1186: Bag Daddy

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 48m
October 31st, 2019
Share at 0:00

Executive Producers: John Patrick, Dame Anonymous Lesbian

Associate Executive Producers: Jonathan Sirski, John Logan, Baroness Monica, Richard Brodowski, Steven Schnuelle

Cover Artist: Comic Strip Blogger

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
1:27
Adam's Logitech Mouse
Woodstock
4:37
Impeachment
Woodstock
10:28
Barack Obama on Woke Culture
Woodstock
14:20
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Woodstock
32:32
Hillary Clinton
Woodstock
34:19
2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Tom Steyer
Woodstock
35:09
Twitter Bans All Political Advertisement From Its Platform
Woodstock
37:54
Brexit
Woodstock
42:52
Builders Protest in The Netherlands
Woodstock
45:07
Lawsuit Against German Government Over Its Failure to Meet Climate Protection Targets
Woodstock
49:18
No Agenda Cartoons
Woodstock
55:48
Adam Shoutout on The Joe Rogan Experience
Woodstock
1:01:38
Credits
Woodstock
1:18:07
No Agenda Social
Woodstock
1:20:55
Amazing Polly on Impossible Foods
Woodstock
1:27:07
Producer Note: PG&E's Disaster Relief
Woodstock
1:40:41
California Wildfires
Woodstock
1:48:23
Vape Wars
Woodstock
1:55:51
Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri Resigns After Nationwide Protests
Woodstock
2:01:43
Missing Letters
Woodstock
2:03:56
Gender-neutral Podcasting
Woodstock
2:07:30
Donations
Woodstock
2:20:44
Birthdays
Woodstock
2:21:20
Meetups
Woodstock
2:24:12
Austin's Homelessness Crisis
Woodstock
2:35:18
Netflix Starts Testing Playback with Variable Speeds
Woodstock
2:37:39
Google Rumored to Acquire Fitbit
Woodstock
2:38:03
Elementary School in Illinois Ends Halloween Celebrations
Woodstock
2:42:03
End of Show
Woodstock
Suggest a new chapter
Baghdadi
Washington Post gets mercilessly mocked after posting al-Baghdadi obituary with glowing headline - TheBlaze
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 20:34
The Washington Post was mocked Sunday after posting an obituary for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi with a glowing headline describing the terrorist '-- known for unimaginable violence, including systematic rape and murder '-- as an "austere religious scholar."
When the Post first published its story, the newspaper described al-Baghdadi as the "Islamic State's terrorist-in-Chief." However, for unknown reasons, the Post later changed the headline to describe al-Baghdadi as an "austere religious scholar," giving special emphasis to his academic career.
"The man who would become the founding leader of the world's most brutal terrorist group spent his early adult years as an obscure academic, aiming for a quiet life as a professor of Islamic law," the Post wrote.
"And yet, despite the group's extremist views and vicious tactics, Mr. Baghdadi maintained a canny pragmatism as leader," the Post also said of al-Baghdadi.
The newspaper, however, conceded that al-Baghdadi oversaw the "shocking brutality" of ISIS.
What was the reaction?The Post was widely mocked Sunday after the headline change circulated on social media.
After the backlash, Post editors gave the story its third headline iteration, "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, extremist leader of Islamic State, dies at 48."
However, the story's opening paragraph still described al-Baghdadi as "an austere religious scholar with wire-frame glasses and no known aptitude for fighting and killing."
'Disposal complete': ISIS chief al-Baghdadi buried at sea, like bin Laden, but photo & video proof remains classified '' Pentagon '-- RT World News
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 09:27
The US got rid of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's body mere hours after a swift DNA test confirmed the terrorist's identity, Pentagon officials said, adding that all evidence of the raid and his burial at sea remains classified.
Following the US special forces operation in northwestern Syria, in which Washington claims al-Baghdadi was eliminated, the mutilated body was immediately taken ''to a secure facility to confirm his identity with forensic DNA testing,'' Army General Mike Milley, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a news briefing.
The disposal of his remains has been done and is complete and was handled appropriately.
Just like al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group chief was reportedly given a proper burial at sea in accordance with Islamic tradition, with all Muslim religious rites afforded to him. While the raid and subsequent processes of identification and body 'disposal' were documented in numerous photos and videos, they are yet to go through a ''declassification process,'' according to the US general.
We are not prepared at the time to release those.
Also on rt.com 'All we have are Trump's words': UN isn't confirming elimination of IS chief al-Baghdadi Even though Donald Trump said earlier he was considering making ''certain parts'' of the video from the raid available to the public '' presumably with al-Baghdadi ''was whimpering, screaming, and crying'' as he met his end '' it remains unclear how much of footage would see the light, if any.
The Obama administration never publicly released any video footage of the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, or photos of his body, claiming they could pose a ''national security risk.''
Washington's public announcement that al-Baghdadi had finally been neutralized, this time for real, sounded ''confident,'' but has yet to be backed up by hard evidence, the UN Monitoring Team on terrorist groups said previously. Meanwhile, Russia's Defense Ministry questioned at least parts of the story, noting that despite Trump's claims, it never opened up the Syrian air space under its control to US jets, and didn't record any US coalition airstrikes in the area.
Also on rt.com Where is the proof? We've been here before, Al Baghdadi's been reported dead or fatally injured many times Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
ISIS Already Has a New Leader, But Baghdadi May Not Have Been Running the Group Anyway
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 23:05
Back-to-back U.S. operations Saturday and Sunday have resulted in the deaths of Islamic State militant group (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and spokesperson Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir in Syria, but the organization has already designated a successor, Newsweek has learned.
Abdullah Qardash, sometimes spelled Karshesh and also known as Hajji Abdullah al-Afari, was said to have been nominated by Baghdadi in August to run the group's "Muslim affairs" in a widely-circulated statement attributed to ISIS' official Amaq news outlet, but never publicly endorsed by the group. Though little is known about the former Iraqi military officer who once served under late leader Saddam Hussein, one regional intelligence official asking not to be identified by name or nation told Newsweek that Qardash would have taken over Baghdadi's role'--though it had lost much of its significance by the time of his demise.
Baghdadi, who died after detonating a suicide vest following a Delta Team operation first reported by Newsweek, built ISIS' self-styled caliphate out of Al-Qaeda's Iraqi branch, but the official said that the influential hard-line cleric's role had become largely symbolic.
"Baghdadi was a figurehead. He was not involved in operations or day-to-day," the official told Newsweek. "All Baghdadi did was say yes or no'--no planning."
Syrian children walk past a damaged van at the site of helicopter gunfire linked to the U.S. raid that saw the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and a number of his affiliates, in the Syrian village of Barisha in the Idlib province along the border with Turkey, October 27. Ibrahim YASOUF/AFP/Getty ImagesDetails are still emerging as to what transpired at Baghdadi's compound in Barisha village and why the ISIS chief was hiding out deep in territory more commonly associated with rival jihadi group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, led by former Baghdadi associate Abu Mohammed al-Jolani, who went on to built Al-Qaeda's Syria branch, Nusra Front. Both men's forces, however, have faced consecutive defeats, severely limiting their freedom of movement across two nations they played key roles in destabilizing.
The pair had taken advantage of the unrest resulting from the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq that overthrew Hussein to establish a powerful militant network. Jolani ultimately refused to merge his Syrian group with Baghdadi's as the latter spread there, capitalizing on a civil war that erupted in 2011 as the U.S., Turkey and other regional powers backed a rebel and jihadi uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
As ISIS came to dominate both in Iraq and Syria, however, the U.S. gathered an international coalition in 2014 to begin bombing the group in both countries. Iran also mobilized its own forces, along with allied regional militias, to back the Iraqi and Syrian governments against militant advances.
By 2015, Russia entered the fight in Syria and the U.S. had gradually begun to ditch the increasingly Islamist opposition in favor of a third faction, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. The Syrian government and Syrian Democratic Forces then waged rival campaigns to defeat ISIS, but Baghdadi continued to elude local and international powers.
While President Donald Trump was the first world leader to explicitly claim the death of Baghdadi, various U.S. and international officials have offered conflicting reports as to his fate and whereabouts in recent years, many times placing him in the Jazeera region in northeastern Syria and eastern Iraq and claiming he had been left unable to lead ISIS due to wounds sustained in an airstrike.
When Baghdadi was seen in a video released in April'--his first appearance since making his sole public speech at Mosul's Grand al-Nuri Mosque'--there were no visible signs of injury. Even with his demise, however, his group's infamous capacity to both order and inspire global bloodshed may not be entirely degraded.
"They will hit Syria, the chaos of Iraq, Europe and definitely the United States," the regional official told Newsweek. You have a hit a sleeping giant, it will wake up and cause unforeseeable chaos and wreak havoc on the Western civilians."
One former U.S. intelligence official, however, argued that Baghdadi's death may have some tangible effect on the group's ability to operate, telling Newsweek that "if he is signing off on operations and strategy via letter and courier then he has an impact."
"The leader matters," the former official said. "Candidly, we go after senior leaders, because they make decisions."
Trump has ordered the withdrawal of U.S. forces from northeastern Syria, leading the Syrian Democratic Forces to strike a deal with the Syrian government, whose ally Russia, has reached an agreement to halt a Turkish-led attack on Kurdish fighters near the border. The president has, however, deployed additional U.S. troops to secure oil fields in eastern Syria.
This story has been updated to reflect that the veracity of the Amaq report announcing Abdullah Qardash's position has been disputed.
Tom O'Connor is a staff writer focusing on foreign conflicts and politics. Prior to joining Newsweek, he formerly reported for the International Business Times and the New York Post. You can follow him on twitter at @ShaolinTom
Naveed Jamali is a Newsweek columnist and a former FBI double agent. He is the author of "How to Catch a Russian Spy." You can follow him on Twitter at @NaveedAJamali
Obama White House Photographer Suggests Trump Situation Room Photo of Unfolding al-Baghdadi Raid Was Staged
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 23:13
The chief official White House photographer for former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama suggested the Trump administration was posing for Saturday's stern-faced Situation Room picture in the wake of a U.S. military raid that resulted in the death of a major ISIS figurehead.
Pete Souza, the former director of the White House Photography Office, called the timestamp of the Situation Room picture into question Sunday morning. Souza inferred that it's very unlikely President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and several top administration officials and generals were actively monitoring the raid on ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's compound when the photograph was taken Saturday in Washington.
Souza took the famous photograph of Obama and a shocked then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton intently watching the Seal Team 6 raid on the Abbottabad compound that killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in 2011.
The raid, as reported, took place at 3:30PM Washington time. The photo, as shown in the camera IPTC data, was taken at "17:05:24". https://t.co/XV0MFfFiTt
'-- Pete Souza (@PeteSouza) October 27, 2019"The raid, as reported, took place at 3:30PM Washington time. The photo, as shown in the camera IPTC data, was taken at '17:05:24,'" Souza remarked on Twitter Sunday. He was replying to a tweet from White House Director of Social Media and Assistant to the President, Dan Scavino Jr.
The Situation Room picture was taken Saturday by Chief Official White House Photographer for President Donald Trump, Shealah Craighead, former official photographer for First Lady Laura Bush.
The al-Baghdadi Situation Room photo Saturday showed Trump; Pence; National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien; Secretary of Defense Mark Esper; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army General Mark A. Milley; and Brig. Gen. Marcus Evans, Deputy Director for Special Operations on the Joint Staff. All six men are shown in stiff, postured stances, giving squinted glares toward the camera.
The Trump photo is far more symmetrical and organized than the Obama White House Situation Room picture taken during the bin Laden compound raid in 2011. Clinton can be seen holding her mouth in shock and Defense Secretary Robert Gates is crossing his arms in front of a jumble of administration officials and generals who are standing behind them.
Another Twitter user said it didn't seem unreasonable that Trump and the generals "were still there 2 hours later waiting for the crew to return to the base," when the picture was taken. "Sure, it's possible," Souza replied.
In response to another now-deleted tweet, Souza continued acknowledging, that at the very least, it is possible the raid was still ongoing when Trump was photographed Saturday. "It's entirely possible that the raid was still going on at 5:05 p.m. Before drawing definite conclusions about the photo, reporters need to nail down the actual timeline of the raid."
Daily Kos Trending News Manager Jennifer Hayden remarked that a Trump golf outing tracker showed the president was golfing at 3:33 p.m. Washington time, as the raid was happening.
Many of Trump's most frequent supporters took to social media to gloat about the successful U.S. special operations mission which left al-Baghdadi dead as a result of suicide. Breitbart News blared the headline, "Iconic Photo: Trump Game Face Epic!"
An exhibition set to open November 15 at the 9/11 Museum in New York City, Revealed: The Hunt for Bin Laden, uses many of Souza's photographs to help illustrate the 10-year search for the mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
In this handout photo provided by the White House, President Donald Trump is joined by Vice President Mike Pence (2nd L), National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien (L), Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (2nd R) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army General Mark Milley in the Situation Room of the White House on October 26 in Washington, D.C. Shealah Craighead/The White House/GettyOn Sunday afternoon, Souza again clarified it's "definitely possible the photo was taken during the raid," noting that Trump's own timeframe of "around 5 p.m." was relatively vague. Critics continued referring to several timelines which showed he was potentially golfing at the time of the raid.
During his news conference announcing Baghdadi's death Sunday morning, Trump told reporters he teased the announcement on Twitter hours before in order to make sure reporters weren't golfing or "otherwise indisposed" at the time of his address.
U.S. disposes of Baghdadi remains, will not release video: military - Reuters
Tue, 29 Oct 2019 12:32
FILE PHOTO: A bearded man with Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's appearance speaks in this screen grab taken from video released on April 29, 2019. Islamic State Group/Al Furqan Media Network/Reuters TV via REUTERS/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. authorities have disposed of the remains of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and have no plans to release photos or videos of his death at this time, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Mike Milley, said on Monday.
Al-Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest to kill himself as U.S. forces closed in on him, President Donald Trump said on Sunday. ''The disposal of his remains has been done and is complete and was handled appropriately,'' Milley told reporters at a Pentagon briefing.
Reporting by Phil Stewart and Susan Heavey; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Jonathan Oatis
(20) Greg Rubini on Twitter: "among the documents found in the Al Baghdadi ISIS compound, there are Comms from the US State Dept, from 2010-2011. (but that is [CLASSIFIED], so I can't tell you) guess who was at the State Dept in 2010-2011?" / Twitter
Tue, 29 Oct 2019 17:53
Welcome home! This timeline is where you'll spend most of your time, getting instant updates about what matters to you.
Tweets not working for you? Hover over the profile pic and click the Following button to unfollow any account.
Say a lot with a little When you see a Tweet you love, tap the heart '-- it lets the person who wrote it know you shared the love.
Spread the word The fastest way to share someone else's Tweet with your followers is with a Retweet. Tap the icon to send it instantly.
Join the conversation Add your thoughts about any Tweet with a Reply. Find a topic you're passionate about, and jump right in.
Learn the latest Get instant insight into what people are talking about now.
Get more of what you love Follow more accounts to get instant updates about topics you care about.
Find what's happening See the latest conversations about any topic instantly.
Never miss a Moment Catch up instantly on the best stories happening as they unfold.
Lebanon
US Official Meets in Lebanon Over Anti-Hezbollah Sanctions | Voice of America - English
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 09:00
BEIRUT - A senior United States Treasury official was visiting Beirut on Monday, where he's explaining the motives behind recent U.S. sanctions targeting Lebanon's Iranian-backed Hezbollah group, Lebanon's central bank governor said.
Treasury Department Assistant Secretary Marshall Billingslea met with the prime minister and the speaker of parliament, as well as officials from the Association of Banks in Lebanon and the central bank governor.
Hezbollah holds three cabinet seats, and along with its allies has more power than ever in the parliament and government. It is also among the most effective armed groups in the region, extending Iran's influence to Israel's doorstep. Domestically, the group's power exceeds that of the Lebanese armed forces.
Lebanon's Central Bank chief Riad Salameh played down reports in local media that the U.S. will impose further sanctions on the country's dollar-strapped banking system. He said Billingslea "is not coming here to squeeze Lebanon.''
A U.S. embassy statement said Billingslea "will encourage Lebanon to take the necessary steps to maintain distance from Hezbollah and other malign actors attempting to destabilize Lebanon and its institutions.''
Last month, the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned Jammal Trust Bank and added it to its list of global terrorist organizations. The bank denied U.S. charges about "knowingly facilitating banking activities'' for Hezbollah militants.
The bank last week was forced to request self-liquidation and the move was accepted by the central bank governor.
The U.S. has been imposing sanctions on Hezbollah for years, as Washington considers the group a terrorist organization. Such steps have increased in recent months as the Trump administration is using ``maximum pressure'' against Iran, Hezbollah's main backer.
In July, the Treasury Department targeted a Hezbollah security official and two members of Lebanon's parliament, saying they are suspected of using their positions to further the aims of the militant group and "bolster Iran's malign activities." It was the first time Washington targeted Hezbollah legislators.
Hezbollah, whose Arabic name translates as "Party of God," was established by Iran's Revolutionary Guard months after Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982.
Iran criticises foreign interference in Lebanon and Iraq, calls for calm - Reuters
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 08:58
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran on Wednesday accused the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel of stoking unrest in Lebanon and Iraq, and called for calm in both countries.
''Our advice has always been to call for peace and (stopping) interference by foreign forces in these countries,'' President Hassan Rouhani's chief of staff Mahmoud Vaezi was quoted as saying by state media.
The United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel were riding a wave of popular demands and providing those forces with financial support, he added.
Reporting by Dubai newsroom; editing by John Stonestreet
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
25 for 45
Read the full text of the House resolution on Trump impeachment process
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 09:25
Impeachment Inquiry The House Intelligence Committee will continue to take the lead.
Breaking News EmailsGet breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBEOct. 29, 2019, 7:21 PM UTC
By NBC News
The House is expected to vote Thursday on a resolution detailing the procedure for moving forward with the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Read the full text of the resolution, released Tuesday, below.
What to Know About the House Vote on Trump Impeachment Rules - The New York Times
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 06:05
Politics | What to Know About the House Vote on Trump Impeachment Rules The House will vote on a resolution Thursday to guide the impeachment process as it heads into a more public phase.
Image The chairman of the House Committee on Rules, Representative Jim McGovern, joined by Representatives Alcee Hastings and Norma Torres, during the markup session for the impeachment resolution. Credit... Erin Schaff/The New York Times What the vote is onThe vote is on a resolution that would set rules for the public phase of an impeachment inquiry that has so far been conducted exclusively behind closed doors. It would authorize the House Intelligence Committee '-- the panel that has been leading the investigation and conducting private depositions '-- to convene public hearings and produce a report that will guide the Judiciary Committee as it considers whether to draft articles of impeachment against President Trump.
The measure would also give the president rights in the Judiciary Committee, allowing his lawyers to participate in hearings and giving Republicans the chance to request subpoenas for witnesses and documents. But the White House says it still does not provide ''basic due process rights,'' and Republicans complain that their ability to issue subpoenas is limited. They would need the consent of Democrats, or a vote of a majority of members. That has been standard in previous modern impeachments. The majority has the final say over how the proceedings unfold.
What it all meansThe vote will be the first time the full House has gone on the record on the impeachment inquiry since Democrats announced last month that they were starting their investigation into Mr. Trump's dealings with Ukraine. And while it is not a formal vote to open impeachment proceedings, it is all but certain to be seen as a measure of approval or disapproval for the process.
Republicans have been demanding a formal vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry, as was done in the case of President Bill Clinton, who was impeached in the House but acquitted by the Senate, and President Richard M. Nixon, who resigned rather than face impeachment. The Constitution does not require an authorization vote, nor do House rules require it, and Democrats have repeatedly said an authorization vote is not necessary.
But Thursday's vote indicates that Democrats, once wary of holding a vote on the issue, have now united solidly behind the idea. They believe it adds an air of legitimacy to the inquiry and gives them practical tools they will need to effectively '-- and quickly '-- make their case to the public. It is also meant to call the bluff of Republicans who have been arguing for weeks that the process lacks legitimacy because the full House hasn't voted on it.
At the same time, there are risks for Democrats. A highly partisan vote could buttress Republican arguments that the inquiry is a purely political exercise aimed solely at overturning the 2016 election.
How to follow alongOur reporters are on Capitol Hill chronicling the vote and all of today's impeachment developments here. The New York Times will be tracking the vote live from start to finish, showing you who is voting how and analyzing the results.
Catch up on impeachment: What you need to knowMr. Trump repeatedly pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate people and issues of political concern to Mr. Trump, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Here's a timeline of events since January.
A C.I.A. officer who was once detailed to the White House filed a whistle-blower complaint on Mr. Trump's interactions with Mr. Zelensky. Read the complaint.
Video President Trump's personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden's son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower's complaint. What were their roles? We break it down. Credit Credit... Illustration by The New York Times
Power Up: A liberal fantasy no longer? Tom Steyer's Need to Impeach campaign comes full circle with House vote - The Washington Post
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 06:00
PowerPost Analysis Analysis Interpretation of the news based on evidence, including data, as well as anticipating how events might unfold based on past events
Good morning, winners. It me. And me. Happy Halloween -- have a very spooky day and don't forget to sign up. ðŸ‘>>🎃
2020 presidential candidate Tom Steyer. (Miguel Martinez/The Philadelphia Inquirer)
The CampaignONCE UPON A FAIRY TALE '...: When Tom Steyer launched an eight-figure television ad campaign to impeach President Trump in 2017, Democratic leaders urged the California businessman and megadonor to tone it down and spend his money elsewhere.
Now, almost exactly two years later, what was once derided as Steyer's liberal fantasy is coming true: House Democrats will cast their first vote today on an impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
And to Steyer, now a 2020 presidential candidate struggling to register in the polls as a relative latecomer to a crowded field, today's vote is an affirmation of his political instincts -- and his long-shot presidential bid based on the idea that the current White House occupant and his administration is corrupt.
While Steyer said in an interview with Power Up he'd never gloat to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi '-- one of the Need to Impeach campaign's most prominent critics '-- he is having an "I told you so" moment.
''I believe [Pelosi] ... repeatedly said what a mistake it was,'' Steyer told us, ''that it was dangerous'' for Democrats going into the 2018 election. Washington's political operatives and insiders, Steyer added, were ''worried that I didn't know what I was doing also because they thought we would destroy everything by doing 'Need to impeach.' Just saying.'' By the numbers: Instead, Steyer rattled off just how much of an impact his ad campaign boosted turnout in the midterms, claiming that 80 percent of those who had signed the public petition voted. He also boasted about the effect of his other advocacy group that organizes young people to vote, NextGen America. ''Young people turned out at record levels." And he says it'll have an impact beyond today's vote: "I'm a grassroots person '-- for us to have the kind of win we're going to have in 2020, we need grassroots. It's all turnout." A campaign boost?: Steyer acknowledged that the issue of impeachment is not exactly a priority for voters he's meeting on the campaign trail day in and day out. But during a brief stop at home yesterday to get ''some clean underwear and socks'' before heading to Iowa, Steyer told us that the impeachment milestone validates his credentials as an outsider willing to eschew Washington's consultant class and take on party leadership.
''People recognize that I was willing to stand up to the establishment,'' Steyer told Power Up of his push for Democrats to support impeaching Trump. ''And when I talk to people '-- and let me say: the more marginalized they are in our society, the more they appreciate it '... When I say I'm going to take on corruption, people realize that he is actually telling the truth.'' Steyer dismissed concerns that his money might be better spent on other Democratic priorities '-- such as congressional races or boosting youth voter registration '-- going into 2020 than on his personal presidential campaign. ''Look, equivalent to what we would have spent and what we have spent in the past in those areas,'' Steyer said about his continued investment in Need to Impeach and NextGen America.
Steyer has promised to still contribute $50 million through 2020 to ensure both organizations ''fulfill their missions,'' even though he stepped down from his leadership post. But his spending on his own campaign's digital and television ads dwarfs that of any other Democratic presidential candidate. As of this week, Steyer has dropped more than $35 million on ads in support of his candidacy, per CNN's David Wright and Chris Cillizza. And overall, Steyer ''has spent $47.6 million dollars of his own money in 84 days on his long shot presidential bid, according to FEC filings, making him one of the biggest self-funded presidential candidates in American history,'' Time Magazine's Charlotte Alter reports. All about the hearings: Steyer also denied that his campaign money would be better spent on ads to help Democrats refute ads that the GOP is pushing to discredit candidates and the impeachment inquiry, many of which contain baseless claims. The next best step to influence public opinion, Steyer said, is ''televised hearings '-- not intermediated but direct information.''
''This process is the restoration of democracy,'' Steyer told us. ''I mean people keep acting like [impeachment] is an inside the Beltway thing '-- I couldn't disagree more. This is a 50 state thing. This is the people of the U.S. getting to have our voice heard '... it's not what a bunch of people in D.C. think. It's what a bunch of people in Boise, and Portland and Tuscaloosa think.'' ABOUT TODAY'S VOTE: Lawmakers will be forced to go ''on record in support or opposition of the investigation and dictating the rules for its next phase,'' our colleagues John Hudson, Karoun Demirjian and Mike DeBonis reported. As Republicans and the White House continue to insist the impeachment inquiry is illegitimate and rail against process, Pelosi is holding the vote to ''affirm'' the probe now in its sixth week and ''grant due process to the president and his attorney, countering a repeated criticism by Trump that he has been treated unfairly,'' per John, Karoun and Mike.
''We are taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives,'' Pelosi said in a letter to Democrats. ''Nobody is above the law.'' (The White House said earlier this month that the lack of a formal House vote was grounds not to cooperate in the inquiry, although neither the Constitution nor House rules require such a vote, my colleagues note.)
Moderates have come around: When Pelosi first polled her caucus about holding a formal floor vote on the inquiry earlier in October, her moderate colleagues resisted the idea. By yesterday morning, those same members told Pelosi in a closed-door meeting that a formal floor vote was okay by them: ''The striking turnabout reflects Democrats' growing confidence that the public is behind their fact-finding mission into Mr. Trump's dealing with Ukraine. It comes after weeks of bombshell revelations confirmed an anonymous whistleblower's assertion that Mr. Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine as part of a pressure campaign to enlist the country to smear his political rivals,'' the New York Times's Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports.
''I've said from the beginning that anything that makes this process as fair and as transparent as possible is good for me and good for the voters,'' Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), who flipped a GOP seat, told Stolberg.
You are reading the Power Up newsletter.
Not a regular subscriber?
Then-national security advisor John Bolton listens to President Donald Trump in the Oval Office in June. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
The InvestigationsBOLTON IS ASKED TO TESTIFY: Democratic lawmakers are now reaching into the top ranks of Trump's White House for witnesses in their impeachment inquiry by calling former national security adviser John Bolton, our colleagues Elise Viebeck, Karoun Demirjian and Rachael Bade report.
Why Bolton: He ''could offer direct testimony about the president's alleged efforts to pressure Ukraine for dirt on political rivals in exchange for U.S. military aid and a meeting with the president,'' our colleagues write. If you recall, Bolton was so disturbed by efforts to get Ukraine to open investigation into Trump's political rivals he called it an illicit ''drug deal.'' One of Bolton's deputies is scheduled to testify today: Timothy Morrison, who we just found out will be leaving his post as the top Russia official on the National Security Council, ''would be one of the highest-ranking White House officials to provide evidence in the probe '-- could provide crucial corroboration of an alleged quid pro quo, in which other witnesses have suggested Trump held back promised military aid to Ukraine until its leaders committed to launch investigations that could help Trump politically,'' our colleagues write. MORE ON THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY: We now know who locked down the July 25 call transcript: White House lawyer John Eisenberg decided shortly after Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to put the rough transcript on a server ''normally reserved for code-word-level ­intelligence programs and top-secret sources and methods,'' our colleagues Carol D. Leonnig, Tom Hamburger and Greg Miller reported last night.
What happened: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine adviser at the White House, listened in on Trump's call and was so disturbed by it that he immediately rushed to Eisenberg, who handles national security issues, two people familiar with Vindman's account to lawmakers this week told our colleagues. Eisenberg's decision ''is at odds with long-standing White House protocol: moving a transcript of the call to a highly classified server and restricting access to it.'' Concerns were well-known by then: ''By the time Vindman came to him in late July, Eisenberg was already familiar with concerns among White House officials about the administration's attempts to pressure Ukraine for political purposes,'' our colleagues write. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Bill Taylor is reportedly up to return for a public hearing: The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine offered a detailed deposition behind closed doors, but CNN's Kylie Atwood, Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb report that Taylor would return to testify publicly if he is asked to do so.
Trump's Russia envoy pick distances himself: John Sullivan, the deputy secretary of state, said he didn't think a president demanding investigations into domestic political opponents ''would be in accord with our values,'' the New York Times's Catie Edmondson reports. Senate Democrats were largely successful in turning Sullivan's confirmation hearing to be the next Russia ambassador into a proxy battle over impeachment.
Sullivan also confirmed a smear campaign against Yovanovitch: ''While Mr. Sullivan did not reveal significant new information, he testified on camera, and became the highest ranking official to publicly affirm that former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch had served 'admirably and capably,'" the Times reports. ''He also went on the record with his belief that Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani helped to coordinate an effort to denigrate her.'' Vindman gets some big-name backers: Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, defended the Purple Heart recipient and Iraq War veteran just a day after Vindman testified privately to lawmakers. ''He is a professional, competent, patriotic, and loyal officer. He has made an extraordinary contribution to the security of our Nation in both peacetime & combat,'' Dunford told CNN's Barbara Starr. The Army also said it ''fully supported'' him, per Task & Purpose's Jeff Schogol and Haley Britzky.
Jack Dorsey, chief executive officer of Twitter Inc. (Cole Burston/Bloomberg)
Outside the BeltwayTWITTER TO BAN ALL POLITICAL ADS: Twitter "said it would ban all advertisements about political candidates, elections and hot-button policy issues such as abortion and immigration, a significant shift that comes in response to growing concerns that politicians are seizing on the vast reach of social media to deceive voters ahead of the 2020 election," our colleagues Tony Romm and Isaac Stanley-Becker report. The new rules will apply worldwide and be published by mid-November so they could take effect later in the month.
What a subtweet: CEO Jack Dorsey announced the decision via tweet just as Facebook was about to unveil its third-quarter earnings report. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckberg has defended his company's decision that "essentially allows politicians to lie in ads," our colleagues write. The reaction: "The change drew a mixed reception, with some critics highlighting that it would not affect what users can tweet and share on their own," our colleagues write.
From the left: "Teddy Goff, who served as President Obama's digital director in 2012 and as senior adviser to Hillary Clinton in 2016, said any update by Twitter that does not address the 'organic and algorithmic spread of hate speech and discrimination and dishonesty' is insufficient." Trump's campaign manager slammed the move: "Twitter just walked away from hundreds of millions of dollars of potential revenue, a very dumb decision for their stockholders," Brad Parscale said in a statement, adding in a claim that the move was designed to silence conservaties. But political ads are just not a key part of Twitter's bottom line: Political ad spending amounted to less than $3 million during the 2018 midterm elections, our colleagues write. "For example, Trump has run not a single ad on Twitter over the past seven days, while he's spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars on Facebook over the same period, according to the companies' archives."
Video of the Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi raid is displayed as U.S. Central Command Commander Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie speaks. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
At the PentagonGENERAL SAYS ISIS LIKELY TO ADJUST AFTER BAGHDADI'S DEATH: ''A high-risk raid last week that resulted in the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is expected to temporarily disrupt the group's activities, but the militants are likely to regroup and may attempt revenge attacks against the United States, a senior U.S. commander said,'' our colleague Missy Ryan reports.
Key quote: ''It will take some time to reestablish someone to lead the organization, and during that period of time, their actions may be a little bit disjointed,'' Gen. Kenneth ''Frank'' McKenzie Jr., who heads the U.S. Central Command, told reporters at the Pentagon. ''We don't see a bloodless future, because unfortunately this ideology is going to be out there.'' Footage of the raid is released for the first time: ''Grainy black-and-white video aired as McKenzie addressed reporters showed a team of Special Operations troops, who were drawn in part from the Army's secretive Delta Force, approaching a walled compound near the village of Barisha, in an area close to the Turkish border that is rife with assorted extremist groups,'' our colleague writes. (You can watch the footage here) No Pentagon officials have confirmed Trump's account of a ''crying'' Baghdadi: McKenzie '' said he could not confirm Trump's description of Baghdadi 'screaming, crying and whimpering' in the minutes before he detonated his vest,'' Politico's Wesley Morgan reports. ''He crawled into a hole with two small children and blew himself up,'' McKenzie said when asked about Trump's characterization. ''I'm not able to confirm anything else about his last seconds. I'm just not able to confirm that one way or another.'' Today in declassified dog news: A name, and... a White House visit?
Thank you Daily Wire. Very cute recreation, but the ''live'' version of Conan will be leaving the Middle East for the White House sometime next week! https://t.co/Z1UfhxsSpT
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2019 The PeopleTHE FIGHT IS FINISHED: "Yes, they did it again. The unbelievable, late-game-dancing, break-their-foes'-hearts Nationals did it again," our colleague Thomas Boswell writes from Houston of the Nats 6-2 Game 7 win over the once heavily-favored Houston Astros. "What is the word above 'miracle' in sports? Maybe, with the years, an amazing streak, weeks and weeks of defying odds and believing in one another will just come to be known as ''doing a Nationals.''
More from our colleague Barry Svrluga: "How to doubt a group that was 19-31 in May yet played the final game of the World Series? There was a wild-card victory in which they trailed in the eighth inning, a division series in which they needed to win the final two games, and the sixth game of this series, in which they trailed in the fifth," he writes. "So by Wednesday, we had learned what this team was about. There is no doubt. There is only hope." The reaction:
Zimmerman: "That's what we've done all year,'' said first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, the longest-tenured player. ''What a group of guys. It's unbelievable. Everything I could have imagined '-- and more.'' Rizzo: ''That's how this group plays,'' General Manager Mike Rizzo said. ''Even when things were bad, even when it seemed like there was no way out back in the spring, they were total pros. They never wavered. They had something special.'' Max Scherzer is in tears. He's crying. Nobody puts more into this than he does. And nobody deserves this more.
'-- Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) October 31, 2019 The view from baseball's capital: "When the fight was finished and the Nationals had wrapped up their first World Series title some 1,400 miles away in Houston, the District screamed. And cried. And bellowed into a rainy night," our colleague Rick Maese writes of the scene in Nats Park and around the District.
The parade is scheduled for Saturday starting at 2 p.m. (Details here) ALEXA PLAY ''WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS'' FT. MAD MAX AND CHILDISH BAMBINO#STAYINTHEFIGHT pic.twitter.com/aLaP4vU0sU
'-- Washington Nationals (@Nationals) October 31, 2019 A FALL CLASSIC TO REMEMBER: The Nats and Stephen Strasburg didn't just make history, they defied it at every turn.
No team in the World Series's 115-year history had ever won by just winning on the road. (Per our colleagues) But forget that, out of 1,420 total best-of-seven playoff series across MLB, NHL or NBA history the road team had never won the first six games, let alone seven. (Per Fox Sports) No team in MLB history had ever won three winner-take-all games in a single postseason. (Per ESPN) And no No.1 overall pick had ever won the World Series MVP. (Per ESPN) And a season for the ages: "And so ended the longest season in Washington baseball history '-- one that began on a chilly Thursday in late March, cratered in late May, caught fire in the summer months, tested hearts in September and careened through October like a wobble-wheeled wagon set free at the top of a steep hill. This Nationals season was a wild, screaming, impossibly long ride, one that carried them all the way to the doorstep of November," our colleague Dave Sheinin writes.
Anthony Rendon on the field minutes after winning the World Series: ''I want bourbon!'' pic.twitter.com/wJY5fXgDRw
'-- Dan Mullen (@DanMullen_ESPN) October 31, 2019
White House Ukraine Expert Sought to Correct Transcript of Trump Call - The New York Times
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 10:20
Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, who heard President Trump's July phone call with Ukraine's president and was alarmed, testified that he tried and failed to add key details to the rough transcript.
Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, arriving Tuesday on Capitol Hill to testify in the impeachment inquiry. Credit... Erin Schaff/The New York Times Published Oct. 29, 2019Updated Oct. 30, 2019, 11:05 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON '-- Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, told House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that the White House transcript of a July call between President Trump and Ukraine's president omitted crucial words and phrases, and that his attempts to include them failed, according to three people familiar with the testimony.
