1078: Demonation

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 48m
October 18th, 2018
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Executive Producers: Baroness Bang Bang of The California Central Coast (Ventura to Santa Cruz), Sir Jimmy James, Trent Perkins, Sir-Inity, Vladislav Dubov

Associate Executive Producers: Brian Dillon

Cover Artist: Mike Riley

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
0:58
Jamal Khashoggi Disappearance
Woodstock
31:42
Climate Change: Al Gore's 500,000 Atomic Bomb Analogy
Woodstock
32:49
Climate Change: Greenhouse Gas Pollution
Woodstock
33:19
Climate Change: Beer Shortages
Woodstock
35:02
Climate Change: BBC Fake Meat Report
Woodstock
37:54
Climate Change: USS Indiana Reactor Has 33 Year Lifespan
Woodstock
39:58
Climate Change: EPA Children's Health Official Put On Leave
Woodstock
42:04
Trump Calls Stormy Daniels a Horseface
Woodstock
44:38
NPC Wojak Meme
Woodstock
48:52
Murphy Brown TV Show
Woodstock
53:23
New Pharmaceutical Advertisment Regulations
Woodstock
58:37
Erectile Dysfunction Advertisements
Woodstock
1:00:07
Fremont Schools End Sex Education After Curriculum Controversy
Woodstock
1:03:28
The Alec Baldwin Show
Woodstock
1:09:03
Netflix's Quincy Documentary
Woodstock
1:10:38
Credits
Woodstock
1:23:51
E-Scooter Bonfires on May 19th, 2019
Woodstock
1:24:33
Elizabeth Warren's Native American Heritage
Woodstock
1:30:08
Trump Impeachment
Woodstock
1:31:13
Trump Declassifies Carter Page FISA Application
Woodstock
1:32:51
Rod Rosenstein
Woodstock
1:34:37
Ann Coulter on Scandinavian TV Show
Woodstock
1:39:18
Australian Senators Condemn Anti-White Racism
Woodstock
1:43:26
Canada Legalizes Cannabis
Woodstock
1:49:55
Costs of Living in Austin, The City of Tech
Woodstock
1:52:37
Fort Worth International Airport Real Estate For Amazon HQ2
Woodstock
1:54:52
US Pet Owner Halloween Costume Expenses
Woodstock
1:55:22
Long Lines For Early Mid Term Election Voting
Woodstock
1:59:27
Ruth Ben-Ghiat on Trump's Authoritarian Playbook
Woodstock
2:04:13
Donations
Woodstock
2:11:03
Birthdays & Title Changes
Woodstock
2:13:04
Increased Human Resources Due To Automation at McDonalds
Woodstock
2:14:52
The OTG Lifestyle
Woodstock
2:17:48
Somalia Drone Strike
Woodstock
2:19:28
Facebook Engineer Talks About Intolerant Company Culture
Woodstock
2:26:19
Brawl With Antifa After Proud Boys Gathering in New York
Woodstock
2:29:10
US Student Denied From Attending School in Isreal
Woodstock
2:31:42
US Treasury Employee Charged For Leaking Information to Buzzfeed
Woodstock
2:35:05
Hillary Clinton Requests To Withdraw Security Clearance
Woodstock
2:37:38
AC's List of Journalists With Soros Backed Board of Directors Gig
Woodstock
2:42:00
BBC Promotional Video About Europe's Identity Crisis
Woodstock
2:42:37
End of Show
Woodstock
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NPC
NPCMemes.com
Hey
just FYI, if you guys choose to discuss the NPC meme’s hysteria , I took the
liberty of registering NPCMemes.com and it’s
now forwarding to noagendashow.com (NPCMeme.com) was already taken.
TYFYC
Richard
in Mesa AZ (Friend of fellow listener who hit me in the mouth - Charlie Brown)
Khashoggi
Fun fact: Mohammed bin Salman, who spend millions to cultivate a positive image among America's elite and even went by the nifty nickname #MBS, is now derided at Washington parties as "Mr. Bone Saw."
German Press Reveals Saudi Spook Saga Behind Khashoggi Disappearance | Spengler
Mon, 15 Oct 2018 16:45

Germany's leading right-of-center daily Die Welt this morning reveals that Jamal Khashoggi was not a journalist, but a high-level operative for the Saudi intelligence service, an intimate of Osama bin Laden, and the nephew of the shadiest of all Arab arms dealers, the infamous Adnan Khashoggi. John Bradley reported last week in the Spectator that Khashoggi, who allegedly met a grisly end in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist organization that among other things wants to replace the Saudi monarchy with a modern Islamist totalitarian state.
So much for the whining in the Establishment media about freedom of the press and protection of the rights of journalists. The presumed-dead Khashoggi was a top-level spook who swore fealty to some of the Arab world's nastiest elements, and who played a high-stakes game in Saudi spookdom. We don't know why he disappeared, but we know what we don't know.
Among other things, we know that Khashoggi was bitterly opposed to the new Saudi government's rapprochement with the state of Israel. As a Muslim Brotherhood member, he backed Palestinian intransigence.
https://pjmedia.com/spengler/german-press-reveals-saudi-spook-saga-behind-khashoggi-disappearance/
Jamal Khashoggi Wanted to Launch a Pro-Democracy Group. Then the Saudis Disappeared Him.
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 15:37
A vocal critic of Saudi Arabia's government who vanished last week was working to launch a pro-democracy advocacy group, The Daily Beast has learned.
Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian journalist and legal United States resident who wrote for The Washington Post opinion section, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Sept. 28. Then he disappeared. Turkish government sources have told numerous outlets, including the New York Times, that they believe Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, dismembered, and smuggled out piece by piece. The Saudi government, meanwhile, has maintained that Khashoggi left unharmed.
Khashoggi frequently criticized the Saudi government in his newspaper columns. And before his disappearance, he planned to turn his arguments into action. Sources familiar with his plans told The Daily Beast that he was working to launch a non-governmental organization whose stated purpose was to boost democracy and human rights in the Arab world.
The group, called Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), was incorporated in the state of Delaware as a tax-exempt organization in January of this year, according to documentation reviewed by The Daily Beast. According to a statement of core principles, the group would aim to provide ''a counter narrative in the Arab world and the West to Arab Spring skeptics.'' Its members also planned to advocate to corporate leaders, policymakers, journalists, and think tanks on behalf of democracy in the Middle East.
The group intended to push for democratic change even when it ran counter to American foreign policy goals. ''Free and fair elections may result in some governments that are less favorable to U.S. interests,'' a statement from the group read. ''Regardless, America must respect democratic processes.''
''Victims of the Arab world's authoritarian regimes seek leadership from the U.S. and DAWN intends to provide such leadership,'' the statement continues.
The documentation indicates Khashoggi was set to lead DAWN, and that it aimed to gather ''Arab Spring exiles who are scattered in various world capitals and cities, to strengthen their morale and utilize them.''
The group also planned to monitor the adherence of regional governments to democratic values and release a yearly report on its findings.
Fred Hiatt, the editorial page editor of The Washington Post, told The Daily Beast his paper was aware that Khashoggi was looking to formally move into the advocacy world.
''We knew of Jamal's interest in building platforms to promote the discussion of issues that he is passionate about, notably freedom and democracy in the Middle East,'' he said. ''We're also confident that he would be transparent with readers about these efforts as they progressed.''
Khaled Saffuri, an Arab-American political commentator and long-time friend of the vanished journalist, told The Daily Beast that Khashoggi had made trips to Europe to raise money for DAWN from Gulf state expats. He said Khashoggi didn't voice intentions to overturn governments, but rather to expand the rights of people living in the region.
''He told me, 'I am not in the opposition,''' Saffuri said. '''I do not want to overturn the Al Saud government. I do not want to replace them with another regime. I just want freedom of expression for the people. We're in the 21st century; we have to keep up with the rest of the world.'''
He said Khashoggi told him he feared his work could bring risks.
''He knew it was going to put him in danger,'' Saffuri said.
Saudi suspect in Khashoggi case 'dies in car accident': Report - World News
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 15:24

ISTANBULA Turkish newspaper reported on Oct. 18 that one of the suspects involved in the disappearance of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi died in a ''suspicious car accident'' in Riyadh.
Mashal Saad al-Bostani, a 31-year-old lieutenant of the Saudi Royal Air Forces, was among the 15 suspects who arrived and left Turkey on Oct. 2 after going to Saudi Arabia's Istanbul consulate when Khashoggi visited there, according to daily Yeni Şafak.
The newspaper said sources did not release any details about the traffic accident in Riyadh and Bostani's role in the ''murder'' was not yet clear.
Daily H¼rriyet columnist Abdulkadir Selvi claimed on Oct. 18 that Saudi Arabia's Istanbul consul Mohammad al-Otaibi could be ''the next execution'' as Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ''would do anything to get rid of evidence.''
Turkish daily Yeni Şafak reported Oct. 17 that Al-Otaibi's voice could be heard in one of the recordings, which Turkish authorities are believed to have, of Khashoggi's ''interrogation'' at the consulate.
According to the report, after Al-Otaibi told the interrogators to ''do it somewhere else outside or I will be in trouble,'' he was told to ''shut up if you want to live when you are back in Saudi Arabia.''
Al-Otaibi returned to Saudi Arabia on Oct. 16 before his residence in Istanbul was searched by police for more than eight hours on Oct. 17 and Oct. 18.
IN PHOTOS: Turkish-Saudi team completes probe at Saudi consulate, residence
Meanwhile, Sabah newspaper released stills from security camera footage of another suspect on Oct. 18.
According to the report, 47-year-old Maher Abdulaziz M. Mutreb, an intelligence officer who previously served at Saudi Arabia's London embassy, landed in Istanbul at 3:38 a.m. on Oct. 2 and went to his country's Istanbul consulate at 9:55 a.m.
Hours after Khashoggi's arrival and disappearance, Mutreb left the consulate and visited the consul's residence at 4:53 p.m., left his hotel at 5:15 p.m. and arrived at the Atat¼rk Airport for his return trip on a private jet at 5:58 p.m.
The New York Times had reported on Oct. 16 that Mutreb had travelled extensively with the crown prince, perhaps as a bodyguard.
Suspects in Khashoggi case had ties to Saudi crown prince: Report
Jamal Khashoggi, Mohammad al-Otaibi, Mashal Saad al-Bostani
Prince Turki al-Faisal begs American voters not to make Donald Trump the next president | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 13:25
A Saudi prince has urged Americans not to vote for Donald Trump in the upcoming general election.
Turki al-Faisal, who served as Saudia Arabia's ambassador to the US from 2005 to 2007, spoke against the presumptive Republican nominee during a foreign policy dinner in Washington, DC on Thursday.
He blasted Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US, which the billionaire first formulated in December last year before renewing his vow on Wednesday.
'For the life of me, I cannot believe that a country like the United States can afford to have someone as president who simply says, "These people are not going to be allowed to come to the United States,''' Turki said according to the Huffington Post.
Scroll down for video
Turki al-Faisal (pictured in September last year), a former ambassador to the US, spoke against the presumptive Republican nominee during a foreign policy dinner in Washington, DC on Thursday
'It's up to you, it's not up to me,' Turki added. 'I just hope you, as American citizens, will make the right choice in November.'
Turki, who went to Georgetown University in Washington, DC, isn't currently part of Saudia Arabia's government but serves as the chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, a cultural organization that conducts research in politics, sociology and heritage.
He spoke Thursday at a dinner hosted by the Washington Institute For Near East Policy at the Mandarin Oriental hotel.
Turki said he had enjoyed the 'spectacle' of American elections during his time as a student in the US in the 1960s, the Huffington Post write, and found it 'sometimes uplifting, other times the opposite.'
Trump (pictured at a rally in Charleston, West Virginia, on Thursday) first proposed to ban Muslims from coming into the US in December last year to prevent terrorist attacks and stuck by his plan on Wednesday
Trump first proposed to ban Muslims from coming into the US in December last year to prevent terrorist attacks.
He stuck by his plan on Wednesday, saying on MSNBC's Morning Joe he didn't care if it hurt him in the general election.
'I'm doing the right thing when I do this. And whether it's Muslim or whether it's something else, I mean, I have to do the right thing, and that's the way I've been guided,' he said.
'And I've been guided by common sense, by what's right. And you see what's happening. We have to be careful. I mean, we're allowing thousands of people to come into our country, thousands and thousands of people being placed all over the country that frankly nobody knows who they are.
'They don't have documentation in many cases '-- in most cases. And we don't know what we're doing.'
Any Collusion?
Redacted FISA signed off by AG Lynch not court
Was Rosenstein wearing a wire to eavesdrop on the deep state?
Amazon HQ2
No to dog walking!
Hey Adam. Anonymous note plz. Read online if
you’d like.
I am an Amazonian in Seattle. The people bringing dogs
to work are the bottom of the barrel. They use the dogs like a smoke
break, when they remember to walk them. Even if you can get them, these
are not going to be good customers because you are going to get requests that
will be like? Can you walk my dog in the next five minutes, and be back
in 18? Most don’t really have time to walk them and you’ll be tied to
unpredictable schedules.
Unless you are going to launch “Uber for dog walks,” you are
going to regret it. Stick to podcasting! :)
Cheers!
Deep State
Scooters
May 19th 2019 bonfire time
OTG
Millennials : nostalgia and durability T9 input, blind texting
Trump Rotation
Put him on the couch
Tech Tyranny
MacDonald kiosks actually add workers, in back of house
Clips
VIDEO - Cuomo Blames Republicans For "Proud Boys" Brawl | WAMC
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 15:33
LISTEN: Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks to reporters Sunday morning
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is blaming the Republican Party and President Donald Trump for Friday night's violence in Manhattan outside a GOP headquarters.
A fight occurred between members of the far-right group the Proud Boys and protesters.
In a conference call Sunday morning, the Democratic governor said Republican leaders invited the group that describes itself as ''Western chauvinists'' to divide the public ahead the midterm elections and equated it to rhetoric used by President Trump.
''So the president is on the stump today saying 'the Democrats are a mob, the Democrats will bring chaos, they are leftists,' and then coincidentally, the Republican Party in the State of New York invites a group known for violence and for hate speech. And by the way, I don't believe in coincidences in politics. Not on the same weekend, not in New York. Not in a Republican Party that is very close to Trump,'' said Cuomo.
Videos of the fight have surfaced online showing individuals shouting homophobic slurs outside the event where Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes was invited to speak.
Cuomo has asked the New York State Police and the FBI to assist the NYPD in its investigation of the incident. Police are investigating vandalism outside the Metropolitan Republican Club that appeared Thursday night. Anarchist symbols were spray-painted on the building and several windows were broken. A note was reportedly left saying the attack ''is merely a beginning.''
On Friday afternoon, New York GOP Chairman Ed Cox said the vandalism ''has no place in our society'' and urged Democratic officials to condemn the incident.
VIDEO - The latest tech breakthrough: Diversity
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 15:11
About Milliman For more than seven decades, Milliman has combined technical expertise with business acumen to create elegant solutions for our clients.
Today, we are helping companies take on some of the world's most critical and complex issues, including retirement funding and healthcare financing, risk management and regulatory compliance, data analytics and business transformation.
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VIDEO - Trump Team And Drugmakers Tussle Over Whether TV Drug Ads Should Include Prices : Shots - Health News : NPR
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 14:53
President Trump listens in January as Stephen Ubl, president and CEO of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (second from left), introduces himself during a meeting at the White House. The sky-high prices of some drugs are a big issue for some voters this fall. Pool/Ron Sachs/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Pool/Ron Sachs/Getty Images President Trump listens in January as Stephen Ubl, president and CEO of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (second from left), introduces himself during a meeting at the White House. The sky-high prices of some drugs are a big issue for some voters this fall.
Pool/Ron Sachs/Getty Images The Trump administration said late Monday that it will require drugmakers to reveal the list prices of their medicines in television ads. The move sets the stage for months or possibly years of battle with the powerful industry.
The proposed rule would require pharmaceutical companies to include the price in a TV ad for any drug that costs more than $35 a month. The price should be listed at the end of the advertisement in "a legible manner," the rule states, and should be presented against a contrasting background in a way that is easy to read.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, in a nod to an industry proposal announced earlier in the day, said voluntary moves are not enough.
"We will not wait for an industry, with so many conflicting and perverse incentives, to reform itself," Azar told the audience gathered at the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine in Washington, D.C.
Still, critics point out that, even if approved, the proposed rule includes no strong mechanism for forcing the companies to comply. Rather, enforcement would depend on shaming: Federal regulators would post a list of companies that violate the rule. Enforcement would also depend on the private sector to police itself with litigation.
"It is noteworthy that the government is unwilling to take enforcement action," said Rachel Sachs, an associate professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis and an expert in drug-pricing regulation. The rule might never be finalized, she added.
"It will take many months if not years for this regulation to be implemented and free from the cloud of litigation that will follow it," Sachs said. "And the administration knows that."
Earlier Monday, the pharmaceutical industry trade group had gone on the offensive in anticipation of Azar's speech by announcing its own plans.
"Putting list prices in isolation in the advertisements themselves would be misleading or confusing," argued Stephen Ubl, CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the major trade group for branded drugs.
Instead, Ubl promised that pharma companies will direct consumers to websites that include a drug's list price and estimates of what people can expect to pay, which can vary widely depending on coverage.
Drug manufacturers will voluntarily opt in to this disclosure starting next spring, he said. Ubl, whose trade group represents the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers on the globe, remained strongly critical of the White House proposal.
The Trump administration's proposal comes weeks before midterm elections in which health care is expected to be a top concern of voters. Polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation suggests most voters support forcing price transparency in drug advertisements. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)
The White House's plan, which was mentioned in a policy blueprint released in the summer, has won praise from insurance groups and from the American Medical Association.
Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., also proposed the plan in the Senate last month, but it failed to garner enough support to get out of the Senate.
Grassley applauded Azar's announcement, saying it was a "common-sense way to lower prices."
But critics of both approaches to price transparency released Monday pointed out a host of complications, suggesting that neither PhRMA's approach nor the White House's would fully explain what consumers would actually pay for an advertised drug.
Dale Cooke, a consultant who works with drug companies trying to meet the Food and Drug Administration's requirements for advertising, warned there is no reason to believe posting prices would help drive down prices.
"No one has ever explained to me why this would work," Cooke said. "What's the mechanism by which this results in lower drug prices?"
Such a policy could actually confuse patients, Cooke said. "Consumers, intimidated and confused by high list prices, may be deterred from contacting their physicians about drugs or medical conditions."
A drug's list price '-- the metric HHS wants to emphasize '-- often bears little relationship to what most patients pay at the drugstore. Insurance plans and pharmacy benefit managers often negotiate cheaper prices than the list price. And patients who have health insurance typically only have to pay what their copay or deductible requires. Some patients qualify for other discounts.
However, some consumers could be stuck paying the full list price '-- depending on how their insurance plan is designed, or if they don't have health coverage.
"The system is very opaque, very complicated," said Adrienne Faerber, a lecturer at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, who researches drug marketing. "And importantly," she added, "there isn't a huge relationship between list prices for drugs and what patients will expect to pay out-of-pocket."
But Faerber also finds the industry's strategy lacking.
Under PhRMA's plan, drugmakers would not have to standardize how they organize or display their pricing information, and that, Faerber argued, could make drug and price comparisons difficult for consumers.
PhRMA also announced it is partnering with patient advocacy groups to create an online "patient affordability platform," which could help patients search for costs and insurance coverage options for particular drugs.
Ubl framed the industry's proposal as a way to more effectively address concern over drug price transparency.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers rely heavily on national advertising, and together represent the third-highest spender of any industry in national television advertising, according to Michael Leszega, a manager of market intelligence at consulting firm Magna.
At certain times of day, pharmaceutical ads make up more than 40 percent of TV advertisements, Leszega said. And those commercials stand out because they are generally longer than other ads '-- with a long list of side effects and warnings the pharmaceutical industry must tag on at the end.
Those disclaimers highlight another challenge for the Trump administration: legal action.
The rule proposed by the White House notes its legal justification was based on the responsibility of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to ensure that the health coverage programs it administers '-- Medicare and Medicaid '--be operated in a manner that "minimizes reasonable expenditures."
But that legal argument may be weak, according to Sachs, because most drugs are marketed to a wider audience than Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.
A body of Supreme Court decisions dictates how disclaimers and disclosures can be required, said attorney and constitutional law specialist Robert Corn-Revere, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute. He filed a "friend of the court" brief in a 2011 U.S. Supreme Court case related to commercial speech and the pharmaceutical industry.
Generally, the administration's requirement must meet the standards of being purely factual, noncontroversial and not burdensome, Corn-Revere said.
On the question of whether requiring drug prices to be listed in advertising violates the First Amendment's free-speech guarantee, Corn-Revere said it "all comes down to the specifics."
Ubl, when asked about the possibility of challenging the administration's proposed rule in court, didn't rule out taking such action.
"We believe there are substantial statutory and constitutional principles that arise" from requiring list-price disclosure, Ubl said. "We do have concerns about that approach."
VIDEO - Mom Slams School For Asking Fifth Graders About Their Sexual History CBS Philly
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 14:41
October 16, 2018 at 1:34 pmFollow CBSPHILLY Facebook TwitterWINDSOR, Vt. (CBS Local) '-- A Vermont woman is furious after her 10-year-old daughter was given a survey at school that asked her and her fifth-grade classmates about their sexual history, sexual orientation and gender identity.
One question asked: ''Have you been in a romantic relationship? By relationship, we mean more than friends, like having a partner for planned events, like a school dance, going to the movies, or having a sexual partner.''
''My daughter is 10. So are all the other kids who took this,'' Vanessa Beach told WPTZ. ''A sexual partner at 10 years old would be called sexual abuse.''
Beach immediately shared the survey, and her disgust with it, on Facebook.
''I find this ridiculous and unnerving to say the least,'' she wrote. ''I am so pissed I haven't read the rest yet!!''
The survey was administered by WISE, a nonprofit group that educates and advocates against gender-based violence. A notice was reportedly sent home to parents allowing them to opt out of the survey, but Beach said she never received it.
Jane Stapleton, co-director of the Prevention Innovations Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, which partnered with WISE and the Institutional Review Board on the survey, said the questionnaire, telling Yahoo Lifestyle was meant to help WISE evaluate school-based prevention programming.
Stapleton also denied that children were being asked whether they've had sex.
''It's asking a range of behaviors,'' she told Yahoo Lifestyle. ''It's a general question that asks about romantic relationships. Yes, it does say sexual relationships, but it's not asking about specific acts.''
But Beach apparently wasn't the only one disturbed by the survey. She says the Windsor Schools superintendent contacted her, saying that he had never approved the survey, nor had the principal, and that he was ''enraged'' over the matter.
While Beach said she appreciates the work WISE does to raise awareness about domestic violence, she feels the survey questions were inappropriate for her daughter's age group.
VIDEO - Former Facebook engineer who railed against liberal culture explains why he quit | Fox News
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 14:29
A former senior Facebook engineer who wrote a memo earlier this year decrying the social media giant's "political monoculture" told Fox News on Tuesday night that the company has a "vocal minority" intent on implementing "social justice policies across our mission."
Brian Amerige, whose last day at Facebook was Friday, told Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight" that "you can't have conversations about ... anything that's a tenet of the social justice ideology, effectively, without being attacked personally." He added that the company's recent policy cracking down on so-called hate speech was a particularly sensitive topic.
"You can't even have conversations about that policy inside the company without having your character attacked -- and I've experienced this personally -- without being called a sexist or a racist or a transphobe or an Islamophobe," said Amerige.
DOZENS OF FACEBOOK EMPLOYEES CHALLENGE 'INTOLERANT' LIBERAL CULTURE
Amerige drew national attention in August when he penned an internal memo, "We Have a Problem With Political Diversity." The memo, which was later leaked to The New York Times, stated that Facebook employees "claim to welcome all perspectives, but are quick to attack '-- often in mobs '-- anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology."
On Tuesday, Amerige said that Facebook executives had taken his concerns seriously and had worked with him to improve the hate speech policy. However, he said rank-and-file, left-leaning employees did not share his concerns.
"The real concerning thing that's happening here is that even though this is a minority of employees in the company, unfortunately, I'm not sure that Facebook leadership knows how to push back against them," Amerige said. "They're unbelievably belligerent, demanding and hostile not just toward other employees, but toward Facebook leadership directly."
In an exit memo obtained by Business Insider, Amerige wrote, "I care too deeply about our role in supporting free expression and intellectual diversity to even whole-heartedly attempt the product stuff anymore, and that's how I know it's time to go. " On Tuesday, he criticized the hate speech policy as "dangerous" and "impractical."
"It's impossible to define what something like hate speech is and it's even harder to implement it and enforce it at Facebook's scale," he said. "I think it's a huge strategic misstep for a company whose product's primary value is to promote free expression is trying to draw these lines."
VIDEO - Fort Worth says 'maybe' to new Moxy airline at Meacham | Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 14:21
Right now, it's only a rumor about a rumor.
But if everything falls in place for a renowned airline executive, by 2020 Dallas-Fort Worth residents might be flying from Fort Worth Meacham Airport to somewhere like Las Vegas or California, resuming central-city air service after a quarter-century.
Yes, DFW is Fort Worth's prized passenger airport. We own a big stake, and it brings the world to our door. DFW is the primary reason for Tarrant County's economic growth and success.
But city leaders who used to say ''no'' or ''never'' to passenger service at Meacham now say ''maybe.''
Azul Brazilian airlines CEO David Neeleman is considering a startup low-cost airline.
Miami Herald
The reason: David Neeleman, the founder of JetBlue and other startups, is making moves that hint at a new low-cost airline to serve secondary city airports like Fort Worth Meacham, Baltimore or Burbank, California.
''We are not actively recruiting anybody,'' Mayor Betsy Price said recently: ''American Airlines is here and it's a big piece of our economy.''
But.
''That doesn't mean we wouldn't take a look at it,'' she said.
Colorado-based airline industry consultant Michael Boyd understands why there's buzz. (The new airline is tentatively named Moxy.)
''Going where no one has gone before '-- you leave that to Captain Kirk, or David Neeleman,'' Boyd said.
Neeleman has started four low-cost airlines worldwide. In July, France-based Airbus announced plans to sell him 60 new Airbus A220-300 jets.
Max Faulkner mfaulkner@star-telegram.com
''Meacham Field is a nice airport,'' Boyd said, using an old name.
''But DFW is the preferred airport for most travelers. I really wonder whether David can find enough traffic to make Meacham work as an alternative.''
The North Tarrant Express highway expansion has made the Meacham area more accessible and attractive, Price said. In June, the Star-Telegram quoted a city aviation official saying Denver-based Frontier Airlines wants to fly here.
City Council member Carlos Flores, who represents the north side, is more excited than Price.
''I think it'd be a good thing for Fort Worth,'' he said. ''There's a demand here. This can be done while respecting our established agreements.''
Meacham opened in 1925, eight years after Dallas Love Field. For nearly 30 years, it was Fort Worth's primary airport.
Five different small airlines tried to operate there in the 1980s and '90s. All flopped.
Continental (now United) briefly considered flying from Meacham to its Houston hub back when it offered the same flights from Love Field.
The airport finished a $20 million renovation last year with private terminal operator American Aero FTW.
Any new airline would have to arrange gate and security space, not to mention parking.
In 1993, a young David Neeleman stood alongside Southwest Airlines Chaiman Herbert D. Kelleher when Southwest bought Neeleman's startup Morris Air. Neeleman later joined Southwest.
RON HEFLIN AP
McKinney National Airport in eastern Collin County also was mentioned as a possible host.
''McKinney would be a disaster,'' said Boyd, the industry consultant.
''At DFW, you've got an airport that people built rail lines and highways for. McKinney can't compare.''
But that's why Fort Worth can't ignore Moxy or other airlines. Meacham has more to offer than McKinney.
''Anybody who wants to serve this area can compete at DFW Airport, and we've got plenty of room to expand,'' said Price, one of four Fort Worth representatives on the 12-member airport board of directors.
''But if you start talking about other airports '-- Meacham is more attractive and it's easier to get there.''
It's all still a big if.
VIDEO - Anita Sarkeesian in a nutshell - YouTube
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 14:12
VIDEO - How AI is creating new threats to election security - CBS News
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 14:01
Campaign 2018: Election Hacking is a weekly series from CBS News & CNET about the cyber-threats and vulnerabilities of the 2018 midterm election.
Cyberattacks targeting the 2018 midterm election aren't just relying on tested tactics like phishing attacks, social media influence campaigns, and ransomware targeting critical infrastructure '-- they're also harnessing technology in new and ever more threatening ways.
Cybersecurity experts are concerned that emerging technology like artificial intelligence and automation powered by big data and the Internet of Things is helping hackers attack election systems faster than officials can keep up.
"What I'm scared by is that there is this attacker-defender asymmetry," says Mark Risher, Google's Director of Product Management for Security and Privacy. "We need to make sure every door, every window, every little portal is securely closed. But the attackers only need to find one."
Artificial intelligenceAutomated cyberattacks against political campaigns are being shaped by artificial intelligence.
"If a human being were walking down the street trying to break into the car, they might try all the doors," Risher said. Where phishing attacks like those that targeted John Podesta and the Hillary Clinton campaign were slow and methodical, AI speeds up and amplifies the number of "car doors" an attacker can try and open.
READ: Artificial intelligence could one day take charge of cybersecurity
To defend against automated hacks, Google has deployed its own AI systems that detect bot behavior and limit the rate of login attempts. Google's AI analyzes attack patterns and then implements evasive maneuvers.
"It's almost this proxy war," says the Google security executive. "Computer versus computer."
Password-stuffing with botsIn 2016, Russian hackers infiltrated the Clinton campaign by sending phishing emails to John Podesta that were tailor-made to fool the campaign chairman. Once the attackers had his password, they were able to exfiltrate piles of sensitive campaign data.
Password cracking is still the easiest method of hacking political campaigns and election officials, said Akamai's Andy Ellis. Campaigns lock piles of sensitive data in email and cloud accounts protected by simple passwords. The threat to campaigns now and in the immediate future is from automated bots hacking passwords using a technique called password stuffing.
The problem starts, said Ellis, when people "log in to two different websites where they have the same email address and username. At some point, one of those sites gets compromised," leaving the login credentials exposed. "Then a whole directory gets published on the dark web."
"What they're really doing is attacking anybody who has ever reused a password with the same email address or username across multiple sites."
READ: Hackers, trolls and the fight over your vote in the 2018 midterm elections
According to Akamai's data, botnets are responsible for nearly 300,000 malicious login attempts every hour. If you're like most people, said Ellis, you've used the same password on multiple sites. Bots then use the pilfered usernames and passwords to make repeated login attempts into the accounts of campaign staffers and election officials, trying one password combination after another until one works. Once the hackers are inside the campaign account, he said, they can do irreparable damage.
The Internet of Things"Emerging threats are an evolution of current threats," said Microsoft's cybersecurity field chief technology officer Diana Kelley. "The core threat is criminals who are trying to get access to our data, our systems, our devices."
Devices, she said, produce big data. The more data available to an AI algorithm, the more effective that algorithm will be. And hackers are obsessed with data. There is no better source of data than the network of connected devices known as the Internet of Things, or IoT.
