped.
She told some classmates she was concerned that coming forward would diminish her privacy, Ms. Guerry said.
In July, Dr. Ford sent a tip to the Post and wrote a letter to her congresswoman, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D., Calif.), who encouraged her to reach out to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She wanted to tell her story in confidence ''so that lawmakers would have a full understanding of Brett Kavanaugh's character and history,'' Ms. Katz, her attorney, said in a letter to the committee. After reporters caught wind of the letter, Dr. Ford came forward to tell her story on her own terms, wrote Ms. Katz, who is well-known in Washington for her work representing women in the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment.
Friends say Dr. Ford isn't intensely political. Federal records show that Dr. Ford, a registered Democrat, has made three donations since January 2017 totaling $42 to Act Blue, an online service that provides a one-stop donation platform used by Democrats seeking office.
The recent publicity Dr. Ford has received is in contrast to the quiet professional life she built for herself.
After high school, Dr. Ford threw herself into her studies, spending much of her time working in research labs, Ms. Piwowarski said.
At Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., where she pursued a master's degree, she learned to surf and met Brian Merrick, an avid surfer, through mutual friends. They started dating around the end of 1991, which blossomed into an eight-year relationship, said Mr. Merrick, adding that she was ''sweet, cute and with a good attitude.'' He met and grew fond of her family in the Washington, D.C. area, describing her father as a self-made man whose conservative views sometimes clashed with her liberal outlook. But Mr. Merrick never saw her become involved in or working for a political cause.
At no point in their relationship did she mention an incident involving Judge Kavanaugh'--whose name he had never heard before'--or any case of sexual assault.
''It strikes me as odd it never came up in our relationship,'' Mr. Merrick said. ''But I would never try to discredit what she says or what she believes.''
Dr. Ford's studies led to a distinguished career in psychology. She has co-written more than 50 scientific books and publications on topics such as the relationship between childhood abuse and neglect and adult depression; post-traumatic growth after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; and whether acupuncture is a useful treatment for depression during pregnancy.
After receiving her doctorate from the University of Southern California, Dr. Ford worked as a research associate in psychology and biostatistics for Allan Reiss, a psychiatry professor at Stanford Medical School.
Dr. Ford focused on the quantitative analysis in studies involving children with ''genetic and medical risk factors for suboptimal behavioral outcomes,'' Dr. Reiss said, including such rare conditions as fragile X syndrome and 22q deletion syndrome.
''She was thoughtful, thorough, collaborative, good-natured. And it's hard to be good-natured, sometimes, in that role, because a lot of people may want the results to be in a certain direction or of a certain nature, and sometimes they're not that way,'' said Dr. Reiss, director of Stanford's Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research. She served as a co-author on several of his papers.
Dr. Ford later moved her primary office to Palo Alto University, which operates programs in partnership with Stanford.
Samantha Buchman, who graduated from Dr. Ford's clinical psychology doctoral program in 2017, said Dr. Ford talked sports, not politics, in class. ''She likes to use a lot of surfing metaphors when she teaches because she is a surfer,'' she said.
Ms. Piwowarski, the college roommate, said Dr. Ford visited her a few years ago in North Carolina ahead of the divisive 2016 presidential election, but they didn't talk politics. Instead they chatted about their experience raising teenagers as their children played in a river.
'--Jim Oberman, Paul Beckett, Jess Bravin and Lisa Schwartz contributed to this article.
Write to Alexandra Berzon at email@example.com, Sadie Gurman at firstname.lastname@example.org and Zusha Elinson at email@example.com
Sex robots BACKLASH as brothel workers reveal fury over 'dehumanising and dangerous' droids
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 11:52
SEX WORKERS have revealed their fury about the rise of sex robots and sex doll brothels, dubbing the industries "unhealthy and dangerous".
Legal prostitutes in America say sex-bots "encourage disrespect toward women" and want to stop them from "proliferating", The Sun can reveal.
Sex-bots are becoming increasingly common, thanks to major vendors like America's RealDollEPA
China has become a not-so-surprising hot-bed for sex-bot production, tooSex-bots is a catch-all term for dolls and robots that look like humans, and perform sex acts.
A number of sex doll brothels have already sprung up around the world, including London, Barcelona, and Moscow.
Just last week, a sex-bot bordello operated by Lumidolls was closed down in Turin, Italy, after it infringed local property law.
Now sex workers at Nevada's notorious (but legal) Sheri's Ranch brothel are speaking out against the dirty droids in hopes of stopping the trend in its tracks.
Sex worker Allissa said sex-bots alienate men "from healthy sexual experiences with real women"Allissa '' 'an insult to millions'"It's dehumanising," said licensed sex worker Allissa.
"Sex workers offer more than just a simulation of a woman, we offer authentic intimacy and two-way affection that our clients deeply crave and sincerely benefit from.
"Offering sex dolls as a substitute for human sex workers is not only an insult to sex workers, but it's also an insult to the millions of clients that seek genuine sexual and emotional connections with professional women like me every day."
She continued: "When a client sees a human sex worker, he has a real two-way experience with a woman that gives him feedback and enhances his ability to be intimate with other women in his current or future life.
"A man who becomes comfortable with a sex doll is alienating himself from healthy sexual experiences with real women, and distancing himself from any possibility of a healthy sex life."
Licensed prostitute Roxanne said men "should not be using sex dolls as training wheels" for real interactionsRoxanne Price '' 'objects that men can mistreat'"The idea that women should be like dolls '' unresponsive and lethargic during sex '' is downright dangerous," said Roxanne Price, who thinks the dolls encourage a violent attitude to women in general.
"I feel that sex doll brothels support the idea that sex workers are mere objects, devoid of agency, to be used and abused by their patrons."
She went on: "Sex dolls are 'rape-fantasy' objects that men can mistreat and abuse without consequences.
"Men should not be using sex dolls as training wheels for seeing a human sex worker."
What is a sex robot?
Robots already build our appliances, clean our homes and make our food '' but now they're about to change how we get jiggy.
Sex robots are essentially realistic dolls that have sophisticated movements and "areas" that closely mimic humans so that they can romp.
Prof Noel Sharkey, chairman of the Foundation for Responsible Robotics, said guilt-free threesomes was just one of the potential uses for sex robots.
Others include ''teledildonics'' - wireless technology which allows a person to stimulate their partner remotely and already exists in vibrators on the market.
Sex bots will become hyper-realistic with features such as built-in heaters to create the feeling of body warmth.
They will also have sensors to react to your touch.
One company is even developing a head that can speak, smile and sing for its robot sex dolls.
Sex doll Harmony claims to be the first to offer an "emotional connection".
Experts say these specialised robots will start to appear in ordinary homes in the next decade.
Sex work veteran Red Diamonds warned that sex-bots "encourage disrespect toward women"Red Diamonds '' 'promotes a lack of empathy'"It's a red flag for the sex work industry that doll brothels are becoming popular," explained Red Diamonds, a long-time sex worker who has spent a decade in Nevada's legal brothel industry.
"It's an epidemic that will plague the sex industry if we allow these places to proliferate.
"In a legal, regulated brothel like those in Nevada, sex workers are empowered women that determine what types of activities we wish to engage in.
"We never perform any service against our will and all of our clients respect our personal boundaries."
Red continued: "Real sex, especially real sex with a sex worker, is a consensual situation where all parties respect and appreciate their lovers.
"Sex doll brothels encourage disrespect toward women and promote a lack of empathy in sexual interactions.
"That's not only unhealthy, it's dangerous."
Experts have warned that using sex-bots could be psychologically damaging Inside Italy's booming sex doll brothels as punters demand robot rompsProstitutes aren't the only ones worried by the rise of sex dolls.
In July, psychology experts warned that sex robots could fuel a rise in sex addiction.
Dr Birchard, who serves as the clinical director of the Marylebone Centre for Psychological Therapies, told the Daily Star they serve the same purpose as alcohol for people with drinking problems.
''It would just be another way of expressing sexual activity or addiction,'' he explained.
''Sex addiction is a way to anaesthetise hard to bear feeling states...These include, but are not limited to, loneliness, shame, boredom, and stress."
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North America's 'first sex doll brothel' to set up shop in TorontoAnd experts recently expressed concern that the rising popularity of sex robots risked turning Japanese people into "an endangered species".
The warning came after a study linked rising sex doll ownership to declining birth rates in certain areas of Japan.
Do you think sex workers are right to complain about sex robots, or is their creation fair game? Let us know in the comments!
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Broaddrick: FBI Probe Ford Allegation? Then 'Investigate My RAPE Allegations' Against Clinton
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 11:46
Juanita Broaddrick, right, and then-Arkansas Attorney General Bill Clinton, 1978. (YouTube)
(CNSNews.com) -- Commenting on Christine Blasey Ford's allegation that Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her at a beer party some 36 years ago and that the FBI must investigate the matter now before she will testify about the supposed incident, Juanita Broaddrick tweeted that if the FBI goes back that far then it must also "investigate my RAPE allegations against Bill Clinton, too."
"If you want the FBI to go back that far @HillaryClinton @MSNBC to investigate Ford's allegations .... let's investigate my RAPE allegations against Bill Clinton, too. Seems only fair," Broaddrick tweeted on Sept. 18.
Juanita Broaddrick, a retired nursing home administrator, has long maintained that Bill Clinton, when he was the Arkansas Attorney General, raped her -- a "forcible, brutal rape" -- in a hotel room in Little Rock, Ark., on April 25, 1978. At the time, Broaddrick was 35, Clinton was 31.
Clinton first met Broaddrick earlier that year during his 1978 gubernatorial campaign. Broaddrick wanted to volunteer for the campaign and Clinton invited her to stop by campaign headquarters in Little Rock. While in Little Rock for a nursing home conference, Broaddrick called the campaign office and Clinton said they should meet in the coffee shop at her hotel, the Camelot Hotel. Once there, however, Clinton suggested they have the coffee in her room to avoid reporters.
Once in the room, according to Broaddrick, Clinton chatted about some policy issues, then he forcibly kissed her. She pushed him away, told him she was married, and that she was not interested in him.
As Broaddrick explained in an interview with NBC Dateline on Feb. 24, 1999, "Then he tries to kiss me again. And the second time he tries to kiss me he starts biting my lip '... He starts to, um, bite on my top lip and I tried to pull away from him. And then he forces me down on the bed. And I just was very frightened, and I tried to get away from him and I told him 'No,' that I didn't want this to happen but he wouldn't listen to me."
"It was a real panicky, panicky situation," she said. "I was even to the point where I was getting very noisy, you know, yelling to 'Please stop.' And that's when he pressed down on my right shoulder and he would bite my lip. '... When everything was over with, he got up and straightened himself, and I was crying at the moment and he walks to the door, and calmly puts on his sunglasses. And before he goes out the door he says, 'You better get some ice on that.' And he turned and went out the door."
On April 25, 2018, Broaddrick tweeted, "On this morning, 40 years ago, my life changed forever. On 4-25-78, I was brutally raped by Ark AG, Bill Clinton. I have spent the majority of my life trying to forget..... and watching the Evil thrive. A timeline of that day follows...."
President Bill Clinton apparently has never denied Broaddrick's rape allegation. His attorney, David Kendall, has denied it on Clinton's behalf. Kendall on Feb. 19, 1999, said, "Any allegation that the president assaulted Mrs. Broaddrick more than 20 years ago is absolutely false. Beyond that, we're not going to comment," reported CNN on Feb. 20, 1999.
When asked about Broaddrick's claim at a press conference, President Clinton said, "Well, my counsel has made a statement about the . . . issue, and I have nothing to add to it." (See Washington Post, 2/25/99.)
In the matter of SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Christine Blasey Ford claims that she attended a party somewhere in Maryland in the early 1980s where Kavanaugh and several other high school boys were present.
Ford says that when she went upstairs to use a bathroom, Kavanaugh pushed her into a room, threw her on a bed, and allegedly tried to disrobe her. Another boy alleged to be in the room, named by Ford as Mark Judge, apparently broke up the incident by jumping on the bed. Ford left the room.
Brett Kavanaugh emphatically denies that the alleged attack ever happened. Mark Judge says he has no memory of the incident. Ford, so far, apparently cannot remember where the supposed assault took place or when it occurred.
She apparently did not name Kavanaugh or Judge until July 2018, in a letter to Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Ford was invited by the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about what happened 36 years ago, in either an open or closed session, on Monday, Sept. 24. Last night, Sept. 18, Ford's attorney released a statement saying that Ford would testify only after an FBI investigation is conducted and concluded about her allegations.
3-D Printed Gun Promoter, Cody Wilson, Is Charged With Sexual Assault of Child - The New York Times
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 11:27
Image Cody Wilson, who has been blocked from posting online plans for guns made with 3-D printers, was charged Wednesday with having sex with a 16-year-old girl in Austin, Tex. Credit Credit Lynda M. Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman, via Associated Press Cody Wilson, whose push to post blueprints for 3-D printed guns online has made him a key figure in the national gun control debate, was charged on Wednesday with sexually assaulting a child in Texas.
But law enforcement officers said they were having trouble finding Mr. Wilson, who missed a flight back to the United States from Taipei, Taiwan, his last known location. During a news conference on Wednesday, Cmdr. Troy Officer of the Austin Police Department said that a warrant had been filed for Mr. Wilson's arrest and that local detectives were working with national and international partners to find him.
Mr. Wilson, 30, is accused of having sex with a 16-year-old girl at a hotel in Austin on Aug. 15 and paying her $500 in cash, according to an affidavit filed in Travis County. The girl told the police that she had met Mr. Wilson through the website SugarDaddyMeet.com, where he was using the screen name ''Sanjuro,'' the affidavit says.
Commander Officer said detectives who had interviewed the girl said that ''if someone mistakes her age, it would be because they think she's younger, not older.''
She and Mr. Wilson, who identified himself to the girl, exchanged phone numbers and then continued messaging each other, sharing at least one explicit photo apiece, according to the affidavit. During one conversation, Mr. Wilson described himself as a ''big deal,'' the affidavit says.
According to the affidavit, Mr. Wilson and the girl met in the parking lot of an Austin coffee shop that evening and left for the hotel in a black Ford Edge sport utility vehicle registered to Mr. Wilson's company, Defense Distributed. The police were notified of the alleged assault after the girl told a counselor, and they confirmed the details using surveillance video and interviews.
Mr. Wilson's national prominence grew this year when he announced plans to upload blueprints for 3-D printed guns onto Defense Distributed's website at the beginning of August. He was blocked from doing so as a result of a lawsuit filed by attorneys general from 19 states and Washington, D.C.
Last month, a federal judge extended the restraining order barring Mr. Wilson from executing his plan at the request of the attorneys general, who have said guns made with 3-D printers are a national safety threat because they are difficult to detect and track. The case, which touches on issues of free speech, gun regulation, states' rights and trade rules, has drawn the attention of President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, among others.
Mr. Wilson, a self-described crypto-anarchist, has said more recently that instead of posting free blueprints online, he will mail flash drives loaded with the files to buyers in exchange for whatever they want to pay.
Neither Mr. Wilson nor his lawyer in the sexual assault case responded to a request for comment. The Austin police said a friend of the victim had told Mr. Wilson before he left for Taiwan that he was under investigation.
Follow Tiffany Hsu on Twitter: @tiffkhsu.
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James Comey's FBI pushed anti-Trump dossier for official record inclusion - Washington Times
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 07:12
The FBI pushed in 2016 to include the discredited dossier into the official intelligence community assessment that Russia interfered in the election to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton, two former senior officials said.
The officials told The Washington Times that as the historic ICA, as it is known, was being drafted, the FBI wanted to fold in allegations and observations from dossier writer Christopher Steele.
One source said then-FBI Director James B. Comey directly advocated inclusion. A second source said FBI officials definitely wanted Mr. Steele's charges on Kremlin behavior included but could not single out Mr. Comey as the main driver.
The sources said James R. Clapper, then director of national intelligence, and John O. Brennan, then director of the CIA, objected on grounds that the dossier remained largely unconfirmed information from a former British spy, not vetted U.S. intelligence.
''The IC assessment was corroborated intelligence that involved what the intelligence community agreed with,'' the source said. ''The dossier was a totally separate thing that had not gone through that type of process, so it should not be included. That was the decision that was made.''
The two former officials declined to discuss motives for why the FBI wanted to elevate the dossier from outside political research to part of the official government record.
Mr. Comey, through a spokesman, declined to comment to The Times.
In the fall and early winter of 2016, as the intelligence titans debated whether to include the dossier, the FBI was cranking up its investigation into the Trump campaign and possible collusion with Russia.
The Comey-led bureau became heavily invested in the dossier while knowing the charges were anti-Trump opposition research financed by Mrs. Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
The FBI relied greatly on the dossier to persuade a judge to sign a wiretap warrant on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page in October 2016. The application, largely on the word of Mr. Steele, said Mr. Page was an agent of Russia. Mr. Page has denied all parts of the dossier that pertain to him. He has not been charged.
Former FBI Assistant Director Peter Strzok, who led the Trump investigation, text-messaged his lover that the dossier allowed him to open new avenues of investigation.
Today, none of Mr. Steele's specific collusion charges against Trump people has been confirmed publicly.
In a London court, where Mr. Steele is being sued for libel, he filed a declaration that backtracked from the confidence he expressed in the dossier. He wrote of an ''extensive conspiracy'' between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. But in court, he talked only of ''possible'' collusion and said all of his allegations needed to be verified. Some allegations were unsolicited call-ins.
Mr. Comey's dossier history includes the day in January 2017 when he requested a private meeting with President-elect Trump at Trump Tower to brief him on the dossier's most salacious item '-- that he had engaged with Russian prostitutes in Moscow in 2013.
Mr. Comey, Mr. Clapper and Mr. Brennan had just briefed Mr. Trump on the ICA. Mr. Clapper urged Mr. Comey go further and tell him about the dossier.
Mr. Comey didn't tell Mr. Trump that the product was opposition research financed by Democrats.
According to a Republican majority report from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the FBI knew in October 2016 that the Clinton campaign and DNC had financed the dossier.
Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey in May 2017, leading to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, whose Russia investigation continues today.
Mr. Comey's memoir, ''A Higher Loyalty,'' is festooned with criticism of Mr. Trump.
He has defended the FBI's dossier reliance by praising Mr. Steele.
''It was coming from a credible source, someone with a track record, someone who was a credible and respected member of an allied intelligence service during his career,'' Mr. Comey told ABC News during his book tour. ''And so it was important that we try to understand it and see what could we verify, what could we rule in or rule out.''
Mr. Comey wrote that Mr. Trump telephoned him to complain about a ''leak'' after the entire dossier emerged Jan. 10, 2017, on the news website BuzzFeed.
