1178: Snales and Spikes

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 57m
October 3rd, 2019
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Executive Producers: Baron Sir Mark Milliman, Sir Patrick Coble the Earl of Tennessee, Allison Erskine, Baronet Sir Uncle Dave Knight of the Retired Old Farts

Cover Artist: NetNed


Start of Show
Farmer Protests in The Netherlands
MSNBC Cuts Into Trump's UN General Assembly Speech to Tell Viewers "The President Isn't Telling the Truth"
Trump's UN General Assembly Speech
Joe Biden
ABC News: 'Biden Sidesteps Questions About Son's Foreign Work'
The Verge Publishes Leaked Audio of Mark Zuckerberg on Elizabeth Warren
2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris Calls for Twitter to Suspend Trump's Account
The New York TImes: 'Trump Is Too Dangerous for Twitter'
CBS News Uses Term 'Lashing Out'
Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton Appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Mainstream Media Impeachment Compilation
CNN: 'These Five Freshman Congresswomen Changed History by Becoming Unlikely Leaders on Impeachment'
Maxine Waters on Impeachment
GOP Consultant Mike Murphy: "If It Was a Secret Vote, 30 Republican Senators Would Vote to Impeach Trump"
Trump: "Are You Talking To Me?"
Hitting People In The Mouth on Twitter
Texas Governor Greg Abbott Threatens to Intervene in Austin's Homelessness Crisis
Jeff Bezos Attends a Vigil at the Saudi Consulate on Anniversary of Jamal Khashoggi's Murder
Text Messages Used For Sentencing in Dallas Cop Murder Case
Manchester Opens Slow Lane for Pedestrians Using Phones
Insurance Scams
The OTG Points Game
'The Day Shall Come' Director Chris Morris on FBI's Strategy to Recruit Terrorists
CNBC Analyst Ron Insana Calls WTC7 a Controlled Implosion
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel on Ending Freedom of Movement for People
UK Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow: "The State of My Throat Is Not Down to The Consumption of a Kangaroo's Testicle"
Birthdays & Title Changes
Tucker Carlson Tonight: 'New Study: Nothing to Suggest Red Meat is Bad For Your Health'
Art19's Targeted Podcast Advertising
Democracy Now!: 'Mississippi City Claims Undocumented Man Shot Dead by Police Has No Constitutional Rights'
The New York Times: 'Shoot Migrants’ Legs, Build Alligator Moat: Behind Trump’s Ideas for Border'
France24's Fact or Fake on Article Claiming the EU Wants to Change Europe to Berlin Time
End of Show
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Tom Joseph on Twitter: "1 Pence drew the short straw as Trump's caregiver at the Joints Chief's ceremony. Multiple loss of balance issues as Trump jerked & swayed forward & back. Slurring & reading issues. Here, Pence does his best to quietl
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 23:39
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Inside the Beltway: Hillary Clinton's big comeback begins Tuesday - Washington Times
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 19:40
Media attention will intensify on Hillary Clinton on Tuesday. The former first lady, senator, secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate is ready for another round in the public arena. She has a new book arriving, written with the help of a very close relative. Behold. Here comes ''The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience'' '-- all 464 pages of it.
Indeed, the new book of essays now landing on the shelves is written by Mrs. Clinton and her daughter Chelsea Clinton, is published by Simon & Schuster. Some informed observers speculate the book could be yet another indicator '-- along with increased public appearances and commentary '-- that Mrs. Clinton pines for a political comeback.
What kind of comeback? Oh, maybe the bumper stickers will read BIDEN/CLINTON 2020, WARREN/CLINTON 2020 '-- or even CLINTON/CLINTON 2020. Who the heck knows?
''Word on the political street now is the rumbling that the impeachment probe launched by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may be the crack that opens the door for another presidential run by Hillary Clinton. This time, the thinking goes, Hillary would be running with vindication that the 2016 election was 'stolen' from her and she can ascend in 2020 to reclaim the mantle for her party and the majority of the country that voted for her,'' writes Nate Ashworth, editor in chief of Election Central.
''Clinton's sallies against Trump raise a key question: is she gunning for a rematch in 2020?'' asks The National Interest.
Indeed. Mrs. Clinton certainly sounds like a candidate, backing the impeachment inquiry against President Trump with gusto.
''There should be an impeachment inquiry opened. And I think, sadly, there are a number of grounds. But this one is incredibly troubling. The most outrageously false things were said about me. And unfortunately, enough people believed them,'' Mrs. Clinton told CBS on Sunday.
''This is an effort to sow these falsehoods against Joe Biden. And I don't care if you're for the Democrats or you're a Republican, when the president of the United States, who has taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, uses his position to in effect extort a foreign government for his political purposes, I think that is very much what the founders worried about in high crimes and misdemeanors,'' she declared.
''The president is a corrupt human tornado,'' Mr. Clinton noted in a follow-up tweet.
But back to the new book for a moment, which will likely rocket toward No. 1 in the next 24 hours.
''If history shows one thing, it's that the world needs gutsy women,'' says co-author Chelsea, who is vice chair of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.
Former Sen. Al Franken has quietly returned to the airwaves with a one-hour live radio show that premiered Saturday on SiriusXM Progress channel 127. ''The Al Franken Show'' is now a reality.
''Listeners can expect a mix of guests from my comedian friends like Chris Rock, to my political pals like former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to policy experts on the issues in play in 2020. When I'm interviewing Harry or former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, I'll be the funny one. When I interview Rock or Patton Oswalt, I'll be the one who served eight-and-a-half years in the Senate,'' Mr. Franken says.
Of note: he will join the SiriusXM Progress team for special coverage of the 2020 elections, including presidential debates, primaries, and election night.
Could the fact that Fox News is the most-watched cable network of all have something to do with it? Well, yes. But there's much more at work here. Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer has launched Talk to Trump, a new ad campaign that asks voters to submit 25-second videos of themselves talking directly to President Trump. The organizers envision that voters will discuss their concerns and his failures.
''Some of the videos will air as television ads in the coming weeks on 'Fox & Friends,' a place Trump is likely to see them. The ad campaign gives the American public a chance to raise their voices and tell Donald Trump exactly what matters most to them, and how much he has failed them as president,'' Mr. Steyer's campaign advises.
Interesting. But Mr. Trump's fans may want to submit a video or two as well. The videos can be uploaded directly at the candidate's website, or emailed to [email protected]
''The vast majority of Republican college students compared to a small number of Democratic college students say they are very proud to be an American,'' says a new College Fix survey of 1,000 college students released Monday.
''The vast majority (74%) of Republican college students, compared to a small number of Democratic college students (8%), and less than one-third of independents (30%), said they are very proud to be an American,'' the publication reports.
''On the flip side, 2% of Republican college students, compared to 22% of Democratic college students, and 11% of independents, say they are not at all proud to be an American,'' the poll said.
''Hell yeah I'm proud. I hit the jackpot being born in America,'' commented one student from the University of California at Riverside.
''Most corrupt government in the history of the world,'' countered another from Colorado University at Boulder.
' 50% of Americans say the Republican Party does the best job of protecting the country from international terrorism and military threats; 44% say the Democratic Party does the best job.
' 49% say the Republican Party does the best job keeping the country prosperous; 45% overall say the Democratic Party does the best job.
' 43% overall give the Republican Party a favorable review; 48% give the Democratic Party a favorable review.
Source: A Gallup poll of 1,525 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 3-15 and released Monday.
' Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.
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Copyright (C) 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Why Barack Obama refused to endorse Joe Biden is revealed in new book | Daily Mail Online
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 23:41
Joe Biden has insisted he doesn't want Barack Obama's endorsement in his third run for the presidency.
But if history is any gauge, Obama had no intention of going out on a limb for his former VP this time around.
The 'bromance' between the former president and Joe Biden that blossomed when Obama took office in 2008, dissipated in the post-White House years, according to an upcoming book about the pair: Barack and Joe: The Making of an Extraordinary Partnership.
While the two men did develop a strong affection for one another, there were times Biden drove Obama over the edge as the book reveals a younger Obama once rolled his eyes at Biden's constant babbling, sending a note to his adviser saying: 'Shoot. Me. Now.'
And it was a political embarrassment for Biden when Obama failed to step up and support his former vice president in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential races.
The 'bromance' between Barack Obama and Joe Biden dissipated in the post-White House years, according to an upcoming book about the pair
It was a political embarrassment for Biden when Obama failed to endorse him in the 2020 presidential race and stated in that there was a need for 'new blood' in Democratic Leadership (pictured at this months Democratic Debate)
Once brothers in arms, the president was unwilling to encourage Biden to run against Hillary for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 presidential race, a lifelong dream of Biden's. Obama was more concerned about what a Republican victory would mean for his place in history and put his health care program at risk.
The president needed to extend his legacy and he didn't believe that Joe could beat Hillary.
'Joe, despite his many virtues, was just another white guy, one in a long line of American presidents '-- hardly the symbol of the Teutonic change that Obama hoped would mark his place in the history books', writes Steven Levingston, author of Barack and Joe, published by Hachette Books on October 8.
'Barack had placed his bet on Hillary, the one he believed would confirm his revolutionary stamp on American's political culture - the first black president passing the baton to the first woman president'.
Obama stated in January 2019 that there was a need for 'new blood' in the Democratic leadership.
Refusing to endorse him in 2020 was yet another blow to Biden who believed there was deep love between the two men.
But 'that's different than giving his brand to him,' the book states.
To cover his hurt, Biden then insisted that he had asked Obama not to endorse any candidate during the primary season.
'Whoever wins the nomination should win it on their own merits', Biden stated after Obama declined support. But he was offended yet again when Obama met with other potential presidential candidates, including former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke, before Biden had even made his decision to run.
What had been an unprecedented closeness between a president and vice president had changed.
'Now they were two high profile politicians considering their own futures' '-- and no longer brothers in arms they once were.
In the beginning, 'from a gaffe-meister, Biden had shaped himself into a conscientious, well informed partner to the president emerging as the heart to Obama's brain', writes the author.
Biden always had his eye on the Oval Office and made a promise to his son, Beau, when he was dying of brain cancer in 2015, that he would try for a third run for the presidency despite his lousy track record.
Obama had been thinking about the presidency for two decades and experienced an epiphany in 1987 at age 25 that politics was his calling. In 2008, Obama and Biden were rivals for the biggest political trophy in the world, 'each driven by raw political ambition and his belief in his own superior fitness to sit in the Oval Office. It was not a fertile ground for friendship'.
It seemed so unlikely when Obama first came calling to ask Biden to consider a position in his presidency and he had only to choose between Vice President and Secretary of State '-- a surprise to Hillary Clinton who thought the latter position was only offered to her.
She wasn't offered the post of vice president because Obama and his aides believed she had too much baggage along with Bill Clinton, 'too large a presence and unpredictable'.
'If I picked her, my concern is that there would be more than two of us in the relationship', Obama told David Plouffe, his adviser.
Biden was always gaffe prone with an unruly tongue yet he was a veteran of 32 years in the Senate chamber and had chaired the Foreign Relations Committee when Obama arrived as a freshman senator in 2005.
Obama placed his bets on his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to win the 2016 Democratic Primary and therefore didn't endorse his vice president
It has always been a dream of Joe Biden's to be president, launching his first bid for the presidency in 1988
Despite the lack of endorsement, the men continued to have a deep love for one another, but 'that's different than giving his brand to him,' the book states
One year earlier, as a little known Illinois state senator running for a U.S. Senate seat, Obama stepped into one of the biggest national spotlights when he spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in July 2004 before Senator John Kerry accepted the party's nomination for president.
In that instant on stage, Obama became a national symbol and the new face of the Democratic Party.
Fast forward a year, he was now the lowest ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee - Joe's turf - and the average age of his colleagues was 60 while he was only 43.
Barack had placed his bet on Hillary, the one he believed would confirm his revolutionary stamp on American's political culture - the first black president passing the baton to the first woman president
Seeing Obama's momentum, Biden raised his hand like a traffic cop to advise the young Senator.
'He's a good man but tell him he needs to go slow when he gets to the Senate', Biden advised.
But Obama quickly became impatient with Biden's grandstanding and ability to drone on'...and on...and on. Just listening to Biden's ad nauseam babbling, he rolled his eyes and sent a note to his adviser Robert Gibbs: 'Shoot. Me. Now'.
But the young cerebral African American who sweated over the precision of his words and an older, chummy white guy given to impulsively speaking his mind '-- 'initially circled each other wearily' but that evolved into admiration, respect and a feeling of true companionship.
They were both athletes and spoke using sports metaphors. They loved their wives, their kids, and they slipped quickly into a genuine camaraderie '' once they were in office together.
Obama was aloof, Biden gregarious.
Obama had watched him speaking bluntly in a world of political calculation and accepted him as authentic.
His was 'a generational way of talking' but Obama learned to accept Joe as Joe and look past 'his mangled way of expressing himself'.
'I understand what Joe meant. I know what's in his heart', Obama often said.
But there were major stumbles that could have derailed any friendship.
Biden got out ahead of Obama in support of gay marriage forcing the White House to support it before they were ready.
Speaking off the cuff to reporters in DC after both were running for president in 2008, Biden stepped into deep water saying, 'I don't recall hearing a word from Barack about a plan or a tactic.
'I mean you got the first sort of mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man'.
Obama was unwilling to support Biden in the 2016 presidential race, a lifelong dream of Biden's. He's pictured in 2015 announcing he will not run for president alongside Obama and wife Jill
The men quickly slipped into a genuine camaraderie once they were in the office together, sharing a strong love for their wives and their kids
An explosive and racially insensitive remark that Obama addressed by reminding Biden that there had been previous African American presidential candidates and they were all articulate - Jesse Jackson, Shirley Chisholm, Al Sharpton.
Biden hadn't developed any affection for Obama after he soundly lost the Iowa race and declined to help Obama in the remaining primaries citing his friendship with the Clintons.
He opted to remain neutral for the rest of the campaign and only discovered a new respect for the freshman senator when Obama had to face critics opposed to his former pastor's inflammatory words condemning America as a Ku Klux Klan nation and accusing America as being responsible for the September 11 attacks with its history of racial terrorism.
Obama's advisers believed this whole brouhaha was instigated by the Clinton campaign.
Obama condemned Pastor Jeremiah Wright's words but also stated the country needed to confront the issue of race. His speech marked a new sense of fraternity that Biden found with Obama although he was still smarting from his loss to him in Iowa.
Biden had his own passion for civil rights working as a lifeguard at a public swimming pool in the summer of 1962 when he suddenly realized he was the only white person the attendees knew and they wanted to know all about his world.
Biden learned they got reminders every day they didn't belong in this country and he now joined in racial protests and was filled with racial fervor.
I love this guy and he's got heart
President Barack Obama on Vice President Joe Biden
He later stated he ran for the U.S. Senate because of his passion for civil rights. He wanted to make a change.
'Some black people believed that Biden had the racial 'it' factor.
'Similar to Bill Clinton, he knew the secret handshakes of blackness and was able to joust with blacks in familiar and in humorous fashion', writes Levingston.
'In one sense, the perception was that the blackest man in the White House was the white guy'.
Obama had grown up in Hawaii and Indonesia abstracted from some elements of black life and culture.The imagery of the black man on top and white man subordinate flipped the script.
This was the most significant relationship between vice president and president in this country's history. They worked harmoniously together, respected and grew to love each other.
Typically the vice president's job was the most insignificant office and required no more than carrying out ceremonial duties or being sent to faraway places doing much of nothing.
Franklin D. Roosevelt's first vice president, John Nance Garner described the job as not 'worth a bucket of warm p*ss'.
Ike and Nixon never had a warm relationship.
When asked if there was one idea of Nixon's that he had adopted, Eisenhower responded, 'If you give me a week, I might think of one'.
Kennedy sent Johnson away on overseas missions so often Johnson felt that his presence just bugged Kennedy.
Before Biden accepted the post, he laid out a list of demands that included being Obama's chief counselor, inclusion in every important meeting, and being able to advise honestly in all legislative efforts.
Before Biden accepted the post of vice president, he laid out a list of demands that included being Obama's chief counselor, inclusion in every important meeting, and being able to advise honestly in all legislative efforts
Obama and Biden's relationship was the most significant between vice president and president in this nation's history by working harmoniously together, respecting and growing to love each other
'He wanted to be the last guy in the room whispering in Obama's ear', writes the author. Joe had grown up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware, with a serious stutter and was called Bu-Bu-Biden.
He was also dubbed Dash - describing how words came out.
'I talked like Morse code', Joe said. 'You gu-gu-gu-gu-guys sh-sh-sh-sh-shut up'.
Schoolmates thought he was stupid.
He practiced quoting Irish poets while looking in the mirror to overcome his affliction.
He got hair plugs when his hair was still dark - less obvious now - to look younger.
Weighing on Obama's self-image was his chubbiness until seventh grade that made schoolmates laugh at him.
He took up jogging to get his weight down but once being the fat boy made him sensitive about his weight well into his twenties.
Obama chose Biden for his veteran senatorial experience, skill working with congress, and foreign policy expertise as well as Joe's sensitivity and ability to overcome personal setbacks.
'I love this guy and he's got heart', Obama said and granted him the expansive role he requested as vice president knowing that they would have to 'deal with him every day to make sure he stays in the corral'.
Now he may be out of touch in the #MeToo era '' with his folksy charm and physical affection but he was an effective vice president for eight years and there was a huge amount of love between the two men.
Britons Still Betting On Hillary Clinton to Win the Democratic Nomination - Sara A. Carter
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 08:37
U.K. bookmaker Ladbrokes allows people to put money on the race, and according to Matthew Shaddick, head of their political betting division, the former first lady and secretary of state is currently leading the pack when it comes to the number of bets people have made.
''We're baffled, to be honest,'' Shaddick told Newsweek. ''We've taken more bets on her to be the Democratic candidate than any of the other runners.''
The site currently has Clinton's betting odds at 20 to 1, placing her alone in seventh place as far as best odds. That is ahead of most of the people actually running, including Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke.
Ladbrokes currently has Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., as the front-runner with 6 to 4 odds, with former Vice President Joe Biden at 5 to 2, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., at 5 to 1, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 16 to 1.
Click here to read full article on Fox News
'Liz Was a Diehard Conservative' - POLITICO Magazine
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 22:59
''Fight.'' It's the signature word of Senator Elizabeth Warren's short but consequential political career.
It's in the title of both of the books she has published as a senator: A Fighting Chance and This Fight Is Our Fight. In her speech declaring her presidential candidacy in February, Warren told the crowd, ''This is the fight of our lives'' and, ''I've been in this fight for a long time.'' Her 2020 campaign asks voters to ''Join the Fight.'' Kate McKinnon-as-Warren on ''Saturday Night Live'' explained, ''That's the only f-word I know.''
Story Continued Below
But Warren used to be on the other side of the fight she is now waging. For many years before she entered politics, the woman now at the forefront of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party was a Republican.
County governments in New Jersey and Texas, where Warren lived in the 1970s and '80s, could not locate Warren's voter registration records, and the senator herself is circumspect about her political past. But records from the time Warren spent living in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts make clear that she was a registered Republican for at least several years of her midcareer adult life. It was not until 1996'--when Warren was 47 years old and a newly minted Harvard law professor'--that she changed her registration from Republican to Democrat.
Warren has acknowledged her Republican past before, but she does not often discuss it, or else downplays it. In a recent interview over tea at her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she said she assumes the first time she registered as a Democrat was 1996, but added, ''I'm not even 100 percent sure what I was registered as.'' According to Warren, in the six presidential elections she voted in before 1996, she cast her ballot for just one GOP nominee, Gerald Ford in 1976. She does not talk about her Republican past in either of her books or as part of the biography she recounts in her stump speech; the information often comes as a surprise even to Beltway politicos and longtime Warren allies.
''I was just never very political,'' is how Warren explains her Republican years. ''I just never thought much about the political end.''
Friends and colleagues agree that Warren wasn't much of a political activist in her youth or the early part of her career. But Warren's intellectual journey is more complicated than the apathy-to-activism route she often presents.
Some on the left have already pointed out the less-than-progressive stances in her 2003 book, The Two Income Trap, including the rejection of a ''quasi-socialist safety net to rival the European model.'' But a review of Warren's early scholarship and interviews with more than 20 friends and colleagues from her high school years through her academic career reveal a longer conservative track record that has not been fully explored. Warren's conservatism centered not on social issues like abortion or gay rights, friends say, but on economic policy, the dominant focus of her academic work and now her presidential candidacy.
Katrina Harry, one of Warren's best friends in high school in Oklahoma, remembers that she and Warren ''talked politics a lot, taxes and welfare and such, and I was just a flaming liberal back then.'' Harry adds, ''Liz was a diehard conservative in those days. '... Now we've swapped'--a 180-degree turn and an about-face.''
''Liz was sometimes surprisingly anti-consumer in her attitude,'' says law professor Calvin Johnson, a colleague of Warren's at the University of Texas at Austin in the early 1980s, who was also her neighbor and carpooled with Warren and her husband, Bruce Mann.
''I remember the first time I became aware of her as a political person and heard her speak, I almost fell off my chair,'' says Rutgers law professor Gary Francione, who was a colleague of Warren's at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1980s. ''She's definitely changed. It's absolutely clear that something happened.''
Voter records from the time Warren spent living in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts make clear that she was a registered Republican for at least several years of her adult life. It was not until 1996, when she was 47, that she changed her registration to Democrat.
The story of Warren's awakening'--from a true believer in free markets to a business-bashing enforcer of fair markets; from a moderate Republican who occasionally missed an election to one of the most liberal senators in America vying to lead the Democratic Party'--breaks the mold of the traditional White House contender and is key to understanding how she sees the world: with a willingness to change when presented with new data, and the anger of someone who trusted the system and felt betrayed.
Warren herself says that in her early academic work she was merely following the dominant theory of the time, which emphasized the efficiency of free markets and unrestrained businesses, rather than holding strong conservative beliefs herself. Still, she acknowledged in our interview that she underwent a profound change in how she viewed public policy early in her academic career, describing the experience as ''worse than disillusionment'' and ''like being shocked at a deep-down level.''
Her conversion was ideological before it turned partisan. The first shift came in the mid-'80s, as she traveled to bankruptcy courts across the country to review thousands of individual cases'--a departure from the more theoretical academic approach'--and saw that Americans filing for bankruptcy more closely resembled her own family, who struggled financially, rather than the irresponsible deadbeats she had expected.
It wasn't until Warren was recruited onto a federal commission to help reform the bankruptcy code in the mid-1990s'--and then fought for those reforms and lost that battle in 2005'--that she became the unapologetic partisan brawler she was in creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, serving in the Senate and, now, stumping on the 2020 campaign trail. ''I realize nonpartisan just isn't working,'' she recalls of that second conversion moment. ''By then it's clear: The only allies I have are in the Democratic Party, and it's not even the majority of Democrats.''
Some friends and colleagues say Warren became radicalized, equating her change to a religious experience, to being born again. ''She really did have a 'Road to Damascus' conversion when she saw the bankrupt consumers really were suffering'--forced into bankruptcy by illness, firing or divorce'--and not predators,'' Johnson says. Other friends argue Warren's shift has been more gradual, and that she is not the extremist her opponents have sought to portray her as. ''It drives me crazy when she's described as a radical left-winger. She moved from being moderately conservative to being moderately liberal,'' says Warren's co-author and longtime collaborator Jay Westbrook. ''When you look at consumer debt and what happens to consumers in America, you begin to think the capitalist machine is out of line.''
After a childhood she describes as not very political, Warren attended George Washington University on a debate scholarship. Above, she is pictured second from left in the front row in the 1967 GWU yearbook as ''Liz Herring'' (her maiden name). | George Washington University Library
The fact that Warren likely has spent more of her voting years outside the Democratic Party than in it distinguishes her from her 2020 primary opponents. She and Senator Bernie Sanders, for example, share many policy objectives and an inclination to rail against the powerful. The Vermont senator, however, largely decided what he believed 50 years ago and has been remarkably consistent ever since. Warren is ever-evolving, questioning her own assumptions and hungry for new information'--even today, as she sets the pace of the 2020 policy debate with detailed new proposals on childcare, taxes on the wealthy and large corporations, and a call for a new era of trust-busting in sectors from tech to agriculture.
''Her worldview is very informed by data,'' says Angela Littwin, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin who was Warren's student in the late '90s and became a mentee of both Warren and Westbrook. ''What changed [Warren's ideology] was the stories of ordinary people filing for bankruptcy. That speaks really well of her that she was presented with information contrary to her worldview and adopted it.''
Warren's ideological and political transformations also occurred well before she entertained running for public office'--lending them an authenticity often lacking in politicians who change their policy positions out of self-interest.
''If you had to pick a professor at Harvard to become a progressive icon in a decade,'' says Littwin, ''she wouldn't have even been on the short list.''
Warren didn't inherit the Republican Party from her parents or from her home state. Oklahoma was mostly a blue state while Warren was growing up there. Although partisan politics wasn't much discussed at home, she speculated in a 2018 interview with the Intercept that her parents were New Deal Democrats. Yet Harry, one of Warren's best friends in high school, distinctly remembers Warren being an ''ice-cold Republican,'' as she would sometimes tease her. (Warren joked back that Harry had ''socialist'' friends.)
It's unclear exactly why Warren chose to become a Republican in the first place, given her family's background. When I asked her, she said, ''I voted'--sometimes voted for Democrats, sometimes voted for Republicans'--but never thought of myself, never had to frame myself, in political terms.''
In the late 1970s and '80s, while Warren was in law school at Rutgers and then began her legal career, the right and Reaganomics were ascendant. In legal academia, this manifested itself in part through the ''Law and Economics'' movement, which sought to integrate the study of economics into law to emphasize efficiency and economic impact. In 1986, Columbia Law School professor Bruce Ackerman'--now at Yale Law School'--described the movement as ''the most important thing in legal education since the birth of Harvard Law School.''
Colleagues from her early years as a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin recall Warren, second from left, as ''surprisingly anti-consumer'' and ''believing much of what the corporate folks say about how the free markets work.'' | Tarlton Law Library Digital Collections
The movement and its campus programs were fueled in part by funding from wealthy conservatives and corporations eager to inject some business-oriented thinking into the relatively liberal environs of elite American law schools. John Olin, a multimillionaire business tycoon who backed many conservative causes, began funding one of the movement's intellectual founders, law professor Henry Manne, in the early '70s and poured $68 million into Law and Economics programs at schools across the country in the late '80s. ''Economic analysis tends to have conservatizing effects,'' James Pierson, the longtime director of Olin's foundation, which distributed the funds, once explained to the New York Times.
A key component of the Law and Economics movement were frequent ''summer camps'' or ''Manne camps'''--conferences for law professors and judges hosted by Manne's Law and Economics Center. The camps received funding from more than a hundred corporate donors, many of whom would later become favorite targets of Warren. In her first years as a self-described ''baby law professor,'' Warren attended a Manne camp, which she describes vaguely in A Fighting Chance as ''an intensive course for law professors who wanted to learn more about economics.'' It was there that Warren met her second husband, Bruce Mann, a fellow law professor.
''As we've always said, something good came from Law and Economics,'' Warren says now. ''I found my sweetie. That should be a good country-western song don't you think? 'I Found My Sweetie at Law and Economics Camp.'''
Warren joined the faculty at the University of Houston in 1978, and soon jumped to the University of Texas at Austin, where colleagues recall Law and Economics having a strong influence early on. ''She did begin, as a student and as a young lawyer, sort of believing much of what the corporate folks say about how the free markets work, and they have to be left free to do what they want,'' says Doug Laycock, who had the office next to Warren's at UT-Austin and is married to Warren's longtime co-author, Teresa Sullivan, a sociologist who later became president of the University of Virginia.
In a 1980 paper she wrote at the University of Houston, Warren argued that utility companies were over-regulated, and described the arguments of consumer advocates on the other side of the debate as ''fallacious'' and based on ''unscrutinized, long-accepted conventional wisdom.'' | Notre Dame Law Review via HeinOnline
In 1980, one of Warren's first papers as a full-time professor at the University of Houston took on one of the most divisive political issues of the time: utilities. A decade of energy crises and nearly unprecedented price hikes had made government-sanctioned monopolies a popular target for populist politicians. As Arkansas state attorney general in the late '70s and then again in his gubernatorial campaigns in the early '80s, Bill Clinton made utility companies the poster boy for corporate greed and political corruption. In the 1982 gubernatorial race, Clinton attacked his Republican opponent as ''soft on utilities, tough on the elderly.''
In her paper, however, Warren argued that utility companies were over-regulated and that automatic utility rate increases should be institutionalized to avoid ''regulatory lag,'' in spite of consumer advocate concerns. ''Eliminating regulatory lag will end the need for frequent rate hearings, and will, thus, reduce the administrative costs of regulation,'' she wrote. On the other side of the debate were consumer advocates, whose arguments she described then as ''fallacious'' and based on ''unscrutinized, long-accepted conventional wisdom.''
Steve Mitnick, editor-in-chief of the trade publication Public Utilities Fortnightly, reviewed the paper at Politico Magazine 's request and said he was shocked Warren had authored it. ''That is such a pro-utility paper. It's, like, awesome,'' he told me. ''She would never say this today. '... If you're a utility, you love that thing.'' Barbara Alexander, a longtime consumer advocate in the utilities sector, also reviewed the paper, and blasted it: ''What struck me was her lack of presentation of the consumer viewpoint and the underlying policies governing rate-making. She simplistically makes conclusions without any analysis of actual facts, just economic theory.''
In Warren's prolific career, the article, originally published in the Notre Dame Law Review, has had a relatively long shelf life and has been cited in cases before the Ohio and Louisiana state Supreme Courts. The Texas Court of Appeals cited the paper approvingly in 2006.
In our interview, Warren dismissed the idea that the paper suggested she was a conservative. ''I followed theory and tried my hand at what all academics did then in our field, and that was theory,'' she said. ''I pretty quickly discovered not only that the theory was wrong, but it was deeply misleading.''
''This was before Elizabeth formed her own notions about the justice aspect of contract law and the social utility of it,'' Warren's University of Houston colleague and mentor John Mixon told Warren biographer Antonia Felix for her recent book, Elizabeth Warren: Her Fight. Her Work. Her Life. In her early writing, Mixon said, Warren was ''learning the technicalities of this essentially right-wing law.''
Warren's academic career soon took a turn that made her far less comfortable with unfettered free markets. Prompted in part by a surge in personal bankruptcy filings following the passage of new bankruptcy laws in 1978, Warren, Sullivan and Westbrook in 1982 decided to study bankruptcy in a way that was then considered novel in academia: by digging into the anecdotal evidence of individual filings and traveling to bankruptcy courts across the country, often rolling a small copy machine through airports along the way.
By her own admission, Warren was the skeptic on the team. ''I set out the prove [the people filing for bankruptcy] were all a bunch of cheaters,'' she recounted in 2007 in an interview on University of California Television. ''My take on this, my thrust, what I was going to do is I was going to expose these people who were taking advantage of the rest of us by hauling off to bankruptcy and just charging debts that they really could repay, or who'd been irresponsible in running up debts.''
But the team concluded the opposite: that abuse was rare and that bankruptcy filings were skyrocketing not because people were lazy but because the system was poorly designed'--''rigged against'' would come later. Warren, Westbrook and Sullivan published their work as a book in 1989, As We Forgive Our Debtors, which helped to make them stars in their fields.
A bankruptcy study that Warren and UT colleagues Jay Westbrook and Teresa Sullivan conducted in the 1980s'--highlighted here in campus publications'--helped to tip her in a more progressive, pro-consumer direction. | Tarlton Law Library Digital Collections
Warren says the first trip to a bankruptcy court in San Antonio upended her feelings about Law and Economics and the more theoretical, free-market approach she had espoused. ''My thinking rotates on its axis,'' she says now. Westbrook recalls Warren's conversion similarly. ''Law and Economics in 1981 and '82 was perhaps at its peak, particularly in bankruptcy,'' he says. ''I don't have any question that over time she developed a greater empathy with people in financial distress.''
''I was willing to run down the path with these guys until I discovered there's nothing solid under our feet,'' Warren says of the more conservative legal academics at the time. ''Forever after, I become inductive instead of deductive.''
Warren may well have remained a Republican and merely academically famous, not nationally famous, if not for a 71-year-old former middle school principal from Drumright, Oklahoma.
In 1994, on a lark, Virgil Cooper decided to run in the Democratic primary against an Oklahoma congressional incumbent, Representative Mike Synar. Cooper raised almost no money and said his political idol was Republican President Dwight Eisenhower. But Synar had become a top target for the National Rifle Association, which poured money into the primary. Cooper won. While he lost the general election to Tom Coburn, Synar's ouster was an unlikely first domino to fall in the launch of Warren's political career and helped to transform her from a policy-focused moderate Republican to one of the most potent forces in the Democratic Party.
President Clinton was the next domino in line. Clinton liked Synar'--now out of a job'--and appointed him in 1995 to chair a blue-ribbon commission to study the country's bankruptcy laws. It was Synar who first brought Warren to Washington and kicked off what she later called her ''long and painful baptism into national politics.'' The two Oklahomans had been opponents in high school debate, and Synar asked Warren to be the adviser to the commission and to help write its report. ''We hadn't seen each other in the intervening decades, but 14-year-old boys seem to remember 15-year-old girls who once beat them in [debate] tournament play,'' Warren recalls in A Fighting Chance, calling the moment ''one of those little twists that makes me wonder about divine intervention.''
Even as her academic thinking had begun to shift left, Warren remained a registered Republican when she was a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, above, in the early 1990s. She changed her registration in 1996, shortly after moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to teach at Harvard. | Leif Skoogfors/Corbis via Getty Images
The commission met almost every month from April 1996 through August 1997, both in Washington and around the country. While there were debates among the commissioners, several members said they were policy-focused, not political. According to people on the commission, Warren'--who was still a registered Republican when she started in the role and told other staffers so'--came across as a policy-minded academic who worked hard at incorporating different viewpoints, even if she disagreed.
''Warren went above and beyond to ensure broad public inclusion,'' says Melissa Jacoby, one of the staff attorneys on the commission who is now a law professor at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
The partisanship ramped up just as the commission was winding down. In October 1997, the commission submitted its report to Congress with more consumer-centric recommendations. But in September, a business-friendly proposal making it more difficult to file for bankruptcy had already been introduced in Congress, setting up an eight-year fight over the topic that had become the central focus of Warren's academic career.
She lost. In April 2005, President George W. Bush signed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, which made it harder to declare bankruptcy and erase past debts. ''It's a David versus Goliath story, but this time David gets his slingshot shoved down his throat'--sideways,'' Warren writes in A Fighting Chance.
Mentioning the 2005 bill still angers Warren. ''It was worse than 'ignore.' They actually had to hold up a hand and say, 'Don't bother me with facts,''' she says of the Republicans and Democrats'--among them, Senator Joe Biden'--who pushed the bill. ''I just saw that there was no pretense here of either adherence to theory, which is where we started this conversation, or to even a vague understanding of what was going on.''
She had officially changed parties in 1996, shortly after moving to Cambridge and in the months leading up to the presidential election that year. But it was after the 2005 bankruptcy reforms that friends and colleagues saw Warren take a real turn toward Democratic politics. The 2005 bill, Westbrook says, ''got her even further into the political process, and she realized that people in the Republican Party didn't share her views on policy.''
''Then it becomes really partisan after that, because I realize 'nonpartisan' just isn't working,'' Warren recalls. '''Nonpartisan' means that families who have already been kicked in the gut over and over just get kicked a few more times so that a handful of giant institutions can boost their profit margins.''
''This was raw politics.''
Warren's anger soon met the moment.
In November 2008, as the economy collapsed, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Warren and asked her to be a part of a five-person congressional oversight panel on the bank bailout package (also known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program). When the Obama administration came in early the next year, Warren began pitching the administration on what would eventually become the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Republicans ultimately blocked her from running the federal agency, so she decided to challenge Republican Senator Scott Brown in 2012.
The very concept of the CFPB demonstrates how Warren has changed since her early academic career'--but also the limits of that conversion. Warren insists she is still a believer in the power and efficiency of markets, a capitalist to ''my bones,'' she has said'--using a label some of her Democratic opponents shy away from or outright reject.
Warren, pictured at a 2010 congressional hearing, fully converted to partisan Democrat after her bankruptcy work'--including as an adviser to a federal bankruptcy commission in the mid-1990s'--was largely ignored in a 2005 bankruptcy bill signed into law by President George W. Bush.| Melissa Golden/Bloomberg via Getty Images
On the presidential campaign trail, she still pitches her reforms and proposals, even those with dramatic government intervention, as means of correcting the market, not replacing it. Warren named her signature campaign proposal'--sweeping reforms aimed at corruption'--the Accountable Capitalism Act. Her call to break up large technology companies, she says, is about how their size has created an unfair playing field, a failing market. Her proposal to create a government manufacturer of generic drugs comes from her belief that the market has broken down, with generic drugs either not being produced or rising in price; a public option for generic drugs could jump-start the marketplace, she hopes.
''That's her fundamental framework'--she's a believer in economics,'' says Johnson, her UT-Austin colleague. ''It's just that she now shifts to protect consumers.''
''Throughout the years we worked together, she's always been focused on markets,'' Westbrook adds. ''Both of us believe very much in markets.''
What Warren's Republican history means for her presidential prospects remains unclear. There's a version of this story in which her politically mixed background makes her the ideal candidate to capture not just the the American left but also the center'--a pugilistic populist vowing to take on corporations, a policy-savvy reformer who believes that markets are essential to the economy.
But that's not the political landscape of 2019. Warren's tough stance during the financial crisis got her tagged by Republicans and many Democrats as more Harvard liberal than an up-by-the-bootstraps working mom from Oklahoma. And her work on the CFPB alienated much of the financial services industry. Meanwhile, much of the left wing of the Democratic Party, for which she was the banner-carrier after the financial crisis, has found a new champion in the democratic socialist Bernie Sanders. And members of the growing Democratic Socialists of America and the hosts of the popular leftist podcast Chapo Trap House have criticized Warren for her adherence to capitalism. As of this writing, she is generally polling fifth in the Democratic field, and her 2020 fundraising has fallen short of several other rivals'.
With some in the Democratic Party demanding purity, perhaps Warren thinks going back through her Republican history could hurt her. When I suggested near the end of our interview that she might consider talking more about that part of her biography, and her conversion, she was politely noncommittal.
''Sure, sure,'' she said, before quickly pivoting back to another question.
Dutch tractor protest sparks 'worst rush hour' - BBC News
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 07:30
Image copyright EPA Tractor-driving farmers taking to the streets to demand greater recognition have caused the worst ever Dutch morning rush hour on Tuesday, according to motoring organisation ANWB.
There were 1,136km (700 miles) of jams at the morning peak, it said.
Farmers reacted angrily to claims that they were largely responsible for a spiralling nitrogen emissions problem.
A report has called for inefficient cattle farms to be shut down and some speed limits lowered to cut emissions.
Farming groups believe they are being victimised while the aviation industry is escaping scrutiny.
How big are the protests?Organisers were hoping for some 15,000 farmers to join a protest in a field in the centre of The Hague and tractors arrived early on Tuesday, knocking down fences to get there.
Three people were arrested, according to public broadcaster NOS, as reports said 500 tractors had already reached their destination at Malieveld an hour before the demonstration was set to start. Amid the placards carried by the tractors was one simple hashtag: "No farmers no food."
One reporter said Malieveld was already full and the tractors kept coming. Hague mayor Pauline Krikke warned of an "unsafe situation".
But the main disruption was across the country as tractors snarled up motorways and main roads. A convoy on one motorway in the southern province of Brabant swerved from left to right to prevent traffic getting past.
It was not just the farmers who took to the streets but their children too, as they headed to a Christian primary school on toy tractors in the eastern farming town of Ommen.
How serious is the crisis?The Dutch top court, the Council of State, ruled in May that Dutch rules for granting building and farming permits breached EU law on protecting nature from nitrogen emissions, prompting a halt in thousands of projects including new roads, housing blocks and airports.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Nitrogen dioxide air pollution 5-10 January (sequence is played twice)Last week an advisory committee said drastic measures were needed, both in farming and on Dutch roads.
Liberal MP Tjeerd de Groot called for livestock production to be halved, meaning six million fewer pigs and 50 million fewer chickens, prompting a furious reaction from farmers. He blamed intensive livestock farming for much of the Netherlands' nitrogen emissions problem and argued that the key to the future was modern, sustainable agriculture.
Farming groups believe measurement of carbon dioxide and nitrogen is inaccurate and the debate has been hijacked by city-based climate change protesters.
"We feel as if we're being put in the dunces' corner by city types who come and tell us how things should be in the countryside," one of the protest organisers, Mark van den Oever, told the Trouw website, adding that farmers shouldn't be blamed for the whole nitrogen issue.
Image copyright EPA Image caption Tractor drivers and protesters continued to arrive throughout the morning ahead of the Hague protest Last month, broadcaster RTL Nieuws reported that the worst pollution problems facing the Dutch were around Amsterdam, nearby Schiphol airport and Rotterdam.
The government has been criticised by climate campaigners for pushing ahead with the return to Formula One motor racing at Zandvoort next year. The sports minister said he was hopeful that measures to tackle nitrogen emissions would not affect the race.
The Dutch government has set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions next year by 25% of 1990 levels. Last month a health watchdog said emissions had been cut by 15% cut in that time, largely by reducing methane, nitrous oxide and other gases. Carbon dioxide levels have remained the same.
The Purge
Opinion | Trump Is Too Dangerous for Twitter - The New York Times
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 21:02
Opinion | Trump Is Too Dangerous for Twitter The president flagrantly violates the social platform's rules. It's time to bar him.
By Kara Swisher
Ms. Swisher covers technology and is a contributing opinion writer.
Oct. 1, 2019 Image Credit Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times It's almost as if Donald Trump is trying to get impeached.
By Twitter, I mean.
That's where the twitchy fingers of the president of the United States have been working overtime to try to get him tossed off the digital communications service by posting all kinds of rule-breaking things and often in all caps with lots of exclamation marks '-- just so we don't miss them.
But just as the internet companies have been gifted with a big hug of a law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which extends them broad immunity from controversial content that is posted on their platforms, Mr. Trump has been given an epic pass on Twitter for whatever he does.
Why? Basically, he's been deemed newsworthy by the company.
True enough. But that means that every day and literally twice on Sunday, it's more incendiary tweets and rage-filled tweets and appalling tweets and reckless tweets and misleading tweets and inaccurate tweets and really inaccurate tweets. And the many lies as tweets '-- so, so many tweet lies.
That's the good part, because while many of those tweets barely skirt the line Twitter has drawn that pretty much everyone else must mind, many cross it, and President Tweeter remains unconcerned by a banishment that will never come.
Over the weekend Mr. Trump sank to a new low when he delivered a message '-- while cleverly hiding behind a quote from a controversial (and I am being kind here) pastor named Robert Jeffress '-- about the possibility of a civil war should he be impeached.
Read the tweet: '' '... If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal. Pastor Robert Jeffress @FoxNews.''
Setting aside the fact that this country did survive the Civil War and major political upheavals like the resignation of President Richard Nixon, this was yet another egregious example of the kind of bad behavior that Mr. Trump is allowed to exhibit that no one else can get away with on the platform.
More to the point, the president of the United States of America was able '-- without any consequence '-- to suggest there would be a domestic war that could result in deaths if he were subject to rules and laws '-- such as the whistle-blower statutes.
