1195: Iranahams

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 54m
December 1st, 2019
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Executive Producers: Anonymous Duke, Sir Savor of the Yadkin Valley Grapes, Earl of Luna Sir Kevin McLaughlin, Tom Whittaker, Sir JD Baron of Silly Con Valley

Associate Executive Producers: Dame Zelda of the Turtle Realm, Sir Not a Dame Bara, Knight Bruce, Chris G

Cover Artist: Darren O'Neill

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Black Friday
Black Friday’s world wide - Everyone too wrapped up in 'new' commerce glee to remember crowds and terrorists don't mix well
MAGAnomics '' U.S. Black Friday Online Consumer Spending $5.4 Billion (+22%)'...
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 15:34
Jumpin' ju-ju bones'.... Keep in mind as you review these numbers '' U.S. consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of total U.S. GDP. The sales numbers from Thanksgiving and Black Friday are exceptionally strong, showing confidence by consumers this holiday season. This is not the 'recession' we were promised by pundits.
Continued strong wage growth amid all sectors of the U.S. workforce, particularly in non-supervisory positions, combined with low inflation and low energy costs, means consumers are spending out of 'household cash flow' which is considerably higher.
(Via CNBC) ['...] Spending online on Black Friday, as of 9 pm ET, hit a new record of $5.4 billion, up 22.3% from a year ago, according to data pulled from Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers.
This comes as foot traffic appeared to be lighter at shopping malls across the country on Friday, a day that traditionally has been reserved for people to line up outside of big-box retailers and department stores to score doorbuster deals.
Total spending online on Black Friday is still forecast by Adobe to hit $7.6 billion, which would make the day the second-biggest online sales day ever, after Cyber Monday in 2018, where $7.9 billion was spent.
However, Adobe is still expecting spending on Cyber Monday this year to hit an even bigger record $9.4 billion, an 18.9% jump from a year ago.
Shoppers meantime already spent $4.2 billion online on Thanksgiving Day, a 14.5% increase from last year and a record high, Adobe had said earlier in the day on Friday. While this marks the first year Thanksgiving spending surpassed $4 billion. (read more)
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Dutch police arrest suspect in stabbing of 3 teens | Euronews
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 16:27
THE HAGUE, Netherlands '-- Dutch police arrested a 35-year-old homeless man Saturday on suspicion of stabbing three teens on a street in The Hague that was crowded with Black Friday shoppers.
The man, whose identity wasn't released, was detained in The Hague early Saturday evening and taken to a police station for questioning, police spokeswoman Marije Kuiper said.
The victims, two 15-year-old girls and a 13-year-old boy, were treated in a hospital and released late Friday. Police said in a statement that they didn't know one another.
The victims have spoken to detectives.
Earlier, police said they were "using all our available means '-- visible and unseen '-- to find the suspect in this stabbing as soon as possible" and appealed for witnesses.
That included studying video footage from the area, where many surveillance cameras are located.
The attack in the Netherlands came hours after a man wearing a fake explosive vest stabbed several people in London, killing two, before he was fatally shot by officers. Police are treating it as a terrorist attack.
Dutch police say the motive for the stabbing in The Hague remains unknown. "We are keeping all scenarios open," their statement said.
The stabbing occurred around 7:45 p.m. in an area teeming with shoppers and close to the city's most popular nightlife centers.
Police cordoned off the area until deep into the night as forensics experts combed the street for clues.
The street was opened again Saturday.
Bomb scare: Paris' Gare Du Nord railway station evacuation
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 16:26
(C) RT.com Paris Gare du Nord Station
The Gare Du Nord train station in Paris was briefly evacuated after
an alleged explosive device was discovered hidden inside an unattended bag, amid a heightened terrorism alert following stabbing attacks across Europe.
Scores of commuters were ordered to leave the station due to the suspicious unattended bag, following several false alarms earlier on Friday, the railway company SNCF said. Police provided few details, but have since given the all-clear.
Unverified photos of the device, resembling a mortar shell, circulated on social media, with some suggesting the object is a non-explosive dummy round used by the military for training.The evacuees were forced to wait outside the train station for some 40 minutes, the SNCF said, adding that other lines in the city had not been affected.
The incident comes on the heels of a series of stabbing attacks across Europe, sparking fears of terrorism. Two people were killed and three wounded in London, while three were wounded in The Hague.
French MPs Want To Ban Black Friday Because Of "Resource Waste" And "Overconsumption" | Zero Hedge
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 08:39
Members of the French Parliament are now demanding the government prohibit Black Friday, reported The Independent.
French MPs passed an amendment Monday that could make the annual shopping holiday, widely popularized in the US, illegal, warning that a shopping frenzy causes "resources waste" and "overconsumption."
The proposal, led by France's former environment minister Delphine Batho, is expected to be debated next month in the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament.
France's ecological transition minister, Elisabeth Borne, told Europe 1 radio on Thursday that Black Friday creates "traffic jams, pollution, and gas emissions."
"We cannot both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and call for a consumer frenzy," Borne said. "Above all, we must consume better."
The amendment prohibiting Black Friday has been condemned by France's e-commerce union.
RetailMeNot estimates that French shoppers are expected to spend $6.5 billion this year between Black Friday and Dec. 1.
Climate change activists from the Extinction Rebellion group's French chapter have been out in force protesting shoppers.
"Friday, Nov. 29, it's Block Friday: a day when Extinction Rebellion joins the youth call for the climate," the climate change group said on Facebook. "Together, we stand to occupy in a festive way or block 'Temples' of consumption in more than 20 cities in France."
Activists across #France have staged #BlackFriday protests against #Amazon, decrying consumerism and its impact on the environment. https://t.co/xtG1feHZJ2
'-- Francisco Taveira (@jftaveira1993) November 29, 2019Extinction Rebellion also said Black Friday is "a symbol of the most harmful capitalism" and warned that "consumerism will end up / destroy everything if we don't act before."
"One word of order: prevent them from making a profit on what does not belong to them: the living," the post added.
Gr¨ve pour le climat Caen : action de blocus au centre Paul-Doumer (Fnac) en ce jour de Black Friday #Caen #Greve #Climat #Calvados #Normandie pic.twitter.com/hkNnCvqhrl
'-- Ouest-France 14 (@OuestFrance14) November 29, 2019Borne told Europe 1 that if Black Friday supported local businesses instead of mega-corporations, she wouldn't be opposed to a shopping holiday.
Frightened Londoners Report 'Loud Bang' After Sonic Boom From RAF Planes - Police - Sputnik International
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 00:24
Europe08:02 01.12.2019(updated 08:40 01.12.2019) Get short URL
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https://sputniknews.com/europe/201912011077447858-london-police-investigating-loud-bang-after-numerous-reports/
The news comes as the British capital is on guard after a fatal stabbing attack on London Bridge that claimed the lives of three people. According to authorities, the assault was a "terrorist incident".
The Metropolitan Police are answering multiple calls regarding a "large explosion sound" in north London, however, there are no reports of an actual blast so far, SkyNews reported, citing the authorities.
'‹Police, addressing the calls of Londoners, said the blast-like sound was caused by a sonic boom from Royal Air Force planes and there is "no cause for concern". There is no information, however, on what could have made the military planes take off near the capital early in the morning.
Metropolitan Police says a "loud bang" heard throughout north London and surrounding areas was the result of a sonic boom from RAF planes and there is "no cause for concern"
'-- Sky News Breaking (@SkyNewsBreak) December 1, 2019Residents remain on alert after the London Bridge stabbing, which has raised doubts about the recent downgrade of the terror threat level in the country from "severe" to "substantial".
Shopping online this Black Friday may be worse for the environment. Here's why - Deseret News
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 09:30
SALT LAKE CITY '-- Are you ready to shop? Fill your physical and virtual shopping cart until it overflows, or your computer crashes?
Black Friday is here. Although the day of discounts used to revolve around waking up early to head to your local Best Buy or Target, it's starting to shift online.
Last year, online sales on Black Friday increased by 23.6% and the United States Postal Service is predicting that it will deliver 800 million packages this holiday season.
E-commerce is taking over driven by the dominance of Amazon and continuing pressure on brick and mortar retail outlets. The story of this shift has focused mostly on lower prices and convenience. An untold part of the story is a rising concern over the environmental impact of straight-to-your-door deliveries: from extra freight vehicles on the road to heaps of cardboard waste.
Yes, there's been a steady push to buy used goods, and be more thoughtful about consumption, but Americans are still in the habit of going a little haywire over the holidays. The National Retail Federation predicted that 114.6 million people will shop on Black Friday and 68.7 on Cyber Monday.
A truck leaves a UPS facility in West Valley City, Utah, on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News With the biggest consumer bonanza upon us, it's a good time to consider the impact of the way you shop. Is the shift to online shopping hurting the environment? And are there ways to fulfill your urge to buy while still minimizing the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and eventually throwing unwanted clothes, books, or knick knacks into a landfill?
Faster shipping
One of the biggest problems with ordering online is the shift to faster delivery.
If you're going to shop online there are ways to do it that limit the carbon impact. In fact, if you choose a slower shipping option and maximize the number of items you order, it can be better than driving to a store 10 to 15 miles from your home.
But, when you choose one- or two-day shipping, many of the potential benefits of shopping online get wiped out, said Miguel Jaller, a professor in civil and environmental engineering at the University of California and co-director of Sustainable Freight Research Center.
Thanks in part to Amazon, Americans have come to expect one- or two-day shipping. In order to fulfill those promises, Amazon is contracting with hundreds of third-party companies, and adding thousands of vans to the road in addition to the heavy duty trucks that the Postal Service and companies like FedEx already deploy. And more cars on the road means more carbon dioxide emissions.
Jaller's advice to the consumer: consider choosing a slower shipping option.
Did you say returns are free?
Online commerce is all about convenience, and one of the things that makes it convenient are free returns. Retailers sometimes opt to just throw returns away, especially items like cosmetics. In 2018, returned merchandise created 5 billion tons of waste that ended up in landfills and caused 15 million tons of CO2 to be emitted, according to returns optimization firm Optoro's Impact Report.
There are a total of 2,611 landfills in the United States, according to the EPA. That number has been increasing since the 1990s, while recycling declined from 2016 to 2017. Returns are adding to that problem.
Plus, making a return means two trips through the delivery cycle, and additional cardboard and packing material used.
A truck moves through a lot at the Amazon fulfillment center in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News Cardboard is piling up
When you order something online, it usually comes in a cardboard box, and those boxes are piling up across the nation.
Cardboard use increased by 8% in the past five years even as recycling of the material went down (the market for cardboard has been volatile), according to USA Today.
About 165 billion packages are shipped each year. The cardboard used for those packages is the equivalent to chopping down about 1 billion trees, Fast Company reported.
Recycling material like cardboard also has a negative environmental impact '-- from transporting the material to repurposing it into something new.
Much of Utah's recycling material gets shipped to states like Washington, Oregon and Idaho or other countries like China, to be processed and reused, the Deseret News reported in May. And, of course, transporting the recyclables creates additional carbon emissions.
Plus, the entire recycling industry has been struggling the past year. China used to be the largest importer of plastic and paper materials, but in 2018 the country placed a ban on importing many of the materials in ''an effort to halt a deluge of soiled and contaminated materials that was overwhelming Chinese processing facilities,'' according to an article published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. By one estimate, 40% of items put in recycling bins in Utah ultimately end up in landfills now.
Companies like Amazon have been working to reduce the size and number of cardboard boxes used by using slimmer plastic mailers and fewer boxes that go over the original manufacturer's box. According the company, over the past decade they've reduced 244,000 tons of packing material used in shipments. But as e-commerce grows '-- one scholar estimated it now makes up about a third of the U.S. domestic package market '-- that may not be enough.
What you can do
So, how do you approach holiday shopping without incurring dread and guilt? Or end up with a sad, gift-less, Christmas morning that makes the kids cry and incurs the wrath of your spouse?
Well, there are a few ways you can shop this holiday season while still reducing your impact.
For instance, you can go to a local thrift or antique store and buy something that's been gently used and limit the number of natural resources used that go into making something new. If you live somewhere without one, you can check out the many online options that have popped up '-- from places like threadUP or the RealReal, which offers luxury items you might not otherwise be able to afford. Buying used doesn't have to mean buying something inferior. Even trendy Instagram influencers are doing it.
Or, you can pay for experiences rather than things for your loved ones. You could buy a National Parks Pass, or, simply plan a special picnic or outing. ''Think of something where you can involve your family and create memories,'' Kara Griffin, a retired mental health counselor who runs several Facebook groups dedicated to sustainability said.
If you do find yourself needing to order on Amazon, try to plan ahead and pick a slower shipping option and place your entire order at once, rather than making several small purchases and trips to the store.
You can opt into making a gift. You can bake cookies to hand out to your friends and family, write something meaningful, or create a scrapbook. Handmade gifts aren't just something kids can do.
''There's so many other choices,'' Griffin said. It's just about being intentional, and thinking through those choices before you buy.
Britain used to ask Muslims to move here. What happened to us? | Diana Darke | Opinion | The Guardian
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 09:45
I n the current climate of Islamophobia, I wonder how many British people are aware of a series of films made in the early 1960s, which were expressly designed to encourage people from Arab countries to come to Britain to work or study. The four films, all in Arabic, were made on behalf of the Foreign Office, and all begin with a mosque skyline and melodic chants of ''Allahu Akbar'', the start of the Muslim call to prayer. They are unapologetically religious, eager to show Arabic-speaking Muslims how welcoming Britain is, how Islamic institutions exist in Britain to cater to their cultural and religious traditions, as a friendly home from home.
Two of the four films are set in London, one in Manchester, the other in Cardiff. The cheerful Egyptian presenter drives from place to place in his Ford Anglia, interviewing local Muslims in their mosques, their offices and their homes. Most of the people we are introduced to are men, but a handful are women, including a Christian convert to Islam, now the proud mother of 10 children, after 16 years of marriage to a Yemeni man in Cardiff. The presenter cuts to the mayor of Cardiff to ask how the Muslim community has integrated. ''Very well,'' she replies, ''they are an integral part of the city. They are accepted as friends amongst the rest of the community.''
In London the presenter does a tour of the city's universities, including Soas and the London School of Economics, where an Iraqi student marvels that his experience is like living in ''an international society''. The British government shows ''an interest in widening cultural boundaries'' that he has observed over the five years he has lived in London.
At the Saudi Arabia embassy a Saudi official describes the British people as ''polite and patient, with such a big respect for order as to make it almost sacred''. A scholar at the Islamic Cultural Centre by Regent's Park explains that King George VI gave this land to the Muslim community in 1944, and that a mosque will be built there once the community has gathered enough donations.
In Manchester, sometimes dubbed the ''Cosmopolitan Cottonopolis'', the presenter enthuses about the city as ''one of the biggest trading centres in the world'', where commerce runs in people's veins. Footage shows people at prayer inside mosques, and young children being taught the Qur'an, before moving on to a library where the presenter is allowed to turn the pages of the ''biggest written version of the Holy Qur'an in the world''. Seated on a park bench, an elderly local Englishman tells him: ''My father's doctor, even 30 years ago, came from Iraq. They've always been with us.'' Next comes a Yemeni halal butcher who learned his skills in Liverpool, and a wealthy Syrian businessman in Manchester's cotton trade. To this day, the overwhelming majority of Manchester's 5,000-strong Syrian community is involved in the textile industry, especially in cotton and yarn.
The films were designed solely for showing abroad and were probably never seen in the UK at the time. The reason I know about them is because a Syrian cotton merchant I interviewed in Manchester sent me the link to them. I watched them as part of the research for my book about a textile merchant from Homs who came to Bradford in the early 1980s as an economic migrant, bought a failing mill and built up a global trade in broadcloth while other Yorkshire mills closed down.
Yet despite such success stories, today more than a third of the UK population believes Islam is a threat to the British way of life, according to a report by the anti-fascist group Hope not Hate. Islamophobia in 2018, according to their findings, replaced immigration as the main factor behind the rise of the far right. In addition, half of Brexit voters in the 2016 referendum and nearly half of Conservative voters in the 2017 general election said that Islam was not compatible with Britishness.
What went so wrong? It would be easy to lay the blame solely at the door of Isis and its terrorist acts. But the ''hostile environment'' presided over by Theresa May and David Cameron since 2010, years before Isis declared its caliphate in Raqqa in 2014, also has much to answer for. The 1960s films were produced in the period following the Suez crisis, as part of an initiative to improve strained relations between Britain and the Arabic-speaking world. If the British government's policy since 2010 had been to create an inclusive, multicultural society rather than a hostile, nationalistic one, many of today's political and societal dilemmas might have been avoided.
' Diana Darke is a Syria specialist and a Middle East cultural expert. Her latest book is The Merchant of Syria
Knife attacker shot dead on London Bridge was known to police, security sources reveal | Daily Mail Online
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 07:29
The Metropolitan Police has named convicted terrorist Usman Khan, pictured, as the man responsible for the London Bridge Terror attack which claimed two lives
A furious political row is emerging today after it was revealed that the London Bridge terrorist was released automatically from prison last year.
Usman Khan, 28, was jailed in 2012 for terrorism offences for his part in an al Qaeda-inspired terror group that plotted to bomb the London Stock Exchange and the US Embassy and kill Boris Johnson.
Khan, born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent, originally received an indeterminate sentence for public protection with a minimum of eight years behind bars after his 2012 arrest, meaning he would remain locked up for as long as necessary, to protect the public.
But this sentence was quashed at the Court of Appeal in April 2013 and he was given a determinate 16-year jail term instead, meaning he would be automatically released after eight years.
Judges including Lord Justice Leveson said at the time when reversing the original sentence that the Parole Board was best placed to decide when he would be safe to be released from jail.
But today the Parole Board has released a statement saying that Khan was released automatically and they did not make the decision.
It has also emerged today that he was a student and 'personal friend' of hate preacher Anjem Choudary. Khan spent years preaching on stalls that were linked to al-Muhajiroun, the banned terror group once led by Choudary.
Now, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that it was a 'mistake' to release Khan from prison and has vowed to crack down on early releases for inmates. The PM visited the scene of the attack today with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, and Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Khan was released on licence in December 2018 and was still wearing a monitoring tag at the time of yesterday's attack, which he carried out while wearing a fake suicide vest.
Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu confirmed that a man and a woman were killed in the attack which saw Khan stab up to five people before being shot dead by armed police as hundreds of commuters fled in terror.
Anti-terror police have raided a house in the Staffordshire area linked to the killer, believed to be a bail hostel for offenders.
Meanwhile, the Queen has sent 'thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies to all those who have lost loved ones' in the London Bridge attack and praised the 'brave individuals who put their own lives at risk to selflessly help and protect others'.
It comes as:
Members of the public bravely tackled Usman Khan, disarming him after he had stabbed multiple people One hero used a fire extinguisher while another grabbed a 5ft Narwhal tusk off the wall of Fishmonger's Hall A man who tackled the attacker was revealed to be a convicted murderer out on day release, it has emerged Another man was revealed to be a tour guide who stamped on Khan's hand, forcing him to release a knife Khan was a member of nine-strong Al Qaeda-inspired gang plotting to blow up the London Stock Exchange Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now called for an end to violent criminals being released early from prison Khan, circled third from the right, had been arrested along with his Al Qaeda cell, pictured, after they were planning a pre-Christmas terror campaign in 2010. Officers had tracked the group, who included from left, Mohibur Raham, Gurukanth Desai, Abdul Miah, Usman Khan, Mohammed Chowdhury and Mohammed Shahjahan in Roath Park in November 2010
Khan (circled) was confronted by several heroic members of the public, including one who used a Narwhal tusk to try and restrain him
The Queen today praised the 'brave individuals who put their own lives at risk to selflessly help and protect others' during yesterday's attack. Pictured: Luckasz pointing the tusk at the attacker
Luckasz's colleague added: 'Being stabbed didn't stop him giving him a beating. Luckasz is a hero.' Luckasz is thought to have suffered from cuts but is not critically injured
Thomas Gray (left) and Stevie Hurst (right), who both work at Small Car Big City, were two of the heroes who came together to disarm the attacker
Another of those who intervened in the attack on Friday was James Ford (right) - a convicted murderer who was out on day release. One brave man, later confirmed to be a British Transport Police officer, ran across the road to tackle the knifeman
Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives at the scene of the stabbing on London Bridge, in which two people were killed yesterday
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, and Home Secretary Priti Patel (together right) joined Boris Johnson (left) at the scene today
Boris Johnson talks to Cressida Dick and police officers at London Bridge today, the day after two people were killed in a horrific terrorist attack
The members of Usman Khan's Al Qaeda-inspired gang who plotted to blow up the London Stock Exchange and kill Boris Johnson. From left to right: Mohammed Moksudur Chowdhury, Mohammed Shahjahan, Shah Mohammed Rahman. Middle row: Mohibur Rahman, Gurukanth Desai, Abdul Malik Miah. Bottom row: Nazam Hussain, Usman Khan, Omar Sharif Latif
It has also emerged today that London Bridge attacker Usman Khan was a student and 'personal friend' of hate preacher Anjem Choudary
Khan had been attending a seminar in Fishmongers' Hall run by Cambridge University's Criminology Department to help offenders reintegrate into society following their release from jail.
He had threatened to blow up the building at the start of the five-minute rampage which ended in his death on London Bridge. The police operation was reactive and not believed to be intelligence-led.
Hero kitchen worker called Luckasz grabbed a narwhal tusk off the wall at Fishmongers' Hall and used it to tackle London Bridge terrorist The hero who grabbed a narwhal tusk to fight off the London Bridge attacker has been identified as a kitchen worker at Fishmongers' Hall.
The tusk can be seen in dramatic footage from London Bridge, in which a group of at least six men are seen disarming knifeman Usman Khan, 28, who wore a fake suicide vest.
The kitchen worker, identified as Luckasz, tried to pin Khan down using what was reported to be a narwhal tusk as the attacker stabbed his hand.
Luckasz's collegue, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Times: 'Luckasz grabbed a nearby pole and ran at him, getting stabbed in the hand in the process but continued to pin him down.
'Being stabbed didn't stop him giving him a beating. Luckasz is a hero.'
Luckasz is thought to have suffered from cuts but is not critically injured.
As well as the two deaths, three others - a man and two women - are being treated in hospital. Khan is believed to have had a gun in his bag.
Dramatic video footage showed him being tackled to the ground by at least six members of the public. One man chased the attacker with a fire extinguisher while another used a Narwhal whale tusk to restrain him.
Khan had previously been arrested on December 20, 2010, four days before he and his nine-strong Al-Qaeda-inspired gang had planned to plant a bomb in the toilets of the London Stock Exchange.
After arresting Khan's gang, police found a handwritten list of targets which included the U.S. Embassy and the homes of London Mayor Boris Johnson, the Dean of St Paul's Cathedral and two rabbis.
The gang also carried out surveillance of other possible targets including Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Palace of Westminster and the London Eye.
They planned to send five bombs in the post to London synagogues and the Church of Scientology headquarters, as well as spreading panic in Stoke-on-Trent by planting bombs in pub and club toilets.
Their plot was foiled after the security services bugged their homes and cars and heard discussions of a 'Mumbai' atrocity on the streets of Britain, mirroring the guerrilla-style 2008 attack in India.
Khan, then aged 20, was secretly recorded talking about plans to recruit UK radicals to attend a training camp in Kashmir.
He said there were only three possible outcomes for him and his fellow jihadists: victory, martyrdom or prison.
Khan's then home in Persia Walk, Stoke-on-Trent, was bugged as he discussed plans for the firearms training camp, which was to be disguised as a legitimate madrassa, an Islamic religious school, the court heard.
Discussing terrorist fundraising, he said in Britain he could earn in a day what people in Kashmir are paid in a month.
He went on: 'On jobseeker's allowance we can earn that, never mind working for that.'
Khan said he could only see three results: 'There's victory, what we hope for, there's shahada (death as martyrs), or there's prison.'
The group was also linked to Anjem Choudary by a mobile phone seized from an address of one of the plotters, which contained material relating to protests by the banned Al-Muhajiroun group the hate preacher founded.
Sabah Ahmedi (left) and Mansoor Clarke (right) from The Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden, South London lay flowers and pay respects at London Bridge this morning
Flowers left at London Bridge this morning following yesterday's horrific attack which left two people dead and several injured
Crime scene tape remains on the scene, with vehicles laying abandoned on the bridge following yesterday's horrific attack
Police officers are still on London Bridge, as Scotland Yard revealed the name of the terrorist and raids were carried out at his home in Staffordshire
A block of flats in Stafford, Staffordshire, is being searched by specialist police teams this morning, in connection with the terror attack on London Bridge yesterday
Staffordshire police officers stand guard at a property in Stafford where it is believed London Terrorist, Usman Khan, lived before his attack
Khan's previous home in Persia Walk, Stoke-on-Trent, was bugged by police which led to his arrest for terrorism back in 2012
During a late-night meeting on December 4 2010, Khan contrasted the action he was planning in support of jihad with the passive approach of Choudary.
'Brothers like Anjem, they ain't going nowhere,' he said.
Choudary was jailed after pledging allegiance to ISIS following a decades-long cat and mouse game with the authorities.
Boris Johnson vows to crack down on early release for violent offenders after London Bridge terror attack Boris Johnson says it was a 'mistake' to release the London Bridge terrorist from prison as yesterday's knife rampage turns political.
The Prime Minister, who has vowed to be tougher on violent crime in the Conservative manifesto, said he has 'long argued' it is a mistake to let prisoners out of jail early.
He said yesterday before chairing a meeting of the Government's emergency committee Cobra: 'It is a mistake to allow serious and violent criminals to come out of prison early and it is very important that we get out of that habit and that we enforce the appropriate sentences for dangerous criminals, especially for terrorists.'
Johnson had vowed to end automatic halfway release from prison for serious crimes as an election promise.
He said in the manifesto: 'We need a fair justice system '' one that stands for the law-abiding majority, not the criminal minority, and that gives a second chance to those who have served their time and wish to make a fresh start.'
The Choudary-led extremist group al-Muhajiroun was outlawed by the Government following the 2005 7/7 attacks on London but it has continued to operate under a number of different images.
He helped radicalise some of Britain's most notorious terrorists, including London Bridge terror attacker ringleader Khuram Butt, and Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, who murdered Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, south-east London.
Chaudary's al-Muhajiroun group often targeted mixed-up or vulnerable young men.
When first sentenced, yesterday's attacker Khan was handed an Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) with a minimum term of eight years by Mr Justice Wilkie in February 2012.
This was overturned by the Court of Appeal in April 2013, when the indeterminate sentence was quashed. Instead, he was handed 16 years in jail with an extended licence period of five years.
At the time he was jailed, Khan had spent 408 days on remand and this was taken into account when considering his release date.
He was eligible for release after serving half of his 16-year jail term, less the time he had already spent on remand.
Khan was obliged to adhere to the notification provisions of the 2008 Counter Terrorism Act for a total of 30 years.
He was released from prison after agreeing to wear an electronic tag and be monitored by authorities.
The Parole Board was tasked with judging whether Khan was safe to release but has now said it had no involvement in freeing him from prison.
In a statement, it said: 'We have every sympathy with those affected by the dreadful events that happened in London Bridge yesterday.
'Given the seriousness of this attack, it is understandable that there is speculation about the attacker's release from prison.
The area where the attack took place is still cordoned off, with a blue forensic tent and several forensic officers on the scene
Forensic officers work at the scene of the stabbing on London Bridge, in which two people were killed, carrying a bag of evidence
A postman who walked past the police raid said 'I saw lots of police turn up and go in the back entrance at about 5.30pm'
Staffordshire police are passing all enquiries to the Met Police after raiding the terrorist's home in Staffordshire this morning
Khan, pictured surrounded by police yesterday, had been convicted in 2012 of plotting a Mumbai-style terror attack as well as planning to kill the then Mayor of London Boris Johnson
Khan was subject to a curfew and was wearing an electronic tag following his release from prison on licence in December 2018
'The Parole Board can confirm it had no involvement with the release of the individual identified as the attacker, who appears to have been released automatically on licence (as required by law), without ever being referred to the Board.'
Passing sentence, the judge, Mr Justice Wilkie, said this was a 'serious, long-term venture in terrorism' that could also have resulted in atrocities in Britain.
He said: 'It was envisaged by them all that ultimately they and the other recruits may return to the UK as trained and experienced terrorists available to perform terrorist attacks in this country, on one possibility contemplated in the context of the return of British troops from Afghanistan.'
He added that Khan and two others appeared to be the more 'serious jihadists' of the group.
Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC, opening the Crown's case at the start of a three-day sentencing hearing on February 6, 2012, said: 'These defendants had in overview decided that ultimately they would be responsible for very serious acts of terrorism.
'What was observed during the indictment period was planning for the immediate future, not involving suicide attacks, so that there would be a long-term future which would include further acts of terrorism.'
Speaking before chairing a meeting of the Government's emergency committee Cobra on Friday night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he had 'long argued' that it is a 'mistake to allow serious and violent criminals to come out of prison early and it is very important that we get out of that habit and that we enforce the appropriate sentences for dangerous criminals, especially for terrorists, that I think the public will want to see'.
Chris Phillips, a former head of the UK National Counter Terrorism Security Office, said today: 'The criminal justice system needs to look at itself.
'We're letting people out of prison, we're convicting people for very, very serious offences and then they are releasing them back into society when they are still radicalised.
'So how on Earth can we ever ask our police services and our security services to keep us safe?
'I've said it a few times today, we're playing Russian roulette with people's lives, letting convicted, known, radicalised Jihadi criminals walk about our streets.'
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Security minister Brandon Lewis refused to say whether the attack showed a 'failure' by authorities, and repeatedly refused to comment on the specifics of the incident, but said that more assessment was needed of the sentences given to violent criminals.
He said: 'I think it is right that we do have to look again at the sentences, as I say, around these violent crimes.
Let us know Do you know any of the heroes who confronted the London Bridge attacker? Let us know: danny.hussain@mailonline.co.uk or 02036150773
'The Prime Minister has argued that, has made that point previously and made it very clearly last night.
'We will want to move very swiftly because our first priority is the safety of people around the country.'
Residents living near a flat in Stafford believed to have been occupied by the London Bridge attacker spoke of their shock as a police search continued at the property - and told how he was seen walking alone in the area.
Retired police officer Justin Lightfoot, who lives in a nearby street, said he instantly recognised Khan when a friend showed him a mugshot of the 28-year-old in a media report on Saturday morning.
Mr Lightfoot, who runs a gardening business, said he had never seen Khan, who was wearing Western clothing, carrying anything or walking with anyone else.
He said: 'The only thing I've seen is him just walking past my house.
'I've seen his picture this morning online and when I saw that obviously I recognised him. A friend showed me the picture and as soon as I saw it, I recognised him straight away.
A plain clothes police officer can be seen holding a knife on London Bridge during the incident, which left two people dead and several injured
'It's just frightening when somebody lives so close to you - you don't know what's going on so near to your home.'
Mr Lightfoot added: 'I've seen him for probably the last three or four weeks. Whether he was there longer or not I don't know.
'When I came home from work last night I saw the police here between half four and five o'clock. There was a couple of police cars, a police car across the road.
'I had this feeling it might be something to do with that (the London Bridge attack) and then when I heard it on the radio last night and it said Staffordshire and then Stafford... it's just frightening.'
London Bridge terror attack was revenge attack over the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, claim experts after rampage coincided with attacks in Holland and France The terrorist who yesterday stabbed two people to death on London Bridge may have been acting in revenge over the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Usman Khan, 28, who was shot to death by police yesterday for his terrorist attack, was previously convicted of a plot to blow up the London Stock Exchange in 2012.
He was known to security chiefs and checks were underway to find if he had any associates. It is believed that he was one of 20,000 UK jihadi suspects known to police and MI5.
Colonel Richard Kemp, ex-COBRA security committee chief, told the Sun: 'If he turns out to be an Islamic terrorist, he was likely inspired by Islamic State.
'It is even possible his action was in revenge for al-Baghdadi's death. It's something ISIS has called for since the US Delta Force raid in Syria.'
Al-Baghdadi died after blowing himself up with a suicide vest during a US raid of the Syrian camp he was being held at on October 26 this year.
Yesterday's attack coincided with a similar rampage in Holland which saw three children stabbed on a shopping street in The Hague early yesterday evening, Dutch police said.
Other residents said they had seen police speaking to other residents of the three-story block of flats on Wolverhampton Road after officers sealed off the building.
Another resident, whose house overlooks the flats, said: 'I've certainly seen police there before, but what for I'm not sure.
'I haven't seen the man who lived there for at least a week or so.'
Meanwhile, a maintenance worker who witnessed the London Bridge knife attack claims he was told the assailant had been in prison for terrorism offences.
Jamie Bakhit, a 24-year-old from Purley, Croydon, said he spoke to one of the men who helped wrestle the knifeman to the ground after they were taken to the Salvation Army headquarters to be interviewed by police.
He told said: 'The guy who was on top of him said he [the attacker] had been in prison for terrorism, apparently.
'Some of the guys who were on top of him were ex-prisoners and they had all been in the Fishmongers' Hall. The guy told me he was in prison with the attacker.'
The maintenance worker said he had just turned onto London Bridge and was heading southbound when he saw the four men tackle the attacker.
Mr Bakhit said: 'As I got on the bridge armed police pulled in front of me. There were already four pedestrians on top of the guy on the floor. 'One of them [pedestrians] was shouting 'shoot him in the f***ing head'.
'I'm still in my van at this point, trying to turn around. Then the police say 'get out of the van', so I had to leave it there.
'I then saw them [police] shoot him three or four times.
'I was in shock. I wanted to get away. Everyone was shouting run because he had something across his chest. It was crazy.'
Around six members of the public worked to disarm the attacker after he went on a rampage outside Bank station and Fishmongers' Hall on the north side of the bridge, killing two.
An unnamed hero, who was inside the conference hall, was said to have grabbed a five-inch narwhal tusk from the wall' and went to confront the terrorist.
Mr Johnson, called a meeting of the Government's emergency committee Cobra on Friday evening and cancelled his General Election campaigning events on Saturday. The Lib Dems have also decided to temporarily suspend campaigning.
Several people were stabbed by the knifeman before he was stopped in his tracks on London Bridge, which was the scene of the bloody massacre in summer 2017 where eight people were killed and 48 seriously injured.
Scotland Yard said the incident started at nearby Fishmongers' Hall, and that police had 'bravely and professionally confronted the suspect' within five minutes of being called.
Footage on social media showed one man being urged to move away by armed officers before the suspect was shot at point-blank range, as another bystander - understood to be a plain clothes officer - could be seen carrying a large knife from the scene.
Police evacuated thousands of people from the area fearing secondary attacks, but they now believe Khan had been working on his own
Another video appeared to show a person on a stretcher, surrounded by emergency services staff and vehicles, being given CPR by responders following the attack.
The members of the public who intervened have been widely praised, with mayor of London Sadiq Khan hailing their 'breathtaking heroism'.
Witnesses said the suspect appeared to be wearing a suicide vest but Neil Basu, the head of UK counter-terrorism policing, said the vest was a fake.
He said police were called at around 2pm on Friday to a stabbing 'at a premises near London Bridge'.
After being shot, the suspect in Friday's attack raised his arms towards his head before lying still. A second knife could be seen on the ground near his body.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu released an update on the ongoing investigation shortly after midnight.
He said: 'The investigation into the attack near London Bridge continues at a pace.
'Whilst we are still in the early stages of the investigation, at this time we are not actively seeking anyone else in relation to the attack.
'However, we continue to make fast time enquiries to ensure that no other people were involved in this attack and that there is no outstanding threat to the public.
'As I stated earlier, police were called at 13:58hrs to a stabbing at premises near to London Bridge, EC1. Emergency services attended, including officers from the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police.
'A male suspect was shot by specialist armed officers and I can confirm that he died at the scene. 'We are now in a position to confirm the identity of the suspect as 28-year-old Usman Khan (10.03.1991), who had been residing in the Staffordshire area. As a result, officers are, tonight, carrying out searches at an address in Staffordshire.
'This individual was known to authorities, having been convicted in 2012 for terrorism offences. He was released from prison in December 2018 on licence and clearly, a key line of enquiry now is to establish how he came to carry out this attack.
'Tragically, two people '' a man and a woman '' were killed during the attack. Three others '' a man and two women '' were also injured and remain in hospital.
'The circumstances, as we currently understand them, are that the attacker attended an event earlier on Friday afternoon at Fishmonger's Hall called 'Learning Together'. We believe that the attack began inside before he left the building and proceeded onto London Bridge, where he was detained and subsequently confronted and shot by armed officers.
'Extensive cordons are likely to remain in place for some time and I would ask the public to continue to avoid the area.
'Public safety is our top priority and we are enhancing police patrols in the City and across London.'
The Independent Office for Police Conduct watchdog said it has launched an investigation into the police shooting of the London Bridge attacker which is standard for such incidents.
Terrifying new footage shows moment hero bystanders armed with a fire extinguisher and a NARWHAL TUSK chase knife-wielding terrorist across London Bridge before he is sprayed with jets of water and grappled to the ground
This is the moment brave bystanders armed with a fire extinguisher and Narwhal tusk confronted the London Bridge attacker during his terrifying rampage yesterday.
Two people were killed and up to twelve were injured after Usman Khan, 28, attacked innocent people on the north side of London Bridge just before 2pm.
Video footage showed the attacker running across London Bridge wielding two kitchen knives.
Several members of the public chase Khan, before tackling him and disarming him.
One man used a fire extinguisher while another man ripped the tusk of a Narwhal whale off a wall and jabbed it in the direction of the attacker.
Members of the public were seen cornering the terrorist on London Bridge this afternoon
Thomas Gray (left) and Stevie Hurst (right), who both work at Small Car Big City, were two of the heroes who came together to disarm the attacker
Another of those who intervened in the attack on Friday was James Ford (right) - a convicted murderer who was out on day release. One brave man, later confirmed to be a British Transport Police officer, ran across the road to tackle the knifeman
The terrorist was then bundled to the ground as other people waded in, while another man hurried away with his knife.
One witness at the scene said the man carrying the tusk had taken it from Fishmongers' Hall and ran out with it after learning of the incident.
Other heroes included a tour guide who helped disarm Khan.
Thomas Gray, 24, and a colleague had just finished lunch in Borough Market when Khan went on his rampage.
The pair, who had been driving tourists around the capital in classic Mini Coopers, had been travelling over London Bridge to pick up some more customers at a hotel when they saw the knifeman being pinned to the floor.
Mr Gray and his colleague then bravely got out of their vehicles to help, as three other men attempted to keep the attacker on the ground.
Another man who dived in to help was convicted murderer James Ford.
Let us know Do you know any of the heroes who confronted the London Bridge attacker? Let us know: danny.hussain@mailonline.co.uk or 02036150773
Now 42, Ford was jailed for life '' with a minimum of 15 years '' in April 2004 for the murder of a 21-year-old with learning difficulties.
Amanda Champion '' who had the mental age of a 15-year-old '' was found strangled and with her throat cut on waste ground near her home in Ashford, Kent, the previous July.
Yesterday, he tackled Khan and was one of the people who fought to save the lives of his victims.
Tour guide Stevie Hurst also helped restrain the attacker, kicking him in the head.
He said: 'We saw a guy being accosted to the floor
'Everyone was just on top of him trying to bundle him to the ground. We saw that the knife was still in his hand... I just put a foot in to try and kick him in the head.
'We were trying to do as much as we could to try and dislodge the knife from his hand so he wouldn't harm anyone else.
'The guys that were there were absolutely amazing. Heroes beyond belief.'
The attacker was thought to have had one of the two knives strapped to his arm and had also been wearing a fake explosives device, which was strapped around his waist.
Around six members of the public worked to disarm the attacker after he went on a rampage outside Bank station and Fishmongers' Hall on the north side of the bridge, killing two. Tha man pictured took a knife from the attacker
One man pointed a Narwhal tusk at the terrorist while another sprayed the fire extinguisher at him
He was a convicted terrorist who had served time in prison and was wearing an electronic tag at the time of the attack.
The paper added he was attending a Cambridge University conference on prisoner rehabilitation being held at Fishmongers' Hall and 'threatened to blow up' the building.
Speaking to MailOnline, one witness said more shots had been fired after the terrorist was shot.
Deborah Simmons had been attending a hospital appointment with her mother and had been on the first bus on the bridge, heading towards Liverpool Street.
Deborah, who is in her 50s said she saw the man being shot and was then ushered off the bus towards The Shard.
'We all thought we were going to die, there were people with children running'.
She added that once her and her mother had reached the south of the bridge she heard around 10-15 shots. She also said that one man had ran up to her and her mother, claiming 'someone had a shooter'.
The Met police were unable to clarify whether or not extra shots had been fired.
The brave people who chased the terrorist pulled him down to the floor and waited for police to arrive
Police and emergency vehicles gather at Leadenhall near London Bridge as the force continued to deal with the fall out of this afternoon's attack
Metropolitan Police Chief Cressida Dick confirmed this evening that two stabbing victims had died and three injured people were being treated in a hospital.
After the brave bystanders tackled the man to the ground police intervened, pulling the heroes off the terrorist and getting them to safety.
The officers were then seen lining up in close range of the man, before he was shot.
The violence erupted two-and-a-half years after a van and knife attack in the same area killed eight people, and less than two weeks before Britain holds a national election.
The incident started close to London's main financial hub where thousands of bankers and finance workers travel every day.
It started outside Grade II listed building Fishmongers' Hall. Many buildings in the financial district were on high security this afternoon as roads were closed in the area, many workers were also stood outside their buildings as officers cordoned off the roads.
Extra police officers will be on patrol across London in the wake of the attack, while British Transport Police said there also would be more officers on the transport network including firearms officers and other specialist teams.
Armed police were seen patrolling the streets early this evening with emergency vehicles being parked up on both sides of the road
Forensic officers are seen near the site of the incident early this evening. One office seems to be holding a light up while the other takes a picture
In a show of solidarity to those who lost their lives and were caught up in the attack the main political parties temporarily suspended campaigning in London as a mark of respect.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that 'to the best of our knowledge, the incident has been contained' but that details were still emerging.
Johnson's office said the prime minister would chair a meeting of the government's emergency committee, COBRA, on Friday evening.
The map above shows the the journey the attacker took from the north side of London Bridge before crossing over
Two young women were seen running near Borough Market today after learning of the attack
One man used a Narwhal tusk to fight off the attacker which he had taken from Fishmongers' Hall
Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Neil Basu said the suspect appeared to be wearing a bomb vest but it turned out to be 'a hoax explosive device.'
Basu said officers were keeping 'an open mind as to any motive.'
'A number of other people received injuries during this incident. As soon as we can provide further updates on their condition, we will,' he told the press conference.
'Our heartfelt sympathies go out to everybody who has been involved in this and is anxiously waiting for information on their loved ones.
'As soon as we can get that information, we will get it to you.'
A large police cordon remains in place around the north side of London Bridge following the knife attack.
Pedestrian and vehicle access along Upper Thames Street, which runs underneath part of the bridge, is blocked by police at its junction with Swan Lane through to Lower Thames Street at its junction with Fish Hill Street.
The pedestrian cordon extends north-east to Fenchurch Street, at its junction with Philpot Lane, and north to Gracechurch Street, at its junction with Bell Inn Yard.
On the northwest side on the bridge, the pedestrian cordon extends to Cannon Street at its junction with Bush Lane. Monument Station, which is within the cordon, remains closed.
Convicted murderer who helped pin down tackle London Bridge terrorist was at academic event on day release from prison for killing 21-year-old woman with learning difficulties by slitting her throat
A convicted murderer on day release who helped pin down the London Bridge terrorist slit the throat of a 21-year-old woman with learning difficulties.
It is believed James Ford rushed to the scene and tried to save the life of a woman victim of the terrorist.
Now 42, Ford was jailed for life '' with a minimum of 15 years '' in April 2004 for the murder of a 21-year-old with learning difficulties.
Amanda Champion '' who had the mental age of a 15-year-old '' was found strangled and with her throat cut on waste ground near her home in Ashford, Kent, the previous July.
Left: One of the members of the public involved in yesterday's London Bridge attack was a convicted murderer out on day release, James Ford. Right: Amanda Champion '' who had the mental age of a 15-year-old '' was found strangled and with her throat cut in Kent
Police had no leads in the case until a Samaritans worker broke the organisation's strict confidentiality policy and revealed that Ford, a factory worker and amateur wrestler, had called and confessed: 'I've killed a girl.'
In the month after murdering Amanda, Ford phoned the charity line 45 times, telling staff he was feeling suicidal. After he admitted his crime, the Samaritans worker '' who was later forced out of his job '' decided to go to police.
Amanda's family had tried to block Ford's parole, and only found out he had been released from his sentence in a call from their police liaison officer today.
Whitehall sources confirmed that Ford '' who had been serving the final days of his sentence at HMP Standford Hill, an open prison in Kent '' was on London Bridge yesterday.
Video filmed at the scene shows at least four people struggling with a man at London Bridge
Amanda's aunt Angela Cox, 65, was left shocked and angry after the phone call from Kent Police.
Despite Ford's part in disarming the knifeman, she said: 'He is not a hero. He is a murderer out on day release, which us as a family didn't know anything about. He murdered a disabled girl. He is not a hero, absolutely not.
'The police liaison officer called me saying he was on the TV. I am so angry. They let him out without even telling us. Any of my family could have been in London and just bumped into him.
'It was a hell of a shock. It is a horrible thing. She said, 'Have you heard about the incident in London today?' and I hadn't. She said, 'Put in on now and you will see James Ford on the telly.'
'She said, 'Don't worry, it is not him that's done anything, he's there and he is being classed as a hero.' For him to be called a hero '' he is not, he is a cold-blooded murderer. For no reason whatsoever, he just went out and murdered a disabled person. I don't care what he's done today, he's a murderer. He is scum. Amanda was my niece and she was vulnerable and he took her life. He knew what he was doing. People don't change.'
Ford has never revealed his motive for killing Amanda.
A judge told him: 'What you did was an act of wickedness.
'You clearly have an interest in the macabre and also an obsession with death including murder by throat cutting.
'Amanda happened to be walking through that area of woodland at the wrong time. You grabbed hold of her, strangled her and cut her throat, causing her to suffer a terrible and lonely death.'
A Kent Police spokesman said at the time: 'James Ford is a very dangerous man.'
Last night the Ministry of Justice declined to comment.
'My friend died in my arms': Inside the academic day out that turned to tragedy when terrorist stabbed two people to death in rampage at rehabilitation conference called Learning Together
London Bridge attacker Usman Khan attended a workshop on storytelling and creative writing moments before he began his attack.
Fishmongers' Hall hosted a conference on prisoner rehabilitation run by academics at the University of Cambridge's criminology institute.
Former prisoner Usman Khan was invited to the 'Learning Together' fifth anniversary event on the north side of London Bridge which included other former inmates and prison staff.
Academics and criminal justice campaigners tweeted about the day at the grade II listed building and a photograph was posted online of the gathering.
The photograph posted online during the Cambridge University prisoner rehabilitation group at Fishmongers' Hall yesterday
The 28-year-old attacker is understood to have been invited to share his experience of prison and wore black clothing and sand-coloured boots, according to The Times.
Armed police take aim at terrorist Usman Khan on London Bridge
A witness named Coralie said around 100 guests and 50 staff were in attendance. Khan returned to the hall via the grand staircase after the morning session where he later threatened to blow up the hall, a member of staff said.
The alumni celebration was torn apart when attackers reportedly burst into the hall through the kitchen, according to The Telegraph.
Khan went on his killing spree brandishing two large kitchen knives, leaving a woman seriously injured by the entrance.
A witness described seeing 'two, three people stabbed' inside the hall. One had a 'minor injury' while the other two were 'proper bleeding'.
Several people were stabbed as they tried to fight the attacker but a man and woman were killed in the attack.
Coralie said the men broke through the doors 'very close to 2 o'clock'. She said she only saw one attacker but believes there were three.
A colleague of Coralie, named only as Luckasz, was stabbed 'trying to fight with the three aggressors'.
Coralie recalled how one woman ran towards her after she was stabbed in the arm as the hall descended into panic.
She said she 'heard about seven gunshots' during the evacuation which came from outside the building.
A friend of kitchen worker Luckasz, Jordan, who works as a chef in the hall, said: 'A mate in the kitchen tells me the man gunned down gained access and attacked a few workers with a knife.'
He described how Luckasz took on one of the attackers and is in a stable condition after being stabbed in the hand.
Jordan tweeted: 'A good lifelong friend Luckasz was stabbed. Luckasz took on the attacker, being stabbed didn't stop him giving him a beating from what I'm told.'
Attendees at the conference were led out of the hall by police, some with blood on their clothes.
As they were escorted out by officers they were told to 'look up' and 'specifically told not to look down', a member of staff told The Times.
'Some did and saw the woman's body [by the door]'.
The survivors were taken by police to the Salvation Army international headquarters to be interviewed.
Metropolitan Police tweeted this morning: 'Detectives investigating the attack near London Bridge are appealing for anyone with any information to come forward'
One told how his friend has been killed in the attack and said: 'My friend died in my arms. I just want him back.'
Metropolitan Police tweeted this morning: 'Detectives investigating the attack near London Bridge are appealing for anyone with any information to come forward.
'In particular, officers would like to speak to anyone who was at Fishmongers' Hall yesterday.'
Prison reform activist and poet Bryonn Bain attended the conference and led a conference on criminal justice
He tweeted that he had been evacuated to a survivors centre and added: 'I'm ok. Be grateful for every day.'
The five minutes of terror that started at Fishmongers' Hall at 13:58pm on the north side of London Bridge
Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, said he was 'devastated' that an event organised by its Institute of Criminology was targeted in the attack.
He said: 'I am devastated to learn that yesterday's hateful attack on London Bridge may have been targeted at staff, students and alumni attending an event organised by the University of Cambridge's Institute of Criminology.
'We are in touch with the Metropolitan Police, and awaiting further details of the victims.
'We mourn the dead and we hope for a speedy recovery for the injured. Our thoughts are with all their families and friends.'
It is not yet known if the victims were also attending the event.
Learning Together was set up in 2014 by University of Cambridge academics Ruth Armstrong and Amy Ludlow from the Faculty of Law and Institute of Criminology.
A University of Cambridge spokesman said: 'We are gravely concerned at reports that University of Cambridge staff, students and alumni were caught up in the incident at London Bridge.
'We are urgently seeking clarification and further details. Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by these terrible events.'
Coracle Inside, a secure digital channel for education providers to access the prison estate, tweeted: 'Thinking of Learning Together at Fishmongers Hall today and hoping everyone is safe.
Ministry of Truthiness
Newsweek Reporter Fired After Peddling Fake News That Trump Golfed On Thanksgiving
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 15:59
Newsweek has fired a reporter who penned a snarky, misleading article suggesting that President Trump spent Thanksgiving 'tweeting and golfing,' when he actually flew to Afghanistan for a surprise visit with US troops.
The fired journo, Jessica Kwong, wrote in an article entitled "How is Trump Spending Thanksgiving? Tweeting, Golfing and More," that the president "has been spending his Thanksgiving holidays at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida."
The golfing claim comes later in the article, as Kwong notes that Trump played golf on Thanksgiving Eve "from mid-morning to mid-afternoon." The headline, of course, suggests Trump golfed on Thanksgiving.
After Trump popped up in Afghanistan, Kwong and Newsweek took heat over Twitter for refusing to edit the article or delete the viral tweet promoting the lie.
This caught the attention of the Trump family, who promptly called out the beleaguered news outlet:
I thought Newsweek was out of business? https://t.co/3ro4eSJloo
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2019Eventually, Kwong caved by deleting her tweet, and Newsweek edited the article - at first with no mention of the edit, and then an editors note only after virtually the entire piece had been rewritten.
"This story has been substantially updated and edited at 6:17 pm EST to reflect the president's surprise trip to Afghanistan. Additional reporting by James Crowley," reads the update.
"Newsweek investigated the failures that led to the publication of the inaccurate report that President Trump spent Thanksgiving tweeting and golfing rather than visiting troops in Afghanistan," a Newsweek spokesperson told The New York Post in an email. "The story has been corrected and the journalist responsible has been terminated. We will continue to review our processes and, if required, take further action."
After Trump tweeted "I thought Newsweek was out of business?," The Wrap reminds us that "The former owners of the publication and a faith-based online media company were accused of attempting to defraud lenders in an indictment filed in October 2018," adding "High-ranking editorial staffers have been leaving the publication and three senior editorial staffers were fired in retaliation for a story about a legal investigation into the company in February 2018."
Not quite out of business, but certainly not in a position to afford further reputational risk from obvious fake news.
Was editors fault LOL
2020
Democrats' new strategy to defeat Trump: Liberal media project adopts local journalism to sway voters
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 16:00
(C) Unknown
A handful of Obama-era advisers and former journalists have launched
a multi-million dollar 'media' platform mimicking real local news, to push a liberal agenda and spread anti-Trump content ahead of the 2020 vote.For the Democrats, making sense of their loss to Donald Trump in 2016 has not been a straightforward issue. While hysterically laying blame on external actors, such as Russia, has been a convenient narrative, it has likely begun to dawn on these same Democrats that, at the end of the day, constantly blaming someone else is never going to win you an election.
Not to worry. Tara McGowan, the Democrats' "most dangerous digital strategist," has come up with a plan to counter Trump. However, in McGowan's eyes, addressing the problem posed by Trump requires the same shady tactics allegedly employed by Trump, which Democrats have spent years decrying.
Creating local newspapers to further political agenda
McGowan is the founder of a non-profit called Acronym, which launched in 2017 to assist Democratic candidates to better access digital marketing tools for their campaign. Acronym has launched various projects since then, the newest of which is called Courier Newsroom. With $25 million-worth of funding, Courier Newsroom has a plan to swing key voter states against Donald Trump in the upcoming election.
How? By building a national network of local media outlets which look and sound just like our traditional local newspaper outlets, yet with one key difference: McGowan has designed them to propagate information and news narratives that promote the Democrats.
No, this is not the hysterical ramblings of some rightwing nutjob living in his parents' basement. If you go to Courier's website, its top story at the time of writing was entitled: "How can we save our democracy? Start with local news."
Once the local news has begun reaching the hearts and minds of local people, McGowan will then use Facebook's algorithms to claim back America's dissipating democracy. The strategy is to pay to have these articles target Facebook feeds of swing-state users identified as being likely to respond, and then build on that audience to find people with similar political views.
For those of you who had no idea, political campaigns create databases about voters, storing crucial information such as where a voter is registered, how often they vote, their party affiliation and their relevant contact details. These files can then be uploaded to Facebook and political campaigns can begin targeting them. McGowan is proposing to heavily utilize this model for the sake of the Democrats' political future.
The problem has been aptly explained by Bloomberg who stated that "nothing alerts readers that Courier publications aren't actually traditional hometown newspapers but political instruments designed to get them to vote for Democrats."
Sound familiar?
Who is Acronym?
One of the advisers to Acronym is a former employee of Facebook, who says that political adverts should be fact-checked and openly stated that "I think Trump should not be our next president."
Acronym's Board of Directors also includes David Plouffe, manager of Barack Obama's 2008 campaign and a former key adviser in 2012. Meanwhile, Plouffe also has a role leading policy and advocacy efforts of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a non-profit launched by the Facebook founder and his wife, which focuses on education, justice and science initiatives.
McGowan herself is a former journalist who worked for CBS News. She then became the press secretary for US Senator Jack Reed, before landing a role as the digital producer for Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Supposedly, she has a tattoo of Obama's campaign slogan "Yes We Can" on her left arm, where he signed it.
Acronym has been accused of operating as a dark money group, even by the corporate media. Given it has raised significant sums of money, it has classified itself as a 501(c)(4) political non-profit organization to avoid disclosing the donations it receives, and the fact that it oversees a whole selection of for-profit companies beneath it, one would have to think this allegation is quite well-justified.
Seriously, Acronym even has an article on its page that suggests people should "dabble" in the "dark arts" and edit Wikipedia entries to paint their political opponents in a negative light by adding sentences like "A candidate known for his proximity to X scandal." The irony of course, being that, at some stage, I had to gloss over McGowan's Wikipedia page to confirm some details about her career. Perhaps I had stopped by and dabbled in the dark arts in the process?
Balance no longer exists
"A lot of people I respect will see this media company as an affront to journalistic integrity," McGowan has said, "because it won't, in their eyes, be balanced. What I say to them is, Balance does not exist anymore, unfortunately."
Did balance ever exist? The part of this that truly pains me inside is the fact that, if Trump had lost to Hillary Clinton, no one would be batting an eyelid about this. No one would care that your basic privacy and intellectual data can be manipulated by voter campaigns. No one would care that disinformation has existed in the media for decades (think, for example, the wars in Iraq, Syria and Libya). All of this would continue as normal.
It only makes sense if we decide that defeating Donald Trump is so integral to our survival as a species that we should throw all relevant principles out the window.
As a non-American, I can safely say it makes close to zero difference to the rest of us which of these power-serving parties wins the election. Both sides of this non-existent political coin will bomb Iraq, will threaten to bomb Iran, and will choose to encircle and contain China and Russia with its ever-expanding military presence, pushing us that much closer to a World War III scenario. Both parties will continue gutting the world's economy and continue covering for the rich and powerful as they become even richer and attain greater power.
The only real difference for some of us is that one is more entertaining to watch than the other. About the Author:Darius Shahtahmasebi is a New Zealand-based legal and political analyst who focuses on US foreign policy in the Middle East, Asia and Pacific region. He is fully qualified as a lawyer in two international jurisdictions.
Who's Behind Dems' New $75 Million Ad Campaign? '' Sludge
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 16:03
Veterans of the Obama campaigns are launching a $75 million digital ad effort to counter President Donald Trump's dominance of online advertising and viral misinformation.
Acronym, a ''dark money'' nonprofit, and its affiliated super PAC, Pacronym, plan to boost Democratic candidates and the party's image in five 2020 battleground states: Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. On Monday, the groups announced a campaign called ''Four Is Enough,'' which will buy ads on Facebook, Google, Hulu, Instagram, Pandora, and YouTube.
Tara McGowan, a former press secretary for Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and digital producer for Obama's 2012 campaign, is founder and CEO of Acronym. David Plouffe, Obama's 2008 campaign manager and 2012 adviser, is on the group's board and will help raise the tens of millions of dollars they plan to spend between Acronym and Pacronym. They have already raised roughly $30 million, according to The New York Times.
After working on Obama's 2012 campaign, McGowan was digital director of NextGen Climate Action, a super PAC founded and funded by current presidential contender and hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer.
Previous Acronym staff also came from the Obama'--and Clinton'--orbits. Greta Carnes, who was a field organizer for Obama in 2012 and a Clinton digital organizer in 2016, is Acronym's senior organizing director as well as national organizing director for the Pete Buttigieg campaign, according to her LinkedIn profile. It's possible that Carnes is no longer with Acronym and hasn't updated her profile.
Acronym's former treasurer, political strategist Hannah Linkenhoker, worked on Clinton's 2008 campaign. Clinton tweeted her approval of the ''Four Is Enough'' campaign on Tuesday.
In August, Acronym announced a $10 million online voter registration drive in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Texas.
Clues About FundingFounded in 2017, Acronym is a 501(c)(4) ''social welfare'' nonprofit, meaning that it's not required to disclose its donors, so we don't know who is providing the $75 million that Acronym plans to spend. And Acronym did not respond Sludge's multiple attempts to ask about its contributors.
We do, however, know about the funding behind Pacronym, which as a super PAC is required to report its funders to the Federal Election Commission.
In the 2018 election cycle, Pacronym received the bulk of its funding ($2 million) from the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a political nonprofit led by Obama's first attorney general, Eric Holder. Acronym and Pacronym were largely focused on state legislative races during that cycle.
Want to see more reporting like this? Become a Sludge member for $5 a month to support our work. ðŸ
Pacronym also got $300,000 from Acronym and $50,000 from Dollar Shave Club CEO Michael Dubin, who was an Acronym board member as of mid-2018. Dubin is also on the board of Papa John's, a company with a rightwing CEO who opposes LGBTQ rights and has co-founded free-market academic centers with the Charles Koch Foundation.
Since 2017, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee has received six- or seven-figure amounts from 23 donors, most of whom are unions or corporate executives, according to Sludge's review of IRS documents. Billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros ($2.6 million) and media executive Fred Eychaner ($1.5 million) sit atop the funders, while unions American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME; $572,000), Air Line Pilots Association PAC ($300,000), and Service Employees International Union COPE ($200,000) have also contributed large sums.
This time around, Acronym and Pacronym need to raise far more than they did last cycle, and the groups will likely solicit funding from Democratic megadonors who have financed McGowan and Plouffe's previous efforts.
Prior to founding Acronym, McGowan spent four years as the digital director of liberal hybrid super PAC Priorities USA Action, which received big donations from wealthy Democratic Party donors such as Haim Saban, James Simons, Soros, Donald Sussman, and the Emerson Collective, the LLC run by Laurene Powell Jobs, in the 2016 election cycle. This year, the group has continued to receive millions from Sussman and has gotten donations from Florida billionaire Marsha Laufer and unions including the American Federation of Teachers and AFSCME.
Acronym and Pacronym haven't taken sides in the Democratic presidential primary, but some of their potential donors are more comfortable with centrist or center-left candidates, as opposed to progressives Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Laufer, a former Clinton fundraiser, told the Washington Times she ''would like to see the party more left of center rather than to the extreme left'' when discussing Warren's refusal to attend big-dollar fundraising events. (In 2018, Laufer and her husband, Henry, hosted Warren at a fundraiser for her Senate campaign.) Laufer had praise for Joe Biden, saying he represents ''stability of government, truth and values in a traditional sense that people are longing for.''
Others possible funders may be okay with Warren, but certainly not the democratic socialist Sanders.
Billionaire Clinton ally Saban has said he likes all the Democratic presidential candidates except Sanders, whom he ''profoundly dislikes.''
Emily Tisch Sussman, a political strategist, former Center for American Progress employee, and the daughter of liberal megadonor and hedge fund executive Donald Sussman, claimed that Sanders supporters were sexist for not backing Warren over the Vermont senator.
Connected For-Profit Scores Big ContractsIn February 2017, one month before launching Acronym, MacGowan founded political consulting firm Lockwood Strategy Lab, a for-profit C-corporation registered in Delaware. According to Acronym's 2017 tax form, Lockwood Strategy is a wholly-owned affiliate of Acronym.
Lockwood Strategy is listed as a related C corporation.
The nonprofit paid the firm $35,000 for digital consulting that year.
In the 2018 election cycle, Lockwood Strategy was by far the biggest vendor to Pacronym, scoring $1 million to book ads in Pennsylvania state races. Lockwood does not work exclusively for Acronym and Pacronym; while Pacronym is Lockwood's biggest client, it has had other customers including voter mobilization group Win Justice ($245,000 from 2017-18), Planned Parenthood Votes ($72,000), and Sen. Jeff Merkely's (D-Ore.) campaign ($10,500).
Plouffe's role at Acronym may also provide some outside benefits. While he books Facebook ads and encourages Democrats to increase their online ad spending, he'll continue on as leader of policy and advocacy at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Facebook CEO's charitable LLC.
Meanwhile, Acronym and its CEO are pushing back against others' assertions that Facebook should follow in Twitter's footsteps and ban political advertising. McGowan wrote in a Nov. 3 Medium post that ending such ads would make it more difficult for Democrats, who rely more on small-dollar donors than Republicans, to fundraise.
Acronym is in charge of a second for-profit firm, a technology company that it acquired this year. Shadow, Inc., which is run by Obama, Clinton, Apple, and Google veterans, focuses on ''building accessible, user-centered products to enable progressive organizers to run smarter campaigns.''
As with Acronym, Lockwood Strategy and Pacronym did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The Ads BeginPacronym has launched roughly 120 Facebook and Instagram ads since Monday, according to the companies' ad library. Most posts request donations or advertise merchandise available on Pacronym's website, an effort to lure small donors into its fundraising mix.
Acronym began its 2019 advertising on YouTube in October with ads critical of Trump in the context of the Ukraine scandal, per Google's ad archive. Including two ads from 2018, the nonprofit has spent $100,000 on YouTube ads.
A recent Pacronym ad on Facebook. FacebookAcronym has been advertising on Twitter since late April, having spent around $1,500. The group has not run new ads since Twitter announced its ban on political ads on Oct. 30, and it's unclear if it will be allowed to advertise on Twitter in the future.
RelatedSuper PAC Backing 'Middle-Class Joe' Is Led by Lobbyists, Corporate Consultants, and Democratic FundraisersFacebook Is Making Millions by Promoting Hate Groups' ContentThe DNC is Taking Thousands From Fossil Fuel ExecutivesEvery day, the reporters at Sludge are relentlessly following the money to reveal the hidden networks and conflicts of interest that drive political corruption. We are 100% ad-free and reader supported, so we're counting on our readers to help us continue calling out powerful politicians and lobbyists. If you appreciate the work we do, please consider becoming a member for $5 a month to support our investigative journalism. We can't do this work without your support.
Who's Behind Dems' New $75 Million Ad Campaign? '' Sludge
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 16:03
Veterans of the Obama campaigns are launching a $75 million digital ad effort to counter President Donald Trump's dominance of online advertising and viral misinformation.
Acronym, a ''dark money'' nonprofit, and its affiliated super PAC, Pacronym, plan to boost Democratic candidates and the party's image in five 2020 battleground states: Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. On Monday, the groups announced a campaign called ''Four Is Enough,'' which will buy ads on Facebook, Google, Hulu, Instagram, Pandora, and YouTube.
Tara McGowan, a former press secretary for Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and digital producer for Obama's 2012 campaign, is founder and CEO of Acronym. David Plouffe, Obama's 2008 campaign manager and 2012 adviser, is on the group's board and will help raise the tens of millions of dollars they plan to spend between Acronym and Pacronym. They have already raised roughly $30 million, according to The New York Times.
After working on Obama's 2012 campaign, McGowan was digital director of NextGen Climate Action, a super PAC founded and funded by current presidential contender and hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer.
Previous Acronym staff also came from the Obama'--and Clinton'--orbits. Greta Carnes, who was a field organizer for Obama in 2012 and a Clinton digital organizer in 2016, is Acronym's senior organizing director as well as national organizing director for the Pete Buttigieg campaign, according to her LinkedIn profile. It's possible that Carnes is no longer with Acronym and hasn't updated her profile.
Acronym's former treasurer, political strategist Hannah Linkenhoker, worked on Clinton's 2008 campaign. Clinton tweeted her approval of the ''Four Is Enough'' campaign on Tuesday.
In August, Acronym announced a $10 million online voter registration drive in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Texas.
Clues About FundingFounded in 2017, Acronym is a 501(c)(4) ''social welfare'' nonprofit, meaning that it's not required to disclose its donors, so we don't know who is providing the $75 million that Acronym plans to spend. And Acronym did not respond Sludge's multiple attempts to ask about its contributors.
We do, however, know about the funding behind Pacronym, which as a super PAC is required to report its funders to the Federal Election Commission.
In the 2018 election cycle, Pacronym received the bulk of its funding ($2 million) from the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a political nonprofit led by Obama's first attorney general, Eric Holder. Acronym and Pacronym were largely focused on state legislative races during that cycle.
Want to see more reporting like this? Become a Sludge member for $5 a month to support our work. ðŸ
Pacronym also got $300,000 from Acronym and $50,000 from Dollar Shave Club CEO Michael Dubin, who was an Acronym board member as of mid-2018. Dubin is also on the board of Papa John's, a company with a rightwing CEO who opposes LGBTQ rights and has co-founded free-market academic centers with the Charles Koch Foundation.
