1145: Dumb Meat

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 45m
June 9th, 2019
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Executive Producers: Dame Leesa Donner, Michael Mugler, Dame Isobel Pearson, Justin Bissette

Cover Artist: CSB


Start of Show
Liberty Nation: 'Top 10 Conservative Podcasts to Download in 2019'
UK Conservative Party Leadership Contender Michael Gove Admits Cocaine Usage
Hillary Clinton's Brother Tony Rodham Dies at 64
Vox Adpocalypse
Boeing Donates $10 Million to the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago
Bob Hope Mocks Democrats in Old Movie
NASA's Lost Telemetry Data
NASA Opens International Space Station to Tourists
Man Planning Terrorist Attack on Times Square Arrested
Swedish Regional Airline BRA Launches Environment Class
Rhiana Gunn-Wright Compares Climate Change to 25 Holocausts
NPR's The World: 'How Climate Change is Affecting Mental Health'
DNC Tells Jay Inslee He's Not Allowed to Participate in Climate Debates
DNC Presidential Debates
Birthdays, Meetups & Title Changes
Electric Scooters in Nashville
Actor Jerome Flynn Warns Direwolf Trend is Hurting Huskies
First Dog-Friendly Movie Theater Opens in Austin
JCD's Horse Meat Story
Clip Blitz
US-Mexico Deal
US Considers New Rule to Dramatically Limit Asylum Eligibility
Canada Calls Out Twitter for Not Commiting to Declaration on Electoral Integrity Online
End of Show
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Considering Studio Naming Rights
Hillary Clinton's brother landed lucrative gold-mining permit in Haiti after Bill Clinton helped country recover from earthquake devastation | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 04:40
An unusual nexus of mining interests, relief work in Haiti, and a former U.S. first family is raising new ethics questions that could affect Hillary Clinton's presidential ambitions.
Clinton's brother, Tony Rodham, was a board member of a North Carolina mining company that enjoyed prime access to Haitian gold deposits in the wake of post-earthquake relief work organized in part by former president Bill Clinton through the Clinton Foundation.
Another board member of the firm, VCS Mining, was former Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, who co-chaired the charitable Interim Haiti Recovery Commission with Mr. Clinton.
The revelation, smacking of cronyism and back-room government dealing, is part of a forthcoming book by Government Accountability Institute founder Peter Schweizer, whose work exposing the investment 'insider trading' habits of members of Congress caused national outrage in 2011 even though the practice was legal.
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ONE-STOP SHOP: Clinton presided over the grand opening of a Haitian industrial park in October 2012, two months before VCS Mining got a lucrative gold mining permit
'Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,' his latest book, will go on sale May 5.
At the time VCS Mining's 'gold exploitation permit' was awarded, according to a press release from the company, it was one of only two firms to get one. The Haitian government hadn't issued such a permit in more than 50 years.
Tony Rodham, brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, sat on the board of a company that landed a gold mining deal in Haiti after Bill and Hillary Clinton directed millions into post-earthquake relief
Breitbart News first reported on the investigative nonfiction book's coming release.
The January 2010 Haiti earthquake killed more than 100,000 people and affected more than 3 million. That disaster was followed nine months later by a cholera epidemic of historic proportions.
The Clinton Foundation raised at least $36 million to help, according to its website.
The Obama administration pledged $3.6 billion. 'Much of the U.S. assistance is provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development,' a department of the State Department that Mrs. Clinton led at the time, according to the department's website.
Rodham's company got its gold mining rights in December 2012, according to the VCS press release.
Schweizer's publisher, HarperCollins, said in a press release Thursday that it 'reveals how the Clintons went from "dead broke" on leaving the White House to being millionaires, describing in detail the way in which the Clintons habitually blur the lines between politics, philanthropy, and business.'
The Clintons' family philanthropy came under fire in February for admitting it had accepted money directly from foreign governments including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Oman.
Some of those donations came while Mrs. Clinton was the U.S. secretary of state.
Breitbart reported that the terms of Rodham's gold windfall upset members of Haiti's senate: The government's royalties under the deal were pegged at just 2.5 per cent, half the customary rate. And VCS mining has an option to renew the terms for 25 years.
HarperCollins executive editor Adam Bellow, son of the famed novelist Saul Bellow, said in a statement that in Schweizer's book, he 'coins a new term to describe the unique way in which Bill and Hillary tend to mingle their political, personal and philanthropic interests.'
He calls it 'the Clinton Blur.'
'Schweizer's exhaustively researched book raises serious questions about the sources of the Clintons' sudden wealth, their ethical judgment, and Hillary's fitness for high public office,' Bellow added.
Mrs. Clinton was America's first lady and a U.S. shuhenator before losing the Democratic presidential nomination to Barack Obama in 2008 and joining his administration the following year.
In addition to howls from the political right about her foundation's role in attracting donors from among countries with whom she negotiated '' $500,000 of the Clinton Foundation's Haiti donations came from the Algerian government, for example '' she is under fire for using a private email address run on her own server, during her years at the State Department.
She never had a 'state.gov' address. Instead she ran her professional and personal emails through her own Internet domain, 'clintonemails.com,' creating ethical and possibly legal issues because of the possibility that the State Department has not archived all her messages.
CLOSE: Clinton greeted Haitian President Michel Martelly warmly when she arrived for the indutrial ribbon cutting in 2012
Clinton got an additional black eye this week with the revelation that Scott Gration, who served as America's ambassador to Kenya for 13 months of her tenure, was ousted after he did somethign similar.
When Gration took over the Nairobi embassy, according to a 2012 inspector general report, he insisted on the installation of a private, commercial Internet connection in the bathroom attached to his office so he could communicate with the outside world beyond the reach of the State Department.
The Federal Records Act requires employees of executive branch agencies to keep their emails and make them available for permanent retention.
The law originally did not explicitly apply to electronic communications; Congress updated it after Mrs. Clinton left her job as America's top diplomat.
Stories about government higher-ups using private email addresses for government work are nothing new.
One Obama administration official, former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson, used an email address with fictitious name attached '' 'Richard Windsor.'
But Clinton is widely expected to announce a run for the White House next month, putting her conduct under an unforgiving microscope.
Members of Congress typically have private email addresses, something that's not prohibited under federal law for officials in the government's legislative branch.
Federal law does, however, prohibit them from using their taxpayer-funded 'mail.house.gov' or 'senate.gov' addresses for fundraising and other political activity.
NEW How the Clintons' Haiti development plans succeed '-- and disappoint - The Washington Post
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 04:32
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti '-- Deep in the Haitian countryside, peanut farmer Wismith Moricette epitomizes the success of Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton's charitable work: Through an innovative program backed by the Clintons, the 23-year-old has doubled the yield from his one-acre plot. Along with all those peanuts, Moricette said, have come visions of a brighter future for his wife and young son.
Fifty miles away on Haiti's north coast, Anelle Germinal exemplifies another reality of the Clintons' work here: disappointment. The 33-year-old mother of four has been standing in the baking sun every day for months waiting for work in the struggling Caracol Industrial Park, which the Clintons have touted as a model that would change the economy of this impoverished country.
''They said we would have work,'' Germinal said, ''but I have nothing.''
Moricette and Germinal are two faces of the Clintons' increasingly complicated relationship with Haiti, where their high-profile development efforts after a devastating earthquake in 2010 have produced both success and disillusionment.
As Hillary Clinton moves toward a second run for the White House, her family's global charitable work, mostly through the Clinton Foundation, has come under intense scrutiny. The foundation has accepted large donations from corporations and foreign countries, raising concerns that the Clintons are creating conflicts of interest by blurring the lines between their political, business and charitable interests.
Two farmers water plants in the Acceso farm, near Mirebalais. The Acceso Peanut Enterprise Corp. was started with a $1.25 million grant from the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership. (Andres Martinez Casares/for The Washington Post)The Washington Post reported last month that the foundation's donors include seven foreign governments that contributed millions during Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state. Among those donations was a $500,000 contribution from the Algerian government for earthquake relief in Haiti that the foundation has acknowledged violated the terms of an ethics agreement with the Obama administration.
[Graphic: A vast network for donors]
The Clintons' defenders have dismissed concerns about the donations as political sniping, saying the test of the foundation is not where it gets its money but how it spends it. They said their work has created economic opportunity, improved lives for women and girls, raised health standards and fought the effects of climate change across the developing world.
The work has been especially visible in Haiti, where the Clintons first traveled as young newlyweds in 1975 and where many people credit them with drawing the world's attention immediately after the earthquake, which killed more than 200,000 people.
With former president Clinton assigned by the United Nations to head up the emergency recovery effort and Hillary Clinton guiding official U.S. assistance as secretary of state, the couple helped a relief effort that has included some of the world's richest people, biggest celebrities and most successful businesses. The Clintons also helped mobilize an effort in which international donors pledged $10.4 billion, including $3.9 billion from the United States.
Greg Milne, director of the Clinton Foundation's Haiti Program, said projects include efforts that have helped more than 2,000 small farmers, an artisan-goods company that employs more than 300 people, a fish-farming operation, a cholera treatment center and improvements to schools in some of Haiti's poorest slums.
Clinton supporters also point out that their successes have come amid Haiti's chaotic political situation '-- parliament is not functioning and President Michel Martelly, dogged by scandal, is ruling with virtually no checks on his power '-- which is marked by endemic corruption, weak institutions, poverty, poor public education, terrible roads and other factors that have historically made it extremely difficult for development efforts to succeed.
Landry Colas hugs former president Bill Clinton in 2012 to express his gratitude for the Caracol Industrial Park, one of the largest regional investment projects in Haiti, which was expected to create more than 60,000 jobs. (Carl Juste/Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images)The country has long had a fraught relationship with foreigners who come to invest and provide aid. Haitians often regard them with gratitude for desperately needed resources and, at the same time, with suspicion that their motives are more to make a profit in Haiti than to help it.
Nevertheless, the Clintons are facing a growing backlash that too little has been accomplished in the past five years and that some of the most high-profile projects they have backed '-- including a just-opened Marriott, another luxury hotel and the industrial park '-- have helped foreign investors and Haiti's wealthy elites more than its poor.
''Bill Clinton is a good guy and well-intentioned, but the people here don't think so '-- they think he's here making money,'' said Leslie Voltaire, a former government official who worked with Clinton on post-earthquake reconstruction. ''There is a lot of resentment about Clinton here. People have not seen results. .'‰.'‰. They say that Clinton used Haiti.''
In January, Haitian expatriates picketed the Clinton Foundation's New York headquarters, demanding to know why more progress has not been made with the billions in international aid pledged after the quake.
Said Raymond Joseph, a former Haitian ambassador to the United States: ''People are asking, 'What has Bill Clinton done for us?' ''
[Activist: Haiti redevelopment hasn't been about helping Haitians]
The Clintons' long influence in Haiti is hard to overstate.
As president in 1994, Bill Clinton deployed about 20,000 U.S. troops to Haiti to restore President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who had been ousted in a coup in 1991. Clinton's trade policies as president, which he later called a ''mistake,'' were devastating to Haiti's rice production and made it harder for the country to feed itself.
In 2009, Clinton was named U.N. special envoy for Haiti, and he has visited the country 37 times since then.
After the earthquake, Clinton united with former president George W. Bush to create the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, which distributed $54.4 million in the two years after the earthquake. Separately, the Clinton Foundation has spent more than $30 million in Haiti and led efforts through the Clinton Global Initiative to persuade private companies to spend vastly more.
''What I think most people don't know, even if they've been on the ground there, is these people are immensely talented,'' Bill Clinton said in a 2010 interview with NPR. ''They have suffered from 200 years of outside and inside abuses and neglect and misgovernment. And a lot of the people who've gone there even to help them in the best of faith have done so in a way that would never have allowed them to support themselves and to lift themselves up. And now there is a true consensus for and determination for a sustainable, comprehensive, long-term, modern society in Haiti. And they can do it.''
But as the initial emergency response has evolved into efforts to ensure Haiti's long-term development, Haitians increasingly complain that the Clintons' most ambitious plans are disconnected from the realities of most people in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
For instance, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund invested more than $2 million in the Royal Oasis ­hotel, where a sleek suite with hardwood floors costs more than $200 a night and the shops sell $150 designer purses and $120 men's dress shirts.
One recent afternoon, the hotel appeared largely empty, and with tourism hardly booming five years after the quake, locals fear it may be failing. A spokeswoman for Occidental Hotels, the chain that runs the hotel, said that ­occupancy is up this year and that the project will ''mature in the long run.''
Bill Clinton also introduced Marriott officials to Denis O'Brien, an Irish telecom billionaire who has contributed millions to the Clinton Foundation. The result is a $45 million Marriott hotel that opened this month in central Port-au-Prince. O'Brien said no Clinton money was invested in the project.
The ultra-modern hotel is adjacent to the headquarters of Digicel, a communications giant owned by O'Brien. When The Post visited recently, many, if not most, guests seemed to be foreign businessmen connected to Digicel.
Clinton defenders argue that hotels that cater to well-heeled foreign guests can still buy local products and provide local jobs, and those guests are often involved in business investments or aid projects that benefit the neediest Haitians.
O'Brien said his hotel employs 200 Haitians, is filled with locally purchased art and serves food from Haiti. O'Brien leads the Haiti Action Network, a collection of private businesses that have committed through the Clinton Global Initiative to spend $500 million on projects in Haiti. He and his company just built 150 schools and rebuilt Port-au-Prince's historic Iron Market.
''I don't know any modern leader that has spent more time helping a country and being so effective,'' O'Brien said of Bill Clinton. ''He works like a demon in the developing world. Nobody is doing that. Is Tony Blair doing that?''
Other Clinton-backed projects have not delivered on lofty promises: A 2011 housing expo that cost more than $2 million, including $500,000 from the Clinton Foundation, was supposed to be a model for thousands of new units but instead has resulted in little more than a few dozen abandoned model homes occupied by squatters.
Controversy surrounding the Clintons only deepened with the recent revelation, contained in an upcoming book by Peter Schweizer, that Tony Rodham '-- Hillary Clinton's younger brother '-- serves on the advisory board of a U.S.-based company that in 2012 won one of Haiti's first two gold-mining permits in 50 years. After objection from the Haitian Senate, the permits have been placed on hold.
''Neither Bill Clinton nor the brother of Hillary Clinton are individuals who share the interests of the Haitian people,'' said Samuel Nesner, an anti-mining activist who thinks mining poses great environmental risks and will mainly benefit foreign investors. ''They are part of the elite class who are operating to exploit the Haitian people.''
Clinton Foundation officials said Bill Clinton had been unaware of Rodham's involvement in the mine project. A spokesman for Hillary Clinton said she does not know the chief executive of the mine.
''I strongly believe the Clintons came to Haiti in good faith and they wanted to have an impact,'' said Jean-Max Bellerive, who was Haiti's prime minister at the time of the earthquake and served as co-chairman with Bill Clinton on the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission. (Bellerive is also on the mining company's advisory board.)
But, Bellerive said, the former president was hampered by a ''weak'' staff of American aides who were ''more interested in supporting Clinton than helping Haiti.'' Echoing a common sentiment in Haiti, Bellerive also said Clinton should have listened more carefully to the opinions and needs of ordinary Haitians: ''How do you want a guy coming from Davos or Dubai to get the real feeling for what's happening downstairs?''
Milne, of the Clinton Foundation, said the criticism is wrong and unsurprising.
''President Clinton is one of the most dedicated and highest-profile advocates for Haiti, and he is still engaged while others have moved on,'' he said. ''So it's not surprising that, for some, he is an easy target for natural frustration that the change we all want isn't happening faster.''
Milne said the country has experienced strong economic growth in recent years, with more Haitians employed and more children in school.
''Is Haiti building back better?'' Milne said, using a phrase that the Clintons frequently quote. ''In many ways, yes, though challenges remain.''
Paul Farmer, a doctor whose Partners in Health has helped provide medical care in rural Haiti since the 1980s and whose health network has received more than $1.8 million from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund for a medical residency program, also praised the Clintons' work. He said he forged partnerships at CGI meetings with private businesses and other charities for a variety of projects he said would not have taken place without the Clinton connection.
He said that by any objective measure, Haiti has been improving, in part because of the Clintons' efforts.
''Is the whole country built back better? I doubt it,'' Farmer said. ''Water insecurity and food insecurity are very pressing problems. But if you look at the health statistics for Haiti .'‰.'‰. infant mortality, child mortality '-- they're all improving.''
Still, even some who have benefited from Clinton-backed programs have grown disillusioned.
''I read that Bill Clinton is the most popular politician in America, but he couldn't get elected mayor in Haiti today,'' said Jacky Lumarque, rector of Quisqueya University, a private school that was damaged in the earthquake and received $914,000 from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund to create an entrepreneurship center.
Lumarque said the program has helped hundreds of Haitians turn their informal street businesses into formal entities that keep records, pay taxes and have potential for growth.
He said it has been a huge success '-- but stands apart from the usual strategy of foreign groups, including the Clintons, who tend to favor projects imposed by well-meaning foreigners that are more ''about Haiti'' than ''for Haiti.''
The entrepreneurship center, Lumarque said, ''is an example of what Clinton can do, in spite of himself.''
[Foreign governments gave millions to Clintons' foundation]
When Bill Clinton came here late last month to help inaugurate the new Marriott, he made a side trip by helicopter to Haiti's central plateau to have a look at a Clinton-backed program that is revolutionizing the peanut-farming industry.
The Acceso Peanut Enterprise Corp. was started with a $1.25 million grant from the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, which is headed by Bill Clinton and Canadian mining executive and philanthropist Frank Giustra, as well as the charitable foundation of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.
Acceso buys feed, fertilizer and fungicide at bulk rates, then sells them to farmers for far less than normal prices. Acceso also hires tractors for farmers who otherwise would be using an ox and plow.
Robert Johnson, an American who runs the program, said the improvements are vastly increasing yields, quality and farmers' profits.
He said Acceso worked with about 1,000 farmers last year and bought about 120 metric tons of peanuts. This year, it expects to triple the number of farmers and buy almost five times as much peanut tonnage.
At least half of Acceso's sales have gone to two large Haitian factories that produce a peanut-based paste that is given to malnourished children. Most of the rest goes to local peanut-butter producers, he said. The program's success, Johnson said, comes from its market-driven approach: It's not a charity, it's a business with a charitable purpose.
''We're building something that is going to be sustainable,'' he said. ''We talk to the farmers. We're not going to just bring in something that someone thought up in ­Davos.''
The program is branching out into lime-growing, and Clinton visited a site last month where thousands of seedlings are being cultivated by dozens of workers.
Benel Auguste, 32, is one of the small landowners who rented his plot, about a third of an acre, to Acceso to plant limes. ''It's a good idea; it's going to work,'' he said. ''We know limes and we need them. We can do this.''
The Clintons also were enthusiastic backers of the Caracol Industrial Park, which was built on 600 acres of farmland just east of ­the port city Cap-Haitien.
They agreed with economists, particularly Oxford University development specialist Paul Collier, who concluded that Haiti is an ideal place to create mass jobs in garment factories because of its proximity to the United States, favorable trade agreements and cheap labor.
The Clintons helped Haitian officials identify Sae-A Trading Co., which operates factories across the developing world and sews garments for giants such as Target, Gap and Wal-Mart, as a potential major investor.
As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, along with top aide ­Cheryl Mills, lobbied for the project with South Korean officials and hosted Sae-A executives in Washington to press the plan.
Bill Clinton attended the Sae-A contract-signing ceremony in Port-au-Prince on Jan. 11, 2011 '-- a day before the first anniversary of the earthquake. He later laid the first stone of the park's construction. And then in October 2012, the Clintons, Martelly and other officials attended the ribbon-cutting.
Speaking to a group of investors at the ceremony, officials and celebrities that included actors Sean Penn and Ben Stiller, as well as business moguls Donna Karan and Richard Branson, Hillary Clinton said it represented ''a new day for Haiti and a new model for how the international community practices development.''
''Haiti is truly open for business, and we want your help,'' she said. ''We see this partnership between governments like our own and the private sector as absolutely essential in promoting and supporting long-term prosperity in Haiti. We know very well that long-term prosperity cannot come from just the provision of aid. There must be trade and investment like we have seen here today.''
Today, Sae-A employs about 4,500 people. Company spokesman Lon Garwood said the operation has been steadily growing and will open a new facility next month. Henri-Claude M¼ller-Poitevien, a Haitian government official who works in the apparel industry, said the Caracol project is on schedule and continues to expand.
A power plant was built, but plans for a new port at the industrial park to carry finished goods to the United States have been shelved. Residents of the plant's housing project say their land floods when it rains, and few said they think the plant will ever create the number of jobs originally promised.
''I believe that the momentum to attract people there in a massive way is past,'' said Bellerive, the former prime minister. ''You can do interesting things with Caracol, but you have to reinvent the concept. Today, it has failed.''
Each morning, crowds line up outside the park's big front gate, which is guarded by four men in crisp khaki uniforms carrying shotguns. They wait in a sliver of shade next to a cinder-block wall, many holding r(C)sum(C)s in envelopes. Most said they have been coming every day for months, waiting for jobs that pay about $5 a day.
From his envelope, Jean Mito Palvetus, 27, pulled out a diploma attesting that he had completed 200 hours of training with the U.S. Agency for International Development on an industrial sewing machine.
''I have three kids and a wife, and I can't support them,'' he said, sweating in the hot morning sun. ''I have a diploma, but I still can't get a job here. I still have nothing.''
Tom Hamburger in Washington contributed to this report.
Tony Rodham has died; Hillary Clinton's youngest brother dies, cause of death unknown - CBS News
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 04:26
Tony Rodham, the youngest brother of Hillary Clinton, has died, Clinton tweeted on Saturday. Clinton said he died Friday night, but no cause of death was released.
"It's hard to find words, my mind is flooded with memories of him today," Clinton tweeted. "When he walked into a room he'd light it up with laughter. He was kind, generous, & a wonderful husband to Megan & father to Zach, Simon, & Fiona. We'll miss him very much."
Rodham, who was born in 1954, was the third child of Dorothy and Hugh Rodham. He held a variety of jobs over the years, including as prison guard, insurance salesman, repo man, private detective and business investor, according to the Associated Press. He attended Iowa Wesleyan College and the University of Arkansas, but never graduated.
Rodham told Time magazine in 1999 that being the brother-in-law of the most powerful man in the world "can go both ways."
U.S. President Bill Clinton walks with his brother-in-law, Tony Rodham, during an outing at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia, Saturday, August 20, 1994. Marcy Nighswander / AP "There's some wonderful things that have happened to me because of my relationship with Hillary and Bill, and there's been some really terrible things that have happened to me," Rodham told the magazine.
After Bill Clinton's election, Rodham worked as a field organizer for the Democratic National Committee and he even got married at the White House to former Sen. Barbara Boxer's daughter, Nicole Boxer. They later divorced.
But he and Clinton's other brother, Hugh, also became known as a what Politico called "problem siblings." The White House publicly rebuked them in 1999 for their business venture in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. A Department of Homeland Security watchdog report detailed concerns about Rodham and Terry McAuliffe pushing the federal agency for visa approvals while Clinton was Secretary of State, according to Politico.
On the campaign trail in 2015 and 2016, Clinton often spoke fondly of her brothers.
"She loves her family more than anything," said Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill to The New York Times in 2015. "Her brothers have always been there for her, and she will always be there for them."
Sorghum to replace avocado toast!
Sweet Sorghum Sandwich Bread | Misty Morning Bakery
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 11:38
The perfect all-around sandwich bread, soft, moist, and delicious. Try it toasted or as is for your next sandwich extravaganza. Makes great French toast!
water, sweet sorghum flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, brown rice flour, garbanzo flour, almond meal, olive oil, Organic evaporated cane juice, flax seed meal, yeast, salt, xanthan gum, vinegar.
Available at:
Special order: text to (512) 709-6113 to order and arrange for pick up. Phone or voicemail orders not accepted.
Farmhouse Delivery: https://www.farmhousedelivery.com/
Austin: (512) 529-8569
Houston: (512) 529-4747
Quickie Pickie: quickiepickieaustin.com/
1208 E 11th St Austin, TX 78702
(512) 479-0136
and also
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(512) 992-1357
Thom's Market (by special order) thomsmarket.com/
1418 Barton Springs Rd. Austin, TX
and also
160 East Riverside Dr. Austin, TX
In Restaurants:
Beer Plant: thebeerplant.com
3110 Windsor Road Austin, TX 78703
(512) 524-1800
Bouldin Creek Caf(C): bouldincreekcafe.com
1900 S 1st St Austin, TX 78704
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Cenote: cenoteaustin.com/
1010 E. Cesar Chavez St. Austin, TX 78702
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and also
6214 Cameron Rd. Austin, TX 78723
(512) 814-0993
Cherrywood Coffeehouse: cherrywoodcoffeehouse.com/
1400 E 38th 1/2 St. Austin, TX 78722
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Citizen Eatery: https://www.citizeneatery.com/
5011 Burnet Rd. Austin, TX 78756
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Counter Caf(C): countercafe.com/
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and also
1914 E 6th St Ste A Austin, TX 78702
(512) 351-9961
Counter Culture: countercultureaustin.com/
2337 E Cesar Chavez St Austin, TX 78702
(512) 524-1540
G's Dynamite Deli: gsdynamitedeli.com/
2312 S 1st St Austin, TX 78704
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Galaxy Caf(C): www.galaxycafeaustin.com/
9911 Brodie Ln Ste 750. Austin, TX 78748
(512) 233-6000
and also
8127 Mesa Dr. Ste A100 Austin, TX 78759
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and also
4616 Triangle Ave Austin, TX 78705
(512) 323-9494
and also
1000 W Lynn St Austin, TX 78703
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Hillside Farmacy: hillsidefarmacy.com/
1209 E 11th St Austin, TX 78702
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Magnolia Caf(C): www.magnoliacafeaustin.com
1920 S Congress Ave Austin, TX 78704
(512) 445-0000
and also
2304 Lake Austin Blvd Austin, TX 78703
(512) 478-8645
see link below on the advantages of sorghum:
Sorghum French Toast | Bourbon Barrel Foods
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 04:56
3 extra-large eggs½ cup heavy cream½ teaspoon cinnamon½ teaspoon Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla Extract½ teaspoon Bourbon Smoked SugarPinch of freshly grated nutmeg2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butterFour ¾-inch-thick slices of baguette or brioche1 tablespoon butterPowder Sugar for DustingPure Cane Sorghum for Garnish
In a medium, shallow baking dish or bowl, beat eggs with milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract, Bourbon Smoked Sugar, and nutmeg until blended. Working with one slice at a time, soak the bread in the egg mixture, turning several times.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large heavy skillet until it bubbles. Add two of the soaked bread slices and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about two minutes. Turn and cook until golden brown on the second side, about two minutes longer. Repeat with the remaining egg-soaked bread and dust with powdered sugar. Serve with Pure Cane Sorghum.
was last modified: August 30th, 2016 by recipes
Sorghum making a rebound in Europe thanks to climate change
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 04:55
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Dry conditions in the Mutoko region of Zimbabwe are fine for sorghum, and climate change has farmers in Europe taking a fresh look at the grain as well (AFP Photo/Jekesai NJIKIZANA)
Szeged (Hungary) (AFP) - Ferenc Kardos planted 300 hectares of sorghum instead of corn this year. From the fertile Hungarian plain where he lives all the way to southeastern France, the hot weather cereal is taking root in Europe.
"With corn, we suffered losses three out of five years due to drought," said Kardos, the crop manager of a 3,000-hectare (30-square kilometre) farm without irrigation in southern Hungary, part of the Carpathian Basin which is increasingly exposed to extreme temperatures, pushing farmers to adapt crops to global warming.
"If we have to lose money, best take a chance with something we don't know well and see what happens," he told AFP. "We know the risks with corn now."
Sorghum, which is in the same family as millet, is the world's fifth-most important cereal crop, after corn, rice, wheat and barley.
Domesticated in the Sahel region of Africa, the grain consumes 30 percent less water than corn and withstands drought better.
Moreover, sorghum needs little in the way of fertiliser as its deep, extensive roots are good at fixing nitrogen present in the soil. And the plants produce grains even in high temperatures.
While sorghum isn't unknown in Europe, where it has been cultivated since just after WWII, it has been grown almost exclusively as fodder for animals.
In Africa and other regions, however, it is an important human food crop, according to the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization.
In Africa, Nigeria and Sudan are the main producers of the grain. EU countries produce only 750,000 tonnes per year, while 60 million tonnes are harvested each year worldwide.
- Lack of seeds -
During the past several years "there has been an increasing trend for sorghum in Europe", reversing a decline that began in the late 1980s and was reinforced by the reform of the EU's agricultural subsidy system, which provided little support for the grain, said Charles-Antoine Courtois of Sorghum ID, a European association that promotes the crop.
Since 2017 an EU programme has been encouraging sorghum production.
Farmers are also attracted to raising sorghum for crop rotation as it can help replenish soil worn out by intensive production of corn, sunflowers or colza.
"We could have increased surfaces under cultivation even more... but there is a widespread lack of seeds," said Courtois, who also belongs to an association of French producers of sorghum and corn seeds.
After a poor corn harvest two years ago in Hungary there was a spike in interest in sorghum among farmers to avoid putting "all of your eggs in the same basket," he said.
Cultivation of sorghum in Hungary had fallen to 10,000 hectares, from 200,000 hectares three decades ago, according to Ferenc Farkas, who heads up the French farming cooperative Euralis in the country.
Its French rival Axereal, which has malting plants in Croatia and Hungary, is opening a unit to collect sorghum using a silo along the Danube.
Sorghum is also grown in Bulgaria and Italy.
In France, sorghum is mostly grown in the southwest, but it can be found as far north as the Vosges mountains in the northeast where farmers have had difficulty growing enough animal fodder.
Even with its small production of 326,000 tonnes in 2018, France was one of the top EU producers along with Italy.
Can sorghum crops cope with climate change?
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 04:54
Climate forecasts to 2050 suggest sorghum is set to remain Queensland's top crop as temperatures rise and rainfall decreases across the State.
Researchers from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) forecast a relatively healthy future for sorghum crops, but see challenges looming for wheat production.
Project leader Professor Graeme Hammer said the research drew on major global climate models to predict rainfall and temperature changes and run simulations for the next 30 years, to understand the impact on cropping in Queensland.
QAAFI is a partnership between the University of Queensland and the Queensland Government.
Professor Hammer said the outlook for sorghum was not all bad, although impacts varied from region to region.
"Providing that we start breeding sorghum for heat stress adaptation now, the modelling shows that in the next 30 years there is not likely to be much more variability than there currently is," Professor Hammer said.
"Even with increasing heat stress events and reduced summer rainfall predicted under the climate modelling, the impact on sorghum yields to 2050 are offset by the increasing CO2 in the atmosphere, which enables the sorghum plant to use water more efficiently for growth."
Professor Hammer said the situation was more challenging for wheat crops.
"While the modelling shows there will be a reduction in summer rainfall, when sorghum crops are planted, there is even more of a decrease in winter rainfall, when wheat crops are planted, which increases risk of drought stress," Professor Hammer said.
"However, increased temperature will tend to shorten the growing season and counter the effect of limited water supply to some extent."
He said increasing temperatures would cut wheat yield in some regions.
Professor Hammer said researchers from QAAFI, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) were working with the Grains Research and Development Corporation to improve the heat tolerance and water use efficiency in sorghum and wheat crops to deal with climate risks.
The research is supported by a $4 million Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant for sorghum "drought-proofing" work.
"Sorghum is a staple food for about 500 million people around the world, and had significant nutritional qualities," Professor Hammer said.
Professor Hammer will present an analysis of projected heat and drought stresses across Queensland to 2050 at the TropAg conference in Brisbane this week.
Citation: Can sorghum crops cope with climate change? (2015, November 16) retrieved 8 June 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-11-sorghum-crops-cope-climate.html
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U.S. Grain Sorghum Usage | AgManager.info
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 04:52
Grain Marketing
Sorghum - Monthly Price - Commodity Prices - Price Charts, Data, and News - IndexMundi
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 04:49
May 1994 - Apr 2019: 59.250 (55.79 %)
Description: Sorghum (US), no. 2 milo yellow, f.o.b. Gulf ports
Unit: US Dollars per Metric Ton
Source: US Department of Agriculture; World Bank.
See also: Sorghum production statistics
See also: Top commodity suppliers
See also: Commodities glossary - Definitions of terms used in commodity trading
MonthPriceChangeMay 1994106.21-Jun 1994105.73-0.45 %Jul 199493.75-11.33 %Aug 199495.021.35 %Sep 199491.78-3.41 %Oct 199492.370.64 %Nov 199497.745.81 %Dec 1994100.622.95 %Jan 1995101.741.11 %Feb 1995102.070.32 %Mar 1995102.740.66 %Apr 1995103.290.54 %May 1995108.064.62 %Jun 1995112.834.41 %Jul 1995119.105.56 %Aug 1995118.70-0.34 %Sep 1995127.267.21 %Oct 1995137.077.71 %Nov 1995141.803.45 %Dec 1995153.007.90 %Jan 1996154.300.85 %Feb 1996159.813.57 %Mar 1996165.843.77 %Apr 1996188.6613.76 %May 1996185.76-1.54 %Jun 1996174.88-5.86 %Jul 1996163.64-6.43 %Aug 1996152.47-6.83 %Sep 1996130.35-14.51 %Oct 1996113.32-13.06 %Nov 1996105.55-6.86 %Dec 1996105.770.21 %Jan 1997105.65-0.11 %Feb 1997111.225.27 %Mar 1997119.667.59 %Apr 1997118.00-1.39 %May 1997114.20-3.22 %Jun 1997104.28-8.69 %Jul 199796.21-7.74 %Aug 1997104.068.16 %Sep 1997106.792.62 %Oct 1997112.835.66 %Nov 1997112.33-0.44 %Dec 1997110.23-1.87 %Jan 1998111.441.10 %Feb 1998111.730.26 %Mar 1998110.47-1.13 %Apr 1998103.90-5.95 %May 1998100.81-2.97 %Jun 199896.51-4.27 %Jul 199895.44-1.11 %Aug 199891.00-4.65 %Sep 199885.04-6.55 %Oct 199887.703.13 %Nov 199892.215.14 %Dec 199890.20-2.18 %Jan 199991.131.03 %Feb 199990.09-1.14 %Mar 199991.411.47 %Apr 199989.53-2.06 %May 199987.19-2.61 %Jun 199985.98-1.39 %Jul 199976.88-10.58 %Aug 199981.636.18 %Sep 199980.03-1.96 %Oct 199978.43-2.00 %Nov 199979.371.20 %Dec 199981.002.05 %Jan 200089.3410.30 %Feb 200089.890.62 %Mar 200091.732.05 %Apr 200090.58-1.25 %May 200095.024.90 %Jun 200079.76-16.06 %Jul 200073.72-7.57 %Aug 200076.814.19 %Sep 200082.707.67 %Oct 200089.928.73 %Nov 200096.126.90 %Dec 2000100.454.50 %Jan 2001101.080.63 %Feb 200197.69-3.35 %Mar 200195.60-2.14 %Apr 200194.30-1.36 %May 200194.840.57 %Jun 200189.54-5.59 %Jul 200194.475.51 %Aug 200195.130.70 %Sep 200194.63-0.53 %Oct 200194.960.35 %Nov 200194.69-0.28 %Dec 200195.871.25 %Jan 200295.42-0.47 %Feb 200292.87-2.67 %Mar 200291.66-1.30 %Apr 200288.90-3.01 %May 200289.841.06 %Jun 200288.74-1.22 %Jul 2002100.8113.60 %Aug 2002113.7812.87 %Sep 2002117.012.84 %Oct 2002113.56-2.95 %Nov 2002115.051.31 %Dec 2002113.26-1.56 %Jan 2003110.78-2.19 %Feb 2003109.21-1.42 %Mar 2003106.79-2.22 %Apr 2003106.810.02 %May 2003104.96-1.73 %Jun 200397.58-7.03 %Jul 200389.77-8.00 %Aug 2003104.0915.95 %Sep 2003109.134.84 %Oct 2003108.27-0.79 %Nov 2003114.235.50 %Dec 2003116.802.25 %Jan 2004121.674.17 %Feb 2004126.193.71 %Mar 2004130.173.15 %Apr 2004128.60-1.21 %May 2004118.55-7.81 %Jun 2004115.85-2.28 %Jul 200496.73-16.50 %Aug 2004103.076.55 %Sep 200499.67-3.30 %Oct 200493.78-5.91 %Nov 200492.35-1.52 %Dec 200490.69-1.80 %Jan 200589.98-0.78 %Feb 200592.292.57 %Mar 200596.434.49 %Apr 200593.01-3.55 %May 200596.233.46 %Jun 200597.070.87 %Jul 2005105.608.79 %Aug 2005100.09-5.22 %Sep 200597.37-2.72 %Oct 200597.390.02 %Nov 200592.57-4.95 %Dec 200596.564.31 %Jan 2006100.644.23 %Feb 2006106.075.40 %Mar 2006103.66-2.27 %Apr 2006109.355.49 %May 2006113.764.03 %Jun 2006111.88-1.65 %Jul 2006119.997.25 %Aug 2006114.44-4.63 %Sep 2006119.554.47 %Oct 2006138.2315.63 %Nov 2006167.0920.88 %Dec 2006170.612.11 %Jan 2007175.052.60 %Feb 2007180.643.19 %Mar 2007169.96-5.91 %Apr 2007149.52-12.03 %May 2007150.010.33 %Jun 2007154.793.19 %Jul 2007138.47-10.54 %Aug 2007150.288.53 %Sep 2007163.318.67 %Oct 2007163.19-0.07 %Nov 2007170.104.23 %Dec 2007187.019.94 %Jan 2008212.6713.72 %Feb 2008218.502.74 %Mar 2008224.932.94 %Apr 2008240.286.82 %May 2008238.24-0.85 %Jun 2008262.1910.05 %Jul 2008218.82-16.54 %Aug 2008209.34-4.33 %Sep 2008216.013.19 %Oct 2008163.63-24.25 %Nov 2008150.75-7.87 %Dec 2008138.60-8.06 %Jan 2009153.2610.58 %Feb 2009144.13-5.96 %Mar 2009138.59-3.84 %Apr 2009154.1411.22 %May 2009160.083.85 %Jun 2009153.04-4.40 %Jul 2009133.80-12.57 %Aug 2009142.376.41 %Sep 2009141.83-0.38 %Oct 2009159.0512.14 %Nov 2009166.014.38 %Dec 2009166.350.20 %Jan 2010161.79-2.74 %Feb 2010154.06-4.78 %Mar 2010154.700.42 %Apr 2010149.41-3.42 %May 2010147.35-1.38 %Jun 2010130.98-11.11 %Jul 2010132.401.08 %Aug 2010143.408.31 %Sep 2010184.9028.94 %Oct 2010201.048.73 %Nov 2010203.251.10 %Dec 2010221.579.01 %Jan 2011246.3211.17 %Feb 2011253.152.77 %Mar 2011266.145.13 %Apr 2011289.618.82 %May 2011261.32-9.77 %Jun 2011260.43-0.34 %Jul 2011271.174.12 %Aug 2011302.5311.56 %Sep 2011288.81-4.54 %Oct 2011263.67-8.70 %Nov 2011265.440.67 %Dec 2011256.40-3.41 %Jan 2012265.663.61 %Feb 2012269.181.32 %Mar 2012274.031.80 %Apr 2012254.85-7.00 %May 2012259.351.77 %Jun 2012263.931.77 %Jul 2012268.591.77 %Aug 2012273.341.77 %Sep 2012278.161.76 %Oct 2012283.071.77 %Nov 2012289.032.11 %Dec 2012283.96-1.75 %Jan 2013291.012.48 %Feb 2013288.14-0.99 %Mar 2013296.742.98 %Apr 2013269.18-9.29 %May 2013273.591.64 %Jun 2013236.78-13.45 %Jul 2013220.02-7.08 %Aug 2013220.620.27 %Sep 2013216.93-1.67 %Oct 2013205.25-5.38 %Nov 2013195.23-4.88 %Dec 2013205.905.47 %Jan 2014210.212.09 %Feb 2014221.125.19 %Mar 2014234.355.98 %Apr 2014232.37-0.84 %May 2014220.68-5.03 %Jun 2014204.70-7.24 %Jul 2014193.01-5.71 %Aug 2014191.36-0.85 %Sep 2014180.56-5.64 %Oct 2014195.228.12 %Nov 2014213.859.54 %Dec 2014227.306.29 %Jan 2015215.06-5.38 %Feb 2015217.711.23 %Mar 2015227.744.61 %Apr 2015224.21-1.55 %May 2015217.38-3.05 %Jun 2015221.121.72 %Jul 2015222.890.80 %Aug 2015183.53-17.66 %Sep 2015173.61-5.41 %Oct 2015177.472.22 %Nov 2015169.09-4.72 %Dec 2015169.760.40 %Jan 2016164.91-2.86 %Feb 2016164.910.00 %Mar 2016160.50-2.67 %Apr 2016162.261.10 %May 2016158.51-2.31 %Jun 2016166.675.15 %Jul 2016145.17-12.90 %Aug 2016152.675.17 %Sep 2016145.39-4.77 %Oct 2016148.702.28 %Nov 2016144.29-2.97 %Dec 2016153.116.11 %Jan 2017156.202.02 %Feb 2017157.080.56 %Mar 2017151.13-3.79 %Apr 2017149.80-0.88 %May 2017159.956.78 %Jun 2017165.023.17 %Jul 2017163.69-0.81 %Aug 2017169.873.78 %Sep 2017169.76-0.06 %Oct 2017170.970.71 %Nov 2017167.66-1.94 %Dec 2017175.164.47 %Jan 2018178.461.88 %Feb 2018187.395.00 %Mar 2018181.22-3.29 %Apr 2018178.57-1.46 %May 2018178.570.00 %Jun 2018161.93-9.32 %Jul 2018147.49-8.92 %Aug 2018165.5712.26 %Sep 2018163.58-1.20 %Oct 2018158.95-2.83 %Nov 2018157.52-0.90 %Dec 2018163.803.99 %Jan 2019162.92-0.54 %Feb 2019170.424.60 %Mar 2019169.31-0.65 %Apr 2019165.46-2.27 %
Women's World Cup kicks off as hosts France shoot for historic double | Football | The Guardian
Fri, 07 Jun 2019 12:40
Nearly one million tickets have been sold for the Women's World Cup before the start of the tournament on Friday, organisers say.
In the biggest and '' Fifa, football's governing body, hopes '' the best Women's World Cup yet, France play South Korea at the Parc des Princes in the first of 52 games.
The host nation hopes to emulate the success of the men's team in Russia last year and make history by becoming first country to hold both World Cups at the same time. Among the 24 teams taking part, France are narrow favourites to win the tournament, just ahead of the holders, the USA.
The organisers say they have sold 950,000 tickets '' including 6,500 on Wednesday alone '' edging closer to their target of one million, despite problems with ticket printouts and some fans who bought tickets together finding they have been separated. So far 20 of the 52 games are sold out.
''In host cities the fever is really coming over,'' said Gianni Infantino, president of Fifa.
The head of the local organising committee was bullish in his response to criticism over the lack of atmosphere and marketing in Paris. ''It's a Women's World Cup by Fifa,'' Erwan Le Pr(C)vost said. ''The main aim is to fill the stadiums and to have the biggest TV audience possible.''
Step off a plane or train in Paris and there is not yet the air of anticipation you would expect of a major championship finals. Aside from the faces of the host nation's captain, Amandine Henry, and star striker, Eug(C)nie Le Sommer, staring out from the odd newspaper and magazine cover, it would be hard to know the tournament is about to start.
Advertising in Paris is greater around the French Open tennis and football friendlies involving the men's team in September; the World Cup is virtually invisible at Charles de Gaulle airport and the Gare du Nord.
Fifa's director of marketing services, Jean-Fran§ois Pathy, said the World Cup had been heavily backed by sponsors and broadcasters. ''Of course we can always do better but I think it's a tremendous improvement from where we've been in the past,'' he said.
Women's World Cup 2019: our quick guide to the tournament '' videoCorinne Diacre, the manager of the French team, said her players were doing their best to stay removed from the build-up. ''In Paris, it's a little bit difficult,'' she said. ''Paris is a huge city. Our hotel is not in the city and it is complicated for us to really gain or gauge the atmosphere. We will try and stay in our little bubble for as long as possible. But I know that tomorrow when we get to the stadium, it will be a completely different atmosphere, a different ambience.''
Fifa has a record 206 broadcast rights holders, including the BBC, offering live coverage of every game, including Friday night's opener on BBC One. Media interest in the Women's World Cup has never been greater or deeper. The total prize money of $30m (£24m) is double that of the 2015 finals in Canada.
The final will be held in Lyon on 7 July, the city of the best women's club side in the world and Champions League winners for the last four years. Other than France and the US, the next most fancied teams are Germany and England. England take on Scotland in their first game in group D in Nice on Sunday.
Women's football in England, boosted by sponsorship from Barclays for the Super League next season, will be hoping that a successful World Cup can translate into greater interest and attendances. Elsewhere in Europe, Atl(C)tico Madrid in Spain and Juventus in Italy drew record crowds of 60,000 and 39,000 respectively to domestic games in March.
The row that has erupted over the inequity of the men's $575m World Cup prize pot and the women's $43m equivalent offered an early indication that this tournament is far from perfect. The financial disparity is particularly stark when contrasted with Fifa's heavy boasting over revenue increases, including a $1bn increase in its reserves under Infantino to $2.75bn.
The ticketing chaos has left fans unable to download tickets even a day ago, including for the tournament opener. Fifa admitted that ''not all seats would be located next to each other'', resulting in friends and families being separated at matches. The game suffered another blow last week when the France team were shifted from their Clairefontaine base to make way for the men's team.
''Yeah, there was criticism,'' said Henry. ''We didn't take this badly. We knew how everything was being organised, we were aware of the fact that we would be moved out. We were able to use the pitches at Clairefontaine. Were able to prepare for this World Cup. Everything was optimised to welcome us.''
Mexico Never Agreed to Farm Deal With U.S., Contradicting Trump - Bloomberg
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 12:13
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People's brains are getting fried trying to understand the perceived censorship of conservatives on Social Media and in particular this week YouTube
So happy with the V4V resources-FC, naplayer bingit.io
ALL media sees this as a left/right issue. Liberal vs Conservative. Silicon Valley bias and censorship
To understand what is hapening we need to understand the advertising business, which people understandable have been led to believe is just a numbers game. Ratings/Views = Money. NOT SO!!!
Vox/Crowder was timed seemingly perfectly with today's 21 month investigative piece in the NYTimes:
My credentials in digital advertising THINK amd Podshow/Mevio
I helped bring Budweiser to MTV tape delayed unlike mardi gras for accidents
Built Bud/Reebok/Tampax 700 employees - IPO in 1996 $450mm in revenues
Learned you cannot monetize the network (with hits)
JCD Credentials
Examples of Advertiser fails
Reebok forum Human Rights
Oracle msft SQL IIS superbowl
AT&T Logo color on 256 monitor
YT is approximately $8 Billion in long tail revenue
This is NOT hits, but hundreds of millions of ads running on cat videos, kids dancing, birthday parties etc
These companies do NOT care about hits from UGC. Their revenue does not depend on them
Automated ad-buying is a huge problem
Brand Safety Issues
Reporting gets bans etc
Not because of content, but because of perceived diminished value based on negative press from controversy
Just remember CBS superbowl nipplegate.
Crowder not deplatformed for recommendation clicks
Platform, or Publisher?: If Big Tech firms want to retain valuable government protections, then they need to get out of the censorship business. | City Journal
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 15:03
When the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on social media censorship late last month, liberal Democratic congressman Ted Lieu transformed into a hardcore libertarian. ''This is a stupid and ridiculous hearing,'' he said, because ''the First Amendment applies to the government, not private companies.'' He added that just as the government cannot tell Fox News what content to air, ''we can't tell Facebook what content to filter,'' because that would be unconstitutional.
Lieu is incorrect. While the First Amendment generally does not apply to private companies, the Supreme Court has held it ''does not disable the government from taking steps to ensure that private interests not restrict . . . the free flow of information and ideas.'' But as Senator Ted Cruz points out, Congress actually has the power to deter political censorship by social media companies without using government coercion or taking action that would violate the First Amendment, in letter or spirit. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunizes online platforms for their users' defamatory, fraudulent, or otherwise unlawful content. Congress granted this extraordinary benefit to facilitate ''forum[s] for a true diversity of political discourse.'' This exemption from standard libel law is extremely valuable to the companies that enjoy its protection, such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter, but they only got it because it was assumed that they would operate as impartial, open channels of communication'--not curators of acceptable opinion.
When questioning Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier this month, and in a subsequent op-ed, Cruz reasoned that ''in order to be protected by Section 230, companies like Facebook should be 'neutral public forums.' On the flip side, they should be considered to be a 'publisher or speaker' of user content if they pick and choose what gets published or spoken.'' Tech-advocacy organizations and academics cried foul. University of Maryland law professor Danielle Citron argued that Cruz ''flips [the] reasoning'' of the law by demanding neutral forums. Elliot Harmon of the Electronic Freedom Foundation responded that ''one of the reasons why Congress first passed Section 230 was to enable online platforms to engage in good-faith community moderation without fear of taking on undue liability for their users' posts.''
As Cruz properly understands, Section 230 encourages Internet platforms to moderate ''offensive'' speech, but the law was not intended to facilitate political censorship. Online platforms should receive immunity only if they maintain viewpoint neutrality, consistent with traditional legal norms for distributors of information. Before the Internet, common law held that newsstands, bookstores, and libraries had no duty to ensure that each book and newspaper they distributed was not defamatory. Courts initially extended this principle to online platforms. Then, in 1995, a federal judge found Prodigy, an early online service, liable for content on its message boards because the company had advertised that it removed obscene posts. The court reasoned that ''utilizing technology and the manpower to delete'' objectionable content made Prodigy more like a publisher than a library.
Congress responded by enacting Section 230, establishing that platforms could not be held liable as publishers of user-generated content and clarifying that they could not be held liable for removing any content that they believed in good faith to be ''obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable.'' This provision does not allow platforms to remove whatever they wish, however. Courts have held that ''otherwise objectionable'' does not mean whatever a social media company objects to, but ''must, at a minimum, involve or be similar'' to obscenity, violence, or harassment. Political viewpoints, no matter how extreme or unpopular, do not fall under this category.
The Internet Association, which represents Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other major platforms, claims that Section 230 is necessary for these firms to ''provide forums and tools for the public to engage in a wide variety of activities that the First Amendment protects.'' But rather than facilitate free speech, Silicon Valley now uses Section 230 to justify censorship, leading to a legal and policy muddle. For instance, in response to a lawsuit challenging its speech policies, Google claimed that restricting its right to censor would ''impose liability on YouTube as a publisher.'' In the same motion, Google argues that its right to restrict political content also derives from its ''First Amendment protection for a publisher's editorial judgments,'' which ''encompasses the choice of how to present, or even whether to present, particular content.''
The dominant social media companies must choose: if they are neutral platforms, they should have immunity from litigation. If they are publishers making editorial choices, then they should relinquish this valuable exemption. They can't claim that Section 230 immunity is necessary to protect free speech, while they shape, control, and censor the speech on their platforms. Either the courts or Congress should clarify the matter.
Adam Candeub is a law professor & director of the Intellectual Property, Information & Communications Law Program at Michigan State University. He previously served as an attorney at the Federal Communications Commission. Mark Epstein is an antitrust attorney specializing in the technology sector.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Bad PR is a detriment, if deemed systemic
Article exerts Blaming Google/YouTube for a 'structural' problem
IF ALIENATION WAS ONE INGREDIENT in Mr. Cain’s radicalization, and persuasive partisans like Mr. Molyneux were another, the third was a series of product decisions YouTube made starting back in 2012.
In March that year, YouTube’s engineers made an update to the site’s recommendations algorithm. For years, the algorithm had been programmed to maximize views, by showing users videos they were likely to click on. But creators had learned to game the system, inflating their views by posting videos with exaggerated titles or choosing salacious thumbnail images.
In response, YouTube’s executives announced that the recommendation algorithm would give more weight to watch time, rather than views. That way, creators would be encouraged to make videos that users would finish, users would be more satisfied and YouTube would be able to show them more ads.
A month after its algorithm tweak, YouTube changed its rules to allow all video creators to run ads alongside their videos and earn a portion of the revenue they generated. Previously, only popular channels that had been vetted by YouTube were able to run ads.
The new algorithm worked well, but it wasn’t perfect. One problem, according to several of the current and former YouTube employees, is that the A.I. tended to pigeonhole users into specific niches, recommending videos that were similar to ones they had already watched. Eventually, users got bored.
Google Brain’s researchers wondered if they could keep YouTube users engaged for longer by steering them into different parts of YouTube, rather than feeding their existing interests. And they began testing a new algorithm that incorporated a different type of A.I., called reinforcement learning.
Reinforce was a huge success. In a talk at an A.I. conference in February, Minmin Chen, a Google Brain researcher, said it was YouTube’s most successful launch in two years. Sitewide views increased by nearly 1 percent, she said — a gain that, at YouTube’s scale, could amount to millions more hours of daily watch time and millions more dollars in advertising revenue per year. She added that the new algorithm was already starting to alter users’ behavior.
“We can really lead the users toward a different state, versus recommending content that is familiar,” Ms. Chen said.
Advertisers become very wary
Media buyers have peer pressure
SJW controversy is easy thanks to PC thinking.
Advertisers dislike uncontrolled controversy
TV networks pitch brand safety, streaming to advertisers at upfronts
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 16:10
(L-R) Julia Chan, Jonny Beauchamp, Lucy Hale, and Ashleigh Murray of "Katy Keene" speak onstage during the The CW Network 2019 Upfronts at New York City Center on May 16, 2019 in New York City.
Kevin Mazur | Entertainment Getty Images
TV networks came out with a strong message as they courted advertisers at the annual "upfront" presentations in New York this week. Digital may be hot and growing like crazy, but TV can provide a brand-safe space for ads as the tech world grapples with a series of privacy scandals and abuses of their platforms.
Plus, there are all those streaming services on the horizon.
