Cover for No Agenda Show 1095: Yeah No
December 16th, 2018 • 2h 56m

1095: Yeah No


Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.

Green New Deal
From Millennial Producer
Hello Adam,
Born 1988 WI. Until listening to your show I KNEW Global
warming was a fact. Everyone I talked with accepted it as truth. Your podcast
was the only voice that even brought it up as a question. After doing my own
research, I agree with your point of view.
Thank you,
No Adderall, and I listen at 1.5 speed.
The Netherlands, always vulnerable to floods, has a new approach to water management
Sat, 15 Dec 2018 17:14
Living on Earth
July 16, 2017 · 9:30 AM EDT
Listen to the full interview.
Much of the Netherlands is below sea level, with water always nearby.
Credit: Skitter Photo, CC
Much of the Netherlands is below sea level and major floods have occurred every generation or so for hundreds of years. In a warming world with increased rainfall and sea level rise, the threat from floods is increasing worldwide, and the Dutch are leading the way in water management engineering.
Only 50 percent of the Netherlands is more than a few feet above sea level, so over the centuries the Dutch have become expert at water management. But even they were caught short by crippling floods in the 1990s and they quickly implemented vast flood prevention projects. As the country adapts to the reality of a warming planet, they are passing on their knowledge and expertise to other vulnerable nations.
''At the moment, we are in a transition. We had a strong belief that we could predict and control nature, and we're moving now into a period where we acknowledge that we cannot control nature,'' says Chris Zevenbergen, a professor of flood resilience of urban systems at the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education in the Netherlands. ''We have to deal with uncertainties in terms of climate change and socioeconomic development.''
Ten years ago, the Netherlands developed the concept of ''room for the rivers,'' which Zevenbergen calls a ''paradigm shift.'' ''The room for the rivers concept is a turning point in our approach,'' he explains. ''The old paradigm is confining rivers and building and strengthening the dikes along the rivers, but we decided to explore a new approach, in which we give more space to the water. We allow the river to expand when large volumes of water are entering our country. It's not fighting against water; it is living with water.''
Large parts of the Netherlands consist of what are called polders '-- low-lying areas of land that have been reclaimed from the sea and are protected by dikes. These polders contain some of the country's biggest cities. The country is considering ways to dampen the development process in those low-lying areas and develop better early warning systems so the public and local officials are fully prepared in the event of a real flood.
''We call it protection, prevention and preparedness,'' Zevenbergen says.
Cities now use parks and public spaces as emergency reservoirs for floodwaters created by severe rainfall. For storm surges from the ocean, they are changing their approach from a purely defensive system to one that prepares for the failure of these systems '-- what Zevenbergen calls ''multilevel protection.''
''The first level is our flood protection systems, the primary dike systems. The second level is, for instance, spatial planning,'' he explains.
The Netherlands have built their flood protection systems to the point that the chance of failure in any given year is one in 10,000, which Zevenbergen says is the most stringent system on the planet. Although this probability may sound low, ''the consequences are huge,'' he points out. ''Two-thirds of our economy is in those low-lying areas.''
As always, funding massive projects presents challenges, even when the stakes are so high. Recently, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) held a conference which directly addressed how to engage the finance sector and the water sector.
The World Bank estimates that investing a dollar in flood protection saves $7 to $10 in flood damage, but, ''for some reason,'' Zevenbergen says, ''there is an investment gap. ... The money cannot find the projects, and the projects cannot find the money.''
As Zevenbergen travels the world, consulting with cities about how to address threats from flooding, he sees two major challenges. First, how to protect existing highly-populated cities. For example, in China, while newly built-up areas all face flooding problems, they can expand in ''water-sensitive ways,'' whereas transforming flood resilience in established urban areas could take at least a generation.
The second challenge lies in the small and medium-sized cities of Africa and Asia. ''Those cities are rapidly growing, but don't have the capacity to [develop] in a sustainable way that takes into account the threats from the rivers, storm surges and rainfall.''
Zevenbergen's best advice for cities facing the threat of flood from rain or storm surge is this: ''Don't wait until the next flood disaster is coming to have a really serious look at your current situation and protection system.''
''In the Netherlands, we are not responding to flood disaster, we are anticipating a flood disaster,'' Zevenbergen says. ''That means we have time to see what is the best strategy for our country. That is a process where we are involving all the different stakeholders. It's a very time-consuming process, but I think we are there now. We are about to implement our new strategy, but it took 10 years to accomplish that.''
This article is based on an interview that aired on PRI's Living on Earth with Steve Curwood.
U.N. climate panel admits Dutch sea level flaw | Reuters
Sat, 15 Dec 2018 17:10
OSLO (Reuters) - The U.N. panel of climate experts overstated how much of the Netherlands is below sea level, according to a preliminary report on Saturday, admitting yet another flaw after a row last month over Himalayan glacier melt.
A background note by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said a 2007 report wrongly stated that 55 percent of the country was below sea level since the figure included areas above sea level, prone to flooding along rivers.
The United Nations has said errors in the 2007 report of about 3,000 pages do not affect the core conclusions that human activities, led by burning fossil fuels, are warming the globe.
''The sea level statistic was used for background information only, and the updated information remains consistent with the overall conclusions,'' the IPCC note dated February 12 said.
Skeptics say errors have exposed sloppiness and over-reliance on ''grey literature'' outside leading scientific journals. The panel's reports are a main guide for governments seeking to work out costly policies to combat global warming.
The 2007 report included the sentence: ''The Netherlands is an example of a country highly susceptible to both sea level rise and river flooding because 55 percent of its territory is below sea level.''
''A preliminary analysis suggests that the sentence discussed should end with: 'because 55 percent of the Netherlands is at risk of flooding','' the IPCC note said.
The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, the original source of the incorrect data, said on February 5 that just 26 percent of the country is below sea level and 29 percent susceptible to river flooding.
The IPCC said the error was widespread '-- it quoted a report from the Dutch Ministry of Transport saying ''about 60 percent'' of the country is below sea level, and a European Commission study saying ''about half.''
The panel expressed regret last month after admitting that the 2007 report exaggerated the pace of melt of the Himalayan glaciers, which feed rivers from China to India in dry seasons, in a sentence that said they could all vanish by 2035.
The 2035 figure did not come from a scientific journal.
Editing by Louise Ireland
President - COP 24 Katowice 2018
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 14:24
Michał Kurtyka '' Secretary of State, Government Plenipotentiary for COP24 Presidency, a trained physicist and engineer, economist, specialist in international negotiations, expert in the field of energy and the author of the government programme for the development of electromobility in Poland.
He is a graduate of the prestigious Parisian ‰cole Polytechnique and a scholarship holder in the field of quantum optics of the National Institute of Standards and Technologies near Washington (DC), where he worked under the leadership of the Nobel laureate in physics, William D. Phillips. During his studies, he also specialized in economics, with special regard to market organization under the leadership of Professor Jean Tirole, the Nobel laureate in economics in 2014. In the field of international economics, he studied at the University of Louvain La Neuve and obtained a master's degree at the Warsaw School of Economics. He defended his doctoral thesis at the University of Warsaw. He was a lecturer in the field of change management, economics, market organization and industrial strategy at the University of Warsaw, Collegium Civitas, Oxford Programme On Modern Poland. He is a co-author of the concept of conducting effective changes in enterprises, described in the book "Zarządzanie zmianą. Od strategii do działania" [Managing change. From strategy to action], as well as the author of the book " Od restrukturyzacji do modernizacji. Op"źniona transformacja polskiego sektora elektroenergetycznego w latach 1990-2009" [From restructuring to modernization. Delayed transformation of the Polish power sector in the years 1990-2009].
He started his professional career at the Office of the Committee for European Integration, in the team of Minister Jan Kułakowski, responsible for conducting accession negotiations with the European Union, where he led an analytical team and was directly responsible for the energy and transport area.
Then he modernised many Polish companies, in which he supported the adaptation to the challenges of the European and global market. He was a promoter of European cooperation in the field of industrial change and adaptation of industry in Europe to the challenges of globalization, among others as part of the European University of Labour and the Dublin Foundation.
The author of the government programme for the development of electromobility in Poland, described for the first time as a concept in the book written in 2013-2015, together with prof. Leszek JesieÅ, "New Electricity and New Cars". He is the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Electromobility Programme. As the deputy minister of energy, he was the originator of the "Electromobility Development Plan", and then he piloted the creation of the act on electromobility and alternative fuels, thanks to which the forms of transport will have the possibility of developing dynamically.
As the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Energy, he is directly responsible for the technological development and introduction of innovations to the energy sector, implementation of climate and energy policy in the fuel and gas sector, conducting international relations with states and international organizations. His duties also include supervising the state's participation in the largest Polish energy companies in the oil and gas sector, such as Orlen, Lotos and PGNiG. He negotiates the provisions of the Winter Package, as well as legal acts regulating the electricity market in Europe. He represents Poland in the International Energy Agency.
New Climate Economy | Commission on the Economy and Climate |
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 14:06
RT @antonioguterres: The approval of the #ParisAgreement Work Programme at #COP24 in Katowice is the foundation for a new process in'...
16 hours 15 min ago @Pret">.@Pret credits company-wide success in 2016 to strengthened #vegetarian range: UK sales rose 15% compared to 2015 a'...
21 hours 13 min ago All Tweets
What is the COP24 climate change rulebook and why do we need it? | Euronews answers
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 14:03
Nearly 200 countries signed up on Saturday to a 156-page rulebook for implementing the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change, ending some two weeks of negotiations fraught with political divisions.
But what is the rulebook, why is it necessary and why are some already criticising it?
Why do we need a rulebook?The rulebook has been described by the United Nations as a ''robust set of guidelines'' for implementing the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
The landmark 2015 deal aims to limit global temperature rises to "well below" two degrees Celsius.
The UN says the new guidelines ''promote trust among nations that all countries are playing their part in addressing the challenge of climate change''.
''It will promote international cooperation and encourage greater ambition,'' it added in a statement.
Where and how was the deal reached?The deal on the rulebook was reached at the COP24 climate change conference in the Polish city of Katowice, where officials from around the world engaged in two weeks of negotiations.
The talks hit several stumbling blocks and went into overtime on Saturday.
"It is not easy to find agreement on a deal so specific and technical'', chairman of the talks, Michal Kurtyka, said.
A consensus was finally reached when ministers managed to break a deadlock between Brazil and other countries over the accounting rules for the monitoring of carbon credits, deferring much of the discussion to next year.
What does the rulebook say?The 256-page common rulebook, known as the Katowice Climate Change Package, is split into thematic sections.
It details how countries should monitor and report their greenhouse gas emissions and the efforts they're taking to reduce them, and how they will update their emissions plans.
Poor countries also secured assurances on getting financial support to help them cut emissions, adapt to changes and pay for damages.
Guidelines in the package also explain:
How to conduct the ''Global Stocktake'' of the effectiveness of climate action in 2023
The process for establishing new targets on finance from 2025 onwards to support developing countries
How to assess progress on the development and transfer of technology
What was left out of the rulebook?The final deal failed to include provisions on a global carbon market mechanism, pending further talks, amid the disagreements between Brazil and other countries.
Article 6 of the Paris Agreement states that countries should agree to rules to ensure they do not double count emissions reductions '-- this is when one country is allowed to pay another to lower emissions but counts those lower emissions towards its own emissions cut targets.
A way to avoid this is to create a mechanism which would ensure that emissions reductions generated in one place cannot be counted twice.
''From the beginning of the COP, it very quickly became clear that this was one area that still required much work and that the details to operationalize this part of the Paris Agreement had not yet been sufficiently explored'', UN Climate Chief Patricia Espinosa said in a statement.
''Unfortunately, in the end, the differences could not be overcome''.
Were the delegates happy with the deal?COP24 President Kurtyka told delegates they should ''feel proud'' of the agreement.
''Through this package you have made a thousand little steps forward together,'' he said.
After the deal was reached, ministers joined Kurtyka on stage, hugging and laughing.
Several representatives said they were not entirely happy with the rulebook, but that it gave them something to build on.
Why are some criticising the rulebook?Some countries and environmental groups say the COP24 rulebook does not provide a sufficient response to the impacts of climate change.
''COP24 failed to deliver a clear commitment to strengthen all countries' climate pledges by 2020,'' Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said in a statement.
''Governments have again delayed adequate action to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown. The EU needs to push ahead and lead by example, by providing more support to poor countries and increasing its climate pledge before the UN Secretary-General Summit in September 2019,'' the group's director, Wendel Trio, said.
Poorer nations also wanted more clarity on how an already agreed $100 billion ('‚¬88 billion) a year of climate finance by 2020 will be provided, and on how that will be built on in the future.
A statement by UN Secretary-General Ant"nio Guterres stressed the need for more work.
"From now on, my five priorities will be: ambition, ambition, ambition, ambition and ambition," it said.
Words Matter
Tom Schuring Word Cloud
90 ep. of NA
currently transcribed.
word cloud
1.657.433 words
Know: 14645
Yeah: 10756
Go: 8967
Think: 8203
Trump: 2074
John: 1078
Russian: 757
American: 727
Democrat: 679
Podcast: 653
Facebook: 586
Adam: 489
Republican: 406
Ministry of Truthiness
''Let Me Make You Famous'': How Hollywood Invented Ben Shapiro | Vanity Fair
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 15:53
Photograph by Martin Schoeller.
The night of January 10, 2013, was a triumph for Ben Shapiro, his first big score'--but Jeremy Boreing, the Hollywood producer who's the architect of Shapiro's vertiginous rise, couldn't get past the wardrobe.
Dressed in a dark junior-banker suit, with his College Republican flop dangling over his forehead, Shapiro, then the editor at large at Breitbart News, had been booked on Piers Morgan Tonight to discuss his new book, Bullies: How the Left's Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America, and to debate gun control. But Shapiro's tactics revealed themselves shortly after the break, when he called out Morgan for ''standing on the graves of the children of Sandy Hook'' in order to criticize gun owners. ''Honestly, Piers,'' Shapiro said, ''you've kind of been a bully on this issue.'' He continued, ''You tend to demonize people who differ from you politically.'' At one point, he handed Morgan a pocket Constitution to educate him on the Second Amendment. Shapiro was both smart (he has a degree from Harvard Law) and obnoxious (he once described Palestinians as living in ''open sewage''), snotty and fearless, and he displayed a preternatural talent for getting under the skin of gibbering libs. Fourteen minutes, and millions of views later, Shapiro had accomplished his goal: he'd gone viral.
As he watched the Morgan hit, Boreing realized that Shapiro's look, while perfectly adequate for a right-wing think-tank talking head, wasn't going to cut it in many of the demographics they wanted to conquer. Shapiro quickly agreed to revise the right-wing-dork look, and the makeover began: Boreing and a wardrobe stylist emptied Shapiro's closet almost completely, took him to Macy's to re-stock, gave him an objectively better haircut, replaced his personal trainer, and presto, the Ben Shapiro look emerged'--a decently-fitted button-up shirt in neutral blues and grays, tucked into better-fitting jeans, and a jacket that didn't look too expensive. He wasn't exactly a GQ cover subject, but he was, quite crucially, no longer an Alex P. Keaton stereotype. ''You can only be good at so many things. Ben is good at a great many things. This is not one of them,'' said Boreing. ''So, we structure it for him and simplify it for him. That's why he always looks like Ben.''
Before Shapiro, Boreing was a fairly obscure Hollywood figure, perhaps best known for helping to produce Etienne!, a buddy movie about a dying dwarf hamster. His primary political affiliation was as the managing director of Friends of Abe, a quasi-secretive salon of conservative entertainment-industry professionals, which he had taken over from Forrest Gump actor Gary Sinise. Years earlier, Andrew Breitbart, a celebrity in his own right within Friends of Abe, had introduced him to Shapiro, and they became fast friends, both serving time at Truth Revolt, a now-defunct Web site, started as the right's answer to David Brock's Media Matters, which churned out reliable content attacking the mainstream media and their secret funders. Truth Revolt placated its ancient donors at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a nonprofit condemned by the Southern Poverty Law Center, but it was far too earnest, and barely made a ripple.
Months before the Piers Morgan interview, Boreing and Shapiro had devised a site that would eventually become the Daily Wire, which they viewed as a next-gen media company representing the 21st-century right'--an heir to Drudge and Breitbart, supercharged with modern-media hood ornaments, like podcasts and video, which happened to be Boreing's specialty. To get attention, they needed personality: someone to put forward their attacks, and someone who could withstand being attacked, too. After the Morgan hit, it dawned on both that Shapiro had to become the brand. '''You being a brand brings a lot of security. . . . You being a front man gives us a ton of security,'' Boreing recalled telling him. ''I can better accomplish that with video. I can expose a lot more people to you with video, I can expose them to you in a way that they'll remember, because people are visual. . . . Let me make you famous and we'll have a much louder voice and a much bigger platform to advance our interests.''
Shapiro, who began his career in radio production working around Michael Savage and Laura Ingraham, recognized this reality, too. ''People love Michael, and they love Laura, because they love Michael and they love Laura, not because they love what Michael and Laura are talking about,'' he said, calling Boreing a ''genius'' for realizing this, long before the influencer genre had taken over pop culture. ''For me, the ideas had always been paramount, and so it's still bewildering to me that people want to engage with people rather than ideas, but that's why I try and kind of use my platform to push ideas as much as I possibly can, or debate ideas.'' Of course, the emphasis on debate and ideas eventually became a crucial part of the Ben Shapiro brand, itself.
Five years later, Shapiro and Boreing, now the Daily Wire's chief content officer and the ''god-king'' of the site (as the staffers call him), have become dominant players in right-wing digital media, and the Daily Wire has become an industry leader. Initially funded by fracking magnate Farris Wilks, the company has not had to seek any outside backers, according to Boreing, and became cash-flow positive within 14 months'--10 months ahead of schedule. Boreing says the company now boasts 140 million page views a month; more than a million downloads per episode of The Ben Shapiro Show (the ninth-most downloaded podcast on iTunes in 2018, worldwide); sixty full-time employees, with plans to bring on more; 1.1 million subscribers on YouTube and over 400,000 on Shapiro's personal page. And all in the span of three years, frequently beating several of the longer-established news sites on the right in terms of traffic (The Daily Caller, and video and podcast engagement (Breitbart, which has virtually no YouTube or podcasting presence). ''The quality of the content is, obviously, the passion of the artist. The success of the content is marketing and distribution,'' Boreing told me when I visited the Daily Wire's studios in Sherman Oaks. ''You can raise money and make a film that no one ever sees, or you can raise money and market a film that everyone sees.''
Shapiro and Boreing aren't the first to turn the culture war into an entertainment product, but they have been among the most successful, in part by avoiding the errors of Milo Yiannopoulos, who burned through millions of dollars trying to turn offensiveness into a salable commodity, and Steve Bannon, who turned Breitbart into a warship but left it rudderless when he was booted. Instead, Shapiro and Boreing have emphasized Hollywood-style marketing and distribution, prioritizing entertainment value over ideological purity. Shapiro's heterodoxy hasn't satisfied the culture warriors at Breitbart and the devoted MAGA crowd, who see him as ideologically impure, nor has it endeared him to the anti-Trump left, given his blunt, provocative commentary on race, gender, and academic freedom. (He continues to argue that transgenderism is a ''mental illness.'') He criticizes Trump for his insufficient conservatism nearly as often as he berates mainstream media for overhyping Trump's failures.
And yet, the formula works. Shapiro's fans are legion'--enough to constitute a political faction of their own. Every time he debates a pundit, student, or high-profile liberal, his fans immediately compile his remarks into YouTube clips. (''Ben Shapiro DESTROYS race baiting Congresswoman during Congressional Hearing on Campus Free Speech,'' for instance, has over 3.2 million views.) ''The business model is not activism, or even news,'' Boreing told Shapiro at the beginning of their venture. ''The business model is personality.''
The Daily Wire headquarters in Los Angeles, located on the second floor of a vaguely art deco building in Sherman Oaks, is more reminiscent of a high-end television studio than a dingy online start-up. The lobby is lined with monitors advertising Daily Wire shows, millennials chug La Croix in a well-appointed kitchen, and a full-time makeup artist is always on call. Each of the meticulously designed and personalized sets are stuffed with enough high-end cameras, soundproofing, and lighting equipment to rival the best cable-news studios'--a significant investment for online shows. Currently, the site has four personalities that are promoted regularly: Andrew Klavan, an old crank they brought over from Truth Revolt; Michael Knowles, a dapper, lib-triggering troll; Matt Walsh, a dour, self-described ''extremist'' Christian raging against the crassness of pop-culture; and Shapiro himself. Once a month, Boreing hosts a live show in his office'--an elegant man cave featuring studio lighting, a massive cigar humidor, and several overstuffed leather armchairs'--where he, the crew, and a special guest smoke cigars and shoot the shit. Though the studios are Hollywood, the content is decidedly not: in one recent Daily Wire Backstage show, for instance, the hosts discussed Judeo-Christian theology, religious history, and the pathology of the sort of perpetually aggrieved liberal who thinks Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is politically incorrect. (The War on Christmas is apparently alive and well in the San Fernando Valley.)
The location is fitting. Los Angeles is a mostly liberal city, but it's also become a crucial engine of modern conservatism. Andrew Breitbart got his start there, as did Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller. Perhaps it's something in the water, or a response to the progressive monoculture, or the proximity to Hollywood, but the West Coast conservatives have always had a more tactile understanding of the optics of the culture war'--an instinct for how to weaponize the clash of civilizations, against celebrities, against migrants, against the academics of U.C. Berkeley and the socialists in San Francisco. Instead of burying his ideas in white papers or books or think tanks, Andrew Breitbart made his first Internet project a site called Big Hollywood, devoted to bashing the Beverly Hills elite. Bannon, who eventually took control of after its founder's death, cast himself as a filmmaker and yellow-journalism media baron. Neither were intellectuals in the Wall Street Journal mold. Miller, who now serves as senior White House policy adviser, developed his reactionary political consciousness at deep-blue Santa Monica High School, where he became closely affiliated with the David Horowitz Freedom Center, an organization initially founded to combat creeping Hollywood liberalism.
It was in this hostile environment, at the apex of the heady Obama years, that Shapiro and Boreing, both budding culture warriors, were introduced by Breitbart. The two made an unlikely pair: Boreing is evangelical, methodical, contemplative; Shapiro is Orthodox Jewish, bullish, constantly on the attack. And yet, they clicked immediately. Allen Estrin, who worked with Boreing at the conservative video-streaming site PragerU, compared them to Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly at the dawn of Fox News: ''If you go to these events . . . any large event with young people, [Ben] is just mobbed. The more common term: he's a rock star. [And] that's Jeremy. That's Jeremy elevating Ben's profile, making sure that Ben makes the right decisions. That's Jeremy guiding him along the best possible path. I don't know where Ben is without Jeremy, but it's not . . . he's definitely in a whole different place because of Jeremy.''