Since 2017, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee has received six- or seven-figure amounts from 23 donors, most of whom are unions or corporate executives, according to Sludge's review of IRS documents. Billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros ($2.6 million) and media executive Fred Eychaner ($1.5 million) sit atop the funders, while unions American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME; $572,000), Air Line Pilots Association PAC ($300,000), and Service Employees International Union COPE ($200,000) have also contributed large sums.
This time around, Acronym and Pacronym need to raise far more than they did last cycle, and the groups will likely solicit funding from Democratic megadonors who have financed McGowan and Plouffe's previous efforts.
Prior to founding Acronym, McGowan spent four years as the digital director of liberal hybrid super PAC Priorities USA Action, which received big donations from wealthy Democratic Party donors such as Haim Saban, James Simons, Soros, Donald Sussman, and the Emerson Collective, the LLC run by Laurene Powell Jobs, in the 2016 election cycle. This year, the group has continued to receive millions from Sussman and has gotten donations from Florida billionaire Marsha Laufer and unions including the American Federation of Teachers and AFSCME.
Acronym and Pacronym haven't taken sides in the Democratic presidential primary, but some of their potential donors are more comfortable with centrist or center-left candidates, as opposed to progressives Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Laufer, a former Clinton fundraiser, told the Washington Times she ''would like to see the party more left of center rather than to the extreme left'' when discussing Warren's refusal to attend big-dollar fundraising events. (In 2018, Laufer and her husband, Henry, hosted Warren at a fundraiser for her Senate campaign.) Laufer had praise for Joe Biden, saying he represents ''stability of government, truth and values in a traditional sense that people are longing for.''
Others possible funders may be okay with Warren, but certainly not the democratic socialist Sanders.
Billionaire Clinton ally Saban has said he likes all the Democratic presidential candidates except Sanders, whom he ''profoundly dislikes.''
Emily Tisch Sussman, a political strategist, former Center for American Progress employee, and the daughter of liberal megadonor and hedge fund executive Donald Sussman, claimed that Sanders supporters were sexist for not backing Warren over the Vermont senator.
Connected For-Profit Scores Big ContractsIn February 2017, one month before launching Acronym, MacGowan founded political consulting firm Lockwood Strategy Lab, a for-profit C-corporation registered in Delaware. According to Acronym's 2017 tax form, Lockwood Strategy is a wholly-owned affiliate of Acronym.
Lockwood Strategy is listed as a related C corporation.
The nonprofit paid the firm $35,000 for digital consulting that year.
In the 2018 election cycle, Lockwood Strategy was by far the biggest vendor to Pacronym, scoring $1 million to book ads in Pennsylvania state races. Lockwood does not work exclusively for Acronym and Pacronym; while Pacronym is Lockwood's biggest client, it has had other customers including voter mobilization group Win Justice ($245,000 from 2017-18), Planned Parenthood Votes ($72,000), and Sen. Jeff Merkely's (D-Ore.) campaign ($10,500).
Plouffe's role at Acronym may also provide some outside benefits. While he books Facebook ads and encourages Democrats to increase their online ad spending, he'll continue on as leader of policy and advocacy at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Facebook CEO's charitable LLC.
Meanwhile, Acronym and its CEO are pushing back against others' assertions that Facebook should follow in Twitter's footsteps and ban political advertising. McGowan wrote in a Nov. 3 Medium post that ending such ads would make it more difficult for Democrats, who rely more on small-dollar donors than Republicans, to fundraise.
Acronym is in charge of a second for-profit firm, a technology company that it acquired this year. Shadow, Inc., which is run by Obama, Clinton, Apple, and Google veterans, focuses on ''building accessible, user-centered products to enable progressive organizers to run smarter campaigns.''
As with Acronym, Lockwood Strategy and Pacronym did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The Ads BeginPacronym has launched roughly 120 Facebook and Instagram ads since Monday, according to the companies' ad library. Most posts request donations or advertise merchandise available on Pacronym's website, an effort to lure small donors into its fundraising mix.
Acronym began its 2019 advertising on YouTube in October with ads critical of Trump in the context of the Ukraine scandal, per Google's ad archive. Including two ads from 2018, the nonprofit has spent $100,000 on YouTube ads.
A recent Pacronym ad on Facebook. FacebookAcronym has been advertising on Twitter since late April, having spent around $1,500. The group has not run new ads since Twitter announced its ban on political ads on Oct. 30, and it's unclear if it will be allowed to advertise on Twitter in the future.
RelatedSuper PAC Backing 'Middle-Class Joe' Is Led by Lobbyists, Corporate Consultants, and Democratic FundraisersFacebook Is Making Millions by Promoting Hate Groups' ContentThe DNC is Taking Thousands From Fossil Fuel ExecutivesEvery day, the reporters at Sludge are relentlessly following the money to reveal the hidden networks and conflicts of interest that drive political corruption. We are 100% ad-free and reader supported, so we're counting on our readers to help us continue calling out powerful politicians and lobbyists. If you appreciate the work we do, please consider becoming a member for $5 a month to support our investigative journalism. We can't do this work without your support.
ABOUT | ACRONYM
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 16:02
ACRONYM is a values-driven organization focused on advancing progressive causes through innovative communications, advertising and organizing programs. Since its creation in March 2017, ACRONYM has run dozens of targeted media programs to educate, inspire, register, and mobilize voters, and has worked with dozens of partners to accelerate their advocacy programs and investments.
In the 2018 cycle, ACRONYM developed new digital tools and strategies to encourage voters to register to vote and show up at the polls on Election Day. Through these programs, ACRONYM and its affiliated political action committee, PACRONYM, helped elect 65 progressive candidates across the country and in January 2019 launched Shadow, a technology company focused on building accessible, user-centered products to enable progressive organizers to run smarter campaigns. ACRONYM is also an investor in Courier Newsroom, a progressive digital-first local media company; and Lockwood Strategy, a digital strategy firm.
Democratic Strategists Set Up $75 Million Digital Campaign to Counter Trump - The New York Times
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 15:54
David Plouffe, the former Obama campaign manager, will advise the effort, which aims to compete with the president on his terms.
Tara McGowan, left, the founder and chief executive of Acronym, during a meeting with Victor Nguyen-Long, the creative director, in their Washington office. Credit... T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times A progressive organization is plunging itself into the presidential campaign, unveiling plans to spend $75 million on digital advertising to counter President Trump's early spending advantage in key 2020 battleground states.
The effort, by a nonprofit group called Acronym and an affiliated political action committee, is an outgrowth of growing concern by some Democratic officials that Mr. Trump could build an insurmountable edge in those key states through massive early advertising efforts. Mr. Trump has spent more than $26 million so far nationally just on Facebook and Google, more than the four top-polling Democrats '-- Joseph R. Biden Jr., Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg '-- have spent in total on those platforms.
''The gun on this general election does not start when we have a nominee; it started months ago,'' said David Plouffe, who managed Barack Obama's 2008 campaign and was a key adviser to him in 2012, and who recently joined Acronym's board. ''If the things that need to happen don't happen in these battleground states between now and May or June, our nominee will never have time to catch up.''
In an interview, Mr. Plouffe and Tara McGowan, the founder and chief executive of Acronym, said their digital campaign would kick off immediately with a heavy focus on shaping how the public views Mr. Trump and the Democratic Party during the primary season, well before a nominee emerges.
''Our nominee is going to be broke, tired, have to pull together the party and turn around on a dime and run a completely different race for a completely different audience,'' Mr. Plouffe said.
''There is an enormous amount of danger between now and then,'' he added. ''If the hole is too steep to dig out of, they're not going to win.''
The campaign, which the organization is calling ''Four is Enough,'' will focus initially on key swing states: Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. One state that is historically a battleground was notably missing from the initial list: Florida.
The effort will feature advertisements across multiple digital platforms, including Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Hulu and Pandora. There will be original content, such as videos and animations, as well as boosting local news coverage that portrays Mr. Trump, his administration and his agenda in a harsh light.
Ms. McGowan said that for months her group had been raising the alarm about Mr. Trump's early online spending advantage.
''It started to feel as though we were really screaming into the abyss,'' she said. So they decided to take matters into their own hands.
Ms. McGowan said the group had already raised approximately 40 percent of the planned $75 million budget. Mr. Plouffe has joined as both a political adviser and to help raise funds. The spending will be made across two groups, Acronym, which is a nonprofit that does not disclose its donors, and Pacronym, a political action committee, which does. (The group's winking moniker is a poke at the frequent practice of settling on a meaningful series of words to form an acronym for a nonprofit; they have skipped that alphabet-soup step entirely.)
''We're absolutely, as a party, not doing enough and I don't know that $75 million is enough,'' Ms. McGowan said. ''We can't afford to not do this work right now.'' Of the fact that some of her group's donors would remain undisclosed, she said, ''We have to play on the field that exists,'' noting that Mr. Trump is aided by such funds, as well.
Mr. Trump is not just spending heavily on advertising '-- he has dozens of Facebook ads currently running that cite the ''baseless attacks'' from Democrats on impeachment '-- he is also benefiting from a conservative media echo chamber that amplifies his message and a meme factory of MAGA (''Make America Great Again'') supporters cranking out content in hopes of a presidential retweet.
Much of Mr. Trump's advertising budget has gone toward recruiting new donors. His campaign manager, Brad Parscale, announced Friday that the Trump campaign had raised $19 million online in October.
Mr. Plouffe said he knew the advantages of incumbency intimately from the 2012 Obama re-election campaign and wanted to blunt the current White House's advantage.
''Trump will be ready for them, as we were ready for Romney, as Bush was ready for Kerry, as Reagan was ready for Mondale,'' Mr. Plouffe said, ticking off recent presidents who won re-election.
He lamented having to watch Mr. Trump buy ads that tried to frame the Democratic Party as out of the mainstream. ''He's trying to define our entire field as unacceptable to swing voters: 'They're socialists, there are going to be 90 percent taxes, you can't fly on an airplane, you can't eat steak,''' Mr. Plouffe said. ''We have to understand there is live fire out there.'' He called the Trump campaign's commercial that aired during the World Series ''compelling.''
The Democratic National Committee has spent little on advertising against Mr. Trump in 2019. Priorities USA, a leading Democratic super PAC, has been ramping up its digital activities, spending nearly $3 million on Facebook in the past three months, particularly in battlegrounds.
In a 30-day window that ended in late October, Priorities USA, for instance, spent nearly $1 million in Pennsylvania '-- far more than Mr. Trump's campaign spent there, according to Facebook advertising data.
Ms. McGowan, who worked for Priorities during the 2016 cycle, said her current efforts did not represent any criticism or tension with that group. ''There is a lot everyone can do,'' she said.
''Trump has upped the ante by spending more than any candidate this early in a general election campaign,'' she said, ''and right now our side is simply not on the field.''
ABOUT | ACRONYM
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 16:02
ACRONYM is a values-driven organization focused on advancing progressive causes through innovative communications, advertising and organizing programs. Since its creation in March 2017, ACRONYM has run dozens of targeted media programs to educate, inspire, register, and mobilize voters, and has worked with dozens of partners to accelerate their advocacy programs and investments.
In the 2018 cycle, ACRONYM developed new digital tools and strategies to encourage voters to register to vote and show up at the polls on Election Day. Through these programs, ACRONYM and its affiliated political action committee, PACRONYM, helped elect 65 progressive candidates across the country and in January 2019 launched Shadow, a technology company focused on building accessible, user-centered products to enable progressive organizers to run smarter campaigns. ACRONYM is also an investor in Courier Newsroom, a progressive digital-first local media company; and Lockwood Strategy, a digital strategy firm.
Democratic Strategists Set Up $75 Million Digital Campaign to Counter Trump - The New York Times
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 15:54
David Plouffe, the former Obama campaign manager, will advise the effort, which aims to compete with the president on his terms.
Tara McGowan, left, the founder and chief executive of Acronym, during a meeting with Victor Nguyen-Long, the creative director, in their Washington office. Credit... T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times A progressive organization is plunging itself into the presidential campaign, unveiling plans to spend $75 million on digital advertising to counter President Trump's early spending advantage in key 2020 battleground states.
The effort, by a nonprofit group called Acronym and an affiliated political action committee, is an outgrowth of growing concern by some Democratic officials that Mr. Trump could build an insurmountable edge in those key states through massive early advertising efforts. Mr. Trump has spent more than $26 million so far nationally just on Facebook and Google, more than the four top-polling Democrats '-- Joseph R. Biden Jr., Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg '-- have spent in total on those platforms.
''The gun on this general election does not start when we have a nominee; it started months ago,'' said David Plouffe, who managed Barack Obama's 2008 campaign and was a key adviser to him in 2012, and who recently joined Acronym's board. ''If the things that need to happen don't happen in these battleground states between now and May or June, our nominee will never have time to catch up.''
In an interview, Mr. Plouffe and Tara McGowan, the founder and chief executive of Acronym, said their digital campaign would kick off immediately with a heavy focus on shaping how the public views Mr. Trump and the Democratic Party during the primary season, well before a nominee emerges.
''Our nominee is going to be broke, tired, have to pull together the party and turn around on a dime and run a completely different race for a completely different audience,'' Mr. Plouffe said.
''There is an enormous amount of danger between now and then,'' he added. ''If the hole is too steep to dig out of, they're not going to win.''
The campaign, which the organization is calling ''Four is Enough,'' will focus initially on key swing states: Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. One state that is historically a battleground was notably missing from the initial list: Florida.
The effort will feature advertisements across multiple digital platforms, including Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Hulu and Pandora. There will be original content, such as videos and animations, as well as boosting local news coverage that portrays Mr. Trump, his administration and his agenda in a harsh light.
Ms. McGowan said that for months her group had been raising the alarm about Mr. Trump's early online spending advantage.
''It started to feel as though we were really screaming into the abyss,'' she said. So they decided to take matters into their own hands.
Ms. McGowan said the group had already raised approximately 40 percent of the planned $75 million budget. Mr. Plouffe has joined as both a political adviser and to help raise funds. The spending will be made across two groups, Acronym, which is a nonprofit that does not disclose its donors, and Pacronym, a political action committee, which does. (The group's winking moniker is a poke at the frequent practice of settling on a meaningful series of words to form an acronym for a nonprofit; they have skipped that alphabet-soup step entirely.)
''We're absolutely, as a party, not doing enough and I don't know that $75 million is enough,'' Ms. McGowan said. ''We can't afford to not do this work right now.'' Of the fact that some of her group's donors would remain undisclosed, she said, ''We have to play on the field that exists,'' noting that Mr. Trump is aided by such funds, as well.
Mr. Trump is not just spending heavily on advertising '-- he has dozens of Facebook ads currently running that cite the ''baseless attacks'' from Democrats on impeachment '-- he is also benefiting from a conservative media echo chamber that amplifies his message and a meme factory of MAGA (''Make America Great Again'') supporters cranking out content in hopes of a presidential retweet.
Much of Mr. Trump's advertising budget has gone toward recruiting new donors. His campaign manager, Brad Parscale, announced Friday that the Trump campaign had raised $19 million online in October.
Mr. Plouffe said he knew the advantages of incumbency intimately from the 2012 Obama re-election campaign and wanted to blunt the current White House's advantage.
''Trump will be ready for them, as we were ready for Romney, as Bush was ready for Kerry, as Reagan was ready for Mondale,'' Mr. Plouffe said, ticking off recent presidents who won re-election.
He lamented having to watch Mr. Trump buy ads that tried to frame the Democratic Party as out of the mainstream. ''He's trying to define our entire field as unacceptable to swing voters: 'They're socialists, there are going to be 90 percent taxes, you can't fly on an airplane, you can't eat steak,''' Mr. Plouffe said. ''We have to understand there is live fire out there.'' He called the Trump campaign's commercial that aired during the World Series ''compelling.''
The Democratic National Committee has spent little on advertising against Mr. Trump in 2019. Priorities USA, a leading Democratic super PAC, has been ramping up its digital activities, spending nearly $3 million on Facebook in the past three months, particularly in battlegrounds.
In a 30-day window that ended in late October, Priorities USA, for instance, spent nearly $1 million in Pennsylvania '-- far more than Mr. Trump's campaign spent there, according to Facebook advertising data.
Ms. McGowan, who worked for Priorities during the 2016 cycle, said her current efforts did not represent any criticism or tension with that group. ''There is a lot everyone can do,'' she said.
''Trump has upped the ante by spending more than any candidate this early in a general election campaign,'' she said, ''and right now our side is simply not on the field.''
Corn Pop Slayer Has a New Campaign Slogan'...
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 00:17
Former Vice President and historic slayer of the 'Corn Pop' gang, Joe Biden, is hoping to kick start his Iowa campaign with a fresh new slogan. This is not a spoof .
(Campaign Tweet Link)
Looking at this branding decision is enough to make us wonder if there isn't a sneaky operative within the Biden campaign who is telling them to do stuff like this. Quite possibly the next campaign decision will be to start handing out butterscotch candy.
This also happened today'.... Also not a spoof'... For some apparent reason during the rollout to introduce the new and improved Joe Biden, the candidate just started randomly nibbling on his wife's fingers while she was on stage giving an introduction speech at the very first event for their new ''Malarkey'' Iowa tour.
WATCH: Creepy Joe Biden awkwardly bites his wife's finger onstage.
I slowed this video down and zoomed it in. This is some creepy boomer sh*t.
Watch. It's horrifying. Even Jill Biden is noticeably creeped out.
FYI This is at his campaign's "relaunch and fix" Joe's image.
ðŸ... pic.twitter.com/b6k1wwhVAp
'-- Benny (@bennyjohnson) November 30, 2019
I'm not exactly sure what's going on, but ever since the Corn Pop episode, things around Biden have only gotten more strange.
Biden: ..by the way, I got hairy legs that turn blonde in the sun and the kids used to reach in the pool and rub my leg down and watch the hair come back up again..& I tell ya what the men, the guys I worked with down here, they were all guys at the timepic.twitter.com/xshyEEOrC0
'-- cursed-dem public option (@kallllisti) December 1, 2019
Nate Silver on Twitter: "Keep in mind that the subtext'--hell, maybe just the text'--of the Bloomberg campaign is to facilitate a brokered convention. It's "not competing" in the early states. Instead, it's hoping for a chaotic outcome there; then it hope
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 10:00
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How Kamala Harris's Campaign Unraveled - The New York Times
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 08:52
Ms. Harris is the only 2020 Democrat who has fallen hard out of the top tier of candidates. She has proved to be an uneven campaigner who changes her message and tactics to little effect and has a staff torn into factions.
Senator Kamala Harris's abundant political skills convinced many Democrats that she had the potential to take on President Trump. Credit... Daniel Acker for The New York Times WASHINGTON '-- In early November, a few days after Senator Kamala Harris's presidential campaign announced widespread layoffs and an intensified focus on Iowa, her senior aides gathered for a staff meeting at their Baltimore headquarters and pelted the campaign manager, Juan Rodriguez, with questions.
What exactly was Ms. Harris's new strategy? How much money and manpower could they put into Iowa? What would their presence be like in other early voting states?
Mr. Rodriguez offered general, tentative answers that didn't satisfy the room, according to two campaign officials directly familiar with the conversation. Some Harris aides sitting at the table could barely suppress their fury about what they saw as the undoing of a once-promising campaign. Their feelings were reflected days later by Kelly Mehlenbacher, the state operations director, in a blistering resignation letter obtained by The Times.
''This is my third presidential campaign and I have never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly,'' Ms. Mehlenbacher wrote, assailing Mr. Rodriguez and Ms. Harris's sister, Maya, the campaign chairwoman, for laying off aides with no notice. ''With less than 90 days until Iowa we still do not have a real plan to win.''
The 2020 Democratic field has been defined by its turbulence, with some contenders rising, others dropping out and two more jumping in just this month. Yet there is only one candidate who rocketed to the top tier and then plummeted in early state polls to the low single digits: Ms. Harris.
1 page, 0.31 MBFrom those polling results to Ms. Harris's campaign operation, fund-raising and debate performances, it has been a remarkable comedown for a senator from the country's largest state, a politician with star power who was compared to President Obama even before Californians elected her to the Senate in 2016.
Yet, even to some Harris allies, her decline is more predictable than surprising. In one instance after another, Ms. Harris and her closest advisers made flawed decisions about which states to focus on, issues to emphasize and opponents to target, all the while refusing to make difficult personnel choices to impose order on an unwieldy campaign, according to more than 50 current and former campaign staff members and allies, most of whom spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose private conversations and assessments involving the candidate.
Many of her own advisers are now pointing a finger directly at Ms. Harris. In interviews several of them criticized her for going on the offensive against rivals, only to retreat, and for not firmly choosing a side in the party's ideological feud between liberals and moderates. She also created an organization with a campaign chairwoman, Maya Harris, who goes unchallenged in part because she is Ms. Harris's sister, and a manager, Mr. Rodriguez, who could not be replaced without likely triggering the resignations of the candidate's consulting team. Even at this late date, aides said it's unclear who's in charge of the campaign.
With just over two months until the Iowa caucuses, her staff is now riven between competing factions eager to belittle one another, and the candidate's relationship with Mr. Rodriguez has turned frosty, according to multiple Democrats close to Ms. Harris. Several aides, including Jalisa Washington-Price, the state director in crucial South Carolina, have already had conversations about post-campaign jobs.
Representative Marcia Fudge, who has endorsed Ms. Harris and is a former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said in an interview that the senator was an exceptional candidate who had been poorly served by some top staff and who must fire Mr. Rodriguez. But she also acknowledged that Ms. Harris bore a measure of responsibility for her problems '-- ''it's her campaign'' '-- and that the structure she created has not served her well.
''I have told her there needs to be a change,'' said Ms. Fudge, one of several women of color who have been delivering hard-to-hear advice to Ms. Harris in recent weeks. ''The weakness is at the top. And it's clearly Juan. He needs to take responsibility '-- that's where the buck stops.''
Ms. Harris declined an interview request for this article.
Mr. Rodriguez, in a statement, said: ''Our team, from the candidate to organizers across the country, are working day in and out to make sure Kamala is the nominee to take on Donald Trump and end the national nightmare that is his presidency. Just like every campaign, we have made tough decisions to have the resources we need to place in Iowa and springboard into the rest of the primary calendar.''
Ms. Harris is reluctant to make a leadership change within her campaign so late in the race, some aides say, but they describe her as cleareyed about the mistakes she has made and the difficulty of her task ahead. They say she has bought into focusing on Iowa, where her campaign has structured more one-on-one settings for her to woo supporters or at least enjoy herself in otherwise difficult days.
But her troubles go beyond staffing and strategy: Her financial predicament is dire. The campaign has not taken a poll or been able to afford TV advertising since September, and it has all but quit buying Facebook ads in the last two months. Her advisers, after months of resistance, have only now signaled their desire for a group of former aides to begin a super PAC to finance an independent political effort on her behalf.
To some Democrats who know Ms. Harris, her struggles indicate larger limitations.
''You can't run the country if you can't run your campaign,'' said Gil Duran, a former aide to Ms. Harris and other California Democrats who's now the editorial page editor of the Sacramento Bee.
Some of her problems have been beyond her control. Health care policy and the identity of the Democratic Party became much-debated issues this year, but she had never given the details of either matter extensive thought as she rose from local prosecutor to California attorney general to the Senate. And her supporters believe that as a black woman, Ms. Harris has run into difficulty with some voters over one of the defining issues of the race: assumptions about who can and cannot defeat President Trump.
Ms. Harris is now attempting a pivot, taking a less scripted approach to campaigning. On a conference call with donors after the last debate in mid-November, Jim Margolis, a senior campaign adviser, pointed to her improved performance as a case study in letting ''Kamala be Kamala,'' according to one person who participated in the call '-- a reference to Ms. Harris's strengths when she is listening to her competitors' comments and reacting freely.
It was her abundant political skills '-- strong on the stump, a warm manner with voters and ferocity with the opposition that seemed to spell trouble for Mr. Trump '-- that convinced many Democrats of Ms. Harris's potential.
Yet it has come to this: After beginning her candidacy with a speech before 20,000 people in Oakland, some of Ms. Harris's longtime supporters believe she should consider dropping out in late December '-- the deadline for taking her name off the California primary ballot '-- if she does not show political momentum. Some advisers are already bracing for a primary challenge, potentially from the billionaire Tom Steyer, should she run for re-election to the Senate in 2022. Her senior aides plan to assess next month whether she's made sufficient progress to remain in the race.
''For her to lose California would be really hard and it's not looking good,'' said Susie Buell, a longtime Harris donor from the Bay Area.
A team of rivals with no clear message The fact that Ms. Harris is now banking on an Iowa-or-bust strategy highlights a major strategic miscalculation early on that set her off on the wrong track.
When she entered the race in January, she bet that the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire would matter less to her political fortunes than South Carolina, with its predominantly black Democratic electorate. In this view, a strong showing in South Carolina, which votes fourth, would vault her into racially diverse Super Tuesday states like California that would propel her candidacy.
So for much of the year, she focused on competing against Joseph R. Biden Jr. in South Carolina and beyond. What her campaign did not anticipate was that Mr. Biden would remain strong with many black voters, and that Senator Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg would rise as threats in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Then there was Ms. Harris's campaign message. Extensive polling led her to believe that there was great value in the word ''truth,'' so she titled her 2019 memoir ''The Truths We Hold'' and made a similar phrase the centerpiece of her early stump speech: ''Let's speak truth.'' But she dropped the saying out of a belief that voters wanted something less gauzy.
Her assumptions about the issues that would inspire Democrats were also muddled: she began running on a tax cut aimed at lower- and middle-income voters and then turned to a pay raise for teachers.
But those proposals also did little to animate voters, especially those riveted by the ambitious policies of Ms. Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders, and before long Ms. Harris was downplaying what were her signature proposals.
For a time, she sought to highlight a pragmatic agenda, about matters she said voters thought about while lying awake at 3 a.m. Today, her aides are given to gallows humor about just how many slogans and one-liners she has cycled through, with one recalling how '''speak truth' spring'' gave way to '''3 a.m.' summer'' before the current, Trump-focused '''justice' winter.''
From the start, the campaign structure seemed ripe for conflict. Ms. Harris divided her campaign between two coasts, basing her operation in Baltimore but retaining some key advisers in the Bay Area. She bifurcated the leadership between two decidedly different loyalists: her sister, the chair, and Mr. Rodriguez, a trusted lieutenant who had managed her 2016 Senate campaign. Mr. Rodriguez was a central figure at the San Francisco-based consulting firm, SCRB, that had helped direct Ms. Harris's rise for a decade; all of the firm's partners were lined up to advise the presidential race.
The two camps were soon competing, each stocked with people who shared a tight bond with Ms. Harris but who regarded each other with suspicion or worse. The setup cost Ms. Harris opportunities to recruit some of her party's most sought-after outside strategists and left her reliant on a team less experienced in national politics than in California, an overwhelmingly blue state where campaigns often turn on factional infighting within the Democratic Party.
Dan Sena, a former executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, met early with Ms. Harris's team and came away concerned that they were overly reliant on political thinking shaped in California's idiosyncratic political system.
''Winning in California requires a different road map, between a top-two candidate system and the expensive TV markets,'' Mr. Sena said. ''When it comes to winning there is a right way, the wrong way and the California way.''
It was not only political tactics that divided the campaign: In the spring, Maya Harris and the consulting team were at war over whether the senator should embrace or downplay her record as a prosecutor, which some on the left have criticized, a dilemma the campaign has never resolved.
One campaign strategist said it was impossible to tell if Maya Harris was speaking for herself, as an adviser, or as her sister's representative. She has exercised broad influence over even logistical details of the campaign, like the scheduling of fund-raising events, and over hiring. The uncertainty over who has final signoff has made it more difficult for the campaign to quickly execute decisions and Maya Harris's dual roles as relative and adviser prompted the candidate's staff to be more restrained about the advice they offer.
There are also generational fissures. One adviser said the fixation that some younger staffers have with liberals on Twitter distorted their view of what issues and moments truly mattered, joking that it was not President Trump's account that should be taken offline, as Ms. Harris has urged, but rather those of their own trigger-happy communications team.
In Baltimore, though, the consensus is that the fault lies with Mr. Rodriguez.
Messages from bookkeepers warning of financial strain went unheeded, according to his critics, until cutbacks were inevitable.
When those cuts arrived, Ms. Harris and other members of the senior staff were enraged because they did not know the extent of the layoffs until after they happened. Some aides were informed about the mass firing of New Hampshire staff from junior aides and members of the press rather than Mr. Rodriguez. Ms. Harris called him, infuriated.
Advisers close to Mr. Rodriguez said the cash flow problems were so intense he had to move swiftly and denied he ever disregarded financial warnings. They argued that the animus toward him, first reported by Politico, stems from the raw emotions of staffers seeing their colleagues pushed out.
Some of Ms. Harris's aides said she had better instincts than her brain trust. One official recalled that during the flight from Oakland to Iowa on the night she announced her campaign in January, Ms. Harris told senior members of her campaign team that she wanted to ''go stealth.'' However, instead of pursuing retail politics and introducing herself to voters in more intimate settings, as Ms. Harris suggested she preferred, her senior aides determined it was more important to cement herself in the top tier and play for ''big, television moments,'' as one put it.
''If you go big like that, you'll never get a real understanding of the American people,'' said Minyon Moore, a former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton and a longtime admirer of Ms. Harris. ''Because we don't live up there.''
'She lost me today'The organizational unsteadiness of Ms. Harris's campaign reflects a longtime personal trait, according to allies: she is a candidate who seeks input from a stable of advisers, but her personal political convictions can be unclear.
In June, her gifts and liabilities were both on display. She scored the campaign's biggest debate moment in her confrontation with Mr. Biden over his record on school busing '-- but also stepped into a morass of hazy talk on health care and the current desegregation of schools.
''I'm cool with the T-shirts, but you also have to have a strategy,'' said Bakari Sellers, a former lawmaker in South Carolina and one of Ms. Harris's top surrogates there, referring to the merchandise Ms. Harris's campaign had marketed after that first debate.
On criminal justice, one of Ms. Harris's calling cards, she did not unveil her own proposals until months after she began meeting with activists. Ms. Harris said she was being deliberate, but several aides familiar with the process said she was knocked off kilter by criticism from progressives and spent months torn between embracing her prosecutor record and acknowledging some faults.
At times, she avoided the topic, even initially rejecting her current campaign slogan, ''Justice Is On The Ballot,'' when it was presented to her earlier in the summer. At one point during the preparations, tensions flared so high that one senior aide pleaded with the candidate to provide some direction. ''You know this stuff better than us!'' the aide said, according to those present.
It was hardly the only time Ms. Harris has appeared uneasy or indecisive about whether to go on the offensive. In the July debate, Ms. Harris did not respond sharply to an attack on her prosecutorial record from Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, even after Ms. Harris had been prepped for the topic.
On a conference call after the debate, several of Ms. Harris's donors were alarmed and urged the campaign to strike back at Ms. Gabbard more aggressively, two people on the call said.
Ms. Harris also knew her response had been insufficient, a view quickly reinforced by her advisers. In interviews, many of them point to that debate moment as accelerating Ms. Harris's decline and are so exasperated that they bluntly acknowledge in private that Ms. Harris struggles to carry a message beyond the initial script.
What she does seem more comfortable with, on the campaign trail and at the November debate, is making the case against Mr. Trump, which is now her core campaign message. After months of uncertainty, she's back to embracing her role as a prosecutor.
''She should lean into it,'' said the radio host Charlamagne tha God, who has campaigned with Ms. Harris in his native South Carolina. ''She should say, 'I'm a prosecutor and Donald Trump is a criminal and I'm going to lock his ass up.'''
The question is whether it's too late.
Two women arrived at a recent event Ms. Harris held in Mason City, Iowa, torn between supporting her or Mr. Buttigieg, who has emerged as a front-runner in the state.
They were left so dissatisfied, they said, that they now are backing Mr. Buttigieg.
Laurie Davis, one of the voters, said Ms. Harris's lack of policy specifics in her remarks was disappointing. Asked when she realized she wouldn't be voting for Ms. Harris, she paused.
''Right now, I guess,'' she said. ''She lost me today.''
Shane Goldmacher and Jennifer Medina contributed reporting.
Top Kamala Harris Aide Airs Dirty Campaign Laundry with Savage Resignation Letter
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 08:51
News Alex Wong / Getty Images) Kamala Harris during the Democratic Presidential Debate at Tyler Perry Studios on Nov. 20, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)
A top aide in California Sen. Kamala Harris' presidential campaign has resigned, excoriating the campaign in the process.
In a Nov. 11 letter obtained by The New York Times, State Operations Director Kelly Mehlenbacher expressed her frustration with the way the campaign had been run.
''This is my third presidential campaign,'' Mehlenbacher wrote, ''and I have never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly.''
''While I still believe that Senator Harris is the strongest candidate to win in the General Election in 2020, I no longer have confidence in our campaign or its leadership.''
More specifically, Mehlenbacher called out the campaign for its recent series of layoffs.
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''The treatment of our staff over the last two weeks was the final straw in this very difficult decision,'' she wrote.
''It is unacceptable that we would lay off anyone that we hired only weeks earlier.''
The former staffer also pointed to more systemic issues in the campaign.
''Because we have refused to confront our mistakes, foster an environment of critical thinking and honest feedback, or trust the expertise of talented staff, we find ourselves making the same unforced errors over and over,'' Mehlenbacher wrote.
Do you think Harris should drop out of the race?98% (3365 Votes)
2% (81 Votes)
Mehlenbacher went on to cite a Politico article about ''campaign discord.''
The article, published Nov. 15, quoted staffers who blamed the ''turmoil'' on campaign manager Juan Rodriguez.
Politico also detailed the rocky relationship between Rodriguez and campaign chair Maya Harris, Kamala Harris' sister.
''No one was empowered really to make the decisions and make them fast and make them decisively,'' one aide said.
''No discipline. No plan. No strategy,'' another official said of the campaign.
RELATED: Kamala Harris Brags She Will Forcibly Seize Patents from Drug Companies That Don't Comply with Her Policies
The Times, too, documented the divisions within the campaign, reporting on how Harris ''bifurcated the leadership between two decidedly different loyalists.''
Mehlenbacher's resignation appears to be just the latest bad news for a campaign that has been beset by setbacks since Harris' rise to the top tier of candidates after the June Democratic primary debate.
In a now-famous moment during that debate, Harris attacked former Vice President Joe Biden, then a clear front-runner for the nomination, for his work with segregationists in the Senate in the 1970s.
Harris' poll numbers surged in the weeks after the debate. By July 4, her RealClearPolitics average stood at 15.2 percent, second only to Biden's 26.
By the end of that month, however, her numbers had begun to dip.
Since August, they have plummeted, and the most recent RCP average shows Harris with only 3.8 percent support nationally.
Kelly Mehlenbacher has joined former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's presidential campaign, according to the New York Post.
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The IG Report Will Release December 9th, But What About The ''Declassification List''?'... | The Last Refuge
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 00:17
There has been a great deal of discussion about the pending release of the DOJ Inspector General report on potential FISA abuses on December 9th, but no word on the declassification material since AG Bill Barr was granted authority on May 23rd, 2019.
Amid the twists and turns many people have forgotten about the material congress asked President Trump to declassify a year-and-a-half ago. Additionally there has been some material cited that just seemingly slipped away without follow-up. Consider:
Whatever happened to the forty pages of Lisa Page and Andrew McCabe text messages that Catherine Herridge noted nine months ago? Herridge only published four of the pages in March 2019.Why are the Lisa Page and Peter Strzok text messages still redacted two years after their original release (December 1st, 2017)?Where's the release of the Susan Rice inauguration day memo to the file?Why didn't the DOJ/FBI release all of the Bruce Ohr 302's without redaction? Will those fully unredacted 302's be part of the IG report release?Where's the unredacted David Archey FBI declarations that were previously ordered to be released by a DC judge?The Mueller investigation ended 9 months ago. Why are we still not able to see the unredacted three authorization memos that Rosenstein gave to the special counsel on May 17th, August 2nd and October 20th, 2017?Those simple questions (and releases) are in addition to the original list that congress provided to President Trump back in the summer of 2018. A declassification list that DAG Rod Rosenstein asked President Trump not to release until after the Mueller investigation. Again, the Mueller investigation ended nine months ago; President Trump authorized AG Bill Barr to declassify the material six months ago on May 23rd.
This was the original list from congress in the summer of 2018:
All versions of the Carter Page FISA applications (DOJ) (FBI) (ODNI).All of the Bruce Ohr 302's filled out by the FBI. (FBI) (ODNI) [Without redactions]All of Bruce Ohr's emails (FBI) (DOJ) (CIA) (ODNI). All supportive documents and material provided by Bruce Ohr to the FBI. (FBI) [Without redactions]All relevant documents pertaining to the supportive material within the FISA application. (FBI) (DOJ-NSD ) (DoS) (CIA) (DNI) (NSA) (ODNI);All intelligence documents that were presented to the Gang of Eight in 2016 that pertain to the FISA application used against U.S. person Carter Page; including all intelligence documents that may not have been presented to the FISA Court. (CIA) (FBI) (DOJ) (ODNI) (DoS) (NSA) Presumably this would include the recently revealed State Dept Kavalac email; and the FBI transcripts from wiretaps of George Papadopoulos (also listed in Carter Page FISA). [AKA 'Bucket Five']All unredacted text messages and email content between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok on all devices. (FBI) (DOJ) (DOJ-NSD) (ODNI)The originating CIA ''EC'' or two-page electronic communication from former CIA Director John Brennan to FBI Director James Comey that started Operation Crossfire Hurricane in July 2016. (CIA) (FBI) (ODNI)Additionally, since the 2018 list was developed, more information surfaced about the underlying material. This added to the possibility of documents for declassification:
'... The August 2nd, 2017, two-page scope memo provided by DAG Rod Rosenstein to special counsel Robert Mueller to expand the fraudulent Trump investigation, and initiate the more purposeful obstruction of justice investigation. Also the October 20th, 2017, third scope memo that expanded the investigation again, and targeted additional people including Michael Flynn's family. The Scope Memos are keys to unlocking the underlying spy/surveillance cover-up. [SEE HERE and SEE HERE]
'... The July 31st, 2016, Crossfire Hurricane counterintelligence operation originated from a scheme within the intelligence apparatus. The CIA operation created the originating ''Electronic Communication'' memo. Declassify that two-page ''EC'' document that Brennan gave to Comey. [The trail is found within the Weissmann report and the use of Alexander Downer '' SEE HERE]
'... Release and declassify all of the Comey memos that document the investigative steps taken by the FBI as an outcome of the operation coordinated by CIA Director John Brennan in early 2016. [The trail was memorialized by James Comey '' SEE HERE] Release and declassify the declarations of FBI Agent David Archey that describe the purpose of the Comey memos:
'... Reveal the November 2015 through April 2016 FISA-702 search query abuse by declassifying the April 2017 court opinion written by FISC Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer. Show the FBI contractors behind the 85% fraudulent search queries. [Crowdstrike? Fusion-GPS? Nellie Ohr? Daniel Richman?] This was a weaponized surveillance and domestic political spying operation. [The trail was laid down in specific detail by Judge Collyer '' SEE HERE]
'... Did anyone question former DOJ-NSD (National Security Division) head John Carlin, and get his testimony about why he hid the abuse from the FISA court in October 2016; why the DOJ-NSD rushed the Carter Page application to beat NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers to the FISA court; and why did John Carlin quit immediately thereafter?
'... The Carter Page FISA application (October 2016) was fraudulent, and likely based on deceptions to the FISA Court. Declassify the entire document, and release the transcripts of those who signed the application(s); and/or depose those who have not yet testified. The creation of the Steele Dossier was the cover-up operation. [SEE HERE] What version of the FISA application will be released (if at all)?
'... Release all of the Lisa Page and Peter Strzok text messages without redactions. Let sunlight pour in on the actual conversation(s) that were taking place when Crossfire Hurricane (July '16) and the FISA Application (Oct '16) were taking place. The current redactions were made by the people who weaponized the intelligence system for political surveillance and spy operation. This is likely why Page and Strzok texts were redacted!
'... Release all of Bruce Ohr 302's without redactions. And FBI notes from interviews and debriefing sessions, and other relevant documents associated with the interviews of Bruce Ohr and his internal communications. Including exculpatory evidence that Bruce Ohr may have shared with FBI Agent Joseph Pientka. [And did anyone get a deposition from this Pientka fella?] Bruce Ohr is the courier, carrying information from those outside to those on the inside.
Yes it is good the FISA investigation report is going to be released on December 9th, but if all of the underlying documents are not declassified there is a risk the information therein is subject to interpretation and/or manipulation.
There is a lot of material the public is aware of; and if the DOJ IG doesn't release the underlying material then what exactly was the purpose of AG Bill Barr asking President Trump for the declassification authority?'..... Accountability requires transparency.
There is no more tongue left to bite.
President Trump Challenges Nancy Pelosi NOT To Pass USMCA'.... | The Last Refuge
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 00:22
The Dems were hoping for a recession by sitting on the USMCA, which has caused investment to be sidelined. Well, investment is starting to trickle in again. The US consumer is so strong that even without the USMCA in place, companies want to invest in the US to profit off of the strength of the consumer, who may be in the strongest position financially they've ever been (low tax, low inflation, higher wages, and higher asset values).
So, it appears Pelosi will not bring USMCA to a vote until at least after the impeachment push. It's totally unthinkable that she would pass USMCA and then impeach the president! Doesn't make sense. She will push for impeachment first by using USMCA as leverage to get the moderate votes. The problem I believe she's going to have is from her own moderate caucus. As the impeachment goes into next year (which it should not have), the moderates will get more restless. The longer the impeachment process can be strung out by the GOP and the President, the more likely it is the Dems will begin to break ranks. The voters sent moderates Dems in to take care of things like trade, infrastructure and prescription drugs. Instead, they have been bogged down in impeachment. As the election year presents itself, these moderates will be harder and harder for Pelosi to corral.
My question has always been, how do you impeach the President for negotiating the biggest trade deal in US history? Or for killing the most wanted terrorist in the world in Baghdadi ? Or for having the best economy in place for US consumers perhaps ever? And on and on. We are really living in the world of the bizarre, where the Dems pretend to oppressed, when in practical terms, our nation has never been more safer, more stronger (military), and more prosperous than this in some time (since at least the late 1990s).
Pelosi has painted herself in a corner. She's damned if she does impeachment, damn if she doesn't. She's damned (from her perspective) if she does USMCA, damn if she doesn't. Funny that Trump always puts himself in such win-win situations! They use to call Reagan, the Great Communicator. Well, now we are witnessing the Great Negotiator! MAGA!!
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The Mysteriously Redacted Paragraph '' 700 Days Since Lindsey Graham Outlined Susan Rice CYA Memo, and DC Doesn't Want Answers?'... | The Last Refuge
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 15:40
In the past several days; and in anticipation of an inspector general report/release tasked to look into the FISA processes of the prior administration; I have been assembling a file, a series of reminder questions, that peer into the heart of the 2015/2016 FISA surveillance. Today, is another reminder'... [*ahem* Sidney Powell, please note]
Left to right: Kathryn H. Ruemmler, President Obama, Lisa Monaco and Susan Rice.
Knowing what we know now, consider this long forgotten letter from Susan Rice's lawyer Kathryn Ruemmler. Ms. Ruemmler is currently the global co-chairman of the Latham & Watkins white collar criminal defense practice; she formerly served as White House Counsel to President Obama. Ask yourself: how do these paragraphs reconcile?
[Feb 23, 2018] The memorandum to file drafted by Ambassador Rice memorialized an important national security discussion between President Obama and the FBI Director and the Deputy Attorney General. President Obama and his national security team were justifiably concerned about potential risks to the Nation's security from sharing highly classified information about Russia with certain members of the Trump transition team, particularly Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
['...] While serving as National Security Advisor, Ambassador Rice was not briefed on the existence of any FBI investigation into allegations of collusion between Mr. Trump's associates and Russia, and she later learned of the fact of this investigation from Director Comey's subsequent public testimony.
Ambassador Rice was not informed of any FISA applications sought by the FBI in its investigation, and she only learned of them from press reports after leaving office. (link)
How could Ms. Rice be aware of a ''national security compromise'', ''particularly surrounding Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn'' after a ''briefing by the FBI'', if she was not briefed on the existence of an FBI investigation''?
See the problem?
Perhaps now it is worth remembering a certain paragraph within the Susan Rice letter that mysteriously dropped from the radar. When Senator Lindsey Graham first revealed the existence of the Susan Rice ''memorandum to draft'', it was at the height of the Mueller investigation.
Likely as a consequence of that ongoing investigation, there was paragraph omitted from the public release of the Susan Rice memo. I am pretty darned sure that paragraph would answer the question I asked moments ago'.... and that's why, 700+ days later, that memo has never been unredacted and/or released.
So here's the background and citations for everyone to refresh.
On February 8th, 2018, Senator Lindsey Graham first revealed an inauguration day 2017 email from Susan Rice to herself. That's 700+ days ago, and yet we still don't know what is behind the removed and classified paragraph.
Why is this being kept hidden?
At 12:15pm on January 20th, 2017, Obama's outgoing National Security Advisor Susan Rice wrote a memo-to-self. Many people have called this her ''CYA'' (cover your ass) memo, from the position that Susan Rice was protecting herself from consequences if the scheme against President Trump was discovered. Here's the email:
On January 5, following a briefing by IC leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election, President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Jim Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office. Vice President Biden and I were also present.
President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ''by the book''.
The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would, by the book.
From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.
[Redacted Classified Section of Unknown length]
The President asked Comey to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team. Comey said he would.
Susan Rice ~ (pdf link)
This has the hallmarks of an Obama administration justification memo, written by an outgoing National Security Advisor Susan Rice to document why there have been multiple false and misleading statements given to incoming President Trump and his officials.
This is not a ''CYA'' memo per se', this appears to be a justification memo for use AFTER the Trump-Russia collusion/conspiracy narrative collapsed; and if the impeachment effort failed.
The ''By The Book'' aspect refers to President Obama and Susan Rice being told by CIA Director John Brennan, FBI Director James Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, that President Trump was the subject of an active counterintelligence investigation'.... Yet, Rice denies ever knowing about Trump being under investigation? This contradiction cannot be reconciled.
So with the Mueller investigation concluded, why didn't Senator Lindsey Graham release the full email content, including the classified and redacted aspects which remain hidden?
Susan Rice responded to Senator Graham's letter through her attorney Kathryn Ruemmler. Again, Ms. Ruemmler is the global co-chairman of the Latham & Watkins white collar criminal defense practice; she formerly served as White House Counsel to Obama.
Ruemmler's letter stated there was nothing unusual about Rice's email memorializing a White House meeting two weeks after the meeting occurred, January 5, 2017. Additionally, Ms. Rice's lawyer said her client was completely unaware of the FBI investigation into President Trump at the time she made the draft on January 20th.
In part, Ms. Ruemmler's letter on behalf of Rice states:
The memorandum to file drafted by Ambassador Rice memorialized an important national security discussion between President Obama and the FBI Director and the Deputy Attorney General. President Obama and his national security team were justifiably concerned about potential risks to the Nation's security from sharing highly classified information about Russia with certain members of the Trump transition team, particularly Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
In light of concerning communications between members of the Trump team and Russian officials, before and after the election, President Obama, on behalf of his national security team, appropriately sought the FBI and the Department of Justice's guidance on this subject. In the conversation Ambassador Rice documented, there was no discussion of Christopher Steele or the Steele dossier, contrary to the suggestion in your letter.
Given the importance and sensitivity of the subject matter, and upon the advice of the White House Counsel's Office, Ambassador Rice created a permanent record of the discussion. Ambassador Rice memorialized the discussion on January 20, because that was the first opportunity she had to do so, given the particularly intense responsibilities of the National Security Advisor during the remaining days of the Administration and transition.
Ambassador Rice memorialized the discussion in an email sent to herself during the morning of January 20, 2017. The time stamp reflected on the email is not accurate, as Ambassador Rice departed the White House shortly before noon on January 20.
While serving as National Security Advisor, Ambassador Rice was not briefed on the existence of any FBI investigation into allegations of collusion between Mr. Trump's associates and Russia, and she later learned of the fact of this investigation from Director Comey's subsequent public testimony.
Ambassador Rice was not informed of any FISA applications sought by the FBI in its investigation, and she only learned of them from press reports after leaving office.
Here's the full letter:
.
Everything about this Susan Rice email, including the explanations from her lawyer Kathryn H. Ruemmler , is sketchy and suspicious. The sketchy extends to Senator Graham's lack of action to declassify the redacted paragraph.
Nothing about this DC activity is passing the proverbial sniff test'...
As we await the DOJ Inspector General report on FBI FISA authorized surveillance directed toward the Trump campaign and incoming Trump administration; which apparently is significant enough connected to the DOJ case against Flynn such that the prosecution has requested a delay in further proceedings until the IG report is released; I would remind everyone the biggest challenge for current U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr is not necessarily investigating evidence we do not know, but rather navigating through the minefield of evidence a significant portion of the American public are well aware of.
Borrowing from a comment to emphasize the point therein:
We will know the FISA Report is a whitewash if Byrne and Butina are not addressed by disclosing whether Republican presidential candidates other than Trump were surveilled.
For Rogers to conduct his audit and for Collyer to conclude therefrom that 85% of the 11/1/15 through 4/18/16 searches were unauthorized, the database has to have some type of access/search history '-- whether who or what or when or all three '-- and for Collyer to conclude that the same person was searched multiple times suggests that its access/search history is qualitative, not just quantitative.
This should also be the case due to the need to regulate statutory two hop authority under Title 1. If you cannot audit access/search history through one or two hops, you cannot know whether the accessor/searcher stopped at two hops for enforcement purposes.
Under such circumstances, the database is subject to abuse beyond our wildest dreams, given it is left to the good faith of those accessing/searching to regulate themselves without any potential oversight.
If this is the case, then Horowitz should tell us (as should have Collyer before him). If it is not, then Horowitz should describe the access/search history of the FISA application for Carter Page, as well as the 3 renewals.
He should describe the extent of the electronic surveillance on Page '-- text, cell, email, internet, GPS, financial and travel '-- then identify all those surveilled on the first and second hops, including specifically those affiliated with the Trump campaign or family, including Candidate Trump, both primary and general, President-elect Trump, and President Trump.
The meeting between President-elect Trump and Admiral Rogers had to have communicated actual NSA database surveillance, whether authorized by the FISA court or not, for Trump to react by moving his transition team from Trump Tower and for cabinet members in the intelligence community to urge the ouster of Rogers to President Obama in response. We just don't know how much Rogers told Trump.
As head of the NSA, Rogers was in a position to monitor database access and search history even outside the confines of the audit, so theoretically he could have monitored every access/search conducted under the Page FISA application and renewals, and provided continuous updates to President Trump through their expiration. But if the small group knew he had that capacity, knew he was watching them, then why seek the renewals in the first place?
To cut through the intrigue, Horowitz should disclose whether the audit revealed electronic FISA database surveillance on candidates other than Trump. If the access/search history for the subcontractors reveals surveillance of Cruz or Rubio, in the same timeframe as Byrne was running Butina through their campaigns, then that is clearly political espionage, using ''Russian influence or collusion'' as a pretext.
If all of these issues are observable by a poor lurker from what Sundance has been addressing for the last 3 years, Horowitz should be able to see them from his investigation. If he does not address them, we have a whitewash.
#MeToo
Oppression or Opportunity? Sexual Strategies and the Perception of Sexual Advances | SpringerLink
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 09:42
Research Article First Online: 25 November 2019
AbstractFrom an evolutionary perspective, the perception and interpretation of sexual advances depend on sex-specific mechanisms, individual differences in the perceivers' mating strategies, and the actor's attractiveness. In two studies (N = 1516), participants evaluated hypothetical situations of sexual advances from a coworker varying in attractiveness (study 1) and physical appearance or status (study 2). In both studies, men perceived sexual advances as less negative than women, especially when the advances arise from a (physically) attractive actor. Furthermore, the higher the sociosexual orientation of the participants, the less harmful these sexual advances are perceived. Finally, the same behavior from an attractive or physically attractive actor is perceived as less harmful than from an unattractive actor. Results are discussed from an evolutionary perspective on the perception of sexual advances.
Keywords Sex differences Mating strategies Sociosexual orientation Sexual advances Attractiveness
Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article ( https://doi.org/10.1007/s40806-019-00215-y ) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
This is a preview of subscription content,
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NotesCompliance with Ethical Standards Conflict of Interest The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Ethical Approval All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed Consent Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants. The participants were encouraged to contact the authors for any questions.
Publisher's NoteSpringer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Supplementary materialReferencesGeschlecht und Verhalten aus evolution¤rer Perspektive [sex and behavior from an evolutionary perspective]. Lengerich: Pabst Science Publishers.
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Green New Deal
Alarmists Propose Rebranding 'Climate Change' for Greater Shock Value
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 19:33
Climate change alarmists are pushing for a change in vocabulary to scare people into taking global warming more seriously, starting with terms like ''global meltdown'' and ''climate collapse.''
Writing for AdAge this week, Aaron Hall argues that in order to get people to ''take action'' against climate change, ''rebranding'' is crucial, since people have gotten too used to the idea that climate is changing and need to be shocked into the notion that the world as we know it is ending.
''Is there a better way to convey the urgency of the situation, while also encouraging folks to take action? Could the tools of branding and brand naming create a more resonant, powerful name?'' Mr. Hall asks.
What he and his marketing team came up with was a series of much more frightening labels to stick on climate change in the hope of jolting people into meaningful engagement.
The terms ''Global Meltdown'' or ''Global Melting,'' for instance, deliver a more negative image than mere ''Global Warming,'' he contends. ''The names signal that ice caps are melting, but also create a more visceral image in the mind '-- that real feeling of 'melting' when it's too hot outside. A meltdown is a disastrous event that draws from the ultimate terror of a nuclear meltdown, an apt metaphor for global destruction.''
''Climate Collapse'' and ''Climate Chaos,'' on the other hand, ''instill a clear message or even a direct call to action,'' Hall notes, adding that ''there's nothing neutral about collapse or chaos.''
To up the rhetoric even more, Hall proposes the weaponized term ''Scorched Earth.''
''Sometimes a brand name needs to be hyperbolic to truly capture hearts and minds. If we don't take massive action now, Earth will be uninhabitable '-- an irreversible barren wasteland,'' he insists. '''Scorched Earth' paints the direst picture of what's to come and what we must avoid and is likely the edgiest brand name from our exploration.''
''Whatever we call it, impending climate doom is upon us if we don't act quickly,'' Hall concludes. ''Perhaps a new name will shift the needle, even if just a little.''
Mr. Hall's contention that it does not matter if what is said is true as long as it elicits the necessary response is reminiscent of similar assertions by leaders of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement.
Spokespersons of the movement have acknowledged that their claims that billions of people are going to die from climate change have no basis whatsoever in scientific fact but are necessary to provoke the kind of response that is needed to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions.
Pressed last month on what the basis was for predictions of mass deaths, XR spokesperson Zion Lights acknowledged there is no real ground for these predictions, but contended that such incendiary language is necessary to motivate people, confessing that ''alarmist language works.''
While it is clearly true that ''alarmist language works'' in some cases, it is also true that people tend to resent being lied to and manipulated.
Like Aesop's fable of the Boy Who Cried Wolf, climate alarmists may wake up one fine day to find that nobody believes them anymore.
Such is the price of lying.
Follow @tdwilliamsrome
Renaming climate change: Can a new name finally make us take action? | AdAge
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 19:36
As a professional namer, I create names for companies, products and services. After the global climate strike this past September, I found myself thinking about the terms ''climate change'' and ''global warming.'' Are these scientific terms too neutral? Do they do enough to grab attention and inspire people to take action?
Scientific terms often fail to resonate in meaningful ways. In the early 1900s, for example, no one had heard of the "hypothesis of the primeval atom." That changed in the 1940s when the term ''Big Bang'' was coined, which was a simpler, more relatable concept for the masses. This complex scientific concept is extremely well-known today because a better, more tangible term was applied to it. Can we use lessons from the naming of the Big Bang to rebrand ''climate change?''
A short history lesson: Scientists once used the term ''inadvertent climate modification'' to refer to subtle changes in global climate patterns caused by humans. During the 1970s, the scientific community created two new terms: global warming (the increase in Earth's average surface temperature) and climate change (a long-term change in the Earth's climate).
Originally, politicians latched onto global warming because it sounded more worrisome (the Earth is heating too fast). But it was too easy to poke holes in because the Earth was also getting colder. During polar vortex storms, skeptics often tweet that it "sure would be nice for some of that 'global warming' right about now." Politicians then pivoted to ''climate change.'' This concept was less easy to deny, but also less compelling and less actionable.
This leads me to wonder: Is there a better way to convey the urgency of the situation, while also encouraging folks to take action? Could the tools of branding and brand naming create a more resonant, powerful name? Our naming team decided to give it whirl, but first, we set some parameters and guideposts, as we would with any new brand name project:
Reach: The new name needs to speak to a global threat affecting 7.5 billion humans. As such, our global team of namers from London, New York, San Francisco and Shanghai developed these new names.
Audience: The brand needs to reach an audience that isn't trained in scientific terms. We need these folks to understand the severity of what's happening to their planet and inspire them to make more eco-friendly life choices and pro-climate choices at the ballot box.
Message: There are many possible themes, tones and styles of names to explore. The name could signal hope, fear or change. It could be a call to action, be more descriptive or use familiar metaphors that emotionally connect us to the issue.
With all of this in mind, our team of wordsmiths developed the following new names for climate change:
Global Meltdown, Global MeltingThese options are subtle brand shifts from "global warming," yet they deliver a more negative image. The names signal that ice caps are melting, but also create a more visceral image in the mind -- that real feeling of ''melting'' when it's too hot outside. A meltdown is a disastrous event that draws from the ultimate terror of a nuclear meltdown, an apt metaphor for global destruction. In naming, we call metaphorical names "suggestive names," and they are one of the most popular types of names.
Climate Collapse, Climate ChaosGood brand names instill a clear message or even a direct call to action. Perhaps that's why climate change isn't powerful enough: ''Change'' sounds so neutral. However, there's nothing neutral about collapse or chaos. Both are states of events that you absolutely want to avoid. They ask each of us to do what it takes to avoid collapsing or descending into chaos. They both also use alliteration -- using the same letter or sound at the beginning of connected words -- a naming trick proven to enhance memorability.
Boiling Point, Melting PointArresting brand names often capitalize on vivid visual associations. They refer to a tipping point that we're catapulting toward and must find a way to avert. Because a boiling point is the point at which liquid vaporizes, it brings forth imagery of rivers, lakes and oceans boiling and disappearing. "Melting Point" paints a clear picture of solid matter melting. As glaciers melt and disappear, so does our way of life.
Scorched EarthIt's time to take the gloves off and stop pretending. Sometimes a brand name needs to be hyperbolic to truly capture hearts and minds. If we don't take massive action now, Earth will be uninhabitable -- an irreversible barren wasteland. Plants and animals will die. Humans won't be able to survive extreme weather like floods, droughts and fires. If we don't change, we won't even be able to spend time outside. "Scorched Earth" paints the direst picture of what's to come and what we must avoid and is likely the edgiest brand name from our exploration.
The following honorable mentions represent creative outliers that lean on metaphor and wordplay to capture attention, a naming style that is sure to make a brand stand out:
Emission Critical: Focuses on the action we need to take: reducing emissions.
Planet Critical: Draws on a familiar concept of a critical condition.
Pre-Extinction: Powerful and suggests another mass extinction is imminent if we do not change our ways today.
The Great Collapse: The collapse of ecosystems, economies and our way of life.
Earthshattering: Creatively arresting -- the complete destruction of the Earth as we know it.
Whatever we call it, impending climate doom is upon us if we don't act quickly. Global leaders have been sluggish, and by and large, individuals have failed to see the need for immediate action. But maybe branding can help. Perhaps a new name will shift the needle, even if just a little.
Leonardo Dicaprio responds to Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro's claim he funded Amazon fire - CBS News
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 16:17
Leonardo DiCaprio on Saturday said his organization is not funding nonprofit groups that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has falsely claimed helped start devastating wildfires in the Amazon. Bolsonaro, who has previously made disputed claims that nonprofit groups are setting fires in the Amazon, told a group of supporters in the nation's capital that the actor gave "money to set the Amazon on fire."
"DiCaprio is a cool guy, isn't he? Giving money to set the Amazon on fire," Bolsonaro said in Brasilia on Friday, the Associated Press reported.
Thousands of wildfires burned across Brazil this summer, destroying large parts of the vital rainforest. Many of the fires are believed to have been intentionally set by farmers clearing land, a practice that has been deregulated by Bolsonaro's relaxed environmental laws.
Bolsonaro's far-right government has promoted economic expansion in protected natural areas of the rainforest, arguing that environmental nonprofits and laws have prevented this development. He called the global alarm over the fires "sensationalist" and warned foreign governments not to intervene in Brazil.
DiCaprio's organization Earth Alliance has pledged $5 million to help protect the Amazon. The actor responded to Bolsonaro's claim that he funded the targeted organizations on Instagram.
"At this time of crisis for the Amazon, I support the people of Brazil working to save their natural and cultural heritage. They are an amazing, moving and humbling example of the commitment and passion needed to save the environment," he wrote. "The future of these irreplaceable ecosystems is at stake and I am proud to stand with the groups protecting them. While worthy of support, we did not fund the organizations targeted."
"I remain committed to supporting the Brazilian indigenous communities, local governments, scientists, educators and general public who are working tirelessly to secure the Amazon for the future of all Brazilians," DiCaprio wrote, along with statements from Wes Sechrest, CEO and Chief Scientist of the Global Wildlife Conservation, and Jon Paul Rodriguez, Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Species Survival Commission.
"We stand by those falsely accused of starting forest fires in the Amazon, and reaffirm our support to those who are dedicated to protecting one of our planet's most vital and imperiled ecosystems," Sechrest wrote.
U.N. Summit to Hear Call for Rich Nations to Pay 'Climate' Reparations
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 08:49
Officials at the United Nations COP25 climate change conference in Madrid next week must consider implementing taxes on developed countries to transfer wealth to nations dealing with ''the cost of drought, floods and superstorms made worse by rising temperatures,'' more than 150 environmental groups said Friday.
The financial impositions being considered include U.N.-administered taxes on financial transactions, international air travel and fossil fuels.
In an open letter to the president of the COP 25 talks, Chile's environment minister Carolina Schmidt, the organisations urged agreement on ''the creation of a comprehensive financing facility, including debt relief, for developing countries experiencing such disasters.''
The U.N.-sponsored Madrid conference is set to be dominated by discussions on so-called ''loss and damage'' funding, with a sharp divide between developing nations and richer polluters over how finance should be structured.
Green groups this week claimed the increased pace and intensity of climate disasters, such as the twin cyclones that devastated parts of Mozambique this year, means that funding needs boosting to keep track.
They said the amount needed for loss and damage would top $300 billion annually by 2030.
Matt Perdie
''Without finance to help countries cope with climate-induced loss and damage, the most vulnerable parts of the world will sink deeper into debt and poverty every time they are hit by climate disasters they did not cause,'' the letter said, as quoted by AFP.
President Donald Trump officially withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord last month as part of an election promise to voters.
As Breitbart News reported, as far back as June, 2017 Trump said he was looking forward to exiting the agreement.
The president spoke then of following through on his commitments to the American people.
''In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord,'' Trump declared.
Compliance with the accord could have cost the U.S. ''as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025 according to the National Economic Research Associates,'' said Trump. ''This includes 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs '-- not what we need'...''
The Paris Climate Accord will form the basis for any future reparations as decided at COP 25. Almost 25,000 people and 1500 journalists will fly in to Madrid from Monday to attend the meeting.
Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: Follow @SunSimonKent or e-mail to: skent@breitbart.com
Smeltende ijssculptuur vervangt Johnson in klimaatdebat, Conservatieven boos | NOS
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 06:20
De Conservatieve Partij vindt het schandalig dat Channel 4 premier Boris Johnson in een klimaatdebat heeft vervangen door een smeltende ijssculptuur. De omroep had dat gedaan nadat de premier had afgezegd voor het debat.
Als alternatief voor Johnson hadden de Conservatieven voormalig minister Michael Gove naar de studio gestuurd, maar op Twitter is te zien dat Gove in het gebouw van Channel 4 geweigerd wordt om deel te nemen. Een foto suggereert dat ook de vader van de premier, Stanley Johnson, niet welkom was in het programma.
"Ze zijn leuk en charmant, maar geen van hen is de leider", twittert Ben de Pear van Channel 4:
Johnsons partij noemt het politieke stemmingmakerij en heeft een klacht ingediend bij de toezichthouder van het Britse omroepbestel. In de brief stellen de Conservatieven dat hen de kans is ontnomen om zich te vertegenwoordigen in het debat.
Bovendien dreigt de partij kritisch naar de uitzendlicentie van de omroep te kijken. Die loopt tot eind 2024, dus de partij die de verkiezingen van 12 december wint mag er waarschijnlijk een oordeel over vellen. Tenminste, als die regering de vijfjarige termijn kan voltooien.
Ook Farage vervangen door sculptuurDe lijsttrekkers van alle grote partijen waren uitgenodigd voor het klimaatdebat. Behalve Johnson zag ook Nigel Farage van de Brexit-partij af van deelname aan het liveprogramma.
Daarop besloot de hoofdredactie om de twee lijsttrekkers op het podium te vervangen door de twee ijssculpturen. De smeltende wereldbollen staan volgens de omroep "symbool voor de noodsituatie waarin de wereld verkeert. Het is een visuele metafoor voor de Conservatieve- en Brexit-partij nadat hun leiders herhaaldelijk onze uitnodiging voor dit belangrijke klimaatdebat hebben afgewezen."
Farage laat in een verklaring weten dat zijn partij er geen vertrouwen in heeft dat het debat eerlijk en objectief verloopt. Ook verwijt hij de omroep dat die als standpunt uitdraagt dat het Verenigd Koninkrijk in de EU moet blijven.
Channel 4 is een publieke omroep, maar ontvangt geen overheidsgeld. Het financiert zijn programma's volledig uit commercile activiteiten, zoals het uitzenden van advertenties.
Agenda 21
Leonardo DiCaprio invests in the Beyond Meat vegan burger company '-- Quartz
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 07:49
Leonardo DiCaprio, who won an Academy Award for his 2015 portrayal of a man nearly eaten by a grizzly bear, is investing in a plant-based, vegan burger company.
The CEO of Los Angeles-based Beyond Meat this week (Oct. 17) announced that DiCaprio had added the company to the list of groups that receive his financial support as part of the actor's bigger initiative to curb climate change.
''Livestock production is a major contributor to carbon emissions,'' DiCaprio said in a statement. ''Shifting from animal meat to the plant-based meats'...is one of the most powerful measures someone can take to reduce their impact on our climate.''
The size of DiCaprio's financial stake in the company has not been made public.
The announcement is just latest investment DiCaprio has made in this space. The actor's foundation, which focuses mostly on environmental issues, last month said it was awarding $20 million in grants to more than 100 organizations, including the Lion Recovery Fund, the Global Partnership for Sharks and Rays, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
An investment from a celebrity not only raises Beyond Meat's profile; it's an added feather in the company's hat after a banner year. Over the summer, Beyond Meat expanded its footprint in the US grocery market, getting its plant-based burger in the meat department of over 600 Kroger-owned stores across 15 states. It's also sold at Whole Foods Market locations, where early signs suggest it's a popular item.
OTG
The more I think about it, the more I realize that teaching kids to customize and 'command' a computer, the better off they will be in life
Woodworking 2019 = Technology class, or 'Tech'
Easy mailserver setups
Mail-in-a-Box Setup Guide $12/month
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 16:09
indicates link to discussion.
indicates link to TLD registry requirements.
Next you will register your new domain name. It's about $17/year, depending on the TLD. Buy basically anything you want, taking into account the TLD recommendations above. This will be the start of your new identity.