Companies including CBS, Disney, Fox, NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia pitched advertisers on their programming and the promise of their own upcoming streaming services just two weeks after many of the digital players like YouTube and Hulu courted the same advertisers at the NewFronts presentations.
The networks tried to position their own offerings as bigger and safer than the challengers. Big news in the streaming world also arrived as Disney and Comcast on Tuesday announced a deal for the former to take over full operational control over Hulu from Comcast.
Though the digital players have certainly been a source of disruption in television, concerns around some of the digital players' control of content, and the "safety" of brands advertising on that content, have been issues for advertisers. Some advertisers are shifting their spending to TV networks' online properties and away from YouTube, Reuters reported earlier this week, citing MediaRadar data.
Though viewership is facing struggles, TV is still big and provides something many advertisers still crave. During CNBC parent NBCUniversal's session Monday at Radio City Music Hall, chairman of ad sales and client partnerships Linda Yaccarino said scale is the number one thing CEOs and CMOs tell her they need to drive their business. She said NBC can offer that.
"Meaningful, smart, safe scale. Safe for brands, and safe for consumers. It's getting harder and harder to come by," she said. "That's why other companies are struggling to navigate complicated mergers, shift their entire platform strategies, or just clean up the messes they've already made. But us, we've got content, data and distribution now all on a global scale."
She added that while advertisers are getting pushed out on some mediums, NBC's upcoming free, ad-supported streaming platform is an opportunity for them.
"While other companies are pushing advertisers out, we're bringing you in," she said.
Details on streaming
Jo Ann Ross, president and chief advertising revenue officer at CBS, echoed those tones of scale and safety at its session at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday afternoon. She also called out the company's streaming arm.
"You've heard a lot about OTT this week," she said. "Here at CBS, we're not crawling into the streaming space, we're already running. And we've been ad-supported since we started five years ago."
The company said in February it had hit 8 million subscribers, accounting for consumers of both CBS All Access and Showtime. In comparison, Netflix had just over 148 million subscribers as of February. At CBS' upfront, "The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert joked he hadn't yet talked about All Access: "Something I have in common with most Americans."
"In this year's upfronts, networks didn't have to position themselves directly against the streaming players, as they have streaming aspirations of their own," said Gila Wilensky, SVP of Media Activation for North America for media agency Essence. "It's a testament that streaming is a big bet for them."
Though networks did largely mention the brand "safety" of their offerings, hinting at the major stumbles YouTube and Facebook have had in the streaming of "unsafe" content, Havas Media SVP and managing director Diana Bernstein said in an email she didn't feel it was a big theme. Instead, she said, networks were more focused on content.
"While NBCU did make a point to speak about the safety of their networks and call out the trust factor, overall networks have put their premium content at the forefront, both current and historical series," she said. "They have been calling attention [to] the premium streaming services that they will offer and reminding us of the quality programming that will be available through their platforms."
But some say that content was overshadowed by streaming.
"Not only was the most ambitious TV content not at this week's upfronts, but there was greater excitement around coming streaming services than new TV shows," BTIG tech, media and telecom analyst Rich Greenfield wrote this week.
Advertisers are anxiously awaiting more details about the over-the-top strategies.
"There is an insatiable appetite of the news about how we're going to regain lost territory, and OTT streaming is a really important part of that," said Paul Woolmington, CEO of Canvas Worldwide, a media and marketing services agency network.
Catherine Sullivan, chief investment officer at Omnicom Media Group for North America, is also watching closely in this area as the networks straighten out the details of their streaming platforms.
"The details are still a little short for the industry in terms of how do we activate against it, how do we plan or buy against it," she said.
Innovative thinking
Jason Hirschhorn, CEO and chief curator of Redef, said in a blog post about the upfronts this week that he was "just amazed at how far behind the industry is on the future." He said he expects that in a down economy, more trimming will occur. And he believes in the future, much content will be subsidized by businesses like Amazon or Apple where video is supportive of other business instead of pure plays.
In terms of the innovation of ad opportunities, some were impressed by the ideas presented by digital companies during the NewFronts.
After attending NewFronts earlier this month, Mindshare North America partner and associate director of digital investment Alex Colcord said stats from some presenters about size, demographic reach and similar metrics weren't too impressive. "In [some] way, shape or form, I'm sure these partners can reach a ton of people and a very large audience. That's not really a point of differentiation for me or my clients anymore," he said. "I'm more interested in innovative ways we can reach the audience." He said that means not just being able to be in touch with them, but reach them in a way that resonates.
"I can reach consumers in a million different ways, but so can a bunch of other advertisers," he said. "If I'm not doing so in a way that's unique and memorable, I'm wasting my client's money."
He said he was impressed by the BBC's offerings during its NewFront session, like developments in how the company will translate news content into an audio format or dynamic podcasts. Hulu's "pause ads," which show ads while a user is taking a break from a show, are another that caught his eye.
Those things are "engaging the consumer in a way that's thoughtful," Colcord said.
Canvas' Woolmington said those innovative ad units can be easier for smaller upstarts to bet on than the incumbent companies. But he said instead of waiting for networks to come up with creative new ways to get in the mix, advertisers should be thinking about it, too.
"I think it's unfair for us to expect just the presenters to be providing solutions," he said. "We also as partners need to be more engaged in shaping that future, rather than waiting for that future."
Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC.
TV networks emerge as obstacles on YouTube's hunt for ads - Reuters
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 16:11
SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Three years ago, the beginning of the end of the U.S. television business looked certain when one of the largest ad buying agencies vowed to move a big chunk of its purchases to YouTube from TV budgets.
FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of mobile device users are seen next to a screen projection of Youtube logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
The TV business did not die; far from it. Instead, data compiled by ad tracking firm MediaRadar at Reuters' request shows some advertisers are spending more on television networks' online properties and less on Alphabet Inc's video service. The data may partially explain why Google's parent had its slowest quarterly revenue growth in three years.
This week, the big U.S. TV networks plan to drive the knife further into digital rivals, repeating the phrase ''brand safety'' and exploiting YouTube's struggle to curb unsuitable content, during the upfront ad sales period when TV networks preview the fall season for advertisers.
On stage and in private meetings, executives from Comcast Corp's NBCUniversal, CBS Corp and Viacom Inc say they are pitching themselves as one-stop shops because they have viewers on TV, their own streaming services and YouTube.
''Across every screen, clients can rest easy knowing that their message is in a pristine, premium environment. And that's something other platforms just can't guarantee,'' said Trevor Fellows, executive vice president of digital sales and strategy for NBCUniversal.
Out of a sample of 240 companies that advertised on YouTube during last year's first quarter and on TV networks' online services in this year's first quarter, 46 percent spent less on YouTube than a year ago and more on networks' online properties, according to MediaRadar. These companies include major U.S. advertisers Pfizer Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and Adidas.
Only 8 percent of advertisers spent more on YouTube and less on the network properties, MediaRadar found.
Pfizer, Adidas and Verizon declined comment on their ad spending. YouTube declined to comment for this article, but said this month in its presentation to advertisers that its growing audience is unrivaled by TV.
'EMPIRE' STRIKES BACK YouTube's struggle to clean up content has driven advertisers to networks including CBS and Viacom, according to people involved in the ad businesses at each of the companies speaking on the condition of anonymity.
One example is ''Carpool Karaoke,'' a segment from ''The Late Show with James Corden'' on CBS which has performed well on YouTube, said one CBS executive.
CBS can sell YouTube ads during its clips on YouTube, and ensure a brand-safe environment, the executive said.
YouTube keeps about 45 percent of ad revenue from user videos, but generally takes a lower cut from content uploaded by TV networks.
An executive at a major ad buying agency said networks this year are touting their strength in high quality content across multiple screens, a significant departure from trying to compete with YouTube and Facebook by talking about tech.
''It's like return of the empire in some ways,'' the buyer said.
A second major U.S. ad buying firm said its annual spending on YouTube will grow at a slower rate for the first time this year.
The networks have made strides online in allowing advertisers to direct ads to certain demographics, according to network sources. CBS is able to match advertisers with viewers based on their reading history at its CNET tech news website, the executive said.
But the big selling point for networks is the bulk of TV programming is vetted for decorum standards.
YouTube screens all videos available for advertising in Google Preferred, a popular batch of content set aside for advertisers making big spending commitments.
The selection represents a only fraction of advertising opportunities on YouTube. Still, that fraction appears to be growing according to YouTube data showing users spent 30 percent more time watching Google Preferred videos during last year's fourth quarter than a year earlier.
This month, YouTube announced Google Preferred content also must have high production quality and be frequently watched on a TV, making its package more comparable to TV networks' offerings.
Reporting by Paresh Dave in San Francisco and Sheila Dang in New York; editing by Kenneth Li, Greg Mitchell and David Gregorio
Several Major Advertisers Remain Wary of YouTube - Barron's
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 16:05
YouTube is still working to regain the trust of advertisers who fled after reports that their ads were seen with inappropriate content. Getty Images
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About two months ago, several major companies pulled their ads from Google-owned YouTube after reports that the ads were being shown alongside extremist content from hate groups and terrorists. Among the companies that stopped advertising were behemoths like General Motors , Wal-Mart , and Pepsico. Some also pulled ads from the Google Display Network, which places ads on millions of other websites.
Investors worried about the issue for a few days and then moved on, assuaged by comments from Google CEO Sundar Pichai that the company had the issue under control. He said Google is using improved technologies, including machine learning, to better enforce its policies for keeping ads away from problematic content: ''advertisers have clearly noticed all the improvements we have made.''
Analysts signalled the all-clear -- ''we believe large brand advertisers are increasingly coming back to the platform, suggesting minimal disruption to monetization growth at YouTube, in our view,'' JMP Securities analyst Ronald Josey wrote in April. The stock has also shrugged it off. Alphabet , the company that owns Google, has risen 14% in just the past month.
But Barron's Next reached out to a dozen companies that had reportedly pulled their ads from YouTube and/or the Google Display Network and found that several major advertisers have yet to return:
Wal-Mart still won't run ads on YouTube, a Wal-Mart spokesperson wrote, but declined to explain further. Verizon continues to suspend its ads as it works with its digital ad partners to ''understand the weak links.'' Nestle has also ''pause[d] our media buying with Google/YouTube pending reassurances from them on actions to address the problem of brand advertising appearing on inappropriate websites.'' Toyota will only run ads on channels where they can direct placement, such as Buzzfeed and Discovery, although they remain in ''active discussions to reach an acceptable resolution'' for further advertising, Toyota said in a statement. Some big companies have been convinced that Google is on top of it, or are working with ad agencies to make sure they're protected.
Johnson & Johnson has resumed advertising ''in a number of select countries,'' including the U.S. after Google instituted ''brand protections.'' Enterprise Holdings, which owns Enterprise, Alamo, and National car-rental companies, last week said it plans to resume advertising ''in the next week or so'' following talks with Google. Its media agency Omnicom is also working on a program called Supply Accreditation through Filtering and Evaluation (SAFE) where it will ''score'' videos to determine if they're advertiser-friendly. Enterprise will be helping test the program, the spokesperson wrote. Google hasn't quantified how many advertisers left, and didn't answer our question about how many have returned. ''Many advertisers never left and many have decided to come back,'' a spokesperson wrote. ''While they know that no system can be perfect, they appreciate the actions we've taken and know we are taking this seriously and are committed to getting better and better.''
Google rewards reputable reporting, not left-wing politics - Seek and you shall find
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 20:09
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''G OOGLE & OTHERS are suppressing voices of Conservatives'', tweeted Donald Trump in 2018. ''They are controlling what we can & cannot see.'' The president's charges of bias are often dubious. But many people worry about algorithms absorbing human prejudices. Robert Epstein, an academic, has compiled data that show Google suggesting more positive terms when users type ''Hillary Clinton'' than when they look up Mr Trump. PJ Media, a conservative blog, claims that liberal sites get 96% of results for ''Trump'' on Google's news page, a compilation of links to recent articles.
Google says that the 10,000 human evaluators who rate sources for its search engine assess ''expertise'' and ''trustworthiness'' but not ideology. Web-traffic figures support this defence. Sites with high scores from fact-checking groups, whose judgments probably resemble Google's, draw larger shares of their visitors from search engines than sites with low scores do. Factually inaccurate sources also tend to have strong left- or right-wing slants.
Nonetheless, a subtle bias might not show up in such broad statistics. To test for favouritism, The Economist ran an experiment, comparing a news site's share of search results with a statistical prediction based on its output, reach and accuracy.
We first wrote a program to obtain Google results for any keyword. Using a browser with no history, in a politically centrist part of Kansas, we searched for 31 terms for each day in 2018, yielding 175,000 links.
Next, we built a model to predict each site's share of the links Google produces for each keyword, based on the premise that search results should reflect accuracy and audience size, as Google claims. We started with each outlet's popularity on social media and, using data from Meltwater, a media-tracking firm, how often they covered each topic. We also used accuracy ratings from fact-checking websites, tallies of Pulitzer prizes and results from a poll by YouGov about Americans' trust in 37 sources.
If Google favoured liberals, left-wing sites would appear more often than our model predicted, and right-wing ones less. We saw no such trend. Overall, centre-left sites like the New York Times got the most links'--but only about as many as our model suggested. Fox News beat its modest expectations. Because most far-right outlets had bad trust scores, they got few search results. But so did Daily Kos, a far-left site.
Our study does not prove Google is impartial. In theory, Google could serve un-biased links only to users without a browsing history. If fact-checkers and Pulitzer voters are partisan, our model will be too.
Moreover, some keywords did suggest bias'--in both directions. Just as PJ Media charged, the New York Times was over-represented on searches for ''Trump''. However, searches for ''crime'' leaned right: Fox News got far more links than expected.
This implies that Google's main form of favouritism is to boost viral articles. The most incendiary stories about Mr Trump come from leftist sources. Gory crime coverage is more prevalent on right-leaning sites. Readers will keep clicking on both. '—¼
Sources: Google; Adfontesmedia.com; Mediabiasfactcheck.com; YouGov; Meltwater; SimilarWeb; Pulitzer.org; Facebook
Instagram's Diversity Wars Revisited - Quillette
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 03:51
In February, I wrote an essay for Quillette about the Durkheimian witch-hunting taking place on the picture-sharing platform Instagram, and how it was affecting the thousands of knitters, designers, and businesses who rely on social media for their custom. My article described how a blogger and online craft store owner was denounced for writing an innocuous blog about her forthcoming trip to India, and how the yarn dyer Maria Tusken was then harassed and accused of complicity in racism for objecting to the mobbing. Businesses were chastised for their failure to be ''truly inclusive'' or for apologising too late when they had put a foot wrong.
Since my article appeared, things have only got worse. Kate Davies became the next target for abuse. A well-known designer, yarn vendor, and owner of her own brand of knitwear, she set up Kate Davies Designs after suffering a stroke at the age of 36, which ended her career as a literary academic. Davies is based in the Scottish Highlands, where she employs a small team of people and has won awards for sustainability. She is also a campaigner for disabled people, having had to cope with disability herself. One might assume that people committed to social justice would look elsewhere for enemies.
Her crime? In the aftermath of the ''conversation,'' as the campaigns to root out supposed perpetrators of racism was called, the topic of ''white silence'' became widely discussed. Designers and others with large followings who had hitherto failed to speak up about how they were confronting racism were now urged to do so, lest they contribute to the perpetuation of ''oppression.'' In a post entitled ''A Letter on My Not-So-''Cozy'' Doocot Sweater: aka My First and Last Kate Davies Project,'' Helen Kim (@keinhelm4 on Instagram, who describes herself as an advocate for antiracism and an astrophysicist), wrote:
As more and more voices in the fiber community discussed their concerns about racism and lack of representation, I patiently waited for the designers I respected to do the same. Days went by, weeks, and yet I naively found myself wanting to give these makers the benefit of the doubt for withholding their views while they continued to advertise their products and snowy winters.
When Davies did speak out, her statement was denounced as ''very harmful'' by Kim. ''Your words are demonstrations of entitlement to racial discomfort and racial arrogance (see Robin DiAngelo's work on white fragility),'' Kim declared. ''White privilege,'' she added, ''is a white problem.''
Davies deleted her Instagram account, which had 75,000 followers, and posted a since deleted statement on her blog on 14 February. An archived copy of Davies's statement was retrieved and reposted by Kim, along with her own critical commentary. Davies had written that ''real change and real action can be best implemented by me outside a particular social media bubble'--in promoting and amplifying the voices of BIPoC [Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour] in our community by taking forward projects in writing, publishing, and design that are explicitly antiracist and inclusive.'' But she said she would not participate in finger-pointing or shaming on Instagram, and felt ''deeply saddened'' about being misrepresented and misunderstood.
It is my own political decision to choose not to speak from the particular social media script that has repeatedly been presented to me (with various level of demand); to carefully listen to marginalised voices rather than to shout; to not participate in acts of shaming and intimidation; and to refuse to engage with those who insist that the only way I can effectively demonstrate my antiracist solidarity is by continually displaying it in my Instagram stories.
Criticism mounted. Ysolda Teague, an Edinburgh-based knitting designer and owner of online knitting shop ysolda.com, weighed in, telling her followers that she would no longer stock Davies's books. Davies then withdrew as a speaker from the Edinburgh Yarn Festival citing health reasons following a campaign led by Kim to have her disinvited. Kim, who was probably Davies's most vocal critic, concluded a story entitled ''Call Out'' (which can be found at the top of her Instagram profile) with the following:
To those who worry about [Kate Davies's] career and the impact her own reactions have caused her, perhaps you should consider that historically BIPOC have been the ones who have been wronged and oppressed. Ask yourselves: in what ways do you hold power? In what ways do you hold power over BIPOC? How have you been complicit in that structure of power? How do your actions, inactions, and privileges reflect systemic racism? How do you want to acknowledge the system and your complicity? ['...] KD actively SILENCED those who are different from her and tokenized them. That is called RACISM and DISCRIMINATION. As a white woman knitwear designer with over 75K followers and international renown, Kate Davies was NOT vulnerable. Rather, she was in a position of power.
In short, even though she is a disabled woman, Davies was a legitimate target because she is also white, straight, and middle class, and her business is thriving, which implies a degree of affluence.
Many of the influential activists on Instagram are academics. They draw on the work of scholars such as DiAngelo, the author of White Fragility, and recommend Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad to those needing a lesson in ''how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of colour, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.'' Only by adopting the correct political views, espoused in precisely the correct jargon, can an accused person demonstrate to the satisfaction of her persecutors that she is now a ''true ally'' who has ''done the work.'' It's all about as inspiring as it sounds.
Each fresh campaign would last a few weeks before moving on. Inevitably, some other company or individual would make some trivial but apparently unforgivable error, such as giving their pattern or yarn the incorrect name.
Madelinetosh Co. is America's largest hand-dyed yarn producer, owned by Amy Hendrix. Her wool is sold in 800 independently owned yarn stores around the world. Their ''Inclusivity'' colourway was white, beige, brown, and black to reflect various skin tones, but it was pulled from sale after furious protests. In response, Hendrix posted the following note: ''This yarn was developed by women of colour in our office together. We heard your concern and removed this colour from our site. All existing proceeds will be donated to the Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Foundation.'' In a follow-up post, Hendrix offered a more fulsome apology and explained why the colour had not been removed straight away: ''Action was not taken sooner because I am indeed on a break working through a recent diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. I share this not for your empathy but only to explain why the colours were not removed. ['...] I stand with people of colour in the knitting industry, I stand with diversity.''
View this post on Instagram
Hello. My name is Amy and I am the founder of Madelinetosh. I am sorry for the actions we have recently taken at our company. I have removed the colors courage, honor and inclusive from our website. I agree with the comments stating the color should not have been created for sale. I understand why people are upset, indeed it is not right to profit from a great man like MLK nor to profit on an idea related to racism and the struggle many deal with each and every day. Action was not taken sooner because I am indeed on a break working through a recent diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. I share this not for your empathy but only to explain why the colors were not removed and action taken sooner. To rectify the situation regarding the skeins sold we will be donating one hundred percent of the sales of these yarns to the Martin Luther King Jr.'s Cultural Foundation, a community based organization. On my views towards racism and the lack of businesses owned by people of color in the knitting industry I stand with diversity. I stand with people of color and any other struggle that limits a persons right to exist most especially during these hard times. Yet, actions speak louder than words. So we intend to show you how we will support groups like MLK's and others in the future. As an additional note I would also like to apologize to the wonderful women within our office. I am proud of their hard work on this project and they are in no way responsible for how this unfolded. I take full responsibility for any lack of communication and I hope you will join with us in our future endeavors as we educate ourselves and work with others. Please note: We will continue to moderate and remove any comments using foul language, calling others names, using terms such as facist, nazis, holocaust, lynching and any other word intended to incite others from any source. We do not condone or support statements declaring white supremacy. Please know if you are posting this language in personal DM's to others you do not speak on our behalf and never will.
A post shared by @ madelinetosh on Apr 15, 2019 at 2:07pm PDT
Needless to say, this did not satisfy her critics. @cdickdesigns, a knitting pattern designer with about 4,000 followers, said:
If a large company refuses to make a statement and refuses to moderate their own posts to protect people from vitriolic bigotry, and then make a colourway called ''Inclusivity'' it's a straight-up fucking slap in the face for people like me and other people who are currently suffering in their private lives due to the pains we have shared publicly and openly.
It means that this ''Inclusivity'' colourway was developed solely for profit. It wasn't created to help, educate or benefit anyone other than themselves. The colourway might as well have been called ''All Lives Matter.'' Right now, Madelinetosh is profiting from my pain. Madelinetosh has 95K followers and a following of cishetero white women who go into LYS [Local Yarn Store] and say things like ''Do you have Madelinetosh? The only handdyed yarn I like is my Tosh!''
Laine magazine describes itself as a ''high-quality Nordic knit and lifestyle magazine for knit folks.'' A few months ago, it was criticized by Ysolda Teague, a stockist of Laine, for appearing to be'...
'...very white and that is extremely problematic. I appreciated how welcome lgbtq+ like me where [sic] in Laine, and I hoped they'd do better about representing POC. I made excuses to myself ['...] but I didn't say anything because I didn't want to upset the editors. That wasn't good enough. I apologise for my silence. I'm taking my responsibility as a stockist, and as an advertiser and as someone who has been featured in Laine seriously ['...] I'm expecting to see changes, and I'm committed to supporting that, and being accountable if we don't see it.
Then, a few weeks later, Laine magazine hired Ysolda's fianc(C), photographer Kate O'Sullivan, who is also a writer and social justice activist. O'Sullivan is white and this did not go unnoticed. ''Six weeks ago,'' wrote Kim'...
'...@ysolda posted in her stories heavy criticisms against Laine Magazine for not being inclusive of BIPOC. A couple of days ago, Ysolda's partner, Kate O'Sullivan, announced that she had gladly accepted Laine's offer to be their new regular photographer. ['...] In an ideal world, I would be able to ask: To what extent did Ysolda take advantage of her large platform, in voicing dissatisfaction, to allow someone close to her to personally gain from public criticism? ['...] Who gets to call themselves an ally and to receive the protection, and compensation, for that label? In an ideal world, no one.
Teague and O'Sullivan both posted grateful and self-reproachful replies to Kim. ''Hi Helen,'' O'Sullivan began, ''thank you for once again holding this community to a high standard. You are right, my first commission for Laine was as a white woman. I pitched for somebody I knew I could interview nearby. This was back in Autumn as Laine publish biannually.'' She explained that it was up to Laine to decide who to hire, and that she would put forward BIPOC designers for the magazine. She ended her comment by announcing: ''I also wanted to be clear I'm private for our daughter's safety as we had alt right pseudo journalists who live locally, targeting us this weekend over another issue.''
This sounds alarming. But it turned out that I was the ''alt right pseudo journalist'' in question. On Twitter on 19 February, I had pointed out that Teague and users on Ravelry.com, the biggest knitting community on-line, were participating in the hounding of Kate Davies, which had just erupted. I was then blocked by Teague and O'Sullivan. End of story. Nevertheless, if O'Sullivan's tale was an attempt to solicit sympathy and alleviate the criticism she was facing, it met with some success. ''I am sorry to hear that local alt right movement is threatening your safety,'' a concerned @burrobird replied. ''Please be safe.'' Even Helen Kim thought it would be wise to step back in the light of this news. ''I would like to reach out and apologize to @kateo_sullivan and @ysolda,'' she wrote. ''No one'--NO ONE '--should have to face threats and violence from alt-right supremacists. This kind of violence is sadly the reality of racism and white supremacy today, here in our very own community.''
It remains to be seen who will be the next object of the mob's attentions. Sophia Cai (@sophiatron)'--a Melbourne-based writer, curator and knitter and a friend of O'Sullivan and Teague'--has begun compiling a list of local yarn stores and other knitting businesses which fall short of the standards of antiracism she expects from the community. She calls this list her ''burn book'':
You might be surprised who is in this book. Many places with ''inclusivity'' statements or signs on doors or a token POC friend/employee/consultant. If there is one thing that unites yt [white] people it's white fragility. To all the LYS and yarn businesses I have spent so much time speaking to over the last few months who still don't get it. Who still think it's a matter up for debate or further ''consideration.'' That's fine. Take the time you need. I just won't wait around for you. But maybe pay for the consultation and emotional labour.
Donations, she adds, can be directed to her Ko-fi account. A complete list of those included in her burn book can be obtained by messaging her, but they include ''white feminists who don't care about intersectional feminism,'' ''white feminists who are outraged by plastic straws but are quiet about white supremacy'' and ''people who don't see colour or declare that 'everyone is welcome.'''
These campaigns are risible, but they are also ugly. They license pettiness, cruelty, and ruthlessness in the name of causes they do nothing to advance. They threaten the businesses and livelihoods and professional reputations of good people struggling to navigate a dense web of ideological trip-wires. Everyone has to watch what they say lest an innocuous remark is seized upon as a new excuse to denounce and shame. And yet, this intolerable situation persists because everyone involved is silently complicit in the pretence that this is noble behaviour motivated by loving concern and righteous anger. It will only end when the revolution eats itself or when a critical mass of participants say, ''Enough.''
Kathrine Jebsen Moore grew up in Norway, studied Media and Print Journalism in London, and worked at Bloomberg News until 2009, covering financial news, specialising in oil & gas and fishing. She now lives with her husband and four children in Edinburgh. She is a freelance writer and you can follow her on Twitter @moorjebsen
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
The Making of a YouTube Radical - The New York Times
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 18:35
A sampling of the more than 12,000 videos that Caleb Cain watched going back to 2015, many but not all of which were from far-right commentators.
Martinsburg, W.Va. '-- Caleb Cain pulled a Glock pistol from his waistband, took out the magazine and casually tossed both onto the kitchen counter.
''I bought it the day after I got death threats,'' he said.
The threats, Mr. Cain explained, came from right-wing trolls in response to a video he had posted on YouTube a few days earlier. In the video, he told the story of how, as a liberal college dropout struggling to find his place in the world, he had gotten sucked into a vortex of far-right politics on YouTube.
''I fell down the alt-right rabbit hole,'' he said in the video.
Mr. Cain, 26, recently swore off the alt-right nearly five years after discovering it, and has become a vocal critic of the movement. He is scarred by his experience of being radicalized by what he calls a ''decentralized cult'' of far-right YouTube personalities, who convinced him that Western civilization was under threat from Muslim immigrants and cultural Marxists, that innate I.Q. differences explained racial disparities, and that feminism was a dangerous ideology.
''I just kept falling deeper and deeper into this, and it appealed to me because it made me feel a sense of belonging,'' he said. ''I was brainwashed.''
Caleb Cain. Justin T. Gellerson for The New York Times
Over years of reporting on internet culture, I've heard countless versions of Mr. Cain's story: an aimless young man '-- usually white, frequently interested in video games '-- visits YouTube looking for direction or distraction and is seduced by a community of far-right creators.
Some young men discover far-right videos by accident, while others seek them out. Some travel all the way to neo-Nazism, while others stop at milder forms of bigotry.
The common thread in many of these stories is YouTube and its recommendation algorithm, the software that determines which videos appear on users' home pages and inside the ''Up Next'' sidebar next to a video that is playing. The algorithm is responsible for more than 70 percent of all time spent on the site.
The radicalization of young men is driven by a complex stew of emotional, economic and political elements, many having nothing to do with social media. But critics and independent researchers say YouTube has inadvertently created a dangerous on-ramp to extremism by combining two things: a business model that rewards provocative videos with exposure and advertising dollars, and an algorithm that guides users down personalized paths meant to keep them glued to their screens.
''There's a spectrum on YouTube between the calm section '-- the Walter Cronkite, Carl Sagan part '-- and Crazytown, where the extreme stuff is,'' said Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google, YouTube's parent company. ''If I'm YouTube and I want you to watch more, I'm always going to steer you toward Crazytown.''
''I'm just a Bill, but I'd like to be Jill, and I'm demanding bathroom access at will.'' I'm Just a Bill (Transgender Schoolhouse Rock Parody!) '-- Steven Crowder Steven Crowder, a conservative commentator, has gained nearly four million subscribers like Mr. Cain with shock-jock antics like this parody, which drew from a widely recognized ''Schoolhouse Rock'' cartoon.
In recent years, social media platforms have grappled with the growth of extremism on their services. Many platforms have barred a handful of far-right influencers and conspiracy theorists, including Alex Jones of Infowars, and tech companies have taken steps to limit the spread of political misinformation.
YouTube, whose rules prohibit hate speech and harassment, took a more laissez-faire approach to enforcement for years. This past week, the company announced that it was updating its policy to ban videos espousing neo-Nazism, white supremacy and other bigoted views. The company also said it was changing its recommendation algorithm to reduce the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories.
With two billion monthly active users uploading more than 500 hours of video every minute, YouTube's traffic is estimated to be the second highest of any website, behind only Google.com. According to the Pew Research Center, 94 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24 use YouTube, a higher percentage than for any other online service.
Like many Silicon Valley companies, YouTube is outwardly liberal in its corporate politics. It sponsors floats at L.G.B.T. pride parades and celebrates diverse creators, and its chief executive endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. President Trump and other conservatives have claimed that YouTube and other social media networks are biased against right-wing views, and have used takedowns like those announced by YouTube on Wednesday as evidence for those claims.
In reality, YouTube has been a godsend for hyper-partisans on all sides. It has allowed them to bypass traditional gatekeepers and broadcast their views to mainstream audiences, and has helped once-obscure commentators build lucrative media businesses.
It has also been a useful recruiting tool for far-right extremist groups. Bellingcat, an investigative news site, analyzed messages from far-right chat rooms and found that YouTube was cited as the most frequent cause of members' ''red-pilling'' '-- an internet slang term for converting to far-right beliefs. A European research group, VOX-Pol, conducted a separate analysis of nearly 30,000 Twitter accounts affiliated with the alt-right. It found that the accounts linked to YouTube more often than to any other site.
''YouTube has been able to fly under the radar because until recently, no one thought of it as a place where radicalization is happening,'' said Becca Lewis, who studies online extremism for the nonprofit Data & Society. ''But it's where young people are getting their information and entertainment, and it's a space where creators are broadcasting political content that, at times, is overtly white supremacist.''
I visited Mr. Cain in West Virginia after seeing his YouTube video denouncing the far right. We spent hours discussing his radicalization. To back up his recollections, he downloaded and sent me his entire YouTube history, a log of more than 12,000 videos and more than 2,500 search queries dating to 2015.
These interviews and data points form a picture of a disillusioned young man, an internet-savvy group of right-wing reactionaries and a powerful algorithm that learns to connect the two. It suggests that YouTube may have played a role in steering Mr. Cain, and other young men like him, toward the far-right fringes.
It also suggests that, in time, YouTube is capable of steering them in very different directions.
Here Are the Number of Political Videos Cain Watched Each Month
The right-wing content Mr. Cain viewed in 2015 and 2016 often consisted of videos by Stefan Molyneux, with titles like ''Social Justice Warriors Always Lie'' and ''The Global Warming Hoax.''
Mr. Cain also watched many videos by members of the so-called intellectual dark web , like the popular comedian Joe Rogan and the political commentator Dave Rubin.
During 2017, Mr. Cain began watching more videos from left-wing channels .
The right-wing content Mr. Cain viewed in 2015 and 2016 often consisted of videos by Stefan Molyneux, with titles like ''Social Justice Warriors Always Lie'' and ''The Global Warming Hoax.''
Mr. Cain also watched many videos by members of the so-called intellectual dark web , like the popular comedian Joe Rogan and the political
commentator Dave Rubin.
During 2017, Mr. Cain began watching more videos from left-wing channels .
Includes views of YouTube channels Mr. Cain viewed 10 times or more between mid-2015 and late 2018. Sources: Caleb Cain and YouTube
From an early age, Mr. Cain was fascinated by internet culture. As a teenager, he browsed 4Chan, the lawless message board. He played online games with his friends, and devoured videos of intellectuals debating charged topics like the existence of God.
The internet was an escape. Mr. Cain grew up in postindustrial Appalachia and was raised by his conservative Christian grandparents. He was smart, but shy and socially awkward, and he carved out an identity during high school as a countercultural punk. He went to community college, but dropped out after three semesters.
Broke and depressed, he resolved to get his act together. He began looking for help in the same place he looked for everything: YouTube.
One day in late 2014, YouTube recommended a self-help video by Stefan Molyneux, a Canadian talk show host and self-styled philosopher.
Like Mr. Cain, Mr. Molyneux had a difficult childhood, and he talked about overcoming hardships through self-improvement. He seemed smart and passionate, and he wrestled with big questions like free will, along with practical advice on topics like dating and job interviews.
Mr. Molyneux, who describes himself as an ''anarcho-capitalist,'' also had a political agenda. He was a men's rights advocate who said that feminism was a form of socialism and that progressive gender politics were holding young men back. He offered conservative commentary on pop culture and current events, explaining why Disney's ''Frozen'' was an allegory about female vanity, or why the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer was proof of the dangers of ''rap culture.''
Mr. Cain was a liberal who cared about social justice, worried about wealth inequality and believed in climate change. But he found Mr. Molyneux's diatribes fascinating, even when they disagreed.
''He was willing to address young men's issues directly, in a way I'd never heard before,'' Mr. Cain said.
In 2015 and 2016, as Mr. Cain dived deeper into his YouTube recommendations, he discovered an entire universe of right-wing creators.
Over time, he watched dozens of clips by Steven Crowder, a conservative comedian, and Paul Joseph Watson, a prominent right-wing conspiracy theorist who was barred by Facebook this year. He became entranced by Lauren Southern, a far-right Canadian activist, whom he started referring to as his ''fashy bae,'' or fascist crush.
These people weren't all shouty demagogues. They were entertainers, building their audience with satirical skits, debates and interviews with like-minded creators. Some of them were part of the alt-right, a loose cohort of pro-Trump activists who sandwiched white nationalism between layers of internet sarcasm. Others considered themselves ''alt-lite,'' or merely antiprogressive.
These creators were active on Facebook and Twitter, too. But YouTube was their headquarters, and the place where they could earn a living by hawking merchandise and getting a cut of the money spent on advertisements that accompanied their videos.
Few of them had overt ties to establishment conservative groups, and there was little talk about tax cuts or trade policy on their channels. Instead, they rallied around issues like free speech and antifeminism, portraying themselves as truth-telling rebels doing battle against humorless ''social justice warriors.'' Their videos felt like episodes in a long-running soap opera, with a constant stream of new heroes and villains.
To Mr. Cain, all of this felt like forbidden knowledge '-- as if, just by watching some YouTube videos, he had been let into an exclusive club.
''When I found this stuff, I felt like I was chasing uncomfortable truths,'' he told me. ''I felt like it was giving me power and respect and authority.''
If alienation was one ingredient in Mr. Cain's radicalization, and persuasive partisans like Mr. Molyneux were another, the third was a series of product decisions YouTube made starting back in 2012.
In March that year, YouTube's engineers made an update to the site's recommendations algorithm. For years, the algorithm had been programmed to maximize views, by showing users videos they were likely to click on. But creators had learned to game the system, inflating their views by posting videos with exaggerated titles or choosing salacious thumbnail images.
In response, YouTube's executives announced that the recommendation algorithm would give more weight to watch time, rather than views. That way, creators would be encouraged to make videos that users would finish, users would be more satisfied and YouTube would be able to show them more ads.
The bet paid off. Within weeks of the algorithm change, the company reported that overall watch time was growing, even as the number of views shrank. According to a 2017 report, YouTube's watch time grew 50 percent a year for three consecutive years.
A month after its algorithm tweak, YouTube changed its rules to allow all video creators to run ads alongside their videos and earn a portion of the revenue they generated. Previously, only popular channels that had been vetted by YouTube were able to run ads.
Neither of these changes was intended to benefit the far right, and YouTube's algorithm had no inherent preference for extreme political content. It treated a white nationalist monologue no differently from an Ariana Grande cover or a cake icing tutorial.
But the far right was well positioned to capitalize on the changes. Many right-wing creators already made long video essays, or posted video versions of their podcasts. Their inflammatory messages were more engaging than milder fare. And now that they could earn money from their videos, they had a financial incentive to churn out as much material as possible.
A few progressive YouTube channels flourished from 2012 to 2016. But they were dwarfed by creators on the right, who had developed an intuitive feel for the way YouTube's platform worked and were better able to tap into an emerging wave of right-wing populism.
''I'm not sure the left understands the monumental ass-whupping being dished out to them on YouTube,'' Mr. Watson, the conspiracy theorist, tweeted in 2017.
''The sexist, racist, homophobic narrative has been blown out of proportion and sensationalized, and everybody knows it.'' 'White Privilege' is a dangerous myth '-- Lauren Southern Mr. Cain turned to videos like this one in late 2015, in part because of how Lauren Southern mocked feminism and "social justice warriors.''
Several current and former YouTube employees, who would speak only on the condition of anonymity because they had signed confidentiality agreements, said company leaders were obsessed with increasing engagement during those years. The executives, the people said, rarely considered whether the company's algorithms were fueling the spread of extreme and hateful political content.
Guillaume Chaslot, a former YouTube engineer who has since become a critic of the company's recommendation system, said this year that YouTube's algorithms were designed to ''increase the time people spend online, because it leads to more ads.''
In 2015, a research team from Google Brain, Google's much-lauded artificial intelligence division, began rebuilding YouTube's recommendation system around neural networks, a type of A.I. that mimics the human brain. In a 2017 interview with the Verge, a YouTube executive said the new algorithm was capable of drawing users deeper into the platform by figuring out ''adjacent relationships'' between videos that a human would never identify.
The new algorithm worked well, but it wasn't perfect. One problem, according to several of the current and former YouTube employees, is that the A.I. tended to pigeonhole users into specific niches, recommending videos that were similar to ones they had already watched. Eventually, users got bored.
Google Brain's researchers wondered if they could keep YouTube users engaged for longer by steering them into different parts of YouTube, rather than feeding their existing interests. And they began testing a new algorithm that incorporated a different type of A.I., called reinforcement learning.
The new A.I., known as Reinforce, was a kind of long-term addiction machine. It was designed to maximize users' engagement over time by predicting which recommendations would expand their tastes and get them to watch not just one more video but many more.
Reinforce was a huge success. In a talk at an A.I. conference in February, Minmin Chen, a Google Brain researcher, said it was YouTube's most successful launch in two years. Sitewide views increased by nearly 1 percent, she said '-- a gain that, at YouTube's scale, could amount to millions more hours of daily watch time and millions more dollars in advertising revenue per year. She added that the new algorithm was already starting to alter users' behavior.
''We can really lead the users toward a different state, versus recommending content that is familiar,'' Ms. Chen said.
After being shown a recording of Ms. Chen's talk, a YouTube spokesman confirmed that the company had incorporated reinforcement learning in its recommendation system. But he disputed her claim that it was YouTube's most successful change in two years. He added that reinforcement learning was meant to make recommendations more accurate, by neutralizing the system's bias toward popular content.
But YouTube's changes again played into the hands of far-right creators, many of whom already specialized in creating videos that introduced viewers to new ideas. They knew that a video calling out left-wing bias in ''Star Wars: The Force Awakens'' might red-pill movie buffs, or that a gamer who ranted about feminism while streaming his Call of Duty games might awaken other politically minded gamers. And now YouTube's algorithm was looking to promote the same kind of cross-genre exploration.
''The recent reboot by J.J. Abrams deepens and extends the glowing mayhem and radical antifamily message of the original series.'' The Truth About Star Wars: The Force Awakens '-- Stefan Molyneux This ''Star Wars'' video is a prime example of how Mr. Molyneux is adept at drawing in new viewers by making political points out of pop culture.
YouTube's recommendations system is not set in stone. The company makes many small changes every year, and has already introduced a version of its algorithm that is switched on after major news events to promote videos from ''authoritative sources'' over conspiracy theories and partisan content. This past week, the company announced that it would expand that approach, so that a person who had watched a series of conspiracy theory videos would be nudged toward videos from more authoritative news sources. It also said that a January change to its algorithm to reduce the spread of so-called ''borderline'' videos had resulted in significantly less traffic to those videos.
In interviews, YouTube officials denied that the recommendation algorithm steered users to more extreme content. The company's internal testing, they said, has found just the opposite '-- that users who watch one extreme video are, on average, recommended videos that reflect more moderate viewpoints. The officials declined to share this data, or give any specific examples of users who were shown more moderate videos after watching more extreme videos.
The officials stressed, however, that YouTube realized it had a responsibility to combat misinformation and extreme content.
''While we've made good progress, our work here is not done, and we will continue making more improvements this year,'' a YouTube spokesman, Farshad Shadloo, said in a statement.
By the night of Nov. 8, 2016, Mr. Cain's transformation was complete.
He spent much of the night watching clips of Ms. Clinton's supporters crying after the election was called in Mr. Trump's favor. His YouTube viewing history shows that at 1:41 a.m., just before bed, he turned on a live stream hosted by Mr. Crowder, with the title ''TRUMP WINS!''
''It felt like a punk-rock moment, almost like being in high school again,'' Mr. Cain said.
That year, Mr. Cain's YouTube consumption had skyrocketed. He got a job packing boxes at a furniture warehouse, where he would listen to podcasts and watch videos by his favorite YouTube creators all day. He fell asleep to YouTube videos at night, his phone propped up on a pillow. In all, he watched nearly 4,000 YouTube videos in 2016, more than double the number he had watched the previous year.
Not all of these videos were political. Mr. Cain's viewing history shows that he sought out videos about his other interests, including cars, music and cryptocurrency trading. But the bulk of his media diet came from far-right channels. And after the election, he began exploring a part of YouTube with a darker, more radical group of creators.
These people didn't couch their racist and anti-Semitic views in sarcastic memes, and they didn't speak in dog whistles. One channel run by Jared Taylor, the editor of the white nationalist magazine American Renaissance, posted videos with titles like '''Refugee' Invasion Is European Suicide.'' Others posted clips of interviews with white supremacists like Richard Spencer and David Duke.
Mr. Cain never bought into the far right's most extreme views, like Holocaust denial or the need for a white ethnostate, he said. Still, far-right ideology bled into his daily life. He began referring to himself as a ''tradcon'' '-- a traditional conservative, committed to old-fashioned gender norms. He dated an evangelical Christian woman, and he fought with his liberal friends.
''It was kind of sad,'' said Zelda Wait, a friend of Mr. Cain's from high school. ''I was just, like: 'Wow, what happened? How did you get this way?'''
Some of Mr. Cain's favorite YouTube creators were shifting their politics, too.
Mr. Molyneux, in particular, seemed to be veering further to the right. He fixated on ''race realism,'' a favored topic of white nationalists, and went on an Infowars show to discuss his opposition to multiculturalism with Mr. Jones. He hosted far-right figures on his channel, including Mr. Taylor of American Renaissance and Brittany Pettibone, a self-described ''American nationalist'' who pushed the Pizzagate conspiracy theory.
As Mr. Molyneux promoted white nationalists, his YouTube channel kept growing. He now has more than 900,000 subscribers, and his videos have been watched nearly 300 million times. Last year, he and Ms. Southern '-- Mr. Cain's ''fashy bae'' '-- went on a joint speaking tour in Australia and New Zealand, where they criticized Islam and discussed what they saw as the dangers of nonwhite immigration.
In March, after a white nationalist gunman killed 50 Muslims in a pair of mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, Mr. Molyneux and Ms. Southern distanced themselves from the violence, calling the killer a left-wing ''eco-terrorist'' and saying that linking the shooting to far-right speech was ''utter insanity.''
Neither Mr. Molyneux nor Ms. Southern replied to a request for comment. The day after my request, Mr. Molyneux uploaded a video titled ''An Open Letter to Corporate Reporters,'' in which he denied promoting hatred or violence and said labeling him an extremist was ''just a way of slandering ideas without having to engage with the content of those ideas.''
As social media platforms have barred far-right activists for hate speech, harassment and other harmful conduct, Mr. Molyneux and Ms. Southern have become vocal free-speech advocates who denounce what they call excessive censorship by social media companies.
''If you ban or crush people's lawful speech, it's like a rattlesnake,'' Mr. Molyneux said in a video. ''You cut off the rattle, but you don't cut off the head.''
In 2018, nearly four years after Mr. Cain had begun watching right-wing YouTube videos, a new kind of video began appearing in his recommendations.
These videos were made by left-wing creators, but they mimicked the aesthetics of right-wing YouTube, down to the combative titles and the mocking use of words like ''triggered'' and ''snowflake.''
''Enjoyment of Beethoven or white babies or whatever you get off to is in no way impeded by the proximity of people with different skin colors.'' Decrypting the Alt-Right: How to Recognize a F@scist '-- ContraPoints Mr. Cain says Natalie Wynn, a former academic philosopher who makes left-wing YouTube videos, used humor, shot in a style not unlike right-wing creators, to get his attention.
One video was a debate about immigration between Ms. Southern and Steven Bonnell, a liberal YouTuber known as Destiny. Mr. Cain watched the video to cheer on Ms. Southern, but Mr. Bonnell was a better debater, and Mr. Cain reluctantly declared him the winner.
Mr. Cain also found videos by Natalie Wynn, a former academic philosopher who goes by the name ContraPoints. Ms. Wynn wore elaborate costumes and did drag-style performances in which she explained why Western culture wasn't under attack from immigrants, or why race was a social construct.
Unlike most progressives Mr. Cain had seen take on the right, Mr. Bonnell and Ms. Wynn were funny and engaging. They spoke the native language of YouTube, and they didn't get outraged by far-right ideas. Instead, they rolled their eyes at them, and made them seem shallow and unsophisticated.
''I noticed that right-wing people were taking these old-fashioned, knee-jerk, reactionary politics and packing them as edgy punk rock,'' Ms. Wynn told me. ''One of my goals was to take the excitement out of it.''
When Mr. Cain first saw these videos, he dismissed them as left-wing propaganda. But he watched more, and he started to wonder if people like Ms. Wynn had a point. Her videos persuasively used research and citations to rebut the right-wing talking points he had absorbed.
''I just kept watching more and more of that content, sympathizing and empathizing with her and also seeing that, wow, she really knows what she's talking about,'' Mr. Cain said.
Ms. Wynn and Mr. Bonnell are part of a new group of YouTubers who are trying to build a counterweight to YouTube's far-right flank. This group calls itself BreadTube, a reference to the left-wing anarchist Peter Kropotkin's 1892 book, ''The Conquest of Bread.'' It also includes people like Oliver Thorn, a British philosopher who hosts the channel PhilosophyTube, where he posts videos about topics like transphobia, racism and Marxist economics.
The core of BreadTube's strategy is a kind of algorithmic hijacking. By talking about many of the same topics that far-right creators do '-- and, in some cases, by responding directly to their videos '-- left-wing YouTubers are able to get their videos recommended to the same audience.
''Natalie and Destiny made a bridge over to my side,'' Mr. Cain said, ''and it was interesting and compelling enough that I walked across it.''
BreadTube is still small. Ms. Wynn, the most prominent figure in the movement, has 615,000 subscribers, a small fraction of the audience drawn by the largest right-wing creators.
''Unfortunately the alt-right got a big head start on finding ways to appeal to white men,'' said Emerican Johnson, a YouTuber who runs a left-wing channel called Non-Compete. ''We're late to the party. But I think we will build a narrative that will stand strong against that alt-right narrative.''
After the New Zealand shooting, Mr. Cain decided to try to help. He recently started his own YouTube channel '-- Faraday Speaks, a homage to the 19th-century scientist Michael Faraday '-- where he talks about politics and current events from a left-wing perspective. He wants to show young men a way out of the far right before more white nationalist violence ensues.
''You have to reach people on their level, and part of that is edgy humor, edgy memes,'' he said. ''You have to empathize with them, and then you have to give them the space to get all these ideas out of their head.''
Shortly after his first video was uploaded, Mr. Cain began receiving threats from alt-right trolls on 4Chan. One called him a traitor, and made a reference to hanging him. That was when he bought the gun. Several weeks ago, he moved out of West Virginia, and is working at a new job while he develops his YouTube channel.
What is most surprising about Mr. Cain's new life, on the surface, is how similar it feels to his old one. He still watches dozens of YouTube videos every day and hangs on the words of his favorite creators. It is still difficult, at times, to tell where the YouTube algorithm stops and his personality begins.
Perhaps this shouldn't be a surprise. Our political culture is now built largely on shapeshifting internet platforms, which have made flipping partisan allegiances as easy as changing hairstyles. It's possible that vulnerable young men like Mr. Cain will drift away from radical groups as they grow up and find stability elsewhere. It's also possible that this kind of whiplash polarization is here to stay as political factions gain and lose traction online.
Near the end of our interview, I told Mr. Cain that I found it odd that he had successfully climbed out of a right-wing YouTube rabbit hole, only to jump into a left-wing YouTube rabbit hole. I asked if he had considered cutting back on his video intake altogether, and rebuild some of his offline relationships.
He hesitated, and looked slightly confused. For all of its problems, he said, YouTube is still where political battles are fought and won. Leaving the platform would essentially mean abandoning the debate.
He conceded, though, that he needed to think critically about the videos he watched.
''YouTube is the place to put out a message,'' he said. ''But I've learned now that you can't go to YouTube and think that you're getting some kind of education, because you're not.''
Why Netflix Can't Afford Its Far-Left Stance on Abortion | NewsBusters
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 16:43
Netflix boasts far more than just buzz-worthy content.
The streaming giant enjoys enormous public goodwill. Offer a crush of high quality programming along with classic fare for a modest fee '' which just jumped to $12.99/month '' and patrons will sing your praises.
Better yet, Netflix is easily consumed on smart phones, tablets, streaming devices and smart TVs. Is it any wonder people connect with the brand?
''Netflix and chill'' didn't enter the lexicon by accident.
It's a success story that could hit some bumps this year. Both AT&T and Disney are prepping their own streaming services, fueled by their respective content libraries
Netflix's biggest woes may be self-inflicted, though. The company is jumping head first into the Culture Wars.
The company's leftward lurch caught Twitter nation's attention months ago. Now, its positions are moving beyond social media. Consider:
That mega production deal with former President Barack Obama.
Drafting former Obama administration official Susan Rice onto its Board of Directors.
A parade of left-leaning to far-left fare '' including ''Patriot Act,'' woke Chelsea Handler projects, documentaries like Knock Down the House and more.
Netflix 's Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos declaring war on Georgia for the state's new anti-abortion laws.
That last bullet point may matter most.
This isn't a content provider producing a few liberal shows. It's a company making a statement on the hottest hot-button issue of our age.
What was once a nonpartisan brand is morphing into something else '' a very loud voice for Progressive America.
National Review's Kyle Smith analyzes Netflix's pro-choice fight from a pragmatic point of view.
''Netflix is an unusual kind of Hollywood studio in that it is spending money at a rate that would make Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blanch,'' he argues before citing the twin streaming competitors heading our way. ''The last thing Netflix needs is to be creating problems for itself by pulling out of Georgia and forsaking all those yummy tax subsidies.''
That's why Georgia matters in the first place. The state offers incentives for Hollywood to drop by the Peach State for a spell. That directly contradicts the film industry's progressive groupthink. They promote higher taxes at every turn but flee to states with basement-level tax structures.
Smith thinks cooler heads will prevail and Netflix, along with other studios and stars, won't give up the state's alluring fiscal truths.
He could be right.
Still, this fight is going public. Netflix users are hearing the debate in real time, and some are speaking back with their wallets and purses.
Do those Tweets represent a movement or a cultural blip? We'll see.
What's clear is the damage Netflix could be doing to its image. There's plenty of liberal content out there, from specific shows to platforms like MSNBC. Much of it thrives on its own terms. HBO leans to the left, and has done so for some time. Still, it offers quality content and snares enough subscribers to make it profitable.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert rules the talk show realm, in part, because the TV landscape is more fractured than during the Carson/Letterman era. A smaller, passionate audience keeps Team Colbert grinning.
Will the same be enough for a streaming giant like Netflix?
The company seems ill-prepared to alienate a large chunk of its potential audience at this point in its growth. Remember the gobs of cash it spends for original content? Add those two new competitors into the mix and the streaming wars have begun.
A contributor to Forbes.com recently argued Netflix ''is not the future of TV'' in a viral op-ed.
The company spent $12 billion developing original shows last year. It released 88% more original programming in 2018 than it did the previous year.
And spending on original shows and movies is expected to hit $15 billion this year '...
To fund its new shows, Netflix is borrowing huge sums of debt. It currently owes creditors $10.4 billion, which is 59% more than it owed this time last year.
The problem is that no matter how much Netflix spends, it has no chance to catch up with its biggest rival'...
Other voices quickly rushed in, saying those doom and gloom predictions are off the mark.
Few, if any, observers are mentioning the ideological elephant in the room. Netflix's progressive turn could be the game changer when it comes to its future. Ironically, neither the company nor most media outlets appear aware of the threat.
That doesn't make it any less real.
[Cross-posted from Hollywood in Toto.]
Why YouTube Should Stay Weird - POLITICO Magazine
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 16:22
Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Fourth Estate
Yes, it's a cesspit. But it's also important, and its ham-handed purges could backfire.
YouTube can blame only itself for finding itself in a muddy ditch, flipped over, wheels spinning.