The trick was that the tweet's message was implicit rather than explicit. And that is why Twitter did not remove the tweet, as it certainly could do. The company's weak response shows how utterly incapable it is in dealing with these thorny issues.
in STYLN_email_trump-0_control_STYLN_email_trump
It so happens that in recent weeks, including at a fancy-pants Washington dinner party this past weekend, I have been testing my companions with a hypothetical scenario. My premise has been to ask what Twitter management should do if Mr. Trump loses the 2020 election and tweets inaccurately the next day that there had been widespread fraud and, moreover, that people should rise up in armed insurrection to keep him in office.
Most people I have posed this question to have had the same response: Throw Mr. Trump off Twitter for inciting violence. A few have said he should be only temporarily suspended to quell any unrest. Very few said he should be allowed to continue to use the service without repercussions if he was no longer the president. One high-level government official asked me what I would do. My answer: I would never have let it get this bad to begin with.
Now my hypothetical game has come much closer to reality. In using a quote to hide behind what he was actually trying to say, Mr. Trump was testing the system, using a tactic that is enormously dangerous.
It's important to stress that what Mr. Trump is doing is no different from what various autocrats and haters around the world are doing with social media platforms to push their malevolent agendas. With this latest move by the troller in chief, with no reaction from Twitter, it's official that the medium has been hijacked by those who want to take advantage of its porous and sloppy rules.
To be fair, I doubt the Twitter chief executive and founder Jack Dorsey could have imagined that a United States president would be so shameless and willing to cause harm by using the digital tools he built.
Well, Mr. Trump has '-- over and over again. And so it is incumbent on the giant social platforms to prevent the president from dangerously weaponizing their tools. If not, when the history of this era is written, they will be judged as completely failing in their duties as citizens.
This is not to say that this is an easy situation for Twitter. I, too, would be daunted by the incredible responsibility that has been thrust upon the company. But here we are.
So, to help them figure it out, let me end with the words of Abraham Lincoln, who knew a thing or two about what civil wars really mean: ''Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.''
Twitter editorial executive is British Army 'psyops' soldier '' report '-- RT UK News
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 09:53
A high-level Twitter executive with editorial responsibility for the Middle East is also a part-time British Army officer in their psychological warfare unit, according to a report.
The Middle East Eye (MEE) claim that Gordon MacMillan, head of editorial for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), also serves with the 77th Brigade, a unit set up in 2015 in order to find ''non-lethal'' ways of waging war.
Also on rt.com UK military strength down for 9th straight year, is MoD's 'millennials' recruitment drive failing? The 77th Brigade is an 'information warfare' operation that utilizes social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to develop ''behavioral change'' projects in regions such as the Middle East.
It brings together a variety of military units such as Media Operations and the 15 Psychological Operations Group. The group, before it was absorbed into the 77th Brigade, deployed commanders in the provision of psychological operations in operational and tactical environments.
Detailing his army background on LinkedIn, MacMillan wrote that he had trained at Sandhurst, the prestigious British military academy and that he is ''a reserve officer in the British Army serving in 77th Brigade, which specializes in non-lethal engagement.''
Also on rt.com Avoiding past mistakes or more imperialism? RT debates controversial UK MoD ties with university The MEE report that his page has recently been edited and that all references to MacMillan's service with the 77th Brigade have been deleted.
At its launch in front of the UK media four years ago, the new Brigade was billed as a unit of 1,500 ''Facebook warriors,'' consisting of both regular soldiers and reservists. According to the Middle East Eye, in recent months the army has approached British journalists to join the unit as reservists.
Twitter has responded by insisting that they ''encourage all our employees to pursue external interests.'' The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) claim that the 77th Brigade has no relationship with Twitter, other than using it for communication, according to the MEE.
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Manchester opens UK's first slow lane for people looking at phones while walking -- Society's Child -- Sott.net
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 09:55
(C) AO Mobile
It's pretty hard to pull yourself away from your mobile phone nowadays.
And with a world of information at your fingertips, not to mention all of your mates, it's not difficult to understand why that is.
Many of us are so glued to our mobile devices that a whopping 75 per cent of Brits say they are guilty of walking and using their phone at the same time, according to the new research.
The research suggests many of us (38 per cent) have had an awkward encounter where we've bumped into someone who apologised, and an unfortunate 27 per cent of us have bumped into someone looking at a phone who didn't apologise.
And now it seems we've slipped so far into the technology-obsessed abyss that the UK's first 'slow lanes' for people looking at their phones while walking have opened in Manchester.
The two adjacent 75-metre long (247ft) 'mobile phone safe lanes' have been installed in the Spinningfields district of Manchester city centre.
It is now hoped the designated pathway for pedestrians will help stop people who walk with their eyes glued to their mobile phones from bumping into each other.
The pavement along Hardman Boulevard - a busy pedestrian thoroughfare surrounded by offices, shops, bars and restaurants, used by tens of thousands of people every week - now has arrows and signs that mark out separate walking lanes on the pavement exclusively for slow-walking smartphone users.
So you can stroll down them safe in the knowledge you won't bump into anyone - and those able to pull themselves away from their technology can be reassured they won't bump into you.
Richard Baxendale, managing director of AO-Mobile, said: "We have to be realistic and responsible when it comes to the way society is changing.
"Our research found Brits being distracted by technology when walking is becoming an issue people want tackled.
"Our trial slow lane is an important first step that may well be adopted by other cities in the future."
With the lanes being set up on a trial basis we could have a bit of a wait to see if the idea will stick - or indeed if it's picked up elsewhere in the country.
In the meantime, we'll just have to remember to look up at where we're going every once in a while.
Google reportedly under antitrust scrutiny for new internet encryption protocol - CNET
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 08:04
Google is reportedly under antitrust scrutiny for its plans to adopt a new DNS encryption protocol.
Chesnot / Getty Images Google's plans to use a new Internet Protocol has raised concerns among congressional antitrust investigators who worry it could give the company an unfair competitive advantage, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. Investigators want to know whether Google will use any data collected through the new protocol for commercial purposes.
Investigators for the House Judiciary Committee asked Google in a Sept. 13 letter for information about its "decision regarding whether to adopt or promote the adoption" of the protocol, the Journal reported.
The new standard, called DNS-over-HTTPS, aims to improve internet privacy and security by encrypting traffic, hampering hackers' ability to spoof websites. The company plans to begin testing the new protocol with users of its Chrome browser next month.
Privacy is on the front burner these days as consumers come to grips with understanding just how much data companies have gathered from them. Facebook is still dealing with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the UK-based company obtained data on 87 million people without their permission.
But the new standard could alter internet competition, with cable and wireless companies being cut off from much of users' valuable DNS surfing data. That would give Google an unfair advantage in user data, companies worry.
"Google has no plans to centralize or change people's DNS providers to Google by default," a Google spokesperson said. "Any claim that we are trying to become the centralized encrypted DNS provider is inaccurate."
Leaders of the House Judiciary Committee are conducting an antitrust investigation of Google, as well as Apple, Amazon and Facebook, exploring competition in online markets and whether big tech companies are engaging in "anti-competitive conduct."
The House probe comes as tech giants faces a flood of scrutiny from government regulators, who've targeted tech companies over potential anti-competitive behavior, privacy breaches and data misuse.
NFCKill '' USBKill
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 12:06
The world's only RFID fuzzing tool.
CompatibilityWhile the NFCKill is tuned to the most common RFID frequencies, it is effective against all RFID technologies. Likewise, it is able to inductively couple with most devices that contain an form of coil.
Targeted Frequencies:
High Frequency (13.56MHz)Tags: All known tags (MIFARE Family, HID iCLASS, Calypso, Contactless Payment, etc) Hardware: Most reader and writer hardware, NFC-equipped phones, Contactless Payment Terminals, etcEffective Range: 0 - 6cmThroughput: 50 cards per cycle (max 6000 per minute)Low Frequency (125 - 134KHz)Tags: All known tags (HID, Indala, etc)Hardware: Most reader and writer hardwareEffective Range: 0 - 5cmThroughput: 1 card per cycle (max 120 per minute)Ultra High Frequency (850 - 930 MHz)Tags: Most known tags (EPC Classes 1 - 4, Security Tags, etc)Hardware: Some reader and writer hardwareEffective Range: 0 - 3cmSecure Card Destruction Throughput: 1 card per cycle (max 120 per minute)Other Technologies
Wireless charging (chargers and devices)POS systemsInduction-Loop equipped systemsSystems with coils that can have current inducedTechnical SpecificationsThe NFCKill has the following technical specifications:
Tuned Frequencies: 125KHz - 13.56MHzEffective Frequencies: 125KHz - 950MHzHardware
Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion, 3.3VInput Frequency: 3.3VOutput Voltage: ~1600VOperating Modes
Single Pulse (Standard & Professional Version)Continuous (2 Hz / 0.5s) (Professional Version only)Miscellaneous:
Battery Life: ~10,000 discharge cyclesCharge Interface: Micro-USBCase: ABSLEDs: 4x Battery Level indication, 1x Power, 1x Operation IndicationOperational Warning
The NFCKill is a high-voltage device, containing several shock-hazards. It must be kept and operated in a controlled environment, by a trained and responsible technician. Unintentional damage may occur to due irresponsible operator error.NFCKill.com declines any responsibility from the use of the device. For more information, please review our terms and conditions.
Product Presentation
Extended Testing (Hardware Fuzzing + Failure Mode Audits)
25 for 45
Whistleblower attorney says '60 Minutes' 'misinterpreted' key letter | Fox News
Thu, 03 Oct 2019 07:35
Published September 30, 2019
Last Update 3 days ago
A lawyer representing the unidentified whistleblower in Congress' impeachment investigation blasted "60 Minutes" on Sunday, saying the program "misinterpreted" a letter from his legal team in reporting that it indicated his client is under federal protection.
Mark Zaid, the attorney, tweeted that the famed news program "completely misinterpreted contents of our letter," which he linked to from his Twitter post.
The CBS program tweeted a brief defense of its report, saying: "60 Minutes stands by its sources and reporting on the whistleblower."
This prompted a more scathing response from Zaid.
"Is @60Minutes now asserting it has a source other than letter our legal team sent to @ODNIgov? Because if it doesn't, and I know it doesn't, then it is literally making stuff up. That helps no one, especially the #whistleblower. The media should always accurately report facts," he tweeted.
The whistleblower allegations represent a major threat to the Trump presidency. The allegation is that the president pressured Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, with some Democrats also arguing that he held up military aid as part of that effort. The whistleblower also claims that the administration went to great lengths to "bury" the controversial phone call on July 25 between Trump and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Trump denies any wrongdoing and said he was just making sure that the country, known to be besieged by corruption, was getting off on the right foot with its new president.
"60 Minutes" reported Sunday that it received a letter that indicated that the government whistleblower has been put under federal protection due to safety concerns.
The report showed a PDF file of the Sept. 28 letter from the Compass Rose Legal Group, to the officer of acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.
The letter said, in part, "The purpose of this letter is to formally notify you of serious concerns we have regarding our client's personal safety. We appreciate your office's support thus far to activate appropriate resources to ensure their safety."
The letter did not specify the "support" or "resources" that were offered.
The letter stressed the urgency in protecting the whistleblower's identity and claimed that there's a $50,000 bounty for information about the client. The letter was signed by Andrew P. Bakaj, the lead attorney in the case.
"60 Minutes" did not immediately respond to an early morning email from Fox News.
One social media user highlighted the sentence in his legal group's letter that expressed gratitude to Maguire's office for activating the ''appropriate resources to ensure'' the whistleblower's safety and asked what was misinterpreted.
An email to Zaid was not immediately returned.
Zaid said talks are still ongoing and we ''continue to work w/both parties in House & Senate & we understand all agree protecting whistleblower's identity is paramount.'' He said no time or date has been set.
Meanwhile, Fox News is told that the inspector general for the intelligence community who originally received the whistleblower complaint, Michael Atkinson, is scheduled to testify in closed session Friday before the House Intelligence Committee.
Fox News' Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.
Opinion | Will Trump Ever Leave the White House? - The New York Times
Thu, 03 Oct 2019 06:56
It's a loaded question '-- with no obvious answer.
By Thomas B. Edsall
Mr. Edsall contributes a weekly column from Washington, D.C. on politics, demographics and inequality.
Oct. 2, 2019 Image The 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Credit Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times Since 2015, we have been worrying about how much danger Donald Trump posed to democracy. Now, with the impeachment inquiry moving forward, a new question is rapidly gaining relevance: How and when will President Trump leave the White House?
When I asked David Leege, professor of political science emeritus at Notre Dame, about political developments in the near future, his response surprised me. After noting that I had not posed the most important question, he added:
We should not assume that either a 2020 election defeat or impeachment/conviction will remove Trump from the White House.
Leege elaborated:
Both before Trump was elected in 2016 and during his term, he has made frequent references to ''my 2nd Amendment friends'' and increasingly the ''patriots'' who constitute the military.
Before you decide that this is paranoia, let me point out that Leege is an eminently reasonable scholar, a former chair of the board of overseers of the American National Election Studies and one of the founders of the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems. He has been a valued source of mine for years.
''The country is armed to the hilt,'' Leege wrote:
As president, Trump has resisted any effort to curb citizen access to guns and ammo. He puts on a modest show of concern when a particularly bad gun massacre occurs but, in the end, he sees armed citizens as a significant personal asset.
Leege went on to speculate about what might happen in the worst of circumstances:
I think the legal profession, finance, and corporate business would resist Trump's efforts toward a coup. They need stability to make profits. Perhaps the biggest question concerns the military. Coups are usually backstopped by colonels, not generals. Thus, major barracks could provide him with support. Probably his best strategy to keep all levels of the military loyal to him rather than to the Constitution would be to embroil us in a major war.
Should push come to shove, the pivotal group, in Leege's view,
is and always has been Republican United States Senators. If enough of them, spread across the country and in the South, see advantage in supporting the Constitution instead of their personal and party's advantage, they would desert Trump either through conviction on impeachment articles or through the 2020 election.
Image A pro-Second Amendment gathering near the 2018 convention of the National Rifle Association in Dallas. Credit Ashley Gilbertson for The New York Times Take a look at what Trump has openly, consistently and repeatedly said. Here are just a few examples.
On March 3, 2016, Bret Baier of Fox News asked Trump what would happen if the military refused to obey his orders to torture suspected terrorists because ''they've been trained to turn down and refuse illegal orders.'' Trump '-- still eight months before being elected '-- replied:
''They won't refuse. They're not going to refuse me. Believe me.''
Pressed further by Baier, Trump declared:
I'm a leader. I'm a leader. I've always been a leader. I've never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they're going to do it. That's what leadership is all about.
In the final debate with Hillary Clinton on Oct. 19, 2016, Chris Wallace of Fox News pressed Trump to announce that he would ''absolutely accept the result of this election.'' Trump's answer:
I will look at it at the time. I'm not looking at anything now. I'll look at it at the time. What I've seen '-- what I've seen is so bad. First of all, the media is so dishonest and so corrupt, and the pile-on is so amazing.
Trump then claimed that the results could be corrupted because there are ''millions of people that are registered to vote that shouldn't be registered to vote.'' Not only that, but his opponent ''shouldn't be allowed to run. It's crooked '-- she's, she's guilty of a very, very serious crime. She should not be allowed to run.''
Finally, Trump concluded the exchange: ''What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense. O.K.?''
Or consider what Trump has said while president. On March 12, 2019, a month before publication of the Mueller Report, Trump told Breitbart, the hard right populist news site:
You know, the left plays a tougher game, it's very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don't play it tougher. O.K.? I can tell you, I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump '-- I have the tough people, but they don't play it tough until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.
And on Monday, Trump strengthened the case that he is willing to burn the house down, posting a series of tweets quoting Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, from an appearance on Fox News earlier that day.
Here's what Jeffress said:
I've literally spoken to thousands and thousands of evangelical Christians, I have never seen them more angry over any issue than this attempt to illegitimately remove this president from office, overturn the 2016 election and negate the votes of millions of evangelicals in the process. And if the Democrats are successful in removing the president from office, I'm afraid it will cause a Civil War-like fracture in this nation from which this country will never heal.
Now Trump is conducting an all-out assault on the impeachment process, calling it a coup in a pair of tweets posted on Tuesday:
As I learn more and more each day, I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP, intended to take away the Power of the People, their VOTE, their Freedoms, their Second Amendment, Religion, Military, Border Wall, and their God-given rights as a Citizen of The United States of America!
All of this raises a couple of questions: What drives the depth and intensity of support for Trump? And how far are those supporters willing to go to keep him in the White House?
Extensive evidence suggests that the passion of Trump's loyalists is, to a considerable extent, rooted in what they perceive as racial and cultural threat. Polls and surveys from Pew, N.P.R. and the Public Religion Research Institute show that 55 percent of whites believe they are discriminated against, that a plurality of whites (46 percent) believes that a majority-minority nation will ''weaken American culture'' and that once dominant white Christians are no longer a majority.
Let's first examine the question of how seriously we should take the specter of civil disorder. I asked a number of experts in American politics and their replies varied.
Philip Bobbitt, a law professor at Columbia and the University of Texas, and the author of a new edition of Charles Black's ''Impeachment: A Handbook,'' replied to my inquiry:
I doubt he would go quietly and would not be surprised if he claims he was robbed, but any attempt to hold onto office '-- to refuse to leave the mansion, or keep issuing executive orders drafted by Stephen Miller, or sending nominations to the Senate '-- would be laughably brief. There is no Praetorian Guard in the United States, certainly not the highly professional Secret Service.
Others were less sanguine.
Walter Dellinger, professor emeritus at Duke Law School, former acting solicitor general and head of the Office of Legal Counsel under President Bill Clinton, wrote:
I believe that the career officials of the federal government, including members of the military, would adhere to the person who won, regardless of which candidate they supported.
But, he added,
the role of Fox News should not be underestimated. If Fox declared that Trump was the ''real winner'' all bets would be off. I believe, however, they would report honestly on such an important question.
Steven Levitsky, a professor of government at Harvard and one of the authors of ''How Democracies Die,'' warned that a dangerous situation could emerge if the outcome of the 2020 election is very close, ''one that, broadly like 2000, hinged on one or maybe two contested states.''
Image Credit Dave Sanders for The New York Times In that case, Levitsky wrote,
it is possible that Republicans would close ranks behind Trump, resulting in a constitutional crisis. If right-wing media and the G.O.P. politicians were to remain solidly behind Trump, as they largely have thus far in previous scandals, there would be no easy constitutional exit.
Like Dellinger, Levitsky argued that Fox News will play a crucial role if Trump is impeached or loses a close re-election bid:
In my view, the key variable is the response of the Republican coalition, including Fox News and other major right wing media. If the Republican coalition fractures, Trump is toast.
If a Senate vote on impeachment ''is bipartisan," Levitsky added, ''Trump will have no choice but to go peacefully (screaming on Twitter, perhaps, but peacefully) into the night.''
Bruce Cain, a political scientist at Stanford, argued in an email that Republicans will be very reluctant to turn against Trump:
In the Republican mind-set, the rules about transparency, legislative process and conflict of interest were driven by liberal reform groups not by people who actually wield power in America's interest. America is teetering toward socialism and cultural chaos. Hence, the President has the right to push the boundaries of his power to achieve the right outcomes.
Cain described current events as
Nixon redux but worse. I na¯vely thought we passed this test as a country already with Watergate and Iran-contra but it seems that our periodic assaults on democratic values are like a bad weather cycle made worse by a more extreme political climate.
Bart Bonikowski, a professor of sociology at Harvard, reiterated the importance of norm violation in Trump's governing strategy:
It signals to Trump's (overwhelmingly white) supporters that he's willing to represent them at any cost, even that of liberal democracy itself.
Bonikowski contended that while
the substance of Trumpism is ethnonationalist, its form is authoritarian. Like other aspiring autocrats, such as Hungary's Viktor Orbn or Poland's Jarosław KaczyÅski, Trump seeks to delegitimize his opposition as ''enemies of the people'' in order to mobilize his base and maintain a stranglehold on power.
Whether perpetrated by ''journalists, independent judges, career civil servants, or legislators,'' Bonikowski wrote, ''any attempt at checking his power is seen as a betrayal of him, his supporters, and ultimately, the nation.''
David Brady, a political scientist who is also a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, provided poll data indicating that the hard core of Trump supporters is quite likely to disbelieve outcomes in which Trump is cast as the loser.
Brady pointed out that in ''the latest YouGov poll, 89 percent of those who strongly approve of the job Trump is doing also say that the deep state is trying to overthrow the president.''
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At the same time, Brady continued,
less than 15 percent of those same strong Trump supporters have any faith in TV news, newspapers and less than a third support the C.I.A., F.B.I. and so on.
Ashley Jardina, a political scientist at Duke, cited the sense of racial isolation common among many Trump supporters. ''Some of Trump's most steadfast supporters are white Americans who feel a strong sense of solidarity with their racial group,'' she wrote, while experiencing ''a sense of racial alienation '-- or a profound feeling of group disenfranchisement.''
These voters, according to Jardina,
tend to agree that American society owes whites a better chance in life than they have received, that it hasn't given them an opportunity to get ahead, and that it hasn't dealt fairly with white people.
From another vantage point altogether, there is the dilemma of the conservative who finds Trump repugnant, but also views Democrats as worse.
Charles Murray, a political scientist affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute and the author of ''Coming Apart,'' believes that Trump is
a malignant narcissist, which includes as symptoms some of the most unattractive qualities that human beings can have. He also exhibits textbook traits of mental decline that have worsened measurably over the last three years. I find in him no evidence of redeeming traits '-- no instance of loyalty to a friend in trouble or of unconditional generosity. I despise him and think he is unfit to be president.
Despite that, Murray continued, ''it is also quite possible that I will find myself voting for him next year.'' The conservative scholar said he approves of many of the things that have happened during the Trump years '-- especially ''the judges he has appointed and the steps to roll back stupid and obstructive regulations. I also think that the nation needs to control its borders and limit low-skill immigration.''
While Joe Biden might be an acceptable choice, in Murray's view, ''a Warren or Sanders presidency would be a disaster for the nation.''
Murray concluded:
So there you have it: I despise the man, worry that he will make terrible foreign policy blunders, but from my perspective policies under Trump are vastly superior to the policies that would be pursued by the leading Democratic candidates. It's a Hobson's choice.
From the perspective of Trump's most fervent supporters, the issue of race is crucial.
Data that helps us understand the ardent level of support among many Trump voters can be found in a March 19, 2019 Pew Research report, ''Looking to the Future, Public Sees an America in Decline on Many Fronts.''
Having a majority of the population made up of blacks, Asians, Hispanics and other minorities by the year 2050 will lead to one of the following between racial and ethnic groups:
All adults
Having a majority of the population made up of blacks, Asians, Hispanics and other minorities by the year 2050 will do one of these to American customs and values:
Weaken customs
and values
Having a majority of the population made up of blacks, Asians, Hispanics and other minorities by the year 2050 will lead to one of the following between racial and ethnic groups:
All adults
Having a majority of the population made up of blacks, Asians, Hispanics and other minorities by the year 2050 will do one of these to American customs and values:
Weaken customs
and values
As the accompanying chart shows, the Pew survey asked two relevant questions.
First, ''Will having a majority of the population made up of blacks, Asians, Hispanics and other racial minorities by 2050 lead to more or fewer conflicts between racial and ethnic groups?''
Republicans said more conflicts by better than 4 to 1, 59-14; a much smaller percentage of Democrats said that there would more conflict, 42-36.
Second, ''Will having a majority of the population made up of blacks, Asians, Hispanics and other racial minorities by 2050 strengthen or weaken American customs and values?''
In this case, Republicans foresee a weakening of American customs and values by a decisive 59-13. Democrats, in contrast, anticipate stronger customs and values, 42-22.
Lilliana Mason, a political scientist at the University of Maryland, posed a thought-provoking question in her response to my emailed inquiry.
First, she argued:
I don't think it's entirely about Trump '-- the Republican Party has been the party of white Christians for a while now. What Trump did was to remind white voters that they should feel victimized and aggrieved.
With Trump capitalizing on a hostile reaction to the election of the first black president and his own ''scapegoating of nonwhite people,'' Mason wrote, whiteness ''became, instead of the 'default' American identity, a thing to defend.''
Over and above that, Mason wrote, it's possible that
the social sorting that we have observed over the last few decades has been a gradual movement toward a real reckoning with race in American politics and society that we haven't ever really had to face.
If, she continued,
Americans were to have a true reckoning with our legacy of racial violence and bias, we should expect to see a strong backlash from the forces of white supremacy that have been in America's DNA since the founding. An optimistic view is that we are in the beginning of this process now. A pessimistic view allows that the backlash might succeed. Either way, it is not inconsistent with Trump's evocation of Civil War.
Jack Goldstone, a professor of public policy at George Mason, voiced the more pessimistic view.
For many Trump supporters, Goldstone wrote by email, ''the world they grew up in and knew best was an overwhelmingly white, Christian world, with institutions led by white Christian men.''
These Trump supporters, in Goldstone's view,
fear being overwhelmed by a sudden increase in the volume of minorities in society that will leave them unrepresented and disadvantaged '-- indeed many feel already disadvantaged compared to the efforts to give preferences to ''underrepresented'' minorities.
For these voters, Goldstone wrote,
an attack on Trump is an attack on themselves; hence the strength of their response to efforts to impugn Trump or remove him from power. For these voters, Trump is all that is holding back the deluge that will sweep them away once the ''liberal elites'' and minorities take power.
If, Goldstone continued, these voters feel
that impeachment is just motivated by a desire to remove Trump and bring liberal elites and minorities to power, they would fight tooth and nail and even go to the streets to defend him against an ''unlawful coup'' and ''overturning the will of the American people.''
In order for impeachment to be accepted by these voters, he wrote, it
cannot be a technical criminal action. It would have to be a clear case of Trump acting so much in his own behalf and betraying the country that it would undercut these voters' belief that Trump is acting for them.
In an interview with Axios, Goldstone described the reaction among some whites to the prospect of a multicultural America: ''The panic translates into an effective voting bloc that has high anxiety about immigration, diversity and religious issues.''
Unlike Goldstone, William Frey, a senior fellow at Brookings and an expert on the nation's changing demographics, is an optimist. He wrote by email:
There is no doubt that Trump continues to fan the flames of racial anxiety for his perceived benefit. He tries to paint an America that has shifted from the white dominated 1950s when immigration was low and blacks were highly segregated.
Frey observes that
This is not the America of today and really only applies to a swath of the population ages 55 and above and in whiter parts of the country whose populations are increasingly diminishing, Only 30 percent of the population lives in counties where no minorities are highly represented and 96 percent of counties are becoming less white. Most people, even many in those demographic categories, have had contact with racial minorities through their families and workplaces and are not cowed by Trump's rhetoric.
Frey says that his
own view is that Trump won in 2016 for a variety of reasons, including economic difficulties affecting some groups, a distaste for Hillary Clinton and, for some, the idea, floated by Trump, that immigrants and nonwhites were changing the country in distasteful ways.
He also notes that
Now Trump is less popular in general and Republicans have done less well in the 2018 midterms including among whites, especially white women, and in nonurban areas.
Frey concludes on a note in line with the data he presents:
Yes, some people are afraid of a nonwhite takeover for America but they are a small and dwindling piece of the American electorate. Highlighting race as a primary campaign message will not work for Trump again.
I would like to be able to share Frey's optimism, but I am more worried than he is about strains within the American electorate.
More on Republicans and Democracy
Thomas B. Edsall has been a contributor to The Times Opinion section since 2011. His column on strategic and demographic trends in American politics appears every Wednesday. He previously covered politics for The Washington Post. @ edsall
Adam Schiff's collusion with oligarch, Ukrainian arms dealer, exposed
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 07:56
What drives Adam Schiff's never ending Russia hysteria?
When in doubt follow the money. Congressman Schiff's well documented Putin obsession may have something to do with his billionaire, military complex, oligarch patron from Ukraine.
In a Zerohedge post yesterday, chronicling the latest Adam Schiff idiocy, where the Democrat Congressman spoke to a crowd at the University of Pennsylvania, declaring Russian ads promoted the Second Amendment during the 2016 election ''so we will kill each other'' commenter AlaricBalth linked some interesting information on Schiff's underlying motivation behind his Russia hysteria'...
Adam Schiff is an owned hatchet man of Ukrainian arms dealer Igor Pasternak. Schiff's anti-Russian narrative is carefully orchestrated by his Ukrainian handlers
Pasternak, who was raised and educated in Ukraine before immigrating to the United States, is a passionate promoter of Ukrainian culture and business. He has been active in both Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. to support increased bilateral ties between the two countries and has been especially active building awareness of Ukraine's strategic economic importance among Members of Congress. Since political protests broke out across Ukraine in late 2013, Pasternak has worked to personally inform and educate Members of Congress about the geostrategic importance of Ukraine to European and US security.
Jack Posobiec tweeted in March 2017 on Schiff's connection to Pasternak and George Soros'...
Hi @RepAdamSchiff! Why did Soros-tied Ukraninan Arms Dealer Igor Pasternak hold a fundraiser for you? #ComeyHearing
Who is Schiff's patron, Igor Pasternak? He is a Ukraine globalist, military industrialist who was curiously spotted in Maidan, Kiev in 2014 for ''diplomatic reasons'' during the US/CIA sponsored coup.
The founder and CEO of the Aeroscraft Corporation (Aeros), Mr. Igor Pasternak, was saluted by the Embassy of Ukraine in Washington, DC this week for his work to foster greater support for Ukraine's democratic sand efforts. Pasternak was formally recognized with a prestigious ''Certificate of Honor'' on Friday, March 20 2014, which cites his significant contributions to bilateral cooperation.
Mr. Pasternak reacted to receipt of this honor, by stating: ''I am extremely grateful for the acknowledgment, and proud to forever call myself a Ukrainian-Jewish-American. I feel blessed by the liberty and incredible opportunity America has given me these past 20 years. So, if I can play a small part in helping Americans better understand the wonderful people of Ukraine and build bridges of partnership, it is both an honor and a pleasure.''
Pasternak, who was raised and educated in Ukraine before immigrating to the United States, is a passionate promoter of Ukrainian culture and business. He has been active in both Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. to support increased bilateral ties between the two countries and has been especially active building awareness of Ukraine's strategic economic importance among Members of Congress. Since political protests broke out across Ukraine in late 2013, Pasternak has worked to personally inform and educate Members of Congress about the geostrategic importance of Ukraine to European and US security.
In late February 2014, during the final hours of the Yanukovych Presidency, Pasternak travelled to Kyiv for diplomatic reasons in response to the outbreak of violence that had started less than 48 hours earlier, and to support peaceful transitions amid the rapid changes now taking place across Ukraine.
As an American concerned about nuclear proliferation and economic security, Mr. Pasternak encourages bipartisan support for the Ukraine and HR 4279, the Ukraine Support Act introduced by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and ranking member Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) on March 21st. Mr. Pasternak explains:
''I don't believe it is right for the world to return to a divided Europe that robs countries of their independence, or their people of freedom. I'd like to encourage Members from different political leanings to carefully consider the ramifications these recent events may have on U.S. national security and nuclear non-proliferation globally. Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons in exchange for assurances by the Russian Federation under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, in which Russia pledged to respect the boarders and sovereignty of the Ukraine and refrain from the threat or use of force against their political independence. I fear recent actions in the Crimea region could prove detrimental to convincing nations to abandon their nuclear ambitions or set a precedent that further undermines multi-national efforts to curb regional nuclear arms escalation.''
About Aeros' CEO Igor Pasternak:
Igor Pasternak was born in Kazakhstan inside the Soviet Union, and formed a childhood fascination with lighter-than-air (LTA) aircraft that has driven his life's work and development of the Aeroscraft. He formed his first company, Aeros Ltd., in the Ukraine after graduating with a Masters in Civil Engineering from Lviv Polytechnic in Lviv, Ukraine. The Ukraine-based Aeros built and delivered advertising blimps and tethered aerostats to customers across Europe. Pasternak then immigrated to the United States in 1994 and founded Worldwide Aeros Corp. Since then, Pasternak has become one of the world's leading experts in the design and construction of FAA certified airships, high-altitude airships, aerostats, and has pioneered the emerging class of cargo airships known as Aeroscraft.
About the Aeroscraft:
An Aeroscraft is a new type of Rigid Variable Buoyancy Air Vehicle, designed to control lift in all stages of air or ground operations, including the ability to off-load heavy payloads without the need to re-ballast. For the first time in history, an aircraft has been designed to control and adjust buoyant and dynamic lift, creating a new paradigm for global air transportation and logistics. Poised to enhance the air transportation industry, the Aeroscraft will deliver opportunities for business and consumers globally through access to remote locations and by new VTOL cargo delivery capabilities. The key features of the Aeroscraft include a rigid structure, vertical takeoff and landing, and operational abilities at low speed, in hover, and from unprepared surfaces.
About Aeros:
Founded 27 years ago in the U.S., the Aeroscraft Corporation (Aeros) has grown from a small aerostat production manufacturer to a leading FAA-certified airship producer and R&D firm for the aerospace industry. Aeros has achieved multiple FAA airship type certificates and operates with an FAA Production Certificate, while featuring a product line that includes advanced airships and tethered aerostats utilized in commercial and government applications throughout the world. Learn more at http://www.aeroscraft.com.
#AdamSchiff personally profits by spewing #Russia-gate lies.
Schiff gets donations from #Ukraine arms dealer Igor #Pasternak, who wants the US to ship more lethal weapons to Kiev's Neo #Nazi regime that kills ethnic Russianshttps://t.co/w2YY1P2AlE
'-- '"towhee (@amborin) December 11, 2017
A Ukrainian billionaire oligarch, with military industrial complex contracts, funding Adam Schiff's campaign dinners at $2,500 a plate'...no wonder Schiff is pushing the Russia fear mongering so hard.
Schiff's hate for Trump and hate for Russia, can be easily explained by the money he appears to received from his oligarch patron, who has an agenda to neo-liberalize Ukraine, and profit from the pillage started in Maidan in 2014.
Perhaps its time to shine a little bit of light on Adam Schiff's Ukraine collusion.
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ANALYSIS: Hunter Biden tied to China firm with questionable dealings
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 07:39
| October 01, 2019 12:00 AM
A high-ranking Chinese businessman was charged by the Justice Department with global corruption and bribery in 2017, and the first call he made after his arrest was to Vice President Joe Biden's brother, James Biden, who thinks the call was meant for Joe's son, Hunter.
Patrick Ho, the lieutenant to the founder of the multibillion-dollar Chinese conglomerate CEFC China Energy, was indicted under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the Southern District of New York for his role in a global money laundering and bribery scheme aimed at government officials in Africa. The Justice Department also accused Ho of helping with Iranian sanctions evasion and working to use the Chinese company's connections to sell weaponry to Chad, Libya, and Qatar.
Ho immediately tried reaching out to the younger Biden for help because that summer, as investigators circled, Hunter agreed to represent Ho as part of Hunter's efforts to work out a liquefied natural gas deal worth tens of millions of dollars with CEFC China Energy's leader Ye Jianming.
The vice president's financier brother said he was surprised by the call from Ho but told the Chinese businessman how to get in touch with his nephew.
''There is nothing else I have to say,'' James Biden told the New York Times in 2018. ''I don't want to be dragged into this anymore.''
The lucrative deal Hunter Biden set up with CEFC China Energy fell apart when Ye disappeared after being detained by Chinese authorities in 2018, and Ho was sentenced to three years in federal prison in March.
Although much of the scrutiny of Hunter Biden's global business dealings focuses on his controversial $50,000-per-month position with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings at the same time then-Vice President Joe Biden pressured the Ukrainian government to fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, his dealings with Chinese businessmen could cause the 2020 Democratic front-runner serious headaches, too.
Kathleen Biden, the younger Biden's now-ex-wife, accused him in divorce filings of ''spending extravagantly on his own interests (including drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, strip clubs, and gifts for women with whom he has sexual relations), while leaving the family with no funds to pay legitimate bills.'' The filing also discusses a "large" diamond, worth $80,000, he claimed he no longer had. In a later interview, Hunter said the diamond '-- which he claimed was only worth $10,000 '-- was a gift from Ye.
Ye, who had ties to the Chinese Communist Party and told Caixin Global that his company ''aims to serve the [Chinese] state's strategy,'' was on a mission to make inroads among powerful Democrats and Republicans, setting his sights on the former vice president's son, who served on the board of World Food Program USA, a nonprofit organization that raises money for the United Nations World Food Programme. Biden said he hoped Ye would make a major donation to the fund but also offered to help Ye find investment opportunities inside the United States.
Hunter Biden says he met Ye for the first time in Miami and that two of Biden's associates surprised him when they gave Ye Scotch valued at thousands of dollars. Ye sent a thank-you card and a 2.8-carat diamond to Hunter's hotel room. Hunter says he handed the diamond off to his associates and doesn't know what happened with it but denies it was meant as a bribe.
''What would they be bribing me for? My dad wasn't in office,'' Hunter Biden told the New Yorker. ''I knew it wasn't a good idea to take it. I just felt like it was weird.''
Hunter negotiated a $40 million investment deal with Ye related to a liquefied natural gas project on Monkey Island in Louisiana.
At the same time, Ye told Hunter that one of his business associates, Ho, was being investigated in the U.S., and Hunter agreed to represent him. The deal between Hunter and Ye crashed almost immediately when Ho was arrested by U.S. law enforcement at John F. Kennedy Airport in 2017. A few months later, the deal was officially dead when Ye was detained by Chinese authorities, reportedly at the orders of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
''Patrick Ho schemed to bribe the leaders of Chad and Uganda in order to secure unfair business advantages for the Chinese energy company he served,'' Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in March. ''His actions were brazen, including offering the president of Chad $2 million in cash, hidden in gift boxes. Foreign corruption undermines the fairness of international markets, erodes the public's faith in its leaders, and is deeply unfair to the people and businesses that play by the rules.''
Biden said to the New Yorker this summer he didn't think Ye was "a shady character at all" and attributed the situation to "bad luck."
Jeff Flake says 35 Senate Republicans would vote to convict Trump if impeachment featured a secret ballot - MarketWatch
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 23:34
Having heard ''somewhere'' '-- possibly from Mike Murphy, the veteran Republican strategist, interviewed earlier this week by Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC '-- that one current senator had estimated 30 Republicans in that chamber would vote to convict Donald Trump if secret ballots were a feature of impeachment verdicts, former Sen. Jeff Flake raised this objection:
The Arizona Republican issued his estimate elevation '-- meaning 66%, as compared with 57% under the estimate relayed by Murphy, of the 53 members of his party in the current upper chamber would favor Trump's removal from office '-- in the question-and-answer segment of an appearance at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin.
An op-ed in Flake's hometown newspaper suggested the former senator was effectively accusing Republicans in the Senate of cowardice, assuming he's on the mark that many would vote differently in a private impeachment proceeding versus a public one, but stopped short of doing so because ''that is not his style.''
Read on: How stock-market investors are preparing for the Trump impeachment battle
Donald Trump Impeachment More Likely If Republicans Have a Secret Ballot, Democrat Congressman Says
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 23:33
Impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump would have a far greater chance of success if Republican lawmakers were allowed to vote via a secret ballot. That's according to a Democratic congressman who introduced articles of impeachment against the president in 2017.
In an interview with Newsweek, California Representative Brad Sherman said removal of the president remains an enormous challenge, but he retains hope of winning over enough Republicans to make it a reality. "This is the strangest politics I've ever experienced," he said.
For Democrats to secure successful impeachment, conviction and removal of Trump, two-thirds of the Senate must vote that the president is guilty of the crimes alleged. This means 20 Republicans need to side with all Democratic and independent senators against Trump. "It's a huge task," Sherman said.
The congressman is no stranger to impeachment efforts, having joined Texas Democratic Representative Al Green to first introduce articles in the summer of 2017. However, a December motion to sideline the measure was passed 364-58 by the Republican-majority House.
Sherman reintroduced the articles on the first day of business for the new Democratic-controlled chamber in January. His goal is to keep the conversation current. He argued that by taking the action, he "increased by 1 percent the total number of times" Americans would hear about possible impeachment.
The conversation is all about keeping pressure on the embattled president. "If the president had not feared impeachment, what would he have done beyond what he did?" Sherman asked. "Firing [special counsel Robert] Mueller is number one on the list, but you can add more.... So we should have talked about impeachment in 2017. We should be talking about it now. We should at least be talking about it at the appropriate level."
Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman is pictured during a panel discussion at Politicon at Pasadena Convention Center on July 29, 2017, in Pasadena, California. Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for PoliticonNot all Democrats agree with his bullish approach, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "I'm not for impeachment," Pelosi told The Washington Post last week. "Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there's something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don't think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he's just not worth it."
Sherman suggested that despite the media frenzy over Pelosi's comments, "all it shows is that she's got a sense of humor. What she said was, I'm not ready to do it until it's bipartisan."
The downfall of President Richard Nixon shows that'--if sufficient evidence of serious wrongdoing exists'--Republicans can be won over. Though Nixon resigned before he could be impeached, it was widely expected that both the House and Senate would have voted to put him on trial.
"Donald Trump is less popular with Republican senators than Richard Nixon was, certainly at the beginning of the relevant term," Sherman explained. "Richard Nixon carried every state in the Union except one'.... You couldn't say Richard Nixon didn't win the popular vote."
The continued Republican backing for the president is "not out of love for Trump," he argued. "If it could be a secret ballot, we'd have a much better shot."
Of course, Trump's America is wildly different from Nixon's. Sherman recalled a conversation he had with longtime Trump associate and Republican operative Roger Stone'--currently awaiting trial over charges that he lied about his efforts to secretly contact WikiLeaks in 2016'--about why it would be much harder to remove Trump than Nixon.
"He said, 'Look, back in 1974, there was one media, and everybody watched it. And you convinced the media that Nixon was a crook, and our people followed,'" Sherman said, paraphrasing Stone. But the explosion of new media and social media has fractured the news landscape. "You'll never get our guy," Stone then said of Trump, according to Sherman.
"So 2019 or 2020, it would take the level of evidence and explanation that we had in 1974," the congressman said. "It's going to be a bit harder now'.... I guess we're going to need to find the equivalent of the smoking-gun tapes."
'Facts Change Minds'Ongoing investigations could discover new facts, and Sherman stressed that "facts change minds." Trump and his inner circle are under pressure from House investigators and special counsel Robert Mueller, whose report into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election is expected soon. Fresh revelations are putting the Trump White House on the defensive, and House Democrats show no signs of slowing down.
"We need to investigate in every way we can," Sherman said. "We need to present the information to the American people. If that has the effect of making people reluctant to vote for him in 2020, that's not a bad thing. If it leads to his impeachment and removal, that's not a bad thing."
Sherman continued, "One hundred percent of [Democrats] agree on the most aggressive investigation possible, and 100 percent of us are going to look at the situation every day, every week, every month, to decide what to do next."
But the 22-year representative is far from na¯ve about what it would take to bring down a president that wields such influence over his party and commands passionate loyalty from his base.
"It not only depends on what level of proof you have, it depends what crime," he explained. "If you have total proof that he shot somebody on 5th Avenue, that would be one thing. I voted against impeaching President [Bill] Clinton, and one of the reasons was that even if he lied about his sex life, I didn't think that was a reason to remove him. It's not only level of proof, it's level of proof of what violation. And we're going to need strong proof of a strong violation."
The Democratic Party is already well into its 2020 journey. As presidential candidates jostle for coverage and compete for funding and staffers, some party members may wish to focus on beating Trump at the ballot box rather than taking him down through impeachment.
"I think we can win," Sherman said, suggesting that "2020 is the most important election in our lifetimes." If the American people decide that Trump deserves a second term, it would make it "unlikely that we would impeach him for anything the electorate was clearly aware of at the time of the election," Sherman warned.