Boreing, a soft-spoken man with mousy hair and modest glasses, is nothing whatsoever like Ben Shapiro. He came to Hollywood from small-town Texas in the early 2000s, worked for a bit as a talent manager, and somehow ended up becoming housemates with Chuck star Zachary Levi. ''Life was basically getting free food and playing video games in Zach's dressing room for several years,'' he recalled. It was a good life, for sure, but the Texan soon noticed that whenever he parked his car at the Chuck set, his Bush-Cheney bumper sticker was getting some side-eye. ''One day I'm walking through the stairwell and a very well-known actress, who was one of the stars of that show, stopped me and said, 'Hey, is that your Bush-Cheney bumper sticker on that pickup in the parking lot?' I said, 'Yeah. Yes, ma'am.' She said, 'Kid, you've got balls of steel.' Honest truth, even until that moment it was completely lost on me.''
At his first Friends of Abe meeting, Boreing's eyes were opened to the existence of an underground political community for people like himself. It was also there that Boreing met Breitbart'--and where he was exposed to new and intriguing business possibilities. ''[Breitbart] got the idea that he should start Big Hollywood and give a voice to whoever in this organization [and] outside of it might want to speak their minds politically,'' he said, estimating that when the site was launched in 2008, about 80 percent of its content came from people he met through Friends of Abe. From there came Big Journalism, and from there, itself, a full-on culture-war engine dedicated to fighting the decline of Western civilization by whatever means necessary. ''Arguably wouldn't exist without F.O.A.,'' Boreing asserted.
Back then, within the Hollywood conservative community, there was an ongoing debate over how to win that war'--with art or activism? ''My view is you cannot make a conservative film. You make a good film that obeys craft. And if it reflects good values, then that's it,'' explained Lionel Chetwynd, an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, director, and founding member of Friends of Abe. (See: Roseanne, Murphy Brown, and Boreing's film The Arroyo, which focuses on a rancher defending his property against violent illegal migrants in a border town.) On the other side of the argument were those, like Bannon, who primarily saw themselves as propagandists. (See: Bannon's ''documentaries,'' such as Fire from the Heartland: The Awakening of the Conservative Woman.)
Breitbart went to the ramparts, having learned from his former colleague Arianna Huffington that one could create an influential media empire on the Internet for spare change. Shapiro soon joined him and eventually became editor at large at Breitbart News Network. For a while, Boreing chose the path of the artist, working on films with Levi and focusing on writing, directing, and producing The Arroyo. (''It's a beautifully constructed movie, and he is a very talented artist,'' said Estrin, who taught screenwriting at the American Film Institute.)
But whenever Shapiro was stuck on something, he would call Boreing, and vice versa, and they eventually started collaborating on video projects. Boreing's first video in the activist world, which Shapiro hooked him up with, was an animated explainer for Encounter Books debunking global warming. He soon began consulting for PragerU, which packages right-wing social concepts into slick videos. According to Estrin, Boreing came up with the site's signature visual style after a photographer came after them with a fair-use claim; their solution was to use illustrations instead. The simple blue and orange stick figures now mark videos with more than one billion views, making PragerU one of the most effective conversion tools for young conservatives. At the center of it all was Boreing, who by then had become a leader of the West Coast conservative movement. ''We would always run every major decision past him just to get his insight,'' said Estrin.
Shapiro during a break filming The Ben Shapiro Show in Los Angeles, 2018.
By Jessica Pons/ For The Washington Post/Getty Images.
Making Ben Shapiro famous would become the duo's most important project, and their most lucrative. After the post-Piers makeover, they pitched the genesis of the idea for the Daily Wire to David Horowitz and the Freedom Center's board. They got shot down. But fate provided another pathway. In April 2015, the Freedom Center de-funded Truth Revolt, effectively terminating Boreing's job, and Shapiro followed him out the door, refusing to work at a hobbled organization. Instead, they kept honing their pitch. Three months later, they secured several million dollars in seed funding from Wilks, the billionaire fracking super-donor who supported Ted Cruz in the Republican primaries. The concept for the Daily Wire was not to push a specific agenda'--the traditional nonprofit model, with a board of directors overseeing a political project'--but to build a profit-generating business, combining conservative opinion with news aggregation. They launched the following September with a handful of other Truth Revolt employees, shooting their first few episodes in Boreing's pool house, before moving to an ad hoc studio on the same floor as PragerU, with sets Boreing and his brother built by hand.
Shapiro was also working at Breitbart, but by March 2016, he had become fed up with the site's slavish devotion to Donald Trump'--in particular an ugly episode in which Breitbart mistreated one of its own reporters, Michelle Fields, after she was manhandled by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski'--and quit his part-time gig to join the Daily Wire full-time, a decision his former colleagues derided as opportunistic. Breitbart published and then deleted an article torching Shapiro as an ''ambitious conservative gadfly, who is known to live on the edge, courting and then leaving a series of companies over the past several years.'' Among some portion of MAGA world'--potentially a core audience for a young, conservative media startup'--Shapiro was suspect at best, a traitor at worst.
The Daily Wire's Trump-skeptical perspective, under those circumstances, was indeed risky. It was ''a very volatile moment in our politics,'' Boreing explained, but Shapiro felt strongly about his stance. ''I mean, we took the least popular position in the election. We thought the whole thing might be over after Election Night.'' Within 14 months, however, Trump had won the presidency and the Daily Wire was cash-flow positive, having won over an unlikely coalition of shell-shocked Republicans and blindsided centrists entranced by the prospect of Shapiro as Trump-era Virgil: a Breitbart exile-turned-Trump critic, who wasn't a foaming-at-the-mouth MAGA nationalist but still delighted in trolling Hillary and Bernie for their alleged transgressions.
Shapiro had achieved megastardom, even as he oscillated in his opinion of Trump. To his former culture-warrior brethren, Shapiro was trying to have it both ways: pretending to be a populist one day, then trying to stake out a position as a Respectable Conservative the next, and then pissing off everyone by, say, tweeting inappropriate comments during George H.W. Bush's funeral. ''He was hardcore 'Never Trump' and pretends to be pro-Trump now that it's clear that going full Never Trump makes you a [Bill] Kristol or [Evan] McMullin,'' an aggrieved conservative writer told me. But of course, neither Kristol nor McMullin are reliably delivering fresh content via multiple platforms to an audience of millions, or frequently cross-promoting with fellow podcast stars Joe Rogan and Dave Rubin (whose studios are nearby). ''It's never been our philosophy that you succeed in this business by locking up your content. You've got to push your content out as widely as possible,'' said Boreing.
For the amount of care and resources poured into video production, the bulk of the site's revenue'--and Shapiro's fame'--derives from his self-titled podcast, which began as an afterthought. The audio was ripped directly from the video show itself, and packaged as an ancillary product when they realized they could start selling ads on it if it hit 30,000 downloads a day. It now gets 1 million downloads per show, and over 1.2 million engagements across platforms, per Shapiro. ''If you look at our original financial specs for what we expected the podcast to do, it's not even remotely close to what it ended up doing,'' Shapiro recalled. The investment in video was worthwhile, though, particularly as they ended up using Facebook Live videos to stream their shows. (Shapiro has 4.5 million followers on Facebook, which he leverages to direct a massive firehose of traffic back to the Daily Wire. Earlier this month, for example, two of the top 10 most-read Facebook stories came from Ben Shapiro.)
The Daily Wire's success on Facebook is notable, given the frequent criticism on the right that Big Tech firms are stifling their voices. A recent NewsWhip analysis found that Daily Wire content was in the top 10 of Facebook engagements in political content, frequently cracked the 1,000 most-shared news stories, and was the most actively visited site on the right. Daily Wire authors dominate the top 10 political-authors list, on both the left and right, a statistic which still held when Nate Silver discovered this fact in November. ''Kinda feels like Facebook has stopped even trying'' to filter hate speech, he wrote, giving Shapiro an opening to attack him on Twitter, while publishing an op-ed entitled ''Nate Silver Indignant That Shapiro's Stories Dominate Facebook. Shapiro Fires Back.'' (Author: Daily Wire.)
But the Daily Wire's chief growth strategy has always been, and continues to be, Shapiro himself. It helps that he is amenable to becoming a mass-marketed product'--constantly on the road giving talks at universities, making guest appearances on popular podcasts, gabbing his way onto Fox News, scoring speeches at events like CPAC and Politicon, and still, somehow, writing columns for Newsweek, National Review, USA Today, and his own site. There is also his own podcast to attend to, a Sunday interview special, the cigar show, a conventional radio show, and whatever other media platform will have him. After his appearances, the Daily Wire site and podcast tend to see a huge spike in traffic, and more important, audience retention: Shapiro's first appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience, for instance, provided a massive traffic increase. As a result, the site spends more money promoting Shapiro than the Daily Wire itself'--a decision that ultimately insulates the site from the political whims of Big Tech's dreaded social-media algorithms.
Whatever the model is, the rest of conservative media is playing catch-up. Fox Nation, Fox News's own attempt at creating a subscription-only video-content farm for rising personalities, launched earlier this month. Laura Ingraham, from whom Shapiro took career cues, is now moving her radio show online. And in early December, CRTV and the Blaze'--which the Daily Wire had considered buying at one point'--announced a merger, dumping all of their beleaguered writers and resources together for the sake of survival. (Better than being The Weekly Standard, Kristol's august conservative publication, which is rumored to shutter by the beginning of 2019, having succumbed to changing political tides and plunging print advertising revenues.)
If Hollywood taught Boreing one thing, however, it's that fame doesn't last forever. And that goes for politics, too. ''Sarah Palin was a big voice during the Obama era,'' he said as an example. ''She is a much less significant voice during the Trump era. Whatever she represented was connected to that Tea Party moment, and the Tea Party moment didn't survive Trump.'' For the Daily Wire and Shapiro, the trick is to keep both brands politically relevant'--a major pressure that Boreing, who said that Shapiro could be the ''Rush Limbaugh of his generation,'' feels acutely.
''What is a one-hit wonder in this space?'' Boreing asked, rhetorically. ''I think it's someone who can only survive one presidency. If you find yourself two years into the next presidency, and Ben is still a dominant voice, he's probably got runway for the rest of his career. . . . So I want to make sure that Ben'--that his fortunes don't rise and fall on this weird moment of the Donald Trump presidency.''
Net Neutrality
One Year Ago Today, the FCC Killed the Internet - Hit & Run :
Sat, 15 Dec 2018 12:36
KEVIN DIETSCH/UPI/Newscom One year ago today, the Federal Communications Commission killed the internet.
Except the internet didn't really die'--quite the opposite, in fact'--when the FCC voted down party lines to end the series of regulations known as "net neutrality."
Despite the overwrought warnings and fearful pleas of advocates for greater government regulation of the world wide web, the past 12 months have not seen a rise in evil cable companies slowing consumers' internet connections or the creation of an online dystopia where only those who can plop down fat stacks of cash to pay for premium connections can have fun.
Everything you love about the internet will be ruined, we were told. "The illegal music you downloaded on Napster or Kazaa. The legal music you've streamed on Spotify. The countless hours of pornography you've watched. The movies and TV shows you've binged on Netflix and Amazon and Hulu. The dating site that helped you find the person you're now married to. All of these things are thanks to net neutrality." Except all those things existed before net neutrality was implemented in 2015 and'--shocker!'--it all still exists today (well not Kazaa, but no one misses Kazaa).
It was going to be very bad. "Try this scenario on for size: You wake up, reach for your phone, and head to your favorite news site to check the headlines. But instead of the latest news, you see a message from your cellphone carrier: 'This site is not available. Please upgrade to our deluxe package to access it.'"
Has that happened to you in the past 12 months?
The net neutrality fear-mongering is worth remembering because of how widespread, mainstream, and self-assured it was. The front page of called the FCC's vote "The end of the internet as we know it," but I just checked and is still there, somehow. The same is true of The New York Times' website, where you can still find an op-ed declaring that repealing net neutrality would be the "final pillow in [the internet's] face."
Bunk. All of it. Internet speeds have increased by 40 percent during 2018, according to a recent report by Recode.
It could be that corporate mischief is being kept at bay by the threat of returning federal regulation. "Any egregious violations of the principles of net neutrality by broadband providers would provide ammunition to advocates who want the old rules restored," opines Wired's Klint Finley today in a detailed review of what's changed and what hasn't (mostly hasn't) in the year since the end of net neutrality.
But it's more likely, I think, that ISPs have pretty good incentives to keep their consumers satisfied'--and that means not shutting off their Netflix'--in a market where longstanding walls that limited competition are coming down. With wireless speeds now able to compete with traditional internet connections, cable companies like Comcast have even more of a reason not to slow down service or "throttle" websites. If I can't watch Hulu on my wifi-connected TV, I'll just stream it from my phone and think harder about cutting the cord.
That's why net neutrality was always, as FCC chairman Ajit Pai told Reason pre-repeal, "a solution that won't work to a problem that doesn't exist."
Or, as Reason's Nick Gillespie spelled out last year on the eve of the net neutrality repeal.
First and foremost, the repeal simply returns the internet back to pre-2015 rules where there were absolutely no systematic issues related to throttling and blocking of sites (and no, ISPs weren't to blame for Netflix quality issues in 2013). As Pai stressed in an exclusive interview with Reason last week, one major impact of net neutrality regs was a historic decline in investment in internet infrastructure, which would ultimately make things worse for all users. Why bother building out more capacity if there's a strong likelihood that the government will effectively nationalize your pipes? Despite fears, the fact is that in the run-up to government regulation, both the average speed and number of internet connections (especially mobile) continued to climb and the percentage of Americans without "advanced telecommunications capability" dropped from 20 percent to 10 percent between 2012 and 2014, according to the FCC (see table 7 in full report). Nobody likes paying for the internet or for cell service, but the fact is that services have been getting better and options have been growing for most people.
If there's a threat to the future of the internet in 2018, it's not from the demise of net neutrality but from the ongoing efforts of politicians to control technology that they don't understand.
From the Republican-led efforts to use antitrust laws to target Google and Facebook for being insufficiently conservative-friendly the Democrat-led efforts to regulate digital platforms in the name of stopping election-meddling Russian bots and fake news, Congress is scheming up all sorts of ways to do far worse things than anything cable companies have done in the aftermath of net neutrality's demise. And don't forget the entirely predictable anti-freedom consequences of the passage of the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (FOSTA), which nominally cracks down on sex trafficking but practically pushes sex workers into more dangerous situations both online and in the real world.
The next time you hear someone wailing about the need for new laws to save the internet, remember how stupidly wrong all the predictions about net neutrality turned out. The internet is fine. Just let it be free.
Opinion: There Should Be No Exit from Brexit - SPIEGEL ONLINE
Fri, 14 Dec 2018 05:20
Opinion Why There Should Be No Exit from Brexit Brexit has plunged British politics into a state of chaos. Will the country now choose to remain in the European Union? The odds of that happening are rising, but it wouldn't be a good idea -- neither for Britain nor for the EU.
Hopelessly split: Pro-EU and Pro-Brexit protesters in London
December 13, 2018 11:05 AM Print FeedbackCommentFor two years, the British government has been negotiating the terms of its withdrawal with the European Commission, and now Prime Minister Theresa May is unable to secure a majority for that deal in parliament. The more chaotic things get in London, the more tempting it will become for the country to exit from Brexit through the emergency door the European Court of Justice unlocked on Monday when it declared that the British government could unilaterally move to revoke Article 50. A second referendum that would provide democratic legitimacy to that step seems increasingly likely.
But such a move could potentially have graver consequences than an orderly Brexit -- both for Britain and the EU.
A Possible Boost for the EU's Foes
There's a good and perhaps even compelling argument for a second referendum: Now that a deal with the EU is on the table, voters would at least finally know what it is they were voting on. In the first referendum in June 2016, that wasn't even remotely the case.
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But the campaign ahead of a second referendum would in all likelihood be even more xenophobic and hate-filled than the first. That could in turn produce a British society that is even more divided than it already is today, particularly given that recent polls show the pro-EU camp winning a second referendum by a narrow margin. This time, however, it is likely that the losers would be even angrier and more disappointed than the losers of the first vote. Many would feel that their long-desired Brexit had been stolen from them and would turn away from democracy in frustration. It would provide a significant boost to anti-European right-wing populists.
And this would lead to problem No. 2: Such an outcome would also be uncomfortable for the rest of the EU. The European bloc is currently desperately seeking to find common ground on important policy areas including economic and monetary union, defense and immigration. A Britain that is hopelessly divided on domestic policy could cause significant damage were it still an EU member state.
A Divided Britain Would Be a Difficult EU Partner
EU-hostile media and right-wing populists have been going after British governments since long before the Brexit referendum. One can only imagine what they might do if the Brexit they fought for with almost religious fervor were to be reversed. The British government would surely face massive resistance each time it took a step toward deeper integration with the EU.
Of course, the idea that British political clowns like Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Jacob Rees-Mogg might receive their comeuppance in a second referendum is certainly tempting to some in the EU, as is the prospect of keeping a major country like Britain in the club. But it would be better for all concerned if the country first spent a few years outside the union.
There is almost nothing to suggest at the moment that these years would be pleasant. Britain would hardly have much of a voice amid the large power blocs of the United States, China and the EU. Furthermore, if Britain were to ultimately accept the EU deal, it would still be years before the country was allowed to negotiate trade deals of its own -- and those treaties would take several more years to finalize. It seems unlikely that the British would be able to secure more favorable conditions than the much larger EU.
In the best-case scenario, Britain would then apply to rejoin the EU -- after coming to the realization that not everything about the EU is bad and that Britain itself is no longer a world power.
That, though, is a conclusion that a large majority of the the British voters have to arrive at themselves. As the experiences of the past two years have shown, they're not there yet.
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Theresa May savages Juncker saying 'I was crystal clear' and slaps EU with ultimatum on Brexit deal
Fri, 14 Dec 2018 14:14
THERESA May today blasted Jean-Claude Juncker after he accused her of not knowing what she wants for Brexit.
The PM insisted she was "crystal clear" in talks with EU leaders about the need to fix the hated backstop - and warned Britain will leave with No Deal if Brussels doesn't give in.
Theresa May arguing with Jean-Claude Juncker in BrusselsEarlier today Mrs May was caught on camera having a furious row with European Commission boss Mr Juncker after he called her "nebulous and imprecise".
They were caught on camera going hammer and tongs as Mrs May, holding her handbag, blasted: "You called me nebulous!"
At a press conference this afternoon, the PM said: "I was crystal clear about the assurances which are needed on the backstop having heard the views of MPs in the House of Commons.
"I reiterated that it is in the interests of the EU as well as the UK to get this over the line. A disorderly Brexit would be good for no one."
AP:Associated Press
Theresa May giving a press conference in Brussels this afternoonAsked about her clash with Mr Juncker, Mrs May said: I had a robust discussion with Jean-Claude Juncker - I think that's the sort of discussion you're able to have when you have a working relationship and you work well together.
"When he used that phrase he'd been talking about the general level of debate."
She also insisted European leaders ARE willing to give new guarantees on the hated Irish backstop to help her push her Brexit deal through Parliament.
Mrs May said: "I note there has been reporting that the EU is not willing to consider any further clarification. The EU is clear '' as I am '' that if we are going to leave with a deal this is it.
"But my discussions with colleagues today have shown that further clarification and discussion following the Council's conclusions is in fact possible.
The PM hit out at Jean-Claude Juncker Prime Minister Theresa May explains what went down between her and Jean-Claude Juncker at the EU leaders summit centre in Brussels"There is work still to do and we will be holding talks in coming days about how to obtain the further assurances that the UK Parliament needs in order to be able to approve the deal.
"I say again. It is in the overwhelming interest of all our people '' in the EU and the UK '' to get this done, and as quickly as possible."
Asked by The Sun whether she would consider taking Britain out of the EU without a deal, the PM refused to confirm she was willing to take the drastic step.
And she insisted she never considered quitting during the chaos of this week, saying: "There is a job to be done here - I never said it was going to be easy."
This morning, when Mrs May and Mr Juncker met in the EU headquarters, they had a heated conversation as other leaders looked on.
The two leaders were caught on camera in a heated conversationMrs May is believed to have said: "What did you call me? You called me nebulous - yes you did, yes you did!"
Mr Juncker apparently replied: "What? No, no I didn't, I didn't."
The PM's former aide Joey Jones quipped: "Handbags. There may be a lot of theatre today."
The scenes were reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher's furious confrontations with European leaders when she was Prime Minister in the 80s.
Body language expert Judi James told The Sun: "There was an air of lazy bonhomie in the chamber with the usual tactile kissing, hugging and back-slapping between world leaders until May arrived at a distinctly tetchy-looking pace.
Mrs May has run into trouble with EU leaders"Her conversation with Juncker does look from a distance like a bit of a mini-lecture or haranguing, with Juncker clutching May's arm like a man rather surprised by a sudden complaint .
"Juncker normally receives displays of warmth and compliance at these gatherings but May's cocked head and intense facial expression suggests that she might have been keen to make a rather strong point."
Mrs May and Mr Juncker met for pre-summit talks earlier this week.
The Prime Minister asked him for help getting changes to the current Brexit deal, or risk a No Deal scenario with Britain crashing out in March.
But after all EU leaders met last night, Mr Juncker made scathing comments shooting down Mrs May's request.
The Prime Minister looking for her seat at the European CouncilHe said: "We don't want the UK to think there can be any form of renegotiation, that is crystal clear.
"We can add clarifications but no real changes. There will be no legally binding obligations imposed on the withdrawal treaty.
"Our UK friends need to say what they want, instead of asking us to say what we want.
"We would like in a few weeks for our UK friends to set out their expectations because this debate is sometimes nebulous and imprecise and I would like clarifications."
Mrs May flew to Brussels yesterday for the European Council summit after scraping through a vote of confidence from her own MPs.
She is seeking changes to the backstop - designed to keep the Irish border open - to ensure Britain doesn't end up trapped in the EU customs union.
What May and Juncker said in furious Brussels row
THERESA MAY: "What did you call me?
"You called me nebulous - yes you did, yes you did."
JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER: "What? No, no I didn't, I didn't."
Jean-Claude Juncker pictured at the summit this morningA draft version of the summit's conclusions provided a glimmer of hope for the PM, stating that the backstop "does not represent a desirable outcome" for the EU.
It added: "The Union stands ready to examine whether any further assurance can be provided."
But after Mrs May made her pitch to the other 27 leaders, they changed the text to remove both of the helpful statements.
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Instead, the final version calls on EU states to step up No Deal planning.
Mrs May held further talks in Brussels today before flying home later.
The Sun revealed last night that she is planning to hold the delayed vote on her Brexit deal on January 14.