As Bloomberg's Mark Bergen tells us in his tidy history of Google's video-sharing site, YouTube executives decided in 2012 that the way to maximize ad revenue was by maximizing views'--and so they instructed their programmers to rewrite its recommendation engine to reach the goal of 1 billion hours viewed a day. As video creators realized that the new algorithms rewarded the most outrageous videos, they proceeded to stoke YouTube with extreme contents of all varieties.
Story Continued Below
Fiddling with its algorithms and constantly rejigging its video content rules, YouTube has sought ever since to curb the videos it found most appalling'--beheadings, terrorist recruitment, anti-Semitism, tasteless depictions of death, porn, promotion of drugs, and other ''controversial or sensitive subjects.'' But like chastised children given explicit rules of conduct by their parents, YouTube video creators have always found a way to observe the new demarcation line and still post transgressive content. This continual redrawing of YouTube's rules was on view again this week as it promulgated new guidelines to evict white supremacists, neo-Nazis, espousers of racist and sexist theories, and creators of conspiracy videos denying historical events like the Newtown school shootings. YouTube has also moved to ''demonetize'' users who violate the spirit of its rules. Steven Crowder's popular channel has been demonetized for ridiculing a writer at Vox for being gay, meaning the channel can no longer accept adds. On another front, the New York Times looked at how the site's algorithm itself creates extreme content, by repackaging innocent videos of children in ways that make them seem sexually suggestive.
Right-wingers are angry that YouTube is taking their content down. Liberals are in a moral panic over whether the site exists at all. YouTube really is a cesspit, and Google's efforts to rein it in are often ham-handed. But it's also a colossally important public square and an underappreciated miracle of the internet. There's good reason to keep its freewheeling spirit alive, as unpleasant as that may feel this week.
Why does YouTube draw Nazis like an invitation to a goose-stepping contest, while traditional video providers such as HBO, ESPN, CBS, WGN and the rest do not? Volume. As Bergen notes, YouTube committed itself early on to hosting astronomically huge numbers of videos against which it could sell lots of ads. Anybody can post a video to YouTube for free, and it seems like almost everybody has! Users upload 500 hours of video each minute. There are nowhere near enough human screeners at YouTube to monitor this deluge nor any AI powerful enough to judge it all. The site depends heavily on offended viewers to file complaints that make it easier to police the transgressors.
Traditional video providers don't have this problem because they pride themselves on being gatekeepers. YouTube leaves the gate open. Traditional video providers air relatively tiny amounts of content that they commission, and they also have the luxury of time to vet it all for naughtiness before airing (or erect sturdy safeguards like a seven-second delay if the content is live). If racism, porn, or drug advocacy leaks through to a traditional video provider's screens, it's by design, not accident.
YouTube's periodic purges of ''offensive'' content reflect less of a desire to censor reprobates than to placate the advertisers who have made it a $16 billion a year business. Advertisers don't want their ads associated in any way with child pornography, or claims that Sandy Hook was a hoax, or that the Holocaust never happened, and to keep those ad dollars flowing YouTube must make a steady show of vigilance. ''Recently, we had a number of cases where brands' ads appeared on content that was not aligned with their values,'' Phillip Schindler, Google's chief business officer blogged in March 2017 during an advertiser dust-up. ''For this, we deeply apologize. We know that this is unacceptable to the advertisers and agencies who put their trust in us.''
Clever white supremacists and other offenders will always find a way to navigate around YouTube's ever-changing rules, making its efforts look a lot like the security theater that TSA subjects us to at the airport. So what should the company do? Any discussion of YouTube that neglects to note that in addition to offending people, the site has also been a boon to mankind is incomplete. The site abounds in free and advertiser-supported entertainment, cultural treasures, stirring lectures, classic films, and how-to videos for everything from how to make a Bluetooth connection with your 2012 Acura to how to fix a toilet. ''Bad'' content on YouTube is so overwhelmingly outweighed by the beneficial content that I sometimes wonder why we so fixate on the bad. The fact that I can go to Amazon and order a copy of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf (or other damnable books like the works of David Irving) with one click has prompted nobody to demand that Amazon take down the page or that its publisher be ''demonetized'' or that the printer of the book be ostracized.
One reason deplatforming Nazis at bookstores strikes us different than deplatforming them at YouTube is that we've been taught from a young age that bookstores and libraries are sacrosanct places where evil ideas must be tolerated along with the good because, as John Stuart Mill had it, silencing opinion harms humanity more than it does the silenced speaker. It denies us the chance of debate in which we have a chance of ''exchanging error for truth.'' Booksellers, ever-wary of a slippery slope, consider the long-term consequences of banning works from their premises.
Some would argue for the suppression of YouTube Nazi videos because the scale of YouTube can efficiently place Der F¼hrer's ideas in every pocket and easily ''radicalize'' the dull-thinking masses. This argument, which I understand, says that video is more effective in swaying people than books. This argument sidesteps the fact that Hitler successfully ''radicalized'' Germany without the help of a free online video service. That would suggest that we should ban pro-Hitler books now because they once helped a genocidal dictator achieve power.
One thing that separates Amazon and your local bookstore from YouTube is that Amazon and many bookstores deliberately stock wrong-thinking books out of their faith in the power of good ideas to triumph. YouTube, on the other hand, acquired its Nazi and hateful videos passively, the way a forest floor acquires a bed of leaves in autumn, with no philosophical introspection. Activists sense that YouTube has no real stake in the promulgation of ideas'--it is in it only for the ad revenue, and will fold if pressed about ''objectionable'' content. At the rate we're going, YouTube will be persuaded to remove or demonetize videos that are opposed to gay marriage, or drag queen story hour, because activists and advertisers will it so.
Maybe you think I'm exaggerating, but YouTube purges have a way of spinning out of control. Its newest rules have resulted in the deletion of videos on Nazi history, including Leni Riefenstahl's propaganda masterpiece Triumph of the Will. Under YouTube's latest standards, studying Nazism is now akin to practicing it. Another example: Video journalist Ford Fischer found his exposes of political extremism demonetized by YouTube this week for promoting ''harmful or hateful content.''
Is there a way out of the YouTube morass? If the site continues to placate the offended it will ultimately become a no-controversy emporium that serves only porridge topped with skim milk. If that's what it wants, that's OK with me. It's YouTube's house. But YouTube's purges won't end the expression of bad thoughts, it will only push them to forbidden corners of the Web where we won't be able to monitor them. There's nothing like the creation of a forbidden fruit to stimulate interest.
The good thing about the purges is that they've awakened us to our over-dependence on the ease of use and no-cost service of YouTube and the other major virtual public squares'--Twitter and Facebook, which have also cracked down on wrong-think. Foolishly imagining that YouTube wanted to be our servant, we were shocked when we learned that its primary passion was to sell ads. In its own way, Big Tech is trying to tell us to decentralize our conversations and debates to places beyond its control. Let a million YouTubes bloom.
Demonetize me with an email to Shafer.Politico@gmail.com. My email alerts once shook the hand of Sen. Alan Cranston, who bootlegged a version of Mein Kampf and lost a copyright lawsuit filed by Hitler. My Twitter feed favors forbidden commie literature. Russian. My RSS feed remains committed to Max Stirner.
What's behind the exec exodus at Comscore | AdAge
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 15:02
Comscore remains the best hope for a serious challenge to behemoth Nielsen in U.S. TV ratings or cross-media measurement. But that hope grows dimmer as the stock nears record lows amid two new C-suite departures that follow a senior-leadership shakeup just two months ago.
Chief Operating Officer Kathryn Bachmann left Comscore at the end of May after less than two months on a job she assumed in April, shortly after CEO Bryan Wiener and President Sarah Hofstetter resigned, citing ''irreconcilable'' strategic differences with the board.
Chief Product Officer Dan Hess is preparing to follow her out the door. He's tendered his resignation, according to people familiar with the matter, though he remained at Comscore as of this week. Bachmann couldn't be reached for comment, and Hess declined to comment.
What's making the C-suite door spin so fast at Comscore is up for debate. Some people familiar with the company say Vice Chairman Bill Livek, who's been on the board since his own company Rentrak was acquired in 2016, has wanted to be CEO since before Wiener took the job last year. Livek is said to be the key board member with whom Wiener and Hofstetter had the strategic differences that prompted their exit. Those differences are said to center on Wiener's interest in aggressively pursuing investment in cross-platform measurement, including acquisitions, according to people familiar with the company, while the board favored going slower and focusing more on fixing Comscore's legacy businesses.
Livek didn't return a call for comment. Wiener and Hofstetter declined to comment.
Comscore board member Dale Fuller remains as interim CEO amid a successor search. ''We are moving forward with the team that best supports our mission," Fuller said in statement. "Our current team is well-known in the industry for its broad and deep experience, and we feel Comscore is now very well-positioned organizationally to ensure exceptional customer service and to meet our aggressive customer acquisition goals.''
Fuller handled the company's first-quarter earnings call last month, where he discussed a 10-percent companywide headcount reduction amid falling revenues. But Livek has since represented the company at two investor conferences, including this week alongside former GroupM Chairman and fellow board member Irwin Gotlieb.
On the May call, Fuller suggested he's focused on shoring up Comscore's declining syndicated digital audience measurement business. But several people in the industry say that business has fallen well behind IAS, Oracle's Moat and DoubleVerify, and will be hard-pressed to catch up.
Neither of those presentations were webcast. A spokeswoman for Comscore says nothing of material importance was discussed at either conference that wasn't covered in the earnings call, since that would violate Securities and Exchange Commission Regulation FD.
Comscore's stock was re-listed on Nasdaq a year ago after being de-listed in 2017 after financial reports were delayed by the accounting problems.
The stock plummeted 30 percent the day after Wiener and Hofstetter resigned and has shed another 40 percent since, this week nearing all-time lows set in 2009 as shares traded at less than half what they were worth immediately after news of the accounting issues broke in 2015.
A possible silver lining is that Comscore stock is now so cheap''its market capitalization is just over $500 million''that some people close to the company believe it's in play for takeover. Comscore declined to comment on this.
Speculation by some company watchers focuses on Integral Ad Science and its private-equity owner Vista Equity Partners, which could combine Rentrak's TV measurement with its IAS digital audience measurement. But in a market where heavyweights Nielsen and WPP's Kantar are openly up for sale--with various private-equity players circling--many options are in play.
Recent research questioning the value of behavioral targeting could actually boost the value of Comscore's demographic-focused Validated Campaign Essentials or Nielsen's cross-platform products. But Nielsen's announcement last week of expanding the global reach of its YouTube ratings measurement to more than 30 countries puts Comscore further behind on the digital and cross-platform demographic ratings front.
EXCLUSIVE: Bayer stops advertising on Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham
Thu, 06 Jun 2019 21:01
This is a special report from Popular Information, a newsletter about politics by Judd Legum. Subscribe at popular.info to get groundbreaking reporting and original research straight to you inbox. To see more of what to expect, check out the archives.
Bayer, one of the last major brands advertising with Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, will no longer run ads on either Fox News show, a source familiar with Bayer's decision-making told Popular Information.
Over the last year, dozens of major brands have abandoned Carlson and Ingraham. It's not hard to understand why.
Carlson has repeatedly said that immigrants are making America "dirtier," refused to apologize for a series of deeply sexist and homophobic remarks he on a radio show, and trafficked in white nationalist conspiracy theories. Ingraham personally attacked Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg, compared detention facilities for migrant children to "summer camp," and recently defended white supremacist Paul Nehlen.
But Bayer seemed reluctant to give up on either Fox News host. In March 2018, Bayer publicly announced it would no longer advertise on Ingraham's show:
But the company quietly resumed advertising on Ingraham's show in August 2018 and has been regular advertisers ever since.
Bayer had not been advertising on Carlson's show but ran four advertisement on Monday's broadcast. The company's reemergence on Carlson's show went viral on Twitter.
The public scrutiny, according to the source, has prompted a reconsideration of the company's relationship with both shows. Bayer last ran an ad on Carlson's show on June 4 and last ran an ad on Ingraham's show on May 30.
Bayer, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Popular Information, will not be returning to either program.
AT&T to Advertise on YouTube Again After a Nearly 2-Year Holdout - The New York Times
Thu, 06 Jun 2019 14:51
Image AT&T pulled its advertising from YouTube in 2017 because it was appearing near offensive content too often. Credit Credit Mike Blake/Reuters AT&T thinks YouTube is safe for advertisers again.
The company, one of the nation's biggest marketers, yanked its dollars from YouTube in 2017 because its ads were appearing alongside offensive videos. But on Friday, AT&T said it had been persuaded to resume advertising on the video platform.
The decision reflects the progress that Google-owned YouTube has made with advertisers in the 22 months since a number of them discovered that some of their ads were appearing during, or before, videos promoting hate speech, terrorism and other disturbing content. AT&T was among the first companies that stopped paying to advertise on YouTube, telling it that they wouldn't return until it made improvements.
YouTube has since introduced a series of changes aimed at making the platform ''brand safe'' '-- that is, an appropriate place for companies to run advertisements. It has raised the number of subscribers and the viewership that video makers must have in order to carry ads, and is subjecting videos to more human and automated oversight.
''The testing took time, and we needed to be 100 percent confident throughout our organization that it met the standards that we were aiming for,'' Fiona Carter, AT&T's chief brand officer, said in an interview. ''We want a near-zero chance of our advertising appearing next to objectionable content, and that's a high standard.''
Companies have long paid close attention to the content that they fund with their television commercials. Shows like ''Gilmore Girls,'' for example, were backed by an advertiser group that sought to produce more prime-time programming for families. Lowe's and others dropped ads from ABC's ''Desperate Housewives'' in 2004 because they thought it was too racy. And after revelations that Bill O'Reilly had reached settlements with women over allegations of harassment and inappropriate behavior, at least 50 major brands said they would not advertise on his Fox News show, hastening his exit from the network.
Many brands were not paying the same attention to their online advertising, outside of avoiding the obvious, like pornography sites. In the past two years, however, the business of brand safety has boomed, and major marketers have sought new control over their digital presence '-- even if that means leaving platforms that reach vast numbers of young people, like YouTube.
The advertiser exodus brought a focus to the potential risks of digital ads, which often follow individuals on whatever content they are viewing. Questions were raised about what that meant for advertisers, which could inadvertently end up funding disturbing material and be associated with such content by viewers.
''We care deeply about where we appear and whether it reflects our values and whether it breaks that trust with our consumers,'' Ms. Carter said. ''It was a moment to remind us that marketers must have their hands on the wheel at all times of their brands' destiny.''
The outcry over YouTube occurred as brands were discovering their automatically placed ads on websites promoting conspiracy theories and other toxic material. JPMorgan Chase, for example, reduced the number of sites that could run its display ads to about 5,000 after The New York Times showed the company one of its ads on a site called Hillary 4 Prison, where a headline promised to reveal ''the horrifying truth about the Satanic liberal perverts who run Hollywood.'' Previously, the company was running ads on about 400,000 sites a month.
At the same time, brands came under pressure from activists to pull their ads from Breitbart News, the hard-right, nationalist website closely tied to President Trump's administration. Most of the brands were unaware that their ads had been appearing there.
To some, the action by advertisers was a shift of a pendulum that had swung too far toward automation.
Ms. Carter wrote in a LinkedIn post on Friday that while she was ''thrilled'' to be back on YouTube, she was ''glad that we packed up our ads and walked away in the first place.''
''As powerful as digital platforms are in today's advertising ecosystem,'' she added, ''they can't be permitted to disempower the brands that use them to reach their customers.''
Still, even as YouTube wins back major clients like AT&T, that doesn't mean the platform is ''out of the woods in terms of brand safety issues,'' said Brian Wieser, a media analyst at Pivotal Research.
''Any nonhuman-curated platform will have risks,'' he said. ''The question is, are advertisers willing to take the risks? And generally speaking, the answer is yes. Brand unsafe or inappropriate things will still happen, and it just comes down to you hope to get the obvious things.''
Testing that AT&T conducted after the problem arose showed that it was widespread. Ms. Carter gave credit to Google's and YouTube's leaders, who ''leaned into the issue when they realized from the evidence we produced that perhaps it was a broader issue than they were aware of.''
Marketers and their agencies have also learned more about the types of content that they may want to avoid. For example, Ms. Carter said, AT&T looks to avoid gaming videos, where the chances of unsavory chatter and behavior may increase.
''Having to have more subscribers and more viewing hours has really helped with eliminating fringe content that we might not want to advertise against,'' she said.
In AT&T's latest test of YouTube's Brand Suitability System, which avoids categories like violence, extremist and hate speech, and adult content, almost zero ads ran alongside offensive content.
In April, Procter & Gamble, the world's biggest advertiser, confirmed that it was returning to YouTube after they worked together ''extensively'' to ensure that its ads would be placed in appropriate environments.
Procter & Gamble spent $2.8 billion on ads in 2017, according to data from Kantar Media. AT&T, the second-biggest advertiser in the United States, spent $2.4 billion in the same period.
''Over the past year, we've worked hard to address concerns raised by our customers,'' Debbie Weinstein, vice president of YouTube Video Global Solutions, said in a statement. ''We're committed to retaining their trust in YouTube, and ensuring they can realize the unique value of our platform.''
YouTube has an enormous audience of viewers in their teens and 20s, and Ms. Carter said on Thursday that she was keen to reach that group again. She added, however, that AT&T and its agency would continue testing to make sure its guidelines were being met.
''Technological advancements mean you have to be on your game and you have to be constantly vigilant in this area,'' Ms. Carter said.
YouTube to Remove Thousands of Videos Pushing Extreme Views - The New York Times
Thu, 06 Jun 2019 14:49
Image Content ''alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion'' and videos denying that violent incidents occurred will be removed, YouTube said Wednesday. Credit Credit Dado Ruvic/Reuters YouTube announced plans on Wednesday to remove thousands of videos and channels that advocate neo-Nazism, white supremacy and other bigoted ideologies in an attempt to clean up extremism and hate speech on its popular service.
The new policy will ban ''videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion,'' the company said in a blog post. The prohibition will also cover videos denying that violent events, like the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, took place.
YouTube did not name any specific channels or videos that would be banned. But on Wednesday, numerous far-right creators began complaining that their videos had been deleted, or had been stripped of ads, presumably a result of the new policy.
''It's our responsibility to protect that, and prevent our platform from being used to incite hatred, harassment, discrimination and violence,'' the blog post said.
The decision by YouTube, which is owned by Google, is the latest action by a Silicon Valley company to stem the spread of hate speech and disinformation on its site. A month ago, Facebook evicted seven of its most controversial users, including Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist and founder of Infowars. Twitter barred Mr. Jones last year.
The companies have come under intense criticism for their delayed reaction to the spread of hateful and false content. At the same time, President Trump and others argue that the giant tech platforms censor right-wing opinions, and the new policies put in place by the companies have inflamed those debates.
The tension was evident on Tuesday, when YouTube said a prominent right-wing creator who used racial language and homophobic slurs to harass a journalist in videos on YouTube did not violate its policies. The decision set off a firestorm online, including accusations that YouTube was giving a free pass to some of its popular creators.
In the videos, that creator, Steven Crowder, a conservative commentator with nearly four million YouTube subscribers, repeatedly insulted Carlos Maza, a journalist from Vox. Mr. Crowder used slurs about Mr. Maza's Cuban-American ethnicity and sexual orientation. Mr. Crowder said his comments were harmless, and YouTube determined that they did not break its rules.
''Opinions can be deeply offensive, but if they don't violate our policies, they'll remain on our site,'' YouTube said in a statement about its decision on Mr. Crowder.
On Wednesday, YouTube appeared to backtrack, saying that Mr. Crowder had, in fact, violated its rules, and that his ability to earn money from ads on his channel would be suspended as a result.
''We came to this decision because a pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community,'' the company wrote on Twitter.
The whiplash-inducing deliberations illustrated a central theme that has defined the moderation struggles of social media companies: Making rules is often easier than enforcing them.
''This is an important and long-overdue change,'' Becca Lewis, a research affiliate at the nonprofit organization Data & Society, said about the new policy. ''However, YouTube has often executed its community guidelines unevenly, so it remains to be seen how effective these updates will be.''
YouTube's scale '-- more than 500 hours of new videos are uploaded every minute '-- has made it difficult for the company to track rule violations. And the company's historically lax approach to moderating extreme videos has led to a drumbeat of scandals, including accusations that the site has promoted disturbing videos to children and allowed extremist groups to organize on its platform. YouTube's automated advertising system has paired offensive videos with ads from major corporations, prompting several advertisers to abandon the site.
The kind of content that will be prohibited under YouTube's new hate speech policies includes videos that claim Jews secretly control the world, that say women are intellectually inferior to men and therefore should be denied certain rights, or that suggest that the white race is superior to another race, a YouTube spokesman said.
Channels that post some hateful content, but that do not violate YouTube's rules with the majority of their videos, may receive strikes under YouTube's three-strike enforcement system, but would not be immediately banned.
The company also said channels that ''repeatedly brush up against our hate speech policies'' but don't violate them outright would be removed from YouTube's advertising program, which allows channel owners to share in the advertising revenue their videos generate.
In addition to tightening its hate speech rules, YouTube announced that it would tweak its recommendation algorithm, the automated software that shows users videos based on their interests and past viewing habits. This algorithm is responsible for more than 70 percent of overall time spent on YouTube, and has been a major engine for the platform's growth. But it has also drawn accusations of leading users down rabbit holes filled with extreme and divisive content, in an attempt to keep them watching and drive up the site's use numbers.
''If the hate and intolerance and supremacy is a match, then YouTube is lighter fluid,'' said Rashad Robinson, president of the civil rights nonprofit Color of Change. ''YouTube and other platforms have been quite slow to address the structure they've created to incentivize hate.''
In response to the criticism, YouTube announced in January that it would recommend fewer objectionable videos, such as those with conspiracy theories about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and vaccine misinformation, a category it called ''borderline content.'' The YouTube spokesman said on Tuesday that the algorithm changes had resulted in a 50 percent drop in recommendations to such videos in the United States. He declined to share specific data about which videos YouTube considered ''borderline.''
''Our systems are also getting smarter about what types of videos should get this treatment, and we'll be able to apply it to even more borderline videos moving forward,'' the company's blog post said.
Other social media companies have faced criticism for allowing white supremacist content. Facebook recently banned a slew of accounts, including that of Paul Joseph Watson, a contributor to Infowars, and Laura Loomer, a far-right activist. Twitter bars violent extremist groups but allows some of their members to maintain personal accounts '-- for instance, the Ku Klux Klan was barred from Twitter in August, while its former leader David Duke remains on the service.
Twitter is studying whether the removal of content is effective in stemming the tide of radicalization online. A Twitter spokesman declined to comment on the study.
When Twitter barred Mr. Jones, he responded with a series of videos denouncing the platform's decision and drumming up donations from his supporters.
YouTube's ban of white supremacists could prompt a similar cycle of outrage and grievance, said Joan Donovan, the director of the Technology and Social Change Research Project at Harvard. The ban, she said, ''presents an opportunity for content creators to get a wave of media attention, so we may see some particularly disingenuous uploads.''
''I wonder to what degree will the removed content be amplified on different platforms, and get a second life?'' Ms. Donovan added.
Vox employees stage walkout
Fri, 07 Jun 2019 14:48
| June 06, 2019 05:03 PM
M ore than 300 employees for Vox Media staged an official walkout Thursday, hoping to shut down the site and pressure Vox Media to sign a labor contract with the Vox Media Union.
In a Thursday morning tweet, the Vox Media Union wrote that they were "not showing up to work today" because they were unable to agree on wage scales, guaranteed wages, better severance packages, and more subcontracting work. Pictures followed of empty desks in the New York Vox Media Office.
Today's our last scheduled day of bargaining.@voxmediainc is still apart from us on:- competitive wage scales - strong guaranteed raises- better severance- subcontracting workWe've decided we're not showing up to work today until we resolve these issues.
'-- Vox Media Union (@vox_union) June 6, 2019 This strike has also seen active encouragement from many senior Vox writers and an active encouragement to avoid clicking Vox social media links to drive down internet traffic. In one since-deleted tweet, senior contributor and Vox co-founder Matt Yglesias posted a screenshot of a tweet from Vox.com with instructions to "not click on scab tweets." This has backfired, leading to more traffic from those who oppose the site. He also re-tweeted a tweet from Sen. Bernie Sanders, who "[stands] in solidarity" with the workers on the strike.
Other writers, including Vox senior politics reporter Jane Coaston, Eater Senior Producer James Barry, and others have also voiced their displeasure with the contract dispute. Both tagged Vox Media Chairman and CEO Jim Bankoff in their tweets, explaining their anger over the dispute.
.@bankoff This could mean one of two things. Either there are just four qualified black senior writers in the whole of America (which seems highly unlikely!) or offering hilariously low pay to hard-working journalists is not a terrific recruiting strategy.
'-- Jane Coaston (@cjane87) June 5, 2019 This comes after some controversy over the site after Vox correspondent Carlos Maza made a serious push against Steven Crowder from YouTube. The host of popular conservative show "Louder with Crowder" was accused by Maza of harassment. Maza claimed Crowder harassed him for being gay and Latino. Maza posted a video on Twitter with examples of Crowder's harassment. Crowder referred to Maza as a "lispy queer" or the "token gay Latino," among other things. Maza asked for YouTube to take his content down. YouTube refused to take down the content but will demonetize Crowder's account.
Since I started working at Vox, Steven Crowder has been making video after video "debunking" Strikethrough. Every single video has included repeated, overt attacks on my sexual orientation and ethnicity. Here's a sample: pic.twitter.com/UReCcQ2Elj
'-- Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) May 31, 2019 Vox Media was originally founded as SportsBlog Inc. before rebranding to Vox Media in 2011. Vox Media currently owns six other websites including SB Nation, The Verge , and Eater, among others.
Tim Pool: 'Left Wing Media Activist Email Leak Shows How They Deplatform Political Rivals'
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 11:45
Independent journalist Tim Pool was leaked an email showing Slate journo April Glaser appearing to threaten Chase Bank with negative press if they don't deplatform the right-wing activist group The Proud Boys.
From Tim Pool:
Following the Vox controversy with Steven Crowder, or #VoxAdpocalypse, and mass censorship hitting youtube I found it pertinent to show how these activists in media operate and how they use framing devices to target people like conservatives and other political groups.The reporter in question has advocated for government regulation to restrict speech and I believe this shows her to be an activist acting to target and cause harm to political rivals.
The email was confirmed to me by Chase bank on two occasions and the contents of the email were referred to in my correspondence with Slate. While not directly confirming the email I believe this with Chase bank's confirmation is sufficient to confirm the authenticity of the email.
UPDATE: Slate has provided an official comment
"In the course of her reporting about banks providing financial services for 1776.shop, an e-commerce site associated with the Proud Boys, April reached out to those banks for comment about their policies of providing services to a designated hate group. In both her email and in the subsequent reporting, April provided important context and we stand by her reporting on this newsworthy topic."
Pool's analysis was on the money. The key line is Glaser saying: "The Proud Boys are designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group and members have engaged in group violence in Portland and New York City."All these journ-ists use the same tactic. They're telling you they're going to accuse you of supporting a "SPLC designated hate group" if you don't give in.
After Pool started digging into this story, Glaser locked down her Twitter account and allegedly started deleting tweets showing her bias:
Note, this is the same April Glaser who said last year that she wrote to Google to complain that the top search results on YouTube for abortion were anti-abortion videos she deemed "dangerous misinformation" and "YouTube changed the results after I asked."
Why is YouTube (Google) manipulating its own search algorithm in response to left-wing partisan lobbying? https://t.co/RD837vSbbe
'-- Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) December 23, 2018Follow InformationLiberation on Twitter, Facebook, Gab and Minds.
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An open letter to YouTube's CEO - Vox
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 12:53
Dear Susan Wojcicki,
YouTube's social media profiles have been updated with a rainbow-themed version of your logo to celebrate Pride Month. But to truly celebrate your LGBTQ creators and users, there's another more meaningful update you need to make this month.
Your platform has made it easier than ever for people making abusive content to reach a massive scale. As Vox video producer Carlos Maza documented in
a Twitter thread , he's been the subject of repeated personal attacks by the popular YouTube commentator Steven Crowder. During a series of videos attempting to rebut Carlos's arguments, he calls Carlos ''the lispy queer from Vox,'' along with many other homophobic and racist slurs. These repeated attacks on Carlos's sexual orientation and ethnicity have led to vicious onslaughts, including doxxing and dogpiling, from many of Crowder's millions of fans.
To YouTube, however, Crowder's behavior '-- while worthy of demonetization '-- is not in violation of these policies, as long as the offending language is not
''the primary purpose'' of a video. If the repeated harassment in these videos doesn't cross the line by YouTube's standards, then your line needs to be moved. Without a serious change to YouTube's interpretation of its standards, Crowder is free to continue to make videos where he hurls slurs at journalists and creators, who will then keep getting hit with the same sort of harassment, invective, and dangerous leaking of personal information that Carlos has continued to experience from Crowder's fans.
The suggestion implicit in YouTube's inaction is that this harassment is simply the cost of doing business for a gay person of color on your platform. That is unacceptable to us. It should be unacceptable to you too.
Vox is proud to be among the many creators who have built big, loyal followings on YouTube '-- the platform is often a powerful tool to build community, give voice to underrepresented groups, spur creativity, and circulate interesting and educational information to millions. We're sure you know there's no meaningful alternative to YouTube, and leaving the platform would mean that those who are harassing creators have won. We're committed to continuing to publish our signature Vox videos on the platform, but the current climate is untenable.
We are strong supporters of lively political debate and free speech and believe that turning a blind eye to abuse does nothing to advance either. Our efforts to protect Carlos and others from historically marginalized groups from being silenced or driven from the platform by incessant harassment are in line with these values. We appreciate YouTube's efforts to work to improve your
hate speech policy and your recent commitment to seriously review your
harassment policy , and understand that making the internet a safer place while protecting political speech is a complicated, difficult task.
But right now those policies make everyone less safe. The dangerous backlash against creators who dare to speak out against abuse is all the more explosive when your rules are confusing and applied inconsistently and without transparency.
This Pride Month, change more than your logo. Clarify and enforce your harassment policy.
Lauren Williams, Editor-in-ChiefJoe Posner, Head of Video
Disney says its more than $400 million Vice investment is now worthless - Vox
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 12:47
Just a few years ago, big media companies were falling over themselves to bet on Vice Media. Disney made the biggest bet, by putting more than $400 million into the swashbuckling digital publisher.
Now, Disney says all of the money it put into Vice has been incinerated: In investor filings Wednesday, Disney said it no longer thinks it will ever get any return on the investment it made in Vice '-- a company that at one point was supposedly worth $5.7 billion.
Vice is still worth something, in some investors' eyes. Last week, a group of lenders said they put a fresh round of $250 million into the company.
But Disney's accounting decision is yet another example '-- perhaps the most stunning one '-- of the turnabout we've seen in digital media over the past few years. Investors have decided that high-flying publishers that once confidently explained that they'd created a new media paradigm are now worth very little ... or even less.
Here's a partial roll call familiar to some of you:
Mic, which raised more than $60 million, sold for less than $5 million late last year.Mashable, which was valued at about $250 million in 2016, sold for less than $50 million in 2017.The properties formerly known as Gawker Media, plus the Onion and other sites, just sold for a price that's likely well below $50 million; Univision, the TV conglomerate which sold them off, had paid $135 million for the Gawker sites alone in 2016.We don't (yet) know the value that Comcast, which put a collective $600 million into Vox Media (which owns this site), and BuzzFeed over the past few years, now thinks those two publishers are worth. But it's a reasonable bet that Comcast thinks they are worth less than it thought in 2015.All of those companies have different stories and different particulars. The through-line is that a few years ago, all of them were confident that they were going to shoot up in value, because they knew how to reach young audiences by exploiting the big tech platforms '-- in particular, Facebook and Google.
Instead, Facebook and Google have hoovered up the majority of digital ad revenue '-- the money the new publishers expected to get once they reached scale. And publishers that had expected Facebook and Google to rely on them for content have learned that Facebook and Google don't really need them, after all.
Here are the Disney/Vice particulars: Disney told investors Wednesday it had wiped out $353 million of the money it had previously put into Vice. That followed an announcement last fall that Disney had knocked down the value of its Vice investment by $157 million.
Disney declined to comment. But one bit of language in Disney's quarterly filing Wednesday is telling: Disney describes the $353 million ''impairment charge'' it took on Vice as a ''write-off'' '-- which in accounting-speak means there's nothing left to get rid of after this. It's all gone.
Per Investopedia: ''A write-down becomes a write-off if the entire balance of the asset is eliminated and removed from the books altogether.''
If you've been doing the math, you'll note that $353 million plus $157 million is $510 million '-- well more than the $400 million Disney invested directly in Vice.
Since Disney won't comment, we will assume that the additional sum includes Vice investments that Disney owned through A&E, the TV programmer that Disney owns along with Hearst, which also backed Vice; as well as $70 million that 21st Century Fox sunk into Vice. That ownership stake transferred to Disney earlier this year when Disney bought a good chunk of the Fox empire.
One last caveat: You can't say that Disney is saying Vice Media isn't worth anything at all '-- just that Disney thinks its investment isn't going to be worth anything. That's a distinction with a difference for some Vice investors, who have deals that allow them to get their money from the company, in the case of a sale, before other investors.
In any case, Vice is certainly worth much less than Disney and many other big, sophisticated media companies thought quite recently. And while Disney can't feel great about losing money on Vice, it will be quite happy that it didn't pay billions for all of it '-- an idea that seemed very plausible as recently as 2016.
Vice, meanwhile, is trying to overhaul itself under the leadership of CEO Nancy Dubuc, who took over for founder Shane Smith a year ago. Dubuc has been tasked with cleaning up the company's books, as well as its in-house ethos.
Vice and Smith, who remains the company's executive chair, used to revel in a pirate persona. But now, in the #MeToo era, the company has apologized for a ''detrimental 'boy's club' culture that fostered inappropriate behavior that permeated throughout the company.''
Here's a comment on Wednesday's financial news from a Vice spokesperson:
Vice is firing on all cylinders and on target to meet, if not exceed, its financial targets for the third straight quarter. Our new executive team's strategic plan is well underway and with the recent capital raise, we will continue investing in the long-term growth of our five global businesses '-- television, studio, digital, news and our advertising agency, Virtue. As the media industry consolidates and fewer players control the information and entertainment that the world consumes, Vice will always be there with a megaphone for the more than half of the people on this planet under the age of 30 who crave independent world-class content.
Recode and Vox have joined forces to uncover and explain how our digital world is changing '-- and changing us. Subscribe to Recode podcasts to hear Kara Swisher and Peter Kafka lead the tough conversations the technology industry needs today.
M5M has no benefit to reporting fairly on YT controversies. They want the advertisers
Google et al now have real problems their AI cannot solve!!!
Algos are breaking the services
Just look at twitter, replies are often deleted, resulting in a conversation that cannot be followed
How to kill google-report every video for hate speech-clog the system. Human interaction
Boeing vs Airbus
Boeing, Obama A Gold Watch and 346 Dead
The FAA certification system is known as the Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) program. Under that program, companies like Boeing can appoint their own representatives to act in the place of FAA inspectors.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Boeing donated $10 million to the Obama presidential library and museum in Chicago. And earlier this year, Obama dropped in to speak to a Boeing leadership retreat at a swank resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. Obama gratefully waived his $400,000 speaking fee.
While pushing the sale of Boeing planes around the world, the Obama administration was at the same time fast tracking a dangerous deregulatory process at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that effectively put the corporations in charge of the safety certification process '-- and that in effect put Boeing in charge of certifying it's faulty MCAS software that led to the tragedies in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 14:44
Democrats want to make Donald Trump the issue in 2020.
If they do, they will lose again, the way they lost in 2016.
Instead, the 2020 election should be about corporate power in all of its manifestations, its hold on the culture, our country and both major political parties.
Take the case of the two Boeing 737 Max 8 airplane crashes '-- the Lion Air crash off the coast of Jakarta, Indonesia in October 2018 that killed all 189 on board and the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March 2019 that killed all 157 on board.
During his time as President of the United States, Barack Obama promoted the sale of Boeing planes '-- including the 737 Max 8 planes '-- around the world.
In November 2011, in Bali, Indonesia, President Obama announced an agreement between Boeing and Lion Air.
''For the last several days I've been talking about how we have to make sure that we've got a presence in this region, that it can result directly in jobs at home,'' Obama said. ''And what we see here '-- a multibillion-dollar deal between Lion Air '-- one of the fastest-growing airlines not just in the region, but in the world '-- and Boeing is going to result in over 100,000 jobs back in the United States of America, over a long period of time.''
''This represents the largest deal, if I'm not mistaken, that Boeing has ever done. We are looking at over 200 planes that are going to be sold.''
In September 2014, Obama met with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia at the White House.
''We're strong trading partners,'' Obama said. ''And most recently, Boeing has done a deal with Ethiopia, which will result in jobs here in the United States.''
''I'm expecting a gold watch from Boeing at the end of my presidency because I know I'm on the list of top salesmen at Boeing,'' Obama said at an export forum at the White House in September 2013.
Of course, Obama got more than just a gold watch from Boeing when he left the White House.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Boeing donated $10 million to the Obama presidential library and museum in Chicago. And earlier this year, Obama dropped in to speak to a Boeing leadership retreat at a swank resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. Obama gratefully waived his $400,000 speaking fee.
While pushing the sale of Boeing planes around the world, the Obama administration was at the same time fast tracking a dangerous deregulatory process at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that effectively put the corporations in charge of the safety certification process '-- and that in effect put Boeing in charge of certifying it's faulty MCAS software that led to the tragedies in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
The FAA certification system is known as the Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) program. Under that program, companies like Boeing can appoint their own representatives to act in the place of FAA inspectors.
In 2004, one of the unions representing FAA inspectors '' Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS) '' criticized the proposed ODA program as ''premature and reckless.''
''Allowing the aviation industry to self-regulate in this manner is nothing more than the blatant outsourcing of inspector functions and handing over inherently governmental oversight activities to non-governmental, for-profit entities,'' PASS wrote in its 2004 comments to the FAA.
Would a more independent FAA have prevented the two recent Boeing crashes?
Yes, says Paul Hudson of Flyer's Rights.
''The ODA program has allowed Boeing to effectively self certify the MCAS software as safe,'' Hudson told Corporate Crime Reporter.
''Boeing 's CEO, whistleblowers and FAA now admit they failed to properly test, fully connect, or even disclose MCAS, much less its deadly defects and overpowering features '-- not to the FAA higher ups, not to airline pilots or not even to its own test pilots.''
''Air travel has gotten much safer due to both safety regulation and technical advancements,'' Hudson said. ''But profit seeking over safety at all costs is destroying both safety and profits.''
''Some Boeing safety inspectors have summed up the current culture as 'safety is king but schedule is God,'' Hudson said. ''I asked Boeing in December after the Lion Air crash to ground the Max. Boeing refused.''
Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..
DLive, the World's Largest Streaming Platform on Blockchain, Launches on Android
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 15:29
CUPERTINO, Calif. , June 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- DLive, the world's first and largest streaming platform on blockchain, announced today that it's launching on Android and is available for download on Google Play and on the company's website. The platform, which launched six months ago, has an active community of over 500,000 monthly active users who have paid a combined $2.6 million in crypto to creators in the form of upvotes, gifts, and donations since launching.
DLive PhotoDLive is a live streaming video community that's built on top of the Steem blockchain. On DLive, the community determines what content should be surfaced through an upvoting and flagging system. As a decentralized platform, DLive does not take any revenue nor fees from creators.
"Blockchain has enormous potential to change how people stream and watch videos," said Charles Wayn, CEO of DLive. "Today, the industry is dominated by a few massive companies who are incentivised to take money from their creators and push ads into content whenever possible. By decentralizing streaming, we can democratize video content while giving a better experience to viewers and creators. Creators on DLive also have a chance to find an audience and not get not buried under millions of streamers, as with larger platforms."
On DLive, creators can earn STEEM tokens by receiving upvotes on their content and gifts from their fans. DLive also has a dedicated content management team which manages over 2 million STEEM Power to reward creators directly based on the quality of their videos. Viewers can also earn tokens by upvoting content, making meaningful comments, and referring new users to join DLive.
"DLive has revolutionised streaming," said David 'Tidy' Wyatt, a streamer from England who has made over $8,000 worth of STEEM on DLive since January. "Coming from a site where earnings are directly linked to your view count, DLive rewards its users based on content. I have told many fellow partners about this site, and they are loving it so far too."
"Platforms like DLive will be essential in disrupting the way people consume media," said Ned Scott , CEO of Steemit, which has a market cap of over $430 million . "So far people really seem to embrace DLive and we're very proud to have the platform on Steem."
DLive was founded by Charles Wayn and Cole Chen in Cupertino . The company has over 20 members who are located across four continents and 19 cities around the world. DLive's Android app is available for download now on Google Play and on their website.
About DLive:Founded by Charles Wayn and Cole Chen in Cupertino, CA , DLive is a decentralized live streaming and video community that's built on the Steem blockchain. DLive utilizes blockchain to incentivize both content creators and viewers in cryptocurrency. DLive believes that all rewards belong to creators and does not take cuts or charge any fees to creators. Currently, DLive has 20 team members across four continents and 19 cities around the world. To learn more about DLive, please visit https://help.dlive.io/en/.
Related Links http://www.dlive.io
Watchdog says FBI has access to about 640M photographs
Thu, 06 Jun 2019 15:06
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- A government watchdog says the FBI has access to about 640 million photographs '-- including from driver's licenses, passports and mugshots '-- that can be searched using facial recognition technology.
The figure reflects how the technology is becoming an increasingly powerful law enforcement tool, but is also stirring fears about the potential for authorities to intrude on the lives of Americans. It was reported by the Government Accountability Office at a congressional hearing in which both Democrats and Republicans raised questions about the use of the technology.
The FBI maintains a database known as the Interstate Photo System of mugshots that can help federal, state and local law enforcement officials. It contains about 36 million photographs, according to Gretta Goodwin of the GAO.
But taking into account the bureau contracts providing access to driver's licenses in 21 states, and its use of photos and other databases, the FBI has access to about 640 million photographs, Goodwin told lawmakers at the House oversight committee hearing.
Kimberly Del Greco, a deputy assistant director at the FBI, said the bureau has strict policies for using facial recognition. She said it is used only when there is an active FBI investigation or an assessment, which can precede a formal investigation. When using the state databases, the FBI submits a so-called ''probe photo'' and then states conduct a search to yield a list of potential candidates to be reviewed by trained federal agents.
''Facial recognition is a tool that, if used properly, can greatly enhance law enforcement capabilities and protect public safety,'' she said.
Dozens of civil liberties advocates asked lawmakers this week to implement a temporary, federal moratorium on the facial recognition technology.
''Lawmakers must put the brakes on law enforcement use of this technology until Congress decides what, if any, use cases are permissible,'' said Neema Singh Guliani, senior legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union.
"Minority Report" Moment Arrives: Amazon, Facebook Reading Human Emotions | Zero Hedge
Thu, 06 Jun 2019 15:10
Authored by Aaron Kesel via ActivistPost.com,
Facebook and Amazon's insanity only seems to continue with no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Now, the two big conglomerate giants want to move into the uncharted territory of reading human emotions, both in their own ways.
Facebook wants a robot that has five senses which can read human emotions. Facebook wants ''emotionally sensitive'' robots that can explore the world, identify objects and people and enable its users to make more friends, Dailymail reported.
The robots would be fitted with wheels or tank-like caterpillar treads that would allow them to trundle about their environment.
Alternatively, such robots could be fitted out with drive systems that would allow them to move around underwater, fly through the air or float in space, Facebook suggest in their patent.
I am not sure why anyone would trust Facebook with data ever again, let alone biometric data, after all the numerous scandals Activist Post has documented including data mining. But to each their own I guess.
Amazon is also looking into reading human emotions in a completely different way by utilizing a voice-activated wearable device, that will sense its wearer's state of mind by the tone of voice, Bloomberg reported.
It's worth noting that both companies have a smart home device, and after reading this you should fear what information is being gathered by the cameras and microphones attached to those electronics '... besides the typically targeted advertising to turn consumers into the product.
On the Amazon front, it seems more than likely the company will want to use this technology in a variety of different digital gadgets, ranging from personal assistants such as Alexa to new technologies that the retail giant is currently developing. Amazon has announced it's developing a personal assistance robot, so the new emotional technology could easily be integrated into this at-home robot as a means to ''serve the consumer better.'' A horrifically terrifying thought indeed.
Amazon and Facebook aren't the only companies looking into utilizing human emotions. Previously, Activist Post reported that Walmart was also looking into to monitoring your biometric data, pulse, and location from the sensors on a shopping cart handle.
This news comes as hundreds of retail stores '-- and soon thousands '-- are investigating using biometric facial recognition software FaceFirst to build a database of shoplifters to aid in the fight against theft, Activist Post reported.
FaceFirst is designed to scan faces as far as 50 to 100 feet away. As customers walk through a store entrance, the video camera captures repetitious images of each shopper and chooses the clearest one to store. The software then analyzes that image and compares it to a database of ''bad customers'' that the retailer has compiled; if there is a match, the software sends an alert to store employees that a ''high risk'' customer has entered the door.
The future of shopping seems to allude to having biometric scanners written all over it, a worrying prospect for privacy enthusiasts.
Several privacy advocate groups, attorneys, and even recently Microsoft, which also markets its own facial recognition system, have all raised concerns over the technology, pointing to issues of consent, racial profiling, and the potential to use images gathered through facial recognition cameras as evidence of criminal guilt by law enforcement.
''We don't want to live in a world where government bureaucrats can enter in your name into a database and get a record of where you've been and what your financial, political, sexual, and medical associations and activities are,'' Jay Stanley, an attorney with ACLU, told BuzzFeed News about the use of facial recognition cameras in retail stores.
''And we don't want a world in which people are being stopped and hassled by authorities because they bear resemblance to some scary character.''
However, facial recognition technology currently has a lot of problems. Activist Post has also reported how Amazon's own facial ''Rekognition'' software erroneously and hilariously identified 28 members of Congress as people who have been arrested for crimes.
Activist Post previously reported on another test of facial recognition technology in Britain which resulted in 35 false matches and 1 erroneous arrest. We have further reported recently on a watchdog observing UK Metropolitan Police trials. Big Brother Watch stated the technology has misidentified members of the public, including a 14-year-old black child in a school uniform who was stopped and fingerprinted by police, as potential criminals in as much as 96 percent of scans.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond in the U.S, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has stated the facial recognition technology the FBI is using for the Next Generation Identification-Interstate Photo System failed privacy and accuracy tests, as Activist Post reported.
In 2018 it was reported that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies were using this same Amazon Facial Rekognition technology to sift through surveillance data.
Defense One reports that ''AI-Enabled Cameras That Detect Crime Before it Occurs Will Soon Invade the Physical World'' are in the works and on display at ISC West, a recent security technology conference in Las Vegas.
Activist Post has previously reported in its own way that the rise of facial recognition technology is inevitable and, as a result, the death of one's privacy is sure to come with it.
The fact that hundreds of retail stores want facial recognition technology is a scary thought. But combined with biometric data, that's an even scarier prospect for our future in regards to the cart that can read a human's emotional data including detecting stress.
While Amazon's wearable device will be able to be used to target consumers, maybe not at first but eventually the technology pitched as ''health and wellness'' will be surely be used for advertising when connected to other Amazon products.
Increasingly our rights are decreasing with the help of big corporations like Amazon, Facebook, and Walmart. Our privacy is disappearing at an alarming rate in trade for convenience.
As previously written, ''we are entering the Minority Report; there is no going back after this technology is public and citizens are indoctrinated that it's 'for their safety.'''
At that point, we are officially trading liberty and privacy for security. As Benjamin Franklin said, ''Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.''
* * *
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Dogs are People too
Documentary reveals why your dog could be gay | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 15:17
A new documentary featuring a pair of lesbian pugs and a gay greyhound has revealed it is possible for animals to have same sex preferences.
In My Gay Dog and Other Animals, which airs tonight on Channel 4 at 9pm, academics and behavioural experts decode gay relationships in the animal kingdom and insists they can't be explained away as dominant behaviour or bonding.
The documentary sees leading dog behavioural expert Leon Towers put the preferences of an Italian greyhound to the test, after his owner Matt Tipper, 34, from Bath revealed Franco prefers his other dog, Norman, to any females.
When introduced to a female dog in heat, he was not interested, and continued to try to attract the attention of other males.
Meanwhile, Christine King, from Weston-super-Mare, also noted that two of her female pugs had a more 'intimate' relationship than any of her other pets.
Franco and Norman feature on tonight's Channel 4 programme 'My Gay Dog and Other Animals', which explores whether animals can have same sex attraction
Matt explained that Franco had no interest in female dogs - and that he 'goes for' Norman 'all the time'.
His mother Ann revealed: 'I've thought for a long time that Matt's dogs are gay.'
When leading dog behavioural expert Leon Towers watched a video of the two animals, he noticed there was a certain passion between the pooches - despite them both being male.
Watching Franco's behaviour, he said: 'Wow. He's really going for it there. Oh my god. And Norman bless him is just standing there taking it.'
Meanwhile pugs Pugly and Nelly appear to have an attraction to one another on the programme, despite both being female
He went on: 'I'm flabbergasted by that, I can't wait to see them.'
In order to assess whether the dogs were gay or bisexual, he tested them with a female dog who was 'in season'.
Leon explained that it is 'the ultimate test' to see if the dogs are gay, as most male dogs will not be able to resist a female dog who is 'on heat.'
And while Norman's natural instinct kicked in straight away, Franco was less than impressed and continued to try to get the attention of the male dog.
Franco was not bothered about a female dog who was 'on heat' when she was introduced, suggesting to leading dog behavioural expert Leon Towers that the pooch could be gay
Leon decided to remove Norman as they continued their experiment in an effort to see if Franco can focus on the female dog.
But the little pooch was still not interested in the female dog and, despite sniffing her a little, didn't pay her much attention.
Leon was absolutely stunned by the encounter, saying: 'It's not normal at all. I've never ever ever come across a male dog that mounts a male dog constantly.
'It's blatantly obvious Franco prefers male dogs.'
Over 1,500 different species of animal are known to have same-sex mating behaviour, which is explored in tonight's episode of My Gay Dog and Other Animals
Meanwhile pet-owner Matt added: 'The results that we got today were pretty black and white. Franco prefers male dogs to female.'
But it's not just male dogs who can be gay - with pet-owner Christine King suggesting her pet pugs are in a lesbian relationship.
Pugly and Nelly are closer than her other three animals, with the dog-lover revealing: 'They have a more intense connection than the rest of the gang.
'Pugly always humps Nelly, which always goes on for a little while. She doesn't object, it's just what they seem to do.'
IS IT COMMON FOR ANIMALS TO BE 'GAY'? More than 100 species of insects engage in same-sex mating behavior, and some biologists claim gay animal behavior has been spotted in 1,500 different species, and reliably recorded in a third of these cases.
Animals that have displayed this behavior include emus, chickens, koalas, salmon, cats, owls and dolphins.
Researchers from the Department of Ecology and Genetics at Uppsala University hypothesized that because males and females share most of their genes, same-sex behavior may occur in one sex because its underlying genes carry benefits when expressed in the other.
They tested their idea using seed beetles when both males and females expressed low levels of SSB.
Using artificial breeding on either of the sexes, they created genetic strains with a tendency to display SSB.
Using these strains, the researchers showed that when a particular sex had been bred for increased SSB, siblings of the opposite sex enjoyed an increase in reproductive performance.
The findings, published in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology, support the idea that SSB may be prevalent in one sex because the genes regulating the behaviour are preserved by natural selection through their benefits in the opposite sex.
This points to a general mechanism maintaining differing forms of SSB across a wide variety of animals.
Christine continued: 'They are like a married couple really, they just happen to be dogs...and female.'
Rebeccah Baylis, who is the pugs physiotherapist, revealed she considers it 'pair bonding', a close relationship common in the animal world built through courtship and sexual activity.
'Pair bonding is massive in the animal world - maybe Pugly feels the affection for Nelly, so I think it goes far deeper than 'Is Pugly gay?' That action is relaxing for her.'
Baylis went on to suggest a reason why Pugly enjoys humping Nelly so much, by explaining how the sexual movement releases happy hormones.
'There is research to say when you ride a horse, it releases the same chemicals as it does when you have sex, which is why girls particularly become quite obsessed with horses and ponies, because it releases those happy hormones.'
Pugly and Nelly appeared on This Morning as Christine spoke to hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby about their unbreakable bond
However, Professor Volker Sommer, an evolutionary anthropologist from University College London, suggested that gay behaviour in animals goes further than just bonding.
'One way of trying to explain the sexuality out of same sex, sexual behaviour is to say, "oh no, that's not sex, it's just dominance behaviour. One male is mounting another and he's exerting his higher status". That simply is not the case.
"Explaining the sexual component away from, or out of same sexual interactions, is one of the oldest games in the book. There is no such category in nature as social or sexual.
'There is a lot of variation and for that reason to say, "oh yes, this is not just sex, this is social", just tells you something about your mindset. You are not willing to allow non- human animals to actually have homosexual sex.'
Green New Deal
National Park Quietly Removed Warning That Glaciers 'Will All Be Gone' By 2020 After Years Of Heavy Snowfall | The Daily Caller
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 14:44
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\n HomeVideoPoliticsUSWorldEntertainmentSportsBusinessOpinionOutdoorsComedyShopDaily Caller ShopDaily DealerWine ClubPatriots Only2:30 PM 06/07/2019 | EnergyMichael Bastasch | Energy Editor
Glacier National Park quietly removed a visitor center sign saying its iconic glaciers will disappear by 2020 due to climate change. Several winters of heavy snowfall threw off climate model projections the glaciers would all disappear by 2020, according to federal officials. A blogger first noticed the signage change and noted other signs warning of ''impending glacier disappearance have been replaced.'' The National Park Service (NPS) quietly removed a visitor center sign saying the glaciers at Glacier National Park would disappear by 2020 due to climate change.
As it turns out, higher-than-average snowfall in recent years upended computer model projections from the early 2000s that NPS based its claim glaciers ''will all be gone by the year 2020,'' federal officials said.
