1198: Self Certified

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 53m
December 12th, 2019
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Executive Producers: Sir Dwayne Melancon, Grand Duke of the Pacific North West, Sir Mad Hatter

Associate Executive Producers: Mark Aragon, Sir Finch, Quintessa R Guerrero, Anonymous

Cover Artist: Thoren

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Former Ukraine Prosecutor Shokin: Joe Biden ''Outraged We Seized Burisma Assets'', Could No Longer Pay His Son'...
Mon, 09 Dec 2019 05:18
Rudy Giuliani traveled to Ukraine with OAN investigative journalist Chanel Rion. The U.S. media are going absolutely bananas after finding out Giuliani is now gathering even more information about Joe and Hunter Biden's corrupt endeavors within Ukraine.
In this interview former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin spoke to OAN about Joe Biden's direct role in getting his office to stop investigating his son Hunter. The problem for Joe Biden was when Shokin seized all of Burisma's assets the Ukranian gas company could no longer pay his son Hunter Biden. So the vice president demanded Shokin be removed.
.
When you combine this interview with the damning public statements delivered by the Ukraine prosecutor that replaced Shokin, Yuriy Lutsenko, things really get troublesome for Joe Biden, the Obama administration and Adam Schiff.
Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko stated that after he replaced Shokin he was visited by U.S. State Dept. official George Kent and Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch; they provided a list of corruption cases the Ukraine government was not permitted to follow.
Prosecutor Lutsenko dropping specific corruption cases was critical because that allowed/enabled a process of laundering money back to U.S. officials. [SEE HERE]
The potential for this background story to become part of a larger impeachment discovery is what has the U.S. media going bananas against Rudy Giuliani.
Senator Lindsey Graham is directly connected to the group of U.S. politicians who were participating in the influence network within Ukraine. One of the downstream consequences of Rudy Giuliani investigating the Ukraine corruption and money laundering operation to U.S. officials is that it ends up catching Senator Graham.
Hence, earlier today Senator Graham said he would not permit Senate impeachment testimony that touched on this corrupt Ukraine aspect.
In essence Senator Graham is fearful that too much inquiry into what took place with Ukraine from 2014 through 2016 will expose his own participation and effort along with former Ambassador Marie Yovanovich.
Graham is attempting to end the impeachment effort quickly because the underlying discoveries have the potential to expose the network of congressional influence agents, John McCain and Graham himself included, during any witness testimony.
Senators from both parties participated in the influence process, and part of their influence priority was exploiting the financial opportunities within Ukraine while simultaneously protecting fellow participant Joe Biden and his family.
If anyone gets too close to revealing the process, writ large, they become a target of the entire apparatus. President Trump was considered an existential threat to this entire process. Hence our current political status with the ongoing coup. The Giuliani letter:
It will be interesting to see how this plays out, because in reality many U.S. Senators (both parties) are participating in the process for receiving taxpayer money and contributions from foreign governments.
Those same senators are jurists on a pending impeachment trial of President Trump who is attempting to stop the corrupt financial processes they have been benefiting from.
The conflicts are very swampy'....
FUBAR.
.
John Durham & Justice Department IG's Findings -- Investigators 'Do Not Agree' on Origin of Russia Probe | National Review
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 08:01
U.S. Attorney John Durham(United States Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut/Wikimedia)U.S. Attorney John Durham issued a rare statement in the wake of the release of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz's Monday report, stating that his office does ''not agree with'' the report's conclusions regarding the origins of the FBI's 2016 Russia probe.
''I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff,'' Durham's statement reads. ''However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department.''
''Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S. Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report's conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened,'' Durham's statement concludes.
Horwitz's report, released Monday, ascertained that the FBI had an ''authorized purpose'' for opening its investigation '' contradicting President Trump and his allies, who routinely cast the entire investigation as a partisan ''witch hunt'' '' but also found ''significant inaccuracies and omissions'' in the FBI's FISA application to surveil Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Durham's statement, however, challenges the report's assertion that the FBI was acting properly in opening its investigation because it received information from a ''Friendly Foreign Government'' (FFG) that former Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos received dirt on Hillary Clinton from Russia.