I recommend you use Gandi.net to register your domain name because I know it works well for Mail-in-a-Box. You can use other domain name registrars besides Gandi, but support for DNSSEC is not good everywhere. (DNSSEC is an optional security feature on Mail-in-a-Box. It's nice to have but things will work just fine without it.)
Not all TLDs support DNSSEC either. If you will use Gandi, you should check their list of TLDs that support DNSSEC.
After you buy the domain name you'll need to set it up, but that comes later so keep reading. Note that a Mail-in-a-Box box can handle the email for multiple domains names too '-- more on that later.
Your Box Has A Name
Every machine connected to the Internet has a name and an address.
The address, an IP address, is like a telephone number. It's made up of numbers and is assigned to you by whoever provides Internet access to you.
The name '-- called a hostname '-- is something you decide. It can be a domain name you own or any ''subdomain'' of a domain you own.
For your Mail-in-a-Box, we recommend naming your box box + . + your domain name.
Josh's Mail-in-a-Box is named box.occams.info. This is its hostname.
Your Mail-in-a-Box may handle the email for multiple domain names, but the box has a single name.
The Machine
Finding a cloud service provider
Now you will rent a machine, or a virtual part of a machine, somewhere in ''the cloud.'' We'll call this machine your box. We recommend going over to Digital Ocean, Linode, 1&1, or Rimuhosting.com. (Most any cloud provider will do, but not Amazon Web Services because its network is often blocked to prevent users from sending spam.)
You must choose the Ubuntu 18.04 x64 (server edition) operating system and a machine with at least 512 MB of RAM. This setup currently costs around $5/month, depending on which provider you choose. We recommend you to use a box with 1 GB of RAM which costs around $10/month.
If you choose Digital Ocean, your machine is called a ''droplet'' and you must name your droplet the same as its hostname.
Josh's droplet would be named box.occams.info (if Josh used Digital Ocean).
If you have a choice, choose a location for your machine that is near you '-- it'll be faster! And if disabling IPv6 is an option, disable it.
Reverse DNS
Each cloud provider will have different instructions for setting up ''reverse DNS.'' You must follow your cloud provider's instructions for setting the reverse DNS of your box to your box's hostname.
If you are using Digital Ocean, your reverse DNS is already done. (They automatically set it to what you entered as your droplet's name, which per the instructions above was your box's hostname.) Linode's instructions are here, but you may not be able to set the reverse DNS on Linode until after you have finished the rest of this guide (Linode only accepts reverse DNS changes once the forward DNS is working, which your box will handle by the end of this guide). 1&1's instructions are here.
Josh's box's reverse DNS is set to the same as the box's hostname: box.occams.info.
Locate the machine's IP address
Your cloud provider will also now tell you the IP address of your machine. It looks like 123.123.123.123.
Josh's box's IP address is 94.76.202.152.
Sometimes you might be assigned an IP address that is on a spam block list. You may wish to use a tool such as MXToolbox to ensure your IP address is not on these block lists. If you find your assigned IP is on a blacklist, you might have luck requesting a "clean" IP from your provider, or creating a new host if you're using a VPS service.
Firewall settings
If your machine is behind a hardware firewall (or virtual equivalent, such as an AWS security group), ensure that the following ports are open: 22 (SSH), 25 (SMTP), 53 (DNS; must be open for both tcp & udp), 80 (HTTP), 443 (HTTPS), 587 (SMTP submission), 993 (IMAP), 995 (POP) and 4190 (Sieve). It doesn't hurt to block other ports, but your box will take care of that itself by configuring a software firewall on the machine itself.
Domain Name Configuration '-- Glue Records
We'll now go back to your domain name registrar to associate your domain name with your box's IP address. This has two parts: glue records and nameservers.
Advanced Usage with External DNS: If you are using an external DNS provider, e.g. if you already have a website on your domain name, you may skip this section. However, we recommend that you continue and let your box take over your DNS so that it can set it up securely and correctly for email. If you choose to skip this section, pay special attention to ''System status & DNS'' toward the end.
Glue Records
The association between your domain name and IP address is . . . complicated. The domain name system (DNS) is a global, distributed network of machines that turn domain names into IP addresses. Your registrar and your box play a role in the domain name system.
The way this works varies from registrar to registrar, but it goes something like this:
First, you'll create two ''glue records.'' The purpose of glue records is to say that your box is becoming a part of the domain name system. These records go by different names at different registrars, so also look out for ''hostnames'' or ''child nameservers.''. This will not be found in a DNS control panel. [Gandi instructions | GoDaddy instructions]
A glue record consists of a hostname and an IP address. You will need two: ns1. + your box's hostname and ns2. + your box's hostname. (They stand for ''nameserver one'' and ''nameserver two''.) For the IP address, enter the IP address of your box.
Josh's box's hostname is box.occams.info. The two glue records are for ns1.box.occams.info and ns2.box.occams.info and list the box's IP address of 94.76.202.152.
It looks something like what's shown here:
Your registrar may ask you to enter these hostnames with the domain name part omitted, as mine did in this case. If so, enter the part of the hostname up to the domain name.
Josh's domain name is occams.info. The two glue hostnames are ns1.box.occams.info and ns2.box.occams.info, but his registrar asks him to enter them with ''.occams.info'' omitted leaving just ns1.box and ns2.box.
If your Mail-in-a-Box is handling mail for multiple domains, you only do glue records once (for your first domain name). Additional domain names skip this step.
Some domain name TLDs and some registrars will require that you enter two glue records with different IP addresses. That won't work for Mail-in-a-Box's typical setup since your machine will only have one IP address. You can either set up secondary DNS servers to get around this limitation (it's not hard, but it's more work), or use a different domain name under a different TLD or a different registrar.
Domain Name Configuration '-- Nameservers
Advanced Usage with External DNS: If you skipped the previous section, you will skip this one too and follow your external DNS provider's instructions instead. If you skip this section, pay special attention to ''System status & DNS'' toward the end.
Nameservers
Now you'll tell your domain registrar that your domain name's nameservers are ns1. + your box's hostname and ns2. + your box's hostname.
You will usually be turning off the registrar's provided nameservers and turning on custom servers. This is usually not found in the domain name's DNS control panel. You will be disabling that control panel.
Here's what that looks like in my registrar:
Don't worry if you are confused about what this all means. It is complicated '-- we all get confused at this point.
If you add another domain name to your box later, this section is repeated for each domain name you associate with your box. All domain names on the box will use the exact same two nameservers. So if you used ns1.yourdomain.com for your first domain, use exactly the same thing for your second domain name. (You do NOT use ns1.yourseconddomain.com, etc.)
DNSSEC DS Record
DNSSEC adds a security layer on top of DNS, in the same way that HTTPS adds a security layer to HTTP. It is not necessary, but it is recommended. When enabled, mail between Mail-in-a-Boxes will always be encrypted.
Your box's control panel will tell you to come back to your domain name registrar at the end to configure the DNSSEC DS record. It's not something the box can set up on its own, but you also can't configure it until after the box itself is set up '-- so you will come back to this.
Setting Up The Box
You will now have to log into your running box using SSH. Your cloud provider will probably give you some instructions on how to do that. If your personal computer has a command line, you'll be doing something like this:
ssh -i yourkey.pem ubuntu@10.20.30.40Once inside, you will now get the Mail-in-a-Box code onto your box and start its setup. Copy and paste this into your terminal and hit enter:
curl -s https://mailinabox.email/setup.sh | sudo -E bashAdvanced: To change the default location where Mail-in-a-Box stores all of its data, you can set an environment variable named 'STORAGE_ROOT' before running the setup script.
export STORAGE_ROOT=/your/desired/pathYou will be asked to enter the email address you want and a few other configuration questions. At the end you will be asked for a password for your email address.
This password will be used to login to webmail, the administrative interface, and on your devices. It will not be used to log onto your Mail-in-a-Box server using SSH (that's what you did above).
It is always safe to re-run the setup, either because something went wrong or you just want to see it again. You can do so by following two the steps above again or just running sudo mailinabox from the command line.
When it comes time to update to a newer release of Mail-in-a-Box, you'll literally just run the above two commands again (ssh ... and then curl ..., as above) on your existing machine.
The Administrative Interface
Connecting for the First Time
When the setup script is done running, you'll been given instructions on how to access your box's web-based administrative control panel:
Your Mail-in-a-Box is running.Please log in to the control panel for further instructions at: https://94.76.202.152/adminYou will be alerted that the website has an invalid certificate. Check thatthe certificate fingerprint matches:C0:9B:FF:04:2B:2D:8F:47:5A:8B:D5:88:B7:05:D3:4B:6C:22:80:5FYour SSL certificate is not yet signed so you will get a security warning when you visit the administrative URL. There is a way to proceed securely if you use Mozilla Firefox.
Open the URL in Firefox. Firefox will say This Connection is Untrusted.
Click on I Understand the Risks.
Click on Add Exception.
Click on View.
Compare the SHA1 Fingerprint in Firefox to the fingerpint reported by Mail-in-a-Box's setup script in your SSH connection (see the example above). If they match, it is safe to continue.
Click on Close.
Click on Confirm Security Exception. It is safe (and convenient!) to permanently store the exception.
The page will then load securely.
You can also get a signed SSL certificate later (see below) so you don't have to go through these steps.
System status & DNS
Log in to the administrative control panel with the email address and password that you provided during Mail-in-a-Box's setup. Proceed to the System Status Checks.
These checks will guide you toward finishing your setup:
The control panel will check if your DNS is set up correctly. Things related to the domain name system sometimes take several minutes, or much longer, to update. This is called DNS propagation. Wait for the control panel to report no DNS problems '-- reload the page every 15 minutes or so. If problems persist, something went wrong.
DNSSEC is an optional step that adds additional security to DNS. The control panel will walk you through setting up DNSSEC as well. You will need to go back to your domain name registrar and enter additional information.
If you skipped the DNS settings earlier, you should now go to the DNS (Custom/External) > External DNS section of the control panel and copy the DNS records into your own DNS control panel.
Getting a signed TLS (SSL) certificate
Use the TLS Certificates page of the control panel to provision a free TLS (SSL) certificate from Let's Encrypt. If you don't want to use Let's Encrypt, you can also add any other certificate and import it in the box. The box will help you by generating a private key. Just follow the instructions given in the control panel.
Checking your email
The administrative control panel will provide instructions for how to check your email with webmail, IMAP/SMTP, or Exchange/ActiveSync.
You can also add or remove additional email accounts and mail aliases (forwarders).
Advanced tools
The administrative control panel also helps you with...
Setting up contact and calendar synchronization
Publishing a static website
Checking the status of backups
Setting custom DNS records, e.g. if you run a website on the same domain name but on another machine
Keeping Your Box Humming
Follow @Mailinabox on Twitter so you know when we post any updates to Mail-in-a-Box.
Check your box's control panel periodically to see that the System Status Checks report everything is OK. Your box will also automatically email you whenever anything changes in the status checks.
Remember that it is always safe to re-run the setup script by typing sudo mailinabox at the SSH terminal prompt.
Finally, consult the Maintenance Guide for further questions.
Systems Checks
If you want to double-check that your system is configured correctly, here are some tools:
DNS: pingability.com/zoneinfo
DKIM and SPF: dkimvalidator.com
SSL: ssllabs.com
Silicon Valley forces people to stay current
I once blew an interview because I used GIMP as the image
manipulation program and the interviewer wanted CURRENT Photoshop experience as
part of the job so GIMP was no good for experience. Freelancers are
constantly forced to maintain current software training with Microsoft Windows
and Photoshop in order to get steady gigs in large offices. As a result they
would like to get home offices running on Linux but can't. If Microsoft
would stop its MONOPOLISTIC software practices and go away it would mean more jobs
for freelancers and subcontractors.
Backlash grows against sale of domain names company - MarketWatch
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 09:35
The Netherlands chapter of The Internet Society has hit out against the sale of the .org domain to private equity firm Ethos Capital, over concerns that it will lead to censorship and increased prices.
Earlier this month, The Internet Society (ISOC) '' a U.S. non-profit which oversees internet standards - announced plans to sell the Public Interest Registry (PIR) to Ethos for an undisclosed sum.
The PIR sells the rights to use the suffix .org to non-profit organisations (NGO). Those rights will now pass to newly set-up Ethos if the buyout group completes the deal which is scheduled to close by the first quarter of 2020.
There are more than 10 million .org domain names registered worldwide. Ethos has pledged to set up a Stewardship Council to ''uphold PIR's core founding values and provide support through a variety of community programs''.
Some critics of the deal say that without ISOC's oversight, Ethos could abuse recently-changed rules to take advantage of the NGO sector. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) '' which is a non-profit in charge of the domain-name system - removed the price cap that banned the PIR from charging more than $8.25 per domain and gave permission to implement protections which may make it easier for some governments to censor NGO websites.
In a statement sent to MarketWatch, ISOC said: ''The current price of a .org domain name is roughly $10 a year and Ethos has stated its plan to live within the spirit of this historic practice. This would result in annual price increases of up to 10% on average '' which equates to approximately $1 per year meaning .org will continue to be one of the most affordable domain names on the market.''
The organization added that it understood the concerns over the sale, but said much of the criticism stemmed from the fact ''that we weren't as clear as we should have been'' about what it would mean for .org.
Erik Brooks, founder and chief executive of Ethos, has pledged to set up a Stewardship Council to ''uphold PIR's core founding values and provide support through a variety of community programs''.
Nora Abusitta-Ouri, who is chief purpose officer at Ethos Capital, previously held a number of positions at ICANN, including the role of senior vice president, development and public responsibility.
Alex Blom, chairman of the Netherlands Chapter of ISOC said: ''We share the misgivings of the international community about giving a single privately owned entity the power to raise tariffs, implement rights protection mechanisms possibly leading to censorship, and suspend domains at the request of local governments.''
Blom added: ''We call on ISOC Global to reverse the sale of the .org domain to private equity firm Ethos Capital. We invite all ISOC chapters across the world to join us in this statement.''
ISOC and Ethos Capital were contacted for comment.
Opposition for the deal is growing. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit defending digital privacy and free speech has started a petition to stop the deal. On Thursday morning, it had close to 10,000 signatures.
Tim Berners-Lee, who is credited with inventing the World Wide Web, said he was ''very concerned'' about the sale.
''If the Public Interest Registry ends up not being required to act in the public interest, it would be a travesty. We need an urgent explanation,'' he said in a tweet on Wednesday.
This article has been updated to add a statement from The Internet Society
'Professional' ransomware gang targets 1,800 large organizations worldwide, Dutch investigators find
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 17:18
Filip Truta at Bitdefender blogged: "A confidential report from the Netherlands' National Cyber '‹'‹Security Center warns that ransomware operators are targeting at least 1,800 large organizations worldwide in industries such as construction, chemical, healthcare, food, entertainment and critical infrastructure (energy, water, utilities).
"The report says three ransomware strains are used in attacks worldwide, including many targeting the Netherlands. Those are LockerGoga, MegaCortex and Ryuk, which have gained notoriety over the past year in attacks on large infrastructures with high annual turnover rates.
"The NCSC said it has only identified 1,800 victims, but the actual number of targeted organizations could be much higher.
''Dutch branches of multinationals have also been hit, including those of an American chemical company. Moreover, that company is an important supplier of critical infrastructure in the Netherlands. This includes, among other things, drinking water, internet access and energy,'' according to Dutch television channel NOS, which obtained a copy of the NCSC report." Source: Bitdefender.
How Google Is Stealing Your Personal Health Data : Conscious Life News
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 17:06
By Dr. Mercola | Waking Times
Google, by far one of the greatest monopolies that ever existed, and poses a unique threat to anyone concerned about health, supplements, food and your ability to obtain truthful information about these and other issues.
This year, we've seen an unprecedented push to implement censorship across all online platforms, making obtaining and sharing crucial information about holistic health increasingly difficult.
As detailed in ''Stark Evidence Showing How Google Censors Health News,'' Google's June 2019 update, which took effect June 3, effectively removed Mercola.com and hundreds of other natural health sites from Google search results. Google is also building a specific search tool for medical and health-related searches.1
And, while not the sole threat to privacy, Google is definitely one of the greatest. Over time, Google has positioned itself in such a way that it's become deeply embedded in your day-to-day life, including your health.
In recent years, the internet and medicine have become increasingly intertwined, giving rise to ''virtual medicine'' and self-diagnosing '-- a trend that largely favors drugs and costly, invasive treatments '-- and Google has its proverbial fingers in multiple slices of this pie.
Health Data Mining Poses Unique Privacy RisksFor example, in 2016, Google partnered with WebMD, launching an app allowing users to ask medical questions.2 The following year, Google partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, launching a depression self-assessment quiz which turned out to be little more than stealth marketing for antidepressants.3 ,4
Google and various tech startups have also been investigating the possibility of assessing mental health problems using a combination of electronic medical records and tracking your internet and social media use.
In 2018, Google researchers announced they'd created an artificial intelligence-equipped retinal scanner that can appraise your risk for a heart attack.5
According to a recent Financial Times report,6 Google, Amazon and Microsoft collect data entered into health and diagnostic sites, which is then shared with hundreds of third parties '-- and this data is not anonymized, meaning it's tied to specifically to you, without your knowledge or consent.
What this means is DoubleClick, Google's ad service, will know which prescriptions you've searched for on Drugs.com, thus providing you with personalized drug ads. Meanwhile, Facebook receives information about what you've searched for in WebMD's symptom checker.
''There is a whole system that will seek to take advantage of you because you're in a compromised state,'' Tim Lebert, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University told Financial Times.7 ''I find that morally repugnant.''
While some find these kinds of technological advancements enticing, others see a future lined with red warning flags. As noted by Wolfie Christl, a technologist and researcher interviewed by Financial Times:8
''These findings are quite remarkable, and very concerning. From my perspective, this kind of data are clearly sensitive, has special protections
The following graphic, created by Financial Times, illustrates the flow of data from BabyCenter.com, a site that focuses on pregnancy, children's health and parenting, to third parties, and the types of advertising these third parties then generate.
Tech Companies Are Accessing Your Medical RecordsAs described in the featured Wall Street Journal video,9 a number of tech companies, including Amazon, Apple and the startup Xealth, are diving into people's personal electronic medical records to expand their businesses.
Xealth has developed an application that is embedded in your electronic health records. Doctors who use the Xealth application '-- which aims to serve most health care sectors and is being rapidly adopted as a preferred ''digital formulary''10 '-- give the company vast access to market products to their patients. The app includes lists of products and services a doctor believes might be beneficial for certain categories of patients.
When seeing a patient, the doctor will select the products and services he or she wants the patient to get, generating an electronic shopping list that is then sent to the patient. The shopping links direct the patient to purchase these items from Xealth's third-party shopping sites, such as Amazon.
As noted in the video, ''Some privacy experts worry that certain Xealth vendors can see when a patient purchased a product through Xealth, and therefore through their electronic health record.'' In the video, Jennifer Miller, assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine says:
''In theory, it could boost adherence to physician recommendations, which is a huge challenge in the U.S. health care system. On the other side, there are real worries about what type of information Amazon in particular is getting access to.
So, from what I understand, when a patient clicks on that Xealth app and is taken to Amazon, the data are coded as Xealth data, which means Amazon likely knows that you purchased these products through your electronic health records.''
Amazon Is Mining Health RecordsAmazon, in turn, has developed software, called Amazon Comprehend Medical, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to mine people's electronic health records. This software has been sold to hospitals, pharmacies, researchers and various other health care providers.
The software reveals medical and health trends that might otherwise go unnoticed. As one example, given in the video, a researcher can use this software to mine tens of thousands of health records to identify candidates for a specific research study.
While this can certainly be helpful, it can also be quite risky, due to potential inaccuracies. Doctors may enter inaccurate data for a patient, for example, data that, were it accurate, would render that patient a poor test subject.
Apple is also getting in on the action through its health app. It facilitates access to electronic medical records by importing all your records directly from your health care provider. The app is meant to be ''helpful'' by allowing you to pull up your medical records on your iPhone and present them to any doctor, anywhere in the world.
What Does This Mean for Your PrivacyWhile tech companies like Amazon and Apple claim your data are encrypted (to protect it from hacking) and that they cannot view your records directly, data breaches have become so common that such ''guarantees'' are next to worthless.
As noted in the video by Dudley Adams, a data use expert at the University of California, San Francisco, ''No encryption is perfect. All it takes is time for that encryption to be broken.'' One very real concern about having your medical records hacked into is that your information may be sold to insurance companies and your employer, which they can then use against you, either by raising your rates or denying employment.
After all, sick people cost insurance companies and employers more money, so both have a vested interest in avoiding chronically ill individuals. So, were your medical records to get out, you could potentially become uninsurable or unemployable.
Google Collects Health Data on Millions of AmericansGetting back to Google, a whistleblower recently revealed the company amassed health data from millions of Americans in 21 states through its Project Nightingale,11 ,12 and patients have not been informed of this data mining. As reported by The Guardian:13
''A whistleblower who works in Project Nightingale '... has expressed anger to the Guardian that patients are being kept in the dark about the massive deal.
The anonymous whistleblower has posted a video on the social media platform Daily Motion that contains a document dump of hundreds of images of confidential files relating to Project Nightingale.
The secret scheme '... involves the transfer to Google of healthcare data held by Ascension, the second-largest healthcare provider in the U.S. The data is being transferred with full personal details including name and medical history and can be accessed by Google staff. Unlike other similar efforts it has not been made anonymous though a process of removing personal information known as de-identification '...
Among the documents are the notes of a private meeting held by Ascension operatives involved in Project Nightingale. In it, they raise serious concerns about the way patients' personal health information will be used by Google to build new artificial intelligence and other tools.''
The anonymous whistleblower told The Guardian:
''Most Americans would feel uncomfortable if they knew their data was being haphazardly transferred to Google without proper safeguards and security in place. This is a totally new way of doing things. Do you want your most personal information transferred to Google? I think a lot of people would say no.''
On a side note, the video the whistleblower uploaded to Daily Motion has since been taken down, with a note saying the ''video has been removed due to a breach of the Terms of Use.''
According to Google and Ascension, the data being shared will be used to build a search tool with machine-learning algorithms that will spit out diagnostic recommendations and suggestions for medications that health professionals can then use to guide them in their treatment.
Google claims only a limited number of individuals will have access to the data, but just how trustworthy is Google these days? Something tells me that since the data includes full personal details, they'll have no problem figuring out a way to eventually make full use of it.
READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE'...'...
Tags: "featured, featured, Google and big data, Google and data analysis, Google and threat to private medical information, Google and virtual medicine, how Google mines data
SMS Replacement is Exposing Users to Text, Call Interception Thanks to Sloppy Telecos - VICE
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 16:46
A standard used by phone carriers around the world can leave users open to all sorts of attacks, like text message and call interception, spoofed phone numbers, and leaking their coarse location, new research reveals.
The Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard is essentially the replacement for SMS. The news shows how even as carriers move onto more modern protocols for communication, phone network security continues to be an exposed area with multiple avenues for attack in some implementations of RCS.
"I'm surprised that large companies, like Vodafone, introduce a technology that exposes literally hundreds of millions of people, without asking them, without telling them," Karsten Nohl from cybersecurity firm Security Research Labs (SRLabs) told Motherboard in a phone call.
SRLabs researchers Luca Melette and Sina Yazdanmehr will present their RCS findings at the upcoming Black Hat Europe conference in December, and discussed some of their work at security conference DeepSec on Friday.
RCS is a relatively new standard for carrier messaging and includes more features than SMS, such as photos, group chats, and file transfers. Back in 2015, Google announced it would be adopting RCS to move users away from SMS, and that it had acquired a company called Jibe Mobile to help with the transition. RCS essentially runs as an app on your phone that logs into a service with a username and password, Nohl explained.
SRLabs estimated RCS is already implemented by at least 100 mobile operators, with many of the deployments being in Europe. SRLabs said that all the major U.S. carriers'--AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon'--were using RCS.
Do you work for AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon? We'd love to hear from you. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Joseph Cox securely on Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, Wickr on josephcox, OTR chat on jfcox@jabber.ccc.de, or email joseph.cox@vice.com.
SRLabs didn't find an issue in the RCS standard itself, but rather how it is being implemented by different telecos. Because some of the standard is undefined, there's a good chance companies may deploy it in their own way and make mistakes.
"Everybody seems to get it wrong right now, but in different ways," Nohl said. SRLabs took a sample of SIM cards from a variety of carriers and checked for RCS-related domains, and then looked into particular security issues with each. SRLabs didn't say which issues impacted which particular telecos.
Some of those issues include how devices receive RCS configuration files. In one instance, a server provides the configuration file for the right device by identifying them by their IP address. But because they also use that IP address, "Any app that you install on your phone, even if you give it no permissions whatsoever, it can request this file. So now every app can get your username and password to all your text messages and all your voice calls. That's unexpected," Nohl said.
In another instance, a teleco sends a text message with a six-digit code to verify that the RCS user is who they say they are, but "then give you an unlimited number of tries" to input the code, Nohl said. "One million attempts takes five minutes," he added, meaning that it could be possible to brute force through the authentication process.
"All of these mistakes from the 90s are being reinvented, reintroduced," Nohl said. "It is being rolled out for upwards of a billion people already who are all affected by this."
Verizon did not respond to a request for comment and T-Mobile did not provide a statement in time for publication.
Vodafone said in a statement, "We are aware of the research by SRLabs. We take security very seriously and we have a number of measures in place to protect RCS services. We will review these protections in light of the research and, if required, take any further protective measures."
AT&T and Sprint directed questions to the GSM Association (GSMA), a trade body for network operators.
Claire Cranton, a spokesperson for the GSMA, wrote in an email, "The GSMA is aware of research undertaken by SRLabs into RCS security in which some previously known, but no new, vulnerabilities are reported. The findings highlight issues with some RCS implementations but not every deployment, or the RCS specifications themselves, are impacted."
Cranton said the researchers will present their findings to an expert group at GSMA next week, and that an initial analysis of the research shows there are countermeasures to the uncovered issues.
"We are grateful to the researchers for allowing the industry the opportunity to consider their findings. The GSMA welcomes any research that enhances the security and user confidence of mobile services and encourages all researchers to submit their work to our Coordinated Vulnerability Disclosure (CVD) Programme which enables them to share findings and to contribute to industry's ongoing work to drive security improvements," Cranton wrote.
Nohl said of the move to RCS, "We find that is actually a step backwards for a lot of networks."
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What Is RCS Messaging (And How to Get It) | Tom's Guide [Google and no end to end encryption]
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 16:45
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Updated Nov. 20: Google has begun rolling out RCS to all Android phones through its own Android Messages, meaning users no longer have to wait for their carrier to enable the feature on their phone.
Rich communication services, better known as RCS, has been a very long time coming. When it finally reaches your device '-- as it likely will before the end of this year '-- it will finally put conventional SMS out of its misery. But what exactly is RCS?
At its core, RCS '-- or more specifically, Chat, which is the Google-developed RCS Universal Profile built for interoperability between wireless networks '-- is merely another internet-based messaging system not unlike iMessage, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. The difference is that RCS Chat will eventually replace SMS and MMS, operating completely within your phone's standard texting app, while still granting luxuries like read receipts and live typing indicators.
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However, RCS' rollout has been nebulous, to say the least. Initially, RCS was to be deployed by the carriers themselves, in partnership with Google, on a device-by-device basis. This approach didn't really work, though, as all four major carriers quickly balked at supporting new handsets with RCS features.
Instead, the Big Four networks formed a joint venture, called the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative, to deliver their own proprietary app that will be incompatible with Google's standard when it releases next year. Google then countered by flipping on the RCS switch for all Android devices through Android Messages. That's excellent news for anyone who has been waiting for some kind of iMessage-esque counterpart on Android, though the new messaging standard won't make it to all users overnight.
When will you get RCS?
First, we have to note that some Android users already have RCS, through their particular carrier and device combination. Verizon customers using a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL, T-Mobile customers with one of Samsung's more recent Galaxy S or Note devices and Sprint customers that purchased an Android phone through the carrier should all have RCS through either Google's Android Messages app or Samsung Messages, depending on the make and model of their device.
Everyone else, though, merely has to do two things: install the latest version of Android Messages, and wait. Google is enabling RCS on a server-side basis, which means there's no particular app or trick you can employ to get RCS immediately. (Many individuals on the RCS subreddit started using a "hack" to get RCS on their devices right before Google announced the widespread roll-out, though that scheme seems to yield varying levels of success.)
Google also says it is working to bring RCS to more phone makers' first-party texting apps. That's an important project, because unless users know to download Android Messages separately from the Play Store, they might not realize they have the ability to use RCS (let alone what RCS is to begin with).
How to enable RCS
You'll know your device is RCS ready once you receive an in-app notification within Android Messages. Simply follow the on-screen prompts to enable Chat features, and you should be online sending messages over RCS in no time. Just remember that the individual you're conversing with will also need to have RCS, otherwise the conversation will fall back to old-fashioned SMS.
If you haven't received said notification but would still like to check for your own peace of mind, you can do so within Android Messages' settings. At the top, you'll find a sub-menu labeled Chat settings. Tap it, and you'll be able to see whether or not your device is supported. If it is, you should be able to simply toggle it on and get connected. This menu also contains other settings, to enable or disable aspects like read receipts and typing indicators.
What about iPhones?
Now that RCS is making its way to all Android devices, the standard faces a very promising future. That said, there's still a pretty big thorn in its side: Apple.
Of course, iPhone users don't have much of a need for RCS, because they already have iMessage. However, iMessage only works between iPhones '-- and that exclusivity has made it a marquee feature in Cupertino's handsets. Until Apple comes aboard the RCS train, communications between iPhones and Android handsets will still have to happen over slow, archaic SMS.
However, Apple is reportedly turning the corner on enabling RCS. The GSMA consortium of mobile carriers has apparently begun talks with Apple to bring RCS Universal Profile to its products, according to a slide from a presentation that surfaced on Reddit in early 2019.
If Apple does ultimately support RCS, it will likely take the place of SMS within the iPhone's Messages app. At the very least, that means you won't have to wait quite as long sending and receiving messages with "green bubble" friends, and you'll be able to enjoy full resolution media as well. However, RCS will not employ end-to-end encryption as iMessage and many other internet-based communication platforms do.
To get answers to your burning tech questions, head to the Tom's Guide Forum for the latest tips from our resident experts and your fellow members. You can also comment on this article or email us directly at helpme@tomsguide.com.
Best Encrypted Messaging Apps
7 Things You Need to Know About Google's SMS Killer
Best and Worst Phone Carrier
Breaking: Private Equity company acquires .Org registry - Domain Name Wire | Domain Name News
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 07:37
Ethos Capital, led by former ABRY Partners Managing Partner, buys .Org registry.
I thought this might happen. And now it has.
Fresh off ICANN's blunder letting Public Interest Registry set whatever price it wants for .org domain names, Internet Society (ISOC) has sold the .org registry Public Interest Registry (PIR) to private equity company Ethos Capital.
Game. Set. Match.
This gives Internet Society a huge (as yet unkown) endowment rather than worrying about what the future of the .org domain name holds. PIR generated $101 million in revenue in 2018 and contributed nearly $50 million to Internet Society. It contributed $74 million to ISOC in 2017.
ICANN made this deal much more valuable by removing all price controls on .org.
While Internet Society might not have wanted to raise prices, a private equity company surely will try to maximize the value of the registry.
In a release about the deal, Internet Society noted:
Today's news has tremendous benefits for both the Internet Society and PIR. The transaction will help the Internet Society to secure its future through more stable, diversified and sustainable financial resources than it has at present, allowing the organization to plan for the long term and advance its vision of an Internet for everyone on an even broader scale. It will also enable PIR to continue expanding its mission and important work under new ownership '-- including its goal of keeping .ORG accessible and reasonably priced '-- while further strengthening and deepening its commitment to the .ORG Community.
We'll have to see what ''reasonably priced'' means. Certainly, the goals of Ethos Capital are very different from Internet Society.
Ethos Capital is a new private equity firm lead by Erik Brooks. Brooks was at Abry Partners until earlier this year. Abry Partners acquired Donuts and installed former ICANN President of Global Domains Akram Atallah in the top spot there.
Donuts co-founder Jon Nevett left to be CEO of Public Interest Registry.
The other person at Ethos is former ICANN Senior Vice President Abusitta-Ouri.
Ethos appears to have just been founded. It acquired the domain name EthosCapital.com at the end of October through Afternic.
[Update: The firm might be tied to former ICANN CEO Fadi Chehad(C) as well.]
PIR CEO Jon Nevett commented to Domain Name Wire:
Our goal has always been to make .ORG accessible and reasonably priced '' and that will continue under our new ownership. PIR has made reasonable decisions on price in the past, and we will uphold this spirit going forward. We would never make dramatic price increases as we know it would harm our registrants, as well as our registrars.
ICANN watcher George Kirikos brought up the potential of a PE sale when ICANN proposed the contractual changes removing price caps:
Some have suggested that the Internet Society and/or PIR would never raise fees by a large amount. However, ''hope is not a strategy.'' Past performance is no guarantee of the future. Leadership can change, as can priorities/missions. It's clear from section 7.5 of the the draft contract itself:
https://www.icann.org/sites/default/files/tlds/org/org-proposed-renewal-18mar19-en.pdf
that ISOC/PIR could simply sell or assign the registry contract to another entity (e.g. Private Equity, just as registry operator Donuts was sold by its founders), and that new owner/entity could take the heat for future egregious fee increases. ICANN would not be able to stop such a deal. Such a sale would allow ISOC to create a huge endowment for itself worth billions of dollars, given that .org is arguably the second most desirable gTLD, after only .com.
This type of deal doesn't happen overnight, and has likely been in the works for a while.
When ICANN decided to remove price restrictions on .org, my thought was this would be a pivitol moment in the history of ICANN. But it probably wouldn't come back to bite it for another 5-10 years, at which point current leadership would have moved on.
But it came back to bite it now, and many more groups will call upon ICANN to justify its decision.
Public Interest Registry had operating income of $45.9 million in 2018. Any amount it increases prices falls directly to the bottom line.
I have reached out to Ethos for comment.
Update: Richard Kirkendall, CEO of Namecheap, which filed a reconsideration request with ICANN over the .org price cap removal, released this statement to DNW:
Obviously, we are disturbed by the timing of this transaction and how it reflects on the decision by ICANN to lift the price caps. While we all as registrars will be affected by this sale, the biggest losers will be our customers and all other .org holders who are sure to see their renewal prices increase over time.
Additional coverage:
The economics of .org domain names
The interesting connection between the .Org deal and ICANN
Note: this post has been updated throughout the day with more information and comments from the industry.
Microsoft Made Major Setup Changes in Windows 10 Version 1909 - Thurrott.com
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 11:43
Windows 10 version 1909 is, by all accounts, a very minor update. But there is one major change, at least for Windows 10 Home users. And it's something you'll only experience during the Out of Box Experience (OOBE) phase of Setup.
For those unfamiliar, Windows 10 Setup is split into two main sections, an offline interactive setup sequence (which businesses can automate via scripting and other tools) and the Out of Box Experience (OOBE), an interactive wizard for the customer. If you clean install Windows 10 using USB install media, you'll have to deal with both parts of Setup. But if you buy a new PC or use Reset this PC (or other Windows 10 recovery tools), you will only need to deal with the OOBE.
And the OOBE has changed in Windows 10. It's changed in somewhat minor ways for Windows 10 Pro users. And in one major way for Windows 10 Home users.
Indeed, I'm still trying to figure out how to handle these changes in the Windows 10 Field Guide, as I'll need to update this book in some way. The issue is that the OOBE previously allowed individuals installing Windows 10 Pro and Home for personal use to choose between a Microsoft account and a local account (or what Setup called an ''offline account'') during Setup.
Now, however, these two product editions handle this part of the OOBE differently.
Windows 10 Pro still lets you choose between a Microsoft account and a local account, and the ''Sign in with Microsoft'' screen hasn't changed; if you would prefer to use a local account, you must click the subtle ''Offline account'' link in the bottom left.
What's changed is that when you select this link, the OOBE shifts into a new ''Limited experience'' setup after prompting you with a new screen to once again reconsider and just use a Microsoft account already.
If you do accept this limited experience setup, you'll be prompted to create a local account username and, optionally, a password. Then, you will see a more limited number of configuration choices than you would with a Microsoft account: You're prompted about activity history (Timeline), your digital assistant (Cortana), and your privacy settings only.
The changes to Windows 10 Home Setup are more profound.
First, you'll have to deal with Cortana scatting and screeching her way into your eardrums: Microsoft removed the pointless ''Welcome'' part of Setup in which you must sit through a painful Cortana monologue from Windows 10 Pro. But it's still there in Windows 10 Home.
Worse, unlike with Windows 10 Pro, you are no longer even offered that ''Offline account'' link when you get to the ''Sign in with Microsoft'' screen: If you connected to a network previously in the OOBE, that option will not appear.
The key, of course, is to not connect to a network if you intend to create a local account. (I recommend creating a local account during Setup for a variety of reasons, even if you intend to later convert it to a Microsoft account.) And if you don't connect to a network, Setup will, of course, bleat at you about that, too.
But the good news is, once you get by that'--by choosing the so-called ''limited experience'' noted by the link at the bottom left'--you can simply sign-in with a local account.
After that, you'll be prompted with the same three configuration steps'--activity history (Timeline), your digital assistant (Cortana), and your privacy settings'--as we see with Windows 10 Pro.
But there is one more change.
If you don't configure a network during OOBE but later do connect to a network, Windows 10 Home (or Pro, though this is more likely to happen with Home) will suddenly prompt you to complete the OOBE steps that were previously hidden from you because you had chosen an ''offline'' (or ''limited'') Setup experience.
And yes, it's Setup again, back from the dead.
That was never the case with previous Windows 10 versions. And you can just cancel it if you want, thankfully: Just select ''Skip for now.''
Together, these changes represent a major shift from previous Windows 10 versions, especially if you're using Windows 10 Home. You might view this as a ''Microsoft giveth, Microsoft taketh away'' moment since the software giant recently relented on its terrible policy of not letting Windows 10 Home users delay software updates, only to turn around and now prevent most Home users from even considering a local account.
More to the point, if you're installing Windows 10 Home and do wish to use a local account, just be sure to not configure a network when prompted.
Finally, I had hoped to update the Window 10 Field Guide before posting about this, but figuring out how to squeeze this information into an already-dense installation chapter is proving a bit frustrating. I'll get that updated as soon as possible.
Tagged with Windows 10 Field Guide
The Purge
YouTube to ban Big Bear?
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 17:26
It will be interesting to see if YouTube follows through on what are rumored to be plans to ban everyone associated with Proud Boys and Infowars:I have an insider at YouTube and he's telling me all the scoop on the imminent conservative purge. Stephen Crowder's on the list, Paul Joseph Watson's on the list, Owen Benjamin is on the list, anyone remotely associated with Proud Boys or Infowars is on the list.Apparently this is supposed to happen on December 10th. We'll see. If it's true, then we can safely conclude that no one at YouTube has read Corporate Cancer yet. I'm skeptical myself, because that's the date the new terms of use come into effect and there is no particular reason YouTube needs them in order to deplatform anyone.But regardless, this would be a good time to subscribe to Unauthorized.Labels: law, SJW, Unauthorized
Is Another YouTube Purge Imminent? What Will It Bring? '' American Greatness
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 00:26
Get ready for the new euphemism for social media censorship: ''no longer commercially viable.'' YouTube on December 10 reportedly will implement new terms of service that allow the video-sharing goliath to end creator accounts summarily if they cannot be monetized. And how will YouTube decide if an account cannot be monetized? By removing ads from a channel ahead of the changing terms.
British nationalist Laura Towler sounded the alarm on Wednesday and urged her viewers to subscribe to her BitChute account after receiving a notification from YouTube of the impending changes. Towler reported that her videos were still monetized as of Tuesday. But after she received the notice, she discovered that YouTube had peremptorily removed all of the ads on her videos.
As a result, her channel is ''no longer commercially viable.''
Since 2016, and with increasing frequency, conservatives and nationalists are seeing their YouTube channels erased, often with no warning or explanation. In the blink of an eye, years of work creating content and building an audience are lost, often along with the related income.
Towler is not the first right-of-center vlogger to warn of another impending purge. Earlier this month, Chadwick Moore, a columnist for Spectator USA with 51,100 Twitter followers, tweeted: ''Any political YouTubers with remotely interesting, controversial, or right-of-center content needs to set up their @bitchute or other alt account now and start moving videos over and promoting their new platform. Sources say massive purge is starting mid-December. Worse than ever.''
The timing makes sense. With the Christmas season getting into full-swing and the 2020 primary elections beginning in January, everyone's a little busier than usual and might not notice that their favorite YouTube channel has disappeared.
In the depleted field of content creators that YouTube has still permitted to post despite their unwelcome content, who will be left standing?
The Nonaggression Pact Between Social Media Monopoliesand Establishment ConservativesIf the entire weight of America's libertarian-conservative billionaire network were deployed to defend the First Amendment and resist the decisions by social media monopolies to purge nationalist content, they might still do it, but they'd have a fight on their hands. But just as Molotov and Ribbentrop agreed to carve up Poland in 1939, it appears there is, at the least, a tacit nonaggression pact in place between establishment conservatives and the social media giants.
As an aside, and to show just how much has changed in American culture, there was a time when the ACLU would have defended Lana Lokteff, James Allsup, and all the rest of YouTube's digital desaparecidos.
Over the past few years, and especially during 2019, Google and Facebook have been buying their way into conservative and libertarian circles. Within the network of think tanks and PACs that are rapidly becoming known as ''Conservatism Inc.,'' who knows how much money they're throwing money around. It's a smart business move for these social media monopolies. When people who develop ideas are getting paid, they tend to develop paid for ideas.
Google and Facebook can afford to buy their way into pretty much anything. Google's value as a company now exceeds $900 billion, and their most recent balance sheet shows they are sitting on an astonishing $109 billion in cash. Facebook, way behind Google and yet rich beyond comprehension, has a market value of $567 billion, with a mere $41 billion in cash lying around.
Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting two Google operatives who were staffing a table in the networking hall at a national libertarian/conservative conference which shall remain unnamed. Apparently these two Google employees had been experiencing nothing but warm affirmations of their private company prerogative to censor whomever they want, but they became uncomfortable when asked about their YouTube subsidiary's systematic deplatforming of various independent channels such as Red Ice TV (still available on BitChute). The more poised of the two promised to refer me to someone in the Google organization who ''would love to talk with you.''
Pick Your PurgeAfter multiple follow up emails sent in the subsequent weeks, a brief reply directed me to ''[email protected]'' Following many more emails and voicemails left with Google's press relations office, the following reply came on November 21:
Hi '-- Per Susan's Q3 Creator Letter, YouTube is built on the premise of openness. Based on this open platform, millions of creators around the world have connected with global audiences and many of them have built thriving businesses in the process. But openness comes with its challenges, which is why we also have Community Guidelines that we update on an ongoing basis. And over the last few years, we've been investing significantly over the past few years [sic] in the teams and systems that protect YouTube. This work has focused on four pillars: removing violative content, raising up authoritative content, reducing the spread of borderline content and rewarding trusted creators.
Thanks,
Google Press Team
First of all, do these sound like the words of a platform, or a publisher?
Exactly what ''Community Guidelines'' were ''violative'' in the removal of Allsup and Red Ice TV? Could it be this?
Our products are platforms for free expression. But we don't support content that promotes or condones violence against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, caste, sexual orientation, or gender identity, or content that incites hatred on the basis of these core characteristics.
The operative words here, to justify deplatforming, would not be to ''promote or condone violence,'' because channels are banned that haven't done that. They must be ''content that incites hatred on the basis of these core characteristics,'' and there's a huge problem with this. Because anything nowadays can be said to ''incite hatred.''
YouTube is not a publisher. It is a platform and this means it is exempted from liability for whatever content appears on the channels of individual creators. If content doesn't violate the First Amendment, it supposedly cannot be removed from a platform. The only reason YouTube can get away with it is that its parent company is sitting on $109 billion in cash and can overwhelm any legal challenge.
But who would challenge them? Not libertarians, because Google is a ''private company'''--as if that justifies violating the conditions of its platform exemption. Would Conservatism, Inc. challenge Google, or not? Is Google now pouring some of that $109 billion in cash into donations to the charitable foundations and PACs that dole out money to conservative groups?
The legal questions just got more subtle, however, with YouTube's new ''terms of service.'' Who is to deny advertisers the right to demand their ads avoid various types of content? Who is to deny a platform the right to deny a forum to channels that lack ''commercial viability''? Can you occupy part of the public square, if you don't pay for it? But don't taxes subsidize the internet?
And who will pay for the attorneys to make these arguments on behalf of the banished, if the ACLU and other powerful left-wing pressure groups, establishment conservatives and libertarians, and every major corporate online advertiser in America are paying legal fees for the other side?
Censorship Validates Extremist Rhetoric,Honest, Open Debate Does NotYouTube and its parent company, Google, had better think carefully about what they're about to do. Because the nationalist Right will consider another round of silencing not only to be a validation of their perception of a double standard, whereby social media monopolies hold conservative content to a different standard than liberal content but also that this shows how social media monopolies have bought off the more moderate right-wing. In other words, they will view the moderate right-wing as complicit in the corporate muzzling of free speech. Then what?
The strange case of Nick Fuentes offers a glimpse into what could come next. Only 21 years old, Fuentes likely would not have such a high-profile if not for the social media giants' aggressive deplatforming efforts. It was only after other voices were silenced that he rapidly accumulated millions of views on his YouTube channel and his website attained an Alexa ranking that your average libertarian think tank only dreams of achieving. Fuentes not only became part of a shrinking set of alternative voices still active, all of his pronouncements'--from inconvenient facts to outrageous invective to outright racism'--gained credibility.
One of the best summaries of what Fuentes has done can be found on the channel of an anonymous British YouTuber with 61,000 subscribers who goes by the name ''On the Offensive.'' He presents a 30 minute series of video clips of college events hosted by Charlie Kirk's Turning Point USA, where nearly every person during the Q&A asks uncomfortable questions about immigration and other issues where they feel betrayed by what they allege is a co-opted conservative establishment.
Thanks to Fuentes and others, including the more studious Vincent James, there is now an intensifying civil war between what might be described as the nationalist right vs the globalist right, despite the fact that both parties to this war are largely comprised of Trump supporters.
Red Ice TV's Lana Lokteff, in a recent American Greatness interview, had this to say about deplatforming: ''If an idea is harmful or just awful, best to talk about why that is and air everything out from every angle. The best argument wins. The truth should not fear any inquisition. If we do not, that is what creates desperate people doing radical things to be heard.''
You can agree with that sentiment even if you disagree with everything else.
Google, Facebook, and the rest of the social media giants, along with, perhaps, their new partners in Conservatism Inc., need to realize an historical truth. Every time you mow down another voice, the replacement voice arrives immediately, it grows faster and uses the censorship threat as justification for even more extreme speech.
Censorship validates extremist content, both for the producer and the consumer.
Ilhan Omar Challenger Banned From Twitter For Saying the Rep. Should Be Hanged for Treason if She Passed Info to Iran
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 10:03
by Cassandra Fairbanks November 28, 2019 The campaign account belonging to Danielle Stella, the Republican hoping to unseat Ilhan Omar in 2020, has been permanently banned from Twitter for saying that the representative should be tried and hanged for treason if she passed sensitive information to Iran.The 31-year-old candidate also posted the same sentiments on her Telegram channel and on Facebook.
Stella's tweet was in response to reports about a testimony from Kuwaiti-born Canadian businessman Alan Bender given before a Florida judge during the trial of Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al Thani. He claimed that Rep. Omar is a ''Qatari asset'' and acted as a conduit for information to Iran.
Rep. Omar's office has denied the assertions from Bender and said that it is Saudi Arabian propaganda.
''Since the day she was elected, Saudi Arabian trolls and mouthpieces have targeted Omar with misinformation and conspiracy theories. The latest, outlandishly absurd story from a Saudi-funded media outlet is, of course, false and only the latest in that trend,'' Rep. Omar's office said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Twitter told The Hill on Wednesday that ''the account was permanently suspended for repeated violations of the Twitter Rules.''
Stella's official campaign account was also removed from the platform.
Not a good look when Danielle Stella has both of her accts suspended trying to beat Ilhan Omar. It pretty difficult to be so hateful that your campaign's official Twitter acct is suspended. pic.twitter.com/xe5VMHfN7M
'-- CB22 (@22CB22CB) November 27, 2019
After the Rundown reported on Stella's tweet, she quoted it and repeated the sentiment '-- adding a hanged stick figure.
Prior to her suspension, Stella was perhaps best known for her support of QAnon, a group that believes President Donald Trump and others are secretly fighting a global ring of elite pedophiles.
Twitter chief Jack Dorsey announces plans to move to Africa | Technology | The Guardian
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 08:32
Tech executive declared plan to move temporarily in 2020 following a month-long visit to entrepreneurs on the continent
Jack Dorsey on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, on 5 September 2018.Photograph: Jos(C) Luis Maga±a/APTwitter chief Jack Dorsey said this week that he plans to move to Africa for up to six months next year. The tech executive announced the planned move following a month-long trip visiting entrepreneurs on the continent.
''Sad to be leaving the continent '... for now. Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!),'' Dorsey tweeted from Addis Ababa on Wednesday. ''Not sure where yet, but I'll be living here for 3-6 months mid 2020. Grateful I was able to experience a small part.''
Asked for comment, Twitter said in an email: ''We've nothing to share beyond Jack's initial tweet.''
Dorsey began traveling Africa on 8 November and visited Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa, CNN reported.
In Ethiopia, he listened to startup pitches. In Nigeria, he had meetings with entrepreneurs and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a Twitter board member who formerly worked as managing director of the World Bank.
Software developer Dara Oladosu, who created the Twitter bot Quoted Replies, which aggregates comments on tweets, received a job offer after meeting company executives, CNN said.
Dorsey also met bitcoin business owners in Ghana. Dorsey has expressed plans to integrate bitcoin use on Twitter and the payment app Square, according to CNN.
Africa's tech industry is presently experiencing rapid growth. GSMA, a mobile services industry group, said there were 618 ''active tech hubs'' on the continent this year, up 40% from 2018. According to GSMA, Nigeria and South Africa have the most, with 85 and 80, respectively.
The Kenyan tech entrepreneur John Karanja launched BitHub, an incubator for cryptocurrencies, in 2015. Ethiopia's government reportedly hopes that a tech-centric economy could create 3m jobs.
Dorsey's African tour comes as social tech giants continue to face criticism over the spread of hate speech and misinformation online. Dorsey announced in October that Twitter would ban political advertising, putting pressure on Facebook to enact a similar policy.
The TikTok debacle: a new age of social media activism? | #TheCube | Euronews
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 10:50
TikTok became the latest app used by younger social media users earlier this year. From lip-sync battles to dance skits, geopolitics has been a relatively rare feature on the platform - until this week.
A user, known as Feroza Aziz, first posted a video that starts with beauty tips but leads to a call for people to pay attention to the treatment of Uighur Muslims in the western Xinjiang region of China.
Why did her video hit the headlines?Aziz posted the video on the platform on November 23. Two days later, she was locked out of her account, with her log-in suspended. The video, however, remained on-site, garnering views. On November 27, TikTok removed the video for a period of 50 minutes, prompting calls as to why this had occurred, and questions as to whether this was part of a censorship campaign.
As calls for answers mounted, TikTok issued a detailed timeline. According to TikTok, Aziz had a previous account on the platform. On November 14, a video posted on TikTok "included the image of Osama bin Laden" which resulted in a ban "in line with TikTok's policies against content that includes imagery related to terrorist figures".
Later that evening, Aziz created another account on the same phone, posting a three-part series aimed at calling attention to the Uighur community in China less than two weeks later. TikTok stated that on a scheduled routine moderation sweep, TikTok noted that Aziz had created a new account on the same phone. As part of their moderation policy of banning devices associated with a banned account, her access was cut.
While Aziz no longer had access to the account, her videos remained. The pulling of the video on November 27 was due to a human error, TikTok said in the statement. "It's important to clarify that nothing in our Community Guidelines precludes content such as this video, and it should not have been removed," they said.
TikTok issued an apology to the user for "their error," adding that their "moderation approach of banning devices associated with a banned account is designed to protect against the spread of coordinated malicious behaviour '' and it's clear that this was not the intent here". They also reinstated access to her account.
Aziz dismissed TikTok's statement, on Twitter saying that her previous post that had breached company guidelines was "satirical". Others were incredulous with regards to the timing of the suspension, saying that it was not a coincidence. Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch (HRW) took to Twitter to say that the "the timing looks way too much like Beijing's censorship".
How has China responded?Although TikTok is a Chinese company, they have dismissed claims of being swayed by Beijing - previously stating that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has no jurisdiction over its content.
Chinese state media, however, responded sharply to the viral video. Global Times, a Chinese state newspaper, claimed that Western media was behind the rise of the content. "When Western media make blindly criticizing China an attractive trend, people like Feroza Aziz will follow suit either to build a reputation as human rights defenders or to attract public attention," they said.
A new type of social media activism?With Aziz' video dominating the discussion, a wave of social media users have followed suit. Numerous social media videos have appeared, including this and others shared by high profile politicians such as US Democrat Ilhan Omar. Other users mimicked her eyelash curling tutorial, although dismissing claims of abuse and mass detention of the Uighur Muslim community in Xinjiang as lies.
The outstanding question, for many, is the lack of clarity in moderating processes. This, for many users, makes the line between moderating content and censorship, blurred.
Ebola
Drone delivery in Congo
From
a reliable source I have learned that Al-Qaeda has been spreading Ebola by
drone in the Congo. They have been perfecting their delivery system with each
new drone. It fly's in, lands an it explodes spreading the Ebola. They used
Ebola because Ebola was already in the Congo. So the last outbreak was due to
Al-Qaeda. Now the latest is that Al-Qaeda is in northern Mexico getting ready
to launch drones with something other than Ebola on cities in the USA. My
source say they have been working on this intel for the last 3 or 4 months.
Prior to this they were in Moldova shutting down a human trafficking operation.
Your handler should be able to verify some if not all of what I have
written.
Epstein
Virginia Roberts Giuffre to tell BBC her truth about Jeffrey Epstein, Prince Andrew
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 23:25
She's the smiling girl in the pink camisole in that unforgettable Prince Andrew photo '-- the millionaires' trinket who grew up to upend Buckingham Palace and become a compelling voice for all victims of sex trafficking.
But back in 2000 '-- two decades before her current public crusade helped cage wealthy Manhattan pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and part Andrew from his royal family '-- Virginia Giuffre was just a 16-year-old kid, handing out towels at a Palm Beach resort called Mar-a-Lago.
She'd never heard of her accused trafficker, Epstein, who was found hanged by a bedsheet in his Manhattan federal jail cell in August.
She couldn't have imagined she'd one day tell her story to the BBC, which broadcasts the interview Monday, or to ''Dateline,'' where in September she recalled a childhood in which all princes were supposed to charming.
''He was a prince, he was famous. He's royalty,'' Giuffre told the NBC show.
''And it just stuck out in my mind. I grew up watching Disney just like most little girls '... and princesses and princes were the good people in the world, and he wasn't.''
Giuffre has told the story of losing that childhood before, most compellingly, perhaps, outside the glare of news cameras, in a 2015 deposition that was never intended to see the light of day.
The deposition was unsealed in August, and in it Giuffre recalls the precise moment when the door to childhood closed behind her.
Born in California, where her mother Lynn worked as a banker in Sacramento, Giuffre had moved with her parents to Palm Beach County, Florida, when she was 4-years-old.
When she was 16, she got a job at the spa at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, where her father worked in maintenance.
''Where in the spa were you when you were approached by Ghislaine Maxwell,'' she was asked in the deposition '-- a reference to Epstein's gal pal and alleged sex-slave recruiter, the socialite daughter of publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell.
''Just outside the locker room, sitting where the other girl who works there usually sits,'' Giuffre replied.
''I was reading a book on massage therapy.''
Maxwell looked at the book '-- and at her '-- with great interest.
''I started to have chitchat with her just about, you know, the body and the anatomy and how I was interested in it.
''And she told me that she knew somebody that was looking for a traveling masseuse. '... If the guy likes you then, you know, it will work out for you. You'll travel. You'll make good money.''
Epstein would want more than massages for that good money.
''The training started immediately, everything from how to give a blow job, how to be subservient,'' Giuffre told The Miami Herald.
''You're just thrown into a world you don't understand. You're screaming on the inside and you don't know how to let it come out. You just become this numb figure.''
Soon enough, Epstein was passing her around as a plaything to his well-heeled buddies '-- including, she will continue to insist in Monday's BBC broadcast, to Prince Andrew.
''He knows what happened. I know what happened,'' despite Andrew's denials of ever having met her, Giuffre insists in an advance clip from ''Panorama: The Prince and the Epstein Scandal.''
''And there's only one of us telling the truth.''
The now-infamous photo of Prince Andrew smiling with his left arm around the waist of a young Virginia Roberts as Ghislaine Maxwell looks on.
Epstein Tapes? Sordid Case Takes A Bizarre Turn After Mystery 'Hacker' Emerges | Zero Hedge
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 08:53
Shortly after Jeffrey Epstein's August death in a Manhattan detention facility, a shadowy figure claiming to have set up encrypted servers for the convicted sex offender told several attorneys and the New York Times he had a vast archive of incriminating evidence against powerful men stored on overseas servers, including several years worth of the financier's communications and financial records which allegedly showed he had vast amounts of Bitcoin and cash in the Middle East and Bangkok, and hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of gold, silver and diamonds.
Going by the pseudonym Patrick Kessler, self-described 'hacker' said he had "thousands of hours of footage from hidden cameras" from Epstein's multiple properties, which included former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, lawyer Alan Dershowitz, and Prince Andrew, along with three billionaires and a prominent CEO, according to the Times.
It has been long speculated that Epstein recorded his high-profile guests as part of an international blackmail operation.
Armed with nothing more than blurry photos of what he claimed were high-profile individuals in compromising situations, Kessler approached lawyers representing several Epstein accusers, John Pottinger and David Boies - the former of whom suggested that billionaire Sheldon Adelson - an ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - might pay for the alleged footage of Barak.
According to excerpts viewed by The Times, Mr. Pottinger and Kessler discussed a plan to disseminate some of the informant's materials '-- starting with the supposed footage of Mr. Barak. The Israeli election was barely a week away, and Mr. Barak was challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The purported images of Mr. Barak might be able to sway the election '-- and fetch a high price. -New York Times.
After several weeks, the attorneys invited the New York Times to speak with Kessler in mid-September. Then things got even more unbelievable. Following a mid-September meeting with The Times in the Boies Schiller offices, Kessler went rogue - contacting the paper and accusing Boies and Pottinger of an extortion plot against the subjects of said tapes.
Barely an hour after the session ended, the Times reporters received an email from Kessler: ''Are you free?'' He said he wanted to meet '-- alone. ''Tell no one else.''
...
Kessler complained that Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were more interested in making money than in exposing wrongdoers. He pulled out his phone, warned the reporters not to touch it, and showed more of what he had. There was a color photo of a bare-chested, gray-haired man with a slight smile. Kessler said it was a billionaire. He also showed blurry, black-and-white images of a dark-haired man receiving oral sex. He said it was a prominent C.E.O.
"At one point, he showed what he said were classified C.I.A. documents," writes the Times.
Weeks after the meeting, the lawyers struck a deal with the Times during the last Friday in September. They would send a team overseas to download Kessler's evidence from his servers (and had alerted the FBI and the US Attorney's Office in Manhattan of their intention to do so), and would then share all the evidence with the paper on the condition that they would have discretion over which men could be written about, and when.
Separately, Kessler had arranged to give the Times his evidence using a convoluted series of steps. On the day the data was to be transmitted, Kessler canceled at the 11th hour, claiming 'a fire was burning' and he had to flee to Ukraine.
In early October, Kessler said he was ready to produce the Epstein files. He told The Times that he had created duplicate versions of Mr. Epstein's servers. He laid out detailed logistical plans for them to be shipped by boat to the United States and for one of his associates '-- a very short Icelandic man named Steven '-- to deliver them to The Times headquarters at 11 a.m. on Oct. 3.
Kessler warned that he was erecting a maze of security systems. First, a Times employee would need to use a special thumb drive to access a proprietary communications system. Then Kessler's colleague would transmit a code to decrypt the files. If his instructions weren't followed precisely, Kessler said, the information would self-destruct.
Specialists at The Times set up a number of ''air-gapped'' laptops '-- disconnected from the internet '-- in a windowless, padlocked meeting room. Reporters cleared their schedules to sift through thousands of hours of surveillance footage.
On the morning of the scheduled delivery, Kessler sent a series of frantic texts. Disaster had struck. A fire was burning. The duplicate servers were destroyed. One of his team members was missing. He was fleeing to Kyiv.
Except two hours later, Kessler contacted Pottinger and didn't mention any emergency. Instead, he asked Pottinger to formulate two schemes for prying up to $1 billion from potential targets with the footage which the Times suggested may have been a trap.
Pottinger obliged, describing two options for capitalizing on the evidence. The first, a "standard model" for legal settlements, would include splitting the money among Epstein's victims, a charitable foundation, Kessler, and the lawyers - who would get up to 40%.
In the second hypothetical, the lawyers would approached the high-profile men, convince them to hire them to ensure they wouldn't get sued, and then "make a contribution to a nonprofit as part of their retainer."
Pottinger would effectively represent a victim, settle their case, and then represent the victim's alleged abuser - a legal, yet morally questionable practice for an attorney to engage in.
Dershowitz and the weird recorded phone call
In late September, Dershowitz's secretary related a message that Kessler wanted to speak with him about Boies - with whom Dershowitz has a long-running feud. Dershowitz recorded the call, during which Kessler said he no longer trusted Boies and Pottinger.
"The problem is that they don't want to move forward with any of these people legally," said Kessler, adding "They're just interested in trying to settle and take a cut."
''Who are these people that you have on videotape?'' Mr. Dershowitz asked.
''There's a lot of people,'' Kessler said, naming a few powerful men. He added, ''There's a long list of people that they want me to have that I don't have.''
''Who?'' Mr. Dershowitz asked. ''Did they ask about me?''
''Of course they asked about you. You know that, sir.''
''And you don't have anything on me, right?''
''I do not, no,'' Kessler said.
''Because I never, I never had sex with anybody,'' Mr. Dershowitz said. Later in the call, he added, ''I am completely clean. I was at Jeffrey's house. I stayed there. But I didn't have any sex with anybody.''
As the Times asks, "what was the purpose of Kessler's phone call? Why did he tell Mr. Dershowitz that he wasn't on the supposed surveillance tapes, contradicting what he had said and showed to Mr. Boies, Mr. Pottinger and The Times? Did the call sound a little rehearsed?"
Dershowitz told the Times he has no idea why Kessler called him.
Holding out hope
In a November 7 email, Boies told the Times "I still believe he is what he purported to be," adding "I have to evaluate people for my day job, and he seemed too genuine to be a fake, and I very much want him to be real."
That said, he also noted "I am not unconscious of the danger of wanting to believe something too much."
Ten days later, Mr. Boies arrived at The Times for an on-camera interview. It was a bright, chilly Sunday, and Mr. Boies had just flown in from Ecuador, where he said he was doing work for the finance ministry. Reporters wanted to ask him plainly if his and Mr. Pottinger's conduct with Kessler crossed ethical lines.
Would they have brokered secret settlements that buried evidence of wrongdoing? Did the notion of extracting huge sums from men in exchange for keeping sex tapes hidden meet the definition of extortion?
Mr. Boies said the answer to both questions was no. He said he and Mr. Pottinger operated well within the law. They only intended to pursue legal action on behalf of their clients '-- in other words, that they were a long way from extortion. In any case, he said, he and Mr. Pottinger had never authenticated any of the imagery or identified any of the supposed victims, much less contacted any of the men on the ''hot list.''
When the Times showed Boies text exchanges between Kessler and Pottinger, he "showed a flash of anger and said it was the first time seeing them."
Eventually, Boies concluded that Kessler was probably a con man.
"I think that he was a fraudster who was just trying to set things up," adding that he had probably baited Pottinger into writing things that were more nefarious than they really were.
Pottinger, meanwhile, claims he was stringing Kessler along - "misleading him deliberately in order to get to the servers."
Despite Kessler's story falling apart, the Times asks if his claims are plausible.
Did America's best-connected sexual predator accumulate incriminating videos of powerful men?
Two women who spent time in Mr. Epstein's homes said the answer was yes. In an unpublished memoir, Virginia Giuffre, who accused Mr. Epstein of making her a ''sex slave,'' wrote that she discovered a room in his New York mansion where monitors displayed real-time surveillance footage. And Maria Farmer, an artist who accused Mr. Epstein of sexually assaulting her when she worked for him in the 1990s, said that Mr. Epstein once walked her through the mansion, pointing out pin-sized cameras that he said were in every room.
''I said, 'Are you recording all this?''' Ms. Farmer said in an interview. ''He said, 'Yes. We keep it. We keep everything.'''
During a 2005 search of Mr. Epstein's Palm Beach, Fla., estate, the police found two cameras hidden in clocks '-- one in the garage and the other next to his desk, according to police reports. But no other cameras were found.
So - it appears that Kessler was either a fraud or an operative, and the entire saga may have been designed to cast doubt over whether tapes actually exist. Or, Kessler is for real - and for some reason hasn't found a way to release the videos. That said, since he says he's not interested in extortion, what's the hold-up?