The IoT is composed of everything from smart home appliances to manufacturing control systems to smart cars and municipal transportation networks. Even toys and baby monitors are at risk. Millions of new IoT devices come online every day and few are properly secured, leaving them extremely vulnerable to cyberattack. Data produced by IoT devices will likely surface on the dark web and be used for automated attacks like password stuffing.
"We're going to have 9 billion new IoT devices with MCU '-- micro control units '-- entering the internet every year," says Kelley. "That's a huge number, and each of those systems is going to have to be built securely, deployed securely, and managed securely in order to not expose users, consumers, and companies to risk."
READ: Rise of the hacking machines
In October 2016, a botnet known as Mirai took down internet communications systems across the U.S. Kelley warned that sophisticated hackers targeting elections are also likely to harness insecure IoT devices to a similar attack on Election Day. If an IoT attack were to hit on Election Day, she warned, the internet would be inaccessible and voters would be unable to communicate or access essential election information. Were an IoT hack to include ransomware, the impact would be even worse.
The solution, she said, might be reasonably simple: Better passwords. But of course, that's easier said than done.
AI will continue to proliferate, and both big tech and big hackers will continue to leverage emerging technology. But political campaigns, device manufacturers, consumers and "large and small companies need to take steps to ensure that they've built security into systems," Kelley said.
Learn more:
Hackers could use facial recognition AI to sway political campaigns (CBS News)Artificial intelligence positioned to be a game-changer (CBS News)IoT attacks are getting worse -- and no one's listening (CNET)IoT security risks still a core fear (CNET)WannaCry ransomware: Hospitals were warned to patch system to protect against cyberattack - but didn't (ZDNet) (C) 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO - Saudi Arabia faces fallout for Khashoggi disappearance
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 13:43
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Play All Best of NBC News News Texas flooding: 18 counties now under state of emergency News Washington Post publishes 'last piece' from missing journalist Khashoggi News Former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny arrested Latino Caravan of migrants flees Honduras, heading north think Ruth Ben-Ghiat: Trump isn't a mad-man. He's been following the authoritarian playbook since day one Velshi & Ruhle Treasury employee arrested for allegedly leaking to reporters
VIDEO - Crimea: Student 'shoots himself' after deadly bomb and gun rampage at college | Euronews
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 13:39
At least 19 people were killed and dozens more wounded in an attack on a college in Crimea on Wednesday by a student who then killed himself, officials said.
Eighteen-year-old Vladislav Roslyakov has been identified by Russian investigators as the attacker.
Officials say he turned up at the technical college in the city of Kerch carrying a firearm and then began shooting. His body was later found in the college with "self-inflicted gunshot wounds."
Crimea's Russian-backed prime minister Sergei Aksyonov told Russian news agency TASS that the attacker was a fourth year student at the college who "acted alone".
"It's a colossal tragedy," he said on television.
Investigators said most of the victims were teenagers.
They added in a statement on their website: "According to preliminary information, today in the dining room of the Kerch Polytechnic College an unidentified explosive device filled with metal objects exploded."
Officials cited by RIA news agency said a second explosive device was found at the scene and had been disarmed.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, initially said officials were looking into the possibility that the shooting and blast was a terrorist attack. But federal investigators later ruled this out.
''I would like to express my condolences to the relatives of the deceased, and also to express my hopes that the wounded will recover as soon as possible,'' said Putin, speaking at a joint news conference with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
''The motives and the exact version of events of this tragedy are being studied really carefully and we will inform the public about the result of the investigation by the security and special services," he said.
Olga Grebennikova, the headmistress of the college, was filmed on her mobile phone talking about the attack.
"There are dead people, killed people. We had an event and I went to BTI (Bureau of Technical Inventory) to sign an agreement on children's training. I would have been dead now," she said.
Anastasia Yenshina, a 15-year-old student at the college, told Reuters she was in a toilet on the ground floor of the building with some friends when she heard an explosion.
"I came out and there was dust and smoke, I couldn't understand, I'd been deafened," she said. "Everyone started running. I did not know what to do. Then they told us to leave the building through the gymnasium."
"Everyone ran there... I saw a girl lying there. There was a child who was being helped to walk because he could not move on his own. The wall was covered in blood. Then everyone started to climb over the fence, and we could still hear explosions. Everyone was scared. People were crying."
Photographs from the scene of the blast showed that the ground floor windows of the two-storey building had been blown out, and that debris was lying on the floor outside.
Emergency services and military personnel were deployed to the scene.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
VIDEO - Climate Change To Cause Global Beer Shortage - YouTube
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 13:20
VIDEO - Is it okay to be white? Not according to the Australian Senate! - YouTube
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 12:58
VIDEO - BREAKING - U.S. Warns China, New Submarine USS Indiana Equipped With World's Most SECRET Weapon - YouTube
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 12:41
VIDEO - Brennan: Saudi denials of involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance 'ring hollow' | TheHill
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 04:18

Former CIA Director John Brennan John Owen BrennanBrennan: Saudi denials of involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance 'ring hollow' Clinton's security clearance withdrawn at her request Mr. President, tear down the wall hiding those FISA abuses MORE said Sunday that Saudi Arabia's denials of involvement in the suspected death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi "ring hollow."
"If Khashoggi had disappeared in Turkey when he was at a hotel or a private residence, I think there is plausible deniability on the part of the Saudi government. But he disappeared when there is video evidence of him being at the consulate," Brennan said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"So their denials ring hollow, very much ring hollow," he continued. "To go after a permanent resident of the United States who writes for The Washington Post, and doing it on foreign soil, at a diplomatic mission, to me it would be inconceivable that such an operation would be run by the Saudis without the knowledge of the day-to-day decisionmaker of Saudi Arabia, that's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. I think it is just beyond reality."
Brennan, who worked as a station chief in Saudi Arabia, said there should be a full investigation of Khashoggi's disappearance, and that any repercussions for Saudi officials may ultimately be up to King Salman.
However, Brennan noted that the king is aging and suggested he may lack the political authority and mental capacity to act.
Khashoggi disappeared nearly two weeks ago after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and was not seen leaving.
Turkish officials have said he was murdered there on orders from Saudi officials, and the Post reported that there is audio and video that proves Khashoggi was tortured and killed.
Saudi officials have denied the claims.
President Trump Donald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE has expressed concern about Khashoggi's disappearance, and vowed there would be ''severe punishment'' if Saudi Arabia was found to be behind the journalist's death. He did not specify what the punishment might be, but voiced reluctance to alter the weapons deals between the U.S. and the Saudis.
Senators last week invoked sanctions law that requires the president to investigate Khashoggi's disappearance.
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Tue, 16 Oct 2018 10:57

VIDEO - 60 Minutes - Overtime - CBS News
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 03:34
Eye-to-eye with Pope Francis Filmmaker Wim Wenders used a device called an Interrotron to make it feel like the pope is talking to the viewer. 60 Minutes gets an early look
Memorable 60 Minutes moments This season, 60 Minutes celebrates its 50 seasons on air. Here's a look back at some of the stories correspondents remember most
Are zookeepers playing God? 60 Minutes reports on the new methods zookeepers use to control genetic diversity -- and the ethical questions they raise
More from Stormy Daniels Anderson Cooper talks about his 60 Minutes interview with the porn star: "I think there's more to come on this story." Plus, more from Stormy Daniels
'The Queen', Remembered Revisiting 60 Minutes' 1990 interview on "Respect" and more with Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul
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Mon, 15 Oct 2018 02:18
STORIES
Pet owners will spend nearly half a billion dollars on animal costumes this Halloween - MarketWatch
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 14:40
Look out for lizards dressed as waiters, dogs dressed as Cleopatra and cats wearing tutus this Halloween.
Pets are getting roped into Halloween madness whether they like it or not, as more consumers are shelling out ever-climbing sums to costume their beloved animals. More than 30 million people will spend an estimated $480 million treating their pets to costumes this Halloween, more than double the $220 million spend on pet Halloween costumes in 2010 when the National Retail Federation began tracking pet costumes.
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The National Retail Federation says Americans will spend $9 billion celebrating Halloween this year, slightly lower than $9.1 billion last year, on costumes, cards and decorations. Pet costumes represent 15% of the $3.2 billion spent on all costume sales. More than 31 million people will purchase pet costumes this year, up from 28 million last year. Millennials aged 25- to 34-years-old are the most likely to dress up their pets, often posting their animal's Halloween look online.
The first thing I do to my dog after not seeing her, I bought her a new costume for Halloween 🎃ðŸ‚ðŸ'• pic.twitter.com/kjRfSqnR62
'-- Linda Victoria 🌹 (@lindacruz_) October 15, 2018 My mom sent me my dog wearing her Halloween costume and I'm obsessed 🍠pic.twitter.com/iaLNozJmOV
'-- Jen (@JenniferPannier) October 15, 2018As with everything from plastic surgery to boasting about children, Facebook FB, -1.47% and Instagram appear to be fueling the trend. ''Social media is allowing millennial consumers to have fun with Halloween,'' said National Retail Federation spokeswoman Ana Serafin Smith.
The pumpkin is the top pet costume, with the hot dog and the bumble bee taking the second and third spots, the NRF said. But the possibilities are endless: pets have been spotted dressed up as a everything from a pharaoh to a taco to Wonder Woman. The top 2018 costume purchase for people is that steadfast seasonal staple: the witch.
Also see: People are splurging on gluten-free superfoods'--for their dogs and cats
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The Next Big Thing Is Weed Beer - Bloomberg
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 14:39
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At Least 20 In Massive NJ Drug Scheme: Cops, Doctors, Teachers | Patch
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 14:37
Another person has admitted her role this week in a massive drug fraud scheme in New Jersey involving doctors, teachers and police officers, according to authorities. At least 20 people have admitted guilt in the crime.
A Stafford Township woman on Monday admitted defrauding New Jersey state health benefits programs and other insurers by submitting fraudulent claims for unnecessary prescriptions, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Kristie Masucci, 36, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler in Camden federal court to a charge of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, authorities said.
The guilty plea is connected to a scheme that defrauded New Jersey state health benefits programs and other insurers out of more than $25 million, authorities said.
Before Masucci, at least 19 pleaded guilty in connection with this scheme. Others include police officers; state troopers; Richard McAllister, a 42-year-old Pleasantville school teacher from Ocean City; William Hunter, 43, a salesman from Sewell; Michael Sher, a firefighter from Northfield; Nicholas Tedesco, a retail director for a local candy company, and his brother Matthew, an alleged leader of the conspiracy.
Others were Middle Township school teacher Shawn Sypherd, 46, of Marmora; sales representatives Andrew Gerstel, 32, of Galloway; 36-year-old George Gavras, of Moorestown; and 42-year-old Judd Holt, of Marlton. John Gaffney, a Margate doctor, also pleaded guilty.
A pharmaceutical salesman caught up in the scheme also worked directly with James Kauffman, the endocrinologist who killed himself in January while he awaited trial on charges he arranged the May 2012 murder of his wife, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Read more: Husband Accused In NJ Radio Host's Murder Commits Suicide
Last year, Matthew Tedesco, 42, a pharmaceutical sales representative from Linwood, and Robert Bessey, 43, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler in Camden federal court to charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
In the scheme, Masucci served as a recruiter and persuaded individuals in New Jersey to obtain very expensive and medically unnecessary compounded medications from an out-of-state pharmacy, identified as the "Compounding Pharmacy," according to authorities.
From January 2015 through February 2016, conspirators learned that certain compound medication prescriptions '' including pain, scar, antifungal, and libido creams, as well as vitamin combinations '' were reimbursed for thousands of dollars for a one-month supply.
The conspirators also learned that some New Jersey state and local government and education employees, including teachers, firefighters, municipal police officers, and state troopers, had insurance coverage for these particular compound medications, according to authorities.
An entity referred to as the "Pharmacy Benefits Administrator" provided pharmacy benefit management services for the State Health Benefits Program, which covers qualified state and local government employees, retirees and eligible dependents. It also covers the School Employees' Health Benefits Program, which includes qualified local education employees, retirees, and eligible dependents.
Masucci and conspirators worked to fraudulently obtain compounded medications from the "Compounding Pharmacy" without any evaluation by a medical professional that they were medically necessary, according to authorities.
In return, the pharmacy paid one of Masucci's conspirators a percentage of each prescription filled and paid by the "Pharmacy Benefits Administrator," which was then distributed to Masucci and other members of the conspiracy.
The "Pharmacy Benefits Administrator" paid the "Compounding Pharmacy" more than $50 million for compounded medications mailed to individuals in New Jersey, including $1.88 million for prescriptions submitted by Masucci and her cohorts. Masucci received $388,608 for her role in the scheme.
Masucci faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 5, 2019. As part of her plea agreement, Masucci must forfeit her criminal proceeds and pay restitution in an amount to be determined at sentencing.
Image via Shutterstock
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Pro-Trump pimp and Nevada GOP politician Dennis Hof dies after rally
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 14:20
Dennis Hof, the notorious pimp and Republican candidate for Nevada's state assembly, died hours after a combination 72nd birthday party/campaign rally attended by GOP tax fighter Grover Norquist; Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was recently pardoned by President Donald Trump, and porn movie legend Ron Jeremy.
Jeremy found Hof, who had died in his sleep at the Love Ranch Vegas, one of Hof's legal brothels, in Crystal, Nevada, according to a tweet from Hof's campaign manager, Chuck Muth.
Hof's birthday was Sunday.
TweetHof, a cigar-smoking sybarite, also owned the Moonlite Bunny Ranch,which was made famous by the HBO show "Cathouse." He had said that Trump inspired him to run for office.
A month before his death, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported that police were investigating an allegation that Hof had sexually assaulted a woman. Three former prostitutes previously had accused Hof of sexual assault. But prosecutors did not file charges against Hof because the statue of limitations had expired in each case, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported earlier this year.
Hof, who denied the allegations, told the Las Vegas newspaper that "It's this sort of muckraking in the political cesspool that keeps so many good people from running for office."
"But it won't deter me," he added.
Muth, while en route to the Love Ranch, told the Reno Gazette Journal, "I'm on my way up there now to find out exactly what the hell happened."
"I got a call from his assistant, in tears saying Dennis died and I need you to come out here immediately, I can't deal with this myself," Muth said. "We had a wonderful event last night. He was having the time of his life last night. Grover Norquist was there ... Ron Jeremy was there. He was given a rescue dog as a birthday present."
Norquist, in an email to CNBC, said that he had met Hof several years ago while appearing with him on Fox Business Network.
"I did not know he was famous from his HBO show. My press guy explained the world to me," said Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform. "Later (two years ago) he called me to say he was running for state legislature as a Libertarian '-- challenging a Republican incumbent who voted for a massive tax hike. He signed the [no-tax increase] pledge. I endorsed him. Dennis Hof narrowly lost."
"Two years later '-- this year, Dennis ran in the GOP primary and won the primary. I spoke at one event with him in the spring and one last night after he won the primary. I liked his politics. I liked him. He was a great guy," Norquist said.
"He was a strong leader for the taxpayer movement," he added. "He would have shaken up Carson City and moved Nevada back to its Reagan/Laxalt roots. I knew that whatever happens on election day I would be celebrating my friend's victory."
"He was a personal friend. I liked him. He was full of the world's wisdom and kindness. I miss him already," Norquist said.
TweetMuth also had said in a tweet during the shindig that Fox News host Tucker Carlson called in to the party to say hello "to the standing-room-only crowd."
Tweet Tweet TweetHof, whose 2015 memoir was titled "The Art of the Pimp," had defeated an incumbent state assemblyman in the Republican primary in the summer. His name will still appear on the general election ballot for the District 36 seat, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.
If he wins, a replacement would be appointed.
Hof said earlier this year that Trump's shocking 2016 win inspired him to run for office.
"I'm riding the Trump wave," Hof said in June after winning his primary. "He's Christopher Columbus."
US Treasury employee arrested on charges of leaking reports to media
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 13:46
Source: Alexandria Sheriff's Office
Natalie Mayflower Edwards
A U.S. Treasury employee has been arrested on charges that she leaked to BuzzFeed News multiple reports about suspicious financial transactions involving ex-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, law-enforcement officials said.
The highly confidential documents allegedly leaked by the employee also were related to former Trump campaign official Richard Gates, accused Russian agent Maria Butina, a suspected Russian money launderering entity and the Russian Embassy in Washington, according to a criminal complaint.
Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a 40-year-old senior advisor in Treasury's financial crimes enforcement network who was arrested Tuesday, will face federal criminal charges in New York, officials said.
She is charged with unlawfully disclosing so-called suspicious activity reports, or SARS, and conspiracy to do the same. Both felony counts carry a maxmium potential sentence of five years in prison.
A Quinton, Virginia, resident, Edwards was released on a $100,000 personal recognizance bond after her presentment Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Under the conditions of her release, Edwards is barred from contacting reporters or handling documents belonging to her Treasury division without approval.
A lawyer for Edwards did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
SARS are used to alert Treasury officials and other authorities about financial transactions that may be related to criminal conduct, such as money laundering. Treasury's FinCEN division, for which Edwards works, manages the collection of SARS. It is illegal for a government employee to disclose a SAR or its contents outside of the scope of their work.
The complaint against Edwards says that she started leaking "numerous SARS in October 2017" to an unidentified reporter, and continued doing so until this month.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
The Department of Treasury in Washington, D.C.
She had "hundreds of electronic communications" with the reporter, "many via an encrypted application," the complaint said.
After Edwards began leaking SARS, the journalist wrote about a dozen articles which mentioned the details of those reports, according to the complaint.
Articles cited in the complaint carry the bylines of Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier, two BuzzFeed reporters, as well as other journalists at that media outlet.
The articles cited documents transactions pertaining to Manafort and Gates, both of whom have since pleaded guilty to financial crimes related to their consulting work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.
They also related to Butina, who is currently being held without bond on charges of being a Russian agent, the accused money launderering real-estate entity Prevezon Alexander, and the Russian Embassy in Washington.
At the time of Edwards' arrest, according to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, she "was in possession of a flash drive" that appeared to be the same device "on which she saved the unlawfully disclosed" SARS.
Also in her possession was "a cellphone containing numerous communications over an encrypted application in which she transmitted [SARS] and other sensitive government information" illegally, prosecutors said.
"When questioned by law enforcement officials [Tuesday], Edwards confessed she has provided [SARS] to [the reporter] via an encrypted application, through falsely denied knowing that [the reporter] intended to or did publish that information" through a news organization, the complaint said.
BuzzFeed News declined to comment. Leopold and Cormier did not immediately return requests for comment.
'-- Additional reporting by CNBC's Tucker Higgins
Carbon Dioxide Is Shriveling Men's Balls '' Mother Jones
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 13:21
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A new study from researchers in California has reached some astonishing new conclusions. An interdisciplinary team composed of members from physics, physiology, statistics, and atmospheric sciences began with results from a metastudy of sperm concentration in men. This study (chart on left) confirmed that sperm concentrations have been declining since the early 70s. At the same time, measurements from the Mauna Loa Observatory show that CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have been rising during the same period (chart on right):
After validating a parameterless model based on surprisingly common consumer software packages, the team derived a transformation equation based on Ï = 1 at 1973 for the Mauna Loa data:
y = Ï +κx, where Ï = -238 and κ = -ln(11)
The math behind all this is too advanced for most laymen to understand, but it can be illustrated in chart form quite beautifully:
The correlation is nearly perfect. As CO2 levels change, sperm concentrations in male semen change right along. As the authors put it, ''Our global manhood is being steadily shriveled into effeminancy by our huge and rising emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.'' We need to do something about this right away.
IMPORTANT NOTE: My readers are mostly liberals, and believe me, I know what you're thinking. Those are just two straight lines. The fancy Greek letters in the equation just change the slope and offset of one of them. Correlation doesn't mean causation. And you've provided no causal mechanism at all.
Right. I get it. Now STFU. Do you want to fight climate change or not? If you do, there's no harm in a little white lie that convinces men their balls are shrinking, is there? If you think about it, it's one of the few things that might actually get a reaction from conservative white guys. So just go along, OK?
These transgender cyclists have Olympian disagreement on how to define fairness
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 13:15
'This is bigger than sports'
Jillian Bearden and Rachel McKinnon have much in common as cyclists, Olympic hopefuls and transgender women '-- and much in conflict as opposite poles of an intractable argument over how to balance what's fair with what's right.
Bearden agrees with the International Olympic Committee that naturally occurring testosterone gives transgender women an unfair advantage in competition against cisgender women, meaning women who were born female, while McKinnon believes subjecting trans women to testosterone blocking violates their human rights.
Rachel McKinnon, left, and Jillian Bearden, right, are both transgender cyclists on the same plight, albeit with drastically different views on fairness. (Photo: Jeff Sochko and Sarah Bearden)
Bearden sees trans women who compete with unlimited levels of natural testosterone as dopers and cheaters while McKinnon says looking at the issue that way only furthers the oppression of transgender people.
And never the twain shall meet.
USA TODAY Sports spoke with the antagonists, both of whom say they are fighting for fairness. Bearden sees it as fairness for all competitors while McKinnon frames it as fairness for transgender athletes. All of this comes in the wake of updated IOC guidelines in 2015 that require women who transition from men to block certain amounts of natural testosterone.
The issue is important now because governing bodies such as USA Cycling, USA Track and Field, USA Fencing and US Lacrosse are crafting, or have recently crafted, policies that more or less mirror these IOC guidelines. And it all comes at a time that Ashland Johnson, director of education and research for the Human Rights Campaign, calls the dawn of a trans movement in sports.
The dispute between Bearden and McKinnon is personal as well as intellectual. They've never competed against one another '-- Bearden is at the highest pro level '-- but Bearden says she asked McKinnon to leave her cycling team last spring because of their visceral disagreements. McKinnon then formed her own team and members of each cycling club mostly share the orthodoxies of their respective leaders.
''I've proven how powerful testosterone is from when I competed'' as a male, Bearden says. ''That doesn't mean specifically that the more testosterone you have the stronger you are, but the hormone provides a certain stamina that continues to charge you. It gives you that edge of pushing power.''
Women cyclists compete in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Many governing bodies, such as USA Cycling, have adopted the International Olympic Committee's transgender guidelines. (Photo: Guy Rhodes, USA TODAY Sports)
McKinnon says whether other competitors believe transgender women have an unfair advantage is irrelevant because she says there is no way to measure if such advantages even exist.
''This is bigger than sports and it's about human rights,'' McKinnon says. ''By catering to cisgender people's views, that furthers transgender people's oppression. When it comes to extending rights to a minority population, why would we ask the majority? I bet a lot of white people were pissed off when we desegregated sports racially and allowed black people. But they had to deal with it.''
The IOC has long struggled with issues of gender. It instituted gender testing decades ago when men, in rare cases, were suspected of competing as women. At first the testing was of the crude, pull-down-your-pants variety. Later that morphed into chromosomal testing with a cheek swab. And in 1999, the IOC ended compulsory gender testing.
But guidelines adopted in 2004 effectively said trans women had to undergo sex reassignment surgery. New guidelines in 2015 threw out the surgery requirement but said trans women needed to test below a specified level of testosterone for more than one year before they could compete, down from two years.
Bearden thinks the new guidelines make sense. McKinnon thinks they are manifestly discriminatory.
The 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo could feature the first publicly-out transgender competitor in Olympic history. (Photo: Getty Images)
All this comes at a time when President Trump wants to ban transgender troops from serving in the military, a move condemned by generals and many in Congress. The Department of Defense is tasked to develop an implementation plan by March. That will come just weeks after the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
No transgender athlete has competed publicly in the Olympics, but advocates believe that will change in coming years. Caitlyn Jenner '-- who won the decathlon gold medal as Bruce Jenner at the 1976 Montreal Summer Games '-- told USA TODAY Sports last summer that she believes a transgender Olympian will ''undoubtedly'' step into the worldwide spotlight by the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.
Bearden and McKinnon plan to try to qualify for those Games. Bearden is a pro-level cyclist and founder of the Trans National Women's Cycling Team; she has a reasonable chance to make the U.S. Olympic cycling team for 2020. McKinnon, an assistant professor of philosophy at the College of Charleston, is a category-1 elite-level road cyclist and founder of Foxy Moxy Racing. She is a less likely Olympic qualifier who hopes to make the Canadian Olympic cycling team for her native country.
Tia Thompson hopes to make the U.S. Olympic volleyball team in 2020. She is a transgender woman who waited three years to get approval from USA Volleyball to compete as a woman earlier this year.
The Human Rights Campaign's Johnson, who recently conducted awareness training for U.S. Olympic Committee coaches and administrators, says governing bodies are ''moving away from old stereotypes and moving toward gender decisions based on science, inclusion and fairness.''
There's the rub: How to reconcile science (blocking testosterone) with human rights (competing as you are).
CLOSE
Gus Kenworthy, Michelle Kwan and other Winter Olympians sat down with USA TODAY Sports to discuss what they're most looking forward to about the upcoming games in South Korea. USA TODAY Sports
The power of testosterone
Bearden transitioned in 2015 and she has been a scientific test subject for the IOC by providing before-and-after performance data that she says proves the power of testosterone. She understands that pressing for human rights always sounds like the right thing to do, but she believes in this instance it would actually hinder a transgender sports movement that's only just begun.
Jillian Bearden crosses the finish line in the 34th El Tour de Tucson cycling race in November of 2016. (Photo: Kelly Presnell, AP)
''Two years ago, no transgender woman (cyclist) was out (publicly) racing,'' Bearden says. ''No one would dare come out of the shadows. Now, because we've laid the appropriate groundwork, we have our foot in the door (with the IOC) to where we can compete as our true selves.
''Quite frankly, it makes me feel good racing with 50 other women who know that I've passed a USA Cycling policy because I've submitted my (testosterone) levels. It stops the questioning, the bullying. I can stand on the podium and feel comfortable. Without a policy, for a lot of women who don't know me, they'd be, like, what the (expletive)? And I get that.''
Under IOC and USOC guidelines, Olympic-caliber transgender women are required to keep their testosterone below a certain level '-- 10 nanomoles per liter '-- before competing, and must present a doctor's note showing testosterone levels are below that required threshold. Natural testosterone in transgender women is tested with the same methodology as unnatural testosterone created by doping is measured in cisgender men and women.
Rachel McKinnon teaches philosophy and ethics at the College of Charleston. (Photo: Adesso Photography and Design/William Greer)
McKinnon, who teaches a class on ethics and inclusion at Charleston, cites the Olympic charter in saying that sport is a human right.
''We cannot have a woman legally recognized as a trans woman in society,'' McKinnon says, ''and not be recognized that way in sports. '... Focusing on performance advantage is largely irrelevant because this is a rights issue. We shouldn't be worried about trans people taking over the Olympics. We should be worried about their fairness and human rights instead.''
Bearden makes a distinction between discriminatory bathroom bills and what she sees as rule-makers doing their best to promote equality and inclusion.
''Having your rights violated is very different than a sport you sign yourself up for,'' she says. ''You have to comply with certain rules. I don't feel that's discriminatory. I don't think (guidelines) infringe on anyone's rights. I feel like (testosterone blocking) is necessary to achieve fairness. There are so many rules in sports, and complying with these rules allows us to ride with cisgender women because it's fairest to them.''
Bearden lives in Colorado Springs, home of the USOC. She believes compromise can lead to good solutions. McKinnon, originally from Victoria, British Columbia, believes she has an uncompromising call to justice.
Jillian Bearden has seen her performances dip since transitioning from male to female. But she remains a hopeful for the Tokyo Olympic Games. (Photo: Pink Realty)
Both women want transgender people to thrive '-- in athletics and in society '-- and both have received death threats for their trouble. Last August, when Bearden became the first trans woman to race with a pro peloton in the U.S., the Daily Wire (a self-styled commentary site for conservatives) ran a story under the headline: ''Man Who Thinks He's a Woman Crushing Women's Cycling.''
McKinnon says testosterone testing is insensitive to transgender athletes who are uncomfortable outing themselves. She points out some athletes are at an in-between place in terms of their gender. Scottie Pendleton, who rides for McKinnon's Foxy Moxy team, identifies as gender nonconforming and goes by the pronouns of they and them.
''I race in the men's field, but I identify as more of a woman than a man,'' Pendleton says. ''There are a lot of misconceptions out there about gender and it's unknown how diverse the transgender community is. We've culturally defined gender as these two very specific things and that you have to be one or the other. Transgender breaks that barrier.''
Pendleton says there is limited research to show that natural testosterone ''can enhance sports performance metrics. It comes down to: What does fairness in sports actually mean? I think any time you exclude anybody because they are different '-- regardless of how or why they are different '-- you're discriminating.''
Johnson, of the Human Rights Campaign, says: ''All athletes, regardless of gender, should be subject to the same testing standards, and a policy shouldn't single out a trans competitor. But at the same time, I don't necessarily see (the IOC's guidelines) as an anti-trans policy because there have been unfair advantages linked to testosterone.''
Chris Mosier became the first transgender man to compete in the Duathlon World Championships in 2016 and is now sponsored by Nike. His success was key in prompting the IOC to come up with its adjusted guidelines two years ago.
''I was not perceived to be a threat to anybody,'' Mosier says. ''No one expected me to be competitive. But there is an assumption that trans women will dominate in sports.''
Rachel McKinnon believes subjecting transgender women to testosterone testing can target and discriminate against an already marginalized community. (Photo: Weldon Weaver)
The adjusted guidelines said that athletes who transition from female to male, such as Mosier, are eligible to compete without restriction. Those guidelines also said that athletes who transition from male to female can compete with one year of hormone therapy to block testosterone and keep it at the specified threshold.
McKinnon says the IOC's testosterone cutoff of 10 nanomales per liter is ''arbitrary'' and there's no right way to measure it. She says some cisgender women have testosterone levels over the threshold and some cisgender men have levels below it.
''So you can be a really tall cyclist and that's fine?'' McKinnon says. ''There are so many natural advantages someone could have physically that there is not a good argument for why singling out testosterone solves the problem.''
The Court of Arbitration for Sport is considering a case on the fairness of testosterone levels for intersex athletes '-- individuals who are female but develop some male characteristics, including high levels of testosterone. In 2014, the court suspended a testosterone rule of the IAAF, world governing body for track and field, citing a lack of scientific evidence ''about the degree of the advantage'' that women with high levels of testosterone have over their counterparts with normal levels.
''There were no regulations in place at the 2016 Olympic Rio Games and the same situation will apply to the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games,'' IOC spokesperson Emmanuelle Moreau told USA TODAY Sports by email. The court case ''is still ongoing and we have no timeline as to when it will be completed.''
The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, like the 2016 Rio Games, does not have testosterone testing due to the Dutee Chand case. (Photo: Chung Sung-Jun, Getty Images)
Author Roger Pielke, in his book The Edge: The War against Cheating and Corruption in the Cutthroat World of Elite Sports Performance, wrote: ''The role of naturally occurring testosterone in athletic performance is scientifically interesting, but it is inherently no more relevant to athletics policy than any other naturally occurring characteristic of the human athlete, man or woman.''
Joanna Harper, chief medical physicist of radiation oncology at Providence Portland (Ore.) Medical Center, has been an adviser to the IOC. She spoke before the Court of Arbitration in the intersex case and later put together a study in the Journal of Sporting Cultures and Identities in which she collected data from herself and seven other transgender runners who had transitioned and undergone hormone therapy. It found all of them were significantly slower in performance as females.
Bearden also saw her times and performances decline drastically as a result of her hormone replacement therapy in 2015. A decade's worth of elite-level bike racing as a man faded once she transitioned to female and began the therapy.