''Glacier retreat in Glacier National Park speeds up and slows down with fluctuations in the local climate,'' the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which monitors Glacier National Park, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
''Those signs were based on the observation prior to 2010 that glaciers were shrinking more quickly than a computer model predicted they would,'' USGS said. ''Subsequently, larger than average snowfall over several winters slowed down that retreat rate and the 2020 date used in the NPS display does not apply anymore.''
NPS updated signs at the St. Mary Visitor Center glacier exhibit over the winter. Sign changes meant the display warning glaciers would all disappear by 2020 now says: ''When they completely disappear, however, will depend on how and when we act.''
Fred Longheart (R) and Marjory McClaren of Kalispell, Montana hike through snow along the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park, Montana August 24, 2011. REUTERS/Matt Mills McKnight.
The total area of Glacier National Park covered in its iconic glaciers shrank 70% from the 1850s to 2015, according to USGS. Melting began at the end of the so-called Little Ice Age when scientists believe 146 glaciers covered the region, opposed to just 26 in 2019. (RELATED: EPA Dealt A Huge Blow To The 'Resistance' By Reassigning A Top Bureaucrat)
USGS still says on its website glaciers could all disappear sometime between 2030 and 2080, depending on how much warming occurs. As recent years demonstrate, however, glacial melt can be slowed by heavy winter snowfall.
''The overall picture remains the same, however, and that picture is that the glaciers all continue to retreat,'' USGS said.
Blogger Roger Roots first noted the signage change in a blog post published Thursday on the website Watts Up With That. Roots was able to compare the signs to film and photographs he had taken on previous visits.
''As recently as September 2018 the diorama displayed a sign saying GNP's glaciers were expected to disappear completely by 2020,'' Roots wrote. ''The 'gone by 2020' claims were repeated in the New York Times, National Geographic, and other international news sources.''
Mike Neighbors and his wife Karin Neighbors (L) hike through snow along the Hidden Lake Trail near Clements Mountain in Glacier National Park, Montana August 23, 2011. REUTERS/Matt Mills McKnight.
Roots also noted another sign had been changed from 2030 had also been changed to be more ''nuanced.'' Roots put up a $5,000 bet that Glacier National Park would still have glaciers in 2030.
''Almost everywhere, the Park's specific claims of impending glacier disappearance have been replaced with more nuanced messaging indicating that everyone agrees that the glaciers are melting,'' Roots wrote.
''Now the Park Service is scrambling to remove the signs without their visitors noticing,'' Roots posted on his Facebook wall, along with video footage showing the sign changes.
The Park Service works closely with USGS to understand glacial melt and the information it puts on informational signs. NPS, however, does not notify the public when it adds or changes signage.
''There are currently 26 glaciers in the park. Scientific models project that many will no longer meet the size criteria used to define a glacier sometime between 2030 and 2080,'' NPS said in a statement to TheDCNF.
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PG&E Shuts Power to California Resort Area to Prevent Wildfires - WSJ
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 14:42
LAKE BERRYESSA, Calif'-- PG&E Corp. cut power to customers around this Napa County resort area Saturday, the first of what the utility has said will likely be numerous pre-emptive shutdowns this year to help prevent deadly wildfires.
The blackout began at 6 a.m. to 1,600 businesses and homes in parts of Napa, Yolo and Solano counties, located about 75 miles northeast of San Francisco. It came after the National Weather Service issued its first red-flag warning, which signals high fire danger, of 2019 for a Northern California region that has until now been mostly cool and moist.
On Saturday afternoon, PG&E said it would shut off power to an additional 26,900 customers in the foothills of California's Sierra Nevada, including Paradise, which was destroyed by the Camp Fire last year.
The San Francisco-based company earlier this year announced its plan to become the first utility in the U.S. to intentionally shut off power to help prevent its transmission equipment from igniting a fire. PG&E owns and operates thousands of miles of power lines that snake through tinder-dry forests and brush.
The action came after PG&E said its equipment likely sparked the 153,000-acre Camp Fire last November, killing 85 people. California officials have since verified PG&E's culpability. State records show PG&E equipment has caused hundreds of other fires in recent years. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in January to shield itself from wildfire-related liability.
PG&E warned Friday afternoon that this area, as well as other nearby towns including Paradise, might face blackouts this weekend. Nonetheless, Saturday's shutdown came as an unpleasant wake-up call to the boat shops and other businesses that cater to crowds visiting Lake Berryessa, a 16-mile-long reservoir perched in a rugged mountain overlooking the Napa Valley.
''This is better than having a fire, but it definitely makes it difficult,'' Josh Grimstad, manager of Lake Berryessa Boat & Jet Ski Rentals, said in a dark office with no working phones and a long line of customers.
An office assistant retrieved reservations from a desktop computer powered by a portable generator too weak to provide energy to much else. Most customers took the inconvenience in stride, although 45-year-old Gabriel Garcia grumbled that PG&E was doing too little too late.
''Now they're taking all these precautions,'' said Mr. Garcia, a carpenter from Napa, Calif., who was renting a WaveRunner boat to ride with his 8-year-old son. ''They didn't before all of these fires.''
Other people, though, praised PG&E for taking precautionary steps.
''If we can get adjusted to these outages, it's worth it, because these fires just kill business,'' said Mike Medina, co-owner of the 55-site Spanish Flat Campground along Lake Berryessa.
Mr. Medina and two partners struggled Saturday to load about a dozen empty gasoline containers onto a pickup truck so they could get fuel to keep a generator running. The campground needs power in part to keep 200 bags of ice worth about $1,000 from melting, they said.
PG&E previously warned that in such shutdowns, electricity wouldn't be restored for at least 24 hours and possibly days longer until crews can inspect power lines for any damage.
''We understand people without power is an inconvenience, but we are doing this for the safety of the communities,'' said Paul Moreno, a spokesman for the utility.
The Turtle Rock Bar & Cafe'--a popular biker haunt with dollar bills festooning to the ceiling'--sat just outside the blackout area. Owner Pete Leung said he invested in a $20,000 generator last December, believing that power outages would become more commonplace in the region. Two years ago, the business barely escaped the flames of a wildfire, which left a trail of dead trees on all sides.
''They're going to cut your power now, that's the new norm,'' Mr. Leung said.
His home atop a nearby ridge did have its electricity turned off on Saturday, prompting Mr. Leung to do what more residents are doing: fire up an emergency generator. But with the 8,000-watt generator consuming five gallons of gasoline every eight hours, he said it could get expensive if the shutdown lasts too long.
''They don't tell you when they're going to turn the power back on, and that's the hard part,'' said Mr. Leung, 42, as he tossed a ball in his backyard for his Labrador retriever, Sammy.
Write to Jim Carlton at jim.carlton@wsj.com
Green New Deal '' New Consensus
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 14:26
Green New Deal Two-Pager PDFGreen New Deal Full PDF New Consensus works to develop and promote the Green New Deal, a World War Two-scale mobilization to fix America's greatest problems. We have advised progressive leaders and organizations '' including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Justice Democrats, and the Sunrise Movement '' on the issues and mechanics that will be involved in a sweeping economic mobilization to build a clean and just economy.
We are currently organizing a research design meeting that will take place in March in Washington DC, and developing educational materials covering the Green New Deal.
Guiding VisionThe Green New Deal will be the most ambitious and transformative national project taken on since Franklin Roosevelt's original New Deal and World War II economic mobilizations.
The Green New Deal includes investments not only in communities and public infrastructure, but also in private industry to enable a sweeping transformation of our entire economy '' with the public receiving appropriate ownership stakes and returns on its investments.
The plan calls on and enables our whole society to participate in a single great national aim: the rapid transition to a forward-looking society of broad opportunity, equal justice, productive prosperity, and environmental sustainability.
GoalsThe Green New Deal has five main goals:
achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers;create millions of good, high-wage jobs; and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States;invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century;secure clean air and water, climate and community resilience, healthy food, access to nature, and a sustainable environment for all;promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing the historic oppression of frontline and vulnerable communities.A national mobilization of the size and scale of the Green New Deal presents an unprecedented opportunity to not only combat the climate crisis, but also to eliminate poverty in the United States and to make wealth, prosperity, and security available to every person who participates in the transition. Thus, the goals of the Green New Deal represent both what is needed to effectively address climate change and what is needed to transform our current economy to one that is just, prosperous, and sustainable for all Americans.
ProjectsThe Green New Deal brings together into one coherent whole a multitude of interlocking, complementary, and critically necessary projects, including, among others:
Replacing or upgrading every U.S. building to achieve maximal energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, and durability. Properly designed, this project will create millions of new high-wage jobs in every community and will be designed to foster ownership by communities, with the work being led by local firms, organizations, and co-ops. The project must also make startup capital available to people who want to form new firms and co-ops, and take care to invest especially in communities that have been denied capital and development for generations;Meeting 100 percent of our power demand through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources by dramatically expanding and upgrading existing renewable power sources and deploying new capacity. This will be possible only with massive public investments into domestic wind turbine and solar cell industries, among others;Making massive investments into U.S. manufacturing industries to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Because these investments generate incalculable public benefits not capturable by private profits, only the public can rationally undertake them;Overhauling U.S. transportation systems to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, by investing in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing, as well as clean, affordable, and accessible public transit and high-speed rail.Financing the Green New DealThe Green New Deal will be funded as all other ambitious American projects '' including public works, bank bailouts, wars, and tax cuts ''have been: through carefully targeted, Congressionally authorized spending. As the post-2008 consensus among serious economists and financiers affirms, this does not require ''new taxes'' unless inflation emerges. And since (a) well over $5 trillion in tax cuts and war expenditures in recent years have not triggered inflation, (b) the Fed is still struggling to get inflation consistently up to its 2% target, and (c) the Green New Deal will produce new goods and services to keep pace with and absorb new expenditures, there is no more reason to let fear about financing halt progress here than there was to let it halt wars or tax cuts.
It should also be noted that unlike wars and tax cuts, many Green New Deal investments will be compensated, be it through equity stakes, interest payments, or other appropriate returns on investments. These will of course act in counter-inflationary fashion. Similarly, the new prosperity that the Green New Deal will bring to scores of millions of Americans below the top of the income and wealth distributions will rapidly grow the nation's tax base, vastly expanding federal revenue even without raising marginal tax rates.
Furthermore, the question of how to pay for the Green New Deal must take into account the tremendous costs of inaction. We know scientifically that a plan of the scope and scale of the Green New Deal is the only thing that will stave off irreversible climate catastrophe and, with it, tremendous economic loss. Thus, we must ask not only what the Green New Deal will cost, but also what costs it will avert '' especially in light of the growth and prosperity it will create.
Forward TogetherThe Green New Deal will improve on the New Deal and the Second World War economic mobilizations. These mobilizations, though they brought broad progress and improvements to American life, were also marred by compromises made with conservative politicians to obtain Congressional cooperation. Injustice cannot be the price we pay for a green economy. The Green New Deal projects must be designed from the start to ensure justice and equity for all.
The Green New Deal is Possible and PracticalAs a country of 325 million, with the world's largest and most advanced industrial economy, the United States has every necessary tool at its disposal to achieve the goals of the Green New Deal. For too many decades, fear and complacency have kept our leaders from fulfilling the promise of America to its people. The result is malaise and stagnation, with wealth concentrating ever more densely at the top, poverty overwhelming the bottom, and insecurity menacing the middle. Meanwhile, climate change threatens humanity and most forms of life with extinction. All we've awaited throughout this decline is good faith, clear vision, and passionate leadership.
The faith, vision, and passion are here. Now we shall move forward.
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway funded spending of DC Solar owners - Business Insider
Thu, 06 Jun 2019 21:07
Warren Buffett. Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune/Time Inc Warren Buffett may have inadvertently helped fund the lavish lifestyle of a couple as part of what the FBI calls an $800 million "Ponzi-type" scheme, according to Bloomberg.Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate invested $340 million in DC Solar.DC Solar 's owners Jeff and Paulette Carp off allegedly splurged millions on luxury cars, private jets, diamond jewelry, a stadium box, and a pro baseball team."Any allegation that there was a Ponzi scheme or anything illegal about the operation of the business is without merit," the couple's lawyer said, Watch Berkshire Hathaway trade live. Warren Buffett may have inadvertently funded the lavish lifestyle of a couple as part of what the FBI is calling an $800 million "Ponzi-type" scheme, according to Bloomberg.
Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate invested $340 million into Jeff and Paulette Carpoff's company, DC Solar, according to a company filing.
The scheme allegedly involved the sale of mobile solar generators to at least a dozen investors including insurance giant Progressive, paintmaker Sherwin-Williams, and several regional banks, according to Bloomberg.
The investors typically paid $45,000 of the $150,000 price tag for each of the units up front, then claimed a $45,000 tax credit on their investment as well as tax deductions for the devices' depreciation, Bloomberg reported.
After the FBI accused DC Solar of defrauding investors, Buffett and his team determined it was "more likely than not" that the deal's tax benefits were invalid, so Berkshire Hathaway took a $377 million charge in the first quarter of this year.
Business Insider has contacted Berkshire Hathaway for comment. Malcolm Segal, the Carpoffs' attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
He told Bloomberg: "DC Solar Solutions was an innovative, substantial and credible solar-energy business. It manufactured thousands of mobile solar generators, which were examined and physically delivered. Any allegation that there was a Ponzi scheme or anything illegal about the operation of the business is without merit."
Lavish spending and piles of cash Court filings revealed the Carpoffs lavish spending during the time they ran DC Solar. A list of big-ticket purchases included:
2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon '-- $105,682 1967 Ford Mustang GT 500 Super Snake '-- $192,550 The Martinez Clippers, a professional baseball team '-- price unknown NetJets, which sells shares in private airplanes '-- $19 million Box in the Las Vegas Raiders' new stadium in Paradise, Nevada '-- $783,000 Diamond jewelry and Cartier watches '-- $500,000 The Carpoffs also kept plenty of cash on hand, court filings showed.
When federal investigators raided their home in December, they seized almost $19,000 found in a purse, about $9,200 in a work bag, around $8,650 in one of the vehicles, and more than $40,000 in the master bedroom '-- including around $19,000 not in the safe '-- according to a court filing. At DC Solar's headquarters, they found almost $1.7 million in the office safe, nearly $151,000 in another safe, and more than $17,000 in cash hidden under desks and other locations, the court filing showed.
Jeff Carpoff often pulled out up to $2,000 in cash at staff meetings, challenged employees to guess how much he was holding, and handed the wad to whoever made the best guess within about $50, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter.
As well as the tax benefits touted by DC Solar, the firm would also lease the solar generators to end-users such as telecom companies and pay back investors with the proceeds, allowing them to cover the rest of their investment and turn a profit, according to Bloomberg. However, investigators found that other investors' money made up more than 90% of the funds claimed as lease revenue, according to court filings.
The arrangement made DC Solar "appear successful, and the leases appear legitimate, when, in reality, leasing the equipment generated little income and early investors were paid from funds contributed by later investors," the federal complaint reads.
DC Solar didn't have as many generators as it claimed, according to Bloomberg. The company and its contractors had built between 3,000 and 5,000 of the generators a year ago '-- well below the 12,000 supposedly in use, Bloomberg reported. It also exaggerated the number of generators deployed by having employees drop GPS devices in various spots where there weren't any generators, Bloomberg said, citing government filings.
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Why Our Intuition About Sea-Level Rise Is Wrong - Nautilus - Pocket
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 12:43
Photo by Simon Werdmuller, Courtesy of Maureen Raymo.
J erry Mitrovica has been overturning accepted wisdom for decades. A solid Earth geophysicist at Harvard, he studies the internal structure and processes of the Earth, which has implications for fields from climatology to the timing of human migration and even to the search for life on other planets. Early in his career he and colleagues showed that Earth's tectonic plates not only move from side to side, creating continental drift, but also up and down. By refocusing attention from the horizontal of modern Earth science to the vertical, he helped to found what he has nicknamed postmodern geophysics. Recently Mitrovica has revived and reinvigorated longstanding insights into factors that cause huge geographic variation in sea level, with important implications for the study of climate change today on glaciers and ice sheets.
We caught up with Mitrovica in his airy office next to Harvard's renowned mineral collection. Though a practiced public speaker and recipient of numerous awards, in person he speaks softly and deflects plaudits. He refers frequently to the colleagues, graduate students, and mentors who have inspired him and contributed to his work.
Global Melting: Though it may seem counterintuitive, melting glaciers in one area may cause local sea levels to drop'--while causing a rise in sea levels farther away. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.
Some of your recent research follows from the attraction of ocean water to ice sheets. That seems surprising.
This is just Newton's law of gravitation applied to the Earth. An ice sheet, like the sun and the moon, produces a gravitational attraction on the surrounding water. There's no doubt about that.
What happens when a big glacier like the Greenland Ice Sheet melts?
Three things happen. One is that you're dumping all of this melt water into the ocean. So the mass of the entire ocean would definitely be going up if ice sheets were melting'--as they are today. The second thing that happens is that this gravitational attraction that the ice sheet exerts on the surrounding water diminishes. As a consequence, water migrates away from the ice sheet. The third thing is, as the ice sheet melts, the land underneath the ice sheet pops up; it rebounds.
So what is the combined impact of the ice-sheet melt, water flow, and diminished gravity?
Gravity has a very strong effect. So what happens when an ice sheet melts is sea level falls in the vicinity of the melting ice sheet. That is counterintuitive. The question is, how far from the ice sheet do you have to go before the effects of diminished gravity and uplifting crust are small enough that you start to raise sea level? That's also counterintuitive. It's 2,000 kilometers away from the ice sheet. So if the Greenland ice sheet were to catastrophically collapse tomorrow, the sea level in Iceland, Newfoundland, Sweden, Norway'--all within this 2,000 kilometer radius of the Greenland ice sheet'--would fall. It might have a 30 to 50 meter drop at the shore of Greenland. But the farther you get away from Greenland, the greater the price you pay. If the Greenland ice sheet melts, sea level in most of the Southern Hemisphere will increase about 30 percent more than the global average. So this is no small effect.
The last time we were as warm as we are today, the ice sheets that we think of as the least stable disappeared.
What happens with melting in Antarctica?
If the Antarctic ice sheets melt, sea level falls close to Antarctic. But it would rise more than you'd otherwise expect in the Northern Hemisphere. These are known as sea-level fingerprints, because each ice sheet has its own geometry. Greenland produces one geometry of sea level change and the Antarctic has its own. Mountain glaciers have their own fingerprint. This explains a lot of variability in sea level. It's also a really important opportunity. If you have people denying climate change because they say there's geographic variation in sea level changes'--it doesn't go up uniformly'--you can say, ''Well, that is incorrect because ice sheets produce a geographically variable change in sea level when they melt.'' You can also use that variability to say this percentage is coming from Greenland, this percentage is coming from the Antarctic, and this percentage is coming from mountain glaciers. You can source the melt. And that's an important argument from a public-hazard viewpoint.
Why is the source of the melt important?
If you're living on the U.S. east coast, or Holland, you don't need to worry what global average sea-level rise is doing. I was in Holland a few summers ago and was trying to convince the Dutch that if the Greenland ice sheet melts, they have less to worry about than the Antarctic ice sheet melting. But it doesn't register. When I give public talks, people just shake their heads. They don't believe it when I show this bull's-eye around the melting [Greenland] ice sheet, which is an area where sea level will fall. Our intuition is built from walking along a shoreline or turning a tap on. It isn't from considering what would happen if a major large-scale ice sheet melts.
Graphic by Simon Werdmuller, courtesy of Maureen Raymo.
Why are you so confident that the world's glaciers, including the polar ice sheets, will keep melting?
One way to understand where we're heading in this warming world of ours is to run a climate model. The other way is to look to the past and ask what the ice sheets did the last time we were this warm or a little bit warmer. We're currently in an interglacial'--a warm period between glacial cycles. If humans weren't warming the climate, Earth might be poised to enter into another Ice Age in the future. The last interglacial prior to the present one was about 120,000 years ago. Of course, 120,000 years ago, humans weren't having any impact on climate. That was natural climatic variability.
What did the ice sheets do the last time the climate was this warm?
The last time we were as warm as we are today, the ice sheets that we think of as the least stable disappeared, albeit over a protracted period. So why should we expect that the issue is going to be any different in the next few hundreds to thousands of years? There's no reason to believe it, unless we do something to reverse what we're doing.
OK. So we'd expect warming to cause ice sheets to melt and raise sea level. But what's the evidence that we're seeing that now?
The average sea level change in the 20th century was 1.2 millimeters per year. What we've seen in the last 20 years is an average of three millimeters per year'--that's a factor of two-and-a-half increase from the 20th century to now. So that's a nice way to address the skeptic's argument that it hasn't changed or that it's not getting worse. It's already gotten worse. And if you look back thousands of years, you have a wide range of tools at your disposal. One is eclipse records, and one is the Roman fish tanks.
What do Roman fish tanks tell us about sea levels?
Wealthy Romans at the time of Augustus were building fish holding tanks. The fishermen would come in with the fish, they'd put them there so that the fish were fresh when they ate them'--they wanted to keep them alive for a few days or weeks or whatever. The Romans were engineers, so they built these fish tanks at very precise levels relative to sea level at the time. You didn't want the walls to be too low because at high tide the fish would swim out; you didn't want it to be too high because you wanted tides to refresh the water within the tanks.
Kurt Lambeck, a professor at the Australian National University, recognized that by looking at the present day elevation of those fish tanks, we could say something about how sea level had changed over the 2,500 years since then. If sea level over the last 2,500 years was going up at the rate that it went up in the 20th century, those fish tanks would be under 4 meters of water'--12 feet of water'--and I can assure you they're not. You can see them. You can walk along the coast, they're visible. What that tells you is that it is impossible that sea level went up by the rates that we saw in the 20th century for any extended period of time earlier than that. Sea level has not gone up over the last 2,500 years like it has in the 20th century.
This is an entirely different way to show that ice sheets are melting.
What can records of Babylonian eclipses 2,500 years ago tell us about climate change?
When we look at eclipse records, we can say ''here's when a Babylonian eclipse was recorded.'' Now, I can do a calculation and ask when that Babylonian eclipse should have occurred if the present rotation rate of the Earth had stayed constant in the time between the eclipse and present day. And you can do that for Greek, Arabic, Babylonian, Chinese eclipses, and this is what a professor in the U.K., F. Richard Stephenson, did. He tabulated, as others did before him, a large suite of such eclipses that show a clear slowing of the Earth's rotation rate over the last few thousand years. Say you have two clocks synchronized 2,500 years ago. One kept time perfectly and the other was connected to the Earth whose rotation rate was slowing. Over 2,500 years, they would go out of sync by about four hours. That's kind of the level of slowing. So what we know is that the Earth's rotation rate has slowed over the last 2,500 years. But the Earth's slowing isn't what we would predict exactly.
Why would you expect the Earth's rotation to slow at all?
I just published this paper in Science Advances on something called Munk's Enigma. What we showed is that it comes from three different effects. One is what's known as ''tidal dissipation.'' Tides crash into the shoreline and each time they do they dissipate energy, and for a variety of reasons they slow the Earth's rotation. Another thing we talk about is that there is a very subtle coupling between the core of the Earth, which is iron, and the rocky part of the Earth, the mantle, which acts to change the Earth's rotation rate we see sitting on the surface of the planet.
Is it like the friction of the fluid in a car's a transmission; it has to do with how viscous the connection is between the inner and outer parts of the planet?
It's not friction, but it's pretty darn close. It's the fact that you've got one fluid moving against another fluid that's moving at a different rate. If they come out of sync, their rates will influence each other. But it is as you say, a connection.
So, this is another effect. We have the tides crashing in and what geophysicists would call core-mantle coupling. We can predict both of those pretty accurately, but you're still left with a difference and that difference is due to the ice age and we model that. We've got tidal dissipation, core-mantle coupling, and now we add the Ice Age Effect, which I'm the expert on. And lo and behold, when I add that to these other two effects, I get precisely the four-hour slowing I saw.
What is the Ice Age Effect?
The Earth is growing more spherical because 20,000 years ago we had a lot more ice at the poles. When ice sheets were at the poles they kind of squished the Earth from both poles and the Earth flattened a little bit. When those ice sheets melted, that flattening started to rebound and we're becoming spherical, so our spin rate should be increasing, like a ballerina or a figure skater. The ice age correction is a speeding up of the rotation rate.
So these three factors'--core-mantle coupling, post ice rebounding of poles, and tidal dissipation'--explain changes in the speed of the Earth until the 20th century. What's happening now?
We want to take that same ice age model and correct for 20th-century changes in Earth's rotation. When we do, we get a difference that we haven't explained yet. So now we say; well, maybe that's due to polar ice sheet melting or polar glacier melting.
The way to do that is to go to the IPCC, their last assessment report, and look at the calculation of mountain glacier melting, because those tabulations suggest that the ice sheets weren't changing that much in the 20th century. Ice sheets have only really started to melt in the last 20 years or so, but the glaciers were popping off all through the 20th century. We take that glacier melting that the IPCC tells us, compute its effect on rotation, and one effect would be to slow the Earth's rotation just like the figure skater, and compare it to these ice-age corrected observations.
Is water moving off glaciers, slowing the Earth's rotation, this time analogous to a figure skater putting arms out?
Right. Glaciers are mostly near the axis. They're near the North and South Poles and the bulk of the ocean is not. In other words, you're taking glaciers from high latitudes like Alaska and Patagonia, you're melting them, they distribute around the globe, but in general, that's like a mass flux toward the equator because you're taking material from the poles and you're moving it into the oceans. That tends to move material closer to the equator than it once was.
So the melting mountain glaciers and polar caps are moving bulk toward the equator?
Yes. Of course, there is ocean everywhere, but if you're moving the ice from a high latitude and you're sticking it over oceans, in effect, you're adding to mass in the equator and you're taking mass away from the polar areas and that's going to slow the earth down. That's the calculation we did. We also computed how those glaciers would affect the orientation of poles. In both cases, when you do that calculation and you compare it to this ice age corrected satellite and astronomical observations, you fit them precisely.
What we showed in this recent paper is that when you look at the modern data on rotation and you correct for ice age, you have a leftover, and that leftover is precisely what it should be if it were due to the kind of melting that global change scientists believe happened in the 20th century.
There are some things that you can explain, but as a scientist you're always going to face things that are counterintuitive.
With all those steps, it's amazing that the calculations work out.
This is an entirely different way to show that ice sheets are melting. It's a very good way because if you're looking at Greenland and you say, ''Oh, it's melting in the southern sector, I can see ice diminishing,'' you don't necessarily know what it's doing in the northern sector. You don't get a good integrated view of what the Greenland ice sheet is doing. But rotation doesn't care about north vs. south, it just cares about how much mass is moving from Greenland into the oceans. And so rotation provides what a scientist would call a really elegant integrated measure of the mass balance of polar ice sheets.
What inspired you to become a scientist?
In my family, we had more discussions about Renaissance history than we ever did about science. I'm the only scientist in my family. I went into what's called an engineering science or engineering physics program. I took a course in plate tectonics in my third year, and I thought, ''Whoa!'' And my first paper'--it wasn't my idea, it was my advisor's idea'--about what caused the flooding of the western part of North America 50 to 80 million years ago'--that was quite a thrill. You're a few years into research graduate school, and you've just published a paper that explains why North America was underwater, the western part.
What is the explanation?
Some said it was some ice effect, that ice volumes had changed. More often people thought that it was linked to changes in the rate at which tectonic plates were created. But in my work and that of some colleagues we've shown that those sorts of events when continents flood typically are due not to some global change in sea level. Rather, it's due to the vertical motion of the continent itself reacting to the flow that's driving plate tectonics and driving continents up and down.
So many of your results seem abstract and counterintuitive. Is that a coincidence?
There are so many interesting problems in our science that you can see with your eyes. But your eyes can fool you. Richard Feynman, the great physicist, used to start his physics lectures by showing students their intuition could take them a long way. They could do things just through intuition that would get them roughly the right answer. Then he used to throw some counterintuitive examples at them. Then he said, ''This is why you need physics. You need to understand when your intuition might go wrong.'' I firmly am a Feynman acolyte. There are some things that you can explain, but as a scientist you're always going to face things that are counterintuitive. You're never going to understand that water is falling near an ice sheet from your everyday experiences of the bathtub. You need to bring in something more; in this case, Newton's second law of gravitation. You have to bring in physics; otherwise, you're never going to explain that.
Where do your ''A-ha!'' moments come from?
I think some scientists would disagree with me, but I think you really do have to give yourself time to think. You need to have some way in your life as a scientist to mull over what you're seeing. And I strongly encourage my graduate students to have other interests, because the best way to have that time is to take a break from science. I've had moments where I've seen something in my models that I'd never seen before and I think, ''Well, you know, a good scientist is never going to walk away from that.'' A good scientist at that point sort of burrows in and says, ''Why am I seeing that?'' Because to see the unexpected is the reward of science.
Daniel Grossman is a freelance science journalist and radio producer based in Boston.
War on Vaping
Juul inserts now in cigarette packs
Stacey Abrams: Breitbart Thinks I'm 'Delusional' for Insisting I 'Won' in 2018 | Breitbart
Fri, 07 Jun 2019 12:43
Failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams on Thursday evening said she is ''fairly certain'' that Breitbart News will think she is ''delusional'' for again insisting that she ''won'' Georgia's gubernatorial election.Abrams refused to concede to Brian Kemp after losing by fewer than 55,000 votes, and she told the Democratic National Committee's African-American Leadership Council Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, that she thinks Democrats ''are going to win in 2020'' in Georgia because ''we won in 2018.''
''Now, I'm fairly certain that Breitbart and Daily Caller are now spinning up the memes that will tell everyone that I am delusional and a liar,'' Abrams said before saying she wanted to ''tell you my point.'' ''When we think that elections are about politicians, we are confused. When we believe that elections end with the counting of votes, we are wrong. Elections are about people. They're about ideas. They're about values. And they're about the progress we can make as a people. And in 2018, we made progress in the state of Georgia.''
Abrams said she ''transformed the electorate'' in 2018 by tripling the Latino and Asian Pacific-Islander vote, getting 25 percent of the white vote, and increasing youth voter participation by 139 percent. She also said she got 1.2 black Georgians to vote for her after mentioning that 1.1 Democrats voted in Georgia in 2012.
''The reality is that we transformed the electorate, but I am aware that I am not governor of Georgia. I am not,'' Abrams said, before taking another swipe at Kemp. ''I'm not exactly certain who is, but I am not. Because there're jobs to be done but I think they're going unfulfilled right now, but that's a conversation for another time.''
Abrams has gone from coast to coast insisting that she ''won'' in 2018 and whining about how she is not governor because of voter suppression. She reportedly met with 2020 presidential candidates like South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and failed Texas Senate candidate Robert Francis ''Beto'' O'Rourke at the event.
''Stacey Abrams ought to be the governor of Georgia,'' Buttigieg told the same audience. ''When racially motivated voter suppression is permitted, when districts are drawn so that politicians get to choose their voters instead of the other way around, when money is allowed to outvote people in this country, we cannot truly say we live in a democracy.
While Buttigieg and even former Vice President Joe Biden said Abrams is not the governor because of voter suppression, O'Rourke interestingly reportedly conceded that Abrams may have ''lost'' her race, telling the crowd that Abrams ''won a much larger battle for the country'' even ''though she may have technically and legally lost that election.''
Abrams still has not ruled out a 2020 presidential run and indicated last month that she will jump into the race if Democrats to do not speak about voter suppression ''every day'' on the stump, saying that she believes she can win the nomination even if she enters the race in the fall.
Stacey Abrams Stolen-Election Myth Endures | National Review
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 12:28
Stacey Abrams speaks to supporters on election night in Atlanta, Ga., November 7, 2018.(Lawrence Bryant/Reuters)
Democratic presidential candidates continue to swear her race was stolen. S tacey Abrams's refusal to lose the Georgia gubernatorial election graciously was one of the low points of the 2018 midterms. But her insistence that Brian Kemp and the Republicans stole the election from her has now become an article of faith among Democrats.
Democratic presidential contenders who traveled to Atlanta this week to speak to the African-American Leadership Council repeated the claim, which Abrams has made more than a dozen times since she lost to Kemp by 54,723 votes last November. In rote fashion, they repeated Abrams's charges that the outcome was determined by ''voter suppression'' conducted by Kemp, who during the race was Georgia's secretary of state.
South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg termed the alleged suppression ''racially motivated'' in his remarks to the group. He said that Abrams ''ought to be governor.'' Throwing complaints about gerrymandering and a desire for more-restrictive campaign-finance laws (neither of which had anything to do with the outcome in Georgia) into the argument, he claimed that the conditions that led to her loss meant that ''we cannot truly say we live in a democracy.''
Not be outdone by his supposed competition for moderate Democratic-primary voters, former vice president Joe Biden raised the ante when he addressed the same group on Friday. Biden claimed that voter-integrity laws '-- which Kemp was legally bound to enforce '-- were direct descendants of Jim Crow regulations aimed at preventing African Americans from voting. Describing the GOP's policies as a ''methodical assault'' on voting rights, Biden said, ''voter suppression is the reason why Stacey Abrams isn't governor right now.''
The assertion that Abrams was cheated, like any legend, gains credibility the more it is told, and now that the presidential field is echoing the sore loser's refrain, it is becoming harder and harder to contain. Indeed, in none of the accounts of Buttigieg and Biden's speeches were their claims about cheating or suppression explained, let alone challenged.
As a way of currying favor with Abrams, whose coy refusal to declare her candidacy for a Georgia U.S. Senate seat or for the presidency (unlike Beto O'Rourke, another 2018 participation-trophy winner) has put her in a position to be courted by those who are running, repeating the story in this fashion makes sense. Abrams, who is frequently mentioned as a potential running mate should a white male become the Democratic standard-bearer next year, has assumed a pose something like that of a royal pretender whose rights to someday oust the usurper '-- Kemp '-- are honored.
But the problem with this goes beyond the fact that the story is false. Nothing Kemp did as secretary of state took victory away from Abrams. But by repeating a myth about a stolen election '-- and amplifying it by saying that it is a product of a national conspiracy by Republicans to prevent minorities from voting '-- they are doing something far worse. These claims do more to undermine confidence that American elections are free and fair than anything the Russians might have done in 2016 or are plotting to do in the future. By allowing a legend to become accepted as fact, they are chipping away at the rule of law in ways that are deluding their followers into believing that they're living in a racist and corrupt tyranny in which the system is rigged against them.
The irony is that this comes from the same party that spent much of the fall of 2016 warning that Donald Trump and his supporters would never accept defeat and worrying that democracy was under threat from loose talk that fraud was the only way he could lose. Democrats were not wrong to worry about the damage that kind of rhetoric does to the public's faith in the system.
But Democrats forgot about that as they reeled in shock and dismay when Trump won an upset Electoral College victory. They have spent the last two and a half years holding on to that grudge as they embraced claims that Russian intervention decided the election and that Trump colluded with those efforts. The fact that the Democratic base's belief in these charges has survived largely intact, even though the Mueller probe failed to substantiate them, reveals the toxic polarization of our political culture.
Repeating Abrams's story does just as much harm, but, fortunately, it is far more easily debunked.
The claims of voter suppression rest primarily on the fact that as Georgia secretary of state, Kemp enforced a statute passed by a Democratic-majority legislature and signed by a Democratic governor in 1997. It required the voting rolls to be periodically purged to remove names of voters who were dead, or who had moved away or were incarcerated. Under this law, 600,000 names of people who hadn't voted in the last three elections were removed from the rolls in 2017 by Kemp's office.
Those who were removed got prior notification in the mail about the impending purge, and they were given a menu of options to retain their registration. Moreover, it took four years to complete the process by which a name was removed. The reason so many names were taken off in 2017 was that a lawsuit by the Georgia NAACP had delayed the routine enforcement of the law for years before the organization eventually lost in the U.S. Supreme Court.
If you assume that most of the 600,000 were Democrats who were denied the right to vote '-- rather than voters who were deceased or who had moved or been jailed '-- that gives credibility to Abrams's story. But there aren't many people stepping forward since November 2018 to say they were wrongfully removed from the rolls, let alone the tens or hundreds of thousands necessary to substantiate Abrams's claim that the election was stolen.
The other argument that purportedly backs up the stolen-election claim is that lengthy lines caused by the closing of 212 precincts in the state since 2012 deterred Georgia voters from turning out. But Kemp had nothing to do with that, since all decisions on consolidating voting stations were made by county officials. Which means if there were fewer precincts and longer lines in Democratic-majority counties in Georgia, it was almost certainly due to the decisions made by local Democrats, not Kemp or a national GOP conspiracy.
When examined soberly, Abrams's claims evaporate. Kemp's win was no landslide, but his 1.4 percent margin of victory didn't even give her the right to demand a legal recount. Demographic changes may mean that Georgia is trending away from the red-state status it has had in the last decade, but Stacey Abrams lost because Republicans still can turn out majorities there even in years when the odds favor Democrats.
But by continuing to swear to the lie that the election was stolen, Biden, Buttigieg, and every other Democrat who repeats that claim while paying court to Abrams and hoping to win African-American votes are poisoning the well of American democracy.
Abrams has damaged her cause with repeated statements both before and after the midterms that can be interpreted as favoring voting rights for non-citizens. That reinforces Republican suspicions that Democratic opposition to voter-integrity laws is rooted in a desire to commit fraud.
In this way, Republicans and Democrats aren't merely disagreeing but talking past each other in a dialogue of the deaf in which both sides think their opponents are seeking to steal elections.
Abrams and the Democratic presidential candidates seeking her support are setting the country up for a 2020 election in which neither side trusts the system. Under those circumstances, we can expect that the tradition in which losing candidates graciously accepted their losses will soon be a relic of a bygone America that no longer exists.
CNN Iowa Poll: Creepy 24%, Crazy 16%, Dopey 14%, Spank Me 7%, and How 15%'... | The Last Refuge
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 11:27
Making the assumption that Iowa voters are the most engaged current Democrats; and considering that all candidates have spent the most time there so far; it's worth taking a look at how Iowa Democrat voters are aligning with their field of candidates.
According to the latest CNN Poll of likely Iowa voters, Creepy Joe leads the way with 34%; followed by Crazy Bernie at 16%; Indian Liz sneaking up with 15%; Dopey Buttigieg jumping to the four position with 14%; and media darling Spank-Me Harris at 7%.
(Full Poll pdf Here)
All other candidates, including Booker and Beto, are not attracting much Iowa support beyond their campaign team paychecks. Down twinkles'...
WASHINGTON (CNN) '' Joe Biden leads as the top choice of likely participants in the first-in-the-nation Iowa Democratic caucuses, but his advantage there is smaller than the one he has held in recent national polling, even as just five candidates out of a field of 23 crack 5% support.
A new CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll conducted by Selzer and Co., finds Biden leads among both those who plan to participate in the caucuses the traditional, in-person way, or via a new process for caucusing virtually.
Overall, 24% say they favor the former vice president, with 16% backing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, 15% Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and 14% South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. California Sen. Kamala Harris rounds out the five over 5% with 7% support.
Biden has regularly been above 30% in national polling since announcing his candidacy in April, with his nearest competitor trailing by double-digits. But there hasn't been high-quality polling in Iowa since his entry to the race. (read more)
Obviously it's still early, but barring an unforeseen late entry, it looks like the Iowa final tier is going to be Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, and Harris.
Statistically, barring some unpredictable event, however the polling data aligns July 1st, 2019 through August 1st, 2019, will be the exact same line-up outcome when the first 2020 primary is held seven months later. It won't change much (if at all) between August 1st 2019, and the 2020 Iowa caucus.
The DNC has a LOW-ENERGY problem, and a lack of authenticity problem, and they know it. Yes, it's still a hot mess'....
Knowing it's likely the '...UniParty DNC is following a similar '...UniParty RNC strategy, we can combine the personal characteristics and political traits together and contrast them against the similarly sized GOP field in 2016. Here's the way it looks:
'...Governor Jeb Bush was to 2016 as'.... Vice-President Joe Biden is to 2020Senator Ted Cruz was to 2016'.... as Senator Elizabeth Warren is to 2020Governor John Kasich was to 2016'... as Senator Bernie Sanders is to 2020Senator Marco Rubio was to 2016'... as Mayor Pete Buttigieg is to 2020Dr. Ben Carson was to 2016'... as Robert Francis ''Beto'' O'Rourke is to 2020Governor Rick Perry was to 2016'.... as Senator Kamala Harris is to 2020Senator Lindsey Graham was to 2016 as'... Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is to 2020Governor Mike Huckabee was to 2016'... as Senator Corey Booker is to 2020Senator Rand Paul was to 2016'.... as Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is to 2020Governor Chris Christie was to 2016 as'... Governor J. Hickenlooper is to 2020Governor Scott Walker was to 2016 as'... Governor Jay Inslee is to 2020Senator Rick Santorum was to 2016'.... as Senator Andrew Yang is to 2020Governor George Pataki was to 2016 as'.... John Delaney is to 2020Governor Bobby Jindal was to 2016'.... as Julian Castro is to 2020Carly Fiorina was to 2016 as'.... Senator Amy Klobuchar is to 2020Governor Jim Gilmore was to 2016 as'... Rep. Tim Ryan is to 2020Gas Station Sushi was to 2016 as'... Eric Swalwell is to 2020Eating Steak with a Spork was to 2016 as'... Michael Bennet is to 2020Drinking a bucket of sweat was to 2016 as'... Steve Bullock is to 2020Inhaling a fly was to 2016 as'.... Marianne Williamson is to 2020Free Chinese WiFi was to 2016'.... as Wayne Messam is to 2020Resistance is futile'...
Out There
Trump reverses thrust, says NASA should focus on Mars, not the moon
Fri, 07 Jun 2019 23:57
President Donald Trump launched his own moonshot Friday.
Trump '-- who's been pushing NASA to return to the moon by 2024 '-- appeared to chart a new course Friday and said the agency "should be focused on much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part)."
"For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon '-- We did that 50 years ago," said the head-scratching tweet, which was sent while Trump was flying back from Europe on Air Force One.
For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon - We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2019The tweet seemed to be a 180-degree turnaround for the president, who's tasked NASA with getting back to the moon by what would be the end of his second term.
In a May 13 tweet, Trump had boasted, "Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars. I am updating my budget to include an additional $1.6 billion so that can return to Space in a BIG WAY!"
President Donald Trump receives a NASA flight jacket from Chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA Chris Cassidy during a bill signing ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House March 21, 2017. Alex Wong / Getty Images fileSpeaking at an event at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington on May 15, Vice President Mike Pence told attendees, including NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, that "at President Trump's direction, it is the policy of the United States that we will return to the moon within the next five years, and the first woman and the next man on the moon will be an American."
The Friday tweet came shortly after NASA sent out a press release saying it was opening the International Space Station for commercial business.
"This move comes as NASA focuses full speed ahead on its goal of landing the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024," the NASA release said.
A White House official told NBC News that Trump was not changing his space strategy. ''Our administration's goal has always been to get to Mars. We have asked Congress for additional resources to get to the Moon by 2024, which will enable us to get to Mars roughly a decade after creating a sustainable presence on the lunar surface,'' the official said.
A staffer for Media Matters for America, a liberal activist group, noted on Twitter that the tweet also came about one hour after anchor Neil Cavuto complained on Fox Business about NASA "refocusing on the moon," and saying, "didn't we do this moon thing quite a few decades ago?"
When Trump starts tweeting about a weird thing for no apparent reason...Left, Fox Business, 12:26 p.m.
Neil Cavuto: NASA is "refocusing on the moon, the next sort of quest, if you will, but didn't we do this moon thing quite a few decades ago?"
Right, Trump, 1:38 p.m. pic.twitter.com/oRTPu4TWEm
'-- Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) June 7, 2019"The president's tweet seems to largely be commentary on how Jeff DeWit, the NASA chief financial officer who Trump was watching on Fox Business Network, frames his discussion of the agency's plans," MMFA senior fellow Matthew Gertz noted.
Dareh Gregorian writes for NBC News.
Moon landing coins launched in Australia | The Canberra Times
Thu, 06 Jun 2019 15:05
It's been almost 50 years since Apollo 11 landed on the moon and domed-shaped coins are being released in Australia to mark the giant leap for mankind. The Royal Australian Mint announced the three-coin collectable series on Wednesday to celebrate five decades since the historic lunar landing in July 1969. The world's first dome-shaped coloured nickel plated coin, a domed gold coin and a coloured silver domed coin are part of the collection made with the United States Mint. Royal Australian Mint chief executive Ross MacDiarmid said the coins celebrated a triumph of science and human endeavour across the world. "We are honoured to share these unique coloured domed coins, including the magnificent collaborative set with the United States Mint, to mark 50 years since Australia shared the first human perspective of the Moon's surface with the world," he said. One side of the coin depicts the CSIRO Parkes radio telescope pointed towards the moon as it received signals of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. Words from Commander Neil Armstrong's journal of the historic event have also been included on the same side with the image of Queen Elizabeth II on the design. The reverse side shows one of the Apollo 11 astronauts standing on the surface of the Moon, with the lunar module Eagle in the background. The Earth stands out in colour and Australia can be seen facing the moon with the journey of the Apollo 11 crew traced in the sky. Former Parkes radio telescope site electrician and driver Ben Lam said the coins recognised their contribution to sharing the landing to 600 million people globally. The 50th Anniversary of the Lunar Landing - 2019 $100 gold proof domed coin is worth $2795, the $5.50 coin costs $195 and the $5 domed coin sells for $150. For those with less coin to spend, there is a six-coin uncirculated set for $25. Australian Associated Press
It's been almost 50 years since Apollo 11 landed on the moon and domed-shaped coins are being released in Australia to mark the giant leap for mankind.
The Royal Australian Mint announced the three-coin collectable series on Wednesday to celebrate five decades since the historic lunar landing in July 1969.
The world's first dome-shaped coloured nickel plated coin, a domed gold coin and a coloured silver domed coin are part of the collection made with the United States Mint.
Royal Australian Mint chief executive Ross MacDiarmid said the coins celebrated a triumph of science and human endeavour across the world.
"We are honoured to share these unique coloured domed coins, including the magnificent collaborative set with the United States Mint, to mark 50 years since Australia shared the first human perspective of the Moon's surface with the world," he said.
One side of the coin depicts the CSIRO Parkes radio telescope pointed towards the moon as it received signals of the Apollo 11 lunar landing.
Words from Commander Neil Armstrong's journal of the historic event have also been included on the same side with the image of Queen Elizabeth II on the design.
The reverse side shows one of the Apollo 11 astronauts standing on the surface of the Moon, with the lunar module Eagle in the background.
The Earth stands out in colour and Australia can be seen facing the moon with the journey of the Apollo 11 crew traced in the sky.
Former Parkes radio telescope site electrician and driver Ben Lam said the coins recognised their contribution to sharing the landing to 600 million people globally.
The 50th Anniversary of the Lunar Landing - 2019 $100 gold proof domed coin is worth $2795, the $5.50 coin costs $195 and the $5 domed coin sells for $150.
For those with less coin to spend, there is a six-coin uncirculated set for $25.
Australian Associated Press
Outrage After Snapchat Debuts 'Love Has No Age' Filter for Pride Month
Thu, 06 Jun 2019 15:14
Skip to contentSnapchat accused of helping normalize pedophiliaSocial media company Snapchat is receiving backlash after users claimed the popular app made available a Pride Month-themed filter promoting pedophilia.
In a photo filter themed ''Love has no labels,'' conservative activist Ashley St. Clair noted the phrase ''Love has no age'' appeared as an option.
According to Snapchat, love has no age. NO AGE?!?!
When does this become too much??? pic.twitter.com/Tbkhbkzgia
'-- Ashley StClair 🇺🇸 (@stclairashley) June 3, 2019
St. Clair uploaded an example of her applying the photo filter and cycling through other phrases, including: ''Love has no gender,'' ''Love has no sexuality,'' and ''love has no disability.''
''I heard pedophiles were trying to get into the LGBTQ community, but did it really happen? What do you mean love has no age?'' St. Clair said in the video uploaded Sunday.
Other users on Twitter were equally appalled by the filter.
This is an attempt to decriminalize and normalize pedophiles. A lot of marketing $$$ going into it.
'-- Jason Burack (@JasonEBurack) June 3, 2019
Think how many people had to approve this filter'... every single one looked at this and thought oh yea no problems here, good to go!!!!!
INSANE https://t.co/RP3VW5aAf6
'-- Hazen (@StephanieHazen) June 3, 2019
Are they suggesting paedophilia is Ok?
'-- Carter McLellan (@cartermclellan7) June 3, 2019
I might have to uninstall snapchat for this bs
'-- Evan Reinhard (@evan4131989) June 3, 2019
I'm gay, but I hope that Snapchat revises it to deliberately be like ''-no gender, no age (over 18).''
'-- Pinl101 (@pinl101) June 3, 2019
"Age is just a number", but "prison is just a place", I'v been told.
'-- Marcos Monteiro (@mvsmonteiro) June 3, 2019
They are rebranding paedophilia into MAP (Minor Attracted Persons) and there's many videos about it on YouTube. It's going to be the next big push after Transgenderism. Absolutely disgusting but watch the Left champion that next!
'-- "90" (@Joe90Taylor) June 3, 2019
Sure, they can explain what they mean by "no age"'... but explaining is losing. They shouldn't have put it in there in the first place.
'-- Jono Smith-Pula ðŸ‡"ðŸ‡ðŸ‡¼ðŸ‡¸ðŸ‡...🇺 (@JPu02) June 3, 2019
Hey @Snapchat
Maybe you should remove the filter that says ''Love has no age'' that you put out for Pride month.
Not only does it have NOTHING to do with LGBTQ pride, but it's disgusting and an insult to all victims of pedophilia.
'-- Ashley StClair 🇺🇸 (@stclairashley) June 3, 2019
We shouldn't be surprised at Snapchat's 'Love Had No Age' filter.
This is the same company that gained its popularity by being an avenue for underage kids to send nude photos back and forth and did nothing about it despite the countless complaints from parents.
'-- Ashley StClair 🇺🇸 (@stclairashley) June 3, 2019
'-- Jeremy; a Close In Weapons System (@sweatandsawdus1) June 3, 2019
Infowars was unable to reproduce the filter as of writing Monday, June 3. The filter was not available when searched on the app. It is possible Snapchat quietly pulled the filter so as to avoid negative press.
Snapchat did not return Infowars' request for comment as of writing.
Any Collusion?
HOWLEY: Here's The Full Story of How Obama, Hillary and Brennan Carried Out The Crime of the Century - Big League Politics
Fri, 07 Jun 2019 04:42
The ''Operation Crossfire Hurricane'' plot against President Donald Trump is now exposed for the world to see, with special counsel Robert Mueller coming up empty in his quest to pin Trump with Russian collusion or obstruction of justice.
We have explosive information about this scheme, including the involvement of former president Barack Obama, Obama intelligence officials John Brennan and James Clapper, failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok, the Fusion GPS set-up agent Natalia Veselnitskaya, and even foreign leaders including Angela Merkel.
This article will firmly demonstrate the following:
Hillary Clinton's campaign used the Christopher Steele dossier before their involvement was covered upSenior Obama administration officials secretly plotted to involve senators in the ''Russia'' conspiracyJames Clapper tried to use the ''Russia'' narrative to get the Supreme Court to invalidate Trump's presidencyNatalia Veselnitskaya was a Fusion GPS set-up agent who worked out of an Obama official's office in D.C.Peter Strzok ran point on destroying General Flynn and covering up for Hillary ClintonBarack Obama used foreign powers to keep the scheme going, even after he left the Oval Office to President TrumpHILLARY Used The Dossier During Her Campaign
The Hillary Clinton campaign issued a press release on September 24, 2016 promoting information from the Christopher Steele dossier.
That press release has almost completely been scrubbed from the Internet, but is preserved in at least one tweet and in an Internet archive sponsored by The American Presidency Project.
The Clinton campaign, which funded the debunked dossier in an effort to obtain a FISA warrant to surveil Trump Tower, actively promoted a ''Bombshell Report About Trump Aide's Chilling Ties To Kremlin.'' The Trump aide with the purported Kremlin ties was Carter Page. The ''bombshell report'' was a Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff headlined ''U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin.''
Rep. Devin Nunes' intelligence memo makes clear that Isikoff's article, which was promoted by the Clinton campaign, used Christopher Steele as its source and was used to help obtain the FISA warrant. The FISA warrant application falsely states that Steele did not leak information to Yahoo News.
''We've never seen anything like this in American politics,'' Hillary for America says in its statement, which called the information in Isikoff's article ''chilling.''
Clinton adviser Adam Parkhomenko tweeted out the statement:
OBAMA Officials Plotted To Get Senators Involved In The Plot In The Hours Before President Trump Took Office
Newly released emails show the Obama administration scrambling to create the ''Russia'' scandal within 24 hours of President Donald Trump taking the oath of office in January 2017. The desperation of the Obama administration is evident in the emails, in which the Obama team tries to involve Democratic senators Warner and Cardin and Republican senator Corker in the plot.
Close observers know that the Operation Crossfire Hurricane strategy surfaced during the 2016 presidential election and continued well into Trump's presidency, with General Michael Flynn getting snared in a Peter Strzok/Sally Yates ambush play in the early days of the Trump White House. Now, Team Obama's documented effort to cook up the Russia story before Trump's inauguration emboldens a narrative already proved by text messages (presented below) involving Obama official James Clapper: the Obama people actually thought they could stop Trump from getting sworn in.
Judicial Watch, which obtained the emails in a Freedom of Information Act case, reports:
''In a Thursday, January 5, 2017, email chain then-State Department Congressional Advisor Hera Abassi indicates that then-Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland's bureau was attempting to get Russian investigation related documents to the office of Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) office as quickly as possible. (In June 2016 Nuland permitted a meeting between Steele and the FBI's legal attach(C) in Rome. Nuland told CBS News that the State Department knew about the Steele dossier by July 2016.)
In the email, with the subject line ''For Immediate Review '' Call Sheet for S Call with Senator Warner,'' Abassi writes:
''I told Cardin's folks '... that the process is long. Can we ensure that there are no holdups on our end?''
Minutes later, Abassi confirms that Nuland was fully aware of the information that the State Department was providing to members of Congress alleging Russia interference information:
''This is definitely on EUR A/S radar!''