Stephen A. Schwarzman - Wikipedia
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 06:48
Stephen Allen Schwarzman (born February 14, 1947) is an American businessman, investor, and philanthropist. He is the chairman and CEO of The Blackstone Group, a global private equity firm he established in 1985 with former chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers and US Secretary of Commerce Pete Peterson. His personal fortune is estimated at $17.2 billion as of October 2019.[1] As of 2019, Forbes ranked Schwarzman at 100th on its World's Billionaires List.[2][1] Schwarzman briefly served as Chairman of President Donald Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum for 6 months before its dissolution.[3]
Early life and education [ edit ] Schwarzman was raised in a Jewish family in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, the son of Arline and Joseph Schwarzman.[4][5] His father owned Schwarzman's, a former dry-goods store in Philadelphia, and was a graduate of the Wharton School.[6]
Schwarzman attended the Abington School District in suburban Philadelphia and graduated from Abington Senior High School in 1965.[7] He attended Yale University, where he was part of the Skull and Bones secret society.[8][9] After graduating in 1969, he briefly served in the U.S. Army Reserve before attending Harvard Business School, where he graduated in 1972.[10]
Investment career [ edit ] Schwarzman's first job in financial services was with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, an investment bank which merged with Credit Suisse in 2000. After business school, Schwarzman worked at the investment bank Lehman Brothers, became a managing director at age 31, and then head of global mergers and acquisitions.[11] In 1985, Schwarzman and his boss, Peter Peterson, started The Blackstone Group, which initially focused on mergers and acquisitions.[12][13]
When Blackstone went public in June 2007, it revealed in a securities filing that Schwarzman had earned about $398.3 million in fiscal 2006.[14][15] He ultimately received $684 million for the part of his Blackstone stake he sold in the IPO, keeping a stake then worth $9.1 billion.[16]
In June 2007, Schwarzman described his view on financial markets with the statement: "I want war, not a series of skirmishes... I always think about what will kill off the other bidder."[17]
In September 2011, Schwarzman was listed as a member of the International Advisory Board of the Russian Direct Investment Fund.[18][19]
Political and economic views [ edit ] Schwarzman is a Republican. He is a long-time friend of President Donald Trump and provides outside counsel, and served as chair of Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum.[20][3] In response to criticism for his involvement with the Trump administration, Schwarzman penned a letter to current Schwarzman Scholars, arguing that "having influence and providing sound advice is a good thing, even if it attracts criticism or requires some sacrifice."[3]
He raised $100,000 for George W. Bush's political endeavors.[21]
In August 2010, Schwarzman compared the Obama administration's plan to raise the tax rate on carried interest to Hitler's invasion of Poland in 1939.[22][23] Schwarzman later apologized for the analogy.[24][25]
In early 2016, he said that in a two-candidate race he would prefer Donald Trump to Ted Cruz, saying that the nation needed a "cohesive, healing presidency, not one that's lurching either to the right or to the left."[26] He had previously made a donation to Marco Rubio in 2014. He also endorsed and fundraised for Mitt Romney in 2012.[27]
In late 2016, Schwarzman "helped put together" a team of corporate executives to advise Trump on jobs and the economy. The group, which includes JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Walt Disney boss Bob Iger and former General Electric leader Jack Welch, became Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum.[28][29] In February, Schwarzman was named as chair of the 16-member President's Strategic and Policy Forum, which brings together "CEOs of America's biggest corporations, banks and investment firms" to consult with the President on "how to create jobs and improve growth for the U.S. economy."[30]
Wealth and philanthropy [ edit ] Plaque in New York City, New York, USA honoring Stephen A. Schwarzman contributions
According to Forbes, he had a net worth of $12.4 billion as of August 2018.[1] In 2014, Schwarzman was named as one of Bloomberg's 50 Most Influential people of the year.[31] In 2016, Schwarzman was again named as one of Bloomberg's 50 Most Influential people of the year.[32] In 2004, Schwarzman donated a new football stadium to Abington Senior High School'--the Stephen A. Schwarzman Stadium.[33] In 2007, Schwarzman was listed among Time ' s 100 Most Influential People in The World.[34]
In early 2008, Schwarzman announced that he contributed $100 million toward the expansion of the New York Public Library, for which he serves as a trustee. The central reference building on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue was renamed The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.[35] In 2018, Schwarzman donated 10 million to another library, the Israeli National Library.[36]
On April 21, 2013, Schwarzman announced a $100 million personal gift to establish and endow a scholarship program in China, Schwarzman Scholars, modeled after the Rhodes Scholarship program. Schwarzman simultaneously announced a fundraising campaign with a goal of $200 million. The Schwarzman Scholars program is housed at Tsinghua University, one of China's most prestigious universities. The first class of 100 students graduated in 2017, upon completion of Schwarzman College, designed by Robert A. M. Stern, Dean of the Yale School of Architecture.[37]
In spring 2015, Peter Salovey, the President of Yale University, announced that Schwarzman contributed $150 million to fund a campus center in the university's historic "Commons" dining facility.[38][39] Additionally, Schwarzman is also a member of the Berggruen Institute's 21st Century Council.[40]
He has sat on the Board of Trustees of New York-Presbyterian Hospital since 2016.[41]
In early 2018, it was announced that Schwarzman gave $25 million to Abington High School, his alma mater. However, this donation was contingent on several conditions, including naming rights to the school. After the public learned about the deal, a new agreement was made and Schwarzman removed several of the conditions for his donation, including renaming the school.[42]
In October 2018, Schwarzman donated $350 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[43]
In June 2019, the University of Oxford announced that Schwarzman had donated £150 million to establish the Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities.[44]
Personal life [ edit ] Schwarzman married his first wife Ellen Philips in 1971, a trustee of Northwestern University and the Mount Sinai Medical Center, and they divorced in 1990. They have three children together, one of whom is film producer Teddy Schwarzman.[45][46]
Schwarzman married his second wife Christine Hearst in 1995, an intellectual-property lawyer who grew up on Long Island, New York.[45] She has one child from a previous marriage.[17]
He lives in a duplex apartment at 740 Park Avenue previously owned by John D. Rockefeller Jr. Schwarzman purchased the apartment from Saul Steinberg.[47][48] He spent $20 million on his seventieth birthday party.[49][50][51]
Other [ edit ] Schwarzman has been an adjunct professor at the Yale School of Management and was chairman of the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts from 2004 to 2010.
In December 2018, Schwarzman was awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle, Mexico's highest honor for foreigners, by President Enrique Pe±a Nieto in recognition of Schwarzman's work on behalf of the U.S. in support of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.[52]
References [ edit ] ^ a b c d "Stephen Schwarzman". Forbes . Retrieved April 5, 2019 . ^ "Stephen Schwarzman: Blackstone's $10 Billion Man". Forbes . Retrieved November 28, 2014 . ^ a b c Nocera, Joe (February 8, 2017). "Steve Schwarzman Explains Why He Counsels Trump" . Retrieved March 29, 2017 '' via Bloomberg. ^ "Live From New York, It's Steve Schwarzman". The New York Times . Retrieved December 4, 2016 . ^ "The world's 50 Richest Jews: 31-40 '' Jewish World '' The Jerusalem Post". Jpost.com . Retrieved December 4, 2016 . ^ "WEDDINGS - Christine Hearst, S. A. Schwarzman". NYTimes.com. November 5, 1995 . Retrieved December 4, 2016 . ^ "Past Award Recipients". Abington.k12.pa.us. June 24, 2009 . Retrieved December 4, 2016 . ^ Evan Thomas and Daniel Gross, "Taxing the Super Rich", Newsweek, July 23, 2007 ^ Andrew Clark, "The Guardian profile: Stephen Schwarzman", The Guardian, June 15, 2007 ^ "The 25 Most Successful Harvard Business School Graduates". Business Insider . Retrieved November 28, 2014 . ^ David Carey; John E. Morris (2010). King of Capital: The Remarkable Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Steve Schwarzman and Blackstone. New York: Crown Business. pp. 13''30. ^ "Team Information '' Steven Schwarzman" (PDF) . Archived from the original (PDF) on May 6, 2006 . Retrieved April 17, 2006 . ^ King of Capital, pp. 45''56 ^ [1] Archived July 21, 2012, at the Wayback Machine ^ Michael Flaherty, "Blackstone Co-Founders to Get $2.3 Billion Post IPO", Reuters, June 11, ^ King oReferencesapital, p. 3 ^ a b Andrew Clark. "profile: Stephen Schwarzman | Business". The Guardian . Retrieved December 4, 2016 . ^ https://rdif.ru/Eng_fullNews/53/ ^ "Russian Direct Investment Fund Announces International Advisory Board". Russian Direct Investment Fund. September 16, 2011. ^ "Trump reviews top White House staff after tumultuous start" . Retrieved March 29, 2017 . ^ "Tycoon finds money can't buy him love" . Retrieved March 29, 2017 . ^ Jonathan Alter (August 15, 2010). "Schwarzman: 'It's a War' Between Obama, Wall St". Newsweek. ^ Neil Brooks; Linda McQuaig (April 1, 2012). "How billionaires destroy democracy". Salon.com. ^ Clark, Andrew (August 17, 2010). "Blackstone billionaire is sorry for Nazi jab against Obama's tax policies" . Retrieved March 29, 2017 '' via The Guardian. ^ Moritz, Michael (February 7, 2017). "Stephen Schwarzman's Bad Business Advice" . Retrieved March 29, 2017 '' via NYTimes.com. ^ DiChristopher, Tom (January 20, 2016). "Wall Street CEO: I'd pick Trump over Cruz" . Retrieved March 29, 2017 . ^ Egan, Matt (April 29, 2015). "Blackstone CEO: GOP field way stronger than 2012's 'Seven Dwarfs ' " . Retrieved March 29, 2017 . ^ Dayen, David (May 27, 2017). "Trump's 'America First' Infrastructure Plan: Let Saudi Arabia and Blackstone Take Care of It". The Intercept . Retrieved June 10, 2017 . ^ Alesci, Cristina (May 21, 2017). "Blackstone for American infrastructure". CNN . Retrieved June 10, 2017 . In late 2016 a ^ "Trump Taps Steve Schwarzman, Jamie Dimon And Mary Barra For Advice On Job Creation, Growth". Forbes. ^ "Most Influential 50 Are the Bankers, Investors Who Move Markets". Bloomberg . Retrieved October 31, 2014 . ^ "Bloomberg's Fifty Most Influential". Bloomberg . Retrieved September 23, 2016 . ^ Stewart, James B. "The Birthday Party". The New Yorker. Conde Nast . Retrieved December 5, 2014 . ^ "Time 100 (2007) '' Stephen Schwarzman". Time. May 3, 2007 . Retrieved November 17, 2008 . ^ Robin Pogrebin (March 11, 2008). "Stephen Schwarzman '' New York Public Library". The New York Times . Retrieved December 4, 2016 . ^ "Billionaire Trump Adviser Donates to Israel National Library". USA Today. Associated Press. February 8, 2018. ^ Julia La Roche (April 21, 2013). "Billionaire Steve Schwarzman Has Donated $100 Million To Start His Own Version Of The Rhodes Scholarship". Business Insider. ^ "YaleNews | $150 Million Gift by Stephen A. Schwarzman to Establish First-of-its-Kind Campus Center at Yale University". News.yale.edu. May 11, 2015 . Retrieved December 4, 2016 . ^ "Stephen A Schwarzman Gives $150 Million for Yale Cultural Hub". The New York Times . Retrieved December 4, 2016 . ^ "Berggruen Institute". ^ "Hospital Leadership - Board of Trustees". New York Presbyterian . Retrieved July 7, 2019 . ^ Strauss, Valerie (April 12, 2018). "Billionaire offered $25 million to high school alma mater. What he wanted in return was too much for the district". The Washington Post. ^ Lohr, Steve (October 15, 2018). "M.I.T. Plans College for Artificial Intelligence, Backed by $1 Billion". The New York Times. ^ Adams, Richard (June 19, 2019). "Oxford to receive biggest single donation 'since the Renaissance ' ". The Guardian . Retrieved June 19, 2019 . ^ a b Toobin, Jeffrey (July 15, 2014). "The Birthday Party". The New Yorker . Retrieved December 4, 2016 . ^ "Ellen Zajac and Teddy Schwarzman". The New York Times. November 11, 2007 . Retrieved December 4, 2016 . ^ "740 Park | Michael Gross". Mgross.com . Retrieved December 4, 2016 . ^ Toobin, Jeffrey (July 15, 2014). "The Birthday Party". The New Yorker . Retrieved December 4, 2016 . ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/13/business/dealbook/stephen-schwarzman-palm-beach-party-trump.html ^ https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/11/01/the-political-economy-of-homelessness/ ^ https://www.townandcountrymag.com/the-scene/parties/news/a9556/steve-schwarzman-birthday-party/ ^ "President Confers Mexican Order of Aztec Eagle on co-founder and CEO of the Blackstone Group Stephen Allen Schwarzman". Presidencia de la Repºblica. gob.mx. Further reading [ edit ] King of Capital: The Remarkable Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Steve Schwarzman and Blackstone.Greed and Glory on Wall Street'--The Fall of the House of Lehman by Ken Auletta, The Overlook Press, New York, ISBN 1-58567-088-XExternal links [ edit ] Fortune: Wall Street's Hottest Hand Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman has built a powerhouse unlike any other.Schwarzman ScholarsSchwarzman feels the agony of victory NYTimes, 2015Appearances on C-SPANBloomberg: Q&A With Steve Schwarzman: ''There Are No Brave Old People in Finance''
Pipelines
Erdogan: TurkStream pipeline, will launch on January 8
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 16:21
(C) Ria Novosti Mikhail Klimentyev Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ' Russian President Vladimir Putin
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced the day that TurkStream, the 917 km pipeline across the bottom of the Black Sea, will officially be commissioned in Istanbul, capping an ambitious energy project with success.
TurkStream will be operative from January 8, 2020, Erdogan said on Saturday, according to local press. Moscow had earlier confirmed that President Vladimir Putin is likely to attend the opening ceremony in the Turkish city.
The pipeline runs from Gazprom's Russkaya compressor station, located near the southern city of Anapa, all the way to the Turkish town of Kiyikoy, where it connects to other pipelines. Comprising two offshore parallel pipelines, it is expected to carry 1.1 trillion cubic feet of gas per annum.
(C) RIA Novosti/Mikhail Klimentyev A 'Pioneering Spirit' ship lays pipes for the TurkStream in the Black Sea
The ambitious project was completed by Russian and Turkish companies, and its construction involved two specialized vessels to lay the pipes in water depths of up to 2,200m. Separately, Serbia and Hungary are building another pipeline that will pump the gas from TurkStream and take it further into Europe.
SJW
Japanese department store 'rethinking' use of 'period badges' for menstruating employees | Fox News
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 19:37
Published November 30, 2019
Last Update 14 hrs ago
A department store in Japan is reportedly "rethinking" a new policy of having female employees wear a badge with a cartoon character dubbed ''Miss Period'' that signifies they're menstruating.
The Daimaru department store in Osaka introduced the voluntary badges in October following an employee's suggestion, BBC News reported.
"It was never the intention to share the menstrual information with their customers," Daimaru spokesperson Yoko Higuchi told the BBC.
JAPAN BAN ON WOMEN WEARING GLASSES SPARKS BACKLASH
Higuchi said the so-called "period badges" were supposed to create empathy among coworkers, including allowing longer breaks and extra help for employees on their period.
Higuchi told the BBC that reactions to the badges were mixed.
"If you saw a colleague was having her period, you could offer to carry heavy things for her, or suggest she takes longer breaks, and this support would be mutual,'' she said.
She added that the company will reconsider how to keep the information within the staff without revealing it to customers.
The controversy comes at the same time local media has reported that some Japanese companies are banning female employees from wearing eyeglasses, with some saying they make women look "cold" or don't allow people to see their makeup.
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In another controversy this year, Japan's foreign minister ignored a 20,000-signature petition, saying mandating high heels at work is "socially accepted as something that falls within the realm of being occupationally necessary and appropriate."
In Quest To Ruin Everything, Many Millennials Want Secret Santa Banned Because It's Too High-Pressure
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 11:19
Look, I'll be real here: This millennial finds Secret Santa to be profoundly boring.
If you like it, that's fantastic. There are only so many rooms I can put Bluetooth speakers in. I've also been told by my wife (repeatedly, really) that I don't need any kind of candy or anything like that. It's not my thing. If I'm roped in, I guess you're getting '... well, a Bluetooth speaker, probably from my last Secret Santa session.
I don't exactly feel like the whole thing is high-pressured, however. I don't feel that the eyes of the office or church group are upon me, waiting to castigate me for how much I spend on these gifts. If you like what you get, superb. If you don't, well, there you go. I'm not calling for it to be banned.
I don't know if this is a thing with American millennials, but over on Albion's shores, a study by U.K.'s Jobsite found that there's massive discontent with Secret Santa rituals, and not because of boredom. In fact, the pressure that they create has led to 35 percent of millennial workers saying they ought to be banned.
Because apparently, if millennials don't like something, nobody can do it.
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Part of the problem may be '-- well, let's face it, is '-- misplaced priorities.
In a Nov. 8 blog post, Jobsite revealed that 26 percent of young workers had actually incurred overdrafts or gone into their savings to buy gifts for office Secret Santa parties or other ''whip-rounds.''
So, why is this? Well, apparently, ''[t]he average millennial's whip-round is 34% more expensive, with their average contribution reaching £9 (and a total of £151 per year, compared to £7 / £99 per year for all workers).''
Let me translate that for you: The average millennial decided to spend 34 percent more than other workers on ''whip-rounds.'' This is probably because 17 percent felt they were being judged for their contributions and 73 percent say they'd ''contributed more than they could afford to an office celebration.''
Do you think Secret Santa should be banned?0% (0 Votes)
0% (0 Votes)
''As a result, one in five (20%) workers believe that such events should not be celebrated at all in the workplace and 35% of Millennials would even like to see them banned (25% of all workers),'' Jobsite reported.
However, the average millennial's ability to withstand cognitive dissonance knows no bounds: ''despite the financial and emotional pressures '' The likes of 'Secret Santa' are here to stay, as the majority (61%) of UK office workers think they are good for morale, 60% believe they help build a healthy rapport amongst colleagues and a further 64% assert that gifting between employees is a sign of respect and appreciation.
''Interestingly, those aged between 22-38 were more likely to acknowledge these benefits (67% vs 62% on average) '' despite being more likely to be on the receiving end of some of the negative side effects of contribution. This implies that while office celebrations carry value, they are in need of a modern-day rethink '-- especially as two fifths (42%) of the UK workforce deems them 'old-fashioned'.''
So here's a plausible explanation Jobsite doesn't really explore here: Millennials like Secret Santa games (or ''whip-rounds'' '-- whatever floats your HMS Pinafore) more than other workers, which means they might spend more on them. And they feel pressure about this because '... they're overanalyzing this, just like everything. They should probably learn some financial continence here and move on.
Good conclusion? Nope: ''As a result, one in five (20%) workers believe that such events should not be celebrated at all in the workplace and 35% of Millennials would even like to see them banned (25% of all workers).''
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I'm not quite sure how these two questions are different and suspect it's because of unclear writing by someone who should be taken aside by their editor. Anyway, that's still a minority of millennials. We should celebrate that, right?
No, because there are plenty of millennials who believe that what we should do instead is Elizabeth Warren this whole Secret Santa thing.
''A significant proportion of young workers feel like the business should shoulder the burden '-- rather than adding to the pressures of individual employees. Millennials in employement particularly agree with 24% asking for dedicated company budgets to avoid chipping in, compared to 21% across all UK workers surveyed,'' the website read.
You know what? Fine, you've convinced me. Ban Secret Santa. Just freaking ban it. Let's get Jeremy Corbyn into 10 Downing Street and he can offer Britain's millennials Secret Santa debt forgiveness.
We can export it over here once Sen. Elizabeth Warren takes over the Oval Office. And one day, we'll talk about how Christianity colonized offices and forced millennials into bank overdrafts in order to buy gifts for office parties.
There's another possibility, although I'd just as soon not discuss it out of fear of offending millennials. Instead, I would ask them to contribute what they can, don't worry about what other people think of them, don't ask their employer to chip in for their Christmas gifts and remember that their job isn't contingent on whether or not they spent £8 or £15 on their ''whip-round'' gift.
Radical stuff, this. However, the prospect of the rest of my generational cohort wanting to ban Secret Santa is almost enough to get me to embrace it. Bring on the speakers, folks! Merry Christmas to all, and to all an Echo Dot!
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War on Weed
Farmers Rushed Into Hemp. Now They Face a Glut. - WSJ
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 09:35
CYNTHIANA, Ky.'--Tony Ockerman, a fourth-generation farmer hoping to diversify his crops by adding hemp, said his first harvest this year turned out well after plenty of trial and error. But he is struggling in one key respect: finding buyers.
Hoping to capitalize on surging demand for cannabidiol, or CBD'--a derivative of hemp or marijuana that proponents say has numerous medical benefits'--Mr. Ockerman invested about $100,000 to grow 30 acres of the plant. Unlike some farmers who secured contracts with buyers ahead of the growing season, he rolled the dice.
''We're just free-birding it, raising it and seeing what happens,'' said Mr. Ockerman, 61 years old, who also grows hay and tobacco on an additional 520 acres in Chaplin, Ky., southeast of Louisville. ''There's just a lot of hemp out there. It's overproduced.''
A rush of farmers seeking to grow hemp, which became legal to cultivate in the U.S. last year, is creating a glut, damping prices and leaving some farmers struggling to unload their product. It is among the growing pains in the nascent industry for hemp-derived products'--a potentially lucrative market, but one beset by regulatory uncertainty, financing constraints and other challenges.
''This is a crazy, rapidly growing industry where you have to figure things out as you go,'' said Bethany Gomez, managing director of Brightfield Group, a market-research firm focused on the CBD and cannabis markets.
Hemp'--which is the same plant species as marijuana, but with a minimal amount of the psychoactive compound in pot'--was farmed legally in the U.S. until a 1937 federal law began a period of hemp prohibition. It became legal again because of a provision of the 2018 federal farm bill.
The plant can be used to make a range of products, from body lotions to construction materials. Today, it is mostly grown for CBD, which is used to treat seizures, pain, anxiety and other conditions. But CBD has a murky legal status. While the farm bill made CBD legal under certain circumstances, it is subject to regulation and varying state laws. The Food and Drug Administration has approved just one drug containing CBD and recently raised concerns about the safety of some CBD products.
The projected growth of the CBD market has enticed farmers looking for more-profitable alternatives to crops such as corn and soybeans. Growers in 36 states planted hemp this year, with the largest production in states such as Colorado, Oregon and Tennessee, according to Brightfield Group. Acres of cultivated hemp in the U.S. surged to more than 285,000 this year from 78,000 in 2018. That is still a fraction of other crops: Soybeans, for instance, are planted on about 75 million acres this year.
The increased cultivation has contributed to a decline in prices, market analysts say. Wholesale prices for biomass, or harvested plant matter, used for CBD production fell between 42% and 53%, depending on the volume sold, between April and October this year, according to New Leaf Data Services LLC, a market-data firm.
Joel Haynes, a 56-year-old farmer near Jackson, Tenn., said he is still working on nailing down buyers for his first crop of hemp on 120 acres. He said some hemp farmers are facing pressure from buyers trying to low-ball them because of the large supply of product.
''They're saying, 'You better take this price because the market's fixing to crash,' '' Mr. Haynes said.
He also hit snags because he was unfamiliar with the plant. The seeds he used from the Western U.S. didn't grow easily in the Tennessee soil, pests proved to be a problem and the whole effort required significant manual labor.
''I had a huge learning curve,'' Mr. Haynes said.
Hemp farmers and processors'--companies that turn the plant material into CBD oil, textiles and other products'--face other challenges, including regulatory uncertainty. They are adapting to interim rules released in October by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that established licensing, record-keeping and testing requirements. And they are awaiting additional guidance from the FDA on CBD products.
Farmers and processors also have limited access to traditional lending, said Ryan Quarles, Kentucky's agriculture commissioner. That is in part because banking institutions hesitate to do business with a new industry associated with cannabis until regulations clarify that they can do so safely, he said.
Atalo Holdings Inc., a maker of CBD products in Winchester, Ky., lost expected funding from some investors earlier this year. As a result, the company sent a letter to the roughly 80 farmers it buys from, saying they were free to sell to other purchasers if they could find them.
''Our intention is to pay all the farmers in full,'' Chief Executive William Hilliard said.
Some disputes in the industry have triggered litigation. In September, hemp company Elemental Processing LLC sued HP Farms LLC, based in Troutdale, Ore., for $44 million in a contract dispute, according to court documents. Elemental, based in Lexington, Ky., accused the Oregon company of providing it with seeds that weren't feminized'--those that spawn female plants, which are used for CBD production'--resulting in ruined crops.
HP Farms responded in a court filing that the contract didn't guarantee seeds would be feminized and asked for $3.7 million in damages. The case, in state court in Multnomah County, Ore., is continuing.
Despite hitches, Alex Barnett, a 52-year-old farmer in Cynthiana, said he plans to keep growing hemp, likely increasing the acres dedicated to the plant to 300 next year from 200 this year. He has a contract with a nearby processor, AgTech Scientific, and aspires to net $2,000 an acre of profit.
''I think it will be viable,'' Mr. Barnett said. ''We'll have to weed out the people wanting to make a quick buck.''
Write to Arian Campo-Flores at arian.campo-flores@wsj.com and Cameron McWhirter at cameron.mcwhirter@wsj.com
Brexit
General election 2019: Where did the leaked US-UK trade documents come from? - BBC News
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 10:33
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Who leaked details of the US-UK trade talks? Jeremy Corbyn set off a political row at a press conference on Wednesday when he unveiled leaked government documents about international trade negotiations.
Only eight days earlier, Mr Corbyn had brandished a heavily redacted version of the same documents during the ITV party leaders debate, saying they were evidence of a government cover-up.
Thick black lines covered much of the text that detailed discussions between US and British officials about drug prices in a possible trade deal after Brexit.
Debate rages on about what the documents actually mean. The uncensored versions first appeared online more than a month earlier, but initially gained very little attention.
The ultimate source of the leak remains a mystery, but here's what we know.
The Reddit postOn 21 October, somebody with the user name "gregoratior" posted the documents on Reddit.
Image copyright gregoratior "I suspect that this publication will make some noise," the post began.
Nothing could be further from the case. Despite appearing on a Reddit group or "subreddit" with nearly one million subscribers, the thread attracted just five comments. Almost nobody seemed to notice.
Further attemptsTwo days later, somebody who appeared to be the person or persons behind the Reddit post embarked on a campaign to try to get someone - anyone - to pay attention.
A Twitter account was created: @gregoratior. It started responding to tweets using a repetitive message, and including a link to the original Reddit post.
The first accounts mentioned in these tweets were the official accounts of the Labour Party, the Labour press office, and shadow chancellor John McDonnell:
Image copyright Twitter Over the next several days and weeks, @gregoratior fired messages at politicians, journalists, activists and conspiracy theorists - even celebrities like Bette Midler and businesses like book store Waterstones. All of the messages were virtually identical.
Links to the documents also popped up in murkier places.
Someone using the name "Wilbur Gregoratior" and the same profile picture as the Twitter account posted on BeforeItsNews.com, a conspiracy-heavy site which encourages readers to upload their own stories.
Image copyright Beforeitsnews.com Prior to the post about the leak, "Wilbur Gregoratior" had uploaded three other stories to the site, all in early October.
"The Democrats' Impeachment Attempt Against Trump Is A Huge Mistake" - copied and pasted from a pro-Trump blog called Moon Over Alabama."China's Anniversary Parade Reveals New Weapons That Will Influence U.S. Strategies" - another post copied from the same blog."Twitter Executive for Middle East Is British Army 'PSYOPS' Soldier" - again, a direct lift of a story, but this time from the news website Middle East Eye.The Reddit link was also posted on message board 4chan four times in quick succession on 23 October, and again the following day.
Account suspendedAfter lying dormant since 11 November, the @gregoratior Twitter account was suspended on Thursday. The BBC understands that this was because it was violating the platform's anti-spam policy.
"The only content it's tweeted shared the leaks," says Ben Nimmo, head of investigations at social media analytics company Graphika. "That makes it look like an account set up with the sole purpose of amplifying the leaks."
Image copyright Twitter Reddit activitySo are there any further clues about who is behind the Gregoratior Reddit account which originally posted the leaked documents?
The account was created more than two years ago, but only started posting in September 2019. Since then, Gregoratior has made more than 20 comments on other people's posts, mostly on politics and current affairs topics.
"It s funny but that excites me," read one, on a thread titled "Reporters Should Stop Helping Donald Trump Spread Lies About Joe Biden and Ukraine."
"I mean, Ukraine is thousands miles away but news these days made it much closer." the comment continued. "It s really fun to watch how easily mass media can turn every point on the map into a hotspot of the US politics."
The last post from Gregoratior came on 11 November - it was again trying to draw attention to the original post about the leaked documents.
Debate confrontationThen came the ITV debate on 19 November. During the broadcast, Mr Corbyn produced heavily-redacted versions of the documents, and announced that they were the result of a Freedom of Information request.
"You're going to sell our National Health Service out to the United States and big pharma," Mr Corbyn said, after pointing to the mostly blacked-out pages and criticising the lack of transparency.
Boris Johnson replied: "This is an absolute invention. It is completely untrue."
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Moment Corbyn produces 'NHS dossier'Global Justice Now (GJN) is a campaign group that originally lodged the Freedom of Information request in an attempt to force the government to release the documents.
GJN spokesperson Jonathan Stevenson says that after the debate, the organisation was contacted via email and alerted to the presence of the uncensored documents on Reddit. The group was still reviewing the leaked papers when Mr Corbyn held his press conference on Wednesday.
BBC Trending attempted to contact Gregoratior via Reddit, Twitter and email, but we have not received a response.
A Labour Party spokesperson declined to comment on the source of the leak. We also contacted Reddit, but have not received a response.
Have you spotted something interesting on social media? Is there something we should be investigating? Email us
Follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending, and find us on Facebook. All our stories are at bbc.com/trending.
Jeremy Corbyn reveals dossier 'proving NHS up for sale' | Politics | The Guardian
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 12:01
Labour has obtained official documents showing that the US is demanding that the NHS will be ''on the table'' in talks on a post-Brexit trade deal, Jeremy Corbyn has said.
The Labour leader said the uncensored papers gave the lie to Boris Johnson's claims that the NHS would not be part of any trade talks, and revealed that the US wanted ''total market access'' after the UK leaves the EU.
''The uncensored documents leave Boris Johnson's denials in absolute tatters,'' he said at a news conference in London. ''We have now got evidence that under Boris Johnson the NHS is on the table and will be up for sale. He tried to cover it up in a secret agenda and today it has been exposed.''
Corbyn said the 451 pages of documents covered six rounds of talks from July 2017 to ''just a few months ago''. He said the meetings took place in Washington and London. ''We are talking here about secret talks for a deal with Donald Trump after Brexit,'' he said.
Responding to the Labour claims, the Conservatives said the documents had already been online for two months and were simply readouts from meetings of the UK-US trade and investment working group. The Tories accused Labour of using the documents to try to divert attention from the issue of antisemitism in its ranks.
On medicine pricing, Corbyn said discussions had already been concluded between the two sides on lengthening patents. ''Longer patents can only mean one thing: more expensive drugs. Lives will be put at risk as a result of this,'' he said.
He used the example of Humira, used to treat Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis. ''It costs our NHS £1,409 a packet. In the US, the same packet costs £8,115. Get the difference: £1,409 in our NHS, £8,115 in the USA,'' Corbyn said. ''One of the reasons for US drug prices being on average 250% of those here is a patent regime rigged for the big pharmaceutical companies.''
He added: ''Let's be frank, the US is not going to negotiate to sell its own medicines for less.''
Labour is battling to bring the focus back on to safer ground after Corbyn's handling of antisemitism came under renewed criticism on Tuesday.
Corbyn avoided apologising to Jewish communities in a TV interview after the chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, alleged he had let the poison of antisemitism take root in the party.
Corbyn had previously highlighted heavily redacted documents obtained by Labour campaigners relating to private meetings between UK and US officials discussing health being included in a trade deal. It is understood the party obtained unredacted versions in the last couple of days.
Corbyn said the documents revealed that the UK and US were closer to a deal than hoped. ''[Officials] are ready to 'exchange text', which is trade-negotiator-speak for it being at a very advanced stage,'' he said. ''And they say they are ready to, I quote, 'really take significant further steps'.''
Corbyn said the report from the third meeting said ''everything is included [in trade talks] unless something is specifically excluded'' and that the US wanted ''total market access'' as the ''baseline assumption of the trade negotiations''.
He said officials had discussed a system to give corporations the power to sue the UK. ''This is not only a plot against our NHS,'' said Corbyn. ''It is a plot against the whole country.''
He pointed to a passage in the documents that suggested the US would prefer a no-deal Brexit. ''There would be all to play for in a no-deal situation but UK commitment to the customs union and single market would make a US-UK [free trade agreement] a non-starter,'' it reads.
The Conservatives said it was simply fact that it would not be possible to strike a free-trade deal with the US if the UK remained in the single market and customs union.
The international trade secretary, Liz Truss, said: ''Jeremy Corbyn is getting desperate and is out-and-out lying to the public about what these documents contain.''
She said it was Corbyn's belief in ''conspiracy theories'' that had led him to fail to crack down on antisemitism in his party, pointing to reports that he had called on ''western governments'' to confront ''the Zionist lobby'' in a piece written for the Morning Star in 2011.
''People should not believe a word that he says, this stunt is simply a smokescreen for the fact that he has no plan for Brexit and that he has been forced to admit that he wants to increase taxes for millions of families,'' she said.
''As we have consistently made clear, the NHS will not be on the table in any future trade deal and the price that the NHS pays for drugs will not be on the table. This sort of conspiracy theory fuelled nonsense is not befitting of the leader of a major political party.''
Labour's manifesto includes a pledge to increase NHS funding by an average of 4.3% every year of the next parliament, which is more generous than Conservative and Liberal Democrat proposals.
The party has also promised to ''end and reverse privatisation in the NHS in the next parliament'', as well as offering free annual NHS dental checkups and a new national care service to tackle the social care crisis.
EuroLand
In Shocking Blow To Merkel, Germany's SPD Elects Leftist Leaders, Risking Coalition Government Collapse
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 17:07
Merkel's last term as German chancellor has been a series of relentless blows to her reputation and legacy, as the former leader of Europe finds herself trapped and increasingly powerless in a world that has grown hostile to her style of governing.
The latest shock came on Saturday, when the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) announced the winner of its leadership contest as both coalition partners of Germany's Grand Coalition were transitioning their party leaderships after disappointing results in opinion polls and at regional elections.
Whereas consensus had widely expected finance minister Olaf Scholz and regional politician Klara Geywitz to preserve their control over the SPD after topping the first round of voting, the result announced just after 6pm CET showed that with a vote of 53% to 45%, SPD members elected Norbert Walter-Borjans, a former minister in the regional state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Saskia Esken, an MP from Baden-W¼rttemberg, as their new leaders.
The outcome was a blow to Merkel and her coalition government, as the duo of Walter-Borjans and Esken represent the left-leaning segment of the SPD and have been highly skeptical of the SPD's role in the Grand Coalition government.
SPD's new leaders, Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken The surprising swing to the left for Germany's (formerly) centrist and fiscally prudent Grand coalition threatens to trigger a prolonged phase of political uncertainty in Germany, because as Bloomberg notes, "the victory of Walter-Borjans and Esken, who favor taxing the rich, boosting welfare spending and abandoning Germany's long-standing policy of a balanced budget, will certainly weaken pro-government forces."
Goldman Sachs agrees: in a Thursday note by the bank's European strategist Sven Jari Stehn, he wrote that a victory by Walter-Borjans and Esken increases the risk that the SPD pulls out the coalition because under a left-leaning SPD "there would be a diminished consensus within the coalition" as the newly elected duo is demanding a re-negotiation of parts of the coalition agreement, and seeking to increase federal fiscal spending and investment.
Whereas this would be a virtually impossible concession for the CDU to make during its own leadership transition, Goldman does not expect "an immediate dissolution of the coalition", even though the collapse of Germany's current coalition is now just a matter of time.
"I never said we need to leave,'' Walter-Borjans said after the results of the election were announced on Saturday evening. "We must improve the policies and perhaps loosen the black zero," he said in reference to Merkel's balanced budget policy, news that would be met over champagne and caviar everywhere from the ECB to Brussels, to the IMF, all of whom have been demanding that Germany boost its fiscal stimulus.
Ironically, it's now only Angela Merkel who stands in the way of Germany doing away with its "black zero" balanced budget policy, and any deviation would almost surely mean the end of the Chancellor's political career.
The fate of Germany's fiscal stimulus has emerged as arguably the most important topic for Europe's economic future.
While Germany avoided a technical recession by the narrowest of margins, growth continues to slow and will drop to an estimated 0.5% this year, one-fifth the rate of what it was in 2017, largely as a result of the global trade war and China's collapsing credit impulse, although the ECB's recent monetary boost has certainly helped delay the day of reckoning.
Ironically, after a tumultuous year in which the SPD and Merkel's Christian Democrats both faced intense power struggles, Germany's political and business elites had hoped for a period of calm and continuity; instead they are now looking at what appears to be an almost certain collapse of the ruling coalition.
As Bloomberg notes, in hopes of delaying political chaos, Merkel this week had made an unusual plea to see the alliance through to 2021, saying there was still much to be done. Finmin Scholz also argued that his party is achieving more of its objectives in government than it ever could in opposition, even if it needed to compromise. But Walter-Borjans managed to tap the dissatisfaction of many Social Democrats who feel their party has abandoned its working-class origins and should abandon an alliance with conservatives.
Meanwhile, as Goldman points out, the CDU/CSU coalition is not immune to internal tensions either. Since Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (AKK) took over the CDU leadership last year, both European and regional elections failed to show a turnaround in voter support that would have cemented her leadership of the party. While AKK's critics refrained from a rival leadership bid at last week's CDU party convention, her position remains uncertain. Absent a substantial improvement in her approval ratings, there will be an aggressive race for the CDU's lead candidate for the next general election scheduled for the fall of 2021, with candidates from both the centre and the right of the party likely throwing their hats in the ring when the nomination process begins in late 2020. A more right-leaning candidate could also raise questions about the viability of the current coalition, especially with the SPD now turning a sharp left turn.
To be sure, Merkel may still fight to preserve the coalition, but that would come at a major cost: during the campaign Esken and Walter-Borjans said their price for staying includes billions of euros of government investment in climate and education, a 12 euro per hour minimum wage, and wage negotiations that should be made obligatory for employers. While such demands were seen as unacceptable by Merkel's CDU and its leader, AKK, told delegates at a convention in Leipzig last week that she would refuse to renegotiate the coalition agreement that the two factions completed in March 2018, now that the numbers are in, Merkel may have no choice but to bend the knee.
In other words, while today was another major loss for Merkel, fans of MMT around the world are rejoicing as Germany is now one step closer to launching an ECB-monetized fiscal stimulus.
What happens next?
According to Goldman, notwithstanding the risks involved in the leadership transitions, the bank still expects the Grand Coalition to last through 2020 and, even in the event the coalition is dissolved, snap elections would not be triggered automatically as the hurdles to dissolving parliament are high. Neither coalition partner currently has a strong incentive to seek fresh elections as both are polling well below their 2017 election results, and the Greens continue to poll ahead of the SPD.
A CDU/CSU minority government is therefore the more likely option in the event of a breakup of the Grand Coalition, providing relative stability during Germany's European Council Presidency in the second half of 2020.
As for Germany's economy, Goldman expects the Esken/Walter-Borjans leadership to increase the chance that the fiscal space made available in the 2020 budget is fully exploited rather than under-delivering on the planned easing as in previous years seeing they have indicated to favor a looser fiscal stance. This could add stimulus worth 0.2% of GDP in 2020, but it would still fall significantly short of the easing space afforded by both national and EU rules. Should the Grand Coalitionbreak up, a CDU-led minority government would imply downside risks to Goldman's ur baseline.
So while today's result was a clear sign that at least one German party is turning sharply left, and thus more likely to endorse fiscal stimulus, Germany still faces an uphill climb before it concedes, a climb that may last well into 2021 by which point the global economic recession would make a German stimulus a moot point.
Angela Merkel Says Freedom Of Speech Must Be Curtailed To Keep Society Free | Zero Hedge
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 08:20
Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that freedom of expression must be curtailed in order to keep society free.
Yes, really.
''For all those who claim that they can no longer express their opinion, I say this to them; If you express a pronounced opinion, you must live with the fact that you will be contradicted,'' said Merkel during a speech to the German Parliament.
''Expressing an opinion does not come at zero cost, but freedom of expression has limits,'' she added, as some in the Bundestag could be heard voicing their disagreement.
''Those limits begin where hatred is spread, they begin where the dignity of other people is violated. This house will and must oppose extreme speech otherwise our society will no longer be the free society that it was,'' said Merkel.
Watch till the end. Angela Merkel says: we have to take away your freedom of speech, or else society won't be free. pic.twitter.com/Y3qROvDQXg
'-- Ezra Levant 🍁 (@ezralevant) November 28, 2019Of course, what ''violates'' the ''dignity'' of other people is completely subjective and could include all manner of speech that most people would find perfectly acceptable.
The debate over free speech in Germany has intensified since the country accepted over a million migrants from the Middle East and North Africa from 2015 onwards.
Many Germans have found themselves hit with charges of hate speech for pointing out 'hate facts' like migrants being responsible for crimes and sexual assaults
This happened despite the German government's own numbers showing violent crime in Germany rose by 10 per cent between 2015 and 2016 and that more than 90 per cent of the rise was attributable to young male ''refugees.''
Lawmakers in one area of Germany even attempted to pass a law that would have jailed people for insulting the EU anthem or burning the EU flag.
As we document in the video below, Germans were subjected to a re-education campaign to encourage them to accept their new reality rather than the government actually addressing their concerns about mass migration.
* * *
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Armageddon
The Salary You Need To Be Happy in the US | GOBankingRates
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 09:31
Rawpixel / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Can money truly buy happiness? Turns out that it certainly can, according to a Purdue University study, which examined how much money people need to be happy and whether or not happiness rises as one's income level increases. But there's a catch.
The study argued that the optimal amount of money it takes to be happy varies worldwide. ''That might be surprising as what we see on TV and what advertisers tell us we need would indicate that there is no ceiling when it comes to how much money is needed for happiness, but we now see there are some thresholds,'' said Andrew T. Jebb, a doctoral student and the lead author of the Purdue University study, in a press release.
The research specifically sought to pinpoint the amount where money no longer changes your level of emotional well-being and ''life evaluation.'' Emotional well-being was measured according to a person's day-to-day emotions, including happy, excited, sad and angry. Life evaluation was defined in terms of overall life satisfaction and was ''likely more influenced by higher goals and comparisons to others.''
Using the Purdue study's findings, GOBankingRates predicted how much money you would need to make to be happy in 50 of the biggest cities in America. The Purdue researchers determined that, globally, individuals would need an income of $60,000-$75,000 for emotional well-being and an income of $95,000 for life evaluation. The ideal income for life satisfaction in North America is $105,000, which was used as a benchmark for the ''salary needed to be happy'' category listed in this study.
Last updated: Nov. 8, 2019
1/50
Edgar Chaparro / iStock.com
Albuquerque, New MexicoSalary you need to be happy: $103,215Salary you need for life evaluation: $93,385Salary you need for emotional well-being: $58,980-$73,7252/50
Steve Debenport / Getty Images
Arlington, TexasSalary you need to be happy: $114,345Salary you need for life evaluation: $103,455Salary you need for emotional well-being: $65,340-$81,6753/50
Michael Warren / Getty Images
AtlantaSalary you need to be happy: $121,170Salary you need for life evaluation: $109,630Salary you need for emotional well-being: $69,240-$86,5504/50
Philip Arno Photography / Shutterstock.com
Austin, TexasSalary you need to be happy: $136,500Salary you need for life evaluation: $123,500Salary you need for emotional well-being: $78,000-$97,500Everything You Need To Know About Budgeting: How To Create a Budget You Can Live With
5/50
RomanBabakin / Getty Images
BostonSalary you need to be happy: $190,680Salary you need for life evaluation: $172,520Salary you need for emotional well-being: $108,960-$136,2006/50
skiserge1 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Charlotte, North CarolinaSalary you need to be happy: $112,035Salary you need for life evaluation: $101,365Salary you need for emotional well-being: $64,020-$80,0257/50
Sean Pavone / Getty Images
ChicagoSalary you need to be happy: $123,690Salary you need for life evaluation: $111,910Salary you need for emotional well-being: $70,680-$88,3508/50
benedek / Getty Images
ClevelandSalary you need to be happy: $80,955Salary you need for life evaluation: $73,245Salary you need for emotional well-being: $46,260-$57,8259/50
SWKrullImaging / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Colorado Springs, ColoradoSalary you need to be happy: $118,545Salary you need for life evaluation: $107,255Salary you need for emotional well-being: $67,740-$84,675Columbus, OhioSalary you need to be happy: $94,920Salary you need for life evaluation: $85,880Salary you need for emotional well-being: $54,240-$67,80011/50
kan_khampanya / Shutterstock.com
DallasSalary you need to be happy: $113,085Salary you need for life evaluation: $102,315Salary you need for emotional well-being: $64,620-$80,77512/50
georgeclerk / Getty Images
DenverSalary you need to be happy: $151,410Salary you need for life evaluation: $136,990Salary you need for emotional well-being: $86,520-$108,15013/50
DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com
El Paso, TexasSalary you need to be happy: $91,560Salary you need for life evaluation: $82,840Salary you need for emotional well-being: $52,320-$65,40014/50
typhoonski / iStock.com
Fort Worth, TexasSalary you need to be happy: $112,665Salary you need for life evaluation: $101,935Salary you need for emotional well-being: $64,380-$80,47515/50
DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com
Fresno, CaliforniaSalary you need to be happy: $113,190Salary you need for life evaluation: $102,410Salary you need for emotional well-being: $64,680-$80,85016/50
ja-images / Shutterstock.com
HonoluluSalary you need to be happy: $211,155Salary you need for life evaluation: $191,045Salary you need for emotional well-being: $120,660-$150,825HoustonSalary you need to be happy: $110,040Salary you need for life evaluation: $99,560Salary you need for emotional well-being: $62,880-$78,60018/50
traveler1116 / Getty Images
IndianapolisSalary you need to be happy: $92,295Salary you need for life evaluation: $83,505Salary you need for emotional well-being: $52,740-$65,92519/50
JSvideos / Shutterstock.com
20/50
Josh_Weinstock / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Kansas City, MissouriSalary you need to be happy: $96,495Salary you need for life evaluation: $87,305Salary you need for emotional well-being: $55,140-$68,92521/50
ImagineGolf / Getty Images
Las VegasSalary you need to be happy: $126,105Salary you need for life evaluation: $114,095Salary you need for emotional well-being: $72,060-$90,07522/50
hollywood_DP / Shutterstock.com
Long Beach, CaliforniaSalary you need to be happy: $188,055Salary you need for life evaluation: $170,145Salary you need for emotional well-being: $107,460-$134,32523/50
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com
Los AngelesSalary you need to be happy: $204,855Salary you need for life evaluation: $185,345Salary you need for emotional well-being: $117,060-$146,32524/50
Kirkikis / Getty Images
Louisville, KentuckySalary you need to be happy: $101,115Salary you need for life evaluation: $91,485Salary you need for emotional well-being: $57,780-$72,22525/50
f11photo / Shutterstock.com
Memphis, TennesseeSalary you need to be happy: $88,515Salary you need for life evaluation: $80,085Salary you need for emotional well-being: $50,580-$63,22526/50
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images
Mesa, ArizonaSalary you need to be happy: $119,280Salary you need for life evaluation: $107,920Salary you need for emotional well-being: $68,160-$85,20027/50
Meinzahn / Getty Images
MiamiSalary you need to be happy: $143,955Salary you need for life evaluation: $130,245Salary you need for emotional well-being: $82,260-$102,82528/50
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
MilwaukeeSalary you need to be happy: $94,500Salary you need for life evaluation: $85,500Salary you need for emotional well-being: $54,000-$67,50029/50
Davel5957 / Getty Images
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f11photo / Shutterstock.com
Nashville, TennesseeSalary you need to be happy: $115,920Salary you need for life evaluation: $104,880Salary you need for emotional well-being: $66,240-$82,80031/50
Photo Italia LLC / Getty Images
New OrleansSalary you need to be happy: $112,875Salary you need for life evaluation: $102,125Salary you need for emotional well-being: $64,500-$80,62532/50
ferrantraite / Getty Images
New YorkSalary you need to be happy: $219,765Salary you need for life evaluation: $198,835Salary you need for emotional well-being: $125,580-$156,97533/50
Davel5957 / Getty Images
Oakland, CaliforniaSalary you need to be happy: $211,260Salary you need for life evaluation: $191,140Salary you need for emotional well-being: $120,720-$150,90034/50
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Oklahoma CitySalary you need to be happy: $96,075Salary you need for life evaluation: $86,925Salary you need for emotional well-being: $54,900-$68,62535/50
Davel5957 / iStock.com
Omaha, NebraskaSalary you need to be happy: $99,645Salary you need for life evaluation: $90,155Salary you need for emotional well-being: $56,940-$71,175Orlando, FloridaSalary you need to be happy: $118,020Salary you need for life evaluation: $106,780Salary you need for emotional well-being: $67,440-$84,30037/50
benedek / Getty Images
PhiladelphiaSalary you need to be happy: $116,340Salary you need for life evaluation: $105,260Salary you need for emotional well-being: $66,480-$83,10038/50
BCFC / Shutterstock.com
PhoenixSalary you need to be happy: $119,070Salary you need for life evaluation: $107,730Salary you need for emotional well-being: $68,040-$85,05039/50
pawel.gaul / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Portland, OregonSalary you need to be happy: $155,190Salary you need for life evaluation: $140,410Salary you need for emotional well-being: $88,680-$110,85040/50
Sharkshock / Shutterstock.com
Raleigh, North CarolinaSalary you need to be happy: $116,550Salary you need for life evaluation: $105,450Salary you need for emotional well-being: $66,600-$83,25041/50
RiverNorthPhotography / Getty Images
Sacramento, CaliforniaSalary you need to be happy: $133,875Salary you need for life evaluation: $121,125Salary you need for emotional well-being: $76,500-$95,62542/50
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
San AntonioSalary you need to be happy: $101,535Salary you need for life evaluation: $91,865Salary you need for emotional well-being: $58,020-$72,52543/50
Ron_Thomas / Getty Images
San DiegoSalary you need to be happy: $186,375Salary you need for life evaluation: $168,625Salary you need for emotional well-being: $106,500-$133,12544/50
Nicolas McComber / Getty Images
San FranciscoSalary you need to be happy: $319,935Salary you need for life evaluation: $289,465Salary you need for emotional well-being: $182,820-$228,52545/50
NicolasMcComber / Getty Images/iStockphoto
San Jose, CaliforniaSalary you need to be happy: $273,000Salary you need for life evaluation: $247,000Salary you need for emotional well-being: $156,000-$195,000SeattleSalary you need to be happy: $214,200Salary you need for life evaluation: $193,800Salary you need for emotional well-being: $122,400-$153,00047/50
Davel5957 / iStock.com
Tucson, ArizonaSalary you need to be happy: $104,370Salary you need for life evaluation: $94,430Salary you need for emotional well-being: $59,640-$74,55048/50
4kclips / Shutterstock.com
Tulsa, OklahomaSalary you need to be happy: $94,080Salary you need for life evaluation: $85,120Salary you need for emotional well-being: $53,760-$67,20049/50
Sherry V Smith / Shutterstock.com
Virginia Beach, VirginiaSalary you need to be happy: $121,380Salary you need for life evaluation: $109,820Salary you need for emotional well-being: $69,360-$86,700Washington, D.C.Salary you need to be happy: $182,595Salary you need for life evaluation: $165,205Salary you need for emotional well-being: $104,340-$130,425More From GOBankingRates
The Complete Guide to the Best Retirement AgeBest Online Savings AccountsBest Travel Credit Cards of 201916 Effective Ways To Trick Yourself Into Saving MoneyMethodology: GOBankingRates determined the cost-of-living-adjusted minimum salary needed to be ''happy'' based on various income satiation levels, identified by Purdue University researchers. Global income satiation levels are as follows: $60,000-$75,000 for ''emotional well-being'' and $95,000 for ''life evaluation.'' In North America, the income satiation level is $105,000 for life evaluation, according to Purdue, and this benchmark was used to determine the ''salary you need to be happy'' in the study. GOBankingRates factored in each city's cost-of-living index, sourced from Sperling's Best Places. Research was conducted and is accurate as of Oct. 24, 2019.
Poland Brings Gold Home
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 10:32
Poland has repatriated 100 tons of gold from England. National Bank of Poland Governor Adam GlapiÅski announced the yellow metal's return home on Monday.
''The gold symbolizes the strength of the country,'' GlapiÅski told reporters.
He noted that the country could generate multi-million dollar profits if it sold its gold reserves, although there are no plans to do so.
GlapiÅski said the Polish central bank will continue to bring its precious metal home if the ''reserve situation is favorable.''
Poland has also been aggressively increasing its gold reserves. The National Bank of Poland added 100 tons of the yellow metal to its hoard through the first half of 2019. In a statement announcing the plans earlier this year, GlapiÅski said he was ''proud'' of the moves. How an Economy Grows a... Peter D. Schiff, Andre... Best Price: $7.76 Buy New $22.72 (as of 06:50 EST - Details )
We managed to increase the strategic reserves of gold and take steps to repatriate a large part of Polish gold to the country. By implementing our constitutional, statutory and simply patriotic commitment, we not only build the economic strength of the Polish state, but also create reserves that will safeguard its financial security. This is the global trend, but also the expectation of Polish society.''
Poland began accumulating gold last year when it added 7 tons of the yellow metal to its reserves in June and another 3 tons in August. At the time, it was the largest gold purchase by Poland since 1998, and it was the first EU country to add a significant amount of gold to its reserves since 1983. It bought another 15.7 tons through the final months of 2018 and 100 tons through the first half of this year. That brought the country's total reserves to 228.6 tons, according to the NBP statement.
Gold is the 'most reserve' of reserve assets: it diversifies the geopolitical risk and is a kind of anchor of trust, especially in times of tension and crises.''
Poland now ranks as the 22nd-biggest holder of bullion in the world.
Poland joins a number of other Eastern European nations in buying gold. Serbia added 9 tons of gold to its reserves in October, and late last year, the Hungarian central bank announced it boosted its gold reserves 10-fold.
A number of countries have also repatriated some or all of their gold reserves over the last several years, most recently Hungary and Romania. In the summer of 2017, Germany completed a project to bring half of its gold reserves back inside its borders. The country moved some $31 billion worth of the yellow metal back to Germany from vaults in England, France and the US. In 2015, Australia launched efforts to bring half of its reserves home. The Netherlands and Belgium also launched repatriation programs. Even the state of Texas has put a plan in place to bring its gold within state borders.
Gold repatriation underscores the importance of holding physical gold where you can easily access it. Gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and ''paper gold'' have their place. But true security and stability come from physical possession of precious metals. If you can't hold it in your hand, you don't really possess it. That's exactly why these countries are bringing their gold home, safe within their own vaults.
A report by Bullion Star noted that ''Although the official language in the press release is diplomatic, the NBP makes it clear that there is a real risk to holding its gold in London.'' According to the report, England's ''brazen'' confiscation of Venezuela's gold may have increased unease about holding gold abroad.
Reprinted from SchiffGold.com.
Vaccines
California parents flood school board meeting to demand parental rights sanctuary regarding vaccines and sex education -- Society's Child -- Sott.net
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 10:44
(C) Michelle Mears for California Globe
This week the Murrieta Unified School District in Southern California saw hundreds of parents turn out for a school board meeting to protest the loss of parental rights when it comes to the issue of mandatory vaccines and the sexualization in sex education of their children without parental approval.
They brought a proposal to make their community a "sanctuary city for parental rights," claiming that if illegal immigration can be protected by a sanctuary status, then so can parental rights.
Reporter Michelle Mears was present, and published a report at the California Globe.
Hundreds of residents in a Southern California community swarmed a school board meeting Thursday night to speak out about the loss of parental rights in schools. Anxious parents, many with children in tow, students, pastors and doctors demanded the Murrieta Unified School District become the first sanctuary city for parental rights in California.For two hours people waited to speak out on the action item titled, "To consider Proposal by Community Member to Become a Sanctuary School District." Those in favor of the sanctuary status understood the trustees could not change the laws set by the state. However, their argument is, if illegal immigration can be protected by a sanctuary status then so can parental rights.
One of the highlights of the night was a reading of an affidavit by a nurse known on Facebook as "
Sandra RN." Police attempted to block her efforts and remove her from the room, but when she stood up for her rights as she was being filmed, police backed down and allowed her to speak:
Michelle Mears
interviewed several of the parents in attendance:
Megan and Patrick Hill who live in Murrieta and have a two year old daughter are leaving California in January. They are angry their child's full medical exemption for vaccinations was reversed when SB 276 by Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) was signed into law this year."The governor has taken away my incredible healthy, beautiful daughter's right to attend school when he signed that bill," said Megan Hill. "The FDA, the CDC, they all state there is risk to vaccines. If there is risk there must a choice."
"We are listing our house and escaping California. We are refugees of California we are being kicked out of our home state, away from our family and friends," said Megan Hill.
Christian Edwards, a parent who lives in Murrieta said, "I came out to support parents who don't want to be forced to vaccinate their children and to fight back against the schools allowing minors to leave campus to have abortions or hormone therapy."
"So many rights are being violated," said Patrick Hill. "Vaccines are just one, but there is also the issue of children being allowed to leave the campus as minors to have abortions but they can't go the school nurse and get an aspirin. There is something backwards about this," added Hill, who is already job searching in states other than California.
Dr. Todd Donohoe, who has been actively fighting against forced vaccinations since 2015 when SB 277 was passed, spoke to the trustees. Donohoe also helped organize a recall effort against then State Senator Stone who was a co-author to SB 277. The bill removed religious exemptions for vaccines.
"Children today are getting sometimes more than 51 injections and as many as nine in one day. That is deemed safe and it is not," said Donohoe. The crowd chanted, "If there is risk there must be choice."
Pastor Tim Thompson from 412 Church in Murrieta, asked if school board would stand up for parental rights and declare Murrieta as a sanctuary school district.
Hunter Erickson, an 18-year old who attends school in Murrieta said he wanted to denounce the education the tax payers are being forced to pay, "California residents are being forced to pay for a product they believe is evil, being forced to pay for an education they are not receiving. How does this episode of history end," said Erickson.
"The introduction to sexualization in sex education has stripped children of their value and innocence and parents of their rights. We aren't not supporting the product you want us to pay for."
What happened in this school district this week may be just the beginning of parents nationwide who decide to start doing something about the loss of parental rights. It was very obvious that they were impassioned, knew their rights, and were not going to back down or be intimidated.
Voicing disapproval from behind a computer or cell phone on social media just doesn't cut it anymore, especially with social media censoring dissenting voices more and more these days.
It is time to put boots on the ground and demand Constitutional rights be upheld when it comes to parental rights, and the best place to do that is in one's own community.
OK Boomer
Facts about 'xennials,' who were born in between millennials and Gen X - Business Insider
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 06:32
Xennials are a "micro-generation" born between 1977 and 1985.This group has also been called the "Oregon Trail Generation."Xennials may have been hit hardest by the recession because of a combination of student-loan debt, job loss, and other factors. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories .It's hard not fitting in.
If you feel sort of but not quite like a millennial, and sort of but not quite like a Gen Xer, take heart: You might just be a "xennial." That's a term for the "micro-generation" born between 1977 and 1985.
The term was coined in 2014 by Sarah Stankorb in Good Magazine. People have started talking about xennials again, with self-proclaimed members of this demographic waxing (read: tweeting) nostalgic about "Oregon Trail" and flip phones. Merriam-Webster even labeled "xennial" one of its "words we're watching."
Below, Business Insider has outlined the defining characteristics of xennials and how they're different from the generations that came before and after them.
Xennials are a "micro-generation" born between 1977 and 1985.
"The Goonies"/Warner Bros. Source: Business Insider
This group has also been called the "Oregon Trail Generation," in reference to a computer game that was popular when they were growing up.
screenshot Source: Social Media Week
Xennials were the first generation to grow up with household computers and have internet access. ("You've got mail!")
Netflix Source: Social Media Week
Many xennials didn't get their first cellphone until they were in their 20s. Instead, they had to call their friends' homes and talk to their parents first.
Getty Images Source: GOOD Magazine
By the time xennials were 20 years old, the music industry had changed completely. Instead of buying cassette tapes, you could download songs on Napster.
Portland Press Herald via Getty Images Source: Social Media Week
Many xennials remember watching, and sometimes getting personally invested, in the OJ Simpson trial.
Reuters Source: GOOD
While xennials recall a time before the internet, they spent their formative years on AOL chatting and emailing.
AOL Source: Mashable
Xennials aren't quite as cynical as the stereotypical Gen Xer but also aren't quite as optimistic as the stereotypical millennial.
Rich Fury/Getty Images for Coachella Source: Vogue
Xennials may have been hit hardest by the recession because of a combination of student-loan debt, job loss, and other factors.
Brian Snyder/Reuters Sources: GOOD Magazine and CityLab
You can take a quiz from the Guardian to see whether you qualify as a xennial. There are questions about owning "New Kids on the Block" merchandise, making mix tapes, and remembering the advent of car phones.
Wikimedia Commons Here's the quiz.
Source: The Guardian
More: Features Xennials Generation Millennials Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
An Obituary for 'OK Boomer' - The Atlantic
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 06:32
The lessons of a short-lived meme
November 29, 2019 Staff writer for The Atlantic
Boy Scouts pose at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in the 1950s. Handout / ReutersThings come and go so quickly these days. Or is it just that some of us are slower on the uptake? Whatever: No sooner do we'--does one'--become aware of a meme or a trend or a catchphrase than it is unofficially declared done, over, kaput; the shark is judged to have been well and truly jumped.
'''OK Boomer'?'' said my editor, looking slightly alarmed at my choice of topic. ''Is that still a thing?''
''Still?'' I said.
''Only to Boomers,'' a precocious colleague chimed in, unhelpfully.
Mayfly-like though the life cycle of a contemporary meme is, there are discrete phases to it. The meme emerges from some dim, untraceable nativity; to this day, for instance, no one can account for the origins of ''OK Boomer.'' The meme whistles around social media, imparting a glow of knowing cleverness to the first dozen users to post it to TikTok or Instagram or Twitter; for a quarter hour or more, these trailblazers feel themselves united in an unapproachable freemasonry of cool. Hours tick by, sometimes days. Soon, everyone wants in on the act, and the meme is everywhere. Samantha Bee uses it as a punch line. Incipient signs of exhaustion appear: Mo Rocca plans to build a six-minute segment around it for CBS Sunday Morning next weekend.
Lyman Stone: The Boomers ruined everything
The death rattle of a meme is heard when some legit news outlet'--The New York Times, NPR'--takes notice and spies in the meme a cultural signifier, perhaps even a Larger Metaphor. Deep thinkers hover like vultures. The world surrounds the meme, engulfs it, suffocates it, drains it, ingests it. By the end of the week, Elizabeth Warren is using it as the subject line of an email fundraiser, next to a winking emoji. The shark, jumped, recedes ever deeper into the distance. Rocca's segment airs. The meme is finished.
The particulars of the downward spiral change from meme to meme, of course. The end came for ''OK Boomer'' mid-month, when it was reported that Fox was trying to trademark the phrase for the title of a TV show.
TV'--as in cable and broadcast? Fox? With this news, ''OK Boomer'' was immediately rendered as exciting and cutting-edge as the Macarena. You might as well freeze it in amber. Google Trends charted the ascent and the quick decline.
Having peaked nearly two weeks ago, the meaning of OK Boomer may have already been forgotten by its millions of users. Dictionary.com, the meme reliquary, is here to remind us: OK Boomer was a ''slang phrase'' used ''to call out or dismiss out of touch or close-minded opinions associated with the Baby Boomer generation and older people more generally.'' The essential document was a split-screen video, seen in various versions on YouTube and TikTok. On one side, a Baby Boomer, bearded, bespectacled, and baseball-capped (natch), lectured the camera on the moral failings of Millennials and members of Generation Z; on the other side, as the Boomer droned on in a fog of self-satisfaction, a non-Boomer (different versions exist) could be seen making a little placard: OK Boomer .
In an irony-soaked era, a word is often meant to be taken for its opposite, and so it was with OK Boomer. OK means ''not okay'''--OK here means (borrowing a meme with a longer shelf life) ''STFU.'' Many Boomers were thus quick to take offense, since taking offense is now a preapproved response to any set of circumstances at any time. One Boomer even objected to the plain word Boomer, calling it the ''N-word of ageism.'' Once again, Boomers are getting ahead of themselves. No one has yet begun referring to the ''B-word'' as a delicate alternative to the unsayable obscenity Boomer. My guess is that it will take a while.
Other Boomers, if you'll pardon the expression, insisted that the national disgrace of ''OK Boomer'' would require the intervention of the heavy hand of the law, lest the injustice go uncorrected. A writer for Inc. magazine, a self-described Gen Xer, earnestly advised employers of whatever age to keep an ear open around the workplace. Casual use of the phrase, she wrote, could be a ''serious problem.''
''If you have an employee, of any age, dropping the 'Ok, Boomer' line against any employee who is over the age of 40, you have to take it seriously,'' wrote Inc.'s employment expert. ''You can't dismiss it as harmless banter.'' Indeed, no banter should be deemed harmless any longer without prolonged and skeptical consideration. In the case of ''OK Boomer,'' its bantering might fall afoul of federal law banning discrimination against employees 40 and over. ''A joke '... can lead to patterns that create a hostile work environment, putting the company on the receiving end of a lawsuit.''
Much of what scholars might call ''OK Boomer'' literature'--it's a kind of pop-up literature, here today and gone tomorrow'--dwelled on the ill will Gen Z feels toward Baby Boomers, but the most interesting thing about the meme is the way it undammed vast, transgenerational reservoirs of grievance and self-pity, running in every direction. Gen Z dislikes the Boomers for all the predictable reasons: for their condescension, as exemplified by the hectoring guy in the baseball cap, but also for hastening climate change, amassing national debt, raising college tuition, driving up real-estate prices, and electing Donald Trump. So high are the sins piled that, as the Times reported, entrepreneurial Gen Zers were forced to strike back with the most forceful response the Boomer generation has left them with: They printed T-shirts, and even hoodies, inscribed with Okay boomer have a terrible day .
Niall Ferguson and Eyck Freymann: The coming generation war
Harsh, yes, but not a unique sentiment in the round-robin of intergenerational unpleasantness. Millennials dislike Boomers for all the same reasons Gen Zers dislike them. Gen Xers, for their part, are growing increasingly unhappy because it's dawning on them that they are about to be leapfrogged in the scheme of national succession. The Boomers stubbornly cling to power as the clock runs out: There's as little chance a Gen Xer will become president of the United States as Prince Charles will succeed his mum without bumping her off. This seems to have increased the bad feeling the Xers have toward Millennials, who, as a generation, seem to have otherwise borne the brunt of many Boomer misfires (the Iraq War, the Great Recession). Meanwhile, the Millennials are quite happy to dismiss their youngsters as pampered and unworldly groundlings'' snowflakes, to use the meme fist popularized in the novel Fight Club, written, of course, by a Baby Boomer.
What ''OK Boomer'' made plain is that the only thing all these age cohorts agree on is that as bad as everybody else is, the Boomers are worse. There's justice here. Boomers invented the generational antagonism that the ''OK Boomer'' meme thrived on and enlarged. For self-hating Boomers like me, this made the ''OK Boomer'' episode unusually clarifying and rewarding, and we should remain forever grateful to whatever whining, resentful non-Boomer thought it up. I'm sorry to see it go'--especially because our elders never had a chance to use it.
These were the generations whose spawn we were, called the Greatest Generation and the Silent Generation. Their silence was one of the things that made them great. Still, a snappy comeback would have been handy 40 years ago, as we sanctimoniously hectored them with the many great truths we thought we had discovered, and with which we began our long cultural domination: ''The Viet Cong are agrarian reformers!'' ''Condoms aren't worth the trouble!'' ''Yoko Ono is an artist!''
How much vexation might have been avoided if they had just raised a hand and said, with a well-earned eye-roll: ''OK Boomer.''
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.
Big Pharma
Zantac recall: FDA studies cancer risk in ranitidine, heartburn drugs
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 06:16
The stomach-acid-blocking drug Zantac was prescribed more than 15 million times a year with little worry about the safety of the medication, available for decades.
But it's been harder to get the drug since September, when the Food and Drug Administration said testing showed versions of Zantac and its generic, ranitidine, contained a probable carcinogen. The French drugmaker Sanofi recalled Zantac from drugstores and retailers' shelves. A half-dozen generic drugmakers pulled ranitidine from the market.
How did a drug routinely used by millions of heartburn sufferers and available with or without a prescription become a potential cancer risk? It's a question the FDA, drug manufacturers and consumers want answered.
''Every patient who comes into my office now, it's almost the first thing that comes out in conversation: 'What about ranitidine? What should I do with the medication? Should I come off of it or not?' '' said Jon Ernstoff, a gastroenterologist in Meriden, Connecticut.
In September, the FDA found unacceptable levels of the probable carcinogen, NDMA, or nitrosodimethylamine, in Zantac and generic medications. The regulatory agency wants manufacturers to test and recall the drugs if NDMA levels exceed its standards. The FDA extended the voluntary recall to a similar drug, nizatidine, sold under the brand name Axid, if testing shows NDMA exceeding daily limits.
The FDA said consumers might want to choose different medications. The agency tested samples of over-the-counter alternatives such as Pepcid, Tagamet, Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec and found no NDMA.
The agency's investigation of ranitidine seeks to uncover the root cause of NDMA found in the commonly used medication. Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York are assessing whether people who used Zantac or its generics face a greater cancer risk.