''So I explained that the dossier was not a government document,'' Mr. Comey wrote. ''It had been compiled by private parties and then given to many people, including in Congress and the press. The FBI hadn't asked that it be created or paid for it to be created. The document was not classified and not a government document, so it wasn't really correct that it had been 'leaked.'''
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Feminists Rage Over Latest Injustice: Sexist iPhones | Zero Hedge
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 07:11
Feminists are spitting mad after Apple sexistly created an iPhone that was too large for tiny female hands, which are one inch smaller than the average man's hand according to a 2015 study.
Lodging complaints against the new iPhone XS which surely won't diminish cases of actual sexism, women such as University of North Carolina professor Zeynep Tufecki tweeted: "Women like me with small hands who need the most secure phone for safety reasons are stuck with something they can't hold and constantly risk dropping."
"Welcome to the big screens" says Apple and women like me with small hands who need the most secure phone for safety reasons are stuck with something they can't hold and constantly risk dropping. Company that designs $5 billion headquarters without a childcare center for the win. pic.twitter.com/Owzy51RsrH
'-- zeynep tufekci (@zeynep) September 13, 2018I can't grow my hands any bigger. Please make a smaller #iPhone @Apple https://t.co/3K4jBF0FN4
'-- Annie Studer (@StuderAnnie) September 13, 2018UK journalist Caroline Criado Perez also bemoaned the giant phones - telling The Telegraph that she incurred a repetitive strain injury after using the iPhone six, with its 4.7" wide screen, because it was simply too large. Her symptoms abated when she switched to the smaller, daintier iPhone SE with its 4" screen.
"I have to make a choice between making an upgrade to the only phone that fits my hand before they discontinue it '-- soon there will be no iPhone that fits the average woman's hand size '-- even though the technology is two years out of date," Criado Perez said.
Jess Phillips, the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, told The Telegraph, ''In so much design and technology development the default standard is always that which suits a man. Companies have got to get better at recognizing that their idea of normal should account for all their customers.'' -NY Post
Also irking women is the fact that iPhones are way too big for women's pockets. An August survey by culture website The Pudding found that the iPhone X - at 5.8 inches, won't fit 60% of the 20 most popular women's denim jeans.
Clearly there is sexist and bigoted collusion going on between Apple and major clothing manufacturers to prevent women, and possibly midgets, and maybe children, from enjoying the latest in iPhone technology.
Roseanne Barr claims she knows her character's cause of death on "The Conners" - CBS News
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 06:50
Actress/Executive producer Roseanne Barr attends The Roseanne Series Premiere at Walt Disney Studios on March 23, 2018 in Burbank, California.
Valerie Macon / AFP / Getty Images
Roseanne Barr claims she knows how her character is written off in "Roseanne" spinoff "The Conners." The actress, who was fired and had her show canceled after posting a racist tweet about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, said that Roseanne is killed off as the consequence of opioid addiction on "The Conners." The spinoff is set to premiere on ABC on Oct. 16.
During a new interview on Brandon Straka's YouTube show "Walk Away," she claimed, "Oh yeah, they killed her. They have her die of an opioid overdose." Barr also slammed ABC and Disney for explaining her absence in an "insulting" manner.
"It wasn't enough to [fire me], they had to so cruelly insult the people who loved that family and that show," she said. "There's nothing I can do about it. It's done. It's over. There's no fight left."
See the first photos from "Roseanne" spinoff "The Conners" ABC is not commenting on Barr's claim.
In August, "Conners" star John Goodman said he believed Roseanne's character would be dead in the spinoff. He guessed that his character, Dan Conner, Roseanne's husband, would be "mopey and sad" over his wife's death.
In June, ABC announced that it would move forward with the "Roseanne" spinoff, after Barr agreed to cut any creative or financial ties to it. The network canceled the wildly successful "Roseanne" reboot in May.
"I regret the circumstances that have caused me to be removed from 'Roseanne,'" a statement from Barr said at the time. "I agreed to the settlement in order that 200 jobs of beloved cast and crew could be saved, and I wish the best for everyone involved."
The show's actors, including Laurie Metcalf and Sara Gilbert, issued a statement about the spinoff: "We have received a tremendous amount of support from fans of our show, and it's clear that these characters not only have a place in our hearts, but in the hearts and homes of our audience. We all came back last season because we wanted to tell stories about the challenges facing a working-class family today. We are so happy to have the opportunity to return with the cast and crew to continue to share those stories through love and laughter."
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My Twitter Thread on Abortion ' Design Mom
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 06:35
Today, I tried something new. I wrote a Twitter thread for the first time. It's about abortion, and how I think we need to approach the topic differently. I thought I'd share it here, because I know many of you don't use Twitter.
So here's the thread, broken up into small Tweet-size pieces. : )
I'm a mother of six, and a Mormon. I have a good understanding of arguments surrounding abortion, religious and otherwise. I've been listening to men grandstand about women's reproductive rights, and I'm convinced men actually have zero interest in stopping abortion. Here's why'...
If you want to stop abortion, you need to prevent unwanted pregnancies. And men are 100% responsible for unwanted pregnancies. No for real, they are. Perhaps you are thinking: IT TAKES TWO! And yes, it does take two for _intentional_ pregnancies.
But ALL unwanted pregnancies are caused by the irresponsible ejaculations of men. Period. Don't believe me? Let me walk you through it. Let's start with this: women can only get pregnant about 2 days each month. And that's for a limited number of years.
That makes 24 days a year a women might get pregnant. But men can _cause_ pregnancy 365 days a year. In fact, if you're a man who ejaculates multiple times a day, you could cause multiple pregnancies daily. In theory a man could cause 1000+ unwanted pregnancies in just one year.
And though their sperm gets crappier as they age, men can cause unwanted pregnancies from puberty till death. So just starting with basic biology + the calendar it's easy to see men are the issue here.
But what about birth control? If a woman doesn't want to risk an unwanted pregnancy, why wouldn't she just use birth control? If a women can manage to figure out how to get an abortion, surely she can get birth control, right? Great questions.
Modern birth control is possibly the greatest invention of the last century, and I am very grateful for it. It's also brutal. The side effects for many women are ridiculously harmful. So ridiculous, that when an oral contraception for men was created, it wasn't approved'...
'... because of the side effects. And the list of side effects was about 1/3 as long as the known side effects for women's oral contraception.
There's a lot to be unpacked just in that story, but I'll simply point out (in case you didn't know) that as a society, we really don't mind if women suffer, physically or mentally, as long as it makes things easier for men.
But good news, Men: Even with the horrible side effects, women are still very willing to use birth control. Unfortunately it's harder to get than it should be. Birth control options for women require a doctor's appointment and a prescription. It's not free, and often not cheap.
In fact there are many people trying to make it more expensive by fighting to make sure insurance companies refuse to cover it. Oral contraceptives for women can't be acquired easily, or at the last minute. And they don't work instantly.
If we're talking about the pill, it requires consistent daily use and doesn't leave much room for mistakes, forgetfulness, or unexpected disruptions to daily schedules. And again, the side effects can be brutal. I'M STILL GRATEFUL FOR IT PLEASE DON'T TAKE IT AWAY.
I'm just saying women's birth control isn't simple or easy. In contrast, let's look at birth control for men, meaning condoms. Condoms are readily available at all hours, inexpensive, convenient, and don't require a prescription. They're effective, and work on demand, instantly.
Men can keep them stocked up just in case, so they're always prepared. Amazing! They are so much easier than birth control options for women. As a bonus, in general, women love when men use condoms. They keep us from getting STDs, they don't lessen our pleasure during sex'...
'... or prevent us from climaxing. And the best part? Clean up is so much easier '-- no waddling to the toilet as your jizz drips down our legs. So why in the world are there ever unwanted pregnancies? Why don't men just use condoms every time they have sex? Seems so simple, right?
Oh. I remember. Men _don't_ love condoms. In fact, men frequently pressure women to have sex without a condom. And it's not unheard of for men to remove the condom during sex, without the women's permission or knowledge. (Pro-tip: That's assault.)
Why would men want to have sex without a condom? Good question. Apparently it's because for the minutes they are penetrating their partner, having no condom on gives the experience more pleasure.
So'... there are men willing to risk getting a woman pregnant '-- which means literally risking her life, her health, her social status, her relationships, and her career, so that they can experience a few minutes of _slightly_ more pleasure? Is that for real? Yes. Yes it is.
What are we talking about here pleasure-wise? If there's a pleasure scale, with pain beginning at zero and going down into the negatives, a back-scratch falling at 5, and an orgasm without a condom being a 10, where would sex _with_ a condom fall? Like a 7 or 8?
So it's not like sex with a condom is _not_ pleasurable, it's just not _as_ pleasurable. An 8 instead of a 10. Let me emphasize that again: Men regularly choose to put women at massive risk by having non-condom sex, in order to experience a few minutes of slightly more pleasure.
Now keep in mind, for the truly condom-averse, men also have a non-condom, always-ready birth control built right in, called the pull out. It's not perfect, and it's a favorite joke, but it is also 96% effective.
So surely, we can expect men who aren't wearing a condom to at least pull out every time they have sex, right?
And why not?
Well, again, apparently it's _slightly_ more pleasurable to climax inside a vagina than, say, on their partner's stomach. So men are willing to risk the life, health and well-being of women, in order to experience a tiny bit more pleasure for like 5 seconds during orgasm.
It's mind-boggling and disturbing when you realize that's the choice men are making. And honestly, I'm not as mad as I should be about this, because we've trained men from birth that their pleasure is of utmost importance in the world. (And to dis-associate sex and pregnancy.)
While we're here, let's talk a bit more about pleasure and biology. Did you know that a man CAN'T get a woman pregnant without having an orgasm? Which means that we can conclude getting a woman pregnant is a pleasurable act for men.
But did you further know that men CAN get a woman pregnant without HER feeling any pleasure at all? In fact, it's totally possible for a man to impregnate a woman even while causing her excruciating pain, trauma or horror.
In contrast, a woman can have non-stop orgasms with or without a partner and never once get herself pregnant. A woman's orgasm has literally nothing to do with pregnancy or fertility '-- her clitoris exists not for creating new babies, but simply for pleasure.
No matter how many orgasms she has, they won't make her pregnant. Pregnancies can only happen when men have an orgasm. Unwanted pregnancies can only happen when men orgasm irresponsibly.
What this means is a women can be the sluttliest slut in the entire world who loves having orgasms all day long and all night long and she will never find herself with an unwanted pregnancy unless a man shows up and ejaculates irresponsibly.
Women enjoying sex does not equal unwanted pregnancy and abortion. Men enjoying sex and having irresponsible ejaculations is what causes unwanted pregnancies and abortion.
Let's talk more about responsibility. Men often don't know, and don't ask, and don't think to ask, if they've caused a pregnancy. They may never think of it, or associate sex with making babies at all. Why? Because there are 0 consequences for men who cause unwanted pregnancies.
If the woman decides to have an abortion, the man may never know he caused an unwanted pregnancy with his irresponsible ejaculation.
If the woman decides to have the baby, or put the baby up for adoption, the man may never know he caused an unwanted pregnancy with his irresponsible ejaculation, or that there's now a child walking around with 50% of his DNA.
If the woman does tell him that he caused an unwanted pregnancy and that she's having the baby, the closest thing to a consequence for him, is that he may need to pay child support. But our current child support system is well-known to be a joke.
61% of men (or women) who are legally required to pay it, simply don't. With little or no repercussions. Their credit isn't even affected. So, many men keep going as is, causing unwanted pregnancies with irresponsible ejaculations and never giving it thought.
When the topic of abortion comes up, men might think: Abortion is horrible; women should not have abortions. And never once consider the man who CAUSED the unwanted pregnancy. If you're not holding men responsible for unwanted pregnancies, then you are wasting your time.
Stop protesting at clinics. Stop shaming women. Stop trying to overturn abortion laws. If you actually care about reducing or eliminating the number of abortions in our country, simply HOLD MEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS.
What would that look like? What if there was a real and immediate consequence for men who cause an unwanted pregnancy? What kind of consequence would make sense? Should it be as harsh, painful, nauseating, scarring, expensive, risky, and life-altering'...
'... as forcing a woman to go through a 9-month unwanted pregnancy?
In my experience, men really like their testicles. If irresponsible ejaculations were putting their balls at risk, they would stop being irresponsible. Does castration seem like a cruel and unusual punishment? Definitely.
But is it worse than forcing 500,000 women a year to puke daily for months, gain 40 pounds, and then rip their bodies apart in childbirth? Is a handful of castrations worse than women dying during forced pregnancy & childbirth?
Put a castration law on the books, implement the law, let the media tell the story, and in 3 months or less, tada! abortions will have virtually disappeared. Can you picture it? No more abortions in less than 3 months, without ever trying to outlaw them. Amazing.
For those of you who consider abortion to be murder, wouldn't you be on board with having a handful of men castrated, if it prevented 500,000 murders each year?
And if not, is that because you actually care more about policing women's bodies, morality, and sexuality, than you do about reducing or eliminating abortions? (That's a rhetorical question.)
Hey, you can even have the men who will be castrated bank their sperm before it happens '-- just in case they want to responsibly have kids some day.
Can't wrap your head around a physical punishment for men? Even though you seem to be more than fine with physical punishments for women? Okay. Then how about this prevention idea: At the onset of puberty, all males in the U.S. could be required by law to get a vasectomy.
Vasectomies are very safe, totally reversible, and about as invasive as an doctor's exam for a woman getting a birth control prescription. There is some soreness afterwards for about 24 hours, but that's pretty much it for side effects.
(So much better than The Pill, which is taken by millions of women in our country, the side effects of which are well known and can be brutal.)
If/when the male becomes a responsible adult, and perhaps finds a mate, if they want to have a baby, the vasectomy can be reversed, and then redone once the childbearing stage is over. And each male can bank their sperm before the vasectomy, just in case.
It's not that wild of an idea. 80% of males in the U.S. are circumcised, most as babies. And that's not reversible.
Don't like my ideas? That's fine. I'm sure there are better ones. Go ahead and suggest your own ideas. My point is that it's nonsense to focus on women if you're trying to get rid of abortions. Abortion is the ''cure'' for an unwanted pregnancy.
If you want to stop abortions, you need to prevent the ''disease'' '' meaning, unwanted pregnancies. And the only way to do that, is by focusing on men, because: MEN CAUSE 100% OF UNWANTED PREGNANCIES. Or. IRRESPONSIBLE EJACULATIONS BY MEN CAUSE 100% OF UNWANTED PREGNANCIES.
If you're a man, what would the consequence need to be for you to never again ejaculate irresponsibly? Would it be money related? Maybe a loss of rights or freedoms? Physical pain?
Ask yourselves: What would it take for you to value the life of your sexual partner more than your own temporary pleasure or convenience?
Are you someone who learns better with analogies? Let's try this one: Think of another great pleasure in life, let's say food. Think of your favorite meal, dessert, or drink.
What if you found out that every time you indulge in that favorite food you risked causing great physical and mental pain for someone you know intimately. You might not cause any pain, but it's a real risk.
Well, you'd probably be sad, but never indulge in that food again, right? Not worth the risk!
And then, what if you further found out, there was a simple thing you could do before you ate that favorite food, and it would eliminate the risk of causing pain to someone else. Which is great news!
BUT the simple thing you need to do makes the experience of eating the food slightly less pleasurable. To be clear, it would still be VERY pleasurable, but slightly less so. Like maybe you have to eat the food with a fork or spoon that you don't particularly like.
Would you be willing to do that simple thing, and eliminate the risk of causing pain to someone you know intimately, every single time you ate your favorite food?
OF COURSE YOU WOULD.
Condoms (or even pulling out) is that simple thing. Don't put women at risk. Don't choose to maximize your own pleasure if it risks causing women pain.
Men mostly run our government. Men mostly make the laws. And men could eliminate abortions in 3 months or less without ever touching an abortion law or evening mentioning women.
In summary: STOP TRYING TO CONTROL WOMEN'S BODIES AND SEXUALITY. UNWANTED PREGNANCIES ARE CAUSED BY MEN.
Well. There it is. My first Twitter thread. I've actually had this written for several months, but have been hesitant to share it. Not sure why. But hearing so many men talking about women's reproductive rights (related to the Kavanaugh hearings), brought me to hit publish. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. What could we do as a society to have men shoulder the burden of preventing unwanted pregnancies?
Miljoenenschikking na vaccin Mexicaanse griep | Binnenland | Telegraaf.nl
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 06:26
1 uur geleden in BINNENLAND
Amsterdam - De Nederlandse overheid trekt 5 miljoen euro uit om tot een schikking te komen met mensen die ernstig ziek werden na, en niet noodzakelijkerwijs d""r, een vaccinatie tegen de Mexicaanse griep.
''¸ Hollandse Hoogte / David Rozing
Dit blijkt volgens de Volkskrant uit de nieuwe begroting van het ministerie van Volksgezondheid.
Het gaat om een groep van zeven tot elf mensen die als baby of peuter in 2009 het vaccin Pandemrix kregen en daarna narcolepsie ontwikkelden. Bij deze slaapstoornis vallen mensen zonder aanwijsbare reden overdag in slaap. Zweedse wetenschappers vonden in 2011 dat narcolepsie voorkomt bij 4 op de 100.000 kinderen die Pandemrix kregen. Bij kinderen die het middel niet kregen is dit 1 op de 100.000.
Het is uitzonderlijk dat de Nederlandse staat een schikking treft met individuen over mogelijke bijwerkingen van een vaccin. Toenmalig minister Schippers van Volksgezondheid gaf in 2014 opdracht om tot een schikking te komen, zonder erkenning van aansprakelijkheid.
Dagelijks tijdens de lunch het laatste nieuws in je inbox?Ongeldig e-mailadres. Vul nogmaals in aub.
Uitschrijven kan met 1 klik
1 uur geleden in BINNENLAND
Dagelijks tijdens de lunch het laatste nieuws in je inbox?Ongeldig e-mailadres. Vul nogmaals in aub.