The omissions, Colonel Vindman said, included Mr. Trump's assertion that there were recordings of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. discussing Ukraine corruption, and an explicit mention by Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, of Burisma Holdings, the energy company whose board employed Mr. Biden's son Hunter.
Colonel Vindman, who appeared on Capitol Hill wearing his dark blue Army dress uniform and military medals, told House impeachment investigators that he tried to change the reconstructed transcript made by the White House staff to reflect the omissions. But while some of his edits appeared to have been successful, he said, those two corrections were not made.
Colonel Vindman did not testify to a motive behind the White House editing process. But his testimony is likely to drive investigators to ask further questions about how officials handled the call, including changes to the transcript and the decision to put it into the White House's most classified computer system '-- and whether those moves were meant to conceal the conversation's most controversial aspects.
The phrases do not fundamentally change lawmakers' understanding of the call, which was first reported by the C.I.A. whistle-blower whose complaint set off the impeachment inquiry. There are plenty of other examples of Mr. Trump referring to Ukraine-related conspiracy theories and asking for investigations of the Biden family. But Colonel Vindman's account offered a hint to solving a mystery surrounding the conversation: what Mr. Trump's aides left out of the transcript in places where ellipses indicated dropped words.
In hours of questioning on Tuesday by Democrats and Republicans, Colonel Vindman recounted his alarm at the July 25 call, saying he ''did not think it was proper'' for Mr. Trump to have asked Mr. Zelensky to investigate a political rival, and how White House officials struggled to deal with the fallout from a conversation he and others considered problematic.
His testimony about the reconstructed transcript, the aftermath of the call and a shadow foreign policy being run outside the National Security Council came as Democrats unveiled plans for a more public phase of the impeachment process. They plan to vote on Thursday to direct the Intelligence Committee to conduct public hearings and produce a report for the Judiciary Committee to guide its consideration of impeachment articles. The measure will also provide a mechanism for Republicans to request subpoenas for witnesses and give Mr. Trump's lawyers a substantive role in the Judiciary Committee's proceedings to mount a defense.
Some lawmakers indicated Colonel Vindman would make a good candidate to appear again at a public hearing next month.
It is not clear why some of Colonel Vindman's changes were not made, but the decision by a White House lawyer to quickly lock down the reconstructed transcript subverted the normal process of handling such documents, according to people familiar with the matter.
The note-takers and voice recognition software used during the July 25 call had missed Mr. Zelensky saying the word ''Burisma,'' according to people briefed on the matter, but the reconstructed transcript does refer to ''the company,'' and suggests that the Ukrainian president is aware that it is of great interest to Mr. Trump.
Ukraine's prosecutor general, Mr. Zelensky said, according to the document, ''will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue.''
The rough transcript also contains ellipses at three points where Mr. Trump is speaking. Colonel Vindman told investigators that at the point of the transcript where the third set of ellipses appears, Mr. Trump said there were tapes of Mr. Biden.
Mr. Trump's mention of tapes is an apparent reference to Mr. Biden's comments at a January 2018 event about his effort to get Ukraine to force out its prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin. Supporters of Mr. Biden have said Mr. Shokin was widely criticized for his lax anti-corruption efforts. Republicans charge, without evidence, that Mr. Biden was trying to stop an investigation into his son.
Colonel Vindman told House investigators Tuesday that he twice registered internal objections about how Mr. Trump and his inner circle were pressuring Ukraine to undertake inquiries beneficial to the president, including of Mr. Biden. After the July 25 call, the colonel reported what happened to a superior, explaining that ''I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government's support of Ukraine,'' according to his opening remarks. He added, ''This would all undermine U.S. national security.''
He also described confronting Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, after the envoy pressed Ukrainian officials to help the Trump administration by investigating the Biden family. The colonel said he acted out of a ''sense of duty,'' and emphasized his military service in his remarks. ''I am a patriot,'' he said, ''and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country irrespective of party or politics.''
As he spoke, House leaders were preparing for what was expected to be significant new private testimony from current and former White House officials in the coming days. On Wednesday, they will hear from two Ukraine experts who advised Kurt D. Volker, the former United States special envoy to the country. On Thursday, Timothy Morrison, the National Security Council's Russia and Europe director, is scheduled to testify. And on Friday, investigators have called Robert Blair, a top national security adviser to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff.
There is no recording of the July 25 call by the American side. The White House uses note-takers listening in on the call as well as voice recognition software to create a rough transcript that is a close approximation of the call. But names and technical terms are frequently missed by the software, according to people familiar with the matter.
After the call, Colonel Vindman was given a hard copy of the rough transcript to make updates and corrections, according to a person familiar with the matter. Colonel Vindman went through the transcript, made changes and gave his written edits to his boss, Mr. Morrison, according to the person.
But after the call, Colonel Vindman went with his brother, a lawyer on the National Security Council staff, to see John A. Eisenberg, the council's legal adviser, to raise his concerns about the conversation.
Colonel Vindman declined to detail to investigators his discussions with Mr. Eisenberg, citing attorney-client privilege, according to two of the people familiar with the testimony.
One explanation for why Colonel Vindman's changes were not made could be that the transcript had been quickly placed into a highly secure computer system, the N.S.C. Intelligence Collaboration Environment, or NICE system, making it more difficult to alter.
Mr. Eisenberg ordered the transcript moved to ensure that people who were not assigned to handle Ukraine policy could not read the transcript, a decision he hoped would prevent gossip and leaks about the call.
Putting the transcript in the secure server would have made it more difficult to make further edits to the document, and in the case of the July call effectively stopped additional changes.
Mr. Eisenberg made the decision without consulting with his supervisor, Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel. A White House review of the handling of the call is examining if Mr. Eisenberg acted properly in securing the notes.
Administration officials have said a number of calls between Mr. Trump and foreign leaders were put in the most secure server. But tightened security had been put in place for those calls ahead of time. The Ukraine call was put in the secure server only after the fact.
In the whistle-blower complaint that was made public, the C.I.A. officer wrote that placing the rough transcript in the server was part of an effort to lock it down, restrict access and a sign that ''White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.''
2020
Twitter bans political ads ahead of 2020 election
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 08:58
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) '-- Twitter, reacting to growing concern about misinformation spread on social media, is banning all political advertising from its service. Its move strikes a sharp contrast with Facebook, which continues to defend running paid political ads, even false ones, as a free speech priority.
''While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions,'' Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Wednesday in a series of tweets announcing the new policy.
Facebook has taken fire since it reiterated in September that it will not fact-check ads by politicians or their campaigns, which could allow them to lie freely. CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Congress in October that politicians have the right to free speech on Facebook.
Zuckerberg wasted no time responding to Twitter's move. During Facebook's conference call for earnings, which began less than an hour after Dorsey's tweet, the Facebook chief offered an impassioned monologue about what he called his company's deep belief ''that political speech is important.''
Zuckerberg stood by the company's decision to run unchecked political ads and denied that the choice is financially motivated, saying such ads make up less than half of a percent of Facebook revenue.
Facebook's recent $5 billion fine from the Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations was more than 10 times what it makes from political ads, he said.
''This is complex stuff. Anyone who says the answer is simple hasn't thought about the nuances and downstream challenges,'' he said. ''I don't think anyone can say that we are not doing what we believe or we haven't thought hard about these issues.''
Google did not have an immediate comment on Twitter's policy change.
Trump's campaign manager called Twitter's change a ''very dumb decision'' in a statement Wednesday.
''This is yet another attempt to silence conservatives, since Twitter knows President Trump has the most sophisticated online program ever,'' campaign manager Brad Parscale said.
The presidential campaign for former Vice President Joe Biden said it was ''unfortunate'' that companies would think the only option was to completely ban political ads.
''When faced with a choice between ad dollars and the integrity of our democracy, it is encouraging that, for once, revenue did not win out,'' Bill Russo, the deputy communications director for Biden's campaign said in a statement.
Political advertising makes up a small sliver of Twitter's overall revenue. The company does not break out specific figures each quarter, but said political ad spending for the 2018 midterm election was less than $3 million. It reported $824 million in third-quarter revenue.
Candidates spend significantly more purchasing ads on Facebook than on Twitter, company records show.
The issue suddenly arose in September when Twitter, along with Facebook and Google, refused to remove a misleading video ad from President Donald Trump's campaign that targeted Biden.
In response, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, another presidential hopeful, ran her own ad on Facebook taking aim at Zuckerberg. The ad falsely claimed that Zuckerberg endorsed President Donald Trump for re-election, acknowledging the deliberate falsehood as necessary to make a point.
Critics have called on Facebook to ban all political ads. These include CNN chief Jeff Zucker, who recently called the company's policy of allowing lies ''absolutely ludicrous'' and advised the social media giant to sit out the 2020 election until it can figure out something better.
Misleading political ads on social media played a major role in Russian disinformation efforts during the 2016 presidential election.
Dorsey said the company is recognizing that advertising on social media offers an unfair level of targeting compared to other mediums. It is not about free expression, he asserted.
''This is about paying for reach. And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today's democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle,'' he tweeted. ''It's worth stepping back in order to address.''
Twitter currently only allows certified campaigns and organizations to run political ads for candidates and issues. The latter tend to advocate on broader issues such as climate change, abortion rights and immigration.
The company said it will make some exceptions, such as allowing ads that encourage voter turnout. It will describe those in a detailed policy it plans to release on Nov. 15.
It will also still allow politicians to freely tweet their thoughts and opinions, which can then be shared and spread. Trump's Twitter feed in particular is known for his often bombastic and controversial tweets that are shared widely.
Matt Shupe, a Republican political strategist whose public relations firm has won awards for its use of ads on Facebook, called Twitter's decision ''incredibly dumb.'' He said there's no reason to eliminate all political advertising just to stop the relatively small number of bogus or misleading ads.
''You can't abolish television advertising because cigarette makers bought ads once,'' he said.
The decision will hurt political challengers the most, Shupe said, as they don't have the name recognition or wide reach of incumbents and need ads to get their message out.
''If you're a challenger, advertising allows you to make up that difference,'' he said. ''It's very hard to organically grow an audience for a state assemblyman campaign.''
Ethan Porter, a professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University, echoed the concerns and called Twitter's decision disappointing. He said it will deprive voters of one way to learn about those standing for election.
''That loss of information about candidates in an election '-- I don't think that should be taken lightly,'' he said. ''Voters should know who the candidates in an election are and twitter is an important platform.''
Twitter said in June that political figures and world leaders who tweet abusive or threatening messages might get slapped with a warning label, but the tweets would remain on the site. Twitter has not yet used this warning label.
Federal campaigns are expected to spend the majority of advertising dollars on broadcast and cable channels during the 2020 election, according to advertising research firm Kantar, and about 20% of the total $6 billion in spending on digital ads.
Twitter's policy will start on Nov. 22.
___
AP reporters David Klepper in Providence, Rhode Island, Amanda Seitz in Chicago, Will Weissert in Washington, Mae Anderson in Atlanta and Tali Arbel in New York contributed to this article.
Twitter banning all political ads (updated) - Twitter, Inc. (NYSE:TWTR) | Seeking Alpha
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 07:15
Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) will ban all political advertising globally, according to CEO Jack Dorsey.
"We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought," Dorsey says (in a tweet, natch).
Paying for reach removes individual decisions to follow an account or retweet, he points out, "forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money."
It's not credible, he says, for Twitter to say ''We're working hard to stop people from gaming our systems to spread misleading info, buuut if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad ... well ... they can say whatever they want!''
It's not about free expression, he emphasizes; it's about paying for reach.
The company will release a final policy by Nov. 15, he says.
Updated 4:17 p.m.: Shares are down 2% after hours.
Updated 5:14 p.m.: CFO Ned Segal notes there's no change to Q4 guidance, and political ad spend for the 2018 midterms was less than $3M.
See all stocks on the move >>
Now read: Twitter Stubs Its Toe >>
Try Seeking Alpha PREMIUM for unlimited analysis on TWTR
Biden Up 15. Warren Up 7. Are Primary Polls Too Far Apart? | FiveThirtyEight
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 06:03
Last week, two polls painted two very different pictures of the state of the primary race. A CNN/SSRS poll put former Vice President Joe Biden 15 points ahead of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 34 percent to 19 percent, while a Quinnipiac University poll released a day later found Biden trailing Warren by 7 points, 21 to 28 percent.
As both The New York Times and The Washington Post pointed out, these are pretty large discrepancies for two polls in the field at roughly the same time (the CNN poll was in the field from Oct. 17-20, the Quinnipiac poll from Oct. 17-21). But trying to figure out which poll is more accurate is kind of beside the point. After all, these are only two polls of a primary that has been polled hundreds of times, and it isn't necessarily a problem that two pollsters arrived at different conclusions.
In fact, we expect some differences between polls in pretty much any race, even if the differences are just caused by random sampling variability (since no two random samples are exactly the same). And we almost always see some outlier polls, as long as pollsters aren't herding. But given that the spread between these polls was so large, it naturally raises the question of whether we should expect the polls to differ this much. Are these polls just normal outliers, or are they a sign that the polls overall are too spread out?
Short answer: The spread we're seeing is definitely outside the bounds of what you'd expect based on sampling error alone. To arrive at this conclusion, I took all the national polls since the beginning of October1 and ran 10,000 simulations estimating how wide the spread of the polls ''should'' be for Biden and Warren based on the sample size of each poll.2 For each simulation, I calculated the standard deviation (a measure of the spread of the polls), resulting in a distribution of what we'd expect to see as a result of sampling error alone. We would expect the actual standard deviation of the polls to fall within these intervals 95 or 99 percent of the time. And as you can see in the chart below, the spread between all the October polls is way outside the range of standard deviations for what we would expect '-- for both Biden and Warren.
For example, with Biden, we'd expect the standard deviation for polls to be about 2 percentage points, but it's actually 3.5 points. It's a similar situation for Warren '-- we'd expect the standard deviation to be between 2 and 3 points, but in fact it's almost 5 points.
That suggests that it isn't just sampling error that's driving the differences we're seeing '-- it implies there are some real methodological differences between the polls. Pollsters regularly use different approaches to polling, sampling and weighting, which can often lead to different outcomes. This is actually a good thing, since there's a lot of uncertainty about the electorate in 2020 and it's important that different pollsters make independent decisions about how to analyze it. This is why it's important to control for variations in pollsters' techniques when analyzing individual polls. Each pollster's preferred methodology tends to make its results lean a little toward one party or to certain candidates '-- these leans are commonly known as ''house effects,'' and they can help explain some of the variation we're seeing.
If we account for house effects,3 it turns out the spread in national polls looks a lot more like what we'd expect it to. (Though it's still on the big side, especially for Biden.)
The standard deviation of Biden's polls is still on the high end, but after accounting for house effects, the spread is no longer that much larger than we'd expect '-- it's at 2.4 points instead of 3.5 points. It's similar for Warren, where the standard deviation is now at 2.1 points instead of nearly 5.
So what does this tell us about those CNN and Quinnipiac polls? In short, the fact that they found such different outcomes isn't that big a deal. As you can see in the chart below, once we control for house effects, the overall spread between polls since May isn't actually all that large. In fact, the spread of values for both Biden and Warren fall within a range we might expect. So don't read too much into those two polls. Turns out they're just the kind of outliers we'd expect to see in this range of polls.
Obama Says Democrats Don't Always Need To Be 'Politically Woke' : NPR
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 05:59
Former President Obama speaks to guests at the Obama Foundation Summit Tuesday in Chicago. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Scott Olson/Getty Images Former President Obama speaks to guests at the Obama Foundation Summit Tuesday in Chicago.
Scott Olson/Getty Images A former aide to President Obama said that concerns her former boss raised about ideological "purity" were aimed at explaining that governing requires having conversations that include people whose values you may not share.
Speaking Tuesday at an Obama Foundation summit in Chicago, Obama said that he worries that some in the Democratic Party's left flank are too worried about ideological "purity" among their fellow Democrats.
"This idea of purity and you're never compromised and you're always politically woke and all that stuff, you should get over that quickly," Obama said. "The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws."
Jen Psaki, a longtime Democratic consultant who worked for Obama for a decade, said that Obama was not criticizing the aspirational, forward-looking policies of progressives.
"I don't think he was suggesting that we shouldn't think big as a party and as leaders," Psaki told NPR. "What I heard from it was more about not being so sanctimonious that you are not inviting other people to have that conversation with you. Ultimately, a sliver of the population is not going to make change happen. You need much more than that. Some of the language out there is sending the message to people, 'if you're not with me 100% on every issue, you can't be part of the conversation.'"
Obama's comments come amid a fierce debate among Democrats over the most productive way to challenge President Trump in 2020. While Democrats retook the House with high turnout fueled by a backlash against the Trump presidency, some have argued that the party should take a more centrist approach in order to have the best chances of retaking the White House.
Obama did not explicitly endorse either path in his remarks on Tuesday. But he also seemed to target the so-called "callout culture" of social media.
"Like, if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn't do something right or used the wrong verb ... then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself. Because man, you see how woke I was," Obama said. "You know, that's not activism. That's not bringing about change."
While Obama has remained on the sidelines of the Democratic presidential primary, he has previously raised issues about "rigidity" among some liberal Democrats. In April, he told attendees of an Obama Foundation town hall in Berlin that Democrats occasionally create "what's called a 'circular firing squad' where you start shooting at your allies because one of them is straying from purity on the issues."
Democratic strategist Joel Payne, who worked on Hillary Clinton's campaign, described the remarks as "vintage Obama," saying that the former president's political gift has been "his ability to balance idealism and pragmatism."
"This argument by Obama also feels like an implicit defense of his presidency and his legacy, which has come under more critique by even some in Democratic circles," Payne said. "Obama was always the type of politician who understood that half a loaf was better than nothing '' and he could sell that vision to others. As we move further away from his presidency, his ability to sell that vision of politics will continue to be tested."
While Obama remains popular among Democratic voters, candidates seeking the party's nomination have had to grapple with the former president's legacy, particularly with former Vice President Joe Biden in the race.
"He is still somebody whose voice and sanity has the ability to break through a lot of noise," Psaki said. " I think perhaps the objective is to serve as a reminder not to get caught up with things that aren't about helping make people's lives better and engaging people, meeting where they are and being accessible to all points of view."
Zuckerberg Defends Facebook Political Ads Policy after Twitter Ban - Sputnik International
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 23:20
US06:08 31.10.2019Get short URL
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday defended Facebook's controversial political advertising policy an hour after Twitter took a shot at its rival while announcing it will ban all political ads from its platform.
Zuckerberg told investors on a quarterly earnings call that despite criticism and mulling whether or not carry on with political adverts in the past, Facebook would continue running the ads.
"Ads can be an important part of voice '-- especially for candidates and advocacy groups the media might not otherwise cover so they can get their message into debates," he added.Zuckerberg and Facebook have been hit with a firestorm of criticism this month over accusations of allowing and profiting off political misinformation.
Zuckerberg over the month of October has offered interviews on Fox News and NBC, gave a public speech at Georgetown University and testified before Congress about his view that Facebook should build policies to promote "free expression."
''Would we really block ads for important political issues like climate change or women's empowerment?'' Facebook CEO asked. ''Instead, I believe the better approach is to work to increase transparency. Ads on Facebook are already more transparent than anywhere else.''Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey, on the contrary, said his company would announce officially in mid-November that it would ban all political ads on the platform, arguing that ''This isn't about free expression. This is about paying for reach.''
Facebook is currently a dominant player in digital advertising while Twitter has a much smaller role in the market, yet for both companies, political advertising is only a small percentage of total revenue.
Twitter to ban all political advertising - BBC News
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 17:08
Image copyright Reuters Image caption Jack Dorsey said details would follow in November Twitter is to ban all political advertising worldwide, saying that the reach of such messages "should be earned, not bought".
"While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics," company CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted.
Social media rival Facebook recently ruled out a ban on political ads.
Social media firms are under particular scrutiny ahead of US elections in 2020.
The ban will be enforced from 22 November, with full details released by 15 November.
Mr Dorsey explained his position in a thread of tweets.
How does Dorsey justify the ban?Internet political ads, he said, presented "entirely new challenges to civic discourse".
These challenges included "machine learning-based optimization of messaging", "micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes".
"It's not credible," he wrote, "for us to say: 'We're working hard to stop people from gaming our systems to spread misleading info, buuut if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad'...well...they can say whatever they want!'"
Countering the argument that the new policy might be seen as favouring leaders already in office, he pointed out that "many social movements reach massive scale without any political advertising".
Ads in support of voter registration would not be affected by the ban, he added.
Hillary Clinton, the former Democratic candidate who lost to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, welcomed Twitter's ban and appeared to challenge Facebook to rethink its stance.
Social media analyst Carl Miller said it was "one of the first times a tech giant has stepped back in concern for the enormous disruptions they're doing to the institutions that don't move as quickly as them".
What is Facebook's policy? Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg went before an audience of students in Washington DC earlier this month to defend the firm's decision not to ban political adverts that contain falsehoods.
He had considered barring all political ads on his platforms but said he believed the move would favour incumbent politicians and whoever the media chose to cover.
The company should "err on the side of greater expression", he argued.
Image copyright Facebook Image caption Mr Zuckerberg gave his speech to an audience of students and others at Georgetown University in Washington DC A spokesman for Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden had criticised the firm for refusing to remove a video posted by Mr Trump's 2020 re-election campaign which promoted an unproven conspiracy theory involving the former vice-president and his son.
"It is unacceptable for any social media company to knowingly allow deliberately misleading material to corrupt its platform," Mr Biden's press secretary said.
Fellow Democratic candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren then paid to run an intentionally misleading advert on Facebook that claimed Mr Zuckerberg had personally endorsed Donald Trump for re-election.
She said she had done so in protest against the firm's decision to allow politicians to run ads containing" known lies".
How much impact will this have on the US election?US federal campaigns are expected to spend about $6bn (£4.6bn) on advertising but most of it will go on TV ads, with about 20% put into digital ads, advertising research firm Kantar estimates.
Twitter is also much smaller than Facebook. In February, it said it had 126m daily active users while Facebook boasted 1.63bn in September.
Meanwhile the BBC's Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg said political strategists often count on their message being spread for free.
Read the Letter Facebook Employees Sent to Mark Zuckerberg About Political Ads - The New York Times
Mon, 28 Oct 2019 23:00
We are proud to work here.
Facebook stands for people expressing their voice. Creating a place where we can debate, share different opinions, and express our views is what makes our app and technologies meaningful for people all over the world.
We are proud to work for a place that enables that expression, and we believe it is imperative to evolve as societies change. As Chris Cox said, ''We know the effects of social media are not neutral, and its history has not yet been written.''
This is our company.
We're reaching out to you, the leaders of this company, because we're worried we're on track to undo the great strides our product teams have made in integrity over the last two years. We work here because we care, because we know that even our smallest choices impact communities at an astounding scale. We want to raise our concerns before it's too late.
Free speech and paid speech are not the same thing.
Misinformation affects us all. Our current policies on fact checking people in political office, or those running for office, are a threat to what FB stands for. We strongly object to this policy as it stands. It doesn't protect voices, but instead allows politicians to weaponize our platform by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy.
Allowing paid civic misinformation to run on the platform in its current state has the potential to:
'-- Increase distrust in our platform by allowing similar paid and organic content to sit side-by-side '-- some with third-party fact-checking and some without. Additionally, it communicates that we are OK profiting from deliberate misinformation campaigns by those in or seeking positions of power.
'-- Undo integrity product work. Currently, integrity teams are working hard to give users more context on the content they see, demote violating content, and more. For the Election 2020 Lockdown, these teams made hard choices on what to support and what not to support, and this policy will undo much of that work by undermining trust in the platform. And after the 2020 Lockdown, this policy has the potential to continue to cause harm in coming elections around the world.
Proposals for improvement
Our goal is to bring awareness to our leadership that a large part of the employee body does not agree with this policy. We want to work with our leadership to develop better solutions that both protect our business and the people who use our products. We know this work is nuanced, but there are many things we can do short of eliminating political ads altogether.
These suggestions are all focused on ad-related content, not organic.
1. Hold political ads to the same standard as other ads.
a. Misinformation shared by political advertisers has an outsized detrimental impact on our community. We should not accept money for political ads without applying the standards that our other ads have to follow.
2. Stronger visual design treatment for political ads.
a. People have trouble distinguishing political ads from organic posts. We should apply a stronger design treatment to political ads that makes it easier for people to establish context.
3. Restrict targeting for political ads.
a. Currently, politicians and political campaigns can use our advanced targeting tools, such as Custom Audiences. It is common for political advertisers to upload voter rolls (which are publicly available in order to reach voters) and then use behavioral tracking tools (such as the FB pixel) and ad engagement to refine ads further. The risk with allowing this is that it's hard for people in the electorate to participate in the ''public scrutiny'' that we're saying comes along with political speech. These ads are often so micro-targeted that the conversations on our platforms are much more siloed than on other platforms. Currently we restrict targeting for housing and education and credit verticals due to a history of discrimination. We should extend similar restrictions to political advertising.
4. Broader observance of the election silence periods
a. Observe election silence in compliance with local laws and regulations. Explore a self-imposed election silence for all elections around the world to act in good faith and as good citizens.
5. Spend caps for individual politicians, regardless of source
a. FB has stated that one of the benefits of running political ads is to help more voices get heard. However, high-profile politicians can out-spend new voices and drown out the competition. To solve for this, if you have a PAC and a politician both running ads, there would be a limit that would apply to both together, rather than to each advertiser individually.
6. Clearer policies for political ads
a. If FB does not change the policies for political ads, we need to update the way they are displayed. For consumers and advertisers, it's not immediately clear that political ads are exempt from the fact-checking that other ads go through. It should be easily understood by anyone that our advertising policies about misinformation don't apply to original political content or ads, especially since political misinformation is more destructive than other types of misinformation.
Therefore, the section of the policies should be moved from ''prohibited content'' (which is not allowed at all) to ''restricted content'' (which is allowed with restrictions).
We want to have this conversation in an open dialog because we want to see actual change.
We are proud of the work that the integrity teams have done, and we don't want to see that undermined by policy. Over the coming months, we'll continue this conversation, and we look forward to working towards solutions together.
This is still our company.
MIC
An Open Letter to Microsoft: Don't Bid on the US Military's Project JEDI
Mon, 28 Oct 2019 09:49
The authenticity of the following anonymous op-ed has been verified by Medium's editorial staff.
We joined Microsoft to create a positive impact on people and society, with the expectation that the technologies we build will not cause harm or human suffering. Tuesday's blog post serves as a public declaration of Microsoft's intent to bid on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract '-- a contract that represents a $10 billion project to build cloud services for the Department of Defense. The contract is massive in scope and shrouded in secrecy, which makes it nearly impossible to know what we as workers would be building. At an industry day for JEDI, DoD Chief Management Officer John H. Gibson II explained the program's impact, saying, ''We need to be very clear. This program is truly about increasing the lethality of our department.''
Microsoft, don't bid on JEDI.
Many Microsoft employees don't believe that what we build should be used for waging war. When we decided to work at Microsoft, we were doing so in the hopes of ''empowering every person on the planet to achieve more,'' not with the intent of ending lives and enhancing lethality. For those who say that another company will simply pick up JEDI where Microsoft leaves it, we would ask workers at that company to do the same. A race to the bottom is not an ethical position. Like those who took action at Google, Salesforce, and Amazon, we ask all employees of tech companies to ask how your work will be used, where it will be applied, and act according to your principles.
Recently, Google executives made clear that they will not use artificial intelligence ''for weapons, illegal surveillance, and technologies that cause 'overall harm.'' This was only after thousands of Google workers spoke out in the name of ethics and human rights. On Tuesday, the company withdrew from the JEDI bidding war, since they ''couldn't be assured that it would align with [their] A.I. Principles,'' principles they put in place in response to sustained employee pressure. With a large number of workers vocally opposed, executives were left with no choice but to pull out of the bid.
We need to put JEDI in perspective. This is a secretive $10 billion project with the ambition of building ''a more lethal'' military force overseen by the Trump Administration. The Google workers who protested these collaborations and forced the company to take action saw this. We do too.
So we ask, what are Microsoft's A.I. Principles, especially regarding the violent application of powerful A.I. technology? How will workers, who build and maintain these services in the first place, know whether our work is being used to aid profiling, surveillance, or killing?
Earlier this year Microsoft published ''The Future Computed,'' examining the applications and potential dangers of A.I. It argues that strong ethical principles are necessary for the development of A.I. that will benefit people, and defines six core principles: ''fair, reliable and safe, private and secure, inclusive, transparent, and accountable.''
With JEDI, Microsoft executives are on track to betray these principles in exchange for short-term profits. If Microsoft is to be accountable for the products and services it makes, we need clear ethical guidelines and meaningful accountability governing how we determine which uses of our technology are acceptable, and which are off the table. Microsoft has already acknowledged the dangers of the tech it builds, even calling on the federal government to regulate A.I. technologies. But there is no law preventing the company from exercising its own internal scrutiny and standing by its own ethical compass.
Since the cloud and edge solutions listed on Azure's blog fall under the category of cutting-edge intelligent technology, it should be subject to review by Microsoft's A.I. ethics committee, Aether. Eric Horvitz (our Research Lab Director) has stated that Aether ''has teeth.'' But if Aether does not consider this kind of ethical dilemma, then what exactly is it for? With no transparency in these negotiations, and an opaque ethics body that arbitrates moral decisions, accepting this contract would make it impossible for the average Microsoft employee to know whether or not they are writing code that is intended to harm and surveil.
Hundreds of employees within Microsoft have voiced ethical concerns regarding the company's ongoing contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in which the company provides ''mission-critical'' Azure cloud computing services that have enabled ICE to enact violence and terror on families at the border and within the United States. Despite our objections, the contract remains in place. Microsoft's decision to pursue JEDI reiterates the need for clear ethical guidelines, accountability, transparency, and oversight.
Microsoft, don't bid on JEDI.
Vape Wars
Here's What JUUL Allegedly Thinks of Its Customers - VICE
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 09:51
JUUL's marketing strategy over the years has essentially positioned the company as the Cool Girl of the tobacco industry; JUUL isn't like the other girls that want to get people hooked on cigarettes that will eventually kill them, JUUL wants to hold its customers' hands and lead them gently toward a better, and a claims-to-be healthier (yet unproven), lifestyle. Its branding and advertising has centered around the idea that cigarettes are bad and JUUL is good. ''Make the Switch,'' the company encouraged (until a month ago, when the company pivoted away from the slogan in a series of internal decisions). "We certainly don't want youth using the product," the company said, as it pulled flavors from shelves.
A lawsuit filed this week by Siddharth Breja, a former JUUL executive, makes it seem like the company never actually believed any of its own moral signaling. The lawsuit claims that former JUUL CEO Kevin Burns brushed off concerns that his company was shipping at least a million contaminated pods earlier this year, dismissing his customers as ''drunk'' people who ''vape like mo-fos.'' As BuzzFeed News reports, Breja alleges he was wrongfully terminated in March 2019 for raising concerns about the shipment of bad pods.
Are you a current or former JUUL employee? We'd love to hear from you. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Hannah Smothers securely on Signal on (908) 485-7021, or email hannah.smothers@vice.com.
This is damning for a company that has held its nose above the fray of third-party and counterfeit pods, which JUUL has openly and consistently blamed for containing unregulated, potentially harmful contents. According to details from the lawsuit obtained by BuzzFeed News, in February 2019, Breja protested selling pods that were nearly a year old by the time they shipped, and asked the company to at least include an expiration or manufacture date on the packaging. Burns allegedly shot this down, saying, ''Half our customers are drunk and vaping like mo-fos, who the fuck is going to notice the quality of our pods.''
The answer to that is'... a lot of people. The problem with having an extremely devoted customer base is they tend to be a bit obsessed with the product. Stan culture misses nothing. A smattering of posts from the r/juul subreddit complain of declining pod quality; while these complaints aren't necessarily related to the shipment mentioned in the lawsuit, they show how dedicated and attentive avid JUULers are. Posts from the subreddit routinely compare clarity of pod juice and complain of anything suspect, like leaking pods or pods that are already brown (signifying age, perhaps) when opened. It's impossible to speak to the mental state of the people posting about pod quality online, but even if they are, in fact, ''drunk and vaping like mo-fos,'' they're still very much noticing the quality of JUUL's products.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.
Follow Hannah Smothers on Twitter.
Altria writes down Juul investment by $4.5 billion
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 09:35
Juul products are displayed at a smoke shop in New York, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018.
Seth Wenig | AP
Tobacco giant Altria said Thursday it has written down its $12.8 billion investment in troubled e-cigarette maker Juul by more than a third, recording a $4.5 billion pretax charge against its third-quarter earnings.
There wasn't a single event or factor that led to the write down, Altria said. It cited the Trump administration's plans to remove flavored e-cigarettes from the market as well as e-cigarette bans by cities and states around the U.S. and by several countries.
Altria in its evaluation considered a number of possibilities and estimated how they might affect Juul's sales, Altria CEO Howard Willard told analysts on a call reviewing third-quarter earnings results Thursday. These are simply estimates and could always change, possibly leading to another write down.
"Of course we're not pleased to have to take an impairment charge on the Juul investment," Willard said. "Certainly in the range of scenarios when we made our investment in Juul, we did not anticipate this dramatic of a change in the e-vapor category."
Altria "certainly" did not anticipate the outbreak of vaping-related lung disease and "dramatic" regulatory changes. Regulators are considering removing flavored e-cigarettes from the market until it can review their safety and appeal to youth. Companies are required, in the meanwhile, to submit applications to the Food and Drug Administration by May to keep their products on store shelves, two years earlier than anticipated.
"The e-vapor category faces a critical inflection point," Willard said. He said efforts to raise the smoking age to 21 and remove flavors from the market could "reset the course" for the category.
Altria's $12.8 billion investment bought a 35% stake in Juul late last year, valuing the e-cigarette start-up at $38 billion. The deal is still awaiting regulatory approval. Altria said it expects a decision from the Federal Trade Commission in the first quarter of 2020.
"Despite the impairment charge, we remain committed to Juul's success," Willard said, noting that Altria estimates there were 12.6 million adults over the age of 21 who used e-cigarettes in September, up from 10.3 million in the same period last year.
The write-down drove the company's net income down by about $2.41 a share. On an unadjusted basis, Altria booked a $2.6 billion loss for the quarter, or a loss of $1.39 a share, compared with a profit of $1.94 billion, or $1.03 a share, during the same time last year.
On an adjusted basis, which excludes one-time charges like the Juul write-down, the company's earnings for the three months ended Sept. 30 was $1.19 per share, beating estimates of $1.15 a share.
Altria's stock rose 1.8% Thursday.
Here's what the company reported compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:
Earnings per share: $1.19, adjusted, vs. $1.15 expectedRevenue: $5.41 billion vs. $5.34 billion expectedIn the nearly year since announcing the Altria deal, Juul has been embroiled in controversy. The company is largely blamed for fueling an epidemic of teen vaping.
Juul is the subject of numerous lawsuits claiming the company misled minors and addicted them to nicotine, as well as federal investigations into the company's marketing practices. A former Juul executive filed a wrongful termination lawsuit on Tuesday claiming the company's quest for profit trumped public health concerns.
Consumers are questioning the safety of e-cigarettes amid an outbreak of a mysterious vaping-related lung injury. The illnesses appear to be related to THC, though a number of patients have reported only vaping nicotine, the addictive chemical in Juul and other e-cigarettes.
The Trump administration is readying a plan that officials said would remove all flavored e-cigarettes from the market until '-- and if '-- the FDA reviews and authorizes them for public sale. Juul earlier this month announced it would stop selling most flavors of its nicotine pods.
Longtime Altria executive K.C. Crosthwaite replaced Kevin Burns as CEO of Juul last month. Crosthwaite is shaking up top management, cutting jobs and trying to repair Juul's image. The company announced plans to suspend all product advertising in the U.S. and end its support of a campaign to overturn a San Francisco ordinance that banned the sales of e-cigarettes.
Altria is launching Iqos in the U.S. The device, which Altria is licensing from Philip Morris International, heats tobacco and is thought to produce fewer toxins than cigarettes. Altria introduced Iqos to Atlanta last month and will bring it to its hometown of Richmond, Virginia, next month.
Former Juul exec alleges company shipped tainted products | The Seattle Times
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 22:54
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- A Juul Labs executive who was fired earlier this year is alleging that the vaping company knowingly shipped 1 million tainted nicotine pods to customers.