Though some groups within the Democratic Party may wish to present a more radical, progressive platform for 2020, Sherman would be happy simply to get Trump out of office. "I'd certainly be content to win with the slogan 'Make America Normal Again'...and it fits on a hat,'" he joked.
"I think even people who are in the middle just want the country to be calmer," he said. "They want CNN and MSNBC and Fox to have lower ratings. We want our entertainment to come from sports and fiction."
Sherman continued, "I hope that people will realize is that the number one thing here is to survive the crisis, to get Trump out. And then worry about scoring a touchdown later'--we've just got to get the ball."
As for the 2020 Democratic field, Sherman said, "The stupidest thing for us to say is, 'Anybody we nominate will beat Trump.' That's not true. Any candidate we nominate has a 51 percent chance of beating Trump. But to put my country at a 49 percent chance of absolute disaster is not patriotism."
President Donald Trump listens during an event on border security in the Oval Office of the White House March 15 in Washington, D.C. Alex Wong/Getty Images
Deal reached for whistleblower's testimony, House Intelligence chairman says - U.S. - Stripes
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 23:29
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Sunday that his panel has reached an agreement to secure testimony from the anonymous whistleblower whose detailed complaint launched an impeachment investigation last week into President Donald Trump.
Schiff, D-Calif., said he expected the Intelligence Committee to hear from the whistleblower ''very soon'' pending a security clearance from acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire.
''We'll get the unfiltered testimony of that whistleblower,'' Schiff said on ABC News' ''This Week,'' noting that Maguire said in a hearing Thursday that he would allow the whistleblower to testify privately without constraints.
The whistleblower kicked off the impeachment saga that came to a head with Speaker Nancy Pelosi's announcement Tuesday of an ''official impeachment inquiry.'' In that nine-page Aug. 12 complaint filed with the inspector general of the intelligence community, the whistleblower accused Trump of ''using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election'' '-- in particular, through a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The identity of the whistleblower has been guarded closely, though The Washington Post and other news outlets have identified him as a male CIA officer. Schiff said Sunday that members of his committee were ''taking all the precautions we can '... to go forward in a way to protect the whistleblower's identity.''
Numerous Republicans have attacked the whistleblower complaint as ''hearsay,'' noting that the information contained in it came from secondhand sources.
Schiff said Sunday that does not make the complaint less credible because key allegations in it were confirmed by a rough transcript of the Trump-Zelensky call as well as other sources.
''This whistleblower has already been substantially corroborated, which suggests that other information that he or she provides in that complaint likewise may be subject to corroboration,'' he said. ''So do not dismiss both the professionalism of this whistleblower, and '-- and this is what we would expect of someone who comes out of the intelligence community.''
Schiff declined to say whether he knew of other whistleblowers who have come forward in recent days but encouraged any officials with information about the allegations to step up.
''We are dependent on people of good conscience coming forward, particularly now, given that we have such an unscrupulous president,'' he said.
Liz Cheney on Ukraine: 'Starting to Seem Like a Political Setup'
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 08:28
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) on Monday said an intelligence official's complaint that President Trump sought help from Ukraine in the 2020 elections ''is starting to seem like a political setup.''Cheney tweeted a clip of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) appearing to admit she knew what was in the transcript of a July 25 Trump phone call with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky even before the White House released the transcript of the call last Wednesday.
Pelosi, in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS News 60 Minutes, said Trump called her and they discussed the phone call before the transcript was released.
According to the New York Times, Trump and Pelosi's phone call took place on Tuesday. The White House released the transcript on Wednesday.
But Pelosi said during the interview about her call with Trump, ''He told me it was perfect. There was nothing in the call. But I know what was in the call. I mean, we '-- it was in the public domain.''
When Trump and Pelosi had spoken Tuesday, the call was not yet ''in the public domain.''
Cheney tweeted:
.'... @ SpeakerPelosi '(C) said on 60 Minutes last night she knew the details of the classified Ukraine call before White House released transcript. This is starting to seem like a political set up. So, Madame Speaker, ''what did you know and when did you know it?''
.'...@SpeakerPelosi'(C) said on 60 Minutes last night she knew the details of the classified Ukraine call before White House released transcript. This is starting to seem like a political set up. So, Madame Speaker, ''what did you know and when did you know it?'' pic.twitter.com/g5tlL5hBsX
'-- Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) September 30, 2019
Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst and chief of staff to former National Security Adviser John Bolton, has questioned whether the intelligence official who lodged a whistleblower complaint against Trump had help writing the complaint from Democrat lawmakers or their staff members.
He wrote in a New York Post op-ed on Thursday:
I am very familiar with transcripts of presidential phone calls since I edited and processed dozens of them when I worked for the NSC. I also know a lot about intelligence whistleblowers from my time with the CIA.
My suspicions grew this morning when I saw the declassified whistleblowing complaint. It appears to be written by a law professor and includes legal references and detailed footnotes. It also has an unusual legalistic reference on how this complaint should be classified.
From my experience, such an extremely polished whistleblowing complaint is unheard of. This document looks as if this leaker had outside help, possibly from congressional members or staff.
Moreover, it looks like more than a coincidence that this complaint surfaced and was directed to the House Intelligence Committee just after Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), an outspoken opponent of President Trump, expressed numerous complaints in August 2019 accusing President Trump of abusing aid to Ukraine to hurt Joe Biden. This includes an August 28 tweet that closely resembled the whistleblowing complaint.
House Republicans need to ask the whistleblower under oath whether he spoke to the press or Congress about his complaint.
Follow Breitbart News' @Kristina_Wong.
Trump's 'Civil War' Quote Tweet Is Actually Grounds for Impeachment, Says Harvard Law Professor
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 23:38
President Donald Trump's recent tweet quoting a longtime evangelical pastor who warned of a "Civil War" if Democrats seriously pursue removing him from office could actually be grounds for impeachment, one Harvard Law professor said.
"If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal," Trump tweeted on Sunday night.
The tweet was a quote from Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist pastor who gave the comment during an appearance on Fox & Friends Weekend. Trump added his own parenthetical aside to Jeffress' quote, in which the president asserted that Congress won't be successful in their impeachment efforts.
The president's tweet was immediately met with backlash, and Harvard Law professor John Coates argued that the social media post itself is an "independent basis" for lawmakers to remove him from the White House.
"This tweet is itself an independent basis for impeachment - a sitting president threatening civil war if Congress exercises its constitutionally authorized power," Coates wrote on Twitter on Monday.
This tweet is itself an independent basis for impeachment - a sitting president threatening civil war if Congress exercises its constitutionally authorized power. https://t.co/JL9XzClGXf
'-- John Coatesš½¯¸ (@jciv) September 30, 2019The House of Representatives officially launched an impeachment inquiry last week amid reports that Trump tried to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
The communication between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was first revealed in a whistleblower complaint to the inspector general of the intelligence community. The complaint detailed concerns that Trump was "using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election."
The whistleblower also implicated Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr in the Ukraine debacle. Giuliani was described as a "central figure" in the situation.
Since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the inquiry, it's been reported by several news outlets that at least 218 lawmakers in the House (the exact number of votes needed to impeach Trump in the chamber) support moving forward with impeachment. At least 217 Democrats and independent Representative Justin Amash have favored the inquiry.
President Donald Trump speaks to the press after arriving on Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, September 26, 2019, after returning from New York. Trump recently tweeted a quote from an evangelical pastor warning of a "Civil War" if Congress were to impeach the president. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty ImagesDemocrats say they intend to move quickly on impeachment, but so far have only opened an inquiry into the matter. The House will decide after the investigation whether to actually impeach the president. If the chamber votes for impeachment, the Republican-controlled Senate would then decide whether to remove Trump from office or exonerate him.
Historian Kevin Kruse slammed Trump for suggesting in his "Civil War" tweet that only Democrats are responsible for impeachment. Kruse, a Princeton University professor, noted that in order to successfully remove the president there needs to be a significant amount of Republicans backing impeachment.
"Trump can only be removed through impeachment if two-thirds of the Senate votes to remove him. To do that, 20 Republicans would need to join the 45 Democrats and 2 Independents," Kruse wrote. "Removal would be bipartisan. Framing it as some kind of civil war isn't just dangerous. It's dumb."
Trump Pressed Australian Leader to Help Barr Investigate Mueller Inquiry's Origins - The New York Times
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 16:21
Politics | Trump Pressed Australian Leader to Help Barr Investigate Mueller Inquiry's Origins The discussion was another instance of the president using American diplomacy for potential personal gain.
Image Attorney General William Barr with President Trump. Credit Credit Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times Sept. 30, 2019Updated 5:04 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON '-- President Trump pushed the Australian prime minister during a recent telephone call to help Attorney General William P. Barr gather information for a Justice Department inquiry that Mr. Trump hopes will discredit the Mueller investigation, according to two American officials with knowledge of the call.
The White House restricted access to the call's transcript to a small group of the president's aides, one of the officials said, an unusual decision that is similar to the handling of a July call with the Ukrainian president that is at the heart of House Democrats' impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump. Like that call, the discussion with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia shows the extent to which Mr. Trump sees the attorney general as a critical partner in his goal to show that the Mueller investigation had corrupt and partisan origins, and the extent that Mr. Trump sees the Justice Department inquiry as a potential way to gain leverage over America's closest allies.
And like the call with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, the discussion with Mr. Morrison shows the president using high-level diplomacy to advance his personal political interests.
President Trump initiated the discussion in recent weeks with Mr. Morrison explicitly for the purpose of requesting Australia's help in the Justice Department review of the Russia investigation, according to the two people with knowledge of the discussion. Mr. Barr requested that Mr. Trump speak to Mr. Morrison, one of the people said. It came only weeks after Mr. Trump seemed to make military aid to Ukraine contingent on Mr. Zelensky doing him the ''favor'' of helping Mr. Barr with his work.
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment. A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did a spokesperson for the Australian prime minister.
In making the request, Mr. Trump was in effect asking the Australian government to investigate itself. The F.B.I.'s counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election began after Australian officials told the bureau that the Russian government had made overtures to the Trump campaign about releasing political damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
Australian officials shared that information after its top official in Britain met in London in May 2016 with George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser who told the Australian about the Russian dirt on Mrs. Clinton.
Mr. Papadopoulos also said that he had heard that the Russians had ''thousands'' of Mrs. Clinton's emails from Joseph Mifsud, an academic. Mr. Mifsud, who was last seen working as a visiting professor in Rome, has disappeared. Trump allies, like the president's personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, have put forth an unsubstantiated claim that Western intelligence agencies planted Mr. Mifsud to trap Mr. Papadopoulos.
Mr. Barr flew to Italy last week and met with Italian government officials on Friday. The Justice Department spokeswoman would not say whether he discussed the election inquiry in those meetings, but former Justice Department officials said that Mr. Barr would need to ask foreign countries for cooperation in turning over documents pertaining to the 2016 election.
in STYLN_email_trump-0_control_STYLN_email_trump
Mr. Barr began a review of the Russia investigation this year with the stated goal of determining whether law enforcement or intelligence officials acted inappropriately in their decision during the height of the 2016 presidential campaign to begin investigating whether the Trump campaign was conspiring with Russia's election interference. But the president has made no secret he sees a larger purpose: to validate his victory and to settle scores with his perceived ''deep state'' enemies.
The Justice Department said last week that it is exploring the extent to which other countries, including Ukraine, ''played a role in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign.'' At the very least, Mr. Barr has made it clear that he sees his work treading into sensitive territory: how the law enforcement and intelligence agencies of the United States' closest allies share information with American officials.
Mr. Mueller's investigation confirmed that Australia played a central role in the origins of the original F.B.I. investigation, even if his final report does not mention the country by name. It said that information from a ''foreign government'' prompted the F.B.I. to ''open an investigation into whether individuals associated with the Trump campaign were coordinating with the Russian government in its interference activities.''
But like so much about the pre-election period, the episode has been the subject of a counternarrative marbled with conspiracy: that the Obama administration had dispatched the Australian official, Alexander Downer, to spy on the Trump campaign as part of a broader effort to help Mrs. Clinton get elected.
There is no evidence to support this, but the conspiracy has been advanced by some of the president's allies in Congress, by some Fox News commentators, and in frequent tweets by Mr. Papadopoulos, who was sentenced last year to two weeks in prison for lying to F.B.I. agents in the Russia inquiry who questioned him about any contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intermediaries.
Mr. Morrison, the Australian prime minister, met Mr. Trump in Washington this month for official meetings and a state dinner at the White House. Mr. Barr attended the dinner.
The attorney general sparked a controversy in April when he said during congressional testimony that ''spying'' on the Trump campaign had taken place as part of the Russia investigation, and that there was a ''failure among a group of leaders at the upper echelons'' of the intelligence community. He later announced that he was reviewing the origins of the Russia investigation, and President Trump said, ''I am so proud of our attorney general that he is looking into it.''
In May, Mr. Trump told reporters that he wanted his attorney general to scrutinize all of the countries that he believes conspired to damage his 2016 election hopes. He said he hopes Mr. Barr ''looks at the U.K., and I hope he looks at Australia, and I hope he looks at Ukraine. I hope he looks at everything, because there was a hoax that was perpetrated on our country.''
Mr. Barr appointed a career prosecutor, John H. Durham, to lead the inquiry, but American officials said that the attorney general has taken an active role in overseeing Mr. Durham's work. That has fueled concerns that Mr. Trump has personally directed his attorney general to micromanage a law enforcement inquiry to advance the president's political agenda.
Justice Department officials have said that it would be neither illegal nor untoward for Mr. Trump to ask world leaders to cooperate with Mr. Barr. And it is within Mr. Barr's powers to speak with foreign law enforcement officials about what his prosecutor needs from them.
The president and his allies have been open about their view that Mr. Durham's review is potentially helpful for the White House. Stephen Miller, a top adviser to Mr. Trump, said on ''Fox News Sunday'' that the president initiated the July call with Mr. Zelensky in part to discuss ''the collusion investigation that is inflicted so much pain and damage to our country,'' and that ''the attorney general has appointed somebody from the Justice Department to look into that issue.''
But separately on Sunday, the president's first homeland security adviser, Thomas P. Bossert, said the theory that the Ukrainian government had intervened in 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign had been ''completely debunked.'' Mr. Bossert said on ABC's ''This Week'' that he had relayed that to the president and was ''deeply disturbed'' that he pushed Mr. Zelensky to find evidence to support the unsubstantiated accusation.
Mr. Trump has said that he did not order Mr. Barr to conduct a review, but he did grant the attorney general broad powers to declassify any intelligence involved in the Russia investigation '-- a move that also essentially stripped the C.I.A. of its power to choose which national security information should remain secret.
Julian E. Barnes contributed reporting from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York.
Mark Mazzetti is a Washington investigative correspondent, a job he assumed after covering national security from the Washington bureau for 10 years. He was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for reporting on Donald Trump's advisers and their connections to Russia. @ MarkMazzettiNYT
Katie Benner covers the Justice Department. She was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for public service for reporting on workplace sexual harassment issues. @ ktbenner
Donald Trump has edited official transcripts before '-- here are 4 examples '' Raw Story
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 22:45
President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed he would release ''the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript'' of his phone calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
However, Trump's credibility crisis has House Democrats instead demanding he turn over the whistleblower's full complaint.
Journalist John Iadorola recalled Trump's record with transcripts.
He cited four examples.
''White House Transcript Edits Trump's Dig That Female Reporter 'Never' Thinks,'' read a headline from the Huffington Post.
A headline in Deadspin read, ''White House Alters Transcript To Clarify That The President Is Actually Really Good At Golf.''
''The White House Transcript Is Missing the Most Explosive Part of the Trump''Putin Press Conference,'' read a headline in The Atlantic.
He also noted an MSNBC headline reading, ''The White House keeps editing its transcripts in curious ways.''
Grain of salt, people. pic.twitter.com/HW1yHL77vS
'-- John Iadarola (@johniadarola) September 24, 2019
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Enjoy this piece?'... then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism '-- and we're investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston's DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We've exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We've revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We need your support to do what we do.
Raw Story is independent. You won't find mainstream media bias here. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.
We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.
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The U.S. Senate Has a Survival Interest in Supporting Impeachment Effort'... | The Last Refuge
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 22:57
'....In 2016 a branch of the United States government (Legislative) was attempting a soft-coup against the leader of another branch of government (Executive); by using the Senate Intelligence Committee and designated corrupt agents within the executive branch cabinet'... In 2019 the effort shifted to the House Intelligence Committee'...
During the 2016 effort to weaponize the institutions of government against the outside candidacy of Donald Trump, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) was headed by Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein. After the 2016 election Senator Feinstein abdicated her vice-chair position to Senator Mark Warner in January 2017.
While the SSCI was engaged in their part of the 2016 effort Vice-Chair Feinstein's lead staffer was a man named Daniel Jones.
Dan Jones was the contact point between the SSCI and Fusion-GPS.
After the election, and after Feinstein abdicated, Dan Jones left the committee to continue paying Fusion-GPS (Glenn Simpson) for ongoing efforts toward the impeachment insurance policy angle.
Senator Feinstein left because she didn't want to deal with the consequences of a President Trump, IF he discovered the SSCI involvement. Dan Jones left because with a Trump presidency the SSCI, now co-chaired by Senator Mark Warner, needed arms-length plausible deniability amid their 2017 operations to continue the removal effort (soft coup).
The blueprint for this plausible deniability process, and ongoing soft-coup effort, first surfaces with Dan Jones appearing in the 2017 text messages between Senator Warner and the liaison for Christopher Steele, lawyer and lobbyist Adam Waldman:
In those March 2017 text message you can see Senator Warner attempting to set up covert ''no paper trail'' communication with dossier author Christopher Steele. Adam Waldman represented Chris Steele and Steele's employer, Oleg Deripaska.
Less than a month later you can see within the text messages that Christopher Steele is in direct contact with Dan Jones. ''[Chris] said Dan Jones is coming to see you'' etc.
(Text Messages Between Feinstein's replacement, Mark Warner, and Chris Steele's lawyer/lobbyist, Adam Waldman, noting the importance of Dan Jones)
Dan Jones talking to Christopher Steele in 2017 is critical to understanding what was going on after Trump won the election.
Jones raised $50 million from those who were behind the 2016 stop Trump effort, and the purpose was now the 2017 impeachment effort [SEE LINK]. Jones having left the SSCI (now outside govt.) then paid Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS to keep up their efforts. As you can see from the texts, Jones was now talking in person (''coming to see you'') to SSCI Vice-Chair Mark Warner in April 2017.
[Side-Bar: The role of Fusion-GPS in 2017 shifted, and was now weighted toward feeding a specific media narrative that would aid impeachment (through the FBI, Weissmann and Mueller obstruction angle). Fusion-GPS was now the conduit for arms-length media leaks from the usurping small group still inside the DOJ and FBI. Dan Jones was paying Fusion on behalf of those with larger interests. Fusion was feeding the media.]
So you can clearly see the Republican-led Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was heavily involved in the impeachment effort after the election.
Secondary documentation of the connection between the DOJ, FBI, Fusion, and Dan Jones shows up in the FBI investigative 302 notes of Bruce Ohr, released by Judicial Watch. [Pay attention to the May 8th, 2017, interview '' pg 18, 19 of pdf]
The highlighted bottom portion of page 18 (May 8, 2017, interview) shows a heavily redacted text, but holds enough material to overlay with other research.
This is where Bruce Ohr is talking about Dan Jones efforts as they were currently aligned with Fusion GPS: ''and had been on the staff of the [Senate Intelligence Committee]'''.... ''At the time of the interview [Jones] was working with the [Vice Chairman of the Committee Mark Warner]'''... etc.
This part is heavily redacted because the corrupt agents within the current DOJ and FBI once again don't want people to piece together what was happening. There is an obvious ongoing element within the DOJ/FBI that is working in concert with politicians to protect both their interests. We see this quid-pro-quo in the Wolfe outcome.
These are not sources and methods being redacted. This is not national security being redacted. This is the trail of the connective tissue in/around the small group plotting that is being hidden by current DOJ/FBI and Intelligence Community officials.
At the top of page 19, the investigative notes of Ohr's discussion continues.
Bruce Ohr is telling the FBI investigator, likely Agent Joe Pientka, about Glenn Simpson and Dan Jones visiting Christopher Steele sometime after May 8, 2017, and they were in the process of ''lawyering up''.
Now before going deeper in the SSCI weeds, let me pause and explain the specifics behind why the FBI was interviewing Bruce Ohr about Chris Steele; by overlaying what was going on in/around early 2017.
Chris Steele wasn't alone in creating the ''dossier''. Heck, the purpose of Fusion-GPS contracting Steele; and the purpose of the FBI engaging with Steele; was the laundry value of having a known intelligence officer validate political opposition research which the FBI could use against Donald Trump. The reality is: most of the raw material and research inside the dossier was from Glenn Simpson and Nellie Ohr at Fusion GPS.
The 'small group' inside the DOJ and FBI always knew the provenance of the material; the plan and intent was to utilize Fusion-GPS for their political purposes.
Everyone carrying out this operation, all of the corrupt entities within it, knew the material from Chris Steele was essentially political opposition research. Many of those same people later weaponized the research into the FISA application to give it higher import and value.
That set's up early 2017 '' where the FBI was evaluating the extent to which Chris Steele was willing to remain on public record to support a false framework about the dossier itself. This is the same time-frame where Fusion is being paid by Dan Jones to facilitate the calls for a special counsel. Fusion drives that narrative with structured leaks to media.
Steele's support was a key issue because the corrupt DOJ and FBI officials were about to hand-off the dossier to Special Counsel Robert Mueller (figurehead only) as the basis for the 'small group' and him to launch the special counsel aspect of an ongoing operation.
If Chris Steele suddenly walked away from the dossier, and/or admitted publicly the dossier was political opposition research primarily from Glenn Simpson and Nellie Ohr, the FBI would have a shit-storm on it's hands'.... and they needed to evaluate the position of Steele. Steele could be a risk if he was not supporting the team playbook. That's the driving purpose behind all of this ''re-engagement'' with Steele through Bruce Ohr.
The small group in the DOJ and FBI planned to continue, pass-off and modify the Trump investigation by shifting it to a special counsel. The centerpiece of that investigation would be using the dossier as justification for a need to investigate Trump as a Russian risk. The DOJ/FBI small group needed Glenn Simpson and Chris Steele to stand by the false narrative all of the players had assembled over the prior year.
The wildcard to retain the false story was Chris Steele'... Steele was an outside participant, albeit aligned with the ideology and the purpose. Evaluating Steele's willful participation in keeping the narrative as assembled was the reason for their urgent talks; however, the ''small group'' couldn't run the risk of direct talks in the same way that Mark Warner couldn't risk of a paper trail.
Adam Waldman and Dan Jones were facilitating a plausibly deniable information pipeline from Chris Steele to Senator Mark Warner. Bruce Ohr was facilitating a plausibly deniable information pipeline from Chris Steele to the FBI/DOJ small group. The purposes were the same, everyone needed assurances Steele wasn't going to back-out.
That corrupt planning activity is what the current DOJ and intelligence officials are hiding behind the Bruce Ohr 302 redactions:
When you understand what the group was doing in early 2017, you understand why the FBI had to use DOJ official Bruce Ohr as a go-between to contact with Chris Steele.
Now we move on to overlay several data-points that happened throughout 2018 that are connected to a much more troubling part of the overall issues. In 2018 the DOJ and FBI covered-up the corruption evident during the 2017 pre-Mueller effort.
This 2017 and 2018 time period covers Robert Mueller as Special Counsel, Jeff Sessions as AG, Rod Rosenstein as Deputy, Chris Wray as FBI Director, David Bowditch as Deputy and Dana Boente as FBI legal counsel. I'll lay out the evidence, you can then determine who was powerful enough to have made these decisions.
As a result of a FOIA release in Mid December 2018, Judicial Watch revealed how the State Department was feeding ''classified information'' to multiple U.S. Senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee by the Obama administration immediately prior to President Donald Trump's inauguration:
The documents reveal that among those receiving the classified documents were Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Sen. Robert Corker (R-TN).
Judicial Watch obtained the documents through a June 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the State Department after it failed to respond to a February 2018 request seeking records of the Obama State Department's last-minute efforts to share classified information about Russia election interference issues with Democratic Senator Ben Cardin (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:18-cv-01381)).
The documents reveal the Obama State Department urgently gathering classified Russia investigation information and disseminating it to members of Congress within hours of Donald Trump taking office. (read more)
The impeachment program was a plan, an insurance policy of sorts; a coordinated effort between corrupt politicians in the Senate and hold-over allies in the executive; however, because she didn't want to participate in this '' Senator Dianne Feinstein abdicated her vice-chair position to Senator Mark Warner. [Background Here]
This is the pre-cursor to utilizing Robert Mueller. A plan that was developed soon after the 2016 election. The appointment of a special counsel was always the way they were going to hand-off and continue the investigation into Trump; but they needed a reason for it.
The continued exploitation of the Steele Dossier was critical; thus they needed Chris Steele to be solid. And the continued manipulation of the media was also critical; thus they needed Fusion-GPS to continue. [Dan Jones paid both]
While Mark Warner was communicating with Adam Waldman and Dan Jones as a conduit to Chris Steele, the FBI/DOJ team was communicating through Bruce Ohr to Chris Steele (and by extension to Nellie Ohr and Fusion GPS).
Part of Warner's role was to weaponize the Legislative branch to advance the 'Muh Russia conspiracy', a fundamental necessity if a special counsel was going to have justification.
The SSCI, and the security protocols within it, were structurally part of the plan; hence the rapid information from Obama's State Dept. to the SSCI and Senate participants in the last moments prior to departing.
'... On March 17th, 2017, the Senate Intelligence Committee took custody of the FISA application used against Carter Page. We know the FISA court delivered the read and return Top-Secret Classified application due to the clerk stamp of March 17, 2017.
(Page FISA Application, Link)
The FISA application (original and first renewal) was delivered to Senate Security Director James Wolfe. Senator Mark Warner entered the basement SCIF shortly after 4:00pm on March 17, 2017, the day it was delivered (texts between Warner and Waldman):
Now, when SSCI Security Officer James Wolfe was indicted (unsealed June '18), we could see the importance of the March 17th date again:
(Wolfe Indictment Link)
We can tell from the description within the indictment FBI investigators are describing the FISA application. Additionally Wolfe exchanged 82 text messages with his reporter/girlfriend Ali Watkins. The FISA application is 83 pages with one blank page.
The logical conclusion was that Wolfe text Ali Watkins 82 pictures of the application.
FBI Investigators applied for, and received a search warrant for the phone records of journalist Ali Watkins. Ms. Watkins was notified in February 2018, three months after Wolfe was questioned by FBI investigators in December 2017.
However, despite the overwhelming (public) circumstantial evidence that Wolfe leaked the FISA application, he was never charged with leaking classified information. Wolfe was only charged with lying three times to federal authorities, and he pled down to one count of lying to the FBI.
CTH made the case in mid 2018 that someone at the DOJ had influenced a decision not to charge Wolfe with the leaking of the FISA application; despite the FBI and DOJ having direct evidence of Wolfe leaking classified information.
The logical reason for the DOJ not to charge Wolfe with the FISA leak was because that charge could ensnare a Senator on the powerful committee, likely Mark Warner.
Remember, the SSCI has intelligence oversight of the DOJ, DOJ-NSD, FBI and all associated counterintelligence operations. Additionally, when the FBI was investigating Wolfe for leaking classified documents, according to their court filings they had to inform the committee of the risk Wolfe represented. Who did they have to inform?.. Chairman Burr and Vice-Chair Warner.
D'oh. Think about it. A gang-of-eight member (Warner), who happened -as a consequence of the jaw dropping implications- to be one of only two SSCI members who was warned by the FBI that Wolfe was compromised'.... and he's the co-conspirator. The ramifications cannot be overstated. Such a criminal charge would be a hot mess.
Thus, the perfect alignment of interests for a dropped charge and DC cover-up.
Then, in an act of serendipity, James Wolfe himself bolstered that suspicion when he threatened to subpoena members of the SSCI as part of his defense. [See Here]
['...] Attorneys for James A. Wolfe sent letters to all 15 senators on the committee, notifying them that their testimony may be sought as part of Mr. Wolfe's defense, according to two people familiar with the matter.
['...] Mr. Wolfe's defense lawyers are considering calling the senators as part of the proceedings for a variety of reasons, including as potential character witnesses and to rebut some of the allegations made by the government in the criminal complaint, these people say. (link)
Immediately after threatening to subpoena the SSCI (July 27, 2018), the DOJ cut a deal with Wolfe and dropped the charges down to a single charge of lying to investigators. However, someone doing the investigative legwork wasn't happy with that decision.
Our overwhelming CTH circumstantial evidence that Wolfe leaked the FISA application went from a strong suspicion, to damn certain (after the plea deal) when the DOJ included a sentencing motion in mid-December 2018.
On December 15th, 2018 the DOJ filed a response to the Wolfe defense teams' own sentencing memo (full pdf), and within the DOJ response they included an exhibit (#13) written by the FBI [redacted] special agent in charge, which specifically says: ''because of the known disclosure of classified information, the FISA application'''... Thereby admitting, albeit post-plea agreement, that Wolfe did indeed leak the damn FISA:
(link to document)
Right there, in that FBI Special Agent description is the bombshell admission that James Wolfe leaked the Carter Page FISA application to his concubine Ali Watkins at Buzzfeed.
We know the special agent who wrote exhibit #13 in the December filing was Special Agent Brian Dugan, Asst. Special Agent in Charge, Washington Field Office. The same investigator who originally signed the affidavit in the original indictment.
So with hindsight there was absolutely no doubt that James Wolfe leaked the 83-page Carter Page FISA application on March 17, 2017. Period. It's all documented with circumstantial and direct evidence; including the admissions from the FBI agent in charge.
So, why was James Wolfe allowed to plea to a single count of lying to investigators?
Back to where this started'....
A branch of the United States government (Legislative) was attempting a coup against the leader of another branch of government (Executive); by using planted and designated corrupt agents within the cabinet'...
T he problem for Attorney General Bill Barr is not investigating what we don't know, but rather navigating through what 'We The People' are already aware of'....
Barr personally asked foreign officials to aid inquiry into CIA, FBI activities in 2016
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 23:11
Attorney General William P. Barr has held private meetings overseas with foreign intelligence officials seeking their help in a Justice Department inquiry that President Trump hopes will discredit U.S. intelligence agencies' examination of possible connections between Russia and members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the matter.
Barr's personal involvement is likely to stoke further criticism from Democrats pursuing impeachment that he is helping the Trump administration use executive branch powers to augment investigations aimed primarily at the president's adversaries.
But the high level Justice Department focus on intelligence operatives' conduct will likely cheer Trump and other conservatives for whom ''investigate the investigators'' has become a rallying cry. Barr has voiced his own concerns, telling lawmakers in April that he believed ''spying did occur'' when it came to the U.S. investigation of the Trump campaign.
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The direct involvement of the nation's top law enforcement official shows the priority Barr places on the investigation being conducted by John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, who has been assigned the sensitive task of reviewing U.S. intelligence work surrounding the 2016 election and its aftermath.
The attorney general's active role also underscores the degree to which a nearly three-year old election still consumes significant resources and attention inside the federal government. Current and former intelligence and law enforcement officials expressed frustration and alarm Monday that the head of the Justice Department was taking such a direct role in re-examining what they view as conspiracy theories and baseless allegations of misconduct.
Slideshow by photo servicesBarr has already made overtures to British intelligence officials, and last week the attorney general traveled to Italy, where he and Durham met senior Italian government officials and Barr asked the Italians to assist Durham, according to one person familiar with the matter. It was not Barr's first trip to Italy to meet intelligence officials, the person said. The Trump administration has made similar requests of Australia, these people said.
In a recent phone call, Trump urged Australia's prime minister to provide assistance to the ongoing Justice Department inquiry, according to a person familiar with the matter. Trump made the request at Barr's urging, people familiar with the matter said. The Trump phone call was first reported by the New York Times.
A White House spokeswoman referred questions to the Justice Department.
Kerri Kupec, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said, ''Mr. Durham is gathering information from numerous sources, including a number of foreign countries. At Attorney General Barr's request, the President has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the Attorney General and Mr. Durham to appropriate officials.''
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Australian government said it has ''always been ready to assist and cooperate with efforts that help shed further light on the matters under investigation. The [prime minister] confirmed this readiness once again in conversation with the President.''
Trump still complains frequently that those involved in the investigation of his campaign should be charged with crimes, asserting the FBI search for possible election season collusion between Russia and Trump campaign officials was a witch hunt, spurred by agents and bureaucrats opposed to Trump becoming president. That investigation ended earlier this year when special counsel Robert S. Mueller III determined there was insufficient evidence to charge any Americans with conspiring with Russia, and declined to reach a decision about whether the president had sought to obstruct justice.
David Laufman, a former Justice Department official who was involved in the early stages of the Russia probe, said it was ''fairly unorthodox for the attorney general personally to be flying around the world as a point person to further evidence-gathering for a specific Justice Department investigation,'' and especially so in Barr's case.
''Even if one questions, as a threshold matter, the propriety of conducting a re-investigation of the Justice Department's own prior investigation of Russia's interference, the appointment of John Durham '-- a seasoned, nonpartisan prosecutor '-- provided some reason to believe that it would be handled in a professional, nonpartisan manner,'' Laufman said. ''But if the attorney general is essentially running this investigation, that entire premise is out the window.''
Barr's direct involvement in the effort also helps explain part of the controversial July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. A rough transcript of that call shows Trump said he wanted Ukrainian assistance to help find out ''what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine,'' and possible involvement with the Democratic National Committee computer system that U.S. agencies have determined was hacked by Russian intelligence ahead of the 2016 election.
Some of the president's supporters have suggested Ukraine had a more direct role in the 2016 investigation than currently known, an assertion denied by current and former officials who were involved in the original probe.
A person familiar with Barr's interactions with foreign officials described them as being official introductions to Durham. The attorney general ''is telling people he wants to make sure that the rules governing U.S. agencies have been followed,'' this person said.
A spokesperson for the CIA declined to comment, citing the ongoing review.
A former senior U.S. intelligence official denied the CIA was involved in monitoring any members of the Trump campaign. Any such operations were conducted by the FBI and were lawful, the former official said, emphasizing that the CIA focused on Russia's interference in the election and the role that Russian officials and intelligence agencies played.
Democrats are likely to bristle at the notion of the attorney general devoting personal time and energy to traveling overseas asking foreign countries to assist in an investigation of U.S. agencies and personnel, particularly since Democrats have accused Barr in the past of acting in Trump's interests at the expense of the Justice Department's independence.
Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused the attorney general of ''going rogue'' because the Justice Department determined the substance of an explosive whistleblower's complaint alleging that Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, over Hunter Biden's past position on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.
House Democrats have launched an impeachment inquiry to further probe the interactions of Trump and his lawyer with the Ukrainians.
During the call with his Ukrainian counterpart, Trump suggested Barr and his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, could help Zelensky's government investigate the matter. A spokeswoman for Barr has said the attorney general was unaware of any such effort, and had not spoken to the president about the issue, nor to Ukrainian authorities.
Giuliani has met with Ukrainian officials and urged them to investigate the Bidens, but insists there is nothing improper about that. Giuliani has declined to discuss Durham's investigation.
Barr's conversations with foreign counterparts have raised concerns among some intelligence officials that he may be seeking to substantiate conspiracy theories raised by some on the political right to defend Trump.
One area that has been of sustained interest to Barr and Durham, according to people familiar with the matter, is a murky figure named Joseph Mifsud.
Mifsud, a European academic, was publicly linked to Russian interference efforts in late 2017, when Mueller revealed a guilty plea by former Trump campaign staffer George Papadopoulos, who admitted he'd lied to the FBI about the details of his interactions with Mifsud.
Those conversations included an April 2016 meeting in which Mifsud allegedly alerted Papadopoulos that the Russians had ''dirt'' on Hillary Clinton, in the form of thousands of emails.
A version of that conversation was relayed to U.S. authorities later that summer by an Australian diplomat who had talked to Papadopoulos over drinks in London.
Shortly after his name surfaced publicly, Mifsud told Italian media he did not work for Russia. ''I never got any money from the Russians: my conscience is clear,'' Mifsud told La Repubblica. ''I am not a secret agent.''
Since then, the professor has disappeared from public life, leading to a host of theories about him and his whereabouts. While court papers filed in Mueller's investigation suggested Mifsud operated in Russia's interests, conservatives and conspiracy theorists have suggested he was instead aligned with Western intelligence agencies.
In an interview on Fox News in April, Giuliani called Mifsud ''a counterintelligence operative, either Maltese or Italian,'' who took part in what sounded to him like a ''counterintelligence trap'' against Papadopoulos.
It's unclear what Durham or Barr have come to suspect about Mifsud.
Barr met with British officials in London over the summer to discuss the Durham probe, said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the investigation. In those conversations, according to this official, Barr expressed a belief that the U.S. investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election stemmed from some corrupt origin, the official said.
(C) Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Attorney General William P. Barr listens as President Trump delivers remarks in the White House Rose Garden in July. It was not clear what Barr thought was amiss, but he expressed a suspicion that information had been improperly gathered overseas about people connected with the Trump campaign, and that the British may have unwittingly assisted those efforts, the official said.
Another person familiar with Barr's efforts denied that characterization, saying he has been seeking cooperation for Durham's work, and not trying to promote a particular theory or accusation against U.S. agents and officers.
''It's well known within the intelligence community that you cannot ask another government to do something that you're prohibited from doing. That it is standard operating procedure,'' said a former national security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.
An executive order governing U.S. intelligence activities states that no intelligence agency ''shall participate in or request any person to undertake activities forbidden'' by the order, which was issued in 1981.
As a young man, Barr worked as a lawyer at the CIA and has an ongoing interest in intelligence matters, according to those who know him well. In his public comments about the Russia interference investigation, he has suggested there were failures among former FBI leaders, and that intelligence agency rules about spying on Americans should be scrupulously followed regardless of party affiliation.
There are two primary efforts underway to scrutinize the 2016 investigation and its aftermath. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is expected to issue in the coming weeks a lengthy report analyzing work done by the FBI and Justice Department to pursue alleged Russian election interference, and the applications for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order that approved electronic surveillance of the communications of Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.
Separately, Durham is taking a broader look at the actions of intelligence agencies overseas and domestically. Durham has a long track record of being tasked with difficult investigations that involve the CIA or other intelligence agencies. His past investigations have often lasted years, so it's unclear when Durham's review might wrap up, but it is unlikely to be soon, according to people familiar with the matter.
Before Durham's appointment, another U.S. attorney was tasked with reviewing the Clinton email investigation, but the results of that work are still unknown. The multiple investigations show just how much the political conflict of 2016 continues to be an obsession within the government.
Last week, The Washington Post reported that State Department security officials were re-examining aspects of the Clinton email investigation, in which State Department business was conducted on Hillary Clinton's private server when she was secretary of state.
Tom Hamburger, Ellen Nakashima and Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.
Green New Deal
Swedish Teen Climate Activist Nominated for Nobel Prize | Time
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 09:39
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her work leading a youth campaign to halt climate change.
Three Norwegian lawmakers put forth the 16-year-old's name.
''We have nominated Greta because the climate threat may be one of the most important causes of war and conflict,'' parliamentary representative Freddy Andre Oevstegaard told Norwegian media outlet VG.
''The massive movement Greta has set in motion is a very important peace contribution,'' he added.
The activist, who was named one of TIME's Most Influential Teens of 2018, has inspired hundreds of thousands of students at schools around the world to hold strikes in an effort to urge their leaders to act.
According to a U.N. report, global temperatures could rise by 1.5°C, a threshold that scientists say will bring dire consequences to the planet, by as early as 2030 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate.
In December 2018, Thunberg spoke at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Poland, where she called out lawmakers and government bodies for their inaction.
At a World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, in January, she ended her speech by telling a silenced room that she wants leaders to ''behave like our house is on fire, because it is.''
As part of the #FridaysForFuture movement headed by the activist, tens of thousands of young people around the world will be skipping school this Friday to march for change.
Thunberg said on Twitter that almost 100 countries will be involved.
''I think we are only seeing the beginning. I think that change is on the horizon and the people will stand up for their future, Thunberg said in an interview with the Guardian.
Write to Hillary Leung at hillary.leung@time.com.
An ice statue of Greta Thunberg has been erected in Trafalgar Square | It's Nice That
Thu, 03 Oct 2019 06:27
London-based creatives Alissa Khan-Whelan, Chris Godfrey and CJ Brown erected an ice sculpture of climate activist Greta Thunberg in Trafalgar Square yesterday (2 October). The likeness, which melted throughout the day in the sunny weather, aimed to be a ''powerful representation of climate change and the plight the world is in unless change is made,'' the creators say in a statement about the project.
The sculpture was made by the trio to draw attention to a petition to install a permanent statue of Thunberg in London, recognising her bravery and determination in starting an international climate movement and ''inspiring a generation to fearlessly take on world leaders in the fight to halt climate change.''
Khan-Whelan, Godfrey and Brown said in the statement, ''Greta Thunberg is a representation of the youth and she has successfully invigorated the climate debate that was failing to get the attention it deserved. After being targeted online by older and more powerful men for her personality, tone of voice and even her Aspergers, the statue exists to stand with Greta, focusing on her message rather than the emotion behind it.''
The Swedish activist has faced yet another round of public slamming, from sources as wide as Jeremy Clarkson (who subsequently got burned by his teenage daughter) to Russian president Vladimir Putin, who called her a ''poorly informed teenager''.
The creatives behind the project '' Khan-Whelan, Godfrey and Brown '' are the same team behind The Instagram Egg, a campaign to get a picture of a humble egg to be the most liked post on Instagram. Within ten days, the trio managed to beat Kylie Jenner's record of 18.3 million likes, and the egg snap is now the most liked image on the internet, notching up 53 million approvals. The egg went on to star in a Super Bowl commercial in aid of Mental Health America.
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12 deaths from vaping, 6,300 deaths from transgender puberty-blocker drug?
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 23:20
September 28, 2019
There's a heckuva lot of press coverage hysteria over the dangers of vaping, with the deaths of 12 young people cited as reason to harass the companies that produce vaping products, if not legislatively ban the practice altogether. Even President Trump has joined the stampede, pressing for regulatory bans, which is not exactly good news for smokers who use vaping as a means of reducing their nicotine consumption to gradually quit smoking without making themselves sick. The latest news suggests that the vaping deaths were caused by pot contamination and perhaps Vitamin E in the compounds, rather than vaping itself, which has otherwise been safely done for years.
'); googletag.cmd.push(function () { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1345489840937-3'); }); }
None of this has stopped the new wave of hysteria of coverage and calls to ban. A Google search of vaping deaths shows 256,000,000 stories. The tobacco lobby, the Left, and the mainstream media, all of which want to ban the practice, are having a field day.
Just one problem.
Based on the death stats for another topical issue, transgenderism, it's possible there's a death count that could be higher. According to the Daily Wire:
'); googletag.cmd.push(function () { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1567099776462-0'); }); } More than 6,300 adults have died from reactions to a drug that is used as a puberty blocker in gender-confused children, Food & Drug Administration data shows.
"Between 2012 and June 30 of this year, the FDA documented over 40,764 adverse reactions suffered by patients who took Leuprolide Acetate (Lupron), which is used as a hormone blocker. More than 25,500 reactions logged from 2014-2019 were considered 'serious,' including 6,370 deaths," The Christian Post reported on Thursday.