Uitschrijven kan met 1 klik
4G Mobile Phone - MP02
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 03:43
Polycarbonate casing with textured, high-durability coating; front glass-fibre reinforced (10%); high-dispersion rear speaker housingSoft-touch rear padBacklit keysAnodised aluminium Power key and SIM traySplash-proof to IP52 (IEC standard 60529)
Size: 2.0'"Aspect ratio: 4:3Resolution: 320 x'240 (QVGA),Type: VA TFT transflective (sunlight-readable)Viewing angle: > 80/80/80/80Protection: Gorilla Glass 3 (fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating)
Front speakerRear (hands-free) speaker (1.5 W max output)Front microphoneRear (noise-cancelling) microphoneAudio power amplifier class KVibrating alert motor
Qualcomm® Snapdragon' 210
LTE category 4 with VoLTEVersion 1 (Europe, Australia, Japan)2G: 2, 3, 5, 83G: WB-CDMA 1, 5(6/19), 84G: FDD-LTE 1, 3, 5(6/19), 7, 8, 20,Version 2 (USA/CANADA)2G: 2, 3, 5, 83G: WCDMA 1, 2, 4, 5, 84G: FDD-LTE 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 17
Single nano-SIM (4FF)The MP02 is supplied unlocked
Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4 GHzBluetooth v4.1, A2DPUSB 2.0 with USB-C connector
GPS with A-GPS, GLONASSGravity + gyroeCompass
Type: 1,280 mAh lithium-ionCharging method: USBCharging time: 2.5 hours (max.) with supplied charger (1 A)Standby time: 12.5 daysTalk time: 4.2 hoursAnticipated lifespan: 5 yearsReplacement: by authorised Punkt. service centres onlyactual performance will vary according to usage
Android AOSP 8.1
BlackBerry Secure ManufacturingBlackBerry Secure Boot (including HW Root of Trust)BlackBerry Integrity Detection with Security Status ReportingBlackBerry Secure CompoundBlackBerry Security Verification of Device software
Phone calls, with noise-cancelling technology and hands-free optionSMS with predictive text-entry, user dictionary, threaded messaging, monochrome ideograms and MMS receipt/displayContactsNotes (with reminder facility)Clock (including alarm clock, stopwatch, countdown timer, world clock)Calculator (add, subtract, multiply, divide)Month-view calendarInternet tethering (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB)Aeroplane modeContact sync and OS updates via Wi-Fi or cellular network
Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish
Supplied with the MP02
USB chargerUSB-C cable (50 cm)USB-C earpieceGetting Started guideSIM-tray tool
AP Exclusive: WikiLeaks files expose group's inner workings
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 10:17
LONDON (AP) '-- Julian Assange had just pulled off one of the biggest scoops in journalistic history, splaying the innards of American diplomacy across the web. But technology firms were cutting ties to his WikiLeaks website, cable news pundits were calling for his head and a Swedish sex crime case was threatening to put him behind bars.
Caught in a vise, the silver-haired Australian wrote to the Russian Consulate in London.
"I, Julian Assange, hereby grant full authority to my friend, Israel Shamir, to both drop off and collect my passport, in order to get a visa," said the letter , which was obtained exclusively by The Associated Press.
The Nov. 30, 2010, missive is part of a much larger trove of WikiLeaks emails, chat logs, financial records, secretly recorded footage and other documents leaked to the AP. The files provide both an intimate look at the radical transparency organization and an early hint of Assange's budding relationship with Moscow.
The ex-hacker's links to the Kremlin would become increasingly salient before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, when the FBI says Russia's military intelligence agency directly supplied WikiLeaks with stolen emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman and other Democratic figures.
In a statement posted to Twitter, WikiLeaks said Assange never applied for the visa or authored the letter, naming a former associate of his as the alleged source of the document. WikiLeaks did not return a follow-up email seeking clarification on whether Shamir applied on his behalf, or whether a lawyer or someone else at WikiLeaks might have drafted the letter. The Russian Embassy in London said it doesn't discuss the personal details of visa applicants.
WikiLeaks has repeatedly been hit by unauthorized disclosures , but the tens of thousands of files obtained by the AP may be the biggest leak yet.
The AP has confirmed the authenticity of many of the documents by running them by five former WikiLeaks associates or by verifying non-public details such as bank accounts, telephone numbers or airline tickets .
One of the former associates, an ex-employee, identified two of the names that frequently appeared in the documents' metadata, "Jessica Longley" and "Jim Evans Mowing," as pseudonyms assigned to two WikiLeaks laptops.
All five former associates spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity, in some cases because they didn't want their past association with WikiLeaks to become public, and in others because they feared legal retaliation or harassment from the group's supporters.
Among other things, the documents lay out Assange's campaign to avoid being arrested and extradited to Sweden over allegations that he sexually molested one woman and raped another during a trip to the Scandinavian country in August 2010.
Assange has always denied wrongdoing in the case, which he cast as a prelude to extradition to the U.S. The Swedish prosecution jeopardized what at the time was WikiLeaks' biggest-ever disclosure: the publication of around 250,000 U.S. State Department cables. Swedish authorities issued a warrant for his arrest on Nov. 18, just 10 days before the cables exploded across the web, with bombshell revelations about drone strikes in Yemen, American spying at the U.N. and corruption across the Arab world.
Italy's then-foreign minister, Franco Frattini, described the release as the "Sept. 11 of world diplomacy." Enraged American politicians demanded that Assange be treated like a terrorist.
Metadata suggests that it was on Nov. 29, the day after the release of the first batch of U.S. State Department files, that the letter to the Russian Consulate was drafted on the Jessica Longley computer.
The AP couldn't confirm whether or when the message was actually delivered, but the choice of Israel Shamir as a go-between was significant. Assange's involvement with Shamir, a fringe intellectual who once said it was the duty of every Christian and Muslim to deny the Holocaust, would draw indignation when it became public.
Shamir told the AP he was plagued by memory problems and couldn't remember delivering Assange's letter or say whether he eventually got the visa on Assange's behalf.
"I can't possibly exclude that it happened," Shamir said in a telephone interview. "I have a very vague memory of those things."
Shamir's memory appeared sharper during a January 20, 2011, interview with Russian News Service radio '-- a Moscow-based station now known as Life Zvuk, or Life Sound. Shamir said he'd personally brokered a Russian visa for Assange, but that it had come too late to rescue him from the sex crimes investigation.
Russia "would be one of those places where he and his organization would be comfortable operating," Shamir explained. Asked if Assange had friends in the Kremlin, Shamir smiled and said: "Let's hope that's the case."
Shamir often makes eyebrow-raising claims (in the same interview he said that the U.S. offered Assange $100 million not to publish the cables), but it was true that any visa for Assange would have been moot.
On Nov. 30, 2010 '-- the date on the letter '-- Interpol issued a Red Notice seeking Assange's arrest, making any relocation to Russia virtually impossible. With legal bills mounting , Assange turned himself in on Dec. 7 and his staff's focus turned to getting him out of jail. One WikiLeaks spreadsheet listed names of potential supporters arrayed by wealth and influence; a second one titled "Get Out of Jail Free" tracked proposed bail donations and pledges for surety.
As they gathered money, Assange's allies also plotted what to do once the WikiLeaks founder was released.
One document showed Guatemalan human rights lawyer Renata Avila floating the idea of jumping bail.
"I will advise him to seek asylum abroad: we already contacted the Ministry of Justice in Brazil, there is a possibility to run out of the country in a Brazilian ship," Avila told fellow WikiLeaks supporters in a memo . The document said Assange should "plan to escape and pay the bail money back to his supporters."
Avila didn't return repeated messages seeking comment. It's not clear whether her idea went anywhere; former Brazilian Justice Minister Eduardo Cardozo, who was serving on then-President-elect Dilma Rousseff's transition team at the time, told the AP that he'd never heard of an Assange asylum request.
Assange would eventually skip bail after exhausting his British legal campaign to block the Swedish extradition effort, darting into the Ecuadorean Embassy on June 19, 2012. The move frustrated the sex crimes prosecution, which was dropped last year, but it sparked a standoff that continues to this day, with Assange refusing to leave the embassy unless he is shielded from extradition to the U.S.
Assange's escape left many of his guarantors in the lurch. When a group of them went to court in late 2012 to reduce their bill, the escape plan went unmentioned.
A lawyer for four of Assange's supporters, Henry Blaxland, told the judge that Assange's Ecuadorean asylum stunt caught everyone off guard.
"Nobody could reasonably have foreseen that's what he would do," Blaxland said.
Varya Kudryavtseva in Moscow, and Mauricio Savarese in Sao Paulo, Brazil, contributed to this report.
A selection of the leaked documents: https://www.documentcloud.org/search/projectid:40593-WikiLeaks
Raphael Satter can be reached at: http://raphaelsatter.com
The Rise and Demise of RSS
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 09:43
There are two stories here. The first is a story about a vision of the web'sfuture that never quite came to fruition. The second is a story about how acollaborative effort to improve a popular standard devolved into one of themost contentious forks in the history of open-source software development.
In the late 1990s, in the go-go years between Netscape's IPO and the Dot-comcrash, everyone could see that the web was going to be an even bigger dealthan it already was, even if they didn't know exactly how it was going to getthere. One theory was that the web was about to be revolutionized bysyndication. The web, originally built to enable a simple transaction betweentwo parties'--a client fetching a document from a single host server'--would bebroken open by new standards that could be used to repackage and redistributeentire websites through a variety of channels. Kevin Werbach, writing forRelease 1.0, a newsletter influential among investors in the 1990s, predictedthat syndication ''would evolve into the core model for the Internet economy,allowing businesses and individuals to retain control over their onlinepersonae while enjoying the benefits of massive scale and scope.''1 Heinvited his readers to imagine a future in which fencing aficionados, ratherthan going directly to an ''online sporting goods site'' or ''fencing equipmentretailer,'' could buy a new (C)p(C)e directly through e-commerce widgets embeddedinto their favorite website about fencing.2 Just like in the televisionworld, where big networks syndicate their shows to smaller local stations,syndication on the web would allow businesses and publications to reachconsumers through a multitude of intermediary sites. This would mean, as acorollary, that consumers would gain significant control over where and howthey interacted with any given business or publication on the web.
RSS was one of the standards that promised to deliver this syndicated future.To Werbach, RSS was ''the leading example of a lightweight syndicationprotocol.''3 Another contemporaneous article called RSS the first protocol torealize the potential of XML.4 It was going to be a way for both users andcontent aggregators to create their own customized channels out of everythingthe web had to offer. And yet, two decades later, RSS appears to be a dyingtechnology,now used chiefly by podcasters and programmers with tech blogs. Moreover,among that latter group, RSS is perhaps used as much for its politicalsymbolism as its actual utility. Though of course some people really do haveRSS readers, stubbornly adding an RSS feed to your blog, even in 2018, is areactionary statement. That little tangerine bubble has become a wistful symbolof defiance against a centralized web increasingly controlled by a handful ofcorporations, a web that hardly resembles the syndicated web of Werbach'simagining.
The future once looked so bright for RSS. What happened? Was its downfallinevitable, or was it precipitated by the bitter infighting that thwarted thedevelopment of a single RSS standard?
Muddied WaterRSS was invented twice. This meant it never had an obvious owner, a state ofaffairs that spawned endless debate and acrimony. But it also suggests that RSSwas an important idea whose time had come.
In 1998, Netscape was struggling to envision a future for itself. Its flagshipproduct, the Netscape Navigator web browser'--once preferred by 80% of webusers'--was quickly losing ground to Internet Explorer. So Netscape decided tocompete in a new arena. In May, a team was brought together to start work onwhat was known internally as ''Project 60.''5 Two months later, Netscapeannounced ''My Netscape,'' a web portal that would fight it out with otherportals like Yahoo, MSN, and Excite.
The following year, in March, Netscape announced an addition to the My Netscapeportal called the ''My Netscape Network.'' My Netscape users could now customizetheir My Netscape page so that it contained ''channels'' featuring the mostrecent headlines from sites around the web. As long as your favorite websitepublished a special file in a format dictated by Netscape, you could add thatwebsite to your My Netscape page, typically by clicking an ''Add Channel'' buttonthat participating websites were supposed to add to their interfaces. A littlebox containing a list of linked headlines would then appear.
The special file that participating websites had to publish was an RSS file. Inthe My Netscape Network announcement, Netscape explained that RSS stood for''RDF Site Summary.''6 This was somewhat of a misnomer. RDF, or the ResourceDescription Framework, is basically a grammar for describing certain propertiesof arbitrary resources. (See my article about the Semantic Web if that sounds really exciting to you.)In 1999, a draft specification for RDF was being considered by the W3C. ThoughRSS was supposed to be based on RDF, the example RSS document Netscape actuallyreleased didn't use any RDF tags at all, even if it declared the RDF XMLnamespace. In a document that accompanied the Netscape RSS specification, DanLibby, one of the specification's authors, explained that ''in this release ofMNN, Netscape has intentionally limited the complexity of the RSS format.''7The specification was given the 0.90 version number, the idea being thatsubsequent versions would bring RSS more in line with the W3C's XMLspecification and the evolving draft of the RDF specification.
RSS had been cooked up by Libby and another Netscape employee, RamanathanGuha. Guha previously worked for Apple, where he came up with something calledthe Meta Content Framework. MCF was a format for representing metadata aboutanything from web pages to local files. Guha demonstrated its power bydeveloping an application calledHotSaucethat visualized relationships between files as a network of nodes suspended in3D space. After leaving Apple for Netscape, Guha worked with a Netscapeconsultant named Tim Bray to produce an XML-based version of MCF, which in turnbecame the foundation for the W3C's RDF draft.8 It's no surprise, then,that Guha and Libby were keen to incorporate RDF into RSS. But Libby laterwrote that the original vision for an RDF-based RSS was pared back because oftime constraints and the perception that RDF was '''too complex' for the'average user.'''9
While Netscape was trying to win eyeballs in what became known as the ''portalwars,'' elsewhere on the web a new phenomenon known as ''weblogging'' was beingpioneered.10 One of these pioneers was Dave Winer, CEO of a company calledUserLand Software, which developed early content management systems that madeblogging accessible to people without deep technical fluency. Winer ran his ownblog, Scripting News, which today is one of the oldestblogs on the internet. More than a year before Netscape announced My NetscapeNetwork, on December 15th, 1997, Winer published a post announcing that theblog would now be available in XML as well as HTML.11
Dave Winer's XML format became known as the Scripting News format. It wassupposedly similar to Microsoft's Channel Definition Format (a ''pushtechnology'' standard submitted to the W3C in March, 1997), but I haven't beenable to find a file in the original format to verify that claim.12 LikeNetscape's RSS, it structured the content of Winer's blog so that it could beunderstood by other software applications. When Netscape released RSS 0.90,Winer and UserLand Software began to support both formats. But Winer believedthat Netscape's format was ''woefully inadequate'' and ''missing the key thing webwriters and readers need.''13 It could only represent a list of links,whereas the Scripting News format could represent a series of paragraphs, eachcontaining one or more links.
In June, 1999, two months after Netscape's My Netscape Network announcement,Winer introduced a new version of the Scripting News format, calledScriptingNews 2.0b1. Winer claimed that he decided to move ahead with his ownformat only after trying but failing to get anyone at Netscape to care aboutRSS 0.90's deficiencies.14 The new version of the Scripting News formatadded several items to the <header> element that brought the Scripting Newsformat to parity with RSS. But the two formats continued to differ in that theScripting News format, which Winer nicknamed the ''fat'' syndication format,could include entire paragraphs and not just links.
Netscape got around to releasing RSS 0.91 the very next month. The updatedspecification was a major about-face. RSS no longer stood for ''RDF SiteSummary''; it now stood for ''Rich Site Summary.'' All the RDF'--and there wasalmost none anyway'--was stripped out. Many of the Scripting News tags wereincorporated. In the text of the new specification, Libby explained:
RDF references removed. RSS was originally conceived as a metadata formatproviding a summary of a website. Two things have become clear: the first isthat providers want more of a syndication format than a metadata format. Thestructure of an RDF file is very precise and must conform to the RDF datamodel in order to be valid. This is not easily human-understandable and canmake it difficult to create useful RDF files. The second is that few toolsare available for RDF generation, validation and processing. For thesereasons, we have decided to go with a standard XML approach.15
Winer was enormously pleased with RSS 0.91, calling it ''even better than Ithought it would be.''16 UserLand Software adopted it as a replacement forthe existing ScriptingNews 2.0b1 format. For a while, it seemed that RSSfinally had a single authoritative specification.
The Great ForkA year later, the RSS 0.91 specification had become woefully inadequate. Therewere all sorts of things people were trying to do with RSS that thespecification did not address. There were other parts of the specification thatseemed unnecessarily constraining'--each RSS channel could only contain a maximumof 15 items, for example.
By that point, RSS had been adopted by several more organizations. Otherthan Netscape, which seemed to have lost interest after RSS 0.91, the bigplayers were Dave Winer's UserLand Software; O'Reilly Net, which ran an RSSaggregator called Meerkat; and Moreover.com, which also ran an RSS aggregatorfocused on news.17 Via mailing list, representatives from theseorganizations and others regularly discussed how to improve on RSS 0.91. Butthere were deep disagreements about what those improvements should look like.
The mailing list in which most of the discussion occurred was called theSyndication mailing list. An archive of the Syndication mailinglist is still available.It is an amazing historical resource. It provides a moment-by-moment account ofhow those deep disagreements eventually led to a political rupture of the RSScommunity.
On one side of the coming rupture was Winer. Winer was impatient to evolve RSS,but he wanted to change it only in relatively conservative ways. In June, 2000,he published his own RSS 0.91 specification on the UserLand website, meant tobe a starting point for further development of RSS. It made no significantchanges to the 0.91 specification published by Netscape. Winer claimed in ablog post that accompanied his specification that it was only a ''cleanup''documenting how RSS was actually being used in the wild, which was neededbecause the Netscape specification was no longer being maintained.18 In thesame post, he argued that RSS had succeeded so far because it was simple, andthat by adding namespaces or RDF back to the format'--some had suggested this bedone in the Syndication mailing list'--it ''would become vastly more complex, andIMHO, at the content provider level, would buy us almost nothing for the addedcomplexity.'' In a message to the Syndication mailing list sent around the sametime, Winer suggested that these issues were important enough that they mightlead him to create a fork:
I'm still pondering how to move RSS forward. I definitely want ICE-likestuff in RSS2, publish and subscribe is at the top of my list, but I amgoing to fight tooth and nail for simplicity. I love optional elements. Idon't want to go down the namespaces and schema road, or try to make it adialect of RDF. I understand other people want to do this, and therefore Iguess we're going to get a fork. I have my own opinion about where the otherfork will lead, but I'll keep those to myself for the moment at least.19
Arrayed against Winer were several other people, including Rael Dornfest ofO'Reilly, Ian Davis (responsible for a search startup called Calaba), and aprecocious, 14-year-old Aaron Swartz, who all thought that RSS needednamespaces in order to accommodate the many different things everyone wanted todo with it. On another mailing list hosted by O'Reilly, Davis proposed anamespace-based module system, writing that such a system would ''make RSS asextensible as we like rather than packing in new features that over-complicatethe spec.''20 The ''namespace camp'' believed that RSS would soon be used formuch more than the syndication of blog posts, so namespaces, rather than beinga complication, were the only way to keep RSS from becoming unmanageable as itsupported more and more use cases.