''Given the low threshold for predication in the AG Guidelines and the DIOG, we concluded that the FFG information, provided by a government the United States Intelligence Community (USIC) deems trustworthy, and describing a first-hand account from an FFG employee of a conversation with Papadopoulos, was sufficient to predicate the investigation,'' the report states. ''This information provided the FBI with an articulable factual basis that, if true, reasonably indicated activity constituting either a federal crime or a threat to national security, or both, may have occurred or may be occurring.''
It's unclear which government the report is referencing, but in May 2016 former Australian diplomat Alexander Downer sent a memo to the FBI in which he relayed Papadopoulos's claim that Russian intelligence planned to release damaging information about Hillary Clinton ahead of the election, a claim that Papadopoulos heard from Maltese academic and alleged Russian asset Joseph Mifsud, who had met previously with Papadopoulos.
Papadopoulos was found guilty of lying to Robert Mueller's investigators about contacts he had with Mifsud, although Downer said that his memo did not indicate that Papadopoulos or anyone else on the Trump campaign had coordinated with Russia to obtain the information.
''There was no suggestion '-- [neither] from Papadopoulos nor in the record of the meeting that we sent back to Canberra '-- there was no suggestion that there was collusion between Donald Trump or Donald Trump's campaign and the Russians,'' Downer said.
Papadopoulos has publicly speculated that Downer was working with Joseph Mifsud '-- a Maltese academic who reached out to him claiming to have access to damaging information about Clinton '-- to entrap him and damage the Trump campaign.
Durham, the Connecticut U.S. attorney appointed by attorney general William P. Barr to lead a DOJ probe into the origins of the Russia investigation, spoke to Downer last month as part of the probe, which has been upgraded to a criminal inquiry.
In October, Barr defended Durham and the probe after criticism from Democratic lawmakers.
''He's a 35-year veteran of the department, great reputation for non-partisanship. He was selected by two Democratic attorney generals to do sensitive investigations for them,'' Barr said of Durham, the U.S. Attorney for Connecticut. ''He's a by-the-book kind of guy. He's thorough and fair, and I'm confident he's going to get to the bottom of things.''
Statement of U.S. Attorney John H. Durham | USAO-CT | Department of Justice
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 08:01
''I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff. However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department. Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S. Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report's conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.''
Comey Claims Fox News Cancelled His Interview Over IG Report. Fox News Responds With Statement. | The Daily Wire
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 08:20
Former FBI Director James Comey claimed on Monday that Fox News had booked him to appear on one of its shows but cancelled because of the results of the Justice Department inspector general report.
Comey tweeted, ''FYI: I offered to go on Fox & Friends to answer all questions. I can't change their viewers on Donald Trump but hoped to give them some actual facts about the FBI. They booked me for tomorrow at 8 am. They just cancelled. Must have read the report.''
Fox News responded by essentially calling Comey a liar, saying in a statement to The Daily Wire, ''James Comey was not booked and was never confirmed to appear on Fox & Friends.''
Comey repeated the false claim during an interview with hyper-partisan MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace, saying that ''Fox & Friends'' had agreed to book him at 8 a.m.
''I figured I can't change the minds of Fox viewers about President Trump but I can change their minds, I hope, about the FBI by giving them actual facts,'' Comey claimed. ''Then, after the report came out, they cancelled my appearance. They must have read the report.''
Comey claimed that the network told him, ''Maybe we can do it again after the Durham investigation was their answer.''
Numerous Fox News anchors responded to Comey's apparent false claim by offering to have him on their shows.
Fox News anchor Bret Baier wrote: ''We'd love to have you back on @SpecialReport Mr Comey '' live or pretape. I have read the report. Just DM me.''
We'd love to have you back on @SpecialReport Mr Comey '' live or pretape. I have read the report. Just DM me. https://t.co/QzL7ydtQ7g
'-- Bret Baier (@BretBaier) December 9, 2019
Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum wrote: ''We have reached out to your staff and invited you to come on tonight. Hope you will join us. @TheStoryFNC''
We have reached out to your staff and invited you to come on tonight. Hope you will join us. @TheStoryFNC https://t.co/z0o9Mz43yE
'-- Martha MacCallum (@marthamaccallum) December 9, 2019
Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo wrote: ''Why don't you join @MorningsMaria @FoxBusiness or @SundayFutures @FoxNews we'd love to have you. Lmk''
Why don't you join @MorningsMaria @FoxBusiness or @SundayFutures @FoxNews we'd love to have you. Lmk
'-- Maria Bartiromo (@MariaBartiromo) December 9, 2019
The IG report stated that Comey ignored an analysis from the CIA on the anti-Trump dossier created by former British Spy Christoper Steele.