EU boss Jean-Claude Juncker warns Theresa May Brexit deal can't be changed We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online politics team? Email us at tips or call 0207 782 4368. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours
After chaos, the EU's plan to censor the internet takes a huge step backwards / Boing Boing
Fri, 14 Dec 2018 14:38
Yesterday, the European Union's "trilogue" met for what was supposed to be the last negotiating session on the new Copyright Directive, including the universal filters for all user-generated content and a ban on links to news-sites without a paid license; as recently as last week, the proponents of the Directive were predicting an easy victory and a vote by December 19th, but yesterday's meeting ended in chaos, with a draft that everyone hates.
The Directive wasn't always so controversial. Up until last spring -- when the German MEP Alex Voss took over as rapporteur -- the rules for linking to news had been expunged, and the rules for universal filters had been converted into a discussion of licensing terms between big entertainment companies and Big Tech.
But since Voss crammed these proposals back into the Directive, there has been chaos, with massive spending and intense lobbying, mostly by the entertainment industry and its allies in the collecting societies.
There's only one problem: the proposals are bonkers. The top scholars of the news media say that a right to control links will only cement the dominance of the legacy news media, while weakening the press overall. The world's most renowned technologists say that copyright filters are a stupid, dangerous, unworkable idea that is doomed to fail.
So Voss had to come up with "compromises" that would allow him to convince fellow MEPs that things weren't that bad. For example, he expunged all mention of "filters" from the filter rule, but still made it impossible for companies to avoid filters. He also allowed for minor exemptions for "microenterprises" that would maybe get some of them out from under the necessity of having filters.
These figleafs didn't fool his opponents, but they did let him advance the Directive through the Parliament and into the trilogue negotiations. However, the big rightsholder organisations hated even the appearance of compromise, and so first the movie companies and sports leagues denounced the Directive and asked to have their products removed from its scope, and then the music industry (who have been the strongest proponents of filters) completely condemned the process and called for a restart.
Voss has been whipping this process like mad in the hopes of concluding things in December, before the European Presidency switches from Austria to Romania. He's failed.
Now the trilogues will reconvene in January. In the meantime, opposition mounts: four million Europeans have signed a petition opposing the directive, and their numbers are growing.
As eurosceptic movements grow, the EU has lamented the lack of public interest in its doings: now, with the Directive pitting big business against popular will and expert advice, it has a chance to show that it is a responsive and responsible governing institution -- or to discredit itself further by cramming through a corporate agenda to the detriment of 500,000,000 Europeans.
With European internet users, small business people, legal experts, technical experts, human rights and free speech experts all opposed to these proposals, we had hoped that they would be struck from the Trilogue's final draft. Now, they are blocking the passage of other important copyright reforms. Even Article 13 and 11's original advocates are realising how much they depend on a working Internet, and a remuneration system that might have a chance of working.
Still, the lobbying will continue over the holiday break. Some of the world's biggest entertainment and Internet companies will be throwing their weight around the EU to find a ''compromise'' that will keep no-one happy, and will exclude the needs and rights of individual Internet users, and European innovators. Read more about the Directive, and contact your MEPs and national governments at Save Your Internet.
Facing Criticism from All Sides, EU's Terrible Copyright Amendments Stumble into the New Year [Cory Doctorow/EFF Deeplinks]
The EU says it wants Europeans to engage with it: now that 4 MILLION of them have opposed mass censorship through #Article13, will they listen?Today, activists delivered more than 4,000,000 Europeans' signatures opposing the inclusion of an automated censorship system in the new Copyright Directive to the European officials in Strasbourg who are negotiating the final form of the Directive before the next vote.
READ THE RESTEurope's biggest sports leagues and movie studios disavow #Article13, say it will give #BigTech even more controlIn an open letter to the EU and European national officials who are negotiating the final form of the new Copyright Directive (by all accounts, a hot mess), some of the largest rightsholder groups and corporations in Europe -- sports leagues and movie studios -- have condemned the direction negotiations have gone in and asked ['...]
READ THE RESTPoland rejects the EU's copyright censorship plans, calls it #ACTA2In 2011, Europeans rose up over ACTA, the misleadingly named "Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement," which created broad surveillance and censorship regimes for the internet. They were successful in large part thanks to the Polish activists who thronged the streets to reject the plan, which had been hatched and exported by the US Trade Representative.
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Duitsland mag niet langer buscontroles eisen | ThePostOnline
Fri, 14 Dec 2018 12:04
Duitsland mag niet van internationale busondernemingen eisen dat zij de papieren van hun passagiers controleren als zij naar Duitsland reizen vanuit een ander EU-land. Dat heeft het Hof van Justitie van de Europese Unie bepaald.
Lees ook '' Europees Parlement wil minder grenscontrolesDuitsland eiste op straffe van een dwangsom dat de busondernemingen passagiers bij het instappen controleren op hun paspoort en verblijfsvergunning. Dat was om tegen te gaan dat mensen zonder papieren Duitsland in konden komen.
Volgens het hof is dat echter in strijd met het verdrag van Schengen over vrije verkeer binnen de EU. De controles bij het instappen werken als een grenscontrole en dat mag volgens het hof niet.
De zaak werd in Duitsland aanhangig gemaakt door transportondernemingen in Duitsland en Spanje. De Duitse rechter vroeg het hof vervolgens om een uitspraak.
Yellow Jackets
Demands of France's yellow vests as uploaded by France Bleu, November 29 | openDemocracy
Sat, 15 Dec 2018 13:00
"MPs from France, we inform you of the People's Directives for you to transpose them into LAW. "
Eugene Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People, 1830. Wikicommons/ Louvre Museum. Some rights reserved.
MPs from France, we inform you of the People's Directives for you to transpose them into LAW.
- Zero homeless : URGENT.
- Income tax more progressive (more slices).
- SMIC ( minimum wage for growth) of 1300 euros net.
- Promote small businesses, villages and city centers. (Stop the construction of large commercial areas around big cities that kill small business + free parking in city centers).
- Large Insulation Plan for housing. (to make ecological savings for households).
- That BIG (Macdo, Google, Amazon, Crossroads ...) pay BIG and that small (artisans, TPE,PME'' SME and Microenterprises) pay small.
- Same system of social security for all (including artisans and self-entrepreneurs). End of the RSI ( the social regime of the self-employed).
- The pension system must remain in solidarity and therefore socialized. (No retirement at peak).
- End of the tax increase on fuel.
- No pension below 1200 euros.
- Any elected representative will have the right to a median salary. His transport costs will be monitored and reimbursed if they are justified. Right to the restaurant ticket and check-holiday.
- The wages of all French people as well as pensions and allowances must be indexed to inflation.
- Protect French industry: prohibit relocation. Protecting our industry is protecting our know-how and our jobs.
- End of detached work (where 'posted workers' are sent by their employer to carry out a service in another European country on a temporary basis). It is abnormal that a person who works on French territory does not benefit from the salary and the same rights. Anyone authorized to work on French territory must be equal with a French citizen and his employer must contribute to the same height as a French employer.
- For job security: further limit the number of fixed-term contracts for large companies. We want more CDI (the default open-ended or permanent work contract in France).
- End of the CICE ( tax credits that corporations can claim for all salaries 2.5 lower than the French minimum wage). Using this money for launching a French car industry that has hydrogen (which is truly ecological, unlike the electric car.)
- End of austerity policy. We are ceasing to repay the debt interest that is declared illegitimate and we are starting to repay the debt without taking the money from the poor and the poorest but by going after the $80 billion in tax evasion.
- That the causes of forced migration are treated.
- That asylum seekers are well treated. We owe them housing, security, food and education for the miners. Work with the UN to have host camps open in many countries around the world, pending the outcome of the asylum application.
- That the unsuccessful asylum seekers be returned to their country of origin.
- That a real integration policy be implemented. Living in France means becoming French (French language course, History of France course and civic education course with certification at the end of the course).
- Maximum salary fixed at 15000 euros.
- That jobs are created for the unemployed.
- Increase in disabled benefits
- Limitation of rents + low-rent housing (especially for students and precarious workers).
- Prohibition to sell property belonging to France (airport dam ...)
- Substantial means granted to justice, the police, the gendarmerie and the army. That law enforcement overtime be paid or recovered.
- All the money earned by highway tolls will be used for the maintenance of motorways and roads in France and road safety.
- Since the price of gas and electricity has increased since privatization, we want them to become public again and that prices fall significantly.
- Immediate end to closure of small chains: post offices, schools and maternity homes.
- Let's bring well-being to our elderly people. Prohibition of making money on the elderly. The gray gold is finished. The era of gray well-being begins.
- Maximum 25 students per class from kindergarten to the final year. - Substantial resources brought to psychiatry.
- The People's Referendum must enter the Constitution. Creation of a readable and effective site, supervised by an independent control body where the links can make a proposal of law. If this bill obtains 700,000 signatures then this bill will have to be discussed, completed and amended by the National Assembly, which will be obliged (one year to the day after obtaining the 700,000 signatures) to submit to the vote of all the French.
- Return to a term of 7 years for the President of the Republic. (The election of the deputies two years after the election of the President of the Republic made it possible to send a positive or negative signal to the President of the Republic concerning his policy, so it helped to make the voice of the people heard.)
- Retirement at age 60 and for all those who have worked in a trade using the body (a builder or butcher for example) a right to retirement at 55 years.
- A 6-year-old child is not able to look after him or herself, continuation of the PAJEMPLOI help system until the child is 10 years old.
- Promote the transport of goods by railway.
- No deduction of tax at source
- End of presidential allowances for life
- Prohibition of charging retailers a fee when their customers use the credit card.
- Tax on marine fuel oil and kerosene.
This list is non-exhaustive but thereafter, the will of the people will be heard and applied by means of the creation of the popular referendum system which will have to be quickly set up. Members of Parliament, make our voice heard in the Assembly.
Obey the will of the people. Apply these Guidelines. Yellow Vests.
See below. A new 'unofficial list' dated December 7, 2018 includes:
- cut tax to 25% of GDP ( half current levels)
- better public services/ massive hiring of civil servants to this end
- leave EU and NATO
- default on public debt
- new constitution
- on immigration: "Prevent migratory flows that cannot be accommodated or integrated, given the profound civilizational crisis we are experiencing."
Update on Gilet Jaunes demands.
The Purge
Why PewDiePie's Anti-Semitic YouTube Jokes Don't Hurt Him
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 02:54
Felix Kjellberg, a.k.a. PewDiePie. Photo: Screenshot via YouTube
Last week, the Swedish YouTube star Felix Kjellberg, known to his fans as PewDiePie, uploaded an edition of ''Pew News,'' a regular series in which he riffs on recent world news events. And since Kjellberg's world is YouTube, this generally means news about the events, fans, and stars of the video-sharing platform. He spent most of this video discussing the widely despised ''YouTube Rewind'' official year-end video and a hilarious meme in which people like Jordan Peterson and Logan Paul instruct their followers to subscribe to PewDiePie in order to maintain his position as the most-subscribed-to independent creator on YouTube. (A channel of Bollywood videos had been threatening his dominance.) At the end of Pew News videos, Kjellberg takes care to use this enormous platform '-- he has more than 75 million subscribers '-- to promote other, smaller YouTube creators. In this video, he shouted out a creator called ''E;R,'' who, Kjellberg said, ''does great videos.''
As many people almost immediately pointed out, E;R's ''great videos'' include, for example, ''uninterrupted footage of an Adolf Hitler speech overlaid with anti-Semitic cartoons.'' The video that Kjellberg said that he, in particular, ''really enjoyed,'' was intercut with footage of Charlottesville protester Heather Heyer's murder last year '-- as a joking way of attempting to illustrate the arcane rules of the anime Death Note. ''The truth about why this took so long is because I thought it was so funny to call Black L 'Niglet' throughout all my recordings.'' E;R explained in the now-removed caption. (The slur doesn't appear in the video, which E;R rerecorded for fear of YouTube censorship.) By Tuesday afternoon, Kjellberg had apologized for promoting the video, but the mini-drama didn't seem to have mattered much for the subscribe-to-PewDiePie campaign: The day before, he'd surpassed YouTube Sports to become the third-most-subscribed-to channel across all of YouTube. (Only YouTube Gaming and YouTube Music are bigger.)
In general, PewDiePie's frequent controversies seem to have no real effect on his popularity. In 2017, at a little over 50 million subscribers, he lost a lucrative partnership with Disney over a series of videos in which he paid Indian men on the gig website Fiverr '-- as a sort of black-humored social experiment '-- to record themselves holding signs saying things like ''Death to All Jews''; later that year, he called an opponent a ''fucking nigger'' while livestreaming a video game. And yet, Kjellberg remains YouTube's biggest star, to the tune of 75 million subscribers, 19 billion views, tens of millions of dollars, and the adoration of millions of adolescents worldwide. If you come from outside YouTube, where letting a single N-bomb slip can be enough to end your career permanently, this sequence of events is baffling: How can someone flirt so frequently and so explicitly with racist slurs and anti-Semitic jokes and thrive?
One quick and easy answer is ''because YouTube lets him.'' There are reasons YouTube doesn't want to get deeply involved, both cynical (he's a huge, engagement-driving star) and earnest (YouTube feels uncomfortable wielding its absolute power over its own platform so nakedly) '-- but it's important to keep in mind that the company has both the practical and the formal power to remove Kjellberg from its site, or find other ways to punish or limit him, the way a movie studio or television network might distance themselves from an anti-Semitic movie star.
But Kjellberg's continued popularity lies not just in YouTube's hands-off attitude toward his content, but also in the culture created and cultivated by the nature of the platform '-- really, by the nature of any advertising-supported social-media platform.
PewDiePie, like other major YouTube stars, relies on the parasocial relationships he builds with his fans to maintain his status as an influencer. He feels less like a distant celebrity to be worshipped, the way a pop star might, and more like a close friend. His viewers see him daily; they know his habits and preferences; they even have something that approaches conversation '-- albeit entirely one-sided '-- in the rambling direct-to-camera monologues that characterize videos like Pew News. When their favorite YouTuber is accused of anti-Semitism, his millions of subscribers respond in much the same way friends of a movie star accused of anti-Semitism might: I know him; he doesn't have a racist bone in his body!
This dynamic is exacerbated by an evolving sense of persecution on the part of YouTubers and their audiences. As the researcher Crystal Abidin wrote in an excellent explainer of the reaction to Kjellberg's anti-Semitic joke sign videos, many YouTubers interpreted Wall Street Journal articles about Kjellberg not as neutral reporting but as a tactic in a ''a struggle between Influencers and legacy media more generally.'' And why shouldn't they? By the logic of platform rewards systems '-- which value high-engagement figures '-- it makes sense to imagine that, as Abidin puts it, ''legacy media is capitalizing on the digitally-native popularity of PewDiePie to reel in clicks on their articles,'' or that ''WSJ's intention and incentive is primarily monetary rather than social justice.'' If your frame of reference is YouTube, you might understand outrage over Kjellberg's recommendation of E;R as a cynical attack on your close friend, undertaken to draft off of his success in a race for clicks. (That YouTubers, no matter how financially successful, often lack or decline the elaborate and cushioning managerial infrastructure of the established entertainment industry, and must deal with negative attention directly, only increases their sense of being under attack.) Stories about what Kjellberg has done become, to people in the world of YouTube, stories about what is being done to Kjellberg.
Such a persecution complex is a natural consequence of lives and businesses conducted on a contemporary megaplatform like YouTube. One of the core conditions of platform life is precarity: No matter how successful you are in the platform's terms '-- no matter how many followers or how many views '-- you could at any moment find yourself on the wrong end of some algorithmic sorting process, left out of some recommendation system, or even removed entirely for reasons you weren't made aware of and can't understand. The business you built could be ruined; the life you'd enjoyed leading irrevocably changed. Platforms can be powerful democratizing tools, but the processes by which decisions are (or aren't) made are on every level intentionally opaque. (For Google to reveal the ''rules'' of YouTube's various discovery mechanisms in too much detail would be to give away the game, if not the entire business.) When your livelihood and emotional life exist at the whim of a distant and impersonal alien god prone to reshaping your world without warning, it's hard not to feel victimized '-- a lesson illustrated during congressional hearings this past week when lawmakers more or less accused Google CEO Sundar Pichai of rigging the results of Google searches for their names.
Kjellberg, for his part, is seen as a standard-bearer for the oppressed YouTuber subject to the whims of YouTube's corporate masters '-- a symbol of the ongoing tension between YouTube and the culture that it spawned. As YouTube attempts to grow beyond its devoted adolescent fan base and secure its reputation as a safe and friendly advertising vehicle for corporate clients, that fan base is beginning to feel abandoned, if not swept under the rug. What's at stake, as far as these YouTubers are concerned, is more than just ensuring their favorite accounts retain their prominence '-- it's the purpose, direction, and identity of YouTube. (There are some unfortunate resonances with the digital revanchism of 4chan and other longtime internet trolls, whose anger at the encroachment of meatspace norms into their wild online spaces helped drive their politics far to the right.)
For more than a year, anger has roiled YouTube's various communities over shifting and unclear ad policies that prevent YouTubers from monetizing videos that might upset advertisers. This past week, YouTube's official year-end video, traditionally a showcase for stars developed on the platform, featured Will Smith and John Oliver, but not Kjellberg or Logan Paul '-- the YouTube megastar who launched his 2018 by uploading video of himself finding a dead body in Japan's ''suicide forest.'' (The Rewind video is now one of the two most-disliked on the website, a fact that Kjellberg covered with some glee in the very Pew News edition that got him in so much trouble.) Even the out-of-control ''subscribe to PewDiePie'' meme that got Jordan Peterson to recommend Kjellberg is a function of this tension '-- where Kjellberg himself stands in for the independent, fan-beloved creator reasserting territorial dominance over the encroachment of a corporate account like the Bollywood channel T-Series.
We're all pretty familiar at this point with the psychological process by which a once-prominent class of people, subject to a confusing and unaccountable regulatory regime, choose to overlook or defend a pattern of bigoted behavior from a televisually charismatic figure promising to maintain imagined community identity. Kjellberg's continued success, seen through this lens, is maybe less surprising. But I don't think it makes it any less worrying. Not because he's a ''bad influence'' or malign actor in particular '-- though he very well may be '-- but because his status as the standard-bearer of True YouTube gives his position in broader political debates an outsize weight. As Abidin writes, ''millions of young followers for whom social media such as YouTube were primarily for entertainment value are now being seduced into joining camps and participating in global discursive debates in defence of/in opposition to Influencers'' like Kjellberg; he, through fights over his behavior and his position within the YouTube space, is something like a gateway drug to bigger political battles over free speech, the role of media, and diversity. And if you start from the position that PewDiePie is great and his critics unfair (and possibly disingenuous), you may soon find yourself taking on some unfortunate new political positions '-- especially since, as the academic Becca Lewis extensively documented in a report for Data & Society earlier this year, the far right has developed a considerable influence network on YouTube poised to take advantage of exactly this dynamic. Until we find a way to change the culture of megaplatforms, that's probably not going to go away. And neither will PewDiePie.
Why YouTube's Biggest Star Can't Be Canceled Promoted links by Taboola obamacare
Judge Strikes Down Obamacare, but the GOP Should Hold Its Applause
By Ed Kilgore
Whether the decision holds up or not, Republicans won't like what comes next.
5:00 p.m.
Nations of the world, sans U.S., graduate to next phase of the Paris climate agreement
After two weeks of bruising negotiations, officials from almost 200 countries agreed Saturday on universal, transparent rules that will govern efforts to cut emissions and curb global warming. Fierce disagreements on two other climate issues were kicked down the road for a year to help bridge a chasm of opinions on the best solutions.
The deal agreed upon at U.N. climate talks in Poland enables countries to put into action the principles in the 2015 Paris climate accord.
But to the frustration of environmental activists and some countries who were urging more ambitious climate goals, negotiators delayed decisions on two key issues until next year in an effort to get a deal on them.
3:02 p.m.
A touching story of a random friendship between an immigrant cat litter chemist and a basketball superstar
When Charles Barkley's mother, Charcey Glenn, passed away in June 2015, Barkley's hometown of Leeds, Alabama, came to the funeral to pay respects. But there was also an unexpected guest.
Barkley's friends couldn't quite place him. He wasn't a basketball player, he wasn't a sports figure, and he wasn't from Barkley's hometown. Here's what I can tell you about him: He wore striped, red polo shirts tucked into khaki shorts and got really excited about two-for-one deals. He was a commuter. He worked as a cat litter scientist in Muscatine, Iowa. In short, he was everyone's suburban dad. More specifically, he was my dad.
''You know, it was obviously a very difficult time,'' Barkley told me recently. ''And the next thing I know, he shows up. Everybody's like, 'Who's the Asian dude over there?' I just started laughing. I said, 'That's my boy, Lin.' They're, like, 'How do you know him?' I said, 'It's a long story.' ''
2020 elections
If Beto and Biden Got Together, Would the Age Gap Be a Problem?
By Ed Kilgore
30 years separate the former veep and the Texas phenom. That might not be a good thing for either of them.
the white house
How John Kelly Failed to Tame the West Wing
By Olivia Nuzzi
What Trump's new chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is walking into.
12:47 p.m.
New York City tenants are still paying for Trump family's fraudulently acquired inheritance, two decades later
The president and his siblings have long since sold their father's buildings and moved on with their inherited fortunes. But for tenants, the insidious effects of the scheme continue to this day.
The padded invoices have been baked into the base rent used to calculate the annual percentage increase approved by the city. The sum total of the rent overcharges cannot be calculated from available records. But as way to appreciate the scope of the impact, a onetime $10 increase in 1995 on all the 8,000 apartments involved would put the total overpaid by tenants at more than $33 million to date, an analysis of approved rent increases shows.
Mr. Leitner, a retired computer programmer, was not pleased to learn that his rent had been artificially inflated. Like other tenants interviewed by The Times, he wants that money back.
''If they passed on phony costs to tenants, they should lower our rents,'' he said.
12:10 p.m.
One last hustle before hitting the road
While Zinke remained defiant both in public and private this month '-- a week and-a-half ago, he boasted that he would continue to attack his critics '-- Trump had little personal affection for him. The president was annoyed by a few of Zinke's actions, including a decision in January to exempt Florida from offshore drilling in an appearance with Gov. Rick Scott (R), which was not approved in advance by the White House, and a ruling to allow imports of elephant trophies. Zinke later reversed the elephant trophy decision, after Trump publicly intervened.
The secretary's final public appearance was Thursday night at his Christmas party, which he told White House staffers he wanted to have before his dismissal. He invited lobbyists and conservative activists to his executive suite, where he posed for photos in front of a large stuffed polar bear wearing a Santa cap, according to an attendee.
Mounted animals on the wall were fitted with ornaments.