The allegation comes in a lawsuit filed Tuesday by lawyers representing Siddharth Breja, a one-time finance executive at the e-cigarette maker. The suit claims that Breja was terminated after opposing company practices, including shipping the contaminated flavored pods and not listing expiration dates on Juul products.
The lawsuit does not specify the contamination issue or how it occurred. Lawyers for Breja declined to elaborate on the issue Wednesday.
A Juul spokesman said in a statement that the claims are ''baseless'' and that Breja was terminated because he failed to ''demonstrate the leadership qualities'' required for the job.
Juul, the best-selling e-cigarette brand in the U.S., has been besieged by criticism amid an explosion of underage vaping. The company faces multiple investigations by federal and state officials as well as lawsuits by families of teenagers who claim they became hooked on nicotine through the company's vapes.
Breja worked in Juul's global finance department less than 10 months. The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California, seeks damages for lost salary, bonuses and Juul stock, which it values at more than $10 million.
BuzzFeed News first reported the lawsuit.
Breja describes a ''reckless'' and ''win-at-all costs'' culture at Juul, primarily driven by the company's former CEO, Kevin Burns, who was replaced in a management shake-up last month.
Breja says he learned in March that some batches of nicotine solution used in the company's mint pods had been contaminated. Breja claims that company management shipped roughly one million pods affected by the issue and failed to issue a recall or public announcement.
Juul's spokesman rejected Breja's account saying the company ''determined the product met all applicable specifications.''
When Breja protested the decision to ship the pods, the lawsuit alleges, his supervisor at Juul reminded him that ''stockholders would lose significant personal wealth should he make his concerns public.''
The lawsuit alleges that Burns ''berated employees'' to ramp up production of mint-flavored pods, a move that ''compromised quality control measures.'' The focus on mint came after the company voluntarily pulled its mango, fruit and other candy-flavored pods out of retail stores, under pressure from health authorities.
The lawsuit alleges that Juul's outside consultants assured the company that mint ''given its fruity flavor, would make up for any lack of sales of other flavored pods.''
''You need to have an IQ of 5 to know that when customers don't find mango they buy mint,'' Burns told employees, according to the lawsuit.
Breja claims he was wrongfully terminated the week after raising his concerns about the contaminated mint pods. Because he had worked at the company for less than a year he did not receive company stock that his lawyers claim would be worth ''eight figures at its current valuation.''
In an earlier conflict with Juul management, Breja says he urged executives to add expiration or ''best by'' dates to the flavored pods.
The lawsuit claims Burns rejected the idea, stating: ''Half our customers are drunk and vaping like mo-fo's, who the f'-- is going to notice the quality of our pods.''
Juul's website states that its pods are intended for use ''soon after purchase.''
Last month Burns was replaced by K.C. Crosthwaite, a former executive for Altria, the Big Tobacco firm that owns a 35% stake in privately held Juul.
In the last two years, the San Francisco company has become the principal target of a nationwide backlash against e-cigarettes, with parents, politicians and health advocates blaming the firm for the recent vaping craze among young people.
According to the latest government survey, more than 1 in 4 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the previous month, despite federal law banning sales to those under 18.
In a separate health issue, federal officials are investigating more than 1,600 cases of lung damage linked to vaping, including nearly three dozen deaths. Many patients said they vaped THC, marijuana's intoxicating chemical, but officials have not yet implicated any single product or ingredient.
Juul has made a series of voluntary concessions in an effort to weather the firestorm. It's halted advertising and suspended sales of its fruit and dessert flavored pods. The company continues to sell mint, menthol and tobacco flavors.
The Trump administration announced plans last month to remove virtually all vaping flavors from the market, leaving only tobacco.
But public health advocates are concerned the administration could back away from its plan to ban mint and menthol, the most popular flavors among youth.
Last month more than 50 health groups, including the American Lung Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, sent a letter to first lady Melania Trump urging the administration to follow through on its initial proposal.
''If the goal is to remove the e-cigarettes that are most attractive to youth, any proposal that ignores mint and menthol flavors falls short,'' the groups stated.
___
Follow Matthew Perrone on Twitter: @AP_FDAwriter.
Juul to Cut About 500 Jobs - WSJ
Tue, 29 Oct 2019 12:55
Juul Labs Inc. plans to cut roughly 500 jobs by the end of the year, according to people familiar with the matter, reversing the embattled e-cigarette maker's rapid staff growth as the company braces for a proposed ban on flavors that make up more than 80% of its U.S. sales.
The number of positions to be eliminated could range from 10% to 15% of the workforce but isn't final, the people said.
The cuts are part of a broader reorganization aimed at mending the company's damaged relationship with regulators. Besides the job cuts, Juul will trim its marketing budget, among other expenses, and invest in new ways to reduce underage vaping.
The e-cigarette market is undergoing ''a necessary reset,'' the company's new chief executive, K.C. Crosthwaite, said in a statement Monday. Juul's focus, he said, is on ''earning a license to operate in the U.S. and around the world.''
Juul this year has added an average of 300 employees a month, and its staff has swelled to a little over 4,000 employees. It enacted a hiring freeze in September shortly before Mr. Crosthwaite took over.
Mr. Crosthwaite left the tobacco giant
Altria Group Inc. to
take the helm of the startup last month. Among his top priorities are investing in scientific research for submission to the Food and Drug Administration and other regulators and exploring new technologies including a Bluetooth-connected device that could help curb underage use of its products, the company said.
Blamed for a rise in teenage vaping, Juul is the subject of several federal investigations, including a criminal probe by prosecutors. By May, the company must submit for FDA review any products it wants to remain on the U.S. market beyond that point.
When Mr. Crosthwaite was named to the top job, Juul suspended broadcast, print and digital ads for its U.S. products. Juul also said it wouldn't lobby against the FDA's plan to curb teenage vaping by ordering all e-cigarettes off the market except those formulated to taste like tobacco. His first big hire was Joe Murillo, who headed regulatory affairs for Altria.
The company previously tried to win over Washington by flooding the White House with lobbyists and other advocates. But that strategy backfired because it appeared that the startup was bypassing the FDA.
Juul's sales have fallen since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September warned the public to stop using all vaping products, including e-cigarettes, as it investigated an outbreak of vaping-related lung illnesses. The agency has since narrowed that warning, advising people not to vape THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Juul's products haven't been linked to the vaping-related lung illnesses.
Mr. Crosthwaite's predecessor, Kevin Burns, pushed aggressively to expand overseas as the company came under pressure in the U.S. The company now will take ''a more methodical approach,'' one of the people familiar with the matter said.
Mr. Crosthwaite is combining several technical teams into one team now known as Product. Juul's co-founders, James Monsees and Adam Bowen, who previously held the titles of chief product officer and chief technology officer, respectively, will join a new office called the founder's office, where they will advise Mr. Crosthwaite on a variety of subjects, one of the people familiar with the matter said.
Write to Jennifer Maloney at jennifer.maloney@wsj.com
Millennials
Netflix Might Be Planning To Roll Out A Higher-Speed Binging Feature
Mon, 28 Oct 2019 17:15
NetflixDo you want to watch Jesse Pinkman run really, really fast in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie while testing his captors' bonds? Or perhaps you simply feel overwhelmed by your overstuffed queue and, in turn, feel compelled to finish watching too-long episodes of bloated seasons without nearly enough time in this world. In either case, you may be in luck. Engadget has passed on word that Netflix is selectively testing a new feature that will allow users to speed through episodes in a more efficient manner. There's probably a liquid-diet analogy to be had here, but I'll skip those gruesome implications because this could be polarizing business.
Android Police was the first to report that they were tipped on the impending feature and found some tweets from users who discovered the new capability on their Android-based apps. Here's how this would allegedly work:
If you have it, you'll get the option to slow down speed to 0.5x or 0.75x, or raise it to 1.25x or 1.5x. The former might be useful if you want to see a scene in slow-motion, are learning a language and want a leisurely pace to assimilate everything being said '.... or if you're addicted to Gilmore Girls; while the latter should be nice if you're catching up on a slow documentary or re-watching a favorite show.
At this point, there's been no official word from Netflix (we've updated with an official spokesperson statement, below) on this feature, which appears to be only testing in very limited instances right now. Surely though, this is something that some people would want, and speedier viewings will certainly allow Netflix to enjoy higher viewing numbers on their original programming. That's a win for them, right? Still, creators of these series and films certainly won't be happy about this decision, which could be seen as degrading their artistic vision, although it's a reality that audiences are overwhelmed these days. People feel the pressure to keep up with cultural conversations inspired by these projects, and yes, some folks will welcome shortcuts.
In the alternative (and this is only a suggestion, so take it as you will), perhaps every series should only contain episodes that are 30 minutes or less, and maybe then, folks wouldn't feel the need for more speed. Speaking of which, you should probably watch Paul Rudd in Living With Myself. It's bite-sized, still manages to include two Paul Rudds, and serves as a wonderful meditation on human nature. No high-speed binging required.
UPDATE '-- 4:10pm EST: A Netflix spokesperson has reached out with this statement:
''We're always experimenting with new ways to help members use Netflix. This test makes it possible to vary the speed at which people watch shows on their mobiles. As with any test, it may not become a permanent feature on Netflix.''
Green New Deal
Chile cancels UN climate change conference and major trade summit amid ongoing protests
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 06:36
Change of plansEdit Chile cancels UN climate change conference and major trade summit amid ongoing protests
October 30, 2019
As Tears Go ByEdit Trump appellate court nominee cries over brutal American Bar Association 'not qualified' letter
7:21 a.m.
last night on late nightEdit Samantha Bee uses Rep. Katie Hill's resignation to tackle the complicated scourge of 'revenge porn'
5:07 a.m.
Trump Impeachment RulesEdit Democrats are giving Trump more impeachment rights than Clinton or Nixon got '-- but there's a catch
3:41 a.m.
Late Night Tackles Trump and impeachmentEdit Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, and Trevor Noah count the ways Vindman undercut Trump's Ukraine defenses
2:02 a.m.
last night on late nightEdit Seth Meyers says the 'smoking gun' in Ukraine scandal is 'Donald Trump's mouth'
1:05 a.m.
2019 World SeriesEdit Washington Nationals win World Series
12:02 a.m.
Things that make you go hmmmmEdit Trump's campaign is upset Twitter banned political ads. So, oddly, is Russian state media.
October 30, 2019
See More Speed Reads
PG&E Insider BOTG
In the morning gents,
During episode 1186 you had a prolonged discussion about the “micro
grid” movement as part of agenda 2020.
My day job is writing software for a company in the utilities space. I
literally wrote the software user interface that allows the power utilities to
remotely shut down your household service for some percent of utility
customers. You’re welcome!
While your analysis was admirably cynical and has elements of the
truth in it, folks in the energy industry see it differently.
Micro grids is an invention of energy sector companies such as my
employer. They are coopting public interest in environmentalism to encourage
transfer of control over utilities to local governments, not to bust up
utilities, but to bust up state level regulation that is strangling the
industry.
Remember that utilities are government-granted monopolies which are
highly regulated at a state level. Regulators aren’t technical experts. They
are dilettantes- political operators answerable only to corrupt political
machines. Regulators have a veto power over anything utilities try to do via
rate control.
Here is a standard scenario in our business: Utility company needs to
replace a 60 year old service trunk in a rural area. They formulate a project
and negotiate with all their suppliers (long RFP bid process). When all the
details and costs are worked out, then they go to the state board for approval.
More than a year after the process starts, the board says “no” because it will
“negatively impact rates charged to consumers.”
The contract bids go nowhere. The ability to sniff out the percentage
of projects that will come to fruition is the critical success factor in the
industry.
So what happens when routine maintenance is vetoed by the state board?
Eventually, maintenance happens as a function of disaster relief. The trunk
fails catastrophically and replacement happens under “emergency” protocols
using relief funds at many times the cost, often with disaster replied funding
from governments. What regulators save consumers in terms of a couple of
dollars per monthly bill is collected from them many times over in taxes.
Energy sector companies desperately want to end the carousel of
futility of this system. They drool over the prospect of micro grid. It promises
more contracts, more opportunity, and breaks down the state regulator’s power.
Most importantly, the activists have already signaled they will pay a premium
for what are luxury items “because climate principles.” Industry is all systems
go for micro grids.
The folks in my office are pretty cynical about the prospects for
micro grid success. Regulators, and their political machine backers, have no
interest in diluting their own power. Utilities don’t want to be busted up
either, so they will probably line up with the regulators. So think of the as an “opportunistic long play.”
An insider’s take in PG&E
As for the current PG&E debacle, the decision makers at my company
behave as if they are the hedging their bets that California is in the process
of executing a long term hostile takeover of PG&E. You could call this
“nationalizing”, but this is a state government actor.
For years, the California utilities commission has been severely
restricting large scale maintenance activities of PG&E. Further, the state
government has severely reduced tree clearing and branch removal that keeps the
rural grid healthy. State government was adequately warned this would be the
the result.
PG&E has become a punching bag from various disasters caused by
bad maintenance for which the utilities commission and state government has
been largely responsible. The rain makers in the office think that eventually
the state government will use some disaster as a pretext to assume control. We
write our contracts accordingly.
To put this into no agenda terms, it looks to me like California is
executing a classic Mafia “bust out” scam. Fallout from Enron allowed the state
government to grab PG&E by the nuts. The state government is milking them,
driving acquisition costs down, until they die. When they’re sucked dry,
California will declare PG&E dead and execute the take over. What do you
want to bet that when this happens, California will beg for federal bailout
money to pay for it? If it worked in Puerto Rico, it can work in California.
A chilling thought to end it: California isn’t the only state
government positing for a utilities take over: this is one reason I refuse to
live in a blue state.
California governor calls on Warren Buffett to buy PG&E
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 23:28
California Governor Gavin Newsom wanted Warren Buffett to make a bid for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), a major utility supplier which has been blamed for some of the state's most disastrous wildfires recently.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Newsom said if Berkshire Hathaway, the Buffett-led conglomerate, is interested in buying the San Francisco-based company, which serves two-thirds of northern California, now is the time to make an offer.
"We would love to see that interest materialize, in a more proactive, public effort," he said.
Newsom made these remarks after he issued relentless criticism of the utility in recent weeks, blaming PG&E's mismanagement for leading to the deadliest wild fires and mass blackouts across the state.
In a trip to survey areas impacted by Kincade fire in northern California, which has burnt more than 121.4 square km by Sunday, the governor slammed the PG&E, saying it must take responsibility for the wildfires that the local residents have been suffering for years.
To date, six of the most devastating blazes in California's history were triggered by electrical equipment malfunction, including the brutal Camp fire in 2018 that wiped out the mountain town of Paradise, killing 86 residents.
While the cause of the Kincade fire, first reported Wednesday night, has not been determined, the PG&E reported a problem with a transmission tower near the spot where the fire was ignited. This incident made the company's stock price plunge by nearly one third on Friday to only 5 U.S. dollars a share.
About 200,000 residents in northern California threatened by the Kincade fire were evacuated and thousands firefighters were assigned to battle the blaze.
The Sacramento Bee newspaper reported Sunday that Berkshire Hathaway's energy subsidiary has heavily invested in the utility business, in California and elsewhere. It owns multiple solar farms, including a 550-megawatt facility in central California's San Luis Obispo County, which is among the world's largest.
Berkshire Hathaway has not responded to Newsom's offer, the report added.
Jared Ellias, a bankruptcy law expert at the University of California Hastings College of Law, was quoted as saying that the Kincade fire might scare off buyers wrestling for control of PG&E.
He said that Newsom's hope that Berkshire Hathaway steps in could be wishful thinking, adding that "it feels a bit like longing for a savior when there isn't an obvious solution or a cheap solution ... there isn't a white knight."
Anger mounts as utility imposes more blackouts in California
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 08:00
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (AP) '-- With no electricity for the fourth straight day Tuesday, chef and caterer Jane Sykes realized she would have to throw out $1,000 worth of food, including trays of brownies, cupcakes and puff pastry.
She also had little hope of getting a good night's sleep '-- there was no way to run the machine she relies on to counter her apnea.
''I don't think PG&E really thought this through,'' she lamented.
Frustration and anger mounted across Northern California on Tuesday as the state's biggest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, began another round of widespread blackouts aimed at preventing its electrical equipment from sparking wildfires in high winds.
Millions of people have been without power for days as fire crews raced to contain two major wind-whipped blazes that have destroyed dozens of homes at both ends of the state: in Sonoma County wine country and in the hills of Los Angeles.
Across Northern California, people worried about charging cellphones and electric vehicles, finding gasoline and cash, staying warm and keeping their food from spoiling. They donned headlamps at home and parked their cars outside inoperable automatic garage doors.
Some ended up at centers set up by PG&E where people could go to power their electronics and get free water, snacks, flashlights and solar lanterns.
''There's a hidden cost,'' Sykes said. ''Absolutely public safety above all else, but there's a big financial loss for my profession, having to throw away a lot of hard work.''
PG&E said Tuesday's blackouts '-- the third round in a week '-- would affect about 1.5 million people in 29 counties, including 1 million still without power from a shut-off over the weekend. By 5 p.m. about 435,000 customers '-- or nearly 1.1 million people '-- were without electricity as restorations were made from Sunday's shut-off and new outages continued from Tuesday's wind event, the utility said.
The outages have made people like Linda Waldron, a mother of two who lives north of San Francisco in San Rafael, realize the things we take for granted.
She discovered she was low on gas and began to panic as she drove around looking for an open gas station. She wound up driving to San Francisco, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) away, before she found one. She also stocked up on cash after realizing she had only $1 in her wallet.
''What if we needed to evacuate and I had no gas in the car?'' she said as her 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son cavorted at a playground. ''I didn't even think about gas and cash because I'm too busy with these guys.''
In Placer County, Angel Smith relied on baby wipes and blankets to keep her 13-month-old son Liam warm and clean. The family has been without power since Saturday night and cannot draw well water without electricity.
She ran a cord from her neighbors' generator to keep her phone and tablet charged so the two could watch movies. Temperatures were expected to drop below freezing overnight in parts of Northern California.
''The hardest part about this for me has been making sure I keep my son warm as it gets cold here,'' Smith said.
In Mendocino County, officials say they are struggling to keep the public informed because they can't trust the information they're getting from PG&E.
''The issue isn't even all of the power shutoffs,'' said Carmel Angelo, the county's chief executive. ''It's the lack of communication. It's letting people think they're getting their power back.''
After the weekend shut-off, some people were led to believe the power would come back Monday and that the next round of outages would avoid Mendocino's most populous areas. But Angelo said she learned Tuesday that the outage was still in effect because of two damaged transmission lines dozens of miles away in Marin County.
If people knew the lights would be out for a week they could've planned accordingly, she said. It's been especially troublesome for those who need oxygen. Some of the trucks that resupply oxygen have been caught in long delays for gas, and some patients have been admitted to the emergency room as a precaution, she said.
Mendocino residents Suzanne Lemley Schein and her husband, Glenn, lost power on Saturday and have been spending the time since playing backgammon by candlelight and going to bed early.
They haven't been able to rent out a studio on their property, or even offer it to wildfire evacuees, because it has no power or water.
She said she doesn't like ''the power that PG&E has over all of us,'' she said. ''This has crippled us in a lot of ways.''
Sykes, the caterer, is among some people in well-to-do Marin County, north of San Francisco, who have been without power since Saturday.
She lives in San Rafael but works in San Francisco, so she has ''civilization during the day,'' but she said it is eerie to drive along darkened highways. She hasn't opened her freezer since the outage and is not looking forward to it.
''I'm pretty sure it's not going to be salvageable,'' she said.
PG&E, which is in bankruptcy after its equipment was blamed for a string of disastrous fires over the past three years, including a blaze that all but destroyed the town of Paradise and killed 85 people, has said its foremost concern is public safety.
But Gov. Gavin Newsom and top utility regulators have accused the company of mismanaging its power system and failing for decades to make the investments needed to ensure it's more durable. He and others have also complained that the utility has botched the outages by not keeping the public adequately informed.
PG&E Corp. President Bill Johnson says he talked to Newsom Tuesday and told him he agreed with his suggestion that the company give credits to customers who've been hit by pre-emptive power shut-offs. Newsom had suggested $100 per household, or $250 per business. Johnson did not confirm a figure, saying only, ''We agree with his suggestion. As to how that gets done, the mechanics, we'll settle that when we get through this.''
PG&E said Monday its power lines may have started two smaller wildfires over the weekend in a part of the San Francisco Bay Area, where the utility had kept the lights on because it was not designated a high fire risk.
Lafayette resident Vicki McCaslin, 60, was evacuated during one of those fires and wasn't happy to have the power back on Tuesday morning.
''I'm scared to death,'' she said at a Starbucks in Lafayette, where people have gathered to charge phones over the past few days. ''I don't want it on if there's strong winds tonight.''
The California Public Utilities Commission plans to open an investigation that could result in fines against PG&E.
The commission said it also plans to review the rules governing blackouts, will look to prevent utilities from charging customers when the power is off and will convene experts to find grid improvements that might lessen shut-offs next fire season.
The state can't continue experiencing such widespread blackouts, ''nor should Californians be subject to the poor execution that PG&E in particular has exhibited,'' PUC President Marybel Batjer said in a statement.
___
Gecker reported from Orinda, California. Associated Press writers Christopher Weber and Stefanie Dazio contributed from Los Angeles.
World's Largest Storage Battery -- 2.5 GWh -- To Replace Gas Peaker Plants In Queens | CleanTechnica
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 07:28
Batteries Published on October 28th, 2019 | by Steve Hanley
October 28th, 2019 by Steve Hanley
A site on Vernon Avenue in Queens, New York, once was home to 16 gas powered peaker plants. Only 2 remain in operation today. Soon, all of them will be demolished to make room for a 316 MW/2528 MWh storage battery that will be the largest in the world. The proposal to build the new facility was approved last week by the New York Public Service Commission.
According to PV Magazine, Ravenswood Development, the current owner of the peaker plants, plans to build out the project in three phases '-- 129 MW, 98 MW, and 89 MW. The first phase should be completed by March, 2021. No timetable has yet been announced for completion of the second and third phases of the project. Once fully deployed, the 316 MW of power would meet just over 10% of the New York State's goal of 3,000 MW by 2030.
The proposed storage project will consist of 136 battery storage and inverter units, 64 of which will be double stacked on the property. In the specifications submitted to the PSC, the Sunny Central Storage 2500-EV-US Inverter is listed as the inverter that will be used at the site. A study suggests that when in operation, the enormous battery will raise the noise level at the site by only 3 decibels, an important consideration because there is a residential community nearby.
Ravenswood Development acknowledges that the electricity stored in the Queens battery could come from any source '-- including coal or natural gas '-- but that the facility will lower carbon emissions in the area because it will make it possible for local utilities to curtail the use of peaker plants, which tend to emit high levels of carbon dioxide when they are brought online. And of course the more renewable energy is available to the local grid, the lower those emissions will be.
Currently, the world's largest announced lithium-ion batteries are the 409 MW/900 MW facility planned by Florida Power & Light, the 300 MW/1200 MWh system by Vistra Energy at Moss Landing in California, a 182.5 MW/730 MWh system by Tesla also at Moss Landing, and the recently announced 300 MW/1.2 GWh Eland facility by 8minute Solar Energy in Los Angeles. Not only will the Queens facility have a larger storage capacity than any of those facilities, it will be one of the first in the world to offer 8 hours of storage.
The path to the future is clear '-- larger storage projects with longer storage times. Both will be a welcome addition to the renewable energy revolution. Follow CleanTechnica on Google News.It will make you happy & help you live in peace for the rest of your life.
Tags: New York, new york city, Queens, Ravenswood Development
About the Author Steve Hanley Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island and anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. His motto is, "Life is not measured by how many breaths we take but by the number of moments that take our breath away!" You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter.
Add 5G to the microgrids
MORE TROUBLE IN CALIFORNIA, BUT THIS TIME NOT FOR PG&E
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 06:42
As most regular readers of this site know, I've been both fascinated and alarmed at the burning of California, as thousands of victims have lost their homes, and darkly fascinated by the response (such as it is) by the state government, and even more so by the "response" of the power utilities in their new policy of rolling blackouts to protect themselves from further lawsuits. As with the previous fires there have been anomalies already spotted by the ever-vigilant alternative research field.
But today I don't want to focus on those anomalies, nor on the crazy policies that in my opinion have led to all of this, but rather on a new story that casts yet another long shadow over the state:
Is California's Second Biggest Utility On Verge Of Collapse Next: Edison Plunges After Saying It May Be Responsible For Deadly 2018 Fire
The crux of the matter is the California's other main power utility, Southern California Edison is now also in the crosshairs:
With California's largest utility, PG&E, now bankrupt after starting the deadliest fire in California history, and cutting power to its customers at the mere hint of a windstorm that could leave it exposed to more multi-billion lawsuits, leaving millions in the dark, California's second largest utility, Edison, may soon be insolvent too.
The stock of Edison International, which is California's second biggest electricity provider through its Southern California Edison subsidiary, which distributes electricity to 5.1 million customers in central, coastal, and southern California, collapsed after the close when the company reported in its earnings call that California investigators concluded equipment owned by Edison International's utility caused one of the most destructive fires in state history, which killed three people and burned down entire sections of Malibu.
California county fire officials said that the Woolsey Fire, which raged for weeks in Los Angeles and Ventura counties in November 2018, was sparked by the utility's electrical equipment, Edison CEO Pedro Pizarro said in a call with investors on Tuesday.
EIX shares plunged as much as 19% to $52.75 in after-hours trading before modestly recovering some losses to trade at $62.95. Edison investors had expected the company would be blamed for the fire.
In a previous blog, I speculated on the possibility that the practice of what appears to be disaster capitalism in full swing in California may not be limited just to driving people from their homes through engineered disasters in order to pick up property on the cheap. Additionally, I mused, the target may be the power utility - in this case, PG&E - itself, which has already experienced one bankruptcy because of it. Now, it seems, one might add Southern California Edison to the list.
And that brings me to today's high octane speculation. What if... what if the goal is to create such conditions of chaos in the state, that the whole scenario we see playing out is to drive a situation where - as was alleged in the fires of the immediately previous years - the US military was seen to be present? Admittedly, this scenario is a wild one, right off the end of the speculation twig, as it were. But recently, in an unprecedented move for any leader in his party, Governor Gavin Newsom actually tweeted a think you to Mr. Trump for sending federal disaster funds in the state. And he did so without the usual "digs" that usually accompany such remarks from leaders in his party. Equally strangely, Mr. Newsom was not met with the usual chorus of whining and complaining from the other leaders of his party. His remarks passed almost completely unnoticed.
Perhaps he knows that when any federal monies flow to a state, they usually come with major strings attached, and I'm betting some of those strings might be an overall not only of state environmental policy, but of its two major power utilities.
If I'm right, then we might watch for the presence of federal representatives on the boards of those companies, after the usual purchase of significant enough amounts of equity to warrant it.
And that's a very clever way to bypass Sacramento's lunacy.
I know, I know... it's a really wild high octane speculation, but after all, it's what we do here.
See you on the flip side...
About Latest PostsAbout Joseph P. FarrellJoseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and "strange stuff". His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into "alternative history and science".
NEWS AND VIEWS FROM THE NEFARIUM OCT 31 2019 - October 31, 2019 MORE TROUBLE IN CALIFORNIA, BUT THIS TIME NOT FOR PG&E - October 31, 2019 TIDBIT: CA SPRAYING - October 30, 2019 DISASTER CRAPITALISM? OR DISASTER SOCIALISM? - October 30, 2019 MOBSTER'S NEW BOOK: I HELPED MURDER POPE JOHN-PAUL I - October 29, 2019 THE US ARMY'S PROPOSED SUPER-CANNON - October 28, 2019 TIDBIT: POOR PUTIN! - October 28, 2019 TIDBITS: THIS WEEK'S HONORABLE MENTIONS - October 18, 2019 NEWS AND VIEWS FROM THE NEFARIUM OCT 17 2019 - October 17, 2019 BRAIN WAVES IN PETRI DISHES - October 17, 2019
Explosion in sea ice levels could spark an ice age for the first time in over 2 MILLION years
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 08:56
By Stacy Liberatore For Dailymail.com 16:23 30 Oct 2019, updated 13:51 31 Oct 2019
Computer simulations show that an increase in sea ice could spark an ice ageActs as a lid on the ocean, blocking it from releasing carbon dioxide This would create a reverse greenhouse effect and cool the earthScientists studying Antarctica sea ice warn a rise in accumulation could spark the next ice age.
Computer simulations show that an explosion in ice circling the frozen desert would act as a lid on the ocean and block it from exchanging carbon dioxide with the atmosphere.
This is capable of causing a reverse greenhouse effect, which would ultimately cool the earth and send our planet into an ice age for the first time in over two million years.
Scroll down for video
Scientists studying Antarctica sea ice warn a rise in accumulation could spark an ice age. Computer simulations show that an explosion of sea ice would block the ocean from exchanging carbon dioxide with the atmosphereThe last major ice age is believed to have ended about 2.5 million years ago during the Pleistocene era, according to UChicago News.
Since then, glaciers have periodically covered the earth, but have also retreated, which experts have now set out to understand the process behind an ice age -- how it works and what triggers it.
The latest study was conducted by a team at the University of Chicago who set out to discover and understand the processes that makeup global climate.
Assistant professor Malte Jansen at the University of Chicago (UChicago) told UChicago News, 'One key question in the field is still what caused the Earth to periodically cycle in and out of ice ages.'
'We are pretty confident that the carbon balance between the atmosphere and ocean must have changed, but we don't quite know how or why.'
This event is capable of causing a reverse greenhouse effect, which would ultimately cool the earth and send our planet into an ice age for the first time in over two million yearsJansen and former UChicago postdoctoral researcher Alice Marzocchi developed computer simulations of Antarctica sea ice and found it not only changes ocean circulation but acts as a lid and blocks it from releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere '' the less carbon in the air, the cooler the planet becomes.
'What this suggests is that it's a feedback loop,' said Marzocchi, now a research scientist at the UK's National Oceanography Center.
'As the temperature drops, less carbon is released into the atmosphere, which triggers more cooling.'
The explanation does coincide with past climate evidence from things like sediments, coral reefs and core samples from glaciers, the researchers explained.
'What surprised me is how much of this increased storage can be attributed to physical changes alone, with Antarctic sea-ice cover being the key player,' Marzocchi said.
HOW MUCH WILL SEA LEVELS RISE IN THE NEXT FEW CENTURIES?Global sea levels could rise as much as 1.2 metres (4 feet) by 2300 even if we meet the 2015 Paris climate goals, scientists have warned.
The long-term change will be driven by a thaw of ice from Greenland to Antarctica that is set to re-draw global coastlines.
Sea level rise threatens cities from Shanghai to London, to low-lying swathes of Florida or Bangladesh, and to entire nations such as the Maldives.
It is vital that we curb emissions as soon as possible to avoid an even greater rise, a German-led team of researchers said in a new report.
By 2300, the report projected that sea levels would gain by 0.7-1.2 metres, even if almost 200 nations fully meet goals under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Targets set by the accords include cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero in the second half of this century.
Ocean levels will rise inexorably because heat-trapping industrial gases already emitted will linger in the atmosphere, melting more ice, it said.
In addition, water naturally expands as it warms above four degrees Celsius (39.2°F).
The report also found that every five years of delay beyond 2020 in peaking global emissions would mean an extra 20 centimetres (8 inches) of sea level rise by 2300.
'Sea level is often communicated as a really slow process that you can't do much about ... but the next 30 years really matter,' lead author Dr Matthias Mengel, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in Potsdam, Germany, told Reuters.
None of the nearly 200 governments to sign the Paris Accords are on track to meet its pledges.
Although experts warn about the dangerous of increased sea ice, other studies this year have found that the amount in the ocean is dwindling.
In July, NASA had announced that the ice circling Antarctic had hit an all-time low '' losing an area the size of Mexico
Floating ice off the southern continent steadily increased from 1979 and hit a record high in 2014.
Three years later, the annual average extent of Antarctic sea ice hit its lowest mark, wiping out three-and-a-half decades of gains, a NASA study of satellite data shows.
That means that, since 2014, Antarctica has lost the same amount of ice as has disappeared from the Arctic in more than three decades.
California Must Take Back Its Power'--Literally
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 23:28
We Californians are watching our state burn. Our houses are literally on fire, and yet we should not be surprised. Our current ''new normal'' is an utterly predictable consequence of global warming. While the climate crisis fueling our wildfires is the direct result of the fossil fuel industry's profit-driven corporate greed, another culprit, one that has for years valued moneyed interests over human needs, is also to blame: the nation's largest utilities company, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E).
The most direct example of how PG&E has caused death and destruction was last year's Camp Fire, which razed the retirement community of Paradise and caused 85 deaths. The state of California determined that PG&E's transmission lines were the cause of that horrific fire, and according to Gov. Gavin Newsom, the company was guilty of ''two decades of mismanagement, misconduct and failed efforts to improve a woeful safety culture.'' Rather than focus on how to compensate fire victims and survivors while upgrading the power infrastructure, the company filed for bankruptcy to protect investors.
Then, earlier this year, the company attempted to pay its executives $11 million in bonuses as ''incentives'' to improve safety standards. A federal bankruptcy court judge later rejected the bonuses, saying, ''There is simply no justification for diverting additional estate funds to incentivize them to do what they should already be doing.'' PG&E has known for years that it needed to upgrade its infrastructure, yet failed to do so.
Meleiza Figueroa, a longtime political activist and environmentalist who is currently a faculty owner at the Cooperative New School for Urban Studies and Environmental Justice, explained to me in an interview that ''PG&E has gotten all of these subsidies, all of these land easements from the government to build this huge infrastructure that they cannot and will not keep up.'' The state's regulatory agency, the California Public Utilities Commission, has clearly failed to hold PG&E accountable.
Now PG&E is resorting to mass power outages to protect itself from liabilities during fire season, plunging millions of Californians into darkness. In a statement, the company explained: ''We understand the widespread impacts this Public Safety Power Shutoff will have across Northern and Central California. We would only take this decision for one reason'--to help reduce catastrophic wildfire risk to our customers and communities.'' While that may sound reasonable on the surface, it obscures PG&E's decades-long negligence of the state's power infrastructure'--negligence in the service of maximizing shareholder profit over long-term grid resilience. Moreover, the outages themselves are dangerous, especially for vulnerable communities of disabled, elderly and low-income people, and could cost the state billions.
Figueroa pointed out that the company appears to be prioritizing higher income customers, saying that in recent weeks in Sonoma, PG&E ''already cut off power to 28,000 homes around the area, but they did not turn off the high-voltage transmission lines,'' which she speculated might be for ''energy that is transported out of the area to more affluent regions,'' and are risk factors for sparking wildfires. She made the case for transitioning to microgrids instead of a centralized power system, which she says would create a way for ''people on the neighborhood level or the town level to own their own energy and generate it on site,'' thus undermining the need for the high-voltage transmission lines that have sparked many fires.
Most Californians may have been shocked, during the last few fire seasons, to realize that PG&E is a private company that pays dividends to its investors when it makes profits'--which come straight out of the pockets of ratepayers. It serves a majority of households in the nation's most populous state and operates as a monopoly, reaping profits off the basic needs of Californians. The idea of wresting the power grid out of the hands of private investors and making it a publicly owned utility has now grown more appealing.
Soon after last year's devastating Camp Fire, a campaign called Let's Own PG&E was formed, demanding that the state refuse to bail out the company with taxpayer money. The campaign also points out how PG&E directly exacerbates our climate crisis: ''PG&E's executives and investors have resisted and lobbied against decarbonization at every turn, arguing that natural gas and coal must remain a significant part of their energy portfolio in order for them to remain profitable.'' The campaign backs the idea of a Green New Deal, stating: ''A public PG&E could be a cornerstone of a Green New Deal in California, which would guarantee new union jobs for hundreds of thousands of Californians to build a clean economy.'' Presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has made public ownership of utilities a critical part of his climate plan.
Sadly, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has been a vocal critic of PG&E, also maintains that power outages are a necessary evil to avoid wildfires and apparently wants the company to remain in private hands. He has suggested that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway make a bid for California's power company.
But other elected officials in California are making the case for taking PG&E out of private hands. Congressman Ro Khanna, whose district includes Silicon Valley, has said, ''It's time for the state to take ownership of PG&E, and make sure that they are doing what they need to do to keep the power on and keep people safe.''