The CIA warned the FBI that the dossier was as credible as an ''internet rumor'' and that it should not be used to obtain a FISA warrant to surveil the Trump campaign:
Starting in December 2016, FBI staff participated in an interagency effort to assess the Russian government's intentions and actions concerning the 2016 U.S. elections. We learned that whether and how to present Steele's reporting in the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) was a topic of significant discussion between the FBI and the other agencies participating in it. According to FBI staff, as the interagency editing process for the ICA progressed, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) expressed concern about the lack of vetting for the Steele election reporting and asserted it did not merit inclusion in the body of the report. An FBI Intel Section Chief told us the CIA viewed it as ''internet rumor.'' In contrast, as we describe in Chapter Six, the FBI, including Comey and McCabe, sought to include the reporting in the ICA. Limited information from the Steele reporting ultimately was presented in an appendix to the ICA.
This report has been updated to include additional information about Comey's comments on MSNBC.
Statement by Attorney General William P. Barr on the Inspector General's Report of the Review of Four FISA Applications and Other Aspects of the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane Investigation | OPA | Department of Justice
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 08:40
Attorney General William P. Barr issued the following statement:
"Nothing is more important than the credibility and integrity of the FBI and the Department of Justice. That is why we must hold our investigators and prosecutors to the highest ethical and professional standards. The Inspector General's investigation has provided critical transparency and accountability, and his work is a credit to the Department of Justice. I would like to thank the Inspector General and his team.
The Inspector General's report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken. It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory. Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump's administration. In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source. The Inspector General found the explanations given for these actions unsatisfactory. While most of the misconduct identified by the Inspector General was committed in 2016 and 2017 by a small group of now-former FBI officials, the malfeasance and misfeasance detailed in the Inspector General's report reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process.
FISA is an essential tool for the protection of the safety of the American people. The Department of Justice and the FBI are committed to taking whatever steps are necessary to rectify the abuses that occurred and to ensure the integrity of the FISA process going forward.
No one is more dismayed about the handling of these FISA applications than Director Wray. I have full confidence in Director Wray and his team at the FBI, as well as the thousands of dedicated line agents who work tirelessly to protect our country. I thank the Director for the comprehensive set of proposed reforms he is announcing today, and I look forward to working with him to implement these and any other appropriate measures.
With respect to DOJ personnel discussed in the report, the Department will follow all appropriate processes and procedures, including as to any potential disciplinary action."
Rank and Vile '' FBI Director Christopher Wray Releases Pathetic Letter Following Highly Critical FISA Report'... | The Last Refuge
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 08:41
FBI Director Christopher Wray releases a letter submitted to U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr after the IG Horowitz findings of wrongdoing within the FBI FISA process:
We also appreciate the Report's recognition that the FBI cooperated fully with this review and provided broad and timely access to all information requested by the OIG, including highly classified and sensitive material involving national security.
The Report concludes that the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation and related investigations of certain individuals were opened in 2016 for an authorized purpose and with adequate factual predication.
The Report also details instances in which certain FBI personnel, at times during the 2016-2017 period reviewed by the OIG, did not comply with existing policies, neglected to exercise appropriate diligence, or otherwise failed to meet the standard of conduct that the FBI expects of its employees '-- and that our country expects of the FBI.
We are vested with significant authorities, and it is our obligation as public servants to ensure that these authorities are exercised with objectivity and integrity. Anything less falls short of the FBI's duty to the American people.
Accordingly, the FBI accepts the Report's findings and embraces the need for thoughtful, meaningful remedial action. I have ordered more than 40 corrective steps to address the Report's recommendations.
Because our credibility and brand are central to fulfilling our mission, we are also making improvements beyond those recommended by the OIG. And where certain individuals have been referred by the OIG for review of their conduct, the FBI will not hesitate to take appropriate disciplinary action if warranted at the completion of the required procedures for disciplinary review.
Below is a summary of the actions we are taking, which we describe in more detail in the attachment to this letter.