At the root of this disagreement about namespaces was a deeper disagreementabout what RSS was even for. Winer had invented his Scripting News format tosyndicate the posts he wrote for his blog. Guha and Libby at Netscape haddesigned RSS and called it ''RDF Site Summary'' because in their minds it was away of recreating a site in miniature within Netscape's online portal. Davis,writing to the Syndication mailing list, explained his view that RSS was''originally conceived as a way of building mini sitemaps,'' and that now he andothers wanted to expand RSS ''to encompass more types of information than simplenews headlines and to cater for the new uses of RSS that have emerged over thelast 12 months.''21 Winer wrote a prickly reply, stating that his ScriptingNews format was in fact the original RSS and that it had been meant for adifferent purpose. Given that the people most involved in the development ofRSS disagreed about why RSS had even been created, a fork seems to have beeninevitable.
The fork happened after Dornfest announced a proposed RSS 1.0 specification andformed the RSS-DEV Working Group'--which would include Davis, Swartz, and severalothers but not Winer'--to get it ready for publication. In the proposedspecification, RSS once again stood for ''RDF Site Summary,'' because RDF had hadbeen added back in to represent metadata properties of certain RSS elements.The specification acknowledged Winer by name, giving him credit forpopularizing RSS through his ''evangelism.''22 But it also argued that justadding more elements to RSS without providing for extensibility with a modulesystem'--that is, what Winer was suggesting'--''sacrifices scalability.'' Thespecification went on to define a module system for RSS based on XMLnamespaces.
Winer was furious that the RSS-DEV Working Group had arrogated the ''RSS 1.0''name for themselves.23 In another mailing list about decentralization, hedescribed what the RSS-DEV Working Group had done as theft.24 Other membersof the Syndication mailing list also felt that the RSS-DEV Working Group shouldnot have used the name ''RSS'' without unanimous agreement from the community onhow to move RSS forward. But the Working Group stuck with the name. DanBrickley, another member of the RSS-DEV Working Group, defended this decisionby arguing that ''RSS 1.0 as proposed is solidly grounded in the original RSSvision, which itself had a long heritage going back to MCF (an RDF precursor)and related specs (CDF etc).''25 He essentially felt that the RSS 1.0 efforthad a better claim to the RSS name than Winer did, since RDF had originallybeen a part of RSS. The RSS-DEV Working Group published a final version oftheir specification in December. That same month, Winer published his ownimprovement to RSS 0.91, which he called RSS 0.92, on UserLand's website. RSS0.92 made several small optional improvements to RSS, among which was theaddition of the <enclosure> tag soon used by podcasters everywhere. RSS hadofficially forked.
It's not clear to me why a better effort was not made to involve Winer in theRSS-DEV Working Group. He was a prominent contributor to the Syndicationmailing list and obviously responsible for much of RSS' popularity, as themembers of the Working Group themselves acknowledged. But Tim O'Reilly, founderand CEO of O'Reilly, explained in a UserLand discussion group that Winer moreor less refused to participate:
A group of people involved in RSS got together to start thinking about itsfuture evolution. Dave was part of the group. When the consensus of the groupturned in a direction he didn't like, Dave stopped participating, andcharacterized it as a plot by O'Reilly to take over RSS from him, despite thefact that Rael Dornfest of O'Reilly was only one of about a dozen authors ofthe proposed RSS 1.0 spec, and that many of those who were part of itsdevelopment had at least as long a history with RSS as Dave had.26
To this, Winer said:
I met with Dale [Dougherty] two weeks before the announcement, and he didn'tsay anything about it being called RSS 1.0. I spoke on the phone with Raelthe Friday before it was announced, again he didn't say that they werecalling it RSS 1.0. The first I found out about it was when it was publiclyannounced.
Let me ask you a straight question. If it turns out that the plan to call thenew spec ''RSS 1.0'' was done in private, without any heads-up or consultation,or for a chance for the Syndication list members to agree or disagree, notjust me, what are you going to do?
UserLand did a lot of work to create and popularize and support RSS. Wewalked away from that, and let your guys have the name. That's the top level.If I want to do any further work in Web syndication, I have to use adifferent name. Why and how did that happen Tim?27
I have not been able to find a discussion in the Syndication mailing list aboutusing the RSS 1.0 name prior to the announcement of the RSS 1.0 proposal.
RSS would fork again in 2003, when several developers frustrated with thebickering in the RSS community sought to create an entirely new format.These developers created Atom, a format that did away with RDF but embraced XMLnamespaces. Atom would eventually be specified by a proposed IETFstandard. After the introduction of Atom,there were three competing versions of RSS: Winer's RSS 0.92 (updated to RSS2.0 in 2002 and renamed ''Really Simple Syndication''), the RSS-DEV WorkingGroup's RSS 1.0, and Atom.
DeclineThe proliferation of competing RSS specifications may have hampered RSS inother ways that I'll discuss shortly. But it did not stop RSS from becomingenormously popular during the 2000s. By 2004, the New York Times had startedoffering its headlines in RSS and had written an article explaining to thelayperson what RSS was and how to use it.28 Google Reader, an RSS aggregatorultimately used by millions, was launched in 2005. By 2013, RSS seemedpopular enough that the New York Times, in its obituary for Aaron Swartz,called the technology ''ubiquitous.''29 For a while, before a third of theplanet had signed up for Facebook, RSS was simply how many people stayedabreast of news on the internet.
The New York Times published Swartz' obituary in January, 2013. By that point,though, RSS had actually turned a corner and was well on its way to becomingan obscure technology. Google Reader was shutdown in July, 2013, ostensiblybecause user numbers had been falling ''over the years.''30 This promptedseveral articles from various outlets declaring that RSS was dead. But peoplehad been declaring that RSS was dead for years, even before Google Reader'sshuttering. Steve Gillmor, writing for TechCrunch in May, 2009, advised that''it's time to get completely off RSS and switch to Twitter'' because ''RSS justdoesn't cut it anymore.''31 He pointed out that Twitter was basically abetter RSS feed, since it could show you what people thought about an articlein addition to the article itself. It allowed you to follow people and not justchannels. Gillmor told his readers that it was time to let RSS recede into thebackground. He ended his article with a verse from Bob Dylan's ''Forever Young.''
Today, RSS is not dead. But neither is it anywhere near as popular as it oncewas. Lots of people have offered explanations for why RSS lost its broadappeal. Perhaps the most persuasive explanation is exactly the one offered byGillmor in 2009. Social networks, just like RSS, provide a feed featuringall the latest news on the internet. Social networks took over from RSS becausethey were simply better feeds. They also provide more benefits to the companiesthat own them. Some people have accused Google, for example, of shutting downGoogle Reader in order to encourage people to use Google+. Google might havebeen able to monetize Google+ in a way that it could never have monetizedGoogle Reader. Marco Arment, the creator of Instapaper, wrote on his blog in2013:
Google Reader is just the latest casualty of the war that Facebook started,seemingly accidentally: the battle to own everything. While Google didtechnically ''own'' Reader and could make some use of the huge amount of newsand attention data flowing through it, it conflicted with their far moreimportant Google+ strategy: they need everyone reading and sharing everythingthrough Google+ so they can compete with Facebook for ad-targeting data, addollars, growth, and relevance.32
So both users and technology companies realized that they got more out of usingsocial networks than they did out of RSS.
Another theory is that RSS was always too geeky for regular people. Even theNew York Times, which seems to have been eager to adopt RSS and promote it toits audience, complained in 2006 that RSS is a ''not particularly user friendly''acronym coined by ''computer geeks.''33 Before the RSS icon was designed in2004, websites like the New York Times linked to their RSS feeds using littleorange boxes labeled ''XML,'' which can only have been intimidating.34 Thelabel was perfectly accurate though, because back then clicking the link wouldtake a hapless user to a page full of XML. This greattweet captures theessence of this explanation for RSS' demise. Regular people never feltcomfortable using RSS; it hadn't really been designed as a consumer-facingtechnology and involved too many hurdles; people jumped ship as soon assomething better came along.
RSS might have been able to overcome some of these limitations if it had beenfurther developed. Maybe RSS could have been extended somehow so thatfriends subscribed to the same channel could syndicate their thoughts about anarticle to each other. But whereas a company like Facebook was able to ''movefast and break things,'' the RSS developer community was stuck trying to achieveconsensus. The Great RSS Fork only demonstrates how difficult it was to dothat. So if we are asking ourselves why RSS is no longer popular, a goodfirst-order explanation is that social networks supplanted it. If we askourselves why social networks were able to supplant it, then the answer may bethat the people trying to make RSS succeed faced a problem much harder than,say, building Facebook. As Dornfest wrote to the Syndication mailing listat one point, ''currently it's the politics far more than the serializationthat's far from simple.''35
So today we are left with centralized silos of information. In a way, we dohave the syndicated internet that Kevin Werbach foresaw in 1999. After all,The Onion is a publication that relies on syndication through Facebook andTwitter the same way that Seinfeld relied on syndication to rake in millionsafter the end of its original run. But syndication on the web only happensthrough one of a very small number of channels, meaning that none of us ''retaincontrol over our online personae'' the way that Werbach thought we would. Onereason this happened is garden-variety corporate rapaciousness'--RSS, an openformat, didn't give technology companies the control over data and eyeballsthat they needed to sell ads, so they did not support it. But the more mundanereason is that centralized silos are just easier to design than commonstandards. Consensus is difficult to achieve and it takes time, but withoutconsensus spurned developers will go off and create competing standards. Thelesson here may be that if we want to see a better, more open web, we have toget better at not screwing each other over.
If you enjoyed this post, more like it come out every two weeks! Follow @TwoBitHistory on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feedto make sure you know when a new post is out.
Previously on TwoBitHistory'...
New post: This week we're traveling back in time in our DeLorean to see what it was like learning to program on early home computers.https://t.co/qDrwqgIuuy
'-- TwoBitHistory (@TwoBitHistory) September 2, 2018
inessential: Oh God Not This Again
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 09:43
Every now and again there's a thing about the tragedy of RSS. Ugh.
I want to make a few points.
One is that, as Greg Reinacker once said, RSS is plumbing.
Another is that millions of mainstream users rely on it '-- for podcasting, especially, but also because it powers other things that they use. They don't know that there's RSS under the hood, and that's totally fine.
Another is that it's not necessary for RSS readers to become mass-market, mainstream apps. I'm sure I never said they would be, and I don't remember anyone else from the early days of RSS saying they would be, either.
It's totally fine if RSS readers are just used by journalists, bloggers, researchers, and people who like to read. Yes! It's a-okay.
But note that everyone who uses Twitter and whatever else, and who follows those people, are benefiting indirectly from RSS. RSS is, often, where the links come from in the first place before they show up on social networks.
(Sometimes it's even automated. For instance, posts to my @NetNewsWire account on Twitter come from the blog's feed. In other words: Twitter itself is an RSS reader.)
In a nutshell: judging RSS itself because RSS readers are not mainstream is to miss everything that RSS does. And judging RSS readers for not being mainstream is to judge them against expectations set by some hype artists more than a decade ago '-- but not by me or anybody else actually doing the work.
I don't expect to see RSS readers running on every Mac and iOS device. This does not make it a failure.
It's 2018, and I think by now we're allowed to have things that some people like, but that not everybody uses.
* * *
From 2011: What we talk about when we talk about RSS
From 2013: Why I love RSS and You Do Too
From 2018: Some Hope
Rusland 'bewijst' dat vlucht MH17 is neergehaald door Oekra¯ne | De Volkskrant
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 08:41
De Russische regering heeft er een traditie van gemaakt om met nieuwe theorin over MH17 te komen vlak voordat het internationale onderzoeksteam nieuwe bevindingen presenteert. De Russische regering en de staatsmedia hebben zichzelf in hun verdedigingen meerdere malen tegengesproken en daarmee ruis gecreerd rondom het onderzoek.
Met de nieuwe verdediging, gepresenteerd op een persconferentie in Moskou, wil Rusland het internationale onderzoek vertragen. Het ministerie van Defensie eist dat het JIT documenten bij de Oekra¯ense regering opvraagt over de vermeende BUK-installatie. Daaruit zou volgens Rusland moeten blijken dat de raket al sinds het uiteenvallen van de Sovjet-Unie in bezit is van het Oekra¯ense leger.
Oekra¯ens bezit Het Russische ministerie zegt serienummers op de motor van de raket en de raketbuis te hebben geanalyseerd. Uit geheime documenten van het Russische leger, nu openbaar gemaakt, zou blijken dat de raket in 1986 geproduceerd is in Rusland en vijf dagen later per trein naar West-Oekra¯ne is afgeleverd bij een luchtafweerbrigade bij Ternopil, een plaats in de buurt van de West-Oekra¯ense stad Lviv. Met het uiteenvallen van de Sovjet-Unie in 1991 is de raket eigendom geworden van het Oekra¯ense leger, aldus twee woordvoerders van het Russische ministerie maandag.
The Russian MoD is correct in saying it's moving in the wrong direction in the JIT video, but the location the photograph was actually taken is different, as the below image shows. 2/? pic.twitter.com/H1JeFLbdEH
Eliot HigginsHet internationale team dat strafrechtelijk onderzoek doet naar de crash, stelde afgelopen mei dat de BUK-installatie afkomstig is van de 53ste luchtafweerbrigade uit Koersk van de Russische krijgsmacht. Videobeelden tonen volgens het Joint Investigation Team (JIT) hoe het raketsysteem in de dagen voor de crash vervoerd is van Rusland naar rebellengebied in Oost-Oekra¯ne.
Gemanipuleerde beeldenMaar die beelden, vlak na de ramp verschenen, zijn gemanipuleerd, stelt het Russische ministerie nu plots. Het perspectief zou niet kloppen: in drie beelden van de BUK-installatie op een dieplader komen doorgetrokken horizontale lijnen niet bij elkaar in een verdwijnpunt. Dat bewijst 'Oekra¯ense manipulatie' van de video's, aldus het Russische ministerie van Defensie.
Ook presenteerde het ministerie een afgeluisterd telefoongesprek uit 2016, naar eigen zeggen afkomstig van Roeslan Grintsjak, een bevelhebber in de Oekra¯ense luchtmacht. De stem in de opname spreekt over de mogelijkheid om 'nog een Maleisische Boeing neer te halen'. 'Onweerlegbaar bewijs van Oekra¯ense betrokkenheid bij de tragedie', zei woordvoerder Igor Konasjenkov.
The camera was facing south, and the Buk is pointing east, which means it's actually travelling in the correct direction, just the JIT animation was wrong. The Russian MoD uses this to falsely claim the photo is fake 3/3 pic.twitter.com/tgcCAaO7db
Eliot HigginsDe Russische verdediging komt vlak voor bijeenkomsten in de Verenigde Naties over MH17. Een lid uit de Oekra¯ense regering zei vorige maand te verwachten dat tijdens die bijeenkomsten de begindatum van de strafzaak tegen de verdachten bekendgemaakt wordt. Verdachten zullen voor een Nederlandse rechter vervolgd worden. Dat besloten de vijf landen die het onderzoek doen nadat Rusland de oprichting van een speciaal VN-tribunaal blokkeerde.
In een schriftelijke reactie wijst het Nederlandse Openbaar Ministerie erop dat het internationale onderzoeksteam Rusland al in 2014 verzocht heeft om informatie te verstrekken. Desalniettemin belooft het JIT de plots vrijgegeven informatie te zullen bestuderen zodra Rusland de relevante documenten ter beschikking stelt aan het onderzoeksteam.
Nederland stelt Rusland aansprakelijk voor neerhalen MH17: 'We zullen niet rusten tot de daders zijn gepakt' Nederland en Australi eisen dat Rusland verantwoordelijkheid neemt voor de ramp met de MH17. Voor de twee landen staat nu 'onomstotelijk vast' dat er een directe link is tussen het Russische leger en de BUK-raket waarmee het passagiersvliegtuig bijna vier jaar geleden werd neergeschoten.
Vier jaar na MH17 zijn er honderd verdachten, maar arrestaties zijn nog lang niet te verwachtenDonderdag vanaf 11 uur zal het Joint Investigation Team (JIT) uitleggen waarom het strafrechtelijk onderzoek naar de ramp met Malaysia Airlines-vlucht MH17 op 17 juli 2014 nog langer gaat duren. Het gebruikte wapen en de afvuurlocatie zijn bekend, maar van een arrestatie van een van de honderd verdachten is nog lang geen sprake. Vier jaar na de ramp zullen nog 'geen mededelingen worden gedaan over mogelijke verdachten', stelt het JIT. Waarom duurt het zo lang?
Vastgoedman Rudy Stroink ontkent omkoping van Google-directeur: 'Ik wist daar niets van' | De Volkskrant
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 08:39
Vastgoedman Rudy Stroink moest zich maandag in de Zwolse rechtbank verantwoorden. Hij wordt ervan verdacht een directeur van Google 1,7 miljoen euro smeergeld te hebben betaald om zo een gunstig huurcontract te regelen voor de twee datacentra van zijn bedrijf TCN in de Groningse Eemshaven.
Tom Kreling 17 september 2018 , 20:21 Als de 62-jarige vastgoedman Rudy Stroink in de Zwolse rechtbank uitlegt hoe hij in 2008 een Amerikaanse tussenpersoon in de arm neemt om zaken te doen met Google, trekt de oudste rechter vanachter zijn bril even een wenkbrauw op. Als Stroink vervolgens vertelt hoe hij deze bemiddelaar na een kennismakingsgesprek van een uurtje een contract geeft waarmee de Amerikaan een dikke anderhalf miljoen euro kan verdienen, onderbreekt de rechter de vastgoedman.
'Dus u heeft niet gevraagd naar z'n papieren? En even zijn personalia gecontroleerd?'
'Nee. Ik kijk iemand in de ogen.'
'Maar dit gaat om hele bedragen.'
'U heeft hem niet even gegoogeld?'
'Vast, maar ik weet niet meer of ik wat gevonden heb.'
Bijna tweenhalf jaar heeft Stroink naar deze maandag uitgekeken. Niet in de zin van een feestelijke gebeurtenis, maar wel omdat hij nu eindelijk hoopt te kunnen uitleggen dat hij nooit smeergeld heeft betaald.