''People toss the word 'fair' around all the time,'' Harper says. ''The fact of the matter is every athlete has advantages and disadvantages. But sporting bodies need to craft divisions that are equitable and meaningful. We let left-handed baseball players pitch when they might have some form of an advantage. On the other hand, we do not allow 200-pound boxers to fight 130-pound boxers.
''We allow advantages, but we do not and should not allow overwhelming advantages. There's a way to do that without stepping on anyone's human rights.''
Female Cyclist Who Lost To Transgender 'Woman' Speaks Out: 'NOT Fair' | Daily Wire
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 12:39
On Sunday, biologically male cyclist Rachel McKinnon, competing against biological females, unsurprisingly took home a gold medal at Sunday's UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Los Angeles.
One of the women he edged out, third-place winner Jennifer Wagner, is not staying silent about the glaring unfairness.
"I was the 3rd place rider. It's definitely NOT fair," wrote Wagner, an American from Houston, in a tweet on Monday, according to The Daily Caller.
I was the 3rd place rider. It's definitely NOT fair.
'-- jen wagner-assali (@jkwagnermd) October 15, 2018The cyclist was replying to a tweet from political personality Katie Hopkins, who highlighted the absurdity of a man being allowed to compete in a women's race. "Congratulations to the brave faces of silver & bronze. The world is gripped by a febrile madness," wrote Hopkins.
For clarity - this was the WOMENS world championships. I repeat. Women's.
Congratulations to the brave faces of silver & bronze. The world is gripped by a febrile madness. pic.twitter.com/P6VkaNFeyy
'-- Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) October 14, 2018The second-place winner, Carolien van Herrikhuyzen, stunningly said the biological male who bested her won an "honest race," citing current rules.
"No one is a transgender to steal anyone's medal. We had an honest race under UCI rules. If you compete you accept the rules, otherwise, don't compete. I can only imagine what she had to go through in her life to be where she is now, how hard it is to fit in," wrote van Herrikhuyzen in a tweet.
I totally disagree. No one is a transgender to steal anyone's medal. We had an honest race under UCI rules. If you compete you accept the rules, otherwise, don't compete. I can only imagine what she had to go through in her life to be where she is now, how hard it is to fit in.
'-- C van Herrikhuyzen (@CforCycling) October 15, 2018Wagner pushed back, "Just because it's a CURRENT UCI rule doesn't make it fair or right. And rules can be changed."
Just because it's a CURRENT UCI rule doesn't make it fair or right. And rules can be changed.
'-- jen wagner-assali (@jkwagnermd) October 16, 2018As reported by The Daily Wire on Monday, McKinnon blasted critics of his victory as "transphobic bigots."
Lots of transphobic bigots are responding to my world championship win saying that 'Next up, the paralympics.' Hey women, you realize that ALL of these people (many of them women) are comparing you to disabled people...right? Women = 'disabled men' they think. Wow. Offensive. pic.twitter.com/K5cbZgaOMc
'-- Dr. Rachel McKinnon (@rachelvmckinnon) October 14, 2018The Daily Wire's Matt Walsh argued on Wednesday that McKinnon's victory is another reminder that "transgender rights" will always trump women's rights for those on the Left.
"It turns out that the Left does not treat all victim groups equally. Some victims are more important than others," writes Walsh. "There is a hierarchy of victims, in fact, and LGBT folks sit at the very top of it. Their claims of victimhood trump all other claims. Their desires and demands come before everything else. A woman's claim to privacy and agency ends where the demands of the LGBT camp begin. She is entitled to be heard and respected only up to the point that her thoughts and feelings might be inconvenient to the aims of the gay lobby. Her womanhood is treated as something unique, special, and beautiful, right until a man slaps on a wig and changes his name to Rachel. Then, suddenly, unceremoniously, womanhood is an utterly meaningless, superficial thing that any man can appropriate for himself."
H/t Peter Hasson
Ellison Says It Was 'Humiliating' To Admit He Is Abuse Victim, Says Ex-Wife Shouldn't Be Believed | The Daily Caller
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 12:37
11:51 AM 10/17/2018 | PoliticsLuke Rosiak | Investigative Reporter
Democratic National Committee Deputy Chair Keith Ellison's ex-wife allegedly abused him, the U.S. congressman from Minnesota wrote in newly-released divorce papers. Ellison claims his ex-wife, Kim Ellison, faked a disability and twice faked suicide. He also alleges that Kim harassed Karen Monahan, who he would later date. Monahan later accused him of abuse, and Ellison admitted to calling her a ''bitch.'' Keith Ellison, the Democratic National Committee's deputy chair, said in divorce papers that claims by his ex-wife should not be believed and said that he is a ''domestic abuse victim.''
The records were unsealed Wednesday despite efforts by Ellison's ex-wife, Kim Ellison, to block their release.
''It was very humiliating to admit that I was a domestic abuse victim,'' he wrote.
''I need to talk about the Respondent's credibility,'' Ellison, a U.S. congressman for Minnesota, wrote. ''The Respondent is not credible. She does not tell the truth. Throughout our marriage, she was physically abusive to me.''
''The Respondent harassed female friends and colleagues on the phone and through texts '-- specifically, Batala McFarlane, Hiam Nawas, Karen Monahan,'' he continued.
Ellison engaged in a romantic relationship with Monhan as well, who later said Ellison physically abused her, and dragged her across the room by her hair. She said there is a video, but has declined to produce it, implying it is because she is naked in the video.
Monahan did produce contemporaneous notes where she told a doctor she was being abused by Ellison. Ellison admitted to calling her a ''bitch.''
Another former girlfriend also accused Ellison of abuse, and Ellison attacked her credibility.
In the divorce filing against his ex-wife, a member of the local school board, Ellison wrote: ''She stole my government issued cellphone and stole the SIM card from it. She kicked me out of my home numerous times, both in the daytime and in the middle of the night.''
''Running from her, I spent nights in hotels and friends' homes,'' he continued. ''The Respondent, on one occasion, locked me out of my DC apartment when I had one. When she finally allowed me back in, she pulled a knife out of the kitchen drawer and swore she was going to stab herself to death.''
''When I tried to stop her, she pulled it on me,'' Ellison said. ''Luckily, she didn't stab me, but I had to sleep with one eye open.''
The Star-Tribune and Alpha News pressed for their release in court, and Nathan Hansen of Alpha News tweeted the papers.
Ellison is running for attorney general of Minnesota. (RELATED: Domestic Abuse Allegations Taking Toll in AG Race)
''The Respondent has hit me too many times to mention,'' Ellison wrote. ''At a family counseling session in 2009, I reported the Respondent's abuse to the therapist asked the Respondent why she didn't hit the children, but hit me.''
''She said 'because he can take it,''' he continued. ''The respondent hit me numerous times and occasions. I have pictures of her inflicting gashes on my skin. On a separate occasion, she bit my arm, which left a circular mark in the form of a bite. Trayshana Thomas, a member of my staff, asked me about it. It was very humiliating to admit that I was a domestic abuse victim.''
He said he was forced to sleep on the couch in his congressional office, causing him to suffer back pain which he had to treat with massage.
''Respondent stole items, including souvenirs for staff and constituents that I brought back from trips,'' Ellison wrote. ''She stole clothes I bought. I found brand new shirts, shoes and sock in the garbage, with tags still on. Even though she never helped clean, on that occasion, she said she was cleaning and threw these things away by accident.''
He also said Kim Ellison was faking disability.
''The Respondent is as active as ever'... Her only proof is that she has been determined by the Social Security Administration to be disabled,'' Ellison wrote. ''She proves no documents '... She shows little or no signs of being limited by her physical condition.''
He wrote that his ex-wife ''faked'' two suicide attempts to get attention from him.
Ellison did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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BREAKING: Treasury Department Employee Arrested For Leaking Bank Records Of Paul Manafort, Others | Daily Wire
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 12:35
A Treasury Department employee has been arrested for leaking thousands of bank records related to President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, his business partner Rick Gates, the Russian Embassy, and accused Russian agent Maria Butina.
Bloomberg reports that Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, senior adviser at Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), has been accused of leaking Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) to an unidentified reporter at Buzzfeed. The information had been written up by the media outlet as recently as Monday, October 15.
''Edwards began communicating with the unidentified reporter in July 2017, according to prosecutors,'' Bloomberg reported. ''Between October 2017 and January 2018, she saved thousands of FinCen files, including all the SARs cited in the case.''
Edwards and a ''co-conspirator'' who is not named in the complaint ''exchanged approximately 301 messages with Report-1.''
Edwards was arrested Tuesday carrying a flash drive containing the SARs and a phone she used to send the information to the reporter. On Wednesday, she confessed to leaking the reports but ''falsely denied'' knowing the SARs would be published, the complaint says.
This report will be updated as more information becomes available.
Trump asks Turkey for audio, video evidence on Khashoggi
Thu, 18 Oct 2018 12:28
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- The U.S. has asked Turkey for a recording that could reveal gruesome details of what happened to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, President Donald Trump said Wednesday. But he's not confirming there is any such recording, as reported by Turkish media, and he's continuing to urge patience while Saudi Arabia says it's investigating.
Asked about a recording described by the Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak, Trump said, ''We've asked for it, if it exists.'' At another point, he said, ''I'm not sure yet that it exists.''
Trump, who threatened punishment for Saudi Arabia when Khashoggi's disappearance first came to light two weeks ago, has repeatedly noted Saudi leaders' denials since then and insisted the U.S. must know the facts before taking action.
But when asked if he was ''giving cover'' to the Saudi leaders, he said Wednesday that he was not.
''No, not at all,'' he declared.
Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally in the Mideast, is under pressure to explain what happened to Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor living in the U.S. who had been critical of the crown prince. Turkish officials have said he was murdered, and the Turkish newspaper's report said an audio recording revealed gory details about Khashoggi's demise inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
Trump has repeated denials by the Saudi king and crown prince that they knew anything about Khashoggi's fate, and he has warned of a rush to judgment.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, dispatched by Trump to the region, said the U.S. takes Khashoggi's disappearance seriously.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Trump compared the case of Khashoggi to the allegations of sexual assault leveled against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing. Kavanaugh denied the allegations and was confirmed to the court.
''I think we have to find out what happened first,'' Trump said. ''Here we go again with, you know, you're guilty until proven innocent. I don't like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I'm concerned.''
Trump's remarks were his most robust defense yet of the Saudis. They put the president at odds with other key allies and with some leaders in his Republican Party who have condemned the Saudi leadership for what they say is an obvious role in the case. Trump appeared willing to resist the pressure to follow suit, accepting Saudi denials and their pledge to investigate.
The AP's Oval Office interview came not long after Trump spoke Tuesday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He spoke by phone a day earlier with King Salman, and he said both deny any knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi.
After speaking with the king, Trump floated the idea that ''rogue killers'' may have been responsible for the disappearance. The president told the AP on Tuesday that that description was informed by his ''feeling'' from his conversation with Salman and that the king did not use the term.
In Turkey on Tuesday, a high-level Turkish official told the AP that police investigators searching the Saudi Consulate had found evidence that Khashoggi was killed there.
Pompeo met with the king and crown prince in Riyadh and said the Saudis had already started a ''serious and credible investigation'' and seemed to suggest it could lead to people within the kingdom. The secretary of state noted that the Saudi leaders, while denying knowledge of anything that occurred inside the consulate, had committed to accountability ''including for Saudi Arabia's senior leaders or senior officials.''
Trump said he hoped the Saudis' own investigation of Khashoggi's disappearance would be concluded in ''less than a week.''
In the meantime, there were signs at home that Trump's party was growing uncomfortable with his willingness to defend the Saudis.
In an interview with Fox News, a prominent Trump ally in the Senate called on Saudi Arabia to reject the crown prince, known as MBS, who rose to power last year and has aggressively sought to soften the kingdom's image abroad and attract foreign investment.
''This guy has got to go,'' said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, turning to speak to the camera. ''Saudi Arabia, if you're listening, there are a lot of good people you can choose, but MBS has tainted your country and tainted himself.''
International leaders and business executives are severing or rethinking ties to the Saudi government after Khashoggi's high-profile disappearance. Trump has resisted any action, pointing to huge U.S. weapons deals pending with Saudi Arabia and saying that sanctions could end up hurting the American economy.
He said it was too early to say whether he endorsed other countries' actions. ''I have to find out what happened,'' he said. But his complaint about ''guilty until proven innocent'' and comparison to the Kavanaugh situation suggested he was giving the Saudis more leeway than other allies.
Khashoggi went to the consulate on Oct. 2 to get documents for his upcoming marriage to a Turkish woman while his fiancee waited outside. She and Turkish authorities say he never emerged and he has not been heard from since.
___
AP Writer Matthew Lee contributed.
Pre-installed apps are reshaping the web traffic universe - Axios
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 22:15
Facebook and Twitter are declining as news and media referral sources on mobile, according to a report from traffic analytics company Chartbeat, which finds that users are increasingly using search for news as well as migrating to publisher and news aggregation apps.
Why it matters: The increase of social media distribution on smartphones meant that more people generally had access to more news and information than ever before, but a lot of it was unvetted, one-sided or outright false.
Between the lines: Three market forces are pushing news traffic to come from places other than traditional forms of social media...
Facebook's January 2017 decision to begin distributing less news, which is pushing more people to access news traffic from sources directly via search.A commitment to higher-quality news aggregation services from device manufacturers.A narrative around fake news on social media that's pushing consumers to look elsewhere for authoritative news and information.The big picture: Since January 2017, per Chartbeat...
Twitter and Facebook have declined in their share of traffic sent to news sites. Facebook traffic to publishers is down so much (nearly 40%) that according to Chartbeat, "a user is now more likely to find your content through your mobile website or app than from Facebook."Google Search on mobile has grown more than 2x, helping guide users to stories on publishers' owned and operated channels. Direct mobile traffic to publishers's websites and apps has also steadily grown by more than 30%.Flipboard has grown 2x in news referrals. It is the default news app on Samsung devices in the United States.Google News (Mobile) has grown 3x since May 2018. It is the default app on "Stock" Android devices globally. Apple News has grown, although it's unclear how much. It is the default news aggregator on iOS with certain products in the U.S., UK and Australia. The bottom line: At a high-level, it's an example of how new technologies can be partially regulated by market pressure (and threats of democratic government regulation) over time.
Elizabeth Warren's DNA test: why the Cherokee Nation is mad about the test - Vox
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 22:14
Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-MA) release of a DNA test she took that ''strongly'' suggested she had Native American heritage has rankled the Cherokee Nation and sparked further insults from President Donald Trump.
Warren took the DNA test after persistent questions about her claims of Native American heritage, including a challenge from Trump in July to take the test.
The DNA analysis, performed by Stanford University professor Carlos Bustamante, concluded that while the ''vast majority'' of Warren's ancestry is European, the results ''strongly suggest'' Native American heritage six to 10 generations ago. Warren's team first released the results to the Boston Globe.
But the Cherokee Nation argues that this alone isn't enough for Warren to call herself Cherokee, because having a documented Cherokee ancestor, not genetics, is what makes the difference.
As Vox's Dylan Matthews explained in February, Warren has consistently said that her mother is part Cherokee, even though Warren herself isn't an enrolled member of the three federally registered Cherokee tribes. Her ancestors don't appear on the Dawes Rolls, an official list of members of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole tribes put together in the early 20th century. Having a direct ancestor on the rolls is a requirement for enrollment in the Cherokee Nation.
''Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong,'' the statement from Cherokee Nation secretary of state Chuck Hoskin Jr. read. ''Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.''
Hoskin's statement also said Warren's DNA test ''makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses.''
The Massachusetts senator is up for reelection in November. She is widely expected to win, but she's also not shy about the fact she's considering a 2020 presidential bid '-- she has said that once the midterms are over, she will ''take a hard look'' at running for president.
In September, the Boston Globe's Annie Linskey took a deep dive into whether Warren's identification as Native American contributed to her rise in legal academia. Linskey's investigation determined it had no bearing on her hiring at distinguished universities, including Harvard.
But given the persistent needling from Trump, Warren decided to clear up the questions.
''I won't sit quietly for @realDonaldTrump's racism, so I took a test,'' Warren tweeted on Monday. ''But DNA & family history has nothing to do with tribal affiliation or citizenship, which is determined only '-- only '-- by Tribal Nations. I respect the distinction, & don't list myself as Native in the Senate.''
I won't sit quietly for @realDonaldTrump's racism, so I took a test. But DNA & family history has nothing to do with tribal affiliation or citizenship, which is determined only '' only '' by Tribal Nations. I respect the distinction, & don't list myself as Native in the Senate.
'-- Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) October 15, 2018The Cherokee Nation response to Warren's analysis couldn't have been better fodder for Trump, who gleefully seized on the statement in his own Tuesday morning tweet.
''Now Cherokee Nation denies her, 'DNA test is useless,''' Trump said. ''Even they don't want her. Phony!''
Pocahontas (the bad version), sometimes referred to as Elizabeth Warren, is getting slammed. She took a bogus DNA test and it showed that she may be 1/1024, far less than the average American. Now Cherokee Nation denies her, ''DNA test is useless.'' Even they don't want her. Phony!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2018Warren's test may have opened up new lines of attackWarren was clearly trying to put the question of her Native American heritage to rest, but in doing so, she may have opened up new lines of attack that Trump and other critics can use. The president and Republicans have focused much more on Warren's claims of Native American heritage than they have on her sweeping policy proposals to clean up corruption in Washington, lower the cost of housing, and hold corporations more accountable.
By taking the test, Warren appears to have angered at least one prominent tribe. Rather than settling the speculation by responding to Trump's challenge, she's prompted an entirely new argument about whether she should have taken the test at all.
The National Indigenous Women's Resource Center '-- an organization raising awareness about violence toward Native American women and families, and the charity Warren requested Trump donate $1 million to as part of his bet about her DNA test '-- defended the senator on Monday.
''We appreciate Senator Warren's push to bring awareness to violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women and families, who all too often are invisible to most Americans,'' the center said in a statement. ''As marginalized communities, we often struggle to bring tribal interests to the center of the debate.''
Warren and her allies are trying to steer the focus back to policy rather than a continued focus on her heritage. But the statements from the Cherokee Nation and Trump suggest the issue won't go away so easily.
Millennials Must Vote or the Gerontocracy Will Kill Us All
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 19:12
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U.S. Hid Osama bin Laden in Iran for Decade After 9/11; Bush & Obama White Houses Worked Saudi & Iranian Deal to Safeguard Terror Leader '' True PunditTrue Pundit
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 18:58
Featured Politics SecurityU.S. Hid Osama bin Laden in Iran for Decade After 9/11; Bush & Obama White Houses Worked Saudi & Iranian Deal to Safeguard Terror LeaderOsama bin Laden, the founder, and leader of terrorism conglomerate al-Qaeda, who was responsible for the deadly and devastating Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. soil, never was hiding in Afghanistan or its damp caves, according to explosive revelations in a new book from intelligence insiders and highly secret government documents.
Thousands of Americans died that day and many more in the wretched aftermath.
Instead, incredibly, bin Laden was whisked to a safe house in Iran following the deadly attacks on the World Trade Centers in New York, the Pentagon and the downing of a commercial jet in western Pennsylvania targeting the White House.
And the highest-ranking U.S. officials in the George W. Bush and Barack Obama White Houses '-- and possibly the presidents themselves '-- knew where bin Laden was and did nothing to capture him, according to insider revelations and documents detailed in Mike ''Thomas Paine'' Moore's upcoming book PAINE: How We Dismantled the FBI In Our Pajamas. The book's revelations reveal the United States was working with Saudi Arabia and Iran to keep bin Laden's living arrangements in Iran very quiet.
''One of the biggest scandals in United States history is coming unraveled,'' Moore said. ''This is a national travesty, and people need to go to prison. The highest members of both administrations knew where bin Laden was tucked away but sent U.S. troops to die in Afghanistan looking for a ghost.
''Republican and Democrats working together to protect al-Qaeda and sell out the United States. We have it documented.''
Moore said interviews with government Intel operators, informants, lawmakers, and top-secret documents prove U.S. officials ignored pleas from Congressmen, federal agents, and even a Democratic governor to capture bin Laden in Iran. Instead, such whistleblowers were investigated by Hillary Clinton's State Department and met with illegal wiretaps, surveillance, and harassment.
Moore notes that U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller was serving as FBI Director during this national fraud and high-ranking FBI officials acknowledge the FBI too knew bin Laden was living in Iran. Along with the CIA, Mueller's FBI had ignored Intel for years showing and proving bin Laden's whereabouts. This is the man investigating President Trump.
Moore said former CIA director John Brennan is ''neck deep'' in brokering the bin Laden deal with the Saudis and Iranians.
The top lieutenants and captains serving al-Qaeda were also given safe passage in Iran as were their families, along with bin Laden's family. These terrorists, including bin Laden's son, safely ran al-Qaeda from Iran even after bin Laden's reported execution. Meanwhile, U.S. officials looked the other way and ramped up the war in Afghanistan.
The $150 Billion guaranteed to Iran by the Obama administration's 'nuclear deal' '-- plus an unprecedented $1.8 Billion in cash '-- was a ransom for Iran to keep quiet about bin Laden's stealth living arrangements and the U.S.'s involvement in allowing his terror network to operate from Iran.
After pressure from U.S. informants and federal agents who were planning independent Ops to capture bin Laden and claim the $25 million reward, officials arranged bin Laden's move to Pakistan and weeks later killed.
''A trophy kill,'' Moore said to help cover up a decade of crimes by U.S. officials. ''It was all staged. There was no 'informant' telling the U.S. he was in Pakistan. He was moved there and then killed to try to cover up a decade of lies and deceit while American soldiers were dying in Afghanistan poppy fields.''
Moore's new book, PAINE: How We Dismantled the FBI In Our Pajamas, details, and documents this incredible betrayal. Moore was targeted by the FBI while researching this story and his home was invaded by FBI agents twice, pointing guns at his young children and wife, as detailed in the book.
''They tried to ruin my life, and they almost did,'' Moore said. ''But now I get my say. Now it's my turn to tell Americans what really happened after 9/11 on the inside.''
Mike ''Thomas Paine'' Moore today serves as True Pundit's chief Muckraker. Moore/Paine previously worked for the FBI, White House, DEA among many other Intel agencies and private concerns. He is the recipient of the coveted Gerald Loeb Award for journalism and 2-time Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting nominee. As a Certified Fraud Examiner, Moore previously headed anti-money laundering operations for Citi in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Delaware. He has an expertise in covert telecommunications, counterintelligence, HUMINT, and OSINT intelligence gathering.
This explosive story is developing and is documented at length in the book, now available for pre-order HERE:
MOAB. Insider Intel of true Deep State. https://t.co/yMZaeiMLXz pic.twitter.com/YPEF1Hvakd
'-- Thomas Paine (@Thomas1774Paine) October 16, 2018
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Elizabeth Warren Ancestor Rounded Up Cherokees For Trail of Tears | Breitbart
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 18:50
For over a quarter of a century, Elizabeth Warren has described herself as a Native American. When recently asked to provide evidence of her ancestry, she pointed to an unsubstantiated claim on an 1894 Oklahoma Territory marriage license application by her great-great grand uncle William J. Crawford that his mother, O.C. Sarah Smith Crawford, Ms. Warren's great-great-great grandmother, was a Cherokee. After researching her story, it is obvious that her ''family lore'' is just fiction.
As I pointed out in my article here on Sunday, no evidence supports this claim. O.C. Sarah Smith Crawford had no Cherokee heritage, was listed as ''white'' in the Census of 1860, and was most likely half Swedish and half English, Scottish, or German, or some combination thereof. (Note, the actual 1894 marriage license makes no claim of Cherokee ancestry.)
But the most stunning discovery about the life of O.C. Sarah Smith Crawford is that her husband, Ms. Warren's great-great-great grandfather, was apparently a member of the Tennessee Militia who rounded up Cherokees from their family homes in the Southeastern United States and herded them into government-built stockades in what was then called Ross's Landing (now Chattanooga), Tennessee''the point of origin for the horrific Trail of Tears, which began in January, 1837.
This new information about Ms. Warren's true heritage came as a direct result of a lead provided to me by William Jacobson over at Legal Insurrection, who in turn had received the information from one of his readers. Jacobson, who has questioned Warren's explanation for her law faculty listing, calls this discovery ''the ultimate and cruelest irony'' of the Warren Cherokee saga.
Jonathan Crawford, O.C. Sarah Smith Crawford's husband and apparently Ms. Warren's great-great-great grandfather, served in the East Tennessee Mounted Infantry Volunteer Militia commanded by Brigadier General R. G. Dunlap from late 1835 to late 1836. While under Dunlap's command he was a member of Major William Lauderdale's Battalion, and Captain Richard E. Waterhouse's Company.
These were the troops responsible for removing Cherokee families from homes they had lived in for generations in the three states that the Cherokee Nations had considered their homelands for centuries: Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
While these involuntary home removals were not characterized by widespread violence, the newly displaced Cherokee mothers, fathers, and children found an oppressive and sometimes brutal welcome when they finally arrived at the hastily constructed containment areas. An estimated 4,000 Cherokees were warehoused in Ross's Landing stockades for months awaiting supplies and additional armed guards the Federal Government believed necessary to relocate them on foot to Oklahoma.
Jonathan Crawford most likely did not join the regular Army troops who ''escorted'' these Cherokees along the Trail of Tears. He did, however, serve once more with Major William Lauderdale's re-formed Batallion of Tennessee Mounted Infantry Volunteer Militia. This group fought the Seminole Indians in Florida during the Second Seminole War. Crawford arrived in Florida in November, 1837, and served there for six months until his unit was disbanded in Baton Rouge, Louisiana the following May. (Note: It was not uncommon in those days for militia formed to serve for a limited period of time under specific commanders would reform later under the same commanders.)
Jonathan Crawford's service as a Private in Captain Richard E. Waterhouse's Company of Major William Lauderdale's Battalion of Mounted Infantry in Brigadier General R. G. Dunlap's East Tennessee Mounted Infantry Volunteers is confirmed by his appearance in the muster roll of the Brigade, taken around June of 1836. (Note that this transcription of the muster roll incorrectly lists the date as 1832.)
His service a year later (1837) in Major William Lauderdale's Tennessee Volunteer Mounted Infantry (Five companies of volunteers, one of which was led by Captain Richard E. Waterhouse) is confirmed by his widow O.C. Sarah Smith Crawford's 1851 pension application before the Bledsoe County, Tennessee commissioners
Meanwhile, William J. Crawford (Elizabeth Warren's great-great grandfather who would, fifty-seven years later, falsely claim that his mother was Cherokee in that now-infamous 1894 Oklahoma Territory marriage license application) was born in Bledsoe County, Tennessee in 1837. This was just a few months after his father apparently helped remove thousands of Cherokees from their homes and a few months before his father went off to fight Seminole Indians in Florida.
His father, Jonathan Crawford, Elizabeth Warren's great-great-great grandfather, died in Jackson County, Tennessee in 1841. His mother, O.C. Sarah Smith Crawford, died sometime between 1860 and 1870 '' most likely in Bledsoe County, Tennessee.
Neither O.C. Sarah Smith Crawford, Jonathan Crawford, nor any of their seven other children, apparently ever claimed that O.C. Sarah Smith Crawford had Cherokee heritage.
As recently as two weeks ago, Ms. Warren publicly claimed to have Native American ancestry. In Dorchester, Massachusetts on April 27 at the Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen Apprentice Training Center she stated, ''I am very proud of my Native American heritage.'' Yet, decades after she first made this same claim, it now appears that it is without any foundation.
It is time for Ms. Warren to publicly acknowledge the truth of her ancestry. It is time for her to admit that she has no Native American heritage that she can prove; and it is time for her to acknowledge instead, that she is likely a direct descendant of a Tennessee Militiaman who apparently rounded up the ancestors of those who truly have Cherokee heritage, the first step in their forced removal from the Southeastern United States to Oklahoma over the long and tragic Trail of Tears.
Michael Patrick Leahy is the Editor of Broadside Books' Voices of the Tea Party e-book series, and author of Covenant of Liberty: The Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement.
Getting 'Cooked' by Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Global Warming | Watts Up With That?
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 18:48
Human shadow etched in stone from Hiroshima Atomic blast.These stone steps led up to the entrance to the Sumitomo Bank Hiroshima Branch, 260meters from the hypocenter. The intense atomic heat rays turned the surface of the stonewhite, except for a part in the middle where someone was sitting. The person sitting on the steps waiting for the bank to open received the full force of the heat rays directly from the front and undoubtedly died on the spot. The building was used for a time after the war. When it was rebuilt in 1971, these steps were removed and brought to the museum. Source: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Why comparing global warming to the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb is ridiculous
Some days, you just have to laugh. That's what we'll have to do today after reading the latest ridiculous scare story from cartoonist turned pseudo-psychologist now elevated to 'climate scientist' John Cook from the antithetically named 'Skeptical Science' website.
He'd like people to think the effect of global warming is as powerful as the effect of an atomic bomb, but as we'll see, it is another one of those scare by scale stories where you grab some iconic image from the public consciousness and use it to make your issue seem bigger than it really is. For example, in 2010 normally calving glacier ice was compared to Manhattan Island to give it scale: Oh no! Greenland glacier calves island 4 times the size of Manhattan
Now, the same trick is being used by John Cook to try to scare people, because what could be more scary than getting vaporized by an Atomic Bomb? It just goes to show the depths of desperation used to try to sell the public on a problem that isn't getting much traction.
From the article Climate change like atom bomb: scientists.
Humans are emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than any other time in history, says John Cook, Climate Communication Fellow from the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland.
''All these heat-trapping greenhouse gases in our atmosphere mean '... our planet has been building up heat at the rate of about four Hiroshima bombs every second '' consider that going continuously for several decades.''
Whoa, four Hiroshima bombs every second. How scary is that? Well not only is it not an original idea by Cook, compared to the amount of energy received by the Earth from the biggest fusion bomb in our solar system, our sun, it hardly registers a blip.
You see, we've dealt with this nonsense before, back in May 2012 when NASA's Dr. Hansen made the same comparison, which Cook didn't attribute to him. Hansen said then in an article in the Vancouver Observer:
In a must-see TED talk, NASA climate scientist James Hansen say the current increase in global warming is:
'''...equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day 365 days per year. That's how much extra energy Earth is gaining each day.''
That's 278 atomic bombs worth of energy every minute '' more than four per second '-- non-stop. To be clear, that is just the extra energy being gained each day on top of the energy heating our planet by 0.8 degree C. It is the rate at which we are increasing global warming.
Let's do the numbers. First, let's convert the extra heat into an iconic image people can understand that isn't quite as scary: the incandescent light bulb (not the twisty kind). Willis Eschenbach calculated:
1 ton of TNT = 4.184e+9 joules (J) source
Hiroshima bomb = 15 kilotons of TNT = 6.28e+13 joules (ibid)
Hansen says increase in forcing is ''400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day'', which comes to 2.51e+19 joules/day.
A watt is a joule per second, so that works out to a constant additional global forcing of 2.91e+14 watts.
Normally, we look at forcings in watts per square metre (W/m2). Total forcing (solar plus longwave) averaged around the globe 24/7 is about 500 watts per square metre.