How many Google stories on that one? I counted: two.
One of them is an NBC News story that debunks quite a bit of this, probably accurately, noting that the drugs in question are often used on terminally ill prostate cancer patients, often as a palliative. Did that report say that every last one of those 6,300 deaths from users of those drugs was a cancer patient? It didn't. So we still don't know.
That leaves the question on the table about whether these drugs are safe for children identified as transgender.
Buried in the Daily Wire's report is an important detail about the use of these drugs: they aren't actually approved for children, but they are often used on them anyway.
"Lupron is being prescribed off-label for use in children who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria despite the lack of formal FDA approval for that purpose," the outlet explained.
If they're utterly harmless on completely healthy children with mental conditions, why wouldn't they be approved? The drug may be linked to use in terminal cancer contexts, but it's still not allowed on kids. And yes, there's a death count, but not a precise death count in terms of who had what before he died. NBC does not address those questions.
At a minimum, the issue ought to be investigated, with credible numbers on how many transgender kids may have had an adverse reaction, up to and including death, if for nothing else that the drug is unregulated.
Good luck with that one. The Left has put transgenderism on a pedestal, based on a misguided desire to support people with mental illnesses '-- by enabling their mental illnesses. So whatever that information may be, such a stat isn't going anywhere.
It just highlights how politicized medical hysteria has become. Maybe the media ought to be demanding answers on those unregulated drugs on kids instead of just hyping the vaping issue.
There's a heckuva lot of press coverage hysteria over the dangers of vaping, with the deaths of 12 young people cited as reason to harass the companies that produce vaping products, if not legislatively ban the practice altogether. Even President Trump has joined the stampede, pressing for regulatory bans, which is not exactly good news for smokers who use vaping as a means of reducing their nicotine consumption to gradually quit smoking without making themselves sick. The latest news suggests that the vaping deaths were caused by pot contamination and perhaps Vitamin E in the compounds, rather than vaping itself, which has otherwise been safely done for years.
None of this has stopped the new wave of hysteria of coverage and calls to ban. A Google search of vaping deaths shows 256,000,000 stories. The tobacco lobby, the Left, and the mainstream media, all of which want to ban the practice, are having a field day.
Just one problem.
Based on the death stats for another topical issue, transgenderism, it's possible there's a death count that could be higher. According to the Daily Wire:
More than 6,300 adults have died from reactions to a drug that is used as a puberty blocker in gender-confused children, Food & Drug Administration data shows.
"Between 2012 and June 30 of this year, the FDA documented over 40,764 adverse reactions suffered by patients who took Leuprolide Acetate (Lupron), which is used as a hormone blocker. More than 25,500 reactions logged from 2014-2019 were considered 'serious,' including 6,370 deaths," The Christian Post reported on Thursday.
How many Google stories on that one? I counted: two.
One of them is an NBC News story that debunks quite a bit of this, probably accurately, noting that the drugs in question are often used on terminally ill prostate cancer patients, often as a palliative. Did that report say that every last one of those 6,300 deaths from users of those drugs was a cancer patient? It didn't. So we still don't know.
That leaves the question on the table about whether these drugs are safe for children identified as transgender.
Buried in the Daily Wire's report is an important detail about the use of these drugs: they aren't actually approved for children, but they are often used on them anyway.
"Lupron is being prescribed off-label for use in children who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria despite the lack of formal FDA approval for that purpose," the outlet explained.
If they're utterly harmless on completely healthy children with mental conditions, why wouldn't they be approved? The drug may be linked to use in terminal cancer contexts, but it's still not allowed on kids. And yes, there's a death count, but not a precise death count in terms of who had what before he died. NBC does not address those questions.
At a minimum, the issue ought to be investigated, with credible numbers on how many transgender kids may have had an adverse reaction, up to and including death, if for nothing else that the drug is unregulated.
Good luck with that one. The Left has put transgenderism on a pedestal, based on a misguided desire to support people with mental illnesses '-- by enabling their mental illnesses. So whatever that information may be, such a stat isn't going anywhere.
It just highlights how politicized medical hysteria has become. Maybe the media ought to be demanding answers on those unregulated drugs on kids instead of just hyping the vaping issue.
Who's afraid of William Blake? Art lovers vexed Tate Britain felt 200-year-old paintings needed 'violence & suffering' warning '-- RT UK News
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 08:22
One of the world's most renowned art museums, Tate Britain, has reportedly found it necessary to warn visitors about its newly opened William Blake exhibition '' because now even 19th-century engravings require trigger warnings.
Images that surfaced on social media appear to show a cautionary message that greets those who are brave enough to survey 300 original prints and paintings by William Blake, described as the largest collection of the British artist's work in nearly 20 years.
''The art of William Blake contains strong and sometimes challenging imagery, including some depictions of violence and suffering,'' the warning says. The placard advises distressed art lovers to seek out museum staff if they require further coddling.
The warning, it seems, did not sit well with those who came to see some priceless art '' and not be treated like children.
''Suffer, snowflakes, MELT!'' wrote one miffed Blake fan. ''Great art is free to shock. May such beautiful lines and gorgeous hues ever be the greatest of your worries.''
An equally peeved netizen expressed amazement that there are actually people who are so fragile that they require content warnings at art museums.
Are we really so surrounded by snowflakes and wilting lilies who take offense at everything that such labels are necessary in art museums for artists like William Blake?
The Tate's bizarre hand-holding even caught the attention of art critics. One review of the exhibition noted that the museum ''thought it necessary to warn us that one vitrine contains an image of 'the brutal treatment of an enslaved person.'''
At this rate, one might expect similar cautionary messages to accompany paintings of famous battles. After all, who will shield us from the horrors of canvas-based violence?
The urge to safeguard grown adults from content that might not be suitable for toddlers has a long and proud history.
Also on rt.com British theatre company now issues 'trigger warnings' to prevent 'audience distress' In 2017, a major British theatre company, the Royal Court, began issuing 'trigger warnings' at its more risqu(C) performances to avoid upsetting audience members.
That same year, the University of Glasgow introduced 'trigger warnings' for its theology course over fears students may be traumatized while learning about the crucifixion of Jesus. Since then, everything has gotten much, much worse.
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Five tips for journalists on covering trans and nonbinary subjects - Columbia Journalism Review
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 10:59
By Lewis Raven Wallace September 30, 2019 Get over the pronoun hump. Do it now. I'm annoyed that we're still talking about pronouns.
Not to sound salty, but I came out as genderqueer in the year 1999, when trans politics were still playing out on LiveJournal. At the time, my friends and I advocated fiercely for the use of the gender-neutral pronouns ''ze'' and ''hir.'' We were told over and over that these singular gender-neutral terms were too difficult or clunky to adopt. And yet, when some trans and nonbinary people began to promote the use of ''they'' and ''them'' instead, the grammatical incorrectness of ''they'' as a singular pronoun suddenly became paramount. Some cis people even had the nerve to ask, ''Why can't someone just invent a singular gender-neutral pronoun?'' We did'--and y'all ignored us.
Calling someone by a given word is not a struggle unless you make it one'--it's basic etiquette.
Two uneasy decades have passed, and somehow, cisgender people are still making a big deal out of pronouns. See, for example, the recent flap over Associated Press coverage of singer Sam Smith: in an article about Smith's choice to use ''they'' pronouns, the AP continued to refer to the singer as ''he.'' This despite the fact that the AP's own stylebook okays the use of ''they'' as a singular pronoun .
It should not be hard for journalists to ask for people's pronouns and then to use them correctly. Pronouns are a big deal to trans and nonbinary people, because animosity toward our pronouns has generally been undergirded by animosity toward our identities writ large. Calling someone by a given word is not a struggle unless you make it one'--it's basic etiquette.
Without further ado, here is my hot tip for journalists: call people by the pronouns they ask to be called by, without qualification, and your pronoun troubles will be over, and I can stop wasting my word count on a pronoun that's been used in the singular since 1375.
Try Googling it I recently had an editor ask me to define ''transfeminine.'' It was a classic failure of what I'll call the TGI Test'--Try Googling It. Writers and editors, if you're unsure about the definition of a trans or queer term, try Googling it before you ask the nearest trans person. Constantly educating people who haven't bothered to educate themselves is exhausting and frustrating.
To be fair, definitions and acceptable terms in trans and queer communities can change quickly'--terms like FtM and ''bio-male'' that were considered useful fifteen years ago now read as dated or even offensive. I end up Googling trans terms all the time.
If Google doesn't provide a clear consensus, there are a number of glossaries and guides that journalists can consult. Two decent primers are the GLAAD Media Reference Guide and Alex Kapitan's '' Radical Copyeditor's Style Guide .'' The Transgender Law Center has a useful resource for reporting on youths. German Lopez at Vox answers basic questions and breaks down common myths about trans people. Finally, this resource from the National Center for Transgender Equality explains what questions might be insensitive or unnecessary when speaking to a trans or nonbinary person.
Most important, don't ever assume someone's identity or pronouns. If it's relevant to the story, ask.
Covering trans people well goes beyond grammatical integrity. In the words of Kapitan: ''A style guide can never serve as a replacement for being in relationship with the real people you are writing about.''
Beware of false balance Many journalists have been taught that a fair story gives airtime to opposing viewpoints in order to find an impartial middle ground.
This approach to reporting quickly falls apart when it's applied to historically oppressed groups of people. There have always been detractors who believe trans and nonbinary people are delusional, confused, or sick. There are also many cisgender people who are supportive. The diversity of viewpoints within and among trans communities is also woefully underreported. Which of these ''sides'' goes into a fair story on a trans topic?
Avoid reflexive ''both sides'' reporting, and it will likely lead to more sensitive reporting all around.
As Samantha Allen has written for the Daily Beast , stories about trans issues can be written with the appearance of ''balance'' at the expense of context and depth. Reporters should not formulaically cite the arguments of anti-trans fringe groups when there is a lack of evidence to support their reasoning.
Disingenuous arguments'--such as the myth of the trans predator in public bathrooms, the myth of confused trans youth receiving treatment prematurely, and exaggerated ''detransition'' stories '--have often been drummed up by small groups of activists who capitalize on others' discomfort with trans people to make us into a scapegoat. Articles that pit trans people against these activists feed into their hands, reinforcing the perception that there is something inherently difficult to accept about the existence of trans and nonbinary people. Avoid reflexive ''both sides'' reporting, and it will likely lead to more sensitive reporting all around.
Respect trans people's trauma and distrust Transgender issues can be touchy, hard to cover without offending someone. There are good reasons for this. Trans and nonbinary people have been scrutinized, debated, punished, and persecuted more often than we have been simply listened to. We have also been systemically excluded from the field of journalism, unable to serve as the tellers of our own communities' stories.
Five years ago, a cover story in Time magazine declared that the country was at a ''transgender tipping point.'' Now cisgender media makers are showing up decades into a difficult struggle, suddenly interested in what trans people are saying. Much of this coverage has been wonderful: we can now read and hear about trans people as musicians, artists, athletes, actors, politicians, activists, professionals, and parents, in addition to the constant barrage of stories about trans people as victims of crimes and plaintiffs in anti-discrimination suits. But ''visibility'' falls on our communities unevenly'--national media tend to promote the stories of rich, white trans people more often than the stories of trans and nonbinary people of color and working-class trans people. What's more, increased visibility has helped drive the backlash against and political targeting of trans people.
In other words, cis journalists and audiences may be excited by all the hype, all the debate, all the seemingly ''new'' ideas. But for trans and nonbinary people, the coverage comes at a cost. Many of us risk violence and discrimination by choosing to speak about our trans experience at all; many of us have already sacrificed family, friends, housing, jobs, and safety in order to tell our stories.
Reporting on trans issues should start with a deep understanding of these risks and losses. Sources might not trust you at first, or at all. Readers might criticize your work in harsh terms. Listen carefully to their reasoning, and believe them about their pain. Letting trans people speak for ourselves and be experts on our own experience is one small way that journalism can begin to rebuild trust with trans people.
There's no such thing as the trans thought police Trans and nonbinary people have been stereotyped as tragic, villainous , brave , confused , deceitful , and difficult, among other things. The ''difficult'' archetype hits particularly close to home for me'--trans people who ask that our names, pronouns, and basic humanity be respected are often accused of being ''thought police'' or ''language police,'' an accusation I've occasionally faced in personal and professional contexts for nearly twenty years.
Depictions of a social-media mob of trans people trying to silence debate distort the real power relationships at play.
The ''thought police'' imagery is particularly hot right now in conservative media ( Try Googling It ), and even on the left there is a perception among some cisgender journalists that trans people are not ''letting'' them write stories without jumping all over their language or calling them transphobic.
The idea of a transgender thought police is a dangerous fantasy. After all, trans people, particularly transfeminine people of color, are exceedingly likely to be the victims of other people's violence and gender policing, and are rarely in a position to control or police others. Depictions of a social-media mob of trans people trying to silence debate distort the real power relationships at play.
If your story offends nearly every trans commentator on the topic, perhaps it's because they have a legitimate critique. And listen, I don't condone name-calling. But if trans activists collectively have been forceful or even vitriolic in our criticisms of news media, I'd argue the harsh tone is earned: Decades of not being listened to will put an edge on just about anyone's Twitter feed. Trans people's real lives and livelihoods are at risk in these endless ''debates'' over our existence. No cisgender person was harmed in the writing of this, or any, article about trans issues.
ICYMI: How I missed the Ukraine story
Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today. Lewis Raven Wallace is an independent journalist based in Durham, North Carolina, and a cofounder of Press On, a Southern movement-journalism collective. His book and podcast, The View from Somewhere, focused on undoing the myth of ''objectivity'' in journalism and uplifting stories of marginalized journalists, will be released in October 2019. He is white and transgender, and was born and raised in the Midwest with deep roots in the South. Find him at lewispants.com and @lewispants.Featured a By Savannah JacobsonWhen scammers in New York's Chinese community began to prey on elderly women, stories of immigrant families losing their life savings filled the local Chinese press. Soon, articles documenting the scam appeared in larger outlets, until the story ultimately made...
Los Angeles police recruitment ad on Breitbart prompts inquiry
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 11:08
The Los Angeles Police Department was trying to figure out Saturday how one of its ads for new recruits ended up on right-wing news site Breitbart.
The department, in which Latinos comprise the largest ethnic group of officers, was quick to denounce the placement on a platform that has often highlighted the misdeeds and crimes of people living in the U.S. without proper documentation and that critics have accused of posting racist content.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore tweeted Saturday that his department would team up with the city's Personnel Department to determine how the ad, featuring a photo of an officer and the words, "Choose Your Future," ended up on the website once run by Stephen Bannon, a former adviser to President Donald Trump.
The ad placement story went viral after Noah Shachtman, editor-in-chief of the Daily Beast, tweeted about it Friday night.
The department's Media Relations Division responded Saturday on Twitter.
"The LAPD celebrates diversity and embraces it within our ranks, and within the city we serve," it said. "We are aware that a recruitment advertisement has been circulated on a website that creates a negative juxtaposition to our core values."
How the advertisement ended up on Breitbart was not much of a mystery to media experts, who noted that online ad buys, particularly those made through Google, target demographics rather than publications and can even follow targeted readers from site to site.
Some experts have say that sites like Breitbart can be omitted from such buys, but that advertisers have to proactively discriminate.
By Saturday afternoon, the LAPD's recruitment account on Twitter said it was a Google ad buy that placed the recruitment graphic on Breitbart.
"The Personnel Department has not made any purchase of LAPD recruitment ads on Breitbart or similar sites," it said. "Recruitment ads were purchased through Google and ended up on sites that do not reflect the City's values through automatic placement."
"We have stopped these Google Ads altogether while we reexamine our ad filters and take all necessary steps to ensure tighter control of ad settings," the department said.
Breitbart spokeswoman Elizabeth Moore said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times that Breitbart has "one of the most pro-police, pro-law-enforcement news organizations in America."
Dennis Romero writes for NBC News and is based in Los Angeles.
Points-Based Immigration Systems: Australia | Law Library of Congress
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 07:34
I. General Overview of the Immigration SystemAustralia's universal visa system requires all noncitizens to have a valid visa to enter and remain in Australia. Australia's immigration program is primarily governed by the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) and the Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth).[1] The program is administered by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).
The permanent migration program has two main components: the Migration Program[2] and the Humanitarian Program.[3] Both programs are divided into streams, categories, and visa ''subclasses.'' The Migration Program consists of the Skilled Stream, Family Stream,[4] and Special Eligibility Stream.[5]
Australia operates a ''hybrid'' selection system for skilled migrants that includes both a points-based system and employer sponsorship options.[6] The Skilled Stream of the Migration Program is divided into four main categories:[7] points-based skilled migration (also known as General Skilled Migration), the Permanent Employer-Sponsored Program,[8] the Business Innovation and Investment Program,[9] and visas for people with ''distinguished talent.''[10] Section III of this report provides information on the points-based skilled migration category.
Various temporary visas are available.[11] Some of these visas provide limited rights to work, such as those for students,[12] seasonal workers, and young people on working holidays. Information on the latter two programs is provided in Section IV of this report. The subclass 457 visa is the major temporary work visa for employer-sponsored foreign workers in skilled occupations and may be valid for up to four years.[13] People on this and some other temporary visas may be able to transition to a permanent residence visa while they are in Australia.[14]
New Zealand citizens are able to live, work, and study in Australia indefinitely on special ''temporary'' visas due to reciprocal arrangements between the two countries.[15] New Zealanders settling in Australia are included in total settler numbers but are not counted as part of Australia's Migration Program unless they choose to apply for permanent residence as skilled or family migrants.[16]
In recent years, Australia has introduced various temporary and permanent visa initiatives targeted at enabling employers in different regions in Australia to address labor shortages by obtaining overseas workers to fill skilled and semiskilled positions.[17]
The specific eligibility criteria for the different subclasses are set out in Schedule 2 of the Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth). There are also some ''general public interest criteria'' set out in the Regulations that relate to health[18] and character[19] requirements that apply to all visas. In addition, applicants for some visas (including all permanent visas) are required to sign an Australian Values Statement.[20]
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II. Number of ImmigrantsAs of February 25, 2013, Australia's population was estimated to be over 22.9 million people.[21] According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 27% of the estimated population on June 30, 2011, was born overseas (about 6 million people).[22] The largest group of overseas-born residents at that time was from the United Kingdom (5.3% of the population), followed by New Zealand (2.5%), China (1.8%), India (1.5%), and Vietnam and Italy (0.9% each).[23]
The ABS states that ''[h]istorically, more people immigrate to, than emigrate from, Australia.''[24] Net overseas migration peaked at 315,700 in December 2008, but declined significantly to about 197,200 in March 2012. The DIAC has predicted a gradual rise in net overseas migration to about 249,000 by June 2016.[25]
A. Migration ProgramUnder section 85 of the Migration Act 1958, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship can place limits, or ''caps,'' on the number of visas that can be granted for a particular subclass each year.[26] In terms of the Migration Program, over the last decade there has been a shift to more people obtaining residence in Australia under the Skilled Stream than the Family Stream. In 1996-97,[27] more than 50% of migrants arrived under the Family Stream with about 47% of places being awarded under the Skilled Stream.[28] In comparison, in 2012-13, Australia's Migration Program is set at 190,000 places,[29] comprising
60 185 places for family migrants who are sponsored by family members already in Australia [31.7% of the program] 129 250 places for skilled migrants who gain entry essentially because of their work or business experience, business qualifications, skills or sponsorship [68% of the program] 565 places for special eligibility migrants who are former permanent residents and have maintained close business, cultural or personal ties with Australia.[30]B. Humanitarian ProgramIn 2011-12, the Humanitarian Program resulted in 13,759 visas being granted against a planning figure of 13,750. This included 6,718 offshore visas and 7,041 onshore visas. Forty-four percent of the total number of visas were granted to refugees, 5% were Special Humanitarian Program visas, and 51% were Protection and other visas granted onshore.[31]
C. Source CountriesThe total number of settlers arriving in Australia during the 2010-11 year was 127,460, with people coming from more than two hundred countries. The majority came from four countries: New Zealand (20.2%), China (11.5%), the United Kingdom (8.6%), and India (8.3%).[32]
In terms of permanent migration of skilled workers, the top source countries for 2011-12 were as follows:[33]
General Skilled Migration: (1) India, (2) United Kingdom, (3) China, (4) Sri Lanka, (5) Malaysia.Employer-sponsored Migration: (1) United Kingdom, (2) Philippines, (3) India, (4) South Africa, (5) China.Total Skill Stream: (1) India, (2) United Kingdom, (3) China, (4) Philippines, (5) South Africa.In terms of subclass 457 (temporary skilled) visas, the top source countries for 2011-12 were: (1) United Kingdom, (2) India, (3) Ireland, (4) Philippines, (5) United States of America.[34]
In the Humanitarian Program, the main groups resettled from within the three key source regions in 2011-12 were:
Middle East/South West Asia'--Iraqi minorities from a range of countries in the Middle East, Iranian Baha'is from Turkey, and Afghans from Iran and PakistanAsia'--Burmese refugees from Malaysia, Thailand and India and Bhutanese refugees from NepalAfrica'--refugees from Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Eritrea.[35]Back to Top
III. The Points-Based Skilled Migration System A. Overview of the System
The purpose of the points test mechanism is to ''help select skilled migrants who offer the best in terms of economic benefit to Australia.''[36] According to the DIAC, the test ''creates a selection process that is transparent and objective, awarding points to the skills and attributes considered to be in need in Australia.''[37]
The visa subclasses that have been established under the points-based skilled migration category are available to independent (unsponsored) applicants, applicants nominated by a state or territory government agency, and applicants sponsored by an eligible relative.[38] People must be invited to apply for these visas.[39]
Section 93 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) provides the Minister with the power to prescribe points for a range of factors through regulations.[40] Points are currently awarded for the following factors:[41]
Age;English language ability;Number of years of skilled employment in the past ten years within or outside Australia;Level of educational qualifications;Qualifications obtained from Australian educational institutions;Other factors, such as community language qualifications, study in regional Australia or a low-population-growth metropolitan area, partner skill qualifications, and Professional Year in Australia; andNomination by a state or territory government or sponsorship by an eligible family member (relevant visas only).Under the current system for points-based visas, an applicant must nominate a skilled occupation from the Australian government's Skilled Occupation List (SOL) and must have their skills assessed as suitable for that occupation by a recognized authority.[42] However, the occupation itself does not form part of the points test.
Section 96 of the Migration Act allows the Minister to set the ''pass mark'' for points-tested visas.[43] The current pass mark for the skilled migration points-based visas is sixty points.[44] ''Pool marks'' can also be set so that applicants with a score that is lower than the pass mark can be placed in a pool for a specified period of time. However, the current pool mark for all visas is the same as the pass mark, meaning that no applications are being placed in the pool at this time.[45]
Apart from passing the points test and nominating a skilled occupation from the SOL, there are basic eligibility requirements that must be met in order to obtain one of the visas: applicants must be under fifty years of age, have at least competent English, and meet the health and character requirements.[46]
Applicants for skilled migration visas can include family members in their application. Such family members must meet specified secondary applicant criteria. They must also demonstrate the family relationship with the applicant and satisfy health, character, Australian values, and any English language requirements.[47]
B. Changes to Skilled Migration 2008-2011In 2008-09, in the wake of the global financial crisis, the Australian government conducted a review of permanent skilled migration.[48] The review identified ''the need for a shift in focus away from 'supply driven' independent skilled migration towards 'demand-driven' outcomes, in the form of employer and government-sponsored skilled migration.''[49] As a result, changes were made to the system to apply priority processing arrangements for sponsored migrants rather than those opting for independent points-based skilled migration.[50]
Further changes were made in 2010 that were intended to ''target the program and ensure that it is driven by the demands of Australian industry rather than the supply of independent skilled migrants.''[51] This included the phasing out of existing skills lists and their replacement with the Skilled Occupation List referred to above, which is developed by an independent body and updated annually to reflect occupations in demand.[52]
These changes were followed by a review of the points test in 2010,[53] with the resulting recommendations implemented from July 1, 2011.[54] The new test sought to address concerns that the previous test had ''not always led to outcomes consistent with the objectives of the skilled migration program.''[55] For example, its emphasis on Australian qualifications and experience had meant that ''an overseas student with a short term vocational qualification and one year's work experience in Australia [was put] ahead of a Harvard educated environmental engineer with three years' relevant work experience.''[56]
According to the DIAC, the new test ''does not give undue weight to any one factor and recognises a broader range of skills and attributes.''[57] The changes to the points test focused on ''better English language skills, more extensive skilled work experience, higher level qualifications obtained in Australia and overseas and different age ranges.''[58] It was as part of these changes that it was determined that points would no longer be awarded on the basis of an applicant's occupation, although all applicants would still be required to nominate an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List.[59] Another significant change was an increase in the age limit for skilled migration from forty-five to fifty years.[60]
C. Skilled Migration Reforms 2012In 2011, the Australian government announced significant reforms to the Skilled Migration Stream and other visa programs.[61] The changes included a new, two-stage application process for points-based visas and some business and investment visas. The process involves an electronic Skilled Migration Selection Model, known as ''SkillSelect,''[62] through which persons submit Expressions of Interest (EOI) for specific skilled migration visas. A person can only apply for one of the visas if he or she is subsequently invited to do so by the DIAC.[63]
For independent skilled migrants, selection is based on the EOI, from which a points test score and occupation rankings are derived, with the highest ranked in each selection round invited to apply. For state- and territory-nominated migrants, state and territory governments ''can select anyone from the expression of interest pool, so long as they meet the points test pass mark and other criteria as specified in their State Migration Plans.''[64] Employers can also gain access to the database and can ''select migrants who have expressed an interest in being sponsored by an employer on a permanent or temporary basis.''[65]
Under the reforms, which took effect on July 1, 2012, the six existing points-based visa subclasses were phased out[66] and replaced with three new points-based visas that are now available through the SkillSelect process:[67]
Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa, which allows skilled workers who are not sponsored by an employer, state or territory, or family member, to live and work permanently anywhere in Australia.[68]Skilled '' Nominated (subclass 190) visa, which allows skilled workers who are nominated by a state or territory to live and work permanently in Australia. Holders of this visa must stay in the state or territory that nominated them for at least two years.[69]Skilled '' Nominated or Sponsored (Provisional) (subclass 489) visa, which allows skilled workers who are nominated by a state or territory, or sponsored by an eligible relative living in a designated area of Australia, to live and work in a specified regional area for up to four years.[70] Holders of this visa can apply for permanent residence through the Skilled Regional (Residence) visa (subclass 887) after certain conditions have been met.[71] The consolidation of the visa subclasses included the removal of distinctions relating to a person's location for the above visas, meaning that they can be inside or outside Australia at the time they apply for a visa and when the visa is decided.[72]
As indicated above, the pass mark for the three visas was set at sixty points. This is lower than the 65-point pass mark that previously applied to the General Skilled Migration subclasses following the 2010 review of the points test. According to the DIAC, the lower pass mark for the new visas was intended to ''encourage a broader range of people with the skills and attributes needed in Australia to register their interest in migration.''[73]
The DIAC has stated that the new points test and SkillSelect ''are designed to provide government with 21st century tools to choose skilled migrants who have the most to offer Australia as well as promote effective administration of the Migration Program.''[74] The new system means that ''invitations to apply can be issued in line with the number of visa places available'' and legal entitlements to a visa decision are limited to the second stage of the process, thus avoiding a ''pipeline of queued applicants'' and allowing for better control over the level of net overseas migration.[75]
D. Labor Market Outcomes of ''Points System'' MigrantsIn 2009, DIAC commenced a program called the ''Continuous Survey of Australia's Migrants'' (CSAM), which aims to ''provide timely information on the labour market outcomes of recent migrants.''[76] A summary of the key findings of the first round of CSAM surveys, covering 2009-2011, was published in February 2013.[77] Findings from the surveys included the following:
Overall, skilled migrants had a ''particularly high'' labor force participation rate of 96%, substantially higher than the national rate of 67% and ''much higher than the rate for our Australia-born and overseas-born populations'--of 69 per cent and 62 per cent respectively.''[78]After six months of permanent residence, ''[a]t $74 600 per year, Offshore Independent migrants had the highest median full-time earnings of any group'--well above the $44 400 per annum of Onshore migrants, and higher even then the $71 300 per annum for migrants with employer sponsorship.''[79] The summary report suggests two key reasons for this situation: ''Firstly, unlike Employer Sponsored migrants, they have had to meet the requirements of a strict points test in order to be granted their visa. Secondly, because of the way the test is structured, most will also have acquired considerable work experience, meaning that provided they are able to find work they are likely to be further advanced in terms of career and pay.''[80]After a year of permanent residence, ''Offshore Independent migrants showed strong improvements in labour outcomes, with significant falls in unemployment (down 7 percentage points) and significant increases in full-time work (up 9 percentage points).'' This group also had ''a relatively large increase in skilled employment, with the proportion employed in a skilled job increasing by 8 percentage points.''[81]After a year of permanent residence, ''Employer Sponsored migrants had almost no unemployment (only 0.5 per cent), the highest rate of workforce participation of all Skilled migrant categories (99 per cent) and the second highest median full-time earnings of $75 000. They also had the greatest likelihood of being in skilled work (91 per cent).''[82] The summary report states that ''[i]n terms of immediate economic return from skilled migration, the CSAM validates the government's policies that promote skilled migration and in particular Employer Sponsored migration.''[83]The results for Offshore Independent skilled migrants after a year included 83% in skilled employment, 85% working full-time, 96% participation rate, and median full-time earnings of AU$79,000.[84] For Employer Sponsored migrants, the figures were 91% in skilled employment, 93% working full-time, 99% participation rate, and median full-time earnings of AU$75,000.[85]The DIAC has worked with an independent economic consultancy to develop the Migrants' Fiscal Impact Model, which ''provides a detailed profile of the effect of new migrants on the Australian Government Budget, taking into account their impact on revenues and expenditure.''[86] This model showed that the cumulative fiscal benefit of all Migration and Humanitarian Program (i.e. permanent) visas granted in 2010-11 over the first ten years of settlement in Australia is over AU$10.2 billion, with skilled migrants making the greatest fiscal contribution.[87] The net fiscal impact on the Budget from different skilled visa categories that existed in that year was estimated as follows:[88]
Skilled Independent: AU$384.2 million after ten years of permanent settlement; AU$439.5 million after twenty yearsState/Territory Sponsored: AU$104.7 million after ten years; AU$138.1 million after twenty yearsEmployer Sponsored: AU$493 million after ten years; AU$530.8 million after twenty yearsBack to Top
IV. Low-Skilled MigrantsLow-skilled temporary workers may enter and work in Australia under two program areas: the Seasonal Worker Program and the working holiday programs. Semi-skilled workers may also obtain temporary subclass 457 visas under the Labour Agreement program[89] or two related programs: Enterprise Migration Agreements[90] and Regional Migration Agreements.[91] These programs are designed to address labor shortages in the context of large resource projects and in remote areas of the country that cannot be resolved via normal sponsorship.
Apart from these programs, low-skilled positions may in some cases be filled by New Zealand citizens who can live and work indefinitely in Australia without meeting any of the skilled migrant requirements.
A. Seasonal Worker ProgramBetween September 2008 and June 2012, Australia piloted a guest worker program that enabled people from certain Pacific Island countries to come to Australia for seasonal horticultural work.[92] Following the pilot, the Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) came into effect in July 2012.[93]
The SWP involves agreements with several countries[94] where people aged twenty-one to forty-five can apply for special visas[95] to work for approved employers for set periods. The new program is scheduled to run until 2016 and is administered by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). It applies to the following industries: horticulture (all locations), tourism (accommodation; limited locations), sugarcane (limited locations), cotton (limited locations), aquaculture (limited locations).[96]
Participants in the program can work for a specified approved employer for between fourteen weeks and six months, cannot bring family members, and are restricted from applying for further visas while in Australia. Seasonal workers can return to Australia to work in future years if they comply with visa conditions.[97]
B. Working Holiday ProgramsAustralia also operates two working holiday programs for young people (aged eighteen to thirty years) of certain countries who are able to engage in any type of work for limited periods during their one-year visit to Australia: ''Working Holiday'' visas (subclass 417) and ''Work and Holiday'' visas (subclass 462).[98] According to the DIAC, many working holiday program participants are employed in the hospitality and seasonal horticultural industries.[99]
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V. Illegal ImmigrationA. Compliance MechanismsAny noncitizen in Australia without a valid visa is considered an ''unlawful non-citizen.''[100] It is possible to become an unlawful noncitizen by arriving without a valid visa, by overstaying a visa, or as a result of a visa being cancelled due to noncompliance with a visa condition.[101] If there is no legal entitlement for a person to remain in Australia, they are expected to depart.[102] Unlawful noncitizens may be placed in immigration detention and removed from the country.[103]
The DIAC, Centrelink (the agency that disburses social security payments), and the Australian Taxation Office share information in order to locate noncitizens who are illegally employed or who claim welfare payments to which they are not entitled.[104] The DIAC also works with the Australian Federal Police and state police authorities to locate illegal workers, and has a range of initiatives aimed at addressing noncompliance in the agriculture sector.[105]
The Australian government instituted a range of reforms in 2007-08 that sought to encourage noncomplying visa holders to voluntarily approach the DIAC.[106]
People who have overstayed their visa can contact the DIAC's Community Status Resolution Service in order to seek to resolve their status.[107] The CSRS can grant bridging visas, which allow people to remain in the country (or to leave and return) after their substantive visa expires and while their application for a new substantive visa is being processed.[108]
The DIAC operates a system called ''Visa Entitlement Verification Online,'' which employers can use to check a person's work rights.[109] Individual visa holders can also check their visa status online using the system.[110] Organizations and individuals must register and be approved to access this system. The DIAC also runs an ''immigration dob-in service,'' which enables members of the public to provide information on persons who they think are in the country illegally.[111]
Employers face sanctions under the Migration Act 1958 for recruiting illegal workers.[112] Proposed amendments to the law introduced in the federal Parliament in 2012 include new, no-fault civil penalty provisions and would allow the Department to issue infringement notices and penalties.[113]
B. Compliance NumbersAccording to the DIAC, overall compliance with Australia's immigration system is high, with more than 99% of the more than 4.8 million temporary visa holders complying with their visa requirements in 2011-12.[114]
As of June 30, 2011, Australia's ''overstayer'' population was estimated at 58,400.[115] This was an 8.3% increase from June 30, 2010, and ''largely reflects increases in temporary migration from previous years.''[116] Most of these people ''only overstay their visa for a short period and then depart voluntarily.''[117]
In 2011-12, the DIAC
received about 18,900 ''dob-ins'' or pieces of fraud-related information, compared to 15,600 in 2010-11;[118] located 15,477 unlawful noncitizens, an increase compared to 13,831 in 2010-11 (About 82% of the overall number were voluntary, with 18% of people located through field operations or referred by the police. Many people were granted bridging visas in order to make their own arrangements to depart Australia, with a small number detained for removal);[119] located 1,928 people who were working illegally, compared to 1,788 in 2010-11;[120]''assisted or managed'' the departure of 10,785 unlawful noncitizens, including voluntary departures as well as the removal of people from immigration detention;[121] resolved the immigration status of 12,588 unlawful noncitizens, an increase of 13% from 11,137 in 2010-11;[122] andtook 12,967 people into immigration detention, including 8,371 ''irregular maritime arrivals'' (IMAs), 2,014 unauthorized air arrivals, 2,455 people who had breached their visa conditions, 68 foreign fishers, and 59 others.[123]Back to Top
Prepared by Kelly BuchananChief, Foreign, Comparative, andInternational Law Division IMarch 2013
Appendix: Current Points Test for Subclass 189, 190, and 489 Visas Factor
at time of invitation
18''24 years (inclusive)
25''32 years (inclusive)
33''39 years (inclusive)
40''44 years (inclusive)
45''49 years (inclusive)
English language ability
at time of invitation
Competent English '' IELTS 6 / OET B
Proficient English '' IELTS 7 / OET B
Superior English '' IELTS 8 / OET A
Skilled employment
at time of invitation
Only 20 points can be awarded for any combination of overseas and Australian skilled employment
Overseas employment in nominated skilled occupation or a closely related skilled occupation
Australian employment in nominated skilled occupation or a closely related skilled occupation
Skilled employment outside Australia
At least three but less than five years (of past 10 years)
At least five but less than eight years (of past 10 years)
At least eight and up to 10 years (of past 10 years)
Skilled employment in Australia
At least one but less than three years (of past 10 years)
At least three but less than five years (of past 10 years)
At least five but less than eight years (of past 10 years)
At least eight and up to 10 years (of past 10 years)
Educational qualifications
at time of invitation
Doctorate from an Australian educational institution or other Doctorate of a recognised standard
At least a Bachelor degree, including a Bachelor degree with Honours or Masters, from an Australian educational institution or other degree of a recognised standard
Diploma or trade qualification completed in Australia, or qualification or award of recognised standard
Australian study requirements
at time of invitation
One or more degrees, diplomas or trade qualifications awarded by an Australian educational institution and meet the Australian Study Requirement
Other factors
at time of invitation
Credentialled community language qualifications
Study in regional Australia or a low population growth metropolitan area (excluding distance education)
Partner skill qualifications
Professional Year in Australia for at least 12 months in the four years before the day you were invited
at time of invitation
Nomination by state or territory government (visa subclass 190 only)
Nomination by state or territory government or sponsorship by an eligible family member, to reside and work in a specified/designated area (visa subclass 489 only)
Source: Contents copied from Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) Visa, DIAC (SkillSelect), http://www.immi.gov. au/skills/skillselect/index/visas/subclass-189/ (click on ''Points''). Back to Top
[1] Migration Act 1958 (Cth), http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2012C00855; Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth), http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2013C00062. Multiple additional subsidiary instruments and governmental notices apply under the Migration Act, see Legislative Instruments '' All '' by Title '' MI, ComLaw, http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Browse/Results/ByTitle/LegislativeInstruments/Current/Mi/0; Gazettal Notices, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/legislation/gazettals/ (both last visited Feb. 28, 2013).
[2] See generally Fact Sheet 1 '' Immigration: The Background Part One, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/01backgd.htm (last reviewed May 2012).
[3] See generally Fact Sheet 1 '' Immigration: The Background Part Two, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/01backgd_01.htm (last reviewed May 2012).
[4] See generally Fact Sheet 29 '' Overview of the Family Stream, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/29overview_family.htm (last reviewed Sept. 2012).
[5] See generally Fact Sheet 40 '' Special Eligibility Stream, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/40special.htm (last reviewed Apr. 27, 2011). This stream makes provision for former permanent residents who meet certain criteria to remain in or return to Australia as permanent residents.
[6] See Demetrios G. Papademetriou & Madeleine Sumption, Rethinking Points Systems and Employer-Selected Immigration 5 (Migration Policy Institute, June 2011), http://www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/rethinking pointssystem.pdf.
[7] Fact Sheet 24 '' Overview of Skilled Migration to Australia, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/24overview_skilled.htm (last reviewed July 2012).
[8] See generally Employer Sponsored Workers, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/skilled-workers/permanent-employer-sponsored-visa-whats-new.htm (last visited Feb. 27, 2013). See also DIAC, Permanent Employer Sponsored Program, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/skilled-workers/_pdf/skilled-migration-diagrams.pdf (providing an overview of the current visa streams under this program) (last visited Feb. 28, 2013).
[9] See generally Fact Sheet 27 '' Business Migration, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/27business.htm (last reviewed July 2012).
[10] Distinguished Talent Visa (Offshore) (Subclass 124): About this Visa, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/ skilled/specialist-entry/124/; Distinguished Talent Visa (Onshore) (Subclass 858): About this Visa, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/specialist-entry/858/ (both last visited Feb. 27, 2013).
[11] See generally Fact Sheet 46 '' Temporary Entry: An Overview, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/46temporary_entry.htm (last reviewed Nov. 2012).
[12] See Student Visa Conditions for the Primary Visa Holder, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/students/visa-conditions-students.htm (last visited Feb. 21, 2013).
[13] See generally Fact Sheet 48b '' Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) Visa, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/ media/fact-sheets/48b-temporary-business-visa.htm (last reviewed Nov. 2012).
[14] See, e.g., Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186), DIAC (SkillSelect), http://www.immi.gov.au/skills/skill select/index/visas/subclass-186/ (last updated Dec. 12, 2012); Mei Hoong, Changes to the Permanent Employer Sponsored Program, DIAC Migration Blog (May 7, 2012), http://migrationblog.immi.gov.au/2012/ 05/07/changes-to-the-permanent-employer-sponsored-program/.
[15] See Fact Sheet 17 '' New Zealanders in Australia, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/17nz.htm (last reviewed Oct. 2012); New Zealand Citizens Entering Australia, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/ travel-documents/new-zealand.htm (last visited Feb. 25, 2013). New Zealanders automatically receive a Special Category visa (SCV) when they enter Australia. Migration Act 1958 (Cth), s 32; Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth), sch 2, subclass 444.
[16] See also DIAC, Trends in Migration: Australia 2010-2011 (Annual submission to the OECD's Continuous Reporting System on Migration (SOPEMI)) 22, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/trends-in-migration/trends-in-migration-2010-11.pdf.
[17] See, e.g., Press Release, Chris Bowen MP, Skilled Migration Reform to Support Australia's Growing Economy (May 10, 2011), http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/cb/2011/cb165287.htm.
[18] See Fact Sheet 22 '' The Health Requirement, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/22health.htm (last reviewed May 2010).
[19] See Fact Sheet 79 '' The Character Requirement, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/79character.htm (last reviewed Jan. 2013); Migration Act 1958 (Cth), s 501; Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth), reg 1.03 & sch 4 pt 1 (Public Interest Criterion 4001).
[20] See Australian Values, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/living-in-australia/values/ (last visited Feb. 21, 2013); Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth), sch 4, pt 3.
[21] Population Clock, Australian Bureau of Statistics, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/94713ad4 45ff1425ca25682000192af2/1647509ef7e25faaca2568a900154b63?OpenDocument (last visited Feb. 25, 2013).
[22] Australia's Population by Country of Birth, Australian Bureau of Statistics, http://www.abs.gov.au/ ausstats/[email protected] /Products/84074889D69E738CCA257A5A00120A69?opendocument (last updated Dec. 17, 2012). See also Fact Sheet 15 '' Population Growth, Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/15population.htm (last reviewed June 2012).
[23] Australia's Population by Country of Birth, supra note 22.
[24] Id.
[25] DIAC, The Outlook for Net Overseas Migration 3 (Sept. 2012), http://www.immi.gov.au/media/ publications/statistics/immigration-update/nom-sep12.pdf.
[26] See Fact Sheet 21 '' Managing the Migration Program, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/21managing.htm (last reviewed Sept. 2012).
[27] The Australian government's fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.
[28] Janet Phillips & Harriet Spinks, Skilled Migration: Temporary and Permanent Flows to Australia 3 (Australia Parliamentary Library, updated Dec. 6, 2012), http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/ library/prspub/1601351/upload_binary/1601351.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf.
[29] This is about 5,000 more than the 2011-2012 planning level. Of the additional places, 3,400 were allocated to the Skilled stream to ''help meet demand for skilled migrants.'' Fact Sheet 2 '' Key Facts About Immigration, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/02key.htm (last reviewed June 2012).
[30] Fact Sheet 20 '' Migration Program Planning Levels, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/20planning.htm (last reviewed May 2012).
[31] DIAC, Annual Report 2011-12 at 111, http://www.immi.gov.au/about/reports/annual/2011-12/pdf/report-on-performance.pdf.
[32] Fact Sheet 2 '' Key Facts About Immigration, supra note 29.