Want dat is waar justitie hem en zijn vrouw Saskia van verdenkt: dat ze een directeur van Google met 1,7 miljoen euro omkochten om zo een gunstig huurcontract te ritselen voor de twee datacentra van zijn bedrijf TCN in de Eemshaven, in het noordelijkste puntje van de provincie Groningen. En dat geld zou via de Amerikaanse bemiddelaar bij de directeur van Google zijn beland.
Onzin, volgens Stroink, gebaseerd op allerlei misverstanden.
Contract op een bierviltjeMaar eenmaal in de rechtbank raakt Stroink in dezelfde situatie verzeild als zoveel vastgoedcollega's die hem de afgelopen jaren voor gingen, zoals Jan Dirk Paarlberg, vastgoedhandelaar en kasteelheer, die veroordeeld werd tot vier jaar cel vanwege witwassen van afpersgeld van Willem Holleeder en Jan van V., de stenenschuiver die zeven jaar aan zijn broek kreeg vanwege een hele rits strafbare feiten.
De rechters begrepen hun wereld niet, verzuchtten ze vaak. De wereld van een contract op een bierviltje, van een afspraak met een handdruk en elkaar in de ogen kijken.
'De ondoorgrondelijke wereld van de onderhandelingen, zeg maar', noemt de rechtbankvoorzitter het maandag tegen Stroink. En dus zegt ook Stroink na afloop op de gang dat hij de komende dagen alles 'stap voor stap' zal gaan uitleggen.
In de kern is het een eenvoudige zaak. In 2008 onderhandelt Stroink met Simon Tusha, lid van het zogeheten AC/DC-team van Google, acquirers of data centers, over een nieuw huurcontract.
Het bedrijf van Stroink heeft een nieuw huurcontract hard nodig. Het is crisis en huurinkomsten van Google moeten TCN overeind houden. Om de onderhandelingen te 'stroomlijnen' neemt Stroink de Amerikaan Howard Weinberg in de arm, die hij dus alleen even 'in de ogen kijkt'.
Lang verhaal kort: er komt een nieuw huurcontract, waarbij Google langer en meer gaat huren. Weinberg krijgt van TCN in delen zijn fee betaald voor zijn werk als adviseur. Dat geld wordt overgemaakt naar een bedrijfje van Weinberg op het Caribische eilandje Dominica en later naar een bedrijfje op de Bahama's. En vervolgens schuift Weinberg het grootste gedeelte weer door naar Tusha.
Omkoping, zegt justitie. Ik wist daar niks van, zegt Stroink.
Maar wat niet helpt, is dat de Amerikanen Tusha en Weinberg in een Amerikaanse strafzaak al schuld hebben bekend en daarbij zeiden dat ze alles in overleg met Stroink hadden gedaan.
Opmerkelijke zaken'Het is toch een beetje hun verhaal tegen dat van u', stelt de rechter maandag vast. Ze constateert nogal wat opmerkelijke zaken. 'Maar misschien ben ik te simpel hoor.' Neem nou de betalingen aan de bedrijfjes op de fiscaal aantrekkelijke locaties Dominica en de Bahama's. 'Dat roept toch vragen op.' Of de boze telefoontjes van Tusha als de bemiddelaar Weinberg lang op zijn geld moet wachten. Waarom belt Tusha namens Google voor een betaling aan een ander? 'Dat komt toch wat onzakelijk over.'
Maar Stroink zegt dat hij 'enorm belazerd' is door Tusha, over wie hij in het strafdossier las dat hij al eens gedoe met justitie had gehad vanwege gerommel met valse cheques. Net zoals hij recent hoorde dat Weinberg onlangs vanwege witwassen van drugsgeld veroordeeld is. Zij zijn de echte boeven.
Als de eerste zittingsdag is afgelopen zegt Stroink op de gang dat hij '' 'net als de rechters' - erachter wil komen wat er nu precies is gebeurd. Want hij weet 'werkelijk' niet h oe alles gelopen is. Die betalingen naar exotische locaties? Alsof hij die allemaal persoonlijk bekeek. Maar goed, dat was zijn wereld. En nu heeft hij te maken met de juridische wereld.
Jarenlang was Rudy Stroink het zelfbenoemde geweten van de vastgoedbranche. Nu zit hij zelf in de beklaagdenbank. Hij zou een medewerker van Google hebben omgekocht. 'Ik ben al veroordeeld v""r een rechter naar mijn zaak heeft gekeken.' Lees hier het interview dat Rudy Stroink eerder gaf aan de Volkskrant.
Trump orders declassification of surveillance application, release of Comey texts - POLITICO
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 02:19
The move, long foreshadowed by calls from President Donald Trump's top allies in Congress, also includes an effort to reveal the details of former Justice Department official Bruce Ohr's interviews connected to the Russia investigation. | Oliver Contreras/Getty Images
The move also includes an effort to reveal the details of Bruce Ohr's interviews connected to the Russia investigation.
President Donald Trump has moved to immediately release a tranche of former FBI Director James Comey's text messages and declassify 20 pages of a surveillance application that targeted former campaign adviser Carter Page, his latest offensive against a Russia investigation that has ensnared associates and has consumed Trump's attention for much of his presidency.
The breadth of the order came as a surprise and landed amid a full-court White House effort to shore up the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, as he defends himself against a sexual assault allegation. Trump demanded that the FBI produce 20 pages of the surveillance application '-- which Republicans on Capitol Hill have suggested would help show anti-Trump bias at the highest levels of the FBI.
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Trump also called for the release of senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr's notes related to the Russia probe. Ohr was a key conduit to the FBI for information provided by Christopher Steele, a former British spy who investigated Trump's relationship with Russia during the 2016 campaign and produced a dossier of damaging allegations '-- which Trump has derided as false.
Steele was hired by a firm that in turn had been tapped by Democrats to produce opposition research on Trump, a fact that Republicans have argued discredits Steele's findings and suggests the FBI relied on a partisan document to pursue allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russians to influence the election.
But Democrats and FBI defenders have argued that the effort to discredit the probe is part of a GOP push to undermine the ongoing work of special counsel Robert Mueller, who continued the FBI's Russia investigation after Trump fired Comey in May 2017. Mueller has secured guilty pleas for a variety of crimes from former senior campaign officials, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, both of whom are cooperating in the investigation.
The FBI declined to comment. But Trump's allies quickly feasted on the news as a welcome disclosure they said would shine a light on malfeasance inside the FBI.
''I can't wait. To me it's Christmas, my birthday and the Fourth of July all wrapped up into one,'' said Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign adviser who has been questioned as part of the Russia probe.
''It couldn't be fast enough,'' Caputo said of the timing for the release of the materials
''Not only will this let Americans know how their country failed Carter Page and George Papadopolous, it will also let them understand how FISA has trampled all of our rights and never should be reauthorized again.''
One top Trump ally, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) quickly praised the president's decision.
''My colleagues in Congress and I have requested these documents for months, but have faced lengthy and unnecessary delays, redactions, and refusals from officials at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,'' he said. These documents will reveal to the American people some of the systemic corruption and bias that took place at the highest levels of the DOJ and FBI, including using the tools of our intelligence community for partisan political ends.''
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise also tweeted his support for Trump's move.
The president "made the right call. Americans deserve the truth about these egregious actions by government officials," Scalise (R-La.) posted on Twitter.
Even Carter Page, who was a member of Trump's campaign foreign policy team for several months in 2016, said he supported the president's decision to declassify the secret elements of the application that authorized the FBI to surveil him.
"After all the election meddling and abuses of power that our country has suffered, I generally think that the more people learn the better," he said in an email, adding, "I believe the U.S.A can benefit greatly from this increased transparency and accountability."
Page, whose two 2016 trips to Moscow sparked the interest of FBI and congressional investigators, has become a leading critic of the ongoing probe, siding with the president's decision to label it a "witch hunt" and routinely arguing that he was a victim of abuses by the intelligence community.
Democrats, though, warned that the president's moves could have grave consequences for national security.
"The President shouldn't be declassifying documents in order to undermine an investigation into his campaign or pursue vendettas against political enemies. He especially shouldn't be releasing documents with the potential to reveal intelligence sources," tweeted Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The White House described Trump's order as a move for "transparency" requested by various congressional committees. It called on the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Justice Department and the FBI to immediately declassify the surveillance and Ohr documents as well as all FBI reports of interviews connected to the surveillance warrant on Page.
"In addition, President Donald J. Trump has directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr," the announcement read.
While the White House statement indicated that the text messages were to be released in an unredacted form, it was not immediately clear whether Trump had directed that the other materials be released in their entirety or whether some redactions for privacy and to comply with other laws might be permitted.
A White House spokesman had no immediate comment, but a Justice Department spokesman suggested that Trump was solely setting in motion a process and not ordering the immediate declassification of anything.
''When the President issues such an order, it triggers a declassification review process that is conducted by various agencies within the intelligence community, in conjunction with the White House Counsel, to seek to ensure the safety of America's national security interests,'' the spokesman said. ''The Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are already working with the Director of National Intelligence to comply with the President's order.''
A spokeswoman for McCabe declined to comment.
Some Justice Department veterans said they were stunned by Trump's order, or at least the White House's description of it.
"I'm amazed to see what it says," said Dan Metcalfe, former co-director of Justice's Office of Information and Privacy. "I think extraordinary is one word for it. You could think of a couple of others."
Legal experts said some of the actions Trump ordered '-- especially the release of unredacted text messages of government officials '-- had the potential to violate the Privacy Act, a federal law protecting against disclosure of personal information in government files.
"There is no exception for the order of a president," Metcalfe said. "Public interest is not an exception."
''There could very likely be Privacy Act implications,'' former Justice Department attorney Scott Hodes said..
However, Hodes said officials might be able to work around those legal obstacles by turning over the records to Congress, which could make them public. ''If they have a legitimate reason to give them to Congress, Congress is not covered by the law, so it's not a Privacy Act violation.''
The move, long foreshadowed by calls from Trump's top allies in Congress, dramatically heightens the confrontation between Trump and his own intelligence community, while Mueller also pursues allegations that Trump attempted to obstruct the Russia probe from the outset.
''Trump has ordered the release of sensitive information into an ongoing investigation of himself and his friends--information that his own Justice Department did not want released because it would jeopardize ongoing investigations,'' said former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. ''That is corrupt, plain and simple.''
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Is Pampers pulling 'Sesame Street' characters over gender concerns?
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 20:26
September 16, 2018 | 10:08pm | Updated September 17, 2018 | 11:13am
The characters from ''Sesame Street'' are quietly getting pulled from Pampers '-- and it might be because they're mostly dudes.
In a major move this summer that hasn't been officially announced, the world's biggest diaper brand has quietly wiped characters like Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch from most of its diapers.
The stealthy Muppet removal was confirmed by officials at ''Sesame Street'' and Procter & Gamble '-- the consumer products giant that makes Pampers. But when asked by The Post, spokespeople were cagey about the reasons.
Shoppers like Susie Wong-Benjamin '-- a mother of two in the Bronx who thought she had bought fake Pampers when a recent batch bore generic-looking designs '-- said customer service reps at P&G partly blamed the stealthy switch on gender issues when she called about it last week.
''The Pampers rep said '... parents who have daughters thought that the 'Sesame Street' characters are too masculine,'' Wong-Benjamin told The Post.
Asked whether parents had complained that ''Sesame Street'' characters lack female representation, a Pampers spokeswoman dodged the question initially before saying ''No'' in an email to The Post.
''We talk to thousands of parents every year to understand how our diapers are best meeting their babies' needs and any new trends they might be interested in,'' P&G spokeswoman Laura Dressman wrote. ''We learned there was a growing desire from Moms and Dads for modern, fresh graphics.''
However, when The Post asked ''Sesame Street'' spokeswoman Beatrice Chow broadly '-- with no mention of gender '-- why Pampers was pulling ''Sesame Street'' characters, Chow responded by emailing a link with, she said, ''details about [Pampers'] current support for our gender equality work.''
The link was to a year-old press release titled ''P&G and Sesame Street partner to promote gender equality,'' which highlighted the female character Chamki, ''a vibrant, 5-year-old Muppet'' who is featured in the Indian version of ''Sesame Street.''
''We look forward to deepening our partnership with P&G on all fronts in the future,'' Chow added.
If P&G and ''Sesame Street'' are scrambling to address complaints about gender, few of them appear to have surfaced publicly. Meanwhile, the quiet, seismic shift away from a 15-year tie-up has sparked confusion and outrage online.
''I'm convinced I got fake pampers Swaddlers from Amazon,'' one miffed mother wrote on parenting blog BabyCenter in early June. Another chimed in, saying the new Pampers ''have a cat on them and look fake.''
Others have voiced concerns about quality, complaining of leaks.
Dressman, the P&G spokeswoman, confirmed that Pampers has recently made other design changes, but called them ''improvements,'' including a ''softer inner liner'' and a ''3-way fit design'' for increased absorbency.
Not all parents are convinced. Wong-Benjamin says she demanded '-- and got '-- a refund from her local Walgreens after her 2-month-old son, Xavier, leaked more with the new Pampers, which instead of Muppets have generic-looking designs of paper airplanes and cameras on them.
''I thought this could be something made in China '-- like something you'd buy at the dollar store,'' Wong-Benjamin told The Post. ''I mean, who puts a camera on a diaper?''
Serial numbers of missile that downed MH17 show it was produced in 1986, owned by Ukraine - Russia '-- RT World News
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 20:22
The serial numbers found on debris of the Buk missile which downed Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine show it was produced in 1986, the Russian military said. The projectile was owned by Ukraine, they added.
There are two serial numbers found on fragments of the missile, which shot down the passenger airliner in June 2014 according to an international team of investigators led by the Netherlands. The numbers were marked on the engine and the nozzle of the missile.
The Russian military on Monday said they had traced them to a missile which had the producer serial number 8868720.
Speaking to journalists, Gen. Nikolay Parshin showed a document trail of the Buk missile. According to the documents, some of which have been declassified for the presentation, it was produced at a military plant in Dolgoprudny in the Moscow region in 1986.
The missile was shipped from the plant on December 29, 1986 and delivered to military unit 20152 located in what is now Ukraine. It is now called 223rd anti-aircraft defense regiment of the Ukrainian armed forces, the report said. The unit took part in Kiev's crackdown on rebels in eastern Ukraine in June 2014, the general said.
The evidence disproves the accusations by Ukraine and some other parties, which claim that a missile fired by a launcher, secretly delivered from Russia, was responsible for the downing of MH17, the Ministry of Defense report said. All the materials have been sent to the Dutch investigators, the Russian military added.
The Russian military also challenges video footage used by the UK-based group Bellingcat, which calls itself a citizen journalism organization, to back its allegations about the delivery of the Buk launcher from Russia. The Defense Ministry showed a video clip with some of the footage, highlighting inconsistencies, which it said proved that the footage had been manipulated to place images of the launcher into background which were not in the original.
The Bellingcat investigation was featured in the latest update by Dutch prosecutors involved in the MH17 investigation, prompting them to directly accuse Russia of providing the launcher and the missile. The Russian military said it decided after this to study the purported trail of photo and video evidence showing the path of the launcher in detail. The Russian video showed an example of how an Abrams tank can be shown to be carried by a trailer in the streets of Ukraine in the same way.
The third part of the presentation was what the Russian officials called a record of intercepted communications of Ukrainian officials discussing, in 2016, the risk of flying through restricted airspace over Ukraine. Among a barrage of complaints one phrase says unless the restrictions are respected "we'll f***ing f**k up another Malaysian Boeing".
The Russian military say the complaints came from Col. Ruslan Grinchak, who serves in a brigade responsible for radar control in Ukrainian airspace. His unit tracked the MH17 flight in 2014, so he may have information which is not publicly available about the disaster, and his outburst may have been factual rather than hyperbolic, they suggested.
Gen. Igor Konashenkov, who hosted the briefing, said that Ukraine failed to provide radar data from its stations to the Dutch investigators. He also suggested that archive documents from the Ukrainian unit, which received the Buk missile back in 1986, would be of use to the probe, unless Kiev claims that they are no longer available. He stressed rules are in place which mean that such documents should still be stored in Ukraine.
The Russian military said they had no evidence to disprove a scenario, involving the Ukrainian rebels capturing the missile from the Ukrainian army, but pointed out that Ukrainian officials publicly denied anything like this had ever happened.
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, falling in the rebel-held part of the country. The crash claimed the lives of 283 passengers and 15 crew members, most of them Dutch nationals. Russia was blamed by Western media in the first days after the tragedy, even before any evidence had been collected on the ground.
The Joint Investigation Team, which is lead by the Netherlands, includes Ukraine, but not Russia. Moscow believes that the investigation is biased, failing to obtain all necessary evidence from Ukraine and relying on questionable sources while ignoring evidence provided by Russia, which doesn't fit the theory favored by Kiev. For instance, Moscow said a theory was never tested that the airliner could have been downed by a fighter jet spotted by Russian radar stations near flight MH17. The theory was later proven false by the discovery of debris from the Buk rocket.
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Paul Manafort could flip on a big fish '-- but that might not be Trump
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 15:54
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Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, pleaded guilty to two counts in his new Washington criminal case, and admitted guilt in the 10 counts outstanding from his earlier trial in federal court in Virginia. The shocking part is this: He agreed last week to cooperate with federal prosecutors. A more accurate statement would be that federal prosecutors have agreed to ''cooperate'' him. As with most cooperation agreements, Manafort will have to ''come clean'' and be completely forthcoming with documents and information, and voluntarily testify in court.
If Manafort gives the government substantial assistance, the sentencing benefits are significant. The government will file a motion for a ''downward departure'' from the sentencing guidelines for cooperation, and for an additional reduction (up to three ''levels'') for ''acceptance of responsibility.'' These alone can reduce the sentence by decades.
Many are suggesting Trump should be worried about this situation, because Manafort very likely could have impressed special counsel Robert Mueller with what he knows about Trump. It's also been suggested that Manafort has ended up in the worst situation by waiting so long to cooperate.
That line of thinking goes like this: Manafort is facing stiff prison sentences in two courts after having spent a fortune preparing for and going to trial. But now, he also has to ''flip'' and testify against Trump, foreclosing the possibility of a pardon, and making his investment in two trials for naught.
Consider another scenario, however: What if this agreement is for cooperation against a high-level government official, but it's not Trump? What if it's not even an American official?
Mueller's original mission was to investigate Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. To date, he's indicted a lot more Russians than he has Americans '-- even though the Americans are the ones being convicted. No less than 25 Russians have been indicted, though most may never be brought to the United States for prosecution.
Mueller might want to indict the high-level officials, or even the president '... of Russia. Or at least name them as unindicted co-conspirators.
If anyone knows Russians, or Ukrainians, or Eastern Europeans in general, it's Manafort.