Figueroa points out that ''even if the state were to take over PG&E, they would be inheriting a highly degraded, highly centralized system of power transmission that is just not going to be sustainable and will continue to be hazardous in the long run.'' San Jose, the largest California city PG&E powers, has touted the idea of turning the company into a customer-owned cooperative. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo has emerged as a strong voice on the issue, writing that states: ''We simply cannot rely upon PG&E to act in our residents' best interests.'' He explains that while ''Creating a utility owned by the public'--whether its customers or a municipality'--will not provide a panacea to the [power outage] problem,'' it will ''ensure that the company that emerges from bankruptcy is not distracted by demands by investors for short-term financial performance, and better able to access capital to invest in its infrastructure.''
There is an analogy to be made with our current health care system that relies on a profit model to deliver quality medical care to all Americans. Just as people need health care, they need electricity to power their homes. And just as a growing chorus of Americans are demanding a nationalized health care system that removes investor profits from the equation, Californians are realizing the need to take back their power'--pun most definitely intended.
Sonali Kolhatkar Columnist
Sonali Kolhatkar is a columnist for Truthdig. She also is the founder, host and executive producer of "Rising Up With Sonali," a television and radio show that airs on Free Speech TV (Dish Network, DirecTV,'...
Mark Schneider on Twitter: "For the world to enter the coming #GoldenAge we have to get ONE thing right. ENERGY. there is only one way to get their... ...Nuclear Power... Let that sink in! #GreenNuclearDeal https://t.co/J3aavSaUUY" / Twitter
Mon, 28 Oct 2019 21:27
Welcome home! This timeline is where you'll spend most of your time, getting instant updates about what matters to you.
Tweets not working for you? Hover over the profile pic and click the Following button to unfollow any account.
Say a lot with a little When you see a Tweet you love, tap the heart '-- it lets the person who wrote it know you shared the love.
Spread the word The fastest way to share someone else's Tweet with your followers is with a Retweet. Tap the icon to send it instantly.
Join the conversation Add your thoughts about any Tweet with a Reply. Find a topic you're passionate about, and jump right in.
Learn the latest Get instant insight into what people are talking about now.
Get more of what you love Follow more accounts to get instant updates about topics you care about.
Find what's happening See the latest conversations about any topic instantly.
Never miss a Moment Catch up instantly on the best stories happening as they unfold.
GMO
Washington FDA Says, 'Let Them Eat Cotton' | New Eastern Outlook
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 08:32
US Government regulators have approved a genetically modified cotton variety as a ''potential solution to human hunger.'' The radical decision is to permit consumption by humans, in addition to animals, of seeds of a GMO cotton developed at Texas A&M University, with no independent long-term testing. It opens grave new concerns about the safety of our food chain. Soon, as a result, the world food chain may well be contaminated with the GMO cottonseeds whose dangers have been simply ignored by authorities.
The USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just approved a new type of GMO cotton for unregulated release. The type, called TAM66274, has been genetically modified supposedly to make the seeds fit for human or animal feed by suppressing the presence of a dangerous toxin in the seed, while allegedly leaving the toxin only in the rest of the cotton plant.
With FDA approval the GMO cottons seeds will now be allowed as food for people or animals. The project has been led by Keerti Rathore, a plant biotechnology prot(C)g(C) of the late Norman Borlaug, at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center.
Rathore says the group will now seek approval in other countries starting with Mexico. He calculates that, ''There are approximately 10.8 trillion grams of protein locked up in the annual global output of cottonseed. This is enough to meet the basic protein requirements of over 500 million people at a rate of 50 grams of protein per person per day.'' He says the GMO cottonseeds can also be used to feed pigs, poultry or farmed fish or shrimp. His group sees it as a major new source of protein for consumption, as well as profit for cotton growers. It is not surprising that Cotton Inc., the US cotton lobby group is sponsoring the GMO project.
Cotton Inc. and Monsanto have a history of cooperation as well. Rathore says for every pound of cotton fiber, the plant produces about 1.6 pounds of seed. The annual global cottonseed production equals about 48.5 million tons. If that can now be turned into cottonseed oil or meal for human and animal consumption and sold, it adds a huge profit boost to cotton producers. The world's largest purveyor of cotton seeds for planting cotton is Monsanto, now part of Bayer AG.
''The kernels from the safe seed could be ground into a flour-like powder after oil extraction and used as a protein additive in food preparations or perhaps roasted and seasoned as a nutritious snack,'' Rathore said.
On October 1 the FDA released its summary of findings for the Texas application which had been made in 2017. That gives the impression the Government researchers were making an intensive testing of the highly controversial issue of whether to permit human consumption of the GMO cotton seeds or not. Far from the case. As the FDA states in their findings of October, 2019, the FDA declaration was simply copied from the tests given them by the producer, Texas A&M and its biotech research group, funded by the US cotton industry group, Cotton Inc.
Highly toxic gossypol
The FDA approval, made with no apparent independent testing of the results given them by the group at the A&M AgriLife Research center, is notable given the fact that cottonseeds contain a highly toxic substance in the seeds known as gossypol. Because of gossypol, previously much of the weight of cotton plants was wasted or usable only for limited animal feed only after special treatment. The seeds were deemed unsuitable for human consumption.
The A&M GMO cotton was modified using what is called RNA interference technology, RNAi, to ''silence'' a gene that supposedly, again according to its developers, ''greatly'' reduces gossypol from the cottonseed. Rathore claims to have suppressed the gene of a cotton plant to produce cotton with gossypol in everything but its seeds: ''We have eliminated this gossypol from the seed without affecting its levels in other parts of the plant,'' said Rathore. ''With the toxin removed from the cottonseed, it can potentially feed 500 to 600 million people per year.'' Well, almost eliminated it, to be more accurate. They admit that about 3% gossypol remains in the seeds.
Now we are entitled to eat the ''low'' gossypol seeds which are said to be protein rich and supposedly safe. There are several alarming aspects to this FDA decision to release the GMO cotton variety for human and animal consumption.
Not Adequately Tested For Safety
First of all, as researcher Claire Robinson points out in an excellent analysis, the RNAi procedure for cotton is hardly proven to be safe. She notes scientific research that shows risks of GMO RNAi crops. One study found that RNAi molecules in food plants can survive digestion and enter the body of the human or animal eating it, and even affect the gene expression of the human or animal with unpredictable side effects. Robinson stresses that the FDA made no adequate thorough tests for safety of the GMO cotton, nor did Texas researchers. She notes, ''No toxicity testing in animals has been done on the seeds that are intended for consumption. The application only refers to testing in mice of the NPTII antibiotic resistance gene product, though it does not mention how long the tests lasted.''
Not only are the range of tests submitted by the Rathore group deficient or inadequate, they admit that their GMO variety has not entirely eliminated the presence of toxic gossypol in the cottonseeds, hence they term it ''low'' gossypol cotton seed, with an estimated 3% gossypol. Absent are any tests long-term on mice or other animals of effects of 3% or low gossypol GMO cottonseeds.
Population Reduction?
Gossypol among other traits is a human contraceptive. A study published in the journal Contraception notes that gossypol, ''in most animals, provokes infertility, and in man it causes spermatogenesis arrest at relatively low doses'... Gossypol should be prescribed preferably to men'...who would accept permanent infertility after a few years of use.'' It seems to be irreversible for many.
Another study published in The Scientific World Journal notes that among other toxic effects, '''...free gossypol may be responsible for'... respiratory distress, impaired body weight gain, anorexia, weakness, apathy, and death after several days. However, the most common toxic effect is the impairment of male and female reproduction. Another important toxic effect of gossypol is its interference with immune function, reducing an animal's resistance to infections'...''
Now according to the FDA, we humans are animals too for purposes of consuming GMO cottonseeds. Is a presence of 3% gossypol in now ''edible'' GMO cottonseeds enough to cause stealth contraception in humans, or any of the other grave symptoms? We simply don't know as none of the responsible US regulators, neither at USDA nor FDA, have apparently bothered to seriously test.
What has the FDA done to safeguard the health and safety of potential human or animal consumers of the GMO cotton? A careful reading of the FDA testing summary of October 1 shows the entirety of their evaluation, as noted, is lifted directly from the test results given them by Rathore's group at Texas A&M. And Rathore omits details of the length of their testing, which can conceal negative effects that only show up after longer time tests. Other tests are superficial and inconclusive.
Speaking of his hopes for the application of his new GMO cotton type, Rathore declares, ''My personal preference as we move forward would be to follow the 'Golden Rice' example in terms of its use for humanitarian purposes.'' The only problem with that example is that the Philippines project financed by the Rockefeller Foundation in the 1990s to develop Golden Rice, supposedly high in Vitamin A, was a colossal failure that was later abandoned by its creators. It was simply used as a GMO PR stunt. It could well be that the inadequately tested GMO cottonseeds end up blended into our food like so many such ingredients with us being none the wiser. The precautionary principle seems to have been shredded by scientists at FDA.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine ''New Eastern Outlook.''
Pipelines
Trump troops syrian oil is pipeline protection
Denmark allows Russia-Germany gas pipeline
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 09:52
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) '-- Denmark said Wednesday it is giving permission for a joint German-Russian underwater gas pipeline to be laid to through its territory, in a blow to the United States, which had fiercely opposed the project.
The decision by the Danish Energy Agency to approve the Nord Stream 2 pipeline's route is a victory for the governments of Russia and Germany, which had staunchly supported it.
Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed the move, saying it reflected Denmark's respect for its European partners.
The plan to transport natural gas about 1,200-kilometers (746-miles) through the Baltic Sea from Russia to Europe has come under fire from U.S. President Donald Trump's administration and several European countries, who argue it could increase Europe's dependence on Russia for energy.
The Danish government agency said it had granted a permit ''to construct a section of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipelines on the Danish continental shelf southeast of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea.''
''We are pleased to have obtained Denmark's consent,'' said Samira Kiefer Andersson, a representative for Nord Stream 2 AG, the company that manages the project. ''We will continue the constructive cooperation with Danish authorities to complete the construction of the pipeline.''
She said preparatory work and the pipelay will start in coming weeks.
The U.S. government, which wants to sell its liquefied natural gas to Europe, has threatened sanctions against companies involved in the undersea pipeline.
Putin, speaking on a visit to Hungary, welcomed Denmark's decision.
''Denmark has shown itself to be a responsible international partner, protecting its interests and its sovereignty, as well as interests of its main partners in Europe, which are strongly interested in the diversification of supplies of Russian hydrocarbon resources to the European market,'' Putin said at a news conference following his talks in Budapest with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of the Russian parliament, noted that the permission was issued despite the ''powerful pressure'' of the project's foes ''from Ukraine to Poland to America.''
A refusal to allow the pipeline's construction would have ''inflicted serious losses to European companies without any real reason,'' Kosachev wrote on Facebook.
While the pipeline is wholly owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom, half of the project's 8 billion-euro ($8.9 billion) cost is covered by five European energy and chemicals companies including Shell, BASF and ENGIE.
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Wednesday it would take only five weeks to build the pipeline section on the Danish shelf.
Germany, Europe's biggest economy and the world's biggest importer of natural gas, already relies heavily on Russian gas. So far, Chancellor Angela Merkel has deftly kept the pipeline off the table while imposing sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine.
Asked whether any political obstacles to the project remain after the Danish decision, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said: ''We have always said that there is a political dimension to Nord Stream 2, and we have always said that gas transit through Ukraine must have a future.''
Seibert noted that Merkel discussed the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin two days ago, and said Germany continues to support three-way talks between Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission on gas transit.
In Denmark, a left-wing party that supports the minority Social Democratic Party government said the decision was ''disastrous for the climate and the European energy policy.''
''In light of the climate crisis, Nord Stream 2 is a blatantly stupid decision,'' said Mai Villadsen, a member of the Red-Green Alliance. ''It makes no sense to approve a huge new gas pipeline without assessing the consequences for the climate.''
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline starts in Russia and passes through Finnish, Swedish, Danish and German marine areas before going ashore at the German coast. It can transport 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year.
Russia, Finland, Sweden and Germany earlier issued permits.
___
Geir Moulson in Berlin and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.
Trump troops syrian oil is pipeline protection
Trump Loses More than Just the Battle Over Nordstream 2 - Gold Goats 'n Guns
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 06:49
For the past three years the U.S. has fought the construction of the Nordstream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany every inch of the way.
The battle came down to the last few miles, literally, as Denmark has been withholding the final environmental permit on Nordstream 2 for months.
The U.S., especially under Trump, have committed themselves to a 'whole of government approach' to stop the 55 bcm natural gas pipeline from making landfall in Germany.
I've literally documented every twist and turn of Nordstream 2 over the past few years here (check the archives), at Seeking Alpha and my former Newsletter at Newsmax.
Never once did I think this day wouldn't come where the U.S. would eventually shut the pipeline down. The reason is simple. Europe, and specifically Germany, need the gas and there is no compelling reason for Germany to cave in the end if it wants to survive the 21st century a first world economy.
Russian piped gas is simply too cheap for any LNG to compete with.
In a sense, this pipeline is Germany's declaration of independence from seventy-plus years of U.S. policy setting. Never forget that Germany is occupied territory with more than 50,000 U.S. troops stationed there.
So it is supremely rich of President Trump call Nordstream 2 something that could make Germany a ''hostage of Russia'' when it's been a hostage of the U.S. sinced 1945.
Then again, history isn't one of Trump's strong suits.
Poland had been the tip of the U.S. spear in this battle, first declaring the joint venture between Russian gas giant Gazprom and five European oil and gas majors '-- Wintershall, Uniper, Royal Dutch Shell, ENGIE and OMV '-- illegal and then forcing through changes to the European gas transit rules.
Today Nordstream 2 is wholly-owned by Gazprom where the five companies listed above are investors as creditors in the pipeline, having put up '‚¬9.4 billion as loans versus as partners, thanks to Polish intransigence.
And even if they had backed out, Russian President Vladimir Putin was always clear that the money for Nordstream 2 was available. You have to realize that this pipeline cost roughly three weeks of Russia's trade surplus.
Poland wants to virtue signal about buying gas from the U.S. to spite Russia. That's their business. They have other reasons for opposing Nordstream 2, their names are Angela and Merkel.
Because Merkel will be happy to replace gas going through Ukraine with gas coming through Germany to keep the Poles in line on EU integration policy. Germany will control the quotas from Nordstream 2. This is part of the reason why the Poles are so adamantly against it and why they are so set on having their own supplies.
So, they worked with Trump and others to secure their energy future, paying higher prices for the leverage to keep Merkel out of their domestic policy. It's smart. I get that angle. But they could have gotten a better deal from Putin if they'd been willing to bury the hatchet.
In the end, the Trump administration likely spent more money opposing this project than it cost Gazprom to build it, when you factor in all the other moves made to counter Russia in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria and across Europe.
And the goal here was always to stop Nordstream 2 to retain some leverage over Russia by Ukraine in their negotiations of a new gas transit contract which expires at the end of 2019.
The same time that Nordstream 2 was supposed to be completed. U.S. pressure delayed this by a couple of months here as the pipeline won't be ready on January 1st, but now that the permit has been granted there is no real leverage to play against Russia in Ukraine talks.
The gambit was to stop Nordstream 2 and then lambaste publicly, if not sue, Gazprom for not meeting its contracted volumes for delivery. This would bind the company down for years in more frivolous lawsuits within the EU while the U.S. stepped in, like the white knight, to keep Europeans from freezing to death.
Fortunately, for the world, that plan failed.
Because starving Russia of gas revenues and sending them to the U.S. is not the only goal of opposing Nordstream 2. Europe's gas needs are so acute that there is plenty of market share to go around.
Bulgaria and other eastern European states are negotiating with Gazprom right now for new trains following path of the Turkstream pipeline across the Black Sea. Serbia is already getting theirs because they are an important bulwark against NATO for Putin.
Putin is in Hungary today talking with Prime Minister Viktor Orban who is also keenly interested in gas from Turkstream.
By the time Gazprom and Putin are done not only will Nordstream 2 be bringing in 55bcm, but Turkstream will have all four projected trains operating bringing in another 68 bcm.
So, which one of these is the real prize?
In the end the story of Nordstream 2 has a happy ending. Because despite the ridiculous rhetoric about European energy security, nothing secures the long-term peace in Europe than stitching the continent together with Asia with energy pipelines.
If Nordstream 2 wasn't the optimal solution to Europe's needs blame the U.S. and the EU itself for forcing Russia to scuttle South Stream in 2014 and fomenting a coup and the subsequent failed state known today as Ukraine then as well.
We broke what didn't need fixing. But the U.S./U.K. obsessions with blunting the rise of China and enacting revenge on Russia for not becoming a vassal state to Wall St. and City of London under Putin wouldn't be appeased.
There had to be one last major push for central Asian chaos and Nordstream 2 was only of those major offensives, like Syria, the war against the Donbass, the invasion of Yemen and the isolation of Iran.
All of those projects are coming to their very rapid conclusion now. And the geopolitical map will be forever changed.
Nordstream 2 going forward means now that Ukrainian President Zelensky will come to a quick decision on a transit contract with Gazprom. He's already accepted the 'Steinmeyer Formula' for settling the conflict in the Donbass.
He'll meet with Putin and risk a coup by the Banderists to get this done. He has to or Ukraine will not survive.
After four plus years of stalemate on these issues, like Brexit, when crunch time happens, everyone folds their hands and cuts a deal.
Had somehow Poroshenko remained in power Ukraine would continue to sink into irrelevance as the U.S. would keep them on the same ruinous path out of spite and the vain hope of success in the future.
So the future of Nordstream 2 was written in stone years ago, as Poroshenko's approval sank into the abyss.
Moreover, Trump has lost the whip hand over Merkel on energy which means a quick reversal of foreign policy positions with respect to Russia. Once the Donbass is solved and a gas transit contract signed/extended and Nordstream 2 completed, expect the EU to lift sanctions on Russia and resume normal trade relations.
The first two things will likely happen now before the end of the year. Sanctions will be lifted in 2020.
Had Nordstream 2 failed, none of these outstanding issues would resolve themselves in the next five years.
This is how important Nordstream 2 was to the future of Europe and it proves that a pipeline and mutually beneficial trade, more so any political union, is a more powerful weapon than all the tanks in the world.
This is one fight I'm glad Trump lost.
Join My Patreon if you want to understand how to profit from these tectonic shifts in the geopolitical landscape.
Install the Brave Browser if you think Google shouldn't decide whether we should talk about them.
Time-Price-Research: Energy War over Syria '--‚ The Geopolitics of Oil and Gas Pipelines
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 08:30
Major Planned Pipelines - Enlarge The war on Syria is onlyunclear at first sight. Oncloser inspection, it becomes clear that fighting between mercenaries andgovernment forces takes place only where important pipelines are running orplanned.  Russia,the Western powers and the Gulf States are fighting for the best startingposition for gas and oil supplies for the European market. France,the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and the United States, in particular, areinterfering in the distribution struggle without any reference to international law, while Russia's support to the legal Syrian government is fully in line with international law.   Twoof the most important oil markets are located in the Syrian cities of Manbijand al-Bab, both of which are located in the Aleppo province. These two citiesare also the most important pipeline, the oil from Iraq - from Mosul andal-Qaim - transported toSyria as far as the province of Idlib .  Territorial Control - Enlarge Thesame Pipeline runs through the city of Aleppo to the oil market in Idlib. Whoevercontrols Manbid, has a great influence on the oil transport in Syria. Thesame applies to Aleppo, Idlib and al-Bab in the west of the country. Inthe east of the country the same oil transport line runs through Raqq a and DeirEzzor . Theoil that flows through this transport line comes from Mosul, via Sinjar to DeirEzzor and a second strand from al-Qaim to DeirEzzor . So far, Turkey has had noinfluence on the oil transport lines in the Syrian conflict. Throughthe capture of Manbidz, Turkey could assert its influence on the transportsystem in Syria. Thecurrent battle for Aleppo is called only from a basic decision-making battle:Aleppo is the last big city through which flows the country's most importanttransport line. Anyonewho controls Aleppo controls the "key" of the pipeline. Itis striking that the conflicts between the conflict parties take place, inparticular, on the most important points of the transport lines: Raqq a, DeirEzzor, Aleppo, Idlib, Manbidsch, Hasaka, al-Bukamal, Ain Issa and al-Bab. InHoms and Hama also violent battles take place. Previously, Palmyra was fiercelyfought. These,in turn, are the areas through which the Qatar-Turkey pipeline is planned. TheIran-Iraq-Syria pipeline supported and planned by the Russians should also berun by Homs. Thatis why Homs from the Russian point of view cannot be controlled by the Islamicmercenaries.   The fog of war and the realm of uncertainty: Russian and US Airstrikes - Enlarge Fromthe map of the air strikes, it is clear that the US airspace mainly focuses onthe East and the Russian air strikes, especially on the west of Syria. Whilethe control of West Syria is important to the Russians to prevent pro-Westernpipelines, it is important from the US point of view that the prospect ofpro-Russian pipelines - like the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline - to prevent. Anotherplanned pipeline was originally to go from the Israeli Golan Heights viaDamascus to Turkey. Thispipeline would allow Israel to emerge as a gas supplier, provided thegovernment is overthrown in Damascus. ButRussia does not want any competitors in the gas market. Inconnection with the pipeline routes, the planned "Kurdish corridor"is also critical. TheCaucasus Strategic Research Center (KAFKASSAM) in Ankara reports: "Thereal objective of this corridor is to transport the Kurdish oil and gas fromthe Northern Iraq over Northern Syria to the Mediterranean by pipelinethere. Inaddition, the US had planned to build another pipeline from the Persian Gulf tothe Northern Iraq and from there via Northern Syria. Thus,both Iraq and Turkey should be brought to the West and especially to Europe onthe energy market through both Turkey and Northern S yria. Butthe plan to found a Kurdish corridor fell into the water because the Russiansintervened in Syria. Russiais opposed to this corridor because Europe is to be maintained as a customer ofRussian energy carriers. Russiawill under no circumstances give up its position on the European market." See also HERE  + HERE  + HERE  + HERE W ar a s the continuation of politics and economic interest by other means.
EuroLand
'Politie zocht confrontatie met demonstranten Malieveld' - Omroep Gelderland
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 09:35
Een politiewoordvoerster zegt tegenover Omroep Gelderland dat de samenwerking met de organisatie van de demonstratie 'goed' was, maar dat er wel wat incidenten waren.
'Aan het einde van de demonstratie zijn de voertuigen weer gaan rijden vanaf de Utrechtsebaan, de stad uit. We moesten eerst wachten tot de voorste voertuigen weggehaald werden. Toen ze eenmaal op de A12 richting Utrecht gingen rijden, gingen mensen met vier trekkers naast elkaar rijden. Echt van de vangrail tot aan de vluchtstrook. Dat is gevaarlijk voor het andere verkeer.'
De tekst gaat verder onder de video.
Zie ook: Onrustig bouwersprotest ingekort, betogers zoeken confrontatie met politie
Onder een bericht op de Facebookpagina van Omroep Gelderland schrijven mensen dat de politie juist zelf die blokkade op de A12 heeft opgeworpen en daarmee de boel op scherp heeft gezet. De politiewoordvoerder heeft dus een andere lezing. Wel erkent ze dat er tegen demonstranten is opgetreden toen mensen de weg opliepen en het verkeer hinderden. Ook werd de mobiele eenheid ingezet toen er met flessen naar agenten werd gegooid.
De tekst gaat verder onder de video.
Bij Omroep Gelderland melden mensen dat de politie ook op andere manieren de confrontatie zocht, bijvoorbeeld door met een busje op demonstranten in te rijden. 'Daarvan is echt geen sprake, ik heb het althans niet gezien', zegt de woordvoerster.
Mobiele Eenheid niet zomaar ingezetVolgens haar verliep de demonstratie goed, op een aantal incidenten na. 'De organisatie had het programma zelf eerder gestopt. Toen bleef er een groep hangen die de confrontatie zocht met de politie en niet andersom. De meeste bouwers gingen juist weg', aldus de zegsvrouw. 'Dat wij de confrontatie opgezocht zouden hebben, dat beeld herken ik echt niet. We zetten natuurlijk ook niet zomaar de mobiele eenheid in.'
Mensen die een klacht willen indienen, kunnen daarvoor altijd bij de politie terecht, zegt ze. Het protest van de bouwsector was onder meer gericht tegen het aangescherpte stikstofbeleid van de regering en tegen de PFAS-regelgeving. Dat zijn gevaarlijke stoffen waar tegenwoordig veel strenger op wordt gelet. Door beide maatregelen liggen veel bouwprojecten momenteel stil.
'Oorzaak tegendemonstratie'Er was ook een kleine groep tegendemonstranten. 'Daardoor ging het mis', zegt Arnold Tuytel van actiecomit(C) Grond in Verzet, dat de demonstratie organiseerde. 'Ik heb van een afstandje ook gezien hoe de politie met een busje op demonstranten inreed. Maar ja, er werd met flesjes bier naar de politie gegooid en dat moet je ook niet doen.'
Tuytel baalt ervan dat het toch een beetje uit de hand is gelopen. 'Ik wil er niet te veel over zeggen maar het is jammer dat het zo geindigd is, ik had het liever anders gezien', zegt hij tegenover Omroep Gelderland. 'We hadden goede afspraken met de politie, maar blijkbaar waren niet alle agenten en mensen van hogerhand daarvan op de hoogte.'
In Stunning Loss For Merkel, CDU Is Surpassed By Populist AfD In Thuringia Elections | Zero Hedge
Mon, 28 Oct 2019 11:27
Germany's resurgent populist, anti-immigration party, AfD scored impressive gains on Sunday in the ex-communist eastern state of Thuringia, once again at the expense of legacy parties such as Angela Merkel's centre-right CDU.
AfD leader Bj¶rn H¶cke celebrating the party's election results. Photo: DPAThe election result showed that centrism is again foundering at the expense of extreme political ideologies: while the far-left Die Linke party easily won with about 30%, the Alternative for Germany came second with 23%, according to early exit polls, more than doubling its result in the previous election in 2014.
Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), which had always received the most votes since 1990, dipped massively on Sunday. The CDU, which ruled Thuringia without interruption from 1992 until 2014, plummeted 11% points from 2014 to 22.5%. At the same time, the populist right-wing AfD soared and looked set to narrowly surpass the CDU with 24%, the poll showed. The AfD also scored far ahead of Merkel's coalition partners, the once powerful Social Democrats (SPD), who scored only 8%.
Welche Koalitionen w¤ren in Th¼ringen m¶glich? https://t.co/tpXWxlj32H #ltwth #lwth2019 #lwth19
'-- tagesschau (@tagesschau) October 27, 2019"Since 1945, we have not had such a result, where the parties of the democratic center in Germany are unable to form a government," CDU candidate Mike Mohring told reporters in Erfurt Sunday night. "This is a really bitter result."
It's the latest sign of trouble for Merkel as her political career comes to an anticlimatic close. Europe's largest economy has slowed sharply and will expand only a projected 0.5% this year, from 2.5% two years ago. At the same time, her designated successor, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, has failed to gain traction in her party, while repeatedly stumbling as she seeks to win back voters from the far-right.
And while the incumbent Left party gained marginally to 29.5%, it lacks an absolute majority with its current coalition partners, the Social Democrats and the Greens.
The result, according to Bloomberg, reflects "the increasingly splintered political spectrum in Germany, where traditional centrist parties have been losing steadily. In Thuringia it could result in a political stalemate and possible fresh elections down the road."
AfD's strong showing came despite widespread criticism after an October 9th attack in the eastern city of Halle, where a suspected neo-Nazi gunman tried and failed to storm a synagogue then shot dead two people outside. After the bloody attack, the commissioner for combating anti-Semitism, Felix Klein, like many other critics, argued that the AfD had trafficked in incendiary anti-Jewish sentiment.
The Thuringia campaign has been marked by anger, threats and recriminations, with CDU candidate Mike Mohring labelling the AfD's local leader, the nationalist hardliner Bj¶rn H¶cke, a "Nazi." However, it now appears that generically labeling anyone you disagree with as "Hitler" doesn't score you virtue signalling political brownie points any more, and in fact ends up pissing off voters.
A triumphant H¶cke told supporters on Sunday that the state, 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, had voted for a second revolution, a "Transition 2.0", and delivered "a clear 'no' to the ossified party landscape".
As TheLocal notes, the rise of the AfD has made it harder for the other parties to form a governing coalition, boosting the likely role of smaller players with single-digit results such as the much reduced SPD and the Greens. The once powerful SPD plummeted to a new low of eght to 8.5%, compared to 12.4% in 2014. The Greens were at 5.5% (5.7 percent in 2014) and had to fear for their return to parliament. The FDP came in at 5.0 to 5.5 percent, close to the five-percent hurdle needed to enter parliament.
More ominously for Germany's establishment, the angrier the people get, the more they are likely to vote... and not for any of the establishment parties. Overall voter turnout rose significantly to around 66%, up from 52.7% in 2014.
In Thuringia, the only state ruled by Die Linke, the post-election situation is complicated further by the CDU's refusal to cooperate with the hard-left party, despite the relatively moderate stance of Ramelow, a folksy former trade union official.
And while the AfD has struggled to make major inroads in the more wealthy "west", in the eastern states of Saxony and Brandenburg last month, the AfD also scored above 20% to become the second-largest force. However, in both cases the mainstream parties kept a pact not to enter into government with the far-right party, a pledge they have also made in Thuringia.
* * *
The election in the state of just over two million people was closely watched as another snapshot of the mood in the AfD heartland, especially given the role of H¶cke, a former history teacher considered extreme even within his party.
AfD supporters in Erfurt, Thuringia's state capital. H¶cke, 47, has labelled Berlin's Holocaust memorial a "monument of shame" and called for a "180-degree shift" in Germany's culture of remembrance of the crimes against humanity committed by the Nazi regime. Signalling political ambitions at the national level, H¶cke has openly challenged the AfD's senior leadership and was accused of a "personality cult" after marching into a hall escorted by flag-waving supporters. The CDU's Mohring recently declared that "to me, H¶cke is a Nazi".
With tensions running high on the campaign trail, police have been investigating death threats against Mohring and Greens co-leader Robert Habeck, and an arson attack on an AfD campaign truck.
The AfD started out as a eurosceptic fringe party before reinventing itself as an anti-Islam, anti-refugee movement to capitalize on anger over a massive influx of asylum seekers in 2015. In effect, the dramatic ascent of the AfD is largely the result of Merkel's own "Open Door" policices.
Its populist message has resonated most strongly with voters in Germany's former communist east where resentment lingers over lower wages and fewer job opportunities. Ramelow on the eve of the vote said that "the AfD claims to be the party that cares. But in reality, it is a party that knows nothing but outrage".
Brussels court postpones extradition hearing on ex-Catalan leader Puigdemont to December 16 '-- RT Newsline
Tue, 29 Oct 2019 17:53
Catalonia's pro-independence former leader Carles Puigdemont said on Tuesday that a Brussels court had postponed a hearing on the arrest warrant from Spain for his extradition for December 16, Reuters reported.
Puigdemont went into self-imposed exile in Brussels after Catalonia made a failed independence bid in October 2017, when he headed the region's government.
Spain, which previously failed to have Puigdemont extradited, renewed the attempt after its Supreme Court sentenced nine other separatist leaders this month to up to 13 years in jail for their role in the events of 2017.
A lawyer for Puigdemont, Simon Bekaert, said the legal arguments remained the same as they were just after the 2017 independence bid, when Spain put out the previous warrant for Puigdemont's arrest, which Belgium rejected.
Shut Up Slave!
With Little Fanfare, William Barr Formally Announces Orwellian Pre-Crime Program | Zero Hedge
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 09:43
Authored by Whitney Webb via MintPressNews.com,
A recent memorandum authored by Attorney General William Barr announced a new ''pre-crime'' program inspired by ''War on Terror'' tactics and is set to be implemented next year...
Last Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr issued a memorandum to all U.S. attorneys, law enforcement agencies and top ranking Justice Department officials announcing the imminent implementation of a new ''national disruption and early engagement program'' aimed at detecting potential mass shooters before they commit any crime.
Per the memorandum, Barr has ''directed the Department [of Justice] and the FBI to lead an effort to refine our ability to identify, assess and engage potential mass shooters before they strike.'' The Attorney General further described the coming initiative, slated to be implemented early next year, as ''an efficient, effective and programmatic strategy to disrupt individuals who are mobilizing towards violence, by all lawful means.'' More specific information about the program is set to follow the recent memorandum, according to Barr, though it is unclear if that forthcoming document will be made public.
Barr also requested that those who received the memorandum send their ''best and brightest'' to a training conference at FBI headquarters this coming December where the DOJ, FBI and ''private sector partners'' will prepare for the full implementation of the new policy and will also be able to provide ''new ideas'' for inclusion in the program.
Perhaps the most jarring aspect of the memorandum is Barr's frank admission that many of the ''early engagement'' tactics that the new program would utilize were ''born of the posture we adopted with respect to terrorist threats.'' In other words, the foundation for many of the policies utilized following the post-9/11 ''war on terror'' are also the foundation for the ''early engagement'' tactics that Barr seeks to use to identify potential criminals as part of this new policy. Though those ''war on terror'' policies have largely targeted individuals abroad, Barr's memorandum makes it clear that some of those same controversial tactics will soon be used domestically.
Barr's memorandum also alludes to current practices by the FBI and DOJ that will shape the new plan. Though more specifics of the new policy will be provided in the forthcoming notice, Barr notes that ''newly developed tactics'' used by the Joint Terrorist Task Forces ''include the use of clinical psychologists, threat assessment professionals, intervention teams and community groups'' to detect risk and suggests that the new ''early engagement program'' will work along similar lines. Barr also alludes to this ''community'' approach in a separate instance, when he writes that ''when the public 'says something' to alert us to a potential threat, we must do something.''
However, the memorandum differentiates suspected terrorists from the individuals this new program is set to pursue. Barr states that, unlike many historical terrorism cases, ''many of today's public safety threats appear abruptly and with sometimes only ambiguous indications of intent'' and that many of these individuals ''exhibit symptoms of mental illness and/or have substance abuse problems.''
Thus, the goal of the program is ostensibly to circumvent these issues by finding new and likely controversial ways to determine intent. As will be shown later in this report, Barr's recent actions suggest that the way this will be accomplished is through increased mass surveillance of everyday Americans and the use of algorithms to analyze that bulk data for vaguely defined symptoms of ''mental illness.''
Barr also suggested the likely courses of action that would follow the identification of a given individual as a ''potential mass shooter.'' The Attorney General notes that in past cases individuals deemed a violent or terroristic threat before they commit a crime are subject to ''detention, court-ordered mental health treatment, substance abuse counseling, electronic monitoring'', among other measures. Ostensibly, the new program would then apply these same practices to individuals in the U.S. that federal authorities believe are ''mobilizing towards violence,'' as Barr put it.
Bill Barr's been busyThe memorandum, despite heralding a new era of Orwellian surveillance and ''pre-crime'' on a national level, has been sparsely covered by the mainstream media. One of the few reports that did cover the new Justice Department policy, published Wednesday by the Huffington Post, framed the new Barr-led initiative as largely positive and asserted that the ''anti-terror tactics'' to which Barr alluded could ''help thwart mass shooters.'' No mention was made in the piece of the threat such a program is likely to pose to civil liberties.
Furthermore, no mention was made of Barr's clear push over the past few months to lay the groundwork for this recently announced program. Indeed, since becoming Attorney General under President Trump, Barr has spearheaded numerous efforts to this end, including pushing for a government backdoor into consumer apps or devices that utilize encryption and for a dramatic increase of long-standing yet controversial warrantless electronic surveillance programs.
On July 23rd, Barr gave the keynote address at the 2019 International Conference on Cyber Security (ICCS) and mainly focused on the need for consumer electronic products and applications that use encryption to offer a ''backdoor'' for the government, specifically law enforcement, in order to obtain access to encrypted communications as a matter of public safety.
Barr went onto say that ''warrant-proof encryption is also seriously impairing our ability to monitor and combat domestic and foreign terrorists.'' Barr stated that ''smaller terrorist groups and 'lone wolf' actors'' '-- such as those involved in the series of mass shootings in California, Texas and Ohio that occurred in the weeks after his speech '-- ''have turned increasingly to encryption.'' Barr later noted that he was specifically referencing encryption used by ''consumer products and services such as messaging, smartphones, email, and voice and data applications.''