To convert Hansen's figures to a per-square-metre value, the global surface area is 5.11e+14 square metres '... which means that Hansens dreaded 400,000 Hiroshima bombs per day works out to 0.6 watts per square metre '... in other words, Hansen wants us to be very afraid because of a claimed imbalance of six tenths of a watt per square metre in a system where the downwelling radiation is half a kilowatt per square metre '... we cannot even measure the radiation to that kind of accuracy.
What a 0.6 watt light bulb might look like when turned on.
So imagine the output of a 0.6 watt light bulb in a standard Edison base such as at right, with 1/100th the power of a common household 60 watt light bulb.
Could you even see its output?
And, more importantly, can that 0.6 watt of energy imbalance even be accurately measured on a global basis?
As Dr. Judith Curry points out, the paper An update on Earth's energy balance in light of the latest global observations by Stephens et al. says this about down-welling long wave infrared radiation (what CO2 affects) and that 0.6 watts of imbalance on the surface that Hansen claims:
Note the figure on the Earth that I highlighted in yellow: Surface imbalance 0.6±17
That's an uncertainty of 17 watts, or if you prefer Hansen-Cook parlance, 4 Hiroshima Atomic bombs an uncertainty of ±113 Hiroshima bombs every second.
The ±17 watts uncertainty of the 0.6 watt surface imbalance is two orders of magnitude larger than the claim! But, activists like Cook say global warming will ''Cook' us for sure.
Hmmm. Something bigger is needed to keep it scary. How about comparing Hiroshima bombs to the biggest fusion bomb in the solar system, the sun? From our article:
The Hiroshima bomb released ~ 67 TeraJoules (TJ) = 6E13J. source
The earths circular area is 3 * (6E6m)^2 = 1E14m2.
The suns TSI is ~ 1kW = 1E3 J/s, so the earth gets ca 1E17 J/s on the sunlit side, so the sun explodes about 1E17/6E13 = 1E3 Hiroshima atomic bombs on this planet EVERY SECOND.
(h/t to bvdeenen)
Gosh, a thousand Hiroshima bombs exploding on this planet every second? How frightening! With that sort of threat, one wonders why Obama isn't going to announce taxing the sun into submission next Tuesday.
These calculation just go to illustrate that in the grand scheme of things, not only is the global energy associated with global warming small, it isn't even within the bounds of measurement certainty.
Da bomb, it isn't. Time to 'Cook' up a new scare story.
Here's the funny thing though, as Donna Laframboise points out, in addition to the laughable statement that Cook plagiarized from Hansen above, somehow the amazing ''postdoctoral fellow'' without a PhD has somehow been elevated to the status of ''climate scientist'' by the French in a recent article. Climate Change Likened to Atom Bomb by Scientists.
Leframboise writes:
===============================================================
Although that article talks about ''climate scientists'' it names and quotes exactly one person '' Cook himself. Moreover, the claims here are nothing short of fantastical. It says that climate scientists
have given figures of rising and changing climate. These figures are almost like a warning that states that escalating temperatures are equivalent to four Hiroshima bombs in a week.
They've completely attributed the condition to human actions.
It's clear that this reporter's first language is not English, so I'm sure she has misunderstood. No official document of which I'm aware has declared humans 100% responsible for current temperature trends (see, for example, the discussion here).
===============================================================
Gotta love it, cartoonist turned ''climate scientist''. It's Da bomb.
Thank goodness for The Pause.
UPDATE: Jo Nova also has a essay on the subject here: http://joannenova.com.au/2013/06/climate-scientists-move-to-atom-bomb-number-system-give-up-on-exponentials/
Why the NPC Meme FREAKS OUT the Left - YouTube
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 18:37
Chinese mercenaries are tightening security on the Belt and Road | East Asia Forum
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 15:29
16 October 2018Author: Helena Legarda, MERICS
Chinese private security companies (PSCs) are increasingly going global. Not so long ago they focussed mostly on providing bodyguard services for China's rich and famous, and guarding facilities in China. But now, China's growing global footprint has driven this sector to start operating beyond China's borders.
China has had a private security sector since the mid-1990s when a small number of PSCs were set up to provide services domestically. These companies operated in legal limbo until the sector was legalised in 2009 with the passing of the Regulation on the Administration of Security and Guarding Services. Since then, the sector has boomed. It is estimated that in 2018 there were over 5000 PSCs in China. The vast majority still operate exclusively in China, but some are now starting to provide their services abroad. In 2016 there were reportedly about 20 Chinese PSCs operating in the international market.
The main driver behind this internationalisation is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Involving some 65 countries and an estimated US$900 billion of planned investments around the globe, the BRI has substantially expanded China's global economic presence, often in unstable countries where risks are high. Be it providing maintenance for power plants in Iraq, developing infrastructure in Pakistan or drilling for oil in South Sudan, they face a growing number of threats '-- from transnational terrorism to anti-Chinese sentiment.
In many of these countries, Chinese companies feel inadequately protected by local security forces '-- a perception that is underlined every time a Chinese worker is kidnapped or attacked while working on a BRI-linked project. In Pakistan, home to the China''Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of the BRI, attacks have already cost the lives of at least 44 Chinese nationals since 2014, including two teachers and an employee of a shipping company.
Until a couple of years ago, Chinese companies operating overseas often hired well-known international security giants, such as G4S or Control Risks. Chinese PSCs were seen as too inexperienced, and their services as inadequate, given that most Chinese PSC employees are unarmed when abroad. But while these limitations remain, Chinese companies are increasingly turning to Chinese PSCs for protection overseas.
The reasons for this shift include the language and cultural barriers faced when working with non-Chinese staff as well as financial considerations, since international alternatives tend to be substantially more expensive. Some contractors estimate that a team of 12 Chinese guards might cost the same as a single US or British guard.
But the most important reason is that the Chinese government reportedly encourages Chinese companies operating abroad to hire homegrown PSCs for their security needs. Beijing knows that it must protect its citizens from the risks they face when going overseas to follow its policy priorities. But it is reluctant to deploy the People's Liberation Army (PLA) for protection. That would mean an official abandonment of China's long-standing non-interference policy and it could lead to serious international backlash. As a result, Chinese private security companies have turned into a good alternative.
Despite their nominally private status, Chinese PSCs are mostly staffed by former PLA soldiers with close, if indirect, ties to Beijing. They therefore operate with the tacit support of the Chinese government. As a result, Beijing can keep an eye on what these companies are doing while still maintaining plausible deniability in case things go wrong.
Examples of Chinese PSCs' overseas activities are few, as this remains an opaque sector. But over the last few years a handful of instances have made headlines. In the summer of 2016, employees from Chinese PSC DeWe Security were caught in the middle of a clash between warring local factions in Juba, South Sudan while protecting workers from the China National Petroleum Corporation operating in the country. And two years earlier in June 2014, VSS Security was hired to evacuate 1000 Chinese workers from the China Machinery Engineering Corporation based in Iraq who were fleeing from a standoff between Iraqi government troops and the so-called Islamic State.
Chinese PSCs are likely to continue their internationalisation through BRI-linked opportunities. This potentially offers a good solution to security concerns in BRI countries '-- Chinese PSCs could simultaneously secure Chinese interests and improve security conditions in dangerous regions without the direct intervention of Beijing.
But there is a risk that increasingly active Chinese PSCs with little conflict experience '-- the closely associated PLA has not seen large-scale combat since the brief war with Vietnam in 1979 '-- may mishandle conflict scenarios. Such a situation would be a political disaster for Beijing, undermining China's efforts to allay concerns over its international investments and its self-proclaimed intentions to become a responsible global power.
Helena Legarda is a Research Associate with the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS).
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A Middle East Monarchy Hired American Ex-Soldiers To Kill Its Political Enemies. This Could Be The Future Of War.
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 15:28
Cradling an AK-47 and sucking a lollipop, the former American Green Beret bumped along in the back of an armored SUV as it wound through the darkened streets of Aden. Two other commandos on the mission were former Navy SEALs. As elite US special operations fighters, they had years of specialized training by the US military to protect America. But now they were working for a different master: a private US company that had been hired by the United Arab Emirates, a tiny desert monarchy on the Persian Gulf.
On that night, December 29, 2015, their job was to carry out an assassination.
Their armed attack, described to BuzzFeed News by two of its participants and corroborated by drone surveillance footage, was the first operation in a startling for-profit venture. For months in war-torn Yemen, some of America's most highly trained soldiers worked on a mercenary mission of murky legality to kill prominent clerics and Islamist political figures.
Their target that night: Anssaf Ali Mayo, the local leader of the Islamist political party Al-Islah. The UAE considers Al-Islah to be the Yemeni branch of the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood, which the UAE calls a terrorist organization. Many experts insist that Al-Islah, one of whose members won the Nobel Peace Prize, is no terror group. They say it's a legitimate political party that threatens the UAE not through violence but by speaking out against its ambitions in Yemen.
The mercenaries' plan was to attach a bomb laced with shrapnel to the door of Al-Islah's headquarters, located near a soccer stadium in central Aden, a key Yemeni port city. The explosion, one of the leaders of the expedition explained, was supposed to ''kill everybody in that office.''
When they arrived at 9:57 at night, all seemed quiet. The men crept out of the SUV, guns at the ready. One carried the explosive charge toward the building. But just as he was about to reach the door, another member of the team opened fire, shooting back along the dimly lit street, and their carefully designed plan went haywire.
Obtained by BuzzFeed NewsDrone footage of the operation in Yemen to assassinate a Yemeni leader of Al-Islah, an Islamist political party.
The operation against Mayo '-- which was reported at the time but until now was not known to have been carried out by American mercenaries '-- marked a pivot point in the war in Yemen, a brutal conflict that has seen children starved, villages bombed, and epidemics of cholera roll through the civilian population. The bombing was the first salvo in a string of unsolved assassinations that killed more than two dozen of the group's leaders.
The company that hired the soldiers and carried out the attack is Spear Operations Group, incorporated in Delaware and founded by Abraham Golan, a charismatic Hungarian Israeli security contractor who lives outside of Pittsburgh. He led the team's strike against Mayo.
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''There was a targeted assassination program in Yemen,'' he told BuzzFeed News. ''I was running it. We did it. It was sanctioned by the UAE within the coalition.''
The UAE and Saudi Arabia lead an alliance of nine countries in Yemen, fighting what is largely a proxy war against Iran. The US is helping the Saudi-UAE side by providing weapons, intelligence, and other support.
The press office of the UAE's US Embassy, as well as its US public affairs company, Harbour Group, did not respond to multiple phone calls and emails.
The revelations that a Middle East monarchy hired Americans to carry out assassinations comes at a moment when the world is focused on the alleged murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia, an autocratic regime that has close ties to both the US and the UAE. (The Saudi Embassy in the US did not respond to a request for comment. Riyadh has denied it killed Khashoggi, though news reports suggest it is considering blaming his death on a botched interrogation.)
Golan said that during his company's months-long engagement in Yemen, his team was responsible for a number of the war's high-profile assassinations, though he declined to specify which ones. He argued that the US needs an assassination program similar to the model he deployed. ''I just want there to be a debate,'' he said. ''Maybe I'm a monster. Maybe I should be in jail. Maybe I'm a bad guy. But I'm right.''
Spear Operations Group's private assassination mission marks the confluence of three developments transforming the way war is conducted worldwide:
Modern counterterrorism combat has shifted away from traditional military objectives '-- such as destroying airfields, gun emplacements, or barracks '-- to killing specific individuals, largely reshaping war into organized assassinations.
War has become increasingly privatized, with many nations outsourcing most military support services to private contractors, leaving frontline combat as virtually the only function that the US and many other militaries have not contracted out to for-profit ventures.
The long US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have relied heavily on elite special forces, producing tens of thousands of highly trained American commandos who can demand high private-sector salaries for defense contracting or outright mercenary work.
With Spear Operations Group's mission in Yemen, these trends converged into a new and incendiary business: militarized contract killing, carried out by skilled American fighters.
Experts said it is almost inconceivable that the United States would not have known that the UAE '-- whose military the US has trained and armed at virtually every level '-- had hired an American company staffed by American veterans to conduct an assassination program in a war it closely monitors.
One of the mercenaries, according to three sources familiar with the operation, used to work with the CIA's ''ground branch,'' the agency's equivalent of the military's special forces. Another was a special forces sergeant in the Maryland Army National Guard. And yet another, according to four people who knew him, was still in the Navy Reserve as a SEAL and had a top-secret clearance. He was a veteran of SEAL Team 6, or DEVGRU, the sources told BuzzFeed News. The New York Times once described that elite unit, famous for killing Osama bin Laden, as a ''global manhunting machine with limited outside oversight.''
''What vetting procedures are there to make sure the guy you just smoked is really a bad guy?''
The CIA said it had no information about the mercenary assassination program, and the Navy's Special Warfare Command declined to comment. A former CIA official who has worked in the UAE initially told BuzzFeed News there was no way that Americans would be allowed to participate in such a program. But after checking, he called back: ''There were guys that were basically doing what you said.'' He was astonished, he said, by what he learned: ''What vetting procedures are there to make sure the guy you just smoked is really a bad guy?'' The mercenaries, he said, were ''almost like a murder squad.''
Whether Spear's mercenary operation violates US law is surprisingly unclear. On the one hand, US law makes it illegal to ''conspire to kill, kidnap, maim'' someone in another country. Companies that provide military services to foreign nations are supposed to be regulated by the State Department, which says it has never granted any company the authority to supply combat troops or mercenaries to another country.
Yet, as BuzzFeed News has previously reported, the US doesn't ban mercenaries. And with some exceptions, it is perfectly legal to serve in foreign militaries, whether one is motivated by idealism or money. With no legal consequences, Americans have served in the Israel Defense Forces, the French Foreign Legion, and even a militia fighting ISIS in Syria. Spear Operations Group, according to three sources, arranged for the UAE to give military rank to the Americans involved in the mission, which might provide them legal cover.
Despite operating in a legal and political gray zone, Golan heralds his brand of targeted assassinations as a precision counterterrorism strategy with fewer civilian casualties. But the Mayo operation shows that this new form of warfare carries many of the same old problems. The commandos' plans went awry, and the intelligence proved flawed. And their strike was far from surgical: The explosive they attached to the door was designed to kill not one person but everyone in the office.
Aside from moral objections, for-profit targeted assassinations add new dilemmas to modern warfare. Private mercenaries operate outside the US military's chain of command, so if they make mistakes or commit war crimes, there is no clear system for holding them accountable. If the mercenaries had killed a civilian in the street, who would have even investigated?
The Mayo mission exposes an even more central problem: the choice of targets. Golan insists that he killed only terrorists identified by the government of the UAE, an ally of the US. But who is a terrorist and who is a politician? What is a new form of warfare and what is just old-fashioned murder for hire? Who has the right to choose who lives and who dies '-- not only in the wars of a secretive monarchy like the UAE, but also those of a democracy such as the US?
BuzzFeed News has pieced together the inside story of the company's attack on Al-Islah's headquarters, revealing what mercenary warfare looks like now '-- and what it could become.
Provided to BuzzFeed NewsLeft to right: Isaac Gilmore, Mohammed Dahlan, and Abraham Golan.
The deal that brought American mercenaries to the streets of Aden was hashed out over a lunch in Abu Dhabi, at an Italian restaurant in the officers' club of a UAE military base. Golan and a chiseled former US Navy SEAL named Isaac Gilmore had flown in from the US to make their pitch. It did not, as Gilmore recalled, begin well.
Their host was Mohammed Dahlan, the fearsome former security chief for the Palestinian Authority. In a well-tailored suit, he eyed his mercenary guests coldly and told Golan that in another context they'd be trying to kill each other.
Indeed, they made an unlikely pair. Golan, who says he was born in Hungary to Jewish parents, maintains long-standing connections in Israel for his security business, according to several sources, and he says he lived there for several years. Golan once partied in London with former Mossad chief Danny Yatom, according to a 2008 Mother Jones article, and his specialty was ''providing security for energy clients in Africa.'' One of his contracts, according to three sources, was to protect ships drilling in Nigeria's offshore oil fields from sabotage and terrorism.
Said Khatib / AFP / Getty ImagesMohammed Dahlan on a video conference last year.
Golan, who sports a full beard and smokes Marlboro Red cigarettes, radiates enthusiasm. A good salesman is how one former CIA official described him. Golan himself, who is well-read and often cites philosophers and novelists, quotes Andr(C) Malraux: ''Man is not what he thinks he is but what he hides.''
Golan says he was educated in France, joined the French Foreign Legion, and has traveled around the world, often fighting or carrying out security contracts. In Belgrade, he says, he got to know the infamous paramilitary fighter and gangster Željko Ražnatović, better known as Arkan, who was assassinated in 2001. ''I have a lot of respect for Arkan,'' he told BuzzFeed News.
BuzzFeed News was unable to verify parts of Golan's biography, including his military service, but Gilmore and another US special operations veteran who has been with him in the field said it's clear he has soldiering experience. He is considered competent, ruthless, and calculating, said the former CIA official. He's ''prone to exaggeration,'' said another former CIA officer, but ''for crazy shit he's the kind of guy you hire.''
"For crazy shit he's the kind of guy you hire.''
Dahlan, who did not respond to multiple messages sent through associates, grew up in a refugee camp in Gaza, and during the 1980s intifada he became a major political player. In the '90s he was named the Palestinian Authority's head of security in Gaza, overseeing a harsh crackdown on Hamas in 1995 and 1996. He later met President George W. Bush and developed strong ties to the CIA, meeting the agency's director, George Tenet, several times. Dahlan was once touted as a possible leader of the Palestinian Authority, but in 2007 he fell from grace, accused by the Palestinian Authority of corruption and by Hamas of cooperating with the CIA and Israel.
A man without a country, he fled to the UAE. There he reportedly remade himself as a key adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, or MBZ, known as the true ruler of Abu Dhabi. The former CIA officer who knows Dahlan said, ''The UAE took him in as their pit bull.''
Now, over lunch in the officers' club, the pit bull challenged his visitors to tell him what was so special about fighters from America. Why were they any better than Emirati soldiers?
Golan replied with bravado. Wanting Dahlan to know that he could shoot, train, run, and fight better than anyone in the UAE's military, Golan said: Give me your best man and I'll beat him. Anyone.
The Palestinian gestured to an attentive young female aide sitting nearby. She's my best man, Dahlan said.
The joke released the tension, and the men settled down. Get the spaghetti, recommended Dahlan.
Taehoon Kim for BuzzFeed News; Courtesy Abraham GolanLeft: Gilmore. Right: Golan.
The UAE, with vast wealth but only about 1 million citizens, relies on migrant workers from all over the world to do everything from cleaning its toilets to teaching its university students. Its military is no different, paying lavish sums to eager US defense companies and former generals. The US Department of Defense has approved at least $27 billion in arms sales and defense services to the UAE since 2009.
Retired US Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal once signed up to sit on the board of a UAE military company. Former Navy SEAL and Vice Admiral Robert Harward runs the UAE division of Lockheed Martin. The security executive Erik Prince, now entangled in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference, set up shop there for a time, helping the UAE hire Colombian mercenaries.
And as BuzzFeed News reported earlier this year, the country embeds foreigners in its military and gave the rank of major general to an American lieutenant colonel, Stephen Toumajan, placing him in command of a branch of its armed forces.
The US draws the line at combat; it does not hire mercenaries to carry out attacks. But that line can get blurry.
The UAE is hardly alone in using defense contractors; in fact, it is the US that helped pioneer the worldwide move toward privatizing the military. The Pentagon pays companies to carry out many traditional functions, from feeding soldiers to maintaining weapons to guarding convoys.
The US draws the line at combat; it does not hire mercenaries to carry out attacks or engage directly in warfare. But that line can get blurry. Private firms provide heavily armed security details to protect diplomats in war zones or intelligence officers in the field. Such contractors can engage in firefights, as they did in Benghazi, Libya, when two contractors died in 2012 defending a CIA post. But, officially, the mission was protection, not warfare.
Outside the US, hiring mercenaries to conduct combat missions is rare, though it has happened. In Nigeria, a strike force reportedly led by longtime South African mercenary Eeben Barlow moved successfully against the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in 2015. A company Barlow founded, Executive Outcomes, was credited with crushing the bloody RUF rebel force in war-torn Sierra Leone in the 1990s. But over spaghetti with Dahlan, Golan and Gilmore were offering an extraordinary form of mercenary service. This was not providing security details, nor was it even traditional military fighting or counterinsurgency warfare. It was, both Golan and Gilmore say, targeted killing.
Gilmore said he doesn't remember anyone using the word ''assassinations'' specifically. But it was clear from that first meeting, he said, that this was not about capturing or detaining Al-Islah's leadership. ''It was very specific that we were targeting,'' said Gilmore. Golan said he was explicitly told to help ''disrupt and destruct'' Al-Islah, which he calls a ''political branch of a terrorist organization.''
He and Gilmore promised they could pull together a team with the right skillset, and quickly.
In the weeks after that lunch, they settled on terms. The team would receive $1.5 million a month, Golan and Gilmore told BuzzFeed News. They'd earn bonuses for successful kills '-- Golan and Gilmore declined to say how much '-- but they would carry out their first operation at half price to prove what they could do. Later, Spear would also train UAE soldiers in commando tactics.
Golan and Gilmore had another condition: They wanted to be incorporated into the UAE Armed Forces. And they wanted their weapons '-- and their target list '-- to come from uniformed military officers. That was ''for juridical reasons,'' Golan said. ''Because if the shit hits the fan,'' he explained, the UAE uniform and dog tags would mark ''the difference between a mercenary and a military man.''
Dahlan and the UAE government signed off on the deal, Golan and Gilmore said, and Spear Operations Group got to work.
Courtesy Abraham GolanStanding in front of a UAE military plane are Gilmore (middle left), Golan (middle right), and two soldiers on their mercenary team.
Back in the US, Golan and Gilmore started rounding up ex-soldiers for the first, proof-of-concept job. Spear Operations Group is a small company '-- nothing like the security behemoths such as Garda World Security or Constellis '-- but it had a huge supply of talent to choose from.
A little-known consequence of the war on terror, and in particular the 17 combined years of US warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, is that the number of special operations forces has more than doubled since 9/11, from 33,000 to 70,000. That's a vast pool of crack soldiers selected, trained, and combat-tested by the most elite units of the US military, such as the Navy SEALs and Army Rangers. Some special operations reservists are known to engage in for-profit soldiering, said a high-level SEAL officer who asked not to be named. ''I know a number of them who do this sort of thing,'' he said. If the soldiers are not on active duty, he added, they are not obligated to report what they're doing.
But the options for special operations veterans and reservists aren't what they were in the early years of the Iraq War. Private security work, mostly protecting US government officials in hostile environments, lacks the excitement of actual combat and is more ''like driving Miss Daisy with an M4'' rifle, as one former contractor put it. It also doesn't pay what it used to. While starting rates for elite veterans on high-end security jobs used to be $700 or $800 a day, contractors said, now those rates have dropped to about $500 a day. Golan and Gilmore said they were offering their American fighters $25,000 a month '-- about $830 a day '-- plus bonuses, a generous sum in almost any market.
Still, the Yemen gig crossed into uncharted territory, and some of the best soldiers declined. ''It was still gray enough,'' Gilmore said, ''that a lot of guys were like, 'Ah, I'm good.' ''
Gilmore himself said he has an imperfect record. During a live-fire training mission he led, back in his Navy days, he says he accidentally shot another SEAL. Gilmore said that's what prompted him to leave the Navy, in 2011. His last major job before joining Spear was as an executive at an artisanal Tequila company.
That stain on his military career, he said, is also what prompted him to take the risk with Spear: He was an outsider, he wasn't in the reserves, and he didn't have a pension to worry about.
By the end of 2015, Golan, who led the operation, and Gilmore had cobbled together a team of a dozen men. Three were American special ops veterans, and most of the rest were former French Foreign Legionnaires, who were cheaper: only about $10,000 per month, as Gilmore remembers it, less than half of what he and Golan said they budgeted for their American counterparts.
They gathered at a hotel near Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. They were dressed in an assortment of military fatigues, some in camouflage, some in black. Some were bearded and muscled, others tattooed and wiry.
When it was time to go, they convinced the hotel staff to give them the US flag flying outside, Gilmore said. In a makeshift ceremony, they folded it up into a small triangle and took it with them.
They also packed a few weeks' worth of military ''meals ready to eat,'' body armor, communications gear, and medical equipment. Gilmore said he brought a utility knife with a special crimping tool to prepare the blasting caps on explosives. The team was sure to stock up on whiskey, too '-- three cases of Basil Hayden's since it would be impossible to get any alcohol in Yemen, let alone the good stuff.
On December 15, they boarded a chartered Gulfstream G550. Once airborne, Gilmore walked to the cockpit and told the pilots that there was a slight change to their flight plan. After refueling in Scotland, they wouldn't be flying to Abu Dhabi's main commercial airport but to a UAE military base in the desert.
Obtained by BuzzFeed NewsLeft: Business cards for Spear Operations Group; Right: Gilmore's dog tags
From that base, the mercenaries took a UAE Air Force transport plane to another base in Assab, Eritrea. During that flight, Gilmore recalled, a uniformed Emirati officer briefed them and handed them a hit list '-- 23 cards with 23 names and 23 faces. Each card featured rudimentary intelligence: the person's role in Yemeni politics, for example, or grid coordinates for a residence or two.
Gilmore said some were members of Al-Islah, some were clerics, and some were out-and-out terrorists '-- but he conceded he couldn't be sure.
BuzzFeed News has obtained one of the target cards. On it is a man's name, photograph, telephone number, and other information. At the top right is the insignia of the UAE Presidential Guard.
Obtained by BuzzFeed NewsConspicuously absent is why anyone wanted him dead, or even what group he was associated with. The man could not be reached for comment, and it is not known if he is alive or dead.
Assassinations have historically played a limited part in US warfare and foreign policy. In 1945, ''Wild Bill'' Donovan, the director of the CIA's predecessor agency, the OSS, was handed a finalized plan to deploy kill teams across Europe to attack Nazi leaders such as Hitler, Himmler, and Goering, as well as SS officers with a rank of major or above, according to a biography of Donovan by Douglas Waller. But the OSS chief got queasy about the ''wholesale assassination'' project and canceled it.
During the Cold War, the CIA played a role in plots to assassinate foreign leaders, such as Patrice Lumumba of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, and Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam. Later in the Vietnam War, the US launched the Phoenix program, in which the CIA often teamed up with US military units to ''neutralize'' '-- or, critics say, assassinate '-- Viet Cong leaders. Even so, targeted killings were not a central pillar of US military strategy in Vietnam. And after Congress exposed CIA activities in the 1970s, the US banned assassinations of foreign leaders.
Then came the war on terror.
Under President George W. Bush, the CIA and the military used drones to kill terrorists, and the CIA developed covert assassination capabilities. President Barack Obama halted the agency's secret assassination program but drastically ramped up the use of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Somalia. Soon the CIA and the military were using the aircraft '-- piloted remotely using video monitors '-- to kill people whose names the US didn't even know, through ''signature strikes'' based solely on a target's associations and activities. President Donald Trump has further loosened the rules for drone strikes.
But while private contractors often maintain the drones and sometimes even pilot them, there is one action they reportedly cannot take: Only a uniformed officer can push the button that fires the drone's missile and kills the target.
With organized assassinations having become a routine part of war in the region, the UAE developed its own appetite. The country had begun to flex more military muscle, and by 2015 it had become a major player in the war in Yemen. It quickly targeted Al-Islah, an Islamist political party that won more than 20% of the vote in Yemen's most recent parliamentary election, held in 2003.
Elisabeth Kendall, an expert on Yemen at the University of Oxford, points out that unlike al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups, which try to seize power through violence, Al-Islah participates in the political process. But, she said, the US rationale for drone strikes has legitimized other countries' pursuit of their own assassinations: ''The whole very watery, vague notion of a war on terror has left the door wide open to any regime saying, 'This is all a war on terror.' ''
At the top of the deck of targets they got from the UAE, Gilmore and Golan said, was Mayo, Al-Islah's leader in Aden. Mayo had close-cropped hair, wire-rimmed glasses, and a wisp of goatee to go with his mustache. He had spoken out against US drone strikes in Yemen, telling the Washington Post in 2012 that rather than stopping al-Qaeda they had instead fueled its growth.
Asked about the ethics and legality of killing unarmed Al-Islah political leaders, as opposed to armed terrorists, Golan responded, ''I think this dichotomy is a purely intellectual dichotomy.''
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Golan said he models his assassination business on Israel's targeted killing program, which has been underway since the country was founded, and which, despite some high-profile errors and embarrassments, he claims is done properly. He argues there are some terrorist enemies so dangerous and implacable '-- and so difficult to arrest '-- that assassination is the best solution.
He insists his team is not a murder squad. As evidence, Golan recounted how, as their mission continued, the UAE provided names with no affiliation to Al-Islah or any group, terrorist or otherwise. Golan said he declined to pursue those individuals, a claim that could not be verified.
The people Spear did target, he and Gilmore said, were legitimate because they were selected by the government of the UAE, an ally of the United States that was engaged in a military action supported by the US. Gilmore said that he and Golan told the UAE they would never act against US interests. And Golan claimed that, based on his military experience, he could tell if a target was a terrorist after just a week or two of surveillance.
Still, Gilmore acknowledged that some of the targets may have been people who merely fell out of favor with the ruling family. Referring to the country's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, Gilmore said, ''There is the possibility that the target would be someone who MBZ doesn't like. We'd try to make sure that didn't happen.''
Obtained by BuzzFeed NewsWhen they reached Aden, the mercenaries were issued weapons. They were surprised at the low quality '-- shitty Chinese assault rifles and RPGs, according to Gilmore and Golan.
At some point, they also received their official designation in the Emirati military. Golan was named a colonel and Gilmore a lieutenant colonel, a heady ''promotion'' for a man who had been discharged from the Navy as a petty officer.
Gilmore still has his UAE dog tag, a rectangle of white gold imprinted with his blood type, AB-negative. His name is in English on one side and in Arabic on the other.
Using sources handed to them by the UAE's intelligence network, Gilmore said, the team established Mayo's daily life pattern '-- the home he lived in, the mosque he prayed at, the businesses he frequented.
Christmas passed with the mercenaries sharing their whiskey and plotting how exactly they should kill Mayo. A raid, a bomb, a sniper? ''We had five or six courses of action to go after him,'' Gilmore said.
Christmas passed with the mercenaries sharing their whiskey and plotting how exactly they should kill Mayo.
After some quick surveillance of the Al-Islah headquarters, they decided on explosives. Gilmore said he drew the mission plan out on the floor of the tent, with a black Sharpie. It showed the angles of approach, the attack, and, most important, the escape route.
After he briefed his colleagues, Gilmore took out his knife, cut through the tough tent fabric, and burned the mission plan. ''I don't want any of that with my handwriting on it floating around,'' he said.
Two days later, Gilmore recalled, they got the word that Mayo was in his office for a large meeting.
Golan gathered with Gilmore, another ex-SEAL, and a former Delta Force soldier, for the mission. They had left behind their wallets and all identifying information, and they wore an assortment of motley uniforms '-- Gilmore said he wore a baseball hat and Salomon Speedcross trail-running shoes, with a chest rig full of spare ammunition magazines. All held AK-47s, and one had the bomb loaded with shrapnel.
Gilmore, Golan, and two others climbed into an armored SUV with a plainclothes Emirati soldier at the wheel. The French Foreign Legion soldiers were in another SUV, which would stop a short distance from the attack site, ready to rush in should the Americans get into a jam. The gates of their base opened and they pulled out onto the nighttime streets of Aden.