''He still has big time political ambitions,'' said one Republican with close ties to Zinke, who asked for anonymity in order to speak frankly.
12:02 p.m.
The presidency continues to do wonders for the Trump brand
There are currently investigations, to varying degrees, of the following:
* Trump Org. / Bedminster Club
* Trump campaign
* Trump transition team
* Trump inaugural committee
* Trump White House
* Trump Foundation
'--@kylegriffin1 10:46 a.m.
Could have been a Senator if it weren't for that meddling kid
Quite a turn for Zinke. He had been weighing challenging Tester in 2018, where he would have been the favorite. But Don Jr successfully lobbied he get Interior. Now he leaves Interior under ethical cloud and GOP lost Montana Senate race despite heavy Trump campaigning
'--@mkraju 10:37 a.m.
Zinke's likely replacement is a ''swamp creature''
Unlike many in the nation's capital, acknowledgement seems less important to [David Bernhardt, the second-in-command at the Department of the Interior,] than behind-the-scenes power. And the latter he has. As Zinke ticked off the accomplishments of his first year'--fulfilling the president's vision for ''energy dominance,'' selling off public lands, and taking on the Endangered Species Act'--he might as well have been naming feathers in Bernhardt's cap. This stout, unobtrusive, middle-aged man in square glasses has been one of the most effective officials in the Trump administration, and after 14 months on the job, he appears to be within striking distance of taking over the department that oversees a fifth of the nation's landmass.
Smart and generally well-liked by his colleagues, Bernhardt is regarded, with grudging respect from environmentalists, as the ''brains behind the agency.'' '...
Bernhardt is the perfect No. 2 to a highly visible No. 1. Zinke is the folksy charmer; Bernhardt is the strictly-business lawyer. Zinke is the relative outsider, an opportunist, and a politician; Interior watchdogs say Bernhardt is the ultimate DC swamp creature. Zinke is relatively new to Interior; Bernhardt, who spent eight years at the department earlier in his career, knows the ins and outs of its labyrinthine bureaucracy. And while Zinke has been mired in scandals[,] Bernhardt has been largely invisible. Much like Andrew Wheeler, the technocrat who succeeded Scott Pruitt after his rocky stint atop the Environmental Protection Agency, Bernhardt could seamlessly take command[.]
10:26 a.m.
Investigating Zinke '-- a look back
CREW has determined that Zinke has faced 17 federal investigations into alleged misconduct '-- though he was cleared of three of his five alleged Hatch Act violations. The Washington Post estimates ''at least 15'' investigations. The honors are/were being done by the Office of Special Counsel, the Interior Department's Inspector General, the Government Accountability Office, and soon, according to today's reports, the Justice Department. (And the Democrat-controlled House Oversight Committee is on deck in January.) Here are a few, via CREW:
The Interior Department blocked a casino project proposed by the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes after Zinke met with MGM lobbyists. Documents later revealed that by doing so, Interior had rejected recommendations from federal experts. The Inspector General has opened an investigation. '...
Zinke tweeted a picture of himself wearing socks with President Trump's Make America Great Again campaign slogan using his official Twitter account. OSC had previously instructed White House officials to avoid wearing or displaying the MAGA slogan while on duty. OSC confirmed that it had opened a case file into Zinke's tweet. '...
Following reports that the Interior Department would spend nearly $139,000 to replace three sets of doors, House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) requested a briefing from the Interior Department on plans to replace the doors, as well as documentation of the purchase. It is unclear if this inquiry is still ongoing. '...
The Inspector General found that Zinke violated Interior Department policies by having his wife travel with him in government vehicles. It also found that Zinke brought campaign contributors on an official boat tour and tried to sidestep department policies in order to have his wife's trips covered by taxpayer funding.
9:51 a.m.
The end of Zinke at Interior (because ethics) '-- and now we'll see if he gets indicted
Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the Interior Department and a key figure in the president's sweeping plan to reshape the nation's environmental framework, will leave his post at the end of the year, President Trump said on Saturday. Mr. Zinke's departure comes amid numerous ethics investigations into his business dealings, travel and policy decisions. '...
Mr. Zinke is the latest Trump official to exit an administration beset by questions of ethical conflict. '... [A] former Montana congressman and member of the Navy SEALs best known for riding an Irish sport horse through Washington on his first day in office, [Zinke] oversaw mineral extraction and conservation on roughly 500 million acres of public land. He had become the subject of several federal investigations, one of which his department's top watchdog has referred to the Justice Department, a potential step toward a criminal investigation.
The inquiries include an examination of a real estate deal involving Mr. Zinke's family and a development group backed by the Halliburton chairman David J. Lesar. Mr. Zinke stood to benefit from the deal, while Mr. Lesar's oil services company stood to benefit from Mr. Zinke's decisions on fossil fuel production.
life in pixels
Why YouTube's Biggest Star Can't Be Canceled
By Max Read
YouTube megastar PewDiePie keeps accidentally sharing anti-Semitic jokes '-- and keeps getting more popular. Why?
Informative thread about ruling striking down Obamacare
The Texas decision on the Affordable Care Act is out. The individual mandate is unconstitutional, the court rules, and the mandate can't be severed from the rest of the Act. '--@nicholas_bagleyUniversity of Michigan law professor
Texas federal judge strikes down Obamacare
U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor in Fort Worth agreed with a coalition of Republican states led by Texas that he had to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act, the signature health-care overhaul by President Barack Obama, after Congress last year zeroed out a key provision '' the tax penalty for not complying with the requirement to buy insurance. The decision is almost certain to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.
Texas and an alliance of 19 states argued to the judge that they've been harmed by an increase in the number of people on state-supported insurance rolls. They claimed that when Congress repealed the tax penalty last year, it eliminated the U.S. Supreme Court's rationale for finding the ACA constitutional in 2012.
Come on
Mulvaney didn't go to the White House today to interview for the chief of staff job, per sources. He went to discuss the looming government shutdown. Walked out with a promotion. '--@kaitlancollinsCNN White House reporter
2018 midterms
Even Old Folks Trended Democratic in 2018
By Ed Kilgore
The Democratic future depends on young and minority voters and college-educated women. But many seniors vote, and more of them are voting Democratic.
Johnson & Johnson stock takes huge dive after report reveals that it knew it had asbestos in its baby powder
Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) stock tumbled 10% on Friday '-- wiping out close to $40 billion of its market value '-- after a Reuters report said the company knew for decades that asbestos was in its baby powder.
The company has been grappling with lawsuits alleging some of its talcum powder products caused cancer. But the Reuters report cites documents and other evidence that indicate company executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors and lawyers knew about the problem and failed to disclose it to regulators or the public.
Biden advisers float picking Beto as VP
The discussions suggest Biden is aware that his age may be the biggest hurdle to launching another bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, especially in an era when many in the party yearn for a new generation of leadership. He would be the oldest person to ever be elected president.
Past and current advisers to Biden have held frequent conversations about options to alleviate concerns about age, including teaming him with a younger running mate. One option that has been floated, according to a source with knowledge of the talks, is outgoing Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who at 46 has become the subject of intense 2020 speculation after nearly beating GOP Sen. Ted Cruz.
Major investigation finds a Johnson and Johnson cover-up
A Reuters examination of many of those documents, as well as deposition and trial testimony, shows that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s, the company's raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos, and that company executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors and lawyers fretted over the problem and how to address it while failing to disclose it to regulators or the public.
The documents also depict successful efforts to influence U.S. regulators' plans to limit asbestos in cosmetic talc products and scientific research on the health effects of talc.
A small portion of the documents have been produced at trial and cited in media reports. Many were shielded from public view by court orders that allowed J&J to turn over thousands of documents it designated as confidential. Much of their contents is reported here for the first time
12/14/2018the national interest
the national interest
Why Donald Trump Keeps Giving Mick Mulvaney More Jobs
By Jonathan Chait
Trump can't find a lot of willing candidates, so he settled for a guy who knows how to brief him using pictures.
Mulvaney will give up his other job to babysit Trump
Despite the acting title, Mulvaney will step down from his role as OMB director. Deputy OMB Director Russ Vaught will take over as acting OMB director, per a WH official
'--@JDiamond1 12/14/2018
Ladies and gentlemen, your new (acting) White House chief of staff
I am pleased to announce that Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management & Budget, will be named Acting White House Chief of Staff, replacing General John Kelly, who has served our Country with distinction. Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration'....
'--@realDonaldTrump 12/14/2018government shutdown
government shutdown
Government Drifts Toward Xmas Shutdown After Trump Blows Up Talks
By Ed Kilgore
Trump's Oval Office temper tantrum took everyone by surprise and left little time for negotiations on border wall funding.
Michigan GOP to voters: Screw you
LANSING, Mich. (AP) '' Michigan governor signs GOP-backed bills to delay, scale back voter-approved minimum wage and paid sick leave measures.
'--@kylegriffin1 michael cohen
Michael Cohen Insists Trump Was Well Aware of His Criminal Behavior
By Ed Kilgore
Trump's former fixer keeps strengthening the case for the president's guilt '-- which isn't hard, considering Giuliani's incoherent defense.
A typically strange development in the George Papadopoulos saga
It is true. I will be running for Congress in 2020, and I will win. Stay tuned.
'--@GeorgePapa19 12/14/2018
Mueller: Flynn was no FBI victim
JUST IN: Mueller team prosecutors respond to Flynn's sentencing memo; assert that Flynn ''chose to make false statements'' to the FBI, and ''the Court should reject the defendant's attempt to minimize the seriousness of those false statements to the FBI.'' -
@Tom_Winter '--@NBCNews
''It's Time for A Women-Only Section on Planes.'' '' FlyerTalk - The world's most popular frequent flyer community
Fri, 14 Dec 2018 16:59
''It's Time for A Women-Only Section on Planes.''
While the #MeToo movement shows little sign of stopping, Kate Whitehead, a columnist writing in the South China Morning Post, says that the armrest is the latest battleground for gender equality. Whitehead says that she, ''dreams of a future in which there are women-only seating sections on planes.''
The airplane armrest is the latest battleground for gender equality, states Hong Kong-based journalist Kate Whitehead.
Writing in the South China Morning Post, she equates some male passengers' use of the armrest to a kind of man-spreading for those female passengers who are seated near them.
''Nine times out of 10 '' based on my extensive experience flying ''cattle class'' '' if a man is seated beside a woman he will claim the armrest. Not only that, but his elbow will protrude slightly into the woman's seat space. Unless you are prepared to press your arm against the man's '' which will allow you to feel the rise and fall of his breath and is, I feel, too intimate a connection with a stranger '' then you have lost two inches of your seat,'' Whitehead writes.
She goes on to say that those women who are unlucky enough to find themselves placed between two men have given up a substantial proportion of their seat while ''paying the same price as those space-invading men.''
''I dream of a future in which there are women-only seating sections on planes. Most women intuitively understand that the armrest is ''neutral territory'' and leave it as a slim buffer between them and their neighbor. I'd be prepared to campaign vocally for ''pink rows'', but I suspect airlines wouldn't be in favor because that would mean other rows full only of men '' and that wouldn't work. Men '' and airlines '' depend on encroachment onto women's seats for comfortable travel,'' Whitehead adds.
[Photo: Shutterstock]
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UT gets sued for punishing 'biased' and 'rude' speech
Sat, 15 Dec 2018 03:47
A free speech nonprofit sued the University of Texas system Thursday over policies restricting students from using "biased," "rude," "offensive," and "uncivil" speech.
Speech First sued the UT system for its implementation of four policies banning speech that falls into these "subjective" categories, according to a press release obtained by Campus Reform. In particular, the nonprofit takes issue with UT's campus climate response team, residence hall manual, "verbal harassment" ban, and acceptable use policy.
''By failing to define highly subjective terms such as 'offensive,' 'biased,' 'uncivil,' and 'rude,' the University of Texas has given itself broad discretion..."
[RELATED: Students demand 'full justice' in censorship lawsuit]
''By failing to define highly subjective terms such as 'offensive,' 'biased,' 'uncivil,' and 'rude,' the University of Texas has given itself broad discretion to determine which speech '' and whose speech '' violates their policies," Speech First President Nicole Neily said in the press release. "Unfortunately, this fails to pass Constitutional muster.''
Speech First claims that UT's bias response team has investigated more than 100 "expressions of bias" since September 2017. Content designated bias incidents by UT includes ''[d]erogatory comments made on a...course Facebook page" and "somebody...creat[ing] a hostile or offensive classroom," according to the press release.
''Without a doubt, the University of Texas has failed to appropriately safeguard students' First Amendment rights,'' Neily said in the press release. ''Students deserve to be able to express themselves and voice their opinions without fear of investigation or punishment '' which is why these policies must be reformed.''
[RELATED: DOJ backs free speech watchdog in lawsuit against UMich]
Speech First received support from the Department of Justice in 2018 after filing a similar lawsuit against the University of Michigan.
"The university's policies vigorously protect students' First Amendment rights," UT Austin spokesman J.B. Bird told Campus Reform, citing the school's speech, expression, and assembly policy. "The University of Texas at Austin strongly values and protects free speech, and all students, faculty and staff have the right of free speech and expression on the UT Austin campus."
"We have not had a chance to review the lawsuit," Bird continued. "At first glance, it appears to be incomplete on certain facts. We look forward to reviewing it and responding through legal channels."
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ShimshockAndAwe
Elizabeth Warren Admits She Is Not A Person Of Color | The Daily Caller
Sat, 15 Dec 2018 12:37
1:35 PM 12/14/2018 | USAmber Athey | Media and Breaking News Editor
Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren admitted on Friday that she is not a person of color, despite recently seeking to prove that she has Native American ancestry.
In October, Warren released a DNA test in an attempt to combat President Donald Trump's many attacks on her alleged Native American ancestry. The test results showed that she has a Native American ancestor ''in the range of 6''10 generations ago.''
But during a commencement address at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, on Friday, Warren made clear that she does not consider herself a person of color.
''I'm not a person of color. And I haven't lived your life or experienced anything like the subtle prejudice, or more overt harm, that you may have experienced just because of the color of your skin,'' Warren admitted.
US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) addresses a town hall meeting in Roxbury, Massachusetts, October 13, 2018. (Photo JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images)
Warren's attempt to prove that she had Native American ancestors was condemned by minority leaders, including the Cherokee Nation, who called her use of a DNA test ''inappropriate.''
''A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship,'' the Cherokee Nation said in a statement. ''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.''
Warren has been identified as a minority and a person of color multiple times in her past, including in her professional career. A 1997 Fordham Law Review article, for example, identified Warren as Harvard Law School's ''first woman of color.'' (RELATED: Harvard Law School Once Touted Liz Warren As Native American Professor)
Warren later admitted that she had listed herself as a minority in an Association of American Law Schools directory from 1986-1994, but claimed she was not using it to advance her career or employment options.
Follow Amber on Twitter
Stanford Professor: Dungeons and Dragons Perpetuates Systems of White, Male Privilege | Breitbart
Sat, 15 Dec 2018 22:41
AP/Ted S. Warren A professor of education at Stanford University argues in a recent academic journal article that the tabletop game Dungeons & Dragons perpetuates white privilege.Standford University Professor Antero Garcia argues in an academic journal article that the popular game Dungeons and Dragons perpetuates systems of privilege.
Focusing on how the tabletop role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons is built on a system of play that has grown and shifted over the course of 40 years, this study emphasizes the central role that systems play in mediating the experiences of participants. By focusing on depictions of gender, race, and power in Dungeons & Dragons '-- as a singular cultural practice '-- this study highlights how researchers must attend to cultural production both around and within systems.
Garcia argues that Dungeons and Dragons encourages a distrust of the ''other.'' It's a weird focus for a Stanford scholar, especially since Garcia concedes that race in Dungeons & Dragons is not much like race in the real world. In the game, the characters are divided by their species. Some characters are elves, some are dwarves, and some are halfings, according to Garcia.
Professor Garcia doesn't stop there. He bemoans the fact that Dungeons & Dragons began as a ''white man's'' hobby. He argues that wargaming communities are ''male-dominated,'' even though this wasn't the intention of the game's designer, who initially tested the tabletop game out on his daughter.
Garcia's 16-page article focuses on the representation of women in the game. According to Garica's research, by 2014, more than half of the game's depicted characters are female.
According to the article, Garcia's ultimate wish is to see Dungeons & Dragons move beyond its problematic past into a more diverse and inclusive future.
Six Week Cycle
Wave of bomb threats causes evacuations, anxiety nationwide
Thu, 13 Dec 2018 23:38
Breaking News EmailsGet breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
Dec. 13, 2018 / 8:20 PM GMT / Updated 10:00 PM GMT
By Daniella Silva
A wave of bomb threats was reported Thursday against businesses, schools, hospitals and other places across the country, causing panic and evacuations, although all appeared to be hoaxes.
Police nationwide reported threats, some emailed, some phoned in. The FBI said in a statement that it was aware of the threats and encouraged the public to promptly report any suspicious activities.
Authorities in New York City were monitoring "multiple bomb threats that have been sent electronically to various locations throughout the city," the New York Police Department's counterterrorism bureau said on Twitter.
"These threats are also being reported to other locations nationwide & are NOT considered credible at this time," the police department said.
A sheriff's deputy stands guard outside the main driveway to Columbine High School near Littleton, Colorado, after a bomb threat on Thursday. David Zalubowski / APNew York police said later on Twitter that there was an "email being circulated containing a bomb threat asking for bitcoin payment" but that no devices had been found. They said it appeared that the threats were "meant to cause disruption and/or obtain money."
At this time, it appears that these threats are meant to cause disruption and/or obtain money. We'll respond to each call regarding these emails to conduct a search but we wanted to share this information so the credibility of these threats can be assessed as likely NOT CREDIBLE.
'-- NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) December 13, 2018Students were evacuated from the Bronx High School of Science at 11 a.m. Thursday after a bomb threat was phoned in, NBC New York reported. Police in Nassau County, New York, meanwhile, said they responded to 12 emailed bomb threats.
An Oklahoma City police spokesman said 10 to 13 email bomb threats were sent to specific addresses in and around the city but that investigators hadn't found anything serious.
An officer removes police tape along California Street in San Francisco on Thursday. Jeff Chiu / APMassachusetts State Police said on Twitter that their bomb squad was responding to "multiple bomb threats emailed to numerous businesses in the state." They said in a tweet later that there were no indications "of any explosives located or detonated to this point."
In Florida, Orlando police said in a statement they were aware of emailed threats to local businesses and across the county. The Broward County Sheriff's Office also said it had received threats to several businesses.
A false bomb threat was also made against Columbine High School near Littleton, Colorado, where two students killed 13 people in April 1999 in what was the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history at the time.
A caller claimed to have "multiple explosive devices" inside the school on Thursday morning, said Mike Taplin, a spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. Columbine and 28 other nearby school were placed on "lockout," according to Jefferson County Public Schools.
In San Francisco, police said they also responded to reports of bomb threats at numerous locations. Employees at a Jewish community center and multiple branches of the San Francisco Fire Credit Union were evacuated, NBC Bay Area reported. At least two dozen threats were being tracked in Los Angeles, law enforcement sources told NBC Los Angeles.
Sheriff's deputies respond to a bomb threat at Columbine High School near Littleton, Colorado, on Thursday. NBC NewsSouth Elgin, Illinois, police said an emailed bomb threat at one business directed the company to send "$20,000.00 to a bitcoin account by the end of the business day in order to stop the alleged threat." Police said that they then became aware of other threats in the area and that the incident is believed to be a phishing scam.
Cincinnati police said in a statement that they were monitoring multiple bomb threats sent electronically to locations throughout the city.
Police in Washington, D.C.; Norfolk, Virginia; and Frederick, Maryland, said they were also multiple reports of bomb threats. Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said authorities "have no knowledge" that anyone paid bitcoin to the sender, NBC Washington reported.
A police officer walks in an intersection closed off by police tape on California Street in San Francisco on Thursday. Jeff Chiu / APAmong the many businesses that were evacuated was WNDU-TV, the NBC affiliate in South Bend, Indiana.
"It makes you feel uneasy," said John O'Brien, the station's general manager. "It's upsetting. It's a disruption. We've all seen how much things like this go on today in our society '-- we see it a lot '-- but you have to take each and every one of these instances seriously, because you never know when it's a real threat."
Maureen McFadden, an anchor for the station, said, "A whole lot of people have had a stressful afternoon just like we have."
Dan Leahy, a senior systems administrator in Colorado who manages websites for several companies, told NBC News that the firms whose tech infrastructure he manages received a "flood" of bomb threats from 12:56 p.m. ET until 1:07 p.m. He estimated that the companies received 40 of the threats, which were almost identical.
"We talked to our VP of safety. Even though we knew this was crap, we have to do that just in case there's one legitimate bomb going off in one office," Leahy said.
Leahy said he believed some of the emails slipped through because they came from email addresses with what he called "clean" records or from email accounts that likely had been phished and hacked. He said the emails came from verified domains of non-malicious websites, like law firms and construction companies.
The "clean" domain records, partnered with emails that didn't include attachments, allowed the emails to bypass spam filters.
"I've been in IT for years, and I've seen a ton of these scams, but I've never seen a bomb threat," Leahy said.
Daniella Silva is a reporter for NBC News. She started at in September of 2013.
Pete Williams, Ben Collins, Andrew Blankstein and Alex Johnson contributed.
CA DOJ told of Harris aide complaint months before she left | The Sacramento Bee
Sat, 15 Dec 2018 18:09
A misconduct claim naming one of Kamala Harris' top deputies arrived at the California Department of Justice three months before Harris left the attorney general's office in early 2017.
The Democratic senator has said she had no knowledge of the discrimination and retaliation complaint involving Larry Wallace, a longtime aide and one of her closest professional confidantes, before The Bee inquired about it last week. A lawsuit by Wallace's former executive assistant against the department, which ultimately settled for $400,000, was filed just days before Harris was sworn into the U.S. Senate.
But an intake form from the Equal Employment Rights and Resolution Office, which oversees discrimination investigations and compliance at the Department of Justice, shows that the department was first notified on Oct. 3, 2016, of Danielle Hartley's intent to pursue legal action.
Hartley had already requested the right to sue from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Her complaint, filed in late September, alleged sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation by ''Wallace and those who worked for him.'' It named the Department of Justice, Division of Law Enforcement, as respondent and Wallace, the division's director, as a co-respondent.
The department's EER&R form briefly describes Hartley's allegations that she ''experienced discrimination, harassment, retaliation, demotion,'' among other violations of federal equal employment law, and names Wallace as her division chief.
Noting that Hartley had sought an immediate right to sue, the intake analyst wrote that ''No action is required by the Department'' and referred the complaint to ''Intake Results.''
Jill Telfer, Hartley's attorney, said she served the right-to-sue complaint to the EER&R office as she was preparing Hartley's lawsuit against the Department of Justice, which was filed nearly three months later, on Dec. 30, 2016.