To overcome the resistance by some private companies '-- who do not want to renege on their right to privacy by giving the government backdoor access to their devices '-- and American consumers, Barr tellingly anticipated ''a major incident may occur at any time that will galvanize public opinion on these issues.'' Shortly after this speech, several mass shootings, including one at an El Paso Walmart took place, which again brought the issue to the forefront of political discourse.
As MintPress reported at the time, Barr's uncanny prediction and a litany of other oddities related to the El Paso shooting left many answered questions about the FBI's foreknowledge of the event. In addition, the tragedy did appear to serve as the very ''galvanizing'' event that Barr had anticipated, as the solution offered by President Trump in the wake of the shootings was the creation of a government backdoor into encryption as well as calling for the very pre-crime system Barr formally announced just last week.
The pre-crime dragnet takes shapeMore recently, Barr and U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel signed a data access agreement on October 3rd that allows both countries to demand electronic data on consumers from tech companies based in the other country without legal restrictions. It is the first executive agreement reached as part of the controversial Clarifying Overseas Use of Data Act or CLOUD Act passed by the U.S. Congress last year.
The CLOUD Act has come under fire from rights groups who have warned that the legislation gives ''unlimited jurisdiction to U.S. law enforcement over any data controlled by a service provider, regardless of where the data is stored and who created it'' and that this also ''applies to content, metadata, and subscriber information'', including private messages.
Yet, Barr and Patel claimed that the data access agreement will instead ''enhance'' civil liberties and further asserted that the agreement would be used to go after ''pedophiles'' and ''organized crime'', even though both Barr and his U.K. equivalent have shown minimal interest in pursuing the co-conspirators of child sex trafficker and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, whose sex trafficking network has been linked to both organized crime and the intelligence agencies of both the U.S. and Israel. Some have charged that the lack of interest on the part of William Barr is due to the fact that Barr's father once hired the now deceased pedophile.
Notably, Jeffrey Epstein also had an apparent interest in pre-crime technologies, and was a key funder of the controversial technology company Carbyne911, along with former Israeli Prime Minister and close Epstein associate Ehud Barak. Carbyne911 is one of several Israeli companies that market their software products to the U.S. as a means of reducing mass shootings and improving the response times of emergency service providers. These companies boast numerous and troubling connections to the governments and intelligence communities of both the U.S. and Israel. Epstein, himself linked to the intelligence apparatuses of both nations, invested at least $1 million in Carbyne911 through a ''data mining'' company he controlled.
As was detailed in a recent MintPress expos(C) on these companies, Carbyne911 and similar companies extract any and all data from consumer smartphones for merely making emergency calls and then use it to ''analyze the past and present behavior of their callers, react accordingly, and in time predict future patterns,'' with the ultimate goal of smart devices making emergency calls to the authorities, as opposed to human beings.
Data obtained from these software products, already used by several U.S. counties and slated to be adopted nationwide as part of a new national ''next generation'' 911 system, will then be shared with the same law enforcement agencies who will soon be implementing Barr's ''national disruption and early engagement program'' to target individuals flagged as potentially violent based on vague criteria.
Notably, following the El Paso shooting, President Trump has been mulling the creation of a new federal agency known as HARPA that would work with the Department of Justice to use ''breakthrough technologies with high specificity and sensitivity for early diagnosis of neuropsychiatric violence,'' specifically ''advanced analytical tools based on artificial intelligence and machine learning.'' The data to be analyzed would be harvested from consumer electronic devices as well as information provided by health-care providers to identify who may be a threat.
It is important to point out that such initiatives, whether HARPA or Barr's newly announced program, are likely to define ''mental illness'' to include some political beliefs, given that the FBI recently stated in an internal memo that ''conspiracy theories'' were motivating some domestic terror threats and a series of questionable academic studies have sought to link ''conspiracy theorists'' to mental illnesses. Thus, the Department of Justice and ''mental health professionals'' have essentially already defined those who express disbelief in official government narratives as both a terror threat and mentally ill '-- and thus worthy of special attention from pre-crime programs.
Sleepwalking into a nightmareThis widely overlooked background is crucial to understanding William Barr's recent memorandum and the massive and greatly underreported shift in the policy it heralds. Over a period of several months, Barr '-- aided by ''private sector partners'' as well as other current and former government officials '-- has been laying the groundwork for the system he has now formally announced.
Through the software products offered by companies like Carbyne911 and through Barr's personal crusade to mandate government backdoors into encrypted software and products, Barr's new pre-crime program already has the tools for the mass extraction and storage of consumer data by means of both private tech companies and public services like emergency call centers.
Through the already drafted plan for HARPA and its proposed solution to identifying ''mental illness'' via artificial intelligence and machine learning, this newly announced ''pre-crime'' program will have the means to analyze the mass of data harvested from consumer electronic devices from Carbyne and other means using vague ''mental health criteria.''
While many of the specifics of the program remain unknown, the actions of Barr and others in government and private sectors show that this newly announced initiative is the product of years of careful planning and many of the tactics and tools it is poised to use have been in the works for months and even years.
In recent decades, and especially after the September 11 attacks, Americans have quietly traded an increasing number of civil liberties for increased government ''counter-terrorism'' programs and wars purportedly waged to ''keep us safe.'' Now, those same policies used to target ''terrorists'' are set to be used against ordinary Americans, whose electronic lives and communications are now set to be scoured for evidence of ''mental illness.'' If these untransparent algorithms flag an individual, that could be enough lead to court-ordered ''mental health treatment'' or even imprisonment regardless of whether or not a crime was committed or even planned.
As a consequence, William Barr's coming ''pre-crime'' program is arguably worse than the stuff of dystopian science fiction novels and films as it not only aims to detain Americans who have committed no crime but will expressly target individuals based on their use of electronic consumer products and the contents of their communications with their friends, family, co-workers, and others.
Porn viewers should be subject to face scans: Department of Home Affairs
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 09:38
Home Affairs suggests porn viewers be subject to face scans
Skip to sections navigationSkip to contentSkip to footerBy Finbar O'Mallon October 28, 2019 '-- 3.22pm
The Department of Home Affairs has suggested using face scans to confirm people's age before they watch online pornography and to restrict access to gambling sites.
The department has suggested checking ages by matching a person's photo with a document already logged with Home Affairs, such as a driver's licence.
Home Affairs wants to restrict underage access to online pornography and gambling using facial recognition technology. Credit: Bloomberg
"This could assist in age verification, for example by preventing a minor from using their parent's driver licence to circumvent age verification controls," it wrote to a parliamentary inquiry into age verification for online wagering and online pornography.
The United Kingdom this month abandoned plans to introduce a nationwide age verification system for online pornography, after years of technical troubles and concerns from privacy campaigners.
Closer to home, the Home Affairs proposal would piggyback off a separate proposed facial recognition scheme being pursued by the federal government.
The government had floated a contentious plan to permit government agencies, telecom companies and banks to use facial recognition technology connected to a 'hub'.
Under the laws, driver's licence, passport and visa images would be stored by the Home Affairs Department in an "interoperability hub".
However, a bipartisan committee last week told the Morrison government to redraft the proposed laws allowing for the technology's use in Australia, with Liberal and Labor MPs demanding additional safeguards be added.
Sex industry lobby group Eros Association suggested stronger parental controls be made available by internet service providers, pointing to Telstra allowing a filter of websites.
Loading
In the association's submission, general manager Rachel Payne says the UK model posed serious privacy concerns and risked creating a potential "honey pot" for hackers.
The University of New South Wales' Law Society said in countries where age verification for porn was enforced, effectiveness was limited with over four million domains and internet tools allowing users to circumvent controls.
But the society did say Italy, Denmark and Spain had successful government-run age verification schemes for online gambling.
The society said the UK's scheme was unable to guarantee the anonymity of users and would have potentially forced them to use multiple third-party age verification systems.
South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence said restricting children's access to porn would allow them to learn about sex more appropriately.
AAP
Most Viewed in Politics Loading
AG William Barr Formally Announces Orwellian Pre-Crime Program
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 23:34
L ast Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr issued a memorandum to all U.S. attorneys, law enforcement agencies and top ranking Justice Department officials announcing the imminent implementation of a new ''national disruption and early engagement program'' aimed at detecting potential mass shooters before they commit any crime.
Per the memorandum, Barr has ''directed the Department [of Justice] and the FBI to lead an effort to refine our ability to identify, assess and engage potential mass shooters before they strike.'' The Attorney General further described the coming initiative, slated to be implemented early next year, as ''an efficient, effective and programmatic strategy to disrupt individuals who are mobilizing towards violence, by all lawful means.'' More specific information about the program is set to follow the recent memorandum, according to Barr, though it is unclear if that forthcoming document will be made public.
Barr also requested that those who received the memorandum send their ''best and brightest'' to a training conference at FBI headquarters this coming December where the DOJ, FBI and ''private sector partners'' will prepare for the full implementation of the new policy and will also be able to provide ''new ideas'' for inclusion in the program.
Perhaps the most jarring aspect of the memorandum is Barr's frank admission that many of the ''early engagement'' tactics that the new program would utilize were ''born of the posture we adopted with respect to terrorist threats.'' In other words, the foundation for many of the policies utilized following the post-9/11 ''war on terror'' are also the foundation for the ''early engagement'' tactics that Barr seeks to use to identify potential criminals as part of this new policy. Though those ''war on terror'' policies have largely targeted individuals abroad, Barr's memorandum makes it clear that some of those same controversial tactics will soon be used domestically.
Barr's memorandum also alludes to current practices by the FBI and DOJ that will shape the new plan. Though more specifics of the new policy will be provided in the forthcoming notice, Barr notes that ''newly developed tactics'' used by the Joint Terrorist Task Forces ''include the use of clinical psychologists, threat assessment professionals, intervention teams and community groups'' to detect risk and suggests that the new ''early engagement program'' will work along similar lines. Barr also alludes to this ''community'' approach in a separate instance, when he writes that ''when the public 'says something' to alert us to a potential threat, we must do something.''
However, the memorandum differentiates suspected terrorists from the individuals this new program is set to pursue. Barr states that, unlike many historical terrorism cases, ''many of today's public safety threats appear abruptly and with sometimes only ambiguous indications of intent'' and that many of these individuals ''exhibit symptoms of mental illness and/or have substance abuse problems.''
Thus, the goal of the program is ostensibly to circumvent these issues by finding new and likely controversial ways to determine intent. As will be shown later in this report, Barr's recent actions suggest that the way this will be accomplished is through increased mass surveillance of everyday Americans and the use of algorithms to analyze that bulk data for vaguely defined symptoms of ''mental illness.''
Barr also suggested the likely courses of action that would follow the identification of a given individual as a ''potential mass shooter.'' The Attorney General notes that in past cases individuals deemed a violent or terroristic threat before they commit a crime are subject to ''detention, court-ordered mental health treatment, substance abuse counseling, electronic monitoring'', among other measures. Ostensibly, the new program would then apply these same practices to individuals in the U.S. that federal authorities believe are ''mobilizing towards violence,'' as Barr put it.
Bill Barr's been busy The memorandum, despite heralding a new era of Orwellian surveillance and ''pre-crime'' on a national level, has been sparsely covered by the mainstream media. One of the few reports that did cover the new Justice Department policy, published Wednesday by the Huffington Post , framed the new Barr-led initiative as largely positive and asserted that the ''anti-terror tactics'' to which Barr alluded could ''help thwart mass shooters.'' No mention was made in the piece of the threat such a program is likely to pose to civil liberties.
Furthermore, no mention was made of Barr's clear push over the past few months to lay the groundwork for this recently announced program. Indeed, since becoming Attorney General under President Trump, Barr has spearheaded numerous efforts to this end, including pushing for a government backdoor into consumer apps or devices that utilize encryption and for a dramatic increase of long-standing yet controversial warrantless electronic surveillance programs.
On July 23rd, Barr gave the keynote address at the 2019 International Conference on Cyber Security (ICCS) and mainly focused on the need for consumer electronic products and applications that use encryption to offer a ''backdoor'' for the government, specifically law enforcement, in order to obtain access to encrypted communications as a matter of public safety.
Barr went onto say that ''warrant-proof encryption is also seriously impairing our ability to monitor and combat domestic and foreign terrorists.'' Barr stated that ''smaller terrorist groups and 'lone wolf' actors'' '-- such as those involved in the series of mass shootings in California, Texas and Ohio that occurred in the weeks after his speech '-- ''have turned increasingly to encryption.'' Barr later noted that he was specifically referencing encryption used by ''consumer products and services such as messaging, smartphones, email, and voice and data applications.''
To overcome the resistance by some private companies '-- who do not want to renege on their right to privacy by giving the government backdoor access to their devices '-- and American consumers, Barr tellingly anticipated ''a major incident may occur at any time that will galvanize public opinion on these issues.'' Shortly after this speech, several mass shootings, including one at an El Paso Walmart took place, which again brought the issue to the forefront of political discourse.
As MintPress reported at the time, Barr's uncanny prediction and a litany of other oddities related to the El Paso shooting left many answered questions about the FBI's foreknowledge of the event. In addition, the tragedy did appear to serve as the very ''galvanizing'' event that Barr had anticipated, as the solution offered by President Trump in the wake of the shootings was the creation of a government backdoor into encryption as well as calling for the very pre-crime system Barr formally announced just last week.
The pre-crime dragnet takes shape More recently, Barr and U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel signed a data access agreement on October 3rd that allows both countries to demand electronic data on consumers from tech companies based in the other country without legal restrictions. It is the first executive agreement reached as part of the controversial Clarifying Overseas Use of Data Act or CLOUD Act passed by the U.S. Congress last year.
The CLOUD Act has come under fire from rights groups who have warned that the legislation gives ''unlimited jurisdiction to U.S. law enforcement over any data controlled by a service provider, regardless of where the data is stored and who created it'' and that this also ''applies to content, metadata, and subscriber information'', including private messages.
Yet, Barr and Patel claimed that the data access agreement will instead ''enhance'' civil liberties and further asserted that the agreement would be used to go after ''pedophiles'' and ''organized crime'', even though both Barr and his U.K. equivalent have shown minimal interest in pursuing the co-conspirators of child sex trafficker and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, whose sex trafficking network has been linked to both organized crime and the intelligence agencies of both the U.S. and Israel. Some have charged that the lack of interest on the part of William Barr is due to the fact that Barr's father once hired the now deceased pedophile.
Notably, Jeffrey Epstein also had an apparent interest in pre-crime technologies, and was a key funder of the controversial technology company Carbyne911, along with former Israeli Prime Minister and close Epstein associate Ehud Barak. Carbyne911 is one of several Israeli companies that market their software products to the U.S. as a means of reducing mass shootings and improving the response times of emergency service providers. These companies boast numerous and troubling connections to the governments and intelligence communities of both the U.S. and Israel. Epstein, himself linked to the intelligence apparatuses of both nations , invested at least $1 million in Carbyne911 through a ''data mining'' company he controlled.
As was detailed in a recent MintPress expos(C) on these companies, Carbyne911 and similar companies extract any and all data from consumer smartphones for merely making emergency calls and then use it to ''analyze the past and present behavior of their callers, react accordingly, and in time predict future patterns,'' with the ultimate goal of smart devices making emergency calls to the authorities, as opposed to human beings.
Data obtained from these software products, already used by several U.S. counties and slated to be adopted nationwide as part of a new national ''next generation'' 911 system, will then be shared with the same law enforcement agencies who will soon be implementing Barr's ''national disruption and early engagement program'' to target individuals flagged as potentially violent based on vague criteria.
Notably, following the El Paso shooting, President Trump has been mulling the creation of a new federal agency known as HARPA that would work with the Department of Justice to use ''breakthrough technologies with high specificity and sensitivity for early diagnosis of neuropsychiatric violence,'' specifically ''advanced analytical tools based on artificial intelligence and machine learning.'' The data to be analyzed would be harvested from consumer electronic devices as well as information provided by health-care providers to identify who may be a threat.
It is important to point out that such initiatives, whether HARPA or Barr's newly announced program, are likely to define ''mental illness'' to include some political beliefs, given that the FBI recently stated in an internal memo that ''conspiracy theories'' were motivating some domestic terror threats and a series of questionable academic studies have sought to link ''conspiracy theorists'' to mental illnesses. Thus, the Department of Justice and ''mental health professionals'' have essentially already defined those who express disbelief in official government narratives as both a terror threat and mentally ill '-- and thus worthy of special attention from pre-crime programs.
Sleepwalking into a nightmare This widely overlooked background is crucial to understanding William Barr's recent memorandum and the massive and greatly underreported shift in the policy it heralds. Over a period of several months, Barr '-- aided by ''private sector partners'' as well as other current and former government officials '-- has been laying the groundwork for the system he has now formally announced.
Through the software products offered by companies like Carbyne911 and through Barr's personal crusade to mandate government backdoors into encrypted software and products, Barr's new pre-crime program already has the tools for the mass extraction and storage of consumer data by means of both private tech companies and public services like emergency call centers.
Through the already drafted plan for HARPA and its proposed solution to identifying ''mental illness'' via artificial intelligence and machine learning, this newly announced ''pre-crime'' program will have the means to analyze the mass of data harvested from consumer electronic devices from Carbyne and other means using vague ''mental health criteria.''
While many of the specifics of the program remain unknown, the actions of Barr and others in government and private sectors show that this newly announced initiative is the product of years of careful planning and many of the tactics and tools it is poised to use have been in the works for months and even years.
In recent decades, and especially after the September 11 attacks, Americans have quietly traded an increasing number of civil liberties for increased government ''counter-terrorism'' programs and wars purportedly waged to ''keep us safe.'' Now, those same policies used to target ''terrorists'' are set to be used against ordinary Americans, whose electronic lives and communications are now set to be scoured for evidence of ''mental illness.'' If these untransparent algorithms flag an individual, that could be enough lead to court-ordered ''mental health treatment'' or even imprisonment regardless of whether or not a crime was committed or even planned.
As a consequence, William Barr's coming ''pre-crime'' program is arguably worse than the stuff of dystopian science fiction novels and films as it not only aims to detain Americans who have committed no crime but will expressly target individuals based on their use of electronic consumer products and the contents of their communications with their friends, family, co-workers, and others.
Feature photo | Graphic by Claudio Cabrera
Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.
OTG
Exclusive: Google owner Alphabet in bid to buy Fitbit - Reuters
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 10:06
(Reuters) - Google owner Alphabet Inc has made an offer to acquire U.S. wearable device maker Fitbit Inc, as it eyes a slice of the crowded market for fitness trackers and smartwatches, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.
A trader works at his post as the logo for wearable device maker Fitbit Inc. is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as begins public trading in New York, U.S., October 28, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
While Google has joined other major technology companies such as Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in developing smart phones, it has yet to develop any wearable offerings.
There is no certainty that the negotiations between Google and Fitbit will lead to any deal, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential. The exact price that Google has offered for Fitbit could not be learned.
Google and Fitbit declined to comment.
Fitbit shares rose 27% on the news, giving the company a market capitalization of $1.4 billion. Alphabet shares rose 2% to $1,293.49.
A deal for Fitbit would come as its dominant share of the fitness tracking sector continues to be chipped away by cheaper offerings from companies such as China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Xiaomi Corp.
Fitbit's fitness trackers monitor users' daily steps, calories burned and distance traveled. They also measure floors climbed, sleep duration and quality, and heart rate.
Fitbit, which helped pioneer the wearable devices craze, has been partnering with health insurers and has been making tuck-in acquisitions in the healthcare market, as part of efforts to diversify its revenue stream. Analysts have said that much of the company's value may now lie in its health data.
Fitbit cut its 2019 revenue forecast in July, blaming disappointing sales of its newly launched cheapest smartwatch Versa Lite. The watch is priced at $160, compared with $200 for the full version. It can track workouts and heart rate but lacks features such as the ability to store music directly.
In August, Fitbit said it had signed a contract with the Singapore government to provide fitness trackers and services in a health program it said could reach up to 1 million users.
Fitbit in August also launched its latest smartwatch, Versa 2, adding Amazon.com Inc's voice assistant Alexa, online payments and music storage to the device's capabilities.
Fitbit is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings on Nov. 6. Alphabet is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings later on Monday.
Fitbit would not be the first deal that Google would be carrying out in the wearables space. Fossil Group Inc said in January it would sell its intellectual property related to smartwatch technology under development to Google for $40 million. Google's plans for these assets are not clear.
Reuters had reported last month that Fitbit was speaking to investment bank Qatalyst Partners about exploring a sale.
Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York and Paresh Dave in San Francisco; Editing by Lisa Shumaker
Los Angeles Suspends Uber's Scooters Over Data Fight - WSJ
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 09:33
Los Angeles has temporarily suspended Uber Technologies Inc. 's permit to offer dockless scooters for rent, amid a deepening disagreement over the city's data-collection efforts.
City officials informed the company of the decision in a letter sent Tuesday. The ride-hailing company, which offers scooters through its Jump business, had been given until Tuesday evening to show that it could comply with the requirements of the Mobility Data Specification, a platform city officials developed to track the number and movements of scooters around the city.
Los Angeles has about 32,000 scooters registered to eight companies. City officials said in a statement that the other seven companies, including Bird Rides Inc. and Lyft Inc., have complied with their requirements.
The MDS is essentially a series of communication protocols between scooter companies and the city, allowing them to exchange data. Los Angeles wants to track scooters' use and location in real time, saying that will allow the city to prevent them from being dumped en masse in popular areas, to monitor whether scooter companies are following circulation caps, and to assist with city planning.
City officials said in the statement that their intent is to manage how public roads are used and that they target data-collection efforts on the scooters, not the passengers.
Uber said that it wouldn't comply with the requirements, calling them invasive to customer privacy.
''We believe that [the Los Angeles Department of Transportation] requirements to share sensitive on-trip data compromises our customers' expectations of data privacy and security,'' an Uber spokesperson said.
The company has argued that the geolocation data Los Angeles wants to collect means the city will be able to identify users. Privacy advocates say such information could be used to enable stalking, harassment or surveillance.
City officials say that the data is anonymized to strip it of identifiable information and that they are only concerned with the equipment being tracked.
Many cities consider the Los Angeles system a template they can use to manage digital services such as those provided by Uber and Lyft, standardizing such data transfers rather than developing individual systems. Los Angeles officials plan to use the MDS to eventually govern data about ride-shares. It could also be applied to future technologies, such as drone deliveries.
Uber's challenge to Los Angeles could have a tremendous impact on how cities approach this issue in the future, said Meera Joshi, a visiting scholar at New York University and a former head of New York's Taxi and Limousine Commission.
''Because so many other cities are adopting the L.A. data standards, whatever happens will have a ripple effect: either it'll embolden other cities or have a chilling effect,'' she said.
Under the terms of its temporary suspension, Uber will be able to operate within the city for 10 days. During that time, it must request a hearing with LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds or another official. If Uber doesn't make the request, its license could be permanently revoked, requiring it to remove all its scooters from city streets within 72 hours.
''While all other permitted scooter and bike companies are complying with the rules, Uber has repeatedly refused, despite knowing about these requirements for months and agreeing to abide by them when obtaining a permit,'' a spokeswoman for LADOT said.
This week's conflict is the latest in a widening battle between Uber and city officials over the MDS. The parties had attempted to negotiate a compromise in a phone call last week but talks deteriorated.
Privacy advocates have also criticized Los Angeles's plans for real-time data collection. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology have written to Ms. Reynolds to express concerns over the city's policies regarding its use of the data and its procedures for storing it.
The city has published its principles on how it will govern elements of its data collection, by treating the information gathered as confidential, encrypting it, and only allowing law-enforcement access through subpoena.
Uber itself has come under scrutiny over user privacy. In 2017, it settled accusations from the Federal Trade Commission that it failed to properly monitor employee use of a program called ''God view'' that allowed staff to view user trips in real time. Another piece of software developed by Uber, Greyball, was designed to stop those who violated its rules from using its service. The company used Greyball to identify law-enforcement sting operations and competitors attempting to disrupt operations.
As part of the FTC settlement, Uber must hire an outside firm to audit its privacy practices every two years for the next 20 years. It hired its first chief privacy officer, Ruby Zefo, in 2018.
In April, Los Angeles made the MDS open source, meaning that other cities can use it to build their own systems. Use of the system is governed by the Open Mobility Foundation, an organization that counts as members more than a dozen U.S. cities as well as Bogot, Colombia. The foundation didn't respond to a request for comment.
'--Preetika Rana contributed to this article.
Write to James Rundle at james.rundle@wsj.com
Feel as if your TV knows what you're watching? Well, it almost does | Stuff.co.nz
Mon, 28 Oct 2019 09:38
Ever had a conversation about something, only to see ads for that exact something turn up on Facebook?
Paul Garrity is partially responsible.
No, he's not listening to your phone. He doesn't need to.
He can make a pretty good guess at what you're going to talk about before you talk about it.
READ MORE: * Samsung and Facebook prove that tech fomo is real * Buying a TV? Here's what you need to know * AI is coming to TVs - here's what that will mean
"We call it 'creating a coincidence'," says Mr Garrity. "It can feel like people are listening to what you say. But creating coincidence is what advertisers do."
Garrity is chief executive of Impulse Screen, a company that uses artificial intelligence to analyse what people watch on TV and then target them with advertising.
The AI lives on a computer connected to an antenna. It watches all Australian TV channels at once.
As it watches each show, the AI picks out hundreds of "data triggers": words, images, faces and themes that might catch a viewer's attention.
Advertisers know those data triggers '' images of couches shown during The Block for example '' are likely to generate discussion. People are more likely to talk about couches on Facebook, or search for them on Google, after the show ends.
Using other data held by Facebook and Google, including age, location, search history and Facebook likes, Mr Garrity can guess at the people most likely to have watched The Block.
He can then instantly buy adverts for couches targeted at those people, knowing that they are more likely to be thinking or talking about couches.
Impulse Screen Media offers a service for advertisers looking to sync their digital advertising campaigns with real time data. This ad details how they can do that.
Take another example. Say it's 7pm in the middle of winter, and you're watching a TV drama. The main character mentions plans to head to Bali for a holiday.
"We can monitor that," says Garrity. Within two seconds of the AI spotting a trigger '' such as the word Bali '' Impulse Screen will buy advertising on Facebook and Google for Bali holidays for a travel-agent client.
"The advertisers are aware Bali will be in people's conversations for the next 24 hours," says Garrity.
It adds up to adverts that feel as if someone is watching us through our television screens.
"One of the things people who do this data mining say is people are much more predictable than they think they are," says Professor Mark Andrejevic from Monash University who studies the way we are monitored online.
"If you collect a lot of data about patterns of behaviour, in some cases you're going to get it right,"
"They often say 'we will know what consumers want before they do'."
While Garrity's company does not actually watch what is on an individual's television screen, the next generation of televisions will.
Internet-connected smart televisions are now capable of monitoring exactly what is on the screen '' Channel Nine or Netflix or even a video game '' and selling that data to advertisers.
The data being sent to advertisers is not just what you watch; it can also include serial numbers unique to your TV and details about your Wi-Fi connection, allowing you to be individually targeted.
A Northeastern University-led study presented at the Internet Measurement Conference in Amsterdam last week found one Samsung smart TV sending data to 30 separate parties.
Tracking and selling viewing data is already big business in America.
American company Inscape boasts it has tracking software installed on more than 10 million TV sets. It claims it can tell advertisers a person's age, address, whether they own a car and exactly what show they are watching right now.
Sony's Australian smart TVs come bundled with Samba, software that tracks your viewing habits and uses them to serve you advertisements (if you opt in).
Samba can also track other devices such as phones connected to the same wireless connection as the TV, and send adverts to your phone based on what you watch on TV.
A Sony spokeswoman said it "does not provide information about individuals to third parties and/or to serve advertisements".
LG did not answer direct questions about whether it collected viewing data and sold it to advertisers. Samsung did not return a request for comment.
SJW
POLL: Majority of students want PUNISHMENT for 'offensive' costumes
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 09:01
Celine Ryan Investigative Reporter @celinedryan on Oct 28, 2019 at 7:07 AM EDT A recent survey found that 51 percent of American university students support punishing others who wear "highly offensive" costumes. The number is even higher among Ivy League students. More than half of American university students support punishment for their peers who wear ''highly offensive'' Halloween costumes.
A recent poll by The College Pulse found that more than half of students do not believe that dressing in ''offensive'' costumes is protected free expression and support the notion that those who partake in such costumes should "be punished.''
"highly offensive"
The survey was conducted by asking 1,501 university students several questions regarding current events and societal norms, including ''Are highly offensive Halloween costumes (such as blackface) a protected form of free speech on campus, or should students who wear them be punished?''
[RELATED: 'Hawaiian Day' party flooded by cultural controversy wave]
A majority of students -- 51 percent -- indicated that students who wore such costumes should "be punished,'' while 49 percent said that ''highly offensive'' costumes are ''a protected form of free speech.''
The number of students saying others should be punished for "offensive" Halloween costumes is even higher at elite universities, with 58 percent of Ivy League students saying that wearing "offensive" costumes should have consequences.
California students are on high alert when it comes to insensitive Halloween costumes, with three out of five students within the California State University system in favor of punishment for "offensive" costumes.
[RELATED: POLL: Most young Americans support 'hate speech' exemption in First Amendment]
The poll comes just days after a separate poll found that a majority of U.S. young adults believe that "hate speech" should not be protected under the First Amendment, with 47 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 34 saying that jail time would be an appropriate punishment for those who use such speech.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @celinedryan
Foie Gras, Served in 1,000 Restaurants in New York City, Is Banned - The New York Times
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 06:16
Animal cruelty concerns led the City Council to approve the ban, which takes effect in 2022. One chef's reaction: ''What's next? No more veal?''
Animal rights supporters cheered passage of the bill, whose sponsor, Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, said would end a violent and ''inhumane process.'' Credit... Desiree Rios for The New York Times Lut¨ce served it seared, with dark chocolate sauce and bitter orange marmalade. Le Cirque offered it in classic terrine form, but also served it with rabbit and bacon and made it the scene-stealer in a ravioli dish.
But Lut¨ce closed in New York in 2004. Le Cirque shut its last Manhattan location in 2017. And foie gras, the calling card of fine French dining, is about to follow suit.
The New York City Council overwhelmingly passed legislation on Wednesday that will ban the sale of foie gras in the city, one of the country's largest markets, beginning in 2022.
New York City will join California in prohibiting the sale of foie gras, the fattened liver of a duck or goose, over animal cruelty concerns.
''New York is the mecca of dining in the world. How is it possible that New York doesn't have foie gras?'' said Marco Moreira, executive chef and owner of Tocqueville, an acclaimed French restaurant near Union Square, which offers an appetizer of foie gras from the Hudson Valley. ''What's next? No more veal? No more mushrooms?''
Most foie gras is produced through a process known as gavage; ducks are force-fed a fatty corn-based mixture that engorges their livers. The process requires tubes to be inserted into a duck's throat for a 20-day feeding regimen, swelling the liver to up to 10 times its normal size. The procedure can leave ducks too big to walk or even breathe before they are slaughtered, animal activists say.
Carlina Rivera, a Manhattan councilwoman who sponsored the foie gras legislation, said her bill ''tackles the most inhumane process'' in the commercial food industry. ''This is one of the most violent practices and it's done for a purely luxury product,'' she said.
Foie gras farmers say that the forced feedings are not cruel, and that the claims of torture are exaggerated. They say there is a bias against foie gras because it is a luxury product.
Other countries, including India, Israel and Britain, have banned the sale or production of foie gras. Whole Foods stopped selling the product in 1997, citing cruelty, and Postmates stopped delivering it in 2018.
But New York was seen as a critical battleground, where an expense-account culture of extravagance has fed demand for foie gras for decades. That tradition, however, gave way to an increasingly progressive City Council.
The bill bars the sale of foie gras produced by ''force-feeding birds,'' with each violation punishable by a $2,000 fine. But not all foie gras comes from ducks or geese that have been force-fed, and determining whether foie gras was illegally produced may present an enforcement challenge.
Under the law, it will be assumed that all foie gras came from duck or geese that have been force-fed unless ''documentary'' evidence is provided to the contrary.
About 1,000 New York City restaurants have foie gras on their menu. But a greater impact may be felt on the farms north of New York City that produce foie gras.
Hudson Valley Foie Gras and La Belle Farm in Sullivan County say they employ about 400 people and that New York City makes up about 30 percent of their business. Hudson Valley, which slaughters 800 ducks a day, said they sold $15 million worth of foie gras last year.
A foie gras liver that weighs 90 grams can sell for $125; the bones and feathers from foie gras ducks are used in other products like dog food and coats, said Sergio Saravia, a founder of La Belle, and head of the Catskill Foie Gras Collective.
''California and New York were our biggest markets, so this is devastating,'' said Mr. Saravia, adding that his farm has lost $50,000 a week in revenue from the loss of the California market. ''It's going to make it difficult to stay afloat.''
Ms. Rivera said that changes were made to the original bill's language to help upstate farms.
The ban will not take effect until three years after its passage, giving the farms a chance to adjust their business models, she said. The maximum fine for violating the ban was increased to $2,000 per violation from $1,000, but a proposed criminal penalty of up to a year in jail was eliminated.
Ms. Rivera rejected the notion that the ban would put the upstate farms out of business.
''These farms produce dozens of other products and gavage is aggressively cruel,'' Ms. Rivera said. ''There is an exotic animal ban in New York City and people still go to the circus.''
More than half the City Council '-- 30 members '-- signed on to sponsor the foie gras legislation, which was part of a package of anti-animal cruelty legislation that advocates said was among the most significant to be passed in New York City in years. In the end 42 members voted in favor of the ban.
Other legislation passed in the package will prevent horse carriages from working on humid days (measured using the equine heat index, a measure of temperature and relative humidity), create a mayor's office of animal welfare and prohibit the capture and transfer of wild birds like pigeons. New York City's ubiquitous birds are sometimes trapped and transported out of state to be used as targets in game shooting.
Justin L. Brannan, a Democratic councilman who represents Brooklyn and sponsored the animal welfare legislation, said the office will create a central place to deal with animal issues.
''When an animal issue came about you never knew who to call,'' he said.
Keith Powers, a Democratic councilman from Manhattan, said he was not in favor of eliminating the horse carriage industry but wanted protections for the horses. The horse carriage industry opposed the measure.
Animal rights supporters cheered when the bills were passed, overcoming scattered opposition.
''These bans are an overreach,'' said Robert Cornegy Jr., a city councilman who represents Brooklyn, and was one of six to vote against the foie gras ban. ''The customers will determine the market.''
Councilman Kalman Yeger, who also represents Brooklyn, said the Council had more pressing issues to address. He voted against both the foie gras and wild bird bills.
''If there are a bunch of guys trapping pigeons, send them to my neighborhood,'' said Mr. Yeger. ''Is that why we're here, to ban liver?''
Mayor Bill de Blasio's office had said on Tuesday that he would allow the bills to lapse into law '-- opting not to sign or veto the legislation. After the vote, Avery Cohen, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said he would sign the animal rights bills into law.
Allie Feldman Taylor, founder and president of Voters for Animal Rights, said the animal rights package will protect animals used for food, entertainment, and also protects wildlife. She characterized the bills as the ''most significant animal rights legislation in our city's history,'' serving as evidence that New York City is becoming more compassionate, she said.
Restaurateurs like Mr. Moreira saw it differently.
''We will suffer,'' Mr. Moreira said. ''It's like taking letters from the alphabet; they will take something out of our kitchen vocabulary that's integral to the restaurant.''
Dan Williams, the executive sous chef at Marea, on Central Park South, called foie gras a ''craftsmanship ingredient'' that takes time to learn how to harvest and prepare.
''It's not like deep-fried shrimp,'' he said. ''You have to have talent to put it on the menu.''
Female comedians & their defenders, triggered by study finding men funnier than women, squirm out of science '-- RT World News
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 06:14
A study confirming the stereotype that men are funnier than women has kicked off a wokeness tantrum of epic proportions, with comedians, media, and Twitter warriors all piling on (and misinterpreting) the research.
Some 63 percent of men are funnier than the average woman, researchers analyzing 28 studies comparing men and women's humor-producing abilities found in a study published earlier this week '' and the PC police are demanding their heads. The researchers, from Aberystwyth University and the University of North Carolina, reviewed studies from all over the world in which subjects' humor was assessed without knowledge of their sex, minimizing the opportunity for their detractors to blame any sort of bias, but that hasn't stopped the screams of indignation.