This theory fits Trump's longstanding positive position on Manafort, as compared to the president's former attorney and cooperator Michael Cohen. When Cohen flipped and implicated Trump in crimes, Trump immediately began blasting Cohen on Twitter. By contrast, Trump has praised Manafort throughout his prosecution and trial. Trump also did not immediately disparage Manafort after he cooperated.
The president's first tweet on Saturday instead attacked Mueller, calling his investigation the ''Rigged Russian Witch Hunt.'' Also on Saturday, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani tweeted that Manafort's cooperation agreement ''does not involve the Trump campaign,'' reiterating again that there was ''no collusion with Russia.''
Trump doesn't appear as concerned about Manafort's cooperation as he has been about other cooperators or aspects of the investigation. It's still possible Manafort has damaging information about Donald Trump Jr., or Jared Kushner, and the president doesn't know this, or is unwilling to believe it. The only thing he appears confident about so far is that Manafort can't hurt him.
For this to be true, several other things must be true: First, Manafort must have had information reliable and valuable enough to merit a cooperation agreement from prosecutors. Second, that information was about a ''bigger fish'' than Manafort. Third, if the bigger fish isn't Trump, it still has to be big, even if it's in a country other than the United States.
In this way, Manafort could simultaneously be the most significant cooperator in the Russia probe, but also perceived by Trump to not be a serious threat to him.
Meanwhile, the most dangerous cooperator to date is still unquestionably Michael Cohen, who explicitly implicated the president in open court when he pleaded guilty and gave a factual basis on the record for campaign finance crimes.
Manafort has something of value for Mueller. It's possible it's not the president '-- of the United States.
Danny Cevallos is an MSNBC legal analyst. Follow @CevallosLaw on Twitter.
Fraying Ties With Trump Put Jim Mattis's Fate in Doubt - The New York Times
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 11:02
Image Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has balked at a number of President Trump's requests, White House officials say. Credit Credit Mauro Pimentel/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images WASHINGTON '-- Back when their relationship was fresh and new, and President Trump still called his defense secretary ''Mad Dog'' '-- a nickname Jim Mattis detests '-- the wiry retired Marine general often took a dinner break to eat burgers with his boss in the White House residence.
Mr. Mattis brought briefing folders with him, aides said, to help explain the military's shared ''ready to fight tonight'' strategy with South Korea, and why the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has long been viewed as central to protecting the United States. Using his folksy manner, Mr. Mattis talked the president out of ordering torture against terrorism detainees and persuaded him to send thousands more American troops to Afghanistan '-- all without igniting the public Twitter castigations that have plagued other national security officials.
But the burger dinners have stopped. Interviews with more than a dozen White House, congressional and current and former Defense Department officials over the past six weeks paint a portrait of a president who has soured on his defense secretary, weary of unfavorable comparisons to Mr. Mattis as the adult in the room, and increasingly concerned that he is a Democrat at heart.
Nearly all of the officials, as well as confidants of Mr. Mattis, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the internal tensions '-- in some cases, out of fear of losing their jobs.
In the second year of his presidency, Mr. Trump has largely tuned out his national security aides as he feels more confident as commander in chief, the officials said. Facing what is likely to be a heated re-election fight once the 2018 midterms are over, aides said Mr. Trump was pondering whether he wanted someone running the Pentagon who would be more vocally supportive than Mr. Mattis, who is vehemently protective of the American military against perceptions it could be used for political purposes.
White House officials said Mr. Mattis had balked at a number of Mr. Trump's requests. That included initially slow-walking the president's order to ban transgender troops from the military and refusing a White House demand to stop family members from accompanying troops deploying to South Korea. The Pentagon worried that doing so could have been seen by North Korea as a precursor to war.
Over the last four months alone, the president and the defense chief have found themselves at odds over NATO policy, whether to resume large-scale military exercises with South Korea and, privately, whether Mr. Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal has proved effective.
Image Joint drills between American and South Korean troops in 2016. Mr. Trump suspended such drills on the Korean Peninsula this summer, against Mr. Mattis's advice. Credit Jung Yeon-Je/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images The arrival at the White House earlier this year of Mira Ricardel, a deputy national security adviser with a history of bad blood with Mr. Mattis, has coincided with new assertions from the West Wing that the defense secretary may be asked to leave after the midterms.
Mr. Mattis himself is becoming weary, some aides said, of the amount of time spent pushing back against what Defense Department officials think are capricious whims of an erratic president.
The defense secretary has been careful to not criticize Mr. Trump outright. Pentagon officials said Mr. Mattis had bent over backward to appear loyal, only to be contradicted by positions the president later staked out. How much longer Mr. Mattis can continue to play the loyal Marine has become an open question in the Pentagon's E Ring, home to the Defense Department's top officials.
The fate of Mr. Mattis is important because he is widely viewed '-- by foreign allies and adversaries but also by the traditional national security establishment in the United States '-- as the cabinet official standing between a mercurial president and global tumult.
''Secretary Mattis is probably one of the most qualified individuals to hold that job,'' Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in an interview. His departure from the Pentagon, Mr. Reed said, ''would, first of all, create a disruption in an area where there has been competence and continuity.''
But that very sentiment is part of a narrative the president has come to resent.
The one-two punch last week of the Bob Woodward book that quoted Mr. Mattis likening Mr. Trump's intellect to that of a ''fifth or sixth grader,'' combined with the New York Times Op-Ed by an unnamed senior administration official who criticized the president, has fueled Mr. Trump's belief that he wants only like-minded loyalists around him. (Mr. Mattis has denied comparing his boss to an elementary school student and said he did not write the Op-Ed.)
Mr. Trump, two aides said, wants Mr. Mattis to be more like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a political supporter of the president. During a televised June 21 cabinet meeting, held as migrant children were being separated from their parents at the southwestern border, Mr. Mattis and Mr. Pompeo were a study of contrasts: On the president's left, the defense secretary sat stone-faced; on his right, the secretary of state was chuckling at all of Mr. Trump's jokes.
Image Mr. Mattis sat stone-faced rather than chuckling at his boss's jokes during a June 21 cabinet meeting, held as migrant children were being separated from their parents at the southwestern border. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times Getting Mr. Mattis to abandon the apolitical stand he has clung to his entire life will be next to impossible, his friends and aides said.
Mr. Mattis has assiduously avoided the limelight during his tenure because he is fearful, aides said, about being put on the spot by questions that will expose differences with his boss. He has batted down multiple requests from the White House to go on ''Fox & Friends'' to praise the president's agenda. And he has appeared before reporters at the podium in the Pentagon press room only a handful of times, giving remarkably few on-the-record one-on-one news media interviews '-- one of which was with a reporter for a high school newspaper in Washington State who had obtained Mr. Mattis's cellphone number.
''Secretary Mattis lives by a code that is part of his DNA,'' said Capt. Jeff Davis, who retired last month from the Navy after serving as a spokesman for Mr. Mattis since early in the Trump administration. ''He is genetically incapable of lying, and genetically incapable of disloyalty.''
That means the defense secretary's only recourse is to stay silent, aides to Mr. Mattis said. While he does not want to publicly disagree with his boss, he is also uncomfortable with showering false praise on Mr. Trump.
But cracks are showing.
In April, John R. Bolton became the White House national security adviser, replacing Army Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who was long viewed as a subordinate to Mr. Mattis because of his rank as a three-star general compared with the retired Marine general's four stars. Mr. Bolton is far more hawkish than either Mr. Mattis or General McMaster; administration officials said his deputy, Ms. Ricardel, actively dislikes the Pentagon chief '-- a feeling Mr. Mattis is believed to return in full.
Ms. Ricardel, a former Boeing executive who worked at the Pentagon during the George W. Bush administration, has a reputation for being as combative as Mr. Bolton.
As the Trump transition official responsible for Pentagon appointments, Ms. Ricardel stopped Mr. Mattis from hiring Anne Patterson as under secretary of defense for policy, one of the department's highest political jobs. Ms. Patterson was a career diplomat who served as an ambassador under Presidents Bush, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, but administration officials said Ms. Ricardel suspected Mr. Mattis was trying to load up the Pentagon with Democrats and former supporters of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.
Image The arrival at the White House this year of Mira Ricardel, a former Trump campaign aide with a history of bad blood with Mr. Mattis, has coincided with new assertions from the West Wing that the defense secretary may be asked to leave after the midterm elections. Credit Zach Gibson/Bloomberg (Mr. Mattis also tried, unsuccessfully, to hire Mich¨le A. Flournoy, a Defense Department under secretary in the Obama administration, as his deputy. ''He needed a deputy who wouldn't be struggling every other day about whether they could be part of some of the policies that were likely to take shape,'' Ms. Flournoy told a conference hosted by Politico.)
After a stint at the Commerce Department, Ms. Ricardel moved to the White House as Mr. Bolton's deputy. Since her arrival, friction has increased between the White House and the Pentagon '-- along with speculation from West Wing aides that Mr. Mattis's star is falling.
For instance, Mr. Mattis has recently resisted White House attempts to closely supervise military operations by demanding details about American troops involved in specific raids in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
One American official said the White House had bypassed the Pentagon by getting classified briefings of coming operations directly from the Special Operations task forces, to the frustration of Mr. Mattis.
That may seem a small and insular example of bureaucratic gamesmanship. But administration officials said it illustrates the tensions between Mr. Mattis and Mr. Trump: Either the defense secretary cannot appeal to the president, or he has and Mr. Trump is refusing to back him up.
Asked about disagreements between the National Security Council and the Pentagon, Garrett Marquis, a council spokesman, said in an email that ''Ambassador Bolton is coordinating and working closely with all national security agencies to provide the president with national security options and guidance.''
In contrast with General McMaster, Mr. Bolton recently began attending regular weekly meetings between Mr. Mattis and Mr. Pompeo. Pentagon officials complain that White House interference has returned to the level of Susan E. Rice, who as Mr. Obama's national security adviser was accused of micromanaging the department's every move.
Image Mr. Mattis, right, during a welcoming ceremony in Croatia. Pentagon officials said Mr. Mattis had bent over backward to appear loyal to the president. Credit Pool photo by Jim Watson Mr. Mattis has repeatedly been blindsided by his boss this summer.
In June, Mr. Trump ordered Mr. Mattis to set up a Space Force over the defense secretary's objections that such a move would weigh down an already cumbersome bureaucracy.
In July, the president blew up a NATO summit meeting that Mr. Mattis and other national security officials had worked on for months. The Pentagon chief and others saved the final agreement only because they shielded it from the president and urged envoys to complete it before Mr. Trump arrived in Brussels.
In August, the president undercut Mr. Mattis after a news conference at the Pentagon in which the defense secretary suggested that the United States military would resume war games on the Korean Peninsula. The exercises had been suspended '-- against Mr. Mattis's advice '-- after Mr. Trump met with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, in Singapore. ''There is no reason at this time to be spending large amounts of money on joint U.S.-South Korea war games,'' the president tweeted.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mattis has begun questioning the efficacy of Mr. Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal '-- a move that, again, was made against his advice. Mr. Mattis has told aides that he has yet to see any difference in Iran's behavior since Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement between world powers and Tehran.
Mr. Mattis famously was pushed out of his job as head of United States Central Command in 2013 because he was viewed as too much of a hawk on Iran policy during the Obama administration. But now, in the Trump administration, Mr. Mattis makes his arguments on Iran from the left of Mr. Bolton, Ms. Ricardel and the president himself.
For Mr. Trump, getting rid of his popular defense secretary would carry a political cost. Mr. Mattis is revered by the men and women of the American military. Most of the rest of his fans are people Mr. Trump does not care about: Democrats, establishment Republicans and American allies.
But moderate Republicans '-- whom Mr. Trump will need in 2020 '-- appear to trust Mr. Mattis as well, and firing him could hurt the president with that key group.
Mr. Trump, at the moment, is publicly standing by his defense secretary. ''He'll stay right there,'' the president told reporters last week when asked about Mr. Mattis's comments in Mr. Woodward's book. ''We're very happy with him. We're having victories people don't even know about.''
As for Mr. Mattis, ''there's no daylight between the secretary and the president when it comes to the unwavering support of our military,'' said Dana W. White, the Pentagon press secretary. ''It's up to the president of the United States to decide what he wants to do.''
Eric Schmitt, Mark Landler and Julian Barnes contributed reporting.
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ALERT Russia's MOD claims that the missile that shot down #MH17 had been produced in 1986 and was owned by Ukrainian authorities | AIRLIVE.net
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 10:28
Russia's Defense Ministry claimed on Monday that the missile that shot down flight MH17 in June 2014, killing 298 people on board, had been produced in 1986 and was owned by Ukrainian authorities.Russia said they were able to track down the Buk missile's paper trail using two serial numbers found on fragments of the rocket.
Russia's findings contradict a Dutch-led international investigation which found earlier this year that Russia was ''responsible for the Buk installation that was used to down MH17.''
Flight MH17 travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lupur was downed near Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, in June 2014.
China accuses Sweden of violating human rights over treatment of tourists | World news | The Guardian
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 07:23
A disagreement between Chinese tourists and a hostel in Stockholm over check-in time has turned into a diplomatic spat between China and Sweden, with Beijing criticising Sweden for violating the human rights of Chinese citizens.
China has demanded an apology from Sweden over three Chinese tourists who Beijing says were ''brutally abused'' by Swedish police on 2 September. The Zengs, a family of three '' a son and his two parents '' had arrived at a hostel in Stockholm around midnight, hours before their booking. They were allowed to wait in the lobby until the staff ordered them to leave and police forcibly ejected them.
Video footage shows police carrying the group outside, while the son yells in English: ''This is killing. This is killing.'' Another clip shows the three lying on the ground crying loudly while the mother wails in Chinese: ''Save me.''
The Chinese embassy in Sweden said on Saturday that China's ministry of foreign affairs and the embassy had ''made solemn representations'' to the Swedish government ''stressing that what the police had done severely endangered the life and violated the basic human rights of the Chinese citizens.''
The incident comes as ties between China and Sweden have come under pressure. The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who Beijing considers a violent separatist, visited Sweden last week, and China continues to hold Gui Minhai, a Chinese-born Swedish citizen and book publisher, in custody.
News of the altercation has attracted widespread attention in China where the search term ''Chinese tourists mistreated by Swedish police'' has received more than 130m views and 85,000 posts on the microblog Weibo. Discussion of the incident has turned into a debate about the behaviour of Chinese tourists at home and abroad.
''This is shameful. The image of China has been disgraced in the hands of these people,'' one Weibo user wrote. ''The Dalai Lama visits Sweden and the foreign ministry uses this incident as a pretext to make a fuss. That's more embarrassing than the performance of this family,'' another wrote.
''These people feel the world should move around them, if not, then they lie down on ground and scream for help,'' one commentator wrote in an essay posted on WeChat.
Zeng told the Global Times he had asked the hostel to let his parents, who are elderly with health problems, stay until their room was available. The staff refused and called police to remove them.
''I broke down and lost my mind,'' Zeng said. ''I was not able to think whether it is was appropriate or not. I just wanted to denounce the police and seek help from pedestrians.''
A manager at the hostel told Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet, the family had arrived the day before their booking and refused to leave. The hostel said staff called police sometime after midnight, when the tourists began to make verbal threats.
''We only know that we have done everything we could do for this guest, but at the same time we can not accept that our staff are exposed to threats and that other guests will suffer from a threatening situation,'' the hostel manager said, according to Aftonbladet.
Additional reporting by Wang Xueying
Russians Planned Attack on Lab Testing Salisbury Nerve Agent, Swiss Say - The New York Times
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 06:27
Image The Spiez Laboratory, which the Swiss said was the target of planned cyber sabotage by two Russian agents. Credit Credit Fabrice Coffrini/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images BRUSSELS '-- Two Russian spies caught in the Netherlands and expelled had been plotting cyber sabotage of a Swiss defense laboratory analyzing the nerve agent used to poison a former Russian agent in Britain, Swiss officials said Friday.
The story '-- first reported by the Dutch newspaper NRC and the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, and confirmed by Swiss officials '-- adds a new dimension to the charges by Western governments that the Kremlin is waging a sophisticated and unconventional campaign to work its will abroad, and undermine adversaries and their alliances.
Britain contends that Russia sent two other spies to a quaint English cathedral city in March, carrying a military-grade poison to assassinate a turncoat former colleague, Sergei V. Skripal, which the Kremlin denies. The two men, publicly identified and charged by the British authorities, appeared on Russian television on Thursday to deny involvement in the poisoning that sickened Mr. Skripal and three others, and killed one person, insisting that they were sports nutritionists, not spies.
The Dutch authorities declined to comment on any expulsion of Russians or any plans for a cyber attack. The Swiss described the events as having taken place ''earlier this year'' but declined to be more specific. It was not clear if the Russians were among the diplomatic employees '-- many suspected of being intelligence agents '-- expelled by Western governments in retaliation for the Skripal attack.
The two Russians, whose names have not been made public, came to the attention of the Swiss authorities during an investigation that began in March into ''suspicion of political espionage,'' said Linda von Burg, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland.
That led to a joint investigation by Swiss, Dutch and British intelligence services, which concluded that the two Russians, working in The Hague, were spies for the Russian government and were preparing ''illegal actions against a Swiss critical infrastructure,'' according to Isabelle Graber, a spokeswoman for the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service.
She did not specify the intended target. But Andreas Bucher, a spokesman for the defense laboratory in the Swiss town of Spiez, confirmed that the laboratory had been the intended target. Mr. Bucher said he did not know about the Russians being identified, detained or expelled from the Netherlands.
The Dutch media reports said that when they were intercepted by the Dutch military intelligence service, the two Russians had cyber tools for sabotaging the laboratory.
Image British military workers examining the area in Salisbury, England, where a Russian former double agent, Sergei V. Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned. Credit Matt Cardy/Getty Images Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said on Friday that he would not comment until more information was available. Russia's foreign intelligence service declined to comment.
The Spiez laboratory is part of the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Protection, which falls under the Swiss Defense Department, and is the designated lab in Switzerland for several international organizations, including the United Nations.
The lab was one of two designated by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to provide independent analysis of the poison used against Mr. Skripal. The organization, which monitors compliance with a global treaty on chemical weapons, confirmed the British conclusion that the chemical belonged to a class of nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union, known as Novichok.
The lab also analyzed samples from the chemical attack near Damascus, Syria, in 2013 that killed more than 1,000 people. The United Nations concluded that the toxin in that attack was another nerve agent, sarin. Western governments have said it was used by forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, which Russia supports in the Syrian civil war.
Workers at the Spiez lab need security clearances and most are Swiss nationals, though some are foreign fellows or visiting researchers, according to Mr. Bucher, the spokesman.