First, we are modifying our processes under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), both for initial applications and renewals, to enhance accuracy and completeness. The FBI relies on FISA every day in national security investigations to prevent terrorists and foreign intelligence services from harming the United States. We are making concrete changes to ensure that our FISA protocols, verifications, layers of review, record-keeping requirements, and audits are more stringent and less susceptible to mistake or inaccuracy. These new processes will also ensure that the FISA Court and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are apprised of all information in the FBI's holdings relevant to a determination of probable cause.
Second, we undertook an extensive review of investigative activity based out of FBI Headquarters. The FBI is a field-based law enforcement organization, and the vast majority of our investigations should continue to be worked by our field offices. Moving forward, in the very rare instance when FBI Headquarters runs a sensitive investigation, we are requiring prior approval by the FBI Deputy Director and consultation with the Assistant Director in Charge or Special Agent in Charge of the affected field offices.
Third, we are making significant changes to how the FBI manages its Confidential Human Source (CHS) Program. Many FBI investigations rely on human sources, but the investigative value derived from CHS-provided information rests in part on the CHS's credibility, which demands rigorous assessment of the source. The modifications we are making to how the FBI collects, documents, and shares information about CHSs will strengthen our assessment of the information these sources are providing.
Fourth, I am establishing new protocols for the FBI's participation in Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)-led counterintelligence transition briefings (i.e., strategic intelligence briefings) provided to presidential nominees. The FBI's role in these briefings should be for national security purposes and not for investigative purposes. Continued participation by the FBI in these transition briefings is critical to ensuring continuity in the event of a change in administrations. The new FBI protocols about transition briefings will complement procedures already implemented by the FBI earlier this year to govern the separate category of defensive briefings. The FBI gives defensive briefings, which are based on specific threat information, in a wide variety of contexts and for myriad federal, state, and other public and private individuals and entities. The procedures we recently established for defensive briefings regarding malign foreign influence efforts have brought a new rigor and discipline to whether and how such briefings should proceed.
Fifth, I am mandating a specialized, semiannual training requirement for FBI personnel at all levels who handle FISA and CHS matters. This training will be experience-based, and it will cover specific lessons learned from this Report, along with other new and revised material. Earlier in my tenure as Director, I reinstated an annual ethics training program for all FBI employees, because I learned the training had been discontinued in prior years. While that training was not introduced in response to this Report, all current FBI employees involved in the 2016-2017 events reviewed by the OIG have since completed this additional training in ethics and professional responsibility.
Finally, we will review the performance and conduct of certain FBI employees who were referenced in the Report's recommendations '-- including managers, supervisors, and senior officials at the time. The FBI will take appropriate disciplinary action where warranted. Notably, many of the employees described in the report are no longer employed at the FBI. (read more)
Ambassadorship can't be a donor's reward - Stripes
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 11:42
For much of the country's first 150 years, ambassadorships were distributed almost entirely to the rich and well-connected. But by the end of World War I, the public had seen enough to conclude this practice was putting some of the United States' most crucial jobs in the hands of incompetents. It demanded action, and in 1924, Congress launched reforms that gave most ambassadorial posts to members of a newly created professional diplomatic corps.
The nearly century-old laws are overdue for an upgrade. The Ukraine scandal, and other Trump administration actions, have revealed that increasing reliance on unqualified campaign donors is threatening bilateral relationships and national security. We cannot trust our foreign policy to amateurs.
Near the center of the unfolding Ukraine scandal is Gordon Sondland, an Oregon hotelier who gave $1 million to President Donald Trump's inaugural committee and was rewarded with the ambassadorship to the European Union. He set out to refocus the post from workaday trade issues to his president's personal priorities. Sondland, who lacked many of the basics of diplomacy, sidestepped regular State Department channels to help Trump squeeze Ukrainian officials for assistance against his Democratic rivals. As evidence in the impeachment inquiry has mounted, Sondland has begun insisting that he failed to understand what Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani was after.
The Trump administration has been more willing than most to give ambassadorships to political appointees rather than career diplomats: More than 40 percent of its envoys are political appointees, compared with the customary 30 percent. Kelly Knight Craft, a longtime donor and the wife of a Kentucky coal magnate, was absent from her post for half the time she served as U.S. ambassador to Canada. Nevertheless, she was confirmed in July as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Doug Manchester, a San Diego developer whom Trump nominated to be ambassador to the Bahamas, told senators in a hearing that the country is a U.S. ''protectorate,'' though it is not and has never been.