Leaving no doubt that the State Department officials knew they were transmitting classified information, in a Wednesday, January 18, 2017, email with the subject line ''Cables/M,'' Former Foreign Service Officer Kerem Bilge writes to State Department Congressional advisor Hilary Johnson and others: ''Highest class is SECRET/NOFORN.''Johnson replies:
''FYI '' so we can keep the SECRET/NOFORN header, and should declassify it 25 years from tomorrow.
''I forwarded the fully cleared version to the two of you on the high side [Editor's Note: ''high side'' is State Department term for high security classification system], but let me know if there's anything else you need from me on this.
''Note: we'll need to make sure there is someone in Senate security tomorrow who can accept these.''
On Wednesday, January 18, 2017, Johnson confirms that classified documents were sent to Senator Corker in addition to Senator Cardin. ''Flagging that I sent you a high side request for clearance of the draft transmittal letter to send documents to Senators Corker and Cardin.''Additionally, involved in providing classified information to members of the Senate was Naz Durakoglu, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs. In an email dated Thursday, January 19, 2017, with the subject line ''Signed, sealed, delivered'' Durakoglu apparently confirms that Obama State Department officials were eager to provide the classified material before Trump was sworn into office: ''We made the deadline!'' Durakoglu states [Emphasis added] ''Thank you everyone for what was truly a Department-wide effort!''
President Trump was inaugurated less than 24 hours later.
In a Wednesday, January 18, 2017 email, Naz Durakoglu signed off on the document transmittal letter on behalf of her bureau. This letter accompanied ''the documents to Senator Corker and Cardin''In a Thursday, January 19, 2017 email, Durakoglu appears to confirm that she is who carried the documents from the State Department to Capitol Hill. She states, ''I will be carrying over the cables to the Hill.'''Judicial Watch passage ends
Multiple elements of the Obama machine were working overtime on their Russian cooking in the immediate lead-up to President Donald Trump's historic inauguration.
Obama '-- who also gave a stand-down order on stopping alleged Russian hacking '-- was personally implicated in the plot according to Peter Strzok and Lisa Page's texts. Obama's director of national intelligence James Clapper confirms the obvious.
''If it weren't for President Obama we might not have done the intelligence community assessment that we did that set up a whole sequence of events which are still unfolding today, notably Special Counsel Mueller's investigation. President Obama is responsible for that. It was he who tasked us to do that intelligence community assessment in the first place,'' Clapper said in his Anderson Cooper interview.
CLAPPER Plotted With BRENNAN At Dinner
Catherine Herridge reported for Fox News: ''In a Dec. 12, 2016, text reviewed by Fox News, Page wrote to McCabe: ''Btw, [Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper told Pete that he was meeting with [CIA Director John] Brennan and Cohen for dinner tonight. Just FYSA [for your situational awareness].'' Within a minute, McCabe replied, ''OK.'''
CLAPPER Tried To Use 'Russia' To Get The Supreme Court To Block Trump's Presidency
Obama administration Director of National Intelligence James Clapper held a meeting in his last days in office to discuss the idea of going to a Supreme Court justice to block President Donald Trump's inauguration, according to a high-level member of the intelligence community who spoke with a Big League Politics source.
Clapper discussed blocking the inauguration on the grounds that Trump was an illegitimate president due to alleged Russian interference in the election, according to the sources. It is not known whether Clapper ever actually convened a meeting with a Supreme Court justice to discuss the Russia case, or whether he simply discussed the idea of doing so. By the time Trump entered office on January 20, the Russia narrative was already underway.
A high-level member of the intelligence community who witnessed the meeting said that Clapper discussed going to one of three female Supreme Court justices to make the case that alleged Russian interference could invalidate Trump's claim to the presidency.
Another text the witness sent to BLP's source around the same time described how the Deep State was making General Michael Flynn a ''rising target'' for his alleged involvement with Russians, and stated that House Speaker Paul Ryan is a ''wild card'' in the Deep State wars.
Big League Politics recently reported on an audiotape in which Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh admitted that slain DNC staffer Seth Rich was the source for Wikileaks' release of DNC emails in 2016, not a Russian hack. Hersh also said that Clapper and Obama administration CIA director John Brennan helped to create the Russia narrative against Trump.
So, how did the conspirators do it? They used a set-up agent named Natalia Veselnitskaya, the fabled ''Russian lawyer.''
NATALIA: The Conspirators Got Her In, Then Locked Her Out, of The Country
The U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York, then led by anti-President Trump activist Preet Bharara, played a key role in getting Natalia Veselnitskaya into the country in 2015-2016 on special Obama administration passes.
Now, fired U.S. Attorney Bharara's former office has charged Veselnitskaya with obstruction of justice in an unrelated case. They did this to force Natalia to remain in Russia and not come back to the United States to testify, according to high-level FBI sources. Why? Because Natalia has made it clear that she knows Glenn Simpson '-- the Fusion GPS head she had dinner with the night before and and the night after her Trump Tower set-up meeting '-- and she has said that her Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr. had nothing to do with Hillary Clinton.
Robert Mueller, Bharara, and the anti-Trump conspirators want to focus on Michael Cohen as a witness and block out any witnesses that would unravel their entire invented narrative '-- like Natalia, the spy who was used to set up the phony meeting that led to the fraudulent FISA warrants on the Trump team.
The Department of Homeland Security confirmed that Veseltnitskaya gained parole into the United States during the Obama administration due to a DHS decision made ''in concurrence with the U.S. Attorney's Office of Southern District of New York,'' then headed by Preet Bharara.
But the very people who wanted to get Natalia in now very much want to keep her out.
Natalia Veselnitskaya was charged with obstruction of justice Tuesday to prevent her from coming back to the United States to testify in the Robert Mueller-related cases because her statements have already contradicted Mueller's narrative, according to high-level FBI sources.
Veselnitskaya, who is now in Russia, was charged for making a ''misleading declaration'' in a civil money-laundering case. Veselnitskaya's indictment was filed in federal court in Manhattan and unsealed by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York, formerly led by anti-Trump activist Preet Bharara and still dominated by his underlings.
Now Veselnitskaya can't return to the United States to contradict the Michael Cohen-focused case, because she would be arrested upon her arrival in this country. So what could Veselnitskaya spill if she testified? For one thing, Fusion GPS has tried to claim no knowledge of Veselnitskaya's Trump Tower meeting, despite the fact that Veselnitskaya had dinner with Fusion GPS chief Glenn Simpson the night before the meeting and also the night after the meeting.
Veselnitskaya's appearance on Fox News, in which she discussed her relationship with Glenn Simpson, did not sit well with the Operation Crossfire Hurricane conspirators. Particularly her quote, ''But my meeting was not at all connected with Mrs. Hillary Clinton.''
Trending: Yes, Canada is Actually Arresting Christian Pastors and Banning Them From Preaching in Public
Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney who signed the Veselnitskaya indictment, was recused from the Michael Cohen case by Department of Justice officials working under Rod Rosenstein. Berman is identified in the press as a Trump appointee but he is actually a Jeff Sessions appointee.
Here is what an FBI insider recently told us, prior to Mueller officially coming up empty-handed:
''Mueller's team of partisans has a problem. They want to get Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner so they are working hard to prove that Jr and Kushner lied about the June 9th 2016 Trump Tower meeting. The Special Counsel has their version (Fusion GPS' version) of what happened in the meeting but Veselnitskaya and Manafort's versions don't support their version. They tried to squeeze Manafort into reciting their version but in the end he resisted. So they claimed to the Judge that Manafort lied in his proffer to them. Veselnitskaya already met with Senate investigators and gave testimony about the meeting. This testimony doesn't fall in line with the Special Counsel's version so they have to discredit her and keep her from coming to the U.S. for any future hearings hence the strange indictment today by holdovers of Preet Bharara.
The Trump Tower meeting, facilitated by Fusion GPS and debriefed by Fusion GPS, was an original attempt to get candidate Trump to make commitments to Russia regarding the subversion of the Magnitsky Act. This was the original purpose of the entrapment but candidate Trump didn't fall for it. So they didn't want a good set-up to go to waste.
Veselnitskaya only mentioned dirt on Hillary as a rouse to get the Trump campaign to meet with her regarding the Magnitsky scheme. Fusion GPS, Brennan and Comey were trying to set Trump up to commit a serious crime related to Russia but they were unsuccessful. After Trump was elected they dug through all of their attempts to find something useful and realized they could spin several setup meetings with Trump Campaign officials as somehow being related to hacked emails. This is proven by the fact that all the meetings were conducted by people associated with the CIA (Halper and Mifsud) and the FBI (Fusion GPS and Henry Greenburg). It is also proven by the fact that the FISA warrants obtained by the FBI never had any mention of Hacked emails.''
FBI source's statement concludes
Roger Stone was also targeted by one of these set-up plays.
Stone's lawyer Grant Smith wrote the following in a letter to Rep. Devin Nunes: ''By way of example, as you know, back in June I sent this Committee a letter regarding a longtime FBI informant named Gennadiy Vasilievich Vostretsov who, under the alias ''Henry Greenberg'', was sent to approach my client in May 2016 with claims of having access to information that could impact the election. Mr. Stone not only immediately and forcefully declined to participate in anything this FBI informant was proposing, but never saw or spoke to the informant again. Mr. Stone believes it highly likely that Mr. Vostretsov/Greenberg's status as an FBI informant was not ''former'', and that Vostretsov/Greenberg was, in fact, actively working on behalf of the FBI at the time of their meeting, acting upon a calculated effort to entrap Mr. Stone and, further, to infiltrate and compromise the Trump effort. Notably, Vostretsov was admitted to the country nine separate times on an FBI Informant's visa.''
In late May 2016 a Russian named ''Henry'' contacted me offering dirt on Hillary Clinton. Here's a US federal court document that proves he was an FBI informant for 17 years. Somehow Mueller skipped right over this '' wonder why? https://t.co/SpuCrXxOC7
'-- That Michael Caputo (@MichaelRCaputo) May 4, 2019
My reporting on Natalia and the Fusion GPS plot against President Trump has changed the face of the news cycle:
The Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya who set up Don Trump Jr. for a meeting in Trump Tower as part of a Fusion GPS plot was operating out of the Washington offices of Cozen O'Connor, a law firm run by an anti-Trump former Obama administration official whose super PAC donated to Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush in the 2016 presidential election.
Veselnitskaya's work from the Cozen O'Connor office provides more evidence of a Democrat and establishment Republican effort to set up the Trump campaign for a future Russian collusion case. Veselnitskaya was allowed into the United States by the Obama Department of Justice while the former Obama official who runs Cozen O'Connor publicly warned then-candidate Trump that if he became president he would be investigated by the DOJ for contacts with foreign leaders. Veselnitskaya reportedly had dinner meetings with Fusion GPS chief Glenn Simpson the day before she met in Trump Tower and also the day after she went inside Trump Tower.
Big League Politics has confirmed that a Cozen O'Connor partner who lives in the same apartment building as James Comey's friend Daniel Richman '-- who leaked classified information to the press on Comey's behalf '-- spoke with Richman during the period that Comey and the Fusion GPS team were trying to obtain FISA warrants on Trump Tower.
Let's break down the facts of an Obama administration official's involvement in the Trump Tower plot:
Russian and U.S. citizen Rinat Akhmetshin, a Soviet military veteran, was present at Veselnitskaya's meeting with Don Jr. in Trump Tower after leading a lobbying push supposedly to repeal the Magnitsky Act. Akhmestshin is believed by insiders to be linked to Russian government intelligence, a fact that the Washington Post seized on when reporting that he met with Don Jr. and Jared Kushner in Trump Tower. A nonprofit group focused on promoting Akhmetshin and Veselnitskaya's cause to lawmakers actually hired Cozen O'Connor, which the law firm confirms.
The Washington Post reported (emphasis added):
''In the spring of 2016, as the presidential race was heating up, Akhmetshin and lobbyists he hired sought meetings on Capitol Hill to make their case against the sanctions law. Akhmetshin hired former Democratic congressman Ron Dellums, along with a team of lobbyists from the law firm of Cozen O'Connor.
Steve Pruitt, a business colleague speaking on Dellums's behalf, said his involvement was brief and ended when he determined that Congress was unlikely to change the law.
In June, after visiting Trump Tower in New York, Veselnitskaya came to Washington to lend a hand in the lobbying effort.
She attended a meeting of the team at the downtown offices of Cozen O'Connor, where she spoke at length in Russian about the issues but confused many in the room, who had not been told previously about her involvement, according to several participants.''
Washington Post passage ends
Cozen O'Connor managing partner Howard Schweitzer is listed here on a DOJ form from an investigation into the breaking of lobbying laws by Russians trying to repeal the Magnitsky Act '-- which was just a front to get Russians in the room with Don Jr. We know now that Natalia Veselnitskaya was actually operating out of the Cozen O'Connor offices.
Schweitzer worked as general counsel for the Export-Import Bank under George W. Bush and was chief operating officer of the TARP bailout program under both Bush and Obama from 2008-2009.
''In October 2008, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson appointed Howard as the first COO of TARP. In this position, Howard led program execution and built the TARP infrastructure. He served as a key point person regarding the financial crisis through the presidential transition and continued to serve as TARP COO under Secretary Timothy Geithner until August 2009,'' reads Schweitzer's Cozen O'Connor bio.
''He served as chief operating officer of the TARP in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations,'' reads Schweitzer's bio for a Politico piece he wrote in August 2016 headlined ''7 Reasons Why Trump Would Hate Being President.''
Schweitzer's virulently anti-Trump piece for Politico tries to make the case that Trump was ''sabotaging his own bid for the White House.'' Schweitzer said that if Trump became president then ''He'll be investigated to death'' by Congress and the Justice Department for his business dealings and ''relationships with foreign leaders.''
The narrative was being set.
The Philadelphia-based Cozen O'Connor law firm also has a political action committee that donated to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, in addition to Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Martin O'Malley. In the 2018 election cycle, the Cozen O'Connor PAC donated more money to Hillary Clinton's dormant campaign.
I found the Obama Officials Office That SPY Natalia Worked Out of https://t.co/fWPfw2tU0u
'-- Patrick Howley (@howleyreports) December 19, 2018
Here is Veselnitskaya seated behind Obama ambassador to Russia Mike McFaul at a June 2016 congressional hearing focused on Russia.
Cozen O'Connor's connections to the anti-Trump ''Operation Crossfire Hurricane'' plot are wide-ranging, and show up in unexpected places.
James Comey's friend, Columbia University professor Daniel Richman, leaked classified information that Comey gave him. During this leaking period, Richman was apartment-building neighbors with a partner at the Cozen O'Connor law firm that strategized with Fusion GPS operative Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian plant who set up Don Jr. in Trump Tower.
Veselnitskaya and Fusion GPS, led by Glenn Simpson, were part of John Brennan and Peter Strzok's CIA-led ''Operation Crossfire Hurricane'' plot aimed at President Donald Trump and the Trump campaign.
''Yes, he is my neighbor,'' Amy Wenzel, a partner at Cozen O'Connor, confirmed in a phone conversation with Big League Politics, confirming that they spoke. They live near each other in a Brooklyn high-rise.
The Washington Post's release of Trump Tower documents shows the crowd surrounding non-sexual honeypot Natalia Veselnitskaya. The crowd of conspirators knew they were damaging Trump by setting up the meeting.
The Post confirms British-citizen music promoter Rob Goldstone's testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which he described the conspirators' push to get the meeting despite the fact that they knew it would create trouble for the Trump campaign.
The Post reports:
''Rob Goldstone told the committee that his client, the Russian pop star and developer Emin Agalarov, had insisted he help set up the meeting between President Trump's son and the lawyer during the campaign to pass along material on Clinton, overriding Goldstone's own warnings that the meeting would be a bad idea.
''He said, 'it doesn't matter. You just have to get the meeting,''‰'' Goldstone, a British citizen, testified.
The intensity with which Agalarov and his father, the billionaire Aras Agalarov, sought the Trump Tower meeting, which has become a key point of scrutiny for congressional inquiries and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, was revealed in more than 2,500 pages of congressional testimony and exhibits released by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning.''
Washington Post passage ends
Natalia Veselnitskaya is also inextricably linked to the case against Paul Manafort.
The Russian attorney partner of Paul Manafort who was named as a defendant in Robert Mueller charges is also linked to the Russian spy Natalia Vesenilskaya, who attended a meeting with Don Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner in Trump Tower.
According to Mueller's charges, Manafort's Russian partner Konstantin Kilimnik tried to intimidate or coerce witnesses in Manafort's upcoming money laundering trial. That put Konstantin Kilimnik at the center of the Mueller effort to find obstruction of justice in Trump-World.
So who is Konstantine Kilimnik? It turns out that Kilimnik is linked to Veselnitskaya, the Fusion GPS agent, according to Senate documents.
Here is how ProPublica described Kilimnik: ''Konstantin Kilimnik: Manafort, who worked for the pro-Russian party in Ukraine before running Trump's campaign, had an employee in Kiev named Konstantin Kilimnik who U.S. and Ukrainian authorities have suspected of having ties to Russian intelligence, according to Politico. Kilimnik served in the Russian army and learned English at a school that experts say often trains spies. Kilimnik denied being a spy to The Washington Post. Manafort had dinner with Kilimnik last August in New York, just before he was forced out of the Trump campaign amid growing questions about his work in the Ukraine, the Post reported.''
Documents reveal Kilimnik's ties to Veselniskaya. Let's take a look at United States Senate Judiciary Committee documents questioning Veselniskaya in October. Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Veselniskaya if she knew a handful of characters believed to be conspirators in the case.
Grassley and Feinstein specifically asked Veselnitskaya if she knew Konstantin Kilimnik.
Here is page 4 of the documents, naming Kilimnik:
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee as senator from Alabama.
Veselnitskaya's meeting with Don Jr. in Trump Tower provided some of the basis for warrants to surveil Trump Tower and for other FBI surveillance measures on the Trump campaign.
The fact that Veselnitskaya, a lawyer herself, was in the meeting with Trump Jr. and Kushner opened the president's son and son-in-law up to being qualified as ''target associations'' for law enforcement under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, passed during the Bush administration.
Veselniskaya's link to suspected conspirator Kilimnik is now coming under scrutiny.
Peter Strzok, meanwhile, is firmly established as the go-to guy who ran point on the entire operation.
Azra Turk Worked With Stefan Halper
High-level intelligence sources tell Big League Politics that a Facebook account matching the description of the FBI's Trump campaign spy posted in 2014, long before the anti-Trump ''Operation Crossfire Hurricane'' plot was reportedly put in motion.
''Azra Turk'' was the FBI spy who worked with Stefan Halper to set up Trump campaign adviser George Papapdoupolus, the New York Times finally confirms. ''Azra Turk,'' supposedly from Istanbul, is a beautiful blonde woman according to intel sources.
The ''Azra Turk'' account has only two posts from October 2014, and a photograph of a blonde woman concealing her face. The account, which has no friends to show, only likes pages belonging to two individuals: Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump.
Both John Brennan and James Comey used Peter Strzok to damage President Donald Trump. Strzok is the disgraced FBI agent and fired Robert Mueller team member whose text messages with mistress Lisa Page form the biggest scandal in FBI history. The lovers conspired to illegally bring down Trump, all while the FBI was spying on the Trump campaign.
Strzok interviewed Hillary Clinton without putting her under oath, and granted immunity to Cheryl Mills and Clinton's other associates right before he flew to London to meet with Christopher Steele to work on the anti-Trump dossier, which was sponsored by the Clinton-funded firm Fusion GPS. That dossier was used to fraudulently obtain FISA warrants to surveil Trump Tower. Barack Obama read bits of the dossier in his daily presidential briefings, courtesy of Brennan. Fusion GPS, meanwhile, sent operatives into Trump Tower to entrap Don Jr. and Jared Kushner in a meeting with planted Russians.
When it was time for the conspirators to focus on Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, Strzok was there to run information about the adviser to the Australians. When it was time to take out Trump's national security adviser General Michael Flynn, Strzok was there to stage an ''ambush'' interrogation of Flynn without Flynn's lawyer present.
Let's walk through Strzok's amazing Zelig-like role in every facet of Operation Crossfire Hurricane:
Brennan hired Strzok to write the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) in January 2017.
Big League Politics
This was an official document used to spur on the Robert Mueller investigation. But the document did not actually find any evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia, it merely said that Vladimir Putin ''aspired'' to help Trump and that Russia ''developed a clear preference for Trump.'' The Christopher Steele dossier was added as an ''appendix'' to the ICA report, even though Brennan lied and told Congress that it was never used.
Comey Sent Strzok To London To Meet With The Australians About George Papadopoulos
George Papadopoulos was surveilled in real time by the FBI. Who set him up? Peter Strzok, whose meeting with the Australian ambassador in London provided key basis for the creation of Robert Mueller's investigation, according to none other than the New York Times.
Tyler Durden Explains:
''The FBI sent counterintelligence agents, one of whom was Peter Strzok, to London in the summer of 2016 to meet with Australian ambassador, Alexander Downer, to describe his meeting with Trump campaign advisor, George Papadopoulos.The meeting with Downer was described as ''highly unusual,'' and ''helped provide the foundation for a case that, a year ago Thursday, became the special counsel investigation.''The FBI kept details of the operation secret from most of the DOJ '' with ''only about five Justice Department officials'' aware of the full scope of the case.''Strzok Cleared Hillary Clinton Right Before He Left For London
Big League Politics called attention in July 2017 to the fact that Strzok was serving on the Mueller team after personally overseeing the Hillary Clinton email investigation at the FBI and personally conducting the interview with Hillary Clinton that was not under oath and which led to no incarceration for the Democrat candidate.
Strzok also withheld information about the Hillary case from Congress according to this text:
With the pressure on, Strzok's wife Melissa Hodgman, Associate Director of the enforcement division of the Securities and Exchange Commission, is scrubbing her Obama and Clinton links. Hodgman was promoted by Obama just two weeks before FBI director James Comey re-opened the investigation into Hillary Clinton's email scandal in 2016, leading political insiders to suspect that Hodgman might have been involved in the federal government's cover-up.
Some of the Liked pages on her Facebook account on December 3 included ''Thank You Obama'' and ''We Voted For Hillary.''
Strzok Sets Up Flynn
On January 24, 2017, Peter Strzok interviewed General Michael Flynn inside the White House alongside another agent. Flynn's lawyer was not present. Flynn apparently did not tell the White House about his meeting. Guess who did? Sally Yates, the anti-Trump deputy attorney general whose underling told the FBI to shut down the Clinton Foundation case. Yates informed the White House on January 26 that Flynn met with the FBI.
That was the beginning of the end for the original Trump White House.
Strzok was close personal friends with the foreign intelligence judge Rudolph Contreras who accepted General Flynn's guilty plea. Contreras recused himself after he already accepted Flynn's guilty plea.
Strzok and Page detailed their plan to meet with Contreras in a July 25, 2016 series of texts:
PAGE: ''Rudy is on the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court]! Did you know that? Just appointed two months ago.''
STRZOK: ''I did. I need to get together with him.''
PAGE: ''said he'd gotten on a month or two ago at a graduation party we were both at.''
Strzok and Page's Texts Revealed Their Anti-Trump Plot
It is well known that Strzok and Page discussed their anti-Trump conspiracy many thousands of times over text messages that have been mostly released. The lovers' repeated references to ''CF'' refer to ''Crossfire.'' Here are Hot Air's favorites:
''Strzok: God Hillary should win. 100,000,000-0.
Strzok: Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support'...
Strzok: I am riled up. Trump is a f***ing idiot, is unable to provide a coherent answer.''
Brennan Plotted For Years To Get Trump, Starting with a Fly-By-Night Operation in Reno
A whistleblower case currently in federal court in Washington, D.C. stands to bring out incredible allegations of John Brennan and James Clapper's moves against Trump, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, and the former presiding judge of the FISA court Reggie Walton.
Real estate mogul Timothy Blixseth admitted that he saw records from CIA and NSA whistleblower Dennis Montgomery proving that Clapper and Obama CIA director John Brennan oversaw repeated spying on the phone calls of President Donald Trump and millions of other private American citizens, including Supreme Court Justice John Roberts and FISA court judge Reggie Walton. Fired former FBI director James Comey received evidence from the whistleblower's lawyer but sat on it.
In an audiotaped interview '-- conducted before Trump ever ran for president '-- Blixseth spoke to former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and detective Mike Zullo. The audio was released in connection with a civil contempt case that the Department of Justice filed against Arpaio. The audio of this conversation appears to only be preserved in one location on the Internet, on a whistleblower Soundcloud page.
''This guy showed me 900 million phone calls. And I see myself in there. I see people I know. I see Donald Trump in there a zillion times, and Bloomberg is in there,'' Blixseth said on the tape, referring to information that Montgomery allegedly showed him.
''He's a very genius computer guy,'' Blixseth said of Montgomery. ''What they did is, they were actually working for the CIA. And they mask it as '-- I'm sure you'll remember this '-- the contracts with the CIA, of which I had many copies, said that they were decoding Al-Jazeera television, said that there was broadcast embedded, remember that? Owned by Gore? Al Gore's got part of it now. But it was all bullshit. That was bullshit. That was a front by the CIA. And this guy [Montgomery] worked for Brennan and Clapper. Those were the two guys running it,'' Timothy Blixseth told Arpaio and Zullo on the tape.
''He started out in 2004 with another partner in Reno, Nevada, called eTreppid. They collected about $40 million from the CIA. Top security clearance. All kinds of letters'...In 2006 they started a new company that [my ex-wife] owns, and they started doing the same business for the government. What it really turns out they were doing is they were hacking into all of America.
Big League Politics called the listed number for eTreppid Technologies, but we were told that Montgomery no longer works there. ''That company closed down years ago, sir,'' a representative said of eTreppid Technologies. When asked what the company is called now, the representative said, ''I'm sorry, I can't discuss any more with you.''
Blixseth claimed in his conversation with Zullo and Arpaio that Brennan and Clapper were running the operation.
''Everything they said they didn't do, that Brennan said recently, mainly Clapper. It's all bullshit. And I've got it right here,'' Blixseth said.
On the explosive tapes, Blixseth walks Arpaio and Zullo through the details of the program on a computer screen. At one point, the three begin pulling up specific names of targeted individuals.
''You know who that guy is? That's the head of the FISA court they hacked into, Reggie Walton,'' Blixseth tells the investigators.
''John Roberts, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, was hacked,'' Blixseth tells Arpaio and Zullo.
Insiders have always been skeptical of Roberts' motives for siding with President Obama on Obamacare.
On August 4, 2005, Matt Drudge reported: ''The NEW YORK TIMES is looking into the adoption records of the children of Supreme Court Nominee John G. Roberts, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. The TIMES has investigative reporter Glen Justice hot on the case to investigate the status of adoption records of Judge Roberts' two young children, Josie age 5 and Jack age 4, a top source reveals. Judge Roberts and his wife Jane adopted the children when they each were infants. Both children were adopted from Latin America. A TIMES insider claims the look into the adoption papers are part of the paper's ''standard background check.'' Bill Borders, NYT senior editor, explains: ''Our reporters made initial inquiries about the adoptions, as they did about many other aspects of his background. They did so with great care, understanding the sensitivity of the issue.''
OBAMA Kept The Scheme Going Overseas
House lawmakers are zeroing in on a meeting that German chancellor Angela Merkel held with President Obama at a key moment as one of the FISA warrants against Trump was set to expire. Lawmakers are aware of the role of foreign governments in collaborating with U.S. intelligence agencies in the Trump investigation as recently as 2017.
Germany provided information beginning in 2015 to aide British spies and the Obama administration in compiling the Christopher Steele ''dossier.''
Obama had been called out by the Drudge Report for visiting foreign leaders in Europe in the spring of 2017 right before President Trump visited those leaders in Europe. It turns out that one of those Obama meetings is now under scrutiny on Capitol Hill.
Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein gave a redacted document to Rep. Devin Nunes, showing two major redactions about the creation of the Trump ''Dossier'' and the launch of FISA warrants and Robert Mueller's investigation during the 2016 campaign. The redactions were: ''the name of a country and the name of a foreign agent who supplied information.''
Now we know: the country is Germany and the foreign agent was either Angela Merkel or someone who worked for Angela Merkel in foreign intelligence.
The redacted sections will be referencing one of the European countries and agents that share SIGINT (signal intelligence) to US Intelligence,'' says Chuck Marler, a longtime agent of the FBI Special Surveillance Group under Robert Mueller, who is an official whistleblower in this case.
SIGINT countries were involved in sharing information that helped the Christopher Steele dossier to come together. The Guardian reported in an amazingly under-covered article: ''Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump's inner circle and Russians, sources said. The European countries that passed on electronic intelligence '' known as sigint '' included Germany, Estonia and Poland. Australia, a member of the ''Five Eyes'' spying alliance that also includes the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand, also relayed material, one source said.''
So Germany helped build the dossier. When does Merkel re-emerge in this picture?
''Fast forward to April/May 2017, roughly the same time the fourth and final FISA warrant was running out (because the Carter Page story was determined false). Rosenstein and McCabe were in desperate need of renewed help from intelligence to keep the Russian Collusion narrative alive,'' Marler reports.
''Well they weren't going to get help from the CIA because Pompeo was now CIA Director and wouldn't help with a faux collusion narrative. In comes Obama to the rescue. He meets with Merkel in private (the US no longer monitored her communications because of the previous mishap) to beg for some more Sigint information to keep the collusion narrative alive. Conveniently he meets her hours prior to Trump's meeting and his stay in her heavily monitored territory.''
Here's an article from The Independent describing how President Trump visited Brussels the same day Angela Merkel met with Obama in Berlin:
''Barack Obama is to visit German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on his first trip to Europe since leaving office.
The former US President will travel to Germany for the launch of a summer of special events to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant church.
He will arrive in Germany on the same day as his successor Donald Trump is due in Brussels for a meeting with other NATO leaders '' the first scheduled foreign visit for the President since taking office.
Mr Obama is due to give a speech in the German capital and take part in a discussion on democracy with Ms Merkel, who he once called his ''closest ally.'''
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Austin City Council delays vote on homelessness ordinances - News - Austin American-Statesman - Austin, TX
Thu, 06 Jun 2019 23:38
Philip Jankowski @PhilJankowski Thursday Jun 6, 2019 at 2:38 PM Jun 6, 2019 at 2:38 PM
The Austin City Council on Thursday took hours of testimony, asking questions in hopes of clearing the air over the proposed narrowing of homeless ordinances related to panhandling and sleeping in public spaces but ultimately took no vote.
The council will take up the three ordinances on June 20. The delay resulted after some opposition to altering the ordinances arose mainly from the Downtown Austin Alliance, a consortium of downtown businesses and residents.
Council Member Greg Casar, a driving force behind changing local laws prohibiting panhandling, camping in public places and the "no site/lie" ordinance, said that the discussion did much to debunk misinformation related to the homelessness ordinances.
"I think what we have concluded is that everyone's intent is the same," Casar said. "People have been saying this will allow you to do whatever you want in parks. '... That we established on Tuesday is not true."
"What is true is we have ordinances on the books that say it is a criminal violation to sleep in your car," Casar continued. "We know that that is just not right."
Casar had proposed repealing the panhandling ordinance, which prohibits soliciting downtown between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. A full repeal now appears off the table with a new proposed ordinance that changes the law from a solicitation ban to a prohibition on "aggressive confrontation."
The council might also narrow the camping ordinance to apply to only when a person camps in a dangerous area or intentionally camps on public property in an area that disrupts its use and change the ''no sit/lie'' ordinance to a blanket obstruction ordinance that applies only to when a person is sleeping or sitting in an area that is dangerous or blocks access to public property.
The State of the US Economy. Poverty and America's "Mega-Rich". Rigged Markets and the Collapse of the "Real Economy" - Global Research
Fri, 07 Jun 2019 13:12
The story line is going out that the economic boom is weakening and the Federal Reserve has to get the printing press running again. The Fed uses the money to purchase bonds, which drives up the prices of bonds and lowers the interest rate. The theory is that the lower interest rate encourages consumer spending and business investment and that this increase in consumer and business spending results in more output and employment.
The Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, and Bank of England have been wedded to this policy for a decade, and the Japanese for longer, without stimulating business investment. Rather than borrowing at low interest rates in order to invest more, corporations borrowed in order to buy back their stock. In other words, some corporations after using all their profits to buy back their own stock went into debt in order to further reduce their market capitalization!
Far from stimulating business investment, the liquidity supplied by the Federal Reserve drove up stock and bond prices and spilled over into real estate. The fact that corporations used their profits to buy back their shares rather than to invest in new capacity means that the corporations did not experience a booming economy with good investment opportunities. It is a poor economy when the best investment for a company is to repurchase its own shares.
Consumers, devoid of real income growth, maintained their living standards by going deeper into debt. This process was aided, for example, by stretching out car payments from three years to six and seven years, with the result that loan balances exceed the value of the vehicles. Many households live on credit cards by paying the minimum amount, with the result that their indebtedness grows by the month. The Federal Reserve's low interest rates are not reciprocated by the high credit card interest rate on outstanding balances.
Some European countries now have negative interest rates, which means that the bank does not pay you interest on your deposit, but charges you a fee for holding your money. In other words, you are charged an interest rate for having money in a bank. One reason for this is the belief of neoliberal economists that consumers would prefer to spend their money than to watch it gradually wither away and that the spending will drive the economy to higher growth.
What is the growth rate of the economy?
It is difficult to know, because the measures of inflation have been tampered with in order to avoid cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recepients and the payment of COLA adjustments in contracts. The consumer price index is a basket of goods that represents an average household's expenditures. The weights of the items in the index are estimates of the percentage of the household budget that is spent on those items. A rise in the prices of items in the index would raise the index by the weight of those items, and this was the measure of inflation.
Changes were made that reduced the inflation that the index measured. One change was to substitute a lower price alternative when an item in the index rose in price. Another was to designate a rise in price of an item as a quality improvement and not count it as inflation.
Something similar was done to the producer price index which is used to deflate nominal GDP in order to measure real economic growth. GDP is measured in terms of money, and some of the growth in the measure is due to price increases rather than to more output of goods and services. In order to have a good estimate of how much real output has increased, it is necessary to deflate the nominal measure of GDP by taking out the price rises. If inflation is underestimated, then real GDP will be overestimated. When John Williams of Shadowstats adjusts the real GDP measure for what he calculates is a rwo-percentage point understatement of annual inflation, there has been very little economic growth since 2009 when a recovery allegedly began, and the economy remains far below its pre-recession level in 2008.
In other words, the belief that the US has had a decade long economic recovery is likely to be an illusion produced by underestimating inflation. Indeed, every day experience with the prices of food, clothing, household goods, and services indicates a higher rate of inflation than is officially reported.
The low unemployment rate that is reported is also an illusion. The government achieves the low rate by not counting the unemployed. The economic and psychological cost of searching for a job are high. There are the economic costs of a presentable appearance and transport to the interview. For a person without a pay check, these costs rapidly mount. The psychological costs of failure to find a job time after time also mount. People become discouraged and cease looking. The government treats discouraged workers who cannot find jobs as no longer being in the work force and omits them from the measure of unemployment. John Williams estimates that the real rate of US unemployment is 20%, not 3.5%
The decline in the labor force participation rate supports Williams' conclusion. Normally, a booming economy, which is what 3.5% unemployment represents, would have a rising labor force participation rate as people enter the work force to take advantage of the employment opportunities. However, during the alleged ten year boom, the participation rate has fallen, an indication of poor job opportunities.
The government measures jobs in two ways: the payroll jobs report that seeks to measure the new jobs created each month (which is not a measure of employment as a person may hold two or more jobs) and the household survey that seeks to measure employment. The results are usually at odds and cannot be reconciled. What does seem to emerge is that the new jobs reported are for the most part low productivity, low value-added, lowly paid jobs. Another conclusion is that the number of full time jobs with benefits are declining and the number of part-time jobs are rising.
A case could be made that US living standards have declined since the 1950s when one income was sufficient to support a family. The husband took the slings and arrows of the work experience, and the wife provided household services such as home cooked nutritious meals, child care, clean clothes, and an orderly existence. Today most households require two earners to make ends meet and then only barely. Saving is a declining option. A Federal Reserve report a couple of years ago concluded that about half of American households could not produce $400 cash unless personal possessions were sold.
As the Federal Reserve's low interest rate policy has not served ordinary Americans or spurred investment in new plant and equipment, who has it served? The answer is corporate executives and shareholders. As the liquidity supplied by the Federal Reserve has gone mainly into the prices of financial assets, it is the owners of these assets who have benefitted from the Federal Reserve's policy. Years ago Congress in its unwisdom capped the amount of executive pay that could be deducted as a business expense at one million dollars unless performance related. What ''performance related'' means is a rise in profits and share price. Corporate boards and executives achieved ''performance'' by reducing labor costs by moving jobs offshore and by using profits and borrowing in order to buy back the company's shares, thus driving up the price.
In other words, corporate leaders and owners benefitted by harming the US economy, the careers and livelihoods of the American work force, and their own companies.
This is the reason for the extraordinary worsening of the income and wealth distribution in the United States that is polarizing the US into a handful of mega-rich and a multitude of have-nots.
The America I grew up in was an opportunity society. There were ladders of upward mobility that could be climbed on merit alone without requiring family status or social and political connections. Instate college tuition was low. Most families could manage it, and the students of those families that could not afford the cost worked their way through university with part time jobs. Student loans were unknown.
That America is gone.
The few economists capable of thought wonder about the high price/earnings ratios of US stocks and the 26,000 Dow Jones when stock buy-backs indicate that US corporatons see no investment opportunities. How can stock prices be so high when corporations see no growth in US consumer income that would justify investment in the US?
When President Reagan's supply-side economic policy got the Dow Jones up to 1,000 the US still had a real economy. How can it be that today with America's economy hollowed out the Dow Jones is 25 or 26 times higher? Manipulation plays a role in the answer. In Reagan's last year in office, the George H.W. Bush forces created the Working Group on Financial Markets, otherwise known as the ''plunge protection team,'' the purpose of which was to prevent a stock market fall that would deny Bush the Republican nomination and the presidency as Reagan's successor. The Bush people did not want any replay of October 1987.
The plunge protection team brought together the Federal Reserve, Treasury, and Securities and Exchange Commission in a format that could intervene in the stock market to prevent a fall. The easiest way to do this is, when faced with falling stock prices, to step in and purchase S&P futures. Hedge funds follow the leader and the market decline is arrested.
The Federal Reserve now has the ability to intervene in any financial market. Dave Kranzler and I have shown repeatedly how the Federal Reserve or its proxies intervene in the gold market to support the value of the excessively-supplied US dollar by printing naked gold contracts to drop on the gold futures market in order to knock down the price of gold. A rising gold price would show that the dollar support arrangements that the Federal Reserve has with other central banks to maintain the illusion of a strong dollar is a contrived arrangement rejected by the gold market.
What few, if any, economists and financial market commentators understand is that today all markets are rigged by the plunge protection team. For at least a decade it has not been possible to evaluate the financial situation by relying on traditional thinking and methods. Rigged markets do not respond in the way that competitive markets respond. This is the explanation why companies that see no investment opportunities for their profits better than the repurchase of their own shares can have high price/earnings ratios. This is the explanation why the market's effort to bring stock prices in line with realistic price/earnings ratios is unsuccessful.
As far as I can surmise, the Federal Reserve and plunge protection team can continue to rig the financial markets for the mega-rich until the US dollar loses its role as world reserve currency.
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This article was originally published on the author's blog site: Paul Craig Roberts Institute for Political Economy.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
The Homeless Industrial Complex - California Globe
Fri, 07 Jun 2019 19:07
Los Angeles could be at risk of a deadly typhus epidemic this summer according to Dr. Drew Pinsky, an outspoken celebrity doctor and specialist in addiction medicine. Pinsky, a Los Angeles native, recently quoted on Fox News, said: ''We have tens and tens of thousands of people living in tents. Horrible conditions. Rats have taken over the city. We're the only city in the country, Los Angeles, without a rodent control program. We have multiple rodent-borne, flea-borne illnesses, plague, typhus. We're going to have louse-borne illness. Measles could break into that population. We have tuberculosis exploding.''
All of this is easily confirmed. Los Angeles already has outbreaks of typhus , hepatitis and tuberculosis , as do other cities in California. Shigella , a communicable form of diarrhea, is now common among the homeless. There have even been outbreaks of trench fever , spread by lice. As reported by the Atlantic earlier this year ''Medieval Diseases Are Infecting California's Homeless.''
There are estimated to be over 55,000 homeless in Los Angeles County, and at least 130,000 statewide , living on sidewalks, parks and parking lots, vacant lots and on the beach. There is no sanitation and no trash collection. The populations of disease carrying animals and insects that thrive in these conditions are exploding: rats, fleas, mosquitoes, ticks, mites, lice.
The problem of the homeless could be completely solved in a few months if there were the political and judicial will to get it done. The national guard could be deployed, working with city and county law enforcement. The homeless could be sorted into groups; criminals, substance abusers, mentally ill, undocumented aliens, and all the rest. For each of these groups, separate facilities could be built on vacant or underutilized government land in or near urban centers but away from downtowns and residential areas. They could consist of tents, porta-potties, and mobile modules providing food and medical services.
There's plenty of money available to do this. Just in Los Angeles, in 2016 voters approved Measure HHH , allocating $1.2 billion in bonds to build 10,000 units to house the homeless. Since then, Los Angeles voters approved a quarter cent sales tax increase , also to help the homeless. Additional hundreds of millions are coming from the state to help the homeless.
Every major city in California is spending tens of millions or more on programs for the homeless. But most of the money is being wasted. Why? Because there is a Homeless Industrial Complex that is getting filthy rich, wasting the money, while the homeless population swells.
Here's how the process works: Developers accept public money to build these projects to house the homeless '' either ''bridge housing,'' or ''permanent supportive housing.'' Cities and counties collect building fees and hire bureaucrats for oversight. The projects are then handed off to nonprofits with long term contracts to run them.
That doesn't sound so bad, right? The problem is the price tag. Developers don't just build housing projects, they build ridiculously overpriced, overbuilt housing projects. Cities and counties don't just collect building fees, they collect outrageously expensive building fees, at the same time as they create a massive bureaucracy. The nonprofits don't just run these projects '' the actual people staffing these shelters aren't overpaid '' they operate huge bureaucratic empires with overhead and executive salaries that do nothing for the homeless.
An example of wasteful spending can be found in the homeless shelter being built in Venice Beach, where a permanent population of over 1,000 homeless have taken over virtually every public venue, including the beach. Because their tents are now protected by law as private space, they not only serve as housing, but as pop-up drug retailers and brothels. To get these folks off the streets and off the beach, a 154 bed shelter has been approved by the Los Angeles City Council. It will be a ''wet'' shelter, meaning druggies and drunkards will be able to come and go as they please. The estimated cost for this shelter so far is $8 million, which equates to over $50,000 per bed. Why doesn't anyone ask why?
These costs aren't that bad if you consider the cost of new construction in exorbitant California. But this isn't new construction, it's ''temporary'' construction of very large tents on three acres of land. Eight million dollars, to put up some large tents and plumb for bathrooms and a kitchen. As a ''wet'' shelter, it will become a hotel for freeloading partiers as much as a refuge for the truly needy. Not only is it only capable of housing a small fraction of the 1,000+ homeless already in Venice, it will attract more homeless people to relocate to Venice.
Finally, this property, owned by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit District and located on some of the most precious real estate on earth, could have been sold to private investors to generate tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars. Why wasn't that choice made? Why, for that matter, aren't homeless shelters being built in Pacific Palisades, or Brentwood, or Beverly Hills, or the other tony enclaves of LA's super rich? Because as with all boondoggles that destroy neighborhoods in the name of compassion, the Homeless Industrial Complex knows better than to defecate where they masticate.
The Homeless Industrial Complex's expensive maltreatment of Venice Beach in particular, and taxpayers in general, is an example of how ''bridge housing'' projects are co-opted and corrupted. But even more horrendous waste is exemplified by the efforts to construct ''permanent supportive housing.''
According to an NPR report from June 2018, ''when voters passed Measure HHH, they were told that new 'permanent supportive housing' would cost about $140,000 a unit. But average per unit costs are now more than triple that. The PATH Ventures project in East Hollywood has an estimated per-unit cost of $440,000.''
A privately funded development company, Flyaway Homes, has debuted in Los Angeles with the mission of rapidly providing housing for the homeless. Using retrofitted shipping containers, the company's modular approach to apartment building construction is purported to streamline the approval process and cut costs. But the two projects they've got underway are too expensive to ever offer a solution to more than fraction of the homeless.
Their 82nd Street Development will cost $4.5 million to house 32 ''clients'' in 16 two-bedroom, 480 square foot apartments. That's $281,250 per two-bedroom apartment. The firm's 820 W. Colden Ave. property will cost $3.6 million to house 32 clients in eight four-bedroom apartments. That's $450,000 per apartment.
These costs are utterly unsustainable. But the Homeless Industrial Complex has grown into a juggernaut, crushing the opposition. At community hearings across California, ''homeless advocates,'' who are often bused in from other areas expressly to shout down local opposition , demand action, because ''no one deserves to live on a sidewalk.''
Money is squandered, and the population of homeless people multiplies. This is not compassion in action, rather, it's corruption in action.
(1) Acknowledge there's a problem. Agree that it's no longer acceptable to throw money at the homeless epidemic without questioning all the current proposals and the underlying premises. Billions of dollars are being wasted. Admit it.
(2) Recognize that a special interest, the Homeless Industrial Complex '' comprised of developers, government bureaucrats, and activist nonprofits '' has taken over the homeless agenda and turned it into a profit center. They are not going to solve the problem, they are going to milk it. Their PR firms will sell compliant media a feel-good story about someone who turned their life around, living in a fine new apartment. What they won't tell you is that because of the $400,000 they charged to build that single apartment unit, dozens if not hundreds of people are still on the street with nothing.
(3) Act at the municipal and state level to set a limit on the cost per shelter ''bed.'' This cost must represent a compromise between ideal facilities for homeless people, and what is affordable at a scale sufficient to solve the problem. There is no reason the capital costs for a shelter bed should be $50,000 each, but that's exactly what's proposed in Venice '' $8 million for a semi-permanent ''tent'' with 154 beds. Similarly, there is no reason a basic apartment unit for the homeless should cost over $400,000, but in Los Angeles, by most accounts, that's what they cost. This is outrageous. Durable tents and supportive facilities should be set up for a small fraction of that amount. Pick a number. Stick to it. Demand creative solutions.
(4) Stop differentiating between ''bridge housing'' (basic shelter) and ''permanent supportive housing.'' Permanent supportive housing IS ''bridge housing.'' Amenities better than a durable, dry, sole occupancy tent and a porta-potty can belong exclusively in the realm of privately funded nonprofits and charities. Until there isn't a single homeless person left on the street, not one penny of taxpayer money should be paying for anything beyond basic bridge housing.
(5) Accept that homeless shelters will be more cost-effectively constructed and operated if they are in industrial, commercial (where appropriate), or rural areas, and not in downtown areas or residential neighborhoods.
(6) Abandon decentralized solutions that involve seeding safe neighborhoods with mini-homeless shelters in converted residential homes. Estimates vary, but between 35 and 77 percent of homeless people suffer from substance abuse, and between 26 and 58 percent have mental illness, and by some accounts over half of them have a criminal record. It is not just too expensive, it is dangerous to mix a homeless population into family neighborhoods.
(7) Go to court. Challenge the decision in Jones vs the City of Los Angeles , that ruled that law enforcement and city officials can no longer enforce the ban on sleeping on sidewalks anywhere within the Los Angeles city limits until a sufficient amount of permanent supportive housing could be built.
(8) File a state ballot referendum to overturn Prop. 47 , which downgraded drug and property crimes. Prop. 47 has led to what police derisively refer to as ''catch and release,'' because suspects are only issued citations with a court date, and let go.
(9) Recognize that the rights of the homeless must be balanced with the rights of local residents, and that homeless accommodations should be safe but should never be better than the cheapest unit of commercial housing.
10) Confront the fact that a lot of homeless people are homeless by choice, not because they've ran out of options, and they DON'T WANT HELP. Act accordingly: Do we give these people control over our public spaces, our neighborhoods, our parks and beaches? And what of the others? The mentally ill, the substance abusers, the criminals? Do we give them control of over our public spaces?
It is terribly difficult for proponents of rational policies to be heard in public hearings on the homeless. Professional activists, often hired by developers or well-heeled nonprofits, abetted by sincere homeless advocates who simply haven't ran the numbers, will usually outnumber and shout down neighborhood ''NIMBYs'' who have come to raise objections. But the NIMBYs are right.
We have a moral obligation to help the homeless. But we are not obligated to cede our downtowns, our tourist attractions, and our residential neighborhoods to homeless encampments. And as a society, we also have a moral obligation to protect the general population from rampant infectious diseases. What if Dr. Pinsky is right? What if there is a major infectious disease epidemic in Los Angeles this summer? Is that what it's going to take before we clean up our streets and get the homeless into cost-effective, safe, supervised, sanitary encampments?
The moral question of how to help the homeless cannot rest apart from financial reality. It is impossible to solve the homeless crisis under current law and according to current policies. Therefore a new approach must be taken.
Before criticizing the suggestion that we spend a $5,000 per bed (or less) instead of $50,000 per bed (or more) to build bridge housing facilities, imagine what could be done with all the money we save. We might be able to help a lot of people get their lives back on track. Instead of feeding the insatiable excesses of the Homeless Industrial Complex, which helps a few but neglects so many.
About Latest Posts Edward RingEdward Ring is a political and financial analyst, working primarily with start-up and early-stage organizations. In 2013, he co-founded the California Policy Center, a free-market think tank based in Southern California.
Latest posts by Edward Ring (see all)
Snap elections called as Moldova crisis escalates - BBC News
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 11:29
Image copyright EPA Image caption Protests have been staged in front of Moldova's parliament in recent days Moldova's political crisis has escalated, with an interim president calling snap elections on 6 September.
Pavel Filip, who was appointed by the Constitutional Court to succeed Igor Dodon, also dissolved the parliament.
But the parliament declared Mr Filip's moves illegal, saying the country's state institutions "have been seized".
The stalemate follows general elections in February, where no clear winner emerged between rival pro-EU and pro-Russian parties.
There are now fears that the prolonged political crisis could lead to violent clashes on the streets.
Moldova, a former Soviet republic, lies between the EU and Ukraine and is one of Europe's poorest countries.
What's happening in Moldova?On Sunday, the Constitutional Court in the capital Chisinau relieved Russia-backed President Dodon from his duties because of his refusal to dissolve the parliament.
The court also appointed Mr Filip, a pro-EU former prime minister, an interim president.
This comes a day after the pro-EU Acum political bloc and Mr Dodon's Socialists struck an unlikely deal and formed a compromise government.
In parliament, lawmakers also declared that Moldova's state and legal institutions "have been seized" by influential oligarchs, calling for the resignation of several top officials.
But the formation of the new government took place a day after a constitutional deadline for this expired.
So, Mr Filip's Democratic Party - which is led by Moldova's richest man Vladimir Plahotniuc - filed a legal challenge which was backed by the Constitutional Court.
In response, Mr Dodon described this as desperate steps to usurp power.
Is this political tug-of-war unusual?No.
In Moldova, a parliamentary republic, the rival political camps frequently clash with one another.
Therefore the country - where the electorate is split between EU- and Russia-sympathisers - has witnessed several such crises in recent years.
They usually end up in holding snap elections, but results are often inconclusive.
D-Day Normandy Invasion after 75 Years. The Falsification of History - Global Research
Fri, 07 Jun 2019 13:13
Today is the 75th anniversary of the Normandy invasion. Once again the event is celebrated by demonization of National Socialist Germany and glorification of America's greatness in winning the war.
In actual fact the Normandy invasion was not a significant contributor to Germany's defeat. A small US/British/Canadian/French force of about 150,000 soldiers of which about 73,000 were American faced a few German divisions at half strength and short of fuel and ammo. The real war was on the Eastern front where millions of soldiers had been fighting for several years.
The Red Army won World War II. The cost to the Soviets was between 9 million and 11 million military deaths. Adding in the Russian civilian deaths, the Soviet Union won the war at the cost of between 22 million and 27 million Soviet lives.
In contrast the US had 405,000 soldiers killed during WW II of which 111,600 died fighting the Japanese in the Pacific.
The falsification of history applies to World War II just as it does to everything else in the West, and President Trump's D-Day speech exemplifies how false our history is. Russia is simply left out of the story. Putin was not even invited to the celebration. The celebrants consisted of outgoing British prime minister May, failed French president Macron, and outgoing German chancellor Merkel who was there to celebrate her own country's defeat, but they might as well not have been present. Trump made the occasion America's greatness. We defeated Germany at a cost of less than 300,000 soldiers killed. The Russians who lost 36 times more soldiers are not considered to be sufficiently important to the victory over Germany to be invited to the celebration.
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Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
About the author:Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, has held numerous university appointments. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.Dr. Roberts can be reached at http://paulcraigroberts.org
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China warned tech giants against cooperating with Trump's sales ban: NYT
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 14:34
The Huawei logo is seen on the side of the main building at the company's production campus on April 25, 2019 in Dongguan, near Shenzhen, China.
Kevin Frayer | Getty Images News | Getty Images
As the U.S. and China fight over trade, one key party is getting caught in the middle: Big technology companies.
The Chinese government reportedly summoned major technology companies this week, including notable semiconductor firms, according to a new report from The New York Times. The purpose was to warn them that they will face dire consequences if they comply with the Trump administration's efforts to ban sales of American technology to Chinese companies.
That comes after the Trump administration cut off the Chinese electronics company Huawei from sales of American technology. That ban, which happened last month, could interfere with China's long-term technology plans, the Times reported.
News that the U.S. was blacklisting Huawei triggered a big sell-off in chipmaker stocks last month. Huawei purchases about $20 billion of semiconductors each year, according to estimates from Evercore. Losing those sales would hurt U.S. chip suppliers.
But chip stocks rebounded after the Commerce Department gave mobile phone companies and internet broadband providers a 90-day license to work with Huawei. That move gave Google the chance to keep current Huawei devices running Android software up to date. The recovery for chip stocks will not last if a ban is made permanent, Wall Street analysts predicted.
This week's meetings were reportedly led by China's central economic planning agency and the National Development and Reform Commission. Representatives from China's Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology also participated.