Provided to BuzzFeed NewsGolan with a member of his mercenary team.
It's unclear exactly what went wrong.
Right before the mercenary reached the front door, carrying the explosive charge meant to kill Mayo, one of his fellow fighters at the back of the SUV opened fire, shooting along the backstreet.
There was a drone high overhead, and the video, obtained by BuzzFeed News, shows gunfire but not what the American is shooting at. The drone video doesn't show anyone shooting back at the mercenaries.
Gilmore said he himself fired at someone on the street, but his gun jammed. He said he wasn't sure who was firing at them. In any case, the mercenary carrying the explosive to the building carried on despite the commotion around him '-- for a full 20 seconds, the video shows.
To make their escape, the mercenaries ran into UAE military vehicles. Then suddenly there was an explosion '-- the bomb on the door '-- followed by a second, bigger one. The second explosion was the mercenaries' SUV. Gilmore and Golan say they booby-trapped it to disguise the source of the bomb, confuse Al-Islah, and add to the destruction.
The team returned to base without something they all knew they needed. US special operations forces call it positive identification, or ''PID'' '-- proof that Mayo was dead. A photo, for example, or DNA.
''That caused some problems with Dahlan,'' Gilmore recalled.
Obtained by BuzzFeed NewsStill, Mayo seemed to have vanished. He rarely posted on his Facebook page, and for a time, Gilmore and Golan said, he wasn't seen in public.
Yet Al-Islah didn't announce his death, as it would when other members got assassinated. The reason, a spokesperson for Al-Islah said in a phone interview, is that Mayo is alive '-- he had left the building 10 minutes before the attack and as of July was living in Saudi Arabia. No one, the spokesperson said, died in the mercenaries' assault.
Mayo seems to have reemerged in Yemeni politics. In May he was nominated to a post by the president of Yemen, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, according to Charles Schmitz, a specialist on the Middle East and Yemen at Towson University in Maryland. Schmitz said he found a recent photo of Mayo standing in a group with the UN envoy to Yemen.
Golan maintains that, at the very least, Mayo was neutralized for a time. ''For me it's a success,'' he said, ''as long as the guy disappeared.''
Nasser Awad / ReutersSoldiers from the United Arab Emirates stand guard as military equipment is unloaded from a UAE military plane at the airport in Aden, Aug. 12, 2015.
Even though it failed to kill Mayo, the mercenaries' bomb attack seems to have ushered in a new phase in the UAE's war against Al-Islah. ''It was the exclamation point that set the tone that Al-Islah was now going to be targeted,'' said Schmitz.
The Al-Islah spokesperson who spoke to BuzzFeed News recited the date by memory: December 29, 2015. ''It was the first attack,'' he said.
As 2016 progressed, those watching the deteriorating situation in Yemen began to notice that members of Al-Islah, and other clerics in Aden, were dropping dead at an alarming pace. ''It does appear to be a targeted campaign,'' said Gregory Johnsen of the Arabia Foundation, who in 2016 served on a UN panel investigating the Yemen war. ''There have been 25 to 30 assassinations,'' he said, though a few appear to be the work of ISIS. (Johnsen used to write for BuzzFeed News.)
''There is a widespread belief on the ground,'' said Kendall, the University of Oxford expert, ''that the UAE is behind the assassination of Al-Islah officials and activists.''
Golan said his team killed several of the dead but refused to give an exact number or names.
When BuzzFeed News read Gilmore the names of some of the dead, he nodded in recognition at two of them '-- ''I could probably recognize their faces'' '-- and said they were among the team's targets. But he said he hadn't been involved in killing them.
Golan said his team killed several of the dead but refused to give an exact number or names. But after their first semi-botched mission, the mercenaries rebooted.
They got rid of the French Foreign Legionnaires, replacing them with Americans. The Emiratis also provided them with better weapons and better equipment, Golan and Gilmore said: C4 explosives, pistols fitted with silencers, and high-end American-made M4 rifles. They were also outfitted with motorbikes they could use to scoot through Aden's traffic and affix magnetized bombs to cars. All the equipment, they said, came from the UAE military.
Gilmore stayed on for only a short time. He said he left Spear in April 2016. He and Golan declined to say why, but Gilmore said he wishes he had been more aggressive in Yemen. ''If I could do it over again we would have been less risk-averse,'' he said. ''We could have done some amazing things '-- although we also could have done some amazing things and all ended up in jail.''
One new member of the team, hired in early 2016, was the veteran of SEAL Team 6, Daniel Corbett, according to three sources and confirmed by photos. Corbett was a superb soldier, say those who know him, and had served multiple combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was still in the reserves, so the US military could deploy him at any moment; he collected a government salary; and he was supposed to report for monthly drills. And yet he was in Yemen on a private contract to work for a foreign military. It is unclear if he himself was involved in missions to assassinate anyone.
In a mysterious development, Corbett is currently in jail in Serbia, where he is being investigated for illegal handgun possession. The American veteran has been held there since February 2018. Corbett could not be reached, and his lawyer did not respond to calls seeking comment.
As they went about their work in Yemen, the mercenaries stayed in huts, sleeping in cots. Some carried distinctive weapons for potential close-in fighting. One, according to photographs, carried two knives on his belt that he could draw cross-handed. Another carried a small tomahawk.
The team began to develop what Gilmore called ''esprit de corps.'' They flew a makeshift flag featuring a skull and crossed swords '-- a kind of Jolly Roger on a black background '-- and painted that emblem onto their military vehicles and their living quarters.
Much about the Spear mercenary team remains unknown, and some who participated made clear they have no desire to shed light on what went down. Asked if he'd been deployed in the Yemen mission, one of the Americans replied, ''If I was, you know I can't discuss it.'' The former Green Beret who was sucking a lollipop during the mission sent BuzzFeed News a text message: ''A big story for you could be a tragic story for the cast of characters; especially if they are good men doing what was right but not necessarily legal.''
For his part, Gilmore said he ''would have preferred that this stay off the radar.'' But he decided to speak to BuzzFeed News because ''once this comes out there's no way that I'm going to stay out of it, so I'd prefer to own it. And I'm not going to try to hide from what I did.''
''It's still,'' he said, ''some variety of the future of warfare.''
Gilmore is out of the mercenary business. He has since found himself in another gray-zone line of work, albeit one that's far less dangerous. He said he's with a California company that plans to make cannabis oil for vaporizers. '—
Jules Darmanin in Paris contributed reporting to this story.
Steve Pieczenik - Wikispooks
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 15:27
Steve Pieczenik, MD, PhD is a highly qualified US government insider turned outspoken skeptic of the "war on terror".[1] He served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and/or Senior Policy Planner under Secretaries Henry Kissinger, Cyrus Vance, George Shultz and James Baker. In his book "We Killed Aldo Moro" he outlines his role in the official US handling of the kidnapping and murder of Italian prime minister Aldo Moro in 1978 as an envoy of then president Jimmy Carter.[2]As International Crisis Manager and Hostage Negotiator under Secretaries Kissinger and Vance he developed conflict resolution techniques that helped save over five hundred hostages in different hostage crises including the Hanafi Moslem Seizure in Washington, DC, the TWA Croatian Hijacking, the Aldo Moro Kidnapping, the JRA Hijacking, the PLO Hijacking, and many other incidents involving people and groups such as Idi Amin, Muammar Gaddafi, Carlos the Jackal, FARC, Abu Nidal and Saddam Hussein. In addition, he helped develop negotiation strategies for major US- Soviet arms control summits under the Reagan administration. He was also involved in advising senior officials on important psycho-political dynamics and conflict mediation strategies for President Carter's successful Camp David Peace Conference. In 1991, Pieczenik was Chief Architect of the Cambodian Peace Conference in Paris.
Background Steve Pieczenik grew up in Toulouse, France for six years. His family then migrated to the United States where they settled in New York City. He attended Booker T. Washington High School in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. He earned a New York State Regent's Scholarship and at age sixteen started at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. In 1964, Dr. Pieczenik received a B.A. degree in Pre-Medicine and Psychology. At the age of 20 he received a full-ride scholarship to attend Cornell University Medical College in New York City, where he obtained an M.D. After completing medical school in 1968, he attended Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut where he did a rotating internship. He gained a Ph.D. in International Relations from M.I.T. [3]
Career In 1969, Pieczenik was drafted into the United States Public Health Service where he eventually obtained the rank of USPHS Captain (O6). He was sent to run three psychiatric wards at Saint Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, DC. After receiving one of four prestigious National Institutes of Mental Health scholarships allowing him to attend any psychiatric residency program in the United States, he enrolled in a residency program in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical College at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center. Dr. Pieczenik became board certified in Psychiatry and was a board examiner for ten years in both Psychiatry and Neurology.
During his residency program at Harvard, Pieczenik simultaneously studeied for a Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Toward the end of his residency he received two Harry C. Solomon Awards for his research on Hierarchy of Ego Defense Mechanisms in Foreign Policy Decision Making and Cognitive Behavioral Determinants for the Treatment of Borderline Patients. This latter paper became the foundation for utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in patients with Borderline Personality Disorder.[4] No one else in the history of Harvard Medical College had ever received two Harry C. Solomon Awards.[citation needed ]
Government Work Pieczenik received the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) fellowship where he was recruited by Lawrence Eagleburger as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Management. In that position he created the Office to Combat Terrorism and the Family Liaison Office. He reorganized the medical department within the State Department, merging the Department of Cultural Affairs and US Information Agency into one organization: the International Communications Agency.
Pieczenik created first hostage survival courses in the US government and became famous for developing the strategy and tactics for rescuing hostages around the world.[5] His hostage negotiation skills are thought to have helped save many lives. He developed basic tenets for psychological warfare, counter "terrorism", strategy and tactics for trans-cultural negotiations for the US State Department, military and intelligence communities and other agencies of the US Government.
Role in the Aldo Moro Affair The following is reported in the UK Daily Telegraph:
.... Aldo Moro, who had been prime minister for a total of more than five years between 1963 and 1976, was snatched at gunpoint from his car in Rome. He had been heading to parliament for a crucial vote on a ground-breaking alliance he had proposed between the Christian Democrat Party and the Italian Communist Party. The alliance enraged both sides of the political spectrum in Italy, and also upset both Moscow and Washington. Moro's widow, Eleonora, later said Henry Kissinger had warned her husband against his strategy. "You will pay dearly for it," he is alleged to have said. Mr Pieczenik said he was part of a "crisis committee" headed by Francesco Cossiga, the interior minister. Moro was held for 54 days. Mr Pieczenik said the committee was jolted into action by the fear that Moro would reveal state secrets in an attempt to free himself. A false statement, attributed to the Red Brigades, was leaked saying that Moro was dead. Mr Pieczenick said that this had a dual purpose; to prepare the Italian public for the worst, and to let the Red Brigades know that the state would not negotiate for Moro, and considered him already dead. The following month, Moro was shot and placed in the back of a car in central Rome, midway between the headquarters of the Communist Party and the Christian Democrats. In a documentary on French television last weekend, Mr Cossiga admitted the committee had taken the decision to release the false statement. [2]
A notable feature of Pieczenik's involvement in the Aldo Moro affair is that he has consistently refused to testify about the incident before Italian Parliamentary investigations. [6] He has however written a work of fiction based on it titled "Terror and Counter Terror" - ISBN 0595348882 .
Later activities Pieczenik is the author[7] and creator of twenty-six New York Times Bestsellers. His experiences in government and international crisis management were the bases of Tom Clancy's characters Jack Ryan and Richard Clark. Dr. Pieczenik was co-creator with Tom Clancy of Tom Clancy's Op-Center, Tom Clancy's Net Force and the Commander Series.
Bin Laden's Early Death Claim On May 3rd, 2011, Alex Jones aired an interview in which Pieczenik claimed that Osama Bin Laden had died of Marfan syndrome back in July of 2001, and that the attacks on the United States on 9/11 were part of a false flag operation by the US government insiders.
Entrepreneurial Ventures Piezenik's has been involved in the realms of literature, entrepreneurship, business development, nutraceuticals and medicine. In the early 1990s, Dr. Pieczenik helped found Mid-Atlantic Angel Investors Club. He developed startups in radio frequency identification (RFID), object compression video and telephone ring tones. He was managing director of Kidder Peabody in New York City, where he was brought in to clean it out and prepare it for sale.
Books and Television Series Pieczenik has helped developed the popular book, television, audio and internet series called Tom Clancy's Op-Center, Tom Clancy's NetForce and Tom Clancy's Commander Series.
Nutritional Biochemistry, Inc. In 2006 Pieczenik teamed up with John Neustadt, ND to create Nutritional Biochemistry, Incorporated (NBI) in Bozeman, MT. NBI focused on creating niche dietary supplements.
NBI Pharmaceuticals Based on the research Steve Pieczenik conducted over the years with NBI, Dr. Pieczenik and Dr. Neustadt founded NBI Pharmaceuticals, Incorporated, also in Bozeman, MT. NBI Pharmaceuticals was founded in August 2010 and focuses on developing drugs for the orphan drug space.
External links Nutritional Biochemistry, Inc. Steve Pieczenik on Google ScholarOsama died in 2001: MSNBC hit piece unwittingly reveals corroboration for Dr. Steve R. Pieczenik's assertion - Global Reasearch 13 May 2011References
Swedish Politics In Chaos As Parliament Votes Out Prime Minister : NPR
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 12:29
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, shown here last week, has lost a vote of confidence in parliament. Kerstin Joensson/AP hide caption
toggle caption Kerstin Joensson/AP Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, shown here last week, has lost a vote of confidence in parliament.
Kerstin Joensson/AP Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has lost a confidence vote, effectively forcing him out of his post and plunging Sweden's politics into uncertainty.
National elections earlier this month resulted in a hung parliament after a far-right party made significant gains. Now, the parliament's speaker will tap another leader to try to form a government, but the shape of any future alliance is far from clear.
Lofven, who heads the center-left Social Democrats, has been prime minister in Sweden since 2014. Two hundred four parliamentarians voted against him, 142 voted for him, and three abstained.
There are a number of political parties jockeying for power in Sweden.
In this month's election, the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats surged with 17.5 percent of the vote. Lofven's Social Democrats took 28.3 percent, and the center-right Moderate Party took 19.8 percent, The Associated Press reported.
The ascent of the Sweden Democrats has left the more centrist parties with difficult choices '-- ones that other European politicians are also facing. As Reuters puts it: "The rise of the far right across Europe has forced many traditional parties into an uncomfortable choice of sharing power with populist forces or reaching out to long-standing opponents to keep them out."
Andreas Norlen of the Moderate Party, who was elected speaker of parliament this week, will start talks with various parties about selecting a possible prime minister. According to multiple news reports, Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson is likely to get the nod.
But forming a new government won't be easy.
Kristersson's Moderates are "the largest member of the four-party centre-right Alliance," The Guardian reports.
Beyond those allies, the Moderates have few options. According to the newspaper, "The Sweden Democrats have been shunned by all other Swedish political parties since entering parliament in 2010 because of their roots in the neo-Nazi movement."
And on Tuesday, Lofven ruled out partnering with the Alliance to form a government, The Local Sweden reported '-- though the news site stated that a compromise might be possible on several major policy issues.
If no government is agreed upon after four attempts, Swedes will have to return to the polls. According to the BBC, that's never happened before.
And it appears likely that another election would result in similar deadlock.
Lofven may yet remain at the helm. After the vote, he was quoted by the BBC as saying, "I see good opportunities to continue as prime minister." Until another government is formed, he'll stay on as a caretaker prime minister.
In the recent election, as NPR's Emma Bowman reported, "much of the vote has hinged on voter attitudes on the issue of immigration."
Reporter Sidsel Overgaard has traced the origins of this issue:
"Sweden began opening its doors to hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers after the last election, in 2014. Since then, well over 300,000 people have applied for asylum, mostly from Syria, as well as from countries including Iraq and Iran.
"Nationalists point to a rising crime rate and incidents of gang violence as evidence of the need for closed borders. Those on the left point to Sweden's strong economic growth, low unemployment rate and overall relative well-being as a sign that more countries could be following the lead of this self-described humanitarian superpower."
4Chan Sparks Mass Triggering With NPC Meme; Twitter Responds With Ban Hammer | Zero Hedge
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 12:24
The "weaponized autists" at 4Chan have done it again, because they can; a new meme suggesting that liberals are soulless idiots who can't think for themselves has gone viral. The concept compares Democrats to "nonplayable characters," or NPCs - the recurring characters in video games with repetitive lines and limited knowledge. Lack of an "inner voice" is a dead giveaway that someone may be an NPC.
The NPC meme essentially meant to ridicule the post-election perpetual outrage culture in which liberals simply parrot the latest talking points from their favorite pundits, who do their thinking for them.
The 4chan version is a simple greyed out, expressionless face known as "NPC Wojak" - which has triggered the left so hard that Twitter conducted a mass-banning campaign for accounts promoting the meme, and the New York Times wrote an entire article trying to figure it out.
The Times writes of the Twitter bans:
Over the weekend, Twitter responded by suspending about 1,500 accounts associated with the NPC trolling campaign. The accounts violated Twitter's rules against ''intentionally misleading election-related content,'' according to a person familiar with the company's enforcement process. The person, who would speak only anonymously, was not authorized to discuss the decision. -NYT
There is precisely zero evidence that the accounts were spreading "intentionally misleading election-related content," so we're just going to have to take Twitter's word for it.
This NPC meme is gold. ðŸ‚ðŸ‚🂠pic.twitter.com/3X3IhGyWnv
'-- 🇺🇸👍Phataken (@Phataken) October 12, 2018Origins:
According to KnowYourMeme, the NPC meme was created in 2016 after an anonymous 4chan user made a threat titled "are you an NPC?" to the /v/ video games board.
On September 5th, 2018, several threads were submitted to 4chan discussing people who did not have an "inner-voice." In the comments sections, many described those who do not have an internal monologue as "NPCs." On September 7th, a grey-colored variation of Wojak began appearing in threads about NPCs (shown below). KnowYourMeme
The triggering begins
After the meme began to spread, Twitter user @brightabyss accused those who "refer to living humans being as NPCs" as being "facist""
If you sincerely refer to living human beings as NPCs you are a fascist, an enemy of to your own species, and basically a complete shitbag person. Dehumanization is not some cool trend of thought by Caucasian as fuck grad students, it's the capitalist erasure of ethics.
'-- '—‰ (@brightabyss) September 14, 2018And according to KnowYourMeme, "On September 15th, Twitter user @DreddByDawn tweeted that NPC was "dog whistle" used by "fascists." The same day, Twitter user @Sharessan accused a centrist of being a "fascist in denial" after labeling them an NPC. Meanwhile, Twitter user @stackflow33 tweeted a screenshot of the tweets along with the message "What the fuck is even going on anymore? Lmao.""
Fascists adopt dog whistles so quickly that as soon as one becomes recognizable to the public (like SJW) they've moved on, it's not coincidence, it's plausible deniability. ''NPC'' is explicitly meant to dehumanize, they'll take advantage of lack of recognition as long as they can
'-- Appropriating Mummy 🎃ðŸ'ðŸ‘>> (@DreddByDawn) September 15, 2018Angry NPCs Twitter users continued their opposition to the meme, telling users to "report and block" anyone using the "dehumanizing" NPC meme.
PSA: there's a new type of bot in town.They will have a avatar similar to this one and have NPC in their name.
They are providing misinformation and pretending to be Democrats or progressives.
Report and block. pic.twitter.com/WSJ5C9AT2a
'-- Storm #MobTheVote (@StormResist) October 14, 2018
Once the meme reached critical mass, it was only a matter of time before Silicon Valley did something about it:
The NPC meme hit Silicon Valley so hard that they're planning on banning it. pic.twitter.com/KVN6IWSfK0
'-- Faceberg (@thefaceberg) September 26, 2018And before they're totally scrubbed from the internet, here are a few NPC memes that slipped through the cracks:
pic.twitter.com/V4XZmreRiA
'-- Hobbes (@hobbes_618) October 14, 2018
NPCs are even getting ready for Halloween:
More:
A striking number of bugs in house | VRT NWS
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 12:14
Natuurpunt krijgt de voorbije dagen en weken opvallend meer vragen over de grote aantallen wantsen die zich dit najaar in en rond huizen ophouden. E(C)n van de meest gemelde wantsen dit najaar is de grauwe schildwants, ook gekend als de grauwe veldwants.
Wantsen zijn insecten die tot enkele centimeter groot kunnen worden. Ze lijken op kevers, maar zijn dat niet. Het gaat om een andere soort. Kevers hebben een hard schild op de rug, wantsen hebben vleugels.
Natuurpunt krijgt vooral meldingen van de grauwe veldwants. Die was jarenlang uitgestorven, tot ze in 1989 voor het eerst weer in ons land werd opgemerkt. De voorbije tien jaar neemt het aantal grauwe veldwantsen meer en meer toe, en sinds vorig jaar lijkt ze bezig aan haar grote doorbraak.
Weinig kieskeurig
De grauwe schildwants is een weinig kieskeurige soort. Ze leeft op bomen en struiken in tuinen. De grauwe schildwants eet plantensappen en kleinere insecten. Als ze volwassen zijn overwinteren de schildwantsen, en daarvoor zoeken ze warme plekjes. Dat kunnen kieren en spleten in buitenmuren zijn, maar soms durven de wantsen zich ook binnen wagen. Vind je binnen een schildwants, zet ze dan gewoon buiten. Zowel voor mensen als voor de natuur is het een onschadelijk beestje.
Het is niet helemaal duidelijk waarom de wantsen in opmars zijn. Volgens Wim Veraghtert van Natuurpunt heeft het warme weer van de voorbije weken er mee te maken. En op langere termijn het warmere klimaat. Traditioneel komen de wantsen meer voor in het zuiden van Frankrijk en Itali.
Er is geen duidelijke oorzaak. Mogelijk speelt de opwarming van de aarde een rol.
Daarnaast komt ook de bladpootrandwants meer voor. Dat is een Amerikaanse wants die tien jaar geleden voor het het eerst waargenomen is in Belgi. Sindsdien kent die ook een spectaculaire toename. De soort leeft aan naaldbomen. Echt schadelijk lijkt ze niet te zijn, maar de bladpootrandwants overwintert graag binnenshuis. De geur van bladpootrandwantsen is niet aangenaam, en vooral als ze met velen naar binnen komen kan dat overlast veroorzaken.
HLN fires big-name hosts, cuts three live shows in drastic overhaul at CNN sister network | Fox News
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 12:07
CNN's sister network, HLN, has axed top anchors Carol Costello, Ashleigh Banfield and Michaela Pereira as part of a complete programing overhaul, Fox News confirmed on Tuesday.
As first reported by Mediaite, CNN executives announced the changes during company-wide meetings at HLN headquarters in New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles.
HLN '' formerly known as Headline News '' has struggled to maintain an identity in recent years and has been plagued with constant rebranding and programming shakeups. The network once famous for its news ticker and constant updates eventually pivoted to true crime and investigative programing before adding a handful of live, CNN-style studio shows.
The latest change eliminates all live programming other than ''Morning Express with Robin Meade'' and the daytime show ''On the Story.''
DID CNN HIT AN ALL-TIME LOW WITH KANYE COVERAGE?
''Across America with Carol Costello,'' ''Crime & Justice with Ashleigh Banfield,'' and ''Michaela'' will be terminated, with the namesake hosts leaving the network. The move leaves three prominent female anchors without current gigs after TheWrap reported earlier this year that CNN had ''significantly fewer women serving in visible on-air roles than either Fox News or MSNBC.''
Meade's flagship morning program will now air from 6 a.m. ET to noon, with ''On the Story'' airing from noon until 3 p.m. The network will then air taped programing exclusively for the remainder of the day without any live primetime shows. HLN will no longer have live production in Los Angeles or New York, as both remaining shows are housed in Atlanta.
HLN finished as the No. 49 most-watched primetime network on basic cable during the week of Oct. 8-14, behind networks such as Animal Plant, Oxygen, VH1 and the Lifetime Movie Network.
CNN'S APRIL RYAN TROLLS KANYE WITH RAY J
CNN Executive Vice President Ken Jautz detailed the changes in a memo to staffers that was obtained by Mediaite and confirmed by Fox News.
Jautz told his staff that the ''cable news landscape is dominated by politics,'' and HLN's ''live news shows have not benefitted from this trend given our story mix.''
''We will shift some of our resources from live to longform programming and produce our live shows in as streamlined a manner as possible. The best way to do this is to centralize production of live news programming in Atlanta," Jautz wrote.
Prominent HLN hosts S.E. Cupp and Erica Hill had already recently been shifted to CNN.
CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker also oversees HLN.
An HLN spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
Mysterious paralyzing illness found among kids in 22 states
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 12:01
NEW YORK (AP) '-- U.S. health officials on Tuesday reported a jump in cases of a rare paralyzing illness in children, and said it seems to be following an every-other-year pattern.
At least 62 cases have been confirmed in 22 states this year, and at least 65 additional illnesses in those states are being investigated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Similar waves of the same illness occurred in 2014 and 2016.
CDC officials say they haven't found the cause. Some possible suspects, such as polio and West Nile virus, have been ruled out. Another kind of virus is suspected, but it's been found in only some of the cases.
''This is a mystery so far,'' the CDC's Dr. Nancy Messonnier said in a call Tuesday with reporters.
About 90 percent of the cases are children who have suffered muscle weakness or paralysis, including in the face, neck, back or limbs. The symptoms tend to occur about a week after they had a fever and respiratory illness.
It is ''a pretty dramatic disease,'' but fortunately most kids recover, Messonnier said.
Health officials call the condition acute flaccid myelitis. The CDC would not release a list of the states reporting probable or confirmed cases. But some states have previously announced clusters, including Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado, New York and Washington.
The cases in 2014 and 2016 were partly attributed to particular strains of respiratory germs called enteroviruses, which spread the most in the summer and fall.
Most people infected with enteroviruses suffer only minor symptoms like cough and runny nose. And though enteroviruses have been detected in some paralysis cases, it hasn't been found in others, CDC officials say.
Lacking an established cause, health officials confirm cases through a review of brain scans and symptoms.
About 120 confirmed cases were reported in 2014. Another 149 were reported in 2016. In 2015 and 2017, the counts of reported illnesses were far lower.
The cases this year seem to be spread across much of the country, as were the earlier two waves. But mysteriously no other country has reported the emerging every-two-years pattern seen in the U.S., Messonnier said.
___
The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
Jamal Khashoggi's killing took seven minutes, Turkish source tells MEE | Middle East Eye
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 11:56
The residence of the Saudi consul-general in Istanbul remains cordoned off by Turkish police (AFP)
Tuesday 16 October 2018 19:07 UTC
Last update:
Wednesday 17 October 2018 11:45 UTC
It took seven minutes for Jamal Khashoggi to die, a Turkish source who has listened in full to an audio recording of the Saudi journalist's last moments told Middle East Eye.
Khashoggi was dragged from the consul-general's office at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and onto the table of his study next door, the Turkish source said.
Horrendous screams were then heard by a witness downstairs, the source said.
READ MORE '–º
Full coverage of Jamal Khashoggi
"The consul himself was taken out of the room. There was no attempt to interrogate him. They had come to kill him,'' the source told MEE.
The screaming stopped when Khashoggi - who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate on 2 October - was injected with an as yet unknown substance.
Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, who has been identified as the head of forensic evidence in the Saudi general security department, was one of the 15-member squad who arrived in Ankara earlier that day on a private jet.
Tubaigy began to cut Khashoggi's body up on a table in the study while he was still alive, the Turkish source said.
The killing took seven minutes, the source said.
As he started to dismember the body, Tubaigy put on earphones and listened to music. He advised other members of the squad to do the same.
''When I do this job, I listen to music. You should do [that] too,'' Tubaigy was recorded as saying, the source told MEE.
A three-minute version of the audio tape has been given to Turkish newspaper Sabah, but they have yet to release it.
Saudi national Salah Muhammad A Tubaigy at Ataturk Airport on 2 October 2018 (AFP/Sabah/screengrab)A Turkish source told the New York Times that Tubaigy was equipped with a bone saw. He is listed as the president of the Saudi Fellowship of Forensic Pathology and a member of the Saudi Association for Forensic Pathology.
In 2014, London-based Saudi newspaper Asharaq al-Awsat interviewed Tubaigy about a mobile clinic that allows coroners to perform autopsies in seven minutes to determine the cause of death of Hajj pilgrims.
The newspaper reported that the mobile clinic was partly designed by Tubaigy and could be used in "security cases that requires pathologist intervention to perform an autopsy or examine a body at the place of a crime''.
These are the first details to emerge of the Saudi journalist's killing. Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October to retrieve paperwork.
To date, Saudi officials have strongly denied any involvement in his disappearance and say that he left the consulate soon after arriving. However, they have not presented any evidence to corroborate their claim and say that video cameras at the consulate were not recording at the time.
Calls for credible investigation grow louderOn Tuesday, both US President Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo, his secretary of state, came out in support of Saudi officials's denials they know anything about what happened to Khashoggi.
Trump tweeted that he spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who "totally denied any knowledge of what took place" in Istanbul. Trump said MBS told him "that he has already started, and will rapidly expand, a full and complete investigation into this matter".
On Monday, CNN reported that Saudi Arabia was preparing to release a report that would blame Khashoggi's death on a botched interrogation.
That would be a sharp reversal of earlier statements in which Saudi officials said they had nothing to do with the journalist's disappearance and said he left the Saudi consulate minutes after he first arrived on 2 October.
Khashoggi, a prominent journalist and columnist for the Washington Post, had been living in self-imposed exile in the US capital when he disappeared.
On Tuesday, Washington Post publisher and CEO Fred Ryan called for a "full and honest explanation" of Khashoggi's disappearance.
"The Saudi government can no longer remain silent, and it is essential that our own government and others push harder for the truth," Ryan said in a statement. "Until we have a full account and full accountability, it cannot be business as usual with the Saudi government."
READ MORE '–º
What happened on the day Khashoggi vanished
The United Nations human rights chief also called for diplomatic immunity to be lifted for officials who might be involved in Khashoggi's disappearance.
Due to the seriousness of the case, the immunity generally accorded to diplomats "should be waived immediately", Michelle Bachelet said.
This article is available on Middle East Eye French edition.