In the suit, Hartley accused Wallace of ''gender harassment,'' including that he frequently forced her to crawl under his desk to change the paper and ink in his printer, and the department of retaliating against her when she complained about his behavior.
The lawsuit settled for $400,000 in May 2017, two months after Harris hired Wallace as a senior adviser in her Sacramento field office. He resigned the position last week. The settlement was reached by Harris' replacement as attorney general, Xavier Becerra.
Harris, who is currently weighing a run for president in 2020, told The Bee last Friday that she took ''full responsibility for what happened in my office.'' She said she was ''frustrated'' that she hadn't been briefed on the complaint against Wallace, which she considered a ''breakdown'' in the system.
''That's what makes me upset about this. There's no question I should have been informed about this. There's no question. And there were ample opportunities when I could have been informed,'' said Harris, who has been a prominent voice in the #MeToo movement against workplace sexual harassment.
The Department of Justice declined to comment on what happened with the EER&R complaint regarding Hartley's right to sue, who was notified about it and whether an internal investigation was launched.
Complaints are normally assessed by the office to determine whether they demonstrate that a ''protected characteristic may have been a factor in an adverse employment situation,'' thus prompting an investigation, according to spokeswoman Bethany Lesser. The results of the investigation are shared with the chief deputy of the attorney general, who decides whether a policy has been violated and action should be taken.
But in the ''unusual circumstance'' where an employee only requests an immediate right to sue, Lesser wrote in an email, there would not be an EER&R investigation. ''The fact of a complaint with a right to sue attached would be shared with legal counsel,'' Lesser wrote, and ''the complaint would be handled and investigated by the Department's counsel as part of the litigation process.''
Telfer said the department never followed up with Hartley, who was still an employee at the time, to acknowledge receipt of the EER&R complaint or to attempt to resolve her concerns outside of the court process.
She found it odd that the department did not begin looking into Hartley's case as soon as she provided notice of her intent to sue.
''It makes no sense to me that they would say they're not going to investigate that, because now they have legal exposure,'' Telfer said.
Mary-Alice Coleman, a Davis employment law attorney who has also sued state agencies, agreed. She said the whole purpose of requesting the right to sue through the Department of Fair Employment and Housing is that it serves as an early notification system for organizations, so they can begin ''making some inquiries to see whether this is something explosive that is going to rock your whole department or just a little bump in the road.''
''Good management, in my mind, would implement a process so that it wouldn't just sit on a desk,'' Coleman said. ''It's really an inappropriate response if no action is taken.''
Farm Bill
Puerto Ricans Angry Over Impending Ban On Cockfighting : NPR
Fri, 14 Dec 2018 15:50
A rooster, bred for fighting, sits inside a cage at a breeding farm in Cabo Rojo, southwestern Puerto Rico. Ricardo Arduengo/AP hide caption
toggle caption Ricardo Arduengo/AP A rooster, bred for fighting, sits inside a cage at a breeding farm in Cabo Rojo, southwestern Puerto Rico.
Ricardo Arduengo/AP Thursday was a somber day at the Cockfighting Club of San Juan.
The rows and rows of cubbies that usually house up to 80 roosters waiting to fight were mostly empty. On this day, only 26 birds were on display.
Miguel Ortiz, a regular at the club since it opened in 1954, said a lot of people had stayed home, depressed.
"It's because of the law that passed in the Congress," he said.
If signed by President Trump, the U.S. Farm Bill will make cockfighting illegal in all U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico. The ban's inclusion in the bill, which passed in Congress Wednesday, had been long-sought by animal rights activists in the mainland U.S.. But in Puerto Rico, news of its passage dropped like a bombshell.
Attaching spurs before a fight. Adrian Florido/NPR hide caption
toggle caption Adrian Florido/NPR Attaching spurs before a fight.
Adrian Florido/NPR The island's governor, Ricardo Rossell", had scrambled to Washington D.C. to lobby against it. But by the time he landed Wednesday, the bill had already been approved. Under the law, the ban would take effect in a year.
We are approving another federal regulation on the island without even consulting the people of Puerto Rico.
Jenniffer Gonzlez-Col"n
Cockfighting is a centuries-old tradition in Puerto Rico, dating to the early days of the Spanish colony. The island is just a hundred miles long but has nearly 80 cockfighting clubs, which are regulated by Puerto Rico's central government.
Officials say the industry accounts for $18 million in economic activity and provides jobs to nearly 30,000 people. Speaking on the House floor before the bill was passed, Puerto Rico's non-voting member of Congress, Jenniffer Gonzlez-Col"n, said the ban would be a further blow to Puerto Rico's already devastated economy.
Miguel Ortiz has been fighting gamecocks since he was six years old. He said a lot of people had stayed home Thursday, depressed about the impending ban. Adrian Florido/NPR hide caption
toggle caption Adrian Florido/NPR Miguel Ortiz has been fighting gamecocks since he was six years old. He said a lot of people had stayed home Thursday, depressed about the impending ban.
Adrian Florido/NPR "We are approving another federal regulation on the island without even consulting the people of Puerto Rico," she said. Gonzlez-Col"n and many other officials on the island said the ban was an example of U.S. colonialism, and an attack on an integral part of Puerto Rican culture and society.
But the ban's proponents say cockfighting is cruel.
"Cruelty is not culture," said Kitty Block, acting president of the Humane Society of the United States, one of the main proponents for the ban. "These are birds that are armed with weapons that slash eyes out, and it's just a brutal blood sport and it's really something that should've gone a long time ago."
Cruelty is not culture.
Kitty Block
Block said that while there is virtually no support for the ban among Puerto Rico's elected officials, a poll her organization conducted of 1,000 registered voters in Puerto Rico found that more supported a ban than opposed it, and only about a third had ever attended a cockfight.
At the San Juan Cockfighting Club, many in attendance Thursday were furious over the impending ban, but also seemed resigned that it appeared headed for President Trump's signature.
"We're devastated," said Josean Rivera, who raises roosters, charging their owners $5 per week per bird. "We don't know what to do. We weren't prepared for this. This is how I feed my family."
The first fight of the night at the San Juan Cockfighting Club on Thursday. Josean Rivera, who raises roosters, says the ban will force the industry underground, making it more dangerous for attendees and the birds. Adrian Florido/NPR hide caption
toggle caption Adrian Florido/NPR The first fight of the night at the San Juan Cockfighting Club on Thursday. Josean Rivera, who raises roosters, says the ban will force the industry underground, making it more dangerous for attendees and the birds.
Adrian Florido/NPR He predicted that thousands of families will be driven into poverty, and that the industry will go underground, making it more dangerous for attendees and for the birds themselves. Like many supporters of cockfighting on the island, Rivera rejects the argument that it's a cruel sport, saying the roosters are raised well and are rarely allowed to fight to the death.
Rivera also wondered what's going to happen to all the roosters currently being raised across the island. The president of the San Juan Cockfighting Club, Miguel Ortiz, Jr., estimated there may be up to a million of them.
If federal agents raid farms and confiscate them, they'll likely kill them, Rivera predicted, "because they can't set them free. If they set them free, they'll kill each other."
Any Collusion
READ: Michael Cohen sentencing memo filed by prosecutors | Fox News
Fri, 14 Dec 2018 14:57
New Terms of UseNew Privacy PolicyClosed Captioning PolicyHelp This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. (C)2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.
Taylor Swift is using facial recognition technology to ID her "hundreds" of stalkers
Thu, 13 Dec 2018 23:37
Swift with one of her stalkersPhoto: Anna Webber (Getty Images)Now that facial recognition software is becoming integrated into our daily routine, its uses are becoming more and more refined. Global pop stars like Taylor Swift, for example, are using it to help identify her stalkers, of which she was, according to this Rolling Stone feature, ''hundreds.''
It reads:
Taylor Swift fans mesmerized by rehearsal clips on a kiosk at her May 18th Rose Bowl show were unaware of one crucial detail: A facial-recognition camera inside the display was taking their photos. The images were being transferred to a Nashville ''command post,'' where they were cross-referenced with a database of hundreds of the pop star's known stalkers, according to Mike Downing, chief security officer of Oak View Group, an advisory board for concert venues including Madison Square Garden and the Forum in L.A.
Facial-recognition technology is, apparently, ''on the rise at stadiums and areans,'' not to mention capable of identifying your slack-jawed mug in just half a second. Ticketmaster, who just invested in a service called Blink Identity, says they're hoping to use it to help concertgoers move through turnstiles more efficiently.
If this all sounds invasive and dystopian to you, we have but one piece of advice: Become a juggalo.
About the authorRandall ColburnRandall Colburn is a Chicago-based writer and occasional playwright. He is a senior writer at Consequence of Sound and a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.
Hertz's Airport Facial Recognition Program Uses Customer Loyalty Rewards To Change Public Opinion
Fri, 14 Dec 2018 05:32
By MassPrivateI
Americans no longer have to worry about the TSA (DHS) using facial recognition to spy on you and your family. Because private corporations and sports stadiums are doing their dirty work for them.
Two days ago, Hertz Global Holdings Inc. revealed their plans to install facial recognition fast lane car rentals at every airport.
Which really should not surprise anyone, because last month I revealed the key to convincing Americans to accept facial recognition is to offer them consumer loyalty rewards and avoiding long lines.
SensibleVision CEO George Brostoff sees customer loyalty rewards as a logical next step in the U.S. And Goode Intelligence Founder Alan Goode, sees a huge potential for biometric customer loyalty programs. Goode also thinks facial recognition should be used for age verification in self-check out systems.
Hertz and CLEAR's slogan ''The Exit Gate Without The Wait'' follows that blueprint to a T. It is also a near carbon copy of DHS's ''platinum spy on your neighbor cam-share club'' which attempts to add exclusivity to spying on your neighbors.
A look at Hertz's ''Fast Lane Hertz Powered by CLEAR'' webpage reveals their main selling points are customer loyalty rewards and speeding through checkout/check-in lines.
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We're always looking for ways to save you time. That's why we've partnered with CLEAR to give Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® members a new level of speed and convenience. All you need is a CLEAR account linked to your Gold Plus Rewards account. Ready to experience the exit gate without the wait? Follow these steps to start enjoying Hertz Fast Lane powered by CLEAR.
Hertz claims, Gold Plus Rewards members can ''save time'' and be on their way in less than thirty seconds if they agree to have their faces scanned.
Hertz and CLEAR's nationwide plan to spy on car rentersA Hertz news release titled ''Hertz and CLEAR Partner To Reimagine The Car Rental Experience'' reveals their plans to spy on car renters nationwide.
With CLEAR, members enroll once to enjoy frictionless experiences with greater predictability at more than 40 airports and venues nationwide. Now, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® loyalty members who sign up for CLEAR and link their accounts will be able to verify their identity and rental reservation with just a look or tap of their finger. Hertz Fast Lane powered by CLEAR marks the first use of biometrics by a major rental car company, and the first time CLEAR's trusted identity platform is enabling members to verify their identity using their face instead of showing a physical ID.
I am not sure which is worse, Hertz acting as an agent of the TSA or IDEMIA's plan to install facial recognition cameras in every rental car. Last year I warned everyone that the Lincoln Motor Company was also working as a government agent by offering ''Complimentary TSA PreCheck biometric scanners'' in all their 2018 models.
What is is going to take for Americans to wake up?
As I mentioned earlier, nearly every major sports league offers TSA PreCheck biometric scanners to fans so they can skip check-in lines and purchase food and beer quicker.
Time and again we see private corporations do what law enforcement cannot. Corporations are not bound by most privacy laws.
As Wayne State University law professor Peter Henning so aptly put it:
There have been privacy concerns raised about police monitoring people, facial recognition. That doesn't apply to you or I. The Fourth Amendment only applies to the government.
And that is exactly what is happening at Hertz and elsewhere, our government is exploiting privacy loopholes that allow corporations to spy for them.
You can read more at the MassPrivateI blog, where this article first appeared.
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4G Mobile Phone - MP02 SENSORS AND GPS WTF
Sat, 15 Dec 2018 16:54
Polycarbonate casing with textured, high-durability coating; front glass-fibre reinforced (10%); high-dispersion rear speaker housingSoft-touch rear padBacklit keysAnodised aluminium Power key and SIM traySplash-proof to IP52 (IEC standard 60529)
Size: 2.0'"Aspect ratio: 4:3Resolution: 320 x'‰240 (QVGA),Type: VA TFT transflective (sunlight-readable)Viewing angle: > 80/80/80/80Protection: Gorilla Glass 3 (fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating)
Front speakerRear (hands-free) speaker (1.5 W max output)Front microphoneRear (noise-cancelling) microphoneAudio power amplifier class KVibrating alert motor
Qualcomm® Snapdragon' 210
LTE category 4 with VoLTEVersion 1 (Europe, Australia, Japan)2G: 2, 3, 5, 83G: WB-CDMA 1, 5(6/19), 84G: FDD-LTE 1, 3, 5(6/19), 7, 8, 20,Version 2 (USA/CANADA)2G: 2, 3, 5, 83G: WCDMA 1, 2, 4, 5, 84G: FDD-LTE 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 17
Carrier-related information
Single nano-SIM (4FF)The MP02 is supplied unlocked
Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4 GHzBluetooth v4.1, A2DPUSB 2.0 with USB-C connector
GPS with A-GPS, GLONASSGravity + gyroeCompass
Type: 1,280 mAh lithium-ionCharging method: USBCharging time: 2.5 hours (max.) with supplied charger (1 A)Standby time: 12.5 daysTalk time: 4.2 hoursAnticipated lifespan: 5 yearsReplacement: by authorised Punkt. service centres onlyactual performance will vary according to usage
Operating System
Android AOSP 8.1
BlackBerry Secure ManufacturingBlackBerry Secure Boot (including HW Root of Trust)BlackBerry Integrity Detection with Security Status ReportingBlackBerry Secure CompoundBlackBerry Security Verification of Device software
Phone calls, with noise-cancelling technology and hands-free optionSMS with predictive text-entry, user dictionary, threaded messaging, monochrome ideograms and MMS receipt/displayContactsNotes (with reminder facility)Clock (including alarm clock, stopwatch, countdown timer, world clock)Calculator (add, subtract, multiply, divide)Month-view calendarInternet tethering (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB)Aeroplane modeOS updates via Wi-Fi
Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Arabic*, Chinese* (Simplified), Hindi*, Japanese*
*Available from March 15th
Supplied with the MP02
USB chargerUSB-C cable (50 cm)USB-C earpieceGetting Started guideSIM-tray tool
Disney Channel actor, 48, arrested for 'trying to have sex with a 13-year-old' | Daily Mail Online
Sat, 15 Dec 2018 17:41
Disney Channel actor, 48, arrested for 'trying to have sex with a 13-year-old he met on an online dating app'Stoney Westmoreland has been arrested for trying to lure a teen in for sexThe Disney Channel actor met the 13-year-old victim on an online dating appHe requested naked photos from the teen and sent them pornographic imagesWestmoreland later attempted to meet for sex and used a ride-sharing app That's when he was taken into custody by police and child exploitation servicesThe actor plays the grandfather of a teen girl in the Disney series Andi MackDisney cable network announced late Friday that Westmoreland has been fired ByJessa Schroeder For
Published: 00:26 EST, 15 December 2018 | Updated: 01:43 EST, 15 December 2018
Stoney Westmoreland, who stars as the grandfather in the popular Disney Channel series Andi Mack, has been arrested for trying to lure a 13-year-old in for sex
A 48-year-old actor who portrayed the grandfather of a middle school girl in a popular Disney Channel series was arrested Thursday for attempting to lure a minor in for sex.
Stoney Westmoreland, who stars in Andi Mack, began communicating with the 13-year-old he matched with on a dating app commonly used for arranging hookups, according to a police affidavit.
The affidavit states that the middle-aged man requested naked photos from the teen.
He also sent the victim pornographic images in return.
Westmoreland later attempted to meet the victim for sex through a ride-sharing app he used to order the victim a car.
That's when he was taken into custody by the Salt Lake City Police Department and FBI Child Exploitation Task Force.
He has been charged with four counts of dealing in materials harmful to a minor and one count of enticing a minor by internet or text.
Further investigation is currently underway.
Westmoreland is seen starring in the American comedy series next to main character, Andi Mack, played by Peyton Elizabeth Lee
The series follows 13-year-old Andi Mack and her friends around their middle school
Westmoreland has also starred in the TV series Scandal, NCIS: Los Angeles, Weeds and Gilmore Girls, to name a few.
The American comedy series, Andi Mack, first aired on the Disney Channel in April 2017 and is currently still running.
The series, which has positive viewer ratings on IMDb and Google, takes viewers into the everyday life and drama of 13-year-old Mack, played by Peyton Elizabeth Lee.
Disney cable network announced late Friday that Westmoreland has been fired.
'Given the nature of the charges and our responsibility for the welfare of employed minors, we have released him from his recurring role and he will not be returning to work on the series which wraps production on its third season next week,' a representative said.
Andi Mack cast photo is seen. Westmoreland, pictured far right, was arrested Thursday
Disney Channel's Andi Mack stars Westmoreland as Henry 'Ham' Mack. Westmoreland attempted to meet a teen victim for sex and used a ride-sharing app before his arrest
VIDEO - As The Biggest Climate Conference Since Paris Ends, What's Accomplished? : NPR
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 16:10
As The Biggest Climate Conference Since Paris Ends, What's Accomplished? A major climate conference is wrapping up in Poland. Officials are working to create a rulebook for future reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
As The Biggest Climate Conference Since Paris Ends, What's Accomplished? December 15, 2018 8:00 AM ET
A major climate conference is wrapping up in Poland. Officials are working to create a rulebook for future reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The international climate meeting has gone into overtime in Poland. It was supposed to be over, but they're still at it. Countries still can't agree on a set of rules for reducing their carbon emissions. NPR's Rebecca Hersher has been at the meeting all week and joins us. Becky, thanks so much for being with us.
REBECCA HERSHER, BYLINE: You're welcome. Hi, Scott.
SIMON: And why are countries having so much trouble agreeing?
HERSHER: Well, this meeting is all about putting the Paris Agreement - that was back in 2015 - into action. So every country made a promise back then to reduce greenhouse gases a certain amount. But every promise is different. So it's really hard to come up with a set of rules that everyone - we're talking about almost 200 countries - thinks is fair for tracking our collective progress.
SIMON: What seems to be the principal sticking points right now?
HERSHER: Well, there are a couple things. On a really basic level - and this really is basic - countries still haven't agreed on how they are going to track their carbon emissions and how much information they're going to disclose to each other about their economies, which is part of that. And some countries are more private than others about their economy. So for example, China. China is notoriously private. The U.S. actually is, too. We don't really love to give extra information to other countries in the world about how we operate.
So on the flipside, poorer countries are worried. They don't know how they're going to pay for the kind of in-depth analysis that it takes to track emissions. They want richer countries to help them with that and also to help them with paying for all sorts of things that come along with climate change, whether it be loss and damage or other stuff.
SIMON: In the past, that divide between more developed countries and less developed countries on the planet has been pronounced to the point where there were different rules depending on if a country was richer or poorer. Is that still the case?
HERSHER: Well, no. That did change with the Paris Agreement. And that's a good thing. So every country, regardless of how much the country has in its GDP, every country had to make a promise that it thought it could achieve to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. But there's still a lot of tension between rich countries and poor countries. So for example, countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific and parts of Africa, they're suffering enormous losses already because of climate change. Right? So catastrophic flooding. We see some of these things in the U.S., too, but it's much more pronounced in other parts of the world. Islands disappearing altogether. Drought, famine.
But those countries actually aren't the countries that have emitted the most greenhouse gases, right? Like, think historically. The Industrial Revolution started spouting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in the 1800s. So we, and that being the U.S., the EU - major industrialized nations who have been industrialized for a long time - are responsible for most emissions, and yet other countries are, right now, paying some of the price. And so the question is what kind of - I'll use the term reparations, but we're talking about payments for that loss and damage. In the past, those have been on the table.
But as of right now - and we're going into overtime here - there is nothing specific so far coming out of this meeting. So one of the big questions in the next - who knows? It could be a couple hours. It could be a whole other day - is what type of payment might we be able to get coming from richer countries and going to poorer countries for that sort of thing?
SIMON: NPR's Rebecca Hersher in Poland. Thanks so much for being with us, Becky.
HERSHER: Thank you.
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VIDEO - Pop Culture Comfort Food: Roll The Dice On These Board Games : NPR
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 16:03
NPR's Scott Simon gets recommendations from the owner of Labyrinth Games in Washington, D.C., on what to play when all you need is something to get through winter's long nights.
'Tis the season to just, you know, stay put. Maybe watch your favorite TV show, a series, a podcast. Curl up with a book or a game. Last week we asked you, what's your pop culture comfort food?
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I find it the audio CDs of Alvin and the Chipmunks with their holiday Christmas music.
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: (Singing) Christmas, Christmastime is here.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: My go-to pop culture fix is any book by Nora Roberts.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: Looking up on the Internet old "Space: 1999" episodes.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: My favorite comfort-food podcasts are "Gardeners' Question Time" on BBC Radio 4...
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5: "Harry Potter" audio books.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #6: A Twitter account, Thoughts of a Dog, will brighten anyone's day.
SIMON: To talk about the games that get her through long, forbidding winter nights is Kathleen Donahue. She owns Labyrinth Games and Puzzles in Washington, D.C., joins us from her store. Thanks so much for being with us.
KATHLEEN DONAHUE: Thank you so much for having me.
SIMON: What makes a good comfort-food game?
DONAHUE: Wow. I think a good game is something that everybody enjoys, that's not too hard to learn and that brings people together to laugh and have fun.
SIMON: Give us some for-instances, if you could, please.
DONAHUE: Well, one of our bestselling party games right now is called Codenames. And it's a really wonderful kind of word game where everybody gets to team up, and two people are spymasters and try and get all the rest of their team to guess all of the correct words without giving any hints to the other team. But this year's hottest game is called Azul, and in it, you play Portuguese tile layers, trying to pick just the perfect tile to build a wall without having any of them fall on the floor and break.
SIMON: I want to ask you about a game that some members of our staff have clued me about. I'm, (laughter), uncomfortable with the title. Secret Hitler?
DONAHUE: Secret Hitler is currently very, very popular. And it was really funny 'cause when it first came out, they sent free copies to every member of Congress so it's very, very popular on Capitol Hill because it got a lot of exposure and publicity through that publicity stunt.
SIMON: What makes something called Secret Hitler a game? By the way, I want to point out, the original made no secret, but, go ahead. Yeah.
DONAHUE: This is true. But in this game, there are different sides. One person is secretly Hitler. Nobody knows who he is. And then there are different sides that are trying to find him. And it's basically called a hidden role game because nobody knows who is who, and using deductive reasoning, you're trying to figure out who Hitler is and get rid of him. (Laughter). It's the perfect game for Capitol Hill, right?