Also on rt.com Joker filmmaker enrages 'woke culture' proponents by (accurately) blaming the tyranny of outrage for death of comedy Professional offense-takers have come out of the woodwork to criticize the study '' many of whom have misconstrued its conclusions, perhaps not having actually read it.
''I really think it's unnecessary to do this study,'' Marina Bye, a female comedian, told BBC. ''They could have done something progressive.''
Her sister Maddy, who performs with her in the 'comedy' duo Siblings, hit back that the study itself was ''funny,'' complaining: ''I don't know why they're trying to make it a scientific fact that women aren't funny.'' The study said no such thing.
This study found on average, 63% of men were funnier than the average woman. @Jess_Tu2 is confused. "What does that even mean? And why is this line of query even pursued by researchers? Is it valuable for our cultural advancement as a society?" https://t.co/3pJ1tE2PUL
'-- Women's Agenda (@WomensAgenda) 30 октябÑя 2019 Ð".Lead researcher Gil Greengross' refusal to blame ''societal forces'' for ''discourag[ing] girls and women from developing and expressing their humor,'' instead suggesting humor has provided an evolutionary advantage to males throughout history, rankled some who argued that societal forces actually encouraged women not to be funny.
'' Once you're the funny woman, boys don't want to date you, they want to date the girl that laughs at their jokes.''This is why I think many top comediennes are lesbian. Harder for straight women I think.https://t.co/ZxqIkuDFQQ
'-- Jasmine Birtles (@Jasmine) 30 октябÑя 2019 Ð".I actually think it's more likely and more interesting that many men actively seek out partners they don't think are funny because mummy told them they were the funniest little boy in the world and their ego couldn't stand being proved wrong
'-- Eleanor Morton Died Ten Years Ago This Very Day (@EleanorMorton) 29 октябÑя 2019 Ð".Others tried to poke holes in the study by claiming cultural or gender bias, even though the researchers had controlled for both, and questioning what counts as ''humor.''
A few women took the opportunity to show off their own senses of humor. ''Maybe we were just being funny when you weren't looking,'' one Twitter user deadpanned.
''Men are apparently funnier than women according to science, well it's true cos they're all f**king JOKES,''chortled another.
The authors seem to have been expecting a backlash. Greengross attempted to placate the rage by reminding readers that the study refers to the _average_ woman, the difference in humor ability between the sexes is ''small to medium,'' and there are lots of great female comedians (he even listed a few, so you know he's sincere) in an article for Psychology Today.
He doubled down on his defense an interview with Radio 1 Newsbeat on Tuesday, pleading: ''To clarify, the whole thing is not about 'women are not funny'... obviously there are some very funny stand-up comedians and I know many female comedians, some personally.''
Subscribe to RT newsletter to get stories the mainstream media won't tell you.
John Legend's 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' Cover Features The Line 'It's Your Body, And Your Choice' | The Daily Caller
Mon, 28 Oct 2019 22:30
'):""},t.getDefinedParams=function(n,e){return e.filter(function(e){return n[e]}).reduce(function(e,t){return g(e,function(e,t,n){t in e?Object.defineProperty(e,t,{value:n,enumerable:!0,configurable:!0,writable:!0}):e[t]=n;return e}({},t,n[t]))},{})},t.isValidMediaTypes=function(e){var t=["banner","native","video"];if(!Object.keys(e).every(function(e){return s()(t,e)}))return!1;if(e.video&&e.video.context)return s()(["instream","outstream","adpod"],e.video.context);return!0},t.getBidderRequest=function(e,t,n){return c()(e,function(e){return 0t[n]?-1:0}};var r=n(3),i=n(88),o=n.n(i),a=n(12),c=n.n(a),u=n(10),s=n.n(u),d=n(9),f=n(89);n.d(t,"deepAccess",function(){return f.a});var l=n(90);function p(e){return function(e){if(Array.isArray(e)){for(var t=0,n=new Array(e.length);t\n ')):""}function de(e,t,n){return null==t?n:$(t)?t:ee(t)?t.toString():void _.logWarn("Unsuported type for param: "+e+" required type: String")}function fe(e,t,n){return n.indexOf(e)===t}function le(e,t){return e.concat(t)}function pe(e){return Object.keys(e)}function ge(e,t){return e[t]}var be=he("timeToRespond",function(e,t){return ti;)a(r,n=t[i++])&&(~u(o,n)||o.push(n));return o}},143:function(e,t,n){var r=n(19).document;e.exports=r&&r.documentElement},144:function(e,t,n){var r=n(30),i=n(45),o=n(53)("IE_PROTO"),a=Object.prototype;e.exports=Object.getPrototypeOf||function(e){return e=i(e),r(e,o)?e[o]:"function"==typeof e.constructor&&e instanceof e.constructor?e.constructor.prototype:e instanceof Object?a:null}},145:function(e,t,n){n(146);for(var r=n(19),i=n(21),o=n(32),a=n(14)("toStringTag"),c="CSSRuleList,CSSStyleDeclaration,CSSValueList,ClientRectList,DOMRectList,DOMStringList,DOMTokenList,DataTransferItemList,FileList,HTMLAllCollection,HTMLCollection,HTMLFormElement,HTMLSelectElement,MediaList,MimeTypeArray,NamedNodeMap,NodeList,PaintRequestList,Plugin,PluginArray,SVGLengthList,SVGNumberList,SVGPathSegList,SVGPointList,SVGStringList,SVGTransformList,SourceBufferList,StyleSheetList,TextTrackCueList,TextTrackList,TouchList".split(","),u=0;u=e.length?(this._t=void 0,i(1)):i(0,"keys"==t?n:"values"==t?e[n]:[n,e[n]])},"values"),o.Arguments=o.Array,r("keys"),r("values"),r("entries")},147:function(e,t,n){"use strict";var r=n(148),i=n(77);e.exports=n(150)("Set",function(t){return function(e){return t(this,0=b.syncsPerBidder?a.logWarn('Number of user syncs exceeded for "'.concat(t,'"')):d.canBidderRegisterSync(e,t)?(f[e].push([t,n]),void(p=function(e,t){return e[t]?e[t]+=1:e[t]=1,e}(p,t))):a.logWarn('Bidder "'.concat(t,'" not permitted to register their "').concat(e,'" userSync pixels.')):a.logWarn("Bidder is required for registering sync"):a.logWarn('User sync type "'.concat(e,'" not supported'))},d.syncUsers=function(){var e=0i&&(r=!1)),!r}),r&&e.run(),r}function o(e,t){void 0===e[t]?e[t]=1:e[t]++}},addWinningBid:function(e){S=S.concat(e),k.callBidWonBidder(e.bidder,e,d)},setBidTargeting:function(e){k.callSetTargetingBidder(e.bidder,e)},getWinningBids:function(){return S},getTimeout:function(){return m},getAuctionId:function(){return v},getAuctionStatus:function(){return u},getAdUnits:function(){return f},getAdUnitCodes:function(){return p},getBidRequests:function(){return g},getBidsReceived:function(){return b},getNoBids:function(){return y}}},n.d(t,"c",function(){return H}),t.f=s,t.d=K,n.d(t,"e",function(){return J}),n.d(t,"h",function(){return d}),n.d(t,"g",function(){return f}),t.i=l;var w=n(0),u=n(9),j=n(42),a=n(25),o=n(64),C=n(11),_=n(3),r=n(26),i=n(13),c=n(12),U=n.n(c),B=n(31);function R(e){return(R="function"==typeof Symbol&&"symbol"==typeof Symbol.iterator?function(e){return typeof e}:function(e){return e&&"function"==typeof Symbol&&e.constructor===Symbol&&e!==Symbol.prototype?"symbol":typeof e})(e)}function N(){return(N=Object.assign||function(e){for(var t=1;te.getTimeout()+_.b.getConfig("timeoutBuffer")&&e.executeCallback(!0)}function K(e,t){var n=e.getBidRequests(),r=U()(n,function(e){return e.bidderCode===t.bidderCode});!function(t,e){var n;if(t.bidderCode&&(0t.max?e:t},{max:0}),t=a()(e.buckets,function(e){if(n>o.max*r){var t=e.precision;void 0===t&&(t=s),i=(e.max*r).toFixed(t)}else if(n=e.min*r)return e});return t&&(i=function(e,t,n){var r=void 0!==t.precision?t.precision:s,i=t.increment*n,o=t.min*n,a=Math.pow(10,r+2),c=(e*a-o*a)/(i*a),u=Math.floor(c)*i+o;return(u=Number(u.toFixed(10))).toFixed(r)}(n,t,r)),i}function g(e){if(i.isEmpty(e)||!e.buckets||!Array.isArray(e.buckets))return!1;var t=!0;return e.buckets.forEach(function(e){void 0!==e.min&&e.max&&e.increment||(t=!1)}),t}},43:function(e,t){e.exports=function(e,t){return{enumerable:!(1&e),configurable:!(2&e),writable:!(4&e),value:t}}},44:function(e,t,n){var m=n(24),S=n(58),E=n(45),A=n(36),r=n(83);e.exports=function(f,e){var l=1==f,p=2==f,g=3==f,b=4==f,y=6==f,v=5==f||y,h=e||r;return function(e,t,n){for(var r,i,o=E(e),a=S(o),c=m(t,n,3),u=A(a.length),s=0,d=l?h(e,u):p?h(e,0):void 0;sObject(s.timestamp)()},m=function(e){return e&&(e.status&&!d()([b.BID_STATUS.BID_TARGETING_SET,b.BID_STATUS.RENDERED],e.status)||!e.status)};function S(e,r){var i=2"):"";return'\n \n \n prebid.org wrapper\n \n ").concat(n,"\n \n \n \n ")}(e.vastUrl,e.vastImpUrl),ttlseconds:Number(e.ttl)};return i.b.getConfig("cache.vasttrack")&&(t.bidder=e.bidder,t.bidid=e.requestId),"string"==typeof e.customCacheKey&&""!==e.customCacheKey&&(t.key=e.customCacheKey),t}},65:function(e,t,n){"use strict";Object.defineProperty(t,"__esModule",{value:!0}),n.d(t,"checkAdUnitSetup",function(){return G});var r=n(27),c=n(0),i=n(133),o=n(26),a=n(50),d=n(3),v=n(28),f=n(51),u=n(13),s=n(134),l=n(10),p=n.n(l),g=n(63),h=n(11),b=n(23);function y(e){return(y="function"==typeof Symbol&&"symbol"==typeof Symbol.iterator?function(e){return typeof e}:function(e){return e&&"function"==typeof Symbol&&e.constructor===Symbol&&e!==Symbol.prototype?"symbol":typeof e})(e)}function m(){return(m=Object.assign||function(e){for(var t=1;t (eg mediaTypes.banner.sizes)."),e.sizes=n);if(t&&t.video){var i=t.video;if(i.playerSize)if(Array.isArray(i.playerSize)&&1===i.playerSize.length&&i.playerSize.every(function(e){return Object(c.isArrayOfNums)(e,2)}))e.sizes=i.playerSize;else if(Object(c.isArrayOfNums)(i.playerSize,2)){var o=[];o.push(i.playerSize),A.logInfo("Transforming video.playerSize from [".concat(i.playerSize,"] to [[").concat(o,"]] so it's in the proper format.")),e.sizes=i.playerSize=o}else A.logError("Detected incorrect configuration of mediaTypes.video.playerSize. Please specify only one set of dimensions in a format like: [[640, 480]]. Removing invalid mediaTypes.video.playerSize property from request."),delete e.mediaTypes.video.playerSize}if(t&&t.native){var a=t.native;a.image&&a.image.sizes&&!Array.isArray(a.image.sizes)&&(A.logError("Please use an array of sizes for native.image.sizes field. Removing invalid mediaTypes.native.image.sizes property from request."),delete e.mediaTypes.native.image.sizes),a.image&&a.image.aspect_ratios&&!Array.isArray(a.image.aspect_ratios)&&(A.logError("Please use an array of sizes for native.image.aspect_ratios field. Removing invalid mediaTypes.native.image.aspect_ratios property from request."),delete e.mediaTypes.native.image.aspect_ratios),a.icon&&a.icon.sizes&&!Array.isArray(a.icon.sizes)&&(A.logError("Please use an array of sizes for native.icon.sizes field. Removing invalid mediaTypes.native.icon.sizes property from request."),delete e.mediaTypes.native.icon.sizes)}}),e},"checkAdUnitSetup");function W(e){var n=v.a[e]().filter(A.bind.call(c.adUnitsFilter,this,v.a.getAdUnitCodes())),r=v.a.getLastAuctionId();return n.map(function(e){return e.adUnitCode}).filter(c.uniques).map(function(t){return n.filter(function(e){return e.auctionId===r&&e.adUnitCode===t})}).filter(function(e){return e&&e[0]&&e[0].adUnitCode}).map(function(e){return function(e,t,n){return t in e?Object.defineProperty(e,t,{value:n,enumerable:!0,configurable:!0,writable:!0}):e[t]=n,e}({},e[0].adUnitCode,{bids:e})}).reduce(function(e,t){return m(e,t)},{})}function L(e){var t=e.reason,n=e.message,r=e.bid,i=e.id,o={reason:t,message:n};r&&(o.bid=r),i&&(o.adId=i),A.logError(n),O.emit(B,o)}function z(e){e.forEach(function(e){if(void 0===e.called)try{e.call(),e.called=!0}catch(e){A.logError("Error processing command :","prebid.js",e)}})}S.getAdserverTargetingForAdUnitCodeStr=function(e){if(A.logInfo("Invoking pbjs.getAdserverTargetingForAdUnitCodeStr",arguments),e){var t=S.getAdserverTargetingForAdUnitCode(e);return A.transformAdServerTargetingObj(t)}A.logMessage("Need to call getAdserverTargetingForAdUnitCodeStr with adunitCode")},S.getAdserverTargetingForAdUnitCode=function(e){return S.getAdserverTargeting(e)[e]},S.getAdserverTargeting=function(e){return A.logInfo("Invoking pbjs.getAdserverTargeting",arguments),f.b.getAllTargeting(e)},S.getNoBids=function(){return A.logInfo("Invoking pbjs.getNoBids",arguments),W("getNoBids")},S.getBidResponses=function(){return A.logInfo("Invoking pbjs.getBidResponses",arguments),W("getBidsReceived")},S.getBidResponsesForAdUnitCode=function(t){return{bids:v.a.getBidsReceived().filter(function(e){return e.adUnitCode===t})}},S.setTargetingForGPTAsync=function(e,t){if(A.logInfo("Invoking pbjs.setTargetingForGPTAsync",arguments),Object(c.isGptPubadsDefined)()){var n=f.b.getAllTargeting(e);f.b.resetPresetTargeting(e),f.b.setTargetingForGPT(n,t),Object.keys(n).forEach(function(t){Object.keys(n[t]).forEach(function(e){"hb_adid"===e&&v.a.setStatusForBids(n[t][e],E.BID_STATUS.BID_TARGETING_SET)})}),O.emit(U,n)}else A.logError("window.googletag is not defined on the page")},S.setTargetingForAst=function(e){A.logInfo("Invoking pbjs.setTargetingForAn",arguments),f.b.isApntagDefined()?(f.b.setTargetingForAst(e),O.emit(U,f.b.getAllTargeting())):A.logError("window.apntag is not defined on the page")},S.renderAd=function(e,t){if(A.logInfo("Invoking pbjs.renderAd",arguments),A.logMessage("Calling renderAd with adId :"+t),e&&t)try{var n=v.a.findBidByAdId(t);if(n){n.status=E.BID_STATUS.RENDERED,n.ad=A.replaceAuctionPrice(n.ad,n.cpm),n.adUrl=A.replaceAuctionPrice(n.adUrl,n.cpm),v.a.addWinningBid(n),O.emit(C,n);var r=n.height,i=n.width,o=n.ad,a=n.mediaType,c=n.adUrl,u=n.renderer,s=document.createComment("Creative ".concat(n.creativeId," served by ").concat(n.bidder," Prebid.js Header Bidding"));if(A.insertElement(s,e,"body"),Object(h.c)(u))Object(h.b)(u,n);else if(e===document&&!A.inIframe()||"video"===a){var d="Error trying to write ad. Ad render call ad id ".concat(t," was prevented from writing to the main document.");L({reason:N,message:d,bid:n,id:t})}else if(o){if(navigator.userAgent&&-1=t.length?{value:void 0,done:!0}:(e=r(t,n),this._i+=e.length,{value:e,done:!1})})},67:function(e,t,r){function i(){}var o=r(29),a=r(140),c=r(68),u=r(53)("IE_PROTO"),s="prototype",d=function(){var e,t=r(57)("iframe"),n=c.length;for(t.style.display="none",r(143).appendChild(t),t.src="javascript:",(e=t.contentWindow.document).open(),e.write("
Drag Queen Accidentally Flashes Children at Story Hour - National File
Tue, 29 Oct 2019 07:26
At yet another Drag Queen Story Hour event, a drag queen reportedly accidentally flashed a group of children.Plenty of controversy has surrounded drag story times which have taken place at a variety of venues around America.
Those critical of the events consider them to be a waste of public resources, or, the fact that children are being exposed to something which has been historically associated with sexuality.
Some have expressed support for the event, stressing the importance of nurturing children within an environment of tolerance towards those with unorthodox identities.
At a drag queen story hour at Hennepin County Library in Hennepin County, Minnesota, a performer by the name ''Sasha Sosa,'' appears to accidentally flash their crotch at the audience during the event.
Debauchery and sexual grooming are going on at our local tax-payer funded, Hennepin county public libraries right now'....
Posted by Child Protection League Action on Friday, October 18, 2019
Sosa's colleague, who performs under the pseudonym ''Gemini Valentine'' appears to take the floor wearing a revealing leotard.
The CPL discovered that both performers''Sosa and Valentine''regularly perform at strip clubs and are both believed to be in their late teens.
The taxpayer funded Hennepin County Library reportedly failed to carry out a background check on these performers before the event.
Earlier this year, the Houston Public Library had hired two drag performers for a story hour who had been convicted for child sex offenses.
Media Accelerates The Political Mainstreaming of Trans Kids
Drag has enjoyed significant success in recent years thanks to a push from the mainstream media and entertainment industry.
Drag kids started to become popular around four years ago since the revelation of drag kid superstar, Desmond Is Amazing, after a major pride parade in 2015.
Even sufferers of Down's Syndrome and dogs have been included in drag shows, bulldozing taboo and social construct alike.
Current Year: Drag Queens, Then Drag Kids, Now Drag Dogs
Wes Clark 7
Lebanon BOTG
Dear Crackpot and Buzzkill,
There is no reason you would remember but I did tell you the story
of how I fell in love with No Agenda. I
was walking across Turkey and because of your podcast kept asking questions
about Gulen and kept being accused of being CIA. I also last month sent you a boots on the
ground report from inside Iran. This month
as my wife and I hike the length of Lebanon we have found ourselves in the
midst of a revolution. Here are some on
the ground observations:
Adam, you would love this
country. There are a thousand different
conspiracies – one of them being your theory that this is part of the Wes Clark
7 countries and that this is being controlled by the CIA like all of the Arab
Spring. The main theory that I have been
hearing this week is that this is being stirred up and funded by the
Saudi’s. Basically, this is all a follow
up to two years ago when the Saudi’s kidnapped the Lebanese prime minister Saad
Hariri.
This is a country of No
Agenda potential listeners as no one trusts the media here. 12 families control every TV and newspaper
media outlet in Lebanon, each with their own agenda. People will switch back and forth between 3
or 4 stations to try to really figure out what is going on. The Hezbollah station actually just showed
cooking shows when the revolution first started. When the crowd starts chanting things they
don’t like they just turn off the sound feed.
It is pretty obvious. They don’t
even try to disguise the bias.
I wish my Arabic was better
because despite many children being in the crowds the Lebanese are quite
inventive with the vulgarity of their chants.
None of this “Hey Hey Ho Ho, The government has got to go” BS. Everyone seems a little embarrassed to
directly translate things but usually what I am told is that with many of the
politicians they are called dirty names and then there is some choice words
about their mother!
It is a stereotype but the
Lebanese love to party. In most of the
cities where protesting is occurring it is difficult to tell if there is a
revolution occurring or a rave.
Especially at night there has been all sorts of music: DJ’s spinning,
rappers, bands, and drum circles. There
will be a light show and everyone is dancing.
I have seen grandmothers dancing in the streets and belly dancers
putting on a show.
In the last few days there
has started to be more violence. The
corrupt politicians who have the most to lose (especially Hezbollah) has
started to send its thugs into the streets to start roughing people up and
scare people away from the protests. The
police have tried to keep the groups apart but have not been entirely
successful. Every time the thugs have
shown up though it has reinvigorated the crowds and even more people come
out. These protests seem to be unifying
a very divided country. Instead of
people being Sunni, Christian, Druze, or Shia they are all protesting as
Lebanese. Only the flag of the Lebanese
Army is seen. None of the factional
political flags are flown at the protests.
Protesters are ripping up pictures of their own politicians. They don’t want the other guys politician
thrown out. They want everyone
gone. Of course, that leaves no one in
charge which will be a problem but no one seems to have thought that far ahead.
As you discussed on the
show, it was the WhatsApp tax that was the final straw that broke the camels
back and got people in the streets. The
Lebanese told me that they are taxed on everything but the one thing they can
do for free is call each other and complain.
Corruption is rampant. The Prime
Minister was recently caught giving a South African bikini model $16
million. The Lebanese national debt has
almost quadrupled in the last 20 years with nothing to show for it. There are daily rolling blackouts around the
country. The trash does not get picked
up. The roads are in poor condition
unless they go to a politician’s village.
College graduates can’t find jobs and there are more Lebanese working
abroad than actually live in Lebanon because of this.
I have no idea how this
will all end but it has been a fascinating time to be here. Currently in the far south and the military
security checkpoints always wonder why 2 Americans are wandering the
countryside by themselves near the Israeli border. Waiting to see if we can get a security pass
from Lebanese Army Intelligence to go to deeper into this area but they seem to
have a lot on their plate right now so
nothing is happening fast.
Thanks for all that you do
keeping us informed.
Sincerely,
Sir Ichabod of the Bike Path Gorble
Dogs are People too
You got your flu shot, but veterinarians say you should protect your dog with a vaccine as well - Chicago Tribune
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 09:52
Chicago Tribune |
Oct 30, 2019 | 12:39 PM
Canine flu symptoms are mainly respiratory, with cough, sneezing and runny nose, followed by fever and sometimes a lack of eating. The virus is not known to infect humans. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)
As pet owners protect themselves against flu this season, vets say they should also be thinking about their dog.
While canine flu, unlike the influenza that infects humans, is a year-round virus, some veterinarians use the flu season to talk to pet owners about keeping their pets healthy.
The highly contagious H3N2 canine flu strain quickly spread throughout the Chicago area in 2015 and was believed to have originated in dogs brought in from South Korea, said Natalie Marks, medical director at Blum Animal Hospital in Chicago.
The illness can spread ''like wildfire'' among dogs at parks, boarding facilities, doggy day cares or even in condo elevators, Marks said. Symptoms are mainly respiratory, with cough, sneezing and runny nose, followed by fever and sometimes a lack of eating. The virus is not known to infect humans, she added.
There's now a vaccine available for dogs, Marks said, which is effective and unlike human influenza vaccines, there are no guessing games on which strains to include.
Pet owners should talk to their vet about if their dog needs the vaccine, which is administered annually and includes a booster shot in the first year it's given, she said, adding that she recommends one for any dog that's in contact with other dogs at any time.
''The frustrating part for pet owners is sometimes dogs will spread the virus before they even look sick,'' she said. ''That's why vaccination is the best strategy.''
While many pets are able to recover from a bout of canine flu, the virus can become fatal if it turns into pneumonia '-- a risk for less healthy dogs, Marks said.
Unlike human influenza, there is no required, centralized reporting of the illness, which can be frustrating to track outbreaks, Marks said.
Latest Lifestyles
However, animal hospitals can partner with research centers to track any virus spreading throughout the country.
Banfield Pet Hospitals, with locations across the country, including Chicago, recently partnered with Cornell University's Animal Health Diagnostic Center's surveillance network, to track canine flu outbreaks. Heidi Cooley, a veterinarian at a Banfield Pet Hospital in Washington state said it helps for pet owners to track current flu outbreaks, but she also advises them to check in with their vet about what they are seeing.
The center's data shows Illinois has had the most cases of the H3N2 strain, likely attributed to the 2015 outbreak, which then spread throughout the country, said Colin Parrish, professor of virology Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine. More recent outbreaks were reported in the San Francisco area, he said.
Features reporter Kate Thayer writes about health, trends or anything that makes a good story. Previously, Kate had a long stint in Metro after arriving at the Tribune in 2010. She's a graduate of the University of Iowa and the University of Illinois at Springfield's Public Affairs Reporting graduate program and is the mother of curious twin girls.
Most Read
Latest Lifestyles
BTC
Bitcoin's White Paper Turns 11 as Network Passes Milestones
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 06:20
news
Happy birthday, bitcoin.
Halloween 2019 marks the release of the white paper release for the first fully decentralized, peer-to-peer electronic cash by anonymous creator(s) Satoshi Nakomoto. In the wake of the Great Recession of 2007''2009, a single email for a small collective of cypherpunks proved to be the catalyst for a monetary revolution.
''I've been working on a new electronic cash system that's fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party,'' Satoshi wrote to open his email, attaching the bitcoin white paper.
Rolling out bitcoin's code the following January with the mining of the genesis block, bitcoin's first year was inauspicious at best. Eleven years later, however, most metrics point towards a bright future. The white paper's birthday month proved to be one of the best yet.
October in reviewLooking at the numbers, the last 10 months have given bitcoin hodlers much to be thankful for; October, even more so.
Bitcoin's price jumped some 40 percent in 24 hours on Oct. 26, briefly breaking out to $10,000. As ARK Invest analyst Yassine Elmandjra wrote on Twitter, the price movement has only happened three times in bitcoin's history.
The previous two times Bitcoin saw a >40% daily gain, it was trading at $0.40 and $5.65.
Today, Bitcoin's 42% swing is the 3rd largest daily gain in price history.
Data via @coinmetrics pic.twitter.com/PKHQgNlSUy
'-- Yassine Elmandjra (@yassineARK) October 26, 2019
Bitcoin's hash rate '' a good metric for the amount of energy put towards mining bitcoin's and securing the network '' hit an all-time high at over 110 exahashes per second (EH/s) on Oct. 23.
As recent initial public offering filings for mining giants Canaan and Bitmain show, bitcoin mining has gone a long way since the early days of CPU farming, and is now big business.
Bitcoin also just mined its 18 million coin, leaving a mad scramble for the last 3 million. As halvings continue to occur every 210,000 blocks or so, the last coin won't be minted till 2140.
Bitcoin fees collected reached $1 billion in total earlier this week too, right in time for today's celebrations.
Birthday candles image via Shutterstock
Science!
What is CRISPR-Cas9? | Facts | yourgenome.org
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 11:39
CRISPR-Cas9 is a genome editing tool that is creating a buzz in the science world. It is faster, cheaper and more accurate than previous techniques of editing DNA and has a wide range of potential applications.
What is CRISPR-Cas9? CRISPR-Cas9 is a unique technology that enables geneticists and medical researchers to edit parts of the genome by removing, adding or altering sections of the DNA sequence. It is currently the simplest, most versatile and precise method of genetic manipulation and is therefore causing a buzz in the science world. How does it work? The CRISPR-Cas9 system consists of two key molecules that introduce a change (mutation) into the DNA. These are: an enzyme called Cas9. This acts as a pair of 'molecular scissors' that can cut the two strands of DNA at a specific location in the genome so that bits of DNA can then be added or removed. a piece of RNA called guide RNA (gRNA). This consists of a small piece of pre-designed RNA sequence (about 20 bases long) located within a longer RNA scaffold. The scaffold part binds to DNA and the pre-designed sequence 'guides' Cas9 to the right part of the genome. This makes sure that the Cas9 enzyme cuts at the right point in the genome. The guide RNA is designed to find and bind to a specific sequence in the DNA. The guide RNA has RNA bases that are complementary to those of the target DNA sequence in the genome. This means that, at least in theory, the guide RNA will only bind to the target sequence and no other regions of the genome. The Cas9 follows the guide RNA to the same location in the DNA sequence and makes a cut across both strands of the DNA. At this stage the cell recognises that the DNA is damaged and tries to repair it. Scientists can use the DNA repair machinery to introduce changes to one or more genes in the genome of a cell of interest. Diagram showing how the CRISPR-Cas9 editing tool works. Image credit: Genome Research Limited.
How wa s it developed? Some bacteria have a similar, built-in, gene editing system to the CRISPR-Cas9 system that they use to respond to invading pathogens like viruses, much like an immune system. Using CRISPR the bacteria snip out parts of the virus DNA and keep a bit of it behind to help them recognise and defend against the virus next time it attacks. Scientists adapted this system so that it could be used in other cells from animals, including mice and humans. What other techniques are there for altering genes? Over the years scientists have learned about genetics and gene function by studying the effects of changes in DNA. If you can create a change in a gene, either in a cell line or a whole organism, it is possible to then study the effect of that change to understand what the function of that gene is. For a long time geneticists used chemicals or radiation to cause mutations. However, they had no way of controlling where in the genome the mutation would occur. For several years scientists have been using 'gene targeting' to introduce changes in specific places in the genome, by removing or adding either whole genes or single bases. Traditional gene targeting has been very valuable for studying genes and genetics, however it takes a long time to create a mutation and is fairly expensive. Several 'gene editing' technologies have recently been developed to improve gene targeting methods, including CRISPR-Cas systems, transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) and zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs). The CRISPR-Cas9 system currently stands out as the fastest, cheapest and most reliable system for 'editing' genes. What are the applications and implications? CRISPR-Cas9 has a lot of potential as a tool for treating a range of medical conditions that have a genetic component, including cancer, hepatitis B or even high cholesterol. Many of the proposed applications involve editing the genomes of somatic (non-reproductive) cells but there has been a lot of interest in and debate about the potential to edit germline (reproductive) cells. Because any changes made in germline cells will be passed on from generation to generation it has important ethical implications. Carrying out gene editing in germline cells is currently illegal in the UK and most other countries. By contrast, the use of CRISPR-Cas9 and other gene editing technologies in somatic cells is uncontroversial. Indeed they have already been used to treat human disease on a small number of exceptional and/or life-threatening cases. A sperm and egg cell. Carrying out gene editing in germline cells is currently illegal in the UK. Image credit: Shutterstock
What's the future of CRISPR-Cas9? It is likely to be many years before CRISPR-Cas9 is used routinely in humans. Much research is still focusing on its use in animal models or isolated human cells, with the aim to eventually use the technology to routinely treat diseases in humans. There is a lot of work focusing on eliminating 'off-target' effects, where the CRISPR-Cas9 system cuts at a different gene to the one that was intended to be edited. Better targeting of CRISPR-Cas9 In most cases the guide RNA consists of a specific sequence of 20 bases. These are complementary to the target sequence in the gene to be edited. However, not all 20 bases need to match for the guide RNA to be able to bind. The problem with this is that a sequence with, for example, 19 of the 20 complementary bases may exist somewhere completely different in the genome. This means there is potential for the guide RNA to bind there instead of or as well as at the target sequence. The Cas9 enzyme will then cut at the wrong site and end up introducing a mutation in the wrong location. While this mutation may not matter at all to the individual, it could affect a crucial gene or another important part of the genome. Scientists are keen to find a way to ensure that the CRISPR-Cas9 binds and cuts accurately. Two ways this may be achieved are through: the design of better, more specific guide RNAs using our knowledge of the DNA sequence of the genome and the 'off-target' behaviour of different versions of the Cas9-gRNA complex. the use of a Cas9 enzyme that will only cut a single strand of the target DNA rather than the double strand. This means that two Cas9 enzymes and two guide RNAs have to be in the same place for the cut to be made. This reduces the probability of the cut being made in the wrong place. This page was last updated on 2016-12-19
1000's of indictments
BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: Fired FBI Director Comey Likely Doctored His Memos In Effort to Take Down President Trump and the US Senate May Have the Evidence!
Tue, 29 Oct 2019 18:12
by Joe Hoft October 29, 2019
The Gateway Pundit reported on May 25th that the infamous Trump Tower meeting in early January 2017 may have initiated the Trump obstruction investigation. Then we reported on August 3rd that text messages from Peter Strzok to Lisa Page showed that the Mueller Special Counsel in its first month was already working on an obstruction trap for President Trump to step in. Then we reported the following day on August 4th that a further analysis indicated that the entire obstruction 'trap' started with Comey's notes that were likely doctored by Comey for use by the Mueller gang! Today we can report that the US Senate may have Comey's original memos used by the FBI to open the FBI's Trump obstruction case which likely differ from the final memos Comey provided a few weeks later to Mueller's Special Counsel gang.We reported in early August that Representative Devin Nunes in an interview on FOX News said the following:
What we really need to know [from Mueller] is when did he know about collusion, you know, whether or not it was true. I say it had to have been right when he walked in that door. He may have wanted to check a few things.
But I think a larger question is on obstruction of justice. The obstruction of justice charge was about Comey's memo's, that he had fired Comey. What I've been trying to say, I said on your podcast last week, I think what the American people need to understand is this investigation is not about collusion, even though they say it was.
It wasn't about obstruction of justice because that was about the firing of Comey.
I believe what it was was that they set an obstruction of justice trap that lasted for the better part of two years!
As we reported on August 3rd, in less than a month after the Mueller Special Counsel was created, the Mueller gang was already working on their obstruction efforts against the President.
Our further review indicated that the Comey memos were the key to the Mueller obstruction trap per Representative Nunes and they likely were edited by Comey. Also, the trigger for the Trump obstruction 'trap' investigation was the infamous meeting at Trump Tower in early 2017.
In our May 25th post we shared the following ==>> The far-left Washington Post in June 2017 reported that the Mueller team was investigating President Trump for obstruction as well as collusion:
Donald Trump is reportedly being investigated for potential obstruction of justice by the special counsel looking into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. This marks the first time that the investigation, which has hung over Trump since his inauguration, has potentially implicated the president himself.
The Washington Post reported on Wednesday night that the federal investigation into the Trump campaign's ties with Russia during the 2016 campaign, being overseen by Robert Mueller, has now expanded into whether the president attempted to thwart that investigation.
Trump tweeted early on Thursday morning: ''They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice.'' He later repeated his claims that such investigations were a ''WITCH HUNT''.
However, it was not known that an investigation into obstruction was underway at the FBI by this time. According to a transcript released in May from a closed door hearing, the Mueller team noted that an investigation into whether President-elect and then President Trump obstructed justice started long before the Mueller investigation was created:
Based on these testimonies, the FBI opened its investigation into obstruction as a result of former FBI Director James Comey's meetings with President Trump which were memorialized in Comey's memos. These appear to be the same memos that Comey took and leaked to the media before the Mueller team was created which may have led to the Mueller investigation.
Comey's memorandums cover his interactions with President Trump. It is unknown if Comey ever took notes from his discussions with President Obama. One of the first meetings between President-elect Trump and Comey took place on January 6th, 2017, before the inauguration at Trump Tower.
If the obstruction investigation into Trump started from the early January meeting, before the President was even in office, was it legit? Did President-elect Trump even have the authority to obstruct? Was this the real reason for the Trump Tower meeting?
Rosenstein's first Special Counsel mandate was not clear about Trump being charged with obstruction of justice at the time the investigation began. Here's how it was hidden in Rosenstein's order:
''(i) any links and/or coordination bet ween the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).''
Rosenstein and the Deep State didn't want President Trump to know that he was being investigated for obstruction. They wanted to catch him in an act that they could claim was obstruction. So they hid their attempts to catch him obstructing!
***Get Trump 2020 buttons @ TrumpButtons.com '' Click Here***
In the Mueller documents noted above, the lawyer representing Mueller states that 28 CFR 600.4 covers the Mueller gang's efforts to catch Trump obstructing justice ''
This is what the 28 CFR 600.4 actually states:
''(a)Original jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall be established by the Attorney General. The Special Counsel will be provided with a specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated. The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall also include the authority to investigate and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel's investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses; and to conduct appeals arising out of the matter being investigated and/or prosecuted.''