Top Journalists that Serve on Soros-Funded Boards of Directors or Advisers | Media Research Center
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 17:47
Read the Full Report
Read the Executive Summary
Center for Public Integrity
Board of Directors:
Christiane Amanpour - Anchor of 'This Week with Christiane Amanpour,' ABC's Sunday morning political affairs program
Sheila Coronel - Director of The Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism
Charles Eisendrath - Director of the Knight-Wallace Fellows and the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists at the University of Michigan
Arianna Huffington - President and Editor-in-Chief of Huffington Post Media Group, including: The Huffington Post, AOL Media and AOL Local properties
Jennifer 8. Lee - Author and nine-year veteran of The New York Times. She also serves on the Nieman Foundation advisory board
Charles Lewis -Founding executive editor of the new Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University's School of Communication
Olivia Ma - News manager and part of the news and politics team at YouTube
Paula Williams Madison - Chairman and CEO of Madison Media Management LLC, recently retired from NBC Universal
Geneva Overholser - Director of the School of Journalism at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication
Matt Thompson - Editorial product manager at National Public Radio and adjunct faculty member at the Poynter Institute
Advisory Council
Gustavo Godoy - Executive editor and publisher of Vista, a monthly magazine for Hispanic Americans
Kathleen Hall Jamieson - Walter H. Annenberg Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication of the University of Pennsylvania
Michele Norris - Host of NPR's newsmagazine All Things Considered
Charles Piller - Senior investigative reporter for the Sacramento Bee
Ben Sherwood - ABC News president and former 'Good Morning America' executive producer
Center for Investigative Reporting
Board of Directors
Phil Bronstein - Director of Content Development & Editor-at-Large Hearst Newspapers
David Boardman - Executive Editor and Senior Vice President, The Seattle Times
Jon Funabiki - Professor of journalism at San Francisco State University
George Osterkamp - Producer for CBS News
Board of Advisers
Lowell Bergman - Producer/correspondent for PBS series 'Frontline' and professor of Investigative Reporting at University of California Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism
Sarah Cohen - Knight Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy. She is on the board of directors for Investigative Reporters and Editors
Len Downie - Vice president and former executive editor for The Washington Post
Elizabeth Farnsworth - Special correspondent for PBS 'Newshour'
Seymour Hersh - Staff writer, The New Yorker
Dori Maynard - President, Maynard Institute
Bill Moyers - Host of 'Bill Moyers Journal' on PBS
Raul Ramirez - Executive Director, News and Public Affairs, KQED San Francisco
Orville Schell - Former dean of University of California Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism
Susan Stamberg - Special correspondent, National Public Radio
Mike Wallace - Recently retired from his work as a CBS '60 Minutes' correspondent, is now a correspondent emeritus for CBS
Judy Woodruff - Co-anchor PBS 'NewsHour'
ProPublica
Board of Directors
Alberto Ibarg¼en - President and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and former publisher of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald
Journalism Advisory Board
Jill Abramson - New executive editor of The New York Times
David Boardman - Executive editor of the Seattle Times
John S. Carroll - Former editor of the Los Angeles Times and Baltimore Sun
L. Gordon Crovitz - Former publisher of The Wall Street Journal
David Gergen - Senior political analyst for CNN
Shawn McIntosh - Director of culture and change at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Ellen Miller - Executive director of The Sunlight Foundation
Priscilla Painton - Editor-in-chief of Simon & Schuster
Allan Sloan - Senior editor-at-large for Fortune magazine
Kerry Smith - Senior vice president for editorial quality of ABC News
Cynthia A. Tucker - Editorial page editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Business Advisory Council
William Pollak - CEO, ALM Media LLC
Free Press
Board of Directors
Maxie C. Jackson III - President and CEO for the National Federation of Community Broadcasters
Organization of News Ombudsmen
Officers and Directors
Jacob M¶llerup - Danish Broadcasting Corporation and president of ONO
Debbie Kornmiller - Reader advocate of the Arizona Daily Star
Julie Miville-Dechene - Radio-Canada
Judi Whetstine - Gazette Communications
Investigative News Network
Board of Directors
Brant Houston - Chair of the Board & Knight Chair of Investigative Reporting, University of Illinois Journalism Dept.
Charles Lewis - Board Member & Executive Editor, The American University School of Communication Investigative Reporting Workshop
Robert Rosenthal - Center for Investigative Reporting Board Member & Executive Director
William Buzenberg - Executive Director, The Center for Public Integrity
Laura Frank - Executive Director, I-News, the Rocky Mountain Investigative News Network
Margaret Freivogel - Board Member & Editor, St. Louis Beacon
Soros-related organizations
This is a partial list of the media organizations that have staffers on the boards of Soros-funded media outlets.
Radio
KQED
NPR
Radio-Canada
Print
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Arizona Daily Star
Associated Press
El Nuevo Herald
Fortune
Gazette Communications
Hearst Newspapers
Houston Chronicle
New York Times
The New Yorker
Sacramento Bee
Seattle Times
Simon & Schuster
Toronto Star
USA Today
Vista
Washington Post
Online
AOL/Huffington Post
St. Louis Beacon
Voiceofsandiego.org
YouTube
TV
ABC
CBS
CNN
Danish Broadcasting Corporation
PBS
WTVF-TV
Education
American University School of Communication Investigative Reporting Workshop
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism's Columbia Journalism Review
Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy
Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism
University of Illinois
University of Michigan
University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication
University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication School of Journalism
Other
ALM Media LLC
Investigative Reporters and EditorsJames L. Knight Foundation
Madison Media Management LLC
Maynard Institute
National Federation of Community Broadcasters
Nieman Foundation
Poynter Institute
Sunlight Foundation
Tides Foundation
Amazon's HQ2 announcement is coming. Compare the finalists. - Recode
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 11:08
Sort them by tech talent, rent and commute times. By Rani Molla on October 15, 2018 7:15 am After more than a year of fanfare, competition and city government prostrations, Amazon's announcement of its second headquarters location is imminent.
Back in September 2017 the e-commerce company first asked for proposals from North American cities on where to house its HQ2, which would come with 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in capital spending for the winning city.
Amazon said it was looking for a city equal to its Seattle headquarters and would preference those with lots of tech talent, good public transit and attractive tax exemptions. After receiving more than 200 proposals, Amazon culled those to 20 finalists in January.
While Amazon has been mum about the winning city, plenty of people have placed their bets. NYU business professor Scott Galloway told a Code Commerce audience last month that the competition was a ''ruse'' and a game that was ''over before it started.'' He said that Amazon has planned all along to locate its second headquarters in the Washington, D.C., area, thanks to its proximity to CEO Jeff Bezos's home and, more importantly, federal lawmakers.
Ahead of the announcement, let's take a look at the finalists and how they compare on a number of factors. CBRE's tech talent rank takes into account 13 metrics important to tech companies, including an area's concentration of computer science degrees, existing tech industry and cost of living. We also looked at average office rent and commute times to international airports.
Sort the finalists by category here:
Here's that information on a map (hover on each city marker to see related info):
Though Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland, were also finalists, we didn't include them because most of our data was on a city level. Either would mean a win for the larger Washington, D.C., area.
Columbus has the shortest airport commute time, Indianapolis has the cheapest high-quality office rent and tech wages would be cheapest in Toronto.
The decision will likely hinge heavily on government incentives like tax breaks, which have mostly been kept secret. What we do know: Maryland offered $8.5 billion in incentives while New Jersey has proposed $7 billion in tax and other perks. Boston published its whole 218-page proposal for why Amazon should locate there.
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The Dumbest Moments From Trump's '60 Minutes' Interview
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 11:05
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Trump Threatening China to Distract From Russia Scandal
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 11:04
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Trump administration orders Facebook to hand over private information on 'anti-administration activists' | The Independent
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 10:48
The Department of Justice has demanded Facebook turn over information about three anti-Trump activists, drawing a legal challenge from civil liberties advocates who say the government is overreaching by seeking vast amounts of personal information.
Warrants issued by the US Attorney for the District of Columbia in February asked Facebook to detail the activities of three users who spearheaded mass protests of President Donald Trump's inauguration, as well as information about the page they used to plan the demonstrations. More than 200 people were arrested as violence flared in otherwise peaceful gatherings.
Citing ''evidence of rioting or intent to riot'', the sweeping requests ask Facebook to disclose all personal information of the organizers, including their passwords and physical addresses, as well as all activity associated with their accounts, any photos or videos they uploaded or any messages they sent. A separate warrant asks Facebook to reveal information about users who interacted with a page used to plan the protests.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has moved to block the warrants on behalf of the targeted activists, arguing in a filing that enforcing the warrants would ''reach deeply into individuals' private lives and protected associational and political activity''.
It warns that giving the government access to such broad repositories of data would stifle future speech.
''The enforcement of the warrants would chill future online communications of political activists and anyone who communicates with them, as they will learn from these searches that no Facebook privacy setting can protect them from government snooping on political and personal materials far removed from any proper law enforcement interest'', the filing warns.
leftCreated with Sketch. rightCreated with Sketch.
1/14 Activists from Greenpeace display a message reading "Mr President, walls divide. Build Bridges!" along the Berlin wall in Berlin on January 20, 2017 to coincide with the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United State
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2/14 An activist holds up a sign at the "We Stand United" rally on the eve of US President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration outside Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York on January 19, 2017 in New York
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3/14 Protesters burn a U.S. flag and a mock flag with pictures of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump outside the U.S. embassy in metro Manila, Philippines
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4/14 Filipino protestors hold placcards during a protest rally in front of the US embassy in Manila, Philippines, 20 January 2017. On the eve of President-elect Donald Trump's inaguration as the 45th president of the United States, Filipinos and Fil-Americans held a protest in front of the US embassy in Manila to denounce the incoming US president.
Getty
5/14 Hong Kong police officers and security guards look on as an anarchist protester belonging to the Disrupt J20 movement sits after using a heavy duty D-lock and motorcycle lock to chain himself to a railing at the entrance gate to the Consulate General of the United States of America in Hong Kong to protest the inauguration of United States President-elect Donald Trump, Hong Kong, China, 20 January 2017. Two activists were arrested and taken away by Hong Kong police during the demonstration.
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6/14 A banner is unfurled on London's Tower Bridge, organised by Bridges Not Walls - a partnership between grassroots activists and campaigners working on a range of issues, formed in the wake of Donald Trump's election, which aims to build bridges to a world free from hatred and oppression.
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7/14 Protesters chain themselves to an entry point prior at the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in Washington, DC, U.S.
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8/14 Bridges Not Walls banner dropped from Molenbeek bridge in Brussels, Belgium, 20 January 2017, in an Greenpeace action part of protests Wolrd protest in solidarity with people in the US, the day Donald Trump sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.
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9/14 A woman holds an anti-U.S. President-elect Donald Trump placard during a rally in Tokyo, Japan,
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10/14 A Palestinian protester holds a placard during a demonstration against the construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and against US President-elect Donald Trump, on January 20, 2017, near the settlement of Maale Adumim, east of Jerusalem
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11/14 Banners on North Bridge in Edinburgh as part of the Bridges Not Walls protest against US President Donald Trump on the day of his inauguration
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12/14 Russian artist Vasily Slonov (L) and his assistant carry a life-sized cutout, which is an artwork created by Slonov and titled "Siberian Inauguration", before its presentation on the occasion of the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, in a street in Krasnoyarsk, Russia
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13/14 A woman holds a banner during a march to thank outgoing President Barack Obama and reject US President-elect Donald Trump before his inauguration at a park in Tokyo, Japan, 20 January 2017.
EPA
14/14 Palestinian demonstrators protesting this week against a promise by Donald Trump to re-locate the US embassy to Jerusalem
Reuters
A spokesman for the US Attorney's office declined to comment. In a statement, Facebook backed the ACLU's efforts on behalf of the activists.
''We successfully fought in court to be able to notify the three people whose broad account information was requested by the government. We are grateful to the companies and civil society organizations that supported us in arguing for people's ability to learn about and challenge overly broad search warrants'', a spokesperson said.
Among the information that could be exposed, the ACLU's court filing argues, is information about conversations with friends and family members, ''intimate messages'' sent to romantic partners and ''detailed discussions'' of having endured domestic violence. One of the targeted activists said in a filing that the government would have access to information about her long history of unrelated political activity, including posts identifying others who participated in various marches and sit-ins.
And the government's dragnet could sweep up thousands of other people, the ACLU argues, citing the roughly 6,000 people who ''liked'' the disruptj20 page and others who said they would attend events sponsored by the page unrelated to the inauguration protest, including a ''Queer Dance Party at Mike Pence's House''.
Dallas Cowboys display own message of defiance to Donald Trump after NFL anthem protests
The unfolding legal battle marks the latest clash over the inauguration protests, with government demands for information running up against the privacy concerns of web users.
Earlier this year, the Department of Justice served online service provider DreamHost with a warrant seeking information about anyone who had visited a website used to organize anti-Trump protests. DreamHost challenged the request, and ultimately a judge compelled the company to turn over a scaled-down collection of data - an outcome DreamHost framed as a victory for its users.
Proportional representation could save America - Vox
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 10:48
Sometimes there are simple solutions to complicated problems.
And I, personally, have long thought that the thorny complex of issues related to polarization and the increasing bitterness of American politics might have a relatively simple solution: multi-member House districts.
The way this would work is that most states, instead of being split into one or two or three or four or eleven House districts would just operate as a unitary electoral zone. Voters would vote via ranked-choice voting, and you then end up with a proportional result. (The mechanics of how you do the tally are a little complicated, but the actual voting is easy '-- you just rank as many candidates as you want in order of preference.)
Consequently, you wouldn't have anything like the current situation anymore, where 30 percent of the voters in Massachusetts backed Trump and 30 percent of the voters in Oklahoma backed Clinton, but Massachusetts returns a uniformly Democratic House delegation and Oklahoma returns a uniformly Republican one.
Relatedly, but not identically, you'd basically eliminate gerrymandering as a factor in American public affairs. The biggest states, like California, Texas, Florida, New York, and maybe Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, would probably need to be split into two or three (or maybe even four for California) states; boundary-drawing would matter there, but only a little.
One quick result of this would be that no seat is truly safe. Some states would be reliably conservative and others reliably liberal, but any given member would need to retain a reputation for being hard-working and honest to avoid falling just off the bubble.
But more importantly, without requiring anyone to change their minds about anything, or suddenly become nicer people, this reform would do a lot to help us back away from conducting politics on a quasi-war footing.
Breaking down the party systemBut the bigger useful change is that under proportional House elections, third parties would win at least some of the seats.
Right away, the Democratic Socialists of America might run its own candidates and pick up a few here and there. We'd see a few Libertarians win too. But also, a guy like perennial candidate Greg Orman could stop running vanity statewide races in Kansas and win a House seat. Consistently endangered House members like Carlos Curbelo in Florida, Collin Peterson in Minnesota, and Will Hurd in Texas might split off and run under some kind of moderate banner.
The immediate upshot is House control would likely end up involving some kind of power-sharing arrangement. That could usefully prevent the current scenario, where the president's party holds concurrent majorities in Congress and, consequently, oversight just shuts down entirely.
America's other elections would still happen under nonproportional rules. Still, once you had a few minor parties in Congress, it might be tempting for a couple of senators who are bad fits for their current party '-- think of Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin '-- to jump ship.
You could end up with a situation where the party system simply varies from state to state. Some kind of Manchin/Murkowski party might end up playing the role of not-Republicans in natural resource extraction states where the national Democratic Party brand is bad.
And if third parties had clout in Congress, that might inspire at least some states to adopt proportional rules for state legislatures too. In theory, at least, a state could even adopt a parliamentary system.
I'm not personally hankering for a third party to vote for, as I have some fairly banal Democratic Party views these days. But I still think it would be a healthy development for the country.
We are too big and too diverse for a single unified vision to garner majority support, so the system objectively incentivizes President Donald Trump's successful strategy of turning politics into a cynical game about beating the other side.
It would be better to have a country where everyone is voting for a party they are genuinely enthusiastic about, and then because no such party commands majority support, the leaders need to do some bargaining.
This is an abbreviated web version of The Weeds newsletter, a limited-run newsletter through Election Day, that dissects what's really at stake in the 2018 midterms. Sign up to get the full Weeds newsletter from Matt Yglesias, plus more charts, tweets, and email-only content.
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Alec Baldwin's ABC talk show tanks in ratings, ranks below CW on Sunday night | Fox News
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 10:26
Alec Baldwin wants to 'overthrow' President TrumpEmmy Award-winning actor Alec Baldwin said 'it's time to 'overthrow the government of Donald Trump.' He added that it should be done in a non-violent way. Baldwin urged people to vote in the midterm elections.
Alec Baldwin and Robert De Niro's joint exercise in Trump-bashing produced lots of headlines, but drew few eyeballs Sunday night
According to Nielsen, the premiere of "The Alec Baldwin Show" on ABC garnered just a 0.4 rating among adults 18-49, the demographic most coveted by advertisers. The Baldwin-hosted chatfest was the lowest-rated program in the demo of any broadcast network -- including the CW.
By comparison, NBC's "Sunday Night Football" matchup between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs earned a 6.1 rating among adults 18-49, CBS' "60 Minutes" -- which featured an interview with the president -- drew a 1.9 rating and the CW premieres of "Supergirl" and the reboot of "Charmed" each drew a 0.5 rating.
ROBERT DE NIRO SAYS HE'S 'OFFENDED' BY BEHAVIOR OF TRUMP, 'REPUBLICANS IN GENERAL'
The "Baldwin Show" episode, which drew 2.2 million total viewers, featured interviews of Taraji P. Henson and De Niro, who told Baldwin that he was "so offended" by Trump and "Republicans in general."
"Everything [Trump] says about other people, 'You're a loser. You're a this. You're a that,' is everything he's saying about himself," the "Godfather Part II" and "Raging Bull" star added. "He's so transparent. He's projecting,''
The two then discussed Trump's business acumen, concluding that his stint as host of "The Apprentice" had ''tricked people'' into thinking he was a ''crack'' executive.
HOLLYWOOD STAR EXPLAINS WHY HE CANCELED SAUDI ARABIA TRIP
Hours before his show debuted, Baldwin was the featured speaker at the New Hampshire Democratic Party's annual fall fundraising dinner, during which he urged voters to use the "orderly and formal" method of elections "to overthrow the government of the United States under Donald Trump."
An ABC spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the ratings.
Fox News' Brian Flood and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
San Francisco Wants To Solve Its Poop Problem With A 'Homelessness Tax' | Daily Wire
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 10:24
It may cost millions for San Francisco to address its massive homeless problem, and the city, famous for having some of the highest rents in the country, has only one idea on how to make up the shortfall: raise taxes.
The tax, which will likely be on the ballot as San Francisco's "Proposition 9," is a so-called "head tax" that charges businesses operating within a city's limits a "per-employee" charge to help cover some of the city's expenses.
The money, in San Francisco's case, would go towards covering the cost of clearing poop from the city's streets, shutting down a massive "open air drug market" that's popped up in the city's "Tenderloin" neighborhood, and housing homeless individuals.
Seattle famously passed a similar "head tax" measure earlier this year and then promptly repealed it after big corporations like Amazon pointed out that the city was punishing businesses with a policy that had no marked effect on curbing homelessness. Although Seattle has dramatically increased spending on the issue in recent years, homelessness in Seattle has only increased.
In San Francisco, ABC News reports, social activists are hell-bent on punishing the big tech companies they believe are responsible for a population boom that's driven people onto the street. But San Francisco already spends more than $380 million on homelessness to no avail, and opponents of the tax say the measure would merely double that spending without adding any additional accountability.
Part of the problem is that San Francisco is unwilling to change some of the basic aspects of city governance that led to the homeless problem. The number of homeless individuals on San Francisco streets hasn't increased in several years, but when the homeless began forming "tent cities," activists blocked the city from cleaning out the encampments, and, in fact, made life worse, passing out free tents to people living on the city's streets.
And residents of those tent cities aren't particularly interested in moving into city-subsidized housing or moving on from San Francisco. The best San Francisco can do is clean up after them.
Democrats Release Tax Hike Plan
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 10:22
UNITED STATES - MARCH 07: From left, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., conduct a news conference with other Senate democrats to unveil a plan to improve the nation's infrastructure on March 07, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
This week, Congressional Democrats released a detailed tax hike plan that they promised to implement if given majority control of the House and Senate after the 2018 midterm elections. So much for the crocodile tears about the deficit--Democrats want to raise taxes not to reduce the debt, but rather to spend that tax hike money on boondoggle projects.
As you might expect, hold onto your wallets. Here are the details:
Increase the top marginal income tax rate from 37 percent to 39.6 percent. This nearly 3 percentage point increase in the top personal rate is not only a hike in the top bracket levy, but it's also a direct tax increase on small and mid-sized businesses. The 30 million companies which are organized as sole proprietorships, partnerships, Subchapter-S corporations, and LLCs pay their business taxes on their owners' 1040 personal tax returns. Hiking the top tax rate is a small business tax increase.
Increasing personal income taxes would be particularly unfortunate since workers are now seeing the results of lower rates in their paychecks. Thanks to the new IRS withholding tables, in February of this year over 90 percent of workers saw higher take home pay in the form of fatter direct deposits (for a humorous spectacle of the New York Times desperately trying to get people to down-talk their bigger paychecks, click here). They will continue to see those bigger paydays for as long as the tax rates in law remain in effect. This higher tax home pay is a down payment on a lower tax liability. Typical families of four should see their federal income tax decline from $2000 to $4000, depending on their income level and number of children.
Increase the corporate income tax rate from 21 percent to 25 percent. Up until this year, the United States labored under the highest corporate income tax rate in the developed world. As a result, jobs and capital were fleeing America for more normal tax rates that could be found in tax havens like France and China (saracasm font very much activated). Finally, after many years of bipartisan consensus that the U.S. corporate rate had become an impediment to attracting new jobs and investment, Congress cut the rate all the way from 35 to 21 percent. Even doing that only puts us in the middle of the pack of developed nations, but that's a heck of a lot better than dead last.
As a result of this change, companies like Fiat Chrysler, Amgen, and Amicus Therapeutics (among many others) have announced new factories and jobs would be built in America, not in other countries. Americans for Tax Reform keeps a running list of tax cut bonuses, raises, 401(k) match increases, and other benefits companies are passing along to workers as a result of this tax cut. The current number as of this writing is 431 companies and over 4 million workers. Just yesterday, Cox Enterprises announced bonuses of up to $2000 for 55,000 of their workers. Walmart and Wells Fargo have announced permanent wage hikes for all employees, notably those on the lowest rung of the ladder. Electric and other utility bills are going down in states all across the country.
Not content to endanger all that good news, the Democratic tax increase goes on to call for the following:
Bring back the alternative minimum tax (AMT) for 4 million families. Up until this year, 4 million upper middle class families had to calculate their income taxes two different ways, and then pay the higher result. This was due to a provision of the law known as the "alternative minimum tax" or AMT. Millions more had to at least pay a tax preparer to run the calculation, even if they didn't end up paying the AMT. The new tax law all but repealed the AMT for 99 percent of these families thanks to a higher AMT "standard deduction." Congressional Democrats would bring back the dreaded AMT, which especially hit hard two-income white collar families with kids in New York, New Jersey, and California.
Cut the "death tax" standard deduction in half. Over the past few decades, no tax has proven more unpopular in every single poll than the death tax, the federal tax on estates. 60 to 70 percent of poll respondents consistently call for its full repeal. The new tax law didn't repeal the death tax, but it did the next best thing--it doubled the death tax's "standard deduction" from $5.5 million to $11 million (and twice that for surviving spouses). As a result, far fewer family businesses and farms will be subject to the death tax, and many smaller firms can shed the costly insurance, legal, and actuarial costs of avoiding the death tax. Like the top personal rate, the death tax is not something that really affects the rich, who have plenty of resources to avoid the levy. Rather, it hits hardest those companies profitable enough to worry about it but not profitable enough to not worry about, if you catch my meaning. Democrats have never understood this, which is why it's not surprising they want to reduce the death tax's standard deduction back down to what it was before.
All of this is very confusing given that the new tax law is supported by a plurality of the American people (the New York Times reports it's actually a majority) and is growing in popularity. A good chunk of people haven't even yet realized they've received a tax cut, so the favorable numbers should continue to grow. Maybe that's why a Democratic pollster and strategist recently wrote:
Since the passage of the Republicans' tax bill, and even before it, Democrats have been losing the messaging war. Now that many Americans are seeing the results in their paystubs, it's even harder for Democrats to make this a winning issue. Voters are seeing the bill's positive impact and are not likely to oppose it because we tell them they're not benefiting, and many voters who aren't seeing the impact still support the bill. If Democrats want to continue using this bill as a major issue for November, we need a new messaging strategy.
Instead of figuring out how to raise taxes, Congressional Democrats would do better to work in a bipartisan manner to make the middle class and pro-jobs tax relief just passed into law permanent. A rising tide lifts all boats.
The article originally linked to a poll showing plurality support for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was characterized as majority support. Polling has shown both plurality and majority support for the tax law. Both recent polls are now cited for the sake of clarity.
Former Obama campaign manager scorches Elizabeth Warren for releasing DNA test weeks before midterm elections | Fox News
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 10:18
President Obama's former campaign manager on Monday sharply criticized Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren for releasing the results of a disputed DNA test that she said backed up her claims of Native American ancestry. He claimed she was throwing her party off-message just weeks before November's critical midterm elections.
"Argue the substance all you want, but why 22 days before a crucial election where we MUST win house and senate to save America, why did @SenWarren have to do her announcement now?" former President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, tweeted.
"Why can't Dems ever stay focused???" added Messina, who also served as deputy White House chief of staff.
Warren, considered a likely 2020 presidential contender, is an overwhelming favorite to win re-election in Massachusetts in November.
When her claims of Native American heritage first became a widely publicized issue during her tight 2012 Senate campaign against then-incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Brown, polls showed most voters in the state didn't care.
MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin also panned Warren's decision to release her DNA results on-air Monday, during an interview with Boston Globe reporter Annie Linskey. The Globe first reported the results of the analysis into Warren's bloodline.
FOX NEWS POLLS SHOW GOP ON OFFENSIVE IN KEY SENATE BATTLEGROUNDS, EVEN AS DEMS LOOK TO FLIP HOUSE
''Did [Warren] gain anything by putting out the DNA test results?" Melvin asked. "The best I can gather, according to your paper's reporting, she's 1/1000th '-- something like that '-- I think I might be just as Native American as she is.''
''I don't know who my great great great great grandmother or grandfather is," Linksey responded, noting that Warren's claimed heritage was "pretty far back" in her genetic line.
Meanwhile, New York Times reporter Nick Confessore wrote sarcastically on Twitter, "President Trump is sure to stop mocking Senator Warren about her ancestry now that she has provided definitive proof."
And Matthew Breen, LogoTV's editorial director, openly wondered if Warren was engaging in an "unserious distraction from a concerted midterm Dem strategy" -- or something more clever.
President Trump repeatedly has derided Warren for claiming she has Native American ancestry. At a rally in July, he joked that he would pull out a heritage kit during a hypothetical presidential debate with Warren and slowly toss it at her, "hoping it doesn't hit her and injure her arm, even though it only weighs probably two ounces."
Trump said he would offer to donate $1 million to Warren's preferred charity if she took the ancestry test and it proved she is Native American. Asked about that Monday afternoon, Trump said that Warren "owes the country an apology" and asked reporters, "What's her percentage? One-one-thousandth?"
He added that he would only give her charity $1 million if he is allowed to conduct the DNA test personally.
"I'll only do it if I can test her personally, OK? That will not be something I enjoy doing either," Trump said.
The test results Warren publicized did not definitively prove she has significant Native American ancestry, even though Stanford professor Carlos D. Bustamante, who conducted the analysis, said the results "strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor."
"I think I might be just as Native American as she is."
'-- MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin
According to the analysis Warren took, ''the vast majority'' of Warren's family tree is European and there is ''strong evidence'' she has Native-American ancestry ''in the range of 6-10 generations ago.''
As reported by the Globe, this means she could be between 1/64 and 1/1,024 Native American (though the newspaper initially published an erroneous figure and had to correct it).
Republicans countered that having such a trace amount of Native-American heritage does not give Warren ''the right to claim minority status'' -- as she was accused of doing to advance her career at Harvard Law School years ago.
Warren repeatedly claimed to be Native American throughout her academic career, and a Fordham Law Review article at the time of her hiring described her as the faculty's "first woman of color." The Boston Globe has claimed that Harvard did not consider her ancestry as a factor in her hiring.
''Warren might even be less Native American than the average European American,'' Republican National Committee spokesman Mike Reed said in a statement Monday. He also cited a 2014 study that cast doubt on Warren's claim.
The study, published by a team of scientists in late 2014 and featured in The New York Times, amounted to the largest-ever genetic profile of the U.S., based on 160,000 people. The study examined the average Native-American ancestry for Americans'--including European, African and Latino Americans.
According to the Times report on the study, which can be found on the National Institutes of Health website, ''European-Americans had genomes that were on average 98.6 percent European, .19 percent African, and .18 percent Native American.'' That would potentially mean Warren has less Native American DNA than the average American.
Additonally, the analysis Warren used didn't rely on Native American DNA, calling into question its reliability.
"To make up for the dearth of Native American DNA, Bustamante used samples from Mexico, Peru, and Colombia to stand in for Native American," the Globe admitted.
Still, Warren appeared intent on pushing the results of the test on Monday.
"By the way, @realDonaldTrump: Remember saying on 7/5 that you'd give $1M to a charity of my choice if my DNA showed Native American ancestry?" she wrote. "I remember '' and here's the verdict. Please send the check to the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center: http://www.niwrc.org/donate-niwrc."
Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.
OUCH: Cherokee Nation Issues Harsh Response To Warren's DNA Test, Other Native Americans Pile On | Daily Wire
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 10:13
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and her counterparts in the mainstream media uncovered their toxic symbiotic relationship like never before when the senator released a report on her DNA results Monday, revealing her claims to Cherokee heritage were bogus. As noted by Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro, "The report states that Warren could be just 1/1024th Native American. What's more, the study was based not on Native American DNA, but on Mexican, Peruvian, and Colombian DNA."
The media, of course, ran interference for Warren, framing the possibility that the Democrat having Native ancestry as far back as 6-10 generations as somehow in alignment with her past claims and not a massive sham.
While the media worked overtime to spin the Warren self-own, the Cherokee Nation issued a statement deflating such an effort, labeling the test "useless" and "inappropriate."
"A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship," said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin, Jr. in the statement. "Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person's ancestors were indigenous to North or South America. Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation."
Hoskin added, "Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is prove."
"Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage," the statement concludes.
Other Cherokee members and Native Americans in the past have blasted Warren for making the dubious claim to such ancestry, too.
In 2016, for example, Cherokee genealogist Twila Barnes said there was no evidence for Warren's alleged Native heritage (though Warren did offensively cite having high cheekbones and her "Pow Wow Chow" recipe book as evidence in the past). The Washington Times reports:
Ms. Barnes, who said her research into Ms. Warren's family found ''no evidence'' of Native American ancestry, has challenged key elements of the senator's tale of how her parents, Pauline Reed and Donald Herring, defied his parents by running off to marry.
''The problem with Warren's story is that none of the evidence supports it,'' said Ms. Barnes in a 2016 post on her Thoughts from Polly's Granddaughter blog. ''Her genealogy shows no indication of Cherokee ancestry. Her parents' wedding doesn't resemble an elopement. And additional evidence doesn't show any indication of her Herring grandparents being Indian haters.''
Moreover, as noted by Daily Wire's Ryan Saavadra, "A 2012 report from The Atlantic noted that Warren was not a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, was not enrolled in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and was not one of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee, 'Nor could she become one, even if she wanted to.'"
And the criticism for Warren only heated up on Monday. A Cherokee Nation member and Ethnic Studies professor at Brown University, Dr. Adrienne Keene, called out the senator for denying that her apparently falsified ethnic claims helped her to advance at Harvard University.
"My tribal citizenship was a factor in my hiring. As it should be," said Keene, according to National Review. "I represent my nation & Native ppls in this space & we wouldn't have a voice otherwise. But I'm also a great teacher."
A professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of Alberta, Kim TallBear, similarly slammed the Democrat.
"She continues to defend her ancestry claims as important despite her historical record of refusing to meet with Cherokee Nation community members who challenge her claims," she said. "This shows that she focuses on and actually privileges DNA company definitions in this debate, which are ultimately settler-colonial definitions of who is Indigenous."