SIMON: Perhaps I shouldn't say.
DONAHUE: (Laughter).
SIMON: What about multigenerational games?
DONAHUE: I think one of our most popular is Ticket To Ride. It's a game about building train routes all over the United States. It plays from two to five players, and it usually plays in under an hour. And generally, everybody I know pretty much enjoys it.
SIMON: That sounds great. Are there games that at which children can excel maybe more than adults?
DONAHUE: For sure. For very young children, I love games that have a memory component. Very young children generally tend to be better at them than their adult parents or guardians. There's also a large collection of cooperative games that are really wonderful to play with kids because everyone is playing together to try and beat the game. And it's really great, especially if you have someone who has a hard time winning or losing. They get to practice winning and losing, but as a group, not one against the other. So cooperative games, especially games by Peaceable Kingdom, are really fantastic.
SIMON: I must say, you've got me kind of looking forward to a big snow where our family will have to stay indoors, save for maybe going out for snacks, and playing a board game with each other.
DONAHUE: Yeah. For sure. I love board games at the holidays. It's a really wonderful time to spend time with other people.
SIMON: Kathleen Donahue owns Labyrinth Games and Puzzles on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Thanks so much.
DONAHUE: Thank you. Thank you so much.
SIMON: And we are recommending pop culture comfort food every week this holiday season. We'd love to hear from you. What's your pop culture comfort food? Movie, a book, game - anything. You can call and leave us a voicemail at 202-216-9217. Please tell us your name, where you live, your credit card number - no. That was a joke. (Laughter). You might hear your recommendation on the air.
Copyright (C) 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio record.
VIDEO - More Harassment Allegations Emerge At CBS : NPR
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 15:58
The network is under fire '-- again '-- for its workplace culture and its treatment of female employees. A potential merger could bring more upheaval for the company.
The board at CBS has a lot to fret about these days, with multiple sexual misconduct allegations and settlements involving top executives and stars. With all of this turmoil, even the future of CBS seems unsettled. There's talk of merger with another company. NPR's David Folkenflik has been covering the story for us and joins us now. David, thanks for being with us.
SIMON: Tell us about some of these latest developments at CBS, where, I should say up front, I'm a special contributor to "CBS Sunday Morning."
FOLKENFLIK: Where to start, Scott? I think first you've got to acknowledge The New York Times story, just this week, about a secret settlement between CBS network and the actress Eliza Dushku, who was - she had a part that was on several episodes of the hit series "Bull" on CBS, a primetime show. And she said that she complained about repeated remarks made by the star of the show, Michael Weatherly, that she felt, in a sense, violated. She brought it up, felt dismissed, and they phased her character out, even though they had planned a several-season arc for her. She received a $9.5 million payout that apparently would have been roughly equivalent to what she would have received had she stayed on the show for those years.
Most recently, the executive producer of the CBS News show, "CBS This Morning," Ryan Kadro, is out. He's going to leave the network as of next month. He had been executive producer when Charlie Rose was there, at least, for a stretch of when Charlie Rose was there as its star. There's just been a couple of settlements of suits that CBS has made of women who said they were harassed by Charlie Rose, the star of that show and "60 Minutes." And Kadro is on his way out. It may well be that his departure has something to do with those settlements, as well.
SIMON: And of course, this comes after the so many stories of misconduct by Les Moonves, former head of CBS, and moreover, his effort to hide those action with what amounts to bribes. What's CBS done about that?
FOLKENFLIK: Well, the question on its plate at the moment is whether or not it's supposed to pay the $120 million that it might appear that Les Moonves is due, as extraordinary as that figure is, for his service and for what his contract stipulates in departing from CBS as its chairman. He was forced out earlier this year. In fact, the very actions to - as investigators claim, the law firms doing this claim - to mislead, to deceive, to lie to the investigators and, in fact, to erase evidence may well be caused for the board to step in and to void or to diminish that payment. It would be quite an insult added to the injury that a number of women have said that Les Moonves did if he were to be paid off such a huge amount for being fired, effectively, as a result of the public awareness of what he had done to them.
SIMON: And, David, in your reporting, have you come across people who believe there's a climate at CBS - entertainment division and parts of the news division - that foster sexual harassment and maybe even sexual assault?
FOLKENFLIK: Well, you know, the most glaring example of this in many ways is Fox News under Roger Ailes. But this was very disturbing coming from the top. Les Moonves had been essentially running CBS for two decades. And if you look at what happened in the news division, as well - the fact that Jeff Fager, a former executive producer of "60 Minutes" and former chairman of CBS News, has been accused of sexual harassment and tolerating a culture at "60 Minutes" of that, the fact that it turned out his predecessor, Don Hewitt, according to revelations, had essentially sexually assaulted former subordinate and colleague female subordinate so severely that CBS ended up paying her what totaled up to $5 million over the years in payments that apparently have still been going on as recently as this year, it's hard not to think that there's a climate that is not only hostile to women, but hostile to the idea of accountability for this kind of behavior, at least until these revelations now.
SIMON: And there's a merger on the table?
FOLKENFLIK: It certainly looks likely. Shari Redstone is the controlling owner of both CBS and Viacom. She has wanted to merge these sister companies once more, reunify them. And the main obstacle in her way was Les Moonves and the corporate board at CBS that had been supporting him. That board has changed. The sympathies toward Moonves' position's changed, and Moonves is gone. So it would seem as though the stars are aligning for her to be able to get control of both companies and to ultimately bring them under the same umbrella.
SIMON: NPR's David Folkenflik. Thanks so much.
Copyright (C) 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio record.
VIDEO - Why NRA Infiltrator Maria Butina Decided To Help Government Investigations : NPR
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 15:55
This week Butina admitted she wasn't just a student and Russian gun rights activist, pleading guilty to a count of conspiring to act as a foreign agent. NPR's Scott Simon talks with her lawyer.
And this week, Maria Butina admitted that she wasn't just a student and Russian gun rights activist. She pled guilty to one count of conspiring to act as a foreign agent for Russia to infiltrate conservative circles in the United States, including the National Rifle Association. Robert Driscoll, her attorney, joins us in our studios. Mr. Driscoll, I know a lot of people are after you. Thank you for joining us.
ROBERT DRISCOLL: You're welcome, Scott.
SIMON: When you joined us in July, you told us her actions were not, quote, "the activities of a spy." You still contend that?
DRISCOLL: Yes. I don't think the government contends that she was a spy. She pled guilty to one count of failing to register as a foreign agent. But still, in her statement of the offense, the activities she undertook weren't necessarily covert or spycraft. There's no allegation she's a member of Russian intelligence. And I think that's worn out, although she did pled guilty - plead guilty and is accepting responsibility for not registering as a foreign agent.
SIMON: Yeah. What was she trying to do then?
DRISCOLL: She was trying to build bridges between the two countries, and through civil society groups, which I think happens with a lot of foreign nationals and foreign students.
SIMON: Well, build bridges or - I'm going to mix metaphors here - or create a road in for Russian interests?
DRISCOLL: Well, I think that it - a little bit of both. I mean, I think she's a typical millennial who was looking for...
SIMON: Excuse me. Not a typical millennial, but go ahead. Yes?
DRISCOLL: But I think, in Washington terms, she was looking for contacts and ways to advance herself on both sides in both countries and was - her gun rights interest was legitimate in Russia. I think that was her first entree into U.S. politics. And I think she got involved in that and, in retrospect, should have registered as a foreign agent under the interpretation that the DOJ has.
SIMON: Her cooperation agreement requires her to tell the Department of Justice anything she knows about potential criminal conduct by both Russians and Americans. Can you tell us anything about what that is?
DRISCOLL: Only that she's been willing to tell her story from the beginning. She testified voluntarily to the Senate intelligence committee in April before all of this. And she's never been hesitant to tell her story. And she'll tell her story if the government asks her to in whatever form they ask her to.
SIMON: What about U.S. person No. 1, Paul Erickson, the Republican political operative? He appears throughout the plea agreement. He and your client, I gather, had a romantic relationship. He apparently helped her establish those back-channel relations. Should he be indicted? Do you think he will be?
DRISCOLL: I mean, that's going to be up to the Department of Justice. I mean, I think if one takes the view the department has - the broad view of the foreign agent statute - there might be some risk there. But I don't think there's going to be any news about that beyond what's been in the statement of the offense.
SIMON: Are you worried about what happens if your client is sent back to Russia?
DRISCOLL: I'm not. If anyone knows she's not a member of Russian intelligence, it's the Russians. So I do not think they're concerned about any - her having any particular information of value that she would give to the American government. And I think that...
SIMON: But she has agreed to cooperate with the American government. Might that alone...
DRISCOLL: I don't believe so. I think they understand her situation, you know, well. And I think that if she were - I mean, I'm her attorney, and I'm doing what I think is in her best interest consulting with her. And she didn't express an interest in staying here and reaching an arrangement that would result in her staying here. She wanted to go home to her grandmother, who's aged and need some care, and to her parents in Siberia.
SIMON: I - and I have to ask you in the - I'm afraid - half-minute we have left, do you have any idea, Mr. Driscoll, how much the NRA has been supported by Russia? Aren't they trying to use the NRA to influence or to promote gun violence or division?
DRISCOLL: I'm not aware of that thread of the story from where I sit. I know that's been a popular speculation in the media. But I have not seen any evidence of that. But, again, you know, I assume others will look into that and see if there's anything there. But I haven't seen it from where I sit.
SIMON: Robert Driscoll represents Maria Butina. Thanks so much.
DRISCOLL: Thank you.
Copyright (C) 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio record.
VIDEO - Airlines experiment with biometric scanning to speed up airport lines
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 15:40
On your next flight, your face could be your ticket '' with no need to take out a passport, driver's license or even so much as a boarding pass.
The airline industry is taking a page from smartphone and computer hardware makers, by dabbling in facial recognition technology to speed up the convenience factor for customers. Recently, Delta Air Lines was the first to launch a biometric terminal in the U.S. for international flights at its Atlanta hub. Passengers can choose to check-in with the optional technology to speed up the process.
Separately, American Airlines and JetBlue are also working on their own facial recognition programs. According to airport technology company SITA, an airport tech company, over 70 percent of airports and airlines are planning trials or full rollouts of their own biometric scanning systems.
Here's how it works: At the self-service airport kiosk or at the counter, you can have a photo taken that's matched with your passport photo in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) database. Next, that serves as your identification at the TSA security checkpoint. And when passengers are at the gate and ready to board, their face is again scanned in just two seconds, and they cleared to go right to your seat.
Delta said the technology will speed things up for passengers, especially at the boarding gate.
Monty Rakusen | Getty Images
"For an airline, if they can save 10 minutes boarding an airplane, that's a big deal to them," aviation consultant Mike Boyd told CNBC's "On the Money" in a recent interview.
However, what passengers save on time could cost them in privacy. In a data breach announced in November, Marriott said 500 million guest records from its Starwood Hotels database were stolen'--and for many guests, their passport numbers were included in that personal data.
It would suggest travelers might be cautious about granting Delta '' or any other private entity '' access to their passport information, something with which Boyd disagreed.
"This isn't like China where they're putting in a system where Big Brother watches you," he said. "If you have a passport that's natural and they're using that to the highest degree to get people moving through airports."
The biometric boarding on Delta will only be available on international flights, since it utilizes the passport photo database from US Customs and Border Protection. There's no equivalent photo database to use for domestic flights.
"Since the core of this is your passport, if that's not safe then let's just not bother with anything." Boyd said. "This isn't Big Brother, it's just processing faster."
Travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt of Atmosphere Research predicted biometric technology will continue to be adopted. "If you can save a little bit of time upfront and get people into that queue faster, then hopefully this is making the airport screening process that much more efficient."
Boyd added that facial recognition technology can reduce the stress associated with travel.
"Without question, it alleviates a lot of anxiety and that's going to help airlines. It's going to help airports," he said. "So it's a great idea."
On the Money airs on CNBC Saturday at 5:30 am ET, or check listings for air times in local markets.
VIDEO - Etias Traveller Requirement in 2020 - YouTube
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 15:22
VIDEO - Does Anyone Here Remember the Ozone Layer? - YouTube
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 14:50
VIDEO - California wants to tax your text messages |
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 14:47
Wednesday, December 12, 2018 10:45AM
The California Public Utilities Commission is set to vote next month on a proposal to tax text messages.
State regulators say the money would be used to support programs that provide phone service to the poor.
It's unclear how much you'd have to pay per message.
The wireless industry and business groups are fighting the plan.
They say it could cost phone users an extra $44 million a year.
They also say the proposal is unfair because services like Facebook's Messenger and Apple's iMessage wouldn't be hit with the new fee.
(Copyright (C)2018 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)
VIDEO - Racketeering verdict might force Orange County's Mongols motorcycle club to lose their logo |
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 14:44
Thursday, December 13, 2018 07:50PM
SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) --
A federal jury in Santa Ana has found the Mongols motorcycle club guilty of racketeering and conspiracy.
The ruling paves the way for the government to seize the group's trademark logo.
Prosecutors argued the Southern California-based group is a criminal enterprise involved in drug trafficking and murder.
The Mongols are vowing to fight back saying the club doesn't tolerate criminal activity and kicks out bad members.
"The government has won the battle but they have not won the war," said Mongols president David Santillan. "There are First Amendment rights attached to this whole case."
If the government seizes control of the club's trademark, members would be prohibited from putting the logo patch on their jackets.
(Copyright (C)2018 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)
VIDEO - Transgender Female To Compete In Miss Universe Contest - YouTube
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 14:29
VIDEO - Maxine Waters: President Trump 'Deserves to Be Impeached' - YouTube
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 14:20
VIDEO - Theresa May accuses Tony Blair of 'undermining' Brexit negotiations - YouTube
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 14:09
VIDEO - COP24 agreement sidesteps financial issues - YouTube
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 13:59
VIDEO - Take back control of your videos'¯! #JoinPeerTube
Sat, 15 Dec 2018 23:08
Take back the power'... and the responsibilities!PeerTube isn't a single video hosting platform with a single group of rules: it's a network of dozens of interconnected hosting providers, and each provider is composed of different people and administrators. You don't like some of the rules? You're free to join the hosting provider of your choice, or even better, be your own hosting provider with your own rules!
Take control of your contentPeerTube allows you to share all your videos. Being in direct contact with a human hosting provider (or becoming your own) allows you to choose how their broadcasting is done. Your videos will benefit from tools to fill description, categorization, choosing a preview image and marking videos as not safe for work. Tweaking the Support button will allow you to show your audience how you want them to support your work.
Putting the users firstYou're a person, not a product. PeerTube is a free/libre software financed by a French non-profit organization: Framasoft. All instances are created, animated, moderated and maintained independently. PeerTube isn't submitted by any company monopole, doesn't depend on ads and doesn't track you. With PeerTube you're not a product: PeerTube is at your service, not the other way around.
Become an actor of your videos broadcastingWhen you watch a video with PeerTube, the WebTorrent technology allows you to be part of the broadcasting of this video with the viewers who are watching it at the same time. This video stream sharing allows a healthier distribution of exchanges on the network. Moreover, the federation protocol (ActivityPub) allows to publish the videos and comments on other platforms that support it, such as Mastodon! (experimental)
VIDEO - Loudermilk S02 E01 Vocal Fry -
Sat, 15 Dec 2018 23:02
We are sorry but it seems that PeerTube is not compatible with your web browser.
Please try with the latest version of Mozilla Firefox.
If you think this is a mistake, do not hesitate to report it.
VIDEO - Alex Jones & Millie Confront Google CEO Sundar Pichai - YouTube
Sat, 15 Dec 2018 22:39
VIDEO - The Mercenaries of War - Combat Survival True Life Film - YouTube
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VIDEO - Obama ..... Go F**k Yourself! (3/5ths Clause Deception) - YouTube
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VIDEO - CNN Anchors Fight Over How to Interview Trump Officials - YouTube
Sat, 15 Dec 2018 11:52
VIDEO - The Current for December 13, 2018 | CBC Radio
Fri, 14 Dec 2018 21:38
In a special edition of The Current, we explore the challenges we face with climate change, from the psychology of confronting the changes that need to be made; to changing industries and whether "green jobs" will offer the same pay and benefits; to building a consensus in order to move forward; and what environmentalists can learn from the civil rights movement.
Anna Maria Tremonti hosts The Current's 17th season. (CBC) Listen to the full episode 1:13:54 Full Episode Transcript
Today on The Current, we explore the challenges our society faces in our special edition 11 Years: A Blueprint For Climate Action
Margaret Klein Salamon argues we need an all-hands-on-deck, WWII-style mobilization to fight climate change, but a professor of psychology argues that people don't react well to dire warnings.
As industries change around plans to cut greenhouse emissions, will the "green jobs" that replace them match the pay and benefits of the fossil fuel sector?
How do we build a consensus in order to move forward? We look at the deep divide in perspectives, and how to bridge them.
What can environmentalists learn from the civil rights movement? We talk to Dr. Rev. Gerald Durley, a civil rights worker turned climate justice activist
VIDEO - Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen says Trump knew it was wrong to make hush-money payments during campaign - ABC News
Fri, 14 Dec 2018 14:45
Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen to arrange hush-money payments with two women because then-candidate Trump ''was very concerned about how this would affect the election'' if their allegations of affairs became public, the president's former personal attorney said in an exclusive interview with ABC News.
Cohen's comments are his first since being sentenced earlier this week to three years in federal prison for financial crimes, lying to Congress and two campaign finance violations in connection with the deals with the women, Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, who claim past affairs with Trump.
''I knew what I was doing was wrong,'' Cohen told ABC News' Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos. ''I stood up before the world [Wednesday] and I accepted the responsibility for my actions.''
ABC News Michael Cohen sits down for an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America," Friday, Dec. 14, 2018.When asked if the president also knew it was wrong to make the payments, Cohen replied, ''Of course,'' adding that the purpose was to ''help [Trump] and his campaign.''
Cohen said he is ''angry at himself'' for his role in the deals, but that he did it out of ''blind loyalty'' to Trump.
''I gave loyalty to someone who, truthfully, does not deserve loyalty,'' he said.
Play Cohen on Trump as president: 'He's a very different individual'Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have implicated, but not charged, the president in the deals reached in the closing weeks of the 2016 election. They allege that Cohen acted ''in coordination with and at the direction of'' Trump, according to court filings. Prosecutors also reached a non-prosecution agreement with AMI, the publishers of the National Inquirer, in which the tabloid admitted to making a $150,000 payment to McDougal ''in concert'' with the Trump campaign.
The president has denied allegations of the affairs -- but has had shifting explanations about when he learned about the payments to the women. He has also contended that the deals were private and unrelated to the campaign and that if anything illegal occurred, it was Cohen's responsibility.
ABC News Michael Cohen sits down for an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America," Friday, Dec. 14, 2018.Trump has lashed out at Cohen since his sentencing, contending in a Thursday tweet that his former close confidant only agreed to plead guilty ''in order to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence, which he did.''
''It is absolutely not true,'' Cohen said. ''Under no circumstances do I want to embarrass the president. He knows the truth. I know the truth.''
Cohen was particularly distressed by another Trump tweet on Thursday, in which the president implied that prosecutors investigating Cohen had let his wife and father-in-law off the hook.
''Instead of him taking responsibility for his actions, what does he do?'' Cohen said. ''He attacks my family.''
And Cohen refuted the president's contention that he never directed Cohen to do anything wrong.
Andrew Harnik/AP, FILE In this Sept. 19, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen departs following a closed door meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. ''I don't think there is anybody that believes that,'' Cohen told Stephanopoulos. ''First of all, nothing at the Trump organization was ever done unless it was run through Mr. Trump. He directed me to make the payments, he directed me to become involved in these matters.
''He knows the truth. I know the truth. Others know the truth,'' Cohen continued. ''And here is the truth: People of the United States of America, people of the world, don't believe what he is saying. The man doesn't tell the truth. And it is sad that I should take responsibility for his dirty deeds.''
When confronted about his convictions for lying to Congress and for tax evasion and banking crimes, Cohen said he was ''done with the lying. I am done being loyal to President Trump and my first loyalty belongs to my wife, my daughter, my son and this country.''
''Why should we believe you now?'' Stephanopoulos asked.
''Because the special counsel stated emphatically that the information that I gave to them is credible and helpful,'' Cohen replied. ''There's a substantial amount of information that they possessed that corroborates the fact that I am telling the truth.''
Win McNamee/Getty Images President Donald Trump answers questions from the press while departing the White House, Nov. 29, 2018 in Washington.Cohen -- who is due to report to prison on March 6 -- has professed his willingness to continue to answer questions for special counsel Robert Mueller and other federal and state investigators.
He declined in the interview to answer specific questions about the Mueller investigation ''out of respect for process.''
''I don't want to jeopardize any of their investigations,'' he said.
But when asked if he thinks the president is telling the truth about the Russia probe, Cohen replied simply, ''No.''
Cohen once said he would ''take a bullet'' for the president, but now he finds himself opposing the president and facing the prospect of becoming a witness against him.
''It's never good to be on the wrong side of the president of the United States of America, but somehow or another this task has now fallen onto my shoulders and as I also stated ... I will spend the rest of my life in order to fix the mistake that I made.''
Craig Ruttle/AP Michael Cohen, center, President Donald Trump's former lawyer, accompanied by his children Samantha, left, and Jake, right, arrives at federal court for his sentencing in New York, Dec. 12, 2018.Cohen said as he observes Trump's actions in the White House, he barely recognizes the man he served for more than a decade at the Trump organization.
''He's a very different individual,'' Cohen said. ''I think the pressure of the job is much more than what he thought it was going to be. It's not like the Trump organization where he would bark out orders and people would blindly follow what he wanted done. There's a system here; he doesn't understand the system and it's sad because the country has never been more divisive and one of the hopes that I have out of the punishment that I've received as well as the cooperation that I have given I will be remembered in history as helping to bring this country back together.
''I will not be the villain of his story,'' he said.
VIDEO - Theresa May hits out at Juncker insisting her Brexit plans are 'crystal clear'
Fri, 14 Dec 2018 14:14
THERESA May's efforts to fix her Brexit deal have gone BACKWARDS after she was brutally rebuffed by EU leaders.
The PM is in Brussels where she has been lobbying European chiefs to change the hated backstop which looks set to doom the deal.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
Theresa May arriving for day two of the European Council summit todayBut the leaders ended up taking a harder line than before after hearing from Mrs May last night.
They are apparently playing hardball because they believe that if the deal is vetoed by Parliament, a second referendum is more likely than No Deal.
Tony Blair has been egging the EU on today, telling them they should prepare for Brexit to be delayed and then cancelled.