Of course, other administrations, Democratic and Republican, have awarded ambassadorships to unqualified financial supporters. George Tsunis, a Long Island hotelier and bundler, had to withdraw as President Barack Obama's nominee for ambassador to Norway in 2014 after he said in a confirmation hearing that Norway had a presidency, which it does not, and misidentified a mainstream Norwegian political party as a fringe group. Two other Obama bundlers also fumbled their hearings badly, but were confirmed anyway as ambassadors to Hungary and Argentina.
In recent years, as their needs for campaign contributions have grown, presidents have relied more heavily on donors and bundlers to serve in top posts overseas. Senators, who are supposed to reject unqualified nominees, have often approved the nominations, partly out of deference to presidents '-- and also because the donors are often contributors to their own campaigns.
Ryan Scoville, a Marquette University law professor, concluded after studying newly released government documents on more than 1,900 ambassadorial appointments since 1980 that the quality of political appointees has been in decades-long decline. President Ronald Reagan's political appointees were more likely than appointees of the five presidencies that followed to have foreign policy experience, language skills and familiarity with running large organizations. The average political appointee is contributing far more money '-- 1,400 percent more, on average, even after inflation is considered '-- than in the Reagan era, Scoville calculated.
Most other major powers '-- France, Japan, the United Kingdom '-- restrict their important ambassadorships to seasoned career diplomats. And the Russian leadership that Trump so admires excludes amateurs and relies entirely on professionals, such as Sergey Kislyak, who in his nine years as ambassador to Washington became legendary for his ability to reach deep into the U.S. hierarchy to extract information and make deals. Especially now, at a time when U.S. leverage in the world is declining, the United States needs the best trained envoys.
Congress should scale back the share of ambassadors who are political appointees, capping their number at no more than 10 percent of the 189 U.S. ambassadors. That would still leave room for presidents to pick accomplished businesspeople, politicians and others who are not career diplomats but have skills that would allow them to contribute as the nation's overseas representatives.
Lawmakers should add new disclosure requirements to make clear, while nominations are under consideration, how much diplomatic nominees owe to their political donations. The State Department already posts on its website, state.gov, a rundown of nominees' credentials; it should also post the nominees' donations to both campaigns and related purposes, such as inaugural events.
Presidents have come to rely on sale of these posts because they are the rewards the donors and bundlers covet most. But the costs have become too high and the practice needs to stop.
Paul Richter is the author of ''The Ambassadors: America's Diplomats on the Front Lines.''
Former FBI Lawyer Lisa Page Sues Justice Department and FBI - Lawfare
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 17:59
On Dec. 10, Lisa Page filed a complaint against the Department of Justice and the FBI for alleged violations of the Privacy Act related to the disclosure of information about her to the media. The document is available here and below.
McConnell: Senate impeachment trial will begin in January | TheHill
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 06:59
McConnell, speaking during a weekly press conference, said that an impeachment trial in the Senate would not begin before the upper chamber wraps up its work for the year, which it is expected to do next week.
"What is not possible, obviously, would be to turn to an impeachment trial or to do USMCA in the Senate before we break for Christmas," McConnell said, referring to Trump's newly renegotiated trade deal with Canada and Mexico.
McConnell's comments come after House Democrats formally unveiled articles of impeachment earlier Tuesday. The House Judiciary Committee is expected to start voting on the articles on Wednesday night and continue into Thursday.
A full vote on the House floor is expected as soon as next week.
Senators have predicted for weeks that the upper chamber would bypass holding impeachment proceedings before the end of the year and would instead start the trial in January.
During the Clinton impeachment, the House passed articles of impeachment in mid-December but the Senate did not start its trial until the first week of January.
He added that a trial would "be a sometime January exercise."
McConnell sidestepped saying on Tuesday when the Senate would return to Washington in January. The chamber's 2020 calendar was released last week, but the month of January was missing from the calendar '-- underscoring the scheduling uncertainty.
"We will let you have a date as soon as we have it, but you know it will be '-- it will be '-- you are wondering when you have to come back, right? It will be '-- it will be right around the time the bowl games end. So how about that?" he said.
The Inspector General Report Is a Huge Blow to the FBI's Credibility. Why Is It Being Treated Like Vindication? '' Reason.com
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 08:40
FBI
The government's surveillance of Carter Page might not have been improperly motivated, but it was still seriously flawed. Robby Soave | 12.9.2019 8:28 PM
(Jeff Malet Photography/Newscom)
The Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General released its highly anticipated report on the FBI's investigation of the Trump campaign's Russia connection on Monday.