[33] DIAC, Current Country Rankings, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/statistics/country-profiles/_pdf/country-ranking.pdf (last visited Feb. 27, 2013).
[34] Id.
[35] Annual Report 2011-12, supra note 31, at 112.
[36] DIAC, 1 July 2011 '' Points Test for Certain Skilled Migration Visas (June 2011), http://www.immi. gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/points-test.pdf.
[37] Id.
[38] Note that graduates of Australian institutions may be eligible for temporary visas that enable them to gain work experience or improve their English skills in Australia before applying for a permanent General Skilled Migration visa. Skilled '' Graduate (Temporary) Visa: About this Visa, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/485/; Skilled '' Recognised Graduate (Temporary) Visa (Subclass 476), DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/ skilled/general-skilled-migration/476/ (both last visited Feb. 27, 2013).
[39] See infra, Section III(C). The various factors in the points test must be demonstrated at the time that a person is invited to apply for a visa.
[40] See Fact Sheet 21 '' Managing the Migration Program, supra note 26.
[41] Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth), regs 2.26AC-2.27D & sch 6D. The full points test table is attached as an appendix to this report.
[42] Skills Assessment and Assessing Authorities, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/skilled-occupations/skills-assessed.htm (last visited Feb. 27, 2013).
[43] See Fact Sheet 21 '' Managing the Migration Program, supra note 26.
[44] Migration Act 1958 - Specification under subsections 96(1) and 96(2) - Pass Marks and Pool Marks in relation to applications for General Skilled Migrations Visas (Classes VE, VC, VF, VB, SI, SN and SP) - June 2012 (Cth), pt 3, http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2012L01317.
[45] Id. See also What is the Points Test, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/points-test.htm (last visited Feb. 27, 2013).
[46] DIAC, Changes to Points Tested Skilled Migration Visas 2 (June 2012), http://www.immi.gov.au/ skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/points-tested-visas.pdf. Competent English is defined as ''an International English Language Test System (IELTS) score of at least six in each of the four components of the IELTS test; or at least B in the Occupational English Test (OET); or being a citizen and passport holder of the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland or the USA.'' Id. at 3.
[47] Id. at 3.
[48] See Press Release, Chris Bowen MP, Migration Program Gives Priority to Those with Skills Most Needed (Dec. 17, 2008), http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/media-releases/2008/ce08123.htm.
[49] Phillips & Spinks, supra note 28, at 4. See also Mark Cully, Skilled Migration Selection Policies: Recent Australian Reforms (2012), http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/research/_pdf/skilled-migration-policies.pdf.
[50] Id. See also Fact Sheet 24a '' Priority Processing for Skilled Migration Visas, http://www.immi.gov.au/ media/fact-sheets/24apriority_skilled.htm (last reviewed July 2012).
[51] Phillips & Spinks, supra note 28, at 4.
[52] Id. at 5. See generally Do You Have a Skilled Occupation?, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/skilled-occupations/skilled-occupations.htm (last visited Feb. 27, 2013).
[53] Press Release, Chris Bowen MP, General Skilled Migration Points Test Review (Feb. 17, 2010), http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/media-releases/2010/ce10012.htm; DIAC, General Skilled Migration (GSM) Points Test Review, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/faq-points-test.pdf (last visited Feb. 27, 2013).
[54] See Press Release, Chris Bowen MP, New Migration Points Test to Better Address Australia's Skills Needs (Nov. 11, 2010), http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/media-releases/2010/cb10078.htm; DIAC, Frequently Asked Questions '' New Points Test (Nov. 2010), http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/points-testfaq.pdf.
[55] Press Release, Chris Bowen MP, New Migration Points Test to Better Address Australia's Skills Needs, supra note 54.
[56] Id.
[57] DIAC, 1 July 2011 '' Points Test for Certain Skilled Migration Visas, supra note 36, at 1.
[58] DIAC, Frequently Asked Questions '' New Points Test, supra note 54, at 1.
[59] Id.
[60] Annual Report 2011-12, supra note 31, at 43.
[61] See Press Release, Chris Bowen MP, Budget 2011-12: Skilled Migration Reform to Support Australia's Growing Economy (May 10, 2011), http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/cb/2011/cb165287.htm; Phillips & Spinks, supra note 28, at 5-7.
[62] SkillSelect, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/skills/skillselect/ (last visited Feb. 27, 2013).
[63] See generally, New Skilled Visa and Points Test Arrangements, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/new-skilled.htm (last visited Feb. 27, 2013); Robert, Changes to Points-tested Skilled Migration Visas, DIAC Migration Blog (Apr. 24, 2012), http://migrationblog.immi.gov.au/2012/04/24/changes-to-points-tested-skilled-migration-visas/.
[64] Trends in Migration: Australia 2010-2011, supra note 16, at 9-10.
[65] Id. at 10.
[66] The visa subclasses for which applications are now no longer being accepted are 175, 176, 475, 487, 885, and 886.
[67] See DIAC, Points Based Skilled Migration (Subclasses 189, 190 and 489) Visa (Booklet 6, Nov. 2012), http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/booklets/1119.pdf (providing detailed information on these visas).
[68] SkillSelect: Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) Visa, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/skills/skillselect/index/ visas/subclass-189/ (last updated Aug. 7, 2012).
[69] SkillSelect: Skilled '' Nominated (Subclass 190) Visa), DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/skills/skillselect/ index/visas/subclass-190/ (last updated Aug. 7, 2012).
[70] SkillSelect: Skilled '' Nominated or Sponsored (Provisional) (Subclass 489) Visa, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/ skills/skillselect/index/visas/subclass-489/ (last updated Aug. 7, 2012).
[71] Id.; Skilled '' Regional (Residence) Visa (Subclass 887): About this Visa, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/ general-skilled-migration/887/ (last visited Feb. 27, 2013).
[72] DIAC, Changes to Points Tested Skilled Migration Visas, supra note 46, at 1.
[73] Press Release, DIAC, Change to the Skilled Migration Pass Mark (June 15, 2012), http://www.newsroom. immi.gov.au/channels/Visas/releases/Change-to-the-skilled-migration-pass-mark.
[74] Trends in Migration: Australia 2010-2011, supra note 16, at 10.
[75] Id.
[76] DIAC, Fact Sheet: The Continuous Survey of Australia's Migrants, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/ publications/research/_pdf/csam-info.pdf (last visited Feb. 27, 2013). See generally, Continuous Survey of Australia's Migrants, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/research/surveys/csam/ (last visited Feb. 27, 2013).
[77] DIAC, The Continuous Survey of Australia's Migrants: Cohorts 1 to 5 Report 2009-11, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/research/_pdf/continuous-survey-aus-migrants.pdf.
[78] Id. at 3.
[79] Id. at 12.
[80] Id.
[81] Id. at 14.
[82] Id. at 4.
[83] Id. at 12.
[84] Id. at 13. See also DIAC, Table 1: Employment Outcomes for Recent Migrants, Compared with Australian Population, Additional Results from the Continuous Survey of Australia's Migrants, http://www.immi.gov.au/ media/publications/research/_pdf/csam-additional-results.pdf (last visited Feb. 27, 2013) (providing a breakdown of figures by visa types after six months); and Trends in Migration: Australia 2010-2011, supra note 16, at 98 (setting forth 2010 results).
[85] The Continuous Survey of Australia's Migrants: Cohorts 1 to 5 Report 2009-11, supra note 77, at 13.
[86] Trends in Migration: Australia 2010-2011, supra note 16, at 108. The Model considers fiscal impacts over a twenty-year period, examines the first generation of migrants, and is not a ''life cycle'' model.
[87] Id. at 109.
[88] Id. at 110.
[89] Labour Agreements, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/skilled-workers/la/ (last visited Feb. 25, 2013).
[90] Enterprise Migration Agreements, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/enterprise-migration-agreements.htm (last visited Feb. 25, 2013); Fact Sheet 48a '' Enterprise Migration Agreements, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov. au/media/fact-sheets/48a-enterprise.htm (last reviewed June 2012).
[91] Regional Migration Agreements, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/regional-migration-agreements.htm (last visited Feb. 25, 2013); Fact Sheet 48c '' Regional Migration Agreement, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/ fact-sheets/48c-rma.htm (last reviewed Sept. 2012).
[92] See Press Release, Chris Bowen MP, Visa for Pacific Island Seasonal Worker Scheme (Sept. 23, 2008), http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/media-releases/2008/ce08090.htm; Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), http://deewr.gov.au/pacific-seasonal-worker-pilot-scheme (last visited Feb. 25, 2013).
[93] See Seasonal Worker Program, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/seasonal-worker/; Seasonal Worker Program, DEEWR, http://deewr.gov.au/seasonal-worker-program (both last visited Feb. 25, 2013).
[94] The program is currently only available for citizens of East Timor, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu who have been sponsored by an employer.
[95] Seasonal Worker Program '' Eligibility, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/seasonal-worker/eligibility.htm (last visited Feb. 11, 2013); Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth), sch 2, subclass 416.
[96] Seasonal Worker Program: How This Program Works, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/seasonal-worker/how-program-works.htm (last visited Feb. 25, 2013).
[97] Seasonal Worker Program '' About This Program, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/seasonal-worker/swp.htm; How This Program Works, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/seasonal-worker/how-program-works.htm (both last visited Feb. 25, 2013).
[98] See Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462), DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/462/; Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417), DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/417/ (both last visited Feb. 25, 2013).
[99] Trends in Migration: Australia 2010-2011, supra note 16, at 11.
[100] Migration Act 1958 (Cth), s 14.
[101] Annual Report 2011-12, supra note 31, at 163.
[102] Expired Visas, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/managing-australias-borders/compliance/staying-legally/ expired.htm (last visited Feb. 27, 2013); see generally Compliance, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/managing-australias-borders/compliance/ (last visited Feb. 25, 2013).
[103] Fact Sheet 82 '' Immigration Detention, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/82detention.htm (last reviewed May 2012).
[104] Fact Sheet 86 '' Overstayers and Other Unlawful Non-citizens, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/86overstayers-and-other-unlawful-non-citizens.htm (last revised Mar. 2012).
[105] Fact Sheet 87 '' Initiatives to Combat Illegal Work in Australia, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/87illegal.htm (last reviewed Sept. 2010).
[106] Annual Report 2011-12, supra note 31, at 179.
[107] Community Status Resolution Service, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/managing-australias-borders/ compliance/community-status-resolution/ (last visited Feb. 25, 2013).
[108] Bridging Visas, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/visas/bridging/ (last visited Feb. 25, 2013); Migration Act 1958 (Cth), s 37 & pt 2, div 3, subdiv AF; Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth) pt 2, div 2.5 & sch 2, subclasses 010, 020, 030; see also sch 3 (additional criteria applicable to unlawful noncitizens and certain bridging visa holders).
[109] Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO), DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/e_visa/vevo.htm (last visited Feb. 11, 2013).
[110] Id.; see also About Your Visa, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/visas/about-your-visa.htm (last visited Feb. 25, 2013).
[111] Immigration Dob-In Service, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/contacts/dob-in/ (last visited Feb. 25, 2013).
[112] Migration Act 1958 (Cth), pt 2, div 12, subdiv C. See About the Employer Sanction Legislation, DIAC http://www.immi.gov.au/managing-australias-borders/compliance/employer-obligations/about.htm; see also 2010 Howells Review of Employer Sanctions, DIAC, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/compliance/review-employer-sanctions/ (last visited Feb. 11, 2013).
[113] See Migration Amendment (Reform of Employer Sanctions) Bill 2012, Parliament of Australia, http://aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r4889. See also Press Release, Chris Bowen MP, New Legal Sanctions Against Noncompliant Employers (Sept. 18, 2012), http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/cb/2012/cb189943.htm.
[114] Annual Report 2011-12, supra note 31, at 163.
[115] DIAC, Population Flows: Immigration Aspects 2010-11 Edition 71, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/ publications/statistics/popflows2010-11/pop-flows-chapter3.pdf; Trends in Migration: Australia 2010-2011, supra note 16, at 178.
[116] Population Flows: Immigration Aspects 2010-11 Edition, supra note 115, at 71.
[117] Id.
[118] Annual Report 2011-12, supra note 31, at 178.
[119] Id. at 179.
[120] Id. at 174.
[121] Id.
[122] Id.
[123] Id. at 197.
An Australian points-based immigration system? It's just more Boris Johnson bluster | Jonathan Portes | Opinion | The Guardian
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 07:29
A ''tough new Australian-style points-based system for immigration'': Boris Johnson's radical new proposal, splashed across Thursday's front pages? No, that was Liam Byrne, then the Labour immigration minister. In 2007. I was a civil servant then, and I complained to a special adviser colleague, more in sorrow than in anger, that what we were proposing had little or no resemblance to the Australian system '' and wasn't even really a points-based system. ''Of course, I know that perfectly well,'' he said. ''But the focus groups love it.''
It is in that light that we should read Johnson's essentially vacuous pronouncements, spun in the Telegraph as the restoration of ''control over our borders'' and in the Financial Times, by contrast, as ''bringing down barriers to skilled overseas workers''.
There are essentially two ways of looking at this. The first is simply to note that, after Brexit, the UK will not have free movement (still less ''open borders'') with any country except Ireland, but nor will it be closed to economic migration. Therefore, by definition, there will have to be a system that allows in some people to work, but not others, as is the case for every developed country, and is already the case for migrants coming to the UK from outside the EU, as it has been for decades. That means a set of criteria or tests '' call them points, if you like '' is required. And, as in Australia and in other countries, those ''points'' will be based on skills, education, whether you have a job offer, etc. In that sense, talking about a ''points-based system'' is a statement of the obvious.
The second way, however, is to look at how the Australian system (and other systems, such as the Canadian one, that actually have a scoring system) actually works in practice. The key distinguishing feature '' which differs from most European countries, including the current UK system '' is that potential migrants are not required to have a job offer, but instead can qualify on the basis of specific skills and educational qualifications, as well as other factors, such as age.
Now the relative merits of these two distinct approaches are disputed. Some argue that allowing people to settle permanently is a long-term investment for the country '' and therefore simply looking at whether an employer wants to hire someone today might not necessarily be a very good indicator of their long-term contribution. Others, by contrast, point out that governments aren't necessarily going to be terribly good at assessing that either, and that at least the requirement for a job offer introduces a market test. And the Australian and Canadian systems have in fact recently shifted in this direction.
What is clear, however, is that Johnson doesn't seem to be thinking of a radical shift towards the Australian approach. According to the Telegraph, ''foreigners who want to work in Britain will have to be able to speak English and must have a job before they arrive''. Except that's exactly what happens under our current system for non-Europeans, with a few exceptions, which will presumably continue (if Manchester City signed Lionel Messi, who doesn't speak English, it seems unlikely he'd be denied a work visa). Similarly, Johnson's statement that new arrivals won't be able to claim benefits is designed to sound tough while changing precisely nothing. In fact, there is really nothing in what Johnson has said that adds much to the government's white paper, published in December, which set out plans for a post-Brexit immigration policy under which the main qualification would be the offer of a job paying more than £30,000.
So there are two interpretations of what's going on here. The first is that he doesn't know this (or knows it, but doesn't care) but that what matters is the need for a shiny new policy proposal that sounds good. The substance is unimportant.
The second, however, is more positive. Since the Brexit vote, there has been a substantial shift in public opinion, which is far more positive about immigration than three years ago. As London mayor until 2016, Johnson was well aware of how much damage Theresa May's restrictionist policies did both to key growth sectors in the UK economy and our broader international image, especially in fast-growing economies such as India. But as long as she was prime minister it was difficult to shift policy in a more liberal direction.
However, after her departure, there will be a window of opportunity. Sajid Javid has already signalled that he wants to go beyond the white paper, by reducing the salary threshold as well as perhaps introducing new flexibilities for Scotland, Wales and the regions. The Australian system has its own problems (although the notorious offshore refugee processing centres have no connection to the system that applies to economic migrants). But if ''Australian-style points system'' is in fact code for ''An immigration system that recognises the needs of the economy and is genuinely open to the world'', that will be good news for ''global Britain''.
' Jonathan Portes is professor of economics and public policy at King's College London, and a senior fellow of the UK in a Changing Europe programme
Brexit: Government to reveal detailed plan for EU negotiations - BBC News
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 23:43
Image copyright Reuters Image caption Stephen Barclay and Michel Barnier met for Brexit talks in Brussels on Friday The government has prepared the legal text of an updated Brexit deal, government sources have told the BBC.
It is expected to make more of the plans public in the next few days, a senior government figure says.
The government has suggested creating "customs clearance zones" in Northern Ireland and Ireland, as part of the proposals put to the EU.
Proposals for reaching a Brexit deal had been expected ahead of a crucial EU summit on 17 October.
The UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson says this will happen whether or not there is a new deal with Brussels.
Mr Johnson says that he would prefer leaving with a deal.
At the Conservative party conference on Monday, he said: "I'm cautiously optimistic. We have made some pretty big moves, we are waiting to see whether our European friends will help us and whether we can find the right landing zone."
MPs have passed a law requiring Mr Johnson to seek an extension to the deadline from the bloc if he is unable to pass a deal in Parliament, or get MPs to approve a no-deal Brexit, by 19 October.
Detailed planWith the detailed proposals on the table, the UK side hopes that by the end of the week, both the EU and UK would be in a period of intense negotiations where both sides thrash out a final text.
But there is no certainty over whether the EU will accept the premise of the plans in order to move to the next phase of talks.
The biggest obstacle to a deal is the backstop - the plan to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
The policy - agreed to by former PM Theresa May in her withdrawal deal with the EU, which was rejected three times by Parliament - is unacceptable to many Conservative MPs.
Since becoming prime minister, Mr Johnson has stressed to EU leaders the backstop would have to be replaced if any deal was to be passed by Parliament.
Mr Johnson has argued that the backstop would keep the UK too closely aligned with EU rules after Brexit.
The EU Commission has said it is willing to look at new proposals but these must achieve the same aims as the backstop - and be legally enforceable.
Sources involved in the negotiations with the EU say the checks proposed would not be at the Irish border, and suggestions there would be a series of checkpoints along the border are a misunderstanding.
Talks have continued between the UK and EU, at a technical level. Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier met on Friday.
The BBC understands the proposals will accept the need for customs checks on the island of Ireland - but insist these checks, as the government previously pledged, would be conducted away from the border.
Customs formalities would be carried out mostly where goods originate or at their final destination.
The UK government maintains that any further customs inspections would be very limited - and these could be conducted either at new locations or at existing business premises.
The Irish broadcaster RTE had reported that a "string of customs posts perhaps five to 10 miles away from the frontier" had been floated by the UK.
However, government sources have denied that UK officials had proposed a series of inspection posts on either side of the Irish border.
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WeWork Still Needs Cash After Pulling IPO - WSJ
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 23:47
For years, WeWork's parent company was defined by big spending as it relentlessly pursued rapid growth.
On Monday, We Co. said it would file a request with the Securities and Exchange Commission to withdraw its IPO proposal. The company said it is postponing the offering to focus on its core business and that it has ''every intention to operate WeWork as a public company'' but didn't provide a time frame.
To cut costs, the company's new co-CEOs, Sebastian Gunningham and Artie Minson, are planning thousands of job cuts, putting extraneous businesses up for sale and purging some luxuries from the previous CEO, such as a G650ER jet purchased for more than $60 million last year, people familiar with the matter have said.
New York-based We had $2.5 billion in cash as of June 30. At the current rate of cash burn'--about $700 million a quarter'--it would run out of money some time after the first quarter of 2020, according to Chris Lane, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Mr. Lane and his colleagues projected in a recent note to clients that We would burn through nearly $10 billion in cash between 2019 and 2022, assuming it keeps growing.
Messrs. Gunningham and Minson said in a joint email to We staff last week that they ''anticipate difficult decisions ahead.''
''As we look toward a future IPO, we will closely review all aspects of our company with the intention of strengthening our core business and improving our management and operations,'' the co-CEOs wrote.
Further adding pressure are agreements We made in a bond offering last year for which it must keep at least $500 million of cash, according to S&P Global Ratings, which downgraded We's bonds last week.
The company, which provides shared workspaces, had expected a huge infusion of cash in a public offering. But skepticism from prospective public market investors helped lead to the IPO's delay and the subsequent replacement of Mr. Neumann with two of his former deputies, and now investors don't foresee an IPO until next year. The company is in early talks to raise money from private investors, people familiar with those discussions have said.
The sudden desire to execute cuts contrasts with the picture long painted by Mr. Neumann and other We executives, including Mr. Minson, who stressed that the company had plenty of cash and that losses were nothing to worry about.
Subsequent to the company's founding in 2010, the internal mantra was that the large losses were the result of We's rapid growth. Because so much of the money was going to new locations, if the business stopped expanding it could be profitable, Mr. Neumann would tell staff.
But the scale of its losses, even for a fast-growing co-working company, has perplexed rivals and others in the real-estate sector. Taken with the cuts, analysts say, it suggests problems extend beyond Mr. Neumann to the underlying health and strategy of the business.
''Something is wrong,'' said Nori Gerardo Lietz, a lecturer on real estate and venture capital at Harvard Business School who recently published an analysis of the company. ''They're not managing their growth'--they're spending money like drunken sailors,'' and their general and administrative costs are growing too fast, she said.
Ms. Lietz said the disclosures in We's IPO prospectus don't adequately explain the problems at the root of the large losses, which totaled more than $1.6 billion in 2018.
A danger for We in cutting costs is that the moves would drag down its growth rates. The company has doubled its revenue most every year'--a quality it long hoped investors would focus on. With slower growth, investors say they would need to see a clear road to profitability.
No matter the growth rate, the business is expected to need lots of cash to build out its offices. We reported spending $1.3 billion in net capital costs in 2018'--only a portion of which shows up in the company's official losses because those costs are accounted for over many years.
Without more disclosure from We or its co-working rivals, many of which are private, it is difficult to make exact comparisons with other firms and their profitability. Still, in the past some comparable companies lost far less despite strong growth.
In 1998 and 1999, IWG PLC'--then known as Regus'--positioned itself as a breakout company remaking the office market with its short-term leases and services for tenants. With its revenue doubling in 1999, it lost £17.9 million ($28.9 million), or 16% of revenue. Annual revenue at HQ Global Holdings'--the largest serviced-office company in the U.S. at the time'--more than doubled in 2000 to $455 million, on which it posted losses of $20.5 million.
In comparison, We's 2018 loss of $1.6 billion was on revenue of $1.8 billion.
Both IWG and HQ Global had a similar basic model, but also made money charging for add-ons like phones and printers. IWG acquired HQ Global in 2004.
Write to Eliot Brown at eliot.brown@wsj.com
Europe's top court says active consent is needed for tracking cookies | TechCrunch
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 10:01
Europe's top court has ruled that pre-checked consent boxes for dropping cookies are not legally valid.
Consent must be obtained prior to storing or accessing non-essential cookies, such as tracking cookies for targeted advertising. Consent cannot be implied or assumed.
It's a decision that '-- at stroke '-- plunges websites into legal hot water in Europe if their cookie notices don't ask for consent first. As many don't, preferring not to risk their ability to track users for ad targeting.
Now they could be risking a big fine under EU privacy laws if they don't obtain valid consent for tracking.
Sites that have relied upon opting EU users into ad-tracking cookies in the hopes they'll just click okay to make the cookie banner go away are in for a rude awakening.
Or, to put it another way, the ruling should put a stop to some, er, 'creative' interpretations of the rules around cookies that manage to completely miss the point of the law'...
at here refreshing Curia press release page & noticed their own non-compliant #cookie notice '' spot the irony on their cookie information page '' looks like the Court are about to render their own site illegal wrt to pre-ticked boxes'... a little embarrassing'... #privacy #planet49 pic.twitter.com/ewdEqQqrvb
'-- Alexander Hanff (@alexanderhanff) October 1, 2019
The decision is also likely to influence the ongoing reform of ePrivacy rules '-- which govern online tracking.
While the outcome of that very heavily lobbied piece of legislation remains to be seen today's ruling is clearly a win for privacy.
Planet49 caseThe backstory to today's ruling is that a German court asked the CJEU for a decision in a case relating to a lottery website, Planet49, which had required users to consent to the storage of cookies in order to play a promotional game.
In an earlier opinion an influential advisor to the court also took the view that affirmative action not simple inaction must be necessary to constitute consent.
Today the CJEU agreed, handing down a final judgement which makes it plain that consent can't be assumed '-- it requires an active opt-in from users.
In a punchily brief press release the court writes:
In today's judgment, the Court decides that the consent which a website user must give to the storage of and access to cookies on his or her equipment is not validly constituted by way of a prechecked checkbox which that user must deselect to refuse his or her consent.
That decision is unaffected by whether or not the information stored or accessed on the user's equipment is personal data. EU law aims to protect the user from any interference with his or her private life, in particular, from the risk that hidden identifiers and other similar devices enter those users' terminal equipment without their knowledge.
The Court notes that consent must be specific so that the fact that a user selects the button to participate in a promotional lottery is not sufficient for it to be concluded that the user validly gave his or her consent to the storage of cookies.
Furthermore, according to the Court, the information that the service provider must give to a user includes the duration of the operation of cookies and whether or not third parties may have access to those cookies.
So, to sum up, pre-checked consent boxes (or cookie banners that tell you a cookie has already been dropped and pointlessly invite you to click 'ok') aren't valid under EU law.
Furthermore cookie consent can't be bundled with another purpose (in the Planet49 case the promotional lottery) '-- at least if that fuzzy signal is being used to stand for consent.
There's also an interesting new requirement which looks set to shrink the ability of service operators to obfuscate how persistently they're tracking Internet users.
For consent to cookies to be legally valid the court now says the user must be provided with some specific information on the tracking, namely: How long the cookie will operate, and who their data will be shared with. So, er, awkward'...
The most interesting thing is how the Court justifies that info on cookie duration/those who can access should be provided. ePrivacy refers to data protection law on the information provided, but as ePrivacy is not always about personal data, the info reqs in DP don't always fit
'-- Michael Veale (@mikarv) October 1, 2019
What's more interesting: sites must inform about the duration of cookie validity. This is interesting insight, and was not generally followed. Should be identical to 'Expires' or 'Max-Age' setting when cookies are set. Does it also apply to SameSite configuration? #GDPR #ePrivacy pic.twitter.com/f55AtbqArb
'-- Lukasz Olejnik (@lukOlejnik) October 1, 2019
''Extending information requirement to include cookie configuration details is an interesting twist that will provide more information to users,'' Dr. Lukasz Olejnik, an independent cybersecurity advisor and research associate at the Center for Technology and Global Affairs at Oxford University, told us.
''Sites will need to be wary to be sure that the user-facing text matches the actually used values of max-age or expires attributes. It is also interesting to wonder if sites will want to provide similar information about other cookie attributes.''
Safe to say, there will be some long faces in the ad industry today.
''The Court has made clear that consent should always be manifested in an active manner, and may not be presumed. Therefore, online operators should ensure that they do not collect consent by asking users to unclick a pre-formulated declaration of consent,'' said Luca Tosoni, a research fellow in computers and law at the University of Oslo, also commenting on the court ruling.
ePrivacy reformAs we've reported before very many sites and services in Europe have, at best, been playing lip-service to EU cookie consent requirements '-- despite the advent of tighter rules coming into force last year under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which says that consent must be specific, informed and freely given to be a valid legal basis. And despite '-- more recently '-- further guidance from DPAs clarifying the rules around cookie consent.
So the CJEU ruling should lift a fair few heads out of the sand.
''Before the entry into force of the GDPR, the conditions for consent were interpreted differently across Europe. Today's judgment is important as it brings some clarity on what should be considered valid consent under EU data protection law,'' Tosoni also told us, saying he expects the ruling to result in changes to many cookie notifications.
''National courts and data protection authorities across the EU will need to follow the Court's interpretation when assessing whether controllers have validly obtained consent. In turn, this should lead to more harmonization in enforcement across Europe, in particular with regard to cookie notices. Thus, I would expect many operators to change their non-compliant consents to conform with the ruling.''
EU law on cookie consent dates back much earlier than the GDPR '-- to the prior Data Protection Directive and the still in force ePrivacy Directive '-- Article 5(3) of which specifies that for cookies to be used users must give opt-in consent after being provided with clear and comprehensive information (with only a limited exception for 'strictly necessary' cookies).
Although European legislators have been trying for years to agree on an update to the ePrivacy Directive.
A draft proposal for an ePrivacy Regulation was introduced by the Commission at the start of 2017. But negotiations have been anything but smooth '-- with a blitz of lobbying from the adtech and telecoms industries pushing against a firm requirement for opt-in consent to tracking.
The CJEU's clarity that consent is required to store and access cookies pushes in the opposite direction. And that firm legal line protecting individual privacy from background tracking technologies should be harder for legislators to ignore.
''Today's ruling is likely to have a significant impact on the ongoing negotiations on the ePrivacy Regulation which is set to regulate cookie usage, an issue on which European legislators are struggling to find an agreement,'' Tosoni said, adding: ''In the past, the Court's rulings have had an important impact on the development of the GDPR.''
In the meanwhile, the judgement should at least force some of the more cynical and/or stupid cookie banners to be quietly replaced with something that at least asks for consent.
Cookie wallsThat said, the ruling does not resolve all the problems around cookie consent.
Specifically the court has not waded into the contentious forced consent/cookie wall issue. This is where a site requires consent to advertising cookies as the 'price' for accessing the sought for service, with the only other option being to leave.
Earlier this year the Dutch DPA deemed cookie walls to be illegal. But the agency's interpretation is open to legal challenge. Only the CJEU can have the final word.
In the Planet49 case the court sidestepped the issue '-- saying the referring court did not ask it to rule on the question of ''whether it is compatible with the requirement that consent be 'freely given', within the meaning of Article 2(h) of Directive 95/46 and of Article 4(11) and Article 7(4) of Regulation 2016/679, for a user's consent to the processing of his personal data for advertising purposes to be a prerequisite to that user's participation in a promotional lottery, as appears to be the case in the main proceedings''.
''In those circumstances, it is not appropriate for the Court to consider that question,'' it wrote.
Likely it's doing so because another case is already set to consider that question. Tosoni says he expects the Orange Romania case '-- which is pending before the court '-- to further clarify the requirements of valid consent in the context of it being 'freely given'.
''Some uncertainty on the requirements of valid consent remains. Indeed, in today's judgment, the Court has primarily clarified what constitutes unambiguous and specific consent, but the Court has, for example, not clarified what degree of autonomy a data subject should enjoy when choosing whether or not to give consent for the latter to be considered ''freely given'','' he said.
''Today's judgment does not provide an answer on the legality of cookie walls, which require consent to access the underlying service. The Court found that it was unable to address this point, as the referring German court had not asked the ECJ to assess the legality of making participation in a lottery '-- the service at issue in the case '-- subject to giving advertising cookie consent. Further clarity on this issue may come from the Orange Romania case, which is currently pending before the ECJ.''
We've reached out to the IAB Europe for a response to the ruling and to ask what advice it will be issuing to its members. At the time of writing it had not yet responded to these questions.
Greece to Overhaul Asylum Process After Deadly Refugee-Camp Fire - WSJ
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 23:41
Greece vowed to reduce overcrowding at camps for asylum-seekers on its Aegean islands, after a deadly fire on Sunday highlighted the country's growing struggle to cope with refugees and other migrants trying to reach Europe.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis's new conservative government promised to speed up decisions on who gets asylum, return more rejected applicants and move some asylum-seekers to the Greek mainland from islands such as Lesbos where overflowing refugee camps are causing mounting unrest.
A rising number of people crossing from the coast of Turkey to nearby Greek islands in recent weeks has increased the strains at already-overflowing refugee camps. Around 29,000 refugees and other migrants are currently living in camps designed for about one-third as many people.
At the Moria camp on Lesbos, which is particularly notorious for its unsanitary conditions, violence and other problems, at least one person died on Sunday when metal containers housing asylum-seekers caught fire. Many other people were injured. Other migrants, protesting that firefighters were too slow in arriving, then fought with Greek riot police. It was only the latest unrest to grip Moria.
More than 45,000 asylum-seekers have entered Greece so far this year, mostly by sea, accounting for more than half of the 77,000 refugees and other migrants who have crossed into Europe from the Middle East and North Africa so far this year. Over 1,000 have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean so far this year, according to the United Nations' refugee agency.
Over 12,000 people have arrived in Greece in September alone, a sharp increase from the number of monthly arrivals over the last three years. The Syrian regime's military pressure on the remaining rebel-held territories there, and a crackdown on illegal immigration in Turkey, are thought to have contributed to the increased attempts to cross the Aegean.
Still, the number of people crossing into Greece and other Southern European countries remains far lower than in 2015-16, when over one million people sought refuge in Europe, mostly entering via Greece. That inflow sparked political backlashes that continue to reverberate in Germany and many other European countries, boosting far-right nativist parties and weakening Europe's political establishment.
Most of Greece's recent arrivals are Afghans and Syrians fleeing conflict in their countries, according to the International Organization for Migration. Greece's government, however, says that many other arrivals come from safe countries and have no justified asylum claim.
The government said on Monday it would reject unfounded claims faster and put failed claimants in separate facilities for deportation, as one way to relieve pressure on refugee camps such as Moria.
Greece's decision to transfer some migrants off the islands to camps on the European mainland could mark a partial retreat from a much-criticized policy of keeping migrants bottled up on Lesbos and other islands while their asylum claims are being considered.
Greece, under pressure from the European Union, agreed to keep migrants on the islands as part of an EU deal with Turkey in 2016, under which many of the migrants were meant to be returned to Turkey. Under the deal, the EU promised Turkey billions of euros to help manage its large number of Syrian refugees, and to take some Syrians off Turkey's hands.
In practice, few people have been returned from Greece to Turkey, while continuous sea crossings have led to overcrowding on the islands. Critics including nongovernmental organizations have accused the EU and Greece of allowing the squalid conditions on the island camps to fester in order to deter more migrants from coming. Greece and the EU deny that, with each often blaming the other for the poor conditions in the camps.
Write to Marcus Walker at marcus.walker@wsj.com
Pig Ebola Has Cost China Over $140 Billion As Locals Get Angry At Record High Pork Prices | Zero Hedge
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 22:53
There is a reason why an increasingly desperate Beijing is willing to suspend tariffs on US pork exports, and it has nothing to do with trade war de-escalation or concessions, and everything to do with preventing an angry and hungry mob from running rampant across China's streets.
As Caixin reports, the widespread outbreak of African swine fever that has prompted China to slaughter millions of pigs has caused 1 trillion yuan ($140 billion) of direct losses, an industry expert estimates; if correct, the direct damage from the "pig ebola" is far greater than the monetary damages incurred from two years of escalating trade tariffs with the US.
The shocking number was unveiled at a pig industry forum last Tuesday by Li Defa, who heads the College of Animal Science and Technology at China Agricultural University, and who notes that the upstream and downstream of the pork industry chain, such as pig feed and catering industry, were not included in the calculation, suggesting the full indirect losses from the crippling pork virus could be orders of magnitude greater.
For over a year, China's pork industry has been crippled by an outbreak of the deadly pig virus since at least August 2018, when the first case was reported in Northeast China's Liaoning province. It has since spread to all provincial level regions in the country, wiping out between one-third and half of all Chinese hog stocks and sending pork prices to record highs.
That's contributed to broader food inflation. In August, China's consumer price index, which measures the prices of a select basket of consumer goods and services, rose 2.8% year-on-year, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The average pork price increased 46.7% year-on-year '-- the fastest pace in more than eight years '-- adding 1.08 percentage points to CPI growth.
China pork price inflation jumped from +38% in August to +84% in September - WOW. All meat prices now record high. Shortages reported. Imports rumored. Hang on! pic.twitter.com/ZOUkIoZ9Es
'-- Global AgriTrends (@AgriTrends) September 29, 2019The price of live pigs has surpassed 40 yuan per kilogram in late -September, more than doubling from when the epidemic first became publicly known in August last year.
Even the WaPo recently noted that "the most pressing political problem facing China's leaders this week may not be the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. Nor the protracted trade war with the United States. No, it is probably a shortage of pork '-- during the Chinese zodiac year of the pig, no less '-- that has become so severe that the rulers of the Communist Party declared stabilizing pork supply and prices to be an 'important political task'."
Pork, as is widely known, is the main meat consumed in China, accounting for more than 60% of the country's meat demand. The country is expected to consume 55 million tons of pork in 2020 with an estimated population of 1.4 billion, said Li: the Chinese love to eat pork. Red fried pork. Sweet-and-sour pork ribs. Glazed pork belly. Twice-cooked pork. Pork dumplings. Trotters. Chinese eat an average of 120 pounds of pork a year. Half the world's pork is consumed here.
But with a slew of holidays on deck, officials are increasingly worried that public discontent will overshadow the celebrations. They are particularly concerned that pork shortages will ruin the ''happy and peaceful atmosphere'' required during the upcoming commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the biggest event on the Communist Party's calendar this year.
''We should ensure pork supply by all means,'' Vice Premier Hu Chunhua said at the end of last month, adding that China's pork shortages would be ''extremely severe'' in the last quarter of this year and the first half of 2020.
''We must strengthen the guidance and management of public opinion,'' he continued, according to a state media account of his remarks.
''If China loses more than half of its domestic pork production, it will not be easy to meet the demand gap by relying on foreign supplies,'' Li said, failing to mention that if China is truly unable to restore its pork herds and prices continue to soar, the country's massive lower and middle classes will soon become very angry.
To try to stabilize prices and feed domestic supply, the central government pledged to raise purchases of pork from overseas markets, including the U.S., a move which was seen as an olive branch in the trade war, but which in reality was just Beijing desperate to give the angry population what it wants.
China also released 10,000 tons of pork from state reserves last week to cope with a supply shortfall ahead of the weeklong National Day holiday, although not only did the move fail to put a dent on the soaring price of pork, it was instantly absorbed as it represented less than 2 hours of pork need across China.
China math: pork eaten = 6,200 mt per hour. China's 10,000 mt release is less than 2 hours needs across China. #ASF https://t.co/hTEXGvjAYV
'-- Global AgriTrends (@AgriTrends) September 19, 2019Should China fail to stabilize the country's collapsing pork population, the following scene from the SCMP, which shows women in China fighting over the last piece of discounted pork at a market, will become increasingly more frequent, and violent.
"Pulled" pork? These women in China were filmed fighting over the last piece of discounted pork at a market pic.twitter.com/WSEq4r9fG6
'-- SCMP News (@SCMPNews) September 20, 2019In the meantime, the authorities are trying to turn consumers away from China's favorite meat: the Life Times, a newspaper affiliated with the Communist Party, even suggested in a front-page special that eating too much pork was not healthy. ''Eat less pork: Both your wallet and your body will thank you,'' the publication wrote on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter.
China's Internet users were not impressed. ''This is a modern version of 'Let them eat cake,' '' responded Jiang Debin, quoting the line often attributed to Marie Antoinette when French peasants ran out of bread shortly before the revolution. ''They are using so-called expert advice to deceive people, but dare not say don't eat meat unless you have money.''
Big Pharma
The Dangerous Peanut-Allergy Drug the FDA Is Reviewing - The Atlantic
Thu, 03 Oct 2019 07:49
A new, billion-dollar pharmaceutical to treat peanut allergies is up for approval. It's simply peanut flour.
James Hamblin Sep 13, 2019 Mike Blake / ReutersPeanuts are a uniquely dangerous legume. A small fragment of one can kill an allergic person. Even if that person is resuscitated, it's possible to have permanent brain damage. These severe allergic reactions are relatively rare but difficult to predict. One time, you accidentally eat a bit of peanut and get a little itchy; the next time, your airways close up and someone has to jam a needle full of adrenaline into your leg just so you can take a breath.
About four peanut-allergic children die every year in the United States from a reaction to peanut. Those odds are little reassurance for the millions of kids and parents who live in fear of the worst possible case. As a result, peanuts are no longer welcome in many school cafeterias. Some advocates have proposed outright banning peanuts in public places. Bringing peanuts to a child's birthday party in Brooklyn ensures that you are never invited to anything again.
Kids' lack of exposure to peanuts, however, seems to have an unintended consequence: more peanut allergies. In the United States, the latest estimates find that 2 to 5 percent of American kids have a peanut allergy. The number of visits to emergency rooms due to anaphylactic reactions to peanuts more than doubled from 2008 to 2012. If your immune system does not learn to tolerate peanuts, it's more likely to react violently when it first sees them. Recent guidelines have recommended that parents feed kids peanuts at a young age.
For kids who've already developed a peanut allergy, though, a similar but more controversial treatment is up for approval by the Food and Drug Administration. The agency is holding a hearing today with the pharmaceutical company and its advocates, expected to inform a final ruling in coming months.
There is currently no ''treatment'' for a peanut allergy. As it is, patients are told to avoid peanuts. They are prescribed a syringe full of epinephrine (trade name: EpiPen) and taught to inject themselves if needed. Despite much advancement in medical science and technology over the decades, nothing has given families peace of mind that the allergy itself could be treated, or at least tempered. Until now. The new approach involves trying to reprogram the immune system by giving a person '... peanuts.
This might sound dangerous, because it is.
Known as oral immunotherapy, the idea is that by exposing a person to tiny amounts of peanut, that person will slowly become able to tolerate it. Immunotherapy is common practice in the form of allergy shots for things such as pollen: You inject bits of the protein and watch as the immune system gets more tolerant and the person becomes less wheezy.
But oral immunotherapy with peanuts is considered experimental, and no professional organization recommends that parents give any peanuts to an allergic person. Even though some practitioners have concocted homespun protocols, most doctors feel unsafe overseeing any such attempts. Given the potential for a fatal reaction, some believe that no one should yet be trying out the approach outside of a research setting.
In the late 1990s, there was an attempt to treat peanut allergies with a similar shot'--an injection of liquid peanut extract. A patient died of anaphylaxis during a clinical trial (reportedly due to a labeling error). The incident shut down the trial and cast a chill over the field for a while. Then, in the 2000s, a group of scientists at Duke University rekindled the idea and chose the oral route. They published proof-of-concept studies in which allergic mice were safely given microscopic amounts of crushed peanut and their allergies waned.
Excited by the prospect of extending this to humans, the influencers of the food-allergy world convened in Boston in 2011 to try to move the concept forward. Food Allergy Research & Education, or FARE, a nonprofit advocacy and lobbying group that's partly funded by the pharmaceutical industry, held a retreat that included patient advocates, the researchers from Duke and elsewhere, regulators, and industries. The group agreed that in order to study oral immunotherapy safely, scientists needed a standardized product that would allow everyone to know exactly how much peanut was being given.
''The problem was that this wasn't exactly a product that a typical drug company would make,'' says Brian Vickery, an allergist involved in the proof-of-concept studies. Nor was the product a food, exactly. ''And there was nothing to be licensed'--it was peanut flour, you know?''
After attempting to shop the idea around to various pharmaceutical companies, FARE itself helped found a company that would become known as Aimmune. Though Aimmune was technically a pharmaceutical company, its work focused on making food-based therapies. These are regulated by the FDA as drugs, but under the new and growing category of ''biologics'''--drugs that come from living organisms, such as vaccines made from bacterial proteins or insulin made from the human hormone. In Aimmune's case, the biologic would be peanut flour placed in a capsule. The company went public in 2015 after raising $160 million in venture-capital funding.
In 2016, Vickery left Duke to work full time for Aimmune, where he oversaw a clinical trial of the peanut flour. Two groups of about 250 people with peanut allergies took the peanut pill or placebo every day and were monitored over the course of a year. At the end of the experiment, the participants all ate small, gradually increasing doses of peanut, up to about two peanuts. The researchers measured how much it took to cause a reaction. Almost everyone in the placebo group had a reaction before reaching the full amount. But among the people taking the peanut-flour pill, two-thirds could safely eat two peanuts.