This morning the PM was seen snapping at top Eurocrat Jean-Claude Juncker after he dismissed her pleas.
Angela Merkel said she wouldn't give ground to the UKMrs May flew to Brussels yesterday for the European Council summit after scraping through a vote of confidence from her own MPs.
She is seeking changes to the backstop - designed to keep the Irish border open - to ensure Britain doesn't end up trapped in the EU customs union.
A draft version of the summit's conclusions provided a glimmer of hope for the PM, stating that the backstop "does not represent a desirable outcome" for the EU.
It added: "The Union stands ready to examine whether any further assurance can be provided."
But after Mrs May made her pitch to the other 27 leaders, they changed the text to remove both of the helpful statements.
Theresa May was seen arguing with Jean-Claude Juncker today Theresa May caught on camera having heated row with Jean-Claude Juncker Instead, the final version calls on EU states to step up No Deal planning.
Belgian leader Charles Michel said this morning: "We have to tell the truth - my impression is that we have to speed up preparations for a No Deal."
The PM has warned Brussels that if they don't give ground, the Commons will trash her deal and Britain will crash out without any deal in March.
But several senior European politicians have sugggested they don't believe her - because it's more likely the UK will hold a second referendum and cancal Brexit altogether.
Yesterday Ireland's Leo Varadkar said: ''It is within the gift of the UK Government and UK Parliament to take the threat of No Deal off the table by revoking Article 50 or seeking an extension of Article 50."
And this morning he added that he was "very satisfied" with the EU's decision to play hardball.
AP:Associated Press
Mr Juncker greeting Donald Tusk this morningToday Mrs May holds a one-on-one meeting with Emmanuel Macron to try and convince him to budge.
After last night's talks, European Commission boss Mr Juncker said: "We don't want the UK to think there can be any form of renegotiation, that is crystal clear.
"We can add clarifications but no real changes. There will be no legally binding obligations imposed on the withdrawal treaty.
"Our UK friends need to say what they want, instead of asking us to say what we want."
Danish PM Lars L¸kke Rasmussen claimed rebellious British MPs need to "get some homework done" before they oppose the current deal.
Leo Varadkar said Britain has the power to avoid a No Deal outcome
This morning other leaders called for the Commons to back the deal as soon as possible - and appeared to rule out an emergency EU summit suggested for next month to approve a new text.
Romanian president Klaus Iohannis said: ""We need a positive vote from the British Parliament, not a summit."
Mrs May's deputy David Lidington insisted the PM has "a very clear plan" and claimed events in Brussels were "a welcome first step".
But critics in the UK attacked her from all sides and called on her to ditch the withdrawal agreement.
Tory rebel Simon Clarke said, "The writing was, sadly, on the wall in 20ft-high letters," adding that Mrs May should ramp up plans for No Deal from Monday.
The Prime Minister has promised to get legally binding changes. The reaction by the EU is unsurprising. They are doing what they always do. The key question is whether the PM will stand up to them or whether she will roll over as has happened previously.
'-- Arlene Foster (@DUPleader) December 14, 2018PM has tried, credit to her for that, but, as expected, the EU is not open to renegotiation. It's time to stop this pretence, bring the vote to Parliament and then, when the deal is rejected, seek to bring majority behind a second EU vote. Anything else now is just wasting time.
'-- Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) December 14, 2018DUP boss Arlene Foster blasted: "The reaction by the EU is unsurprising. They are doing what they always do. The key question is whether the PM will stand up to them or whether she will roll over as has happened previously."
Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "PM has tried, credit to her for that, but, as expected, the EU is not open to renegotiation.
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"It's time to stop this pretence, bring the vote to Parliament and then, when the deal is rejected, seek to bring majority behind a second EU vote. Anything else now is just wasting time."
Mrs May will hold further talks in Brussels today before flying home later.
The Sun revealed last night that she is planning to hold the delayed vote on her Brexit deal on January 14.
Theresa May says she does not expect immediate Brexit breakthrough as she meets EU leads in Brussels We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online politics team? Email us at tips or call 0207 782 4368. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours
VIDEO - NANCY? Pelosi suffers multiple brain freezes during short appearance
Fri, 14 Dec 2018 13:53
What's wrong with Nancy Pelosi?
The likely next Speaker of the House '-- and second in line to the presidency '-- suffered several brain freezes during a brief 18-minute appearance before reporters today.
Numerous times during the press conference, she awkwardly paused, staring at reporters, groping for words.
'''... it is a bill that, uh,'' she said early on, her eye spasming, ''is much needed for our farmers and ranchers,'' she continued, suffering a jaw problem, forcing her to repeat ''ranchers.''
Moments later, Pelosi said, ''I think we only had 47 votes against it in'-- yeah,'' pausing, adding, ''in the House of Representatives.''
No reporters in the room apparently aren't ever alarmed by Pelosi's behavior, as none of them report on it.
'''...the American people should know the source of it,'' she said, stopping, letting out a large sign before continuing, ''again, we are engaged in the year end'...''
After stopping mid-sentence to stare at reporters and saying, ''I'm not sure,'' Pelosi said of President Trump, ''No I haven't spoken to him since he called the other day, which was a very amicable'-- amicable, uh, conversation'-- amiable, I guess you would say, not amicable.''
She then suffered another brain freeze, motioning her hands, but no words exited her mouth.
Finally, she continued, ''I talked to Chuck last night to say, you know,'' before nodding her head repeatedly but alas, no words.
Lecturing the media, Pelosi said, ''There are other things going on that are newsworthy, and I think'...'' she said, freezing briefly, ''I think you'd have more viewers or readers if you addressed concerns that people have.''
''The list goes on about the georg'-- priorities that the committees have to establish,'' she said of when the Democrats take control of the House, then swallowing deeply.
Talking about a recent visit to the Willard Hotel, Pelosi got her story confused, casting doubt on whether it was even real.
''We go to the hotel, see the staff and thank them'-- the service staff, the busboys, that. One of them said to me, 'Here's some advice I'll give you. When they ask about the President's tax returns, and he says,' um, um, when they talk about the Mueller'-- that was it. 'When they talk about the Mueller''-- this is a newcomer to America,'' Pelosi continued, ''in the back of the restaurant of the hotel restaurant, saying, 'When the President says the Mueller investigation is going on too long, just tell them not as long as your audit, Mr. President.
''Wisdom from the kitchen of the Willard Hotel,'' Pelosi told reporters.
The Speaker-to-be suffered another brain freeze, before letting out a strange laugh.
VIDEO - Sir Richard Branson: Space tourists are next - YouTube
Fri, 14 Dec 2018 11:48
VIDEO - Senate votes to end US support for Saudi war, bucking Trump | TheHill
Fri, 14 Dec 2018 11:29
Senators voted 56-41 on the resolution, which would require the president to withdraw any troops in or ''affecting'' Yemen within 30 days unless they are fighting al Qaeda.
The resolution would still need to be passed by the House before it could be sent to Trump, who has threatened to veto it. The House on Wednesday narrowly approved a rule governing debate on the farm bill that
included a provision that would prevent lawmakers from forcing a war powers vote this year.
Still, the Senate vote Thursday underscores the depth of frustration with Saudi Arabia on Capitol Hill, as well as the escalating gap between the White House and Congress on the relationship between the U.S. and the kingdom.
It's a dramatic U-turn from less than nine months ago when the chamber
pigeonholed the same resolution, refusing to vote it out of committee and on to full Senate. At the time, 10 Democrats joined 45 Republicans in opposing it.
The resolution's passage comes two days after Trump maintained that he would stand by the Saudi government and specifically Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom U.S. intelligence officials reportedly believe ordered Khashoggi's killing inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in early October.
A growing number of senators also believe the crown prince is responsible for the death of Khashoggi, who was a vocal critic of Saudi leadership and lived in Virginia while serving as a columnist for The Washington Post. The Senate passed
a separate resolution Thursday afternoon specifically naming the crown prince as responsible for Khashoggi's death.
told Reuters on Tuesday that Riyadh has been ''a very good ally'' and ''at this moment'' sticking with Saudi Arabia means standing by the crown prince.
The Trump administration had led a lobbying effort to try to quash the Senate resolution withdrawing U.S. support for the military campaign in Yemen.
And CIA Director Gina Haspel has met with a group of Senate and House lawmakers earlier this month, but she only appeared to solidify the belief among senators that the crown prince is responsible.
Backers of the Yemen resolution did lose some GOP support since the initial procedural vote late last month. Some Republicans, including Graham, say they voted initially to advance the resolution because of the message it sent to Saudi Arabia and not because of the substance of the resolution.
"[But] we also want to preserve the 70-year partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia and we want to ensure it continues to serve American interests and stabilizes a dangerous and critical region," McConnell said.
He added that the dynamic presents "challenging circumstances" but "the Sanders-Lee resolution is neither precise enough or prudent enough.''
Corker, who spearheaded the resolution finding the crown prince responsible for Khashoggi's death, had negotiated for days with Senate leadership on that resolution.
"Unanimously the United States Senate has said that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. That is a strong statement. I think it speaks to the values that we hold dear. ... I'm glad the Senate is speaking with once voice unanimously toward this end," Corker said shortly after the vote Thursday.
Updated at 4:30 p.m.
VIDEO - How China ''Captures'' US Officials - YouTube
Thu, 13 Dec 2018 23:41
VIDEO - Hearing Clinton Foundation, Dec 13 2018 | Video |
Thu, 13 Dec 2018 22:49
December 13, 2018 2018-12-13T14:13:45-05:00 The House Oversight Government Operations Subcommittee holds a hearing on oversight of nonprofit organizations and restrictions to their political activities, with a focus on the New York-based Clinton Foundation.The House Oversight Government Operations Subcommittee holds a hearing on oversight of nonprofit organizations and restrictions to their political activities, with a focus on the New York-based Clinton Foundation.
*This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
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VIDEO - Apprentice Staffer: Trump was a 'Speed freak' who crushed up Adderall and snorted it (VIDEO)
Thu, 13 Dec 2018 21:02
A former staffer on Trump's Apprentice television show, Noel Casler, who is now a comedian, told a crowd during a recent performance on stage that during his six seasons on the show, he witnessed some pretty interesting things.
Casler claims during the show: "I'm not kidding, this is true. I had a 24-page NDA non-disclosure agreement. I didn't know that he was becoming president, now it's no way dumbass, I'm telling you everything I know.''
Among the things he claims on film: Donald Trump was a "speed freak" who snorted crushed up Adderall.
''He crushes up his Adderall and he sniffs it because he can't read, so he gets really nervous when he has to read the cue cards.''
He claims Trump also invited teen beauty pageant contestants up to his suite and said they better come if they wanted to win.
"I worked on a bunch of those beauty pageants he had in the nineties too. That was a good idea, Miss teen universe? Yeah, that's like giving Jeffrey Dahmer a cooking show. He would line up the girls on the side of the stage, and he would inspect them literally, he would stick his little freaking doll fingers in their mouth and look at their teeth. I'm not kidding, this is true, he would line them up like they were pieces of meat. He'd be like, ''You, you, and you, if you want to win I'm in the penthouse suite, come and see me.'' Yep. If Trump had a cooking show they'd caught the douchebag diet. McDonald's, chocolate ice cream, and girls that look like Ivanka are all he ever eats."
These Photos of Dogs Posing on Santa's Lap Will Brighten Your Day
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 16:21
(C) Provided by Best Life The most wonderful time of the year is here, and you know what that means: time to meet Santa!
Stop what you're doing, and look at how excited my dog was to get her photo with Santa.
'-- saracha (@saracha420) December 10, 2018
Last weekend, PetSmart hosted photo events with the Big Guy himself at all of its stores nationwide. (If you missed it, the national chain will be doing it again from 12pm to 4pm this weekend!) Naturally, this resulted in some truly frame-worthy shots.
So my dog had a great time meeting Santa today
'-- Owen Bohman (@OwenBohman) December 9, 2018
This dog simply could not believe her luck.
My dog met Santa today and she was so excited
'-- sydney dominguez (@syydneyclairee) December 8, 2018
This Very Good Girl got all dressed up for the occasion.
Retweet for my dog meeting Santa. 10/10 good girl
'-- Kali (@kalimariexx) December 10, 2018
And this little guy just couldn't contain his excitement.
My mom took the dog to meet Santa ðŸðŸ‚
'-- Mama ðŸ>>ðŸ' (@IowanMama) December 8, 2018
All this goldendoodle wants is kissies for Christmas.
Cats got in on the merriment as well, but they were'... significantly less enthused.
So I took my dog and cat to take a picture with Santa today '.... Well actually I took my dog my cat my best friends cat and my girlfriends dog to take a picture with Santa today 🂠
'-- naysa. (@naysamariem) December 10, 2018
Dennis does not understand why he was wrenched from a perfectly good nap to be held by a total stranger.
Proud pet owners brought some of their other furbabies as well, like this duck named Munchkin.
This hamster dressed up as a reindeer.
Nina the pig.
And this snake.
For more great photos of dogs getting into the Christmas spirit, check out these 30 Dogs Who Are Very Excited for the Pawlidays. And if you want to give a dog the gift of a forever home, look at these 30 Dogs Who Need a Home for Christmas.
RELATED VIDEO: Santa searching for lost dog [Provided by WXIA-TV Atlanta]
Peter Strzok, Lisa Page messages from Robert Mueller probe lost after phone resets: IG - Washington Times
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 16:21
Investigators weren't able to find any text messages between fired agent Peter Strzok and former bureau lawyer Lisa Page from their time on special counsel Robert Mueller's probe because by the time their phones were recovered, they'd been reset for others' use, an inspector general said Thursday.
The report also said the FBI still isn't reliably collecting text messages of all of its employees '-- despite the black eye the bureau has suffered from Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page.
In fact, the FBI's data collection tool misses about 10 percent of text messages sent on Samsung Galaxy S7 devices '-- the same phones issued to Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page. That rate doubles to about 20 percent for an earlier model of the phone also used by the two FBI officials.
The revelations came in a report Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released to detail the efforts his team made to try to recover the texts between the two, who traded anti-Trump messages during the course of an adulterous affair they were having.
Investigators have already released many of the controversial messages, including one in which Mr. Strzok promised they would ''stop'' Mr. Trump from winning the White House.
But there was a gap in the text messages, or what the inspector general dubbed a ''collection tool failure,'' and the new report detailed investigators' efforts to try to recover those messages directly from the Samsung Galaxy phones issued to both Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page.
All told about 19,000 messages were recovered according to the report.
The inspector general said there was ''no discernible patterns'' regarding the content of the text messages that were missed by the FBI's collection tool, but later recovered by investigators.
''The messages included some political content, some work-related content, and some personal content,'' the report said.
While messages were recovered from some phones, the inspector general said that wasn't the case for the phones assigned to the two during their time on the special counsel's probe.
Ms. Page joined that office on May 28, 2017, and left on July 15, 2017. Mr. Strzok joined in early June and was ousted from that team in late July, with his final clearance from the team coming Aug. 11, 2017.
They returned the phones issued to them, and they were both reset to factory settings and therefore had no content from their use.
The FBI employee who received Mr. Strzok's phone says she didn't remember it containing any substantive messages. Ms. Page's phone couldn't be located for several months, but when it was finally found this September, it had also been reset and had no messages.
Mr. Strzok had turned his device over to the Justice Department once he was removed from the special counsel's team. A records officer for the special counsel's office told the inspector general the phone had been reviewed for texts, but it contained ''no substantive text messages.''
Ms. Page's phone was not reviewed by the special counsel's office for records that needed to retained, the report said.
The deputy attorney general told the inspector general that such resets are standard procedure when a user returns a device and it is to be reissued to another user.
In a response to the report, the FBI said it is reviewing its current collection method.
The FBI ''appreciates and agrees with the OIG's conclusion and explanation that the content of the text messages exchanged between Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page did not appear to be a factor in their collection or lack thereof,'' the FBI response said. ''Further, the OIG did not find that gaps in the collection were intentional on the part of the FBI or any FBI personnel.''
Copyright (C) 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.
Sandy Hook Elementary School evacuated after bomb threat on 6th anniversary of shooting
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 16:18
Breaking News EmailsGet breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
Dec. 14, 2018 / 4:10 PM GMT
By Minyvonne Burke
Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, was evacuated Friday morning after receiving a bomb threat on the sixth anniversary of the mass shooting that left 26 students and teachers dead.
The Newtown Police Department said it received a call around 9 a.m. ET that a bomb was at the school. Officers were sent to the school and conducted a search as a precaution, but do not believe the threat was credible.
Police Lt. Aaron Bahamonde said the school was evacuated as a precaution and the school's superintendent thought it best to send students and staff home for the day.
On Dec. 14, 2012, a former student, Adam Lanza, shot and killed 20 first-graders and six educators before killing himself as police closed in. He had shot and killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, before going to the school.
The threat Friday came a day after police departments across the country and in Canada were alerted to bomb threats sent to businesses, hospitals and other places. Authorities in both countries said the reported threats were either emailed or phoned in.
On Friday morning, the Detroit Police Department said in a series of tweets that it was investigating multiple threats targeting two courthouses and three hospitals.
"At this time it is believed that these threats were received by phone," the department said, later adding that its bomb squad had investigated four of the locations and did not find any explosive devices.
Police in other cities, including New York, Oklahoma City, San Francisco and Washington, were also investigating bomb threats. In a series of tweets, the New York Police Department said it was monitoring "multiple bomb threats that have been sent electronically to various locations throughout the city."
The department said none of the threats appeared credible.
In Oklahoma City, a police spokesman said 10 to 13 email bomb threats were sent to businesses and other places in and around the city. The department said investigators did not find anything serious.
Threats targeting a Jewish community center in San Francisco and multiple branches of the San Francisco Fire Credit Union led to evacuations Thursday. Authorities in Los Angeles said it had received at least two dozen threats.
Newtown police said they do not believe the threat at Sandy Hook is connected to the ones received nationwide.
Minyvonne Burke
Minyvonne Burke is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.
Abraham Ekris ðŸ‡"🇱 ''Œ on Twitter: "BREAKING: Lawyers in France (Rouen) throw their law books on the floor. Lawyers don't acknowledge the corrupt pro-EU system anymore. #GiletsJaunes #YellowVests #GeleHesjes #Macron #QAnon #WWG1WGA #Rouen'
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 16:12
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'Principled Conservative' Ben Shapiro Admits He's A Hollywood Production Built To Make Cash Off of Republicans - Big League Politics
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 15:52
Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro participated in an odd profile released Tuesday by Vanity Fair that described his rise to conservative superstardom as ''Hollywood produced,'' a fact that he seemed all-too-proud to share.
The lengthy piece described Shapiro's relationship with his advisor and confidante, Jeremy Boreing, a Hollywood producer who cultivated Shapiro from image to ideology to appeal to the masses. Vanity Fair described the beginning of Shapiro's rise to fame, after the infamous Piers Morgan interview during which he accused Morgan of ''standing on the graves'' of the dead victims of the Sandy Hooke Elementary School shooting.
As he watched the Morgan hit, Boreing realized that Shapiro's look, while perfectly adequate for a right-wing think-tank talking head, wasn't going to cut it in many of the demographics they wanted to conquer. Shapiro quickly agreed to revise the right-wing-dork look, and the makeover began: Boreing and a wardrobe stylist emptied Shapiro's closet almost completely, took him to Macy's to re-stock, gave him an objectively better haircut, replaced his personal trainer, and presto, the Ben Shapiro look emerged'--a decently-fitted button-up shirt in neutral blues and grays, tucked into better-fitting jeans, and a jacket that didn't look too expensive.
'You being a brand brings a lot of security. . . . You being a front man gives us a ton of security,'' Boreing reportedly told Shapiro after the Morgan interview. ''I can better accomplish that with video. I can expose a lot more people to you with video, I can expose them to you in a way that they'll remember, because people are visual. . . . Let me make you famous and we'll have a much louder voice and a much bigger platform to advance our interests.''
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The piece described Shapiro's realization that he had to become likable '' that he was the Daily Wire brand '' in order to be successful. He apparently made this realization while working around Michael Savage and Laura Ingraham in the radio industry.
''People love Michael, and they love Laura, because they love Michael and they love Laura, not because they love what Michael and Laura are talking about,'' Shapiro told the magazine. Shapiro emphasized that he wants to use his cultivated image to spread what he views as conservative ideas.
But is it possible for a Hollywood-produced figure to actually relate to ordinary Americans? Judging by Shapiro's disdain for the policies proffered by President Donald J. Trump, which are mainly aimed at helping ordinary Americans survive and feed their families, Shapiro lacks perspective to understand why such a large portion of people who identify as conservatives support the president.
It makes sense. Daily Wire was initially funded by billionaire Farris Wilks, a member of the out of touch donor class. Shapiro, in his ivory tower in Sherman Oaks, California where his company is headquartered, has been completely sanitized by the Republican elite since he graduated from Harvard Law.
Then again, Shapiro is something of a fence-sitter, every now-and then tossing a bone to the MAGA crowd to keep their clicks coming.
''Shapiro had achieved megastardom, even as he oscillated in his opinion of Trump,'' said Vanity Fair. ''To his former culture-warrior brethren, Shapiro was trying to have it both ways: pretending to be a populist one day, then trying to stake out a position as a Respectable Conservative the next, and then pissing off everyone by, say, tweeting inappropriate comments during George H.W. Bush's funeral.''
The bottom line, of which Shapiro seems proud, is this: Daily Wire is a Hollywood-produced act to spout whatever is the popular ''Respectable Conservative'' opinion of the day, which in turn leads to clicks and page views, and thus revenue.
All of this from the allegedly ''principled'' wing of the GOP.
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Virgin Galactic Reaches 'Space' For The First Time Ever
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 13:01
The plane took off from the runway at 7.11am local timeVirgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic has just reached one of the biggest milestones in its history '' its first test flight to space, a crucial step in ushering in the age of space tourism.
The flight of their SpaceShipTwo space plane, called VSS Unity, took place in the early morning today, December 13 from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. On board were pilots Mark Stucky and Frederick Sturckow.
Their vehicle was carried into the air by a larger aircraft called WhiteKnightTwo, or VMS Eve. The two lifted off from the runway at about 7.11am local time (3.11pm UTC).
At about 13,000 meters (43,000 feet) in altitude and at 8am local time (4pm UTC), VSS Unity was dropped from its mothership, when its rocket motor kicked to life. Burning for 60 seconds, it took it to a supersonic speed of Mach 2.9.
A minute later, it reached the highest point of its flight '' 82.7 kilometers (51.4 miles) above the surface of Earth '' and into space by some definitions. This is also above the altitude needed for the two pilots to officially be classed as astronauts.
"SpaceShipTwo, welcome to space," Virgin Galactic wrote on Twitter.