Make no mistake: The report chronicles serious wrongdoing with respect to the FBI's surveillance of Trump campaign advisor Carter Page, and is ultimately a damning indictment of the the nation's top law enforcement agency. All Americans should have serious concerns about the FBI's respect for constitutional principles, ability to carefully evaluate conflicting information, and its competency in general.
Many in the media have focused on the fact that the OIG report failed to turn up any evidence that the FBI's investigation of the Trump campaign's possible connections to Russia was politically motivated. The Washington Post's key takeaway was that the report amounted to a "triple rebuke" of the president and his allies. CNN's article led with "conspiracy theories debunked" and called the Russia probe "legal and unbiased," before conceding "serious mistakes" that the network predominantly attributed to a "low level FBI lawyer." In general, the Trump-critical mainstream media has treated the faltering of the most fervent pro-Trump partisans' conspiracy theory about a deep state coup as some kind of full acquittal of the FBI. It's not. The OIG report is a chronicle of massive government wrongdoing.
As Scott Shackford explained in his post on this subject, the report by Michael Horowitz found 17 "serious performance failures" relating to warrants obtained by the FBI through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendment (FISA) courts for the purposes of monitoring Page. The FISA warrant, which was reauthorized three times, contained false and misleading information about Page. It omitted that he had previously disclosed his Russian contacts to a government agency; it overstated the government's confidence in the Christopher Steele dossier and ignored Steele's own doubts about one of his sources; it declined to mention that Page had said he and Paul Manafort had "literally never met"; and in general it ignored information that rendered unlikely the theory that Page was a Russian asset.
These are alarming failures. They undercut the government's position that FISA courts are a sufficient guardian of Americans' civil liberties, and that the FBI is capable of responsibly exercising the vast powers granted to it. No one should feel confident that a court would block the FBI from engaging in surveillance, even if the information was flawed or faulty.
And yet the FBI and its cable news surrogates essentially spent Monday afternoon and evening taking a victory lap. The agency itself led the charge: A spokesperson for the FBI said the report "does not impugn the FBI's institutional integrity. It doesn't doubt'--or propose any changes to'--the FBI's mission or our core values. It doesn't criticize'--or even question'--the brand that this organization has earned over 111 years."
On CNN, Erin Burnett uncritically interviewed FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who expressed great pride in his organization. "I know we didn't do anything wrong," he told her. "What we did was our job. I've known all along that we did the right thing." MSNBC had more of the same, with host Ari Melber interviewing David Kelley, an attorney for former FBI Director James Comey. The FBI's wrongdoing was mentioned, but only as an afterthought. Over and over again, the main story was the wrongness of Team Trump, and the absence of evidence that the FBI was ideologically motivated to work against the president.
So it was all lies. No treason. No spying on the campaign. No tapping Trumps wires. It was just good people trying to protect America. https://t.co/9nurCaIBq2
'-- James Comey (@Comey) December 9, 2019
Trump and his supporters were dead wrong to attribute to malice what is better explained by stupidity. But the latter is no less troubling, and it would be terrific if the media would spend more time holding the G-men's feet to the fire. It would also be terrific if Republicans could channel their momentary frustration about government surveillance programs into some sort of sustained pushback against civil liberty violations. Alas, the PATRIOT Act has been repeatedly reauthorized along mostly bipartisan lines.
Trump Articles of Impeachment
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 08:53
FBI Spying Ruined My Good Name - WSJ
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 05:30
FISA has failed to protect American citizens from abusive surveillance.
My name is Carter Page, and I wish you were hearing it for the first time. If you were, I could introduce myself'--a former naval officer who has worked for political figures from both parties. But my identity has been reduced to a series of false accusations. If something isn't done to prevent future abuses of power by intelligence agencies, I won't be the last to lose his good name this way.
In 2016-17 the government I once served investigated me on suspicion of being an intermediary between the Trump campaign and the Russian...
My name is Carter Page, and I wish you were hearing it for the first time. If you were, I could introduce myself'--a former naval officer who has worked for political figures from both parties. But my identity has been reduced to a series of false accusations. If something isn't done to prevent future abuses of power by intelligence agencies, I won't be the last to lose his good name this way.