Vickery, who now directs the food-allergy program at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, went on to publish the findings in The New England Journal of Medicine last November. The study's other authors remain on Aimmune's staff. It is not uncommon for researchers to be funded by pharmaceutical companies; it is less common for researchers to be fully employed by the company making the product in question.
Based on this single, year-long trial, Aimmune is now petitioning the FDA to approve its powder as a drug. Instead of ''peanut flour,'' Aimmune calls the drug Palforzia. It does not promise to give people an ability to eat peanuts'--only to potentially protect a person in the case of a small, accidental ingestion. Analysts have put the cost at $4,200 a year. The drug would have to be taken indefinitely.
In a presentation to investors dated September 2019, Aimmune estimated that Palforzia sales would top $1 billion. The document describes tentative pricing between $3,000 and $20,000 a year, and assures investors that insurance companies have already agreed to cover the drug. Sales, it says, will be driven by ''compliant caregivers'' and ''parents and families living in fear of potential life-threatening reactions.'' The presentation, which was available on Aimmune's website, appears to have been removed this morning. (Aimmune did not respond to requests for comment.)
Thomas Casale, a professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of South Florida, serves as FARE's chief medical adviser. Casale was a co-author with Vickery on the study of the company's product. I asked him why other companies couldn't simply sell peanut powder as a dietary supplement at a cost of a few dollars. In a small 2018 study, researchers reported safely giving 1/125,000th of a peanut to allergic kids and very slowly working all the way up to 12 whole peanuts.
''Well, I suppose they could,'' Casale said. But he went on to explain that the real value is billing codes. When peanut flour is an FDA-approved drug, that means doctors can be reimbursed for prescribing it and overseeing its administration. The process can be covered by insurance. As it is, practitioners who offer their own versions of oral immunotherapy have to be paid out of pocket. This makes it inaccessible to many patients. So, essentially, in order to make the therapy accessible, it has to become part of the system. The system is what allows pharmaceutical companies and doctors to charge insurers thousands of dollars for peanuts.
''There's tremendous demand, because patients feel helpless and terrified,'' says Jeff Tice, a physician and health-policy analyst at the University of California at San Francisco. ''The insurance companies are getting ready for a large financial impact because this will get taken up quickly.''
The likelihood of rapid, widespread uptake makes concerns about safety especially salient. Tice led a team that did an extensive report on the product for the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, and concluded that the product stood to be widely adopted without clear benefit, and despite evident risk. Tice does not think it's ready for approval'--because it has not been found to decrease a person's risk of a severe allergic reaction.
What wasn't emphasized in the study in The New England Journal of Medicine was that when people started taking the drug, their rate of severe allergic reactions went up by six times. In the lab, the subjects taking the peanut pill were able to eat up to two peanuts. Out in the real world, those people reported many more systemic reactions: 14 percent versus just 3 percent in the control group. ''This is just what we're trying to prevent'--having to get taken to the ER and getting injected in school, that sort of outcome,'' Tice says. ''The trials clearly demonstrated desensitization [to peanuts], but apparently at the cost of more harm, and no clear evidence of long-term benefit.''
In April, a meta-analysis in The Lancet confirmed the same: There was ''high-certainty evidence'' that peanut oral immunotherapy considerably increases allergic and anaphylactic reactions, compared with avoidance or placebo treatment. The FDA committee lists the intended use of the drug as ''to reduce the risk of anaphylaxis after accidental exposure to peanut in patients.'' Yet in people who've taken the drug, this risk has been shown to go up, not down.
''It's impossible to know if the increase in anaphylaxis was due to increased exposure to peanuts because people felt protected, or if it was due to the drug itself,'' Tice notes. This sort of semi-protective treatment can have the complicating effect of making a person feel more protected than they are in the real world. Letting one's guard down, even a little, can cause any benefit of desensitization to be quickly outweighed.
In other words, based on what is currently known, the billion-dollar peanut powder is likely to have a net effect of increasing severe allergic reactions to peanuts. The fact that this drug is so close to becoming a household name'--despite so little evidence'--reflects a broader shift in how drugs are approved. The old standard was that a drug could not be taken to market until it had proved to be safe and effective in two trials with meaningful end points'--ideally treating or curing a disease, or at least alleviating symptoms. Over the past decade, the FDA has loosened standards, requiring only some evidence of an effect that may or may not be meaningful.
Desensitizing a person to small amounts of peanut doesn't mean Palforzia extends people's lives. It doesn't mean the drug keeps them out of the hospital or prevents serious allergic attacks. (The FDA does not comment on ongoing hearings and approval processes. The panel is expected to address these concerns today.)
Vickery, who is no longer in the full-time employ of Aimmune, admits that ''for an expensive therapy, we don't know if [Palforzia] even does what it's supposed to do.'' But he sees the implications of this approval as far bigger than peanut powder. ''If a start-up can do a trial of 1,000 patients and actually get something to market as the first approved drug for peanut allergy,'' he says, investors would flock to the area. Traditionally, it takes many years, multiple trials, and many millions of dollars in research and development to bring a drug to market. ''If the first product were to not be approved, that would set the field back immensely,'' Vickery says, optimistic that this will actually draw meaningful investment.
Of course, it would set the field back even more if people are harmed by a hastily approved and urgently adopted drug. Everyone I spoke with stressed the need for peanut-allergy treatment, and the demand. Patient advocates are not patient advocates if they push for approval of a drug that does more harm than good.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.
James Hamblin, MD, is a staff writer at
The Atlantic. He hosts the video series
If Our Bodies Could Talk and is the author of
a book by the same title.
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Finland: One dead and nine injured in 'violent attack' in shopping centre | World News | Sky News
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 07:44
One person has died and nine are injured in a violent attack at a shopping centre in Finland, police say.
A tenth injured person has been arrested.
All ten people have been taken to hospital, with police saying two people, including the attacker, are seriously injured.
The incident took place in Savon vocational college located inside the shopping centre in Kuopio, a town in the east of the country.
The person who died was "found on the premises of the school", the police said on Twitter.
Image: Police have arrested a personLocal media are reporting that the attacker used a bladed weapon. No other details on what happened or what provoked the violence have been released.
Police confirmed on Twitter that they used a gun during the operation and that the shopping centre has been evacuated.
Officers say there is no threat to locals in the area.
A police spokesperson on Twitter said: "A violent attack has taken place in Savo vocational college at a shopping center in #Kuopio . Police used firearms in the situation. The suspect has been arrested. 10 people have been injured and taken to the hospital and one person has died. #polis"
Finland has seen two deadly school attack in the last 12 years.
In 2007, a student at Jokela High School shot eight people dead before killing himself. The following year, a 22-year-old student at a vocational school in Kauhajoki shot dead 10 people before taking his own life.
Roe v Wade
Babies in the womb have lizard-like hand muscles - BBC News
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 23:25
Image copyright Rui Diogo, Natalia Siomava and Yorick Gotton Image caption Scan of a the left hand, showing the dorsometacarpales Babies in the womb have extra lizard-like muscles in their hands that most will lose before they are born, medical scans reveal.
They are probably one of the oldest, albeit fleeting, remnants of evolution seen in humans yet, biologists say, in the journal Development.
They date them as 250 million years old - a relic from when reptiles transitioned to mammals.
It is unclear why the human body makes and then deletes them before birth.
The biologists say the developmental step may be what makes thumbs dextrous. Thumbs, unlike other digits, retain an extra muscle.
Rarely, some children and adults have been found to have a few of the extra finger and hand muscles but never all of the dorsometacarpales the biologists saw when they looked at 3D scans of embryos and foetuses at seven to 13 weeks' gestation.
When they do persist, they are sometimes linked with limb deformities. And the biologists say their findings, in 15 developing babies, might help shed light on these types of birth defects.
Lead author Dr Rui Diogo, from the Howard University, in the US, said: "We have a lot of muscles going to the thumb, very precise thumb movements, but we lost a lot of muscles that are going to the other digits.
"In our evolution, we do not need them so much.
"Why are they there? Probably, we cannot just say in evolution, 'Look, I will delete from scratch, from day zero, the muscle going to digits two, three, four, five and I will just keep the one going to the thumb.'
"Probably it is not so easy. Probably you have to form this layer of this muscle and then it disappears on the other digits but persists on the thumbs."
Useless body parts?He said the structures were more striking than other evolutionary remnants humans retained, such as the apparently redundant appendix, wisdom teeth and coccyx.
Image copyright Rui Diogo, Natalia Siomava and Yorick Gotton Image caption A scan of a baby's muscles in the foot "These muscles were lost 250 million years ago," Dr Diogo said.
"No adult mammal, no rat, no dog has those muscles. It's impressive. It was really a long time ago.
"It used to be that we had more understanding of the early development of fishes, frogs, chicken and mice than in our own species but these new techniques allow us to see human development in much greater detail."
Dr Sergio Alm(C)cija, an anthropologist who studies ape and human evolution, at the American Museum of Natural History, said the findings provided a deeper appreciation of human development but raised many questions.
"The novelty of this study is that it allows us to visualise - with precision - when exactly during our development some structures appear and/or disappear," he said.
"The important question for me now is, 'What else are we missing? What will we find when all the human body is inspected at this detail during its development?
"'What is causing certain structure to disappear and then to appear again? We can now see how it happens but what about the why?"
The biologists are planning more work looking at other parts of the human body in detail.
They have already studied the feet and know extra muscles develop and disappear there too while babies grow in the womb.
Monkeys and apes still have these muscles and use them to climb and manipulate objects with their feet.
Dr Diogo said: "Some of the things we are losing, it's not that we are getting better humans and more progress. No. We are really losing things that will make super-humans.
"Super-humans would be keeping those muscles because you would be able to move all your digits, including your feet, as thumbs.
"We lost them because we do not need them."
War on Meat
The Problem With Sugar-Daddy Science - The Atlantic
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 23:58
The pursuit of money from wealthy donors distorts the research process'--and yields flashy projects that don't help and don't work.
Sep 18, 2019 APThe MIT Media Lab has an integrity problem. It's not just that the lab took donations from Jeffrey Epstein and tried to conceal their source. As that news was breaking, Business Insider reported that the lab's much-hyped ''food computer'' didn't work and that staff had tried to mislead funders into thinking it did. These stories are two sides of the same problem: sugar-daddy science'--the distortion of the research process by the pursuit of money from ultra-wealthy donors, no matter how shady.
Historically, research has been funded by grants. Government agencies and foundations announce that they want to fund X, and you, the scientist, write a proposal about why you'll be awesome at X. If they agree, they give you money to do X.
That system has fallen apart. Thanks to funding cuts, getting government grants is like squeezing water from a stone. And many private foundations have, in turn, swaddled their grants in red tape. Many scientists spend more time writing grant applications than actually doing science. Private philanthropy'--especially the kind that writes big, blank checks'--is appealing.
The problem is, blank checks never come without strings. Something's always exchanged: access, status, image. That's where sugar-daddy science comes in. (Hat tip to Heidi N. Moore, who inspired the term with her Twitter critiques of what she calls sugar-daddy journalism.) Research labs cultivate plutocrats and corporate givers who want to be associated with flashy projects. Science stops being a tool to achieve things people need'--clean water, shelter, food, transit, communication'--and becomes a fashion accessory. If the labs are sleek, the demos look cool, and they both reflect the image the donor wants, then mission accomplished. Nothing needs to actually work.
The ''food computer'' was the flagship technology at the Media Lab's Open Agriculture Initiative. The purpose of the hydroponic device was to rapidly grow plants to exact specifications. Program the right amounts of water, nutrients, and light into the plastic box, and it would automatically grow plants up to four times faster than normal. The device had all the hallmarks of sugar-daddy science: It looked amazing, and nothing added up. As a crop scientist, I'd worked in room-sized versions of this back in 2001, and the equipment was already dated by then. The speed gains its creators touted'--especially when the food computer wasn't as nearly as revolutionary or sophisticated as publicity made it out to be'--just didn't smell right.
Sure enough, the boxes did not function as promised, and news reports portray a Theranos-style deception. ''Ahead of big demonstrations of the devices with MIT Media Lab funders, staff were told to place plants grown elsewhere into the devices,'' Business Insider reported. ''One former researcher,'' declared a subsequent story in the The Chronicle of Higher Education, ''described buying lavender plants from a gardening store, dusting the dirt off the roots so it looked as if they'd been grown without soil, and placing them in the food computer ahead of a photo shoot. The resulting photos were sent to news media and put on the project's website.''
Full disclosure: When the Media Lab announced in 2017 that it was looking for innovators who didn't have a conventional research background, I applied. I'd been working in the indoor-farm industry for years as a fixer; companies hired me for food-safety work, but then I wound up dealing with a range of brick-and-mortar problems that eluded the tech world'--things like cold-chain logistics, pest control, water chemistry, security, breaking production logjams, and keeping staff from getting electrocuted. Agricultural and food-systems design is my wheelhouse. The food computer is nice, I told the Media Lab. But if you really want to knock things loose, hire me.
It didn't. At the time, I didn't think much of not getting the job. Agriculture is an offbeat niche for MIT, and no doubt the Media Lab had many other applicants. I already had a thriving business. No harm, no foul.
But in recent weeks'--like many scientists who've worked real-world problems adjacent to the Media Lab'--I've been asking why someone like me isn't a good fit for high-profile science, but ''food computer'' makers and convicted pedophiles are.
The Media Lab took sugar-daddy science to a new level. Epstein's interests in science, like a desire to ''seed the human race'' by impregnating dozens of women and to have his head and penis frozen after his death, were more literally sexual than most. But he didn't invent the hustle. It's an old philanthropy problem: Donor gratification takes precedence over results.
The MIT Media Lab already had a reputation for this before Epstein. Its One Laptop per Child project was a notorious failure. Like the food computer, it was based on a faulty premise (laptops aren't known to actually make a difference in a child's education), wildly oversold (the laptops were supposed to be powered by hand crank, but a working hand crank was never actually developed, and all models were powered by electrical cord), and built to fulfill donor dreams rather than a demonstrated real-world need.
A project for futuristic, bio-inspired design took $125,000 from Epstein and made him a light-up orb as a gift'--over objections from students working in the project lab. This lab's work includes, among truly visionary work like biomanufactured chitin structures, showpiece clothing demos. One set was purported to show how biodesign could help wearers survive harsh conditions on other planets. The clothes are, however, entirely nonfunctional, and were photographed on skinny, half-naked women.
How do we stop sugar-daddy science? The only long-term solution is to bring back federal funding so researchers can stop relying on donations from the beneficiaries of widening inequality. America's competitiveness on the world stage depends on research and development. If we can't make science that actually works, our nation is toast. Writers such as Anand Giridharadas have written relentlessly about reviving public research and other social services. This, however, has to be fixed through the democratic process, which will take time.
So what can research institutions do to ensure the integrity of their work? There are obvious solutions, such as: Don't take money from people who are on your banned-donor list for being convicted pedophiles. Basic oversight, like financial audits, can go a long way.
Next, research and philanthropy should recognize that improving people's lives usually involves a series of adjustments to complex systems, not a single revolutionary invention. The Boston-based nonprofit Partners in Health is a model here. It tackles problems that eluded medical charities for decades, such as drug-resistant tuberculosis, by taking on underlying issues'--like the malnutrition that makes people vulnerable to TB in the first place'--instead of just prescribing drugs. Instead of attempting to build a food computer, a lab could identify a more immediate need, such as cheap, easy-to-clean food-handling equipment, and invent that. No one should fear losing prestige by fixing real problems.
Finally, research needs a clear mission. The MIT Media Lab'--whose mission amounted to We're basically down for anything'--was easily hijacked by social climbers and scoundrels. The pure pursuit of science, freed from worldly concerns like politics and money, is a seductive illusion. In reality, it ends up attracting the very worst people.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.
Sarah Taber, a crop scientist and industry consultant, holds a doctorate in crop health. She is the host of the podcast
Farm to Taber and is working on a book about the effect of human systems on American agriculture.
No Need To Cut Back On Red Meat? Controversial New 'Guidelines' Lead To Outrage : The Salt : NPR
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 23:57
A new set of analyses contradict the current dietary recommendations to limit red and processed meats. PeopleImages/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption PeopleImages/Getty Images A new set of analyses contradict the current dietary recommendations to limit red and processed meats.
PeopleImages/Getty Images A new set of analyses published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine challenges the widespread recommendations to cut back on red and processed meats.
The prominent medical journal has also published a new recommendation from a panel of scientists, many of whom are not nutrition experts: "The panel suggests adults continue current processed meat consumption," according to the guideline paper. In other words: no need to cut back.
Scores of nutrition experts say this conclusion contradicts a large body of evidence, from decades of observational studies, that has found that people who consume less red and processed meats, over time, have lower rates of heart disease and death from certain cancers, including colorectal cancer.
Recommendations from the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society, as well as the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, all call for limiting red meats and processed meats.
"I am outraged and bewildered," says nutrition scientist Christopher Gardner, a professor of medicine at Stanford University. "This is perplexing, given the ... clear evidence for harm associated with high red meat intake," says Frank Hu, the chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Gardner and Hu are among a group of scientists who signed a letter to the journal's editor requesting the papers be held pending further review. Others include Dariush Mozaffarian, the dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University, as well as Eric Rimm and Dr. Walter Willett, also of Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Nutrition scientists point to research, such as this study published in 2015, that finds that people who have a pattern of eating that's lower in red and processed meats have a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
"There's a lot more agreement out there than people think," Gardner says.
However, the authors of the new papers published in Annals say they're not convinced by the studies that link red and processed meats to higher health risks. They conclude that the existing guidelines from leading health groups to limit red and processed meats are "weak recommendations" that are based on "low-certainty evidence."
So, what explains this divide?
In a nutshell, the authors of the new analyses have used an alternative approach to evaluate the evidence. They've used a system known as GRADE, which is a process to rate the quality of scientific evidence. Using this approach, a kind of study known as a randomized controlled trial '-- or RCT, for short - is considered high quality evidence.
Nutrition scientist Frank Hu of Harvard says the problem with GRADE is that it was mainly developed for evaluating evidence from drug trials. "It's really problematic and inappropriate to use GRADE to evaluate nutrition studies," Hu says. Most of nutrition science is built on another type of study, observational studies. These are conducted by tracking the eating habits of people over many years. But here's the rub: The GRADE system considers these observational studies to be low-quality.
Our diets, however, are not like drugs. The impact of eating a meat-centric diet is tricky to measure. Unlike a pill '-- which can be measured against a placebo in a short-term trial '-- our diets are much more complicated. What we eat today may influence our health over decades. And, teasing out an independent effect is tougher, because our diets are varied and complex.
If a pill leads to an improvement over a placebo, scientists can conclude that the pill is efficacious. But if you try to use this same model with diet, you can't isolate the effects of say, just meat '-- or just processed meat '-- because we eat so many different things as part of our diets. So, therefore, critics say the drug evaluation model is not a good fit.
So where does this leave us, the eaters who are trying to make good choices?
"There may be a benefit [from] reducing your intake of red or processed meat, and people should know that," says Bradley Johnston, one of the authors of the new analyses.
On the other hand, "there may not be a benefit at all," Johnston says. "We're uncertain."
Johnston previously authored a study, also published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, that challenged the quality of the evidence behind the recommendations to limit sugar. That paper, published online in 2016, was funded by the International Life Sciences Institute, a nonprofit group funded by large food and beverage companies that has come under scrutiny for its role in shaping food policy.
I asked Johnston what kind of study it would take to provide compelling evidence that reducing red meat consumption can reduce health risks. "It would take a lot of money ... and it should be based on randomized trials," Johnston says.
But this is completely impractical, says Harvard's Rimm. "Can you imagine the cost if you had to ... give patients red meat almost every day for a decade and then convince the other group ... not to eat meat for a decade?"
The editor of Annals of Internal Medicine, Dr. Christine Laine, says she agrees it would be tough to carry out such a study. "We're not going to be able to do a randomized controlled trial that is going to definitely answer this question," Laine told us.
But she defended the decision to publish the new analyses and recommendation, as well as the use of the GRADE evaluation system. She says the papers show that the quality of the evidence behind the current recommendations to cut down on red and process meats is not as strong as people may have been led to believe. "We should just be transparent," Laine says. "I think we should be honest with the public that we don't really know."
Stanford's Gardner says his biggest concern is "this will do a disservice to the public." He says that by offering up a new guideline, the new papers may confuse people. Harvard's Hu agrees. The publication "gives an impression of a major scientific breakthrough, but this is clearly not the case."
Hu and his colleagues says there is a consensus already: "To improve both human health and environmental sustainability, it is important to adopt dietary patterns that are high in healthy plant-based foods and relatively low in red and processed meats."
War on Guns
Joe Biden releases his gun plan, reveals what he would do with guns as president - TheBlaze
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 09:02
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden released his gun control plan Wednesday morning'--and although it's somewhat to the right of his primary rivals, it will still be unacceptable to those who hold to a conservative interpretation of the Second Amendment.
Biden's campaign released the plan ahead of a Wednesday gun safety forum in Nevada, co-hosted by March for our Lives and Giffords.
What's in the plan?Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines: Biden's plan calls for a ban on the sale and manufacturing of so-called assault weapons and high capacity magazines, as well as an executive order to prevent such weapons from being imported to the United States.
"Federal law prevents hunters from hunting migratory game birds with more than three shells in their shotgun," the plan claims. "That means our federal law does more to protect ducks than children. It's wrong."
Create an optional buy-back program: Not going so far as some other presidential candidates who favor mandatory buy-backs, Biden wants to implement an "optional" buy-back program for assault weapons.
Create an assault weapons owner registry: Those who choose to keep their legally-owned assault weapons would be required to register them with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Repeal laws that protect gun manufacturers: Biden wants to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which protects gun manufacturers from legal liability when their products are used to commit acts of violence.
Biden's plan also includes efforts to pass universal background check laws, end the online sale of guns, incentivize the state passage of red flag laws, and move toward a goal of having all guns sold in America be "smart guns."
Additionally, Biden's plan calls for a $900 million investment over eight years to "tackle urban gun violence with targeted, evidence-based community interventions.
(H/T The Hill)
Vape Wars
Journey of a tainted vape cartridge: from China's labs to your lungs | Leafly
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 08:54
David Downs, Dave Howard, and Bruce BarcottSeptember 24, 2019Leafly's investigation tracked a contaminated global supply chain for illicit market THC vape cartridges. (HighGradeRoots/iStock)
on Doneson started feeling ill on a Friday morning in June, after he arrived home in New York on a red-eye flight from the West Coast. He'd traveled to China, then to California, as part of his job managing the back office of his wife Susan's apparel company. He hoped to re-acclimate to Eastern time, so rather than resting he went to the gym. But he became ill after his workout, vomiting violently and sweating heavily.
Doneson, 52, wrote it off to fatigue. In subsequent weeks Susan pointed out that he had a strange cough. But to Doneson it wasn't particularly bothersome.
Susan and Jon Doneson fought Jon's strange lung illness for weeks. They didn't suspect a THC vape pen until a pulmonologist noticed that he'd mentioned it on an intake form. (Courtesy of Jon Doneson)
Then, on August 12, he woke up around 5:30 a.m. feeling something different.
''The cough was actually very painful,'' he says. He experienced night sweats. He had a fever and pain. His doctor diagnosed bronchitis, but the prescribed meds failed to dent the symptoms. At a follow-up visit, a chest X-ray indicated that Doneson had double pneumonia. This time his doctor prescribed doxycycline for the infection.
About ten days later, though, Doneson felt so awful that he asked his wife to take him to the doctor, who told him to go straight to the emergency room. When doctors at Manhasset's North Shore University Hospital learned he'd recently visited China, they quarantined him and tested him for various ailments. All came back negative.
Next came a battery of nearly a dozen infectious disease specialists and Centers for Disease Control officials. They clustered around Doneson, who even in his feverish state knew how surreal the scene looked'--bed-ridden in a pressurized room with a red quarantine sticker on the door. As he recalls it, ''I was totally in disbelief.''
Sickened lungs show up as cloudy on the left x-ray, and clear after treatment of one suspected VAPI patient in Utah. (Courtesy University of Utah)
Doneson, a Queens native who now lives in Roslyn Heights, considers himself a healthy person. He runs and works out, doesn't smoke, rarely drinks. He never dreamed he'd be the patient in a scene out of a Hollywood contagion movie.
As his situation worsened, doctors asked Susan Doneson to fill out a 'Do Not Resuscitate' form. She was emotionally devastated. Jon tried to calm her. ''Listen,'' he told her, ''I had a rock star of 52 years of a life.'' But he wanted to stay alive for their 10-year-old son.
He might have died had a pulmonologist not noted a small detail while obtaining his medical history: Doneson said that a few months earlier, he'd started using a THC vape pen.
North America's illicit THC vape marketIllicit market THC carts containing high levels of vitamin E oil, confiscated in New York. (Courtesy New York State Department of Health)
As the world now knows, a multi-billion dollar marketplace exists for illicit THC vaping devices and cartridges. Millions of street consumers use them, and unlike vape carts purchased in state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries and cannabis stores, illicit products lack regulation and mandatory testing for potency or purity. Recent reports have estimated that America's legal, regulated cannabis industry accounts for only 22% of the nation's $52 billion in cannabis purchases. The other 78% of the THC market remains untested and out of control.
Until this year, the health effects of street-purchased vape cartridges went largely unnoticed. It's not clear whether that's because doctors didn't spot earlier vape-related lung irregularities, or if something dramatically changed in the vaped oil itself in the past few months. What we know is this: Near the end of 2018, a new additive entered the street THC vape cart supply. And hundreds of serious pulmonary injuries, and possibly as many as nine deaths, followed.
Public health officials and labs have discovered the new additive'--a form of vitamin E oil used as a cutting agent'--tainting a large amount of the devices that sick people reported using. At Leafly, we wanted to know how that additive entered the market, and why.
ur team of reporters and editors investigated the origin of the various components of a street-market THC vape cartridge. Ultimately, we were able to identify a contaminated supply chain that begins in the manufacturing centers of China, runs through the wholesale markets of downtown Los Angeles, disperses to regional pen-filling operations, and finally ends up in the hands of unsuspecting consumers like Jon Doneson.
It's important to note that this supply chain is not coordinated or controlled by powerful drug cartels. Companies small and large operate independently at every link in the chain.
Along its journey each vape cartridge'--also known as a cart'--may pick up lead (the toxic heavy metal), pesticides, unsafe additives like vitamin E oil, and the residual solvent butane. Each of these ingredients can cause lung injury. As many as 50 million of these tainted carts may currently be circulating in the United States. Since the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) began tracking VAPI (vaping-associated lung injury) in July 2019, the agency has documented 530 confirmed or probable cases of injury. The CDC expects that number to climb.
Most VAPI victims used THC carts purchased in the illicit street market. Many used THC and nicotine carts, and some claim to have used nicotine only. All three products can be manufactured with the same hardware. The same supply chain that produces tainted THC vapes also yields dirty, counterfeit JUUL pods for the nicotine market, and tainted CBD carts for the CBD market.
Peter Hackett is the owner of Air Vapor Systems, a Concord, California-based company that imports vaporizer cartridges. He says it takes less effort to get into the fake JUUL or cheap CBD cart game than it does to get into the tainted THC cart game.
''It's ten times easier,'' he says. ''You can buy nicotine on Amazon. Same for CBD. Every constituent up till the THC oil is exactly the same.''
Public health officials have raised the alarm about illicit THC vape cartridges for more than two months now. In early September, Leafly identified the suspected toxic substance'--tocopheryl-acetate (vitamin E oil)'--and the brand names of the vape cart additives containing it. Although some companies have stopped selling them, tocopheryl-acetate cutting agents remain largely available for purchase and in the illicit THC vape cart market still today.
Step 1: cheap hardware from Chinese factoriesType in ''empty'' and ''cartridge'' into the e-commerce site Alibaba, and dozens of Chinese manufacturers pop up, offering to make them to order. The cheapest run about 59 cents per cart, if you order 10,000 or more. For a few pennies extra you can have a customized logo engraved on each tank. The same manufacturer will create packaging, too. Just say the word and send the money.
More than 95% of North America's illicit vape pen hardware is manufactured in the Bao'An District of Shenzhen, China, says Peter Hackett, the industry expert who regularly does business there.
''If you're vaping something, it was made in Bao'An in Shenzhen,'' he says. ''There's over 1,000 factories and hundreds more [getting in the game] every day.''
Many factories are ''little more than a collection of people trying not to starve,'' added Hackett. ''They'll make you anything.''
Last year those factories were making fidget spinners. This year they're turning out empty vape cartridges, fake JUUL pods, and counterfeit packaging.
Workers bundle those cartridges and packages, then shrink-wrap, pallet, and load them onto a cargo container ship. Twenty days later they arrive at the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA, the busiest container port in the United States. From there, they go either to the direct-mail customer or to brokers in the Toy District in Los Angeles.
Step 2: the Los Angeles wholesale marketCheap imported vaping hardware can be had at wholesale volumes and prices in downtown Los Angeles. (David Downs/Leafly)
The center of North America's illicit vape cart industry is a 12-block region near LA's Skid Row. It's known as the Toy District, because years ago it served as the center of America's cheap wholesale toy industry. Today it remains the place to buy low-quality imported goods in large lots: toys, restaurant equipment, party supplies, votive candles.
Between East 3rd and Boyd, it's all vapes, vapes, and more vapes. It only takes a wad of cash and an hour of haggling to buy everything you need to begin harming consumers with an illicit market THC vape cart, a fake JUUL pod, or something advertised as CBD.
Why bother to purchase at a brick-and-mortar store when Alibaba can ship it direct? Because Alibaba requires a credit card and leaves a digital footprint. LA's wholesale market deals in cash.
''If you sell $300,000 in [illicit vape] carts, you can't walk into a bank with that. You have no stated business,'' Hackett explains. ''Third Street is an easy place to go in with dirty cash, and come out with more supplies.''
On Friday, Sept. 13, a Leafly investigative team wandered through this neighborhood spotting empty vape carts and counterfeit empty Juul pods. LA's Toy District is not a high-rent neighborhood. Just blocks from ritzy new downtown condos, addicts openly inject drugs on the sidewalk. A homeless guy wanders in and out of street traffic without pants or underwear. You breath shallow in the thick car exhaust.
Each storefront is dingy, poorly lit, and stocked with disheveled, half-open cardboard boxes and sales racks. Big metal fans blow the hot air around, while radios buzz loud scratchy music. Every item you'd find in a head shop or vape shop, you'll find here wholesale'--like some loud, chaotic vape bazaar.
Vape hardware: cheap, cheaper, cheapestEvery type of vape cart, for wholesale in downtown LA. (David Downs/Leafly)
Walking in and out of the rows of wholesale vape supply stores, we posed as aspiring vape pen makers, ''just doing some pricing for our boss.''
In each store, a salesperson quickly walked up and peppered us with questions. ''What you looking for? '... What size? '... Ceramic? '... You need packaging? '... Minimum order is 100. '... Yeah, prices go down after 1,000 units. What brand you with?''
There is no difference between an empty vape cart destined to hold THC, versus one for nicotine, or CBD. It's all for sale, from the same people, to anyone with cash.
It's an open question whether the carts sold here would pass California's tough adult-use cannabis testing standards. Since testing started on Jan. 1, 2019, labs have quarantined many vapes for too much lead'--either because of the lead in the metal itself, or because factories wash the finished product in diesel fuel, which leaches lead into the carts.
Unsafe additive available, tooHoney Cut advertised for sale alongside empty carts in downtown LA. (David Downs/Leafly)
In addition to the low quality hardware, LA's Toy District vape wholesalers sell the dangerous additives not approved for human inhalation'-- including dubiously sourced terpene flavorings and hazardous diluent thickeners like vitamin E oil. You can also purchase more traditional diluents like propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, and vegetable glycerin.
These chemicals also get made in China. Many come in packaging labeled as ''FDA-approved'' and ''generally recognized as safe'' (GRAS). But a previous Leafly investigation found that those designations, with regard to vitamin E oil, apply only in cases of oral ingestion (eating) or application to the skin, not for vaporization and inhalation. They comprise a tame part of the global cosmetics and supplements industries. Street markets divert the drums, pails, and gallon jugs of these chemicals into the vape channel.
Among all the additives, there's one that makes every vendor in the Toy District tense up and start shaking their head: ''Honey Cut.''
After asking around, our local guide 'Marcus' reported that ''you won't find anyone down here selling it.'' He said news reports have frightened it off the shelves. ''They're scared to sell it.''
Honey Cut swept through the Toy District in late 2018. The groundbreaking product, produced by a mysterious company in Los Angeles, offered manufacturers the ability to cut THC oil concentrations by 50% to 70% without consumers noticing'--because instead of thinning the viscosity of the vape oil, it actually thickened it. (Consumers use oil thickness as a proxy for purity.) Honey Cut is odorless, tasteless, and didn't make consumers cough, so they could inhale it deep into their lungs. And it was cheap, too.
Why would manufacturers want to cut THC oil? The same reason they'd cut any street drug: to make more money. Thanks to the math of cutting, a vape cart maker could spend $50 to produce $4,800 in revenue. How? Hackett explains:
Take a liter of bulk THC oil'--it's pricey at $6,000. Now increase its volume by 30% with vitamin E oil (300 ml for $50). As long as no one notices, you now have 1,300 mls of THC oil worth $7,800, having spent just $50.
Furthermore, retail markup magnifies the profits of cutting. Each 1-gram street cart retails for $16. (A licensed, regulated, and tested cannabis oil vape cart in a legal adult-use state like California or Washington typically retails for $40 to $60.) So $16,000 in uncut oil becomes $20,800 in cut oil. You just made almost $5,000 extra dollars by adding $50 worth of invisible poison to the mix.
Honey Cut inspired copycatsLeafly has learned that as many as 40 brands'--some legal, some not'--quickly copied Honey Cut. They paid lab technicians to specify the chemical formula, and started selling their own versions. Some major, legitimate additive brands followed suit. Some initial sellers misread the research and FDA signal on the safety of vitamin E oil. Others didn't care and just followed the fad to bank the profits.
Floraplex released Uber Thick'-- which two lab tests confirmed is vitamin E oil. Mass Terpenes put out Pure Diluent'--also vitamin E oil, New York authorities said. And Mr Extractor of Oregon released Clear Cut'--same thing. Vitamin E oil use peaked this summer, right as the VAPI poisonings ramped up. Vitamin E oil might be in 60-70% of street carts, insiders say.
We went to the The Terpene Lab at 330 E. 3rd St'--the same place where Mr Extractor founder Drew Jones filmed a YouTube video advertising Clear Cut for use in heavy amounts, nationwide. The product name ''Clear Cut'' still sits on printed menus at the bar. But when we ask the salesperson for thickener, she asks a manager who quickly barks back, ''No! We don't have any! No!''
The makers of Honey Cut called every vendor in the Toy District after Leafly's Sept. 7 article, which named Honey Cut as a potential cause of the injuries. The company told them to stop selling it: 'It's recalled. It's not safe.' Honey Cut's website and ordering page disappeared.
Other manufacturers have since suspended sales of their thickeners. Floraplex and Mr Extractor no longer offer Uber Thick and Clear Cut, respectively.
Still, in the Toy District, one vendor offered to sell us thickener under the table, outside of the store.
At a store called Cali Kulture, we bought some of the last diluent thickener overtly for sale in the Toy District. It's called Peak Terpenes Thicc Stretch and it's priced at $90 for 30 milliliters. The label says it's a secret mix of fruit, nuts, and other plant oils, and there's a nut allergy warning. It's clear, innocuous smelling, and viscous like honey.
Leafly had SC Labs, an independent cannabis testing company with laboratories in California and Oregon, analyze the substance. The report found that it's almost all vitamin E oil. Peak Terpenes has since pulled the product from its online catalog.
''These products are great if you want to make beard oil,'' says Arnaud Dumas de Rauly, a vape hardware expert at The Blinc Group. ''The vitamin E oil acts as a preservative. It's good for your skin. It's not great for your lungs.''
Furthermore, that nut allergy warning won't get passed down by the person who fills an illicit pen and sells it, De Rauly said. Just imagine what inhaling peanut oil would do to someone with a nut allergy. It could kill them.
Right after we bought Thicc Stretch, Cali Kulture staff got spooked and pulled the last of the red bottles off the shelf.
Fake packaging available, tooTo illicit vape cart manufacturers, fake and counterfeit packaging is just as important as cheap hardware and thickeners. Street consumers also shop by brand, so Toy District stores compete to offer the most diverse array of counterfeit or popular street designs around. That includes the popular black market brands Dank Vapes and Chronic Carts, brand names with no actual company behind them. Wholesalers also offer counterfeits of packaging from legal licensed brands like Cookies, STIIZY, and Brass Knuckles.
At one wholesaler, a saleswoman asked a Leafly editor about the Connected Cannabis Co. T-shirt he wore. Connected is a popular state-licensed cultivator and retailer in California.
''Hey, where did you get that shirt? Do you work for them? No? Good, because if you did, I would have to throw you out.''
''Why?'' the editor asked.
''We sell [counterfeits of] their bags,'' she said, and smiled.
At a store called Cart Cartel, we were told they had sold out of Dank Vapes boxes. Their next shipment was due in the following Tuesday. ''Call us first,'' a salesman told us. ''We always get the packages first around here.''
Counterfeit packaging for sale in downtown Los Angeles. Supreme and Cookies are both popular state-licensed brands, and illicit manufacturers copy their design changes as soon as they're made. (David Downs/Leafly)
We returned to one of the biggest, most prominent stores'--Cali Kulture, at 306 Wall St.'--where we haggled and agreed to buy Dank Vapes packaging, a minimum order of 1,000 packages, for $120.
At a smaller shop near Cali Kulture, we bought the exact Chronic Carts Runtz strain packaging found on a VAPI victim in New York. The dealer sold us 20 units for $2. His next-door neighbor took one of our team member's mobile phone number and now sends regular texts advertising new products.
At the end of the day, here's what we walked away with: five sample vape carts; 1,000 units of fake-brand packaging with professional-looking designs and names like DANK and Chronic Vape'--the same bogus brand packages that public health officials have seized from VAPI patients injured in New York and California; and perhaps most disturbingly, we bought 30 milliliters of chemical cutting agent'--known as thickener'--weeks after Leafly identified them as a leading suspect in the lung injuries. These cutting agents were never approved for inhalation, and can cause an allergic or toxic lung reaction.
All of this hardware, chemicals, and packaging is technically legal until you put an illegal drug into it. We spent a total of $210. We kept the receipts.
Step 3: regional pen factories Los Angeles hosts the national hub for illicit cartridge parts and THC oil additives, but the cannabis oil that goes into those carts is manufactured in regional facilities around the country. This is often a house or condominium rented as a residential space, but secretly used as a butane hash oil manufacturing lab.
Contaminants coming from this process include concentrated pesticides like myclobutanil'--which turns into toxic hydrogen cyanide when burned'--as well as residual solvents like butane, propane, pentane, and hexane. All are known lung irritants.
These THC oil labs then wholesale bulk distillate via online sites, or through their own networks to ''pen factories'''--places that bring all these inputs together.
Law enforcement officials allege this pen factory in Wisconsin stocked tens of thousands of fake-brand packages for illicit vape cartridges. (Courtesy of Kenosha County Sheriff's Department)
Each pen factory might employ as many as a dozen workers at $10 to $20 an hour.
The setup at a house allegedly rented by the Huffhines brothers in Bristol, Wisconsin, seems typical. Bristol is a Kenosha County village about 40 miles south of Milwaukee. It's a short commute east of the town of Paddock Lake, where Tyler Huffhines, age 20, and his older brother Jacob, 23, live with their parents.
Though barely out of his teens, Tyler already had a reputation as something of a business prodigy. The Kenosha News wrote a story about him in 2018 when the Central High School student ran his own online shoe company. The headline was, ''Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?''
Tyler Huffhines. (Courtesy Kenosha County Sheriff)
After graduation, law enforcement officials allege that Tyler pivoted from sneakers to illegal THC vape cartridges. According to the Kenosha County Sheriff's Office, the Huffhines brothers rented a condominium in Bristol and invested in tens of thousands of empty vape cartridges and product packaging.
Law enforcement officials contend that the Huffhines brothers purchased illicit-market cannabis oil from unlicensed producers in California, then combined it with other ingredients in the Bristol condo. Court documents state that deputies discovered 57 glass Mason jars filled with the oil when they searched the residence.
In locations like the Huffhines brothers' Wisconsin condo, the cannabis oil can come in a variety of containers. Tocopheryl-acetate (vitamin E oil) is sold in volumes ranging from ounces to full metal drums. Workers cut the THC oil with vitamin E oil or other unsafe thickeners, add in some flavoring also not approved for inhalation, and syringe one milliliter of the mix into each 1-gram vape cartridge.
The filled cartridges get placed into pre-printed packaging material purchased from the Los Angeles wholesale markets. At the Huffhines condo in Wisconsin, thousands of filled vape carts were allegedly sealed into packages with the Dank Vapes and Chronic brands'--exactly the kinds of boxes purchased by Leafly in LA's Toy District. A law enforcement raid earlier this month at a similar illegal vape cart factory in Phoenix also yielded an oversized duffel bag holding hundreds of similar Dank Vapes boxes. Just yesterday, law enforcement officials seized 75,000 illegal vape carts at an alleged pen factory in Anoka County, Minnesota. They, too, were sealed in Dank Vapes packaging.
Chronic Carts, the same fake-brand packaging sold in the Los Angeles wholesale markets, turned up in the Wisconsin pen factory. (Courtesy of Kenosha County Sheriff's Department)
Fake brands become 'real' through repetitionDank Vapes is not an actual brand or company. It's a creation of packaging wholesalers. But when illegal vape cart makers in Wisconsin, Arizona, Minnesota, and other regional hubs buy them by the tens of thousands from LA wholesalers, they combine to form a bizarre sort of national brand presence. You might see Dank Vapes THC vape carts for sale in Michigan, Georgia, or Nebraska'--but each contains a cart made by an independent street-market manufacturer. Dank Vapes itself does not exist.
The Huffhines brothers' operation in Briston, Wisconsin, allegedly moved a lot of units. The Kenosha County Sheriff estimates that they filled 5,000 cartridges a day. Investigators found 31,200 filled cartridges ready for shipping, along with 98,000 empty carts.
Carts from their operation may have sent consumers to the hospital. In late July, a man in his mid-20s checked in to Aurora Memorial Hospital in Burlington, Wisconsin'--about 17 miles from Bristol. The man reported trouble breathing. Within 24 hours, doctors put him into a medically induced coma.
The man's brother turned over a suspect vape cart and package to the authorities. It was a Dank Vapes cartridge. That same week, Children's Hospital in Milwaukee reported treating eight patients with severe lung damage in the previous four weeks. The common thread: vaping street-market THC cartridges.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has received 11 cases of teenagers and young adults hospitalized with severe lung disease that has been linked to vaping, according to a news release issued Friday, Aug.'‹ https://t.co/UDw0KH9F3Q
'-- FOX6 News (@fox6now) August 3, 2019
It took law enforcement officials seven weeks to trace a local supply of Dank Vapes cartridges back to their alleged source: The Huffhines brothers' condo in Bristol. (Law enforcement officials have not directly linked the alleged Huffhines operation to the hospitalized man's condition.) The brothers were arrested on Sept. 11 and now face multiple drug charges.