Both U.S. and non-U.S. companies that export goods to China were addressed by the officials.
U.S. companies were warned that they could face permanent consequences for cutting Chinese companies out of the global supply chain. Chinese officials also insinuated U.S. companies should lobby to change U.S. policies.
Non-U.S. companies were told they would face no consequences, as long as they continued to supply and conduct business normally with Chinese companies.
Read the full report in The New York Times
Ministry of Truthiness
Spies Are the New Journalists '' Tablet Magazine
Fri, 07 Jun 2019 23:33
And with the help of big names in media they're turning journalism into an intelligence operation
June 4, 2019 ' 9:30 PM
'); } }}); var tweets; $.getJSON('https://urls.api.twitter.com/1/urls/count.json?url=https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/285830/spies-are-the-new-journalists&callback=?', function(data){ tweets = data.count; if (tweets > 50){ console.log('tweets ' + tweets); if (tweets > 999){ tweets = abbrNum(tweets, 1); } $(".social-icons").css("margin-top","26px"); $("aside.left-col ul.social-icons .twitter-link .social-count").remove(); $("aside.left-col ul.social-icons .twitter-link").append(''); } });/*$.ajax({ url: 'https://cdn.api.twitter.com/1/urls/count.json?url=', success: function(twitterdata){ var json = twitterdata, obj = JSON.parse(json); console.log("twitter-"+obj.count); }});*/There are two sets of laws in the United States today. One is inscribed in law books and applies to the majority of Americans. The other is a canon of privileges enjoyed by an establishment under the umbrella of an intelligence bureaucracy that has arrogated to itself the rights and protections of what was once a free press.
The media is now openly entwined with the national security establishment in a manner that would have been unimaginable before the advent of the age of the dossier'--the literary forgery the FBI used as evidence to spy on the Trump team. In coordinating to perpetrate the Russiagate hoax on the American public, the media and intelligence officials have forged a relationship in which the two partners look out for the other's professional and political interests. Not least of all, they target shared adversaries and protect mutual friends.
Recently WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was indicted on 17 counts of violating the espionage act for obtaining military and diplomatic secrets from U.S. Army intelligence officer Chelsea Manning and publishing them in 2010. First Amendment lawyers and free speech activists worry that the indictments are likely to have a ''chilling'' effect on the practice of journalism. Others, however, argue that the First Amendment doesn't apply to the WikiLeaks founder.
''Julian Assange is no journalist,'' A ssistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said in a press briefing last week.
The Department of Justice's position found support, of all places, in the media. ''Julian Assange himself is not a journalist,'' said CNN national security and legal analyst Asha Rangappa. ''He was not engaged in bona fide newsgathering or publication and put national security at risk intentionally,'' Rangappa told NPR .
Who's Asha Rangappa, you ask, and how did she become an expert on journalism?
According to a profile in Elle magazine, she worked three years in the FBI (Robert Mueller was director) as a counterintelligence official in the New York field office before returning to her alma mater, Yale Law School , as its admissions director. In that post she became famous for destroying admissions records to prevent students from legally accessing them. With the advent of the Russiagate hoax, Rangappa has become one of the best-known faces of a new, hybrid industry in which former national security bureaucrats are rebranded as ''journalists.''
Here are the people that Americans get their national security news from these days:
Before becoming a national security analyst for CNN, former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, had previously been a news item himself after lying to Congress in 2013 when he testified that the NSA wasn't collecting data on Americans. He later provided inconsistent testimony to Congress in 2017 when he said he had not spoken with the press about the Steele dossier while he was DNI and then admitted he'd spoken with future CNN colleague Jake Tapper about it.
Other members of CNN's shadow intelligence organization include Josh Campbell, one-time special assistant to ex-FBI Director James Comey, and CIA official Philip Mudd. What qualifies them as journalists, as opposed to Assange? They worked in the intelligence community.
CNN rival NBC/MSNBC features an even more formidable roster of spooks. At the top is John Brennan, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency. During his time at the helm of the CIA, the agency spied on Congres s, lied about it and finally got outed by an internal report forcing Brennan to issue apologies to the senators who had been targets of the intelligence operation. ''The C.I.A. unconstitutionally spied on Congress by hacking into the Senate Intelligence Committee computers,'' Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall wrote at the time. In a statement calling on Brennan to resign, Udall wrote: ''This grave misconduct not only is illegal but it violates the U.S. Constitution's requirement of separation of powers'' and called the episode evidence of ''a tremendous failure of leadership.''
Another NBC contributor is former CIA analyst Ned Price, who as Obama national security staff spokesman misled the U.S. press and public regarding Obama administration policy .
NBC reporter Ken Dilanian said of the WikiLeaks founder: ''Many believe that if [Assange] ever was a journalist, those days ended a long time ago.'' Others have said the same of Dilanian, based on a 2014 report showing that the NBC journalist was sending his articles to CIA headquarters for fact-checking.
NBC was named in a defamation lawsuit last week filed by the lawyer for a British academic, Svetlana Lokhova, a Moscow-born historian who was dragged into a US intelligence operation to frame Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, as a Kremlin asset. Lokhova was accused without any evidence whatsoever of being a Russian spy by several U.S. and U.K. press outfits.
MSNBC's Malcolm Nance'--whose Twitter feed identifies him as ''US Intelligence +36 yrs. Expert Terrorist Strategy, Tactics, Ideology. Torture, Russian Cyber!'''--was one notable player in the journalist-spook nexus pumping up the story that Lokhova was a spy who ensnared Flynn. In early 2017 Nance tweeted : ''Flynn poss caught in FSB honeypot w/female Russian Intel asset.''
Fellow MSNBC contributor Naveed Jamali'-- author of How to Catch a Russian Spy and a self-described ''Double agent'' and ''Intel Officer'''--joined in tweeting : ''Here's the other thing to understand about espionage: once you've crossed the line once, the second time is easier. While at DIA Flynn had contact with Svetlana Lokhova who allegedly has Russian intel ties.''
Lokhova is seeking $25 million from NBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Dow Jones & Co., owner of the Wall Street Journal, and U.S. government informant Stefan Halper . The British historian alleges that Halper was the source for the press' multipronged smear campaign against her, a private citizen.
Unlike the New Journalists at CNN and MSNBC/NBC, Julian Assange meets the old-fashioned definition of a journalist, meaning a person who is willing to take personal risks to publish information that powerful people and institutions routinely lie to the public about in order to advance their political and personal agendas.
And yet it's true that the leaks Assange published in 2010 may have endangered U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Further, by failing to redact those documents'--as WikiLeaks colleagues reportedly urged '--Assange may have put a price on the heads of informants who came forth to help the United States.
Former CIA Director Robert Gates said in 2010 that Assange was morally culpable. ''And that's where I think the verdict is 'guilty' on WikiLeaks. They have put this out without any regard whatsoever for the consequences.''
Gates was less certain that Assange damaged U.S. interests. The longtime public servant acknowledged that the publication of the 2010 leaks was embarrassing and awkward. ''Consequences for U.S. foreign policy?'' said Gates. ''I think fairly modest.''
Commentators claim that the indictments have nothing to do with Assange's publishing stolen Democratic National Committee emails in the months before the 2016 election that might have damaged Hillary Clinton's candidacy. That is not true. The purpose of the indictments, like the Russiagate hoax itself, is to send a message. The U.S. security establishment will use both legal and extraconstitutional methods to protect its privileges and prerogatives while waging a relentless campaign against anyone who dares to encroach on them.
The indictments against Assange further confirm the dossier-era degradation of the American public sphere, where spies are now in charge of shaping the news, with the goal of advancing their own institutional agendas, prosecuting political hits, and keeping themselves and their political patrons beyond the reach of the laws that apply to everyone else.
''No responsible actor, journalist or otherwise, would purposefully publish the names of individuals he or she knew to be confidential human sources in a war zone,'' John Demers said during last week's press briefing on the Assange indictments.
The head of DOJ's national security division also thanked the media for their role in protecting American democracy. But how the Justice Department apparently understands its cozy bureaucratic partnership with New Journalists like Asha Rangappa and her colleagues is worth looking at.
In late March, Demers sat for an hour-long public interview with Washington Post reporter Ellen Nakashima to discuss the challenges facing DOJ and the National Security division'--including China, Iran, and of course Russia.
Nakashima was part of the joint New York Times and Washington Post team that won a 2018 Pulitzer Prize ''for deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation's understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the President-elect's transition team and his eventual administration.''
Many of the 20 stories cited by the Pulitzer committee appear to be sourced to leaks of classified information. Demers' interlocutor in March had her byline on one of the Pulitzer-cited Post stories that, if the reporting is to be believed, was sourced to leaks of classified information drawn from an intercept of a foreign official.
A Feb. 9, 2017, Post story by Nakashima, Adam Entous, and Greg Miller reported on former Trump official Michael Flynn's conversation with then-Russian ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak. The story related details from the conversation, and is sourced to ''officials who had access to reports from U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies that routinely monitor the communications of Russian diplomats.''
It's useful comparing the nature of the leaks Assange published and those made public by the Post . Of the more than 250,000 diplomatic cables that WikiLeaks published , half were unclassified. The rest were mostly classified ''Confidential,'' with 11,000 classified ''Secret.'' None are classified ''Top Secret.'' The reports regarding Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay were classified no higher than ''Secret.''
By contrast, intercepts of foreign officials, like the one regarding the Russian ambassador, are so sensitive that they are available only to a very few senior U.S. officials. The fact that the substance of one such intercept appears to have been leaked and discussed, according to the Post , by nine U.S. officials, should have sparked an immediate investigation.
The Justice Department did not respond to Tablet's email asking whether any of the nine officials who discussed the Flynn leak are currently under investigation.
Another story with a Nakashima byline, dated July 21, 2017, reported on communications between Kislyak and Moscow regarding the ex-envoy's conversations with former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The conversations, write Nakashima and her Post colleagues, ''were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies.'' This story was also sourced to U.S. officials.
DOJ did not respond to Tablet's email asking whether the U.S. officials who discussed the Sessions leak are under currently under investigation.
DOJ also did not respond when asked if Nakashima and the other Pulitzer-Prize-winning Post reporters who published stories sourced to classified information are under investigation.
Nakashima did not respond to an email from Tablet requesting comment for publication. Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron did not respond by press time to emails requesting comment for publication.
So should Nakashima and her colleagues be held to the same legal standards as Julian Assange? Of course not. Assange was in trouble, Rangappa reasoned, because he ''was not a passive recipient of classified information the way that a journalist who is receiving '... an anonymous leak might be, that he was actively participating in the solicitation encouragement of '' in the process of getting this information illegally.''
Yet the Post and the Times can hardly be considered ''passive recipients'' of ''an anonymous leak.'' The leaks were provided not by whistleblowers outing the wrongdoings of government officials'--which was Assange's territory. Rather, the Post and Times gave a platform to U.S. officials who abused surveillance programs and other government resources in order to prosecute a political campaign against the sitting president and his advisers. The Pulitzer citation itself provides a timeline showing that the stories are evidence of a campaign of leaks lasting more than half a year.
Yes, Assange's leaks may have endangered American troops and certainly put foreign nationals at risk. Assange also endangered national security by exposing sources. And yet the Post and the Times were active participants in a political operation that abused surveillance programs designed to keep Americans safe from terrorism. Who endangered American national security more?
Many journalists now claim to be concerned about President Trump's ordering Attorney General William Barr to declassify documents related to the FBI's Russia investigation''a move that old fashioned truth seekers should surely welcome. The worry now, say media industry insiders, is that declassification may reveal sensitive government sources. However, there was little media concern that the campaign of Russiagate leaks targeting the Trump circle endangered U.S. citizens or foreign nationals.
Here, for instance, is an April 11, 2017, Ellen Nakashima story , again seemingly sourced to classified information, disclosing that the FBI had a surveillance warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page on suspicion he was a Russian agent. The former U.S. Navy officer was subjected to a campaign of harassment, including death threats. British historian Svetlana Lokhova was also subjected to abuse and harassment.
Why is the media, an industry nominally devoted to transparency, fighting the publication of documents likely to shed light on government wrongdoing? Because those documents are also likely to reveal the media's role in the intelligence community's campaign of political warfare targeting Americans.
For instance, among the documents Barr has reportedly been asked to declassify is exculpatory evidence regarding former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. The New York Times was first to report in its Pulitzer-cited Dec. 31, 2017, story that the FBI opened its investigation of the Trump campaign after Papadopoulos relayed information regarding Clinton emails to an Australian diplomat.
Should the exculpatory evidence prove that the FBI knew early on that Papadopoulos was never part of any Russian plot to interfere with the election, it will show that the bureau's investigation was a political dirty-tricks campaign'--which the special counsel inherited in May 2017 and kept afloat for nearly two more years. Rather than unraveling the lies that sustained the FBI's dirty Russiagate investigation, the press' selective reporting served rather as a shield to defend intelligence officials spying on Americans who were guilty only of supporting the wrong presidential candidate.
There is little chance the Post or Times reporters will be prosecuted for doing what Assange did'--and much worse. However, the Assange indictments coupled with the rewards reaped by America's premier newspapers for their role in a spy agency information campaign send a clear message not only to journalists but also to the public at large. In abusing both the rights of a free press and national security programs designed to keep Americans safe from terrorism, the press and intelligence bureaucracy have made us less free and less safe. The larger message they're sending is, it's not your country anymore. It's ours.
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Lee Smith is the author of The Consequences of Syria.
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War on Guns
Citizens Disobey New Zealand Gun Ban, Only 530 of 300,000 People Turned Guns In
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 13:14
In March, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the ''first tranche'' in a number of moves to restrict the rights of New Zealand citizens to protect themselves with firearms. This move was in direct response to the horrific murders that unfolded on March 15. Coincidentally, this is the exact move the terrorist who carried out these attacks had hoped for and predicted. The good news is, however, that most citizens are refusing to turn in their guns.
The terrorist who murdered 50 people earlier this year was engaging in a classic propaganda of the deed in which he predicted'--accurately'--that his murder would spark the restriction of gun rights. Lawmakers took his bait.
''On 15 March, our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too,'' said Ardern as she carried out the will of this terrorist. ''We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place.''
''What we're banning today are the things used in last Friday's attack,'' she said, adding: ''It's about all of us, it's in the national interest and it's about safety.''
According to a new report from the NZ Herald, however, the citizens feel ''safer'' by holding on to their guns.
It is estimated that roughly 250,000 people own the recently-banned semi-automatic weapons in New Zealand. Estimates show that these 250,000 gun owners '-- who were turned into criminals overnight by their government '-- own around 300,000 firearms.
Since the government attempted to disarm these 250,000 people, only 530 guns have been turned in.
Government officials are attributing the lack of gun turn-ins to citizens wanting to be properly compensated for their weapons. However, the complexity of this situation is likely far different.
''If they are being serious about their considerations and ensuring that there is fair and reasonable compensation, then firearm owners will wait a bit longer to make sure it is just and it is fair when it is received,'' Nicole McKee, Secretary of the Council of Licensed Firearm Owners, told the NZ Herald.
''We are effectively being punished for the acts of a foreign terrorist, and we want to make sure that our personal and private property is adequately compensated when it is confiscated,'' she said.
But in reality, the people likely don't want to disarm themselves as this is their only defense against these terrorists. Sure, people don't simply want to be robbed of their property without compensation. However, there is no amount of money that can compensate someone into being defenseless.
As TFTP has previously noted, depending on the current government, life in disarmed societies can go on peacefully for a while. However, in some cases, citizens '-- men women and children '-- are slaughtered by the millions as corrupt government officials and criminals become the only ones to have guns.
Even when gun control seems to work in the short term, the scapegoatists are never satisfied. As we are seeing in the United Kingdom, politicians are now going after knives as the ''evil weapon'' that no law-abiding citizen should ever need.
Simply put, guns '-- in the hands of good people '-- level the playing field against guns in the hands of bad people. It is this simple. As this tragic case illustrates, bad guys will always have access to guns, even if you use laws to disarm them.
The protectionist attitude of taking guns from law abiding citizens to keep guns from criminals is ineffective, self-serving, one-sided and ignores the benefits of an armed society as well as history. And, it only serves to further the oppression of those who cannot defend themselves.
While it would certainly be an amazing thought to be able to live in a world without guns, that is simply not the case. Until it is the case, anyone who wants to defend themselves and their family, should be able to do so in any manner they see fit '-- as the only other option is tyranny.
VIDEO - Key figure that Mueller report linked to Russia was a State Department intel source | TheHill
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 15:11
In a key finding of the Mueller report, Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Kilimnik Konstantin KilimnikKey figure that Mueller report linked to Russia was a State Department intel source Key figure that Mueller report linked to Russia was a State Department intel source Ex-GOP lawmaker says Trump 'illegitimate president,' should be impeached MORE , who worked for Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort Paul John ManafortKey figure that Mueller report linked to Russia was a State Department intel source Key figure that Mueller report linked to Russia was a State Department intel source Ocasio-Cortez says Manafort, others should be released from solitary confinement MORE , is tied to Russian intelligence.
But hundreds of pages of government documents '-- which special counsel Robert Mueller Robert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff says Intel panel will hold 'series' of hearings on Mueller report Schiff says Intel panel will hold 'series' of hearings on Mueller report Key House panel faces pivotal week on Trump MORE possessed since 2018 '-- describe Kilimnik as a ''sensitive'' intelligence source for the U.S. State Department who informed on Ukrainian and Russian matters.
Why Mueller's team omitted that part of the Kilimnik narrative from its report and related court filings is not known. But the revelation of it comes as the accuracy of Mueller's Russia conclusions face increased scrutiny.
The incomplete portrayal of Kilimnik is so important to Mueller's overall narrative that it is raised in the opening of his report. ''The FBI assesses'' Kilimnik ''to have ties to Russian intelligence,'' Mueller's team wrote on Page 6, putting a sinister light on every contact Kilimnik had with Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman.
What it doesn't state is that Kilimnik was a ''sensitive'' intelligence source for State going back to at least 2013 while he was still working for Manafort, according to FBI and State Department memos I reviewed.
Kilimnik was not just any run-of-the-mill source, either.
He interacted with the chief political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, sometimes meeting several times a week to provide information on the Ukraine government. He relayed messages back to Ukraine's leaders and delivered written reports to U.S. officials via emails that stretched on for thousands of words, the memos show.
The FBI knew all of this, well before the Mueller investigation concluded.
Alan Purcell, the chief political officer at the Kiev embassy from 2014 to 2017, told FBI agents that State officials, including senior embassy officials Alexander Kasanof and Eric Schultz, deemed Kilimnik to be such a valuable asset that they kept his name out of cables for fear he would be compromised by leaks to WikiLeaks.
''Purcell described what he considered an unusual level of discretion that was taken with handling Kilimnik,'' states one FBI interview report that I reviewed. ''Normally the head of the political section would not handle sources, but Kasanof informed Purcell that KILIMNIK was a sensitive source.''
Purcell told the FBI that Kilimnik provided ''detailed information about OB (Ukraine's opposition bloc) inner workings'' that sometimes was so valuable it was forwarded immediately to the ambassador. Purcell learned that other Western governments relied on Kilimnik as a source, too.
''One time, in a meeting with the Italian embassy, Purcell heard the Italian ambassador echo a talking point that was strikingly familiar to the point Kilimnik had shared with Purcell,'' the FBI report states.
Kasanof, who preceded Purcell as the U.S. Embassy political officer, told the FBI he knew Kilimnik worked for Manafort's lobbying firm and the administration of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, whose Party of Regions hired Manafort's firm.
Kasanof described Kilimnik as one of the few reliable insiders the U.S. Embassy had informing on Yanukovych. Kilimnik began his relationship as an informant with the U.S. deputy chief of mission in 2012''13, before being handed off to the embassy's political office, the records suggest.
''Kilimnik was one of the only people within the administration who was willing to talk to USEMB,'' referring to the U.S. Embassy, and he ''provided information about the inner workings of Yanukovych's administration,'' Kasanof told the FBI agents.
''Kasanof met with Kilimnik at least bi-weekly and occasionally multiple times in the same week,'' always outside the embassy to avoid detection, the FBI wrote. ''Kasanof allowed Kilimnik to take the lead on operational security'' for their meetings.
State officials told the FBI that although Kilimnik had Ukrainian and Russian residences, he did not appear to hold any allegiance to Moscow and was critical of Russia's invasion of the Crimean territory of Ukraine.
''Most sources of information in Ukraine were slanted in one direction or another,'' Kasanof told agents. ''Kilimnik came across as less slanted than others.''
''Kilimnik was flabbergasted at the Russian invasion of Crimea,'' the FBI added, summarizing Kasanof's interview with agents.
Three sources with direct knowledge of the inner workings of Mueller's office confirmed to me that the special prosecutor's team had all of the FBI interviews with State officials, as well as Kilimnik's intelligence reports to the U.S. Embassy, well before they portrayed him as a Russian sympathizer tied to Moscow intelligence or charged Kilimnik with participating with Manafort in a scheme to obstruct the Russia investigation.
Kasanof's and Purcell's interviews are corroborated by scores of State Department emails I reviewed that contain regular intelligence from Kilimnik on happenings inside the Yanukovych administration, the Crimea conflict and Ukrainian and Russian politics. For example, the memos show Kilimnik provided real-time intelligence on everything from whose star in the administration was rising or falling to efforts at stuffing ballot boxes in Ukrainian elections.
Those emails raise further doubt about the Mueller report's portrayal of Kilimnik as a Russian agent. They show Kilimnik was allowed to visit the United States twice in 2016 to meet with State officials, a clear sign he wasn't flagged in visa databases as a foreign intelligence threat.
The emails also show how misleading, by omission, the Mueller report's public portrayal of Kilimnik turns out to be.
For instance, the report makes a big deal about Kilimnik's meeting with Manafort in August 2016 at the Trump Tower in New York.
By that time, Manafort had served as Trump's campaign chairman for several months but was about to resign because of a growing controversy about the millions of dollars Manafort accepted as a foreign lobbyist for Yanukovych's party.
Specifically, the Mueller report flagged Kilimnik's delivery of a peace plan to the Trump campaign for settling the two-year-old Crimea conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
''Kilimnik requested the meeting to deliver in person a peace plan for Ukraine that Manafort acknowledged to the Special Counsel's Office was a 'backdoor' way for Russia to control part of eastern Ukraine,'' the Mueller report stated.
But State emails showed Kilimnik first delivered a version of his peace plan in May 2016 to the Obama administration during a visit to Washington. Kasanof, his former handler at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, had been promoted to a top policy position at State, and the two met for dinner on May 5, 2016.
The day after the dinner, Kilimnik sent an email to Kasanof's official State email address recounting the peace plan they had discussed the night before.
Russia wanted ''a quick settlement'' to get ''Ukraine out of the way and get rid of sanctions and move to economic stuff they are interested in,'' Kilimnik wrote Kasanof. The email offered eight bullet points for the peace plan '-- starting with a ceasefire, a law creating economic recovery zones to rebuild war-torn Ukrainian regions, and a ''presidential decree on amnesty'' for anyone involved in the conflict on both sides.
Kilimnik also provided a valuable piece of intelligence, stating that the old Yanukovych political party aligned with Russia was dead. ''Party of Regions cannot be reincarnated. It is over,'' he wrote, deriding as ''stupid'' a Russian-backed politician who wanted to restart the party.
Kasanof replied the next day that, although he was skeptical of some of the intelligence on Russian intentions, it was ''very important for us to know.''
He thanked Kilimnik for the detailed plan and added, ''I passed the info to my bosses, who are chewing it over.'' Kasanof told the FBI that he believed he sent Kilimnik's peace plan to two senior State officials, including Victoria Nuland, President Obama's assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs.
So Kilimnik's delivery of the peace plan to the Trump campaign in August 2016 was flagged by Mueller as potentially nefarious, but its earlier delivery to the Obama administration wasn't mentioned. That's what many in the intelligence world might call ''deception by omission.''
Lest you wonder, the documents I reviewed included evidence that Kasanof's interview with the FBI and Kilimnik's emails to State about the peace plan were in Mueller's possession by early 2018, more than a year before the final report.
Officials for the State Department, the FBI, the Justice Department and Mueller's office did not respond to requests for comment. Kilimnik did not respond to an email seeking comment but, in an email last month to The Washington Post, he slammed the Mueller report's ''made-up narrative'' about him. ''I have no ties to Russian or, for that matter, any intelligence operation,'' he wrote.
Kilimnik holds Ukrainian and Russian citizenship, served in the Soviet military, attended a prestigious Russian language academy and had contacts with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. So it is likely he had contacts over the years with Russian intelligence figures. There also is evidence Kilimnik left the U.S.-funded International Republican Institute (IRI) in 2005 because of concerns about his past connections to Russia, though at least one IRI witness disputed that evidence to the FBI, the memos show.
Yet, omitting his extensive, trusted assistance to the State Department seems inexplicable.
If Mueller's team can cast such a misleading portrayal of Kilimnik, however, it begs the question of what else might be incorrect or omitted in the report.
Attorney General William Barr William Pelham BarrBarr compares his return to DOJ to D-Day invasion Barr compares his return to DOJ to D-Day invasion Amash hits Trump and his allies: They are 'trying to excuse' his obstruction efforts MORE has said some of the Mueller report's legal reasoning conflicts with Justice Department policies. And former Trump attorney John Dowd made a compelling case that Mueller's report wrongly portrayed a phone message he left for a witness.
A few more such errors and omissions, and Americans may begin to wonder if the Mueller report is worth the paper on which it was printed.
John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists' misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He serves as an investigative columnist and executive vice president for video at The Hill. Follow him on Twitter @jsolomonReports.
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 14:50
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Sun, 09 Jun 2019 13:58
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VIDEO - BREAKING: U.S. & Mexico reach deal - Tariffs NOT going into effect - Bilingual newser - YouTube
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 13:11
VIDEO - The climate crisis and mental health | Public Radio International
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 12:53
Thursday, June 6, 2019 - 4:41pm
A new report from 27 European science academies is the latest to weigh in on the health impacts of climate change, including effects on mental health. Host Marco Werman talks about those mental health impacts with Helen Berry, a professor of climate change and mental health at the University of Sydney.
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VIDEO - Woman with Autism Is First to Compete in Miss Florida Pageant | Breitbart
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 03:38
A Florida woman is breaking barriers as she will become the first beauty pageant contestant in the state of Florida with autism.''I was basically promised that I would never graduate any school really or have any friends. Pretty much everything bad was going to happen to me because I have autism,'' said Rachel Barcellona, who told WFLA that she would be a Miss Florida pageant contestant in June.
''I love being onstage, and I get the chance to demonstrate my talent for opera singing in the competition, which is my favorite part,'' said Barcellona, who has a mild form of the developmental disorder.
But beauty pageants are nothing new for Barcellona, who says she has competed in them since she was five years old. She stayed on the sidelines in middle school due to lingering anxiety and depression but then jumped back into pageantry in her teenage years.
''I was basically promised that I would never graduate any school really or have any friends. Pretty much everything bad was going to happen to me because I have autism,'' Barcellona said.
''I resumed when I was thirteen and that is when I really got into it because it helped me make friends and build my confidence,'' she added.
She told Fox 35 Orlando that pageantry for her helped her improve her social skills, and she most recently showed off her talents by singing the national anthem at a Tampa Bay Lightning game.
When she's not on the stage, she told WTSP she plans to work on a novel.
VIDEO - Judicial Watch ðŸ--Ž on Twitter: "Bill Marshall on "Inside JW": ''Comey had testified that Hillary's lawyers did not have the security clearances necessary to be holding to on to highly classified information that had been turned over to them by H
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 20:31
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VIDEO - How climate change is affecting mental health | KOSU
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 20:19
A new report by experts from 27 national science academies in Europe warns that the climate crisis is already having a big impact on human health, including mental health.
To understand the connection between the two, The World's host Marco Werman spoke with Helen Berry, a professor of climate change and mental health at the University of Sydney.
Marco Werman: Professor, it seems almost intuitive that climate change could affect our mental health, but is there actual evidence that that's true?
Helen Berry: You've asked the most difficult question you could have asked. The short answer is yes, of course, and the long answer is no, it's incredibly difficult to do this kind of work, partly because climate systems themselves are extremely complex and partly because mental health is also extremely complex. And bringing those together makes a very huge and difficult puzzle. It's really important to apply some common sense here, which is what you implied in your question. It's also important to understand how we can go about approaching this problem so we can eventually get the scientific answers that we want.
That makes sense, and I gather that the research suggests that this can play out on at least two levels: the emotional impact of specific events and trends, as well as the emotional weight of the bigger picture. So what do we know? It sounds like the second strand is probably the harder thing to assess.
Yeah, I think there are lots of strands actually, and the more work we do and the more I think about it, the more I think that's the case. I think what we need to do is go back to first principles and try to understand how it could be that this situation has arisen. We have climate change because we as a human race have chosen to exploit our planet and the people living on it without regard for the impacts on either. We're in the process of destroying the very natural systems that we rely on for our survival and anything that we do that threatens our survival is inherently terrifying. That's one of the first pathways from climate change to mental health impacts. You see this particularly in the kids protests that we've seen around the world and how very terrified children are about the planet that they're inheriting and what the grown-ups around them are doing to it and failing to do. The more vulnerable people are, the more prone they are to be victims of that particular mental health pathway.
Related: UN compact recognizes climate change as driver of migration for first time.
Give me an example of that, because the report does focus specifically on marginalized people and the most affected in terms of mental health.
Let me give you a couple of examples and then talk about why it's difficult scientifically to make that link. For example, in Australia in the summer of 2011 to 2012, we had two cyclones and huge floods in the state of Queensland in the tropical north. The floods that arose from those didn't affect everybody the same. People who were living in poor regions of the country and those who also were socio-economically disadvantaged in their own right were much more likely to be hit by the flood itself. What we also found in that study was that if you were flooded and you happen to be a socio-economically disadvantaged person, the effect on your mental health was at least twice as bad as it would have been had you not been in that situation. So, there's a kind of a double jeopardy. We see that all around the world and in all different settings. We see it with drought, we see it with heat, and we see it in disadvantaged country settings and so on.
Helen, if you're not instantly affected by specific events as you were just describing and you're just thinking about the future of the planet, then do mental health consequences from climate change that may become something like a middle-class concern?
If you'd asked me that question a couple of years ago, I would have said thinking about climate change and being aware of climate change doesn't in and of itself cause mental health problems for individuals. People who already have existing mental health problems or who are at risk of mental health problems are more likely to become personally anxious or distressed or even depressed or traumatized, but for the large majority of people that doesn't happen. I think in the last year or so, with the really catastrophic indicators that we're getting of what global warming and climate change may mean in practice to real people in real lives, I think that's starting to change. I think with seeing it's at a group level as opposed to at an individual level in some categories of people who are the most vulnerable. I come back to mentioning the children and children's protests that we've seen and the impact that it's having on them in their lives and the future that they anticipate as a result of it. I think now that children, as a group, are getting some mental health impacts as opposed to individual children with particular vulnerabilities.
I have to wonder if you're the very first person in the world to have such a position.
I am and as far as I know I'm still the only one. I guess in Australia, we have a bit of a tradition of doing research into climate change and health generally and my particular interest is mental health. Also, in Australia we have a couple of other features I think that make us focus in this area. One is that Australia as a continent is exceptionally vulnerable to climate change; it's one of the most vulnerable places in the world because of the geography of our island and the ocean flows around it. Whatever is happening in the world generally is happening far worse in Australia.
Related: Scientists say 25 years left to fight climate change.
Was it those fires and floods that you were talking about earlier that led to the creation of this position?
No, it's been my work over a decade or more that's culminated in this, it wasn't any particular event. Australia is in the unusual situation of being very vulnerable to climate change and also being a wealthy country that has some capacity to invest in research. Most countries that are very vulnerable to climate change are not those that have research capacity to take to any great degree, so we've kind of taken that take that job on. if you like.
How does understanding the dynamics between mental health and climate change actually help people cope?
A significantly bad enough version of climate change is already with us that we have to adapt to it. So, what we need to have is the best mental health possible to help us adapt because one of the things that mental health problems does is reduce people's capacity to cope and adapt. We don't want that right of the moment where we've got a massive crisis on our hands. We need to keep people as healthy as possible in every way, especially mentally, and we need people to have tools and ways to adapt and really this can only be done at a collective level.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
From PRI's The World (C)2019 PRI
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VIDEO - Watch: Bill Maher Envisions a Scenario Where Trump Kills Pompeo, Bolton | Breitbart
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 14:18
During the opening of the panel segment of Friday's broadcast of HBO's ''Real Time,'' host Bill Maher asked his panel New York Times columnist Charles Blow, Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) and analyst Clint Watts to imagine a scenario in which President Donald Trump might kill off his foreign policy team similar to how North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un would have killed members of his government.
The members of the negotiating team in Maher's hypothetical scenario included Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
''I guess my first question is this '-- speaking of negotiations,'' he said. ''It was reported last week Kim Jong-Un had his entire negotiating team killed. What if Trump killed his negotiating team? What if he killed Mike Pompeo and John Bolton? What would Mitch McConnell say or do?''
After a moment with the puzzled faces of Blow, Porter and Watts on camera, Blow asked, ''That's a real question?''
''Yeah, it is,'' Maher replied.
After an effort by the panelist to respond, Maher added, ''I'm just asking. I don't know. I'm just asking.''
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor
VIDEO - Why Clarence Thomas used Box v. Planned Parenthood to revive the case of Carrie Buck.
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 14:09
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VIDEO - Texas Rattler 1776 on Twitter: "Pt1'... "
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 04:43
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VIDEO - (1) Ryan Saavedra on Twitter: "Ocasio-Cortez ally Rhiana Gunn-Wright claims that if the world warms by 1.5 degrees that it will lead to "25 Holocausts" https://t.co/efGu5WXuaM" / Twitter
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 00:14
Ocasio-Cortez ally Rhiana Gunn-Wright claims that if the world warms by 1.5 degrees that it will lead to "25 Holocausts"
VIDEO - Boeing 737 Max: Audio reveals pilots confronting Boeing about new features suspected in deadly crashes - CBS News
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 00:02
Last Updated May 14, 2019 8:39 PM EDT
Arlington, Va. '-- CBS News has obtained audio from the American Airlines pilots' union confronting Boeing about new features to the 737 Max that may have been factors in two deadly crashes . Frustration boiled over during the tense meeting in November 2018, less than a month after the first Max crashed , and four months before the second crash.
"We flat out deserve to know what is on our airplanes," one pilot is heard saying.
"I don't disagree," a Boeing official said.
Last October, Lion Air flight 610 went down off the coast of Indonesia killing 189 people. Investigators believe a faulty sensor triggered the plane's MCAS anti-stall system that repeatedly pushed the plane down.
The pilots at the meeting were angry that system was not disclosed to them until after the first crash.
"These guys didn't even know the damn system was on the airplane '-- nor did anybody else," one pilot said.
The official, Boeing vice president Mike Sinnett, who does not appear to know he was being recorded, claimed what happened to Lion Air was once-in-a-lifetime type scenario.
"I don't know that understanding this system would've changed the outcome on this. In a million miles, you're going to maybe fly this airplane, maybe once you're going to see this, ever. So we try not to overload the crews with information that's unnecessary so they actually know the information we believe is important," the Sinnett said.
The pilots in the room were not satisfied with that answer. "We're the last line of defense to being in that smoking hole. And we need the knowledge," one pilot said.
Boeing told the pilots it would make software changes, perhaps in as little as six weeks, but didn't want to hurry it.
"We want to make sure we're fixing the right things," the official said. "That's the important thing. To make sure we're fixing the right things. We don't want to rush and do a crappy job of fixing the right things, and we also don't want to fix the wrong things."
That fix was still in development when the second 737 Max crashed in March, leading to the worldwide grounding of the plane. The existence of the audio was first reported by the Dallas Morning News.
Captain Daniel F. Carey, president of the Allied Pilots Association, said the pilots he represents will keep pushing for more information. "American Airlines pilots have been pressing Boeing for answers because we owe it to our passengers and the 346 people who lost their lives to do everything we can to prevent another tragedy," Carey said in a statement. "Boeing did not treat the 737 Max 8 situation like the emergency it was, and that's why we took swift legal action demanding years of records related to the model and are working with lawmakers in Washington to ensure proper oversight of Boeing, the FAA, Airbus, American Airlines and all carriers."
(C) 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO - Tina Curry on Twitter: "@adamcurry'... "
Thu, 06 Jun 2019 22:08
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VIDEO - DiGenova Reacts to Steele News: 'The Walls Are Closing in on FBI'
Thu, 06 Jun 2019 22:04
Former U.S. attorney Joe diGenova borrowed a favorite phrase from the left on Fox News' Hannity Tuesday night, saying that "the walls are beginning to close in on the FBI fraudsters." Democrats repeated the refrain frequently and indiscriminately throughout 2017, 2018, and early 2019, saying "the walls were closing in" on President Trump as Special Counsel Mueller investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election.
DiGenova said it in response to the breaking news that former British spy Christopher Steele had agreed to talk to United States investigators about his salacious and unverified anti-Trump dossier.
The Times (UK) cited sources close to Steele on Tuesday in reporting that the 54-year-old is set to be interviewed in London within weeks. The development comes as attention has returned to the dossier authored by Steele -- especially since its more sensational claims were not substantiated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose report found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.DiGenova posited that Steele had made a "strategic decision" because he would be talking to John Durham, the U.S. Attorney appointed by Attorney General William Barr to look into the intelligence community's surveillance abuse in 2016.
"He's going to talk to John Durham and his people so there's obviously some sort of [immunity] deal that's been worked out," the Washington-based attorney said. "This is great news."
He pointed out that Steele would be obligated to tell the truth to Durham.
"Because even though his testimony could be given overseas, he could be indicted in the United States if he lies to Durham," diGenova said. "So I assume he's going to tell the truth because this is the big casino now, and what he's going to prove is that the FBI lied in the FISA warrants and they lied to Congress and they lied to everybody about what they knew about Steele's behavior."
He added dramatically: "The walls are beginning to close in on the FBI fraudsters!"
DiGenova noted there was no longer any doubt that senior officials at the FBI under former president Obama "engaged in a criminal conspiracy against President Trump while he was a candidate and while he was president-elect and while he was president."
"That's why John Durham wants to talk to him, because there was a criminal conspiracy led by senior FBI officials," he explained.
"I just hope that all of them -- McCabe, Comey, Baker -- all of them -- just keep on talking publicly," diGenova concluded.
VIDEO - Pro-life speakers jeered at by people during Raleigh meeting | Raleigh News & Observer
Thu, 06 Jun 2019 21:10
Teenager jeered during anti-abortion statement at Raleigh meeting Addison Woosley, 13, spoke during the June 4, 2019, city council meeting calling for an end to abortion in Raleigh and comparing abortion to slavery. She was jeered down by folks in the audience who said she should not speak for black people. By
Addison Woosley, 13, spoke during the June 4, 2019, city council meeting calling for an end to abortion in Raleigh and comparing abortion to slavery. She was jeered down by folks in the audience who said she should not speak for black people. By RALEIGH Anti-abortion speakers and people in the crowd clashed during a tense Raleigh City Council meeting Tuesday night, making at least one child cry and one council member leave her seat
For at least the third time, speakers, including children, asked the council to make Raleigh a ''sanctuary city for the unborn.''
Others in the crowd, including some who came to ask for additional police oversight, interrupted the anti-abortion speakers by asking them not to talk on behalf of black people and for women.
One of the first anti-abortion speakers was 13-year-old Addison Woosley who asked for city leaders to make abortion illegal in Raleigh.
''On ultrasounds the baby tries to run away from the disturbing instruments that try to kill the baby,'' she said. ''The baby's mouth opens wide in a scream when being killed. These babies are alive. They feel being killed. It hurts them and there is nothing they can do about it. There is no way around it. Abortion is murder.''
She then compared abortion to slavery and said she hoped people would look back on abortion with the same disgust as people look back on slavery. She asked people to pick a side.
''Are you choosing to be like the plantation owner flogging the little black child?,'' she said. ''Or are you going to protest even if it is going to cost you your life like Martin Luther King Jr?''
That's when the shouting grew stronger.
''Y'all are so disrespectful,'' a woman in the audience shouted at the anti-abortion speakers. ''Let black people speak for black people when we are in the room. We can speak for ourselves.''
''You are a black man,'' she said directing her comments to Mayor Pro Tem Corey Branch. ''You need to stand up and recognize.''
Branch, who was running the meeting in Mayor Nancy McFarlane's absence, hit his gavel and said, ''I need order in here.''
''So, yes, I am a black man,'' he said. ''And, yes, everyone who signs up has a right to speak. That is the rule of the land. I can't come up here and say you can speak or you can't speak.''
People should address their comments to the council and not other people in the audience, he said.
Some of the anti-abortion speakers were shouting back at those interrupting Woosley. One man used his cell phone to film a woman sitting near the anti-abortion people. She flipped him off, saying ''right here, pal'' and police officers took her out of the room. She was later allowed back in.
There were several children sitting with the anti-abortion speakers, and at least one boy was crying silently in his seat while people yelled at one another.
'It is disgusting'After Branch ordered people to be quiet while people spoke, the anti-abortion speakers continued amid some jeers. The last anti-abortion speaker was David Buboltz who was wearing a shirt with a fetus on it that read ''I am going to be murdered tomorrow!''
Council member Stef Mendell turned her chair to not face Buboltz as he spoke.
''First I would like to say that, Stef Mendell, it is disgusting that you would turn your back on us and on these babies,'' he said addressing the council. ''It is. It isn't disrespectful to me. It is disrespectful to my God. And my God is all powerful. The Almighty God, the one who created the universe. You will stand accountable.''
As he finished his sentence, Mendell stood up and left the chambers to the applause of many in the meeting room. While she was out of the room, Buboltz asked each council member ''if they stand for this child killing.''
None of the council members answered, to more cheers in the crowd.
After the meeting Mendell said she didn't ''appreciate being preached to'' and she believes abortion should be rare, safe and legal. Outlawing it will result in illegal abortions that are more dangerous, she said.
''It is a free country and everyone has the right to speak and say what they want to say,'' Mendell said. ''But by the same token I have the right to not listen to what I don't want to.''
'We want accountability'The tension continued during a public hearing for the budget, with a handful of people asking for money to create a police oversight board, something that Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown has said she opposes.
''We want accountability,'' said Sanderson High School senior Greear Webb. ''We want oversight. We want action. We require these things because we require life, and this city will soon have a reckoning with the black and brown bodies it too often leaves in our streets. Too often do we see people of color brutalized without a word from our leaders. I'll say that again. Too often do we see people of color brutalized without a word from our leaders. Too often do we see the wringing of elected hands.''
At the end of his speech he called out to council member Dickie Thompson who had his head down. Webb later came back to the podium saying he was frustrated that some members looked around or down as people tried to speak to them. Some people in the crowd told Thompson to wake up.
Branch told Webb he had already spoken and wouldn't be allowed more time to speak.
Afterward Thompson said he was listening to Webb and all the speakers but he doesn't engage in a ''back-and-forth'' with speakers because there is limited time. He called out a few times throughout the meeting asking people to respect the rules of decorum the council voted on that prohibit people from interrupting one another.
''People have to be more respectful of each other,'' he said. ''If they want to be heard they have to be willing to listen to other people without interrupting. Without hooting and hollering. And shouting them down because they don't agree with them.''
Anna Johnson covers Raleigh and Wake County for the News & Observer. She has covered city government, crime and business for North Carolina newspapers since 2012. Reach her at 919-829-4807 or ajohnson@newsobserver.com.
Pope laments current "culture of insults," church propaganda - ABC News
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 11:06
Sections Top Stories Video Live U.S. International Politics Lifestyle Entertainment Virtual Reality Health Technology Weather Sports FiveThirtyEight Shows Good Morning America World News Tonight Nightline 20/20 This Week The View What Would You Do? More Privacy Policy Your CA Privacy Rights Children's Online Privacy Policy Interest-Based Ads Terms of Use Contact Us Search The Associated Press Cardinals shelter from the sun during a Pentecost Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, June 9, 2019. The Pentecost Mass is celebrated on the seventh Sunday after Easter. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia) Pope Francis has lamented what he calls today's "culture of insults" in the world.
Interested in Pope Francis? Add Pope Francis as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Pope Francis news, video, and analysis from ABC News.In his homily during Pentecost Mass Sunday in St. Peter's Square, Francis also decried that "the more we use social media, the less social we are becoming."
He warned of the temptation to cling to "our little group, to the things and people we like," saying it's only a "small step from a nest to a sect, even within the church."
The pope said that "nowadays it is fashionable to hurl adjectives" in what's tantamount to "a culture of insults." He recommended responding to "to malice with goodness."
Francis also said the Catholic church risks becoming a mere organization with propaganda as its mission instead of a mission to foster joy and harmony.
Opinion | Life Begins at Conception (Except When That's Inconvenient for Republicans) - The New York Times
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 04:46
Sunday Review | Life Begins at Conception (Except When That's Inconvenient for Republicans) It's almost as if abortion bans aren't actually about ''life'' at all.
By Molly Jong-Fast
Ms. Jong-Fast is a writer.
June 8, 2019 Image Anti-abortion and abortion-rights demonstrators outside the Supreme Court in 1989. Credit Credit Mark Reinstein/Corbis, via Getty Images When, exactly, do abortion opponents think life begins?
Over the past few months there has been a rush to pass abortion bans. Most of these bans center on the idea that abortions should be banned as soon as the fetal heartbeat is detected; that's because ''a heartbeat proves that there's life that deserves protection under law,'' according to a state representative in Kentucky, Robert Goforth.
On the other hand, many, including Mr. Goforth himself, also believe ''life begins at conception,'' as Tom Cotton, the Republican senator from Arkansas, said on ''Meet the Press'' last month. Or to take it still further, that the blastocyst, that clump of cells smaller than a raspberry that forms in the early days after a sperm meets an egg, is a person. As an Alabama state representative, Terri Collins, put it: ''This bill addresses that one issue. Is that baby in the womb a person? I believe our law says it is. I believe our people say it is. And I believe technology shows it is.''
And yet.
Representative Collins recently sponsored what is arguably the most extreme abortion ban to pass to date '-- Alabama's near total prohibition of the procedure, with no exceptions for rape or incest. But this ban does have one exception: Fertilized eggs, blastocysts, five-day-old embryos '-- people, according to some definitions '-- are exempt and can be destroyed, so long as they are not contained in the body of a woman. ''The egg in the lab doesn't apply,'' said Clyde Chambliss, a state senator and another sponsor of the abortion bill. ''It's not in a woman. She's not pregnant.''
But I was told by Tom Cotton that life began at conception?
In May, an appellate court in Ohio, in theory, delivered another blow to the ''life begins at conception'' school of abortion banning, though none of its members seem to have taken notice. Frozen embryos are not people, it told a couple whose embryos had been lost in a fertility clinic storage tank malfunction. (Ohio, by the way, was one of the states to pass a heartbeat bill '-- and so, technically, no inconsistencies here!)
But what are we to make of what happened on Feb. 22, when a 24-year-old woman from Honduras went into labor at 27 weeks pregnant and delivered a stillborn baby at an ICE detention center? According to ICE, ''for investigative and reporting purposes, a stillbirth is not considered an in-custody death.'' Where were the cries of outrage from pro-life corners? Do some lives begin at conception and others don't? Is an immigrant fetus less of a person than a citizen fetus?
Many pro-choice pundits make the argument that abortion opponents are hypocrites for their lack of concern about maternal health and early-childhood programs, and they are. But these inconsistencies about when ''life'' begins are far more revealing. The idea that fertility clinics should be allowed to end ''life'' in the pursuit of resolving infertility is wholly illogical; the notion that an in-custody stillbirth at 27 weeks is not a death, but that an abortion at six or eight weeks is a murder punishable by up to 99 years in prison, requires wild feats of mental jujitsu.
It's almost as if the Republican Party considers ''life'' to be a completely arbitrary notion. It's almost as if this isn't actually about ''life'' at all.
Nancy Pelosi Opposes Mexico's Promise to Keep Migrants | Breitbart
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 03:40
The top Democrat in the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, is opposing Mexico's comprehensive immigration reform deal with U.S. President Donald Trump.The deal expands the ''Remain in Mexico'' policy which returns illegal migrants back to Mexico until they can be bussed to their asylum-court hearings in the United States. The policy is now keeping just 8,000 migrants in Mexico, out of roughly 330,000 who crossed the border in the last three months.
''We are deeply disappointed by the Administration's expansion of its failed Remain-in-Mexico policy, which violates the rights of asylum seekers under U.S. law and fails to address the root causes of Central American migration,'' said the statement from House Speaker Pelosi.
But it is not clear how Pelosi can block Mexico's agreement with the ''Remain in Mexico'' policy. It has already survived one review by judges, and Mexico's offer of jobs and healthcare to the migrants will make it difficult for pro-migration lawyers to argue that Trump's deal violates the legal asylum rights of illegal immigrants.
The expanded Remain in Mexico plan is a political blow to Democrats, who welcomed the Central American migration because it pressured Trump to get a fix with a deal that also offered some form of amnesty for the millions of illegals in the United States.
Trump has used his power over tariffs to cut the deal with the Mexican government, so denying political leverage to Democrats and the cheap-labor lobbies in Capitol Hill's many disputes over migration and wages.
Pelosi's statement showed frustration over the Democrats' loss of political leverage:
President Trump must stop sabotaging good-faith, constructive, and bipartisan efforts in Congress to address this complex problem in a humane manner that honors and respects our most cherished national values.
Pelosi also complained about Trump's successful use of tariffs to cut Democrats out of the deal with Mexico, saying ,''President Trump undermined America's preeminent leadership role in the world by recklessly threatening to impose tariffs on our close friend and neighbor to the south '... Threats and temper tantrums are no way to negotiate foreign policy.''
The Democrats' leader in the Senate, Sen. Chuck Schumer, sneered at Trump's success:
This is an historic night!@realDonaldTrump has announced that he has cut a deal to ''greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States.''
Now that that problem is solved, I'm sure we won't be hearing any more about it in the future. https://t.co/DNNfbevkGP
'-- Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) June 8, 2019
Pelosi wrapped her partisan complaint in high-minded claims about Trump's supposed refusal to resolve a ''humanitarian'' emergency. The deal ''fails to address the root causes of Central American migration '... [so] Congress will continue to hold the Trump Administration accountable for its failures to address the humanitarian situation at our southern border.''
In fact, the humanitarian emergency in Central America is subsidiary to the rational recognition by the migrants that the D.C. establishment is inviting them to enter the United States via the various catch-and-release policies.
Trump's deal with the Mexican government likely will allow border officials to end the catch-and-release of Central American migrants.
Ending catch-and-release is a huge win for Americans and Trump because it means border officials now have a legal alternative to the catch-and-release rules that normally allow migrants to legally enter the United States if they bring children and claim asylum.
Those catch-and-release rules are set by Congress and the courts, and they allow the migrants to get work permits before their asylum court hearings, which are now backlogged for two or more years. Instead of catch-and-release, border agencies can now return migrants to Mexico until their asylum claims can be heard by a judge.
The end of catch-and-release will likely wreck the cartels' labor trafficking business, which depends on migrants getting U.S. jobs to repay their smuggling debts. Few poor people in Honduras, El Salvador, or Guatemala will go into debt with the cartels, or mortgage their farms and homes to the cartels, once they know they will be forced to remain in Mexico prior to their asylum hearings.
In 2017 and again in 2018, the cartel's labor trafficking business provided U.S. businesses with roughly 400,000 extra low-wage workers.
That is a ten percent inflation of the nation's annual new labor supply, on top of the four million young Americans who enter the workforce each year.
If Trump blocks the flow of illegal migrant workers, then companies will face greater pressure to compete for American workers by offering higher wages, more training, and better conditions.
Trump's compromise deal allows Mexico to dodge the escalating tariffs that he promised, and it also means that Mexico does not have to formally declare itself a ''safe third country.''
Trump and his deputies wanted Mexico to declare itself a safe third country because that would give U.S. border officials the permanent legal authority to reject migrants who cross through Mexico. But the Mexican government strongly feared and opposed the ''safe third country'' proposal, yet their agreement to host the migrants before their U.S. court hearings provide similar legal authority to U.S. border agencies.
Immigration Numbers:
Each year, roughly four million young Americans join the workforce after graduating from high school or university.
But the federal government then imports about 1.1 million legal immigrants and refreshes a resident population of roughly 1.5 million white-collar visa workers '-- including approximately one million H-1B workers '-- and approximately 500,000 blue-collar visa workers.
The government also prints out more than one million work permits for foreigners, tolerates about eight million illegal workers, and does not punish companies for employing the hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants who sneak across the border or overstay their legal visas each year.
This policy of inflating the labor supply boosts economic growth for investors because it ensures that employers do not have to compete for American workers by offering higher wages and better working conditions.
This policy of flooding the market with cheap, foreign, white-collar graduates and blue-collar labor also shifts enormous wealth from young employees towards older investors, even as it also widens wealth gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, and hurts children's schools and college educations. It also pushes Americans away from high-tech careers and sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions. The labor policy also moves business investment and wealth from the heartland to the coastal cities, explodes rents and housing costs, shrivels real estate values in the Midwest, and rewards investors for creating low-tech, labor-intensive workplaces.
Slapeloze nachten Amsterdammers over komst illegalenhotels | Binnenland | Telegraaf.nl
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 02:03
Extra Het beste van De Telegraaf
Links stadsbestuur wijst zes locaties aan in woonwijken
Door Mike Muller
Gisteren, 08:00 in BINNENLAND
Boze buurtbewoners betogen tegen een illegalenhotel dat moet worden geopend bij het Gelderlandplein in Amsterdam-Buitenveldert. Ze zeggen verbijsterd en teleurgesteld te zijn door het stadsbestuur.
''¸ Richard Mouw
Amsterdam - Het linkse stadsbestuur van Amsterdam heeft gisteren de eerste zes locaties in woonwijken aangewezen waar illegalen zoals leden van We are Here moeten worden opgevangen. Dat leidt tot grote woede bij bewoners en oppositiepartijen.
Boze buurtbewoners betogen tegen een illegalenhotel dat moet worden geopend bij het Gelderlandplein in Amsterdam-Buitenveldert. Ze zeggen verbijsterd en teleurgesteld te zijn door het stadsbestuur.