By noting the regulation rather than the wording of the regulation especially in reference to obstruction, Rosenstein hid from plain site the fact that the FBI was already investigating President Trump for obstruction.
In April 2018 Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told President Trump in a private meeting that he was not a target of ''any part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.''As noted in the minutes from the the closed door meetings above, this was clearly a lie. Next on August 3rd we reported ==>> In less than a month after the Mueller Special Counsel was created, the Mueller gang was already working on their obstruction efforts against the President.
The following texts between the corrupt lovers Strzok and Page occurred on June 7, 2017 ''
5:05 pm Peter Strzok text: Unless you've got something going, I would. We're starting obstruction team brief but just come. Sit in on whatever comes next.5:06 pm Lisa Page text: I mean, I've got lots of work to do. But okay. Who is in it?5:08 pm Peter Strzok text: Don't then. I'm just saying, come over here and stick your head in. I've gotten more the past couple of days after hours talking with Aaron [Zebley] and [redacted] then all day the past week and a half. Was not suggesting it for any particular reason, just a dive in sort of thing. If you have work to do, I'd say do it.7:06 pm Lisa Page text: I left. F it. There's no amount of time I can spend and finish everything. Whatevs.
Then on August 4th we reported ==>> Judicial Watch uncovered evidence that the FBI went to Comey's house on June 7, 2017. This visit took place the day before Comey admitted leaking the Trump memos to his friend-turned-lawyer-turned-unpaid-FBI-official Daniel Richman, who then leaked the contents of the memos to the New York Times.
''I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter [for The New York Times] '... I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel,'' Comey said before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, 2017.
One of the problems with the FBI obtaining Comey's memos on June 7th is that the FBI had stated that they already had obtained the Comey memos in May ''
The New York Times published a report on May 16, 2017 based on Comey's memo related to his conversation with Trump about General Flynn and the next day Mueller was appointed as special counsel.
Of course, Comey's memos were classified material that he never should have taken off FBI premises and should have been kept very secure and not leaked. [Note yesterday the IG's Comey report stated that these memos were not labeled classified which prevented Comey from being indicted for felonies related to his actions.] Also, it appears someone is lying about when the FBI obtained the Comey memos.
But maybe the corrupt FBI is telling only part of the story? Comey's memos were leaked and used to create the Mueller investigation. Comey provided the Mueller gang memos that he likely edited the day before he spoke to the Senate. And, the Mueller gang used this information as the basis for their efforts in setting up President Trump in an obstruction trap!
Text messages between corrupt FBI lovers Strzok and Page show them on June 7th, 2017, the day the FBI now reports that they received Comey's memos, discussing where the memos were at. They also discussed their obstruction of justice case. This is less than a month since the Mueller investigation was created.
The Mueller gang, including Strzok and Page, were sitting around after lunch waiting for something. They discuss the Comey memos and then ask where they are physically located. Within a few hours the Mueller gang is discussing their obstruction of justice trap against the President which indicates that the Comey memos were what the entire obstruction of justice trap was built on.
It looks like this is why they lied to the FISA court'....they were trying to build a case against the President that was all about obstruction of justice charges from the very get-go and Comey's memos were the key.
Judicial Watch states that there were four memos picked up at Comey's house on June 7, 2017 ''
On June 7, 2017, at approximately 10:15 A.M., Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agents (SA) [redacted] and [redacted] collected memorandums (memos) as evidence from James Comey at his residence at [redacted]. The memos collected described as follows:
One memo dated February 4, 2017, two pages;
One memo dated March 30, 2017, two pages;
One memo dated April 11, 2017, one page;
One memo dated ''last night at 6:30 pm,'' four pages
Our research shows that these memos were the only memos related to discussions between Comey and President Trump when no others were in attendance. The other memos had individuals present which prevented Comey from editing.
These four memos picked up on June 7th by the FBI at Comey's house look like they were related to discussions between James Comey and the President alone!
(Note that we make the assumption that the memo related to February 4th is really related to February 14th and the FBI either lied, committed an error or are hiding something else from the American public.)
Comey didn't resubmit any of those conversations he held with others present, only those when he was alone with the President.
Remember also that President Trump warned Comey about leaking documents to the press because there might be tapes of these conversations on May 12, 2017?
On June 23, 2017, the President tweeted that he did not have tapes of the conversations but he did not know if anyone else (i.e. Comey) had tapes ''
'...whether there are "tapes" or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2017
The Deep State FBI and Mueller gang realized by June 7th that the President didn't have tapes of his discussions with Comey. If there were tapes, they held them and not the President. So on June 7th Comey likely gave updated memos to the Mueller gang that were more damning to the President than his previous memos. These updated memos were what the Mueller gang used in their attempts to entrap the President of the United States!
We later learned from the IG's report regarding Comey's memos and his related corrupt actions that the memos that Comey took home were all not labeled classified but the memos that Come y left with the FBI were labeled classified. This prevented Comey from being prosecuted for his many actions surrounding how he handled his memos.
These documents which Comey considered his personal property were all involved in the Deep State's obstruction 'trap' investigation into the President of the United States.
We also know from Representative Nunes that ''The Inspector General found that he [Comey] was acting as part of the investigation. So Comey himself was involved himself with the investigation.''
Today Some Explosive Information! ==>> As noted above, in our May 25th, 2019, post, the FBI opened an investigation into President Trump's obstruction of justice on May 17th, 2017. The investigation ''entailed matters that were covered in the Comey memoranda''.
(Note that this is all before Comey handed over his final reports to the Special Counsel on June 7th, 2017.)
We've also retrieved text messages between FBI crooks Peter Strzok and Lisa Page '' one item of note is highlighted in red ''SVC 217''. These texts were shared on May 17, 2017, the day the FBI opened its obstruction of justice case on President Trump.
2017-05-173:52 pm [Strzok-FBI] text: Have you back by 420. Hey, let's go![source]2017-05-173:57 pm [Strzok-FBI] text: One note on outline. We put no detail on [redacted]. Does [McCabe-FBI] have left/right limits on that?[source]2017-05-174:30 pm [Strzok-FBI] text: OCA is driving you, right?[source]2017-05-174:42 pm [Strzok-FBI] text: I know you're literally maxed out. You're gonna do great. You're really, REALLY good at your job. We're going to all come out on the other side.[source]2017-05-174:52 pm [Strzok-FBI] text: He says ''to date.'' It's a little inhaled, but it's clearly not ''today.'' Especially given context.[source]2017-05-174:53 pm [Strzok-FBI] text: ?[source]2017-05-17 4:53 pm [Lisa Page-FBI] text: Svc 217. [source]2017-05-174:58 pm [Lisa Page-FBI] text: To reme5the room. Note to myself.[source]2017-05-174:59 pm [Strzok-FBI] text: Good luck'...[source]From the FOIA documents recently received by Judicial Watch, we found an important piece of information that ties this all together. The US Senate requested an update on documents related to Russia's interference in the 2016 election. The information was requested by Democrat Senator Warner. In his request he gives specific instructions on how to provide classified information to the Senate. At the bottom of the request are the following instructions, ''Note SCR RD or FRD material must be delivered to the Office of Senate Security in SVC 217 for storage.''
What this indicates is that on May 17, 2017, the same day that the corrupt FBI opened up its obstruction of justice investigation into President Trump, the FBI (Lisa Page) delivered classified documents to the Senate.
The problem for the Deep State is that '' 1) Their obstruction investigation covered matters entailed in the Comey memos,
2) The FBI delivered documents to the Senate that no doubt included their information related to their obstruction of justice case as of May 17, 2017,
3) Fired FBI Director James Comey provided his final memos to the FBI on June 7, 2017, after he learned that President Trump did not tape their conversation,
4) Comey likely edited his final memos from the previous memos maintained by the FBI,
5) The US Senate may have the original memos from Comey that may be different from his final memos which would prove Comey committed fraud in his final memos used by the Mueller gang.
The whole Russia Collusion sham was a set up. Deep State was betting on President Trump obstructing their criminal investigation. Instead, he didn't and their sham was finally shut down.This is the most corrupt event in US history and James Comey was in the middle of it, just like he was in the middle of the Hillary exoneration.The falsified Comey memos may have been more important to the Mueller hoax than the fake Steele dossier! There may be evidence that shows Comey doctored his memos in an effort to indict President Trump.Hat tip D. Manny
Joseph Mifsud: The mystery professor behind Trump Russia inquiry - BBC News
Mon, 28 Oct 2019 10:40
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption How Joseph Mifsud fits into Trump Russia inquiryWho connects the FBI investigation into Trump and Russia, the snapping up of British nuclear knowhow and a reality TV star who makes dresses for the UK prime minister?
Step forward, mystery professor Joseph Mifsud of the London Academy of Diplomacy, originally from Malta, who mixed with Britain's foreign secretary and ex-CIA people, but who also helped connect Team Trump with the Russians.
A Newsnight investigation into Mifsud has thrown new light on to the enigmatic don and his circle, who include a Kremlin trusty and a third man, Dr Stephan Roh, a wheeler-dealer who bought a British nuclear firm which suddenly started coining millions of dollars.
Mifsud left a job at the University of Malta under something of a cloud in 2007, then led a new university in Slovenia.
He left that too, disputing claims that he had fiddled expenses worth '‚¬39,332 ($48,550 / £34,320). Next stop was the London Academy of Diplomacy in 2013. It was a rum outfit, now bust, linked to the University of East Anglia and then the University of Stirling.
At one conference he was described as "Ambassador Mifsud" but, although he worked for six months in the private office of the Maltese foreign minister, he was never a diplomat.
Mifsud became a selfie king of the diplomatic circuit. Boris Johnson and then Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood were photographed with Mifsud - as was the Russian ambassador to London. Mifsud joined a private university in Rome alongside two former Italian foreign ministers.
In Riyadh he worked for a think-tank run by former head of Saudi intelligence Prince Turki al Faisal, introducing an ex-CIA operative at a seminar.
Mifsud had a fianc(C)e based in Ukraine, according to Buzzfeed. The woman says she hasn't seen or heard of the professor for months but she gave birth to their daughter two months ago.
In April 2016 in the run-up to the American election, Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos says Mifsud told him that the Russians had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails, according to court documents.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption George Papadopoulos: The Trump adviser who lied to the FBIThat conversation, which Papadopoulos carelessly relayed to an Australian over drinks in a posh London bar, was reported to American officials weeks later when emails hacked from the Democratic Party were leaked.
The exchange reportedly so concerned the FBI that it opened its investigation into alleged Russian interference into the 2016 election and whether the Trump team helped.
Last year Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with people who claimed they could put him in touch with the Russian government.
A former academic colleague described Mifsud as "cunning", part of a "third rate diplomatic community where there is an element of braggadocio".
So maybe he exaggerated his closeness to the Kremlin to impress Papadopoulos, but one source reflected: "It's clear that Mifsud knew something before the world did. And that raises questions."
In April 2016, Mifsud reportedly introduced Papadopoulos via email to Ivan Timofeev, who works for a think tank close to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
That same month, Mifsud was in Moscow on a panel run by the Kremlin-backed Valdai Club with Timofeev and the third man, Dr Stephan Roh, a German multi-millionaire.
Mifsud and Roh interlock: in 2014, Roh became a visiting lecturer at the London Academy of Diplomacy. Roh bought Link Campus University, a private institution in Rome where Mifsud was part of the management and Mifsud became a consultant at Roh's legal firm.
Roh and his Russian-born wife, Olga, have homes in Switzerland, Monaco, London and Hong Kong. And then there is a derelict castle in Scotland - buying it made Stephan and Olga the Baron and Baroness of Inchdrewer.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Stephan Roh (right) at The Center for Global Dialogue and Cooperation in 2012 Olga was a star in Fox's reality TV show Meet The Russians, in which, surrounded by the trappings of extreme wealth, she purrs: "My family was always achievements orientated."
She's extraordinarily well-connected, running an upmarket fashion company in London's Mayfair. Among her customers is Britain's prime minister. There is a photograph of Theresa May meeting the Queen in an Olga Roh coat.
In 2005 Dr Roh bought Severnvale Nuclear Services Ltd from its one man-band owner, British nuclear scientist Dr John Harbottle. He then invited Dr Harbottle on an all-expenses paid trip to a conference in Moscow.
But the nuclear scientist was alert to the danger that visitors to Moscow can be targeted or even honey-trapped in compromising situations. Dr Harbottle said: "We smelt a rat. It didn't sound as if it would ring true and I decided that I wasn't going to go to this meeting."
Shortly afterwards, he was fired.
Under Dr Harbottle the company's turnover had been £42,000 a year. Within three years under Dr Roh, Severnvale Nuclear, with just two employees, was turning over more than $43m (£24m) a year.
Dr Roh declined to respond to repeated attempts by the BBC to ask him to explain how he had transformed the business.
Professor Mifsud too didn't respond to Newsnight's attempts to contact him, but has always denied that he is a spy.
When approached by Italian newspaper La Repubblica the mystery professor said: "Secret agent! I never got a penny from the Russians: my conscience is clean."
The FBI investigation into whether Team Trump colluded with the Russians continues - but in doing so it has thrust the troubling connections of characters such as Professor Mifsud and Dr Roh into the light.
Maria Butina & I, Part III: Betraying Maria | Deep Capture
Tue, 29 Oct 2019 09:54
I will disclose nothing more than I disclosed in television interviews two months ago. However, I will tie things together in a way that will help the public comprehend what is going on in our country, and shift the dialogue from Stuck on Stupid to something more constructive. Readers should begin by reading these two parts of the story:
Maria Butina & I, Part I: Meeting Maria
Maria Butina & I, Part Deux: Romancing Maria
As we left things'....In July of 2016 the Men In Black came back asking me to rekindle a romantic relationship with Maria Butina. As I have emphasized, they were aghast at having to make this request of me. They emphasized it had never been done in their experience, that the USA is the Good Guy, that we do not operate like the Bad Guys, and so on and so forth. But the request was coming from X, Y, and Z, federal officials of whom I had heard (incidentally, I initially misunderstood one detail, in that I thought the request was coming from all three: two months later they let me know that Z had added his signature to the request, and only then did I become aware of my slight misunderstanding of the original request). I emphasize again that there was no leering, no rubbing of hands gleefully, or laughing. Men in Black are honorable people, and they were extremely discomfited by the request they were communicating. They reminded me I had every right to say, ''No'' and no one would think worse of me.
I agreed to carry out the request, joking, ''It's not exactly hardship duty.''
Internally, meanwhile, I decided I would create the impression of romancing Maria for them, while in fact not laying a finger on her, and instead, focus on setting up X, Y, and Z for felony charges.
Why did I do that? First, let me stipulate that if I thought there were a legitimate law enforcement purpose to their request I would have complied without a second thought. I am patriotic, and no saint. But as I have described in the two previous essays on Maria, my alarm bells were going off in a big way. I knew I was being played in some way.
I was now certain they had been duping me all along in pretending to have no interest in Maria, and I figured there was some other scheme at work. Three months earlier they had told me (against all reasonable evidence and interpretation) that there was nothing unusual about her, but to get her out of my life. Now they were back with this insane request from X, Y, and Z: it all smelled like skunk. I cannot claim to have sussed it out, but one of my hypotheses was the one that I had formed in January 2016: they were creating a Can-O-Scandal that they were going to whip out some day in the future, shake up, and spray all over anyone they wanted to (including, possibly, me, though I am scandal-proof in ways they don't understand). Again, I had little confidence in any hypothesis, but I had high confidence there was mischief afoot. Second, they had also involved me in an operation having to do with a corrupt federal official, and that operation had ended in a way that was extremely disconcerting. As in: it made me wonder who was corrupt and who wasn't, or if there was anyone on the scene who was not corrupt. So when they came back with a request to rekindle a romance with Maria, I was determined to get to the bottom of it. Why did I take it as my job to get to the bottom of it? Because unbeknownst to the Men In Black, I had been instructed, by another party within the federal government, to investigate the federal government itself. I had been at it for over a decade. Maria Butina brought me the perfect opportunity to bring that investigation to its conclusion. So I took it.
Thus I responded to their request to rekindle a romantic relationship with Maria Butina by making a joke about it not being hardship duty, saluted, and went about rekindling a fake relationship with Maria. Why did I make it fake, and not just go through with it? Because I expected that someday, one way or another, everything was going to be exposed, and when it was, I was not going to have Maria Butina, the United States of America, or even the Russian people disgraced by committing what felt like it might have been sexual assault on their daughter. I do not know if it would have been in any legal sense, and like I say, if I thought it had some legitimate purpose I surely would have done it without a second thought. But the first period I dated Maria while also informing on her was problematic enough: however, because it was she who initiated that physical relationship, and because my intent throughout it was yenta-ing her in to foreign policy circles where her dreams of being a back-channel for peace might have come true, I was comfortable with what I was doing. But given that by July 2016 I had come to understand that I was being used in some kind of political espionage, both with regard to Maria and with regard to a corruption investigation of a federal official, I decided instead simply to play along, and set up X, Y, and Z for felony charges, in the hope that someday we would someone who could bring the criminals to justice.
Given the harshness with which I had ended things with Maria the first time, it took me awhile to win back Maria's confidence through emails, texts, and phone calls. Eventually I did win her confidence back. I got her to visit me in Utah, I wined and dined her, I romanced her in front of 8,000 people at a corporate party.
Lest I sound any more of a cad than is absolutely necessary, let me repeat that Maria Butina is a spectacular woman: watch the interview on RussiaTV at the bottom of this essay, and you will see what I mean. She's the proverbial woman that they don't make many of any more. So I wish to emphasize that (unlike the first period I actually did date Maria) at no point throughout this period did I have a physical relationship with Maria. I knew we had to have a bright line on that, so if and when this all got unscrambled later, she would not be disgraced. As I have explained, Maria wants to run for President of Russia someday, and if she is known as the woman who had succumbed to an American shmuck like me playing games like this, her chances of being President of Russia would be hurt. To her credit, she told me, ''I have boyfriend now, Patrick. Am not Russian prostitute. If you wish to date me you will court me, and I will decide if I wish to leave boyfriend, and be yours.'' Whereas normally I would take that as an opening gambit from a European woman (who have not yet forgotten what ''seduction'' means), in this case, it played into my plans perfectly, and she only had to say it once.
Yet publicly I created publicly the impression that we were hot and heavy, and reported that this as the truth. In fact, once that was accepted, I started taking it farther and farther (in ways I will not reveal here), simply in order to incriminate further the people at the top of the chain of command who were sending me this request.
By November 2016 Maria was ready to leave her Republican boyfriend and move to Utah. I reported that, but was admonished not to let her do so, because X, Y, and Z wanted her to stay in DC doing'.... precisely the shmoozing that two years later she was arrested and imprisoned for doing.
I wish also to state again how entirely inappropriate it would be if anything should happen to the Men In Black who were conduits for these orders. I deliberately kept them confused about what the hell was going on, and if there are any legal repercussions brought against them I hope their lawyers get in touch with me, because I can exculpate them. For all I care the people at the top of their chain of command can be hanged, but the agents who were involved in these activities were caught completely off guard by some of the things I said I was doing, by my design.
Maria and I discussed getting together over Christmas, 2016. I think she was going to be in Dakota with her Republican boyfriend, and my home in Utah was only a jaunt away. We could have made it work. If I remember correctly (and sometimes these things get a little fuzzy), we did not. That is because, while keeping the relationship warm at a distance, I began to beg off meetings with her. There were only so many times I could report, ''Maria has now met with this Republican, and then this one, and now she is angling for a meeting with this other one'... and she is making arrangements about meeting such-and such, and then the National Prayer Breakfast, and then she's meeting so-and-so'...''
In addition, I shudder to confess, I was beginning to have a pang of conscience about it all. The truth is, until then, while I admired Maria, and I respected her, and I thought it would be the greatest thing in the world if a liberal like her could go on and be President of Russia '... I was still comfortable using her in my own designs. But somewhere along the way, I began to develop a fondness for Maria. Not romantic, but such as is characterized by Bill Murray towards Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation. It seems to be my lot in life (especially as the middle-aged bachelor into whom I have grown) to come across, from time to time, young women who develop an attachment to me. I have learned that the responsible thing to do in such circumstances is to use our times together to open their eyes a bit, to give them experiences which may enhance their lives and futures, to give them memories they can reflect on when they go on with their lives'.... But to try not to possess. That is the understanding that Bill Murray brings to Scarlett Johansson in that fabulous movie. To the extent that my involvement with Maria was not completely cold-blooded on my part, that is what I was trying to do for Maria. I thought it would be a good thing for all concerned, and that I would be able to shield her from any harm.
But by late 2016 I realized things were going too far, and notwithstanding my own designs, I had more of a duty to protect her than I was respecting, especially as I became certain that there was no legitimate law enforcement or national security interest being served. Thus, I found ways to avoid following through on the opportunities that were cropping up to carry it farther with her.
So while we discussed getting together at Christmas, or in the months after it, and I found ways to dodge, simply because I wanted to freeze things where they were to reduce the damage to Maria. On balance I may be a total jerk for what I did, but I can claim that much honestly.
In late February, 2017, an article appeared in the Daily Beast about Maria Butina. It was the first such article to have appeared, and it laid out with perfect accuracy her entire story (as I knew it, anyway). I was summoned angrily by Men In Black, who wanted to know if I had had anything to do with the story. I had not, and was unaware of it until they brought it to my attention. It is important to know this: read that Daily Beast article from early 2017, and know that every piece of information in it was known to the United States Government by September, 2015. Everything. Read that, and ask yourself, ''If the USG knew all this information from September, 2015, what are the chances that they were telling the truth when they were pretending to me to be ignoring Maria from September 2015 '' March 2016?'' I put the odds at 0%. Which means that by letting her swank around in political circles like they were, they were doing something other than whatever they were supposed to be doing.
After that article appeared, I was instructed angrily to get to Washington, DC and get to the bottom of it. A mistake they made was the disparity between their anger at the appearance of this article, and how they had treated in a nonchalant manner all the same information when I had provided it from September 2015 (and their lackadaisical nonchalant-ness about further information I developed up through March, 2016, when they had had me break up with Maria for the first time). Now completely convinced I was being manipulated in a game unrelated to anything to do with law enforcement or national security, I agreed to go to DC and get them the information they requested, but used the opportunity to set a trap of sorts. I won't go into the details, but I did manage to learn the source of the article, how the information had leaked from Maria to the press (via some fellow students and a professor), and everything else for which they had asked.
They were satisfied with my results but I believe they sussed out that I had some hidden agenda I was not exposing. In any case, in March of 2017 was I told, once again, to get Maria Butina out of my life. I did. It was in the course of that conversation that I was told that what was going on was that Putin had a campaign that was designed to get all of America chasing our tails, and that whoever had won the 2016 election, he was going to pull a trigger and create an enormous shit-storm that would engulf the USA'.... Precisely as was already happening. They said it had nothing to do with Trump, and the same thing would be happening if Hillary had won, or Cruz or Rubio. The national security apparatus had reached that conclusion by March, 2017.
Inany case, I was told to get Maria out of my life again, and to have no furthercontact. I complied. While there may have been an incidental text between usover the next year, there was nothing of substance, no phone calls, nomeetings.
About 15 months later, in May or June, 2018, I was speaking in Washington, DC in a public forum. I received a text from Maria: she had been tracking me, and was aware that I was in DC. She told me that she had finished her Master's Degree at American University, and wondered if she could come by my hotel and show me her diploma and transcript. Although for those 15 months I had complied with the request of Men In Black to have no further contact with Maria Butina, that day I said, ''Yes.'' Why? Partially I did not have a good answer to refuse such a benign request. Partially I was a little soft-hearted. But partially it was'.... Because fuck them.
I told Maria to come to my hotel. Maria came, and we spent about 40 minutes together. After an initial few minutes, the warmth slowly returned, and eventually she pulled out her cell phone and showed me a photograph of her transcript. As I expected, it was more or less straight A+, all the way down.
Clever girl that she is, Maria waited until I was studying the photograph of the transcript for a moment'...
Then she swiped the screen. I was staring at a subpoena she had received from the Senate Intelligence Committee a few weeks earlier. She told me about being questioned by Senate Intel, about how the forces of the USG were closing in on her. All along, she was studying my face for a reaction. I gave her none: I was still in the mode of needing to let things play out, so I would have the answers I sought. But finally, probably crossing some lines, I told her that I thought she was dreaming if she thought she was going to skate from everything. We were 18 months into a Russian espionage scandal that was engulfing Washington, DC and the Trump administration. I asked her if she could go home to Russia safely. Maria replied, ''Patrick, they have destroyed my group with all the liberals of Russia. If I go home I will go to prison for 15 years. '' I told her that the headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigations was about six blocks away, and she should walk over there that very moment, knock on the door, and simply say, ''You must have read about me and have some concerns. I would like to speak to someone and explain who I am and what I am doing here, and allay any concerns.'' She told me that as a loyal Russian she could not do that, and even if she could, they would not believe her.
I told her that she was what we called in English, ''a loose end,'' and that she should not expect things to end well. She was either going to get whacked by some FSB goons, or she would be arrested by the FBI. The look on her face told me she knew I was right. Sadly, she kissed me goodbye for the last time, studying my face for answers I could not provide. I told Maria not to forget our North Star, the principles of liberalism, and that maybe things would work out.
About four weeks later I was in Atlantic City, and my iPad served up some YouTube clips with a man named ''Peter Strzok'' being grilled by Congress. His testimony gave me the missing pieces I needed to put everything together. The next day I was in Washington, DC trying to explain to the right parties what was going on behind the curtains regarding Maria Butina and a great many other matters.
Days later, however, before anything could be done, Maria was arrested and put in solitary confinement (''Solitary Housing Unit'' or ''SHU''), and was ultimately sentenced to 18 months in a box the size of a typical shower stall. I read that she was let out every morning at 2 a.m. for 30 minutes, so she could brush her teeth and take a shower.
As I indicated in a previous essay, both the prosecutor and the judge were Obama second term appointments.
About the judge, U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, a courtroom observer has noted that she is known as ''a defendant's judge,'' always taking the side of leniency for defendants in her courtroom. Maria's case is the only case in her career that this judge demanded more punishment be meted out than the prosecutor requested.
About the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik Kenerson, I know several things. I know that his marriage to another Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Leigh Rakoczy was covered in the New York Times and got me all verklempt (''First, Due Diligence, Then Romance''). I know that they were married in Whittemore House, the home of the Woman's National Democratic Club in Washington, DC. And I know that Kenerson's wife, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Leigh Rakoczy, worked for Robert Mueller on his Special Counsel Investigation (''Inside Mueller's New Army'', Daily Beast, July 11, 2018).
Of the appointment of Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Leigh Rakoczy to Robert Mueller's Special Counsel Investigation, the Daily Beast noted:
''Rakoczy's role on Mueller's investigation'--made public in a June 22 court filing'--has raised some questions in Washington legal circles. An assistant U.S. attorney in the district of D.C., Rakoczy is best known for her work on violent crime cases. She focused on misdemeanors until about eight years ago, and then shifted to primarily prosecuting D.C. street crime. A Washington criminal defense attorney familiar with her work, who spoke anonymously to prevent tension between himself and Rakoczy, said her work for Mueller has generated some head-scratching, since Mueller isn't investigating any violent street crimes.''
Head-scratching indeed. But interestingly enough, Kathryn Leigh Rakoczy was also a second term appointment of President Obama.
If only there were a pattern'....
It has been reported that it was Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team who insisted on Maria Butina's isolated confinement. Here are some curious things to know about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
Robert Mueller knows all about me. In a previous post I revealed that I helped the FBI indict 200 Wall Street players from 2009-2011. Mueller was FBI director that entire time. I received his personal thanks and congratulations from back in those days. I promise, Bob Mueller knows who I am.The Mueller Special Counsel Investigation was formed to investigate Russian spying in the 2016 election. Maria Butina is the only ''Russian spy'' that has show up through this entire charade.Maria Butina and I had an on-and-off affair for the three years she was here and in play. I am all over the Maria Butina file.The Mueller Commission never contacted me. Therefore I ask: was Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation supposed to get to the bottom of anything? Or was its purpose to obfuscate the bottom of everything?
Today, as I wrote this, the news brought word that the DOJ has opened a criminal investigation into the origins of the Russian probe. I think I know just a small fraction of what the DOJ is going to turn up, and what I have revealed is a sliver of what I know. All I can say is, ''It is about time.'' For the last three years our country has been put through the ringer as the organs of law enforcement and national security got hijacked by some traitorous psychopaths, and they have nearly destroyed the United States of America. If it had not been the eventual appointment of an Attorney General who seems determined to return Rule of Law to our country and wrestle it back from the criminals who almost destroyed it, they might have succeeded.
I do not expect those criminals to go down quietly. Today it has been amusing to watch The New York Times (Official Publication of the Deep State) going to work to discredit Durham's newly criminal investigation. They are digging themselves a deeper hole, and to them I say: ''Keep at it fellows!'' They have no idea yet how stupid they are going to look. I hope they bet the last ounce of their credibility on the proposition that Durham's investigation is just a political witch-hunt: Americans will all finally become conversant with the concept of ''gaslighting'', which will render The New York Times impotent.
I hope that as Maria Butina flies home to Russia in the hours ahead, she can take some satisfaction in the fact that she did stay true to the North Star of the principles of liberalism. It is our country that has lost its way. Maria is the finest Russia has to offer. And I hope that President Putin may look past some of his philosophical differences with Maria long enough to understand she does not deserve 15 years in Siberia. In fact, he might consider getting to know her himself.
I do not know what that prosecutor and federal judge knew about the background of Maria Butina and the events which landed her in their courtroom. But I can guess. And I think that with a little luck, both that prosecutor and the judge, and maybe Andrew Weissmann and Robert Mueller, and perhaps even X, Y, and Z, are going to find out what it is like to be in a SHU unit somewhere brushing their teeth at two o'clock in the morning, standing on cold tile.
Res ipsa loquitur.
Unhoused
NYC secretly exports homeless to Hawaii and other states without telling receiving pols
Tue, 29 Oct 2019 08:41
New York City generously shares its homeless crisis with every corner of America.
From the tropical shores of Honolulu and Puerto Rico, to the badlands of Utah and backwaters of Louisiana, the Big Apple has sent local homeless families to 373 cities across the country with a full year of rent in their pockets as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's ''Special One-Time Assistance Program.'' Usually, the receiving city knows nothing about it.
City taxpayers have spent $89 million on rent alone since the program's August 2017 inception to export 5,074 homeless families '-- 12,482 individuals '-- to places as close as Newark and as far as the South Pacific, according to Department of Homeless Services data obtained by The Post. Families who once lived in city shelters decamped to 32 states and Puerto Rico.
The city also paid travel expenses, through a separate taxpayer-funded program called Project Reconnect, but would not divulge how much it spent. A Friday flight to Honolulu for four people would cost about $1,400. A bus ticket to Salt Lake City, Utah, for the same family would cost $800.
Add to the tab the cost of furnishings, which the city also did not disclose. One SOTA recipient said she received $1,000 for them.
DHS defends the stratospheric costs, saying it actually saves the city on shelter funding '-- which amounts to about $41,000 annually per family, as compared to the average yearly rent of $17,563 to house families elsewhere.
But critics say the ''stop-gap solution'' has been fraught with problems, and ultimately has failed to help curb the city's homelessness.
Not only are officials in towns where the city's homeless land up in arms, but hundreds of the homeless families are returning to the five boroughs '-- and some are even suing NYC over being abandoned in barely livable conditions. Multiple outside agencies and organizations have opened investigations into SOTA.
''We were initially seeing a lot of complaints about conditions. Now that the program has been in operation long enough that the SOTA subsidy is expiring, one of our main concerns is it might not be realistic for people to be entirely self-sufficient after that first year,'' said Jacquelyn Simone, policy analyst at Coalition for the Homeless.
DHS said 224 SOTA families have ended up back in New York City shelters. The agency did not answer The Post's repeated requests for the number of families who wind up in out-of-town shelters.
''We suggested that DHS reach out to people as their subsidy runs out to confirm they will be secure and not have to re-enter shelter, but the agency told us they have no plans to do that,'' said Legal Aid lawyer Joshua Goldfein, whose firm represents SOTA families who say the city pressured them to move into New Jersey slums, then ignored calls for help.
About 56 percent of the families move out-of-state, costing the city an average of $15,600 in annual rent. Thirty-five percent move within city limits with an average rent of $20,500, and 9 percent move elsewhere in New York state, costing approximately $17,900.
Homeless individuals and families are eligible for SOTA if they can prove they have been in a New York City shelter for at least 90 days and that their household income is no more than twice what it owes in rent. DHS would not expand on eligibility rules.
The agency's website provides vague descriptions of the income and shelter-stay requirements.
DHS said its reps work with landlords in cities where families want to move to find housing. At least two SOTA families told The Post that DHS pre-selected New Jersey apartments for them to view during a ''van run,'' then insisted they quickly sign leases.
Some pols in towns taking in NYC refugees were shocked by the news.
''So in other words, if someone is in a shelter, y'all will give them money to go somewhere else if they have been there for 90 days? And some of those people have been sent to Metairie?'' said Michael Yenni, president of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, when The Post told him the community is among the SOTA destinations.
''I'm not in Mayor Bill de Blasio's shoes. I don't sit behind his desk, and I never will, but it's certainly interesting. You have shocked me down here in beautiful southeast Louisiana.''
The mayor of Willacoochee, Georgia, was similarly stunned. ''I'm not familiar with none of that,'' Samuel Newson said.
The mayor of Harrisville, Utah '-- who was so baffled to receive a call from The Post that she questioned if the reporter had the wrong number '-- asked if SOTA recipients are connected to social services in the towns where they move.
''Are they just cutting them loose and saying, 'Here you go'? Or are they making sure they don't find themselves in the same situation a year later?'' Michelle Tait asked.
Pols in New Jersey, where 2,226 SOTA families have moved, say the answer to Tait's latter question is ''No.''
Mayor Tony Vauss of Irvington, the destination for 278 SOTA families, said he is ''highly disturbed by the lack of communication from New York City and the lack of oversight of this program by the city.
''SOTA recipients are the population of citizens who require ongoing social services and resources '... Therefore, once SOTA ceases funding, program recipients end up using our state and local resources to maintain themselves.''
Some SOTA recipients have also attacked the program.
Sade Collington, her husband and two children moved back into a Bronx shelter after relocating to an East Orange, New Jersey, apartment that had no water, heat or electricity.
''It was completely unlivable. We could not stay there any longer. We went to a shelter for another six months,'' she said.
Collington has filed a notice of claim against the city indicating she plans to sue over the ordeal.
Her story was featured among several other SOTA families' in a CBS 2 special highlighting the decrepit conditions they were housed in '-- and how their concerns fell on deaf ears at DHS.
In Newark, home to 1,198 SOTA families, the city is ''in the process of passing an ordinance to ban New York from sending us SOTA clients,'' said city spokesman Mark Di Ionno.
New York City's Department of Investigation also opened a probe and found ''several vulnerabilities in the program,'' including ''an inability to hold participating landlords and real estate brokers accountable,'' DOI spokeswoman Diane Struzzi said.
The state Senate has an ongoing, separate SOTA investigation.
DHS spokesman Isaac McGinn said the city ''remains committed to using every tool at our disposal to help these families and individuals find stability in the ways that work for them.
''Any American, including any New Yorker experiencing homelessness, has the right to seek housing where they can afford it and employment where they can find it.''
Clips
VIDEO - Trump appellate court nominee cries over brutal American Bar Association 'not qualified' letter
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 06:39
As Tears Go ByEdit Trump appellate court nominee cries over brutal American Bar Association 'not qualified' letter
7:21 a.m.
last night on late nightEdit Samantha Bee uses Rep. Katie Hill's resignation to tackle the complicated scourge of 'revenge porn'
5:07 a.m.
Trump Impeachment RulesEdit Democrats are giving Trump more impeachment rights than Clinton or Nixon got '-- but there's a catch
3:41 a.m.
Late Night Tackles Trump and impeachmentEdit Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, and Trevor Noah count the ways Vindman undercut Trump's Ukraine defenses
2:02 a.m.
last night on late nightEdit Seth Meyers says the 'smoking gun' in Ukraine scandal is 'Donald Trump's mouth'
1:05 a.m.
2019 World SeriesEdit Washington Nationals win World Series
12:02 a.m.
Things that make you go hmmmmEdit Trump's campaign is upset Twitter banned political ads. So, oddly, is Russian state media.