Step 4: local street sellersRegional pen factories move their product to retailers and consumers in a number of ways. THC pen factories retail directly to locals, or strangers online via social media and the dark web. They also wholesale to broker/distributors who move the vape carts to retail markets.
Illicit THC vape cart retailers operate coast to coast'--from the more than 2,800 unlicensed stores in California, to the fleets of drug couriers pedaling the streets of New York City, and plenty of local high school dealers in between.
In New York City, the illicit vape cart market flourishes in part because licensed, legal products from medical dispensaries are limited and extraordinarily expensive. A lab-tested medical marijuana vape cartridge that typically costs $40-$60 in California can run up to $165 in a New York City dispensary. That's ten times the price of an illicit vape cart.
That price gap has created a thriving illegal industry selling carts through NYC's clandestine delivery services, at pop-up cannabis markets, and in some corner bodegas.
Oleg MaryAces, director of education and marketing at Lock & Key Remedies, a New York-area CBD product maker, told Leafly that the Northeast saw a flood of cheap cannabis vape pens in early 2019.
''When California implemented its testing law, they had hundreds of thousands of vapes in warehouses that they could no longer sell because of pesticide regulations, he says. ''So they dumped them in the Northeast. Prices dropped a lot, and it fueled the market here.''
Since the VAPI outbreak, New York's illicit cannabis delivery services have used the health scare to assure their customers that their own products are clean. ''They're tested,'' one delivery specialist told Leafly. (We agreed to not publish his name, for obvious legal reasons.) ''There's no vitamin E acetate.''
True? False? Nobody knows. His customers would have to take his word for it, as there is no testing documentation nor any regulations requiring same. ''Some of my friends would buy oils from delis and stuff,'' he added. ''They were really cheap. I knew those would be bad quality. Why the fuck would you buy weed from your deli dude?''
Step 5: consumption and hospitalization Once it made its way into New York City's sprawling illicit vape cart market, a single tainted cartridge'--or maybe several'--made its way into Jon Doneson's personal supply.
Jon and Susan Doneson. (Courtesy of Jon Doneson)
Doneson, the middle-aged Long Island marketing expert, started experimenting with vaping a few months before his trip to China last summer.
A stranger introduced him to vape pens early in 2019 like many Americans have over the past year'--at a party, randomly, when someone pulled one out and offered it to him. As a naturally high-octane guy who had recently plunged headlong into a start-up enterprise with his wife, he liked the idea of having access to something that relaxed him.
A few months later, he found his own supply.
Doneson declines to detail how he came to possess the vape pen and THC cartridge that caused his illness, but it wasn't through the state's licensed medical marijuana system. ''I'm not going to name places,'' he says. ''I'm not going to name people, but they're more available than one might think, okay? You know, it's easier to get that for a 15-, 16-year-old than a six-pack of beer at the grocery store.''
He says he purchased vaping supplies on multiple occasions and never had any reason to suspect anything amiss about the product. He doesn't recall the brand he used, but the vape pen that caused his illness came packaged in a ''fancy box'' that looked legitimate'--''like buying a carton of milk'... There's no reason to second-guess or question anything.''
It worked for him. Doneson typically took a pull six or eight times a day. The THC vapor took the edge off in a way that left him fully functional and without the smell of cannabis on his breath. ''I liked it,'' he says. ''It really did do the things they said it'd do.
Until, of course, it almost killed him. Vitamin E oil is thought to block the fluid lining of your lungs, like saran-wrapping them shut. The toxin kicks off an aggressive immune response to clear the contaminant, and if that response fails, runaway inflammation, fluid build-up, and cell damage increases until the lungs fail.
An abnormal lung immune cell (left) filled with oil, versus a healthy immune cell (right). (Courtesy of Andrew Hansen MD, Jordan Valley Medical Center)
The pulmonologist who correctly diagnosed Doneson treated what the hospital later termed ''a devastating lung illness'' with a cocktail of antibiotics and steroids.
Doneson says that once he received the correct meds, his improved quickly. Early the next morning, he woke up in a dark room.
''I laid there literally for 10 minutes, trying to figure out, 'Am I alive, dead? Am I in hell, heaven? Where the hell am I?' Then I realized, I started laughing, I realized, 'Wait a minute, not only am I alive, but I think I feel better.'''
The hospital discharged him the following day.
When Doneson's vape pen cartridge was tested, the results came back positive for formaldehyde, pesticides, vitamin E, and THC.
Nine people have died in this country from vape devices in the past few months. Doneson came ''very, very, very close to being number [ten],'' he says. North Shore's Annamaria Iakovou, a pulmonary and critical care physician, notes that over the past three months, her hospital has seen more than a dozen cases involving patients with similar symptoms.
Lessons learnedAt a certain point in this story, Leafly's investigative team came to a dark realization: Now that we have nationwide surveillance and reporting in place, the CDC's numbers of the sick and dead aren't going to stop climbing until everyone in the United States who wants a clean THC vape cart can purchase one in a legal, licensed, and regulated store.
Alcohol prohibition's end solved bathtub gin poisonings. But we're still a ways away from the end of cannabis prohibition in the US. In a best case scenario, this VAPI outbreak could spur progress, and not retreat, because the facts are clear:
Legal adult access to tested cannabis in the US is already cleaning up the supply chain. Adult-use states have proven far more immune to this outbreak than prohibition states. Of the 530 confirmed and suspected cases, one is potentially linked to a licensed store, in Oregon, and five in Washington. Most state cannabis regulators have recalled problematic products in the past. Over the last 18 months, California has quarantined more than 5,639 licensed cannabis batches for issues including labeling problems (2,379 batches), pesticides (1,585), residual solvents (339), and heavy metals (393). After VAPI news broke, regulators immediately moved to tighten ingredients disclosure requirements in Massachusetts. Oregon regulators told stores to pull suspicious products. Those measures are possible because regulation exists. The street market can't do that, and won't. Meanwhile, the federal era of malignant neglect of the US cannabis supply chain must come to an end.
''Regulation, not prohibition, is the answer here,'' University of Denver law professor Sam Kamin wrote in response to the VAPI health crisis. ''Black market, unregulated nicotine and cannabis products are the worst threat here.''
Jonathan Caulkins, a drug policy researcher at RAND, added: ''If vapes are going to be allowed, then stronger testing, oversight, and regulations are needed, which presumably includes being tougher on violators, either with government action and/or with product liability lawsuits.''
President Obama and President Trump have both allowed states to legalize, one by one. Most 2020 presidential candidates support some form of legalization. Julian Castro recently became the first to directly connect a coherent federal policy to consumer safety. He tweeted on Sept. 11: ''We need to legalize cannabis nationwide and properly regulate products in order to keep folks safe.''
For legal, state-licensed companies, the VAPI health crisis has acted as a wakeup call. They must beef up their anti-counterfeiting technology and education programs. They're distancing themselves from additives and thickeners'--which must disappear from all legal products, immediately.
Finally, consumers have begun making healthy choices. Online message board Reddit's page ''fakecartridges'' is full of consumers across the nation tossing their tainted carts in the trash.
In the legal markets, vape sales were down 15% in early September off the three-month average. Oregon in particular saw a staggering 65% drop in pen sales.
To Jon Doneson, now recovering at home on Long Island, the lesson of all this is clear: Until the United States begins to regulate the market for these products, avoid using them. He worries that even legitimate dispensaries might sell cartridges cut with toxic substances, either unknowingly or as a way of pumping up profits.
''Get rid of all your THC pens,'' he says. ''That's it. You don't know. It's Russian roulette. You don't know if it's a good one or a bad one. So, why take the risk?''
''I'm sure the Chinese are putting a lot of product into American hands. A lot of bootlegs are coming in from out of the country. Wherever there's money to be made, people are going to do what they can.''
Max Savage Levenson contributed research and reporting to this investigation.David Downs, Dave Howard, and Bruce BarcottDavid Downs covers cannabis news and culture as Leafly's California Bureau Chief. He's written for WIRED, Rolling Stone and Billboard, and is the former cannabis editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. TW: @davidrdowns | IG @daviddownsDave Howard is a national magazine editor and award-winning author. His most recent book is 'Chasing Phil: The Adventures of Two Undercover Agents With the World's Most Charming Con Man.'
Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott oversees the site's news coverage and feature investigations. He is the author of 'Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America,' and has written for Time, Rolling Stone, the New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, and other national publications.
View David Downs, Dave Howard, and Bruce Barcott's articlesRead More About Tainted Illicit Vapes
Experts Take Aim at Vaping Industry's Tobacco-Like Tactics
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 00:00
MADRID '-- Investigators who receive funding from e-cigarette companies will be denied the right to present their research if a new by-law is passed at the upcoming European Respiratory Society (ERS) 2019 International Congress.
The edict echoes a similar vote from 2000 that restricted researchers who received funding from tobacco companies.
"We are concerned our colleagues will be used," said J¸rgen Vestbo, DMSc, from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, who will cochair a session on e-cigarettes and heated tobacco.
"Researchers may get lab support to do research that is obviously beneficial to the vaping industry, and makes it look more credible," Vestbo explained. The approach harkens back to the 1960s and 70s, when big tobacco companies funded scientific research that suggested smoking was not as harmful to human health as it is now known to be.
Vestbo said he worries that marketing and industry-funded science will prevail, as it did with big tobacco, especially because e-cigarettes are seen as a harm-reduction tool.
We are concerned our colleagues will be used.
This line of thinking can be dangerous, he said. "We should not be blinded to the fact that a huge amount of the vaping industry has ties to the tobacco industry."
Vestbo told Medscape Medical News that he is confident that the new by-law will pass: "I don't expect anyone will challenge this."
Two sessions '-- one on vaping-induced lung disease and another on advocacy for e-cigarette policies '-- have been added to the agenda just days before the start of the meeting.
When it comes to e-cigarettes, "we have a lot to discuss," Vestbo said.
A task-force report on electronic nicotine delivery, recently issued by the ERS tobacco control committee (Eur Respir J. 2019;53:1801151), does not recommend population-based harm-reduction strategies for tobacco cessation. In fact, it states that there is "no evidence that e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco in the long term."
But the science on the harm e-cigarettes can cause to humans is still not clear.
And the smoking-cessation aspect of e-cigarettes pits scientists and clinicians against one another, even though they are all "on the same side," said Filippos Filippidis, MD, PhD, from Imperial College London, who will discuss novel tobacco and nicotine products during the session that Vestbo will cochair.
Long-term Effects A long-time smoker might switch to e-cigarettes because it's "better" for him, Filippidis explained, but his 16-year-old child might have a hard time understanding "that this may be a solution for a person who cannot quit, but it's a terrible choice for a 16-year-old who doesn't smoke."
Although "we are on the same side" of the issue, "we are polarized," he said. "I am sad to see that the tobacco-control community '-- many members of which have dedicated their lives to combating tobacco and saving people's lives '-- is now divided on the topic of e-cigarettes."
We are polarized.
Recent news reports about hospitalizations and deaths in young people caused by vaping have raised the alarm in the respiratory community. "We have been following the news closely and we want to put the precautionary principle to work," Vestbo said.
"We don't know the long-term effects," he pointed out. "We were bad enough at fighting one inhalation epidemic, why would we be any better at another?"
Discussion of a recent preliminary report of 53 hospitalizations in the United States '-- which suggests that tetrahydrocannabinol products used in e-cigarette devices could have caused a cluster of illnesses that "represents an emerging clinical syndrome or syndromes" (N Engl J Med. Published online September 6, 2019) '-- will likely be at the center of the lunchtime presentation and panel session on vaping-induced lung disease that was just added to the program.
"We need to understand what to tell doctors to better identify when someone is in the ER because vaping caused the illness," Vestbo said.
Numerous hospitalizations related to vaping have been reported in the United States, but there is no evidence of a surge in vaping-related hospitalizations in Europe. This could be because medical data is recorded separately in each European country and policies are diverse, he explained.
"In some places, you can still smoke in restaurants," Vestbo said. "The UK is probably the most e-cigarette-friendly country in Europe, saying it's a way to quit smoking and that it's bound to be safer than real cigarettes."
In the United Kingdom, vaping products are approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and vaping is supported as a smoking-cessation aid.
We need to send out a signal with regulation, said Vestbo. "The longer politicians wait to come out with restrictions, the longer the e-cigarette industry has to convince people it is safe and a good way to stop smoking."
Vaping Bans Last week, India banned e-cigarettes from entering the country '-- a bold policy move for a country with 106 million cigarette smokers.
In the United States, flavored e-cigarettes '-- popular with teenagers '-- are being banned in many jurisdictions.
Young Americans are taking up e-cigarettes at a high rate. In high-school students, vaping rates increased from 11.7% in 2017 to 20.8% in 2018 (MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018;67:1276-1277). In contrast, 2.8% of adults were users of e-cigarette in 2017 (MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018;67:1225-1232).
At the end of the day, e-cigarettes can help you stop smoking cigarettes, but they are also keeping you addicted to tobacco, Filippidis said. He pointed to a study comparing e-cigarettes with nicotine-replacement patches for smoking cessation. At 1 year, participants in the e-cigarette group were more likely than those in the patch group to be still using their cessation aid (N Engl J Med. 2019;380:629-637).
"I fear that people who stop smoking by using e-cigarettes will just have mixed consumption," he said. "We can't promote this for harm reduction. We already have other smoking-cessation methods that we know work."
European Respiratory Society 2019 International Congress.
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Alan Dershowitz ordered to hand over recording of Virginia Giuffre's lawyer
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 08:19
October 1, 2019 | 7:20pm
A judge is ordering attorney Alan Dershowitz to hand over a recorded conversation the scandal-scarred lawyer claims will discredit his accuser.
Dershowitz will need to give the tape of accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre's attorney to forensic examiners, a judge in Manhattan federal court ruled on Tuesday.
Judge Loretta Preska said that Dershowitz has a recording in which her lawyer David Boies allegedly says he doesn't believe Giuffre had sex with Dershowitz.
Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein.
A full transcript or recording of the call has never been public, but discussions in court indicate Boies admitted that Dershowitz's travel records from the time of the alleged abuse undermine his client's account.
Giuffre sued Dershowitz for defamation in April, after she said she'd been farmed out for sex to the Harvard law professor, and he called her a liar.
In addition to asking Preska to toss Giuffre's lawsuit, Dershowitz is also asking the judge disqualify Boies' firm from representing Giuffre '-- as he intends to call Boies and possibly others attorneys from Boies Schiller Flexner as witnesses at trial.
The judge has yet to rule on either motion, but on Monday ordered that the firebrand attorney turn over the recording of Boies ''to Stroz Friedberg or a similar digital forensic firm for whatever analysis either party requests and pays for. ''
Dershowitz staunchly denies having ever met Giuffre.
Any Collusion?
Smart Move '' Flynn Lawyer Tells Judge Motive Behind Why Flynn Took Guilty Plea'... | The Last Refuge
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 00:10
Many people have wondered why Lt. Gen Michael Flynn took the guilty plea; indeed, even his trial judge, Emmet Sullivan, posed curious questions about the agreement. Yesterday, in a very smart move on behalf of her client, defense Attorney Sidney Powell informed the court why Mike Flynn took the guilty plea on November 30th, 2017.
Background '' As part of ongoing proceedings and consideration Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan had requested a status update about the ongoing cooperation of Michael Flynn in the trial of his former business partner Bijan Rafiekian . On September 24th Federal Judge Anthony J Trenga nullified the jury verdict against Rafiekian and tossed the case.
Flynn's lawyer, Sidney Powell, now files a motion to update trial judge Emmet Sullivan. However, in a smart legal move, and using the jury nullification within the status report, Powell also outlined the reason why her client took a guilty plea (pdf link):
As highlighted, Michael Flynn -under pressure from Mueller's prosecutors- signed a plea to avoid his son, Mike Flynn Jr., being indicted/accused. As we suspected General Flynn signed a plea deal to avoid seeing his son charged with a fabricated FARA violation.
It is a smart strategy for Flynn's defense to inform Judge Sullivan -now- of the undue pressure and threat from Mueller's assigned prosecutor Brandon Van Grack.
First, this information will help Judge Sullivan reconcile many of the troubling aspects behind the Flynn plea. Against ongoing defense and prosecution arguments about Brady evidence, the highlight in this short status update will not be missed; it will reconcile to the court why Flynn's defense attorney is seeking supplemental information.
Second, the timing is smart. Strategically the next time each party squares off in court, Judge Sullivan will have a frame of reference. Additionally, Judge Sullivan now has the legal insight of his peer, Judge Andrew Trenga; along with the thoughts and information behind why Judge Trenga took the extraordinary step of nullifying a jury decision and dismissing the case. The DOJ prosecutors facing Sullivan will be on egg-shells.
Mueller's corrupt prosecutors used legally sketchy FARA violations, and threats therein, against many of their targets. Those tenuous legal theories have now been dispatched in two separate cases: Bijan Rafiekian (Flynn Intel Group), and Greg Craig (Obama White House). [Additionally the DOJ dropped the FARA investigation of Tony Podesta and Vin Weber for the same reasons.]
As a result of prior cases showing malicious prosecutions under false FARA pretenses, Flynn's defense doesn't have to try and convince Judge Sullivan that Michael Flynn and Mike Flynn Jr. were being threatened by those same heavy-handed DOJ tactics. It is now self-evident those tactics were deployed; the prosecution would be silly to try and deny their threats were present.
This explanation to Judge Sullivan, in combination with prior judicial outcomes, creates a fulsome and self-evident picture for Sullivan to see what was taking place in the background'... without defense attorney Sidney Powell having to try and explain.
It will be interesting to see how the DOJ responds to the requests from Flynn's defense counsel for further documents. It will also be interesting to see how the explanation for Flynn's plea is viewed by Judge Sullivan. Here's the recent status report by Powell:
Hat Tip Techno-Fog for the filing.
A second expanded scope memo was issued by Rod Rosenstein to Robert Mueller on October 20th, 2017. The transparent intent of the second scope memo was to provide Weissmann and Mueller with ammunition and authority to investigate specific targets, for specific purposes. One of those targets was General Michael Flynn's son, Michael Flynn Jr.
As you review the highlighted portion below, found on pages 12 and 13 of the Weissmann report, read slowly and fully absorb the intent; the corruption is blood-boiling:
Page #12 October 20th Scope Memo:
The first redaction listed under ''personal privacy'' is unknown. However, The second related redaction is a specific person, Michael Flynn Jr.
In combination with the October timing, the addition of Flynn Jr to the target list relates to the ongoing 2016/2017 investigation of his father, General Michael Flynn, for: (1) possible conspiracy with a foreign government; (2) unregistered lobbying; (3) materially false statements and omissions on 2017 FARA documents; and (4) lying to the FBI.
This October 20th, 2017, request from Weissmann and Mueller aligns with the time-frame were special counsel team lawyers Brandon L . Van G rack and Zainab N. Ahmad were prosecuting Michael Flynn and attempting to force him into a guilty plea.
Getting Rosenstein to authorize adding Mike Flynn Jr. to the target list (scope memo) meant the special counsel could threaten General Flynn with the indictment of his son as a co-conspirator tied to the Turkish lobbying issue (which they did) if he doesn't agree to a plea. Remember: ''jointly undertaken activity''.
The October 20th, 2017, expanded scope memo authorized Mueller to start demanding records, phones, electronic devices and other evidence from Mike Flynn Jr, and provided the leverage Weissmann wanted. After all, Mike Flynn Jr. had a four month old baby.
The amount of twisted pressure from this corrupt team of prosecutors is sickening. A month later, General Flynn was signing a plea agreement:
But wait, it gets worse'...
~ Mike Flynn Was Under a Fraudulently Obtained FISA Title-1 Surveillance Warrant ~{ Deep Weeds } The official media account of how the intelligence community gained the transcript of incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn talking to Ambassador Sergey Kisliyak on December 29th, 2016, surrounds ''incidental collection'' as a result of contact with an agent of a foreign power. Meaning the Flynn call was picked up as the U.S. intelligence apparatus was conducting surveillance on Russian Ambassador Kisliyak.
If this version of events were accurate (it's not), it would fall under FISA-702 collection: the lawful monitoring of a foreign agent (Kislyak) who has contact with a U.S. person (Flynn).
In order to review the identity of the U.S. person, a process called 'unmasking', a 702 submission must be made. That submission, the unmasking, leaves a paper/electronic trail. In a 2017 congressional hearing, Senator Lindsey Graham asks Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and former DNI James Clapper about this process. [Watch first 3 minutes prompted]
In the two-and-a-half years following this testimony, there was nothing that would deliver the answer as to: who unmasked General Michael Flynn?
The reason is simple, Flynn wasn't unmasked '' because Flynn was under FISC authorized active surveillance. Here's how we know:'... First, Lisa Page and Peter Strzok were watching that hearing where Senator Lindsey Graham was questioning Sally Yates and James Clapper. As they discussed in their text messages the issue of ''unmasking'' is irrelevant. ''incidental collection'' is the ''incorrect narrative'':
The ''incidental collection'' is an ''incorrect narrative'' because the collection was not incidental. Flynn was actively being monitored. Flynn was under an active FISA surveillance warrant.
'... Second, more evidence of Flynn under active surveillance is found in the Mueller report where the special prosecutor outlines that Flynn was under an active investigation prior to the phone call with Ambassador Kislyak:
Mary McCord was the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the DOJ National Security Division, after John Carlin left in October of 2016. McCord would have signed-off on the Flynn FISA warrant, or any extension therein, throughout the Trump transition period.
[McCord was also the person who Sally Yates took with her to the White House to confront White House Counsel Don McGahn about the Flynn call and FBI interview.]
'... Third, from the 2017 House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), when Devin Nunes was Chairman, the four targets of the Trump campaign -under investigation throughout 2016- were outlined:
SUMMARY: '...In real time Lisa Page and Peter Strzok were saying the ''incidental contact'' (unmasking) narrative was incorrect. '...Then Devin Nunes outlines the targets of the 2016 FBI investigation which included Flynn. '...Then Robert Mueller says Flynn was under investigation prior to the 12/29/16 phone call with Kislyak.
Put it all together and'.... (1) There was never an unmasking request because the collection was not incidental'.... (2) Because the intercept was not incidental. (3) Because the intercept was part of the FISA court granting a surveillance warrant.
The lack of incidental collection is why FISA-702 doesn't apply; and why there's no paper trail to an unmasking request. The intercept was not 'incidental' because the intercept was the result of direct monitoring and FISC authorized surveillance being conducted on Michael Flynn.
There are only three options:
Incidental collection = unmasking request.Direct intercept / Legal = Active FISA Title-1 surveillance authority.Direct intercept / Illegal = Active surveillance without Title-1 authority.All of the evidence from documents over the past two years indicates #2 was the status of Michael Flynn at the time of the Sergey Kislak call.
The incoming National Security Advisor of President-Elect Donald Trump was under active Title-1 FBI surveillance as granted by the FISA court. That's how the FBI intercepted the phone call with Sergey Kislyak and why there's no unmasking request.
This doesn't deal with the propriety of the FISA warrant, or the legal basis, the legal predicate that must exist prior to granting the FISA warrant. However, accepting that Michael Flynn was under court approved surveillance reconciles all the issues.
Additionally, this would explain two more issues. #1) President Obama warning incoming President Trump not to hire Michael Flynn as his Nat. Sec. Advisor; and #2) a very strong possibility that Flynn's status is the redacted paragraph in the January 20th, 2016, Susan Rice memo.
At 12:15pm on January 20th, 2017, Obama's outgoing National Security Advisor Susan Rice wrote a memo-to-self. Many people have called this her ''CYA'' (cover your ass) memo, from the position that Susan Rice was protecting herself from consequences if the scheme against President Trump was discovered. Here's the email:
''On January 5, following a briefing by IC leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election, President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Jim Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office. Vice President Biden and I were also present.
President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ''by the book''.
The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.
From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.''
[Redacted Classified Section of Unknown length]
''The President asked Comey to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team. Comey said he would.''
Susan Rice ~ (pdf link)
I would suggest the redacted section relates to President Trump being under FBI investigation; and/or incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn being under investigation and FISA surveillance. Hence the issues with ''sharing information''.
While Michael Flynn being under active FISC authorized surveillance would indicate there's no need for unmasking of Flynn, there would be a need for unmasking of everyone else captured within the Flynn surveillance. Hence the dozens of White House unmaskings identified by Devin Nunes in March 2017.
Additionally, Flynn being under FISA authorized surveillance still doesn't excuse the leak -likely by Andrew McCabe- to the Washington Post about the phone contact between Flynn and Ambassador Kislyak on December 29th, 2016.
There are likely multiple FBI 302 reports on all sorts of contacts by Michael Flynn; as the FBI was conducting political surveillance under the auspices of ''investigating'' and updating their files.
This FBI surveillance background of Flynn would also reconcile another unusual date within the Mueller report. An FBI 302 written on January 19th, 2017, before the Flynn interview on January 24th, 2017, about Kislyak:
Flynn was under surveillance and the FBI reports on Flynn's surveillance did not start with the January 24, 2017, interview of Flynn '' As you can see above there are FBI 302 reports that preceded it. [h/t Techno Fog] This aligns with Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, Mary McCord, Devin Nunes and Robert Mueller all saying Flynn was under investigation prior to the 12/29/16 Kislyak call.
If Flynn's defense attorney Sidney Powell can get all of the material requested in her August 30th motion for evidence. She will expose the fact that General Flynn was under a fraudulently obtained FISA Title-1 surveillance warrant.
In the 19-pages (full pdf below), Ms. Powell walks through the history of the DOJ, FBI and intelligence apparatus weaponization against Mr. Flynn and lays out the background behind everything known to have happened in 2016, 2017 through today.
From the corrupt DOJ lawyers who were working with Fusion-GPS and Chris Steele, including Mr. Weissmann, Mr. Van Grack and Ms. Zainab Ahmad ; to the 2015/2016 FISA database search abuses; to the CIA and FBI operation against Flynn including Nellie Ohr; to the schemes behind the use of DOJ official Bruce Ohr; to the corrupt construct of the special counsels office selections; to the specifics within the malicious conspiracy outlined by hiding FBI interview notes of Mike Flynn,'... all of it'.... Is a stunning filing that many CTH readers are well prepared to understand.
BOMBSHELL: Obama Administration Gave Immunity to Clinton Lawyer Who Deleted 33,000 Emails
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 08:14
Follow Matt on TwitterJudicial Watch is now claiming the Obama Administration granted ''immunity'' to Hillary Clinton's lawyer responsible for the deletion of more than 30,000 emails while at the State Department.
''Judicial Watch announced today that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's White House Liaison at the State Department, and later Clinton's personal lawyer, Heather Samuelson, admitted under oath that she was granted immunity by the U.S. Department of Justice in June 2016,'' writes the government watchdog group.
''Samuelson also revealed that, contrary to what she told the FBI in 2016, she was, in fact, aware that Sec. Clinton used a private email account while secretary of state,'' adds the report.
BREAKING: JW announced today that former SecState Hillary Clinton's WH Liaison at the State Dept, and later Clinton's personal lawyer, Heather Samuelson, admitted under oath that she was granted immunity by the DOJ in June 2016 (1/3).https://t.co/VKGxavgnhI
'-- Judicial Watch ðŸ--Ž (@JudicialWatch) June 28, 2019This new evidence surfaced days after the State Department identified dozens of ''violations'' regarding Clinton's handling of classified material.
''To this point, the Department has assessed culpability to 15 individuals, some of whom were culpable in multiple security incidents,'' Mary Elizabeth Taylor, the State Department's Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs, wrote to Sen. Chuck Grassley. ''DS has issued 23 violations and 7 infractions incidents. '... This number will likely change as the review progresses.''
You can read more from our friends over at StarPolitical.com
Flu vaccine selections may be an ominous sign for this winter
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 11:03
I t's never an easy business to predict which flu viruses will make people sick the following winter. And there's reason to believe two of the four choices made last winter for this upcoming season's vaccine could be off the mark.
Twice a year influenza experts meet at the World Health Organization to pore over surveillance data provided by countries around the world to try to predict which strains are becoming the most dominant. The Northern Hemisphere strain selection meeting is held in late February; the Southern Hemisphere meeting occurs in late September.
The selections that officials made last week for the next Southern Hemisphere vaccine suggest that two of four viruses in the Northern Hemisphere vaccine that doctors and pharmacies are now pressing people to get may not be optimally protective this winter. Those two are influenza A/H3N2 and the influenza B/Victoria virus.
The strain selection committee concluded the H3N2 and B/Victoria viruses needed to be updated because the ones used in the Northern Hemisphere vaccine didn't match the strains of those viruses that are now dominant. Influenza epidemiologist Dr. Danuta Skowronski described the significance of those two changes in one word: ''mismatch.''
''I think the vaccine strain selections by the WHO committee are obviously important for the Southern Hemisphere but they're also signals to us because they're basing their decisions on what they see current predominating on the global level,'' said Skowronski, who is with the British Columbia Center for Disease Control in Vancouver.
Flu vaccine is a four-in-one or a three-in-one shot that protects against both influenza A viruses '-- H3N2 and H1N1 '-- and either both or one of the influenza B viruses, B/Victoria and B/Yamagata. Most flu vaccine is made with killed viruses, and most vaccine used in the United States is quadrivalent '-- four-in-one.
There was great uncertainty around which version of H3N2 to choose for the Northern Hemisphere vaccine when the committee met last February '-- there was a lot of variation between the strain the U.S. was seeing and the H3N2 viruses sickening people in Canada and Europe. There was so much uncertainty, in fact, that the committee delayed making the choice of the H3N2 strain for a month to try to get a clearer picture.
In the end, the committee selected a version of the virus that was causing a wave of late season illness in the United States. (Canada also had a late season surge of H3N2 activity, but caused by a different version of the virus.)
''That H3N2 wave was late and it was evolving at the time that they met in February,'' Skowronski said of the strain selection committee. ''And there was a diverse mix of H3 viruses. And it wasn't clear to them, I guess, [which strain] '... would emerge the clear winner.''
It appears the virus that was ultimately selected is not the H3N2 that dominated during the Southern Hemisphere's winter 2019 season.
Scott Hensley, an associate professor of microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania, said the variant of H3N2 viruses that just swept through the Southern Hemisphere is more likely to be the main cause of H3N2 infections for the Northern Hemisphere this winter than was the case in the U.S. late last winter and into the early spring.
But that version of H3N2 is difficult to grow in eggs, which is the way the vast majority of flu vaccines is made, he noted, suggesting that fact may have influenced the thinking
In recent years the H3N2 component has generally been the least effective part of the vaccine. If H3N2 viruses predominate this coming flu season, a vaccine mismatch could add to the severity of the season. But if those viruses play a smaller role this winter, the impact of a mismatch will be less significant, making it hard to predict if this choice is going to turn out to be a problem.
Flu circulation ''remains difficult to predict and flu viruses are constantly breaking rules that we try to establish for them,'' Hensley said, adding that flu vaccines ''often protect against severe disease even when '... mismatched.''
The selection of a new B/Victoria virus for the Southern Hemisphere 2020 shot also concerns Skowronski. There was almost no influenza B activity in the 2018-2019 flu season and it's been several years since B/Victoria viruses have caused much illness. As a result, there may not be a lot of immunity to those viruses in the population, she said.
B/Victoria flu viruses are especially hard on children, Skowronski said.
Given the possibility that a couple of the components of the vaccine might not be well-matched to circulating flu viruses, Skowronski said it will be important for doctors to realize vaccinated patients may still contract influenza. For those who are at high risk of developing severe illness, rapid treatment with flu antiviral drugs should be considered.
She also suggested older people or people who have underlying health problems '-- in other words, those who are likely to develop a severe case of flu if they contract the virus '-- should take steps to avoid being around sick people.
The sliver of good news: The officials meeting at the WHO last week concluded that the H1N1 and the flu B/Yamagata components of the Southern Hemisphere vaccine didn't need to change, suggesting they are representative of the strains of those viruses we're likely to encounter this winter.
VIDEO - Speaker John Bercow Denies Eating a Kangaroo's Testicle - UK House of Commons 3 October 2019 - YouTube
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VIDEO - Governor Greg Abott Warns Austin Mayor, Clean The Street Littered With Feces And Needles Or Else!
Thu, 03 Oct 2019 06:25
Is Austin becoming like San Francisco and other coastal cities?
Greg Abott has issued a warning to the Austin Mayor Adler, telling him to clean up the homeless and needle crisis, or he would use state authority.
VIDEO - (6) Hillary & Chelsea Clinton on Trump Impeachment, Presidency | The View - YouTube
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VIDEO - I will remember this speech for the rest of my life : nextfuckinglevel
Thu, 03 Oct 2019 06:11
Easiest way to help would be to levy severe economic consequences for China not adhering to their international agreement to allow Hong Kong to self govern until 2047. Prior to the Trump administration, the US was involved in negotiations for the TPP trade deal, which had tools for getting pretty much every country on this side of the world to gang up on China if they start trying to pull shit. Trump pulled us out of that. So can't do that.
So next option would be to consider that China is our largest trading partner and we buy more than we sell. So we coul - ok no sorry we can't really do anything there either because we are already in a trade war which is harming us more than them, so no leverage.
So what next? We do have some individual elected officials declaring support, but without an executive behind the cause there isn't much to be done. Military action of any sort would be detrimental to the region in general, and would make the US vulnerable to other threats.
Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do at this point except try to push for policies that would strengthen the US negotiating position relative to China. That type of work takes time and our whole government seems only concerned with the one pressing domestic issue of right now: impeachment.
So it looks like it's up to the people of Hong Kong for now
Edit award speech edits witness me and laugh for I do not care
VIDEO - RNC Research on Twitter: "FLASHBACK: Adam Schiff lies, insists: ''we have not spoken directly with the whistleblower'' https://t.co/71gxgocBUd https://t.co/kJFkr2Rjru" / Twitter
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 23:20
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VIDEO - (2) TimHarris Photography on Twitter: "@Peregrine810 @GregAbbott_TX @adamcurry Your prayers have been answered." / Twitter
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 20:31
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VIDEO - President Trump Delivers Remarks Before Bilateral Meeting With Finland President Niinist¶ '' Video and Transcript'... | The Last Refuge
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 19:29
While diplomatic and fierce, President Trump delivers extensive remarks to the press pool today in advance of a bilateral meeting with President Niinist¶ of Finland.
[ Video and Transcript Below ]
[Transcript] '' PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much. It's a great honor to have a man that's become a friend of mine '-- we've gotten to know each other well '-- the President of Finland. And we have many things to discuss, including trade and military and purchases, and lots of different very exciting events.
So we'll have a long time together today. We'll then be having lunch. And I think we're going to be seeing the media right afterwards and say a few words.
But it's an honor, Mr. President, to have you with us. Thank you.
PRESIDENT NIINIST–: Thank you. Thank you very much. I'm waiting for our discussions.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes. Yes. See? He's made a few words, and he gets it done. (Laughter.) That's what I like about him.
PRESIDENT NIINIST–: (Laughs.) Hope so.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That's what I like about him.
Anyway, okay, thank you all very much.
Q How do you respond to concerns that you are putting the whistleblower's life in danger?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, the whistleblower was very inaccurate. The whistleblower started this whole thing by writing a report on the conversation I had with the President of Ukraine. And the conversation was perfect; it couldn't have been nicer.
I saw Rick Scott, I saw many of the senators talking about it, many of the congressmen talking about. Not a thing wrong. Unless you heard the Adam Schiff version, where he made up my conversation. He actually made it up. It should be criminal. It should be treasonous. He made it up '-- every word of it, made up '-- and read to Congress as though I said it.
And I'll tell you what: He should be forced to resign from Congress '-- Adam Schiff. He's a lowlife. He should be forced to resign. He took a perfect conversation, realized he couldn't read it to Congress because it was perfect; it was a very nice conversation. I knew many people were on the phone. Not only were many people on the phone, we had stenographers on the phone taking it down, word for word.
He took that conversation, which was perfect; he said, ''I can't read this.'' So he made up a conversation and he reported it and said it to Congress and to the American people. And it was horrible was he said. And that was supposed to be coming from me, but it was all fabricated.
He should resign from office in disgrace. And, frankly, they should look at him for treason because he is making up the words of the President of the United States. Not only words, but the meaning. And it's a disgrace. It should not be allowed to happen.
Q But your own DNI said the call transcript was consistent with the complaint. So, should only whistleblowers '--
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, no, no, he didn't say that. You have to take a look.
Q He did say that.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, no, no. He did not say that. And, in fact, if you look at what he said, he found everything to be very normal. He's a good man, and '-- Joe. And he found it to be very normal. I saw Schiff trying to go 15 '-- you know, we call him ''Shifty Schiff.'' We don't call him ''Shifty Schiff'' for nothing. He's a shifty, dishonest guy '-- who, by the way, was critical of one of the great Secretary of States. Graduated number one in his class at West Point. Graduated top of '-- one of the top in his class at Harvard Law School. The most honorable person, Mike Pompeo. And this guy was negative on Mike Pompeo.
He can't '-- you know, there's an expression: He couldn't carry his ''blank'' strap. I won't say it because they'll say it was so terrible to say. But that guy couldn't carry his ''blank'' strap. You understand that?
So, you're dealing with bad people. And, you know, I watched China over the last few days, and I watched some of these other countries build up, build up, build up. And we've built up more than any of them because of me, but no help due to the Democrats. They're a disaster. They're the ''do-nothing'' Democrats. They don't do any work. All they want to do is try and win the election in 2020, so they come up with this impeachment nonsense.
And everyone knows the conversation '-- all based on a phone call that I had, where I'm talking to the President of Ukraine. You'll hear from our ambassadors, you'll hear from some of the folks that know all about the call '-- why the call was set up and everything else. It's perfect. The call was perfect.
In fact, Lindsey Graham said, ''I didn't know you could be so nice.'' There was no quid pro quo. Remember, before they saw '-- the only reason I put that out '-- and I did it with the approval of Ukraine, by the way; otherwise, I couldn't have done it '-- was because the whistleblower was so dishonest. The whistleblower said terrible things about the call, but he then '-- I then found out he was second-hand and third-hand. In other words, he didn't know what was on the call.
No, these are bad people. These are dishonest people. And when the American people find out what happened, it's going to be a great day. And you know what? We have to go back to building our country, because 99 percent of Nancy Pelosi's time is spent on this. She should worry about lowering the price of drugs, which I've done. But it's hard to do it without the help of Congress '-- about creating border security, which I've done.
We've built '-- we now have hundreds of miles of wall under construction on the southern border. She should worry about infrastructure. She should worry about the USMCA. She's not doing it. I just saw a part of her press conference before the President came. And I'm sorry to bother you with this, Mr. President, because we have other things to talk about.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: But I will tell you, I just watched part '-- she says, ''Oh, drug prices'...'' Well, she's been trying to get drug prices down for '-- how long has she been in Congress? For years. She should focus on her own district. Do you see what's happening to her district? We call it ''tent city.'' It's terrible. In fact, we just sent a violation to the city of San Francisco: unsafe water, unsafe conditions, environmental '-- EPA.
Our EPA, which is doing a great job, is sending Nancy Pelosi, with all the talk about EPA '-- there's needles and drugs all over the street. There's tents. There's people that are dying in squalor in the best location, in San Francisco. It used to be a great city. Now, you have to see what's happened to San Francisco. You happen to see what '-- what's '-- what the Democrats have allowed to happen. As an example, what they've allowed to happen, just take a look, to Los Angeles. Great cities.
One other thing: Yesterday, as you know, I was sued by the Governor, Gavin Newsom '-- he's another beauty. I was sued by him. He's a do-nothing. Sued by him so that I can't get on the ballot in the state of California. It was a massive story. It was the biggest story, Mr. President. It was headlines all over the place: ''Trump gets sued by this do-nothing governor in California.'' It was big.
Here's what happened: Yesterday, I won the case, very convincingly. A very tough, smart, highly respected judge '-- not a Trump person at all '-- not appointed by Trump; appointed by somebody that you would call the opposition '-- came out with a scathing and tough opinion. I won the case. I didn't see one story that I won that case '-- not one story '-- from the fake news. I didn't see Steve write it. I didn't see you write it. I didn't see anybody write it.
So, let me just tell you, just to finish: Nancy Pelosi and Shifty Shifft [sic] '-- who should resign in disgrace, by the way '-- and Jerry Nadler and all of them, it's a disgrace what's going on. And we should be focused on making America great again and keeping America great, because that's what we have to do.
And when I look at that parade with military and millions of people and everything else, we better get smart. We better start focusing on the right things. Because what they did with this nonsense '-- think of it: You have a perfect '-- I mean, perfect, conversation with a President of another country '-- Ukraine, in this case '-- and they try and say, ''Oh, let's impeach him.''
They've been trying to impeach me from the day I got elected. I've been going through this for three years. They've been trying to impeach me from the day I got elected. And you know what? They failed. And this is the easiest one of all, because this one is based on one conversation.
What about Obama's conversation with the President of Russia, where he says, ''Hey, hey, tell Vlad I'll talk to him after the election is over. I'll talk to him'...'' Nobody reports that, right? That's stuff you should report.
But you people should be ashamed of yourself. We have the most dishonest media that you can imagine. And you should be ashamed of yourselves.
Okay, I think I've answered most of your questions. What do you think?
Q Finnish media here. Finland is the happiest country in the world.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Finland is a happy country.
PRESIDENT NIINIST–: Yeah, for sure.
Q What can you learn? What can you learn from Finland, which has a social-democratic (inaudible)?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, you got rid of Pelosi and you got rid of Shifty Schiff.
PRESIDENT NIINIST–: We have time to discuss about that.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Finland is a happy country. He's a happy leader, too. (Laughs.)
Q Some Republicans have raised concerns '--
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No Republicans have raised concerns.
Q '-- about the whistleblower, that their name '-- that the identity of the whistleblower should be protected.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don't care. Look, I think a whistleblower should be protected if the whistleblower is legitimate. But when the whistleblower makes a big report on the conversation I had with a President, of Ukraine, and it was a great conversation. It was per- '-- we talked mostly about ''congratulations on your win.'' We talked about corruption. And we're really referring mostly to 2016, because what the Democrats did in 2016 was corrupt.
And let's see what happens. They're more concerned with that than they are with me and impeachment. They're trying to hide what maybe is coming. I let our great '-- if you look '-- I'll let our great law enforcement take care of it. Okay?
Attorney General Barr, I guess, is working on it. And I hope he's working on it. Because what happened in 2016 is a disgrace to this country. And they're more worried about that because they know they're guilty as hell. All right? They're much more worried about that.
Q Is the whistleblower immediately illegitimate if they are reporting misconduct about you?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: When a whistleblower '--
Q About you, sir?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Okay. Are you ready?
I heard the whistleblower's report from you people, and how bad it was about just a simple conversation.
By the way, this whole thing revolves around a simple conversation. And if you remember at the beginning, it was ''quid pro quo.'' That's all you heard about. And I think he said seven or eight times: ''quid pro'...'' '-- in other words, ''You're going to that or we're not going to give you money. You're going to do this or we're not going to'...'' I never said it.
But when I heard these horrible stories come out, I had no choice but to release a conversation '-- which I hate to do, and I hope I don't have to do it again '-- with the leader of a country. I asked a certain person to call up a certain person in that country to get permission to do it; otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to do it. And if I didn't do it '-- and I appreciate Ukraine for allowing us to release the conversation. But it was so innocent, it didn't hurt them. If anything, it helped them because it was a very innocent conversation.
But when a whistleblower takes that very nice, innocent '-- Lindsey Graham said, ''I never knew you were that nice a person.'' He said, ''You never asked him for anything. You were really, really nice.'' Lindsey was saying, ''I never knew you were so nice. That was a perfect conversation.''