The warning first came after Valisure, a Connecticut-based online pharmacy and laboratory, discovered NDMA in several forms of the drug and alerted the FDA. The private company said clues of the drug's potential risk can be traced to medical studies published since the early 1980s.
NDMA is the same carcinogen that led to a widespread recall beginning in July 2018 of the blood-pressure-lowering drugs valsartan and losartan. The blood pressure recall stemmed from a new manufacturing process first used by a drug ingredient factory in China.
Zantac's risk appears to be the unstable nature of the drug itself, said Valisure CEO David Light.
''This isn't some new, bad manufacturing process overseas like what happened with valsartan and losartan,'' Light said. ''It is our view that this problem with ranitidine has been there since the 1980s.
"It's a much more serious issue."
'Nobody found it'The FDA tested about 1,500 samples of Zantac and generic versions of ranitidine and found "low levels" of the probable carcinogen. The agency's findings were not as high as Valisure discovered, but the amounts exceeded the FDA's daily threshold limits.
Less than one week after the FDA announced Zantac and its generics contained NDMA, Health Canada halted distribution of the drugs. European nations such as France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland followed. Taiwan warned it would fine pharmacies keeping ranitidine on shelves. Pakistan banned all distribution and manufacturing of the drug.
The FDA has taken a more measured approach. Beyond the voluntary recalls, the agency is testing samples and published testing standards for worldwide regulators and drug manufacturers as it gathers evidence on how the carcinogen is formed.
Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, told the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Oct. 30 that the ranitidine carcinogen is a ''different problem'' from other manufacturing flaws such as drug ingredient contamination in the blood pressure medication recalls.
"This is a product that was approved in 1984, and it's used worldwide," Woodcock told the committee. "And nobody found it."
The FDA asked pharmaceutical companies to examine whether ranitidine's ingredients are exposed to nitrites during manufacturing.
''Our chemists believe that it is formed by the molecule ranitidine reacting with something, either during the manufacturing synthesis or during the finished dosage form or during storage," Woodcock told the committee last week.
The FDA studied how the drug reacts with fluids in the stomach and intestines. During such stimulated tests, the FDA did not find evidence Zantac formed carcinogens. The FDA said it must test the drug in humans to evaluate whether it forms NDMA.
Valisure tested Zantac in stomach-like fluids with and without added nitrites, chemicals commonly found in foods and the body. When those chemicals were added, Valisure found NDMA levels for one tablet of Zantac reached more than 3,100 times the FDA's daily threshold.
Light said testing the drug with added nitrites created "stomach relevant" conditions.
"Ingesting nitrite-containing foods like hot dogs can significantly increase stomach levels of nitrite," Light said. "These foods are often eaten by individuals either before or after taking antacid products."
Studies pointing to risk date to 1980sIn 2016, Stanford University researchers tested urine samples of 10 people who took a 150-milligram tablet of Zantac and found NDMA levels far greater than the FDA's daily limits.
William Mitch is a Stanford University professor of civil and environmental engineering who studies wastewater converted to drinking water. He said his Zantac-urine study was a "chance finding from a peripheral field" after a study on potential NDMA contamination in drinking water.
He said it should be followed by a more robust study using the FDA's testing methods.
"The challenge is there's so much concern about cancer risk. Could you get approval from someone to eat a Zantac and collect the urine sample?" Mitch said, noting such a request would be odd and ethically challenging, given the drug has a known carcinogen and remains on the market.
Lior Braunstein, a Memorial Sloan Kettering oncologist and researcher, is studying ranitidine and cancer risk. He does not want to discuss the study until the findings are published in a peer-reviewed journal, according to Caitlin Hool, a hospital spokeswoman.
Light said studies conducted in the 1980s raised concern about potential safety risks. In a citizen petition to the FDA, Valisure said Zantac's originator, Glaxo Research Group, conducted its own study in 1987 "after numerous studies raised concerns" about ranitidine.
The Glaxo study examined stomach contents of people who took the drug. It found people had no significant increase in nitrosamines such as NDMA within 24 hours of taking ranitidine.
Light said the study's testing methods were less accurate and researchers discarded stomach samples that contained ranitidine. Without those samples, researchers would not find NDMA or nitrosamines that form as a result of taking the drug, Light said.
Light said the Stanford study and his lab's own analysis shows the potential health risk for people who took the drug.
"The negative effect of exposure to this drug and its formation of NDMA is something that has created a huge public health problem," he said, "and we're going to be dealing with it going forward."
China
China Braces For December D-Day: The ''Unprecedented'' Default Of A Massive State-Owned Enterprise, by Tyler | STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 00:33
The Chinese debt situation bears watching because they have a lot of debt, much of it the opaque kind that nobody knows about until it blows up. Somethings going to kick off the impending global financial crisis. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Something is seriously starting to break in China's financial system.
Three days after we described the self-destructive doom loop that is tearing apart China's smaller banks, where a second bank run took place in just two weeks '' an unprecedented event for a country where until earlier this year not a single bank was allowed to fail publicly and has now had no less than five bank high profile nationalizations/bailouts/runs so far this year '' the Chinese bond market is bracing itself for an unprecedented shock: a major, Fortune 500 Chinese commodity trader is poised to become the biggest and highest profile state-owned enterprise to default in the dollar bond market in over two decades.
In what Bloomberg dubbed the latest sign that Beijing is more willing to allow failures in the politically sensitive SOE sector '' either that, or China is simply no longer able to control the spillovers from its cracking $40 trillion financial system '' commodity trader Tewoo Group '' the largest state-owned enterprise in China's Tianjin province '' has offered an ''unprecedented'' debt restructuring plan that entails deep losses for investors or a swap for new bonds with significantly lower returns.
Continue reading'†'
China's African Swine Fever Now Global Threat
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 15:31
The worst outbreak of fatal African Swine Fever disease ever has devastated the world's largest pig population, that of China, over the past months. Now it is spreading to neighboring states and even threatens the United States pig herds. The political and human impact could be far worse than imagined as a de facto pandemic disease situation spreads. Globalization of agribusiness is not helping matters.
On August 3, 2018 a case of African Swine Fever (ASF) was confirmed in China's Liaoning Province. Since then despite various measures to contain the deadly disease it has spread across China where as of November, 2019 in little more than a year, nearly half of China's huge pig population has either died or been eliminated in a desperate effort to contain the disease. ASF is not deadly to humans but is 100% fatal to any pig that is infected. There is no known treatment to cure it. It can be spread by direct contact with an infected pig, body fluids, contact with equipment or clothing and via certain tick species.
The China Agriculture Ministry issued a report in August that the size of China's live pig herd had declined by a very precise 38.7% from August 2018. Industry sources suspect underreporting and put the actual number at more like 50%. In any event it is huge, and has impacted the politically sensitive measure of China food price inflation over the past year. Pork is a mainstay of the Chinese diet for meat protein and considered a national security issue. Most pigs in China are raised by small-scale farmers who face ruin now. According to reports inside China this has led many desperate small farmers to try to hide the presence of ASF in their herds, to slaughter and sell, to avoid financial ruin.
The disease is especially dangerous. According to experts it's hard to kill. One report notes, ''It lives in feces for 11 days and blood for 15 weeks. It lives in salted meat for 182 days, dried meat for almost a year, and frozen meat for three years. The Chinese love to take meat snacks with them when they travel. Rules can be bent in Asia.''
Even more alarming are reports that disposal of infected China pig carcasses is not safe. Rather than treating the infected dead pigs as biohazard and burying them far from the farm site the proper way burning them and treat the site as hazardous waste for a year or more, covering the site with lime, it has been documented that often small farmers bury the pigs next to the barn with no burning. That risks renewed outbreak of the disease.
China had the world's largest pig population at the beginning of 2018 with a population that was 440 million strong, out of a global population estimated at 769 million pigs. Now it could be down half of that, a major shock to world meat protein supplies.
The speed of the spread of the disease across all China has clearly overtaxed the system there. However despite assurances, the spread has not been contained inside China.
Spreading globally
The ASF disease is spreading outside China as well. The Wall Street Journal noted, ''In recent months, customs officials in Japan, Taiwan and Australia have found infected meat in other food products carried by tourists. And the disease has since been confirmed in herds in Vietnam, Mongolia and Cambodia.'' The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that all provinces in Vietnam have reported ASF outbreaks and that more than 5,880,000 pigs have been culled since the first case was discovered in February.
From China the ASF disease has also spread to North Korea. From there contagious pigs have crossed the buffer zone to South Korea necessitating severe measures from South Korea, according to Ahn Chan-il, leader of World Institute for North Korea Studies and a former North Korean service member.
According to the FAO, as of November 21 significant African Swine Fever cases among pig populations in The Philippines, Laos and Timor Leste have also been documented. And wild boars carrying the disease have been detected at the border region in Russia with Mongolia. In several instances ASF virus gene was detected in pork products confiscated at Incheon Airport in Seoul South Korea brought by passengers from Shenyang City, China, an indication of how difficult containment is.
Isolated cases have also been detected in EU countries including Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary which are acting swiftly to contain spread. It has also been documented in Moldavia, Belarus and Ukraine. Most recently, cases of the ASF have been detected in Poland not far from the German border. In early November African Swine Fever was found in 20 wild boar in Poland's western Lubusz province near the Oder River, some 80 kilometers east of Germany, the European Union's biggest hog producer.
An alarming case was discovered over several weeks in March of a Chinese ship container at a port in Newark, New Jersey where Federal agents seized 1 million pounds of pork smuggled from China, the largest-ever U.S. seizure of agricultural products. The pork was hidden in containers of ramen noodles and laundry detergent. Authorities took it to determine if it was contaminated with ASF.
There are many unanswered questions at this point about African Swine Fever pandemic spread. What is clear is that this is far more dangerous than we have so far been led to believe. In October, according to a new report by Henry Kamens, seven dead wild boar washed ashore in Denmark, a major pig producer country, and were disposed of without even being tested for ASF.
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.''
Build the Wall
Elizabeth Warren, AOC slam ICE's fake university sting operation, but do they know it started under Obama? - TheBlaze
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 11:05
The Department of Homeland Security's fake university sting operation that has outraged many Democrats was launched in 2015 under the Obama administration.
On Wednesday, news broke that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had arrested 250 foreign-born students since January who had enrolled in a fake university set up by the government in metro Detroit.
Eight recruiters who helped bring in the foreign students, knowing the institution was a sham but unaware that the government was involved, were also arrested. Seven of them have already pleaded guilty and have been sentenced.
The arrests '-- which have resulted in voluntary departures, fraud charges, and deportations '-- were part of a sting operation by the Department of Homeland Security that enticed foreign-born students, primarily from India, to attend the fake University of Farmington, which purported to offer graduate classes in technology and computer studies, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Cue the outrageDemocratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called the operation "cruel and appalling," arguing that ICE "deceived and trapped" the students who were "simply dream[ing] of getting the high quality education America can offer."
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) also joined the chorus of outrage, calling for ICE to be abolished in response to the news.
Outspoken actress Alyssa Milano also reacted to the news.
What's the background?Criticism of ICE and America's immigration enforcement policies, in general, has picked up steam since President Trump's election in 2016. The movement to "Abolish ICE" was embraced by democratic socialist Ocasio-Cortez during the 2018 midterm elections, and later became more widely accepted by some of the Democratic Party's more progressive candidates, Warren included.
Renewed hostility toward ICE was due in large part to resistance to President Trump's zero tolerance policy at the border which criminally prosecuted all border crossings, at times resulting in children being separated from their families as their parents were sent to jail.
Trump has since ended the practice of separating children from their families at the border, but, predictably, opposition to any immigration enforcement has persisted from left-wing politicians who ultimately prefer open border policies.
The operation was started in 2015 under ObamaIt's worth noting, however, that President Trump did not order the fake university sting operation, which began in 2015 under the Obama administration, according to court documents.
The University of Farmington sting operation is not the only one of its kind started under the Obama administration, either. The DHS and ICE also created a fake university to catch visa fraudsters in New Jersey starting in 2013.
Regarding the operation in Michigan, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Helms said the arrested students and recruiters knew exactly what they were doing.
"Their true intent could not be clearer," Helms wrote in a sentencing memo this month, according to the Detroit Free Press. "While 'enrolled' at the University, one hundred percent of the foreign citizen students never spent a single second in a classroom. If it were truly about obtaining an education, the university would not have been able to attract anyone, because it had no teachers, classes, or educational services."
Clips
VIDEO - Jeffrey Epstein, Blackmail and a Lucrative 'Hot List' - The New York Times
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 08:53
Soon after the sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein died in August, a mysterious man met with two prominent lawyers.
Towering, barrel-chested and wild-bearded, he was a prodigious drinker and often wore flip-flops. He went by a pseudonym, Patrick Kessler '-- a necessity, he said, given the shadowy, dangerous world that he inhabited.
He told the lawyers he had something incendiary: a vast archive of Mr. Epstein's data, stored on encrypted servers overseas. He said he had years of the financier's communications and financial records '-- as well as thousands of hours of footage from hidden cameras in the bedrooms of Mr. Epstein's properties. The videos, Kessler said, captured some of the world's richest, most powerful men in compromising sexual situations '-- even in the act of rape.
Watch ''The Weekly,'' The Times's new TV show on FX and Hulu
A mysterious man told us he had surveillance footage from Jeffrey Epstein's properties. Then his story took a turn.
Videotranscript
transcript
[MUSIC PLAYING] ''The story really began for us the day in July that Jeffrey Epstein was arrested and criminally charged with sex trafficking of minors.'' ''Suddenly he was someone we were thinking about. One of the big questions was, where his money was from?'' ''How does someone like that come up with hundreds of millions of dollars?'' ''And we were tantalized by the fact that he seemed to have influence with a lot of powerful people.'' ''These weren't models and Hollywood people. These are some of the biggest names in business and finance.'' ''They were Nobel Prize winners, Wall Street bigwigs.'' ''The list goes on and on. And we wanted to figure out why people had gravitated to him even after he had become known as a sexual predator.'' ''And then in September our reporters met a man who claimed to have a secret trove of information from Epstein's properties.'' ''This is someone who had extraordinary, probably unparalleled inside access, to not only Epstein, but Epstein's digital archive.'' ''If what the informant was saying was true, it had the potential to unlock Jeffrey Epstein's most important secrets.'' [MUSIC PLAYING]
Credit Credit... "The Weekly"/The New York Times/FX/Hulu
Kessler said he wanted to expose these men. If he was telling the truth, his trove could answer one of the Epstein saga's most baffling questions: How did a college dropout and high school math teacher amass a purported nine-figure fortune? One persistent but unproven theory was that he ran a sprawling blackmail operation. That would explain why moguls, scientists, political leaders and a royal stayed loyal to him, in some cases even after he first went to jail.
Kessler's tale was enough to hook the two lawyers, the famed litigator David Boies and his friend John Stanley Pottinger. If Kessler was authentic, his videos would arm them with immense leverage over some very important people.
Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger discussed a plan. They could use the supposed footage in litigation or to try to reach deals with men who appeared in it, with money flowing into a charitable foundation. In encrypted chats with Kessler, Mr. Pottinger referred to a roster of potential targets as the ''hot list.'' He described hypothetical plans in which the lawyers would pocket up to 40 percent of the settlements and could extract money from wealthy men by flipping from representing victims to representing their alleged abusers.
The possibilities were tantalizing '-- and extended beyond vindicating victims. Mr. Pottinger saw a chance to supercharge his law practice. For Mr. Boies, there was a shot at redemption, after years of criticism for his work on behalf of Theranos and Harvey Weinstein.
In the end, there would be no damning videos, no funds pouring into a new foundation. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger would go from toasting Kessler as their ''whistle-blower'' and ''informant'' to torching him as a ''fraudster'' and a ''spy.''
Kessler was a liar, and he wouldn't expose any sexual abuse. But he would reveal something else: The extraordinary, at times deceitful measures elite lawyers deployed in an effort to get evidence that could be used to win lucrative settlements '-- and keep misconduct hidden, allowing perpetrators to abuse again.
Mr. Boies has publicly decried such secret deals as ''rich man's justice,'' a way that powerful men buy their way out of legal and reputational jeopardy. This is how it works.
7 men and a headless parrot
The man who called himself Kessler first contacted a Florida lawyer, Bradley J. Edwards, who was in the news for representing women with claims against Mr. Epstein. It was late August, about two weeks after the financier killed himself in a jail cell while awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges.
Mr. Edwards, who did not respond to interview requests, had a law firm called Edwards Pottinger, and he soon referred Kessler to his New York partner. Silver-haired and 79, Mr. Pottinger had been a senior civil-rights official in the Nixon and Ford administrations, but he also dabbled in investment banking and wrote best-selling medical thrillers. He was perhaps best known for having dated Gloria Steinem and Kathie Lee Gifford.
Image John Stanley Pottinger at a 1984 party with, from left, the TV host Phil Donahue, Marlo Thomas and Gloria Steinem. Credit... Bill Cunningham/The New York Times Mr. Pottinger recalled that Mr. Edwards warned him about Kessler, saying that he was ''endearing,'' ''spooky'' and ''loves to drink like a fish.''
After an initial discussion with Kessler in Washington, Mr. Pottinger briefed Mr. Boies '-- whose firm was also active in representing accusers in the Epstein case '-- about the sensational claims. He then invited Kessler to his Manhattan apartment. Kessler admired a wall-mounted frame containing a headless stuffed parrot; on TV, the Philadelphia Eagles were mounting a comeback against the Washington Redskins. Mr. Pottinger poured Kessler a glass of WhistlePig whiskey, and the informant began to talk.
In his conversations with Mr. Pottinger and, later, Mr. Boies, Kessler said his videos featured numerous powerful men who were already linked to Mr. Epstein: Ehud Barak, the former Israeli prime minister; Alan Dershowitz, a constitutional lawyer; Prince Andrew; three billionaires; and a prominent chief executive.
All seven men, or their representatives, told The New York Times they never engaged in sexual activity on Mr. Epstein's properties. The Times has no reason to believe Kessler's supposed video footage is real.
In his apartment, Mr. Pottinger presented Kessler with a signed copy of ''The Boss,'' his 2005 novel. ''One minute you're bending the rules,'' blares the cover of the paperback version. ''The next minute you're breaking the law.'' On the title page, Mr. Pottinger wrote: ''Here's to the great work you are to do. Happy to be part of it.''
Mr. Pottinger also gave Kessler a draft contract to bring him on as a client, allowing him to use a fake name. ''For reasons revealed to you, I prefer to proceed with this engagement under the name Patrick Kessler,'' the agreement said.
Despite the enormities of the Epstein scandal, few of his accusers have gotten a sense of justice or resolution. Mr. Pottinger thought Kessler's files could change everything. This strange man was theatrical and liked his alcohol, but if there was even a chance his claims were true, they were worth pursuing.
''Our clients are said to be liars and prostitutes,'' Mr. Pottinger later said in an interview with The Times, ''and we now have someone who says, 'I can give you secret photographic proof of abuse that will completely change the entire fabric of your practice and get justice for these girls.' And you think that we wouldn't try to get that?''
A victim becomes a hacker
Mr. Pottinger and Mr. Boies have known each other for years, a friendship forged on bike trips in France and Italy. In legal circles, Mr. Boies was royalty: He was the one who fought for presidential candidate Al Gore before the Supreme Court, took on Microsoft in a landmark antitrust case, and helped obtain the right for gays and lesbians to get married in California.
But then Mr. Boies got involved with the blood-testing start-up Theranos. As the company was being revealed as a fraud, he tried to bully whistle-blowers into not speaking to a Wall Street Journal reporter, and he was criticized for possible conflicts of interest when he joined the company's board in 2015.
Two years later, Mr. Boies helped his longtime client Harvey Weinstein hire private investigators who intimidated sources and trailed reporters for The Times and The New Yorker '-- even though Mr. Boies's firm had worked for The Times on other matters. (The Times fired his firm.)
By 2019, Mr. Boies, 78, was representing a number of Mr. Epstein's alleged victims. They got his services pro bono, and he got the chance to burnish his legacy. When Mr. Pottinger contacted him about Kessler, he was intrigued.
Image Mr. Boies, who is representing several of Jeffrey Epstein's accusers, arriving at federal court in New York. Credit... Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg Image Mr. Pottinger, right, in July with two women who have accused Mr. Epstein of sexual abuse. Credit... Louis Lanzano/Bloomberg On Sept. 9, Mr. Boies greeted Kessler at the offices of his law firm, Boies Schiller Flexner, in a gleaming new skyscraper at Hudson Yards on Manhattan's West Side. Kessler unfurled a fantastic story, one he would embroider and alter in later weeks, that began with him growing up somewhere within a three-hour radius of Washington. Kessler said he had been molested as a boy by a Bible school teacher and sought solace on the internet, where he fell in with a group of victims turned hackers, who used their skills to combat pedophilia.
Kessler claimed that a technology executive had introduced him to Mr. Epstein, who in 2012 hired Kessler to set up encrypted servers to preserve his extensive digital archives. With Mr. Epstein dead, Kessler boasted to the lawyers, he had unfettered access to the material. He said the volume of videos was overwhelming: more than a decade of round-the-clock footage from dozens of cameras.
Kessler displayed some pixelated video stills on his phone. In one, a bearded man with his mouth open appears to be having sex with a naked woman. Kessler said the man was Mr. Barak. In another, a man with black-framed glasses is seen shirtless with a woman on his lap, her breasts exposed. Kessler said it was Mr. Dershowitz. He also said that some of the supposed videos appeared to have been edited and cataloged for the purpose of blackmail.
''This was explosive information if true, for lots and lots of people,'' Mr. Boies said in an interview.
Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger had decades of legal experience and considered themselves experts at assessing witnesses' credibility. While they couldn't be sure, they thought Kessler was probably legit.
A chance to sway the Israeli election
Within hours of the Hudson Yards meeting, Mr. Pottinger sent Kessler a series of texts over the encrypted messaging app Signal.
According to excerpts viewed by The Times, Mr. Pottinger and Kessler discussed a plan to disseminate some of the informant's materials '-- starting with the supposed footage of Mr. Barak. The Israeli election was barely a week away, and Mr. Barak was challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The purported images of Mr. Barak might be able to sway the election '-- and fetch a high price. (''Total lie with no basis in reality,'' Mr. Barak said when asked about the existence of such videos.)
Video''Can you review your visual evidence to be sure some or all is indisputably him? If so, we can make it work,'' Mr. Pottinger wrote.
Kessler said he would do so. Mr. Pottinger sent a yellow smiley-face emoji with its tongue sticking out.
''Can you share your contact that would be purchasing,'' Kessler asked.
''Sheldon Adelson,'' Mr. Pottinger answered.
Mr. Adelson, a billionaire casino magnate in Las Vegas, had founded one of Israel's largest newspapers, and it was an enthusiastic booster of Mr. Netanyahu. Mr. Pottinger wrote that he and Mr. Boies hoped to fly to Nevada to meet with Mr. Adelson to discuss the images.
''Do you believe that adelson has the pull to insure this will hurt his bid for election?'' Kessler asked the next morning.
Mr. Pottinger reassured him. ''There is no question that Adelson has the capacity to air the truth about EB if he wants to,'' he said, using Mr. Barak's initials. He said he planned to discuss the matter with Mr. Boies that evening.
Mr. Boies confirmed that they discussed sharing the photo with Mr. Adelson but said the plan was never executed. Boaz Bismuth, the editor in chief of the newspaper, Israel Hayom, said its journalists were approached by an Israeli source who pitched them supposed images of Mr. Barak, but that ''we were not interested.''
'These are wealthy wrongdoers'
The men whom Kessler claimed to have on tape were together worth many billions. Some of their public relations teams had spent months trying to tamp down media coverage of their connections to Mr. Epstein. Imagine how much they might pay to make incriminating videos vanish.
You might think that lawyers representing abuse victims would want to publicly expose such information to bolster their clients' claims. But that is not how the legal industry always works. Often, keeping things quiet is good business.
One of the revelations of the #MeToo era has been that victims' lawyers often brokered secret deals in which alleged abusers paid to keep their accusers quiet and the allegations out of the public sphere. Lawyers can pocket at least a third of such settlements, profiting off a system that masks misconduct and allows men to abuse again.
Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger said in interviews that they were looking into creating a charity to help victims of sexual abuse. It would be bankrolled by private legal settlements with the men on the videos.
Mr. Boies acknowledged that Kessler might get paid. ''If we were able to use this to help our victims recover money, we would treat him generously,'' he said in September. He said that his firm would not get a cut of any settlements.
Such agreements would have made it less likely that videos involving the men became public. ''Generally what settlements are about is getting peace,'' Mr. Boies said.
Mr. Pottinger told Kessler that the charity he was setting up would be called the Astria Foundation '-- a name he later said his girlfriend came up with, in a nod to Astraea, the Greek goddess of innocence and justice. ''We need to get it funded by abusers,'' Mr. Pottinger texted, noting in another message that ''these are wealthy wrongdoers.''
Mr. Pottinger asked Kessler to start compiling incriminating materials on a specific group of men.
Video''I'm way ahead of you,'' Kessler responded. He said he had asked his team of fellow hackers to search the files for the three billionaires, the C.E.O. and Prince Andrew.
''Yes, that's exactly how to do this,'' Mr. Pottinger said. ''Videos for sure, but email traffic, too.''
''I call it our hot list,'' he added.
A quiet table at the back of Grand Sichuan
In mid-September, Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger invited reporters from The Times to the Boies Schiller offices to meet Kessler. The threat of a major news organization writing about the videos '-- and confirming the existence of an extensive surveillance apparatus '-- could greatly enhance the lawyers' leverage over the wealthy men.
Before the session, Mr. Pottinger encouraged Kessler to focus on certain men, like Mr. Barak, while avoiding others. Referring to the reporters, he added, ''Let them drink from a fountain instead of a water hose. They and the readers will follow that better.''
The meeting took place on a cloudy Saturday morning. After agreeing to leave their phones and laptops outside, the reporters entered a 20th-floor conference room. Kessler was huge: more than 6 feet tall, pushing 300 pounds, balding, his temples speckled with gray. He told his story and presented images that he said were of Mr. Epstein, Mr. Barak and Mr. Dershowitz having sex with women.
Barely an hour after the session ended, the Times reporters received an email from Kessler: ''Are you free?'' He said he wanted to meet '-- alone. ''Tell no one else.'' That afternoon, they met at Grand Sichuan, an iconic Chinese restaurant in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. The lunch rush was over, and the trio sat at a quiet table in the back. A small group of women huddled nearby, speaking Mandarin and snipping the ends off string beans.
Kessler complained that Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were more interested in making money than in exposing wrongdoers. He pulled out his phone, warned the reporters not to touch it, and showed more of what he had. There was a color photo of a bare-chested, gray-haired man with a slight smile. Kessler said it was a billionaire. He also showed blurry, black-and-white images of a dark-haired man receiving oral sex. He said it was a prominent C.E.O.
Soup dumplings and Gui Zhou chicken arrived, and Kessler kept talking. He said he had found financial ledgers on Mr. Epstein's servers that showed he had vast amounts of Bitcoin and cash in the Middle East and Bangkok, and hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of gold, silver and diamonds. He presented no proof. But it is common for whistle-blowers to be erratic and slow to produce their evidence, and The Times thought it was worth investigating Kessler's claims.
The conversation continued in a conference room at a Washington hotel five days later, after a text exchange in which Kessler noted his enthusiasm for Japanese whiskey. Both parties brought bottles to the hotel, and Kessler spent nearly eight hours downing glass after glass. He veered from telling tales about the dark web to professing love for ''Little House on the Prairie.'' He asserted that he had evidence Mr. Epstein had derived his wealth through illicit means. At one point, he showed what he said were classified C.I.A. documents.
Kessler said he had no idea who the women in the videos were or how the lawyers might go about identifying them to act on their behalf. From his perspective, he said, it seemed like Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were plotting to use his footage to demand huge sums from billionaires. He said it looked like blackmail '-- and that he could prove it.
'We keep it. We keep everything'
Was Kessler's story plausible? Did America's best-connected sexual predator accumulate incriminating videos of powerful men?
Two women who spent time in Mr. Epstein's homes said the answer was yes. In an unpublished memoir, Virginia Giuffre, who accused Mr. Epstein of making her a ''sex slave,'' wrote that she discovered a room in his New York mansion where monitors displayed real-time surveillance footage. And Maria Farmer, an artist who accused Mr. Epstein of sexually assaulting her when she worked for him in the 1990s, said that Mr. Epstein once walked her through the mansion, pointing out pin-sized cameras that he said were in every room.
''I said, 'Are you recording all this?''' Ms. Farmer said in an interview. ''He said, 'Yes. We keep it. We keep everything.'''
During a 2005 search of Mr. Epstein's Palm Beach, Fla., estate, the police found two cameras hidden in clocks '-- one in the garage and the other next to his desk, according to police reports. But no other cameras were found.
If such a surveillance system did exist, nothing that Kessler told or showed The Times proved that he had access to it. The photos he shared were too grainy to establish anyone's identity. And many other elements of his story failed to hold up under scrutiny.
Kessler claimed to have been an early investor in a North Carolina coffee company, whose sticker was affixed to his laptop. But its founder said no one matching Kessler's description had ever been affiliated with the company. Kessler insisted that he invested in 2009, but the company wasn't founded until 2011.
The contents of Kessler's supposed C.I.A. documents turned out to be easily findable using Google. At one point, Kessler said that one of his associates had been missing and was found dead; later, Kessler said the man was alive and in the southern United States. He said that his mother had died when he was young '-- and that he had recently given her a hug. A photo he sent from what he said was a Washington-area hospital featured a distinctive blanket, but when The Times called local hospitals, they didn't recognize the pattern.
After months of effort, The Times could not learn Kessler's identity or confirm any element of his back story.
''I am very often being purposefully inconsistent,'' Kessler said, when pressed.
A Weinstein cameo
On the last Friday in September, Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger sat on a blue leather couch in the corner of a members-only dining room at the Harvard Club in Midtown Manhattan. Antlered animal heads and oil paintings hung from the dark wooden walls.
The lawyers were there to make a deal with The Times. Tired of waiting for Kessler's motherlode, Mr. Pottinger said they planned to send a team overseas to download the material from his servers. He said he had alerted the F.B.I. and a prosecutor in the United States attorney's office in Manhattan.
Mr. Boies told an editor for The Times that they would be willing to share everything, on one condition: They would have discretion over which men could be written about, and when. He explained that if compromising videos about particular men became public, that could torpedo litigation or attempts to negotiate settlements. The Times editor didn't commit.
Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger later said those plans had hinged on verifying the videos' authenticity and on having clients with legitimate legal claims against the men. Otherwise, legal experts said, it might have crossed the line into extortion.
The meeting was briefly interrupted when Bob Weinstein, the brother of Harvey Weinstein, bounded up to the table and plopped onto the couch next to Mr. Boies. The two men spent several minutes talking, laughing and slapping each other on the back.
While Mr. Boies and Mr. Weinstein chatted, Mr. Pottinger furtively displayed the black-and-white shot of a man in glasses having sex. Both lawyers said it looked like Mr. Dershowitz.
'You don't keep your glasses on when you're doing that'
One day in late September, Mr. Dershowitz's secretary relayed a message: Someone named Patrick Kessler wanted to speak to him about Mr. Boies.
The two lawyers had a long-running feud, and Mr. Dershowitz returned the call from his apartment. He also recorded it. Kessler explained his Epstein story, and that he no longer trusted Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger.
''The problem is that they don't want to move forward with any of these people legally,'' Kessler said. ''They're just interested in trying to settle and take a cut.''
''Who are these people that you have on videotape?'' Mr. Dershowitz asked.
''There's a lot of people,'' Kessler said, naming a few powerful men. He added, ''There's a long list of people that they want me to have that I don't have.''
''Who?'' Mr. Dershowitz asked. ''Did they ask about me?''
''Of course they asked about you. You know that, sir.''
''And you don't have anything on me, right?''
''I do not, no,'' Kessler said.
''Because I never, I never had sex with anybody,'' Mr. Dershowitz said. Later in the call, he added, ''I am completely clean. I was at Jeffrey's house. I stayed there. But I didn't have any sex with anybody.''
What was the purpose of Kessler's phone call? Why did he tell Mr. Dershowitz that he wasn't on the supposed surveillance tapes, contradicting what he had said and showed to Mr. Boies, Mr. Pottinger and The Times? Did the call sound a little rehearsed?
Mr. Dershowitz said that he didn't know why Kessler contacted him, and that the phone call was the only time the two men ever spoke. When The Times showed him one of Kessler's photos, in which a bespectacled man resembling Mr. Dershowitz appears to be having sex, Mr. Dershowitz laughed and said the man wasn't him. His wife, Carolyn Cohen, peeked at the photo, too.
''You don't keep your glasses on when you're doing that,'' she said.
Data set (supposedly) to self-destruct
In early October, Kessler said he was ready to produce the Epstein files. He told The Times that he had created duplicate versions of Mr. Epstein's servers. He laid out detailed logistical plans for them to be shipped by boat to the United States and for one of his associates '-- a very short Icelandic man named Steven '-- to deliver them to The Times headquarters at 11 a.m. on Oct. 3.
Kessler warned that he was erecting a maze of security systems. First, a Times employee would need to use a special thumb drive to access a proprietary communications system. Then Kessler's colleague would transmit a code to decrypt the files. If his instructions weren't followed precisely, Kessler said, the information would self-destruct.
Specialists at The Times set up a number of ''air-gapped'' laptops '-- disconnected from the internet '-- in a windowless, padlocked meeting room. Reporters cleared their schedules to sift through thousands of hours of surveillance footage.
On the morning of the scheduled delivery, Kessler sent a series of frantic texts. Disaster had struck. A fire was burning. The duplicate servers were destroyed. One of his team members was missing. He was fleeing to Kyiv.
Two hours later, Kessler was in touch with Mr. Pottinger and didn't mention any emergency. Kessler said he hoped that the footage would help pry $1 billion in settlements out of their targets, and asked him to detail how the lawyers could extract the money. ''Could you put together a hypothetical situation,'' Kessler wrote, not something ''set in stone but close to what your thinking.''
Mr. Pottinger obliged '-- and walked into what looked like a trap. He described two hypotheticals, both of which were consistent with what had been discussed with The Times at the Harvard Club.
In one, which he called a ''standard model'' for legal settlements, Mr. Pottinger said the money would be split among his clients, the Astria Foundation, Kessler and the lawyers, who would get up to 40 percent.
In the second hypothetical, Mr. Pottinger wrote, the lawyers would approach the videotaped men. The men would then hire the lawyers, ensuring that they would not get sued, and ''make a contribution to a nonprofit as part of the retainer.''
''No client is actually involved in this structure,'' Mr. Pottinger said, noting that the arrangement would have to be ''consistent with and subject to rules of ethics.''
''Thank you very much,'' Kessler responded.
Mr. Pottinger later said that the scenario would have involved him representing a victim, settling a case and then representing the victim's alleged abuser. He said it was within legal boundaries. (He also said he had meant to type ''No client lawsuit is actually involved.'')
Such legal arrangements are not unheard-of. Lawyers representing a former Fox News producer who had accused Bill O'Reilly of sexual harassment reached a settlement in which her lawyers agreed to work for Mr. O'Reilly after the dispute. But legal experts generally consider such setups to be unethical because they can create conflicts between the interests of the lawyers and their original clients.
'I just pulled it out of my behind'
The lawyers held out hope of getting Kessler's materials. But weeks passed, and nothing arrived. At one point, Mr. Pottinger volunteered to meet Kessler anywhere '-- including Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.
''I still believe he is what he purported to be,'' Mr. Boies wrote in an email on Nov. 7. ''I have to evaluate people for my day job, and he seemed too genuine to be a fake, and I very much want him to be real.'' He added, ''I am not unconscious of the danger of wanting to believe something too much.''
Ten days later, Mr. Boies arrived at The Times for an on-camera interview. It was a bright, chilly Sunday, and Mr. Boies had just flown in from Ecuador, where he said he was doing work for the finance ministry. Reporters wanted to ask him plainly if his and Mr. Pottinger's conduct with Kessler crossed ethical lines.
Would they have brokered secret settlements that buried evidence of wrongdoing? Did the notion of extracting huge sums from men in exchange for keeping sex tapes hidden meet the definition of extortion?
Mr. Boies said the answer to both questions was no. He said he and Mr. Pottinger operated well within the law. They only intended to pursue legal action on behalf of their clients '-- in other words, that they were a long way from extortion. In any case, he said, he and Mr. Pottinger had never authenticated any of the imagery or identified any of the supposed victims, much less contacted any of the men on the ''hot list.''
Then The Times showed Mr. Boies some of the text exchanges between Mr. Pottinger and Kessler. Mr. Boies showed a flash of anger and said it was the first time he was seeing them.
By the end of the nearly four-hour interview, Mr. Boies had concluded that Kessler was probably a con man: ''I think that he was a fraudster who was just trying to set things up.'' And he argued that Kessler had baited Mr. Pottinger into writing things that looked more nefarious than they really were. He acknowledged that Mr. Pottinger had used ''loose language'' in some of his messages that risked creating the impression that the lawyers were plotting to monetize evidence of abuse.
Several days later, Mr. Boies returned for another interview and was more critical of Mr. Pottinger, especially the hypothetical plans that he had described to Kessler. ''Having looked at all that stuff in context, I would not have said that,'' he said. How did Mr. Boies feel about Mr. Pottinger invoking his name in messages to Kessler? ''I don't like it,'' he said.
But Mr. Boies stopped short of blaming Mr. Pottinger for the whole mess. ''I'm being cautious not to throw him under the bus more than I believe is accurate,'' he said. His longtime P.R. adviser, Dawn Schneider, who had been pushing for a more forceful denunciation, dropped her pen, threw up her arms and buried her head in her hands.
In a separate interview, The Times asked Mr. Pottinger about his correspondence with Kessler. The lawyer said that his messages shouldn't be taken at face value because, in reality, he had been deceiving Kessler all along '-- ''misleading him deliberately in order to get the servers.''
The draft retention agreement that Mr. Pottinger had given to Kessler in September was unsigned and never meant to be honored, Mr. Pottinger said. And he never intended to sell photos of Mr. Barak to Mr. Adelson. ''I just pulled it out of my behind,'' he said, describing it as an act to impress Kessler.
As for the two hypotheticals about how to get money out of the men on the list, Mr. Pottinger said, he never planned to do what he carefully articulated. ''I didn't owe Patrick honesty about this,'' he said.
Mr. Pottinger said that he had only one regret '-- that ''we did not get the information that this liar said he had.''
He added, ''I'm building legal cases here. I'm trying not to engage too much in shenanigans. I wish I didn't, but this guy was very unusual.''
Ronen Bergman contributed reporting. Susan Beachy contributed research.
VIDEO - Farmington Hills' Fake University Part Of Immigration Sting, Leads To 130 Arrests - YouTube
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VIDEO - Stephen Schwarzman on The David Rubenstein Show: - YouTube
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VIDEO - (2) Creepy Joe Biden's Hairy Legs - YouTube
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VIDEO - (2) The Social Network That Will Explode in 2020 - Should You Leverage It? - YouTube
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VIDEO - johnson replaced by ice sculpture channel 4 - Qwant Search
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Your browser sends an information called "User Agent" to websites that accurately describes the type of browser you are using. In your case the User Agent is so specific that it can be used against you to recognize and track you (your current User Agent is ).
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Tu navegador env­a una informaci"n llamada Agente de usuario>> a los sitios web que describe con precisi"n el tipo de navegador que ests utilizando. En su caso, el Agente de usuario es tan espec­fico que puede usarse en tu contra para reconocerte y rastrearte (Su actual "User Agent" es ).
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VIDEO - FDA finds cancer-causing chemical in heartburn medicine Zantac - YouTube
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 06:13
VIDEO-Ancient Aliens on Twitter: "hmm... 👽ðŸ¤-- #AncientAliens https://t.co/dNFzJda6iU" / Twitter
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 00:16
Replying to
@AncientAliens I do not believe that there will be any Government disclosure concerning the UFO phenomenon, although I am suspicious that they may one day announce a fake partial disclosure, simply to suit a political/NWO agenda.
VIDEO - London Bridge attack victim named as Jack Merritt - BBC News
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 16:51
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Media caption Listen to Jack Merritt on a BBC podcast about his work helping inmates at a prison to study law.One of the people stabbed to death in Friday's attack at London Bridge has been named as 25-year-old University of Cambridge graduate Jack Merritt.
He was one of two people killed when 28-year-old Usman Khan launched the attack at a Cambridge University conference on prisoner rehabilitation.
Khan, who had been jailed over a terror plot, was shot dead by police after members of the public restrained him.
Mr Merritt was described by his father on Twitter as a "beautiful spirit".
A woman who died in the attack - declared by officers as a terrorist incident - has not yet been named. Three others were injured.
Mr Merritt, from Cambridge, was a course coordinator for Learning Together, a prisoners' rehabilitation programme which was hosting the conference at Fishmongers' Hall, at the north end of London Bridge.
Khan had taken part in the scheme while in prison and was one of dozens of people - including students and offenders - at the event.
David Merritt said on Twitter that his son Jack was a "a beautiful spirit who always took the side of the underdog".
"Jack spoke so highly of all the people he worked with & he loved his job," he added.
Mr Merritt graduated from the University of Manchester with a bachelor's degree in law in 2016.
He went on to study at the University of Cambridge, where he worked in the criminology department running Learning Together.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption What happened at London Bridge stabbing incident?The Metropolitan Police said the attack is believed to have started inside Fishmongers' Hall at 13:58 GMT on Friday, before continuing onto London Bridge itself, where Khan was shot by armed officers.
Khan was known to the authorities, having been convicted of a terrorism offence in 2012.
He was released from prison half way through his 16-year sentence in December 2018 - subject to an "extensive list of licence conditions", Met Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said.
Mr Basu said, on Saturday, that "to the best of my knowledge, he was complying with those conditions".
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Media caption Met Police: London Bridge attacker was 'complying' with license conditionsKhan took part in Learning Together while at HMP Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire.
He appeared as a "case study" in a report by the initiative. Identified only as "Usman", Khan was said to have given a speech at a fundraising dinner after being released from prison.
Image copyright Learning Together Image caption Usman Khan appeared as case study in a report by Learning Together He was also given a "secure" laptop that complied with his licence conditions, to allow him to continue the writing and studying he began while in jail.
Khan contributed a poem to a separate brochure, in which he expressed gratitude for the laptop, adding: "I cannot send enough thanks to the entire Learning Together team and all those who continue to support this wonderful community."
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Media caption Usman Khan speaking to the BBC in 2008: 'I ain't no terrorist'Mr Basu said officers had been working "flat out" to try to establish the "full circumstances" of the stabbing.
He praised the "incredible acts of bravery" by members of the emergency services and the public who intervened - even after they realised Khan was wearing a "very convincing" fake explosive vest.
Mr Basu added officers had found no evidence to suggest anyone else was involved in the attack.
NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said three victims remained in hospital following the attack - two in a stable condition and one with less serious injuries.
Police carried out searches at two addresses in Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent as part of the investigation.
Staffordshire Police's Deputy Ch Con, Nick Baker, said it was "vitally important everyone remains alert but not alarmed".
Image copyright Reuters Image caption Police searched flats in Stafford The Met Police is urging anyone with information - particularly anyone who was at Fishmongers' Hall - to contact them.
Members of the public were widely praised for intervening to tackle Khan to the ground before police arrived on the scene.
One man pictured in many newspapers, as he removed a knife from the scene, was a British Transport Police officer in plain clothes.
Chief Constable Paul Crowther, of British Transport Police, said his officer "bravely ran towards danger".
"He, as well as other members of the public, should be extremely proud of what they did to stop this man on London Bridge," he added.
Image copyright @HLOBlog/Twitter/PA Wire Image caption Witnesses were widely praised for intervening in the attack Videos posted on social media show the knifeman being held down by members of the public.
One witness described how a man at the event at Fishmongers' Hall grabbed a narwhal tusk - a long white horn that protrudes from the whale - that was on the wall, and went outside to confront the attacker.
Another person let off a fire extinguisher in the face of the attacker to try to keep him at bay.
Some of those who helped were believed to be former prisoners attending the conference.
On a visit to the attack site, the prime minister said the practice of cutting jail sentences in half and letting violent offenders out early "simply isn't working".
Mr Johnson vowed to "toughen up sentences", while Labour's Jeremy Corbyn said there were questions to be answered.
But Mr Merritt's father said, in a now deleted post, on Twitter: "My son, Jack, who was killed in this attack, would not wish his death to be used as the pretext for more draconian sentences or for detaining people unnecessarily."
Political parties cancelled some events on Saturday, which had been planned ahead of the general election on 12 December.
Flags on UK government buildings were flown at half-mast on Saturday as a mark of respect to all those affected by the attack.
The Queen said in a statement: "Prince Philip and I have been saddened to hear of the terror attacks at London Bridge.
"We send our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies to all those who have lost loved ones and who have been affected by yesterday's terrible violence."
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image copyright PA Media London Bridge was the scene of another attack, on 3 June 2017, in which eight people were killed and many more injured.
The Dean of Southwark Cathedral, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, said Friday's events had brought back memories.
"It's only two-and-a-half years since the June attack and that's not long for healing, and actually it feels as though wounds have been reopened," he said.
"Where people felt they had come to terms with what had happened in their community, now I think they're wondering whether they really had - so a lot of work for us to do," he added.
The latest attack comes after the UK's terrorism threat level was downgraded on 4 November from "severe" to "substantial", meaning that attacks were thought to be "likely" rather than "highly likely".
The terror threat level is reviewed every six months by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, which makes recommendations independent of government.
VIDEO - Michael Harriot Defends Claim That Mayor Pete 'Is A Lying Motherf*cker' | Crooks and Liars
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 16:23
Last week, Michael Harriot (senior writer at The Root) wrote a devastating takedown of Mayor Pete Buttigieg's outlook on race, as evidenced by comments he made in a 2011 roundtable consisting of himself and three older white men. In that roundtable, the men discussed what they considered problems in Black communities as stemming from a lack of positive Black role models, combined with a shortage of evidence that education would work for them.
Even if you look at this interpretation in a generous light, it's a lie. Even if you want to cape for Buttigieg, and say, "Well, he was SYMPATHIZING with the fact that no matter how hard Black kids work, they're still being discriminated against when they graduate! The trope that Black communities don't have reason to value education is a lie. The fact that they DON'T value education is a lie. And not only did Harriot lay waste to that lie in his viral piece, "Pete Buttigieg is a Lying MF," the article prompted a call from the Mayor himself, and a follow-up piece from Harriot that continued to pull no punches.
Harriot was interviewed in person by the venerable Joy Reid, and destroyed that trope even further.
REID: Let's talk about the piece that you wrote that went everywhere. I got texted by about 400 people. Here's a little piece of it. And you said, "This is why institutional inequality persists, not because of white hoods and racial slurs, it's because this insidious double talk erases the problem by camouflaging it, because it's painted in a problem of black lethargy and not white apathy. Pete Buttigieg is standing over a dying man, holding the oxygen machine in his hand and telling everyone, 'Nah, he doesn't need CPR, he's just holding his breath.' Negligent homicide is still homicide." It was a scathing article. What happened when the mayor called you?
HARRIOT: Well, so, some of his surrogates reached out to me and asked if I was open to having a conversation. I said yes. And he called me. First thing he said was, "Well, this is the first time I've ever been called a lying MFer," so that, you know, set the tone for the conversation, which mostly consisted of kind of, to be honest, me ranting and him trying to fit a word in in explaining. But I think we came to a conclusion that, you know, we can't discuss these kinds of disparities without mentioning racism and institutional inequality, because to be honest, everyone in this race, and especially someone as educated as Pete Buttigieg, knows why these problems exist. And so, the fear of black voters is that when they get into these annals of power and they get into these rooms and they'll start talking about fixing the education problem in America, this is what will happen. They'll say, well, you know, they need some role models, or maybe they just need some, you know, some after-school programs, when we know it's a problem of institutional inequality that fits into the history of racism in America.
'†' Story continues below '†'
They both gave Mayor Buttigieg props for reaching out to Harriot, and for listening. Still, it's heartbreaking to hear about the struggles of how Black people are dismissed even once they reach the halls of power, with the wave of a white hand and the offer of an after-school program here and there. Then Reid brought up the inevitable defense of the mayor's remarks by a writer in The Atlantic, who wondered if perhaps Harriot had taken them out of context. Because, of course white people will leap to the Mayor's defense, despite the fact that Harriot spelled out that he'd watched the entire hour-long roundtable and understood very well the context of Buttigieg's remarks.
REID: Let me read you what the sort of, you know, kind of rebuttal to that was for John McWharter. We've had him on the show a couple of times. John wrote for The Atlantic, called it "The Woke Attack on Pete Buttigieg." "Harriot is assuming that Pete Buttigieg must have meant that the lack of role models is due simply to some pathology among black people, when actually, almost anyone who publicly talks of role models in this way intends, via implication, that the lack of role models is due to larger societal factors." What do you make of that critique of what you wrote?
HARRIOT: Well, first of all, the reason I called it a lie is because there are no lack of role models in Black communities. Black women are the most educated group of individuals in America, right? So, in Black communities, I would assume that there are Black women present who are raising these kids. And so, how could there be a lack of role models? And if you talk to anyone, any Black child who grew up in these communities, they'll tell you they've seen -- first of all, if they go to school, they have teachers, and there are people in Black communities, there are preachers, there are people who live in Black communities because, unlike white communities, Black communities aren't as homogenous. There's teachers who live next to garbage men, who live next door to people who work at McDonald's, because that is the way redlining worked for most of the history of this country. So first of all, that's a lie. I mean, I don't know what else to call it.
And the other thing is, right, when we attack these problems, right -- and if you even mention the lack of role models before you get to the 54 other things that precede that, that are more important than lack of role models -- we talk about school funding. We know that poor white -- poor white children get $1,500 on average per student more than poor Black students, right, than the average black student. So, we know that black schools are underfunded. We know that the way that schools are funded in America is based on community wealth, which is insane to me, right? So, to not even address these factors and talk about role models, even if you think that there is a little truth to that, is in and of itself a malpractice, if not an outright lie.
How can you argue with that? Statistics back him up. Facts back him up. How can any white person cite a lack of role models when there are Black teachers, nurses, clergy members all around them? How do you cite a lack of role models without citing all the barriers white America has erected to Black success without perpetuating a de facto lie?
Then, Reid and Harriot combine forces to blast Buttigieg's comments into oblivion, where they belong.
REID: I guess when I saw the clip of him, the thing I thought about was that when he said it, I believe that the President of the United States was a Black man named Barack Obama. I mean, every Black child on earth had a role model, excuse me, literally sitting in the White House at the time.
HARRIOT: We've seen the biggest Black role model in America, which is Barack Obama. So, that narrative couldn't exist. That was in 2011 when Pete Buttigieg made these comments, so Barack Obama -- he was president then. So I don't understand where that came from.
Except we do. We understand exactly where that came from.
VIDEO - Animated No Agenda - President Drops the Magic Number - YouTube
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 15:15
VIDEO - Fox News apologises to Hillary Clinton after conservative commentator Anna Paulina says she is 'like herpes' | South China Morning Post
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 12:27
Conservative commentator Anna Paulina. Photo: Twitter/Anna Paulina
Anna Paulina was immediately yanked from the segment for using language that stunned show's host Rick Levanthal, who said it was 'not appropriate'Topic | US Politics
Conservative commentator Anna Paulina. Photo: Twitter/Anna Paulina
VIDEO - Pelosi's Stuttered Speech - YouTube
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 09:55
VIDEO - CNN presidential historian predicts public support for Trump will collapse | TheHill
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 08:58
CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley on Friday predicted that public support for President Trump Donald John TrumpKamala Harris aide says in resignation letter: 'I've never seen staff treated so poorly' New Iowa ad compares Booker to the 'other Rhodes Scholar mayor' Lawmakers bypass embattled Mulvaney in spending talks MORE will collapse as House Democrats continue their impeachment inquiry against him.
''It just tells you what deep trouble Donald Trump is in, when you have 50 percent of the country wanting you not just impeached, but removed from office, and the game hasn't even gotten fast yet,'' Brinkley said on-air Friday morning.
''I think once the vote is taken by Congress to impeach him and he's wearing the 'I' on his chest, you're going to see that movement grow even more," Brinkley predicted.
He added of Trump: ''It tells you he doesn't have a lot of friends, he's a base politician. He doesn't know how to turn this around.''
CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley on a recent poll showing 50% of Americans support impeaching and removing Trump from office:After Congress votes, "you're going to see that movement grow even more... He's a base politician. He doesn't know how to turn this around." pic.twitter.com/wR9iCB4Jho
'-- New Day (@NewDay) November 29, 2019Brinkley noted the successful campaigns of politicians from opposing parties that came after previous presidents also faced political fallout.
''I think the Democrats might want to look at the way Jimmy Carter Jimmy CarterJimmy Carter released from hospital after successful surgery Trump makes his mark on courts amid impeachment storm Michelle Obama receives Grammy nomination for audio version of memoir MORE pulled off victory in 1976. He took the high road. He ran on saying, 'I will never tell a lie to you,''' he said. ''He didn't have to say [the others] lied. Just that 'I'm clean' and good governance.''
Polling on impeachment has fluctuated in the nine weeks since Democrats launched their probe.
A Quinnipiac University Poll released Tuesday found a slight shift in the president's direction on impeachment. That survey found 45 percent in favor of Trump's impeachment and removal, with 48 percent against. That was a reversal from the poll's findings last month.
However, a CNN poll conducted after the first week of public hearings in the inquiry found that half of Americans, 50 percent, said Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 43 percent say he should not '' the same margin from a poll conducted in October.
VIDEO - (3) ''ŒAustere Scholar Monsieur ''Œ on Twitter: "Need a Karmic-Justice laugh? Gather round and listen how Chief of Counterespionage was compromised by his own wife who (after confronting "hat-trick" Lisa) turned over incriminating tryst evidence t
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 08:38
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VIDEO - White House Roundtable on Teen Vaping | C-SPAN.org
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 07:48
November 22, 2019 2019-11-22T18:05:23-05:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/6a4/20191122145636013_hd.jpg President Trump hosted a cabinet room meeting with public health officials and industry leaders on whether to ban flavored e-cigarette sales to people under 21.President Trump hosted a cabinet room meeting with public health officials and industry leaders on whether to ban flavored e-cigarette sales to people under 21.
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Points of InterestFor quick viewing, C-SPAN provides Points of Interest markers for some events. Click the play button and tap the screen to see the at the bottom of the player. Tap the to see a complete list of all Points of Interest - click on any moment in the list and the video will play.
*This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
Points of InterestFor quick viewing, C-SPAN provides Points of Interest markers for some events. Click the play button and move your cursor over the video to see the . Click on the marker to see the description and watch.
You can also click the in the lower left of the video player to see a complete list of all Points of Interest from this program - click on any moment in the list and the video will play.
People in this videoAlex M. Azar II Secretary Department of Health and Human Services Tim Chapman Executive Director Heritage Action for America Gregory Conley President American Vaping Association Kellyanne Conway Counselor White House Matthew L. Myers President Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Penny Young Nance President and CEO Concerned Women for America Mitt Romney U.S. Senator (Class 1) [R] Utah Donald J. Trump U.S. President United States More People '; }, afterShow: function() { twttr.widgets.load(); }, helpers: { title: { type: 'inside' } } }); $('section.program-people ul li a.person-image').click(function(e) { e.preventDefault(); var personid = $(this).attr('id'); personid = personid.replace('-link', ''); $('div.person-images a#'+personid+'-image').click(); }); });
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VIDEO - Evanston To Use Cannabis Revenue For Reparations For African-Americans '' CBS Chicago
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 07:45
EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) '-- The City of Evanston is taking on a controversial topic '' reparations.
Evanston will start putting money in a fund to address the north suburban city's decline in African-American residents, among other issues. The fund will be financed by revenue from cannabis '' which becomes legal for recreational use in Illinois on Jan. 1.
As CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported Wednesday night, the objective is to help African-Americans thrive in Evanston. Such a fund for reparations is a step that no other city in the country has accomplished.
On Thanksgiving Eve, the stove burners were already working overtime at Toly Walker's house.
As the lifelong Evanston resident prepared for a family feast, she was also watching closely what's cooking with the city's Reparations Resolution.
''Despite the fact that I was born and raised here, and I live here, and I'm raising my kids here, I could not afford to buy here,'' Walker said.
Walker believes she has the necessary ingredients to get ahead.
''I'm educated not just enough to get my position '' I have two masters degrees,'' she said.
But Walker fells being black and living in Evanston made getting over the financial hump difficult.
''What about people who don't? So they can't live here as homeowners? They have to rent forever? That's discouraging, and it's angering, and it should anger everyone if you believe in equity,'' Walker said.
When recreational marijuana becomes legal, the City of Evanston plans to take the expected green revenue and divert 100 percent of the tax money to ''a separate fund in a City account for local reparations.''
Evanston Ald. Robin Rue Simmons (5th) worked to get the resolution approved this week by the City Council.
''I'm offering no apologies,'' she said. ''This is for black Evanston residents.''
Ald. Rue Simmons knows many sees reparations as controversial.
''It is going to bring the impact our community that is overdue and is well-deserved,'' she said.
Rue Simmons points to Evanston's history of redlining, where neighborhoods were divided based on race and economics. The alderman believes the impact is still felt today '' especially in the 5th Ward near Church Street and Dodge Avenue.
''We were intentionally targeted,'' Rue Simmons said. ''The law, the policy, the actions, the culture of the community, intentionally excluded black residents.''
The hope is that by allocating $10 million of marijuana tax revenue into the reparations fund, it will encourage minority business startups and help longtime residents like Walker '' ultimately eliminating the wage disparity.
''This is the first that I've heard of in the nation,'' Rue Simmons said. ''I'm hoping that it will be a model that other localities will explore.''
The city expects some possible legal fights as it continues to iron out exactly how it will allocate the funds.
Jermont Terry
VIDEO-GAY FROGS // KSP // REMIX // PARODY - YouTube
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 06:59
VIDEO-'OK boomer': What it means and why the phrase is going viral - YouTube
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 06:51
VIDEO-2020 election is Trump's to lose, says BET founder Bob Johnson
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 18:44
The next U.S. presidential election is Donald Trump's to lose despite some polls suggesting the president is behind several of his potential Democratic challengers, entrepreneur and media mogul Robert Johnson said on Friday.
"I think the president has always been in a position where it's his to lose based on his bringing a sort of disruptive force into what would be called political norms," Johnson, who founded cable network BET and RLJ Companies business network, told CNBC's Hadley Gamble.
He explained that Trump "brings his style" to the way he handles issues such as in foreign policy or immigration. That's something that the president's supporters like and the reason why they voted for him and will do so again next year, added Johnson.
Trump's ability to "dominate the news cycle" also puts him above his challengers, according to Johnson. He explained that Democrats often gets caught up and agitated over what Trump says, and then lose focus on substance. In addition, he said none of the Democratic presidential candidates appear to be "enough in the center" where most voters are, particularly African-American voters.
"If you take a snapshot today, I don't think that group is capable of beating Trump despite what the polls say," he said.
An ABC News/Washington Post survey released earlier this month showed five of the top Democratic challengers beating Trump by at least 9 and as many as 17 percentage points, a wider margin than in most other polls. Those five Democrats are former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Johnson, who described himself as a longtime Democrat, has made headlines multiple times for praising Trump for the "positive things" he's done to grow the U.S. economy '-- something that he said he still stands by now.
But when asked if his praise for Trump means he'll vote for the president in next year's election, Johnson suggested that may not be the case.
"It means that I'm going to speak my mind, speak in an independent way based on the facts and not try to get caught up in the politics," he said.
'-- CNBC's Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.
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VIDEO - Rob O'Donnell on Twitter: "''When we raise taxes on the poor, it's good because then the poor will live longer because they can't afford as many things that kill them.'' ~Nanny State Mayor Bloomberg https://t.co/23p443ieg4" / Twitter
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 16:13
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VIDEO - Homeless Period Project >>holds tampon tax protest in downtown Greenville
Sun, 01 Dec 2019 10:01
Homeless Period Project believes taxing these products is gender-based discrimination
Homeless Period Project >>holds tampon tax protest in downtown Greenville
Homeless Period Project believes taxing these products is gender-based discrimination
Homeless Period Project >>holds tampon tax protest in downtown Greenville
Homeless Period Project believes taxing these products is gender-based discrimination
A tampon tax protest was held in downtown Greenville Wednesday. The Homeless Period Project says 33 states, including the Carolians and Georgia, don't consider tampons and pad necessities, so they are taxed. The group believes taxing these products is gender-based discrimination. The protest was held in Falls Park.Organizers are urging people to mail receipts from a pad or tampon purchase to the State Department of Revenue with a claim for a refund.
GREENVILLE, S.C. '--A tampon tax protest was held in downtown Greenville Wednesday.
The Homeless Period Project says 33 states, including the Carolians and Georgia, don't consider tampons and pad necessities, so they are taxed.
The group believes taxing these products is gender-based discrimination.
The protest was held in Falls Park.
Organizers are urging people to mail receipts from a pad or tampon purchase to the State Department of Revenue with a claim for a refund.
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Facebook flags user post in Singapore, under new 'fake news' law there - CNET
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 15:58
Angela Lang/CNET Under a new "fake news" law in Singapore, Facebook has reportedly added a notice to a user's post there, saying it contains info the government maintains is bogus.
"Facebook is legally required to tell you that the Singapore government says this post has false information," says the notice, which was added to the bottom of the otherwise unaltered post, according to a Saturday report by Reuters. The news agency said the flagged post, from Nov. 23, contained accusations of election rigging.
Facebook didn't immediately respond to CNET's request for comment, but in a statement to Reuters, a spokesman for the company said Facebook had added the notice "as required by Singapore law."
"As it is early days of the law coming into effect," the spokesman said in a statement to the news agency, "we hope the Singapore government's assurances that it will not impact free expression will lead to a measured and transparent approach to implementation."
The news comes as social media sites and government regulators struggle with how to balance worries about disinformation with concerns about censorship and free expression.
Reuters said rights groups have attacked Singapore's fake news law, which went into effect last month, saying it could threaten internet freedom there and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
The notice added by Facebook to the Singapore post includes a "learn more" link, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday. The link goes to "a new page briefly explaining the law and adding that as a 'neutral platform,' Facebook doesn't endorse the truthfulness of either the posts on its site or government corrections," the Journal said.
Learn two languages '' Letters To A New Developer
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 15:57
Dear new developer,
Learn two languages.
When you know just one language, you can go a long way, especially if the language is dominant. In web development, that language is javascript. In system programming it's C. Both of these languages will be around forever, and you'll always be able to get a job writing them.
You can also know one non dominant language and get pretty far, though if that is your choice, you will probably be happier at a big company with supporting infrastructure. Something like ruby for web development or go or rust for systems programming.
But, knowing just one language is like living in the same town all your life. You can be happy doing that, but just the exposure to life in a different city will shake you and show you that what seemed like a universal truth was actually just an assumption.
I cut my teeth on perl and wrote a lot of it for my first professional job. Then I had to write some java. The first java I wrote was not idiomatic. Rather than use small custom objects, I just leveraged hashmaps and lists for my data structures. I remember one of the other engineers going over some of my code and saying ''that looks a lot like perl written in java!''.
Specifically, learning a new language will:
let you see the strengths and weaknesses of your first languagelet you bring concepts from language number two back to your code in language number onemake it far easier to learn a third language, should you choose or need to do somake you aware of different approaches to common problemsmay make it easier to implement certain kinds of problems. In my experience this is often due to open source libraries that may be available for one language that aren't for anothermake you less passionate. This may seem like a strange benefit, but learning another way to do things often helps you realize that a programming language is just a tool, and that different tools are of course better for different things.let you build a mental map to apply to the new language based on the old language. ''I know that there's a way to iterate over a list in perl, so there must be a way to do so in java.'' This will also help you learn common software terms (like ''iterate'') which will help you in your searching.These truths apply not just to languages, but other pieces of the software development process. Learn two of everything. Databases, frameworks, development methodologies. The increase in perspective and the ability will be worth the extra effort.
Sincerely,
Dan
PublishedJanuary 28, 2019January 19, 2019
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London Bridge Terrorist Kills Two, Five Wounded '' Knife Wielding Jihadist Stopped by Public'...
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 15:38
Two people were killed and up to five more stabbed as a terrorist used two knives to attack the public in London, England. The attack happened near (and on) the London Bridge and the terrorist wore a dummy explosives vest. Members of the general public tackled and disarmed the terrorist until police arrived moments later and shot him.
British authorities have confirmed the attack was a terrorist incident. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has promised the British people he will write a strong letter of condemnation.
(Via Daily Mail) '' Two innocent members of the public have died after a knifeman went on a rampage this afternoon in London.
Armed police shot dead a knifeman wearing a fake suicide vest today after he stabbed up to five people in a shocking terrorist attack as frightened crowds fled the scene.
Witnesses on the scene said the man had been brandishing two knives and had attacked people on the north side of London Bridge before running into the centre at around 2pm.
Dramatic video footage showed he was tackled to the ground by at least six heroic members of the public. Seconds later police told people on top of the suspect to move away, before dragging the last bystander to safety and opening fire. Officers were heard shouting 'stop moving' twice before shooting the man at close range.
One of the brave heroes was on the other side of the bridge and ran over to help, tackling the man and wrestling the knife off him. The suspect lay on the ground still moving as officers backed away '' clearly fearing they were still in danger. (read more)
.
Note the date: 2018'.... Apparently something went wrong with the prior policies put into place to stop refugee jihadists from using knives to kill people.
(43) Educating Liberals on Twitter: "China just announced they would allow rice imports from the U.S. for the first time in their history. Read that again. Trump just sold rice to CHINA. What a f*cking legend." / Twitter
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 15:29
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How podcasting got its name
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 15:26
undefined
How podcasting got its name
Sun, Apr 7, 2013 at 8:06 AM by Dave Winer.
In September 2004, the activity we called
audioblogging was starting to gain traction. There were a dozen or so regular programs. We had tools for creating audioblog feeds, and an aggregator that could pull them all together into a river of audio programming.
I had my own show, Morning Coffee Notes. Adam Curry had Daily Source Code and together we did a short-lived audioblog called
Trade Secrets. Adam was working on an open source tool that would bring Apple's iPod into the mix. In September he opened the iPodder-dev mail list, which I publicized on Scripting News.
In the first days of the iPodder-dev mail list the term podcast was introduced and adopted as the name of the activity.
Here's the sequence of events, with links.
1. On September 13, Adam posts the
inaugural message on the iPodder-Dev list. (You will get a warning from Yahoo when you click on the link because the mail list has since been overrun by spam for porn sites. Oh the humanity!)
2.
Lots of people introduce themselves, including
Dannie Gregoire, a "reasonably competent Perl programmer" from Kentucky.
3. On September 15, Gregoire posts a
message where he uses the term "podcaster." I read this message, as did Adam.
4. In a phone talk, Adam and I discussed this, and agreed we needed a name for the activity, and that Gregoire's suggested term was pretty good, so we agreed to use it. The conversation was recorded and distributed as one of the Trade Secrets shows. (Note: I'm not sure of the date of this podcast.)
5.
Gregoire recalls the sequence of events in a post to the list on September 20.
6. On September 24, I wrote a
definitive page explaining what a podcast is.
7. On September 27, I
decided to rename the audioblogging session for the upcoming BloggerCon, Podcasting. Adam was the discussion leader.
8. On September 28, Doc Searls wrote a post entitled DIY Radio with Podcasting. I couldn't locate a subsequent post where he did a Google search and found zero hits for the term, predicting that there would be a lot more, as the idea caught on.
On second thought, that post might have been written by Rex Hammock.