''We have indications of several attacks against our institutions, including possible cyber attacks in the last few months,'' Mr. Bucher said. ''But we took the necessary precautions and haven't been compromised.''
Mr. Skripal, a former officer in Russian military intelligence, was imprisoned by the Russians for selling information to Britain. In 2010, he was sent to Britain in a spy swap, and settled in Salisbury, a small city in southwestern England famous for its church spire.
On March 4, he and his daughter, Yulia S. Skripal, who was visiting from Russia, became seriously ill, as did one of the police officers who responded, Detective Sgt. Nick Bailey. It was quickly determined that a nerve agent was the cause, and parts of Salisbury were shut down amid a widespread search for traces of the poison, as local residents waited in fear for the results.
British investigators concluded that the toxin was Novichok, applied to the handle of Mr. Skripal's front door, and long before they named the suspects they would eventually charge, officials said Russia had been responsible. Several Western countries expelled Russian officials, and denounced the attack as a violation of international norms, like Russia's aggression in Ukraine, its interference in other countries' elections, and assassinations and cyber attacks carried out abroad.
Almost four months after the Skripal attack, two more people became seriously ill, apparently from handling a discarded bottle of the nerve agent. One of them, Dawn Sturgess, died, and the other, her boyfriend, Charlie Rowley '-- like the Skripals and Sergeant Bailey '-- recovered.
Oleg Matsnev contributed reporting from Moscow.
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Russians Planned Attack On Lab, the Swiss Say
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'Kamphuis verstopte zich op vrachtschip' | Buitenland | AD.nl
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 06:00
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BREAKING NEWS: Christine Ford's PARENTS Were Defendants in a 1996 Foreclosure Case, Guess who's Mom Was The Judge?
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 05:58
Breaking News tonight from one of America First Media's best Deep Researchers Larry Beach.
Folks'...Christine Ford's mom (Paula k blasey) and dad (Ralph G Blasey) we're defendants in a foreclosure case in Maryland in 1996. Guess who the judge was?Martha G Kavanaugh, mother of Brett Kavanaugh.
You can't make this $hit upð
'-- Larry Beech (@Larry_Beech) September 17, 2018Christine Ford's Parents Paula K Blasey and Ralph G Blasey were the Defendants in a foreclosure case in Maryland in 1996. Guess who the Judge was America? None other than Brett Kavanaugh's mother, Martha G Kavanaugh. You literally cannot make this up.
The list of coincidences continues, we're sure this is just another one of those instances. We'll let you decide as we keep bringing you the truth America!
It appears there was an ongoing judgement starting at least in 1990'....7 c cases culminating in a foreclosure case in 1996, for which Martha Kavanaugh was the judge. There was also a 1982 contract case but I can't determine the details there.
'-- Larry Beech (@Larry_Beech) September 17, 2018Her father appears to have been an attorney'...tons of cases referencing that. His relationship professionally with Kavanaugh should be looked I as well. There's more to this story than originally appeared.
'-- Larry Beech (@Larry_Beech) September 17, 2018It's not so much the disposition of a single case but that there is a lot more going on behind the scenes regarding connections between the blaseys and Kavanaugh than has been yet revealed.
'-- Larry Beech (@Larry_Beech) September 17, 2018Here's a screen shot of one of the Court Dockets below.
Avoiding becoming Moonves: Modern masculinity groups embrace emotion
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 05:17
Photo: Jessey White-Clinis
The Junto team at Big Indian, New York.
Andrew Horn couldn't remember the last time he released his anger.
The 32-year-old founder of Tribute.co, a video montage platform recently dubbed by the New Yorker as "Hallmark 2.0," recalled throwing things and slamming doors '' but never actually expressing his anger. So, one of the attendees in his men's-only meeting group handed him a pillow while the others encouraged him to scream into it. He let out a guttural release of primal rage.
"I felt a lot better," he explained.
Horn says the key to unlocking his emotions has been discovering "modern masculinity," a movement of men exploring their emotions in small group settings.
Instead of fighting it out "Fight Club"-style, men are sitting in small group circles weekly in office spaces and during outdoor retreats to talk through their feelings, allowing themselves to grow more vulnerable, and, yes, to cry together. By getting in touch with themselves, they believe they can be better employees, leaders, partners and parents '' and avoid the toxic behavior that has allow previous generations to treat women as second-class citizens.
There's a renewed emphasis among some men, particularly those that lead media and technology businesses or reach large audiences through their work, to communicate with more emotional intelligence, said Horn, who founded the modern masculinity group Junto this year as a response to MeToo. The examples of what not to do are plentiful, but there's not a clear mainstream answer for what men should become, he said.
"I think there are lots of men out there thinking, 'In the wake of MeToo, what the f--- do I do?" Horn, said. "If I'm not doing any of these violent things myself, what do I do? What do I do if I see others that I'm working with do something?"
Antoine Antoniol | Getty Images
Leslie Moonves, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation
Men are taught to suppress their emotions, Horn explained. Left to simmer, it leads to an explosion of self-destructive behavior and violence against women. They're taught to find solutions, but not how to understand others or release their feelings in a safe manner.
"Men have been conditioned to deal with listening by reacting, with problem solving," he added. "If something is wrong, we want to solve it. But we don't need to problem solve first '' we need to be present to hear people - to be present with what they're sharing."
Modern masculinityHorn become familiar with modern masculinity from Evryman, an organization started by Dan Doty, Lucas Krump, Sascha Lewis and Owen Marcus. Lewis is best known for founding Flavorpill Media, while Krump is currently vice president at FreeWheel, Comcast's ad tech platform for over-the-top streaming services. Both Doty and Marcus had done previous work with men's groups.
"We want to pop the cork of suppressed emotions," Doty explained. "Let the guy get in there."
When Evryman started in early 2017 '-- the first meeting was in a New York office during the weekend of the Women's March in January 2017 '-- there were only a couple of men's masculinity meetups on the Splash event marketing software platform. Today, there are almost 100. Men come from all walks of life, ranging from media and tech executives to former lumberjacks. There are chapters around North America, from Alaska to Maine, with larger followings in cities like Toronto, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles.
In his previous life, Doty was an executive producer at Zero Point Zero productions, focusing on the Netflix reality hunting show "MeatEater." He's led young men on wilderness therapy trips, expanding on his earlier work of being a high school teacher in the Bronx. He lives in San Diego now, but he grew up in North Dakota.
And he wants every guy to know it's okay to get angry, to bawl with your peers, and to process your feelings alongside others.
"Men, generally speaking, don't emote with each other," Doty explained. "There's some feelings that these guys will become emotional blubber, and they're all soft and not masculine anymore. The truth couldn't be further from that. What we're doing is just getting to a baseline of emotional health."
Men are conditioned to suppress emotions and treat women objectively from childhood, said Christia Brown, a professor of developmental psychology at the University of Kentucky. Boys are teased when they cry and gain popularity among peers if they have multiple girlfriends, she said.
"Boys are taught to be dominant pursuers, and they aren't even given a vocabulary to discuss emotions like sadness and fear," Brown said. "How can we not expect many boys to struggle with these things when they become men? They have to retrain their entire development."
That's one of the goals of the modern masculinity. In December 2016, Doty held a retreat in the Berkshires called Open Source in order to create an approachable version to other men's groups out there. Krump '-- who was previously director of programmatic sales at BrightRoll, which was acquired by Yahoo '-- decided to attend with around two dozen other men.
"I had gone through the successful acquisition and exit from a startup," Krump said.
"As an alpha male, for me that was important. I made some money from that, and I had been in a relationship. But I was definitely feeling empty in the back-end for a while. All these things were supposed to make me happy '-- making money, traveling all over the world '' but why was I not happy?"
Since the beginning of 2016, Krump had begun on a journey to re-evaluate his life. After talking to his therapist, he realized he was trying to numb himself from his emotions, including dealing with past issues like growing up with a bipolar father and abuse. He stopped drinking and "chilled out" on drugs.
"I had to spend a lot of time hoping I was going to find a guy who was going to help me grow up and help me be a man," Krump said. "Obviously I didn't find that. So I had to grow myself up."
He started searching for communities for support. But he didn't fit in.
There were the "super spiritual woo-woo" groups, which he described as "code word for 'you walk around with guys in white robes and smudge sticks.'" There were the antiquated men's movements from the '90s, which rallied around the concept that men were warriors. There were business-focused groups where it would be awkward to talk about personal issues. He bounced around 12-step programs for two months, then realized he could never appreciate the camaraderie of these meetings because he wasn't an addict.
When Lewis told Krump about Open Source, he decided to give it a try.
Krump was more enthusiastic than most. Many men who have gone to a modern masculinity meeting admit they were frightened, and don't know what to expect. A promotional video for Evryman has one guy admitting he thought "this is going to be f------ awful." Yet, something still compels them to go.
The Berkshire retreat and other modern masculinity retreats operate in expanded versions of the weekly meetings. There's usually an outdoor activity. Organizers strive to make the food excellent, and the workouts intense. A recent backcountry Evryman adventure included a 50-mile hike into Yellowstone to look at the stars. At the Junto retreats, 15 men stay in the same house and sleep on angled beds in communal rooms.
Next comes the real work. At Evryman retreats, just like in the weekly meetings, the men sit in a circle and start with a thematic meditation where they get connected to what they feel, Doty explained. Then, there is a check-in round where people share the main emotion they are feeling that week. The second round starts with a prompt, like a question about romantic relationships, their relationship with their fathers, or a request to discuss something they're ashamed of.
"It's like Crossfit for your insides," Krump said.
People have about 10 minutes or so to hold the floor, while others give feedback. Men will get angry. They'll scream and get upset. Krump cried during a group a couple weeks ago.
"It's not always beautiful," Doty said. "The process of sinking deeper and deeper and sharing more and more, that directly helps with emotional suppression. The connection between men by taking that risk to become more vulnerable helps you gain lifelong friendships."
After the Berkshire retreat, Krump decided to use his experience building companies and dedicate it to growing Evryman. Yahoo, his employer at the time, was about to be acquired by Verizon, and he knew he was going to be let go in a few months. So, he decided to dedicate his severance '-- one year worth of salary '-- to expanding the Evryman movement. He dove into the project while the deal was closing.
In April 2017, Doty appeared on the "The Joe Rogan Experience" podcast (of recent Elon Musk pot smoking fame) to talk about the modern masculinity movement. Evryman hired a NYU student it found on Craiglsist to quickly build a website, and Krump edited the text until Doty went on air. Within the next 24 hours, Evryman received 3,000 emails.
"There were a lot of tears," Krump recalled. "Some of them were great. Some of them were positive and encouraging. Some of them were just a lot of guys that needed to talk in this way."
Photo: Jessey White-Clinis
The Junto team at Big Indian, New York.
The dangers of men-onlyJunto meetings are similar to Evryman's, starting off with men gazing into each other's eyes and a brief meditation as people contemplate concepts like body image, sexuality, relationships and other inner dialogues. Junto's Horn, who also attends Evryman meetings, said he got his inspiration from Burning Man.
"We give people some silence to explore these topics," Horn said. "We're never given that time. The idea is to have a safe container to connect with other men. What's so powerful about these groups is that everyone comes with their own individual experiences but there are so many similarities '' so many things we're experiencing but not talking about."
Horn also acknowledges that diversity among Junto's attendees will come with time.
"I'm aware that the guys in these photos are a bunch of white guys," Horn wrote in an August blog entry about Junto. "The future of modern masculinity does not look like these photos."
There are risks to men working out problems and emotions without women present, said University of Kentucky's Brown.
"I worry that it's a space to bemoan the difficulties to being men in America," she said.
Horn, too, acknowledges that women can easily view the group meetings as threatening or even displacing to their roles in the workplace or relationships. One woman, Horn recalls, said to him that she felt her husband was using the men's meetings for his "intimacy fix" and no longer needed her in that role. Men must transfer their emotional breakthroughs to the women in their life -- a skill that Horn has addressed in meetings, he said.
Bence Nanay, a professor at the University of Antwerp's Centre for Philosophical Psychology, said a better use of men's time might actually be to discuss the same topics in the men's meetings with women from outside the workplace, such as sisters, aunts and female friends.
"This can have an important impact on men's understanding and emotional engagement with the MeToo phenomenon," he said. "I'm not sure the all-male setting of these 'men's meetings' is ideal for the self-critical reflection that would be needed here."
Still, the most important part of retraining men to better understanding and communicating their own emotions is to give them the time to work on it, said Brown. If men's groups are safe spaces, "I do think there's value in that," she said.
Lessons learnedWhen Doty's father Blayne heard about the Evryman movement, he thought it was a great concept '' for everybody else.
"I was 100 percent behind it," said Blayne, a 64-year-old agricultural consultant. "Best idea ever. But then it hit me, 'You're going to have to go to this someday aren't you?'"
Blayne found himself at an Evryman retreat in Race Brook, Massachusetts, this past spring. He was "scared out of his mind" as he sat in a room with about 50 other guys, ranging in age from about 25 to 40 years-old.
"When I was their age, there was no way you could have drug any of us to something like that," Blayne said. "It was too touchy-feely. That's what we were taught: You would just keep it all inside and bottle it up."
Before the retreat, Doty said he grew up "in a loving family that had no ability to express themselves." He remembers coming home from school with tension still in the air. Blayne admits his relationship with his sons was similar to his relationship with his military father '' "not good." He would control situations to protect himself, and was on the path to never really knowing his children.
"I went into this weekend afraid of what was going to surface," Blayne said. "I said, 'I'll just bear it.' I had very little self-esteem.... Throughout my whole life I kept everybody at arm's length simply to protect myself."
Blayne Doty and his grandson Duke wearing matching outfits at the San Diego Zoo. Before Evryman, Doty wouldn't wear anything with color.
It all changed after that weekend. He now has a relationship with his sons. He walks and talks different. He even dresses different, moving away from tan, black or grey to peaches, pinks, lavenders and Nantucket reds. "I go colors because it's me," he said.
"I'm so happy I got to go last spring," Blayne said. "Otherwise I'd be sitting here the same person I was, and that person didn't want to be here at times."
"We don't want to be creating generations of men like Weinstein or Trump," he elaborated. "It's sad. We need to have respectful, good people. Bottom line: It's just allowing a man to be who he is inside and share his heart."
Right now, we're just treating byproducts of forcing men to suppress their feelings, Blayne said.
"It destroys the man, and it destroys society," he explained.
It's time to take action '' and all it might take is another man to be there to listen.
"My hope is that we stop 'reacting' for once and make a real investment in all of us," Blayne said.
Note: CNBC and Freewheel share a parent company, Comcast.
HPV Vaccine Safety Review Incomplete and Biased, Researchers Say
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 05:16
A May 2018 Cochrane HPV vaccine review was supposed to put vaccine safety and effectiveness concerns to rest. Instead, critics questioned the integrity of the review process.
Many Americans still have questions about rare HPV vaccine side effects such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome and fainting. And HPV vaccination rates, which could reduce the annual 30,000 cases of HPV-related cancers in the United States if increased, remain lower than health officials would like.
For example, only about 66 percent of adolescents aged 13 to 17 received the vaccine in 2017, and more than half of that 66 percent never completed the series of shots, according to the CDC.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been pushing to get those vaccination rates up and address safety concerns.
The Cochrane review was important because it gave the green light to parents, doctors and patients. It found the vaccine was effective and without ''an increased risk of serious adverse effects.''
But two months after Cochrane published the review, a trio of researchers from the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen claimed the review was incomplete and biased.
''Cochrane has high standards for its reviews. However, there were important limitations in its HPV vaccine review,'' said researchers Lars J¸rgensen, Peter G¸tzsche and Tom Jefferson.
Let's explore some of the criticisms of Cochrane's review.
Cochrane Review Left Out Half of the Eligible TrialsSuffering from an HPV Vaccine related injury?Get a Free Case ReviewOne of the key criticisms of the review is that it left out relevant clinical trials.
In fact, Cochrane left out nearly half of the trials and half of the participants in its review, the researchers said.
In January 2018, J¸rgensen, G¸tzsche and Jefferson published an index of 206 industry clinical studies and nonindustry studies in the journal Systematic Reviews. According to the researchers, 46 of those 206 trials were complete and eligible for inclusion in the Cochrane review.
Yet Cochrane included only 26 in its review. They left out 20 eligible trials and about 48,000 women from the review.
While Cochrane claimed that the studies compared the HPV vaccine with placebos (harmless substances with no therapeutic effects), according to the researchers, all the included trials compared the HPV vaccine with active substances, such as hepatitis vaccines, that may have ''masked harms caused by the HPV vaccines.''
Cochrane should have noted this in its review.
Cochrane Launches 'Urgent' Investigation into ReviewIn response, Cochrane announced it is conducting an investigation into the review process.
''We fully understand the severity and importance of the criticisms made, whose implications go well beyond this review in terms of systematic review methodology,'' editor-in-chief of the Cochrane Library David Tovey told BMJ. ''For this reason, we have had a team of editors working with the author team to investigate the claims as a matter of urgency.''
The Cochrane team had received the list of potentially eligible trials, but ''at the time it did not appear to identify any important eligible studies.''
It disputes that it left out half the studies and data.
''Our current investigations appear to show that there may be a handful of missed but potentially eligible studies, but that this falls substantially below 'nearly half of the eligible trials,''' Tovey said.
While it intends to update the review, Cochrane says this does not change the review's conclusion about the risks and benefits of the vaccine.
Drugwatch Tip: Always take the time to carefully read studies and their criticisms. This study intentionally ignored nearly half of the trials and half of the participants that should have been included. This is an example of how studies and reviews may be biased.
HNA Defaults on RMB 300M Loan From Hunan Trust - Mingtiandi
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 05:14
HNA chairman Chen Feng may need a faster plane to keep ahead of trust company debt collectors
HNA Group defaulted on a RMB 300 million ($43.82 million) principal of a loan on September 10, Hunan Trust announced on its website. The financial failure is the latest blow for the indebted conglomerate, which sold more than $17 billion in assets in the first half of 2018 in its ongoing struggle to dig out of debts said to have reached $100 billion.
The loan was taken out by HNA subsidiary HNA Innovation. Asset seizures at the company's Jiulong Mountain development had resulted in low liquidity, according to a company statement filed to the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The development was the subject of two lawsuits in April seeking a total of RMB 413.5 million in compensation.
The company is currently negotiating with Hunan Trust to resolve the dispute, but the delayed payment would result in liquidated damages and higher interest rates for HNA, according to the filing.
Hunan Trust initially made the two-year loan to HNA Innovation on September 7, 2016 at an 8.3 percent annual interest rate. Now the shadow lender has appointed personnel to collect property on site and seeks to freeze the company's assets with a court order, according to the company announcement.