''¸ Richard Mouw
Africa battles high rates of suicide, depression | Africa | DW | 08.06.2019
Sun, 09 Jun 2019 02:01
Many African countries are struggling with high suicide rates for which there is no simple explanation. However, one thing is evident: There is a lack of professional help and comprehensive research into the causes.
Hiram Chomba is a psychotherapist '-- a very passionate one. He spares no effort to reach patients in remote rural communities. Sometimes he rides a motorcycle; sometimes he catches a matatu, one of Kenya's shared minibuses.
Chomba lives in Embu, a small town close to the capital, Nairobi. For four years, he has been working for Befrienders Kenya helping people who suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts.
He also provides support for those frequently in contact with people who have a mental illness: "At the moment I am focusing on training parole officers, who have many encounters with suicidal people."
Kenya: 'A real crisis'
"The figures are worrying. In Kenya, this is already a real crisis," he says. Citing a report from the Kenyan Ministry of Health, Chomba says that four people die from suicide every day in the eastern African country.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), however, Kenya is not the only African country struggling with high rates of suicide. In Nigeria or Ivory Coast, the figures are even higher than in most European countries, the US or China, with more than 15 suicides per 100,000 inhabitants per year.
Chomba fears that the official figures in Kenya are only the tip of the iceberg; he believes there is no reliable data on the country's suicide rate.
"In Kenya, mental health is not considered a priority, and there is little access to trained workers," he says, pointing out that there are only 100 psychiatrists for a population of around 45 million, and even fewer psychologists.
Read more: Psychology: A happy partner is the elixir of longer life
Hiram Chomba runs "suicide awareness" workshops
Men more at risk
Chomba's organization set up a free psychological counseling center in Nairobi. It is mostly women from the inner-urban parts of the city who seek help at the facility. However, Chomba says that nationwide, the majority of those affected are men.
Chomba says one of the contributing factors to the psychological problems that many people are experiencing is social change. He is certain that the "disintegration of traditional culture has contributed to the rise in suicide rates."
He believes that economic development has led to the demise of traditional norms and customs. He also says that social and cultural expectations '-- especially of men '-- have changed. According to him, the African proverb "I am because we are'' is losing its importance in modern African societies.
Read more: Psychology: What are anxiety disorders?
Information against stigmatization
Alcohol abuse, an early warning sign of depression, is also widespread. "We want to work against that. We are in contact with local businesses, religious leaders, politicians, tribal elders and the police," says Chomba.
He and his fellow campaigners are using initiatives aimed at informing people. Education helps to tackle the stigma attached to depression and assists relatives, neighbors and colleagues in better identifying the symptoms of suicidal tendencies.
Alcoholism is often a warning sign of depressive illnesses
Megan Vaughan, professor of African History and Health at University College London, shares the view that depression and suicide are often still taboo topics in Africa. However, she says that the recognition of depression as an illness is growing there.
She says that an example of this is in South Africa, where the HIV crisis brought the issue of mental health more into the public focus, and professional psychological counseling services are no longer a rarity. "In the past, it was the elders who gave advice. But young people need other forms of help that are better suited to their circumstances," Vaughan told DW.
Read more: Breaking taboos, Germany's main churches tackle suicide
'Never just one reason'
Vaughan also believes that social upheaval is a reason for the high suicide rates: "Life is changing fast '-- in Africa as well. Urbanization is increasing at a rapid pace. People no longer live in village structures and family ties," though she adds that she believes this explanation alone to be too simplistic.
According to the historian, suicide is not something new in Africa, but were also an occurrence in traditional African societies. "There is never a single reason why people commit suicide '-- and that applies to all regions of the world," she says.
Vaughan wants to see more extensive research on depression and suicide in Africa in order to draw definite conclusions and to be able to tailor prevention strategies accordingly.
For Chomba too, the need for action is urgent. The lack of awareness of mental illness continues to motivate him to travel to communities to educate people.
"I too have lost relatives through suicide," he says. "We must act sooner."
If you are suffering from serious emotional strain or suicidal thoughts, do not hesitate to seek professional help. You can find information on where to find such help, no matter where you live in the world, at this website: https://www.befrienders.org/.
At 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of news and features. You can sign up to receive it here.
bright.pdf | DocDroid
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 21:50
Report Download Page 1 of 1
Peter Bright, AKA Dr Pizza: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know | Heavy.com
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 21:48
(Pacer) Initial appearance form for Peter Bright
Peter Bright is a tech reporter who has worked for Ars Technica and Conde Nast. Bright also has a very active presence on social media, tweeting under the name Dr Pizza about social justice issues. But earlier this month, Bright was arrested and charged with trying to solicit sex from underage children.
According to court papers, Bright was arrested on May 22 at 2:55 PM and was presented in court that evening. He was denied bail because he was deemed a ''danger.'' He is now in jail awaiting his next court appearance. Here's what you need to know:
1. Bright Told an Undercover FBI Agent That He Wanted to Engage in Sexual Acts with a 7 Year Old & a 9 Year OldAccording to a complaint filed in the Southern District of New York, Peter Bright contacted an undercover FBI agent through a website called KinkD. The FBI agent was posing as the mother of a 9 year old boy and a 7 year old girl. She posted a message to the site seeking to chat with people who could teach her children lessons about the ''birds and the bees.''
Bright responded to the ad, and he and the undercover agent shifted to a conversation over WhatsApp. That's when Bright started suggesting that he should meet the children for sexual acts. You can read the disturbing details about what Bright suggested in the criminal complaint, here. The complaint also contains exchanges between Bright and the agent. Be aware that the complaint contains disturbing and explicit language.
2. Bright Bragged that He Had Been 'Teaching' Sexual Lessons to an 11 Year Old GirlAccording to the complaint obtained by the Daily Dot, Peter Bright bragged to the undercover FBI agent that he knew all about how to teach children about sexual acts. He said that he had been ''teaching'' an 11 year old girl who lived in the Bronx. He also described, in graphic detail, the kind of ''teaching'' he'd like to do.
Bright also asked the FBI agent, who was posing as the mother of two young children, whether the ''lessons'' were to be heteronormative. When she said that she didn't understand, he replied, ''Does [the Girl] eat flowers and [the Boy] suck snake.''
3. Bright, a Londoner Living in New York, Described Himself as 'Pervy' on Social Media & Said Age-Based Rape Laws Are 'Stupid'Peter Bright is a UK national who has been living in Brooklyn, New York. His Twitter page describes him as ''poly/pan/pervy.'' In now-deleted tweets, Bright wrote, ''I think that age-based rape laws (rather than consent-based) are stupid.''
Bright has been arrested and charged with trying to solicit sex from minors. According to a complaint filed with the Southern District of New York, Bright was in contact with an undercover FBI agent who posed as the mother of two young children. He offered to ''teach'' her children about the birds and the bees and boasted about his sexual experience with an 11 year old girl living in The Bronx.
4. Bright Often Tweeted About His Pro-Choice Stance & His Dislike of President TrumpI got this very welcome message today (shared with permission), and it's a big part of why I'm so public about what I've been through and am continuing to work on with depression. pic.twitter.com/25VMa8S91v
'-- Pumpkin Fright👨''š•¸ðŸ• (@DrPizza) June 11, 2018
Peter Bright's Twitter feed is full of tweets about his pro-life stance and his dislike of Donald Trump and the Republican party. He was critical of the president's policies, and also wrote that Trump had sexual feelings for his own daughterr. Bright is also an outspoken opponent of Brexit who once wrote on Facebook, ''if you support brexit in any form please (a) unfriend me (b) throw yourself into the sea.''
Bright also used his social media to talk about his struggles with depression. He wrote that Wellbutrin, an anti-depressant, was making him ''unimaginably sweaty.'' He also wrote that he wanted to help others who were suffering from depression.
5. He Is Married & Lived in BrooklynPeter Bright is being held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City. Before his arrest, he lived in Brooklyn. He is married, according to his social media. He describes himself as ''married'' on his Facebook page. He also posted about his wife occasionally on Twitter. In 2018, Bright tweeted, ''wife is away. wife told me ''don't eat mcdonald's for every meal''. youtube just showed me an ad for mcdonald's. i don't understand how i can be expected to do the right thing in this situation.''
Sheryl, It's Time to Lean Into the Suck '' Alliance to Counter Crime Online '' Medium
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 21:11
An Open Letter to the Facebook COO from a Former Classmate
Dear Sheryl,
I read your piece in Fortune about the ''disastrous'' reluctance of male bosses in the #MeToo era to advance women in the workplace and how we should ''expect more.'' I admire people who challenge men to provide women with active opportunities for personal advancement even if it is challenging or awkward. But I have to ask: Are you seriously offering workplace advice?
I remember fondly your spirited aerobics class when we were classmates in college. We've only had brief contact since graduation, but as a single mom who has always worked in male-dominated industries, I applauded your decision to launch the Lean In movement. I was moved and impressed by your searingly honest account of finding resilience, and 'leaning into the suck' at a time of personal tragedy.
I want you to succeed. So, I am going to give you some advice: #Youtoo, Sheryl.
Over the past two years, as Facebook has faced one problem after another, you've remained relatively silent. When you have commented, your remarks had the texture of well-coached legalese, lacking the fierce honesty and leadership you've sold in your books and lectures.
The optics haven't been good either, like the time in 2017 you blew off briefing Congress about the Russia probe to report record profits to shareholders. Last week, you ignored a subpoena from the Canadian parliament. Do you think you're above the law?
You are COO of a powerful, global firm whose litany of scandals include breaching user privacy, skewing elections, facilitating organized crime, and promulgating hate speech and violent content. You can see how your words in the Fortune article about supporting human endeavor and access to opportunity might sound hollow'Š'--'Šat best.
You're not the only tone-deaf Facebook executive. I mean, Mark Zuckerberg posting an anniversary selfie from the Acropolis just days after the BBC's report on how Facebook has been hosting groups'Š'--'Šsome with more than 100,000 members'Š'--'Šwhere criminals ''loot to order'' ancient sites from Egypt to Syria? Cringe.
Was it just me, or were the pictures of a grinning, vacationing Zuckerberg reminiscent of when BP CEO Tony Hayward went yachting instead of dealing with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill?
Of course, it's great to see that the Facebook founder takes an interest in world heritage, but perhaps he could direct some of that interest to his platform and, say, put an end to the wholesale trafficking of antiquities there? Or illegal drugs? Or endangered animals? Or human remains?
Because just saying that, ''We didn't do enough to prevent [Facebook] tools from being used for harm,'' is neither an apology nor a solution.
As you point out in your editorial, simply not harassing women isn't enough'Š'--'Šyou have to create mechanisms that actively enable progress.
You and other Facebook executives must recognize that there are millions of people out there'Š'--'Šfrom Rohingya Muslims to children trafficked on Facebook'Š'--'Šwhose lives have literally been turned upside down because of your failure to control your platform.
They deserve acknowledgement and redress, not awkward jokes, not workplace wisdom, and certainly not a ''privacy overhaul'' that sounds like a con. The world expects genuine contrition for'Š'--'Šand concrete responses to'Š'--'Šthe myriad problems caused by your poor management. It's time for you and Mark to ''lean into the suck,'' and start treating your users like people.
Because you're right. We should expect more of one another.
From Gretchen Peters
Executive Director of the Alliance to Counter Crime Online.
U.S. Justice Department to review 1941 ASCAP, BMI consent decrees - Reuters
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 20:05
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday it would review two consent decrees reached with music licensing groups ASCAP and BMI in 1941, a decision that could upend the business of licensing music to online companies, movie companies, commercials, bars and restaurants.
FILE PHOTO: A flag flies from the Department of Justice in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
The department said it planned to review settlements reached with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc (BMI) to set how the organizations, which license most music in the United States, must operate.
Companies that license music have worried about a sharp increase in costs if the system is changed because ASCAP and BMI license about 90 percent of music.
In the complicated world of music royalties, songwriters and publishers hire the two organizations to license their songs to digital streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify Technology SA, radio and television stations and other music users.
Under the consent decrees, the two organizations are required to license to anyone upon request, with pricing disputes settled by a judge.
The consent decrees may remain as they are, or be changed or scrapped altogether, the department said.
''There have been many changes in the music industry, ... and the needs of music creators and music users have continued to evolve,'' said Makan Delrahim, head of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division, in a statement Wednesday.
Under Delrahim, the department is reviewing old consent decrees, many of which do not have an expiration date, with an eye toward dropping those which are out of date.
The MIC Coalition, which represents groups whose members include streaming companies like Spotify and Pandora, argued that the consent decrees were needed, despite their age, because BMI and ASCAP control so much music.
''The decrees have helped mitigate anti-competitive behavior, while also ensuring songwriters and creators get paid when their music is played in the millions of American venues,'' the coalition said. ''The modification, elimination or even the possible sunset of the decrees at the present time would lead to chaos for the entire marketplace.''
The Justice Department will accept comments on the matter through July 10.
ASCAP and BMI said in statements that the review would allow for an update of the music licensing business.
''A more flexible framework with less government regulation will allow us to compete in a free market, which we believe is the best way for our music creators to be rewarded for the value of their music,'' ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews said in an statement.
BMI said the review was ''long anticipated'' and said it looked forward to a ''smooth process that safeguards a vibrant future for music.''
Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Richard Chang and James Dalgleish
Vox Union Reaches Accord With Publisher a Day After Walkout - Bloomberg
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 19:58
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Trump's Mexico deal is victory for 'hostage-taking', ex-WTO head says | US news | The Guardian
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 19:48
The immigration deal imposed on Mexico by Donald Trump under the threat of punitive tariffs is a victory for ''hostage-taking'' over international rules, a former head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Saturday.
Late on Friday, the US and Mexico struck an accord to avert a tariff war when Mexico agreed to expand a contentious asylum program and deploy security forces to stem the flow of migrants from Central America.
Mexico made the concessions after Trump threatened to slap escalating tariffs of 5% on all Mexican goods from Monday if Mexico's president, Andr(C)s Manuel L"pez Obrador, did not do more to tighten his country's borders.
''My reaction is it seems that hostage-taking works,'' Pascal Lamy, a former director-general of the WTO, told Reuters, saying Trump's actions went against the spirit of diplomacy.
''If there's a rule of law, it's because people believe it's better than the law of the jungle. And many people don't like the law of the jungle because some are strong, some are weak, and they don't want the strong to always step on the weak.''
If there's a rule of law, it's because people believe it's better than the law of the jungle
The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Lamy has criticized Trump's use of tariffs in the past. Trump has blamed the WTO for not doing enough to defend US trade interests, and in August 2018 threatened to pull out of the organization.
Global markets have been roiled by the Trump administration's aggressive use of tariffs, fanning concern about the stability of multilateral institutions that grew up after the second world war.
Lamy, a French civil servant, is a former European commissioner for trade who led the WTO from 2005 to 2013. He has been a staunch defender of the post-war rules-based system. His criticism of Trump's tariffs reflects wider misgivings about the US going it alone.
Mexico sends about 80% of its exports to the US, giving Trump ample leverage to put pressure on L"pez Obrador over a surge in migrants to the US border.
Lamy said it was understandable that Mexico had sought to extricate itself from the tariff bind, but noted it ran the risk of facing more threats in future.
He was in ''absolutely no doubt'' that the WTO would have found in favor of Mexico if L"pez Obrador had asked it to arbitrate the dispute with Trump, a process he said would have taken around two years.
''The US president is taking trade decisions that are in total violation of the WTO rules,'' Lamy said. ''That was the case with these Mexican tariffs. The notion that you put a tariff because there are too many people crossing the border is just miles away from any letter and spirit of the WTO agreement. Which is why I qualify this as hostage-taking.''
Lamy said it was still not clear whether the US president was more interested in reforming the WTO or neutralizing it. He said Trump had complaints worth heeding, noting that some WTO rules made it hard to constrain Chinese trade practices that have caused frictions.
But he said the rest of the world would need a fallback plan if the US decided not to abide by international rules.
''The others have to find a way to stabilize the multilateral rules-based system,'' he said, ''even if the US wants to kill it.''
"The Skid Is Everywhere" And We Just Got Confirmation That The Worst Is Yet To Come | Zero Hedge
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 19:44
Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,
All over America, large portions of our major cities are being transformed into stomach-churning cesspools of squalor. Thousands of tens cities are popping up from coast to coast as the homeless population explodes, even the New York Times admits that we are facing ''the worst drug crisis in American history'', there were more than 28,000 official complaints about human feces in the streets of San Francisco last year alone, and millions of rats are currently overrunning the city of Los Angeles. And yet the authorities continue to insist that the economy is in good shape and that everything is going to be just fine.
Perhaps everything may seem ''just fine'' if you live in a heavily sanitized wealthy suburban neighborhood and you only get your news from heavily sanitized corporate media sources, but in the real world things are getting really bad.
The other day, LZ Granderson authored an editorial in which he described what life is like in Los Angeles right at this moment'...
LA spent nearly $620 million in tax dollars last year to address the issue, and yet the number of homeless people increased by 16%,reaching nearly 60,000 people.
As a Los Angeles resident, I am among those who wonder what the mayor's office is doing. When I lived downtown it was virtually impossible to walk a full block in any direction without seeing a homeless person. In Silver Lake where I live now, there are tent cities. On my drive to work I see people living underneath the highway overpasses. It's no longer Skid Row here. The skid is everywhere.
Of course that phrase, ''the skid is everywhere'', could also apply to San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Memphis, Cleveland, Baltimore, Philadelphia and countless other U.S. cities.
But without a doubt, L.A. is particularly disgusting at this point. In fact, last weekend a columnist for the Los Angeles Times admitted that ''Los Angeles has become a giant trash receptacle'''...
A swath of Los Angeles has devolved into a wasteland with rats scurrying among piles of decaying garbage and squalid tent cities, according to a series of stomach-churning photos that the Los Angeles Times says depict the ''collapse of a city that's lost control.''
''The city of Los Angeles has become a giant trash receptacle,'' columnist Steve Lopez complained on Sunday.
We are seeing this happen at a time when we are being told that the U.S. economy is still relatively stable.
And I will concede that point. Right now, the U.S. economy is a whole lot more stable than it will be in the months ahead.
So if things are this bad already in our major cities, what are those cities going to look like once we get deep into the next economic downturn?
On Friday, the Labor Department reported that 75,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in May. That number is consistent with the extremely disappointing figure that ADP reported a few days earlier, and it is well below the number of jobs that we need just to keep up with population growth each month.
Prior to this latest report, there were already more working age Americans without a job than at any point during the last recession, and now things just got even worse.
But the government conveniently categorizes the vast majority of working age Americans without a job as ''not in the labor force'', and so officially the unemployment rate is ''very low'' right now.
What a joke.
The truth is that the middle class has been steadily shrinking for an extended period of time, and all of the numbers that have been rolling in seem to indicate that an economic slowdown has begun.
For instance, when economic activity is expanding demand for key industrial resources such as copper, zinc and lumber increases and prices tend to go up.
But when economic activity is contracting, demand for those key industrial resources diminishes and prices tend to go down.
And right now we are seeing prices for copper, zinc and lumber decline precipitiously'...
Copper prices have fallen 6% in just the past month while zinc is down 8.5%. Copper and zinc are big components for many industrial and technology companies. People pay so much attention to copper as a barometer that traders jokingly call it Dr. Copper, as if it has a PhD in economics.
Lumber prices are falling as well, plunging about 10% in the past month. That could be viewed as a sign that the housing market '-- particularly new home construction '-- is weakening.
If you were looking for some exceedingly clear indications of where the U.S. economy is heading in the near future, you just got them.
But most Americans will continue to live in denial until the very end. And even though 59 percent of the population is living paycheck to paycheck, people continue to rack up debt as if there was no tomorrow.
In fact, we just learned that the average size of a new vehicle loan in the U.S. just hit a brand new record high'...
People buying a new vehicle are borrowing more and paying more each month for their auto loan.
Experian, which tracks millions of auto loans each month, said the average amount borrowed to buy a new vehicle hit a record $32,187 in the first quarter. The average used-vehicle loan also hit a record, $20,137.
People ask me all the time about how they can prepare for the next economic downturn, and one of the key pieces of advice that I always give is to not take on more debt.
Right now everyone should be building up their financial cushions, because what is coming is not a joke.
Unfortunately, most Americans are still completely in denial about what is happening, and they will find themselves ill-prepared to handle the very harsh economic environment that is ahead.
Democrats' Data Mining Stirs an Intraparty Battle
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 18:12
A group of well-connected Democrats led by a former top aide to Bill Clinton is raising millions of dollars to start a private firm that plans to compile huge amounts of data on Americans to identify Democratic voters and blunt what has been a clear Republican lead in using technology for political advantage.
The effort by Harold Ickes, a deputy chief of staff in the Clinton White House and an adviser to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), is prompting intense behind-the-scenes debate in Democratic circles. Officials at the Democratic National Committee think that creating a modern database is their job, and they say that a competing for-profit entity could divert energy and money that should instead be invested with the national party.
Ickes and others involved in the effort acknowledge that their activities are in part a vote of no confidence that the DNC under Chairman Howard Dean is ready to compete with Republicans on the technological front. "The Republicans have developed a cadre of people who appreciate databases and know how to use them, and we are way behind the march," said Ickes, whose political technology venture is being backed by financier George Soros.
"It's unclear what the DNC is doing. Is it going to be kept up to date?" Ickes asked, adding that out-of-date voter information is "worse than having no database at all."
Ickes's effort is drawing particular notice among Washington operatives who know about it because of speculation that he is acting to build a campaign resource for a possible 2008 presidential run by Hillary Clinton. She has long been concerned, advisers say, that Democrats and liberals lack the political infrastructure of Republicans and their conservative allies. Ickes said his new venture, Data Warehouse, will at first seek to sell its targeting information to politically active unions and liberal interest groups, rather than campaigns.
As it stands now, the DNC and Data Warehouse, created by Ickes and Democratic operative Laura Quinn, will separately try to build vast and detailed voter lists -- each effort requiring sophisticated expertise and costing well over $10 million.
"From an institutional standpoint, this is one of the most important things the DNC can and should do. Building this voter file is part of our job," Communications Director Karen Finney said. "We believe this is something we have to do at the DNC. Our job is to build the infrastructure of the party."
In the 2003-2004 election cycle, the DNC began building a national voter file, and it proved highly effective in raising money. Because of many technical problems, however, it was not useful to state and local organizations trying to get out the vote.
The pressure on Democrats to begin more aggressive "data mining" in the hunt for votes began after the 2002 midterm elections and intensified after the 2004 presidential contest, when the GOP harnessed data technology to powerful effect.
In 2002, for the first time in recent memory, Republicans ran better get-out-the-vote programs than Democrats. When well done, such drives typically raise a candidate's Election Day performance by two to four percentage points. Democrats have become increasingly fearful that the GOP is capitalizing on high-speed computers and the growing volume of data available from government files and consumer marketing firms -- as well as the party's own surveys -- to better target potential supporters.
The Republican database has allowed the party and its candidates to tailor messages to individual voters and households, using information about the kind of magazines they receive, whether they own guns, the churches they attend, their incomes, their charitable contributions and their voting histories.
This makes it possible to specifically address the issues of voters who, in the case of many GOP supporters, may oppose abortion, support gun rights or be angry about government use of eminent domain to take private property. A personalized pitch can be made during door-knocking, through direct mail and e-mail, and via phone banks.
Inside the Democrats' Plan to Fix Their Crumbling Data Operation | WIRED
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 18:08
In July of 2017, as Raffi Krikorian settled into his new office at the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton's words were still ringing in his ears. Just a few months before, the former secretary of state and recently defeated Democratic nominee for president had sat on stage at Recode's technology conference and mercilessly bashed the Democratic Party's data infrastructure.
''I get the nomination. So I'm now the nominee of the Democratic Party. I inherit nothing from the Democratic Party,'' Clinton explained. ''I mean it was bankrupt, it was on the verge of insolvency, its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong.''
Clinton's withering criticism struck some in the party as blame shifting and stung the DNC data minds who had tried to get her elected, including the party's former director of data science, who called her comments ''fucking bullshit'' in a since-deleted tweet. As the DNC's new chief technology officer, it fell to Krikorian to figure out what exactly Clinton meant'--and more importantly, what could be done about it.
Krikorian was a political neophyte, having recently left a job leading Uber's self-driving-car efforts after building his career at Twitter, but he quickly realized that the data issues Clinton was referring to, while multifaceted and layered, all had one thing in common: a system called Vertica.
Issie Lapowsky covers the intersection of tech, politics, and national affairs for WIRED.Since 2011, Vertica has been the Democratic Party's central repository for data'--a place to store every state's voter file, every door knock and phone call organizers make, and every bit of commercially available data that campaigns collect. It played an important role in President Obama's successful bid for reelection in 2012, establishing the need for a strong data operation as central to modern-day campaigning. After just a few years, however, the system was already showing its age, and many Democrats feared that the lack of a strong data operation could handicap their candidates in 2020 and beyond.
Krikorian started hearing what he calls ''war stories'' about Vertica almost immediately, as he interviewed former campaign staffers like Robby Mook, Clinton's campaign manager, and Stephanie Hannon, a former Googler and Clinton's chief technology officer. The system was famous for crashing for 16 hours at a time. One data director in North Carolina told him she used to nap in her car just waiting for Vertica to come back online. Mook, Krikorian recalls, likened Vertica to Beirut'--when the system got overloaded, as it almost always did, it would just shut down until the shelling stopped.
''It's not the system's fault it wasn't working,'' Mook tells WIRED. ''It wasn't built to last a long time or have the number of users it ended up having.''
For Krikorian, Vertica seemed like the main impediment to technological progress within the party. ''I came in with a whole set of lofty goals of things we wanted to achieve at the party,'' Krikorian says. ''Once I peeled the onion, it all sort of came down to, well, we can't do Interesting Thing X until Vertica's fixed.''
So, in the months before the 2018 midterms, a make-or-break election for Democrats, he made the risky bet to divide his 40-person tech staff into two teams. One team would need to keep Vertica alive through Election Day; the other would be in charge of building whatever came next.
Now, Krikorian's team is preparing to pull the plug on Vertica and stand up a new, more powerful system called, simply, the Data Warehouse. It will be backed by Google's analytics tool called BigQuery, a cloud-based platform capable of handling massive data sets at the scale and speed necessary for an organization the size of the Democratic party.
''One of my top priorities has been to overhaul the party's tech and data infrastructure and make sure we put the 2020 nominee and all of our candidates in the best possible position to take on the GOP and win,'' DNC chair Tom Perez told WIRED in a statement. ''The DNC's Data Warehouse is the centerpiece of our tech efforts and will allow campaigns and committees to better store, access, and analyze their data.''
The shift comes as Krikorian is stepping down from his position at the DNC to move back to California with his wife and two kids. Lindsey Schuh Cort(C)s, Krikorian's deputy and former CEO of the Democratic data firm BlueLabs, is taking on the role of acting CTO until the party hires someone new.
Democrats are also preparing to set up a much-anticipated data exchange that will allow the party and outside political groups to share their data for the first time, without running afoul of campaign finance laws. The exchange, which will be chaired by former DNC chairman Howard Dean, is modeled on the GOP Data Trust, a similar organization on the Republican side. Some Democrats believe that organization gave President Trump a major advantage in 2016, because it opened up a world of data to his campaign, beyond what the RNC could collect on its own. But building such a complex data-trading post would have been impossible for Democrats under the Vertica system.
Vertica LimitWhen the DNC first purchased the Vertica technology in preparation for President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, the idea that one central repository could hold all of the party's data seemed revolutionary. Before, this valuable information was housed in disparate databases, making it difficult if not impossible for campaigns to blend it all together and get the full picture of who voters were and what they cared about most. Having all that data in one place enabled the Obama campaign to sift through it to target people with voter outreach and advertising at an individual level, instead of simply sorting them into broad categories like, say, soccer moms or Nascar dads.
But Vertica's flaws soon became apparent. For one thing, its interface proved impenetrable to political newcomers and smaller campaigns with limited data analytics experience. ''It was just columns of tables, with all these numbers, and maybe the column was named, 'This is the right one 2014 Booker,''' Schuh Cort(C)s says. ''You had to know or be on a prior campaign to understand what boxes were useful and where the really good data was.''
Vertica also predated many of the cloud-based systems that exist today. Instead, it required the DNC to set up servers, which were never really meant to withstand the stress of terabytes of data flowing into them or thousands of data analysts trying to access data in the final days before an election. ''If you were to tell me that same tech tool was going to be used in 2018, I would have called you crazy,'' says Josh Hendler, who served as the DNC's CTO between 2009 and 2011.
After 2012, a lack of maintenance and an overabundance of data caused Vertica to fall into a state of disrepair, even as demand for more data-driven campaigning grew. Heading into the 2016 election, Clinton's team, which included top engineering talent from Silicon Valley, struggled with the system they inherited. ''It was a shit show from the moment I started there,'' says Gerard Niemira, who was the campaign's director of product. He remembers Vertica crashing for 72 hours on his first day, after one new analyst wrote a simple query.
''It was a shit show from the moment I started there.''
Gerard Niemira, Clinton campaign director of product
According to Schuh Cort(C)s, whose BlueLabs colleague Elan Kriegel was Clinton's head of data analytics, the Clinton team had to have dozens of engineers on call at all hours of the day and night, ready to restart the system each time it crashed.
''What their campaign was reacting to was a failure over the course of the Obama years to effectively keep up the pace of modernization inside the DNC,'' says Michael Slaby, who worked as chief innovation officer for President Obama's 2012 campaign and whose former company, The Groundwork, worked with the Clinton campaign in 2016. ''Technology doesn't sit still for 10 years.''
When Krikorian joined the DNC in 2017, he saw firsthand just how many resources the party was wasting trying to keep the system up and running, even in an off cycle. In 2018, during a high-intensity midterm, it took constant care from the DNC's engineers to keep Vertica alive, and it still managed to go down for one 10-hour stretch overnight. After Democrats took back the House on November 6, the plan to replace it went into full effect. Schuh Cort(C)s says, ''It was all hands on deck.''
One major goal was finding a more stable platform, one that didn't require Democrats to maintain their own servers. The DNC sought out new tools from a variety of companies, and it settled on Google's BigQuery because, as Jennifer Kane, the DNC's product management lead, says, ''We don't have to wake up at 3 am to take care of Google's BigQuery. They've got that covered.''
The party raised $5 million from donors explicitly for this project, and the team spent the next several months setting up the new Data Warehouse, which they hope will be more reliable, and also more intuitive for smaller campaigns. In February the DNC began onboarding its first presidential campaign and recently held training sessions for Democratic data staffers from across the country.
''We get to hand the keys to a data Lamborghini to state legislative campaigns, and that never would have been possible before,'' Schuh Cort(C)s says. Vertica, she adds, will be officially laid to rest this summer.
Democratic Data TradingThe new warehouse is foundational to achieving one of the party's primary goals before 2020: the creation of a data exchange.
The Federal Election Commission prohibits coordination between campaigns and outside groups, which has traditionally meant that the candidate's campaign and its super PAC couldn't compare or intermingle the data each was collecting. But the GOP found a way around that rule, by creating a third-party organization called the Data Trust in 2011. This company sits outside the party and acts as a sort of data clearinghouse. A variety of Republican groups license their data to the Trust, which enables other groups to purchase access to it without violating FEC regulations.
After the 2016 election, Schuh Cort(C)s says, Democrats began viewing this model as a competitive advantage for Republicans. ''When you only have access to half of the picture of all of the voter file contact happening, you make decisions based on what you know,'' she says. ''Having the data exchange in place opens up the whole other half of all the investments being made in voter contact.''
Niemira hopes that will help with, as Clinton put it, the ''mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong'' quality of the DNC's data. ''Yes, the data's bad. If you've talked to anybody who's phone banked for any kind of Democratic candidate at any point in time, you will see that,'' he says, noting that Democrats have a habit of knocking on dead people's doors. ''That kind of issue will be solved by the exchange, because it's about better information moving back and forth between sides.''
''The agreement to exchange data will mean that one door knock in Iowa can benefit the entire ecosystem.''
Howard Dean
But state party officials, who manage their states' voter files, were initially reluctant to give up control of the party's most precious resource. In the end, the party struck a compromise: The data itself would be housed within the DNC. The data exchange would merely track who's giving and taking what information and build the pipes that connect the data sets. The creation of a new Data Warehouse, Schuh Cort(C)s says, means those pipes have something stable to plug into. ''That inflow of data would have crashed [Vertica] on day one,'' she says.
In February, the DNC announced that former Vermont governor Howard Dean would chair the exchange's board, with former Obama aide Jen O'Malley Dillon running the company day-to-day. ''The agreement to exchange data will mean that one door knock in Iowa can benefit the entire ecosystem,'' Dean told WIRED in a statement.
Just last week, however, Dillon announced she was taking on the role of campaign manager for Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke's presidential bid. Now, questions remain about what progress is being made on the exchange and, most importantly, who will run it going forward. Dillon didn't respond to WIRED's requests for comment.
The DNC's Digital FutureThere's little question among Democratic operatives that the party's fundamental data infrastructure was in desperate need of an upgrade. But having a data repository that's merely functional is hardly enough. For one thing, there's a growing awareness that Democrats also need to rethink their approach to digital advertising.
In 2016 the Trump campaign drastically outspent the Clinton campaign on platforms like Facebook. Trump's then-digital director and current campaign manager Brad Parscale has argued that Facebook was the reason Trump won. Now, according to recently compiled numbers on presidential digital advertising, history is threatening to repeat itself. ''They're spending more money than the Democratic field combined, which should scare everybody on the left,'' Slaby says of the Trump campaign. Not only that, the Trump campaign has a substantial head start, having appointed Parscale as campaign manager just one year after President Trump took office.
Krikorian uses a dashboard to track those same advertising numbers. ''Everyone else is being dwarfed by the amount of spending he's been doing,'' he says. ''That definitely has me worried.''
Niemira also has concerns about whether the new data warehouse will be accessible enough to campaign staffers who don't know how to code, given that it still requires at least some programming skills. That could be a significant hurdle, he says, for the many local data directors who are essentially efficient field staffers who got a promotion. Given how limited technical capacity is within the party, Niemira believes it's critical for Democrats to build tools that the average field staffer can access easily. (His company, Acronym, is building one such tool.) ''In order to be successful in 2020 and beyond, we have to figure out a way to get low-skill users to be able to pull this data around the ecosystem,'' he says.
Then there's the fact that the party still isn't collecting much digital data in any sort of standard way. To figure out whose door to knock on or who to target with an ad, Democrats have relied for years on the voter file, as well as information on past voter contacts that flows from a field organizing tool called VoteBuilder. But the past few years have seen a wave of new digital products emerge for Democrats and a cloud of what Mook calls ''digital exhaust'' spewing forth from social media platforms. It's not clear whether either party fully knows what to do with it yet.
''Both parties are wrestling right now with figuring out how to take the enormous amount of data that exists in the ecosystem, what people are posting on social media and other social, digital breadcrumbs '... and use it to get better insights about who might support which candidates,'' Mook says. ''The problem for the Democratic Party right now is that until we get this basic infrastructure completed, we're not even in a position to advance in that competition.''
Krikorian has spent the past year and a half trying to get that infrastructure in place'--and working to make sure that the 2020 Democratic nominee doesn't have the same gripes about the party's data that Clinton had. He's recruited a diverse team of technologists from the private sector, and he says the candidates being interviewed to replace him come from ''really large tech companies.'' He admits that whoever that person is will have their work cut out for them, but at least now, he says, ''I really feel like it's actually all possible.''
Updated 4-2-19, 9:03 am EDT: This story has been updated to correct Jennifer Kane's job title. She is the DNC's product management lead, not project management lead.
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FAQ - Organizing Corps 2020
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 18:06
Through trainings and in-the-field practice, you will learn how to register voters, recruit volunteers, set-up a campaign office, host a house party, organize your community, use the newest data and digital tools to maximize your efforts.
DNC Launches New Program: Organizing Corps 2020
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 18:04
Posted on February 21, 2019
DNC, 270 Strategies, The Collective, and 7 Democratic state parties will trainorganizers, focused on young people of color, a historically early DNC investmentThe Democratic National Committee and state Democratic parties in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, in partnership with 270 Strategies and The Collective, today announced the launch of Organizing Corps 2020, a program to recruit and train students expecting to graduate by June 2020 and place them as field organizers in key states.
Organizing Corps 2020 will help build the grassroots infrastructure needed to defeat Donald Trump, while investing in the next generation of Democratic leaders '-- focusing on students from communities of color who have been traditionally underrepresented among political campaign staff.
With a structured college-to-career pipeline for organizing, Organizing Corps 2020 will recruit juniors in the spring of 2019 from local colleges, including HBCUs, in a number of states where Democrats fell short in 2016 and need to be competitive in the 2020 general election. These students will work on state party priorities in an eight-week, on-the-ground training program with campaign veterans, who will teach them critical organizing and campaign skills such as voter registration, data analysis, and digital organizing. After the training program, Corps members will return to their campuses and communities to put their organizing skills to work. By May 2020, nearly 1,000 Corps members will graduate ready to help elect the Democratic nominee and Democrats up and down the ticket in several key 2020 states.
''We know that the key to defeating Donald Trump in 2020 is to organize early and put the best team in place to motivate Democratic voters to make their voices heard,'' said DNC Chair Tom Perez. ''Organizing Corps 2020 will build a powerful pipeline of young talent '-- energized Democrats who reflect the diversity of their communities. This new organizing program will help us recruit organizers who will become our future leaders and grow the party, win more elections up and down the ticket, and build the organizing infrastructure our nominee will need to take back the Oval Office.''
''The pace of the primaries typically leaves no time for training or skill building in preparation for the general election campaign,'' said Meg Ansara, CEO of 270 Strategies and a veteran of the presidential campaigns of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. ''The Organizing Corps 2020 program will give us a skill advantage in online and on-the-ground organizing, data and voter engagement by training homegrown field organizers well ahead of the general election in must-win states.''
''It's critical that young people of color are engaged as not only a core Democratic voting bloc but as pivotal organizers needed to mobilize their communities to the polls in 2020,'' said Stefanie Brown James, Co-Founder of The Collective and former National African American Vote Director for Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. ''Through a culturally rich curriculum and relevant training from respected community leaders, Organizing Corps 2020 will help propel the young people in the program to make a significant contribution to the Democrats' success in 2020 while preparing them to hold increasing positions of influence as campaign staffers and within the Democratic Party structure.''
'Organizing Corps 2020' will be led by campaign veterans: Executive Director Rachel Haltom-Irwin, Chief Program Officer Jonae Wartel, Chief Operating Officer Naoko Kudo, and Senior Development Advisor Yolanda Magallanes.
The Organizing Corps 2020 program is only one piece of DNC's battleground plan, but a key part of the infrastructure the DNC and state parties have been developing to support the presidential nominee and Democratic campaigns all across the country. The program builds on state party organizing and DNC investments in all 50 states that led to historic Democratic victories in the midterm elections. Just last week, the DNC announced a data and tech overhaul that will help Democrats reach and communicate better with voters all across this country.
Organizing Corps 2020 will be led by campaign veterans:
Rachel Haltom-Irwin, Executive Director. Rachel got her start in 2002 organizing on a state Senate race in Massachusetts. She has worked on issue and electoral campaigns as well as spending five years working in K-12 education. She was GOTV Director for Jon Tester in 2006, the Iowa Youth Vote Director in 2007-08 for Senator Obama, the General Election Director in Indiana in 2008, the White House Internship Director in 2009, and the National GOTV Director in 2012 for President Obama.
Jonae Wartel, Chief Program Officer. Jonae began her career as an organizer on Barack Obama's 2008 & 2012 campaigns. One of her earliest national roles was as the training director and then executive director of the Association of State Democratic Chairs where she lead party-building efforts for the Democratic National Committee; engaging all 57 state parties. In her role as training director; she developed and led the Democratic National Committee's first ever national training program for state parties. Most recently she served as Southern Regional Director for the Democratic National committee, developing regional strategy and managing electoral investments in 13 states. Originally from Marietta, GA; she has had the great fortune of living and working all over the country.
Naoko Kudo, Chief Operating Officer. Naoko started her career in the private sector as a financial planning analyst with Gap Inc. before leaving to join Senator Obama's campaign, serving as a field organizer at Temple University and in North Philadelphia's 20th Ward. Naoko has spent the last 10 years working in the education and non-profit sectors serving as a school leader, operations leader and most recently, as a founding team member at The Primary School, a new program model in East Palo Alto, CA that weaves together education, health and family supports .
Yoli Magallanes, Senior Development Advisor. With over a decade in fundraising experience, Yoli has worked with advocacy groups and political candidates to raise the resources needed to run effective campaigns, both at the major donor and grassroots level. Yoli has worked for Organizing for Action, the 2012 Presidential Inaugural Committee, Obama for America, and launched her career with The Ashmead Group directly supporting Governor Ted Strickland, Senator Mark Udall and Congresswoman Doris Matsui.
Corps members can earn $4,000 gaining valuable career skills in leadership, project management and communication while experiencing the exciting and rewarding field of campaign work.
The program kicks off with a five-day national training led by campaign veterans, where corps members will learn key skills in field and digital organizing, and data analytics.
For the remaining 7 weeks, corps members will, with the help of a coach, return to their home communities and work with their local Democratic Party to turn their training into on-the-ground learning through action '' organizing neighborhoods and registering voters. In the process, corps members will build a powerful network of like-minded peers and mentors from across the country that will last beyond 2020.
The summer 2019 corps experience will give young people the skills and tools to organize their community and '' importantly '' get a great first job fighting to win across the country in 2020.
Organizing Corps 2020 will recruit students from seven states that are crucial in providing a pathway to 270 with four key characteristics '-- these are states that are not a focus in the primary season; have had close margins in the past; will benefit from skilled field staffing; and have an expanding electorate.
Democratic National Committee
Tamagotchi On lets you put a ring on it with new breedable pets
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 17:49
Keychain craze Tamagotchi has been making a comeback almost as long as it's been around, as the digital pets have the addictive power of Pok(C)mon without the need for battling gameplay. It's just been time to feed them for the past few years. Now, Bandai America isn't just re-releasing the standard toy, but giving nostalgic pet owners another chance with its latest installation of the Tamagotchi franchise, Tamagotchi On.
According to Variety, Tamagotchi On made its big announcement today, revealing all the pet-rearing features that fans have come to love from the toys (feeding and playing with a creature as it grows up from an egg) plus a few newfangled bells and whistles. There's a companion app for Tamagotchi On that allows pet owners to get into holiday events, games, and more intense communications with friends like trading gifts and marrying each others' Tamagotchis.
The latter ability introduces crossbreeding to the series, which allows physical traits to be passed down from virtual generation to virtual generation. If you thought people that bred Pok(C)mon for the stats were intense, wait until people are breeding Tamagotchis for the perfect nose.
Gamers can also earn Gotchi Points for use at an in-game store, presumably to buy some of those gifts we mentioned earlier. With all these new features '-- including that matrimony-focused breeding mechanic '-- exciting fans, it's no wonder that so many are expressing their joy on social media.
Take a look:
Fans can pre-order Tamagotchi On now through Amazon, though they're expected to ship out on August 15.
Video of The Deadly Class Cast Nerds Out On Halo And Tamagotchi (OG Nerd Obsession) | SYFY WIRE
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New Tamagotchi is larger, full-color and retails for $60 - CBS News
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 17:44
Tamagotchis now in full color
The tamagotchi, a virtual pet that first became popular in the late 1990s, is getting re-released with a full-color screen.The original version became known for its all-consuming time demands and propensity to die suddenly.More than 82 million tamagotchis have been sold in the toy's lifetime.Hold the nostalgia: Tamagotchis, the original cyberpet that was all the rage in 1997, are getting a remake with 2019 technology. The egg-shaped electronic toy is being re-released as the Tamagotchi On, a full-color version with a larger screen that interacts with other tamagotchi devices.
The original black-and-white tamagotchi was introduced in 1996 and quickly swept elementary schools and boardrooms, selling one toy every 15 minutes at the peak of its popularity. The virtual critters mimicked eating, pooping, playing and dying, but they became notorious mostly for dying -- when they weren't hogging their owners' time and infuriating teachers.
The fad led some schools to ban them outright. And a Massachusetts company in 1998 started a tamagotchi "day care" service to mind cyberpets of its employees' kids.
My kid left her tamagotchi at home today and I swear to god if I have to feed this thing one more time I'm demanding parental leave
'-- Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) May 29, 2019The Tamagotchi On lets users "breed" two characters to create an offspring with unique traits, said Bandai, the manufacturer. It can also connect to other tamagotchi devices via Bluetooth, allowing characters to travel, play or even marry each other and create new characters. It includes has a virtual "day care" feature that lets owners pause play without risking sudden death.
The Tamagotchi On comes in four color options and two different worlds'--Fairies and Magic. Bandai America The classic tamagotchi never went away -- it remains popular in Japan and got a 20th-anniversary relaunch in the States two years ago. But many American fans are excited for the more full-featured version. Jose Placeres, a 29-year-old graphic designer and animator who fell in love with the original toy at age 8, compared Tamagotchi On to a "less intrusive" version of Pokemon Go.
"It would be really cool to be going along your day and randomly stopping by to sync your pet with a stranger for a play date or to send each other items," he told CBS News via email. "As a fan who has been waiting over 10 years for a new tamagotchi in English, I am beyond excited for this release."
Placeres started an Etsy store for tamagotchi accessories late last year. But he had barely any sales until last month, when the toy's maker announced a new version. "We definitely went from our shop sales being nonexistent and having to take down items from our shop that were expiring, to now receiving several inquiries for custom items daily, as well as having multiple orders overnight," he said.
He's not the only one. Tama-Palace, a site for tamagotchi fans, said visits increased 150% last month when the new Tama was announced. The site's owner called it "every Tamagotchi fan's dream."
Tamagotchi On, which retails for $59.99, hits stores July 28. It can be pre-ordered now from Target, Amazon, GameStop and Urban Outfitters.
Dutch news aggregate website Blendle ditches pay-per-article service - DutchNews.nl - Live
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 17:25
Dutch digital news aggregator Blendle is to stop selling individual news articles for 'quarters' and will focus instead on its premium subscription service.
Blendle launched in 2014 as an online news platform that collected articles from a variety of newspapers and magazines and sold them on a pay-per-article basis.
In 2017 the company launched its premium service which provides readers with pre-selected article suggestions and magazine access for '‚¬10 a month.
'Nine in 10 start-ups are dead within a year, but we are still around five years on,' Klopping is quoted as saying in the AD. 'I lead a team of 50, we have 60,000 subscribers and 100,000 people who pay per article. But I have to be honest. We are still not making a profit.'
Blendle has attracted considerable outside investment since it was founded. Last year investors, BookSpot, a unit of Novamedia and the Danish entrepreneur Morten Strunge invested a combined '‚¬4m in the company.
The New York Times and Germany's Axel Springer (Bild, Die Welt) invested '‚¬3m in 2015 while in 2017, Japan's Nikkei, which owns the Financial Times, and the Amsterdam investment club Inkef put an undisclosed sum into the company.
DutchNews.nl has been free for 12 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Donate via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.
African Swine Fever: A Threat You Can't Ignore | Pork Business
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 17:20
( )
African swine fever (ASF) is a threat to the U.S. pork industry that Dr. Daniel Hendrickson, DVM, takes very seriously. Hendrickson owns Stoney Creek Veterinary Service in Farmland, Ind., a part of Four Star Veterinary Service.
He believes that the United States is taking great strides to keep the ASF virus out, from border protection to feed companies closely monitoring where they source their ingredients.
''If we do get it in the U.S., I feel that we are in a very good place because of what we learned from PEDV,'' he said. ''In Indiana, the experiences we have had with highly pathogenic avian influenza and how that virus was dealt with, from quarantine zones to how they eliminated the virus, has prepared us to combat ASF if we do get it here.''
He encourages pork producers to make sure their premise ID is correct and to doublecheck that the premise ID is for the actual physical address of where those pigs are located.
''If a foreign animal disease gets into the U.S. or another disease flares up and gets more severe in the U.S., this is how they will be able to track disease and track where those animals were located and where they came from. That is going to give us the biggest success to be able to shut down any disease, quarantine it and eradicate it from the U.S.,'' Hendrickson said.
Schumer Tries to Be Sarcastic after Mexico Deal Announcement...It Doesn't Work! - Sara A. Carter
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 16:58
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) predicted that Trump would cave and find a reason to revoke his tariff threat towards Mexico.
Last Tuesday Schumer said on the Senate floor that he expects Trump to back off his call to levy tariffs on Mexican imports.
''Frankly, I don't believe President Trump will actually go through with the tariffs,'' Schumer said in his remarks.
''President Trump has a habit of proposing asinine and dangerous policies before backing off,'' he added.
After the last night announcement of the Mexico deal, Sen. Schumer tried to be sarcastic with a twitter message:
This is an historic night!
@realDonaldTrump has announced that he has cut a deal to ''greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States.''
Now that that problem is solved, I'm sure we won't be hearing any more about it in the future.
This is an historic night!@realDonaldTrump has announced that he has cut a deal to ''greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States.''
Now that that problem is solved, I'm sure we won't be hearing any more about it in the future. https://t.co/DNNfbevkGP
'-- Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) June 8, 2019
Podcast Advertising Rates 2019
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 16:15
AdvertiseCast Marketplace Podcast Advertising Rates
Rates updated June 1, 2019
Here are the average rates based on all active listings within AdvertiseCast's marketplace. Podcast audience size is determined by how many downloads each episode receives on average over a 30 day period. CPM is cost per mille or cost per 1,000 listeners. Please note these are marketplace averages. To see specific ad spot pricing for a podcast, please visit their
listing page.
Reporting Data for 1,213 Podcasts Listeners Per Episode 30-Second Ad CPM 60-Second Ad CPM {{ rate.label }} {{ rate[30] | currency:$:0 }} {{ getChange(rate, 30) | currency:$:2 }} {{ rate[60] | currency:$:0 }} {{ getChange(rate, 60) | currency:$:2 }}
Oh, great, old-media people are supposed to fix digital media (again): Publisher's Brief | AdAge
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 15:06
Welcome to the latest edition of Ad Age Publisher's Brief, our roundup of news from the world of content producers across digital and print. Got a tip? Send it our way. Joining us late? Here's the previous edition.
So... who can fix publishing in the age of the Google-Facebook duopoly that's been sucking up all the digital ad dollars? Let's see now. If you're Bryan Goldberg, CEO of the Bustle Digital Group, apparently you think inky veterans will be able to pull it off.
Twice in a row now, BDG has installed magazine-world execs to lead its digital properties. In March, Goldberg announced he was hiring Dan Peres, the former editor-in-chief of men's magazine Details, which Cond(C) Nast shut down in late 2015, to reboot Gawker, the remains of which BDG acquired at auction. (The date of the relaunch has yet to be announced.) And then this week Goldberg lured Elle Executive Editor Emma Rosenblum to lead his ''lifestyle'' brands, including flagship Bustle, Elite Daily and Romper, as group editor-in-chief.
Dan Peres, before Details, was at W magazine and the trade newspaper Women's Wear Daily (W's corporate sibling at the time), following stints at The New York Times and Esquire earlier in his career. I worked for Dan for roughly a decade'--I was a contributing editor (a contract writer) for his Details'--and I can tell you he wasn't exactly ever regarded as, you know, a web-savvy guy by anyone at Cond(C). In fact, the Details website was such an afterthought that when the magazine shut down, Cond(C) didn't even really bother porting the content on Details.com over to the URL it was redirected to: GQ.com.
Meanwhile, Rosenblum is also a print person through and through, having worked at titles such as Bloomberg Businessweek, Glamour and New York Magazine before rising to the No. 2 job at Elle.
(Side note: a lot of digital-media natives'--particularly a number of former Gawker writers'--are no fans of Goldberg; see Gawker headlines such as ''Who Gave This Asshole $6.5 Million to Launch a Bro-Tastic Lady Site?'' back in the day.)
Hilariously, Goldberg told WWD this week that, ''There's no doubt, no question, that we view ourselves as the successor to Cond(C) Nast and Hearst.''
Meanwhile, over at Cond(C) Nast and Hearst, traditional-media people are a dispossessed lot.
Cond(C) barely seems to want people to know that it's still, primarily, a glossy media publisher. It's been selling off print brands (W and Golf Digest, most recently), just brought in a new global CEO'--former Pandora chief Roger Lynch'--with no publishing background, and spent the recent Digital Content NewFronts hyping itself as ''the new prime time'' (i.e., it wants to be known for its digital video programming).
And at Hearst, digital people have been taking over as the bosses of brands such as Cosmopolitan under new Hearst Magazines chief Troy Young, who was previously the magazine division's digital czar.
So here's where we are in the media ecosystem right now: Traditional-media people are expected to fix digital-publishing companies'--much like what happened in 2010 and 2011 when The Huffington Post poached a bunch of veteran journalists from the likes of The New York Times. (How'd that ultimately work out? Um.) And digital-media people are supposed to be fixing traditional-media companies.
Good luck, y'all! God bless us, everyone.
Entertainment'... something.Talk about burying the lead. Three paragraphs into today's press release from Meredith Corporation about how it's undertaking a ''reimagining of the Entertainment Weekly brand,'' there's this sentence:
The August issue will mark Entertainment Weekly's first as a monthly and is timed to Comic Con, the largest celebration of the contribution of comics to art and culture.
And then at the very end of the release:
The last issue of Entertainment Weekly in its current print form will be the July 5 issue on sale June 25.
People Deputy Editor J.D. Heyman has been named the new editor-in-chief, replacing Henry Goldblatt. And for now, at least, Meredith intends to keep using the Entertainment Weekly brand name and the EW.com URL.
Briefly:This is war: ''Madonna Says That New York Times Profile Made Her 'Feel Raped,''' per New York Magazine's Vulture.
Zinio sells: ''Fiji Water founder David Gilmour has sold Zinio, a pioneer in the sale of magazine subscriptions on digital platforms, to software company Naviga for an undisclosed price,'' the New York Post's Keith Kelly reports.