Update: Apparently it wasn't Rex, but he has a
quote from Doc's missing post.
Finally, a
Google Trends graph clearly indicates that the term was introduced in September 2004.
'Rocky' shock for China makes Trump Hong Kong hero
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 11:54
November 28, 2019 | 9:01pm | Updated November 29, 2019 | 11:20am
Enlarge Image Hong Kong protesters hold up a photo President Trump tweeted of himself with his head on Rocky Balboa's body. Getty Images
President Trump is Hong Kong's sudden hero.
Hours after he signed two bills to support human rights in Hong Kong, angering Chinese government officials, pro-democracy protesters in the beleaguered city held a ''Thanksgiving Rally'' Thursday night to commend him for taking the action.
And front and center at the rally were printouts of the president's Wednesday tweet showing his head on Rocky Balboa's chiseled body.
''Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,'' thousands of protestors chanted in a public square as they waved American flags and held up copies of the photo composite.
For the past six months, the former British colony has been rocked by mass protests that have spawned violence on both sides of the divide. More than 5,000 people have been detained since the discord began.
In the midst of a heated trade war between the US and China, Trump unexpectedly signed the two bills on Wednesday after they passed the House and Senate nearly unanimously, exacerbating Washington's relationship with Beijing.
The new laws mandate sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who carry out human rights abuses on the semiautonomous island, require an annual review of Hong Kong's trade status and prohibit the export of specific nonlethal weapons to Hong Kong police.
Joshua Wong, a well-known pro-democracy activist who was among those who lobbied for the laws, told protesters Thursday their next goal is to get other Western leaders to follow in Trump's footsteps in order to put pressure on the Chinese government to give in to their demands.
On the mainland, Chinese government officials were enraged by the new laws and said Trump is using Hong Kong as a pawn to hamper China's growth and hit back at Beijing.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng told US Ambassador Terry Branstad that Beijing sees the move as ''serious interference in China's internal affairs and a serious violation of international law,'' a ministry statement said.
Le went on to call it a ''nakedly hegemonic act'' and urged US officials to not implement the laws to avoid more damage to US relations with China, the ministry said.
In response, the US Embassy in Beijing said China's Communist Party ''must honor its promises to the Hong Kong people.''
The protests started in June over a Chinese extradition bill that pro-democracy protestors believed whittled away the freedoms promised to them when China regained control of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom in 1997.
With Post wires
Robin Williams' Northern California home hits the market at $7.25 million - Los Angeles Times
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 09:58
The Northern California estate of late actor and comedian Robin Williams has come up for sale at $7.25 million.
Located in Paradise Cay, an enclave that hugs the Tiburon peninsula, the single-story Mediterranean residence sits on a double lot abutting San Francisco Bay.
The roughly 6,500-square-foot house, built in 1987, has six bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms, a wood-paneled library/den and an office. Walls of windows in the living room and kitchen look out toward the bay.
1 / 15
The patio and pool. (Realtor.com)
2 / 15
The living room. (Realtor.com)
3 / 15
The kitchen. (Realtor.com)
4 / 15
The dining room. (Realtor.com)
5 / 15
The family room. (Realtor.com)
6 / 15
The library/den. (Realtor.com)
7 / 15
The master suite. (Realtor.com)
8 / 15
The patio and fire pit. (Realtor.com)
9 / 15
The soaking tub. (Realtor.com)
10 / 15
The walk-in closet. (Realtor.com)
11 / 15
A bedroom. (Realtor.com)
12 / 15
The office. (Realtor.com)
13 / 15
A bedroom. (Realtor.com)
14 / 15
The swimming pool. (Realtor.com)
15 / 15
The pool and spa. (Realtor.com)
A swimming pool with a spa and stone patios fill out the grounds.
Williams, who graduated from Redwood High School in Marin County, bought the property through a trust in 2008 for $4.05 million, public records show. Following his death in 2014 at 63, the property was transferred the following year to a trust tied to his widow, Susan Williams.
Among the world's most successful entertainers of his time, the comic rose to fame in the late 1970s with his starring role on the sitcom ''Mork & Mindy,'' a spinoff of the popular ''Happy Days.'' As a film actor, Williams is remembered for prominent roles in ''Good Morning, Vietnam'' (1987) and ''Dead Poets Society'' (1989). He won an Oscar for his supporting role in ''Good Will Hunting'' (1997).
Compass' Wright-Mulligan Team holds the listing, according to the Multiple Listing Service.
BBC allows Boris Johnson interview on Andrew Marr Show | Media | The Guardian
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 09:25
Boris Johnson will be interviewed on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, despite him failing to set a date to be interviewed by Andrew Neil, the BBC has announced.
The broadcaster had initially refused to allow the prime minister to appear on Marr's flagship programme unless he agreed to take part in a 30-minute interview with Neil, as every other party leader had agreed to do.
In a statement, the BBC said that after the terrorist attack on London Bridge, it believed there was a public interest in Johnson appearing on the show, but it repeated its request for him to face Neil.
''As the national public service broadcaster, the BBC's first priority must be its audience,'' the statement said.
''In the wake of a major terrorist incident, we believe it is now in the public interest that the prime minister should be interviewed on our flagship Sunday political programme.
''All parties' election policy proposals must '' and will '' face detailed scrutiny from us and we continue to urge Boris Johnson to take part in the primetime Andrew Neil interview as other leaders have done.''
Jonathan Ashworth, Labour's candidate for Leicester South, and the Liberal Democrats' Chuka Umunna are the other guests on the programme. The Guardian's north of England editor, Helen Pidd, will be among the journalists reviewing Sunday's newspapers.
Labour candidates accused the BBC of ''abject surrender'' in allowing Johnson to be interviewed by Marr without agreeing to the Neil interview.
Ben Bradshaw, a Labour former culture secretary and candidate in Exeter, tweeted: ''This is a shameful and abject surrender by the BBC management, which will leave professional BBC journalists absolutely horrified and in despair with an organisation where morale is already at rock bottom.''
In a tweet, the Ilford North candidate Wes Streeting said: ''I love the BBC and hate the regular attacks on its impartiality and the professionalism of its journalists, particularly when it has some of the very best in the business. But this decision is wrong. The BBC have been played by the Tory leader and shouldn't dance to his tune.''
Labour had accused Johnson of avoiding Neil, insisting it had agreed to let Jeremy Corbyn appear on the programme in the belief that the prime minister was already signed up.
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said: ''The reason [Johnson] is doing this is because he thinks, like his Bullingdon friends, that they are above the rest of us, that they don't need to be held to account, they don't need to be treated like the rest of us.''
The prime minister also refused to appear on Channel 4 News's climate change debate on Thursday, where he was replaced with a melting ice sculpture.
In response, the Conservatives complained to the media regulator, Ofcom, about alleged bias; threatened to change the public service remit of Channel 4 if they won the election; and sent their own camera crew to follow Michael Gove, the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, as he attempted to take Johnson's place on the debate.
ITV will hold its election debate on Sunday evening, featuring the Brexit party leader, Nigel Farage, Jo Swinson of the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National party's Nicola Sturgeon, Sin Berry, the co-leader of the Green party, and Plaid Cymru's Adam Price.
Party representatives for Labour and the Conservatives were still to be confirmed, the broadcaster said.
During the debate, from 7pm-9pm, each representative will have one minute for their opening statement and 45sec for a closing statement.
New class of painkiller found in the mud - Institute for Molecular Bioscience - University of Queensland
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 08:59
A sample of estuarine mud taken 16 years ago has yielded a potential new class of painkiller as potent as opioids, but without their disadvantages.
Researchers from The University of Queensland and University of Sydney have filed a patent application for the potential drug, which is a modified version of a molecule found in a Penicillium fungus, and published their results in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.
Professor Rob Capon, from UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience, said he and his team were investigating the chemistry of marine fungi, including a sample collected next to a boat ramp in Tasmania.
''We came across a fungus that yielded a new type of molecule which we named the bilaids, that I noticed were similar to endomorphins '' natural peptides produced by the human body that activate opioid receptors and provide pain relief,'' Professor Capon said.
Harnessing a new type of pain drugHe teamed up with colleague Professor Paul Alewood, and the University of Sydney's Professor Macdonald Christie, to see if they could together harness these promising molecules to develop a new painkiller.
Professor Alewood oversaw chemical modifications that delivered a new molecule based on the bilaids, name bilorphin, which is as potent as morphine and potentially far more suitable as a pain drug.
Professor Christie, the senior author, said such a development could have a major impact globally.
''No one had ever pulled anything out of nature, anything more ancient than a vertebrate, that seemed to act on opioid receptors '' and we found it.
''If this proves successful and leads to a new medication, it will significantly reduce the risk of death by overdose from opioid medications such as codeine.''
Potential new pain drug had curious handedednessThe key to the potential success of these molecules lies in their chemical structure, or 'handedness.'
Professor Rob Capon helped discover a potential new class of painkiller in a 16-year-old sample of estuarine mud.The bilaids consisted of a chain of four of the building blocks of life, amino acids, and also had a curious 'handedness'.
''In nature, many molecules can be described as either 'left-handed' or 'right-handed', and just like hands, they are mirror images of each other,'' Professor Capon said.
''While almost all natural amino acids are 'left-handed', the bilaids were unique in featuring alternating 'left-handed' and 'right-handed' amino acids.''
The opioid receptor sends out two signalling cascades, with opioids such as morphine activating the receptor with a bias towards one cascade '' in contrast, bilorphin activates the receptor with the opposite bias.
Painkiller without the side effectsIt's hypothesised that the signalling bias is behind the adverse side effects seen in opioid drugs '' addiction, tolerance, respiratory depression '' so by activating the opposite bias, bilorphin has the potential to be a safer pain drug.
Professor Capon said a targeted program analysing soil samples and the diverse microbes found within them could benefit the development of drugs for conditions without effective treatments.
''Although our discovery of an analgesic from an estuarine mud fungus was serendipitous it does beg the question '' with an almost infinite diversity of fungi in the soils, plants, animals and waters of the planet, perhaps we should be exploring other fungi for analgesics?''
Trump Camp Blasts Google for 'Muzzling of Political Speech' as Danger of Tech Giant Becomes Clearer
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 08:54
It has been pointed out for several years now that Big Tech companies are biased against conservatives, and recent policy changes by Google will only bolster that perception.
The Hill reported that Google, which controls roughly 43 percent of the online advertising market, recently adopted changes to its policies that would effectively end the practice of micro-targeted political ads, which use real-world information about online users '-- such as political leanings and voter lists '-- to appropriately target them with advertisements they would likely be interested in and receptive to.
The new policy will allow political advertisers to target ads toward users based only on age, gender and ZIP code, completely undermining the huge advantage President Donald Trump's 2020 re-election campaign had earned through copious collection of data.
A scathing joint statement released by the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee, excoriated Google for attempting to suppress voter outreach and turnout in the 2020 election.
''Google's latest arbitrary rule changes are a blatant attempt to suppress voter information, knowledge, and engagement in the 2020 election. These actions will lead directly to suppressing voter turnout,'' the statement read.
TRENDING: Fake News Media Said Trump's Golfing When He's Actually in Afghanistan
Full text: pic.twitter.com/gPU18Cc9Bn
'-- Brad Parscale (@parscale) November 26, 2019
''There can be no denying that President Trump and his campaign have built the greatest digital operation in all of politics, and that Google's decision will disproportionately impact both the Trump operation and all of the Republican candidates and organizations that derive strength from it,'' the statement continued.
''What's more, given the growing and documented cases of anti-conservative bias in Silicon Valley, we are highly skeptical that such a ban would be applied equally to conservative and liberal organizations.''
Do you believe that big tech companies are biased against conservatives?100% (76 Votes)
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The Hill reported that the Democrats' national committees had issued a similar statement expressing outrage at the new Google policy last week, but while the impact of the policy may be bipartisan, it will be much greater on the GOP due to the disparity between Republican and Democratic digital operations.
The statement from the Trump camp gave a nod to that bipartisan impact.
''Millions of Americans rely on Google's platform to get involved in our democratic process, from educating themselves on the issues, to becoming more politically engaged with candidates, and to learning when and where to cast their vote,'' the statement read.
''By severely restricting political advertising, Google is stifling the ability of citizens to participate in our democracy. This will affect voters in the Democrat primaries as well as in the 2020 general election.''
The statement explained that the data Google has now restricted political advertisers from using had been offered up voluntarily by users as a sort of ''please communicate with me'' message that aided people in learning about issues, campaign events and volunteering, fundraising efforts and even when and where to cast a vote.
RELATED: Prager: Google Censors Video That Exposes Lies About Trump
''Google is now arbitrarily saying this is not allowed,'' the statement read. ''There is no other description for this than the muzzling of political speech. Google is clamping down on voter engagement and suppressing voter turnout.''
The statement went on to note how Google has in the past ''celebrated'' its own role in increasing political participation and voter engagement and is now, in effect, doing the exact opposite.
With a nod to Twitter's recent decision to prohibit all political advertising '-- a policy that will be difficult to enforce equitably '-- the statement said that ''much has been made of Twitter's equally concerning decision to ban political ads and suppress speech, but because advertising on that platform is ineffective and only a tiny percentage of Americans use Twitter, their impact is insignificant.''
''Google, however, is a serious platform with very deep reach across the entire country.''
Indeed, according to The Hill, Google and Facebook combined account for nearly 57 percent of all online advertisements.
''In short, Google has made an extraordinarily poor decision which will lead to less-informed voters, lower voter engagement, and voter suppression. Google should immediately reverse its decision in order to ensure they do not suppress voter turnout during both the Democrat primaries and the 2020 general election,'' the statement concluded.
According to The Hill, a spokesperson for Google acknowledged the ''concerns'' raised by both Democrats and Republicans about the impact the new policy would have on their respective ''targeting strategies,'' but defended the ''balance'' the company had struck between allowing broadly targeted political ads and excluding the more narrowly tailored ones that are far more effective.
Google can claim all it wants that there is no partisan purpose behind the new policy, and Democrats can even complain about the policy, too '-- as they should '-- but it is difficult to dismiss the tech giant's decision as entirely nonpartisan when the new policy will disproportionately affect the Trump campaign and its digital dominance.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.
Narwhal tusk and fire extinguisher used to tackle London Bridge attacker | UK news | The Guardian
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 08:34
A convicted murderer was among ex-prisoners and members of the public who grappled with and eventually grounded the London Bridge knife attacker before police arrived.
One man was armed with a fire extinguisher and another a 5ft narwhal tusk as people at the scene surrounded the attacker, who was eventually pinned to the ground.
Scotland Yard is investigating how 28-year-old Usman Khan was able to launch the attack in London Bridge, despite being known to the authorities and fitted with an electronic tag to monitor his movements. He was allowed out a year ago after serving time for his part in a plot to blow up the London Stock Exchange.
In footage that has since emerged, Khan is sprayed with a fire extinguisher, while another man tries to suppress the assailant with a narwhal tusk '' a long pointed tooth from a type of whale '' lunging at him. It is believed the item was pulled from the wall of Fishmongers' Hall, a grade II-listed building on London Bridge, by a Polish chef called Lucasz.
Among those who pinned down the attacker was James Ford, 42, who is also thought to have tried to save the life of a woman who had been stabbed. Ford was jailed for life in 2004 for the murder of 21-year-old Amanda Champion, who had a mental age of 15.
Ford, who is understood to be serving the final days of his sentence at HMP Standford Hill, an open prison in Kent, was on London Bridge as the attack unfolded.
David Wilson, a professor of criminology at Birmingham City University and chair of the Friends of Grendon prison '' where Ford was '' said the prisoner went through an intensive period of psychotherapy.
''I only picked up it was James Ford as a consequence of them publishing his photo '... I remember him and indeed some others from the Friends of Grendon charity.''
He said what happened was a tale of two prisoners, with Ford an example of how people can change. ''I know through my work that people do change and they change as a consequence of innovative but challenging regimes such as the one at HMP Grendon.''Khan was at a conference at Fishmongers' Hall near London Bridge for a University of Cambridge-organised conference on rehabilitating offenders, after previously participating in the university's Learning Together prisoner rehabilitation programme, but had showed ''no cause for concern'', a source with knowledge of the programme told PA.
Photo of the areaWilson said of Khan: ''There was a so-called deradicalisation programme and I wonder if Khan went through that '... If he went through the deradicalisation programme then it is on another level a tale of two programmes, that programme clearly did not deredicalise him.''
He added: ''In the US there is a phenomenon 'suicide by cop'... increasingly what we are seeing is some attackers wear pretend suicide vests as they prefer martyrdom than getting a sentence. I wonder if what we are seeing is another version of suicide by cop.''The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, praised the police and the public for their actions, sharing footage on social media of the people trying to bring the suspect down.
''What's remarkable about the images we've seen is the breathtaking heroism of members of the public who literally ran towards danger, not knowing what confronted them,'' he said.
In a tweet, Amy Coop, said: ''A guy who was with us at Fishmongers Hall took a 5ft narwhal tusk from the wall and went out to confront the attacker. You can see him standing over the man (with what looks like a white pole) in the video. We were trying to help victims inside but that man's a hero.''
Martin Shapland (@MShapland)This makes me exceptionally proud to be British. pic.twitter.com/WS9W4s3H1z
November 29, 2019Craig Heathcote was walking across the bridge as happened. ''I was on the east side of the bridge, walking across it '' heading to the supermarket on my lunch break. A man appeared in front of me and started screaming that there was someone with a knife, then I realised something was happening,'' he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
He said it took a while to process what was going on, but he could see what looked like a ''big scuffle happening'' and what felt like ''hundreds of people screaming'' on the bridge.
''The police were not yet there so I called 999 as I felt no one else was [calling them] '... While I was on the phone I think a car appeared. It was either the first response or by chance a car driving across the bridge. Someone jumped out and waved them down. Two armed officers jumped out and took over situation,'' he said.
Heathcote said he saw and heard the gunshots as the suspect was shot by police. ''It was quite a bizarre moment watching it all unfold,'' he said.
Thomas Gray, 24, was among the group who tackled the killer to the ground. He stamped on the terrorist's wrist to try to make him release one of two large knives he was carrying.
Gray, a tour manager, said: ''I was brought up on rugby and the rule is 'one in, all in'. I did what any Londoner would do and tried to put a stop to it.''
He had been driving northbound on London Bridge with his colleague Stevie when they saw people running. He said they turned the car off and when they reached the attacker he had been ''wrestled'' to the floor by ''five or six other blokes''.
''He had two knives on him, one in each hand, and it looked like they were taped to his hands,'' Gray said.
''I stamped on his left wrist while someone else smacked his hand on the ground and kicked one of the knives away.
The former Metropolitan police Ch Supt Dal Babu said: ''The terrorist attack on London Bridge demonstrated the worst and best in society. This cowardly individual sought to kill indiscriminately, but brave Londoners alongside the police prevented further deaths because of their swift actions. They are truly heroes.''
Louis C.K. tells Israeli audience he'd 'rather be in Auschwitz than NYC'
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 08:24
November 29, 2019 | 4:38pm
Disgraced comic Louis C.K. made a Holocaust joke '-- to an Israeli audience in Tel Aviv.
''I'd rather be in Auschwitz than New York City,'' he said during a Thanksgiving night performance, eliciting startled laughter and applause.
''I mean now, not when it was open,'' added the 52-year-old, whose paternal grandfather was Jewish.
The off-color comment came as C.K. continues an international comedy tour, meant to bring him back into the mainstream after he was booted from stages for admittedly masturbating in front of women.
A billboard advertising Louis C.K.'s show in Israel APHe's booked to perform a pair of shows in Slovakia on Saturday, before appearing on stage in Hungary next week.
While it remains unclear when C.K. plans to return to New York, he also has a series of domestic performances booked in New Orleans, Houston, Akron, Ohio and Detroit through February.
C.K.'s Tel Aviv stand up also included his own commentary on the accusations of sexual misconduct level against him, advising the audience against following in his perverted footsteps.
''If they say 'yes,' then still don't do it, because it's not popular,'' he quipped.
C.K. has previously admitted to ''showing my d''k'' to his accusers.
With Post wires
Dutch Police: Several People Wounded in Hague Stabbing
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 08:15
Three people were wounded in a stabbing on a shopping street in The Hague, Netherlands, according to Dutch police officials.
Local authorities and emergency services are on scene at Grote Marktstraat, the city's main shopping street where people were out shopping for Black Friday deals, reports Sky News.
Officers said the suspect is between 45-50 years old and wearing a grey jogging suit.
Police spokesperson Marije Kuiper told the Associated Press that it is too early to tell if the stabbing was terror-related.
The incident occurred hours after a knifeman stabbed several people, killing two, in central London. Police shot the suspect dead and are investigating as a terror-related incident.
The White House expressed support for the United Kingdom following the attack.
''The United States strongly condemns all horrific acts of violence on innocent people, and we pledge our full support to our ally, the United Kingdom,'' White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement.
New Johnson City ordinance restricts chaining up dogs outside | wbir.com
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 08:03
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LOCAL After three violations, the dog will have to be surrendered to the animal shelter.
Author: WCYB
Published: 5:24 PM EST November 29, 2019
Updated: 6:40 PM EST November 29, 2019
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. '-- A new ordinance in Johnson City restricts the chaining of dogs and establishes an annual registration for animals.
The ordinance takes effect on January 1st, 2020. Dogs will not be able to be kept on a pulley system in an owner's yard for more than 12 consecutive hours, and the dogs can't be tethered to a fixed post unless supervised.
Then, beginning in 2021, no dog can be chained outside without supervision.
After three violations, the dog will have to be surrendered to the animal shelter.
NSW, Sydney, QLD bushfires live updates: Police investigate 7 fires | news.com.au '-- Australia's #1 news site
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 07:51
After firefighters faced harrowing conditions across NSW yesterday, and conditions are worsening in Queensland today.
A state of emergency was declared in on Monday in NSW and remains in place.Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter and Illawarra/Shoalhaven continue to face ''catastrophic fire danger'';NSW Police are now investigating seven suspicious fires across the state;Up to 50 homes were damaged or destroyed by fires yesterday;83 fires are burning in NSW, 36 of which are not contained;61 fires are burning in Queensland. 11 are at Watch and Act level. Residents in four areas in Queensland have been urged to leave.Hundreds of schools across both states remain closed today.Follow our Wednesday live blog here for updates on how the day unfolds.
Updates 12:39 pm November 13, 2019 Highlight Phoebe LoomesPolice are appealing for assistance from the public as they start the process of investigating seven fires they suspect may have been deliberately lit across NSW.
With catastrophic conditions at play and a state of emergency declared on Monday, NSW was yesterday under a strict total fire ban. Police have asked for assistance from the public surrounding a number of fires across the state, and have released details in the hopes that tip offs from the public may help them with their investigation.
Police have said anyone with information about suspicious activity around the following areas and times to contact Crime Stoppers.
About 10.30am, New England Highway near Moonbi, north of TamworthJust before 2.30pm, Hooka Creek Road, Berkeley, in Lake IllawarraAbout 3.15pm, three fires in bushland north west of Doonan Place, Balgownie, in Wollongong.Shortly after 3pm in the vicinity of Bradley's Reserve, Kissing Point Road; and 4pm, near Canoon Road, South Turramurra in Sydney's Upper North ShoreJust after 4.30pm, in the vicinity of Honeymoon Lookout, Cliff Drive, Katoomba in the Blue MountainsFrom 4.30pm, four fires throughout Morisset, in Lake MacquarieFrom 7pm, Royal National Park near Loftus in the Sutherland ShireAn image of reported fires from Geoscience Australia. Picture: Sentinel.ga.gov
Gary Worboys, Deputy Commissioner praised the community for coming together in the midst of catastrophic conditions yesterday.
State Emergency Operations Controller (SEOCON), Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys APM, praised the community for working together and supporting each other so positively.
''It has been heartening to see the community working together as we experienced catastrophic fire conditions over the past few days,'' Deputy Commissioner Worboys said.
''Now we need help from the community again '' this time to assist our detectives who are beginning investigations into the cause of fires suspected of being deliberately lit across several police area commands and police districts,'' Deputy Commissioner Worboys said.
Anyone who sees further suspicious activity is urged to contact police.
A state of emergency continues across NSW.
Police suspect a fire in the Royal National Park near Loftus may have been deliberately lit. Picture: Engadine Bush Fire Brigade
2:26 pm November 13, 2019 Highlight Phoebe LoomesThis live blog has concluded for today, but news.com.au's live coverage of bushfires in NSW and Queensland continues.
Follow our most up to date coverage at the live blog here.
2:19 pm November 13, 2019 Highlight Phoebe LoomesResidents in Pechey in QLD have been told to leave now as a Watch and Act fire in their area is upgraded.
Pechey is an area in the Toowoomba region of QLD. The bushfire is affecting the area in Pechey and Hampton, and the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service has advised conditions in the area are deteriorating.
According to authorities, a fast moving fire is travelling from Grapetree Road towards Deeth Road, Sewell Road, Parker Road, Bush Road and Misty Mountain Road.
Blazes are impacting Parker Road and Sewell Road in the area.
1:38 pm November 13, 2019 Highlight Phoebe LoomesAs conditions in Queensland deteriorate, residents from three different areas have been urged to evacuate.
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Service has urged residents from northern Noosa, Kilkivan and Woodgate and Walkers Point to evacuate, as dangerous fires in the different areas advance.
Residents in northern Noosa have been told to "leave immediately".
Images of northern Noosa today. Via 7 News.
Fires in Kilkivan near Gympie were also upgraded to leave now at about 11.30am today. People who have already left are urged not to return, as it is no longer safe.
In Woodgate and Walkers Point, south of Bundaberg, residents were earlier urged to leave.
1:04 pm November 13, 2019 Highlight Phoebe LoomesResidents at Woodgate and Walkers Point, south of Bundaberg in Queensland have been told evacuate, as a fast moving bushfire in the area is upgraded to Leave Now status.
Residents are advised a bushfire is burning in Woodgate, travelling towards Walkers Point Road. According to the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service, conditions are getting worse.
Those in the Walkers Point area should evacuate via Walkers Point Road, towards Woodgate Bowls Club, Kangaroo Court.
Further information is available at the Queensland Rural Fire Service site.
Information about road closures can be found at the QLD Traffic site, or by calling 13 19 40.
11:55 am November 13, 2019 Highlight Phoebe LoomesResidents of the northern shore of Noosa have been told to "leave now" as a dangerous bushfire approaches the area.
Picture: @mramsden2 via Twitter
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) said a bushfire on the Noosa North Shore had spread, upgrading their warning to Leave Now. Residents were urged to follow their bushfire plan.
"If you do not have a plan, your safest option is to leave now if it is clear to do so," QFES advised.
"If you are not in the area, do not return, as conditions are too dangerous."
The fire is burning around Beach Road and the First Cutting, and QFES warned it may impact the Wallaby Track.
"This fire could have a significant impact on the community," QFES warned.
Residents are advised to take the Noosa River Ferry to Moorindil Street. An evacuation centre has been established at the Noosa Leisure Centre on Wallace Drive.
Further information is available at the Queensland Rural Fire Service site.
Information about road closures can be found at the QLD Traffic site, or by calling 13 19 40.
11:40 am November 13, 2019 Highlight Phoebe LoomesNSW Firefighters have shared some stats on the mammoth effort being undertaken by their crews as they tackle catastrophic conditions this week.
The RFS said yesterday during the worst moments of emergency conditions, firefighters were battling 19 emergency-level fires around the state.
Of these 19 fires, at one point, 16 of these emergency-level fires were being fought at the same time.
11:23 am November 13, 2019 Highlight Phoebe LoomesRussell Crowe has shared photos of damage suffered at his large property at Nana Glen, a rural town in the hinterlands, north west of Coffs Harbour.
Crowe yesterday confirmed his former home, where his parents now reside, was under threat as bushfires reached the area yesterday. He said his family were safe with friends.
Today, the actor shared images of the Nana Glen property, saying he's lost some buildings but he was "overall" lucky.
Read more: Russell Crowe's property under threat and The Block 2019 stars evacuate amid bushfire disaster
11:01 am November 13, 2019 Highlight Phoebe LoomesPhotos have emerged showing shocking devastation at the town of Glenreagh, a town north west of Coffs Harbour, and nearby Grafton.
The small town, with an estimated population of about 900, was hit by devastating fires yesterday and extending through the night, which destroyed homes in the area.
The Liberation Trail Fire in nearby Nana Glen was upgraded to emergency status yesterday, and fires in the area threatened residents in a large area across the mid north coast, with authorities fearing ires could spread quickly to the coast in the catastrophic conditions.
Horses graze after a nearby paddock was scorched by fire in Glenreagh. Picture: William West
A home, garage and cars destroyed in Glenreagh. Picture: William West
Picture: William West
Picture: William West
10:22 am November 13, 2019 Highlight Phoebe LoomesSmoky skies are not what usually springs to mind when you think of sunny Queensland.
The QLD Bureau of Meteorology has shared satellite imagery showing how drought, dust and fires are causing hazardous conditions for people in the state.
Residents have been warned to stay indoors, as smoke covers Queensland. Picture: Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland
Health officials have warned people with conditions, and those vulnerable to stay indoors. Dust and air quality is forecast to plunge again on Wednesday as smoke from the Queensland and NSW fires spreads.
Residents of Queensland can find health updates in their area at Queensland Health.
The interesting connection between the .Org deal and ICANN - Domain Name Wire | Domain Name News
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 07:37
Former ICANN CEO Fadi Chehad(C) appears to have a connection to the latest big deal in the domain name industry.
Former CEO of ICANN appears to have a connection to the firm that just bought the .Org registry.
This morning, Internet Society announced it is selling Public Interest Registry, the non-profit that runs the .org domain name, to Ethos Capital.
Ethos Capital isn't exactly a household name. In fact, it appears to have been set up in recent months. It just acquired its domain name EthosCapital.com at the end of last month.
The founder of Ethos Capital is Erik Brooks. He left ABRY Partners this year after spending two decades at the investment firm.
Does the name Abry ring a bell? That's because it's the company that bought new top level domain name company Donuts last year.
That deal involved Abry Senior Advisor Fadi Chehad(C). Chehad(C) is the former CEO of ICANN, the group that oversees the domain name industry.
Now we have a twenty year veteran of Abry, who worked on the Donuts deal and was (or still is) a member of Donuts' board, leaving this year to form a new entity that buys a registry, much like how Abry bought Donuts.
And the CEO of Public Interest Registry is Jon Nevett, one of the founders of Donuts.
Things get even connected.
On May 7 this year, Fadi Chehad(C) appears to have registered EthosCapital.org. He is listed as the owner in Whois. That was just before a Delaware company by the name Ethos Capital, LLC was formed.
I wonder why Abry didn't invest in PIR? Was Ethos set up as a special entity to invest in PIR, and why? What is Chehad(C)'s connection?
The other person listed on Ethos Capital's website is Nora Abusitta- Ouri. She worked for Chehadi at ICANN as SVP, Development and Public Responsibility Programs.
I've reached out to Ethos Capital, Chehad(C), and Abry Partners about this and will update this story if I hear back.
Man Wielding 5' Narwhal Tusk Helped Subdue London Bridge Terrorist | Zero Hedge
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 07:34
A quick-thinking bystander who was inside London's Fishmonger's Hall when a deadly terrorist attack began grabbed a 5' narwhal tusk off the wall and helped subdue a knife-wielding man who killed two pedestrians on London Bridge.
The attacker, said to be a recently-released terrorist prisoner believed to be wearing a fake suicide vest and a tracking tag, was taken down by the tusk-wielding hero and a man with a fire extinguisher before police shot him dead.
Sources have told Sky News the suspect in the London Bridge attack was a recently-released terrorist prisoner believed to have been wearing a tag
'-- Sky News Breaking (@SkyNewsBreak) November 29, 2019
"A guy who was with us at Fishmongers Hall took a 5' narwhale [sic] tusk from the wall and went out to confront the attacker," tweeted Amy Coop.
A guy who was with us at Fishmongers Hall took a 5' narwhale tusk from the wall and went out to confront the attacker. You can see him standing over the man (with what looks like a white pole) in the video. We were trying to help victims inside but that man's a hero #LondonBridge
'-- Amy Coop (@theamycoop) November 29, 2019Yup
'-- Amy Coop (@theamycoop) November 29, 2019There it is. Unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/mWwavqCUMQ
'-- Adam Gatto (@adamgatto) November 29, 2019When you wrestle a knife from a terrorist but remembered you picked up for the lads tonight. #LondonBridge #LondonBridgeAttack #LondonBridgeIncident #londonshooting pic.twitter.com/rpo8ZO5fgZ
'-- RWK (@firedeathpony) November 29, 2019After police stepped in:
London bridge shooting #London #LondonBridge pic.twitter.com/H5RJQgh60u
'-- Jon Stewart (@JonStewartUK) November 29, 2019Terrorism attacker lay dead on #Londonbridge ðŸ'ªðŸ‡¬ðŸ‡§Brilliant work by armed police pic.twitter.com/ScOqsyOFX6
'-- London Crime LDN (@CrimeLdn) November 29, 2019Glad you're okay. Also, this is legit the most bad ass thing I've ever heard.
'-- Tom Strachan (@tstrachanedit) November 29, 2019
The Privatized Internet '-- Entire .ORG Domain Registry Sold to Investment Equity Firm "Ethos Capital"; Registration Fee Restrictions Removed | naked capitalism
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 07:26
Yves here. Yet more privatization of the commons'....this one via private equity playing rentier with domain names.
By Thomas Neuberger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny!
Cover of a 2015 book glorifying the privatization of the Internet via ''a unique and vibrant interplay between government and private industry.'' Nothing dollarable is safe.
The love of money is a sickness with these people.'--Attributed to an Indian chief as he watched the Europeans move west.
Nothing dollarable is safe.'--John Muir, 1908
Buried in the recent impeachment and campaign news was this announcement from the Internet Society and Public Interest Registry (emphasis mine):
Ethos Capital to Acquire Public Interest Registry from the Internet Society
Public Interest Registry Will Continue Management and Mission of .ORG Under New Ownership
Reston, VA (November 13, 2019) '' The Internet Society and Public Interest Registry (PIR) today announced that they have reached an agreement with Ethos Capital, under which Ethos Capital will acquire PIR and all of its assets from the Internet Society. The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of next year.
''This is an important and exciting development for both the Internet Society and Public Interest Registry,'' said Andrew Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Internet Society, the organization that established Public Interest Registry. ''This transaction will provide the Internet Society with an endowment of sustainable funding and the resources to advance our mission on a broader scale as we continue our work to make the Internet more open, accessible and secure '' for everyone. It also aligns Public Interest Registry with Ethos Capital, a strong strategic partner that understands the intricacies of the domain industry and has the expertise, experience and shared values to further advance the goals of .ORG into the future.''
''Since the inception of Public Interest Registry, our mission has been to enable the .ORG Community to use the Internet more effectively and change the world for the better,'' stated Jon Nevett, CEO of Public Interest Registry. ''That will not change. We have enjoyed a long and successful relationship with the Internet Society, and are thrilled that we will be able to continue '' and expand '' our important work with Ethos Capital while sustaining our commitment to the .ORG Community going forward.''
Internet names and numbers are controlled by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a private non-profit corporation. ICANN has been subject to being ''gamed'' by corporate interests almost since its founding, especially but not exclusively with respect to trademarks versus the rights of non-corporate entities to purchase and register unused domain names.
Some top-level domain names (TLDs) '-- .COM is a TLD, as are .ORG and .EDU '-- are not administered directly by ICANN, but have been assigned to other administrators. For example, in May 2019 ICANN granted exclusive ''administration rights'' to amazon.com for the .AMAZON generic TLD ''after a 7 year long dispute with the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO).''
This is true of the .ORG generic TLD, a TLD much used by non-profit public interest groups. .ORG has been operated by the Public Interest Registry (PIR) since 2003. PIR is a Virginia-based not-for-profit created by the Internet Society (ISOC) specifically to manage the .ORG top-level domain.
But, as you can see by the announcement above, the Internet Society '-- because it apparently needed the money '-- has sold all control of the .ORG top-level domain to Ethos Capital.
Has anyone ever heard of Ethos Capital?
Who Is Ethos Capital?
It's a little difficult to get information about Ethos Capital, since they have such a small Web presence. They appear to be these guys, an African capital investment firm:
Ethos Capital offers investors long-term capital appreciation by investing in a diversified portfolio of unlisted investments managed by Ethos Private Equity, the largest private equity firm in sub-Saharan Africa.
So what is a sub-Sarahan Africa equity investment firm doing purchasing control of the whole of the .ORG registry? How does an African firm get into position to do this at all? And why are they doing it now?
To answer these question, we turn to The Register, a UK publication, which has looked into this story:
Who's behind Ethos?
Despite stating that Ethos Capital ''understands the intricacies of the domain industry'' its founder and CEO Erik Brooks has no experience within that industry. The firm's website lists only Brooks and one Nora Abusitta-Ouri '' who joined the outfit last month as its ''chief purpose officer'' '' as employees.
But there is a common thread between those two and it is Fadi Chehade, a former CEO of ICANN, the organization that oversees the domain-name system and awards the contracts to run internet registries.
It was under Chehade that ICANN radically changed its approach to internet registries, including a massive expansion of the internet namespace and a move toward a free market approach to internet addresses. Chehade's actions as CEO led directly to the Ethos Capital buyout of .org but he is not listed as a part of Ethos Capital and the company has so far failed to respond to our questions about his connection to the firm.
More recent decisions by ICANN also had a significant bearing on the decision to sell the .org registry. At the end of June this year, in a controversial decision made despite significant and vocal opposition, ICANN decided to lift price caps on .org domains for the next 10 years, paving the way for unlimited price increases on the 10 million .org domain names. That decision massively increased the value of the .org registry from millions to potentially billions of dollars.
At the time, ICANN justified the decision by saying it was bringing the contract in line with the many new extensions that have been added to the internet in recent years. And this week, ICANN's chairman Maarten Botterman told The Register in a statement that:
''The renewal agreement for .org removed the price cap and includes pricing provisions that are consistent with the base form registry agreement that is published and has been in public view for some time, essentially removing the role of ICANN in pricing restraints, where possible.''
So the order of events is:
ICANN, under Fadi Chehade, in a highly controversial move, massively expands top-level domain names, greatly multiplying profit opportunities for registrar and middlemen.PIR, a non-profit entity tasked with managing the .ORG top-level domain, removes the price cap on .ORG registrations, meaning any price can be charged by any registrar.A few months later, Ethos, an investment firm, buys the .ORG operation by purchasing PIR, the non-profit entity that controls it.Sounds like a neoliberal wet dream come true to me.
The article emphasizes that so far no connection between Chehade and Ethos has been established or acknowledged, but note well that Ethos has not responded to requests for information on the connection '-- when a simple denial would have sufficed. I think The Register is right to smell a rat.
In the meantime, any poor, cash-strapped non-profit with a .ORG domain name '-- for example, sierraclub.org, to pick just one of literally millions '-- is best advised to renew its registration for the maximum time allowed, and do it now.
After all, there's no telling when our noble billionaire job-creators will seize this new opportunity to milk yet another cow completely and utterly dry.
Why TV networks may be afraid of investigative stories - Los Angeles Times
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 07:22
This has been the autumn of discontent for investigative TV journalists.
Ronan Farrow's bestselling book ''Catch and Kill'' detailed his frustration with former bosses at NBC News over his failed attempt to break the story on the sexual assault and harassment allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. A month later, leaked video showed ABC's ''20/20'' co-anchor Amy Robach grousing over how the network would not run a 2015 interview with a victim of billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein that implicated Prince Andrew and former President Bill Clinton.
In both cases the networks said the stories never reached the editorial standard they believed was necessary to put it on the air. Robach even publicly backed up ABC's assertion, saying her private remarks on an open mike were made in ''a moment of frustration.''
But the dissatisfaction Farrow and Robach expressed reflects a deepening concern by some veteran journalists and producers that network TV news divisions are avoiding controversial enterprise stories that could pose financial risks from litigation and create aggravation for their corporate owners. Declining ratings, public distrust of the media and the surfeit of news from the Trump White House have added to those pressures.
''I would say that you don't go to broadcast television to see investigative reporting these days,'' said Lowell Bergman, a veteran investigative news producer and emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism. ''There's much less of it because it's a bigger hassle than other kinds of reporting. And network television has always been concerned not just with ratings but with profits.''
Chris Hansen, whose undercover and hidden-camera investigations were a staple of NBC News for more than a decade until he left the network in 2013, said enterprise reporting has become less attractive as newsmagazines such as NBC's ''Dateline'' and ABC's ''20/20" are seeing higher profits with true-crime stories that can play '-- and be replayed '-- like scripted dramas.
''I think a lot of time network executives go, 'OK, how much can we spend for an Overseas Press Club Award or a Peabody for an investigation? What is that worth our time versus a less expensive crime narrative that people will watch and people will learn something from?''' Hansen said. ''It's good stuff, but it's not traditional investigative reporting.''
As networks have become part of sprawling, publicly held media conglomerates '-- ABC parent the Walt Disney Co. and NBC parent Comcast have grown significantly in size in recent years '-- risk management is now a major element of running a news division.
''There is no question lawyers are more careful now,'' said Rick Kaplan, a veteran TV producer who has worked at ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN. ''Why are they careful? The finance people are telling them, 'If you lose, and we owe millions of dollars on a legal suit, you're toast.'''
Rich McHugh, who was the NBC News producer on Farrow's reporting on Weinstein, said since ''Catch and Kill'' came out, he has become a sounding board for TV journalists who have faced resistance in getting their investigative and enterprise pieces on the air.
''If you speak to any reporter who has chased down a story, whether it be for a month or two to seven months, everybody has a version of their story getting killed,'' McHugh told The Times. ''I've heard from 50 reporters and producers who've said, 'Yeah, I've had my story killed, it was infuriating, they said we didn't have it.'''
Rich McHugh, former producer at NBC News for Ronan Farrow, said he has heard from other investigative journalists about the challenge of getting controversial stories on the air.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Several longtime investigative reporters and producers who spoke to The Times said the legal gantlet they go through to get a story on the air has always been arduous.
''I don't think you'll find an investigative reporter who hasn't had his bosses say a story is going to get a further review because the subject is high-profile,'' said one veteran network producer who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. ''It would be naive not to expect that.''
Chris Vlasto, senior producer of investigations at ABC News, also believed the rigorous review process stories go through has been a constant. But he acknowledged that technology has heightened the level of caution.
''We're now in a world of fake videos and easily faked documents, and I wake up every night scared about that,'' Vlasto said. ''I think our lawyers do and I think standards [and practices] does. That's what makes it a scarier time now for every journalism organization. We have to be on our guard because people want to get us.''
The price for getting an investigative story wrong can be high. A phony document that CBS News used in a 2004 report on former President George W. Bush's military service effectively ended the network TV careers of its longtime anchor Dan Rather and two of the network's producers.
The divisive political climate has added tension. For several years, viewers have been subjected to President Trump's relentless assault on what he calls the fake news media and descriptions of the press as the enemy of the people.
Editorial decisions have become fodder for right-wing critics. Robach's leaked rant has prompted conservative commentators to suggest that ABC was covering up for Epstein and Clinton, leading House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) to request a congressional hearing into the matter.
The erosion of public trust in the media also has created more caution. ABC News parent Walt Disney Co. paid more than $177 million in 2017 to settle a defamation lawsuit filed by Beef Products Inc. over the network's 2012 story on processed beef trimmings, known as ''pink slime,'' which are used as low-cost filler. The network never retracted or apologized for the story and had gone to trial to defend it.
One of the considerations in settling the suit was whether ABC News could get a favorable verdict in a conservative red state such as South Dakota, where BPI is based, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to discuss it publicly. (ABC News declined comment on the matter.) Under South Dakota law, damages could have gone as high as $5.7 billion.
Network news decision makers insist there has been no diminution of their efforts or pushback from their corporate overlords.
''I have never felt more support from a news organization to do investigative reporting,'' said Richard Greenberg, executive editor for the investigative unit at NBC News since 2016. ''The bar is high. But I can assure you the time has never been better, at least at NBC.''
Greenberg declined to comment on Farrow's assertion in ''Catch and Kill'' that Greenberg told him to ''pause'' his Weinstein reporting at the behest of NBCUniversal Chief Executive Steve Burke. NBC News called the book a ''smear'' and Greenberg said he ''never'' gets corporate interference about running tough stories.''
The network says it has doubled the size of its investigative unit in recent years. While the decision to agree to let Farrow take his Pulitzer Prize-winning Weinstein story to the New Yorker turned into a major embarrassment for NBC, it has not deterred the network's ability to attract talent to its investigative team. NBC recently announced that Gretchen Morgenson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning financial journalist, is joining the unit after stints at the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
''This is someone not afraid to take on the rich and powerful,'' Greenberg said.
CBS News President Susan Zirinsky has been able to bolster her network's investigative unit since taking over in January. She said resources, not lack of corporate will, has been the challenge at her network, which has made original reporting part of its identity and still has ''60 Minutes'' as a prime-time platform for investigative stories.
''When I came in, a real priority for me was building up our investigative unit, giving them the producers and correspondents,'' Zirinsky said. ''We've always done investigative, but I felt like they needed more muscle.''
''There is no reluctance here and there never has been,'' added Len Tepper, the head of CBS' investigative unit since 2009, noting that the network uncovered corruption at Wounded Warrior Project, which led to the firing of its two top executives in 2016, even though a CBS executive was involved in the charity for military veterans.
Much of the investigative reporting efforts in recent years have been focused on Washington and the nonstop news frenzy created by the Trump White House.
Last week CBS News broke a story on how a candidate for an ambassadorship was asked to make a substantial contribution to the Republican National Committee. NBC News revealed a falsified work record of a State Department employee who was fired after the story appeared.
But veteran investigative TV journalists and producers question whether Beltway reporting falls into the same category of work that can change lives.
News executives who spoke with the Times could cite investigative stories their networks have done on private concerns in recent years that resulted in a chief executive resigning or a government action.
Investigative stories, however, have to compete with the firehose of news generated by the Trump presidency and the high viewer interest in it, as proven by the ratings surge that cable news outlets Fox News, CNN and MSNBC have seen since the 2016 campaign.
Hard-hitting Washington stories also are far safer from a litigation standpoint.
''It's always easier to report in depth on politicians or public officials, because legally there's less recourse for them,'' said Bergman, who was played by Al Pacino in the movie ''The Insider.'' ''It's always been much more difficult to report on those who control private power, the corporate elites.''
McHugh said during his time at NBC News, he heard reporters not on the White House or national security beats complain about the difficulty of getting their stories on the air.
''The president has become a giant target for the media who sucks up a lot of the oxygen on TV and in print,'' McHugh said. ''So it's far easier for editors and producers to say, 'We are going to devote two segments on Trump and the wrongdoings therein versus this corporate malfeasance elsewhere that comes with tremendous risk attached, even though the viewers might benefit.'''
Richard T. Griffiths, a former CNN producer and executive who is currently a fellow at the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism, said the intense viewer appetite for news on a volatile president is hard to ignore.
''I think a big part of that is there is a lot to investigate,'' Griffiths said. ''They have put the resources where the concerns are and the public curiosity is. I concur that it has probably crowded out a lot of [reporting on] wrongdoing that otherwise would be getting a lot of attention.''
DC Comics under fire for deleting Batman poster that sparked controversy in China | Daily Mail Online
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 06:53
DC Comics has faced fierce criticism for pulling an image advertising its new Batman comic from social media on Thursday night following an angry backlash in China after many perceived the poster to be supporting of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.
Long since-deleted, the image depicted the iconic superhero throwing a molotov cocktail in front of a grey and pink background with the words 'The Future is Young' written in large lettering.
The illustration had originally been uploaded to promote Frank Miller and Rafael Gramp's forthcoming new Batman title 'Dark Knight Returns: Golden Child', which is scheduled for release next month - however more outrage than interest was drummed up in China.
Chinese internet users were quick condemn the image as a declaration of support for the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, a violent and intense standoff soon to enter its sixth month.
Long since-deleted, the image depicted the iconic superhero throwing a molotov cocktail in front of a grey and pink background with the words 'The Future is Young' written in large lettering
Chinese internet users were quick to take offense, condemning the image as a declaration of support for the protests in Hong Kong for increased autonomy, a violent and intense standoff soon to be entering its sixth month
Critics believed the flaming glass bottle alluded to the younger protesters' more violent tactics, in addition to Batman's dark clothing referencing the black-clad demonstrators seen clashing with police on Hong Kong's streets.
Others even theorized that the titular name 'Golden Child' was a veiled reference to the color yellow, which was previously adopted by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong five years ago.
'The black clothes represent Hong Kong, the mask represents Hong Kong, the Molotov cocktail represents Hong Kong, what else here doesn't represent Hong Kong???' One commentator thundered on Weibo.
'No matter what the reason, to put an image like this up at a sensitive time like this means you have a death wish,' another added.
Hundreds of other posts across Weibo, Instagram and Twitter drew similar comments echoing fierce criticisms, in addition to many pledging to never buy or support any of DC's future projects.
'Is Hong Kong really becoming Gotham City? But Hong Kong rioters are not Batman. Instead, they are the criminals of Gotham City,' one user said.
Social media users believed the flaming glass bottle alluded to the young protesters' more violent tactics, in addition to Batman's black clothing referencing the black-clad demonstrators clashing with police on Hong Kong's streets
Rafael Gramp, the comic's illustrator, also waded into the debate, sharing a photo of the controversy and branding it 'surreal'
The image has since been deleted from DC's social media pages, which has sparked controversy all over again, though this time the complaints are emanating from the US and among supporters of the pro-democracy movement.
China holds a critical marker for DC's parent company, Warner Brothers' Studios, which may seek to explain the swift decision to pull the illustration from the public domain. 'Aquaman' broke Chinese box office records last December to take in a cumulative $292 million, while 'Shazam!' made $43.8 million in April.
DC's decision to remove the images led to many accusing the company of censorship and kowtowing to China - likening their seeming capitulation to the NBA and Hollywood's recent controversies with with the country.
'Really disappointed on @DCComics,' tweeted one user. 'Just because of China citizen comment few word of Hong Kong democracy, DC choice to del the post on IG....China is affecting US freedom!'
Another asked whether 'So now Batman loves money more than Justice?'
The image has since been deleted from DC's social media pages, which has sparked controversy all over again, though this time the complaints are emanating from the US and among supporters of the pro-democracy movement
Gramp, the comic's illustrator, also waded into the debate, sharing a photo of the controversy and branding it 'surreal'.
An additional social media user said: 'Apparently China rules the world now. The future is young? No, the future is censorship.'
Due out in December, the 48-page one-shot book follows a new Batwoman, Carrie Kelley, who teams with Lara Kent, the daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman, to tackle the latest imminent threat in Gotham City.
The protagonists discover that Lara's little brother, Jonathan Kent, might have the most formidable superpowers on Earth, hence the 'Golden Child' subtitle.
DC Comics has not yet issued a public statement on the matter.
Boeren kunnen borst natmaken | Buitenland | Telegraaf.nl
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 06:42
Premium Het beste van De Telegraaf
Door Ruud Mikkers
Vandaag, 07:30 in BUITENLAND
In heel Europa, zoals hier in Berlijn, werd afgelopen weken door boeren geprotesteerd.
''¸ foto EPA
Brussel - In Duitsland, Frankrijk en Nederland gingen de boeren '' om verschillende redenen weliswaar '' al de straat op. De sector staat onder druk en kan de borst natmaken: opgeschroefde EU-klimaatdoelen gaan de sector op z'n grondvesten doen schudden. Hoe lang duurt het nog voordat de boeren in Brussel op de stoep staan?
In heel Europa, zoals hier in Berlijn, werd afgelopen weken door boeren geprotesteerd.
''¸ foto EPA
Bekijk meer vanDoor Ruud Mikkers
Correspondent Brussel
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HET BESTE VAN DE TELEGRAAF
Suburban women turning from Trump will be key in 2020 - Los Angeles Times
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 23:02
For decades, there was an unvaried rhythm to life in America's suburbs: Carpool in the morning, watch sports on weekends, barbecue in the summer, vote Republican in November.
Then came President Trump.
The orderly subdivisions and kid-friendly communities that ring the nation's cities have become a deathtrap for Republicans, as college-educated and upper-income women flee the party in droves, costing the GOP its House majority and sapping the party's strength in state capitals and local governments nationwide.
The dramatic shift is also reshaping the 2020 presidential race, elevating Democratic hopes in traditional GOP strongholds like Arizona and Georgia, and forcing Trump to redouble efforts to boost rural turnout to offset defectors who, some fear, may never vote Republican so long as the president is on the ballot.
Emily Romney Sanchez is one of them.
The GOP has ''gone from defending conservative principles'' like free trade and a muscular stance against Russia and North Korea ''to defending [Trump's] latest Tweets,'' said Sanchez, a life coach and mother of five in this prosperous desert community. (She is a distant relative of Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney.)
Sanchez considers Trump ''reprehensible as a human being'' and the Republican Party morally bankrupt. ''I couldn't be a part of it anymore,'' she said, and as a result, at age 40 the newly registered independent is weighing her first-ever Democratic vote for president.
In an emailed statement, a spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, Sarah Matthews, said ''over the next year, our robust 'Women for Trump' coalition will continue working to mobilize supporters across the country and share the President's record of success.''
The erosion of support among suburban women began during the 2016 campaign '-- for many the breaking point was the ''Access Hollywood'' video, in which Trump boasted of grabbing women by their genitals '-- and increased dramatically in the 2018 midterm election, costing Republicans control of the House.
The trend continued in the recent off-year elections, in suburbs from Wichita, Kan., to northern New Jersey to DeSoto County, Miss. Democrats won two of three gubernatorial contests, in Kentucky and Louisiana, in good part because of their strength in those Republican redoubts.
The sentiment extended down ballot as well. Outside Philadelphia, Democrats took control in Delaware County for the first time since the Civil War. In suburban Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C., the party won every state House seat in Fairfax County, a shift nearly on a par with the 2018 Democratic sweep of congressional seats in Orange County.
''It's amazing the change, in just the last few years,'' said Q. Whitfield Ayres, a pollster who has spent decades strategizing for Republican campaigns and causes. ''It's not any one place. It's everywhere.''
That includes Arizona, where in 2018 Kyrsten Sinema, a congresswoman from the Phoenix suburbs, became the first Democrat in 30 years to win a U.S. Senate seat. She ran as a centrist focused on bipartisan problem-solving, a direct appeal to pragmatic suburban voters, and her success is seen as a model for turning the state from red to blue in 2020 '-- or at least making Arizona competitive in a way it has not been in decades.
With 11 electoral votes, Arizona is a bigger prize than Wisconsin '-- a Midwestern battleground both parties view as a key to the election '-- and the Grand Canyon State is expected to draw lavish attention and a fortune's worth of advertising over the next year. Visiting last month, Vice President Mike Pence said he and Trump ''are going to be in and out of Arizona a lot.''
The ancestral home of conservative icon Barry Goldwater and John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee, Arizona has undergone a slow but steady transformation as the growing Latino population and a flood of newcomers from places like California erode Republicans' long-standing hegemony.
The movement has been accelerated by Trump and his alienation of voters in typically Republican suburbs like Scottsdale, Gilbert and here in Mesa, which has grown from a far-flung satellite of Phoenix into the state's third-largest city.
Of course, the president has plenty of supporters amid the sere landscape and red-tiled rooftops of the region's sprawl-to-the-horizon suburbs, including some like Sarah Roork who came around after initial skepticism.
She has more work, Roork said, thanks to the percolating economy, and brings home more pay as a result of the tax bill Trump signed into law. ''Actually, I'm pleasantly surprised on policy,'' said the 43-year-old flight attendant.
Sandy Wong said her reasons for supporting President Trump are almost too long to list.
(Caitlin O'Hara / For The Times)
Sandy Wong said the reasons she reveres the president are almost too many to list.
''Sure he has a so-called unpredictable, so-called un-presidential manner of speaking,'' said the 65-year-old retired healthcare executive, who does part-time Web design from her home in Ahwatukee, a family-oriented enclave of Phoenix in the foothills of South Mountain.
''But his very explosive rhetoric is very effective to stop this toxic metastasizing political power that Democrats, even more left of [President] Obama, represent at this time,'' Wong said.
That, however, is a distinctly minority view; surveys have consistently shown most suburban women have little regard for Trump.
The exodus stems not so much from his policies '-- many of which are standard GOP fare, like cutting taxes and regulations '-- but rather the president's behavior: the bullying, belligerence and ad hominem insults.
''Sometimes I want to print out every single one of his Tweets and tape them to people's doors,'' said Christie Black, a 35-year-old stay-at-home mom who abandoned the GOP and voted independent in 2016 rather than support Trump. ''I want them to see in writing that these are the things he's saying. Those are worth tax cuts to you?''
''Yeah,'' her brunch companion, Kaija Flake Thompson, chimed in sarcastically. ''We have no moral compass, but, hey, we have conservative judges!''
(Thompson's brother, former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, is a prominent Trump critic. But Thompson, a 41-year-old nurse, said her feelings about the president have nothing to do with his attacks on her kin; others in the family strongly support Trump, making for some lively discussion.)
Neither lapsed Republican has decided on a 2020 candidate, though both like Pete Buttigieg, the youthful mayor of South Bend, Ind. Black, a self-described conservative, said she could even vote in good conscience for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, with her vision of a vastly expanded federal government.
''We would still have our checks and balances,'' Black said, which she fears are steadily eroding under Trump. ''I think right now the most important thing is to get those principles of democracy tied down, get that return to regular order, and then we can worry and get back to squabbling about conservative versus liberal.''
Trump is not ceding the suburbs. While relying heavily on massive rural support to win reelection, the president and his political team hope to win back many disaffected women by leaning into the strong economy and promoting issues like paid family leave, school choice, female entrepreneurship and aggressive efforts to secure the border with Mexico.
Perhaps most crucially, Trump and GOP strategists are counting on Democrats fielding a nominee whom women voters, whatever their feelings toward the president, will find even more off-putting.
''If the Democratic nominee wants to get rid of ICE'' '-- Immigration and Customs Enforcement '-- ''decriminalize the border, give free healthcare and eliminate the private option, and believes there's more than two genders ... they're not going to win here,'' said Chuck Coughlin, a veteran Republican consultant in Phoenix, who is unaffiliated with Trump's campaign.
Courtney Davis, for one, remains open to persuasion.
With a real estate business and four children ages 5 to 16, she has little time for politics and hasn't paid much attention to the 2020 campaign. She voted for Trump in 2016, Davis said, ''as the lesser of two evils'' because she couldn't abide Democrat Hillary Clinton.
While Davis, 39, doesn't care much for Trump's behavior '-- ''I don't love his tactics. I don't love his approach'' '-- she remains a registered Republican and can see voting for him again.
It all depends, Davis said, on whom Democrats present as the alternative.
Lessons from media mistake #100 in the era of Trump | Sharyl Attkisson
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 18:38
The following is a news analysis.
This point isn't to pick on someone in particular. It's to learn what the latest media mistake in the era of Trump tells us about some badly broken national journalism.
The misreporting occurred on Thanksgiving Day. It made #100 on my list of major media mistakes. It was committed by a political writer at Newsweek.
The writer called it an ''honest mistake.'' But I suggest it's something far more serious, from a journalistic standpoint. I'll explain why.
First, we'll review the errors.
Newsweek's Jessica Kwong wrote:
And'...
Of course, this proved to be untrue. President Trump actually spent Thanksgiving traveling to Afghanistan, speaking with U.S. troops, and serving them dinner.
Even more startling: it's the second year in a row that national media made the same mistake. Last year, NBC falsely reported that Trump was the first President since 2002 not to visit the troops at Christmastime.
Here are the main issues behind the Newsweek reporting.
1. Lack of basic reportorial knowledgeI'm not a political reporter nor do I closely follow the White House. Yet one thing I wondered on Thanksgiving morning was whether Trump would visit the troops on Thanksgiving or Christmas (or both) this year. All recent presidents have done so.
One would think a national political reporter and any editors would know to be watching for the annual ''surprise visits.'' It's hard to imagine that someone entrusted to write and edit political material for a national publication doesn't have this basic thought process. It makes one wonder about the supposed expertise about those writing important national political stories.
2. Failure to attribute The Newsweek article would not have been wrong and unjournalistic had the reporter, Kwong, not included her own assumptions and supposition. Or, if she received the bad information from a source, she would not have been wrong if she had she included proper attribution as basic standards call for. For example she could have written:
President Donald Trump has been spending his Thanksgiving holidays at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, which he calls the ''winter White House,'' and [resort officials/White House officials say] this year [will be] no exception.''
Often in today's news stories, journalists have abandoned the basic practice of attributing information to its source. They improperly declare information to be factual even though they do not know it firsthand to be true. This was one of the problems with the Newsweek snafu.
3. Failure to fact checkThere's an old saying: ''assume'' makes an ''ass'' out of ''u'' and ''me.'' As silly as it may sound, these are words for a journalist to live by. One thing I've learned in all my years is that no matter how obvious something seems, no matter how many other reporters have the same interpretation, no matter what the video seems to clearly show '-- it is frequently wrong. Frequently.
That's why when writing a news story it's important to follow the basic journalism standard of checking your assumptions. Kwong should have contacted the White House to see if her assumption that Trump would be golfing on Thanksgiving was true. If they told her it was, she need only attribute that and '-- even if he ended up in Afghanistan '-- she couldn't be journalistically faulted for the bad information because it would have been attributed to its proper source, not words as if coming out of her mouth directly.
4. Failure to ''correct''Although Newsweek corrected the story'' they didn't really correct the story. They called it an ''update.'' The is disingenuous. There was no real update. The story hadn't changed. The reporter simply learned that her information was false and had to change it.
That's a correction. At least it should be. It's probably worth an apology, as well.
5. False information remainsEven after the correction, Newsweek retains the false headline stating that Trump golfed on Thanksgiving. He didn't.
The same lessons can be said of many media mistakes. If Time magazine had bothered to follow basic journalism standards and ask the White House, they would not have falsely reported that Trump had removed the bust statue of Martin Luther King from the Oval Office the day he was inaugurated.
If proper attribution had been used and fairness standards followed, NBC, CNN and The Washington Post would not find themselves being sued for hundreds of millions of dollars by a Catholic High School student who was smeared and whose actions were widely misrepresented on the news.
I'm not suggesting that we should be infallible and never make mistakes. We're all human.
However, I think that given the evidence now in hand, it's hard to argue there's not bias at the root of this rash of mistakes. They are bush league errors that would have garnered students in journalism colleges an automatic ''F'' on an assignment. At least that's the way it used to be. National journalists and their editors should know better.
But more significantly, the mistakes are almost entirely'' if not entirely''in one direction: the one that makes Trump look worst. If they truly were ''honest mistakes,'' wouldn't half of them.. or at least a handful.. cut the other way?
Yet nobody mistakenly reported that Trump spent the holiday in Afghanistan with the troops when he'd actually been golfing at his resort. The opposite was reported.
Nobody mistakenly reported that Trump paid a high rate of taxes only to learn, when the records were released, that he didn't pay any taxes. The opposite was reported.
On election night in 2016, nobody called a state win for Trump that he'd actually lost. The opposite was reported.
The misquotes, the anonymous sources who prove wrong, the improper context'' they all cut in the direction of being anti-Trump.
I often hear people retort that Trump lies more than the media. The implication is that somehow the media's mistakes are justified because of what we believe the flawed moral character of the target to be.
These are dangerous arguments, in my opinion, from a journalistic standpoint. Our obligation is to cover our subjects fairly and to maintain the same standards even when we don't like them'' especially, perhaps, when we don't like them.
Otherwise, why have standards?
The way we cover those we perceive as the enemies of our own views helps define how good we are at the job we're entrusted to do: covering the news.
Support the fight against government overreach in Attkisson v. DOJ and FBI for the government computer intrusions.Thanks to the thousands who have already supported!
Teacher Fired After Asking Trump to 'Remove' Immigrants Wins Her Appeal - The New York Times
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 18:35
U.S. | Teacher Fired After Asking Trump to 'Remove' Immigrants Wins Her Appeal A Texas state agency ruled in favor of the teacher after an independent examiner said tweets she sent to the president were free speech.
Nov. 29, 2019, 6:10 p.m. ET A high school English teacher in Texas who was fired after she sent tweets to President Trump asking him to rid her school of undocumented immigrants should be reinstated or be paid a year's salary, a state agency ruled this week.
But the ruling is probably not the last turn in the story, as the Fort Worth Independent School District said that it believed her firing was appropriate and that it would appeal the state's ruling.
''We stand by our decision because we firmly believe this is in the best interests of all students,'' Kent P. Scribner, the superintendent of the school district, said in a statement this week.
Image Georgia Clark, a former high school English teacher in Fort Worth. Credit... Fort Worth ISD, via KTVT The state found that the teacher, Georgia Clark, should be reinstated and get back pay and employment benefits, or instead of being allowed to return to her job, she could receive one year's salary from the date she would have been reinstated, according to its ruling.
''The day the petitioner would have been reinstated is the day respondent tenders petitioner payment in full,'' the commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, Mike Morath, wrote in the ruling.
Ms. Clark has not received a paycheck from the district since June, a district spokesman said.
The district said it would appeal; an appeal would be heard by the state agency that ruled in Ms. Clark's favor, a district spokesman said.
Efforts to reach Ms. Clark, who has worked at the school district since 1998, were unsuccessful on Friday. Brandon Brim, her lawyer, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In an interview with the television station WFAA in September, Ms. Clark said she wanted her job back. Asked how she would address the local Hispanic community, Ms. Clark said, ''If you need someone to help your child graduate, you're looking at her right here.''
On May 17, in a series of tweets directed to President Trump's Twitter account and addressed to ''Mr. President,'' Ms. Clark said that her school district was ''loaded'' with undocumented students from Mexico, that her high school had been ''taken over by them'' and that drug dealers had not been punished.
She blamed an assistant principal, whom she referred to as a ''Hispanic assistant principal who protects certain students from criminal prosecution.''
A student separately said that on that same day, Ms. Clark had made ''ethnically demeaning'' comments in class, according to a report from an independent examiner that heard Ms. Clark's appeal and recommended that she be reinstated. She was accused of asking for a student's ''papers'' to go to the restroom, among other statements.
On May 22, in more tweets directed to Mr. Trump, she wrote, ''I really do need a contact here in Fort Worth who should be actively investigating and removing the illegals'' from the public school system.
The city of Fort Worth has one of the nation's highest Hispanic populations: Almost 35 percent of its residents identified as Hispanic or Latino in 2018.
Ms. Clark acknowledged posting the tweets but said she believed they were private messages to Mr. Trump, according to the hearing examiner's report. Her Twitter account no longer exists.
The school board moved to fire Ms. Clark in June, saying the public outcry from parents, students and members of the local community over her conduct in class and on social media ''caused substantial disruptions in operations at the campus.''
In firing Ms. Clark, the district cited the May 17 episode in class, the tweets and an episode during the 2013-14 school year, when some students accused Ms. Clark of referring to a group of Hispanic students as ''Little Mexico'' and a white student as ''white bread.''
But the report from the independent examiner rejected the district's rationale. It said students complaining of Ms. Clark's conduct in class on May 17 '-- the accounts of which she disputed '-- were not credible or were motivated by a bias against her.
The report said that there was not enough evidence to substantiate the 2013-14 episode and that Ms. Clark's tweets were ''free speech.''
''Clark's tweets are statements of a citizen on a matter of public concern protected by the United States Constitution and do not contravene or impair policies or proper performance of the district's functions,'' the report said.
The report said that annual appraisals showed that ''she has been evaluated as an excellent teacher consistently throughout her employment'' with the district.
Abdi Latif Dahir contributed reporting and Jack Begg contributed research.