October 30, 2019
impeachment inquiryEdit Report: White House lawyer moved Trump's Ukraine transcript to classified server after staff flagged concerns
October 30, 2019
See More Speed Reads
VIDEO - Farmers sue German government over climate change failures | Euronews
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 06:26
Germany will defend its climate policies in a landmark court case brought by organic farming families, backed by Greenpeace.
The action, which comes before a court in Berlin on Thursday, accuses the government of not complying with its climate protection targets for 2020. The families say this amounts to an infringement of their constitutional rights.
The plaintiffs are hoping the court will compel the German government to take effective action in order to meet the targets.
VIDEO - 'Spill Bill?' Ex-President Fuels Speculations Hillary Clinton May Run in 2020 With Nebulous Remark - Sputnik International
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 06:25
US12:17 31.10.2019Get short URL
The rumours that the former secretary of state might try her fortunes once again after being defeated by Donald Trump in 2016 have been circulating for weeks, played up by the incumbent president, leaks from Democratic Party circles and Hillary Clinton herself. Her husband Bill also jumped in on the act during a public talk alongside his wife.
Former president Bill Clinton has tickled netizens with a remark that some perceived as a hint that his wife Hillary might get into the Democratic primary race ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
During a public talk at Georgetown University Law School, where Bill Clinton appeared with his spouse and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the ex-commander-in-chief said pointing at his wife: ''She may or not ever run for anything, but I can't legally run for president again''.
The clip, posted online, has fuelled the debates about Hillary Clinton's challenging other Democratic candidates and, eventually, Donald Trump.
'‹Some were convinced that Bill Clinton's remark was a clear signal his wife is running.
'‹Others suggested that even if she has not decided yet, she must say yes to a new attempt.
I would stand up and work hard for Hillary 2020. ðŸðŸ>>ðŸðŸ>>ðŸðŸ>>''¤¸''¤¸
'-- Kristie Lyon (@KristieLyon) October 31, 2019'‹For many, the idea that she might run was bad news and predicted yet another defeat.
She needs to run alright. Run far away to a country that doesn't have extradition agreement with US. Justice is coming soon......... tic-tok
'-- BigMike (@Mike__Delgado) October 31, 2019When is the deadline to file to run for president? I thought it was the end of this month? I hope she runs that would be freaking hilarious get destroyed for the third time! There will be no recovery for her after that she might suicide or self ha ha!
'-- consgolfer (@consgolfer) October 31, 2019'‹Rumours have circulated about Clinton embarking on a 2020 campaign, particularly among conservative outlets, while she is touring the country to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women", which she co-authored with her daughter.
Some of her allies have dismissed the rumours but Clinton's recent remarks on the PBS NewsHour propelled the speculation, as the former secretary of state told the outlet that she could ''obviously'' beat Trump ''again''.
The current president, who beat out Hillary Clinton in the US Electoral College to win the presidency, for his part, chimed in on the debate, as well. He suggested in a recent tweet that ''Crooked Hillary'' should join the race ''to try and steal it away from Uber Left Elizabeth Warren'' provided she explains ''all of her high crimes and misdemeanours including how & why she deleted 33,000 Emails AFTER getting 'C' Subpoena!'' He later repeated his urge with a video of what appeared to be presidential debates between Trump and Clinton ahead of the 2016 US presidential election.
The former US presidential hopeful was quick to respond by warning Trump not to ''tempt'' her and saying that he should do his job.
VIDEO - 25mins ORBAMA KILLED Trump talks impeachment fallout on 'Hannity' | FULL INTERVIEW - YouTube
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 06:19
VIDEO - (3) Barack Obama takes on 'woke' call-out culture: 'That's not activism' - YouTube
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 05:57
VIDEO - (3) President Obama Speaks at the Obama Foundation Summit 2019 | NowThis - YouTube
Thu, 31 Oct 2019 05:55
VIDEO - Jim Kunstler: "We May Not Have A 2020 Election" | Zero Hedge
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 23:27
Via Greg Hunter's USAWatchdog.com,
Renowned author and journalist James Howard Kunstler thinks what has been happening for the last few years with the mainstream media's coverage of President Trump borders on criminal activity. Kunstler explains, ''What I am waiting for is if and when indictments come down from Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham..."
"I am wondering whether the editors and publishers of the Washington Post and New York Times and the producers at CNN and MSNBC are going to be named as unindicted co-conspirators in this effort to gaslight the country and really stage a coup to remove the President and to nullify the 2016 election. I say this as someone who is not necessarily a Trump supporter. I didn't vote for the guy. I am not a cheerleader for the guy, but basically I think the behavior of his antagonists has been much worse and much more dangerous for the nation and the American project as a long term matter. I really need to see some action to hold people responsible for the acts they have committed...
I am not an attorney, and I have never worked for the Department of Justice, but it seems to me that by naming the publishers and editors of these companies as unindicted co-conspirators that allows you to avoid the appearance of trying to shut down the press because you are not going to put them in jail, but you are going to put them in disrupt. That may prompt their boards of directors to fire a few people and maybe change the way they do business at these places.''
Kunstler says things look unlike anything we have seen in the past because we are approaching a day of reckoning in our debt based monetary system. Kunstler says, ''Yeah, I think you can see it happening now..."
"What seems to be resolving is some movement to some sort of a crack up of the banking system. What we are really stuck in is a situation where we've got too many obligations we cannot meet and too many debts that will never be repaid. We have been trying to run the country for the past 15 or 20 years on debt because we can no longer provide the kind of industrial growth that we have been used to . . . and have this massive consumer spending industry. So, we have been borrowing from the future to pay our bills today, and we are running out of our ability to borrow more...
I think we are going to lose the ability to support a lot of activities that we have been doing. It starts with energy and its relationship to banking and our ability to generate the kind of growth you need to keep rolling over debt. The reason debt will never be paid and obligations will never be met is we are not generating that sort of growth. Were just generating frauds and swindles. Frauds and swindles are fun while you are doing them and they seem to produce a lot of paper profits, but after a while, they prove to be false. Then you have to do something else. A great deal about our economy and our way of life is false and is going to fail. Then we are going to have to make other arrangements for daily life. . . .It will probably mean we will be organizing our stuff at much more of a local scale.''
On the 2020 Presidential Election, Kunstler predicts, ''When all is said and done, I am not convinced there is enough there to convict President Trump of anything..."
"At the same time, there is probably going to be a lot of legal actions brought against the people who started this coup against him, and that's going to be extremely disturbing to the Left.
I think one of the possibilities is we may not have a 2020 election. In some way or another, the country may be so disorderly that we can't hold an election. There may be so much strife that we cannot handle the legal questions around holding the election, and it may be suspended. I don't know what that means, but I am very impressed of the disorder that we are already in. It's more of a kind of mental disorder between the parties, but it could turn into a lot of kinetic disorder on the ground and a lot of institutional failure.''
Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with author and journalist James Howard Kunstler.
* * *
To Donate to USAWatchdog.com Click Here
(You Tube has Demonetized this video '' again. This means only long commercials play, if they play at all. (most skip long commercials) It must have some useful information in it, so, enjoy it!!)
VIDEO - DISTURBING - You Won't Believe This "Coincidence" - YouTube
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 16:11
VIDEO - (24) WATCH LIVE: Fed Chair expected to announce interest rate cut - YouTube
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 16:06
VIDEO - Lebanon reopens after prime minister resigns | News | DW | 30.10.2019
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 08:54
Following the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Lebanon looked set to ease a two-week lockdown triggered by anti-government protests. A solution to the crisis, however, is yet to be found.
The Lebanese army began reopening major roads on Wednesday following nearly two weeks of heavy protests that forced the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
The army on Wednesday requested protesters no longer block roads and looked set to ease its two-week-old lockdown. They also "emphasized the people's right to peaceful protests and freedom of expression in public squares."
Anti-government protests paralyzed parts of the country for 13 days.
Protesters took to the street to celebrate Hariri's resignation on Tuesday evening but many insisted the protests will go on. "The resignation is not enough to keep us off the streets," one Lebanese man told AFP news agency.
Read more: 'People in Lebanon want to live in dignity''Caretaker government'
Lebanese President Michel Aoun urged Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his cabinet to remain in power in a "caretaker capacity" until a new government can be formed. According to an official statement, Aoun "asked the government to continue to conduct affairs until a new cabinet is formed."
It is unknown whether Hariri will agree to stay on in a caretaker capacity.
As the lockdown eases, public services like banks are expected to reopen later this week.
The protests were triggered by a proposed tax on calls made via free phone call apps.
ed/stb (AFP, Reuters, dpa)
Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.
VIDEO - Elected Arizona assessor accused in scheme to sell children for adoption is suspended
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 08:06
PHOENIX '-- An elected official in Arizona was suspended Monday after he was charged with running a human smuggling scheme that brought pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to the U.S. to give birth and then paid them to give up their children for adoption.
Leaders in Arizona's most populous county suspended Assessor Paul Petersen without pay for 120 days. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors doesn't have the power to permanently remove him from his office, which determines the value of properties for tax purposes in Phoenix and its suburbs.
Assessor Paul Petersen. Petersen has been indicted in an adoption fraud case, accused of arranging for dozens of pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to come to the U.S. to give their children up for adoption. Maricopa County Assessor's Office / AP filePetersen, who is in federal custody, has so far refused to resign since his arrest Oct. 8. His lawyer, Kurt Altman, said Petersen will fight to keep the $77,000-a-year job he was last elected to in 2016.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
Petersen, a Republican, has been indicted in federal court in Arkansas and also charged in Arizona and Utah with crimes that include human smuggling, sale of a child, fraud, forgery and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The criminal case spans three years and involves some 75 adoptions, authorities said, with about 30 adoptions pending in three states.
Petersen is accused of illegally paying women from the Marshall Islands to have their babies in the United States and give them up for adoption. The women were crammed into homes owned or rented by Petersen, sometimes with little to no prenatal care, court documents say.
Petersen charged families $25,000 to $40,000 per adoption, prosecutors said.
Petersen completed a mission in the Marshall Islands, a collection of atolls and islands in the eastern Pacific, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He later worked in the islands and the U.S. on behalf of an international adoption agency before going to law school and becoming an adoption attorney.
The Board of Supervisors said Monday that Arizona law allows it to suspend Petersen for "neglect of duty," citing his absence from the office during his incarceration and limited access to phone and email.
An audit of Petersen's office also found files from his adoption business on his county computer, which can't be used for personal business, the supervisors said.
The audit also showed several calls made from Petersen's desk phone or county-provided cellphone to Arkansas, Jamaica and the Philippines over the past six years and about 30 emails related to adoptions since Petersen became assessor in 2013.
Board Chairman Bill Gates said the supervisors will look to appoint someone to fill Petersen's position during the suspension.
Petersen is allowed to request a hearing to defend himself. Petersen's attorney said the law allowing elected officials to be suspended may be unconstitutional.
VIDEO - Pelosi on impeachment resolution: "We will deal with it on the floor"
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 07:43
When asked about Rep. Al Green's (D-Texas) impeachment resolution, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) claimed, "we will deal with it on the floor," and mentions other committee investigations underway. July 17, 2019
VIDEO - TxDOT to clean Austin homeless camps Monday | KXAN.com
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 07:12
AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- The Texas Department of Transportation '' at the direction of Governor Greg Abbott '' will give move-out notices to people camping underneath state overpasses. Governor Abbott's office confirmed to KXAN they will post paper notices at major encampments Tuesday before state workers clean out the locations next Monday, November 4th.
Many of the more than 2,000 people without homes in Austin camp underneath state highways operated by state transportation workers, including Interstate 35 and State highways 183, 290, and 71.
Staff for Governor Abbott said they would coordinate with homeless shelters when TxDOT cleans out underpass camps, directing people to Integral Care in Austin, Front Steps (which operates the ARCH), and the Salvation Army. The Tuesday posts will have phone numbers to call for information.
Crews will begin clearing out camps in six days, according to Gov. Abbott's spokesman.
''Governor Abbott has been clear that unless the City of Austin demonstrated improvements to protect public health and safety, the state of Texas would step in to address this crisis,'' said John Wittman, ''With today's notice from TxDOT, the Governor is following through on his promise.''
In addition to the short term direction to Integral Care, Salvation Army, and Front Steps, ''The Office of the Governor is working with a coalition consisting of private sector and faith-based organizations on longer-term solutions,'' said Wittman.
The Austin Chamber of Commerce will spearhead the effort to get long-term solutions, according to the Governor's Office.
KXAN obtained a copy of the TxDOT flyer that will be posted at camps on Tuesday.
''Any items left behind will be considered abandoned and removed. Use the be safe and seen bags to take important items, such as documents and medications, with you. For bag information contact Integral care,'' staff wrote on the notices. Bags will be kept and saved for 30 days according to the flyer.
The poster then details the service providers' location and contact information.
This comes a day after Austin's revised camping ordinance took effect, which banned camping, sitting, and lying on sidewalks and business entrances.
The city's homeless strategy officer says they don't expect major disruption because many under overpasses are already known and working with the city.
''I know that those teams are going to make sure that they know where those individuals may go and direct them to appropriate resources as they're available, whether that's a crisis bed or emergency shelter,'' said Lori Pampilo Haris.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler and city council members learned about the governor's decision to move in TxDOT crews. Adler says he is worried the action could scatter people too quickly.
''They might end up in a place where it is harder for us to find them, we know that at this point, we're able to find people. Get them healthcare, caseworkers, help get them in homes in a way we can't when they're in dark places,'' said Adler.
Adler says the city has made huge improvements when it comes to housing the city's homeless. He says they've gotten about 400 people off the streets in the past two months.
Monday, Austin Police officers, city workers, and nonprofit outreach teams spent the day handing out flyers, notifying people of the changes and giving them phone numbers for resources.
The new homelessness ordinance stops the city from enforcing the camping rules unless staff identifies each person camping illegally and has given them an opportunity to take advantage of housing services.
APD officials say once officers begin clearing out the area around the ARCH, they will strive to work with the homeless on voluntary compliance. However, if people don't comply, they can be cited or even arrested.
The city of Austin has been embroiled in a controversy over its homeless policy since June when Austin city council allowed people to sit, lie, camp, and panhandle in many public areas. In October, the council returned the bans to sidewalks and nearby businesses entrances. The backtrack came after pressure from Abbott, who set a Nov. 1 deadline to make significant changes.
Business community stepping in
For the longterm, Abbott's office teamed with the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.
''We're trying to be the neutral broker. Bring reasonable discussion to the table. Reasonable solutions. And actually trying to bring resources to the table,'' said Mike Rollins, President of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. ''I don't think Government alone can solve it. And clearly, up until now, it has not happened.''
Chamber President Mike Rollins told KXAN Monday they'll add their 2,200 businesses to the faith and non-profit community to come up with a longterm solution for people unsheltered in Austin. The details are still to come, he said, but the business community will no longer sit on the sidelines.
''We want to help own that problem. And we will put resources to the table. I say to date, we have not really been invited to that conversation,'' said Rollins.
Over the next week, the Austin Chamber of Commerce will be announcing more of their community partners and also releasing more details about what their long term solutions will be.
Up until this point, many downtown business leaders have been large critics of the city of Austin's policy allowing people to camp, sit, lie, and panhandle in many public places.
READ MORE: New limited homeless camping ban goes into effectSince the council's return of some of the camping ban, Governor Abbott and the city of Austin leaders have argued over Twitter about the prevalence of needles and feces in the city. Austin officials say there is no increase in the two in public. Abbott and his supporters say needles are more visible.
VIDEO - ATTN: on Twitter: "Watch President @BarackObama make an excellent point about call-out culture. https://t.co/P6mw9aLWTQ" / Twitter
Wed, 30 Oct 2019 06:51
Welcome home! This timeline is where you'll spend most of your time, getting instant updates about what matters to you.
Tweets not working for you? Hover over the profile pic and click the Following button to unfollow any account.
Say a lot with a little When you see a Tweet you love, tap the heart '-- it lets the person who wrote it know you shared the love.
Spread the word The fastest way to share someone else's Tweet with your followers is with a Retweet. Tap the icon to send it instantly.
Join the conversation Add your thoughts about any Tweet with a Reply. Find a topic you're passionate about, and jump right in.
Learn the latest Get instant insight into what people are talking about now.
Get more of what you love Follow more accounts to get instant updates about topics you care about.
Find what's happening See the latest conversations about any topic instantly.
Never miss a Moment Catch up instantly on the best stories happening as they unfold.
VIDEO - M3thods on Twitter: "This makes me sick, and I apologize for even sharing it... But this kind of behavior needs to be exposed. (language warning) https://t.co/3rJsj3IuDF" / Twitter
Tue, 29 Oct 2019 17:35
Welcome home! This timeline is where you'll spend most of your time, getting instant updates about what matters to you.
Tweets not working for you? Hover over the profile pic and click the Following button to unfollow any account.
Say a lot with a little When you see a Tweet you love, tap the heart '-- it lets the person who wrote it know you shared the love.
Spread the word The fastest way to share someone else's Tweet with your followers is with a Retweet. Tap the icon to send it instantly.
Join the conversation Add your thoughts about any Tweet with a Reply. Find a topic you're passionate about, and jump right in.
Learn the latest Get instant insight into what people are talking about now.
Get more of what you love Follow more accounts to get instant updates about topics you care about.
Find what's happening See the latest conversations about any topic instantly.
Never miss a Moment Catch up instantly on the best stories happening as they unfold.
VIDEO - LOL! MSNBC's Sharpton Can't Pronounce Al Baghdadi To Save His Life
Tue, 29 Oct 2019 09:39
liberal media biasSharpton turned the Trump administration success into a monologue on domestic terrorism white supremacy
MSNBC's Al Sharpton is not the sharpest tool in the shed so the video below where fought his way through a news segment to say Al Baghdadi should be classified as comedy gold.
Sharpton was probably forced to give Pres. Trump credit for taking out the ISIS terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. You can tell he wasn't too familiar with the history of the murdering ISIS leader because Sharpton quickly shifted from the world's most wanted terrorist to white supremacy.
''President Trump said that because of the killing of Al Baghdadi, that the world is a better place. And I would give credit to he and those that were responsible for it.
''But we have a lot of work that must still be done in the area of terrorism. In the same area of the world where Al Baghdadi was and in our own nation.
''Where a year ago today, we saw in Pittsburgh at the tree of life synagogue 11 people killed by a domestic terrorist.
''We see the threat of domestic terrorism, hate groups, even FBI director Chris Wray said that white supremacy is a major part of that in this country.
''We must be committed to fighting terrorism all over the world, but we cannot duck the rise of hate groups and terrorism at home.
''And remembering this one year ago today, what happened in Pittsburgh at tree of life, ought to make us all say yes, give credit for what happened with the leader of ISIS.
''But let's not forget the sobering memory of 11 lives lost and many others that were lost to those domestic terrorists that are bent on hate and bent on white supremacy and anti-Semitism and racist and homophobia.
''We have to fight terrorism, hate, and people taking lives on all fronts, and yes, give credit when we win, but don't think the battle is over because we fought one fight.
''We must continue, and we must be operating with a sense of urgency,'' he said in his rant comparing radical Islamic terrorism to white supremacist terrorism.
Dude give it a rest.. ðŸ¤...🏾''‚¸
'-- Rolstan Hodge (@PicsPoemsPLACEs) October 27, 2019
I cannot believe that a disgraced race-baiting hate-mongerer has viewership. People have got to be dumber than a box of rocks.
'-- ChristineG (@christinegee4gk) October 27, 2019
Dude you're the king of racism. Give it a rest. When's the last time you were out protesting for something not black related?
'-- Molon Labe (@docelm0) October 28, 2019
Al I've been trying to forget you for the last twenty years or so. Why don't you just go away and stay away. Your a useless piece of Garbage. You owe more in back taxes than I've made in my lifetime. You should be in jail. But you will have to answer to God for your actions.
'-- Lucy Falck (@JtcphlebLucy) October 28, 2019
Never Forget''ISIS Terror Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Was Held at US Prison Camp Bucca in 2009 until the OBAMA WH Agreed to Let Him Go
'-- JimMax Acosta (@mja11842) October 28, 2019
As with other websites, Facebook has greatly reduced our distribution of stories in our readers' news timelines. They are asking us to pay to receive more views but we refused. When you share to your friends, however, you greatly help distribute our content. Please take a moment and consider sharing this article with your friends and family. Thank you.
Attn: Wayne Dupree is a free speech champion who works tirelessly to bring you news that the mainstream media ignores. But he needs your support in order to keep delivering quality, independent journalism. You can make a huge impact in the war against fake news by pledging as little as $5 per month. Please click here Patreon.com/WDShow to help Wayne battle the fake news media.
VIDEO - '''¸ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸Rose '­¸'­¸'­¸ #IStandWGenFlynn🇺🇸'''¸ on Twitter: "WOW!!!! 🱠Ye went from proclaiming to be Jesus to receiving the Holy Spirit & NOW spreading the Gospel! Never did I think I would see this! TheGreatAwakening
Tue, 29 Oct 2019 08:44
Welcome home! This timeline is where you'll spend most of your time, getting instant updates about what matters to you.
Tweets not working for you? Hover over the profile pic and click the Following button to unfollow any account.
Say a lot with a little When you see a Tweet you love, tap the heart '-- it lets the person who wrote it know you shared the love.
Spread the word The fastest way to share someone else's Tweet with your followers is with a Retweet. Tap the icon to send it instantly.
Join the conversation Add your thoughts about any Tweet with a Reply. Find a topic you're passionate about, and jump right in.
Learn the latest Get instant insight into what people are talking about now.
Get more of what you love Follow more accounts to get instant updates about topics you care about.
Find what's happening See the latest conversations about any topic instantly.
Never miss a Moment Catch up instantly on the best stories happening as they unfold.
VIDEO - Second Democratic aide sentenced in Kavanaugh doxxing case | Fox News
Mon, 28 Oct 2019 22:55
A second aide to Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., has been sentenced in a scheme to break into Hassan's office to obtain and publicly post the personal information of several Republican politicians amid contentious confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The 24-year-old former aide, Samantha Deforest Davis, was sentenced to two years of supervised probation with 200 hours of community service, with a suspended sentence of 180 days in prison. She was ordered to "stay away from [Hassan's] office to include current and former staff, and to not use Tor or anonymized computer applications," the Justice Department said in a statement.
Davis was a staff assistant in Hassan's office from August 2017 until last December. She was fired after Capitol Police discovered her involvement in the so-called "doxxing" effort.
Prosecutors said Davis helped 27-year-old Jackson A. Cosko, another former Hassan aide who has pleaded guilty to five federal offenses (including two counts of making public restricted personal information, and one count each of computer fraud, witness tampering and obstruction of justice).
Prosecutors said that Davis was persuaded by Cosko to "wipe down" Senate computers he had hacked on Oct. 3, 2018, the morning after the break-in. That effort was unsuccessful because another employee was in the office early that morning. Cosko was arrested that same day.
Cosko admitted to using Davis' keys to get into Hassan's office the day before, and prosecutors said Davis "understood that Cosko needed the keys to unlawfully enter the senator's office to access Senate computers" at the time, the DOJ said.
MARYLAND DEMOCRAT CALLS ON ACTIVISTS TO 'DOX' GUN-RIGHTS SUPPORTERS
Davis pleaded guilty to the federal charge of aiding and abetting computer fraud, and to the District of Columbia charge of attempted tampering with evidence.
''I own EVERYTHING. ... If you tell anyone I will leak it all."
'-- Former Democratic aide Jackson Cosko
In June, Cosko was sentenced to four years in prison in the scheme, and was required to turn over the cellphones, computers and other equipment he used. A witness saw him during the break-in and reported it to Capitol Police, the DOJ said.
Among the officials Cosko targeted were five Republican senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Cosko posted the home addresses and phone numbers of GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky -- as well as then-Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah -- on Wikipedia.
Cosko, prosecutors said, became angry about the senators' support for Kavanaugh despite sexual assault allegations leveled against the prospective high court justice. Cosko intended to intimidate the senators and their families, according to court records.
At the time of his arrest, Cosko was working as an unpaid intern for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, who fired him soon after.
He was previously employed as a computer systems administrator in Hassan's office -- a job that gave him "intimate knowledge of, and broad access to" the computer systems in Hassan's office, according to court records. But he had been fired from Hassan's office in May 2018 for failing to follow office procedures.
After the firing from Hassan's office, Cosko became angry and repeatedly burglarized the office, court records said. He copied gigabytes worth of data, including dozens of user names and passwords belonging to Senate employees and "contact information for numerous sitting U.S. senators," according to court records.
Records show Cosko sent a threatening email to the staffer the evening he was confronted about the break-in.
''I own EVERYTHING," Cosko wrote, adding, "If you tell anyone I will leak it all."
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Cosko previously held positions with prominent Democrats including former Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, and with the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Left-wing activists separately targeted numerous other top Republicans amid the Kavanaugh fight. In the wake of his vote to confirm Kavanaugh, for example, Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., told Fox News last October that his wife had received a graphic text message with a video depicting a beheading, and that someone had publicly posted the names and addresses of his family members.
Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.
VIDEO - Woman Tells Black Trump Supporter To Remove Trump Hat, Then He Destroys Her... She says "If you take that hat off it would make you look like you had a high IQ...f". David Harris Jr. - Streamable
Mon, 28 Oct 2019 22:52
Loading...
Speed 2 1.5 1 ½ ¼
Download video Copy video URL Copy embed code Report issue Powered by Streamable Woman Tells Black Trump Supporter To Remove Trump Hat, Then He Destroys Her... She says "If you take that hat off it would make you look like you had a high IQ...f". David Harris Jr. 28,735 views Report Privacy Terms
VIDEO - Epic: Dude Kicked Off Stage by Anti-Trump Rapper After He Refuses to Say ''F**k Trump''
Mon, 28 Oct 2019 22:45
Defiant young man declines to bad-mouth president in the face of bullying Infowars.com - October 28, 2019 Comments A young rap fan refused to bad-mouth President Donald Trump after being invited on stage by a rapper, in footage that went viral over the weekend.
During a performance, rapper YG called for a fan from the crowd to join him on stage to sing the hook from his song ''FDT (F**k Donald Trump)''.
For those who haven't seen the video, here it is.
YG thinks he's tough for kicking a kid off stage but can't handle a woman giving him a taste of his own medicine! pic.twitter.com/sBK1NAhveV
'-- Ashley StClair 🇺🇸 (@stclairashley) October 28, 2019
''Hold on, I don't know if I want to shake your hand,'' YG told the young fan, who he'd hand-selected from the crowd.
''Hey listen, I spotted you outta the crowd, I asked you if you f**ked with Donald Trump, you said you don't know. So, since you don't know, I need you to make up your mind tonight,'' YG tells the fan.
''I need you to state your name and get out a 'fuck Donald Trump,'' YG says, which the fan refuses to do by shaking his head.
YG then proceeds to kick the insubordinate man off stage as the crowd goes wild.
Despite YG's recent bout of Trump Derangement Syndrome, the president was actually revered by hip-hop artists prior to his run for president, and was frequently referenced in rap songs due to his notoriety as a billionaire playboy.
By the way, our Everything Must Go Emergency Sale is now live! Get 70% off Survival Shield X-3 and an additional 50% off other products with free shipping and double Patriot Points!
`;}}catch (error) {console.error(error);}})();
VIDEO - Ideas by tomstarkweather | Tom Starkweather | Free Listening on SoundCloud
Mon, 28 Oct 2019 21:29
SoundCloud Your current browser isn't compatible with SoundCloud. Please download one of our supported browsers. Need help?
Chrome |
Firefox |
Safari |
Internet ExplorerSorry! Something went wrong
Is your network connection unstable or browser outdated?
I need help Popular searches
VIDEO - Getty Fire updates: Blaze erupts along 405 Freeway near the Getty museum, destroys homes in Los Angeles | abc7.com
Mon, 28 Oct 2019 21:26
SEPULVEDA PASS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A fire erupted along the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass near the Getty Center on Monday, destroying at least eight homes and forcing thousands of evacuations.
The fire broke out and began burning on a hill around 1:30 a.m. adjacent to the 405 Freeway at Getty Center Drive near the Getty Center museum.
It quickly exploded to 618 acres by noon.
By Monday evening, officials said the good news was the fire had not increased in size and it was estimated at 5% containment.
"It remains where it is in place with amazing muscle and work coming from our fire crews that are out there right now," Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
Most of the evacuations that were ordered throughout the day Monday were expected to stay in place overnight and possibly through Tuesday night. The exception was the Mountaingate community located south of Mulholland and north of the burn area, which was changed to a voluntary evacuation meaning residents could return if they chose.
"You should be prepared for two nights at least that the majority of folks will be out of their homes," Garcetti said.
Los Angeles Unified School District campuses in the area were also expected to remain closed Tuesday.
There were more than 1,100 fire personnel fighting the blaze.
The California Highway Patrol said homes in the area were being threatened and the southbound side from the 101 Freeway to Sunset Boulevard was shut down, as well as all off-ramps on the northbound side between Sunset Boulevard and Mulholland Drive.
The 405 Freeway was shut down in the area but authorities were expected to reopen it Monday evening.
The Getty Center museum was not believed to be in danger from the flames, officials said.
MORE: See full list and map of evacuation area, road closures due to the Getty FireL.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced he was signing an emergency declaration to bring more resources to help battle the blaze. During a press conference, Garcetti said the fire was not caused by an encampment or by someone without housing.
"There's an active arson investigation. I would also say to the public, when you hear arson, you think that somebody has set it. Arson investigations are just the cause of the fire, that doesn't necessarily mean somebody has set it. Some thing can set that as well," Garcetti said.
The mayor said investigators were making "good progress'' in determining the cause. They were looking at multiple possibilities.
LAFD arson investigators were with Los Angeles Department of Water and Power crews inspecting a power pole along Sepulveda Boulevard in the general area where the blaze started. LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas confirmed that crews have identified the fire's point of origin just off the 405 Freeway near Sepulveda Boulevard.
Investigators were also looking at a broken tree branch with a charred end that was on the ground along Sepulveda just south of the Skirball on the west side. The branch was set aside on the ground surrounded by cones.
At least eight homes appeared to be destroyed by the flames, many of them on North Tigertail Road. At least five more were incurring damage as they burned along the 1100 block of North Tigertail.
PHOTOS: Getty Fire burns in West Los Angeles"We still have about five structures we believe here that the fire has taken, a couple across the canyon as well," Garcetti said about the homes on N. Tigertail Road.
Mandatory evacuations were issued for the MountainGate and Mandeville Canyon communities as early as 2:40 a.m. The freeway remained opened to allow evacuees to leave the area. Mountaingate was allowed to repopulate by 5 p.m.
The mandatory evacuation zone was later extended to the west, with Temescal Canyon Road established as the western border, and Sunset Boulevard as the southern border, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Mulholland Drive is acting as northern border and the 405 Freeway remaining the eastern border.
Garcetti urged residents to immediately heed evacuation orders.
"I tell everybody if you get this order, don't be a hero, don't fight it on your own," Garcetti said in an interview with Eyewitness News. "Don't take your garden hose out. Get out. Bring your kids, your pets, your valuables if you have time. Get out. That's the only thing you can't replace - your life."
LAFD officials said about 10,000 residential and commercial structures were under mandatory evacuation as the fire moved westward.
On Twitter, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James said he had to evacuate his home. Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was also among those who were evacuated. Mayor Garcetti said his parents had also been evacuated from their home.
RELATED: Lebron James, Arnold Schwarzenegger among the thousands forced to evacuate due to Getty Fire
The Chalon campus at Mount Saint Mary's University was also being evacuated, with students sent to the Doheny Campus. Several
evacuation centers were available to those evacuated.
About 2,600 customers were without power due to the blaze, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The affected area included Bel Air, Brentwood and Westwood. It is unclear when power will be restored.
About 500 firefighters were tackling the blaze from the air and ground.
RELATED: How to help Los Angeles firefighters responding to devastating fires in Southern CaliforniaAn emergency alert message was sent around 2:45 a.m. notifying residents of the need to evacuate due to the blaze.
Southern California is bracing for the return of Santa Ana winds as it remains under red flag conditions Monday. Several blazes ravaged the area last week as the combination of Santa Ana winds, low humidity and hot temperatures created dangerous fire conditions.
RELATEDWhat you need to know about Santa Ana winds and California wildfiresHow to prepare for a wildfire evacuationSubscribe to our YouTube channelDownload the ABC7 app for news alertsClick here for iOS devices | Click here for Android devices.
Copyright (C) 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO - Sam Senev 🇺🇸 National Security Adviser on Twitter: "UNITED NATIONS CLAIMS SOVEREIGNTY IN UTAH, SHUTS DOWN REPORTERS: A United Nations Security Officer claimed that the UN took over the venue on Sunday and that it's now under UN jurisdiction.
Mon, 28 Oct 2019 21:24
Welcome home! This timeline is where you'll spend most of your time, getting instant updates about what matters to you.
Tweets not working for you? Hover over the profile pic and click the Following button to unfollow any account.
Say a lot with a little When you see a Tweet you love, tap the heart '-- it lets the person who wrote it know you shared the love.
Spread the word The fastest way to share someone else's Tweet with your followers is with a Retweet. Tap the icon to send it instantly.
Join the conversation Add your thoughts about any Tweet with a Reply. Find a topic you're passionate about, and jump right in.
Learn the latest Get instant insight into what people are talking about now.
Get more of what you love Follow more accounts to get instant updates about topics you care about.
Find what's happening See the latest conversations about any topic instantly.
Never miss a Moment Catch up instantly on the best stories happening as they unfold.
VIDEO - (7) Kim and Kanye meet Uganda's president - YouTube
Mon, 28 Oct 2019 18:14
VIDEO - Bag Daddy & the Tunnel | LUCKYTV - YouTube
Mon, 28 Oct 2019 17:24
VIDEO - (2) Stray Thoughts #6: The Spectrum - YouTube
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 23:41
VIDEO - (2) Kanye West on 'Jesus is King', Being Canceled, Finding God + A Lot More - YouTube
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 23:31
VIDEO - Daniel Ellsberg: "The Doomsday Machine" | Talks at Google - YouTube
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 20:22

Art

Image
Load image
Image
Load image

All Clips

Pelosi on impeachment resolution - AL GReen Wants Racism on the list - 'We will deal with it on the floor'.mp3
Bill Clinton panel remark may or may not be running.mp3
Amazing Polly finds Impossible Meat neighbor is Planned Parenthood.mp3
Bag Daddy & the Tunnel- LUCKYTV.mp3
Sharpton Bagdhadi full.mp3
Sharpton Bagdhadi short.mp3
BoJo tribute to Jon Bercow.mp3
Farmers sue German government over climate change failures - euronews.mp3
complete Sharpton Bagdaggi comment.mp3
deficit out of control PBS.mp3
DN Fires ONE climate change and prisoners DN.mp3
DN Fires TWO climate change DN.mp3
DN on Fires and Warming Newsome kickeer DN.mp3
el chapos kid story weird.mp3
el mencho I CBS.mp3
el mencho II CBS.mp3
EVANSTON KILS HOLLOWEN.mp3
fact or fake sweden vaccibations f24.mp3
Juul BS ABCS.mp3
Katie Porter grill Zuck.mp3
Sharpton BAGDAGDI ISO.mp3
UAW strike nissing info PBS.mp3
victor davis hansen on appeasement in WWII.mp3
victor davis hansen on Japan in WWII.mp3
victor davis hansen on UK in WWII.mp3
voice coach example guess the phrase.mp3
Warren Super Duper enforcement.mp3
weinstein incident in Manhattan comedy club.mp3
2008 Arrchive svu PREG.mp3
2008 Classic my Muslim Faith.mp3
ABC nw streming news lost t clip.mp3
Bagdadhi story spider hole ABCS.mp3
bolton to trstify ABC stream.mp3
Barack Obama takes on 'woke' call-out culture - 'That's not activism'.mp3
Ex-Democrat staffer gets four years in jail for leaking GOP senators' personal information.mp3
Penn gender neutral EDIT 1.mp3
Pre-Judge VanDyke receives scathing letter from Bar assoc for confirmation hearing.mp3
COAT and MLF homeless jobs at F1 this weekend in Austin.mp3
TxDOT to clean Austin homeless camps Monday.mp3
[redux 2017] Hezbollah says Saudi declares Lebanon war over Hariri detention.mp3
Protests in Lebanon continue after Hariri steps down.mp3
Loading troll messages...
Loading troll messages...