And finally'...Now it's Bernie's turn to front Time magazine:
Ocasio-Cortez: $10 trillion needed for effective climate plan | TheHill
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 14:19
Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Alexandria Ocasio-CortezLawmakers push to block pay raises for members of Congress Lawmakers push to block pay raises for members of Congress Ocasio-Cortez: I never thought one of my first legislative pushes would be alongside Ted Cruz MORE (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that any plan to sufficiently address the climate crisis will need to cost at least $10 trillion.
''I think we really need to get to $10 trillion to have a shot,'' the progressive firebrand said in response to a question from The Hill in the Capitol.
''I know it's a ton," she added. "I don't think anyone wants to spend that amount of money, it's not a fun number to say, I'm not excited to say we need to spend $10 trillion on climate, but ... it's just the fact of the scenario.''
Ocasio-Cortez, who helped popularize a set of principles known as the Green New Deal, said that of all the climate plans from the Democratic presidential candidates, she was most supportive of proposals from Gov. Jay Inslee Jay Robert InsleeMembers petition DNC chairman to hold presidential debate on climate change Members petition DNC chairman to hold presidential debate on climate change Governors pick fights with DNC over 2020 primary debates MORE (Wash.), which surpassed $5 trillion, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren Elizabeth Ann WarrenMembers petition DNC chairman to hold presidential debate on climate change Members petition DNC chairman to hold presidential debate on climate change Biden World shell-shocked amid Hyde furor MORE (Mass.), which included a $2 trillion green manufacturing element.
She said she was also encouraged that 2020 Democratic front-runner Joe Biden Joe BidenAlyssa Milano urged Biden to reverse stance on Hyde Amendment: reports Alyssa Milano urged Biden to reverse stance on Hyde Amendment: reports Overnight Health Care: Biden camp defends amid Hyde backlash | Ebola outbreak may last 2 years | Feds target vaping companies over social media 'influencers' MORE had put out a $5 trillion climate plan, though she criticized the former vice president's proposal for having less-ambitious goals and timelines than others.
All the plans in question could go further, however, she added.
''I think the entire field of climate plans still needs to be pushed,'' she said. ''I think it just needs to be pushed in terms of the scientific scale, that is scientifically supported in what we need to solve this problem.''
Ocasio-Cortez, whose backing would be a prize for 2020 Democrats seeking the progressive vote, acknowledged that her climate plan price tag would be derided as unrealistic, but argued that it was in line with the scale of the threat.
''It's not popular, it's not politically popular. People are going to call it unrealistic, and I just don't think people understand how bad the problem is,'' she said.
Give up your cellphone password or go to jail -- Society's Child -- Sott.net
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 14:12
(C) Max Guther / for NBC News As police now routinely seek access to people's cellphones, privacy advocates see a dangerous erosion of Americans' rights, with courts scrambling to keep up.
"The world should know that what they're doing out here is crazy," said a man who refused to share his passcode with police.
William Montanez is used to getting stopped by the police in Tampa, Florida, for small-time traffic and marijuana violations; it's happened more than a dozen times. When they pulled him over last June, he didn't try to hide his pot, telling officers, "Yeah, I smoke it, there's a joint in the center console, you gonna arrest me for that?"
They did arrest him, not only for the marijuana but also for two small bottles they believed contained THC oil - a felony - and for having a firearm while committing that felony (they found a handgun in the glove box).
Then things got testy.
As they confiscated his two iPhones, a text message popped up on the locked screen of one of them: "OMG, did they find it?"
The officers demanded his passcodes, warning him they'd get warrants to search the cellphones. Montanez suspected that police were trying to fish for evidence of illegal activity. He also didn't want them seeing more personal things, including intimate pictures of his girlfriend.
So he refused, and was locked up on the drug and firearms charges.
(C) Courtesy of William Montanez William Montanez
Five days later, after Montanez was bailed out of jail, a deputy from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office tracked him down, handed him the warrants and demanded the phone passcodes. Again, Montanez refused. Prosecutors went to a judge, who ordered him locked up again for contempt of court.
"I felt like they were violating me. They can't do that," Montanez, 25, recalled recently. "F--- y'all. I ain't done nothing wrong. They wanted to get in the phone for what?"
He paid a steep price, spending 44 days behind bars before the THC and gun charges were dropped, the contempt order got tossed and he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor pot charge. And yet he regrets nothing, because he now sees his defiance as taking a stand against the abuse of his rights.
"The world should know that what they're doing out here is crazy," Montanez said. The police never got into his phones.
While few would choose jail, Montanez's decision reflects a growing resistance to law enforcement's power to peer into Americans' digital lives. The main portals into that activity are cellphones, which are protected from prying eyes by encryption, with passcodes the only way in.
As police now routinely seek access to people's cellphones, privacy advocates see a dangerous erosion of Americans' rights, with courts scrambling to keep up.
"It's becoming harder to escape the reach of police using technology that didn't exist before," said Riana Pfefferkorn, the associate director of surveillance and cybersecurity at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. "And now we are in the position of trying to walk that back and stem the tide."
While courts have determined that police need a warrant to search a cellphone, the question of whether police can force someone to share a passcode is far from settled, with no laws on the books and a confusing patchwork of differing judicial decisions. Last month, the Indiana Supreme Court heard arguments on the issue. The state supreme courts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are considering similar cases.
As this legal battle unfolds, police keep pursuing new ways of breaking into cellphones if the owners don't cooperate - or are enlisting help from technology firms that can do it for them. This has put them at odds with cellphone makers, all of whom continually update their products to make them harder for hackers or anyone else to break into.
But the hacking techniques are imperfect and expensive, and not all law enforcement agencies have them. That is why officials say compelling suspects to unlock their cellphones is essential to police work. Making the tactic more difficult, they say, would tilt justice in favor of criminals.
"It would have an extreme chilling effect on our ability to thoroughly investigate and bring many, many cases, including violent offenses," said Hillar Moore, the district attorney in East Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who got the FBI's help in breaking into a cellphone belonging to a suspect in a deadly Louisiana State University fraternity hazing ritual. "It would basically shut the door."
Clashes over passcodes
In the part of Florida where Montanez lives, authorities are guided by a case involving an upskirt photo.
A young mother shopping at a Target store in Sarasota in July 2014 noticed a man taking a picture of her with his phone while crouching on the floor. She confronted him. He fled. Two days later, police arrested Aaron Stahl and charged him with video voyeurism.
Authorities got a search warrant for Stahl's iPhone, but he wouldn't give them the passcode, citing his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. A trial judge ruled in his favor, but a state appellate court reversed the decision in December 2016, saying Stahl had to provide the code. Facing the possibility of getting convicted at trial and sentenced to prison, Stahl agreed to plead no contest in exchange for probation.
While Stahl did not provide the passcode in the end, prosecutors still rely on the precedent established by the appellate ruling to compel others to turn over their passcodes under the threat of jail.
"Up until that point you could be a pedophile or a child pornogropher and carry around the fruits of your crime in front of law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges and taunt them with fact that they couldn't get the passcode," said Cynthia Meiners, who prosecuted Stahl at the 12th Judicial Circuit State's Attorney's Office. "You could say, 'I'm a child pornographer and it's on my phone but I'm not giving you my passcode because I would be incriminating myself.'"
But that ruling only holds in a few counties of Florida. Elsewhere in the country, skirmishes remain unresolved.
In Indiana, police officials are trying to force a woman to share her passcode as they investigate her for harassment, saying she was making it impossible for them to obtain key evidence. The woman's lawyer says authorities haven't said what evidence they think is in the phone, raising concerns about a limitless search.
Her appeals reached the state Supreme Court, whose ruling could influence similar cases around the country. Attorneys general in eight other states filed a brief in support of the police, warning against a ruling that "drastically alters the balance of power between investigators and criminals."
The stakes are similar in New Jersey, where a sheriff's deputy accused of tipping off drug dealers to police activities has refused to hand over passcodes to his iPhones. The state Supreme Court agreed in May to hear the case.
These clashes aren't limited to the use of passcodes. Police have also tried to force people to open phones through biometrics, such as thumbprints or facial recognition. Legal experts see the Fifth Amendment argument against self-incrimination as more of a stretch in those cases. The law has generally been interpreted as protecting data that someone possesses - including the contents of their mind, such as passcodes - but not necessarily their physical traits, such as thumbprints. Still, some judges have refused to sign warrants seeking permission to force someone to unlock their phone using their face or finger.
The rules on compelled decryption are more lenient at the U.S. border, where federal agents have given themselves wide authority to search the phones of people entering the country '-- and have reportedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on third-party hacking tools.
"Depending on where you are in the country, there is different case law on what police can do," said Andrew Crocker, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties nonprofit.
In some states, there is no authoritative court ruling, leaving law enforcement authorities to decide for themselves. Virginia falls into that category. Bryan Porter, the prosecutor in the city of Alexandria, said he has told local police it's OK to try to force someone under the threat of jail to open a cellphone by thumbprint or face. But demanding a password seems to go too far, he said.
Criminals shouldn't be able to inoculate themselves from investigations, Porter said. "But it kind of rubs me the wrong way to present a piece of paper to someone and say, 'Give us your passcode.'"
'What they were doing to me was illegal'
In Tampa, Florida, where Montanez was arrested last year, judges still rely on the 2016 ruling against Stahl by the Second District Court of Appeals. That is what prosecutors cited when they tried to force Montanez to give up his passcodes.
But Montanez's lawyer, Patrick Leduc, argued that, unlike Stahl's case, police had no reason to search the phone, because it had no connection to the offenses he was charged with. The "OMG, did they find it?" text message - which turned out to be from Montanez's mother, who owned the car and the gun in the glove box - was meaningless, Leduc said. He warned of a police "fishing expedition" in which authorities could search for anything potentially incriminating on his phone.
While sitting in lockup for contempt, Montanez's resolve not to give up his passcodes hardened. "What they were doing to me was illegal and I wasn't going to give them their business like that," he said.
"They told me I got the key to my freedom," he added. "But I was like, 'F--- that.'"
But the experience shook him. "I ain't the toughest guy in the world, but I can protect myself. But it was crazy," he said. "Bad food, fights here and there, people trying to take your food."
At the same time, the drugs and gun case against Montanez was crumbling. Laboratory tests on the suspected THC oil came back negative, voiding that felony charge and the gun charge related to it. That left prosecutors with only minor pot charges. But he remained in jail on the contempt charge while his lawyer and prosecutors negotiated a plea deal.
In August 2018, after Montanez had spent more than five weeks in jail for refusing to provide the passcode, an appellate court dismissed the contempt case on a technicality. The court invited prosecutors to try again, but by then the passcode's value had diminished. Instead, prosecutors allowed Montanez to plead no contest to misdemeanor drug charges and he was freed.
When he was released, Montanez carried a notoriety that made him feel unwelcome in his own neighborhood. He noticed people looking at him differently. He was banned from his favorite bar.
The police keep pulling him over, and he now fears them, he said. He finally left Tampa and lives in Pasco County, about an hour away.
"Yeah, I took a stand against them," he said. "But I lost all that time. I gotta deal with that, going to jail for no reason."
Hundreds of Illegal Aliens From Ebola-Stricken Congo Dumped in the Streets of San Antonio
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 14:06
by Cristina Laila June 7, 2019Photo via Jaleesa Irizarry
Hundreds of illegal aliens from ebola-stricken Democratic Republic of Congo were dumped in the streets of San Antonio, Texas this week.
The aliens didn't speak English and according to a local reporter, San Antonio is in desperate need for French speaking volunteers.
''City confirms hundreds of migrants from the Congo have arrived in SA. The city is in desperate need for French speaking volunteers,'' reported Jaleesa Irizarry of Kens 5 San Antonio.
BREAKING: City confirms hundreds of migrants from the Congo have arrived in SA. The city is in desperate need for French speaking volunteers. @kens5 #kens5 pic.twitter.com/YGhhG3ewR0
'-- Jaleesa Irizarry (@JaleesaReports) June 6, 2019
Large groups of illegal aliens from Angola, Cameroon and Ebola-stricken Congo were caught wading across the Rio Grande into the United States earlier this week.
How did they get to Mexico? Who's funding these groups of Africans??
The video shows men, women and children crossing the river in the dead of the night.
Border Patrol announced they apprehended 116 invaders from Africa on Thursday.
''Agents have encountered 182 large groups (100+ individuals) across the SW border this fiscal year. This is the first large group apprehended in Del Rio Sector this FY and the first large group apprehended on the SW border this FY consisting entirely of African nationals,'' CBP said in a statement.
U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to Del Rio Sector apprehended a large group of 116 individuals'--from Angola, Cameroon and Congo'--after they illegally crossed the Rio Grande River into the U.S. on Thursday: https://t.co/5VsJsD4nPF pic.twitter.com/HWGyVtzEC6
'-- CBP (@CBP) May 31, 2019
Another large group of African invaders were apprehended by Border Patrol this week and subsequently released into the streets of San Antonio and will be notified of a hearing.
Top 10 Conservative Podcasts to Download in 2019 - Liberty Nation
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 14:00
Had he lived in the 21st century, surely Shakespeare would have queried: ''To podcast, or not to podcast, that is the question.'' Certainly, Prince Hamlet could have followed up with, ''Sir, what top 10 conservative podcasts to download in 2019?''
Herein lies the answer.
Politically minded folks get their news in all sorts of forms nowadays. From the standard newspaper through to online publications, from video and TV through to social media. One of the fastest growing platforms is that of the long-form podcast (an extra 34 million Americans this year!) And why, pray tell, would this be? It's primarily because podcasts are extremely mobile and multi-task friendly '' both of which play into our current culture.
Conservatives are constantly seeking out reliable news and cutting-edge analysis, which is why LibertyNation.com has conducted a survey to determine the Top 10 Conservative Podcasts to download in 2019. So, if you don't currently podcast '' start with one of these and you'll be hooked for life. Drum roll, please!
Following on from our enormously popular Top 20 Conservative News Site poll, which saw more than 5,000 LN readers respond, we have put together the ultimate list of Conservative News Podcasts currently airing in 2019. LibertyNation.com has conducted an exhaustive survey of both our writers and readers in search of the best conservative podcasts among the thousands available. The results were somewhat surprising and certainly fascinating. But before we get to the Liberty Nation Top 10, we have a few thoughts to pass on to you.
Unlike most such lists, ours is not based on which sites are the most popular or have recorded the greatest number of downloads, but the ones which offer the highest quality of thought, engagement, and presentation.
We asked three LibertyNation.com authors* to contribute to this list. As well, we conducted an open poll for readers visiting LN to offer their evaluations. Over 10,000 readers responded to our survey. Which podcasts do they listen to the most? Which do they find the best-presented, the most compelling, the most impactful on their thinking?
We believe the joint verdict of those who produce conservative news/analysis/commentary and those who consume it makes our list the go-to portal for the liberty-minded.
# 10 Dan Carlin's Hardcore History
While not technically a conservative podcast, Dan Carlin's Hardcore History is one of the most engaging explorations of history ever recorded. Carlin brings to life the events and people of the past in a way that no one else seems to manage. Prepare to be educated and entertained.
# 9 Part of the Problem
Dave Smith hosts one of the most popular podcasts in the country. Part of the Problem covers government, current affairs, and foreign policy all from a libertarian perspective.
# 8 The Uprising
Hosted by Liberty Nation's own Scott D. Cosenza, The Uprising tackles the breaking and important news of the week in a lighthearted, engaging, and ofttimes heated program.
# 7 The Tom Woods Show
A liberty-minded podcast that covers economic topics, foreign policy, and history. The Tom Woods Show is a thoughtful discussion on issues that matter from a unique perspective.
# 6 The Rubin Report
While not primarily a podcast, The Rubin Report talk show is available as a downloadable podcast that covers politics and current affairs from a more libertarian perspective. Challenging debate positing honest talk without a partisan agenda.
# 5 The Federalist Podcast
Covering politics, culture, and everything in between, The Federalist Podcast is a smart exploration of the mind with some of the nation's biggest journalists, authors, and thinkers. In-depth conversation at its best.
# 4 The Joe Rogan Experience
The former Mixed Martial Arts host and actor Joe Rogan hosts one of the world's most popular podcasts of any genre. With marathon sessions, The Joe Rogan Experience has hosted guests from Twitter's Jack Dorsey to Infowars' Alex Jones.
# 3 No Agenda
Hosted by Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak, the No Agenda podcast is a real journey through the minds of the hosts. Often starting from wildly different topics, they cover everything from restaurants and counter-culture, all the way through to the burning political issues of our time.
# 2 The Ben Shapiro Show
Know for his sharp intellect and fierce debating skills, the eponymous host of The Ben Shapiro Show brings wit, wisdom, and his own unique perspective to the issues of the day. If you like hearing arguments destroyed and Shibboleths put out to pasture, this is the show for you.
# 1 The Dan Bongino Show
The undisputed number one podcast for those who like their liberty in audio form is The Dan Bongino Show. This show topped the polls of both LN authors and LN readers, making it the go-to source for all that's good in podcast entertainment. Bongino is a former NYPD cop, former Secret Service agent, and best-selling author; he brings together all of his experience to create one of the most engaging podcasts available today. Tackling hot issues and calling out the spin, prepare yourself for a no-holds-barred attack on hypocrisy and political machinations from both sides of the aisle.
Honorable Mentions for Up and Coming Podcasts:American Conservative University Podcast '' Debating lefties, humorous documentaries your thing? This podcast is gaining a solid following of young conservatives who love debate, fire, and fury.
The Rabbit Hole: Politics and Prose: History, myth, legend and modern politics, all rolled into one exciting podcast.
Prager U '' Presenting the ideas that Made America Great.
We hope you enjoyed our Top 10 Conservative Podcasts to Download in 2019. Let us know what your favorite podcast is in the comments below. Also, if you enjoy any of the ones we recommend, let us know that, too.
* LibertyNation.com authors participating in this survey: Mark Angelides, Jeff Charles, and Scott D. Cosenza.
Readers: Feel free to comment below. And remember to check out the web's best conservative news aggregator Whatfinger.com
Ohio jury awards $11 million to bakery owners targeted by Oberlin College student protests - Washington Times
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 13:48
The owners of an Ohio bakery who sued for libel after being targeted by student protests won Friday an $11 million verdict against Oberlin College.
A Lorain County jury ordered Oberlin to pay $11 million in compensatory damages to Gibson's Bakery, a local fixture since 1885 that was beset by protests and racism allegations after three black students were arrested for shoplifting the day after the 2016 presidential election.
''The jury saw that Oberlin College went out of their way to harm a good family and longtime business in their community for no real reason, and the jury said we aren't going to tolerate that in our community anymore,'' Owen Rarric, an attorney for the Gibsons, told Legal Insurrection.
The award, which could triple at Tuesday's hearing on punitive damages, came as a warning to universities that encourage social-justice activism as student protests spill from the campus to the local community.
''The verdict sends a strong message that colleges and universities cannot simply wind up and set loose student social justice warriors and then wash their hands of the consequences,'' said Cornell Law School professor William Jacobson, who runs the conservative Legal Insurrection website.
Bakery owners said they lost business after Oberlin students held protests accusing them of discrimination. The student Senate passed a resolution claiming Gibson's had ''a long history of racial profiling,'' and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo was accused of passing out an anti-Gibson's flier.
Students boycotted the bakery, while the college cut off and then resumed its contract for baked goods.
Oberlin argued it was not responsible for the students' actions. Meanwhile, the three students pleaded guilty to shoplifting and aggravated trespass while issuing statements absolving the bakery of racism.
In 2017, Gibson's sued the college for libel; tortious influence with business relationships and contracts, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, culminating in the nearly month-long trial in Elyria, Ohio.
''The students eventually pleaded guilty, but not before large protests and boycotts intended to destroy the bakery and defame the owners,'' Mr. Jacobson said. ''The jury appears to have accepted that Oberlin College facilitated the wrongful conduct against the bakery.''
Four generations of Gibsons react to their $11 million jury verdict against Oberlin College in defamation lawsuit after being falsely accused of racial profiling in arrest of black college student for shoplifting https://t.co/je7UjGpGT1 pic.twitter.com/w4odeC0Ifx
'-- Legal Insurrection (@LegInsurrection) June 7, 2019 More than $11 million awarded to Gibson's Bakery in its lawsuit against @oberlincollege . Breaking and previous reporting, video: https://t.co/bjK4GaCk0w
'-- The Chronicle-Telegram (@YourChronicle) June 7, 2019In a Friday email to the college community, Oberlin general counsel Donica Thomas Varner said the college was ''disappointed'' with the verdict and would determine how to proceed.
She insisted that the college and Ms. Raimondo ''worked to ensure that students' freedom of speech was protected and that the student demonstrations were safe and lawful.''
''As we have stated, colleges cannot be held liable for the independent actions of their students,'' Ms. Varner said. ''Institutions of higher education are obligated to protect freedom of speech on their campuses and respect students' decisions to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights. Oberlin College acted in accordance with these obligations.''
Mr. Rarric disagreed. ''The College kept saying we don't control our students,'' he said. ''But the jury told them we can tolerate some of this fro time to time, but not what you did this time.''
The jury's award included $3 million for Allyn W. Gibson; $5.8 million for his son David Gibson, and $2.3 million for Gibson Brothers.
David Gibson said afterward that the trial had taken a toll on the family and called the verdict ''a relief,'' as shown in video posted by the Elyria [Ohio] Chronicle-Telegram.
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Hugh Culverhouse: I gave the University of Alabama $26.5 million. I spoke out about abortion. They gave it back. - The Washington Post
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 13:41
School employees remove the name of Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. from a sign at the University of Alabama's School of Law in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Friday. (Blake Paterson/AP) By Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr.
June 7 at 6:50 PMHugh F. Culverhouse Jr. is an alternative and real estate investor and lawyer who resides in Miami.
I am proud to have been born and raised in Alabama. My family's roots run deep in the state and, for decades, we have been honored to celebrate that heritage by supporting the University of Alabama. It's where my father learned to practice law, which gave him the tools to succeed in America along with a strong understanding of right and wrong. Over the past 30 years, we have chosen to repay that debt and make use of our good fortune by supporting the university financially. I've long believed that the school served the public good by training the next generation of leaders and, last year, I made the decision to donate $26.5 million so that those leaders could flourish just as my family has.
My love for Alabama is exactly why I was so horrified to watch its lawmakers trample over the Constitution last month. The ban on abortion they passed wasn't just an attack against women, it was an affront to the rule of law itself. Part of being an American is engaging in public debate, and we can disagree over this issue. But the courts settled this matter a long time ago: Abortion is legal. So it was shocking to see legislators ignore this and pass a bill that turned women and health professionals into criminals, and it felt important to say so publicly.
I expected that speaking out would have consequences, but I never could have imagined the response from the University of Alabama, which on Friday said it would be returning my gift and removing my name from the law school. This decision will hurt future students. Less money will be available for scholarships, and there will be fewer resources for the school to use to educate young minds and help them grow.
It has been painful to witness administrators at the university choose zealotry over the well-being of its own students, but it's another example of the damage this attack on abortion rights will do to Alabama. The bill will not survive a court challenge, and likely will cost the state a great deal in court fees and other expenses that could be used to help its citizens. But for those who support it, that collateral damage doesn't even merit a passing thought. Total victory must be achieved, even if it means running roughshod over people's rights and harming students.
This isn't just about politics. I am an independent '-- not a Democrat or a Republican. But taking away a woman's right to make decisions about her own body isn't about politics, either; it's an act of oppression. This is a moment for people of conscience to take a stand and be prepared to speak out against the actions of lawmakers in states such as Alabama who want to roll back the clock to an era when women needed to risk their lives to get an abortion. That's why I have chosen to support the American Civil Liberties Union in its challenge of this unconscionable act. And I urge others to do so, too.
Until the action by the Board of Trustees to remove my name from the law school and to return my donation, I have been the largest donor in the history of the university, and my father's name still adorns the College of Business. Like me, he would have been saddened to see the self-destructive turn taken by lawmakers in the state he loved. During the 1950s, he was an officer with Planned Parenthood in Miami, and I am certain that he also would have spoken out against what has transpired in the Alabama legislature. Friday's decision is a charade, as the governor of Alabama, who signed the abortion bill into law, is a voting trustee of the university.
At the end of the day, the people who will be most harmed by the university's decision are those who need help the most. Fewer students will have scholarships that could provide resources for them to unlock their potential, and administrators have sent a message to young women that their agency is not respected or valued. And for what, to send a message that the school doesn't respect the very law it purports to teach?
My family remains committed to supporting students in reaching their true potential, and we are currently examining other alternatives to help fulfill this goal.
There will be no winners in the wake of the decision Alabama has made to attack the constitutional rights of women. The state will become more divided and isolated, and it will be people such as the future students of the University of Alabama law school who will suffer the consequences. Whether my name is taken down is unimportant, but I hope university administrators will contemplate all the names that will never appear on their admissions rolls, as well.
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Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg splits with billionaire boyfriend | Daily Mail Online
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 13:39
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has reportedly split with her billionaire beau as the social media giant continues to come under fire following a string of scandals.
Sandberg, 49, called it quits with Activation Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, 56, after three years together.
The couple had begun dating in 2016, a year after Sandberg's husband Dave Goldberg died in a freak treadmill accident while on vacation.
A source close to Sandberg and Kotick said the pair are 'very different people'.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has reportedly split with her billionaire beau Bobby Kotick as the social media giant continues to come under fire following a string of scandals
Sandberg, 49, called it quits with the Activation Blizzard CEO after three years together
'She's a left-wing Democrat who takes herself very seriously. He's a right-wing Republican who, if he wasn't a very, very successful businessman, he'd probably be a stand-up comedian,' the source told Page Six.
The source said that while Sandberg prefers to spend her weekends with her two children helping in a soup kitchen, Kotick 'likes flying helicopters'.
'Understandably, she is fully devoted to her children and work at the moment,' they added. 'Sheryl is under a huge amount of work stress right now.'
Sandberg defended her relationship with Kotick in 2017, saying there was a double standard when it came to how quickly widows or widowers get back to dating.
'Men date sooner, men date more, and women get judged more,' she told the Guardian. 'And, you know, obviously that's super unfair.'
A source close to Sandberg and Kotick said the pair are 'very different people', noting that she's a 'left-wing Democrat' while he's a 'right-wing Republican'
'I think I'm helping people remember that dating, for those who want to do it, is part of moving forward. If I could I would only date Dave. I just had that taken away from me.'
Once lauded for her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Sandberg has spent the last year on a very different kind of publicity tour.
The COO has been working overtime to try and help rehabilitate Facebook's image following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and Russia's use of the social media site in its 2016 election misinformation campaign.
Sandberg reportedly began spending 'more time safeguarding the company' following criticism from CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The couple had begun dating in 2016, a year after Sandberg's husband Dave Goldberg (pictured together) died in a freak treadmill accident while on vacation
Just last month she appeared on CBS This Morning to reveal that Facebook is partnering with the FBI and Homeland Security to combat any attempts to interfere with the 2020 presidential election.
Sandberg did not actually detail what Facebook, the FBI, or Homeland Security was doing to combat this issue, but did seem to suggest that those federal agencies were somehow to blame in part for Facebook's influx of Russian interlopers during the 2016 election by noting 'both of them are working on this in a way they never have before.'
Sandberg, in a very sincere tone, then stated: 'And we're all working together to protect. So I guess what I want you to know is...'
That is when a visibly annoyed Gayle King shut down Sandberg, interrupting her diatribe to declare: 'In less than ten seconds, Sheryl.'
The COO has also been working overtime to try and help rehabilitate Facebook's image following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and Russia's use of the social media site's platform in its 2016 election misinformation campaign
Just last month Sandberg appeared on CBS This Morning to reveal that Facebook is partnering with the FBI and Homeland Security to combat any attempts to interfere with the 2020 presidential election
Sandberg had been spinning her way around questions about Facebook for almost five minutes when she got that 10-second warning from King.
The interview came just one month after the man who killed 50 people in two New Zealand mosques was able to livestream the massacre on the social media site.
First up was a question about Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes' recent call for Facebook to be broken up, in an editorial where he described the behemoth as 'a monopoly that crowds out entrepreneurship and restricts consumer choice'.
Sandberg offered up a few vague and hollow remarks in response to that searing and specific statement from Hughes, saying: 'We're fundamentally changing how we run the company. We have massive teams in place whose whole job is to protect people's privacy, protect elections, go through our systems and find things.'
King then tried to get an actual answer out of Sandberg by interjecting: 'Yet it still keeps happening Sheryl. We know that Facebook has taken its knocks...but some people say it really hasn't changed.'
She then pointed out that when Hughes was on the program earlier in the week he said that Facebook was not just too big to fail, but too big to even care.
Given another very specific statement and criticism of the company, Sandberg paused for a moment, smiled, and once again started to spin.
'We made a commitment,' she said. 'Mark and I have said we're going to do everything it takes to fix these systems, and we believe we can do that.'
Here's how we can break up Big Tech '' Team Warren '' Medium
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 13:17
By Elizabeth Warren
Twenty-five years ago, Facebook, Google, and Amazon didn't exist. Now they are among the most valuable and well-known companies in the world. It's a great story '-- but also one that highlights why the government must break up monopolies and promote competitive markets.
In the 1990s, Microsoft '-- the tech giant of its time '-- was trying to parlay its dominance in computer operating systems into dominance in the new area of web browsing. The federal government sued Microsoft for violating anti-monopoly laws and eventually reached a settlement. The government's antitrust case against Microsoft helped clear a path for Internet companies like Google and Facebook to emerge.
The story demonstrates why promoting competition is so important: it allows new, groundbreaking companies to grow and thrive '-- which pushes everyone in the marketplace to offer better products and services. Aren't we all glad that now we have the option of using Google instead of being stuck with Bing?
Today's big tech companies have too much power '-- too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy. They've bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation.
I want a government that makes sure everybody '-- even the biggest and most powerful companies in America '-- plays by the rules. And I want to make sure that the next generation of great American tech companies can flourish. To do that, we need to stop this generation of big tech companies from throwing around their political power to shape the rules in their favor and throwing around their economic power to snuff out or buy up every potential competitor.
That's why my administration will make big, structural changes to the tech sector to promote more competition '-- including breaking up Amazon, Facebook, and Google.
How the new tech monopolies hurt small businesses and innovation
America's big tech companies provide valuable products but also wield enormous power over our digital lives. Nearly half of all e-commerce goes through Amazon. More than 70% of all Internet traffic goes through sites owned or operated by Google or Facebook.
As these companies have grown larger and more powerful, they have used their resources and control over the way we use the Internet to squash small businesses and innovation, and substitute their own financial interests for the broader interests of the American people. To restore the balance of power in our democracy, to promote competition, and to ensure that the next generation of technology innovation is as vibrant as the last, it's time to break up our biggest tech companies.
America's big tech companies have achieved their level of dominance in part based on two strategies:
Using Mergers to Limit Competition. Facebook has purchased potential competitors Instagram and WhatsApp. Amazon has used its immense market power to force smaller competitors like Diapers.com to sell at a discounted rate. Google has snapped up the mapping company Waze and the ad company DoubleClick. Rather than blocking these transactions for their negative long-term effects on competition and innovation, government regulators have waved them through.Using Proprietary Marketplaces to Limit Competition. Many big tech companies own a marketplace '-- where buyers and sellers transact '-- while also participating on the marketplace. This can create a conflict of interest that undermines competition. Amazon crushes small companies by copying the goods they sell on the Amazon Marketplace and then selling its own branded version. Google allegedly snuffed out a competing small search engine by demoting its content on its search algorithm, and it has favored its own restaurant ratings over those of Yelp.Weak antitrust enforcement has led to a dramatic reduction in competition and innovation in the tech sector. Venture capitalists are now hesitant to fund new startups to compete with these big tech companies because it's so easy for the big companies to either snap up growing competitors or drive them out of business. The number of tech startups has slumped, there are fewer high-growth young firms typical of the tech industry, and first financing rounds for tech startups have declined 22% since 2012.
With fewer competitors entering the market, the big tech companies do not have to compete as aggressively in key areas like protecting our privacy. And some of these companies have grown so powerful that they can bully cities and states into showering them with massive taxpayer handouts in exchange for doing business, and can act '-- in the words of Mark Zuckerberg '-- ''more like a government than a traditional company.''
We must ensure that today's tech giants do not crowd out potential competitors, smother the next generation of great tech companies, and wield so much power that they can undermine our democracy.
Restoring competition in the tech sector
America has a long tradition of breaking up companies when they have become too big and dominant '-- even if they are generally providing good service at a reasonable price.
A century ago, in the Gilded Age, waves of mergers led to the creation of some of the biggest companies in American history '-- from Standard Oil and JPMorgan to the railroads and AT&T. In response to the rise of these ''trusts,'' Republican and Democratic reformers pushed for antitrust laws to break up these conglomerations of power to ensure competition.
But where the value of the company came from its network, reformers recognized that ownership of a network and participating on the network caused a conflict of interest. Instead of nationalizing these industries '-- as other countries did '-- Americans in the Progressive Era decided to ensure that these networks would not abuse their power by charging higher prices, offering worse quality, reducing innovation, and favoring some over others. We required a structural separation between the network and other businesses, and also demanded that the network offer fair and non-discriminatory service.
In this tradition, my administration would restore competition to the tech sector by taking two major steps:
First, by passing legislation that requires large tech platforms to be designated as ''Platform Utilities'' and broken apart from any participant on that platform.
Companies with an annual global revenue of $25 billion or more and that offer to the public an online marketplace, an exchange, or a platform for connecting third parties would be designated as ''platform utilities.''
These companies would be prohibited from owning both the platform utility and any participants on that platform. Platform utilities would be required to meet a standard of fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory dealing with users. Platform utilities would not be allowed to transfer or share data with third parties.
For smaller companies (those with annual global revenue of between $90 million and $25 billion), their platform utilities would be required to meet the same standard of fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory dealing with users, but would not be required to structurally separate from any participant on the platform.
To enforce these new requirements, federal regulators, State Attorneys General, or injured private parties would have the right to sue a platform utility to enjoin any conduct that violates these requirements, to disgorge any ill-gotten gains, and to be paid for losses and damages. A company found to violate these requirements would also have to pay a fine of 5 percent of annual revenue.
Amazon Marketplace, Google's ad exchange, and Google Search would be platform utilities under this law. Therefore, Amazon Marketplace and Basics, and Google's ad exchange and businesses on the exchange would be split apart. Google Search would have to be spun off as well.
Second, my administration would appoint regulators committed to reversing illegal and anti-competitive tech mergers.
Current antitrust laws empower federal regulators to break up mergers that reduce competition. I will appoint regulators who are committed to using existing tools to unwind anti-competitive mergers, including:
Amazon: Whole Foods; ZapposFacebook: WhatsApp; InstagramGoogle: Waze; Nest; DoubleClickUnwinding these mergers will promote healthy competition in the market '-- which will put pressure on big tech companies to be more responsive to user concerns, including about privacy.
Protecting the future of the internet
So what would the Internet look like after all these reforms?
Here's what won't change: You'll still be able to go on Google and search like you do today. You'll still be able to go on Amazon and find 30 different coffee machines that you can get delivered to your house in two days. You'll still be able to go on Facebook and see how your old friend from school is doing.
Here's what will change: Small businesses would have a fair shot to sell their products on Amazon without the fear of Amazon pushing them out of business. Google couldn't smother competitors by demoting their products on Google Search. Facebook would face real pressure from Instagram and WhatsApp to improve the user experience and protect our privacy. Tech entrepreneurs would have a fighting chance to compete against the tech giants.
Of course, my proposals today won't solve every problem we have with our big tech companies.
We must give people more control over how their personal information is collected, shared, and sold '-- and do it in a way that doesn't lock in massive competitive advantages for the companies that already have a ton of our data.
We must help America's content creators '-- from local newspapers and national magazines to comedians and musicians '-- keep more of the value their content generates, rather than seeing it scooped up by companies like Google and Facebook.
And we must ensure that Russia '-- or any other foreign power '-- can't use Facebook or any other form of social media to influence our elections.
Those are each tough problems, but the benefit of taking these steps to promote competition is that it allows us to make some progress on each of these important issues too. More competition means more options for consumers and content creators, and more pressure on companies like Facebook to address the glaring problems with their businesses.
Healthy competition can solve a lot of problems. The steps I'm proposing today will allow existing big tech companies to keep offering customer-friendly services, while promoting competition, stimulating innovation in the tech sector, and ensuring that America continues to lead the world in producing cutting-edge tech companies. It's how we protect the future of the Internet.
We can get this done. We can make big, structural change. But it's going to take a grassroots movement, and it starts right now. Sign our petition if you agree, and let's get ready to fight hard together.
How Politicians and Scholars Turned Against Big Tech - The Atlantic
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 13:15
With enemies like these, the industry is going to need some friends.
Alexis C. Madrigal Jun 4, 2019 Stephen Lam / ReutersUpdated on June 5 at 12:39 p.m.
In October 2016, then-President Barack Obama hosted a miniature version of the blowout tech conference South by Southwest, which the White House called South by South Lawn. Obama, as The New York Times put it at the time, had ''brought Silicon Valley to Washington.'' He even hinted that if he hadn't been president, he might have become a venture capitalist. ''The conversations I have with Silicon Valley and with venture capital pull together my interests in science and organization in a way I find really satisfying,'' he said.
My, how times change! Most American politicians would not be caught consorting so openly with the technology industry these days. And now that Big Tech lacks top cover, government agencies are moving in. According to new reports, Google and Apple face deeper investigation by the Department of Justice, while the Federal Trade Commission takes on Amazon and Facebook.
At a broad ideological level, two things have happened. First, the idea of cyberspace, a transnational, individualistic, largely unregulated, and free place that was not exactly located in any governmental domain, has completely collapsed. Second, the mythology of tech as the carrier of progress has imploded, just as it did for the robber barons of the late 19th century, ushering in the trust-busting era. While Big Tech companies try to establish a new reason for their privileged treatment and existence (hint: screaming ''CHINA!''), they are vulnerable to attacks on their business practices that suddenly make sense.
But these changes did not occur in the ether among particles of discourse. Over the past three years, an ecosystem of tech opponents has emerged and gained strength. Here's a catalog of the coalition that has pulled tech from the South Lawn into the trenches.
Angry Conservatives: The biggest change, of course, came with the 2016 campaign and the ultimate election of Donald Trump. Though Trump played the social-media game with tremendous success, conservatives criticized the platforms during the campaign and have continued to do so throughout the past two and a half years. Most recently, the president announced that he is collecting reports of social-media grievances. There has been a steady drumbeat over the same time frame of stories about tech companies' left-leaning workforces, which conservatives have spun into a fable about how they are being suppressed. The evidence is thin, but it seems plausible to most people who believe that the platforms censor political viewpoints.
Disillusioned Liberal Tech Luminaries: Alongside the conservative-outrage machine, the biggest body blows that the tech industry has taken have come from disillusioned liberals who worked for those companies. While their specific critiques vary, most of them feel that the platforms aided and abetted the election of President Trump'--that is to say, roughly the opposite of the conservative critique above. Many have come to expand their criticisms to the basic mechanisms of the technology industry, from the former Googler Tristan Harris, who works on ''Time Well Spent,'' to the Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, who has called for the government to break up the company.
Antitrust Theoreticians: The version of antitrust regulations that emerged in the 20th century held that consumer prices had to rise in order for monopolistic conditions to cause harm. That framing protected Big Tech companies such as Google and Facebook, which give away their products to users. How can there be consumer harm if consumers are paying $0.00? But a new wave of antitrust scholars, now centered at the Open Markets Institute, has argued that this view is outdated because free services can still be harmful to societies. It's opened the door to new attacks on the market power of Big Tech, and it's already gained adherents.
Democratic Presidential Candidates: Headlined by Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democratic presidential contenders have proved ready to tussle with Big Tech. Drawing on the new antitrust doctrine, Warren has argued for breaking up the Big Tech firms ''to restore the balance of power in our democracy, to promote competition, and to ensure that the next generation of technology innovation is as vibrant as the last.''
Rank-and-File Tech Workers: For years and years, tech companies very rarely leaked. Workers were generally pretty happy, and corporate cultures discouraged talking with outsiders. That's changed. Now all kinds of tech workers with different agendas'--from James Damore types to anti-sexual-harassment campaigners to union organizers'--have begun to talk with the press, publicly or privately. The pressure has led to important internal reforms, but has also opened the companies up to new political attacks from a range of directions. All the leaks have eroded the sense of impenetrability that used to surround operations such as Google.
Traditional Democratic Corporate Reformers: Reining in corporate power has long been part of most Democratic politicians' agenda. But now that zeal is often directed not just at Wall Street or automakers, but also at tech companies. In his position as the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Congressman Frank Pallone of New Jersey has repeatedly battled tech-company executives who have testified before him. He's a traditional Democratic establishment force, an ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and clearly sees the tech industry as the kind of corporate power that needs to be reined in, starting perhaps with new privacy regulations. ''We've been talking about it for years, yet nothing has been done to address the problem,'' Pallone said at a February hearing. ''It's time that we move past the old model that protects the companies using our data and not the people.''
Privacy Advocates: It would be hard to argue that privacy advocates such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation have had too big of an impact on tech companies, even after the Edward Snowden revelations gave them far more ammunition than they had in years past. Just look around at the data every person on Earth seems to be leaking. The activists remain in the background, pushing for reforms and calling out tech-industry lobbying. Their political alignments might prove difficult to pin down, however, as more muscular government involvement runs counter to the foundational principles of most early internet-privacy proponents.
European Regulators: Nobody has been harder on Big Tech than European regulators, who caused quite a ruckus with their General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However, the jury is still out on what the ultimate impact of the GDPR might be on tech firms and everyday users. Europeans have more control, but Big Tech companies might be the real winners (something tech companies have been whispering about many regulations). That said, it's hard to imagine that the Europeans are done battling American tech companies' dominance in their lives.
The Media Industry: Having had its lunch eaten, its lunch money taken, and its person shoved into a toilet and a locker by Big Tech, the media industry has begun to fight back. Across the board, the longtime frenemy relationship that most publishers tried to maintain with the Big Tech companies has soured. One thing to watch: With the Facebook wave receding and Google solidifying its control over traffic, the media industry might start to find some love in its heart for Google, while maintaining its open season on Facebook.
The Telecom Industry: Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T might not be the most popular companies in the world, but the old-line telecoms know that Big Tech is their most important competitor. After years of losing regulatory battles, they've begun to claw their way back. With the banner of mobile innovation now passing to 5G, it wouldn't be shocking to see them ramp up their efforts against the platforms that use their networks.
Scholarly Tech Critics: The technology industry has long had skeptics in the academy, but over the past five years, those researchers have landed many more blows, from many different angles. They've exploded myths, coined new language for problems, and created rallying cries for those inside and outside the industry. Cataloging them all would be impossible, but this sample gets at the breadth of the critiques: Shoshana Zuboff's The Age of Surveillance Capitalism; Evgeny Morozov's To Save Everything, Click Here; Zeynep Tufekci in The New York Times; Tim Wu's The Attention Merchants; Cathy O'Neil's Weapons of Math Destruction; Siva Vaidhyanathan's anti-paeans to Google and Facebook; Frank Pasquale's The Black Box Society; Safiya Umoja Noble's Algorithms of Oppression; Sherry Turkle's Reclaiming Conversation; Malkia Cyril's powerful essays; and Jean Twenge's alarming work on youths and their relationship to technology.
Apple: Of the Big Tech companies, Apple is the one that has the most at stake in the regulatory battles. On the one hand, it needs the other giants to produce the apps that make an iPhone worth buying. On the other hand, anything that reduces its perceived value'--such as, perhaps, corporate or government surveillance'--is bad. Apple can take the moral high ground in some ways because it doesn't use data in the same way as surveillance-capitalism companies such as Google and Facebook, as Zuboff points out. And it has now taken to highlighting its more privacy-protective approaches and building new ones, which calls attention to the mountains of data its rivals use more intensively.
Oracle and Other Business-Software Companies: Oracle has long been a Google enemy, in part because Google gives away the kinds of products that Oracle sells to big companies and governments. (They're also locked in an ugly lawsuit over software copyrights.) The company has helped fund a particularly hard-hitting and effective operation called the Google Transparency Project out of the Campaign for Accountability, which has traditionally gone after Republicans for ethical violations.* The Transparency Project, which is funded by Oracle and other Google rivals, drew massive attention to Google's remarkable funding of scholars and academics.
Yelp and Other Consumer-Protection Organizations: Google has also drawn the ire of other competitors, which are mad at Google because of its presentation of search results. That group is headlined by Yelp, which created a new lobbying campaign to criticize Google on antitrust matters called Focus on the User. Its partner in the effort is Fight for the Future, an organization that shares some ancestry with MoveOn and other liberal, internet-interested activists.
The Chinese Internet Industry: For years, American internet companies were dominant around the world. That's no longer as true. The Chinese internet is enormous'--and with ByteDance's TikTok, it's begun to make inroads into Western markets. As Korean and Japanese internet companies have discovered, beating Western companies on their home turf is hard, but China has cultivated a plausible alternative ecosystem for messaging, social media, and other apps. It's not WhatsApp or nothing as long as there's WeChat.
Big Tech may survive this scuffle with only a couple of lumps, la Microsoft in the 1990s. Or something much bigger may be in the offing. But one thing is for sure: After disrupting so many industries and having created so many enemies in consolidating control of the internet, it's going to be difficult for tech companies to find friends.
* This post previously mischaracterized Oracle's role in the Google Transparency Project.
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About Wear Orange 2019 - Wear Orange
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 12:31
Orange is the color that Hadiya Pendleton's friends wore in her honor when she was shot and killed in Chicago at the age of 15 '-- just one week after performing at President Obama's 2nd inaugural parade in 2013. After her death, they asked us to stand up, speak out, and Wear Orange to raise awareness about gun violence.
Since then orange has been the defining color of the gun violence prevention movement. New York gun violence prevention advocate Erica Ford spearheaded orange as the color of peace through her work with her organization, Life Camp, Inc. Whether it's worn by students in Montana, activists in New York, or Hadiya's loved ones in Chicago, the color orange honors the more than 100 lives cut short and the hundreds more wounded by gun violence everyday.
Our movement gains momentum when gun sense activists come together to fight for a future free from gun violence. Wear Orange Weekend is an opportunity for us to show the country just how powerful we are.
National Gun Violence Awareness Day is the first Friday in June, which will be June 7 in 2019.
Together, with hundreds of thousands of Americans, we turned America orange. But the work doesn't end there. Everytown and our partner organizations continue to do life-saving work so that we can get closer to realizing a future free from gun violence. we wear orange to be seen, and demand that we be heard. Support us by going orange.
The effect of gun violence on our communities is pervasive, long lasting, and impacts everyone uniquely. Wear Orange is an opportunity to demonstrate our collective power as members of the gun violence prevention movement, bringing together a broad spectrum of organizations, brands, and influencers working in different ways to curb gun violence.
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Coffee not as bad for heart and circulatory system as previously thought
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 12:24
Drinking coffee might keep us up at night, but new research has given us a reason to sleep easy knowing that the popular drink isn't as bad for our arteries as some previous studies would suggest.
The research from Queen Mary University of London has shown that drinking coffee, including in people who drink up to 25 cups a day, is not associated with having stiffer arteries.
The research, led by Professor Steffen Petersen, was presented today at the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) Conference in Manchester and part-funded by us.
Arteries carry blood containing oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body. If they become stiff, it can increase the workload on the heart and increase a person's chance of having a heart attack or stroke.
The study of over 8,000 people in the UK debunks previous studies that claimed drinking coffee increases arterial stiffness. Previous suggestions that drinking coffee leads to stiffer arteries are inconsistent and could be limited by lower participant numbers, according to the team behind this new research.
Coffee consumption was categorised into three groups for the study. Those who drink less than one cup a day, those who drink between one and three cups a day and those who drink more than three. People who consumed more than 25 cups of coffee a day were excluded, but no increased stiffening of arteries was associated with those who drank up to this high limit when compared with those who drank less than one cup a day.
The associations between drinking coffee and artery stiffness measures were corrected for contributing factors like age, gender, ethnicity, smoking status, height, weight, how much alcohol someone drank, what they ate and high blood pressure.
Of the 8,412 participants who underwent MRI heart scans and infrared pulse wave tests, the research showed that moderate and heavy coffee drinkers were most likely to be male, smoke, and consume alcohol regularly.
Professor Metin Avkiran, our Associate Medical Director, said:
''Understanding the impact that coffee has on our heart and circulatory system is something that researchers and the media have had brewing for some time.
''There are several conflicting studies saying different things about coffee, and it can be difficult to filter what we should believe and what we shouldn't. This research will hopefully put some of the media reports in perspective, as it rules out one of the potential detrimental effects of coffee on our arteries.''
find out how to eat healthily
Times Square terror plot suspect feared being called the 'Looney Tunes terrorist' | UK News | Sky News
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 12:24
A student who plotted a Times Square terror attack feared being known as the "Looney Tunes terrorist" if his glasses fell off, a court has heard.
Ashiqul Alam, who is said to have spent months trying to stockpile guns and grenades, was arrested on Thursday after arranging to buy a pair of semi-automatic pistols through an undercover agent, federal prosecutors said.
The suspect spoke of plotting to kill civilians and police officers in Times Square and targeting a senior government official in Washington, according to court documents.
Image: The 22-year-old appeared at a court in Brooklyn on FridayThe 22-year-old, who is said to have heaped praise on Islamic State and Osama Bin Laden, is accused of planning an attack for months.
He allegedly told an undercover investigator it would make them "legends".
Alam is said to have told the officer in April he was planning to get laser eye surgery so he wouldn't have to wear glasses during the attack.
He allegedly said in a recorded conversation: "Let's say we are in an attack, right, that my glasses fall off.
"What if I accidentally shoot you? You know what I mean?"
He added: "Imagine what the news channel would call me, 'the Looney Tunes terrorist' or 'the blind terrorist'."
It is also claimed Alam talked about wanting to "shoot down" homosexuals, referring to them with a slur, and using a "rocket launcher, like a huge one" to cause havoc at the World Trade Center.
And he discussed obtaining an enhanced driver's licence so he could walk on to a military base and "blow it up", the court heard.
Image: Alam is accused of planning an attack on New York's Times Square He allegedly started discussing his plans with the agent last August and went with him on reconnaissance trips to Times Square and to a shooting range in Pennsylvania.
Alam discussed buying a silencer, ammunition and hand grenades, which he said could each "take out at least eight people", the court heard.
He is said to have "repeatedly expressed interest in purchasing firearms and explosives for a terrorist attack in the New York City area" during conversations and spoke glowingly about past attacks on the city.
Alam used his cellphone to take video of Times Square and "explained to the undercover agent that he was looking for potential targets", the court heard.
Police commissioner James O'Neill has said his arrest over the attempted purchase of the guns was a "clear indicator of (Alam's) intent to move his plot forward".
Despite the terror allegations, Alam is charged only with offences related to the buying of the weapons.
The suspect, wearing blue jeans and a purple T-shirt, did not enter a plea at an initial court appearance in Brooklyn on Friday.
Defence attorney James Darrow argued Alam should be released on a $200,000 (£157,000) bond, adding his client has a solid background and the charges he is facing so far do not include terrorism.
But a federal magistrate ordered the suspect should be held without bail after prosecutors argued that he was a danger to the community and a flight risk.
The defendant, a legal US resident born in Bangladesh, moved to America as a child about 12 years ago.
He has lived in Queens, New York, with his parents while attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice and working two jobs, his lawyer said.
Family members who attended Alam's hearing left without speaking to reporters.
Times Square, the heart of the Broadway theatre district and packed with tourists day and night, has been a target of attacks before.
Faisal Shahzad, a US citizen who had gotten explosives training in Pakistan, tried but failed to detonate a car bomb there.
He was sentenced to life in prison.
Akayed Ullah, a Bangladesh immigrant detonated a bomb in a bomb in an underground pedestrian concourse linking the Times Square subway station to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in 2017.
Only Ullah was seriously hurt, though bystanders were injured by shrapnel.
A man who told police he was high on drugs and hearing voices drove his car into the square's crowds, killing a teenager and injuring around 20 people, in 2017.
Police always have a heavy presence in Times Square, and its sidewalks and plazas are partially protected with steel posts intended to stop vehicles.
Trump attacks Nasa and claims the moon is 'a part' of Mars | Science | The Guardian
Sat, 08 Jun 2019 12:10
President tweeted Nasa should focus on 'Mars (of which the Moon is a part)' over going to the moon, a reversal of previous remarks
Donald Trump and Melania watch the solar eclipse from the White House in August 2017.Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/ReutersFollowers of astronomy were in for a surprise on Friday, when Donald Trump announced that the moon is part of Mars.
In a tweet, apparently commenting on his own administration's space policy, the president said: ''For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon - We did that 50 years ago.''
He added: ''They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!''
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon - We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!
June 7, 2019Trump's declaration shocked many space enthusiasts, because the moon has not traditionally been regarded as part of Mars.
The leading theory is that a collision between Earth and a planet-sized entity, many years ago, resulted in debris that eventually became the moon. On average Mars is 140m miles from the moon. Nasa did not immediately respond to a question from the Guardian asking if the moon is part of Mars.
Irrespective of whether the moon is part of Mars (it isn't), Trump's announcement was doubly surprising given his previous enthusiasm for a moon trip. His criticism of Nasa for ''talking about going to the moon'' came just three weeks after Trump championed the idea of a lunar visit.
On 13 May Trump said in a tweet: ''We are going back to the moon,'' while in March Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine, who was appointed by Trump, announced plans to send US astronauts to the moon by 2024. In October Mike Pence, the vice-president, said: ''Our determination is to see Americans back on the moon in the very near future''.
There is a possibility '‹Trump's tweet was a comment on Nasa's broader plan to eventually travel to Mars from the moon, but either way it soon emerged that Trump's moon reversal may have been provoked by the Fox Business tv channel.'‹ One hour before the president offered his take on the moon's origin and his criticism of Nasa, Fox guest Neil Cavuto had expressed scepticism over a moon trip.
Cavuto reportedly told the TV cable network that Nasa is ''refocusing on the moon, the next sort of quest, if you will, but didn't we do this moon thing quite a few decades ago?''
The White House did not immediately respond to a Guardian question about whether Trump's statement should be considered official guidance. In ancient times the moon was worshipped as a god, while more recently some children's stories have speculated that it is made of cheese.


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