Dutch Police: 3 People Wounded in Hague Stabbing
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 18:31
THE HAGUE, Netherlands'--Three people were wounded in a stabbing in The Hague's main shopping street Friday night, and police were searching for at least one suspect, authorities said.
Police spokeswoman Marije Kuiper told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that it was still too early to say where a terror motive was to blame for the attack. The area was busy at the time as shoppers looked for Black Friday holiday deals.
Kuiper said it was unclear whether any of the injuries were life-threatening.
The Hague police said in a statement that they were looking for a man, about 45 to 50 years old, in a grey jogging suit.
The stabbing happened in the heart of The Hague shopping district where supermarket chains and luxury shops were all lit up with early Christmas decorations. Adding to the festive spirit was the lure of Black Friday, when retailers offers consumers special discounts at a time when many are seeking family presents.
Police sealed off a wide perimeter behind which onlookers were kept at bay. There was no hint of panic among the public soon after the stabbing.
The Netherlands had already been shocked by a similar stabbing in Amsterdam a year ago when two Americans were injured in a knife attack that prosecutors say had a ''terrorist motive.''
Earlier Friday in London, a man wearing a fake explosive vest stabbed several people, killing two, before he was tackled by members of the public and then fatally shot by officers on London Bridge, authorities said.
By Mike Corder
Everything You Need to Know About Accessory Dwelling Units in Austin, Texas - Maxable
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 18:22
Everything You Need to Know About Accessory Dwelling Units in Austin, TexasOn November 19, 2015, the City council approved some significant changes to accessory dwelling development that relaxed restrictions and made it easier for homeowners to explore this savvy investment option.
Current Regulations in Austin, TexasYour lot must be at least 5,750 square feet to build an accessory dwelling unit.Your accessory dwelling unit can be a maximum size of 1100 square feet or 15% of the lot size, whichever is smaller. For example, if you're lot size is 8,000 square feet than 15% of your lot size is 1,200 square feet. 1,200 is larger than the maximum, 1,100 allowed, so the max you can build is 1,100 square feet.Building cover for the site may not exceed 40%. Essentially meaning the city doesn't want houses filling up more than 40% of the lot if you're looking down from an aerial view.Your main house and the accessory dwelling unit must be separated by 10 feet front to back and side to side.You must provide one parking space for your accessory dwelling unit in addition to the primary structure of parking you already have on your property. If you live within a ¼ mile of a transit stop, you do not need to provide additional parking. To explore whether parking is required in your neighborhood, use this interactive map.
You may only rent your property short-term for a maximum of 30 days a year. So, if you want to do Airbnb, you can only legally do this 30 days out of the year. Austin classifies short-term rentals as Type 2.You may rent your accessory dwelling unit long-term.An accessory dwelling unit in Austin must be less than 30 feet in height.You cannot build an accessory dwelling unit taller than two stories. If you construct a second story that the second story must be less than 550 square feet.A condo regime can divide the property, and the ADU can be sold separately. This reason alone is causing a lot of people to explore this option, especially developers.View the full City Ordinance here.
How Are Accessory Dwelling Units Affecting the Real Estate Market in Austin?
An ADU is seen as a better iteration of a duplex, and these units are selling well. Although not necessarily ''affordable'' they are the cheapest free-standing homes available on the market that aren't a complete fixer-upper.
Scott Turner, the owner of Riverside Homes, says ADUs are popular among singles and young professionals.
''Imagine you're a young couple, and you want to live in town,'' he says. ''Your choices are buying a tear down for $400,000 or one of these ADUs for about the same price. Except everything in the ADU is brand new, all nice, warrantied, low maintenance-all of the advantages you get from buying a nice, new, energy-efficient home.''
The changes in the law that went into effect in 2015 are encouraging for ADU enthusiasts, but not likely to change the market dramatically overnight.
Before the law, there were 170 permit applications in a single year, after there were 227, a 34% increase.
In fact, since 2006, there have been just over 750 permits for ADUs. In a population of nearly a million, that's not much.
Selling an Accessory Dwelling Unit Separately
Another significant driving force in accessory dwelling units is the ability to subdivide the lot and sell an ADU separately from the main house. This has created an interesting dynamic in a city that's grown by 37.7% over the last decade.
Many developers are taking advantage of this opportunity, and it has caused housing in Austin to become more competitive, driving prices up.
It's not all bad for those looking to buy an affordable home though.
Davey explained, ''It creates more affordable options in the market. I might not be able to buy a 2,300 square foot house, but an 800 square foot accessory dwelling unit is in my budget.''
It also opens up more inventory in highly desirable neighborhoods by increasing the supply available.
If you're interested in building an Accessory Dwelling Unit read up on: 6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Build a Granny Flat How to Hire an Architect
Also, check out this gorgeous $300K accessory unit in Austin Texas. Worth every penny! What do you think?
2018-04-16T13:56:52+00:00
Matt Drudge, Drudge Report anti-Trump pivot alarms conservatives - Washington Times
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 18:20
From the airwaves of Fox News to talk radio to the right-wing blogosphere, conservative voices across the nation are asking: What happened to Matt Drudge?
No right-tilting media outlet wields more influence than the Drudge Report, the widely read news-aggregation site launched in 1996. But those who follow the site closely say a sudden anti-Trump pivot is unmistakeable.
''Lately he has been absolutely terrible toward President Trump,'' said conservative podcaster Josh Bernstein in a Nov. 8 show, dubbing the site ''the Sludge Report.''
Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft pleaded, ''Dear Matt Drudge '-- Please come home,'' while Fox's Jesse Watters took notice of a series of anti-Trump headlines, saying, ''it just seems like the website has recently played up Trump gaffes and downplayed his successes.''
And they're not wrong, according to B.J. Rudell, associate director of the Center for Political Leadership, Innovation and Service at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy, who pinpoints the U-turn to the first week of August.
''There is a deliberateness to this, in my opinion,'' said Mr. Rudell, a longtime Drudge-watcher. ''It's been happening for over 100 days straight. There's no sign of it changing, and so the question then becomes for me, why?''
Reading the Drudge tea leaves is more art than science, given the fedora-wearing media mogul's notorious reclusiveness, but several observers have made the point that Mr. Drudge isn't just about promoting a conservative agenda. He also wants to lead the news cycle.
A source who asked not to be identified described it this way: ''Drudge needs conflict to thrive.''
''Drudge does appear to have turned on Trump, but remember, first and foremost, he's an entertainer, like Sean Hannity or Alex Jones,'' the source said. ''There's an old saying in the news business: 'If it bleeds, it leads.' Matt lives for conflict '-- his site depends on it. Sometimes, just for fun, he'll make the conflict himself.''
That analysis appeared to support comments made by Fox's Howard Kurtz and conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who's friendly with Mr. Drudge. During his Aug. 22 show, Mr. Limbaugh attributed any change of tone to a desire to mix things up.
''My email inbox [says] every day, ''What's happening to Drudge, Rush? What's going on with Drudge?''' Mr. Limbaugh said. ''And I tell people, 'Have you ever heard of clicks?' Matt Drudge has always, has always sought to have his page be unpredictable and not uniform.''
On ''Watters World,'' Mr. Kurtz said that ''people on the right who think that he is only going to be a cheerleader for the president don't quite understand how he sees his mission.''
''Look, I have covered Matt Drudge since he was an unknown blogger, and at this point in his career, he's primary interested in clicks and riding the media wave, and the media wave you may have noticed, Jesse, has been largely anti-Trump, really for a long time,'' Mr. Kurtz said on the Nov. 9 show.
'Drudge hasn't changed'
This isn't the first time prominent conservatives have taken issue with the Drudge Report. During the 2016 presidential primary campaign, PolitiChicks' Brooke McGowan said she was ''sick and tired of Drudge'' '-- because he was too pro-Trump.
Certainly no Republican wants to lose Drudge's support. The website garners about 25 million visits per day, challenging legacy media like the New York Times, although Mr. Rudell said the Drudge Report's anti-Trump tone hasn't transferred to other conservatives.
''If you look at the page, outside of Trump, there is a strong conservative bent,'' Mr. Rudell said. ''Anything about Trump, he hits really hard, but he doesn't hit other conservatives hard.''
Another theory is that Mr. Drudge simply can't resist fueling the impeachment narrative, given that he rose to prominence during the 1998 Clinton impeachment. But Mr. Rudell said the shift came the weekend of Aug. 3-4, before the start of the House Democrats' inquiry.
The biggest stories of that weekend were the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, which may or may not have had anything to do with the website's change in tenor.
''I realized in August he had not posted anything positive about Trump in about a week. In the first couple of days, I didn't think much of it, and I started going back and looking at old Drudge Report screenshots,'' Mr. Rudell said.
He found that ''it was an immediate pivot. And again, I don't know if it was causal or correlative, but I thought that was fascinating that in the days leading up to the shooting, it was only positive from Drudge, and in the days following, it was only negative.''
Mr. Rudell isn't a conservative '-- he worked previously for Democrats '-- but he pointed out that he wrote a Sept. 28 op-ed for The Hill in favor of Republicans abandoning Mr. Trump in 2020 for Vice President Mike Pence '-- and the Drudge Report linked it.
''I feel very strongly that Drudge hasn't changed, but he feels that the president either is not engaging forcefully enough in advancing conservative values,'' Mr. Rudell said. ''Or he has been weakened to a point where Drudge feels that someone may be better equipped to take the mantel as the leading conservative figure in the country.''
Examples include the Drudge Report's top Oct. 24 headline, ''We're Building a Wall in Colorado'' after Mr. Trump mistakenly said ''Colorado'' instead of ''California,'' as well as headlines juicing the impeachment story and any low Trump poll numbers.
Of course, the Drudge Report also has a mischievous streak, sometimes seeking to build up prominent Democrats before giving them a push over the side.
''When Beto O'Rourke was running against Sen. Ted Cruz for a Texas Senate seat, Drudge appeared to build up the young JFK,'' the source said. ''Then, Beto crashed, and Drudge took great glee in O'Rourke's loss. He built Beto up just to heighten the fall.''
Mr. Drudge famously broke the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair story in 1998 after Newsweek declined to run it, but his focus in recent years has been linking to articles, a business model that has made him rich. His estimated net worth is $150 million.
The Drudge Report has been credited with helping conservative websites gain prominence, but SimilarWeb found that the top destination sites for Drudge links in October 2019 were The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, Bloomberg and The Hill.
The Drudge Report did not respond to a request for comment from The Washington Times.
''He used to find the conservative news out there '-- in the days when that news was hard to find on mainstream media '-- and link it,'' the source said. ''Now, he's down to linking The New York Times and The Washington Post and Yahoo! and ABC News and The Associated Press, all liberal sites. Maybe he has just gone mainstream. And maybe he is just more into cashing hefty checks than providing the service he once did.''
Copyright (C) 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.
Period badges: Japanese store reconsidering plan after public backlash
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 18:14
Japan Osaka City, Umeda Station.
Prisma by Dukas | Universal Images Group | Getty Images
A woman's health store in Japan is reportedly reviewing a plan for staff to wear badges when they are on their period.
The so-called "physiology badge" features a cartoon character named Seiri Chan, a symbol of menstruation in the world's third-largest economy.
It was hoped that the badges would help foster sympathy among co-workers, with those choosing to wear the pin likely to receive extra help or longer breaks.
However, when Daimaru told the media about the policy earlier this month, it prompted a backlash against the store.
"We received many complaints from the public. Some of them concerned harassment, and that was definitely not our intention. We're reconsidering plans now," a male executive who declined to be named said in a statement, according to The Japan Times.
A spokesperson was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC on Friday.
The Daimaru branch at Osaka Umeda first introduced the policy in October, according to Japanese publication WWD. It was brought in for the roughly 500 employees working in the store's women's wardrobe section.
#KuTooThe badges, which were double-sided, were initially brought in after a suggestion from the firm's staff and were linked to the opening of a new section of the department store.
On one side of the badge was Seiri Chan, a cartoon character reportedly known as "Miss Period." On the other side were details of a new section being opened in the store devoted to "women's wellbeing."
Outcry against the policy comes with many cases of workplace harassment in the public spotlight in Japan, amid changing values about gender roles and work-life balance.
Earlier this month, research carried out by the Japanese Trade Union Confederation found that more than one in 10 companies in Japan have formal regulations about the length of heeled shoes female workers must wear.
Actress and writer Yumi Ishikawa had previously launched a petition for discriminatory workplace dress codes to be scrapped, after being made to wear high heels while working at a funeral parlor.
The petition has received tens of thousands of signatures in recent months, with supporters of the campaign often seen tweeting #KuToo.
The slogan, which mirrors the #MeToo movement against sexual abuse, is a play on words from the Japanese kutsu, meaning shoes and kutsuu, meaning pain.
In June, Japan's Health and Labour Minister, Takumi Nemoto, told a legislative committee that it was "necessary and appropriate" for women to wear high heels at work.
5 ways to make money podcasting - GoDaddy Blog
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 18:13
Monetize your podcastFor the past few years, podcasting has seen a phenomenal surge in growth. More and more people are starting their first podcast, whether it's a platform to share a personal passion, have conversations and interviews with others in their field, or simply to build their brand. While we're seeing in increase of podcasts, there is also a rise in the number of ways one can make money podcasting.
In April 2018, Fast Company shared that Apple is home to more than 525,000 active podcasts and the number continues to grow. With it, of course, comes a rise in revenue. Another recent article on MarTech shared the top genres and how advertisers are looking to put more money into podcasts.
You might be thinking about starting a podcast yourself or maybe you are currently running one and the time has come to consider monetizing your podcast. There are a lot of variables in what advertisers are looking for, and the competition for those dollars is getting even more fierce. So let's take a look at some of the options you have.
Before you begin to monetize a podcastThere are two important factors to get in place before you start considering how to make money podcasting.
Determine your goalYou should have some idea of what you want to achieve. Is it just some side income or do you want to make the podcast a large piece of your cash flow? It may start as a side gig and grow into something bigger than you imagined, but it's good to have an initial goal.
Plan your strategy and testYour first monetization strategy is rarely the perfect one, so make sure you are testing the results and monitoring the stats, such as your downloads. Also, if you are soliciting money for sponsorships or advertising, you may need to share some of these analytics with those decision makers before they will commit.
5 ways to make money podcastingNow that you've decided to start podcasting, here's a look at the five top ways to make money from it:
Sponsorship and ads.Affiliate marketing.Subscriptions and protected content.Donations.Building your brand.Read on to gain deeper insights into how you can make monetize a podcast.
1. Sponsorships and adsYou will see this money-making strategy at work in a lot of podcasts. They might insert ad rolls at the beginning, the middle, or the end of podcast, or a mix of all three. There may be multiple sponsors per show or the opportunity for an exclusive partnership. Typically the spots aren't much longer than 30 to 60 seconds and how they are delivered varies, from pre-recorded separately to a more natural blend into the podcast conversation.
What you decide to charge for podcast sponsorships and ads will depend on many factors. It can range from a price per download to simply what you feel you need to charge to cover your fixed costs.
A standard in podcasting is that you can safely start requesting sponsorships when your podcasts reach a 5K download within the first 30 days after the episode airs.
But it also depends on what the market will bear and how reputable your show is.
Unless you are very established and are in high-demand in your industry, sponsors won't flock to you. You will need to reach out to potential sponsors, which means you must have strong sales skills. As you start making contacts, be ready with numbers to backup your request.
Sponsors are going to want to know the number of click-throughs and the resulting conversions. Be prepared for those questions.
Related: How to make money blogging
2. Affiliate marketingAffiliate marketing, where you highlight a product or service and get a percentage of any resulting sales, can be an effective way to make money with your podcast. But it's best to have some experience with affiliates first.
The bottom line: Don't do anything to turn off your listeners.
Affiliate marketing seems like a natural way to monetize a podcast that focuses on product reviews, but even then, avoid any affiliate marketing plan that turns parts of your podcast into a giant infomercial.
The key is to integrate a product as part of a solution to a problem your listeners have.
Of course, you also want to make sure you are sharing products or services that you know and trust yourself.
If you go this route, be sure your affiliate link is in your show notes or transcripts. Most of all, create an easy-to-remember URL that you can share in the audio. A code for a discount that can be applied to a purchase is even better. But make it easy for the listener to remember. Some people are listening to your podcast on the go, so shorter is better.
Related: How to start affiliate marketing on your blog
3. Subscriptions and protected contentA lot of podcasters use Patreon as a paid subscription platform. In this model, you offer your regular podcasts, but also provide extra content for paying listeners. Often there is some incentive to join, such as swag.
Photo: PatreonOne example of added content would be special interviews or more in-depth shows. You might offer a shorter interview with someone, but on the member side, a more elaborate show where they share their best tips.
The downside of this strategy is that its success depends on having a large listener base already in place.
When you are starting out, unless you are a celebrity, it can be tough getting people to fork over money for content they think they can get for free elsewhere. You will also need to pay these platforms a percentage and understand that you are in someone else's space so you have limited control over what you can do there.
Related: How to set up subscription products to charge for your services
4. DonationsThis way to make money podcasting is worth a try if you are looking to get just enough money to cover your costs. The number of listeners doesn't matter as much as the type of listeners because you are banking on the good hearts of a small group of committed fans. Not everyone is going to send something in, so adjust your expectations accordingly.
Related: 6 website monetization strategies to turn your site into a moneymaker
5. Building your brand: an indirect monetization strategyThis is probably one of the most popular strategies for business owners: using your podcast as a marketing tool to build your brand.
This can be done by sharing your expertise or through interviews with others.
Talking about what you know adds credibility, which can lead to new clients and customers. In this case, you will not necessarily care as much about the numbers of listeners as you will about the quality of your listeners: people who are truly interested in hearing what you have to say and have a need for your products or services.
How to decide what's right for youThe right plan and mix of strategies to make money podcasting is a personal decision that is closely tied to your goals and the audience you want to cultivate. So listen to the advice out there, but balance it with your own needs and what you think will work for you.
For instance, many experts in the podcasting field say that sponsorship, unless you are a big brand, it not the best strategy over the long term. But with the growth in the popularity of podcasting, if you have the contacts and sales skills, it may be the perfect solution.
Or you might feel that you want to grow your expertise and reputation through podcasting without the concern of stats that keep advertisers happy. Whatever you choose to do and however you monetize your podcast, make sure you are doing what works best for you because podcasting takes time and energy.
Image by:Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Animators Brought a Guillotine to the Disney Labor Strike in 1941
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 18:12
Today, we often think of labor strikes as fairly mundane affairs'--at least in the United States. But there was a time when labor actions were much more intense. Like in 1941, when animators supporting the strike at Disney's studio in Burbank, California brought a guillotine to show just how upset they were with Disney management over low wages at the studio.
By early 1941, many of the major animation studios, like Warner Bros. and Fleisher Studios, had unionized. But when the Screen Cartoonists Guild (SCG) tried to do the same at Disney, the studio's management pushed back hard. Walt Disney threatened workers who were trying to organize with the SCG and by May of 1941, Disney fired two dozen people who had joined the union. One of the artists who was fired included Art Babbitt, an animator who worked on characters like the Wicked Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Babbitt, one of Disney's highest-paid animators at the time, was the lead organizer pushing for a union to help his fellow workers. Walt Disney had initially tried to stop his workers from organizing by creating an ''internal union'' at the company, led by Babbitt, but the animator called bullshit and wanted the artists to be allowed to organize under the Screen Cartoonists Guild (SCG).
In the wake of the mass firing, artists at Disney had had enough and staged a strike the next day. The signs at the strike were well-illustrated, as you can imagine. But if you've ever seen a documentary that mentions the Disney strike in 1941, it probably doesn't include the most radical aspects.
Animation studios that were already unionized came to show support for the Disney strike. And the merry pranksters at Warner Bros. even came to parade around a dummy made up to look like Disney's attorney, Gunther Lessing, sitting inside a guillotine. The Warner Bros. revolutionaries, led by legendary animator Chuck Jones wearing a black mask, also had a sign that read, ''Happy Birthday to Gunther and Walt.''
The guillotine wasn't just a static symbol, either, as you can see from this GIF. The ''blade'' moved.
By mid-summer, Walt Disney was feeling some public pressure from people who favored the striking workers, but the studio head took out magazine ads blaming the strike on ''Communistic agitation.''
Things got so heated that Walt Disney took a run at some of the animators, apparently upset that he had to drive through the picket lines every day. Disney even took off his jacket to fight Babbitt, who was mocking him through a megaphone, before people could pull them apart.
From the book Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson by Tom Sito:
Art jumped up on a flatbed truck, grabbed a bullhorn and shouted, ''There he is, the Great Man! He wants brotherhood for all except himself! Shame on you, Walt Disney!'' Disney leapt out of his car and stripped off his jacket. A fistfight would have ensued had not cooler heads separated them.
Dave Hilberman recalled Walt Disney once gunning the Packard's engine and braking just short of [Art Babbitt], showing how much Walt would like to hit him. One night when a rumor circulated that paid goons were going to beat up the strikers, [Herb] Sorrell sent a gang of Lockheed aircraft mechanics, monkey wrenches in hand, to guard the strikers' tents. The rumor of violence luckily turned out to be just that, a rumor.
Other labor organizations showed solidarity to the striking workers and made it hard for Disney to do business. Technicolor refused to process Disney's footage, printers refused to print the Mickey Mouse comic strip, and the American Federation of Labor (now part of the AFL-CIO) called for a boycott of all Disney products.
The federal government sent a judge to mediate the dispute, but Walt Disney wasn't having it. He was an angry man and wasn't about to let his workers win anything. It was only after Disney left for South America to conduct research for films that would hopefully coax those countries not to side with the Axis powers in World War II, that anything got done. The strike was settled on July 28, 1941 and the workers got a raise, with many animators seeing their pay double. But Disney sabotaged the most high profile union agitators until they quit over the next few years.
Why is the guillotine not very well remembered from the 1941 Disney strike? That's tough to say, but probably because people of the 21st century tend to be uncomfortable with radical labor actions, even if they're just symbolic.
Unions are good, and so is striking when things get bad. Withholding your labor is one of the few actions you can take to get your boss to take notice. And while you don't need to bring a guillotine, it can certainly help get the point across. The very public nature of the Disney strike is precisely what got it resolved after five weeks'--guillotines and all. Art Babbitt was rehired as a condition of the strike ending and Disney has been a union shop ever since.
Facebook Promotes Portal In ABC Shows '' Variety
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 16:15
November 29, 2019 9:00AM PTABC's hottest new star doesn't have a long resume of previous sitcom gigs and character roles. But the network is hoping viewers like what they see.
Facebook's Portal, a mobile device that facilitates video chats, is turning up in some of ABC's most popular programs as part of a broader ad deal. A Portal figured prominently in the recent season premiere of the network's ''Modern Family.'' On Friday, ABC's' ''Good Morning America'' ran a segment showing how a family in New York used a Portal to connect with relatives in Kentucky. And a Portal will be spotted in prominent fashion in the December 10th broadcast of another well-known ABC series, ''Black-ish.''
Even as a range of new gadgets threaten to replace the TV screen for a rising generation of viewers, their manufacturers keep turning to TV shows to demonstrate what the wonder machines can do. ''It is a category that is really strong for us and growing,'' says Jessica Popper, director of integrated marketing for ABC's primetime and late-night programs, in an interview. ''As different technology options grow, there is no better way for these companies to expose viewers to them other than to put them in the hands of very relateable characters.''
Disney has been wary about ceding its TV time to advertisers that are building rival businesses to its video. In October, it was revealed the company was no longer allowing Netflix to run commercials on ABC, Freeform or FX. But Disney remains open to doing ad deals with content companies with which it has a broader relationship that could include distribution or programming.
TV has over the years been viewed as valuable ground for a host of technology titans. Verizon Wireless won a four-way scrum among telecommunications companies to get its flip-phones into the hands of characters like Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf in the debut season of the CW's ''Gossip Girl'' in 2007. The populace of Chester's Mill '' trapped under a dome in the CBS drama called, um, ''Under The Dome'' '' relied heavily on Microsoft's Surface devices in the summer of 2013. And Apple gizmos ranging from the iPad to the iPhone keep turning up in series ranging from ''Modern Family'' to Fox's ''9-1-1.''
Big Tech often needs a TV pitch to make a sale. TV characters using the new contraptions can influence purchase consideration and brand recall in ways that a search ad or social-media post simply cannot.
Facebook wants potential Portal users to see the device in action, says Judy Liu, who oversees influencer marketing for Facebook's augmented reality and virtual reality businesses. The Portal's camera ''pans and zooms to keep you in the frame,'' she notes, while its audio ''keeps the focus on the person speaking and tunes out the background noise.'' She adds: ''We turn to TV to bring that power to life.''
Facebook has put the bulk of its ad spending on traditional media into TV. The social-media giant put about 66% of its 2018 ad spending '' nearly $212.8 million out of approximately $319 million '' into TV commercials, according to Kantar, a tracker of ad spend. In the first six moths of 2019, Facebook has spent nearly $62.7 million out of $97.3 million on TV advertising, Kantar says.
The company has played a part in changing the way we all live, but executives at both Facebook and ABC say no storylines or news procedures have been changed to accommodate a Portal peek. Instead, says Marco Forte, senior vice president of Disney Advertising Sales, the agreement between the two entities simply sent ABC executives searching for opportunities in shows that might make sense.
Producers of ABC's TV shows ''obviously have their creative control,'' he says. ''At the end of the day, it's all about how we can do something in the most organic way possible.''
In the ''Modern Family'' season premieres, Alex Dunphy has moved far away for a job and uses her Portal to reach out to various members of her clan. ''It was already in the works that she was going to be away from her family,'' says Facebook's Liu. On ''Black-ish,'' a Portal will be used to help one family member connect to another on Christmas morning.
''GMA'' offers a different challenge, because it's a news program. But executives said producers typically look for heartwarming stories to tell as the holidays grow near. Friday's segment not only told the story of a family trying to connect but featured a surprise reunion between the New York and Kentucky relatives live in the studio. The audience that takes part in the show's second hour was given two Portal Minis to take home with them at show's end.
Product placement alone can't do the whole job. Facebook has launched a traditional TV campaign with commercials that feature Muppets like Fozzie Bear (a property, coincidentally enough, also owned by Disney), and on Wednesday launched a series of holiday-themed series of videos on Twitter and Instagram that feature Kim Kardashian West, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez trying to stay in touch with each other.
As the holidays draw near, Facebook faces intense and growing competition. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, several networks were running ads for Samsung Note 10+ smartphones that were tied to Disney's new ''Star Wars'' release. Others offered ads for Google's Nest Hub, another video display device that can help users manage home activity.
As rivals flood holiday commercial breaks, Facebook no doubt hopes to gain traction by weaving its device into the programs themselves.
The 2019 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which featured the whacky highlight of a man dressed as a stick of butter interrupting Al Roker, was down in total viewership from last year's edition. The show averaged 22.1 million viewers, down around 7% on last year's 23.7 million viewers. It scored a 5.5 rating among adults 18-49, [...]
It's no secret that as a content producer, Netflix Originals have contributed heavily to the peak TV era. In fact, earlier this year the streaming behemoth announced a focus on originals to bank new subscribers. But that is far from all the platform does. In fact, in the sea of series on the service, there [...]
(SPOILER ALERT: Do not read on if you have not watched the first four episodes of Disney Plus' ''Star Wars'' spinoff series ''The Mandalorian.'') After the action-packed shootout that bookended episode 3, this week's edition of ''The Mandalorian'' was largely a more relaxing watch. Mando and Baby Yo arrived on a remote planet to lay [...]
ABC's hottest new star doesn't have a long resume of previous sitcom gigs and character roles. But the network is hoping viewers like what they see. Facebook's Portal, a mobile device that facilitates video chats, is turning up in some of ABC's most popular programs as part of a broader ad deal. A Portal figured [...]
The IFP tweaked its Gotham Awards categories this year to better reflect the rich landscape on the small screen, and nominated two animated series in the process. ''Tuca & Bertie'' and ''Undone'' will both compete for breakthrough short-form series honors this year, vying with ''Pen15,'' ''Ramy'' and ''Russian Doll.'' ''Chernobyl,'' ''David Makes Man,'' ''My Brilliant [...]
It might not rise to the level of a Left Shark moment, but a pastor from Westchester County had a few seconds in the spotlight on Thursday when he became a running gag during Al Roker's live coverage of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC. The ''Today'' weatherman rode in a motorcycle sidecar to [...]
In this week's International TV Newswire Variety digs into Latin American news following Mip Cancun where Viacom International Studio's ''El Nudo'' featured as one of the year's best-selling formats. Telefe has announced it's bringing back its popular gameshow adaptation of ''Hole in the Wall.'' Spain's Atresmedia begins shooting ''Benidorm'' on location. And in Scandinavia ''Moscow Noir'' producers [...]
Phone Zombies on Pix - London Bridge terrorist killed two before police shot him dead | Daily Mail Online
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 14:18
Two innocent members of the public have died after a knifeman went on a rampage this afternoon in London.
Armed police shot dead a knifeman wearing a fake suicide vest today after he stabbed up to five people in a shocking terrorist attack as frightened crowds fled the scene.
Witnesses on the scene said the man had been brandishing two knives and had attacked people on the north side of London Bridge before running into the centre at around 2pm.
Dramatic video footage showed he was tackled to the ground by at least six heroic members of the public.
Seconds later police told people on top of the suspect to move away, before dragging the last bystander to safety and opening fire. Officers were heard shouting 'stop moving' twice before shooting the man at close range.
One of the brave heroes was on the other side of the bridge and ran over to help, tackling the man and wrestling the knife off him. The suspect lay on the ground still moving as officers backed away - clearly fearing they were still in danger.
Meanwhile police immediately evacuated the south side of London Bridge near Borough Market, as hundreds of frightened bystanders began screaming and running for their lives as they heard shots being fired.
Witnesses described a scene of panic around London Bridge, with ambulance crews giving CPR to one victim on the floor near Monument Underground station and some people helped to their feet after falling over in the rush. It has since been reported that at least twelve people have been left injured following the attack today and a Whitehall spokesperson confirmed to the BBC that there have been two fatalities.
Today's incident comes two and a half years after the horrifying terrorist attack on London Bridge in June 2017 which saw Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, kill eight people and injure 48 others.
The incident started close to London's main financial hub where thousands of bankers and finance workers travel every day. It started outside Grade II listed buildings Fishmongers' Hall. Many buildings in the financial district were on high security this afternoon as roads were closed in the area, many workers were also stood outside their buildings as officers cordoned off the roads.
Up to five people were stabbed before the knife maniac ran onto London Bridge shortly before 2pm this afternoon, where dramatic video (pictured above) showed he was tackled to the ground by at least six heroic members of the public
One of the bystanders on London Bridge was seen holding a knife (left) which appeared to have been taken from the suspect. Another man - believed to be the shot knifeman - could be seen lying on the ground, close to a knife (circled, right)
The image above gives a clear view of the suspected knifeman and the fake explosives device he was wearing at the time of the attack this afternoon
The alleged knifeman is pictured above on the floor with armed police on the right hand side. The is seen wearing the fake explosive device. The officers appear to be pointing their guns at him
The eyewitness video appears to show a man on the pavement of the north-bound carriageway on the western side today
The suspect is seen on the floor above as armed office point their guns towards him. Members of the public can be seen stood around
A woman is carried away from the scene by police officers at London Bridge this afternoon. Four officer took her to safety
Police apprehend a man in an street on the south side of London Bridge today as they respond to the incident. Other members of the public seem to be walking past obliviously
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was 'being kept updated' as he abandoned campaigning and rushed back to Westminster from his Uxbridge constituency. It comes weeks after the UK's terror threat level was downgraded.
He added: 'I can assure you and assure everyone that anyone involved in this attack will be hunted down and brought to justice.'
Extra police officers will be on patrol across London in the wake of the attack, while British Transport Police said there also would be more officers on the transport network including firearms officers and other specialist teams.
London Bridge station reopened this evening but cordons could remain in place across the city of the weekend 'due to other factors'.
One witness praised the bravery of one member of the public who intervened and disarmed the man.
'This man was walking behind us on the other side of London Bridge when the attack began. He ran through traffic and jumped the central partition to tackle the attacker with several others. We ran away but looks like he disarmed him. Amazing bravery', the witness said.
Police at Borough Market after a knifeman was shot by officers on London Bridge this afternoon. Emergency response units flooded the streets
A person is assisted after falling when police evacuated people from Borough Market near London Bridge this afternoon. Traffic was stopped in the area
People are evacuated from London Bridge in the capital this afternoon after a police incident. People were seen running down the street
Police on Cannon Street in London near the scene of the incident on London Bridge in the capital today. Roads were closed entering and exiting London Bridge
Police and emergency services at the scene of the incident on London Bridge this afternoon. Police officers were seen co-coordinating members of the public
A police officer moves an uninvolved person away from a cordon after the incident today. Many people became distressed after the attack this afternoon
Forensic officers are seen near the site of the incident early this evening. One office seems to be holding a light up while the other takes a picture
Mayor Sadiq Khan said some of those stabbed were 'seriously injured', Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was 'very concerned' and President Donald Trump said the US pledges 'full support to our ally, the United Kingdom'.
The incident took place on a busy Friday afternoon in London, where many officer workers frequently leave their desks early to enjoy the bars and restaurants nearby. Today is also one of the biggest shopping days for the UK with Black Friday sales sweeping many stores across the country.
As well as city workers and tourists, those also thought to have been caught up in the incident were a group of Cambridge University students who were thought to have been attending an event nearby.
A spokesman said: 'We are gravely concerned at reports that University of Cambridge staff, students and alumni were caught up in the incident at London Bridge. We are urgently seeking clarification and further details. Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by these terrible events.'
One video showed what appeared to be police pulling equipment out of a vehicle nearby. Those in the video could be heard saying: 'They've actually got guns out.'
One bus driver, who was in the area at the time of the attack told of the moment police advised him to get out of his vehicle and run.
Bus driver Mustafa Salih was travelling towards London Bridge when he saw the cordons and police vehicles. Speaking to BBC London he said: 'A police officer came up to me and and said turn your engine off, get off and run.
'I looked up and I could see a crowd of people coming towards me. One woman was crying, it was all very scary and we did not know what was happening'.
Neil Basu, the head of UK counter-terrorism policing, said outside the New Scotland Yard headquarters shortly after 4pm: 'At approximately 2pm today, police were called to a stabbing at a premises near London Bridge.
Forensic officers seemed to be pitching up this evening, as they continue to investigate the scene close to London Bridge
A police man with a dog patrols the area near London Bridge after the stabbing in the area was declared a terrorist incident by the Met
Armed police were seen patrolling the streets early this evening with emergency vehicles being parked up on both sides of the road
Police and emergency vehicles gather at Leadenhall near London Bridge as the force continues to deal with the fall out of this afternoon's attack
'Emergency services attended including officers from the City of London Police and Metropolitan Police. A male suspect was shot by specialist armed officers from City of London Police and I can confirm that this suspect died at the scene.'
Onlooker Zack Shooter said police almost knocked him over as they ran towards the incident, adding: 'Then loads of cars with sirens all rushed past me at full speed.'
Another onlooker who witnessed the incident told how armed police shouted at the knifeman 'don't move, don't move' before they shot him twice.
'People were running away. It looked like a fight. I saw a man who looked like he was carrying a stick and another man holding a fire extinguisher who were chasing the man with the knife.
'They grabbed him and pinned him to the ground. The guy was hitting him with a stick and the other one was trying to hit him with the fire extinguisher.
'Then three or four more people turned up and all of them held him on the ground. One of them grabbed his knife and prized it out of his hand.'
He added that they had all been very brave and said armed police shouted at everyone to get back.
Police evacuated London Bridge station and the surrounding area. Mr Basu said that specialist officers had been deployed after reports that the suspect had an explosive vest, but the device was believed to be a 'hoax'.
The map above shows the areas of the city which were impacted by the attack this afternoon. The attack is believed to have started just before 2pm this afternoon near Fishmongers Hall. The attack then ran onto London Bridge where he was tackled by members of the public before being shot dead. Borough Market was also evacuated
Armed police officers at the scene on London Bridge this afternoon following the terrorist incident which resulted in the City of London coming to a standstill
Police cordon around the incident at London Bridge today, with officers seen near Bank Underground station. Police horses were also seen in the streets
Members of the public are held behind a police cordon near London Bridge train station after the incident today. Police vehicles were seen parked in the roads
Metropolitan Police armed response officers patrol inside Borough Market in London this afternoon. The area is usually full of people
People stand outside London Bridge station after it was closed following the incident nearby this afternoon. The stabbing left several people wounded
Police walk through the Borough Market area after a man was shot by officers on London Bridge this afternoon. Members of the public are seen at the side of the road
Metropolitan Police armed response officers gather near Borough Market after shots were fired on London Bridge today. Police dogs were also out
Police stand at Borough Market as they control the crowds at London Bridge this afternoon. The area is usually full of people enjoying the pubs and bars
Forensics officers make their way to London Bridge after police shot a man on the bridge this afternoon. One is seen carrying a tripod while the other is carrying a case and bag
He added: 'Due to reports that the suspect might have had an explosive device specialist officers attended the scene. However, I can confirm at this time we believe a device that was strapped to the body of the suspect is a hoax explosive device.'
PM abandons election campaign and rushes back to Downing Street
Boris Johnson interrupted his election campaign and rushed to Downing Street following today's suspected terror attack which left one person dead and at least five injured.
The Prime Minister rushed back into Central London from his Uxbridge constituency following the drama in the heart of the capital.
His spokesman said he would be receiving 'further updates' on the unfolding incident.
At the start of November the UK's terrorism threat level was downgraded to 'substantial' from 'severe', meaning an attack was now 'likely' rather than 'highly likely'.
There are five levels of terror threat, with the highest being 'critical' - meaning that an attack is highly likely and will come in the near future. After dropping from the second-highest tier, severe, the UK is now on the third rung of danger.
A cordon was set up at Borough Market while evacuation continued from shops and businesses.
Mr Basu said he would give updates to the families of those injured 'as soon as we can get that information'.
'A number of other people received injuries during this incident. As soon as we can provide further updates on their condition, we will,' he told the press conference.
'Our heartfelt sympathies go out to everybody who has been involved in this and is anxiously waiting for information on their loved ones.
'As soon as we can get that information, we will get it to you.'
The response from officers led scores of people to run down St Thomas' Street. Police said they were treating the evacuation of the area surrounding Borough Market as a 'major incident.'
The Archbishop of Canterbury tweeted: 'The sorrow and shock is heartbreaking for those caught up by the London Bridge attack and for the bereaved. The police and ambulance crews are wonderful. May Christ comfort them, and may our nation be given resilience, protecting the weak, strong in facing threats.'
The archbishop added: 'As well as that, what a privilege to live in a country where casual passers by are so astonishingly brave. Whatever we disagree about during an election we can be united in celebrating such examples. Let those of faith thank God for the gift of such people, let all of us be glad.'
National Rail tweeted: 'London Bridge station has now reopened following an earlier police incident near the station. Trains may continue to be delayed, cancelled or revised whilst the train service is reinstated.'
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: 'London Bridge station now reopen - it will take a little time for services to return to normal. My thanks to passengers for their co-operation and to the British Transport Police for their professionalism.'
A large police cordon remains in place around the north side of London Bridge following the knife attack.
Pedestrian and vehicle access along Upper Thames Street, which runs underneath part of the bridge, is blocked by police at its junction with Swan Lane through to Lower Thames Street at its junction with Fish Hill Street.
The pedestrian cordon extends north-east to Fenchurch Street, at its junction with Philpot Lane, and north to Gracechurch Street, at its junction with Bell Inn Yard.
On the northwest side on the bridge, the pedestrian cordon extends to Cannon Street at its junction with Bush Lane. Monument Station, which is within the cordon, remains closed.
Salih Tasdemir was at Kaplan International College when he saw videos of the attack on social media.
'Then I saw police outside and there was an alarm inside the college,' the 17-year-old said. 'Then the police were telling us to leave. People were running. I was really scared.'
Spanish tourist Maria Ortega told today how she was ushered into a walk-in freezer for her own safety during the London Bridge terror attack.
The 45-year-old from southern Spain said: 'I'm visiting a friend of mine who lives in London and we were walking through Borough Market.
Armed police with dogs patrol along Cannon Street in London today after the incident on London Bridge. Members of the public were seen standing on one side of the road
Armed police at the scene today after witnesses reported hearing gunshots at London Bridge, A London bus is seen stationary and a lorry is also parked across the bridge
'All of sudden people began shouting and running in panic. Someone grabbed me and took me into a butchers shop and to the freezer at the back.
'There must have been seven or eight of us in there and we were there for about half an hour before we were able to leave.
'It was strange being in there because there were slabs of meat hanging up but it was safer than being outside. My friend and I were split up and she took refuge in another shop.'
Her friend Liz Martinez, who now lives in South London, added: 'It was really scary because all of a sudden there was a lot of panic.
'We didn't know what was going on. I'm glad we are both safe.'
Staff working for News UK, whose offices are by London Bridge station, reported being held in their building as police dealt with the incident.
Dan Wooton, executive editor at The Sun, tweeted: 'Police dogs at work on London Bridge. We are currently in lockdown in the News building after advice for police.'
Police at the scene of the incident on London Bridge in the capital this afternoon, a cordon was put in place
People fleeing from Borough Market in London following a police incident this afternoon
Traffic is stopped and people are held behind a police cordon near Borough Market today
A man who works across the road from Borough Market said he had heard reports of a man with a knife who had been shot by police. 'A lorry crossed over into both lanes and police were shooting at it from both sides,' he said.
'Apparently there was an assailant with knife. They've taped past our office now and we can't get in.'
What happened in 2017's London Bridge attack?
Eight people were killed and 48 seriously injured when terrorists struck on London Bridge two years ago.
Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, mowed down pedestrians on the bridge before stabbing random members of the public around Borough Market.
Police with riot shields on London Bridge on June 3, 2017
The trio were armed with ceramic knives and had fake suicide belts strapped around their waists during the marauding attack on the evening of June 3 2017.
Unarmed police officers, medics and members of the public rushed to help save lives during the attackers' rampage around Borough Market.
In less than 10 minutes, Butt, Redouane and Zaghba were shot dead after confronting armed officers in Stoney Street.
Emergency personnel on London Bridge on June 3, 2017
At an inquest at the Old Bailey earlier this year, a jury found that the three terrorists were lawfully killed.
A separate inquest concluded victims Xavier Thomas, 45, Chrissy Archibald, 30, Sara Zelenak, 21, James McMullan, 32, Kirsty Boden, 28, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, Sebastien Belanger, 36, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39, were unlawfully killed.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: 'I'm being kept updated on the incident at London Bridge and want to thank the police and all emergency services for their immediate response.'
Mr Johnson is returning from his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency to Downing Street where he will get further information on the London Bridge incident.
'PM on his way back to No 10 from his constituency where he will receive further updates on the London Bridge incident,' the Prime Minister's official spokesman messaged.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: 'Very concerned by ongoing incident at London Bridge. My thoughts are with all affected. I am grateful for the rapid response of our police and I urge everyone to follow their advice.'
Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: 'Shocking reports from London Bridge. My thoughts are with those caught up in the incident. Thank you to the police and emergency services who are responding.'
In a statement outside Scotland Yard, Sadiq Khan thanked members of the public who risked 'their own safety this afternoon'.
'I want to thank our brave emergency services who responded to today's horrific attack,' the mayor told a press conference at Scotland Yard.
'Every day, they put their lives on the line for us, running towards danger in order to keep us safe. I'd also like to thank members of the public who risked their own safety this afternoon. They are the best of us.'
Mr Khan asked all Londoners to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to the police.
Brendan Cox, whose wife Jo was murdered in a terror attack in Batley during the EU referendum campaign, tweeted: 'Please no one on any side use this for party advantage. Let it be a moment where we genuinely come together and show that terrorism will not divide us.'
Former defence minister Tobias Ellwood, who helped tackle a terror attack outside Parliament in 2017, tweeted that today's incident was a 'stark reminder of the dangerous and diverse threats we continue to face but also of the incredible bravery and professionalism of our emergency services in so swiftly closing this incident down'.
Deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere said: 'President Trump has been briefed on this morning's attack at the London Bridge and is monitoring the situation. The United States strongly condemns all horrific acts of violence on innocent people, and we pledge our full support to our ally, the United Kingdom.'
During a campaign visit to Cardiff, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson expressed concern at the incident at London Bridge.
Ms Swinson said: 'Clearly, we don't know the exact details of what has happened, and my thoughts are with everybody who has been caught up in that incident in whatever way.
'Including, of course, the brave police who are dealing with it with professionalism and in the way in which they do become the first responders in these difficult times.'
A witness who was on a bus going over the bridge said she thought she saw a 'stab vest or some sort of explosive vest' worn by the person lying on the bridge.
Kirsten Jones told BBC News: 'We thought it looked like there was a fight going on, people sort of tussling with each other, and then you realise it was police wrestling with one tall, bearded man.
Police officers guard outside Borough Market after an incident at London Bridge this afternoon
A Metropolitan Police armed response officer stands guard near Borough Market after today
People leave the area as armed police with dogs patrol along Cannon Street in London this afternoon
Armed police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in the capital this afternoon
Members of the public are held behind a police cordon near London Bridge train station today
Police on Cannon Street in London near the scene of the incident on London Bridge in the capital this afternoon
Police apprehend a man in an street on the south side of London Bridge in the capital
Members of the police and emergency services arriving at Monument Tube station in London today
A Metropolitan Police armedResponse officer stands guard near Borough Market after the incident today
'I had my baby with me so I moved behind the stairwell to be safe, but then there was two shots, or two loud pops, I think, I think they were gun shots, two loud pops, and I also saw a dispensed taser and then the guy was lying on the floor.
'He then pulled his coat back which showed that he had some sort of vest underneath, whether it's a stab vest, or some sort of explosive vest, the police then really quickly moved backwards, away.
** Did you see the incident? Email terri-ann.williams@mailonline.co.uk or tips@dailymail.com call 020 3615 1762 **
'Of course on the bus, we're panicking, we're almost as close as the police to him, and he was sort of lying there pulling his coat backwards, and the police were shouting at him and staying back from him.'
Construction worker Howard Walsh said that he and his colleagues saw the member of the public who restrained the attacker being led away by ambulance workers.
He said: 'We had literally finished working in House of Fraser. We were told to evacuate. We came out and were escorted up the road. We saw one person with a stab wound in his chest, escorted further up the road.'
Mr Walsh, 30, said that the victim appeared to have been stabbed on his left hand side but that they 'seemed alright' as they were led away by ambulance workers.
One business owner said she had been crossing London Bridge to get to her shop on the north side when police officers stopped her.
A woman, third right, is assisted after falling when police evacuated people from Borough Market in London today
Police officers close to a scene of the incident at London Bridge this afternoon
People leave the area near Borough Market after the incident at London Bridge this afternoon
Armed police and emergency services at the scene of the incident on London Bridge in the capital today
The scene on London Bridge in the aftermath of the reported shooting in London today
Police at the scene on London Bridge as officers respond to reports of an incident
She said that was when she heard at least five or six gunshots and said that her store has been evacuated.
The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, added: 'I was approaching London Bridge and a policeman would not let me through.
London Bridge incident comes weeks after terror threat level downgraded
The incident on London Bridge comes weeks after the UK's terrorism threat level was downgraded.
Police said they are treating the stabbing, in which a man was shot by police, 'as though it is terror-related'.
The threat level was lowered on November 4 to 'substantial' from 'severe', meaning attacks were thought to be 'likely' rather than 'highly likely'.
Announcing the decision, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: 'Despite the change in the threat level, terrorism remains one of the most direct and immediate risks to our national security.
'Substantial continues to indicate a high level of threat, and an attack might well occur without further warning.
'As ever, the public should remain vigilant and report any concerns they may have to the police.
'Government, police and intelligence agencies will continue to work tirelessly to address the threat posed by terrorism in all its forms.
'The threat level is kept under constant review.'
The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), an organisation made up of Government departments and other public bodies which reports to MI5, makes the decision on the threat level independently of ministers after weighing up intelligence and information on known terrorist groups.
A review is carried out every six months.
The level was raised to 'critical' in May 2017 after the Manchester Arena bombing and it was later downgraded to 'severe' in September of that year.
The threat level was downgraded earlier this month as the general who oversaw the US raid on Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi warned the country was on alert for possible 'retribution attacks' by extremists, while other terrorism experts reportedly warned security services would be 'braced for attempts to avenge his death'.
'We heard shooting, it was about five or six shots, I heard five or six quite clearly. All my staff have been evacuated.'
A video emerged showing police officers aiming guns at a white lorry that jackknifed across London Bridge.
The footage shows several officers surrounding the vehicle before moving to the rear to check its container. London buses can be seen either side of the lorry while three police cars are parked next to it on the bridge.
Witness Amanda Hunter, who was on a bus across the bridge when she heard shots fired, told BBC News: '(The bus) all of a sudden stopped and there was commotion and looked out the window and I just saw these three police officers going over to a man.
'It seemed like there was something in his hand, I'm not 100 per cent sure, but then one of the police officers shot him.
'We were stopped on a bus for only a minute or a minute-and-a-half, and then we were able to safely get off the bridge.'
Nurse Jackie Bensfield, 32, described how she asked to be let off a bus on London Bridge after she heard 'five or six' gunshots.
Ms Benfield, who was on her way home from work, said she exited the bus and 'ran like hell' to escape the shots.
Ms Bensfield, who was visibly shaken by the incident, said: 'I just ran as fast as I could. Hearing gunshots and running from them is not really a good feeling.
'I was on the bus and there was a lot of traffic, but I remember it stopped. Then all of a sudden I see police officers yelling and people running off the bridge. I said 'please let me out, please let me out.'
'Then I just ran as fast as I could. 'Pop pop pop' that's what it sounded like. Unfortunately I know what gunshots sound like.'
Connor Allen, who was in his van on the bridge when it was evacuated said: 'Everyone just started running, you heard these pops and that was it. We just got out the van and started running.'
London Ambulance Service said it had declared a major incident.
A statement on Twitter said: 'We have now declared a major incident and have a number of crews at the scene in London Bridge. We will share more information as soon as we have it.'
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: 'Police were called at 1.58pm to a stabbing at premises near to London Bridge. Emergency services attended, including officers from the Met and City of London Police.
'A man has been detained by police. We believe a number of people have been injured. Further info to follow.'
The force added: 'At this stage, the circumstances relating to the incident at London Bridge remain unclear. However, as a precaution, we are currently responding to this incident as though it is terror-related.
'One man has been shot by police. We will provide further information when possible.'
'We are aware of reports circulating on social media. We will release facts when we can - our info must be accurate.'
A witness who works in a stall in Borough Market, told how it looked like a minor incident at first. Laurence Verfaillie said: 'I thought it was a car crash, it looked like it was pretty minor.
Metropolitan Police Armed Response officers gather near Borough Market after reports of shots being fired on London Bridge on November 29, 2019 in London, England
Members of the public are held behind a police cordon near London Bridge train station today
Police cars and vans respond to the incident on London Bridge this afternoon
Scotland Yard said officers are 'dealing with an incident at London Bridge' this afternoon
'Suddenly a trader told me the ice cream seller on the bridge has run away yelling there has been an incident. Another trader said police were looking for someone.
'Suddenly people were taking refuge in our shop before we got told to leave. We still think about what happened last time.'
Pub-goers were told by police to leave immediately and run as gunshots were heard in the London Bridge area.
Luke Redman, 25, was in the Monument pub with a full pint when officers entered.
Mr Redman, a data scientist said he heard '12 or 15 (gunshots) in about 10 seconds,' as he left the pub and ran down an alleyway to escape.
One video posted to social media showed a man, apparently the suspect, grappling with some other men.
As he tried to get up from the floor, he then collapsed to the ground after being hit by what appeared to be gunfire.
Another video filmed from a nearby bus showed the apparent suspect being shot as he lay on the ground. Another man in a suit and jacket could be seen running from him, having retrieved a large knife.
A white truck across part of London Bridge during the incident on the Bridge in Central London this afternoon
People running away from Borough Market in London after police told them to leave the area
Armed police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in the capital this afternoon
Vehicles over London Bridge this afternoon as police confirm they are dealing with an incident
Emergency services vehicles are pictured dealing with an incident on London Bridge today
People running away from Borough Market in London after police tell to them to leave the area
'We just ran like hell': City workers and tourists tell of stampede as terror returns to a crowded London Bridge for the second time in two years
City workers and tourists have told of their panic as terror returned to a crowded London Bridge for the second time in two years today.
Armed police shot a man on London Bridge today in an incident that has left one person dead and up to five people injured as the Met says it is treating it as 'terror-related'.
Many have described how they were told to leave the area by police, heard shots and saw people running for their lives as panicked Londoners fled Borough Market in a 'stampede' after gunshots were heard.
People flee the scene as emergency services respond to a shooting incident on London Bridge
Nurse Jackie Benfield, 32, described how she asked to be let off a bus on London Bridge after she heard 'five or six' gunshots.
Ms Benfield, who was on her way home from work, said she exited the bus and 'ran like hell' to escape the shots.
Connor Allen, who was in his van on the bridge when it was evacuated said: 'Everyone just started running, you heard these pops and that was it. We just got out the van and started running.'
One business owner said she had been crossing London Bridge to get to her shop on the north side when police officers stopped her.
She said that was when she heard at least five or six gunshots and said that her store has been evacuated.
The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, added: 'I was approaching London Bridge and a policeman would not let me through.
'We heard shooting, it was about five or six shots, I heard five or six quite clearly.
'All my staff have been evacuated.'
Mike King, a parish councillor at St Magnus-the-Martyr, a church near London Bridge, told BBC News that members of the public were directed into the church by police.
He said: 'They were directed inside by police outside, directing people to go into the buildings nearby, as you know there are a number of offices near to us.
'So everybody has been ushered into offices and buildings close by, we've had a number of people come in to see us.'
He added: 'We heard a noise that I thought was firecrackers going off earlier on.'
A witness who works in a stall in Borough Market, said it looked like a minor incident at first.
Laurence Verfaillie said: 'I thought it was a car crash, it looked like it was pretty minor.
'Suddenly a trader told me the ice cream seller on the bridge has run away yelling there has been an incident.
'Another trader said police were looking for someone.
'Suddenly people were taking refuge in our shop before we got told to leave.
'We still think about what happened last time.'
Kelby McNally, works in the Northern and Shell Building on Lower Thames Street near to London Bridge.
She said: 'I was coming out of Pret on Eastcheap and there were loads of people just running, I thought it was a fire alarm or something, and then I saw two girls from my office who told me not to go back there.
'I asked what had happened, and they said they had heard gunshots and now everyone is running.
'City of London police officers and paramedics told us, 'You need to go that way, do not go near London Bridge, run that way'.
'Everyone was running, so then we came to where the Sky Garden building is and the security guards let everyone in.
We're sat in the foyer of this building, and everyone is running outside. Now everyone is being let out of this building but they're saying you cannot walk back towards London Bridge, go towards Liverpool Street.'
Pub-goers were also told by police to leave immediately and run as gunshots were heard in the London Bridge area.
Luke Redman, 25, was in the Monument pub with a full pint when officers entered.
Mr Redman, a data scientist said he heard '12 or 15 (gunshots) in about 10 seconds,' as he left the pub and ran down an alleyway to escape.
After at least two shots were heard, passengers could be heard screaming, with one shouting: 'What the f***, they've killed him.'
A 31-year-old man who works in an office on Upper Thames Street, overlooking London Bridge, said he heard multiple gun shots coming from the bridge.
'The first thing I saw was just police cars on the bridge and people were still walking around there. This was before all the armed police came in. Then there were loads of police and loads of gunshots.
'The next thing I saw, about 10 or 15 minutes later, was a guy being dragged [by police], then later on I saw a woman being carried on a green sheet.
'She was being carried by four police officers and one appeared to be talking to her.'
The witness said he said saw police 'drag' another man along the bridge.
'When the guy was being dragged there was a man walking behind him who was topless and had blood on him,' the witness said.
BBC correspondent John McManus told BBC News that he had heard several gun shots on London Bridge.
'Just a few minutes ago I was walking across London Bridge on the south bank to the north bank of the bridge,' he said.
'There appeared to be a fight going on the other side of the bridge, with several men attacking one man.'
'Police then quickly arrived, including armed police, and then a number of shots were fired at this man.
'Police have now cleared the bridge, everybody has been told to move back and now on the northern side of the bridge, but there are more shots going on.
'I can't see what's happening now because we've been moved out of the way but there are shots going on, and you probably hear the police sounds as well.
'Everybody has cleared the area, the entire bridge has been moved, and right on the northern part of the bridge, right up until quite near the Bank of England, is being cleared.'
'There are more police coming into the area as I'm speaking, they're telling people to clear, to move back,' Mr McManus continued.
'We've been moved back hundreds of metres back from the northern side of the bridge, and I can only assume the same has happened on the southern side of the bridge as well.'
The BBC correspondent said he could see a man lying on the ground but the situation was 'ongoing'.
'There appeared to be a fight going on on the bridge, from what I could see, several people tried to restrain a man and it was then that armed police arrived and they fired shots at this person,' he said.
'The last I could see before we were moving from the bridge was lying on the ground.
'Since then, since we've been moved back, I've heard several more shots fired as well. So at this moment it seems to be a developing situation.'
On the picture on London Bridge, Mr McManus said: 'It's a busy, sunny Friday afternoon, with lots and lots of people out on the streets.
'Many people going into London Bridge, which is a major train station for people travelling out to the south of London and to the south coast.
'Of course, this is the business district, the City of London, so it's incredibly busy here but right now all the traffic has come to a complete halt, the police ticker tape has gone up, there's police cars everywhere.
'I can see traffic being turned around to go back where it came from, because the whole of London Bridge, has now been sealed off and those armed police are on the bridge right now.'
Kelby McNally, OK! Online's editor, works in the Northern and Shell Building on Lower Thames Street near to London Bridge.
She said: 'I was coming out of Pret on Eastcheap and there were loads of people just running, I thought it was a fire alarm or something, and then I saw two girls from my office who told me not to go back there. I asked what had happened, and they said they had heard gunshots and now everyone is running.
'City of London police officers and paramedics told us, 'You need to go that way, do not go near London Bridge, run that way'.
'Everyone was running, so then we came to where the Sky Garden building is and the security guards let everyone in. We're sat in the foyer of this building, and everyone is running outside.
'Now everyone is being let out of this building but they're saying you cannot walk back towards London Bridge, go towards Liverpool Street.'
British Transport Police said London Bridge station has been closed.
The force tweeted: 'We are aware of an incident at London Bridge and are assisting our colleagues at the Metropolitan Police.
'London Bridge station is currently closed and trains are none stopping. Please check with the Metropolitan Police for further updates.'
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Barriers to stop vehicle attacks were put up after 2017 terror attacks as bridges were seen as soft target
Security measures around Westminster and at locations including London Bridge were beefed up in the wake of the 2017 attacks - where today armed police shot a man following reports of a person brandishing a knife.
Barriers were put up within days of a terror incident at London Bridge and Borough Market in June 2017. Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, killed eight people and injured 48 others in the van and knife attack.
The area, and other central London bridges, were seen as a soft target. After the attacks concern was raised over a lack of protection for pedestrians who were labelled 'sitting ducks' in the wake of the incident.
City of London Police only took action to protect the public 'after the horse had bolted' by erecting the barriers (pictured here on London Bridge just days after the terror attack) on eight bridges in six days, the hearing was told
The van used in the London Bridge attacks to mow down pedestrians before crashing into railings outside the Barrowboy and Banker pub
In the aftermath, tactics for armed officers were changed, with marksmen allowed to shoot at a vehicle used in such an attack. The number of armed patrols around the capital also increased.
The terror attack came just months after Khalid Masood, 52, ploughed a car into crowds on Westminster Bridge in March 2017, in the first of five terrorist attacks in Britain during that year.
Concern had been raised over the possibility of attacks on Central London bridges, with a police constable warning his bosses to install barriers on London Bridge weeks before eight people were murdered, an inquest into the terror attacks heard in June.
Terrorist Khuram Butt after he was shot by police in Borough Market in 2017. Butt and his fellow attacker strapped empty canisters to their waists to look like explosive devices
Rachid Redouane (left) and Youssef Zaghba (right) killed eight in the terror attack on London Bridge in 2017
City of London Police only took action to protect the public 'after the horse had bolted' by erecting the barriers on eight bridges in six days after the London Bridge 2017 terror attack, the hearing was told.
Members of the public also contacted the authorities that owned London Bridge expressing their worries that the walkway was a 'prime target' after the Westminster attack.
The inquest also heard how London Bridge was considered a 'viable and attractive target' for an attack using a vehicle as a weapon in a report submitted in the weeks before the terrorist attack that killed eight people.
The report, by a private sector company for the City of London Police noted that the 'location and layout' of the bridge 'lends itself to a ramming attack, with no physical barriers to prevent a vehicle mounting the pavement.
Police on Cannon Street in London near the scene of the incident on London Bridge in the capital today
Police and emergency services at the scene of the incident on London Bridge this afternoon
It suggested that a vehicle might crash almost exactly where it did on June 3 2017 and that the attackers might attack bystanders with a 'bladed weapon', just as they did.
A senior police officer revealed that they did not consider the attack on Westminster Bridge, three months earlier, as an attack on a bridge, even though four of the five victims had died there. The fifth, PC Keith Palmer was stabbed to death at the Palace of Westminster.
Today, with the security measures in place, a man has been shot by police near London Bridge in an incident which is being responded to 'as though it is terror-related', the Metropolitan Police said.
Footage on social media appeared to show armed officers surround a person on the ground before discharging a weapon, while a bystander appears to remove a large knife from the scene.
Jeremy Corbyn reveals dossier 'proving NHS up for sale' | Politics | The Guardian
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 12:01
Labour has obtained official documents showing that the US is demanding that the NHS will be ''on the table'' in talks on a post-Brexit trade deal, Jeremy Corbyn has said.
The Labour leader said the uncensored papers gave the lie to Boris Johnson's claims that the NHS would not be part of any trade talks, and revealed that the US wanted ''total market access'' after the UK leaves the EU.
''The uncensored documents leave Boris Johnson's denials in absolute tatters,'' he said at a news conference in London. ''We have now got evidence that under Boris Johnson the NHS is on the table and will be up for sale. He tried to cover it up in a secret agenda and today it has been exposed.''
Corbyn said the 451 pages of documents covered six rounds of talks from July 2017 to ''just a few months ago''. He said the meetings took place in Washington and London. ''We are talking here about secret talks for a deal with Donald Trump after Brexit,'' he said.
Responding to the Labour claims, the Conservatives said the documents had already been online for two months and were simply readouts from meetings of the UK-US trade and investment working group. The Tories accused Labour of using the documents to try to divert attention from the issue of antisemitism in its ranks.
On medicine pricing, Corbyn said discussions had already been concluded between the two sides on lengthening patents. ''Longer patents can only mean one thing: more expensive drugs. Lives will be put at risk as a result of this,'' he said.
He used the example of Humira, used to treat Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis. ''It costs our NHS £1,409 a packet. In the US, the same packet costs £8,115. Get the difference: £1,409 in our NHS, £8,115 in the USA,'' Corbyn said. ''One of the reasons for US drug prices being on average 250% of those here is a patent regime rigged for the big pharmaceutical companies.''
He added: ''Let's be frank, the US is not going to negotiate to sell its own medicines for less.''
Labour is battling to bring the focus back on to safer ground after Corbyn's handling of antisemitism came under renewed criticism on Tuesday.
Corbyn avoided apologising to Jewish communities in a TV interview after the chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, alleged he had let the poison of antisemitism take root in the party.
Corbyn had previously highlighted heavily redacted documents obtained by Labour campaigners relating to private meetings between UK and US officials discussing health being included in a trade deal. It is understood the party obtained unredacted versions in the last couple of days.
Corbyn said the documents revealed that the UK and US were closer to a deal than hoped. ''[Officials] are ready to 'exchange text', which is trade-negotiator-speak for it being at a very advanced stage,'' he said. ''And they say they are ready to, I quote, 'really take significant further steps'.''
Corbyn said the report from the third meeting said ''everything is included [in trade talks] unless something is specifically excluded'' and that the US wanted ''total market access'' as the ''baseline assumption of the trade negotiations''.
He said officials had discussed a system to give corporations the power to sue the UK. ''This is not only a plot against our NHS,'' said Corbyn. ''It is a plot against the whole country.''
He pointed to a passage in the documents that suggested the US would prefer a no-deal Brexit. ''There would be all to play for in a no-deal situation but UK commitment to the customs union and single market would make a US-UK [free trade agreement] a non-starter,'' it reads.
The Conservatives said it was simply fact that it would not be possible to strike a free-trade deal with the US if the UK remained in the single market and customs union.
The international trade secretary, Liz Truss, said: ''Jeremy Corbyn is getting desperate and is out-and-out lying to the public about what these documents contain.''
She said it was Corbyn's belief in ''conspiracy theories'' that had led him to fail to crack down on antisemitism in his party, pointing to reports that he had called on ''western governments'' to confront ''the Zionist lobby'' in a piece written for the Morning Star in 2011.
''People should not believe a word that he says, this stunt is simply a smokescreen for the fact that he has no plan for Brexit and that he has been forced to admit that he wants to increase taxes for millions of families,'' she said.
''As we have consistently made clear, the NHS will not be on the table in any future trade deal and the price that the NHS pays for drugs will not be on the table. This sort of conspiracy theory fuelled nonsense is not befitting of the leader of a major political party.''
Labour's manifesto includes a pledge to increase NHS funding by an average of 4.3% every year of the next parliament, which is more generous than Conservative and Liberal Democrat proposals.
The party has also promised to ''end and reverse privatisation in the NHS in the next parliament'', as well as offering free annual NHS dental checkups and a new national care service to tackle the social care crisis.
Amazon's Ring Planned Neighborhood ''Watch Lists'' Built on Facial Recognition
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 11:21
Ring, Amazon's crimefighting surveillance camera division, has crafted plans to use facial recognition software and its ever-expanding network of home security cameras to create AI-enabled neighborhood ''watch lists,'' according to internal documents reviewed by The Intercept.
The planning materials envision a seamless system whereby a Ring owner would be automatically alerted when an individual deemed ''suspicious'' was captured in their camera's frame, something described as a ''suspicious activity prompt.''
It's unclear who would have access to these neighborhood watch lists, if implemented, or how exactly they would be compiled, but the documents refer repeatedly to law enforcement, and Ring has forged partnerships with police departments throughout the U.S., raising the possibility that the lists could be used to aid local authorities. The documents indicate that the lists would be available in Ring's Neighbors app, through which Ring camera owners discuss potential porch and garage security threats with others nearby.
Ring spokesperson Yassi Shahmiri told The Intercept that ''the features described are not in development or in use and Ring does not use facial recognition technology,'' but would not answer further questions.
This month, in response to continued pressure from news reports and a list of questions sent by Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey, Amazon conceded that facial recognition has been a ''contemplated but unreleased feature'' for Ring, but would only be added with ''thoughtful design including privacy, security and user control.'' Now, we know what at least some of that contemplation looked like.
Mohammad Tajsar, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, expressed concern over Ring's willingness to plan the use of facial recognition watch lists, fearing that ''giving police departments and consumers access to 'watch listing' capabilities on Ring devices encourages the creation of a digital redline in local neighborhoods, where cops in tandem with skeptical homeowners let machines create lists of undesirables unworthy of entrance into well-to-do areas.''
Legal scholars have long criticized the use of governmental watch lists in the United States for their potential to ensnare innocent people without due process. ''When corporations create them,'' said Tajsar, ''the dangers are even more stark.'' As difficult as it can be to obtain answers on the how and why behind a federal blacklist, American tech firms can work with even greater opacity: ''Corporations often operate in an environment free from even the most basic regulation, without any transparency, with little oversight into how their products are built and used, and with no regulated mechanism to correct errors,'' Tajsar said.