In 2016-17 the government I once served investigated me on suspicion of being an intermediary between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. This week Inspector General Michael Horowitz detailed how officials committed troubling errors over the course of the probe. From the day news of the investigation broke, I have faced threats to my life and have been forced to live like a fugitive. I still don't feel safe enough to establish a fixed residence.
I still have many questions about the FBI investigation that ruined my life. If you value your privacy, reputation and right to political expression, you should too.
I'm by no means the first person to raise these concerns. In the 1970s, the Church Committee uncovered troubling abuses. In response, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. FISA was supposed to protect U.S. citizens from the formidable investigatory powers the government can turn on foreign agents and terrorists. But it didn't protect me. And those surveillance powers have grown exponentially since the 1970s.
Mr. Horowitz's report identified ''at least 17 significant errors or omissions'' in the application for a surveillance warrant against me. Among them: the FBI's altering a document to secure my FISA warrant's renewal, as well as its repeated reliance on uncorroborated information in the Steele dossier to justify intrusive surveillance. ''That so many basic and fundamental failures were made,'' the report said, ''raised significant questions regarding the FBI chain of command's management and supervision of the FISA process.''
The irregularities continued after the investigation ended. In 2018 the FBI made my FISA warrant application public in response to Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, something it hasn't done with any other application in FISA's 40-year history. The intelligence community also stonewalled me. After the inspector general drafted his report, the Justice Department wouldn't let me review it before its release. The department lets only those interviewed for a report review its draft, in this case including former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whom Mr. Horowitz earlier referred for criminal investigation for lying to investigators.
While I appreciate Mr. Horowitz's work, it's not enough. When he testifies Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, members should ask him the following questions:
' Will you recommend prohibiting the use of uncorroborated political opposition research in FISA applications?
' How can Americans have faith in the FISA process after an FBI lawyer was found to have falsified evidence in a warrant application?
' What timeline do you recommend for a review of responsibility and oversight within the FBI chain of command in my case, and who should carry out that investigation?
' What other steps do you recommend to reform the FISA process so such abuse can't happen again?
My experience should be a warning. For three years, I have opened myself up to more than 40 hours of interrogation without a lawyer, including full days of questioning before the House and Senate Intelligence committees and by special counsel Robert Mueller's team. After all this testimony, and after more than a year of round-the-clock surveillance under FISA warrants, I have never been charged with any crime. If senators don't demand answers, they're practically inviting intelligence agencies to use their surveillance powers to target domestic political opponents.
I will never completely restore my name. All I can do is try to make sure this never happens again. As the Supreme Court warned nearly a half-century ago: ''The price of lawful public dissent must not be a dread of subjection to an unchecked surveillance power.''
Mr. Page is the managing partner of Global Natural Gas Ventures LLC.
Clint Eastwood defends his new film Richard Jewell after Atlanta Journal-Constitution criticism | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 06:00
Clint Eastwood has defended his new film Richard Jewell after the Atlanta Journal-Constitution accused the director of recklessly and falsely depicting one of the newspaper's journalists trading sex for tips
Clint Eastwood has defended his new film Richard Jewell after the Atlanta Journal-Constitution accused the director of recklessly and falsely depicting one of the newspaper's journalists trading sex for tips.
The film tells the story of the real-life security guard who was wrongfully treated as a suspect in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing after he found a bag of explosives and saved thousands of people's lives.
Among the characters is Kathy Scruggs, a journalist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution who was the first to publish a story about the FBI treating Jewell as a suspect rather than a hero.
In the movie, Scruggs is played by Olivia Wilde and is portrayed as trying to sleep with an FBI agent (Jon Hamm) in exchange for information about the bombing.
The AJC has taken offense to the characterization of Scruggs, who died in 2001, and said it suggests she slept with agents to get information from them.
Eastwood addressed AJC's criticism of the film in a recent interview with the Associated Press, alongside the film's star, Paul Walter Hauser.
'I think the Atlanta Journal (sic) probably would be the one group that would be sort of complexed about that whole situation because they are the ones who printed the first thing of there being a crime caused by Richard Jewell,' Eastwood said.
'And so they're probably looking for ways to rationalize their activity. I don't know for sure. I haven't ever discussed it with anyone from there.'
Hauser added: 'Hollywood biopics are historically under scrutiny, whether it's the Dupont family in "Foxcatcher", whether it's the Catholic Church in "Spotlight". This is a very obvious thing that's happening with the AJC and we understand their plight.