Other Native Americans took to Twitter to voice their concerns over Warren's claims and her highly-touted DNA test (H/t National Review):
That's not how this works, that's not how any of this works. Can Warren just stop? I would much rather it said Warren meets with Cherokee women to apologize. This is NOT how you make amends to Natives FYI. #ElizabethWarren https://t.co/rcm18tiLiU
'-- Emmy Scott (@EmmyNawjoopinga) October 15, 2018 Dear @SenWarren: A DNA test does not make you Native! Even if you had a CDIB that would not make you Native! Native identity is more than blood and blood myths. Being Native is about culture, language, history and more! But you don't have that, stop claiming Native, PERIOD!
'-- Emilio Reyes (@emiliotongva) October 15, 2018 Elizabeth Warren said the Native American "family lore" was high cheekbones that all Native Americans have. These are made-up assumptions originated by white ppl to diminish our existence as Native ppl. Please know we don't come in parts, that is a stereotype and racist AF!
'-- Emilio Reyes (@emiliotongva) October 15, 2018 Indigenous Nationhood does not come from a test tube. It comes from active community involvement. From an unyielding connection to land. From your ancestors having sheltered your nation's resistance leader. From Ceremony, from water, from ancient songs. It's a responsibility.
'-- SaltyLilOjibwe (@SaltyLilOjibwe) October 15, 2018 As a Ntv person in academia I cant prove my Ojibwe and Lakotah lineage via DNA tests for scholarships. I have to provide tribal documentation and written proof that I'm connected to my community. @elizabethforma gets to take a DNA test to prove ''lineage'' & it's cool tho?
'-- Serena Graves (@serena_graves) October 15, 2018Suffice to say, things probably aren't going as Warren expected, even with the fulltime help of the mainstream media.
Elizabeth Warren releases results of DNA test on Native American ancesty - The Boston Globe
Tue, 16 Oct 2018 10:09
WASHINGTON '-- Senator Elizabeth Warren has released a DNA test that provides ''strong evidence'' she had a Native American in her family tree dating back 6 to 10 generations, an unprecedented move by one of the top possible contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.
Warren, whose claims to Native American blood have been mocked by President Trump and other Republicans, provided the test results to the Globe on Sunday in an effort to defuse questions about her ancestry that have persisted for years. She planned an elaborate rollout Monday of the results as she aimed for widespread attention.
The analysis of Warren's DNA was done by Carlos D. Bustamante, a Stanford University professor and expert in the field who won a 2010 MacArthur fellowship, also known as a genius grant, for his work on tracking population migration via DNA analysis.
He concluded that ''the vast majority'' of Warren's ancestry is European, but he added that ''the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor.''
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Bustamante calculated that Warren's pure Native American ancestor appears in her family tree ''in the range of 6-10 generations ago.'' That timing fits Warren's family lore, passed down during her Oklahoma upbringing, that her great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, was at least partially Native American.
RELATED: Ethnicity not a factor in Elizabeth Warren's rise in law
Smith was born in the late 1700s. She identified as white in historical documents, though at the time Indians faced discrimination, and Smith would have had strong incentives to call herself white if possible.
The inherent imprecision of the six-page DNA analysis could provide fodder for Warren's critics. If O.C. Sarah Smith were fully Native American, that would make Warren up to 1/32nd native. But the generational range based on the ancestor that the report identified suggests she's between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American. The report notes there could be missed ancestors.
Undergoing the test and releasing the results reveal how seriously Warren is taking the attacks from Trump, who has been able to effectively caricature and diminish his national foes via nicknames and conspiracy theories. Trump pushed then President Barack Obama into releasing the long form of his birth certificate to prove what most knew was already true: He was born in America.
The move is also another indication of how seriously Warren is considering running for president. And while it's unclear whether the test will convince Trump and his die-hard supporters, Warren will be able to point to it with other, more open-minded voters. Once Obama produced his birth certificate in 2011, the racist ''birther'' movement, which thrived on the Internet and was stoked by Trump, largely evaporated.
Warren is seeking reelection in Massachusetts and is expected to easily win a second term. She has said that she will take a ''hard look'' at running for the Democratic nomination for president once the midterm elections are over. She's already released 10 years worth of her tax returns and made her personnel files available to The Boston Globe, showing that ethnicity was not a factor in her rise in law.
By taking a DNA test, Warren is showing that if she runs for president, she plans to be a very different candidate than Hillary Clinton was. The 2016 Democratic nominee for president chafed at releasing personal information and was dogged throughout her campaign by her use of a private server while she was secretary of state.
RELATED: Elizabeth Warren's Native American problem goes beyond politics
Warren provided a sample of her DNA to a private lab in Georgia in August, according to one of the senator's aides. The data from that test was sent to Bustamante and his team for analysis. Warren received the report last week.
Warren didn't use a commercial service, but Bustamante is on the scientific advisory board for Ancestry, which provides commercial DNA tests. He's also consulted on a project for 23andMe, another major DNA testing company.
Warren said she was committed to releasing the report regardless of the results. However, Warren's aides would not say whether she or any of her three siblings had previously done a commercial DNA test that would have provided them with some assurance about Bustamante's analysis.
There were five parts of Warren's DNA that signaled she had a Native American ancestor, according to the report. The largest piece of Native American DNA was found on her 10th chromosome, according to the report. Each human has 23 pairs of chromosomes.
''It really stood out,'' said Bustamante in an interview. ''We found five segments, and that long segment was pretty significant. It tells us about one ancestor, and we can't rule out more ancestors.''
He added: ''We are confident it is not an error.''
Detecting DNA for Native Americans is particularly tricky because there is an absence of Native American DNA available for comparison. This is in part because Native American leaders have asked tribal members not to participate in genetic databases.
''The tribes have felt they have been exploited,'' explained Lawrence Brody, a senior investigator with the Medical Genomics and Metabolic Genetics Branch at the National Institutes of Health. ''The amount of genetic data that is available from Native Americans is sparse.''
To make up for the dearth of Native American DNA, Bustamante used samples from Mexico, Peru, and Colombia to stand in for Native American. That's because scientists believe that the groups Americans refer to as Native American came to this land via the Bering Strait about 12,000 years ago and settled in what's now America but also migrated further south. His report explained that the use of reference populations whose genetic material has been fully sequenced was designed ''for maximal accuracy.''
RELATED: Warren defends heritage claims
Bustamante said he can tease out the markers that these South Americans would have in common with Native Americans on the North American continent.
Bustamante also compared Warren's DNA to white populations in Utah and Great Britain to determine if the amounts of Native American markers in Warren's sample were significant or just background noise.
Warren has 12 times more Native American blood than a white person from Great Britain and 10 times more than a white person from Utah, the report found.
Warren has come under blistering attacks from Trump for making claims of Native American heritage. His taunts of her as ''Pocahontas'' have become part of his standard rally monologue.
Earlier this month at rally in Iowa, Trump said he hoped Warren would run for president because it would allow him to find out ''whether or not she has Indian blood.''
In July, during a rally in Montana, Trump imagined debating Warren during the 2020 presidential election and said that he'd try to make her take a DNA test by throwing it at her onstage. ''We have to do it gently, because we're in the #MeToo generation, so we have to be very gentle,'' Trump said.
He also offered to provide $1 million to her charity of choice if she takes the test.
Warren's Senate campaign has used clips from Trump and his spokeswoman Sarah Sanders attacking her for making the Native American claims in a slickly produced video it planned to distribute Monday morning. It includes a scene of Warren and her three older brothers discussing the issue.
There's even footage of Warren calling Bustamante to get the results of her DNA test.
''The president likes to call my mom a liar. What do the facts say?'' asks Warren, sitting at a desk by behind a Macintosh laptop.
''The facts suggest that you absolutely have Native American ancestry in your pedigree,'' replies Bustamante, who was also captured on film by Warren's team.
Bustamante is considered one of the leading DNA analysts in the world. When several DNA experts were asked by the Globe, earlier this year, how they'd recommend Warren go about taking a DNA test, his name came up repeatedly.
He has never donated to Warren's campaigns. (A different California professor with the same name donated $200 to Obama in 2008, federal records show.)
Questions over Warren's ethnicity have dogged her since her 2012 Senate campaign. That's when GOP operatives found archival stories in the Harvard Crimson of a Harvard Law School spokesman referring to her as a Native American as a way to show the school had a diverse faculty.
During her academic career as a law professor, she had her ethnicity changed from white to Native American at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she taught from 1987 to 1995, and at Harvard University Law School, where she was a tenured faculty member starting in 1995. (She was a visiting professor at Harvard during the 1992-1993 academic year.)
In an interview with the Globe published last month, Warren explained that she identified herself as Native American in the late 1980s and early 1990s as many of the matriarchs of her family were dying and she began to feel that her family stories and history were becoming lost.
Ivy League universities, like the ones where Warren taught, were under great pressure to show they had diverse staffs.
The University of Pennsylvania filled out a document explaining why it hired a white woman over minority candidates '-- clear evidence it didn't view her as a Native American addition. And the Globe interviewed 31 Harvard Law School faculty members who voted on her appointment there, and all said her heritage was not a factor.
Correction: Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 6th to 10th generation relative. The generational range based on the ancestor that the report identified suggests she's between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American.
Annie Linskey can be reached at annie.linskey@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @annielinskey.
The Google Pixel 3 Is A Very Good Phone. But Maybe Phones Have Gone Too Far.
Mon, 15 Oct 2018 20:14
The world is on fire but the new Google Pixel 3 '-- a Good Phone, which I do recommend you buy if you like Android and can afford it, although its updates are mostly incremental '-- in my pocket is cool to the touch. A dark slab of metal and glass. It comes alive when I rub my finger across the back of it.
And then!
''We're doomed,'' a colleague texts me on Signal*. A push alert from a well-regarded news site has more details on the alleged murder and dismemberment of a Saudi journalist. On Nextdoor, several neighbors report that their drinking water has tested positive for unsafe levels of pesticides. The Citizen app prompts me to record video of an angry naked man rampaging in the shit-strewn streets of San Francisco. Facebook is hacked and our information is out there. Everyone on Twitter is angry, you fucking cuck. You idiot. You tender, triggered snowflake. Everyone on Instagram is posturing, posing. You are less beautiful than they. The places you go are not as interesting. You should feel bad because you are worse in every way. The world is dying; come see it, come see it.
I don't recall exactly when my phone became such a festival of stress and psychological trauma, but here we are.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh but that camera! That screen! The Lens feature that can tell me what I'm looking at '-- what kind of plant it is or what kind of animal it is or what information is captured in a business card so that I do not have to go to the library and I do not have to enter it in or even remember it at all. I don't have to remember! Okay, Google, I don't want to think about it. Okay?
Okay?
Eleven, almost twelve, years ago I sat in the cavern of a convention center in San Francisco and watched as Steve Jobs, who at this point was not-quite-yet-but-almost god-king of Silicon Valley, bragged about the new device Apple would soon unleash upon the world. I was enthralled.
It was my instant companion, and I spent hours alone with it, staring into it as it relieved me of the tedium of everyday life. The boredom cure. The everywhere camera. But! It was the arrival of third-party apps a decade ago that really sold the phone. Twitter! (But really, Tweetie.) Messaging and maps and YouTube and real honest-to-god email and web browsing. Information was suddenly always fresh, always new. The drip-drip-drop of updates soon turned into a trickle and then a torrent.
My neck hurts. I am never not looking down. When I am not looking at my phone, I become slightly anxious. And then, when I do actually look at it, I become even more so. It reminds me of how I once felt about cigarettes. I experience the world with a meticulously crafted, tiny computer slab between me and it. I am an asshole. But so, maybe, are you?
Look around any city street and there we all are, with our heads down, walking past each other, unaware. I saw you in your car driving with your phone in your hand. I saw you at the playground looking at your phone while your child's life passed you by. I saw you on your date, alone together.
Our phones are furthering genocide in Myanmar, lynchings in India, misinformation in the United States. Our phones are making us stupid. Our phones are making us stressed. Our phones are radicalizing and dividing society. Violent delights.
And sure, it is due to the data coursing through our phones, not our phones themselves. But if Twitter is responsible for the trolling and abuse and harassment on its platform, are Google and Apple as well? If Facebook helped fuel genocide in Myanmar, does that responsibility lie with society, or Facebook, or the platform upon which the platform is built? (I honestly do not know. But, again, here we are. Are you reading this on your phone? Are you happy? Are you distracted? Is there something more interesting, more urgent, just a notification away?)
And then there is the tracking. There is an exchange at play, of course. In order to receive the global info torrent, we must in turn provide a personal one about ourselves. This is especially true of Android phones, more so than iPhones.
I wanted to share all of the information this phone captured about me during the long weekend I spent reviewing it. But there was simply too much of it, and in too much detail. Publishing it would put me in real financial and perhaps physical peril. And, besides, I'm not even sure if I am aware of it all, or if I even could capture it all. What's out there? We have no idea.
We are reaching a point of no return, when it comes to information collection, if we have not already gone beyond it. Cameras and screens, microphones and speakers. Capture your face and your voice and your friends' faces and voices and where you are and what's in your email and where you were when you sent it and... What did you say? Click, here's an ad. And where did you go? Click, here's an ad. Who were you with? Here's an ad. What did you read here's an ad how do you feel here's an ad are you lonely here's an ad are you lonely here's an ad are you lonely?
Some of the new Pixel 3's best features are ones designed to help you not use the phone. Digital Wellbeing (which you can also enable on the previous Pixels) will turn your phone's screen grayscale and turn off your notifications. It will tell you how much time you have spent on your phone for the day, and which apps you have spent that time in. You can also set a time limit on apps if you want. I found this useful and good. (It is also easily circumvented.)
Another idea: You may instead choose to buy a device with a lousy screen and a lousy camera and a terrible processor. Maybe you would use this less. Or maybe you should walk to the ocean and throw your phone in and turn around and never look back**.
Google is at the top of its game when it comes to hardware. While hardware may only be a queer little sideline for the company, it has never rolled out better devices. This phone is amazing. The operating system is amazing. There are a few apps on the iPhone that I wish this Pixel 3 had (FaceTime, for example) but overall I strongly prefer this device to the new iPhone. And, in my estimation, all other Android phones are just garbage by comparison. (Having said this, Paczkowski's dictum holds true here: Pick the ecosystem you like. Spend what you can afford. Buy the newest device. If you like iOS, you should get an iPhone. If you really love Samsung, get a Galaxy Note or whatever. If you can't afford this phone, but you like Android devices, there are some excellent devices from Motorola in particular that are more reasonably priced.)
Call screening: My god, this is wonderful. Tap a button and the phone will screen a call using the Google Assistant to ask the caller questions. It both plays out loud and transcribes their answers. It is very, very cool. (This feature will also come to older versions of the Pixel.)
Visuals: The screen is wonderful. The camera is wonderful. The screen is the most noticeable difference from Pixel 2 to Pixel 3. I have bad eyes, but this was a beautiful screen. Its edges have noticeable black bars around them on the Pixel 3, but not as much on the larger Pixel 3 XL, which does have a top side notch. And like I said, the camera is just great. It performed well in all lighting conditions.
AI: Google has made extensive use of artificial intelligence in this phone to great effect. Here is a small example of one time that was useful. On Sunday night, I arrived at the Atlanta airport and tapped the tiny icon at the bottom of the screen to see my full list of apps. Google surfaces a few suggested ones atop the full list, and among them was the Delta app. I have several airline apps on my phone. But presumably Google had made the connection that I was at the airport and had a Delta flight (which was in my Google Calendar, and Google email), which led it to suggest the Delta app. This is minor, but there are so many little things like this tucked away throughout the phone. It pleasantly surprises. The phone even uses AI to improve pictures, especially zoomed-in ones via a feature called Super Res Zoom.
The Pixel Stand: This is a $79 add-on that lets you wirelessly charge your phone and, effectively, transforms it into a miniature Google Home. What it does best is work in conjunction with Routines, so you can say ''Okay, Google, good night,'' for example, and it will turn off your (connected home) lights, go into the grayscale mode, turn off notifications, set an alarm, and turn on white noise. This worked flawlessly, and I was really impressed. On the other hand, it will probably further encourage you to keep your phone on your nightstand. Which is a terrible idea. (Yes, I do it too.)
Scratchy back: I found the textured backside, which Google said is meant to resist fingerprints, scratched quite easily. Most of the scratching in the picture below was done intentionally, albeit very easily, but only because I noticed how scuffed the phone was already becoming.
Antenna: Several times the phone seemed to get stuck in 3G '-- this mostly happened on the road, but it also happened in places where I knew there should be LTE. On multiple occasions, I toggled airplane mode and found that after I did so, it would then connect to LTE for faster internet. Weird.
Just, I mean, what phones are doing to us: This is not unique to the Pixel 3, but it is a terrible modern fact of society. The Pixel 3, as noted above, takes steps meant to help us reduce our usage and dependency on these wonderful and insidious devices.
This is a great phone. I highly recommend it. But it's no longer totally clear to me that the information systems we've built to help us navigate life are net beneficial to society. I mean, I think they are. But, Jesus. Jesus. What's happening to us?
*We use Signal to communicate because it is encrypted and god only knows who is listening in, or trying to, in this age of perpetual voluntary surveillance.
**Please do not do this. It would be very bad for the ocean.
How Hillary Clinton could win in 2020
Mon, 15 Oct 2018 17:57
Once more unto the breach, dear friends?
A Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump rematch in 2020 would be the most hyped political fight of all time. It would also be the most brutal, mind-numbing, soul-destroying election in our history. The amount of money raised by the DNC and assorted super PACs would topple all previous records. Billions of dollars would go up in flames. The media coverage would be relentless. It would monopolize everyone's time and attention. The World Series would be relegated to ESPN3 in favor of more debates. It would be the election to end all elections '-- almost literally, in the sense that both campaigns would be pitching their opponent's victory as the end of the republic itself.
For cynics like me it would be a joy to watch.
How likely is it to happen? When it was announced last week that Hillary and Bill are embarking on a stadium tour, I couldn't help but be disappointed. To me this was evidence that the duo are finished with politics and desperately seeking more money. Heaven knows what they need it for.
What a shame.
I really do think it would be possible for Clinton to win in 2020. All she would have to do is run the campaign she is actually suited for instead of the one foisted on her by dim-witted consultants and woke staffers. I never understood why in 2016 Clinton decided to abandon decades of her and Bill's accumulated political wisdom, to say nothing of her own personality, by pitching herself as the candidate of Yelp marketing interns and Manhattan yoga moms. This is not her world or her politics, such as they are.
The real Hillary is the moderate New York senator who inherited her seat from Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the woman who ran a vicious race-baiting primary campaign against Barack Obama, the unwavering supporter of the Iraq war, the architect of our ill-fated Libyan excursion, the Osama-hunter, the would-be Assad-destroyer, the welfare queen shamer, the tough-on-crime denouncer of "superpredators." Clinton was at her most authentic in 1994 bemoaning the slow pace at which the Joe Biden-authored Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act was working its way through the House and Senate:
There is something wrong when a crime bill takes six years to work its way through Congress and the average criminal serves only four. '... We need more police. We need more and tougher prison sentences for repeat offenders. We need more prisons to keep violent offenders for as long as it takes to keep them off the streets. [Hillary Clinton]
This is vile stuff. But it is also the way Clinton talked for most of her political career. It is the reason that Ann Coulter, among others, proudly announced that she would vote for Clinton over a RINO like John McCain.
I am not suggesting that Clinton should run a mere throwback campaign. Instead she should apply her instincts to the present political climate. The cornerstone of her campaign could be a promise to crack down on perpetrators of sexual assault, especially against children. She could promise, among other things, to bring back the death penalty for rapists. She could also come out hard against pornography, the sexualization of women in media, and the gender pay gap. She could hold Trump-style rallies where abusers were ritually shamed, where the chants are turned against the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. with promises to "Lock him up!" The latent power of #MeToo could be the most transformative force in American politics if harnessed by the right person.
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Instead of allowing her campaign to be run like a Refinery29 editorial meeting, Clinton could argue that the Democrats cannot just be the party of avocado IPA-sipping 20-something brocialist layabouts. She could employ against her primary opponents the same talking points she used against Obama in 2007 '-- namely that he lacked support among "hard-working Americans, white Americans." She could also, perhaps uniquely among Democrats with 2020 ambitions, speak with something approaching credibility about Russia, even going so far as to claim that Obama failed the country by leaving us open to election interference. She would be, as she was in 2016, the candidate of Wall Street, but she would also be the candidate of common sense, of toughness, of non-whining, of achievement, appealing to the suburbs with caricatures of Trump's base as a bunch of toothless entitled drug-addicted hicks the same way she slandered African-Americans in the '90s with her contemptuous remarks about those who have "known nothing but dependency all their lives."
How significant would the break with the Democratic base be if Clinton tried to run this kind of campaign? Not very, I think. If there is one thing the last few years have taught us it is that partisanship for its own sake is a better unifying force than any idea or policy. Besides, the stakes would be considered too high. The columns poo-pooing leftists who want to make the perfect the enemy of the good would write themselves. The nastiest rhetoric and the most craven concessions to finance and big business '-- rejecting single-payer health care out of hand, cozying up to corporate agriculture by promising to end Trump's trade war, keeping the 2017 tax cuts '-- would be excused. Earnest progressives would, rightly, be disgusted. But Clinton wouldn't need their votes to shave away at Trump's small margin in the handful of states that will be competitive in 2020.
It has already become clear that Democrats relish the opportunity to get tough in the next presidential election. Eric Holder spoke for millions when he said recently that Michelle Obama was wrong: "When they go low, we kick them." Clinton has been on the giving end of low blows for her entire career in politics. If Democrats are looking for someone who would rather kick Trump in the teeth than deliver another wimpy lecture about the importance of civility, she is their valkyrie.
Third time's the charm, Hillary.
Fidelity Reveals Cryptocurrency and Digital Asset Trading Platform - CoinDesk
Mon, 15 Oct 2018 17:52
Financial services provider Fidelity Investments is launching a cryptocurrency trading and storage platform.
Fidelity Digital Asset Services, LLC will provide cryptocurrency custody and trading services for enterprise clients, the company announced Monday.
Tom Jessup, who is heading up the new division, announced the platform at Bloomberg's Institutional Crypto event. It hopes to draw institutional investors, including hedge funds, family offices and market intermediaries.
Fidelity is one of the five largest financial services providers in the world, maintaining some $7.2 trillion in client assets.
"Those efforts have been successful in helping us understand and advance our thinking around cryptocurrencies ... The creation of Fidelity Digital Assets is the first step in a long-term vision to create a full-service enterprise-grade platform for digital assets," he said, going on to add:
"In our conversations with institutions, they tell us that in order to engage with digital assets in a meaningful way, they need a trusted platform provider to enter this space. These institutions require a sophisticated level of service and security, equal to the experience they're used to when trading stocks or bonds."
As such, Fidelity plans to build a "scalable infrastructure" that takes advantage of Fidelity's existing experience in building such platforms, he said.
At launch, the new company will offer "institutional-grade custody," trade execution and "dedicated client service," the press release continued.
The platform will custody bitcoin, ethereum and other yet-to-be-named cryptocurrencies at launch. As part of its security system, Fidelity will hold the cryptocurrencies in cold storage, along with "multi-level physical and cyber controls," the release explained.
Fidelity Investments CEO and chairman Abigail Johnson said the new platform's goal is to "make digitally-native assets, such as bitcoin, more accessible to investors," according to the release.
Fidelity image via PL Gould / Shutterstock
Opinion | What Do You Do When You Are Anonymously Accused of Rape? - The New York Times
Mon, 15 Oct 2018 12:28
What do you do if you are accused of sexual misconduct and believe yourself to be innocent?
If you're Brett Kavanaugh, you go nuclear. But if you're a progressive man who sees himself as a feminist ally, the politically acceptable strategy is to keep quiet and lay low. If you do anything at all, put out a statement saying you support the #MeToo movement, that it's an overdue and necessary corrective, and that you are taking some time for self-reflection. Spend some months ordering takeout and avoiding parties where everyone is whispering about what they think you did.
Stephen Elliott, the founder of the left-wing website The Rumpus, followed that script. A year ago this month, his name appeared along with some 70 others on an anonymously sourced Google spreadsheet. It was called the Shitty Media Men list and the accusations ranged in severity from ''weird lunch dates'' to ''rape.''
Rape is what Stephen Elliott was accused of. His entry, along with more than a dozen others on the list, was highlighted in red to denote physical violence. It read: ''Rape accusations, sexual harassment, coercion, unsolicited invitations to his apartment, a dude who snuck into Binders'' (a women-only Facebook group).
But on Wednesday, the day before the statute of limitations ran out, Mr. Elliott stopped lying low and sued the creator of the list for defamation. He filed a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York against ''Moira Donegan and Jane Does (1-30)'' seeking $1.5 million in damages.
Ms. Donegan declined to comment for this article. But in January, in a widely read, affecting essay for New York Magazine in which she outed herself as the list's creator, she explained its purpose: It was an ''attempt at solving what has seemed like an intractable problem: how women can protect ourselves from sexual harassment and assault.''
It may have served that purpose for some women. But did it tell the truth about all of the men on it? In an interview on Wednesday, Mr. Elliott said: ''No one is going to come forward and say that I raped them. I don't believe even my enemies believe I raped somebody.''
So what does he want? ''An apology would be good,'' he said. ''Legal fees would also be good. But maybe seeing it argued out in the court of law will help good people come to their senses and distance themselves from the rotten parts of this movement.''
Of the dozens of men accused of sexual misconduct this year, many proclaim their innocence. But Mr. Elliott is the first from the list who is known to have sued. Some apologized. Some denied and carried on. Others were subject to internal investigations and kept their jobs. Some were fired. A few recently wrote widely panned articles about how the accusations ruined their lives. (Mr. Elliott checked this box with an essay in Quillette last month.)
Five of the men on the Media Men list on Thursday spoke to The Cut on the condition of anonymity to condemn Mr. Elliott's lawsuit. What's fascinating is that even as they expressed anger toward Mr. Elliott, most insisted that they, too, are not guilty of what they are accused of. But the collective sense is that Mr. Elliott should do what they're doing: ''taking one for the team,'' as one of them put it.
A year ago, that's where Mr. Elliott was. ''Multiple people asked me at first if I was O.K. just taking a bullet for the movement,'' he told me. ''Because of their politics and, frankly, because of mine.''
''If I was to come out and say, 'Hey, I was falsely accused of rape,' it would be like I was attacking this movement which at the time, was a movement that I believed in,'' he said.
So Mr. Elliott hid out.
''I sat in my apartment and got high for three months,'' he said. ''I was in the closet.''
Over those months, he says his life started to fall apart. He lost friends. His Hollywood agent stopped calling him back. Already prone to depression, he became suicidal.
I met him in early February for the first time. He had reached out to me via Facebook asking if I would read the essay he'd written about his experience '-- it had been accepted and then rejected by New York Magazine and The Guardian, at that point. When we met for coffee in a Beverly Hills hotel lobby, I found him to be shaky and depressed.
No longer.
When I interviewed him this week, he seemed energetic. He's moved from Los Angeles to New Orleans. He's sober.
''I really feel like I'm happy for the first time since this started,'' he said. ''I have a politics. I know who my friends are.''
What are those politics? ''I still think of myself as a liberal,'' he said. ''But the left moved away from liberalism and I hadn't realized that yet. If you are a liberal, by definition, you believe that it's better to let a certain amount of guilty people go free than to jail one innocent man. That's almost the definition of liberalism. These people on the left aren't liberals at all, actually. What I've come to realize is how close they are to the people on the right.''
Even if Mr. Elliott is innocent of the rape accusations, he is, by his own admission, a damaged person. By 12, he was drinking and dropping acid. At 13, after the death of his mother, he ran away from home. He lived on the streets and ultimately became a ward of the state. In his 20s, he was a stripper and used heroin. Now 46, he is a cross-dresser who gets off on being tied up. He says he almost never has penetrative sex.
He is not private about any of these details. Indeed, he has mined them for several of his books, including ''The Adderall Diaries,'' ''Happy Baby'' and ''My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up.''
Mr. Elliott and his lawyer think this is fundamental to the case. That given how public he has been about his proclivities, Ms. Donegan and the others who used the list would have been aware of his sexuality. As the complaint puts it: ''In these nonfiction works, of which Defendants are aware, Plaintiff openly describes his sexual preferences in detail so that it is clear he could not physically participate in the false, unsubstantiated allegations published about him in the List by Defendants.''
Of course, none of this means he couldn't have attempted to rape someone.
And the Shitty Media Men list was not the first time Mr. Elliott was publicly accused of bad behavior. In a 2015 essay in Tin House, the novelist Claire Vaye Watkins portrayed Mr. Elliott as a tone-deaf misogynist '-- and made the case that his ''professional sexism'' exists on a continuum with sexual violence.
In the wake of his Quillette essay, two more women came forward with complaints.
Lyz Lenz, who is now the managing editor of The Rumpus, tweeted about an instance where Mr. Elliott ''invited me up to your room to watch a movie'' and didn't ''take no for an answer.'' Ms. Lenz says that he ''hounded'' her and she ''hid under a table.'' And Marisa Siegel, who is now the editor of The Rumpus, wrote in an essay about how she was ''shaken'' after Mr. Elliott ''barged'' into her hotel room during a conference and stayed for at least 30 minutes.
When I asked him about these stories, Mr. Elliott said: ''I've certainly been unaware of boundaries and transgressed them without realizing.'' But he insists that Ms. Lenz's and Ms. Siegel's accounts are not only full of half-truths or lies, but beside the point. ''These people are trying to get me to engage in any argument that is not about the fact that I was falsely accused of rape,'' he said. ''Because they don't want to talk about that.''
He added: ''If your position is that it's O.K. to falsely accuse someone of rape because you don't like them, just own that position. That's clearly what a lot of people believe.''
On the one hand, Stephen Elliott v. Moira Donegan and Jane Does (1-30) is a straightforward defamation case.
The complaint says that the statements on the list were ''abusive, vulgar, intentionally misleading,'' that ''the Defendants' actions were malicious in nature,'' and that the list was ''sent to numerous members of the parties' shared profession, the media industry to intentionally harm Plaintiff's reputation and further cause harm to Plaintiff's career.''
This account of maliciousness does not at all square with how Ms. Donegan has described her aim in creating the list.
She wrote in New York Magazine that the list was ''meant to be private'' '-- a written version of a whisper network '-- and that, unlike an HR department or the police, ''the value of the spreadsheet was that it had no enforcement mechanisms: Without legal authority or professional power, it offered an impartial, rather than adversarial, tool to those who used it. It was intended specifically not to inflict consequences, not to be a weapon '-- and yet, once it became public, many people immediately saw it as exactly that.''
''I thought it was a good essay,'' Mr. Elliott offered when I ask him about it. ''The problem with it is that it's not honest. She deliberately mischaracterizes her motivation. If you create something with the intention of hurting your enemies, that's a weapon.''
He is planning to provide documents to the court that he thinks prove Ms. Donegan's intent was malicious. Chief among them are since-deleted tweets, like:
On Oct. 26, 2017, she tweeted: ''I like the witch hunt but I love that it happened in October.'' The next day she wrote: ''Small, practical step to limit sex harassment: Don't employ any men.''