Mounting Concern About RingOnce known only for its line of internet-connected doorbell cameras marketed to the geekily cautious, Ring has quickly turned into an icon of unsettling privatized surveillance. The Los Angeles company, now owned by Amazon, has been buffeted this year by reports of lax internal security, problematic law enforcement partnerships, and an overall blurring of the boundaries between public policing and private-sector engineering. Earlier this year, The Intercept published video of a special online portal Ring built so that police could access customer footage, as well as internal company emails about what Ring's CEO described as the company's war on ''dirtbag criminals that steal our packages and rob our houses.''
Previous reporting by The Intercept and The Information revealed that Ring has at times struggled to make facial recognition work, instead relying on remote workers from Ring's Ukraine office to manually ''tag'' people and objects found in customer video feeds. The automated approach to watch-listing described in the documents reviewed by The Intercept may seem less unsettling than that human-based approach, but it potentially allows for a litany of its own problems, like false positives and other forms of algorithmic bias.
Anyone moving past a home equipped with Ring cameras is unavoidably sucked into a tech company dragnet, potential fodder for overeager chatter among the suburban xenophobe set.
In its public-relations efforts, Ring has maintained that only thieves and would-be criminals need to worry about the company's surveillance network and the Neighbors app. From the way Ring's products are designed to the way they're marketed, the notion of ''suspicion'' remains front and center; Ring promises a future in which ''suspicious'' people up to ''suspicious'' things can be safely monitored and deterred from afar.
But ''suspicious'' is an entirely squishy concept with some very potentially dangerous interpretations, a byword of dog-whistling neighborhood racists who hope to drape garden-variety prejudice beneath the mantle of public safety. The fact remains that anyone moving past a home equipped with Ring cameras is unavoidably sucked into a tech company dragnet, potential fodder for overeager chatter among the suburban xenophobe set. To civil libertarians, privacy scholars, and anyone generally nervous about the prospect of their neighbors forming a collective, artificially intelligent video panopticon maintained by Amazon for unregulated use by police, Ring's potential consequences for a community are clear.
Earlier this fall, Motherboard reported on a push by Ring to encourage camera owners to seek out, identify, and report to police anything and anyone they considered ''unusual'' in exchange for product discounts. According to the story, Ring ''encouraged people to report all 'suspicious activity,' including loitering, 'strange vans and cars,' 'people posing as utility workers,' and people walking down the street and looking into car windows.''
Documents Show ''Proactive Suspect Matching''According to the Ring documents reviewed by The Intercept, which have not been previously reported, the company planned a string of potentially invasive new surveillance features for its product line, of which the facial recognition-based watch-list system is one part.
In addition to the facial watch lists, Ring has also worked on a so-called suspicious activity prompt feature that would alert users via in-app phone notification when a ''suspicious'' individual appears near their property's video feeds. In one document, this feature is illustrated with a mockup of a screen in the Neighbors app, showing a shabbily dressed man walking past a Ring owner's garage-mounted camera. ''Suspicious Activity Suspected,'' warns the app. ''This person appears to be acting suspicious. We suggest alerting your neighbors.'' The app then offers a large ''Notify Neighbors'' button. The document leaves how exactly ''suspicious'' is defined a mystery.
A third potentially invasive feature referenced in the Ring documents is the addition of a ''proactive suspect matching'' feature, described in a manner that strongly suggests the ability to automatically identify people suspected of criminal behavior '-- again, whether by police, Ring customers, or both is unclear '-- based on algorithmically monitored home surveillance footage. Ring is already very much in the business of providing '-- with a degree of customer consent '-- valuable, extrajudicial information to police through its police portal. A ''proactive'' approach to information sharing could mean flagging someone who happens to cross into a Ring video camera's frame based on some cross-referenced list of ''suspects,'' however defined. Paired with the reference to a facial recognition watch list and Ring's generally cozy relationship with local police departments across the country, it's easy to imagine a system in which individuals are arbitrarily profiled, tracked, and silently reported upon based on a system owned and operated solely by Amazon, without legal recourse or any semblance of due process. Here, says Tajsar, ''Ring appears to be contemplating a future where police departments can commandeer the technology of private consumers to match 'suspect' profiles of individuals captured by private cameras with those cops have identified as suspect '-- in fact, exponentially expanding their surveillance capabilities without spending a dime.''
Researchers and legal scholars have for years warned that facial recognition and self-teaching machine learning technologies are susceptible to racial biases, and in many cases, can amplify and propagate such biases further '-- of particular concern in a law enforcement or security context, where racial prejudice is already systemic. A February review of the Neighbors app by Motherboard found that out of ''100 user-submitted posts in the Neighbors app between December 6 and February 5, the majority of people reported as 'suspicious' were people of color.''
In an interview with The Intercept, Liz O'Sullivan, a privacy policy advocate and technology director at the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, described Ring's planned ''proactive suspect matching'' feature as ''the most dangerous implementation of the word 'proactive' I've ever heard,'' and questioned the underlying science behind any such feature. ''All the AI attempts I've seen that try to detect suspicious behavior with video surveillance are absolute snake oil,'' said O'Sullivan, who earlier this year publicly resigned from Clarifai, an AI image-analysis firm, over its work for the Department of Defense.
O'Sullivan explained that ''there's no scientific consensus on a definition of visibly suspicious behavior in biometrics. The important question to ask is, Who gets to decide what suspicious looks like? And the way I've seen it attempted in industry, it's just an approximation.'' Any attempt to hybridize humankind's talents for prejudice with a computer's knack for superhuman pattern recognition is going to result in superhuman prejudice, O'Sullivan fears. ''In order for society to function well, police have to be impartial; we have to get to a place where they treat people equally under the law, not differently according to whatever way an algorithm 'thinks' we look.''
''All the AI attempts I've seen that try to detect suspicious behavior with video surveillance are absolute snake oil.''
For better or for worse, the potential to amplify the prejudices of its makers and customers is one that some members of the company's staff have already grappled with, according to a Ring source who spoke to The Intercept on the condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to discuss company matters. This source recounted concerned conversations with colleagues about the possible social consequences of their company's technology. ''We were talking about Neighborhood'' '-- Ring's residential surveillance social network and police resource '-- ''about how all it is is people reporting people in hoodies. We talked about the culture of fear that we're perpetuating,'' they said. Like O'Sullivan, the source was particularly concerned over the ''proactive suspect matching'' feature, which they said was ''designed to basically aggregate videos and create a profile of a suspect who's hit up multiple homes in a neighborhood,'' and that the source believed would end up prone to racial bias. It would, this person said, ''maybe catch porch pirates, but more realistically fuck over an innocent person of color.''
Ring's spokesperson declined to answer a list of specific questions about the planned features, including what the company's institutional definition of ''suspicious'' is, whether someone on a Ring ''watch list'' would ever be informed of this fact, or what someone would have to be ''suspected'' of in order to be labeled a ''suspect'' in Ring's systems. ''Any features we do develop,'' Shahmiri said, ''will include strong privacy protections and put our customers in control.''
Do you have a tip to share about Ring, its use of facial recognition, its relationship with police, or other information in the public interest? You can contact Sam Biddle via Signal at +1 (978) 261-7389, by email at [email protected], or via The Intercept's encrypted SecureDrop system.
Chick-fil-A Grilled Over Donation to Southern Poverty Law Center - American Renaissance
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 11:20
Posted on November 29, 2019
Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, November 27, 2019
Five years after a gunman stormed the Family Research Council, planning to smear Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his victims' faces, the Chick-fil-A Foundation donated $2,500 to the Southern Poverty Law Center '-- the group credited by the shooter with inspiring his attack.
The donation, first reported by Townhall.com, stunned FRC President Tony Perkins, who condemned Wednesday the Chick-fil-A Foundation, saying it was ''time for Christians to find a fast food alternative to Chick-fil-A.''
{snip}
In 2012, gunman Floyd Lee Corkins shot building manager Leo Johnson after storming the FRC building in Washington, D.C., carrying 50 rounds of ammunition and a backpack of Chick-fil-A sandwiches. The shooter later told the FBI that he found FRC on the SPLC's list of ''anti-gay groups.''
''The gunman was enraged by the nationwide Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day held two weeks before and used the SPLC's 'hate map' to identify FRC as his target,'' Mr. Perkins said.
{snip}
Not only has Chick-fil-A abandoned donations to Christian groups including the Salvation Army, it has donated to one of the most extreme anti-Christian groups in America. Anyone who opposes SPLC is slandered and slapped with their 'extremist' or 'hate group'' label. #SPLCexposed
'-- FRC (@FRCdc) November 27, 2019
The fast-growing, chicken-sandwich chain known for its Christian principles has been accused of bowing to the left with its new ''focused approach to giving in 2020,'' which resulted in halting funding to the Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, both longtime recipients of Chick-fil-A donations.
{snip}
Conservative leaders sent a letter Tuesday to Chick-fil-A to reverse its decision on the Salvation Army and other Christian charities, while the foundation has said that its future giving could include faith-based philanthropies.
{snip}
Original Article
Scans Show Excessive Screen Time Linked to Lower Brain Development in Young Kids
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 11:17
It's no secret that technology is present in nearly everything we do these days '-- and today's moms and dads can attest that technology can play a significant role in parenting, too.
With the influx of technology aimed specifically at youngsters, screen time for children has also risen significantly. Now, one of the most common decisions parents have to make is deciding what age to expose their children to technology in their homes.
Some parents might let their child use a tablet for games and TV shows as soon as possible, while other parents have strict no-technology rules or screen-time limits.
However, parents might be rethinking their household technology-use policies after a Nov. 4 study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal JAMA Pediatrics found that excessive screen time is linked to lower brain development in young children.
Scans conducted on children between the ages of 3 to 5 found that those who were exposed to screens for more than an hour without parental engagement had lower levels of brain development in the white matter, which is key to the development of language, literacy and cognitive skills.
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The children involved in the study were administered cognitive tests and scans while parents were given a survey about screen time to complete.
Forty-seven healthy children '-- 20 boys and 27 girls '-- underwent an MRI called diffusion tensor imaging. Diffusion tensor MRIs help look at white matter in the brain, which organizes communication within grey matter.
''Think of white matter as cables, sort of like the telephone lines that are connecting the various parts of the brain so they can talk to each other,'' Dr. John Hutton, the lead author of the study and a pediatrician and clinical researcher at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, told CNN. ''If these 'cables' don't develop properly, the brain won't be able to process things as quickly.''
For children ages 2 to 5, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends only an hour of screen time without parent engagement; children in the study who exceeded the recommendation had underdeveloped and disorganized white matter.
Do you allow children under the age of 2 to watch TV?36% (16 Votes)
64% (29 Votes)
The children with a higher amount of screen time per day also performed lower on the cognitive tests.
Dr. Hutton said that this could lead children with less well-developed brains to fall behind in school and social skills.
But it's not exactly the screen time itself that may lead to lower brain development '-- it's possibly what kids are missing out on while sitting in front of screens.
''It's not that the screen time damaged the white matter,'' Dr. Hutton said, explaining that screen time activities may be too passive to help develop the brain.
''Perhaps screen time got in the way of other experiences that could have helped the children reinforce these brain networks more strongly,'' Dr. Hutton added.
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''These findings are fascinating but very, very preliminary,'' Dr. Jenny Radesky, a lead author on the AAP 2016 guidelines on screen use among children, said to CNN. ''We know that early experiences shape brain growth, and media is one of these experiences. But it's important for parents to know that these results don't show that heavy media use causes 'brain damage.'''
Parents might understandably become alarmed after reviewing this study, but Dr. Radesky offered words of comfort and reassurance.
''It can feel overwhelming to think that our every parenting decision impacts our child's brain development, but it's important to also see this as an opportunity,'' Dr. Radesky said. ''There are parent-child activities we know help children's development: reading, singing, connecting emotionally, being creative, or even just taking a walk or dedicating some time in our busy days to laugh together.''
Dr. Radesky added that there are plenty of other factors including ''stress, parent mental health, play experiences, language exposure'' that contribute to brain development but were not taken into account for the study.
According to the AAP, babies under 18 months old should not be exposed to screens unless they are being used to video chat with relatives and friends.
Toddlers around the age of 2 can learn things from screen media, but should be accompanied by an adult to help them understand and learn.
Children ages 3 to 5 can benefit from quality shows that help teach words, aid cognitive abilities and aid social development.
The AAP offers media time calculators and family media guides to make sure families can build a healthy approach to screen time.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.
PETA's Getting Desperate, Claims Turkeys Are Victims of Sexual Assault
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 11:10
Commentary News Justin Sullivan / Getty Images A turkey is seen in a barn at the Willie Bird Turkey Farm in Sonoma, California, on Nov. 20, 2014. An estimated 46 million turkeys are cooked and eaten during Thanksgiving meals in the United States. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)
In PETA's newest desperate attack on the traditional Thanksgiving meal, the extremist animal advocacy group wants diners to consider the history of the bird on their table.
Specifically, whether the turkey was ''sexually assaulted'' before being cooked and carved.
The grotesque article from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals uses anonymous sources and selectively edited footage, allegedly taken inside a commercial turkey factory farm in Arkansas.
PETA accuses farmworkers of violating turkeys, killing them indiscriminately for fun, and even ''pretending to rape'' the birds.
According to the animal activist group, this problem isn't contained to a single turkey farm in Arkansas but is a widespread culture that affects dairy farms and swineherds as well.
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To make matters worse, PETA has the audacity to compare the alleged mistreatment of these birds and beasts to the historic plight of women.
''Farms don't see animals as individuals. They view them as objects to be used for their own ends,'' PETA asserts. ''Sound familiar?''
''Women have been fighting that same battle for centuries and are still fighting it today. And if you're saying, 'But they're just animals,' remember that up until very recently, we were 'just women.'''
Yikes.
Do you plan on having turkey next Thanksgiving?96% (1871 Votes)
4% (81 Votes)
In lieu of a meat-based Thanksgiving, PETA advocates for vegan holiday feasts.
Unfortunately for vegans feasting on grains and vegetables to spare the innocent animals, the machines that harvest those products end up killing more than the one animal it would have taken to stock the table.
One study found that after combines harvest a field, it's a virtual slaughter for the mice that previously made it their home.
The study found that one species of mouse had its numbers reduced by a whopping 80 percent from habitat destruction, predation and death from machinery.
And it's not just the tiny animals that meet their fate because of vegans' insatiable need for harvested vegetation.
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Any animal that can't get out of the way of a combine in time, including deer, is at risk of being killed by the operators of the machinery. As long as crops are taken with these large harvesters, animal deaths are inevitable.
A ribeye from a grass-fed steer, on the other hand, requires only the death of one animal for hundreds of pounds of succulent meat.
When it comes to a Thanksgiving meal, the more ethical option looks like a juicy, roasted turkey surrounded by bacon-wrapped green bean bundles and a nice spiral-cut ham.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.
Dad Shares 10-Year-Old Daughter's Extravagant 26-Item Christmas List: 'Out of Her Mind'
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 11:09
Lifestyle Pressmaster / Shutterstock Image One dad has shared his daughter's ambitious Christmas wish list and many have found it amusing. (Pressmaster / Shutterstock Image)
Christmas wish lists are a staple in many families who have the luxury of being able to buy a range of gifts during the holidays.
There always seems to be a mix of this and that, some requests more realistic than others.
When you're a child, your ideas of what presents are possible are a bit more generous than your parents' bank accounts can generally handle.
Sometimes a child will add something like a pony or a sports car or some sort of wonderful thing that is wildly out of reach.
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Then there are kids like this one. Her name is Drew, according to TIME, and she is very clear about what she wants for Christmas.
Either she has no idea what these kinds of gifts cost, or she has faith that her family is capable of pulling off the extensive list.
Her dad, Andrew Johnson, shared her neatly handwritten list on Twitter, where it took off.
''My 10 year old daughter must be out of her mind with this Christmas list,'' he shared.
My 10 year old daughter must be out of her mind with this Christmas list ðŸ'ðŸ'ðŸ' pic.twitter.com/Qqsje79rda
'-- @A_Johnson412 (@a_johnson412) November 13, 2019
Starting the list off strong is the iPhone 11. Next, air pods. You'd think at that point she'd provide her reader a bit of a breather, but she's just getting started.
She makes sure to specify that the MacBook Air she wants is a ''New'' one '-- not someone's hand-me-down or outgrown possession.
More name brands make the list, including Puma, ''Guci,'' Chanel and Hydroflask. And she'd really appreciate a real, live pet rabbit '-- and lists ''bunny clothes'' as well.
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Sprinkled throughout are some startlingly everyday items: makeup, clothes, earrings, an alarm clock and '... ''landry diturgent.'' As one commenter pointed out, you have to have detergent if you want to wash the bunny's clothes.
The audacity mounts with entry #21, which is $4,000. Why would a 10-year-old need that much cash?
''No idea what the $4,000 is for,'' her dad told TIME. ''Maybe she has an entirely separate list that she's planning to buy.''
While her dad reassured readers that she ''will get some or more of the more reasonable things,'' there are a few that even Santa probably won't be able to handle.
The list has been retweeted over 26,000 times and has given people quite a laugh. It even made it before the eyes of some important people, and it looks like some outside help might be coming to the rescue.
''Dicks and Hydro Flask have offered to send her an item off of the list,'' her dad told TIME.
Until then, Drew can dream of what presents will make it under the tree by Christmas morning.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.
French MPs Want To Ban Black Friday Because Of "Resource Waste" And "Overconsumption"
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 11:06
Members of the French Parliament are now demanding the government prohibit Black Friday, reported The Independent.
French MPs passed an amendment Monday that could make the annual shopping holiday, widely popularized in the US, illegal, warning that a shopping frenzy causes "resources waste" and "overconsumption."
The proposal, led by France's former environment minister Delphine Batho, is expected to be debated next month in the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament.
France's ecological transition minister, Elisabeth Borne, told Europe 1 radio on Thursday that Black Friday creates "traffic jams, pollution, and gas emissions."
"We cannot both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and call for a consumer frenzy," Borne said. "Above all, we must consume better."
The amendment prohibiting Black Friday has been condemned by France's e-commerce union.
RetailMeNot estimates that French shoppers are expected to spend $6.5 billion this year between Black Friday and Dec. 1.
Climate change activists from the Extinction Rebellion group's French chapter have been out in force protesting shoppers.
"Friday, Nov. 29, it's Block Friday: a day when Extinction Rebellion joins the youth call for the climate," the climate change group said on Facebook. "Together, we stand to occupy in a festive way or block 'Temples' of consumption in more than 20 cities in France."
Activists across #France have staged #BlackFriday protests against #Amazon, decrying consumerism and its impact on the environment. https://t.co/xtG1feHZJ2
'-- Francisco Taveira (@jftaveira1993) November 29, 2019Extinction Rebellion also said Black Friday is "a symbol of the most harmful capitalism" and warned that "consumerism will end up / destroy everything if we don't act before."
"One word of order: prevent them from making a profit on what does not belong to them: the living," the post added.
Gr¨ve pour le climat Caen : action de blocus au centre Paul-Doumer (Fnac) en ce jour de Black Friday #Caen #Greve #Climat #Calvados #Normandie pic.twitter.com/hkNnCvqhrl
'-- Ouest-France 14 (@OuestFrance14) November 29, 2019Borne told Europe 1 that if Black Friday supported local businesses instead of mega-corporations, she wouldn't be opposed to a shopping holiday.
Michael Bloomberg Now Says Legalizing Pot Is 'Stupid' | Crooks and Liars
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 11:05
As a twenty-one year old in my house said yesterday, "Yeah, I wasn't going to vote for him anyway." Newsweek reports that Michael Bloomberg isn't just flushing millions down the toilet to be considered a presidential candidate. He's flushing the millennial vote with it:
Former New York City Mayor'--and potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate'--Michael Bloomberg called efforts to legalize marijuana "perhaps the stupidest thing anybody has ever done."
Speaking at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, on Tuesday, Bloomberg said on the subject, according to WBNG-TV:
"We have a different kind of problem in America, for example. Last year, in 2017, 72,000 Americans [overdosed] on drugs. In 2018, more people than that are OD-ing on drugs, have OD'd on drugs. And today, incidentally, we are trying to legalize another addictive narcotic, which is perhaps the stupidest thing anybody has ever done. We've got to fight that, and that's another thing that Bloomberg Philanthropies will work on it in public health."
The position from the billionaire politician would seem to be out of step with Democratic leaders in his state and liberal voters nationwide.
YA THINK?
This hard stance is kinda out of touch with 2013 Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who effectively decriminalized possession of personal-use marijuana in his State of the City address that year.
I'd say he's making a play for the Biden vote, but Joe reversed his position on pot being a "gateway drug" just this week.
Trump signs Hong Kong human rights bill, ignoring China's warnings
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 10:59
Image Source: PixabayUS President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law legislation that could bring diplomatic action and economic sanctions against Hong Kong, brushing off multiple warnings by China against such a move.
''The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act reaffirms and amends the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, specifies United States policy towards Hong Kong and directs assessment of the political developments in Hong Kong,'' the White House said in a statement. ''Certain provisions of the act would interfere with the exercise of the president's constitutional authority to state the foreign policy of the United States.''
The legislation has provoked a backlash from the Chinese government, which on Monday summoned US ambassador to China Terry Branstad to warn that Congress' passage of the legislation last week constituted ''meddling'' in the country's internal affairs and would result in ''consequences''.
Thousands in Hong Kong take to the streets in 'Thanksgiving' rally praising US, President Trump
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 10:56
Thousands of pro-Democracy demonstrators took part Thursday in a Thanksgiving Day rally in Hong Kong, waving American flags in a show of gratitude toward the U.S. in reaction to a pair of new human rights laws signed by President Donald Trump.
What are the details?Protests have raged in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong for nearly six months, as citizens push back against Beijing's attempts to impose greater influence over the former British colony. The U.S. Congress took action in support of the protesters this week, passing a bill that "requires the state department to justify favorable U.S. trading terms that have helped [Hong Kong] become a world financial center," The Guardian reported.
The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla), also includes the threat of sanctions against China for human rights violations.
"The rationale for us having this rally is to show our gratitude and thank the U.S. Congress and also President Trump for passing the bill," said 23-year-old Sunny Cheung, a member of the student group that pushed for the legislation. "We are really grateful about that and we really appreciate the effort made by Americans who support Hong Kong, who stand with Hong Kong, who do not choose to side with Beijing."
Reuters reported that the "Thanksgiving" rally took place Thursday night in the heart of Hong Kong. Activists draped themselves in American flags, singing their protest anthem and waving phone "torches."
According to the Associated Press, Beijing is "furious" over what it views as American meddling in China's ongoing conflict with Hong Kong.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng reportedly told U.S. Ambassador Terry Brandstad that the new laws passed by the U.S. constituted "serious interference in China's internal affairs and a serious violation of international law."
Anything else?President Trump issued a statement saying, "I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong. They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all."
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Fri, 29 Nov 2019 10:48
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UPS Employees Arrested For Allegedly Running A Decade-Long Drug Trafficking Ring: Police
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 10:35
Authored by Isabel van Brugen via The Epoch Times,
Four United Parcel Service (UPS) employees are accused of being involved in a decade-long operation to import and traffic large amounts of drugs and counterfeit vaping oils, police said, as 11 arrests were made over the past two weeks.
The scheme often saw thousands of pounds of narcotics and marijuana shipped weekly from narco-traffickers into the United States and then to various destinations across the nation. Authorities said the substances were transported meticulously in cardboard boxes through UPS's trucking and delivery systems, the Washington Post reported.
Money made from the lucrative operation was then spent on purchasing luxury homes and properties, vehicles, and vacations, according to detectives.
Investigations first began in 2017 when the Tucson Police Department and an arm of ICE found evidence which pointed to the elaborate scheme.
John Leavitt, commander of the Tucson Police Department's Counter Narcotics Alliance, said in a statement: ''This investigation has identified and mitigated vulnerabilities in the shipping infrastructure that has allowed for the undetected trafficking of narcotics for more than a decade.
Over the past couple of weeks, agents arrested 11 individuals aged between 24 and 49, including four UPS employees. Authorities seized substantial sums of money, around 50,000 counterfeit THC vape pens, equipment to manufacture drugs, and vehicles, according to a police statement.
All eleven face charges related to narcotics smuggling, drug possession, money laundering and misconduct involving weapons, the New York Times reported.
A 49-year-old UPS employee of the Tucson distribution facility, Mario Barcelo, is accused of leading the operation, and allegedly used his position as supervisor to bypass security measures as drug shipments were loaded onto trucks and delivered, investigators from the Counter Narcotics Alliance said.
Barcelo was arrested on Nov. 13.
''He's been able to provide this service to drug traffickers without being detected both internally and externally by law enforcement for years,'' Tucson Police Sgt. William Kaderly told the Post.
''They've been doing it for so long that they were truly comfortable that they were never going to get caught.''
UPS told the Post in a statement that the company is ''not at liberty to discuss the details of the arrests as this is an ongoing investigation,'' but added that it is cooperating with law enforcement officials.
Trump to Designate Mexican Drug Cartels as Terror OrganizationsPresident Donald Trump said this week he intends to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups for their role in trafficking narcotics and people. The day before, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he disagreed with the move.
During an interview on Nov. 26 with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on the topic, Trump confirmed it is something he has been working on for several months.
''Absolutely,'' Trump told O'Reilly when asked whether Mexican drug cartels would be designated as terror groups.
''I've been working on that for the last 90 days. You know designation is not that easy, you have to go through a process, and we're well into that process.''
Mexico's foreign ministry promptly reacted to Trump's comments, saying it would quickly seek a high-level meeting with U.S. State Department officials to address the legal designation as well as the flow of arms and money to organized crime.
''The foreign minister will establish contact with his counterpart, Michael R. Pompeo, in order to discuss this very important issue for the bilateral agenda,'' the ministry said.
Under U.S. law, members of a particular group designated as a terrorist organization cannot enter the country. They may be deported, and it is also illegal for people in the United States to knowingly offer support. Financial institutions must also block funds connected to the group and alert the U.S. Treasury Department.
Terror groups currently on the U.S. Foreign Terror Organization list include Islamic State, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram in Nigeria.
Earlier, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Mexico doesn't agree with the United States potentially designating cartels as terrorists.
''We will never accept that, we are not 'vendepatrias' (nation sellers),'' Lopez Obrador said at his morning press conference on Nov. 25, Breitbart reported.
Lopez Obrador's foreign relations minister Marcelo Ebrard said that the designation would be unnecessary. He noted that if America designates cartels as terrorists, it could open up a legal avenue for the United States to take action against cartels inside of Mexico.
Could this be the end of the road for the '‚¬114m-a-year Brussels-to-Strasbourg caravan? | Euronews
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 10:32
An MEP has claimed to have come up with a solution to end the 'caravan', which sees the European Parliament move from Brussels to Strasbourg once every month at a cost of '‚¬114 million per year.
Nico Semsrott, an artist and MEP for the satirical Die Partei, says that while the Treaty of Amsterdam requires Strasbourg to be the seat of the European Parliament, it does not specify the city.
In a video posted to his YouTube account, Semsrott smashes a bottle of wine at the door of the hall of the parliament in Brussels and sticks a post-it note on the door, 'renaming' it Strasbourg.
As a result, Semsrott says, there is no longer any reason for 751 MEPs and their staff to move every month at such a monumental cost to the European taxpayer.
Watch the interview with Semsrott in the video player above.
Read more: EU parliament's '‚¬114m-a-year move to Strasbourg 'a waste of money', but will it ever be scrapped?
Strasbourg became the seat of the European parliament in 1992, while Brussels was set as the venue for parliamentary committees and the parliament's staff would set based in Luxembourg.
Although the situation is unpopular with both the public and MEPs themselves, a change would require the unanimous vote of every member state, and would likely be vetoed by France.
The European Parliament in 2003 put the cost of the caravan at '‚¬103m, but the EU points out that 6% of the parliament's budget, 1% of the EU's administrative budget and just 0.1% of the total EU budget.
Example 12,345,678 why Americans hate the media ''> Jake Tapper tries painting Trump's Afghanistan trip as a bad thing '' twitchy.com
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 10:30
Trump spent his Thanksgiving in Afghanistan serving Thanksgiving dinner to the troops. It was a 'secret' trip, where only a few select members of the media were made aware; Trump even had someone 'tweeting' for him. That he and his team worked so hard to keep this quiet tells you it was legit, not a PR stunt, not a campaign stop '... this was Trump doing something he wanted to do for our troops.
While the usual suspects were having conniptions over the Rocky photo, Trump was making a secret trip to Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/TR3KwNIPbM
'-- Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) November 28, 2019
But of course, that didn't stop the media from reporting on it in a negative light. From the Newsweek garbage where Jessica Kwong claimed the president was just 'golfing and tweeting' all day to this tweet from Jake Tapper, the last thing these brave, friendly firefighters wanted to do was paint the president in a positive light.
Notice something missing from Jake's tweet?
CNN: President Donald Trump made an unannounced visit to troops in Afghanistan, the first time he's visited that nation, where the US has been at war for 18 years.
'-- Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 28, 2019
Wow.
Could he have found a way to make a positive and meaningful thing more negative and meaningless? FFS, and he wonders why people hate them. It's almost as if he was trying to antagonize with this tweet.
If so, it worked. He pissed a lot of people off.
Are you seriously complaining a sitting President didn't visit an active war zone more often? Potentially even during the 15 years before his inauguration? Your Democratic Party editors might get worried about how often LBJ visited Saigon, or FDR on Omaha Beach.
You hack.
'-- Bocephus (@lordthx1139) November 28, 2019
Yes, he seriously was complaining that a sitting president didn't visit a war zone more often PLUS he deliberately left out the whole FEEDING THEM DINNER part of the trip.
Hack is accurate.
You really are a petty little man. I notice you never said this about Obama.
But I forget, you suffer severe #tds
'-- Space Woman Spiff ðŸ‘(C)ðŸ>>'ðŸš (@BellaPelosi) November 28, 2019
Petty little man works.
The way you tweeted this out is something else'... If it world Obama visiting you would never have phrased it the same way'.... But you can keep lying to yourself that you are an honest and objective journalist
Happy thanksgiving
'-- Dino (@dinok1975) November 28, 2019
The war in Afghanistan is Trump's fault
'-- Fusilli Spock (@awstar11) November 28, 2019
WE KNEW IT!
Yeah, maybe we should end the pointless war.
'-- Dog guy (@Catsorange1) November 28, 2019
Why the negative spin Jake?
'-- Joe Mercer (@smokinjoe101) November 28, 2019
Because it's all he and his media cohorts know how to do these days.
Wow, Jake. Any option for a cheap shot taken, right?
Example 523,987,439,674,763 why America hates the media.
'-- Jim (@WFSecurityNerd) November 28, 2019
That number of examples seems low.
Not pictured: President Obama visiting the troops in Afghanistan
'-- Aaron R (@notwitty30) November 28, 2019
Way to spin a positive story to fit your 'orange man bad' narrative
'-- MikeP (@TheRealMike_P) November 29, 2019
It was indeed a most impressive spin.
He went to Iraq last Christmas. I mean, you are really splitting hairs here.
'-- georgia (@georgia1041) November 28, 2019
President Donald Trump made an unannounced first visit to US troops in Afghanistan to spend time with them and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. I know, it sounds much more positive than your tweet. ðŸ
'-- Beks (@RavenWood_54) November 28, 2019
God forbid!
He also visited the troops in Iraq for Christmas last year'...
C'mon Jake. Just because you work for CNN doesn't mean you have to be this petty. pic.twitter.com/kBOwgBbmyp
'-- Kevin Barnard (@KevyB1990) November 28, 2019
Actually yes, yes it does. If you read any stories about how much Zucker hates Trump this isn't a stretch '...
Always the dig. Trump didn't start a war 18 years ago.
'-- Terry O' (@IrishTea1) November 28, 2019
So on Thanksgiving Tapper decides to be an a-hole'...
Noted
So showing up, visiting the troops, pushing a peace process'... all of this and your tweet is.. he hasn't been there before. pic.twitter.com/w1UedMV6UJ
'-- Jeff Kiser (@1962Kiser) November 28, 2019
Pretty cool to have a president who appreciates the troops.
'-- Pooka Luck (@MuchLuck) November 28, 2019
A change from the last administration, that's for sure.
This is petty, Jake. I am not a fan of the man but this comes across badly.
'-- Lawrence Mussio (@Novamoose) November 29, 2019
You're an ass.
'-- Jason Scalese (@coachscalese) November 28, 2019
I see what you did there. Petty, but I know you can't help it.
'-- Duke Santos 2000 (@unashamedusa) November 28, 2019
So it's a good thing, say it Jake.
'-- Just Phil (@philllosoraptor) November 28, 2019
He can't bring himself to say something positive. He just can't.
You're trying to make it sound like he started the conflict. You're a sad, pathetic little man trying so hard to spin something wonderful into bullshit political points'...what an asshat.
'-- Eric Horst (@emhorst) November 29, 2019
Why didn't you include the fact that he served dinner to the troops Mr. Unbiased Journalist'....????
'-- GOLFING & TWEETING SECRET SQUIRREL (@SecritSqrl) November 28, 2019
Because '... wait for it '... wait again '... ORANGE MAN BAD.
Related:
More like NewsWEAK: Newsweek journo ROASTED after 'correcting' her story claiming Trump spent Thanksgiving 'golfing and tweeting'
Study shows there's nothing wacky about conspiracy theorists
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 10:28
Credit: PixabayResearchers at The Australian National University (ANU) have delved into the world of online conspiracy theories, showing most of the people behind them are actually pretty ordinary.
The study looked at eight years of content, sifting through more than two billion comments posted on Reddit, including everything posted to the subreddit r/conspiracy.
R/conspiracy covers everything from UFOs and 9/11, to political conspiracy theories like 'pizzagate', which took off during the 2016 US election campaign.
But despite the subject matter, lead author of the study Dr. Colin Klein says conspiracy theorists aren't always a bunch of "crackpots wearing tinfoil hats".
"In the past before the rise of online forums like Reddit, we tended to only hear about the most extreme views, and those people tended to naturally be wary about talking to someone else about their beliefs," Dr. Klein said.
"These massive online forums paint a very different picture.
"The enormous set of comments we examined show many r/conspiracy users actually have more 'sensible' interests.
"For example conspiracy theories about police abuse of power are common. That's not so crazy.
"These people might believe false things, but with good reason'--because similar things have happened in the past."
Professor Klein and his team also found that while there are subtle differences in the language used by those who end up posting on r/conspiracy, it's not necessarily enough to set them apart from other Reddit users.
"You might find they talk more about power or power structures, but their language is not that different from what ordinarily goes on in a forum like r/politics. You can't distinguish them that way.
"It's very easy to look at conspiracy theories and think they're super wacky, and the people who believe in them are crazy, but it's actually much more continuous with a lot of things we do every day.
"Low level theorising goes on a lot in everyday life, I'm inclined to think the stuff you see online is just a strong outgrowth of that."
According to Dr. Klein, forums like r/conspiracy can also be driven by current events.
"For example, Reddit attracted a whole new set of users following the election of US President Donald Trump.
"He also generates quite a lot of in-fighting amongst users. This is what makes it such great way to study social dynamics."
The data also reveals how people come to start posting on the r/conspiracy forum. The rise of Internet echo chambers is a factor'--but there's much more at play.
"We followed people who started using Reddit and posted for about six months before they ended up on r/conspiracy," Dr. Klein said.
"You find two people who, for example, both started on the popular 'ask me anything' Reddit, and one ends up talking about conspiracies and one doesn't.
"People who go on to post on r/conspiracy also tend to be over-represented in the political forums, but it's not like they're hyper-focused.
"This suggests a more active process where people are seeking out sympathetic communities. This process of finding like-minded people is something we see a lot of on the Internet."
The research has been published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Citation: Study shows there's nothing wacky about conspiracy theorists (2019, November 29) retrieved 29 November 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-11-wacky-conspiracy-theorists.html
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Fri, 29 Nov 2019 09:41
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M17: an open-source, DMR-like system - KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 09:32
An M17 radio prototype.
On reddit, Wojciech, SP5WWP, just posted an item about his latest project, and open-hardware and open-software, DMR-like system called M17. He says that his goal is ''create a fully functional, truly open-source and open-hardware system for digital radio communication. Something like DMR, but with open hardware too.'' I have cobbled together the following from the FAQ and and a post on his website.
M17 is a community-driven, truly open, free to use digital radio system. It's a a DMR alternative, if you will. All schematics and source code is available for free on github.
Wojciech says that he's developing M17 because there's no open platform for developing digital radio and because DMR isn't really amateur-friendly. You can't really experiment with it. He says, ''It's no fun using something, that's only available at commercial retail. Is that true ham spirit?'' He goes on to say that M17 provides all that's missing in DMR misses and, because it uses the Codec2 vocoder developed by David Rowe, the voice quality is better as well.
Internally, M17 radios use an STM32F7 family microcontroller along with a SiLabs Si4463 RF front-end chip. The microcontroller samples the voice signal from the microphone using an ADC, encodes it with Codec2, and sends the encoded voice as a data packet. In addition, the radio has an RF power amplifier, an accelerometer (ADXL345) and a place for a GNSS module.
The coded speech bitrate is 3200 bits per second, and it is possible to send data packets alone or as embedded data along with voice channel. M17 does not currently support encryption, but the developers are working on AES implementation.
Wojciech has been working on the project for about a year now, and while he has made substantial progress, is looking for some help. Specifically, he's looking for people with the following skills:
C programming (Raspberry Pi, STM32, PC)PCB routing (preferably KiCAD)Familiarity with 3D printing, CAD/CAMSoldering, prototypingOpen mind '' concept testingIf you have any interest in working with him on this project, you can contact him via email ([email protected]) or on LinkedIn. It all sounds pretty cool to me.
ISPmail guide for Debian Stretch '' workaround.org
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 09:26
This guide will help you set up your own mail server while you learn how email transport and delivery works on the internet nowadays. I have maintained this guide since Debian Woody was released in 2002. Back then it took me weeks to get all the information I needed. Has that really been 16 years by now? Wow. Thank you all for your kind feedback and support '' I would probably have discontinued this guide without you. And this is already the eigth edition.
See Marc Guillaume's french translation if you prefer french.
Latest changes:
2018-02-09 '' added Apache configuration to access the rspamd web interface2018-02-22 '' added information about virus scanning using ClamAV and rspamd2018-03-01 '' added a page about DKIM signing, SPF and DMARCI am publishing this guide without any commercial interest. It just makes me happy to see more and more leisure sysadmins leave public freemail providers and operate their own servers. If you feel you would like to return the favor you can easily make me happy by clicking on the donation link at the bottom of this page. And please respect the copyright. I have seen literal copies of my work on the internet by people even making money with it. That's annoying.
So what will the mail server cost you? The only recurring costs you may face are for running your mail server and for renting a domain. Cheap virtual servers are usually available at around $5 / 5'‚¬ per month and have enough power to run a mail server for your friends and family. The software being used is completely free and open-source. You can even make money with it. After all it is called ''ISPmail'' (ISP = internet service provider). Are you a sysadmin and your employer needs a mail server for their 500 employees? Go with this guide.
What your mail server can doReceive emails on your domain(s).Filter out spam and malware.Send emails out to any other servers/domains on the internet. Connections will be encrypted when possible.Add cryptographic signatures (DKIM) to outgoing emails.Store as many emails for as many email addresses as you have disk space. Set limits (''quotas'') per user.Let your users fetch email using IMAP or POP3 and send email through your servers using SMTP.Allow users to manage server-based filter rules. Distribute incoming emails to different folders. Forward copies. Or send out-of-office notifications.Provide a webmail interface so users can access their emails securely from any location.Mitigate brute force attacks.What you will needLinux experience. Preferably a Debian-derivative. No godlike skills required. But know your basics: navigating through the file system, editing files, watching log files and having basic understanding of DNS and SQL (SELECT, INSERT, rows, columns).Time. 2 hours to 2 days depending on your skills.A server that runs with Debian Stretch. 1 GB of RAM and a 20 GB disk is fine for your friends and family. Rent a cheap virtual server. Or use a decommissioned laptop. Other Linux distributions likely come with other versions of the software and have different default configuration '' so your mileage may vary if you use anything else than Debian.A public IP address that does not belong to a range of typical ISP customers. You usually can't operate the mail server from a dialup IP address at home because those IP ranges are globally blacklisted. Make sure that your IP address is not blacklisted before you start.An internet domain (or more) to receive emails for. You need to be able to set A, MX and TXT records for that domain.Patience. We will proceed slowly and after every step ensure that you made no mistakes. Don't hurry and skip parts even if they appear confusing at first. If you get lost just submit your question at the bottom of any page throughout this guide and help is on the way.What this is not aboutIf you are lazy or in a hurry or just don't want to learn about mail servers then this guide is not for you. There are ready solutions like iRedMail that you may want to consider. Running a mail server requires a certain technical understanding. And that's what the ISPmail guide is for. Experience from giving support to other sysadmins shows that most problems appear because some detail in a complex setup goes wrong and they have no idea how to track it down. Email has evolved a lot over the past 40 years. Go with ready solutions if you like. But I have a feeling that we meet again. And you will probably not save time either taking the easy route. Or as one of the first long-haired nerds put it'...
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.(Albert Einstein)
Ready?The whole tutorial is split into several pages. Please use the links on the right side to navigate through the pages. Make sure you have the server, a non-blacklisted IP and a domain ready. Let's go.
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Who Exactly Is The 'Parasite'? | The American Conservative
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 09:20
This new genre-bending film from South Korea delivers a sophisticated upstairs-downstairs with a macabre twist.
Parasite, 2019. (screenshot of official trailer/CJ Entertainment/Neon)
James C. Scott, in 1992's Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts, argues that behind the public face of every society there is a counternarrative written by the subordinate classes. This ''hidden transcript'' is in dialogue with the public face but always elusive, concealing its rebellion. ''Parasite,'' the new genre-bending comedy/horror/thriller from Bong Joon-ho (''The Host,'' ''Snowpiercer''), makes this ''hidden transcript'' literal in its tale of a hilltop mansion that hides the secrets of its household help.
We begin at the bottom of the hill, with the Kim family. We first see them in the classically ''hidden transcript'' act of poaching'--although this is 2019, so what they're poaching is wifi. The Kims hang their socks in the window of their semibasement to dry; they battle a stinkbug infestation as they frantically fold pizza boxes in order to make enough cash to survive. Then a friend arrives bearing two things: a heavy ''scholar's rock,'' which is believed to bring wealth; and a job for the son, Ki-woo (Woo-sik Choi), as the tutor of a wealthy family's daughter. A few forged university documents and the son is on his way up that hill.
On Scott's account, the more severe the society's repression of its underclass, the more violent the fantasies of that subjugated class, and the more carefully they must disguise their true emotions and thoughts in order to survive. The top and bottom of society become unintelligible to one another: the top develops codes, rituals, manners, which a member of the underclass can rarely successfully mimic, while the underclass displays only a compliant smile, hiding the teeth. The Kims insinuate themselves into the life of the Park family, steadily grifting upward until every Kim is working for the family in one capacity or another. As the families intertwine, economically and perhaps sexually, who is feeding off of whom?
''Parasite'' offers all the pleasures of the con-artist flick. We get to enjoy the Kims' stolen victories'--even when the victims of their scheming live a good ways down the social ladder. But ''Parasite'' is not only a caper tale for an age of economic resignation, in which the poor scheme not for wealth but for service jobs. It's also a home invasion film, where the home is invaded by the help (and then the help themselves face an intruder); and a haunted-house film, where the ghosts are servants.
Scott argues too strenuously that the underclass doesn't suffer from false consciousness'--that it may appear to accept the upper class's account of underclass inferiority, but it never really gives in. He wants us to attend to the simmering resentments, and to the revolts that erupted even when they faced impossible odds. He wants us to see the resilience of oppressed people's self-respect.
Bong offers an even more nuanced picture. The ''hidden transcript'' of the Kims'--and the other household help who emerge as their antagonists'--does include deception and covert revolt. But it also includes a heartbreaking acceptance of the logic of meritocracy: if you're smart enough and hardworking enough, that scholar's rock will shower its blessings of prosperity on you and yours.
''Parasite'' uses certain unforgettable contrasts: the awful design of the Kims' semibasement (who put the toilet on a window ledge?) and the perfect, sleek Park house, for example. The ironwork door to the mansion creaks open and Ki-woo passes from the shadowed, downward-sloping streets outside to the wealthy family's sun-drenched green lawn. The door slams shut behind him, turning this new bright house into the old dark house of countless horror films, as we suspect Ki-woo is more naive and in more danger than he thinks. A housekeeper physically contorts herself to push aside the shelves concealing a hidden door; a homeowner slumps across a breakfast table in her backyard; faces appear under beds, under tables, disappearing around corners'--these are the symbols in Bong's language of fear, dependence, hidden sorrow, shame.
''Parasite'' includes an unforgettable race downward in the pouring rain, from the Parks' home to the Kims', and what the characters find at the bottom of the hill is the clearest statement that this is a political movie as well as an intimate psychological thriller/tragedy. ''Parasite'' explores the limits of the Kims' ruthlessness, and shows their vulnerability not only to economic exploitation but to humiliation. Scott cites Richard Sennett and Jonathan Cobb's The Hidden Injuries of Class: ''Public injury to one's dignity and standing as a person, Sennett argues, is at the very center of class experience for American workers.'' It's indignity, perhaps foreshadowed by that stinkbug infestation, which prompts the movie's final act of violence.
This is a movie about messages, codes and plans, subterranean communications and misperceptions. (It's no coincidence that the Kim children work in the Park house under Western names, Ki-woo becoming ''Kevin'' and Ki-jung ''Jessica.'') ''Parasite'' may even be a ''message movie,'' though it has an artistry that term conceals. The movie's long denouement is a part of that artistry. The climax is far from the end; the shattering violence resolves nothing, bringing neither triumph nor complete disaster but a new hard task of salvage.
The film ends with Ki-woo, and asks what his options are. He longs for love, for reunion, for a second chance'--he doesn't want to despair. Does hope require clinging to that heavy scholar's rock, that tantalus promise of success?
Set up a mail server on Amazon EC2 '' Upon my shoulder
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 09:11
This post will explain how to set up a Postfix mail server on an EC2 instance.
First, a word of warning: Amazon IPs generally aren't highly considered, spam-wise. Meaning that even if you take all the precautionary steps, your emails might end up in spam folders. If email is business-critical for you, you might want to consider other options: host your mail server somewhere else? Use something like SendGrid?
This said, let's dive in!
PrerequisitesI assume you have the following:
A domain name, with control over the DNS recordsAn EC2 accountPick an AMILet's start by creating an EC2 instance. I began with the vanilla AWS Linux micro instance, which seem to be somehow Fedora-based, and it was a pain. Now do yourself a favor and pick a Debian-based OS. It will make things much more easier.
Eric Hammond and Canonical themselves provides Debian and Ubuntu AMIs, which are a great first step. You can even bypass the whole Postfix config by using one of these AMIs.
Assign an elastic IP to the instance you launched. We will need it for the DNS setup.
Configure PostfixNow's the time to be very lazy and just redirect you to Ivar Abrahamsen's excellent howto on setting up Postfix. Actually, most of what I'm writing right now can be found on his howto, but let's not stop at technicalities.
Configure your DNSThe most important step in having your email properly delivered is in your DNS configuration.
The first step is to define an A record for your Amazon Elastic IP, for example mail.mydomain.com. This will be used to set up a reverse DNS on your web server, so that other SMTP servers know that you're not a spam relay.
Then add an MX record to the address you just defined, for example mail.mydomain.com. Now each SMTP server sending mail to mydomain.com will contact mail.domain.com, which in turn points to your EC2 instance. Awesome!
The next step is to modify your SPF record. I'll let you work out the details with the spec and Ivar's howto, and as an example here is the SPF record for remaildr:
remaildr.com.        1800    IN    TXT    "v=spf1 mx ip4:50.16.218.96 include:mx.ovh.com ~all"This SPF allows MX servers and the IP address 50.16.218.96 (i.e. the EC2 instance) to send mail for remaildr.com. Only ''MX'' should be enough, no need for the IP in particular ? Well, I thought so, but it didn't work so I added the IP address. Now it works. If anyone has an idea why, I'm all ears.
The include:mx.ovh.com is automatically added by OVH themselves and is not a problem in our case.
You can use the dig command to check if your DNS settings are properly set. For example, the SPF field was retrieved with a:
$ dig remaildr.com in txtAs a bonus, you might be interested in setting up DKIM (cryptographic email signing), a half of which takes place in your DNS. I'll once again refer you to Ivan's howto because it's that good.
Tell Amazon you'll be sending emailsBy default, Amazon limits the amount of email you can send from an instance. You can ask them to remove that limitation very easily though, through that page.
This form also allows you to set up the reverse DNS I was telling you about. Go on, do it! Amazon usually answers to this form within 1-2 days.
Done!That's it!
Do you end up in spam folders? Try the test at AllAboutSpam, and check if everything's alright. It covers about any issue your server might have.
Fake mews: Brussels denies EU plot to force owners to put cats on a lead
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 09:07
T he European Commission has denied it plans to force owners to put their cats on a lead and, in a staunch defence of freedom of movement rights for pets, insisted EU law does not ban putting the cat out for the night.
Brussels was forced into the bizarre denial on Wednesday after Dutch lawyers from Tilburg University in Trouw, the Netherlands, said letting unleashed cats loose broke the EU's Birds and Habitats Directive because they killed so many birds.
''The Commission is a strong defender of free movement rights - including of cats,'' said Enrico Brivo, the executive's environment spokesman.
''We categorically deny that the commission will oblige cats to be held on a leash at all times,'' Mr Brivo told the Telegraph.
Lawyers Arie Trouwborst and Han Somsen said that a court case could be brought against the Dutch government because it did nothing to prevent unsupervised cats being put out for the night. The law protects all wild birds in the EU, their nests, eggs and habitats.
The domestic cat is one of the world's most ruthless exterminators of animal species, the pair wrote in the Journal of Environmental Law .
The lawyers claimed that 140 million animals are killed by cats each year in the Netherlands alone. More than half of those cats had owners, they wrote. There are between two and three million domestic cats in the Netherlands, according to the figures in the Journal, and more than 500 wild bird species protected under EU law.
"Even if it is not your intention to harm wild animals when you leave the cat flap open, that is what happens on a large scale," Mr Somsen said
''Whoever starts a lawsuit against the Dutch government, who must enforce European rules, has a good chance of success,'' Mr Trouwbest said.
T he Dutch government said it had no plans to ban cats from being let outdoors unleashed and unsupervised.
''We are currently working hard on measures to promote the restoration and conservation of nature in the Netherlands," a government spokesperson said, "keeping cats indoors is not part of that."
Brussels cast doubt on those figures, hinting they could be "fake mews".
''The commission is not aware of the study in question,'' Mr Brivo said. ''The information that we have is that the disturbance and killing of birds and other wild species by cats is not among the main pressures and threats to biodiversity.''
All EU citizens have the right to live, work and study in any EU country. Dogs, cats and ferrets benefit from an EU pet passport scheme, meaning they can easily travel around the EU for holidays without the need to be quarantined.
British anxiety around EU freedom of movement rules are often cited as a reason for the Brexit vote in the 2016 referendum. British pets will lose their EU passports and freedom of movement in Britain will end after Brexit.
DrChris''…: "We officially have a Trump Body Count https://w'..." - No Agenda Social
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 08:24
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TYRANNY ALERT: Virginia to OUTLAW Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, kickboxing, Tai Chi, firearms instruction and self-defense training under proposed law SB64 '' NaturalNews.com
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 08:17
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Kamala Harris aide bolts to Bloomberg campaign
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 08:12
Sen. Kamala Harris. | Chris Carlson/AP Photo
Kelly Mehlenbacher, who worked on operations for Kamala Harris' presidential bid and recently informed colleagues of her plans to resign over frustrations with the organization, has accepted a job with Michael Bloomberg, sources said Wednesday.
Mehlenbacher, who served as the treasury manager for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign, will become deputy chief operating officer for Bloomberg, according to two Democratic officials familiar with the move.
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Harris' campaign has experienced significant turbulence as she fell far behind in polls. That includes layoffs and redeployments to Iowa, where she's banking on a come-from-behind, top-three finish to jumpstart her spiraling chances in South Carolina.
Mehlenbacher was among a group of staffers who tendered their resignations amid the latest round of layoffs, which hit the operations team hard. The staff reductions and subsequent shifts have focused renewed attention on deep and long-standing dysfunction among the campaign's top leaders.
Harris is trying to lift her candidacy from the low-single digits with a tenacious schedule that has her campaigning with family '-- and cooking '-- on Thanksgiving in Iowa. She has worked to navigate the internal dissension and improve her standing by correcting for mistakes that dogged her for much of the year, such as moving from defensive crouches to going on offense against her opponents on health care and her criminal justice record.
Yet while Harris has strung together a series of strong outings in recent weeks '-- from a well-received speech at the big Democratic dinner in Iowa to a solid debate performance '-- she has yet to see upward movement in polls. Meanwhile, she released a 50-second ad online that quickly went viral, generating 1.6 million views on Twitter, but has said she needs to raise money to put it on TV in Iowa where some leading candidates have been on the air for weeks.
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Mehlenbacher's departure for Bloomberg comes as his team cast a wide net in the days before and after the billionaire former New York mayor formally entered the race last weekend. Kevin Sheekey joined as campaign manager, along with longtime Bloomberg ad strategist Bill Knapp and top field organizer Mitch Stewart.
Bloomberg also named mayors Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina, and Greg Fischer of Louisville, Kentucky, as his first two co-chairs.
13 Things You Didn't Know About Sam Goody | LIVE@LEEDS
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 01:55
BY STACY CONRADT Mentalfloss.com 11/15/18
Sam Goody dominated the music marketplace for decades, but after several buyouts and mergers, the once-ubiquitous retailer dwindled to a few storefronts before finally fading into mall history.
1. SAM GOODY WAS A REAL GUY.The man who founded the ubiquitous mall chain was born Samuel Gutowitz on February 25, 1904. Friends and family dubbed him ''Goody'' when he was just a child; according to the The New York Times, Gutowitz eventually made the moniker his legal name.
2. INSPIRATION STRUCK AFTER GOODY ACQUIRED RECORDS FOR A CUSTOMER.Though Goody had entrepreneurial ambitions from a young age, he wasn't always in the music business. One of his first ventures was a toy and novelty store in lower Manhattan. In 1938, a customer stopped into his shop looking for old records of Enrico Caruso, Alma Gluck, and Paul Reimers. Goody was perplexed'--''I thought [records] went out with the dodo birds,'' he said'--but promised to deliver for his customer. Goody recalled a stack of old 78-rpm disks in the basement of his apartment building in Washington Heights, so he went home and offered his landlord a can of beer in exchange for the pile of junk. (Over the years, Goody also said the exchange cost him three cigars.) After cleaning the records, Goody resold them for a whopping $25'--and realized he was in the wrong business.
3. IN THE EARLY YEARS, SAM GOODY RAN PLENTY OF OFFBEAT PROMOTIONS.When long-play records first hit the market, Goody courted customers by giving complementary turntables to anyone who spent more than $25. He ended up giving away 40,000 of the new-fangled devices'--but in spite of the incredible cost to his company, Goody considered the promotion a success. ''That meant 40,000 new customers,'' he said.
Not all of his promotions were music-related. Goody once purchased 400,000 silver dollars and gave them to customers who spent $15. When the promotion proved successful, he repeated it with half-dollars, buying 400,000 JFK 50-cent pieces to give to customers spending $10. Though the gimmick worked, Goody later had some regrets about the promo. ''I should have kept the silver dollars and given away the business,'' he said. ''When the silver price jumped like never before, I could have gotten $10 million for my $500,000 purchase.''
4. HIS FLAGSHIP STORE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR 7 PERCENT OF U.S. RECORD SALES.The unique promotions clearly worked. Goody's flagship store on West 49th Street was constantly deluged with customers'--up to 4000 a day. In 1955, business was booming to the point that the flagship location sold 7 percent of the 33 1/3-rpm disks in the entire nation, with a gross income of close to $4 million.
5. SAM GOODY PRICES WERE SO LOW THAT THEY ''ROCKED'' THE COMPETITION.Not all of Goody's promotions were gimmicks. He also managed to undercut his competition: One 1962 advertisement offered three LPs for $7.99 compared to a $13 price tag, or $4.49 per record, at Goody's competitors (in today's money, that would be a savings of $45 dollars, or $15 per LP). When Goody took an ad out in the Western edition of The New York Times advertising Bob Newhart albums for $1.89, his competitors were angry. ''What does Goody pay for this product to be able to sell it for less than I can buy it?'' one competitor complained to Billboard Music Week in 1962.
6. SAM GOODY SALESPEOPLE WERE INCREDIBLY KNOWLEDGEABLE.To have a job at the Sam Goody flagship store, employees had to prove they possessed a vast knowledge of music. Being well-versed in top 40 hits wouldn't cut it; Goody employees had encyclopedic knowledge of all things music, from opera to punk. And he paid them well to do it'--according to one employee who worked there, even part-timers received medical insurance, sick pay, vacation pay, and retirement benefits.
7. GOODY SOLD OUT TO THE AMERICAN CAN COMPANY.In 1978, Goody sold all of his stores to the American Can Company, which owned another mall-centric music store that was one of Goody's biggest competitors: Musicland. It was under American Can leadership that Goody became a staple in shopping malls across the U.S., with store numbers ballooning to 250 nationally. Goody stayed on as a consultant with American Can for five years, earning an annual salary of just $35,000.
8. HE SOLD THE BUSINESS TO SAVE HIS FAMILY.Sam Goody's 26-store empire had a stellar reputation: Low prices, vast inventory, knowledgeable salespeople, $60 million in sales. So why did he cut the whole thing loose for just $5.5 million in 1978? According to Goody, he gave the company away ''cheap'' because of his sons, Howard and Barry. ''They loved each other then and they still do,'' he later said. ''But they competed with each other on everything and soon even the help was taking sides. I could only see them breaking it all apart. So I sold the company.''
9. THE COMPANY FACED AN EARLY ANTI-PIRACY SUIT.Music piracy wasn't invented with Napster'--illegal tapes flooded the market long before the internet made music sharing commonplace. In 1981, Sam Goody Inc. faced a lawsuit for dealing counterfeit cassette and eight-track tapes. The suit alleged that more than 100,000 illegal tapes had been sold at Sam Goody stores, resulting in lost revenue of more than $1 million for artists like Olivia Newton-John, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, and Paul Simon. In a plea agreement, the company pled no contest and was fined $10,000 for transporting counterfeit Grease soundtracks from Queens to Minnesota.
10. BEFORE AMERICAN IDOL, THERE WAS SAM GOODY'S ''BANDEMONIUM'' CONTEST.Long before celebrity judges listened to local talent for reality TV purposes, Sam Goody tapped the unsigned band market for promotional purposes. For several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Sam Goody held their ''Bandemonium'' contest, pitting acts against each other in a battle-of-the-bands-style competition. Winners included Bobby Llama and Darwin's Waiting Room.
11. IN 2000, SAM GOODY GOT SOLD AGAIN.The American Can Company sold Musicland and Sam Goody to Best Buy for a cool $425 million in 2000. But the relationship didn't last long. By 2006, the stores were sold to another competitor, Trans World Entertainment. Trans World eventually converted all of the Sam Goody locations into f.y.e. stores'--except for one.
12. THE LAST SAM GOODY STORE CLOSED ON OCTOBER 31, 2012.The last Sam Goody holdout, located in San Diego, shuttered its windows on Halloween 2012. According to a company exec, the single store remained partly because the giant neon signs bearing the company logo were simply not economical to replace in that particular location.
13. A ''ROUGH TRADE'' RECORD STORE WAS REBRANDED AS SAM GOODY IN 2015 FOR AN HBO PROJECT.Your eyes didn't deceive you if you think you spotted a retro-looking Sam Goody store in Brooklyn in 2015. A British-based record store called Rough Trade agreed to allow a temporary redesign in order to accommodate the production of Vinyl, an HBO drama executive produced by Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger.
Tags: Sam Goody
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Durham Probe Expands to Pentagon Office That Contracted FBI Spy Stephan Halper '' Sara A. Carter
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 01:09
Justice Department prosecutor U.S. Attorney John Durham is questioning personnel connected to the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment, which awarded multiple contracts to FBI informant Stephan Halper. Halper, who was informing the bureau on Trump campaign advisors, is a central figure in the FBI's original investigation into President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, SaraACarter.com has learned.
These latest developments reveal the expansive nature of what is now a Justice Department criminal probe into the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign. The revelation also comes on the heels of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report regarding the bureau's investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, announced to Fox News' Sean Hannity Wednesday night the lengthy investigative report will be released to the public on Dec., 9.
DOJ Attorney General William Barr, who appointed Durham, is conducting a separate investigation alongside Horowitz's probe. Both investigations are examining how U.S. intelligence agencies began investigating now debunked ties between Russia and Trump campaign personnel in the 2016 presidential election.
Multiple sources confirmed to this news site that Durham has spoken extensively with sources working in the Office of Net Assessment, as well as outside contractors, that were paid through Pentagon office.
Department of Justice officials declined to comment on Durham's probe.
In 2016, Halper was an integral part of the FBI's investigation into short-term Trump campaign volunteer, Carter Page and George Papadopolous. Halper first made contact with Page at his seminar in July 2016. Page, who was already on the FBI's radar, was accused at the time of being sympathetic to Russia. Halper stayed in contact with Page until September 2017.
During that time, the FBI sought and obtained a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to spy on Page and used Halper to collect information on him, according to sources. It is further alleged that Halper may have secretly recorded his conversations with Page and Papadopolous. Some congressional officials believe that if recordings exist they were kept from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and would be exculpatory evidence that would've exonerated Page from the FISA warrant and allegations that Papadopolous was attempting to seek any help from the Russians with regard to Hillary Clinton's emails.
In an interview with Papadopolous earlier this year, he told this reporter that he was shocked when Halper insinuated to him that Russia was helping the Trump campaign. Papadopolous said that he told him, ''he didn't have any idea what the hell he was talking about'...that would be treason and I have nothing to do with that.''
Grassley's Office Gets Pentagon DocsMoreover, this news site has learned that the Pentagon has finally sent Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley's committee the information it requested in July, regarding Halper's contracts and the Office of Net Assessment. Grassley sent the request in a letter to Department of Defense Acting Secretary Mark Esper, after a Pentagon Inspector General investigation discovered that the office failed to conduct appropriate oversight of the contracts. Grassley urged Esper for the information.
According to the DoD Inspector General's report the Office of Net Assessment (ONA) Contracting Officer's Representatives (CORs) ''did not maintain documentation of the work performed by Professor Halper or any communication that ONA personnel had with Professor Halper; therefore, ONA CORs could not provide sufficient documentation that Professor Halper conducted all of his work in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. We determined that while the ONA CORs established a file to maintain documents, they did not maintain sufficient documentation to comply with all the FAR requirements related to having a complete COR.''
Although, Grassley stated that he wanted the information no later than July 25, the Pentagon delivered the information only last week.
Grassley's office didn't elaborate on what information was given to the committee but confirmed that it was in the process of reviewing hundreds of pages of documents.
''The committee is currently reviewing information received recently from the Pentagon, in response to Grassley's request,'' said Taylor Foy, a spokesman for the committee. Foy confirmed Grassley is continuing to investigate the matter.
Pentagon officials did not immediately respond to calls and emails. (SaraACarter.com will update this story if they so chose to respond.)
The Pentagon AuditGrassley's July letter stated that ''shockingly, the audit found that these types of discrepancies were not unique to contracts with Professor Halper, which indicates ONA must take immediate steps to shore up its management and oversight of the contracting process.''
''Accordingly, no later than July 25, 2019, please explain to the Committee the steps DoD has taken to address the recommendations that DoD IG made with respect to ONA's contracting procedures and produce to the Committee all records related to Professor Halper's contracts with DoD,'' Grassley's letter stated. ''In addition, I request that ONA provide a briefing to my Committee staff regarding the Halper contracts.''
The 74-year old professor, has rarely spoken out publicly since being outed by The Washington Post, and other news organizations, as one of the informants for the bureau who spied on the Trump campaign. He spent a career developing top-level government connections''not just through academia, as he did in Great Britain through the Cambridge Security Initiative, but through his connections in both the CIA and British MI-6. He is expected to be speaking this month at the seminar, he helped found, according to The Daily Caller.
''The results of this audit are disappointing and illustrate a systemic failure to manage and oversee the contracting process,'' stated the Senator in the letter sent July, 12 to the DOD. ''Time and again, DoD's challenges with contract management and oversight are put on display. It is far past time the largest, most critical agency in this country steps up and takes immediate action to increase its efforts to stop waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars.''
The Office of Net Assessment came under fire in 2016, when Bill Gertz, a columnist for The Washington Times, revealed that it failed to produce the top-secret net assessments the office was established to do for more than a decade, despite its then nearly $20 million annual budget.
In August, a Pentagon Inspector General report revealed that the office failed to document the research Halper had conducted for the Pentagon in four separate studies worth roughly $1 million. The inspector general's report revealed that loose contracting practices at the office and failed oversight was to blame.
Waiting for Obama - POLITICO
Fri, 29 Nov 2019 00:41
POLITICO Illustration/AP, Getty Images
Today, almost every Democratic presidential campaign starts with what one close adviser to Barack Obama calls ''The Pilgrimage'': the journey to the West End to meet the former president.
The West End of Washington, D.C., sandwiched between the better-known districts of Georgetown and Dupont Circle, is known as a neighborhood that people travel through, not to. For elite Democrats, that changed four years ago when Obama set up his personal office here. You wouldn't know from outside that one of its bland concrete and glass building houses the man whom polls rank as the most popular Democrat in America, and who, according to one global survey, is the second-most admired man in the world.
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The first presidential pilgrims started in early 2018, and they continued to trickle through this summer. Not every declared candidate has met with Obama'--Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard were notable no-shows'--but he let it be known he was available to anyone seeking advice. As a rule of thumb, the closer one is to Obama personally, the less important the West End summit is. Joe Biden, one of only two candidates who Obama knows at a familial, rather than strictly professional level, was an ''exception,'' said an Obama adviser, who had a rolling series of conversations about 2020, the most recent of which was backstage at the funeral for Elijah Cummings in Baltimore on October 25. Deval Patrick, a close Obama pal and board member at the Obama Foundation who parachuted into the race last week, checked in with a phone call before announcing.
For the others'--Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Beto O'Rourke, Steve Bullock, and more'--the meeting was as important as planning their kickoff rally or first campaign ad. Obama's lair is more Restoration Hardware than Oval Office: lots of dark wood (his desk and an enormous mirror behind it), bronze accents (the bookcases), and neutral upholstery in a seating area. Obama is discreet with his guests. He knows how a stray comment could leak and change the course of the race.
The World Wildlife Fund headquarters building in downtown Washington is also home to office space being rented out by former President Barack Obama. | Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo
He has said he usually offers three big points: Don't run if you don't think you are the best person to be president; make sure you understand the toll a campaign will take on your family; and ask yourself, ''Can you win?'' As he put it recently at a donor event in Washington, ''Not are you guaranteed a win, but do you have a theory, a pathway whereby you win not just a primary but you also win a general election, because there is not an empty exercise if you, in fact, get in. Your goal should be to actually ultimately become the president and then be able to lead the country and the world in a serious way.''
Ostensibly the meetings are for the aspiring candidates to gain some wisdom from the last Democrat to win an open presidential primary and the presidency, but they also allow Obama to collect his own intelligence about what he and his closest advisers have made clear is all that matters to him: who can beat Donald Trump.
Sometimes he offers candid advice about his visitors' strengths and weaknesses. With several lesser-known candidates, according to people who have talked to him or been briefed on his meetings, he was blunt a