Default Signifies a ''New Stage'' in HNA's StruggleZhejiang's Jiulong mountains are the scene of HNA's latest crash
Brock Silvers, managing director of China-based investment advisory firm Kaiyuan Capital, said the default itself is less important than what it appears to signify. ''In one sense HNA's 'default' isn't terribly significant,'' he said. ''[It is] a short-term delay of a $44 million debt principal payment from a now defunct subsidiary to a regional trust company. But it may be significant in what it reveals about the company.''
The company is now ''toying with default'' after offloading properties HNA had previously identified as ''core'' assets, and it has sought to borrow money from its own executives, Silvers said. In light of this, the missed payment ''seems to indicate a new stage in HNA's struggle to rebalance its books.''
HNA also missed a payment in August on a 270-day, RMB 1 billion bond issued by HNA subsidiary Haikou Meilan International Airport. After the Shanghai Clearing House said it hadn't received the payment, HNA blamed the delayed transfer on a technical glitch. That same month, the company deferred payments on P2P products, worrying retail investors who lent the firm money through 11 different platforms.
HNA Forced to Refocus on Its 'Core' Airlines BusinessAs debt payments come due, HNA has been rapidly selling off assets or, as was recently the case, getting out of lease agreements. It was revealed last week that HNA is breaking the lease agreement it has for eight floors in Three Exchange Square in Hong Kong's Central district. HNA never wound up using the office space, and at HK$140 ($17.8) per square foot per month, it was a monthly liability of HK$12 million that the company couldn't afford.
The most recent assets HNA has sought to sell off include its remaining 7.6 percent stake in German lender Deutsche Bank, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company's stake is worth about 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion), and interested buyers include the sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp. and state-owned financial institutions Citic Group, China Merchants Group and China Everbright Group.
''With the sale of its Deutsche Bank stake, financial services is no longer one of the firm's four operational 'pillars,''' Silvers said.HNA is under pressure from Chinese regulators to get rid of assets not related to its airlines business. When asked about this, a company spokesman told the Wall Street Journal, ''We are committed to streamlining our strategy to focus on our core aviation, tourism and logistics businesses, improve our operations and strengthen our balance sheet.''
CNN Ratings Collapse, Losing To Nickelodeon And Fox News | Zero Hedge
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 05:01
Trump's "fake news" nemesis, CNN, experienced a dramatic collapse in ratings last week compared to 2017.According to AdWeek, CNN viewership tumbled 41% in daytime TV ratings and tumbled 36% in primetime versus the same week last year.
"CNN ranked No. 6 across basic cable in total primetime viewers, and No. 5 in total day this past week. Despite the top 10 finishes, the network was -36 percent in primetime viewers, and -41 percent in total day viewers vs. the same week last year", AdWeek wrote.
The increasingly more partisan news network was once again beat by its traditional competitors: Fox News was No. 1 across the board for basic cable for the Labor Day week of Sept. 03, 2018 (No. 1 in total viewers across the 24-hour day for 35 consecutive weeks), while MSNBC came in second.
In basic cable, CNN placed fifth with ESPN and Nickelodeon placing No. 3 and No. 4, respectively as Sponge Bob suddenly emerges to be more popular/credible than Jake Tepper and Chris Cuomo.
In primetime, CNN ranked No 6. while ESPN secured the first ranking. Fox News, MSNBC, HGTV, and the USA network all placed higher than CNN for primetime views.
The network has repeatedly seen embarrassing viewership losses compared to 2017. In August, the network lost 12 percent of its primetime viewers compared to 2017. During one week in August, the network dropped 23 percent during the day and 24 percent in primetime compared to the same week last year, said Breitbart News.
CNN's sharp fall might be the result of President Trump's relentless hostility towards the network in the last several years.
Retweet if you are voting for @realDonaldTrump in 2020 and are tired of all the fake news!25th Amendment lol pic.twitter.com/bImf4GzNYz
'-- Conservative Pets ð¶ (@ConservativePTZ) September 5, 2018"These are just dishonest, terrible people," Trump says of the Fake News Media while speaking at Rally in Evansville, Indiana. pic.twitter.com/B4isVSK845
'-- The Columbia Bugle ðºð¸ (@ColumbiaBugle) August 31, 2018In which Donald Trump compares himself with Lincoln and says Honest Abe's Gettysburg address was HAMMERED by the 'fake news' like his own speeches. pic.twitter.com/VcS9iHkf1F
'-- Richard Chambers (@newschambers) September 8, 2018.@realDonaldTrump to reporter: "YOU are fake news." pic.twitter.com/6nasXm99TK
'-- Fox News (@FoxNews) January 11, 2017Of course, it may also simply be the result of increasingly more viewers switching over to other, less biased sources of news and information.
AI Startup's Stumbles Show Challenges in Crowded Market '-- The Information
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 04:38
Artificial intelligence startup Sentient Technologies seemed to have hit paydirt three years ago when it landed customers such as shoe retailer Zappos and shoe maker Skechers for its software, which uses AI algorithms to recommend products to shoppers. But in the past year Sentient has stumbled in efforts to diversify into advertising and agriculture. And lately the company, whose founders helped develop the technology used in Apple's Siri, has seen an exodus of top executives and employees.
Uncertainty about Sentient's future was fueled by executives telling customers and employees that it was raising a new round of capital late last year'--and then not announcing anything. In its ups and downs, Sentient, which has raised $175 million since its founding in 2007, appears to symbolize challenges facing older AI startups in an increasingly crowded market.
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At a Divided Network, What Now for CBS News and '60 Minutes'? - The New York Times
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 04:36
Image The CBS Broadcast Center in Manhattan, which houses the CBS News division, is across West 57th Street from the BMW Building, where the offices of ''60 Minutes'' are. Credit Credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images For decades, the headquarters of CBS News and the offices of ''60 Minutes'' have stood on opposite sides of a windswept block of Manhattan's West 57th Street.
It was a symbolic divide as much as a physical one. And these days the gap between the two might as well be miles wide.
The ouster on Wednesday of Jeff Fager, the 63-year-old ''60 Minutes'' executive producer, after he threatened the career of a CBS reporter who was looking into harassment allegations against him has exacerbated tensions between the House of Cronkite and its most popular, most profitable show.
Populated by eminences like Steve Kroft and Lesley Stahl, the weekly newsmagazine prides itself on a culture of exceptionalism '-- with the ratings to back it up. No matter if CBS News is having a good or a bad year '-- and there have been plenty of bad ones '-- ''60 Minutes'' performs.
''The people at '60 Minutes' were paid more, they had longer time to work on stories, they got incredible recognition in terms of ratings and prestige, so naturally the people in the trenches would sometimes be resentful of that,'' said Andrew Heyward, a former CBS News president. ''It was like a hit TV show that happened to be at CBS News.''
The show keeps its footage on a separate server inaccessible to other CBS News employees. When the network wants to broadcast a newsworthy clip from ''60 Minutes,'' producers must include the show's onscreen watermark '-- as it if it were a rival station.
Even the contrast in office space tells a tale. The CBS Broadcast Center is a 1950s-era hulk, lamented by some employees for its windowless rooms. ''60 Minutes'' operates out of the sleek BMW Building, with panoramic views of the Hudson River.
Image ''60 Minutes'' journalists celebrating the show's 25th anniversary in 1993. From left, Mike Wallace, Andy Rooney, Morley Safer, Steve Kroft, Ed Bradley, Lesley Stahl and the founding executive producer, Don Hewitt. Credit Bob Strong/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images David Rhodes, the 44-year-old CBS News president, who fired Mr. Fager, is virtually unknown to much of the ''60 Minutes'' staff, which effectively operated under Mr. Fager's sole authority. Officials on both sides of the news division say Mr. Rhodes now faces a daunting task: winning over a shocked team that is worried about its future and responsible for the crown jewel in the CBS News lineup.
All of this has happened days after CBS's chief executive, Leslie Moonves, stepped down while facing allegations of sexual misconduct. The 51st season of ''60 Minutes'' premieres in a little over two weeks. And two law firms are still investigating the workplace culture at CBS, as well as at ''60 Minutes.''
''Nobody is surprised by the solidarity that was shown by everyone on the floor yesterday,'' Bill Owens, the interim executive producer and Mr. Fager's longtime No. 2, wrote in a staffwide email on Thursday morning. '''60 Minutes' is a collection of superb journalists but we are also as close to a family as any group can be.''
In its half-century on the air, however, ''60 Minutes'' has never been at home within the larger CBS News family.
A 2017 book on the show's history '-- written by Mr. Fager, after he stymied another author who was asking questions about the show's treatment of women '-- noted that a feeling of independence permeated the place. ''The rituals and obsessions of most every other television news organization, including our own CBS News organization, did not matter so much,'' Mr. Fager wrote.
On Thursday, according to multiple people who work at the show, the mood inside the ''60 Minutes'' offices remained tense.
The animating concern was whether Mr. Rhodes, perceived by the show's staff as more of a technocrat than a reporter, planned to wrest control and finally fold the show into the news organization. Many ''60 Minutes'' veterans fear that such a move would amount to dismantling their institution.
Image Jericka Duncan, who received the threatening text message from Jeff Fager, reported on his firing on ''CBS Evening News'' on Wednesday. Credit Cbs News The chilliness is all the more notable considering Mr. Fager hired Mr. Rhodes from Bloomberg News in 2011. When Mr. Fager announced that he was relinquishing the CBS News chairman role in late 2014, Mr. Rhodes described Mr. Fager as ''a great mentor and a close friend.''
Mr. Rhodes so rarely visits the ''60 Minutes'' office that one staff member likened his appearance there on Wednesday, to discuss Mr. Fager's firing, to the sighting of a unicorn. Likewise, ''60 Minutes'' officials are infrequent attendees at Mr. Rhodes's editorial meetings for senior producers every Monday morning. So when he did show up, many staff members reacted in anger.
Mr. Fager has been accused of touching women at company parties and allowing harassment to go unchecked inside ''60 Minutes,'' allegations that he denies. But at an impromptu toast on Wednesday at an Upper West Side bar, Mr. Fager was hugged by teary-eyed employees dismayed by his sudden departure.
A few blocks away, their colleagues at ''CBS Evening News'' were preparing a damning segment '-- about Mr. Fager, and the threat that he had leveled against a network reporter, Jericka Duncan.
''Be careful,'' Mr. Fager wrote to Ms. Duncan, in a text message shown on Wednesday's newscast. ''There are people who lost their jobs trying to harm me.''
Jeff Glor, the ''CBS Evening News'' anchor, who was once close to Mr. Fager, told Ms. Duncan on the air that everyone at the newscast ''supports you 100 percent.'' Mr. Glor ad-libbed his comment, according to a person familiar with the broadcast, which was taken as a sign of network unity in denouncing Mr. Fager's actions.
Still, the rancor at ''60 Minutes'' toward Mr. Rhodes had subsided somewhat on Thursday after staff members learned the exact words that Mr. Fager had used in his threat.
Image David Rhodes, the president of CBS News, was hired by Mr. Fager in 2011. On Wednesday, Mr. Rhodes fired the man he once described as ''a great mentor and a close friend.'' Credit Richard Shotwell/Invision, via Associated Press Sharyn Alfonsi, a ''60 Minutes'' correspondent, told The New York Times before Wednesday's newscast that she did ''not understand how you get fired over a text message.'' By Thursday, after looking at the text message, she said: ''I was stunned. It was very upsetting.''
Likewise, Mr. Kroft, the veteran correspondent, told The Times that the text was ''threatening and inappropriate.''
Mr. Owens, the interim boss, has the enthusiastic support of the ''60 Minutes'' rank-and-file, but names of possible permanent replacements for Mr. Fager are now circulating. With two active investigations into sexual harassment at CBS, some wonder if the network will look outside its walls for Mr. Fager's permanent successor. But there is also skepticism about whether an outsider can successfully wrangle a place as idiosyncratic '-- and valuable to the brand '-- as ''60 Minutes.''
The list includes Susan Zirinsky, the well-respected ''48 Hours'' executive producer who inspired Holly Hunter's character in the 1987 film ''Broadcast News,'' and Tanya Simon, a producer at ''60 Minutes'' and the daughter of Bob Simon, the longtime correspondent who died in 2015.
As Mr. Rhodes works to move an old-school series into a modern media age, he might reconsider his methods of communication.
On Monday, a day after Mr. Moonves was fired, Mr. Rhodes sent a message to the news division on Slack '-- an instant-messaging system used by many contemporary media companies '-- talking about next steps.
''These are terrible stories to read and yet, if you were hoping to make changes to our culture, there aren't many changes bigger than the ones underway,'' Mr. Rhodes wrote. ''Change at the top of the whole company offers a fresh start for all of us.''
But few employees at ''60 Minutes,'' where several correspondents are in their 60s and 70s, saw the note on Monday. According to the show's staff members, most of them do not use Slack.
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For Big Tech, a Comeuppance We've Seen Before: On Wall St. - The New York Times
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 04:26
Image A display at Facebook's developer conference this year. ''Some in big tech are beginning to accept what we in banking learned some years ago: We don't have all the answers,'' said Ana Botn, an executive at the Spanish bank Santander. Credit Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times SAN FRANCISCO '-- When I moved to the Bay Area two years ago, it was with a sense of relief.
Relief from New York winters and deteriorating subways, yes. But also relief after six years of covering Wall Street, an industry that had moved from one crisis to another after the financial crash of 2008, drawing the unending wrath of the public.
In California I was joining a growing team of reporters covering Silicon Valley, which had quickly become the new engine of the economy. Just like Wall Street before it lost its luster, the tech industry had become the destination of choice for the top college graduates. I would be writing about a place where everyone was focused more on the future than on the past.
Now, just two years after getting here, and a decade after the start of the financial crisis, I have a creeping sense of d(C)j vu as I go about my job.
Admiration of the tech world has, in the wake of a growing list of scandals, quickly soured into an intense suspicion that manages to cross partisan lines, similar to what Wall Street faced after 2008.
As I have watched the recent parade of tech executives being grilled by Washington lawmakers from across the political spectrum, it has been eerily reminiscent of the combative hearings the big banks faced back in 2009 and 2010.
As was true after the financial crisis, the backlash against tech rises out of a public awakening to the integral role that these huge companies occupy in our society '-- with Facebook, Uber and Twitter playing the part that Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase did a decade ago.
''People talk about bankers being amoral,'' said Charlie Beckett, the director of the Truth, Trust and Technology Commission at the London School of Economics. ''They are starting to talk about tech people in similar language. Where before they were kind of heroes '-- they were people who brought us these wonderful products '-- they are now starting to be blamed for the ills of the world.''
It often feels as though these companies took on their pivotal positions so quickly that no one '-- not even their employees '-- had a chance to understand how they really worked or how much influence they had.
Image Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter's Jack Dorsey at a Senate hearing last week. Worries about social media platforms are fueling a push for regulatory action similar to the Dodd-Frank financial rules. Credit Tom Brenner for The New York Times Ana Botn, a longtime executive at the giant Spanish bank Santander, recently wrote on LinkedIn that the tech companies were losing the same basic thing that banks lost in 2008: the public's trust.
''Some in big tech are beginning to accept what we in banking learned some years ago: We don't have all the answers,'' Ms. Botn told me last week.
The storm that Ms. Botn and other bank executives faced after 2008 and the one we are witnessing now are obviously different.
The crisis precipitated by the banks was a financial one that caused markets to crash, and threatened to bring down the global economy.
The crisis involving the internet giants is not hitting our pocketbooks '-- it is straining our confidence in what we know about the world. If Russian hackers can create and amplify fake news stories across the many sites we have come to rely on, where can we go for reliable information?
In public surveys, like the Harris Poll Reputation Quotient, the tech giants are still polling well ahead of Goldman and Wells Fargo, and some, like Amazon and Apple, seem to be mostly flying above the fray.
But the Edelman Trust Barometer found that the public's confidence in search engines and social media platforms fell 11 percentage points from 2017 and 2018. They face more skepticism than even we, the perennially unpopular journalists.
I can see this change in the companies themselves, which are on the defensive with the public and press, and in at least some young employees and recruits, who are beginning to wonder if taking a job at Google or Facebook might come with just as many problems as working at Goldman Sachs.
The exact ills that people assign to the industry tend to differ based on their politics. While people on the right, including President Trump, have expressed the most concern about political bias and censorship, the left has worried more about the way the companies opened the door to election interference and have exacerbated income inequality. But nearly everyone is voicing unease about the way our children have been turned into digital addicts.
The broad shift in perception is inevitably piling more blame onto the shoulders of one industry than it should bear. Like the mortgage meltdown, our current crisis of confidence is the result of factors that go beyond any one player in the drama '-- from the polarization of the media landscape to the growing economic inequality that has led to distrust of elites of all sorts.
Image The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and its reflection. ''People talk about bankers being amoral,'' said Charlie Beckett of the Truth, Trust and Technology Commission at the London School of Economics. ''They are starting to talk about tech people in similar language.'' Credit Jeenah Moon for The New York Times Whatever the reality, political momentum is building behind some sort of broader regulatory response, similar to what came together in the Dodd-Frank financial regulations. The current push has begun with talk of legislation that would protect our privacy '-- but much bolder steps are being considered.
What I wonder now is whether any regulatory response will follow a similar path to what came after the financial crisis.
A long list of new laws in the United States and Europe did seem to make the banks safer and another crisis less likely.
But the regulations also appear to have cemented the status of the biggest banks in our economy. The largest financial institutions now control a bigger proportion of the industry's assets than they did before the crisis. These big banks are regulated as if they were more like utilities, but the high regulatory costs provide a kind of barrier against most competitors.
It is easy to imagine something similar happening in the technology industry, and European authorities have already taken some steps in that direction.
If tech companies are forced to be more responsible for the content on their platforms, they will most likely need to build a significant apparatus for compliance. That would cut into profitability. It would also make it very hard for upstarts to challenge them.
''There's an increasingly loud call for the platforms to get involved in content moderation,'' said Cory Doctorow, a special adviser with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. ''It's well intentioned, but the outcome of that is very likely to be pretty disastrous.''
Mr. Doctorow has been part of a growing chorus of people calling for antitrust actions to break up the biggest companies, rather than tweaking their operations.
Whatever steps the government takes, they are unlikely to help recover the trust that has already been lost. As I know from those years of covering the banks, confidence, once gone, is not easily regained.
As for me, the familiar problems have not allowed for the change of pace I was expecting. And in truth, the subways out here are no better. But the weather is still very nice.
Follow Nathaniel Popper on Twitter: @nathanielpopper.
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