Once it reached its highest point, known as apogee, the two pilots were afforded some brief moments of microgravity. Then, the space plane tilted up its tail '' called a feathering system '' to safely re-enter Earth's atmosphere.
VSS Unity returned to the runway at 8.14am local time (4.14pm UTC), with the flight from the drop to the landing lasting 14 minutes in total.
This was the fourth rocket-powered test flight of VSS Unity, but crucially its first ever flight to space. Its previous maximum altitude, on July 26, 2018, reached a height of 52 kilometers (32 miles), with a previous top speed record of Mach 2.4.
VSS Unity was built by Virgin Galactic's sister company, The Spaceship Company. The vehicle, named by the late Professor Stephen Hawking, is powered by a hybrid rocket motor, using both solid and liquid rocket engines. It has 17 windows on board to afford glorious views of space and Earth.
Virgin Galactic, with British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson at the helm, has never reached space before. Today's flight therefore marks a huge achievement for the company ahead of flying paying customers, perhaps as early as 2019.
Founded in 2004, Virgin Galactic's goal has always been to take customers into space aboard its space plane. The company partnered with another called Scaled Composites, which managed to reach space with the predecessor to SpaceShipTwo '' called SpaceShipOne '' in 2004.
But it has been a long and difficult road for Virgin Galactic to get to this point. Scaled Composites suffered an explosion during an engine test in 2007, which killed three workers. And in 2014, Virgin Galactic's first vehicle '' VSS Enterprise '' was destroyed during a test flight, killing pilot Michael Alsbury.
Since then the company has sought to rebuild, with Branson often touting how close the company was to reaching space. In October this year, he told CNBC that they would be in space ''within weeks, not months.''
While that prediction, like so many others, has not been exactly accurate, reaching space at all is a huge achievement for the company. In a statement, they noted it had taken years ''to get to this exciting stage.''
This flight signaled the longest time they had ever fired the rocket motor on board the space plane, which is used to reach the speeds necessary to cross the line into space. The actual definition of where space begins is up for debate, with some using an altitude of 80 kilometers (50 miles), and others using the traditional Krmn line at 100 kilometers (62 miles).
As the space plane went supersonic, ground controllers watched closely to see at what point to shut off the rocket motor. At the peak of its flight, while the pilots were afforded a few moments of microgravity, they remained firmly strapped into their seats.
On future flights, however, up to six paying customers '' at $250,000 a ticket '' will also be sitting in the plane. When VSS Unity makes these flights in future, it will target up to six minutes in microgravity as it reaches apogee, with the passengers able to get out of their seats and float around.
It's not just passengers that Virgin Galactic plans to fly, either. On board this flight were four research payloads for NASA, with the potential for similar experiments to take place in the future.
Whatever way you look at it, it's hard to overstate just how important this flight was for Virgin Galactic, and for space tourism in general. Some foresee a future where companies like this, and others like Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, are regularly taking people on short jaunts into space.
Today's flight makes that future all the more likely. Ad astra '' to the stars through hardships.
Kiev may start major offensive in rebellious east 'within days' '' Moscow '-- RT World News
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 12:05
The Ukrainian government is reportedly preparing a provocation in the east, which will be used to launch a major offensive operation against rebel forces, Moscow said. It may happen in days and would affect the presidential poll.
The Ukrainian military has amassed troops in Kiev-controlled eastern parts of the country, the spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday citing reports from international monitors. Moscow believes it to be a sign of a looming escalation between the Ukrainian government and rebel forces.
''There are reports that within several days Kiev will stage an armed provocation on the contact line,'' Maria Zakharova said, referring to the border, which separates rebel-held parts of Ukraine from the rest of the country.
She added that martial law, imposed by the government in the east last month, will allow for the mounting of a ''lightning offensive from the direction of Mariupol aimed at capturing territories on the Azov sea coast up to Russia's border.''
Also on Ukrainian leadership is a party of war, and it will continue as long as they're in power '' Putin Martial law was imposed in some parts of Ukraine in response to an incident in the Black Sea. Ukrainian ships attempted to pass through the Kerch Strait, a narrow corridor controlled by Russia, situated south of the Azov Sea which separates Crimea from mainland Russia.
According to Russia, the Ukrainian Navy boats were ignoring instructions from maritime traffic control, so Russian border guards had to intervene and detain the violators. Ukraine called the incident an act of military aggression by Moscow.
READ MORE: Familiar symbols? Ukraine's president poses with 'elite' paratrooper sporting'...SS insignia (PHOTOS)
Zakharova reiterated that martial law is likely meant to keep Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko in power. His approval ratings give him little hope for reelection, but an escalation of hostilities in the east will serve as a popularity boost. And if that would not be enough, martial law gives the legal ground to cancel the election altogether, she pointed out.
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Sarah Papenheim, American college student, stabbed to death by roommate in Netherlands, police say - The Washington Post
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 12:03
Sarah Papenheim plays a cover of "Sweet Home Chicago" at a club in Germany on her birthday in 2017. (Screenshot/YouTube/urs wolf) (YouTuB)Sarah Papenheim was supposed to be coming home for Christmas.
The 21-year-old drummer, a precocious up-and-comer on the radar of some of the Twin Cities' most respected musicians, had a show to put on. Next week, she was scheduled to be onstage at Schooner Tavern in Minneapolis, playing the blues with a friend and fellow musician. She was supposed to be flying in from the Netherlands, where she was attending Erasmus University in Rotterdam.
But on Wednesday, a phone call from Dutch authorities replaced anticipation with grief: In Papenheim's own apartment Wednesday, police said, her roommate stabbed her to death.
''I've cried so much my ducts are dry,'' her mother, Donee Odegard, told Fox 9 in Minneapolis.
Police arrested Papenheim's roommate, a 23-year-old man and cello player, Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of murder and expect he will be charged in her death soon, a Rotterdam Police Department spokesman told The Washington Post. The suspect, whom police have declined to identify, fled the apartment building in Rotterdam on a train and was captured at a station 65 miles away, carrying a suitcase and a cello, police said.
Police aren't sure about his motive in the killing at this time, the spokesman said. Her mother told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that her daughter started living with him about a year ago after bonding over music, but that he had recently become unstable. Odegard said her daughter planned to leave the apartment to stay with her boyfriend, but returned to grab clothes for school, which is when Odegard believes the stabbing happened.
In a statement to The Post, Odegard said her daughter was always ''the brightest person in the room.'' Papenheim is the second child Odegard has lost. Her son, Papenheim's brother, committed suicide almost three years ago, she said.
That was why her daughter had decided to study psychology at Erasmus University, Odegard said. She wanted to understand it.
''She lived for drumming, but she also wanted a steady career and was extremely interested in psychology [with an emphasis in studying] suicide, for which she lost her brother,'' Odegard said in the statement.
Papenheim loved the blues, Odegard said. While she spent some of her childhood in the Twin Cities, she attended high school in Redding, Calif., where she played drums in the jazz band and marching band. Her band teacher told the Redding Record Searchlight she ''felt strongly about being a female drummer,'' an instrument traditionally dominated by men. Returning to Minneapolis after school, she was thundering away behind a drum set at Shaw's Bar in Minneapolis every Monday night before she was even old enough to have a beer, blending in with musicians twice her age.
Garry ''Jellybean'' Johnson, the funk virtuoso from Morris Day and The Time and who has played drums for Prince, was among those who took note. Eventually, he would become her mentor.
"I liked her because she hit the drums just as hard as guys did,'' Johnson told CBS Minnesota. ''So I nicknamed her 'Thumper.' ''
When he learned from Odegard about what had happened to her, Johnson said, he couldn't wrap his mind around it, especially because she was studying to make sense of her brother's suicide.
''I'm still numb from it,'' Johnson told CBS. ''I still can't believe that something this bad happened to her."
Living in the Netherlands didn't keep Papenheim away from her music, or even the Minneapolis music community. On her birthday last year, she jammed with the Minneapolis-based Bernard Allison Group at a rock venue in Germany while the band was on tour. Perched behind the drum set, she whipped her high ponytail back and forth with the beat, rumbling through a cover of ''Sweet Home Chicago.'' Every now and then, she closed her eyes, scrunching her face with the gusto of the Blues Brothers' John Belushi.
''How about it, ladies and gentlemen?!'' yelled singer and guitarist Bernard Allison.
On Wednesday, he posted the clip with a message addressed to Papenheim, saying, ''We will never forget you.''
Odegard said that for now, she is trying to figure out how to bring her daughter back home, which she expects will cost thousands of dollars. Musicians in Minneapolis organized a benefit concert to celebrate her. As of early Friday, hundreds have donated more than $19,000 to a GoFundMe campaign to aid Odegard in bringing her home. Dozens have offered tributes on Facebook.
''We have lost a great young musician and heaven has gained one,'' the Minnesota Blues Society, sharing a photo of Papenheim behind a drum set, wrote on Facebook.
How the Super Bowl Halftime Show Became Music's Least Wanted Gig '' Variety
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 04:51
December 14, 2018 1:53PM PTThe band has approached more than a half-dozen stars; so far no one has said yes.Who would have thought that the Super Bowl Halftime show, an American institution watched by more than 100 million people, would become the least wanted gig in music? But thanks to the ongoing controversy concerning the NFL's stance on a player's right to protest, brought to the forefront by football's top conscientious objector Colin Kaepernick, Maroon 5 are learning the precarious stance that the performance represents.
According to sources, the band has reached out to more than a half-dozen stars to appear as featured guests during the 13-minute slot midway through Super Bowl LIII, but so far, none have agreed to do it. Among those considering the appearance are Cardi B, who is featured on the Maroon 5 hit ''Girls Like You,'' which spent seven weeks at No. 1 over the fall (the rapper is also scheduled to appear at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 10) and Andre Benjamin, AKA Andre 3000 of beloved local act Outkast. Others '-- like Mary J. Blige '-- had been approached but faced scheduling conflicts; still more, like Usher, Lauryn Hill and Nicki Minaj, who performed at the 2012 Super Bowl with Madonna, are names rumored to be in the mix.
Because the 2019 Super Bowl is being staged in Atlanta '-- arguably the capital of black music in the U.S. '-- Maroon 5's team has been working to find a local act who will perform with them, says insiders (worth noting: the NFL has not yet officially announced Maroon 5 as the halftime show act). The booming Atlanta-based label and management company Quality Control '-- whose top acts Migos, Lil Yachty and Lil Baby will be performing at the Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest at the city's State Farm Arena on Jan. 31 '-- is an obvious candidate to help with that effort, and while the company's principals, Kevin ''Coach K'' Lee and Pierre ''Pee'' Thomas, told Variety they have been speaking with reps about the halftime show, both declined to discuss further. A tag-team guest spot featuring Migos and Cardi B, whom the company also consults via its management division, seemed like a strong option until Cardi announced that she and her husband, Migos member Offset, are separating.
Other acts performing in town during the days leading up to the game include Cardi, Post Malone and Bruno Mars. In addition, local artists like Ludacris and Lil Jon will feature prominently at the Bud Light shows held on the weekend of the game.
Curiously, the Super Bowl halftime show doesn't pay, which makes it even tricker to book an A-list act. And while the viewing audience is undoubtedly enormous, the criticism over aligning with the NFL promises to ring as loudly. ''Nobody wants to be associated with it,'' says one insider privy to talks about the halftime show. (That statement also begs the question of who will deliver the National Anthem at the game's start.)
So what's a halftime performer to do? ''It's like a movie '-- if you can't cast the biggest stars, you need a high-concept,'' says public relations veteran Howard Bragman of LaBrea.Media. ''If other networks smell a weaker show, they're gonna be counter-programming, so you have to come out really strong.'' But considering the location and the still-lingering outcry by celebrities like Amy Schumer to boycott the Super Bowl, ''there's no question it's going to be a challenge'' for Maroon 5, he adds, though Bragman has some suggestions. ''They could put a 500-person choir there or find one made up of local kids,'' he offers. ''Regardless, it has to be diverse. That's who the audience is and that's the world we live in.''
Variety has reached out to the NFL and a rep for Maroon 5 for comment.
UPDATED: ''Saturday Night Live'' cast member Pete Davidson posted a disturbing message Saturday morning stating he doesn't ''want to be on this earth anymore,'' then deleted his Instagram account. In the post, Davidson wrote, ''I'm doing my best to stay here for you but i actually don't know how much longer i can last. all [...]
Disney Channel has severed ties with ''Andi Mack'' actor Stoney Westmoreland following his arrest for allegedly trying to arrange a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old. ''Stoney Westmoreland, an actor working on the series 'Andi Mack,' was arrested in Salt Lake City today,'' a Disney Channel spokesperson said in a statement Friday. ''Given the nature of [...]
On Friday's roundup, Netflix announces the premiere date for ''Russian Doll'' and Benedict Cumberbatch's ''Brexit'' film has a premiere date on HBO FIRST LOOKS Related Why Adam Levine Thought It Was 'Important' to Include Cardi B on 'Girls Like You' The Best Albums of 2018 Showtime has released a new teaser for the upcoming comedy series, [...]
There's something comforting about the predictability of a period piece novel adaptation in the Masterpiece Theater tradition. Knowing the story, or even just the rhythms of the genre, there are rarely many surprises. The women will toss off witticisms and cry careful, pretty tears; the men will steel their jaws and declare their love, ideally [...]
At this point, a new breaking sexual harassment case at CBS isn't exactly a surprise. Over and over again, powerful CBS company men from producers to executives to the ex-CEO himself have made headlines for propagating decades of harassment and abuse, with dozens of witnesses affirming that the pattern was business as usual. But as [...]
The 12th season fall finale of ''The Big Bang Theory'' handily topped all of its scripted competition in the delayed viewing numbers for the week of Dec. 3. In Live+3, ''The Big Bang Theory'' rose from a 2.1 rating to a 3.3 in adults 18-49, a lift of 57%. In total viewers, the show went [...]
Willow Shields has been cast in a series regular role in ''Spinning Out,'' the upcoming ice skating drama series at Netflix. She joins a cast that also includes Kaya Scodelario, who was announced as the series lead on Thursday, taking over the role originally held by Emma Roberts. Shields will star as Serena, Kat Baker's (Scodelario) [...]
Miss Universe 2018: Miss Spain Angela Ponce Breaking Barriers As The First Transgender Contestant |
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 03:31
Carrying a bold message of inclusion, transgender rights Miss Spain, Angela Ponce, is blazing a trail as the first transgender contestant in Miss Universe's 66-year history.
Angela Ponce, 27, is making history since the pageant reversed a longstanding policy in 2012 that participants must be naturally born women.
Angela Ponce, who works with a foundation in Spain helping children struggling with stigma linked to being trans, is aware of the visibility she brings to the Miss Universe platform. She wants to raise awareness of issues and prejudice suffered by trans women.
Her performance has so far drawn praise, from her portrayal of a flamenco dancer during the national costume portion of the competition to her strut down the runway in a shimmery mermaid-like gown in the evening dress category.
This year's pageant boasts of an all-women panel of judges made up of business leaders and former Miss Universe titleholders.
Los Angeles-based Lhuillier, who was born and raised in Cebu, has dressed prominent celebrities and political figures such as Angeline Jolie, Sandra Bullock, Anna Kendrick, Taylor Swift, Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore, and first ladies Michelle Obama and Melania Trump, among others.
While there will be many changes to this year's pageant, one thing that won't change is Steve Harvey, who will return to host this year. Model and body-positive activist Ashley Graham will also be back this year as a host from backstage, to give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the competition.
The groundbreaking change to this year's Miss Universe competition comes amidst a post Me Too shakeup in other pageants as well.
Nehal Chudasama, Miss Diva '' Miss Universe India 2018, is also hopeful to get the crown back.
Monday's event will see Miss Universe 2017, Demi Leigh Nel Peters of South Africa crown her successor among 94 countries.
The finale of Miss Universe 2018 will be held early Monday, December 17, 2018, in Thailand's capital Bangkok.
Could America's "Deep Underground Seismic Scar" Be Re-Awakening? | Zero Hedge
Sun, 16 Dec 2018 02:57
Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,
Large earthquakes aren't supposed to happen in Tennessee.
On Wednesday, the largest earthquake in 45 years hit eastern Tennessee, and it made headlines all over the nation. The magnitude 4.4 quake was so powerful that it was felt in portions of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Kentucky. Significant shaking was even felt as far away as Atlanta, and that was highly unusual. The original earthquake was rapidly followed by a magnitude 3.0 aftershock, and subsequently there were several other noteworthy aftershocks.
We live at a time when earthquakes are increasing in size and frequency, and many are concerned about what this may mean for our future. The recent earthquakes in Alaska were a shock, but at least they made sense since much of the coastline of Alaska sits directly along the Ring of Fire. But eastern Tennessee is not an area that has traditionally been prone to quakes. Could it be possible that the ''seismic scar'' that was created when the North American continent was formed is beginning to reawaken?
Prior to Wednesday, the last time that eastern Tennessee had experienced an earthquake of this magnitude or greater was on November 30th, 1973.
That was 45 years ago, and many of you that will be reading this article were not even alive at that time.
Some experts had regarded eastern Tennessee as one of the ''safest'' areas in the eastern half of the country, but after what we just witnessed they may want to reevaluate things. When the earthquake happened, the shaking was so violent that it actually woke people from their sleep all the way over in neighboring North Carolina'...
''Felt it here in Arden off Brevard Rd for sure. Sitting on the couch at 4:15 am reading news on laptop and it felt like the house swayed back and forth for a few seconds. Weird'...'....'' '' Wayne Womble
''I felt the earthquake in Alexander, NC around 4:15 am. It woke me from my sleep.'' '' Megan S. Bottego
''We felt the earthquake in Marshall, Madison County, NC (just outside the Buncombe County line). It woke me up about 4:20am as it shook enough to cause items on dresser to shake and rattle. It only lasted about 5-10 seconds. '' '' Paula Seay
But this isn't the only earthquake that has happened in the region recently.
In fact, in the center of the United States there have been 27 significant earthquakes of magnitude 1.5 or greater within the last 7 days.
Eastern Tennessee is not in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, but it is not too far away either. And there are some that are speculating that the ''deep underground scar'' that was created during the formation of the North American continent may be awakening once again. The following is what Wikipedia has to say about the formation of that scar'...
The faults responsible for the New Madrid Seismic Zone are embedded in a subsurface geological feature known as the Reelfoot Rift that formed during the breakup of the supercontinent Rodinia in the Neoproterozoic Era (about 750 million years ago). The resulting rift system failed to split the continent, but has remained as an aulacogen (a scar or zone of weakness) deep underground, and its ancient faults appear to have made the Earth's crust in the New Madrid area mechanically weaker than much of the rest of North America.
This relative weakness is important, because it would allow the relatively small east-west compressive forces associated with the continuing continental drift of the North American plate to reactivate old faults around New Madrid, making the area unusually prone to earthquakes in spite of it being far from the nearest tectonic plate boundary.
As noted above, because of this scar the crust of our planet in that region is ''mechanically weaker'' and thus more vulnerable to shaking.
What that means is that earthquakes in that area could potentially be far more damaging.
According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, any earthquakes that occur along the New Madrid fault could ''shake and damage an area approximately 20 times larger than earthquakes in California'''...
Due to the harder, colder, drier and less fractured nature of the rocks in the earth's crust in the central United States, earthquakes in this region shake and damage an area approximately 20 times larger than earthquakes in California and most other active seismic areas. Even though large earthquakes occur much less frequently in the NMSZ than in California, the long term average quake threat, in terms of square miles affected per century, is about the same because of the approximately 20 times larger area affected in the central United States.
And even though most Americans don't realize this, some of the worst earthquakes in all of U.S. history have happened right in the middle of the country.
In 1811 and 1812 three massive earthquakes struck directly along the New Madrid Seismic Zone, and the damage was off the charts. The following comes from a previous article'...
Those earthquakes in 1811 and 1812 tore thousands of very deep fissures in the ground, they caused the Mississippi River to actually run backwards in some places, and they caused sidewalks to crack in Washington D.C. and church bells to ring in Boston.
In our time, the U.S. Geological Survey has admitted that the New Madrid fault zone has the ''potential for larger and more powerful quakes than previously thought'', and we have seen the number of significant earthquakes in the middle part of the country more than quintuple in recent years.
There is a reason why I included a catastrophic New Madrid earthquake in The Beginning Of The End, and scientists assure us that it is only a matter of time before one takes place.
Giant earthquakes and huge volcanic eruptions are starting to happen with such frequency now that they almost immediately start receding from our memory after they happen. We have been witnessing one historic seismic event after another, and they are happening so fast that it is hard to keep up with them all. And when you throw in wildfires, floods, hurricanes and all other major disasters, what we have been witnessing is truly historic.
According to CNN, 2017 was the costliest year for natural disasters ever, and it looks like there is a good chance that we will break that record again this year.
Our planet is changing, and many believe that very dark days are ahead for all of us.

Clips & Documents

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Anita Crawford-Chair of Political Science Department at Boston University-fighting terror cost almost 6 trillion dollars.mp3
Apprentice Staffer Noel Casler Trump was a 'Speed freak' who crushed up Adderall and snorted it.mp3
COP24 agreement sidesteps financial issues-Euronews.mp3
Does Anyone Here Remember the Ozone Layer-EOS-Secret Agent Paul.mp3
Etias Traveller Requirement in 2020.mp3
guns in luggage TSA CBS.mp3
hindu celebration poisoning PBS.mp3
Loudermilk voical fry gag.mp3
Maxine Waters with Chris Hayes-President Trump 'Deserves to Be Impeached'.mp3
Michael Cohen with George Stephanapolous-The Truth in SDNY.mp3
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mulveny morphs into CHoen story by CBS.mp3
NC vote foul up plus trick play DN.mp3
NPR on board games-Secret Hitler.mp3
NPR with Maria Butina lawyer-NRA works for Russia LOL.mp3
NPR-COP24 Update Backgrounder.mp3
Obama care repealed One.mp3
Simon Sinek on cell phone addiction right.mp3
Student loan debt cancelled DN.mp3
Supercuts-Super Pissed Sources Say.mp3
The Current CBC Climate Change-1-Completely unrealistic and Child abuse setups.mp3
The Current CBC Climate Change-2-Margret Klein Solomon- Clinical Psychologist of 'Climate Mobilization'-CRASH TRANSITION WWII.mp3
The Current CBC Climate Change-3-Margret Klein Solomon- Examples of WWII individual actions.mp3
The Current CBC Climate Change-4-Margret Klein Solomon- WWII was GREAT we felt alive-we aren't even trying now.mp3
The Current CBC Climate Change-5-Nine to fifteen year olds with piano music terrified of Climate Change-Child Abuse.mp3
Tony Blair on the Brexit Do-Over.mp3
Transgender Female To Compete In Miss Universe Contest.mp3
Western Sharahan breakthrouygh DN.mp3
yellow vest update PBS.mp3
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