On Nov. 15, she wrote about the Paris Review Editor whose name was on the list: ''As if both of those things weren't obvious already, I'm interested in Lorin Stein and my DMs are open.'' Then, when The New York Times published an article about the resignation of Mr. Stein, who apologized for inappropriate behavior, she tweeted the article with an invitation: ''champagne anyone.''
That's the straightforward part.
The new part is that this is a case being brought against a mostly anonymous group who created an anonymous list containing potentially defamatory statements.
I asked Floyd Abrams, a leading First Amendment expert, about this case, and he said he had never seen one like it. Andrew T. Miltenberg, Stephen Elliott's attorney, admits he's never brought one like it.
That's not to say that Mr. Miltenberg is new to defending men in sexual assault cases. He is famous for it. He defended Paul Nungesser, a Columbia student who was accused of rape by Emma Sulkowicz and then made the subject of her performance art piece. Mr. Miltenberg won a major settlement against the school.
He estimates that he currently has more than three dozen cases stemming from sexual assault charges, including one being brought by the football player Keith Mumphery against Michigan State, but that Mr. Elliott's is the first where he's taken on anonymous accusers.
''I've had cases where we know what the allegations are and we know who said them. None of that is true here,'' he said. ''The intersection between the internet and allegations like this and anonymity is very dangerous place to be. There's no protection for the accused. It's the perfect way to assassinate someone's character without having to prove anything.''
The other thing that sets this case apart is that it seems likely to snowball '-- perhaps more than Mr. Miltenberg appreciated when he took it on.
At first, Mr. Miltenberg told me that he expected 15 to 20 women to be identified as Jane Does once they got the ''underlying metadata'' '-- as in anything from IP addresses to emails '-- in discovery. (That is, assuming Google cooperates; a spokesperson told Mashable that the company would ''oppose any attempt by Mr. Elliott to obtain information about this document from us.'')
But when he described what could qualify someone as a defendant '-- anyone who wrote on the list, edited the list or published it '-- 15 or 20 seems like a fraction of what the actual number could be. I know dozens of women who have at least emailed the list or received it.
I'm one of them. I asked a friend to send me the list. Once I had it, I allowed a few others to look at it on my phone. Does that make me a Jane Doe? Does sharing it with other journalists count as publishing?
''Sending an email to one person could count as publishing under certain circumstances,'' said Mr. Miltenberg.
In that case, I suggested to him, you might have many, many more than 30 Jane Does. ''This might be like a 500-person RICO case,'' he replied, referring to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
That sounds a bit terrifying, not just in scope, but also in terms of free speech ramifications. If this is grounds for a suit, couldn't everyone who has ever shared an Alex Jones rant about Sandy Hook being a ''hoax'' be subject to civil litigation of this sort?
When I asked Mr. Abrams, the first amendment lawyer, about how he would defend this case, at first he said, ''If you say someone has committed rape, it's very difficult to defend the case without showing that that's true.''
Later, though, he drilled down on the specific language in the spreadsheet: It does not say ''rape'' after all. It says ''rape accusations.''
''The very first thing I would say to the jury is that she never accused him of rape, but said that he had been accused by some women of rape and that they should bear that in mind. In saying that, she protected those women and certainly didn't libel him.''
One thing is clear: There will be more cases like it. ''There are a number of professors on a similar type of list that are already clients of mine,'' Mr. Miltenberg said. Indeed, next week he'll be filing suit on behalf of the Princeton professor Sergio Verdº.
''This is not a 'save men' case for me,'' Mr. Miltenberg said of Mr. Elliott. ''This is a case of a person having their name, reputation and future ruined by anonymous allegations that can neither be tested nor challenged.''
Perhaps so. But various rumors have circulated about who might be funding it '-- and what broader political agenda this case might be serving. Is some wealthy opponent of the #MeToo movement trying to bring it down? ''Trust me,'' he said, ''these cases would be easier if I took money from billionaires to fund them. I don't.''
Over the past year, as #MeToo has morphed into a verb, I've been involved in heated discussions about any number of men who have been MeTooed. About Al Franken. About Leon Wieseltier. About Louis C.K. About Brett Kavanaugh.
In all of those cases, it is possible to ask: What is the appropriate punishment for behavior that is wrong but perhaps wouldn't stand up as a crime in a court of law?
In the case of Stephen Elliott it is impossible to say almost anything at all about the allegation. There is no named accuser. There is no night in question. There aren't even contending memories. There is nothing other than what's written in the cell of that spreadsheet.
But something that Ms. Siegel wrote in her essay struck me as one plausible explanation: ''What happened is that years of behaving badly (not criminally) caught up to him."
''There's a lot of anger out there about me,'' Mr. Elliott said. ''That's the level of anger that could produce a malicious allegation '-- especially when it's an anonymous list. I don't like this guy. So I put his name on the list, throw in a TV dinner, watch 'The Wire' and forget about it.''
That rage came pouring out on Thursday evening after news of the lawsuit broke, including from many prominent editors and writers. Isaac Fitzgerald, who was a previous managing editor of the The Rumpus, wrote on Twitter that the lawsuit was ''an outrageous act of violence against Moira first and foremost, as well as everyone who contributed to the list or found any measure of solidarity or hope or comfort or usefulness in it.'' A GoFundMe to cover Ms. Donegan's legal fees quickly went up and by Saturday morning more than $86,000 had been donated.
People are right to be concerned that the case could be used to stifle women's speech. A lawsuit can be a weapon. But so can a list. And none of the reactions seemed to address what Mr. Elliott's lawsuit is about: His claim that he has been falsely accused of rape.
Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion).
Bari Weiss is a staff editor and writer for the Opinion section. @ bariweiss
Treasure hunters doubt FBI's word on dig for Civil War gold
Mon, 15 Oct 2018 12:12
DENTS RUN, Pa. (AP) '-- Surrounded by dozens of stone-faced FBI agents on a frigid winter's day, Dennis and Kem Parada stared down at the empty hole and knew something wasn't right.
The father-son duo spent years combing this bit of Pennsylvania wilderness with high-end metal detectors, drills and other tools to prospect for a fabled cache of Civil War gold. They felt certain they'd discovered the hiding place of the long-lost booty, leading the FBI to the mountainous, heavily wooded area last March.
Now, at the end of the court-sanctioned excavation, the FBI escorted the treasure hunters to the snow-covered site and asked them what they saw. They gazed at the pit. Not so much as a glimmer of gold dust, let alone the tons of precious metal they said an FBI contractor's instruments had detected.
''We were embarrassed,'' Dennis Parada told The Associated Press in his first interview since the well-publicized dig last winter. ''They walk us in, and they make us look like dummies. Like we messed up.''
Since that day, however, neighbors' accounts of late-night excavation and FBI convoys have fueled suspicions the agency isn't telling the whole truth. The Paradas are challenging the FBI's account of the dig, insisting that something had to have been buried in the woods near Dents Run, about 135 miles (220 kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh.
A father-son pair of treasure hunters are challenging the FBI's position that nothing was found during an excavation aimed at uncovering a fabled cache of Civil War-era gold earlier this year. (Oct. 9)
That something, they believe, was gold.
''After my years of experience here using equipment, there was something here, something here of value, some kind of precious metal. And whatever it is, it's gone now. And that's what I want to get to the bottom of, is what was in that hole,'' Kem Parada said.
Federal investigators insisted a few days after leaving the site that the search came up empty, adding cryptically that its work there was related to an ''ongoing investigation.'' The FBI declined to comment further, and a bureau spokeswoman told the AP last week that court documents related to the dig are sealed.
The dispute between the Paradas and the FBI is the latest chapter in a mystery that has persisted for more than a century and a half. As the story goes, around the time of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, the Union Army sent a shipment of gold from Wheeling, West Virginia, to Philadelphia. The wagon train took a circuitous route through the wilds of northern Pennsylvania so as to avoid Confederate troops. Along the way, the gold was either lost or stolen.
The legend has inspired generations of treasure hunters to take to the thick woods of northwestern Pennsylvania '-- including Dennis and Kem Parada, who spent five years digging in a cave on state land, and two more years drilling atop the cave, before going to the FBI in January with their evidence.
The Paradas showed agents how their sophisticated metal detector lit up like crazy when aimed at the spot where they believed the gold was hidden. Within a month, they said, the FBI had hired an outside firm to conduct an underground scan using a device called a gravimeter. The scan identified a large metallic mass with the density of gold, according to the Paradas and Warren Getler, an author and journalist who's been working with them.
So it was with great anticipation that father, son and Getler arrived at the dig site March 13. But nothing went as planned.
The treasure hunters and Getler said they had an agreement with the FBI to watch the excavation. Officers instead confined them to their car '-- out of sight of the wooded hillside where a backhoe was digging '-- for six hours that first day before they were finally allowed up the hill. The digging proceeded for another hour before an agent called an abrupt halt at 3 p.m., saying the team was cold, tired and hungry and it would be getting dark soon. They were just 3 feet from the target.
''I said, 'You've got three hours of daylight and we're only 3 feet away,''' Dennis Parada recalled. He said the agent replied, ''Denny, we're going, we're going.''
Whether the FBI actually left the woods that afternoon is itself an open question.
Cheryl Elder, who lives nearby, told AP she heard what sounded like a backhoe and jackhammer at least until 2 a.m. '-- the noisy machinery keeping her awake and annoying her because she had to rise early for work '-- and she saw that the hillside was brightly lit.
''It was just real loud all night,'' the former constable recalled. ''It was driving me nuts.''
The second day of the excavation was similar to the first, according to the Paradas and Getler. They said they were confined to their car for several hours, then escorted up the hill to the dig site '-- by then a large, empty hole. The FBI had finished the excavation out of their presence, they said.
The Paradas said they were cheated of a moment they had spent years working for.
''After my years of experience here using equipment, there was something here, something here of value, some kind of precious metal. And whatever it is, it's gone now. And that's what I want to get to the bottom of, is what was in that hole.'' -- Kem Parada''You can only dig the gold up once, and that's a historical moment. And here we were robbed of all that,'' Dennis Parada said. ''I don't understand why they played that game on us.''
After the Paradas and Getler had left, Elder said, she saw a half-dozen black SUVs at the site. One by one, she said, they backed up to the bottom of the hill and rendezvoused with one of several all-terrain utility vehicles. Elder tried using her binoculars, but couldn't make out what investigators were transferring from the ATVs to the SUVs.
Even so, ''I know they found gold,'' she declared. ''I know they found it, and they're being sneaky.''
Heather Selle, who lives in nearby Weedville, said she was getting her kids ready for school on the morning of the second day when she spied a convoy of FBI vehicles driving past '-- including two large armored trucks.
''There was too many people involved, there was too much hush-hush, and there's been too much seen,'' said still another resident, Garrett Osche, whose garage was used as a staging ground for the FBI's initial foray to the Dents Run area weeks before the dig. ''Why do you close the road down if you're not loading something out? If you're not sneaking something, why do you need to do what they did?''
''You can only dig the gold up once, and that's a historical moment. And here we were robbed of all that. I don't understand why they played that game on us.'' -- Dennis ParadaIf Union gold was indeed recovered from the woods, the discovery of a historic and extremely valuable trove of federal property on state-owned land would almost certainly touch off a court battle over who owns it, and whether the Paradas are entitled to a cut. Bill Cluck, their lawyer, said it would be a novel case for the courts, ''a law professor's dream final exam.''
According to the legend, the lost shipment had either 26 gold bars or 52 bars, each weighing 50 pounds (23 kilograms), meaning it would be worth about $25 million or about $50 million today. The Paradas and Getler say the government contractor's scan detected a much larger quantity of precious metal '-- 7 to 9 tons '-- an eye-popping haul that could be worth more than $250 million if every ounce of it was gold.
In May, Cluck filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents on the FBI's investigation into the legendary gold. The agency demurred, claiming it had no files it could share. Cluck appealed to Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey for help, and, a few weeks ago, the Justice Department ordered the FBI to do a more thorough review. If the bureau determines there are documents it can turn over after all, it could still take months or years to reach that point.
''There was definitely some kind of precious metal based on the readings of the instruments at the site,'' Cluck said. ''The fact they wouldn't let them be there for the dig, it's suspicious as hell and it doesn't have to be.''
Elizabeth Warren's Heritage Played No Role in Her Hiring | Elizabeth Warren for Massachusetts
Mon, 15 Oct 2018 11:51
Fact: Elizabeth Warren's Heritage Played No Role in Her Hiring "In the most exhaustive review undertaken of Elizabeth Warren's professional history, the Globe found clear evidence, in documents and interviews, that her claim to Native American ethnicity was never considered by the Harvard Law faculty, which voted resoundingly to hire her, or by those who hired her to four prior positions at other law schools. At every step of her remarkable rise in the legal profession, the people responsible for hiring her saw her as a white woman."
Elizabeth graduated from the University of Houston and Rutgers Law School, and became one of the country's top experts in bankruptcy, commercial law, and the financial pressures facing working families. The people who recruited Elizabeth to her teaching jobs, including Ronald Reagan's former Solicitor General, all confirm: they hired her because she was an award-winning legal scholar and professor and they were unaware of her family's heritage.
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Deep Dive: The Story of an American Family Elizabeth grew up in Oklahoma in a hard-working family that was hanging on by their fingernails to their place in the middle class. Her mother's heritage was an important part of her family's history. She never thought to question it or ask for documentation. But DNA analysis concludes that there is "strong evidence" that Elizabeth's DNA "contains Native American ancestry."
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Disgusting: When Racism & Slurs Become Political Strategy Donald Trump uses racism, sexism, homophobia, bigotry and hate to divide and distract us while he rigs the system for the rich and powerful. But our country's disrespect of Native people didn't start with President Trump. It started long before President Washington ever took office.
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Full Archive: Explore All the Documents & Testimonials Review documents from Rutgers University, the University of Houston, University of Texas, University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University about Elizabeth Warren. Then hear directly from her colleagues and peers as they state for the record: Elizabeth's family heritage had no role whatsoever in her incredible academic career.
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[My parents] are gone, but the love they shared, the struggles they endured, the family they built, and the story they lived will always be a part of me. And no one '-- not even the president of the United States '-- will ever take that part of me away.
Elon Musk's Mars vision: A timeline of SpaceX's plans - Business Insider
Mon, 15 Oct 2018 04:54
Elon Musk and SpaceX hope to colonize Mars with Big Falcon Rocket spaceships. SpaceX; NASA; Mark Brake/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Business Insider
Elon Musk is hell-bent on colonizing Mars.
That's the spirit with which he founded SpaceX, his rocket company, in 2002. Musk was frustrated that NASA wasn't doing more to get people to the red planet '-- and concerned a backup plan for humanity wasn't being developed (for when Earth becomes an uninhabitable wasteland).
Since then, SpaceX has developed several impressive aerospace systems: Falcon 1, SpaceX's first orbital rocket; Grasshopper, a small self-landing test rocket; Falcon 9, a reusable orbital-class launcher; Dragon a, a spaceship for cargo and soon NASA astronauts; and Falcon Heavy, a super-heavy-lift launcher.
But Mars is a cold, unforgiving, and almost airless rock located some 140 million miles from Earth. Astounding ingenuity is required to land even a small spacecraft there today, let alone a giant spaceship full of people and cargo in the future.
That's why SpaceX is taking the lessons the company has learned over the past 16 years '-- and an increasing amount of money and staff'-- and using them to build a space vehicle called the Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR.
The fully reusable, 387-foot-tall system consists of two giant stages: a roughly 18-story-tall Big Falcon Spaceship and a similarly huge Big Falcon Booster. The booster will launch the spaceship (on top) toward space then land itself for reuse.
Timelines are unreliable when it comes to human spaceflight, but Musk's ambitious estimates of when SpaceX might reach Mars reveal his zeal to accomplish that goal.
The following (somewhat speculative) timeline of SpaceX's plan is based on on our reporting as well as dates compiled by the Reddit community r/SpaceX.
Where SpaceX is today with its Mars plans A scale diagram of SpaceX's Big Falcon Rocket showing its booster and spaceship. SpaceX Musk has said the BFR's spaceship is the "hardest part" of the system to get right, so that's where SpaceX is currently focusing most of its energy.
To that end, the company is building a BFR factory in the Port of Los Angeles, about 15 miles south of SpaceX's headquarters. While that facility gets constructed, engineers are working under a nearby 20,000-square-foot tent to build a prototype spaceship out of advanced carbon-fiber materials.
SpaceX is also meeting with NASA and other parties to workshop its Mars mission plans'-- though it still has a lot of work to do to figure out how to keep passengers safe from radiation, starvation, and themselves.
2018: Build a launch support facility in Boca Chica, a town near Brownsville, Texas Google Earth; Business Insider SpaceX needs a place to test-launch its spaceship prototype, and the southern tip of Texas gives the company a few benefits. For one, SpaceX can transport enormous rocket parts over water by barge from Los Angeles, through the Panama Canal, and to Boca Chica (presumably cheaply). Otherwise, the parts would have to be flown or driven in a truck over land.
Additionally, very few people live in the area, which is a good thing for a company that's filling a gigantic, experimental spaceship full of explosive liquids and lighting them on fire. The rockets can also be launched over the Gulf of Mexico, posing even less of a risk to people or objects on the ground.
The launch pad may even not be on land.
"It may actually be that we launch from a floating platform," Musk said in September.
Finally, Boca Chica is one of the most southern municipalities in the US. Getting as close to the equator as possible helps rockets save fuel, since Earth's rotation adds significant speed to a launch.
2019: Debut the Big Falcon Spaceship SpaceX Gwynne Shotwell, the president and chief operating officer of SpaceX, has said the company hopes to test-launch a prototype ship in short "hops" (not reach orbit) from southern Texas in late 2019.
The goal would be to gather valuable data on the prototype in order to refine the next version. As with many early SpaceX test launches, the likelihood is high that there could be a "rapid unscheduled disassembly," as Musk likes to call exploding rockets.
2020-2021: Try to launch a full BFR, and get a spaceship into orbit An illustration of SpaceX's Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, launching through Earth's clouds, toward space. SpaceX During the Satellite 2018 conference in March, Shotwell said the BFR should be "orbital in 2020," implying that both a booster and spaceship will be built, shipped to Texas, integrated, and launched by then.
However, Musk said in September that no decision has been made on a timeframe. He added that he wants to pull off several uncrewed orbital test-launches before putting any people onboard.
2022: Launch two missions to Mars full of cargo and supplies (but no people) An illustration of the SpaceX's Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, launching into space. Here, the spaceship is shown detaching from the booster. SpaceX Musk has said his "aspirational" timeline has 2022 as the date for the launch of the first Big Falcon Spaceship missions to Mars.
Each ship would first fly into orbit around Earth, which would use up most of its fuel. Then several other tanker spaceships would launch to fill the vehicle with enough fuel to reach Mars. It's uncertain how many flights or how long this might take.
Mars and Earth get close to each other about once every two years, creating windows of time when it's quicker to reach the planet. Because of that, the best months to launch would be the summer of 2022.
Depending on how efficiently the Big Falcon Spaceship can change its speed '-- its "delta-v" '-- it could take anywhere from a few months to nearly a year to reach Mars. Thus, a landing in late 2022 or early 2023 is likely.
2022-2023: Land the first Big Falcon Spaceship on Mars An illustration of the spaceship of SpaceX's Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, landing on Mars. SpaceX Musk wants the first spaceships to be full of cargo and machines that future missions would require. That stuff would be needed for humans to build facilities that can generate power, gather water, bottle up the thin Martian air, and turn those raw resources into methane fuel and oxygen for return launches back to Earth.
Paul Wooster, SpaceX's principal Mars development engineer, gave some new details about this in August. Wooster said the first two uncrewed cargo missions would "confirm the water resources in the locations that you're interested in, and then determine any [landing] hazards for future missions, and then start to put in place some of the infrastructure that you'll need," such as landing pads for safer arrival of crewed missions.
2023: Launch the first people with BFR and send them around the moon An illustration of the spaceship of SpaceX's Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, flying around the moon. SpaceX In September, Musk introduced the world to SpaceX's first space tourist hopeful: Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire. Maezawa is paying SpaceX an undisclosed sum (likely hundreds of millions of dollars) to be the first passenger aboard the BFR.
Maezawa purchased all the seats on the vehicle's spaceship and plans to pick six to eight artists from a variety of disciplines to take the roughly week-long trip around the moon with him in 2023.
That mission would be the ultimate proof that the BFR works.
"He's paying a lot of money that would help with the ship and its booster," Musk said in September. "He's ultimately paying for the average citizen to travel to other planets."
2024: Blast people on the first human voyage to Mars An illustration of SpaceX's Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, launching through Earth's clouds. SpaceX Assuming the first cargo, supply, and scouting missions go well, SpaceX would then send one or two crews toward Mars.
Wooster said each ship will carry "at least" 100 tons of supplies. By transporting far more supplies than any crew needs for a years-long Mars mission '-- along with bulky gear '-- SpaceX might circumvent the need for advanced (and as-yet-non-existent) technologies that'd otherwise be required to stay on Mars.
SpaceX/YouTube As with the first uncrewed missions to Mars, it could take perhaps six to nine months for crewed ships to reach the red planet.
These first spaceships will likely serve as homes for astronauts, Wooster said in August. It wouldn't be the most comfortable setup, but it might reduce mission complexity by eliminating the need to immediately build Mars habitats.
2028: Finish building Mars Base Apha An illustration of SpaceX's Big Falcon Spaceships on Mars. SpaceX When someone asked Musk on Twitter how long it'd take to build the first permanent Martian base '-- something he referred to as "Mars Base Alpha" '-- Musk said "probably 2028."
From that point on, Musk said in March, a colony could begin to form.
"It will start off building just the most elementary infrastructure, just a base to create some propellant, a power station, blast domes in which to grow crops '-- all of the sort of fundamentals without which you cannot survive," he said. "And then really there's gonna be an explosion of entrepreneurial opportunity."
Perhaps the 2030s: Construction of the first city on Mars Elon Musk's vision of a colony on Mars. SpaceX/YouTube This timeline has been speculative from the start, but at this point the milestones start bordering on fantasy.
Many experts on life support doubt that necessary technologies will be ready for people to land on Mars and survive there in the 2020s '-- let alone build a permanent city for colonization shortly thereafter.
Yet this is precisely what Musk aims to do: build a backup drive for humanity on the red planet.
"I hope people start to think of it as a real goal to which we should aspire, to establish a civilization on Mars," Musk said in 2017. "This is not just about humanity, it's about all the life that we care about."
Musk envisions sending about a million people to Mars, at about $200,000 per one-way ticket. He believes that price will be possible given the hypothetical reusability of the BFR.
Musk doesn't think life on Mars would have to be bland, either.
"Mars will need everything from iron foundries to pizza joints," he's said. "I think Mars should really have great bars: the Mars Bar."
2100s onward: Terraform Mars into an Earth-like planet SpaceX/Flickr In every one of its job postings, SpaceX says it's pursuing the "ultimate goal of enabling human life on Mars."
To that end, its website hosts an image of a rusty-red planet morphing into an Earth-like world. The illustration is a nod to a hypothetical and speculative process called terraforming.
Terraforming is a type of climate change, but deliberate and more rapid than the process that's happening on Earth right now.
The idea is that Mars could be transformed into a warm, wet world '-- one better suited for permanent human colonization '-- if we can melt the planet's carbon-dioxide-rich ice caps.
In its current state, Mars has less than 1% of the atmospheric density at its surface compared to Earth. (Mars had most of its air blown into space billions of years ago.) That makes it comparable to a vacuum chamber. Under those conditions, harmful space radiation doesn't get blocked, and people couldn't breathe outside of a spacesuit or sealed colony.
It's unknown whether terraforming could be done in a sustainable amount of time on Mars. NASA doubts that it's possible at all, since there may not be enough gases trapped in the poles to feed a cozy planetary atmosphere.
Plus, the effort might require a kind of powerful satellite that could generate a magnetic shield to protect against solar radiation that'd otherwise blow away any human-manufactured atmosphere.
On the flip side, the scenarios researchers have looked into don't really consider water or methane (a potent greenhouse gas) that may be trapped in the Martian ground. They also don't investigate whether any chemical-rich comets and asteroids could be redirected to strike Mars. Musk has even said nuking Mars might help.
Experimenting with terraforming may be only one way to tell if it's possible. Musk, or perhaps his memory and legacy, just might be the impetus that makes it happen in the distant future.
More: SpaceX Elon Musk Mars Colonization Big Falcon Rocket
If Larry Hoover were freed, he'd bring 'fear of God' to streets, advocate says | Chicago Sun-Times
Mon, 15 Oct 2018 03:34
One of Larry Hoover's loudest advocates believes the imprisoned Gangster Disciples leader would be a voice for peace in Chicago if he were freed by President Donald Trump.
Hoover would urge gang members to ''stop the killing,'' according to Wallace ''Gator'' Bradley, a former GD.
''Maybe what they need is the fear of God,'' Bradley said Thursday. ''I am not saying Larry Hoover is God, but when they took the leaders off the street, they took the street disciplinarian away.''
Bradley noted President Barack Obama granted clemency in 2017 to Oscar Lopez Rivera, who was sentenced to 55 years in prison for his involvement with FALN, which claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings in a fight for independence of Puerto Rico in the '70s and '80s. Also in 2017, Obama cut the life sentence of former GD ''governor'' Eric Wilson to 35 years. U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago) encouraged Obama to give Wilson a break for good behavior in prison.
''Why not Larry?'' Bradley said.
Ronald Safer, the former assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted Larry Hoover in 1997. | Sun-Times
But Ronald Safer, the former federal prosecutor who put Hoover away for life, said Trump shouldn't be fooled.
''Larry Hoover ran the largest monolithic gang that's ever existed in our country,'' Safer said. ''It was a gang that was responsible for over $100 million in drug sales in Illinois alone and operated in 28 states. It was single-handedly responsible for hundreds of murders in the city of Chicago.''
Safer said Hoover was in state prison on a murder conviction in the early 1990s when he got community awards for rebranding the GDs as an organization committed to ''Growth and Development.''
''He was saying, 'I can reach your kids. Let me out of jail.'''
Meanwhile, Hoover was secretly overheard in prison plotting violence to support his drug sales, Safer said.
''Those who don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it,'' he said.
In 1997, Hoover was convicted in federal court of running a drug enterprise from state prison. He's being held in the federal ''supermax'' in Colorado, which also houses notorious criminals such as Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.
Hoover was ''chairman'' of the GDs, which had 30,000 members in its heyday. He ran the gang like a corporation with a board of directors that controlled thousands of ''soldiers.'' In the early 1990s, some candidates ran for office under the ''Growth and Development'' banner. Hoover supported the effort through an organization called ''21st Century VOTE.''
Wallace ''Gator'' Bradley at his election headquarters in 1995 when he ran unsuccessfully for alderman. | Sun-Times
From left, Annette Freeman, mother of murder victim Dantrell Davis, with Maurice Perkins of Inner City Youth Foundation and Bradley of United in Peace, 2008. | Sun-Times
Maurice Perkins, a candidate supported by 21st Century Vote, ran unsuccessfully in 1995 against then-Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), who's now the county board president and is running for mayor. Bradley, who also unsuccessfully ran for alderman, was one of Hoover's ''enforcers,'' carrying out the chairman's will. He's now a behind-the-scenes fixture in politics, getting out the vote and helping to free inmates who say they were wrongfully convicted.
All the while, Bradley has remained steadfast in his decades-long campaign to win a pardon for Hoover. Bradley said he believes Kanye West is ''working through God'' to free Hoover.
Bradley said he last spoke to Hoover on the phone in 2014.
''He said he appreciated the people that signed a petition for him to be pardoned. He also said we got to stop those individuals from killing one another.''
But would anyone in the GDs listen to the 63-year-old Hoover?
Bradley insists they would.
Yet a series of federal cases against the GDs over the last two decades decimated the gang's hierarchy. Small groups of GDs operate independently these days '-- and, the police say, they answer to no one.
Herschel Walker Calls for CNN to Take Don Lemon 'Off the Air' over Kanye Comments
Mon, 15 Oct 2018 02:48
NFL great Herschel Walker is calling for CNN to take host Don Lemon 'off the air' for the racist names that Lemon and his guests called rapper Kanye West, after his visit with President Donald Trump at the White House last week.The former NFL running back jumped to his Twitter account to slam CNN and suggest that Lemon be taken off the air, the Washington Times reported.
''Went to bed appalled over Don Lemon despicable behavior laughing at Tara Setmayer and Bakari Sellers awful remarks about Kanye West's visit with Donald Trump!,'' Walker tweeted on October 11. ''Woke up wondering why CNN doesn't take all three off the air?#SHAMEFUL #CNN.''
Went to bed appalled over @donlemon despicable behavior laughing at @TaraSetmayer and @Bakari_Sellers awful remarks about Kanye West's visit with @realDonaldTrump!! Woke up wondering why @CNN doesn't take all three off the air?#SHAMEFUL #CNN https://t.co/MwGWIfh8so
'-- Herschel Walker (@HerschelWalker) October 11, 2018
Walker's criticism stems from a broadcast of Lemon's CNN ''news'' show where he sat by laughing as commentators Bakari Sellers and Tara Setmayer attacked Kanye West over his support for President Trump. During the segment Sellers angrily insisted that ''Kanye West is what happens when Negroes don't read,'' and called him stupid while Setmayer called the singer a ''token negro.'' Throughout, Lemon sat idly by giggling like a school girl and egging his unruly guests on.
.@Bakari_Sellers: "My issue with Kanye West is quite simple '-- is that anti-intellectualism simply isn't cool." https://t.co/FVeCRODqXl pic.twitter.com/rhH5nWSubZ
'-- CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) October 10, 2018
For her part, Setmayer slapped right back at Walker saying, ''Bless your heart'... You want to silence me because I expressed a different opinion than yours? Because I called out Kanye for what he is? Uninformed! I'm an actual conservative, who's worked on policy advancing those principles for 20-plus years. I'll never be a shill for Trump.''
But Walker wasn't having any of Setmayer's condescension.
''No'...Tara Setmayer, anyone that is African American with an opinion different than yours, you want to call them out by using the N-word, and Don Lemon is laughing? To me that's bullying and shameful,'' he replied.
No '...@TaraSetmayer, anyone that is African American with an opinion different than yours, you want to call them out by using the N-word and @donlemon is laughing?? To me that's bullying and shameful!! https://t.co/pbdFMQZIeE
'-- Herschel Walker (@HerschelWalker) October 11, 2018
Walker has long been a supporter of President Trump since first joining the USFL's New Jersey Generals, a team Trump then owned. Walker was also named co-chair ofTrump's Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition this year. The former Dallas Cowboys player ad two-time Pro Bowl champ has supported Republicans for years.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.
Trump And Kanye's 'Misogynistic' And 'Uninformed' Meeting Got Dragged And Meme'd Hard AF | National News | BET |
Mon, 15 Oct 2018 02:44
"Wire Kanye's jaw shut again."
Published 3 days ago
The White House meeting between Kanye West and President Donald Trump may not have actually led to any real change but it did result in one thing we can laugh at together: memes.
The meeting has really only been slammed for the "sexism" and misogyny" represented by both men.
"I love Hillary, but the campaign 'I'm with her' just didn't make me feel '-- as a guy '... it was something about this hat that made me feel like Superman,'' Kanye told Trump, who sat and did nothing to correct the blatant sexism.
(Photo: Oliver Contreras - Pool/Getty Images)
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