I heard Rick Scott today say, ''That was a perfect conversation. How can they impeach him on that conversation?'' He read it. He's a very smart guy from Florida '-- Rick Scott '-- and he said, ''That was a perfect conversation. How can you impeach somebody on that conversation?''
But the whistleblower wrote not that conversation. He wrote a vicious conversation. In other words, he either got it totally wrong, made it up, or the person giving the information to the whistleblower was dishonest. And this country has to find out who that person was, because that person is a spy, in my opinion.
Are you ready? So, when a whistleblower, purposely or not, gives something that's totally erroneous '-- now, here's where I fooled them. They never thought I'd release the conversation. They never thought in a million years that I'd release the conversation.
When ''Liddle''' Adam Schiff saw the text, when he read it, he couldn't believe it. When Nancy Pelosi, who worked a day early '-- Nancy Pelosi called for essentially impeachment '-- ''Let's impeach the President'' '-- before she saw the transcript. And this is an exact word-for-word transcript of the conversation, right? Taken by very talented stenographers.
Q Well '--
PRESDENT TRUMP: Listen to me.
So when she saw that, she was '-- she '-- I heard she went crazy. She said, ''We can't impeach him on this conversation. That's a great conversation.'' She went by the whistleblower. And the whistleblower was so bad, I would even think about it.
But here's what happened: The whistleblower was wrong. The only thing that matters is the transcript of the actual conversation that I had with the President of Ukraine. It was perfect. We're looking at congratulations. We're looking at doing things together. And what are we looking at? We're looking at corruption.
And, in, I believe, 1999, there was a corruption act or a corruption bill passed between both '-- and signed '-- between both countries, where I have a duty to report corruption. And let me tell you something: Biden's son is corrupt, and Biden is corrupt. And I'd rather run against Biden than almost any of those candidates. And I think they're all weak. But I think Biden has never been a smart guy, and he's less smart now than he ever was.
Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.
Q Sir, have you actually wanted a moat on the border, sir? Sir, did you suggest a moat?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh. Let me do that again; it's a fair question. So this morning and last night, my comms people came to me. Listen to this one, President. I'm glad they're interested in Finland, but what can you do? I'm interested in Finland much more.
But my comms people came to me, and they said, ''Sir, there's a book or something being written.'' It's written by Washington Post people, so you know it's inaccurate. You know it's probably a fraud.
So two reporters from the Washington '-- and they said, ''President Trump started screaming, ranting, and raving, that on the southern border'...'' '-- where we are right now building a tremendous wall; it's unbelievable what's going up. Army Corps of Engineers. It's '-- we're doing a lot. We have '-- we'll soon have over 100 miles under construction and completed. We're going to end up with over 400 to 500 miles.
Okay, ready? That I wanted a wall, but I wanted a moat. A moat '-- whatever that is. It's not a word I used, but they used it. A moat. And in the moat, I wanted alligators and snakes. And I wanted the wall to be a fence, and I wanted it to be electrified. And I wanted sharp spikes at the top, so if anyone gets it, it goes piercing through their skin '-- is somewhat the way they said it. Skin-piercing spikes. But I want the whole wall to be electrocuted.
And, ''Sir, you never said that.'' They came to me '-- the comms people. They came to me yesterday. And they said, ''Did you say this?'' I said, ''Why are you asking that stupid question?'' ''Because the fake news media is saying that you said this in a book.'' I said, ''What book?'' And they said, ''Washington Post.'' I said, ''Well, obviously it's fake because almost everything the Washington Post does is fake.''
It's a fake newspaper. It's owned by a rich guy for the purposes of giving him power in Washington. It's really '-- I mean, it's a lobbyist '-- I call it the ''Lobbyist Washington Post'' '-- for Amazon. And he ought to be ashamed of himself, because what they do to his reputation '-- I think maybe it's probably no good anyway. But what they do to his reputation with the Washington Post is a disgrace.
So these two reporters wrote this book, and they said I want a moat with alligators, snakes, electrified fences so people get electrocuted if they so much as touch the fence, and spikes on top. Never said it. Never thought of it. And I actually put out something on social media today. I said, I'm tough on the border, but I'm not that tough.
Okay. It was a lie. Just so you have it '-- you asked the question. It was a total lie. It was corrupt reporting. Okay?
Q Did you suggest '--
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don't even ''fake'' anymore; I call the fake news now, ''corrupt news.'' Because ''fake'' isn't tough enough, and I'm the one that came up with the term '-- I'm very proud of it '-- but I think I'm going to switch it largely to ''corrupt news.'' Because the media in this country '-- not everybody; we have some great reporters, some great journalists. But much of it is corrupt. It's corrupt. You have corrupt media in this country. And it truly is the enemy of the people.
Thank you very much. Thank you. Have a good day, everybody. Go write some phony stories.Go write some phony stories. Go write a Schiff-like story.
Just another day in paradise.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you, Steve. I hope I answered all your questions.
Q I didn't get '-- I didn't get one in.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Come here. Come here. Come here. What?Q I was going to ask you (inaudible) limit the number of people who are listening on those phone calls '--
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I might. I might. Yeah. I '-- and, by the way, I assume many people. I always do. When I speak to a leader '-- if I speak to Finland, I always assume that many people are listening.
Q Yeah.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And the other thing is that Nancy Pelosi's account of my phone call is a total lie. I called her about guns, and then I heard her '-- she's talking about impeachment. I said, ''What are you talking about '-- impeachment?'' I called her to say I'm making big progress on guns, okay?
Fellas, I don't know if you're with us, here.
Q (Inaudible) not here.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: But I'm saying that '-- and I think you have to put that out. That would be the only thing. All right. Good.
Q Thank you, sir.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Good. Thank you, Steve. It was a lie. Her statement was a lie. But, you know, what else is new?
Thank you, everybody.
[Transcript Ends]
VIDEO - Maxine Waters Doubles Down On Unhinged Tweet: 'He Really Should Be Punished' | Weasel Zippers
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 09:04
Update to this story.
MELBER: ''I ask you tonight, are you speaking literally and do you have any concern you're prejudging the House impeachment and Senate trial process by declaring he should be, I guess, convicted and held in solitary?''
WATERS: ''No, not really. As you said, I said impeachment is the imperative. I did express myself in ways to show how terrible I think he is and how he really should be punished. But of course impeachment is what we're focused on right now.''
ZIP |October 2, 2019 8:55 am
VIDEO - MSNBC Fears 'Heavily Armed' Trump Supporters Will Invade D.C. | Weasel Zippers
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 08:59
Libs across America will be wetting their beds tonight.
ZIP |October 2, 2019 9:28 am
VIDEO - (10) OPUS 176 CIA Coup CONFIRMED - YouTube
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 07:54
VIDEO - (34) BBC Politics on Twitter: "Home Secretary Priti Patel is cheered as she repeats the PM's pledge to introduce an "Australian-style" points-based immigration system, promising to "end the free movement of people once and for all" https://t.co/p3
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 07:19
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VIDEO - Senator Lindsey Graham on Spygate: ''I Know We're Going To Find Out About That in Two Weeks'''...
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 00:21
As I read everyones comments, and thank the Lord for humble favors this honorable blog has not been silenced yet, what seems clear to me and many of us Deplorable's, is a good thing'...It is the purview of the dirt people, and no others, for in all history who else is there, who effects real, living, practical real life, positive change on this mortal coil?''We'' are all we have. No one is coming to save us, as the truth bears out we are the ones we are waiting for. Thus it always has been. Nothing new on that truth. Only we are having to relearn and re-discover the ways and the means after too long a hiatus. But no loss, as nothing is lost as these are things of the heart, even though it is a war for hearts and minds as things stand. For now'...How else was the god emperor going to be literally, actually, honestly, as intended, as is our sole purview and no others, elected by us and our will, in this great experiment of republican form of sovereign destiny known as the will of the governed and providence of living Liberty and it's fabulous blessings of our civilization, called America?
The false persecution of our, us being us Deplorable's, of our President and the attempt to drive him from office, is nothing more than the act by despicable scalawags to persecute and subjugate the will of the American people, us, you and I.For as sure asa they will ultimately fail, you got to ask yourself, what lengths will they go to to stop us and our will?Will they murder Mr. Trump to obtain there absolute power, as they surely have murdered Freemen, from LeVoy Finnicum to Andrew Breitbart and countless others who have stood un their way?Will they murder all of us who fear them not?No.We outnumber them not only in body, but in spirit and audacity.As they are want to remind us at every opportunity ''we have too many guns'', as Andrew Breitbart so succinctly pointed out.Any question why they killed Andrew?
Same Oligarchy, Different Day
Remember, Hillary began her rise with Watergate and ended her career by trying to recreate Watergate, Bill was chosen by Ol' ''Fabian'' Rhodes of Yellow Journalism's, along with Purlitzer as fellow marxian founding actors, as Bill & Hill where to be the most effective Manchurian candidate's in presidential elections they ever infiltrated and rigged by sly margin of vote fraud'...
Collusion and interference in elections much?
They are all consummate professional liars'...'...indeed, it takes a certain kind of pathological psychosis to enter into the realm of Mordor on the Potomac'... '...and after vote rigged gerrymandered careers spanning decades consolidating absolute power, and the associated regimes of corruption which has created the largest group by far of feckless millionaires in history who never worked an honest day in their greedy lives, they will and are committing the ultimate of highest crimes and treason to preserve their place at the table of spoils, even at, in spite of, bringing it all down around them, ie, it is all theirs or nobody gets anything, full stop.
''The allure of filthy blood-soaked lucre and the intoxicating ideological fumes of absolute power'' to rule with total impunity promised for the chosen emanating from globalism like an explosive noxious toxic swamp gas rising over a putrefying open cesspool, with the primal primitive fear as motive power of Pizzagate Blackmail nipping at their heels, and the promise of even more hedonism, us dirt people could never fathom in our wildest darkest intimate moments of examining our own souls and sins'...the guilt of omission verses guilt of commission, is a gap measured in light years, that's the benchmark for reference and grounding in the truth of all this madness around us'... does it bake your noodle then, because it should, right to your core'... what these swamp things posturing and preening, with their moral superiority like gods themselves in human skin suits are and where they are leading this sorry ass'd wore out republic they have strip mined and raped with abandon that would make Genghis Kan blush if he were alive today
Nothing else matters but one thing, or you will be naked without any effective recourse remaining, dignity, or honor, for whatever else you do, do not give up your guns, or you are toast.
Because one thing is sure and history proves out, those who ignore the past of all tyranny and tyrants, take the dirt nap first, that everything, everything sure as the sun rises will come down to guns if these clowns go full retard, for they are knocking on that door as we speak of things, everything else will be relegated to nothing-ville, as in this they will be doing what they do best, weaponize everything, food, water, energy, to divide and conquer us in the most ultimate terms possible, and what has transpired as a divide now, will be a fart in a mitten in a class 5 hurricane if they have their way with us'...Get us to go for each-others throats Balkan's style, do their dirty bloody wet work for them, while sipping champagne with their Pizzagate Pinkies in the air waiting to divide the spoils of internecine war that destroys MAGA and everything it is.
This is their endgame, but it is not ours, why is defined in no uncertain terms, the proof absolute is the god emperor would never have usurped the ultimate usurpers the devil could raise, beat them at their own game, right under their noses and they never saw it coming, they thought she would never lose. They thought it was in the bag.Not.
Surprise!And you clowns thought you destroyed all those nice respectful Tea Party people.NopeBFYTWYou clowns created a monster of grass roots under the radar open source insurgency, your worst nightmare. Proscribing us Deplorable's and Bitter Clinger's, classifying us now as the greatest threat domestically to your rule is going to come back with a vengeance with a bone in it's teeth.
The power of our withdrawal of consent is the most powerful weapon ever devised. That is the beauty of Liberty once it became natural to our blood and birth right. This legacy, who we are, can never be stuffed back in it's bottle.We are LegionAnd we have only yet begun to fight
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VIDEO - CNN Erases Women of Color Leading Impeachment Push as Trump Attacks
Wed, 02 Oct 2019 00:04
From left, Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib, conduct a news conference in Washington, D.C. responding to negative comments by President Trump that were directed the freshmen House Democrats on July 15, 2019.
Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP
There is a growing double narrative about who deserves credit for the effort to impeach President Donald Trump. One side of the narrative, coming primarily from the media, lauds late-coming figures to impeachment as saviors, and the other, coming from Trump, tears down impeachment's early adopters as malicious traitors. Though the two campaigns are almost diametrically opposed, their effects are the same: to question the legitimacy and ''seriousness'' of leftists and women of color who have risen to leadership positions in our national politics.
First, the campaign to tear down women of color who support impeachment. Following the opening of a formal impeachment inquiry, Trump's reelection campaign poured money into a typically vicious, racist, and mendacious ad blitz. A barrage of Facebook ads, costing up to $1.4 million, claimed that impeachment efforts were the work of the ''socialist squad'' whose members had made ''pro-terrorist remarks.'' On Saturday, Trump took to Twitter to decry the so-called Squad '-- Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., all women of color '-- as well as Jewish lawmakers Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., and Adam Schiff, D-Calif., as ''Democratic Savages'' for their impeachment efforts.
The Trump campaign's anti-impeachment strategy is as obvious as it is dirty: Gin up conspiratorial resentment in his base by playing on racist and red-scare tropes. It's an intolerable narrative, but one that gets at least one thing right: The Squad, alongside a number of other progressive members of Congress, many of them people of color, do deserve the credit for pushing the House toward impeachment.
Then there's the other narrative, one in which the media has selected different heroes of the burgeoning impeachment effort '-- without including the leftist women of color. According to a weekend CNN feature, credit for the impeachment effort should instead go to four freshmen members of Congress '-- all of them white women with backgrounds in national security work. These women, who rather unbearably call themselves ''the badasses,'' only came around to supporting impeachment in the last two weeks.
On the air, CNN host Jake Tapper, following up on a Trump campaign adviser's remarks, questioned whether two early advocates for impeachment '-- Tlaib and Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, who is black '-- undermined the seriousness of the pursuit. ''Do those members of your party,'' Tapper asked Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich. '-- one of the ''badasses'' '-- on his Sunday show, ''undermine the seriousness with which you and other colleagues of yours want to proceed?'' (Slotkin simply said she couldn't speak for others and returned to her talking points.)
Taken together, the picture speaks to an even more grim dynamic: While Trump demonizes Congress's progressive women of color, CNN erases their work.
The truth is that, amid his lie-filled efforts to rile up his white nationalist base against impeachment, Trump '-- in his identification of the Squad as the source of his problems '-- has hit on something that CNN can't seem to grasp: Women of color are leading the way on these efforts. Yet, instead of rousing defenses against Trump's attacks and acknowledgements of the political risks women of color are taking, the media seems to be writing them out of the story.
Tapper remembered Tlaib's famous rallying cry '-- ''We're going to impeach the motherfucker!'' '-- but he didn't mention that it was Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who first called for impeachment in early 2017. And while Tapper lambasted Green as unserious, he neglected to mention that Green was the first member of Congress to actually file articles of impeachment against the president.
Ignoring the work of these people of color, CNN instead lifted up as ''unlikely leaders on impeachment'' Slotkin and Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., both former CIA officers; Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., an ex-Air Force officer; and Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., and Elaine Luria, D-Va., who are both former Navy officers. All of these women were against impeachment not long ago '-- some of them as recently as mid-September.
Still, for people of color, and especially women of color, this approach is not shocking. ''White people being credited for something initiated or created by people of color is nothing new, but it's always infuriating when it has to be pointed out,'' wrote Paul Meara for BET, responding to CNN's piece, which claimed that the five white women's recent about-face ''changed history.''
The CNN article, written by Dana Bash, is peppered with the lexicon of a personified pink pussy hat; the women are framed with all the trappings of white liberal feminism. They are, we are told ''a band of sisters,'' who ''moved from hard no to hell yes on starting an impeachment inquiry.'' And ''they say it was all for one, and one for all.'' That is, moderate realpolitik dressed up as the #resistance. The story's lead accompanying photograph shows three of the ''badasses'' '-- again, self-proclaimed '-- taking a selfie in front of the Capitol.
The CNN segment focused on the political risk being undertaken by these frontliners and how they'll try to sell impeachment '-- which they see as unpopular '-- in their districts. ''Backing an impeachment inquiry is risky political business for these congresswomen,'' Bash said, because they won in ''mostly Trump territory.''
The five moderate members of Congress, alongside two male freshmen '-- Reps. Gil Cisneros, D-Calif., and Jason Crow, D-Colo., who are both also veterans '-- penned an op-ed in the Washington Post last week arguing for an impeachment inquiry. ''We are veterans of the military and of the nation's defense and intelligence agencies. Our service is rooted in the defense of our country on the front lines of national security,'' the representatives wrote. ''Now, we join as a unified group to uphold that oath as we enter uncharted waters and face unprecedented allegations against President Trump.''
Slotkin said this experience prepared them for making tough decisions: ''All of us in our prior lives all the time had to make hard calls for the reasons we thought were right, when we knew that not everyone would understand or even know.''
According to CNN, the op-ed gave House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., ''critical political cover as she announced a formal impeachment inquiry.'' It's no doubt true that presenting the case for impeachment in the framework of militaristic patriotism, supported by white moderates, was the ''cover'' the historically spineless Pelosi needed.
In a literal sense, the so-called badasses may have ''changed history,'' as CNN put it, by simply being a necessary element in an encumbered political process. Under such a framing, every politician, indeed every living being, ''changes history'' every day. But pressure had been mounting for months, if not in their districts, then in districts across the country.
Contrast the ''badasses,'' even for a moment, with the backlash that Tlaib faced for her call to ''impeach the motherfucker,'' and it's not hard to see that the risk faced by the ''badasses'' fails to stack up. To suggest these five white freshmen are thus historic political leaders is an affront to the women who are.
Update: October 1, 2019, 9:34 a.m.This story has been updated to reflect that CNN host Jake Tapper's question to Rep. Elissa Slotkin was based on remarks made earlier in panel by David Urban, a Trump campaign adviser.
VIDEO - Mike Murphy: 30 GOP Senators Would Impeach Trump in Secret Vote
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 23:32
A longtime GOP insider is claiming that if a majority of Republican senators could cast their ballot in secret, they would vote President Donald Trump out of office.
Appearing on Andrea Mitchell Reports Wednesday, Mike Murphy '-- a former senior adviser to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and John McCain '-- claimed that the politics of the Ukraine controversy scare the GOP. Murphy contended that an impeachment proceeding in which moderate senators would be forced to back the president would put a number of seats at risk.
''These Senate Republicans '... are going to be pinned down to a yes-no answer,'' Murphy said. ''And if they provide cover to Donald Trump for this, a clear violation of his role as president, we're going to lose [the Senate race in] Colorado with Cory Gardner. We're going to lose Maine with Susan Collins. We're going to lose Arizona with Martha McSally. And the Democrats will put the Senate very much in play.''
Sixty-seven votes in the senate would be required to convict the president, should the House impeach. One unnamed GOP Senator, according to Murphy, believes those votes are already there '-- if the ballots were not made public.
''One Republican senator told me if it was a secret vote, 30 Republican senators would vote to impeach Trump,'' Murphy said.
Watch above, via MSNBC.
Have a tip we should know? tips@mediaite.com
VIDEO - China is Asshoe! (Gangnam Mix)
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 23:18
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VIDEO - (10) Hillary Rodham Clinton: Impeachment Inquiry Is 'Exactly What Should Be Done' - YouTube
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 23:14
VIDEO - (7) Lysol HERE For Healthy Schools | The Importance of HERE - YouTube
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 19:41
VIDEO - (7) Deadly Pesticides Found In Counterfeit Vaping Products | TODAY - YouTube
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 14:22
VIDEO - (6) Anderson Cooper 360° on Twitter: "Pres. Trump's "Twitter account should be suspended," says Kamala Harris. "There's plenty of'...evidence to suggest that he is irresponsible with his words in a way that could result in harm'...so the privilege
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 10:40
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VIDEO - Jesse Watters on Twitter: "Biden's caught lying about Ukraine...hiding who was on board with Hunter. #TheFive https://t.co/nsb2Vmmfe1" / Twitter
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 10:36
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VIDEO - (5) Steve Bannon Drops a Bomb -- Tells Trish Regan Hillary Clinton Is Running! - YouTube
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 09:15
VIDEO - 2 people break into shack to upload porn to billboard along...
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 09:09
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Two young men broke into the shack that controls a billboard along I-75 in Auburn Hills to upload pornographic images to the billboard, according to authorities.
Auburn Hills police said the two people in the picture above broke into the shack at 10:49 p.m. Saturday, just before drivers reported an electronic billboard on the east side of I-75 south of M-59 was showing a pornographic video.
You can see surveillance video of the two people breaking into the billboard shack below.
"In this particular incident, we had a local billboard basically run by a system onsite that is not staffed, which creates the perfect storm for someone to access it," Auburn Hills police Lt. Ryan Gagnon said.
Police said they appear to be young, white men wearing hooded sweatshirts and glasses. They were wearing hazmat-like disguises when they broke into the shack, officials said.
They got past the six-foot fence securing the building and uploaded porn to a laptop that displays images on the billboard, according to authorities.
They were inside the shack for about 15 minutes before leaving, police said.
"We want to seek the public's help in identifying these two people, but also to contact us," Gagnon said. "What turned out to be maybe a prank became a little more serious by breaking into a building."
The digital image on the billboard faces north and south, officials said. Police started to receive reports about the pornographic video around 11 p.m. Saturday.
"It was very bizarre," driver Chuck McMahon said. "I thought maybe it was a billboard for a strip club or something."
Officers said they went to the scene and witnessed the video. They contacted the business that operates the sign and shut it down, police said.
Authorities believe the video might have been playing for at least 15 to 20 minutes before it was shut off.
"I was just looking up at it and I was like, 'Huh, oh, wow. That's porn,'" McMahon said.
Police said the owner and operator of the sign is Triple Communications, which has a parent company called Triple Investment Group -- the owners of the Pontiac Silverdome property.
Representatives with Triple Communications have been cooperating with investigators, officials said.
Promoting pornography or promoting pornography for minors by disseminating any pornographic material, images and videos is a violation of Auburn Hills ordinance with a possible penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine, police said.
Anyone who witnessed the video is asked to call Auburn Hills police at 248-364-9460.
Copyright 2019 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.
VIDEO - American support for impeaching Trump rises to 45% amid Ukraine matter: Reuters/Ipsos poll - Reuters
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 07:36
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of Americans who believe President Donald Trump should be impeached rose by 8 percentage points over the past week as more people learned about allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to smear his top Democratic political rival Joe Biden, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday.
The Sept. 26-30 opinion poll found that 45% of adults believe Republican Trump ''should be impeached,'' compared with 37% in a similar poll that ran last week. Another 41% said that Trump should not be impeached and 15% said they ''don't know.''
Among Democrats, 74% said Trump should be impeached, up 8 points over the past week, while 13% of Republicans said they supported impeachment, up 3 points. It was unchanged among independents at 37%.
The poll findings mirror several other recent opinion polls, which have shown that public support has increased recently for an impeachment inquiry into Trump.
Full poll results: tmsnrt.rs/2n3AYWx
The American public has been increasingly focused on the question of impeachment following a whistleblower complaint about a July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
The U.S. House of Representatives initiated an impeachment inquiry of Trump last week after a whistleblower report raised concerns that Trump tried to leverage nearly $400 million in U.S. aid in exchange for a political favor from Zelenskiy involving an investigation of Joe Biden, the former vice president and leading Democratic presidential contender.
The poll of more than 2,200 U.S. adults found that 34% had heard ''a great deal'' about the Ukraine scandal this week, about twice the number of people who had been paying close attention when compared with last week. Another 30% said they have heard ''some'' details about the Ukraine call.
When asked what they thought about the news, 43% said ''president Trump is trying to smear Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 presidential campaign,'' up 4 points from last week.
The poll also found that 66% of American adults said any elected official ''should be removed'' from office if they work with a foreign government to attack a political rival. That included 46% of Republicans, 88% of Democrats and about two-thirds of independents.
The fact that a smaller number of respondents - 45% - said that Trump should be impeached, however, suggests that many of them did not believe allegations against Trump or had yet to conclude Trump had indeed worked with Ukraine to damage Biden.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he meets with sheriffs from across the country on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Erin ScottPublic opinion may continue to shift as more information is revealed. But University of Michigan political scientist Nicholas Valentino said that support for Trump's impeachment should level off unless Republican leaders join Democrats in publicly criticizing the president.
''People aren't constitutional scholars,'' Valentino said. ''They trust their elected officials from their party to know the rules of politics. And when members of their own party say that someone has broken the rules, that's when public opinion will really begin to change.''
The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online, in English, throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 2,234 adults, including 944 Democrats and 855 Republicans. It has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 4 percentage points.
Reporting by Chris Kahn, Editing by Grant McCool and Richard Pullin
VIDEO - In leaked audio, Mark Zuckerberg rallies Facebook against critics, competitors, and Elizabeth Warren - The Verge
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 07:16
In two hours of leaked audio, Mark Zuckerberg rallies Facebook employees against critics, competitors, and the US government
In two hours of leaked audio, Mark Zuckerberg rallies Facebook employees against critics, competitors, and the US government. by October 1, 2019 July should have been a relief for Facebook. The company accepted a $5 billion fine from the Federal Trade Commission over privacy issues , after having essentially set the terms of the agreement itself . It settled a case with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which alleged that it had misled investors about the risks of user data being mishandled, for a relatively paltry $100 million . And Facebook reported stellar quarterly earnings on July 24th , beating investor expectations and sending its stock price up.
But inside the company, the mood remained anxious. Several 2020 presidential candidates, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), had called for Facebook to be broken up. Libra, a Facebook-created cryptocurrency, had run into strong resistance from regulators around the world who worried that it could destabilize the global financial system. Employees had questions about Zuckerberg himself '-- Why had the CEO declined multiple requests to appear at government hearings in Europe? '-- and worried about Facebook's increasingly dim reputation among their peers.
These questions were raised at two open meetings with employees in July. The Verge obtained two hours of audio from the meetings, which include extended question-and-answer sessions between Zuckerberg and his employees. In language that is often more candid than he typically uses in his public comments, Zuckerberg seeks to rally the company against Facebook's competitors, critics, and the US government.
On the potential breakup of Facebook
"You have someone like Elizabeth Warren who thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies ... if she gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. And does that still suck for us? Yeah. I mean, I don't want to have a major lawsuit against our own government. ... But look, at the end of the day, if someone's going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight."
On how Big Tech can ''solve the issues''
"It's just that breaking up these companies, whether it's Facebook or Google or Amazon, is not actually going to solve the issues. And, you know, it doesn't make election interference less likely. It makes it more likely because now the companies can't coordinate and work together."
"It's why Twitter can't do as good of a job as we can. I mean, they face, qualitatively, the same types of issues. But they can't put in the investment. Our investment on safety is bigger than the whole revenue of their company." [ laughter ]
Zuckerberg sounds earnest and genial throughout the Q&A sessions. He jokes repeatedly about how he would have been fired several times over the years if he had not negotiated for total control over the company, drawing laughter from his employees. He also explains why he has repeatedly refused to testify in front of governments around the world, and he talks about the awkward rollout of Libra, the Facebook-developed cryptocurrency.
On refusing to testify before other governments
"I'm not going to go to every single hearing around the world. A lot of different people want to do that. When the issues came up last year around Cambridge Analytica, I did hearings in the US. I did hearings in the EU. It just doesn't really make sense for me to go to hearings in every single country that wants to have me show up."
"The public things, I think, tend to be a little more dramatic. But a bigger part of it is private engagement with regulators around the world, and those, I think, often, are more substantive and less dramatic. And those meetings aren't being played for the camera, but that's where a lot of the discussions and details get hashed out on things."
The CEO also speaks earnestly about challenges the company faces, whether it's about Facebook's unusually large amount of downtime this year or what obligations the company has for its 30,000 contracted content moderators.
Asked about The Verge 's stories this year on content moderation , Zuckerberg dismisses them as ''a little overdramatic.'' ''With a population of 30,000 people, there's going to be a distribution of experiences that people have,'' Zuckerberg says.
On protecting contract content moderators
''Some of the reports, I think, are a little overdramatic. From digging into them and understanding what's going on, it's not that most people are just looking at just terrible things all day long. But there are really bad things that people have to deal with, and making sure that people get the right counseling and space and ability to take breaks and get the mental health support that they need is a really important thing."
Elsewhere in the conversations, Zuckerberg presents a plan for halting the global advance of its latest competitor, ByteDance's video app TikTok. The company introduced a clone named Lasso and released it in Mexico '-- where TikTok has yet to make inroads '-- in an attempt to perfect the product before rolling it out elsewhere.
''We have a product called Lasso that's a standalone app that we're working on, trying to get product-market fit in countries like Mexico ... We're trying to first see if we can get it to work in countries where TikTok is not already big before we go and compete with TikTok in countries where they are big."
While many of the issues discussed during the meetings are serious, Zuckerberg also tries to lighten the mood. When one person asks whether Facebook would ever use its brain-computer interface technology for ad-targeting purposes, Zuckerberg muses about the challenges of building a brain-computer interface using invasive surgery techniques.
''You think Libra is hard to launch,'' Zuckerberg quips. He imagines what the headlines would say: ''Facebook wants to perform brain surgery.''
''I don't want to see the congressional hearings on that one,'' he says, as the room breaks into laughter.
Elsewhere in the transcripts, Zuckerberg discusses TikTok's biggest challenge, why he wants to maintain total control over the company, and what Facebook employees should tell friends who think badly of the company.
Taken together, the questions and answers convey how deeply recent events have rattled the company. Read them all here .
You're currently viewing the Google AMP version of this article. For the audio experience, click here.July should have been a moment of relief for Facebook. The company accepted a $5 billion fine from the Federal Trade Commission over privacy issues, after having essentially set the terms of the agreement itself. It settled a case with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which alleged that it had misled investors about the risks of user data being mishandled, for a relatively paltry $100 million. And Facebook reported stellar quarterly earnings on July 24th, beating investor expectations and sending its stock price up.
But inside the company, the mood remained anxious. Several 2020 presidential candidates, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), had called for Facebook to be broken up. The introduction of Libra, a Facebook-created cryptocurrency, had run into strong resistance from regulators around the world who worried that it could destabilize the global financial system. Some employees had questions about Zuckerberg himself. Why had the CEO declined multiple requests to appear at government hearings in Europe, harming Facebook's reputation? Interns worried about Facebook's increasingly dim reputation among their peers.
These questions were raised at two open meetings with employees in July. The Verge obtained two hours of audio from these meetings, which include extended question-and-answer sessions between Zuckerberg and his employees. In language that is often more candid than he typically uses in his public comments, Zuckerberg sought to rally the company against Facebook's competitors, critics, and the US government.
He predicts that Facebook will sue the government to prevent the company from being broken up, calling it an ''existential'' moment for Facebook, but he acknowledged that it would ''still suck.'' Answering a question about Warren's proposal to make Facebook spin off Instagram and WhatsApp, Zuckerberg said:
You have someone like Elizabeth Warren thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies '... I mean, if she gets elected president then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. And does that still suck for us? Yeah. I mean, I don't want to have a major lawsuit against our own government. I mean, that's not the position that you want to be in when you're, you know, I mean '... It's like, we care about our country, and want to work with our government and do good things. But look, at the end of the day, if someone's going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and fight.
He also said that Facebook's size is the only reason it can effectively fight election interference, drawing a negative comparison to its onetime rival, Twitter. ''It's why Twitter can't do as good of a job as we can,'' Zuckerberg said. ''I mean, they face, qualitatively, the same types of issues. But they can't put in the investment. Our investment on safety is bigger than the whole revenue of their company.''
Zuckerberg sounded earnest and genial throughout the Q&A sessions. He joked repeatedly about how he would have been fired several times over the years if he had not negotiated for total control over the company, drawing laughter from his employees.
The CEO also spoke earnestly about challenges the company faces, whether it's about Facebook's unusually large amount of downtime this year or what obligations the company has for its 30,000 contracted content moderators. (Asked about The Verge's stories this year on content moderation, Zuckerberg dismissed them as ''a little overdramatic.'' ''With a population of 30,000 people, there's going to be a distribution of experiences that people have,'' Zuckerberg said.)
Elsewhere in the conversations, Zuckerberg presented a plan for halting the global advance of its latest competitor, ByteDance's video app TikTok. The company introduced a clone named Lasso and released it in Mexico '-- where TikTok has yet to make inroads '-- in an attempt to perfect the product before rolling it out elsewhere.
While many of the issues discussed during the meetings are serious, Zuckerberg also sought to lighten the mood. When one person asked whether Facebook would ever use its brain-computer interface technology for ad-targeting purposes, Zuckerberg mused about the challenges of building a brain-computer interface using invasive surgery techniques.
''You think Libra is hard to launch,'' Zuckerberg quipped. He imagined what the headlines would say: ''Facebook wants to perform brain surgery.''
''I don't want to see the congressional hearings on that one,'' he said, as the room broke into laughter.
VIDEO - 7: Bret Easton Ellis: The Dark Laureate of Generation X - The Portal
Tue, 01 Oct 2019 00:28
Monday 30 September 2019
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VIDEO - Two years after the Vegas shooting, one Austin musician talks about his experience | KXAN.com
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 23:44
AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- Tuesday marks the two year anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting that left 58 people dead and hundreds more wounded at a music festival.
One Texas musician, who was there that fateful day, sat down with KXAN to talk about his experience and his road to recovery.
Carlos Sosa is a Texas musician who is best known for accompanying musicians like Maroon Five, Kelly Clarkson and Jason Mraz. He had just finished playing on-stage with the Josh Abbott Band when the bullets started flying.
''I was backstage. We had just finished and we '-- Jason Aldean was about to go on. So the first about hundred bullets were within about 5 feet from me, yeah,'' said Sosa.
After the event, Sosa suffered from PTSD. He received help from the SIMS Foundation who put him through therapy to help get him back on his feet.
The SIMS Foundation, located in Austin, focuses on mental health and substance use recovery for musicians, the music industry and their families.
''SIMS put me straight through trauma therapy for a couple of months and really helped. I didn't miss a beat,'' said Sosa. ''I went back to playing festivals immediately.''
Sosa was joined in the interview by Turk Pipkin, an author, filmmaker and activist from Austin who worked with him to put together next week's all-day event to raise money for the SIMS Foundation.
''I just want to say sitting here with Carlos '-- for all of us '-- it's impossible to imagine what it would be like to be in that situation and we're really lucky in Austin to have an organization like SIMS,'' said Pipkin.
The event will be held on Monday, Oct. 7, at Arlyn Studios from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. It will feature performances from Sosa and other Austin artists. Tickets can be purchased at the SIMS Foundation website here.
VIDEO - "She's Running!" Steve Bannon Drops a Bomb, Tells FBN's Trish Regan Hillary Clinton Is Running (VIDEO)
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 23:25
''She's Running!'' Steve Bannon Drops a Bomb, Tells FBN's Trish Regan Hillary Clinton Is Running (VIDEO) by Jim Hoft September 30, 2019Former Chief Strategist for President Trump, Steve Bannon, joined Trish Regan on FOX Business Network on Monday night to discuss the latest Democrat coup attempt against Donald Trump.
Steve told Trish Regan, ''They've been hellbent on this since 2:30 AM on November 9, 2016. They still fail to see the reason they lost the election is the upper Midwest. Donald Trump reached out to working class people, the manufacturing jobs were gone, their lifestyles changed, the opioids are there. Hillary Clinton was too busy to do that. They've never been able to admit this.
Steve said the national security apparatus has failed the United States and President Trump saw this. That's part of the reason that they hate him.
Trump encouraged the Trump administration to slow the process down. There are many alternatives to slow this thing down. Bannon warned Democrats if they vote to impeach the president when all of the information on the Democrat scandals is released then they have signed their death warrant.
Steve also predicted that Hillary Clinton is running in 2020, telling Trish Regan, ''I even think Hillary Clinton or Bloomberg or some centrist comes in here'... She's running. She's just trying to decide how to fit her way in.''
TGP's Cassandra Fairbanks reported on this last week.
Please, be true!
Via Trish Regan Primetime.
VIDEO - 'We hate to do this, but Trump isn't telling the truth': Watch Nicolle Wallace cut away from Trump presser
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 19:25
During President Trump's news conference, Nicolle Wallace cut away from Trump's audio saying: "We hate to do this, really. But the president isn't telling the truth." Sept. 25, 2019
VIDEO - Trump's full U.N. speech at the 2019 United Nations General Assembly - POLITICO
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 17:10
VIDEO - Full Speech: Trump at the UN general assembly - BBC News - YouTube
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VIDEO - (2) An Inconvenient Truth (2006) Official Trailer #1 - Al Gore Movie HD - YouTube
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VIDEO - Prof. Tim Ball provides a comprehensive overview of the eugenic origins of CO2 alarmism - YouTube
Mon, 30 Sep 2019 11:21


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All Clips

NBC twists words to make a point -snakes and spikes.m4a
Romney and McCain advisor Mike Murphy Drops a Bomb on MSNBC In a SECRET VOTE 30 Republican Senators Would Impeach Trump.mp3
Trump - shifty schiff couldn't carry Pompeo's jockstrap.mp3
Trump are you talking to me ISO.mp3
Trump calls out Fake News Media.m4a
CNN touts 5 white dem women [The Bad Asses] as those respinsible for Trump impeachment BYE BYE SQUAD.mp3
Hillary on Colbert Cackling Impeachment Inquiry Is Exactly What Should Be Done.mp3
Hillary swoops onto Rachel - Why must we support Ukraine RUSSIA of course.mp3
Kamala Harris - Pres Trump's Twitter account should be suspended - HER WORDS.mp3
M5M impeachment compilae 2016-2019.mp3
Maxine Waters Doubles Down On Unhinged Tweet - He Really Should Be Punished - SOlitary Confinement.mp3
MSNBC Pundits Fear Heavily Armed Trump Supporters Will Invade DC.mp3
Bannon says Hillary is running.mp3
Zuckerberg 'leaked audio' is likely set-up to get Warren in as she will protect FaceBag.mp3
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel is cheered as she repeats the PM's pledge to introduce an Australian-style points-based immigration system.mp3
Speaker John Bercow Denies Eating a Kangaroo's Testicle.mp3
Are you talkin to me - Trump calls out Fake News Media.m4a
cbs adopts lashing out meme.mp3
el mencho I CBS.mp3
el mencho II CBS.mp3
electric cars in china.mp3
end of the Fijaker in Austria DW.mp3
fact or fake Berlin time.mp3
fact or fake EU anf GM salmon.mp3
fact or fake sweden vaccibations f24.mp3
Guyger sentencing Cop found guilty texts.mp3
HIllary on View Four.mp3
HIllary on View ONE.mp3
HIllary on View Three blame game.mp3
HIllary on View TWO good point.mp3
Holly Williams in ISIS prison.mp3
long ABC report on Hunter Biden.mp3
Mississiooi says you can shoot anyone if DB.mp3
net neutrality judgement DN.mp3
netanyahu could be arreted DN.mp3
perus report weird.mp3
sanders CBS stent.mp3
trump wants to shoot migrants.mp3
Woman in colorado versus beto.mp3
zuck vs warren DN.mp3
amy good man lash out instance.mp3
Ancestry DNA new pitch to Social Justice Warriors.m4a
anniversary of Khashoggi kicker DN.mp3
Biden at CFR bragging about pusing Ukraine around.mp3
BONUS A Nicole wallace Stepping over.mp3
BONUS weird ISO.mp3
Trump 2019 UNGA speech.mp3
Nicole Wallace MSNBC interrupts Trump UNGA speech FOR A REASON.mp3
Director Chris Morris discusses his new film The Day Shall Come - FBI six week cycle [four lions was previous film].mp3
Austin Mayor Adler replies to Abbott's threats.mp3
Texas Govenour Greg Abbott sends threatening letter to Mayor Adler.mp3
Austin Mayor Adler -2- Housing works this we know NEED MORE MONEY.mp3
Another Native Ad from Tucker - Bidding for cattlemen's lobby on red meat TELL IS CATTLE TERM.mp3
CNBC Anchor Ron Insana Says Building 7 a Controlled Implosion.mp3
  • 0:00
    kick him off Twitter Adam Curry Jhansi
  • 0:03
    Devorah nation media assassination
  • 0:08
    episode 1178 this is no agenda
  • 0:13
    broadcasting in the morning everybody
  • 0:21
    I'm Adam curry and from northern Silicon
  • 0:23
    Valley where apparently it's still rush
  • 0:25
    hour and it remains so until about 11:00
  • 0:28
    before you want to know about a real
  • 0:35
    rush hour go over to the Netherlands see
  • 0:37
    what see see what's going on there the
  • 0:39
    other day what oh you didn't see the
  • 0:41
    farmer protests no they've gotten a big
  • 0:44
    clue from the French even better though
  • 0:47
    so the the European Union decided that
  • 0:52
    the Netherlands has exceeded its
  • 0:54
    nitrogen quantity they're allowed to use
  • 1:01
    and by the way the Netherlands I think
  • 1:04
    has the same quantity limits as Germany
  • 1:09
    and other countries much larger than
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    them and so they said but it's done you
  • 1:16
    can't use any more nitrogen for the rest
  • 1:18
    of the year it's all done now maybe we
  • 1:21
    should understand how important nitrogen
  • 1:23
    is in farming
  • 1:26
    for that we turn to our resident farmer
  • 1:29
    John Dvorak
  • 1:31
    yeah nitrogen is one of the main
  • 1:33
    components of all fertilizers and in
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    fact it's the nitrogen compound that
  • 1:38
    means the most and when you buy some
  • 1:40
    fertilizer you sometimes see three
  • 1:41
    numbers on there which is like something
  • 1:43
    like 16 5 and 6 or 16 to max I think for
  • 1:47
    nitrogen and they referred to the levels
  • 1:50
    of the different nutrients but the most
  • 1:51
    important one is nitrogen mhm
  • 1:53
    and I once had a bag gallon I don't have
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    it anymore
  • 1:58
    I probably would be arrested because
  • 2:01
    when I was working as an air pollution
  • 2:03
    inspector I worked at the fertile I've
  • 2:04
    also inspected a fertilizer plant and so
  • 2:09
    they gave me a bag of a straight-up
  • 2:13
    ammonium nitrate whoo you mix that with
  • 2:15
    water dip some paper in there and you
  • 2:17
    got flash paper you could do a lot with
  • 2:19
    it yeah I don't know about what you just
  • 2:22
    said but ammonium Knight
  • 2:24
    ammonium nitrate is a it could be used
  • 2:29
    to make explosives and Pho bombs are one
  • 2:32
    of the most easy to make which is
  • 2:34
    ammonium nitrate and fertilizer
  • 2:36
    I'm sorry Ramon yym nitrate and fuel oil
  • 2:38
    you mix ammonium nitrate with some just
  • 2:41
    cheap oil and put it in a I'm not gonna
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    describe its makeable and so I had this
  • 2:52
    big bag of ammonium nitrate in the I
  • 2:54
    think it was I think the numbers on it
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    was 1600 I had nothing else in it it was
  • 2:59
    just pure ammonium nitrate and
  • 3:02
    unfortunately the seller flooded one day
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    and the bowl the bag got wet and it
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    turned to one solid crystal ammonium
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    nitrate oh I mean you could chip away at
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    it if you wanted to when I was Andy
  • 3:14
    product when I was growing anyway I was
  • 3:16
    by the way just to go over the story I
  • 3:18
    was told that you take just the pure
  • 3:20
    straight stuff and then you can go to
  • 3:22
    somebody like a big giant lawn that