'But we're telling our story. And I think I think we did a really good job.'
Eastwood's new film tells the story of the real-life security guard, Richard Jewell (left in 1996), who was wrongfully treated as a suspect in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing after he found a bag of explosives and saved thousands of people's lives. Among the characters is Kathy Scruggs (right), a journalist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution who was the first to publish a story about the FBI treating Jewel as a suspect rather than a hero. In the movie, Scruggs is portrayed as trying to sleep with an FBI agent in exchange for information about the bombing
Eastwood has been fighting to bring Jewell's story - which he calls 'a great American tragedy' - to the big screen for the past five years, after his first attempt at the project fell through.
The film takes aim at the media and federal investigators for what Eastwood sees as a rush to judgement after the 1996 bombing, in which one woman was killed.
'It's always tragic when people run off with half information and don't really have the truth set up in front of them,' Eastwood told AP.
'The press is sometimes in a hurry because there's so much competition to be the first to do something.'
The director said he hopes that his film will help change the public's perception of Jewell, who died at the age of 44 in 2007.
'The hope with this film, other than entertaining an audience -- we're still in the business of entertaining and telling a great story -- but the greater picture, of course, is the echo effect it will have on the public of clearing his name to all people,' Eastwood said.
'And I think that this is a victory lap for the Jewell family, as much as they can have without Richard here with them.'
Eastwood has been fighting to bring Jewell's story - which he calls 'a great American tragedy' - to the big screen for the past five years, after his first attempt at the project fell through. The 89-year-old director is seen with cast members (from left) Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, Paul Walter Hauser and Sam Rockwell during a portrait session to promote the film on December 5
Eastwood has said he hopes that his film will help change the public's perception of Jewell, who died at the age of 44 in 2007. The director is seen with Jewell's mother Barbara at the 2019 AFI Fest on November 20 in Los Angeles
Jewell was working as a security guard at Centennial Olympic Park when he discovered a backpack containing a pipe bomb that had been planted by terrorist Eric Robert Rudolph on the night of July 27, 1996.
Because Jewell found it and alerted police, the event's security were able to evacuate crowds from the park and save lives.
Initially, he was lauded for his heroic actions but a series of media reports emerged later naming him as one of the FBI's suspects, even when the bureau had not formally named him as one.
He was eventually cleared and then sued some of the media outlets, including the AJC but also NBC and CNN, for defamation.
All of the outlets apart from the AJC settled their lawsuits.
It fought Jewell's complaint to the State Supreme Court. Even after Jewell's death in 2007, his family continued their fight against the newspaper.
Ultimately, a judge sided with the newspaper and ruled that even though the information about Jewell turned out not to be true, it did not defame him in reporting it.
Jewell is played by Paul Walter Hauser in the movie, which will be released on Friday
The AJC launched a new legal battle over the case this week ahead of the release of Eastwood's new movie.
In a legal letter sent to the director, screenwriter Billy Ray, Warner Bros and others, lawyers for the AJC and its parent company, Cox Enterprises, demanded a disclaimer be put on the film to clarify that artistic license was used in the portrayal of events and characters.
'The film falsely portrays the AJC's reporters and Kathy Scruggs in particular, as unethical, unprofessional and reckless,' the letter read.
'Ms. Scruggs was an experienced reporter whose methodology was professional and appropriate, in contrast to how she is portrayed in the film.
'Despite the true facts, the film depicts her use of inappropriate and unprofessional reporting methods that included getting story tips from an FBI source in exchange for sexual favors.
'The AJC's reporter is reduced to a sex-trading object in the film.'
The letter goes on to argue against Eastwood's portrayal of the newspaper as being unfair or defamatory towards Jewell, and says it was among the first publications to point out why the FBI was flawed in ever considering him a suspect.
It also alleges that Eastwood and his team met with one of the newspaper's editors for research for the film but claims they ignored the information they received because it did not fit their narrative.
Eastwood's movie suggests that Scruggs (Olivia Wilde - left in the film) sleeps with FBI agent Tom Shaw (Jon Hamm - right in the film) to get the information about the bombing
Scruggs' family and friends are outraged by the movie.
They have also called out Olivia Wilde - who claimed to have done 'an extraordinary amount of research' before accepting the role - claiming she never phoned any of them.
They insist that Scruggs had solid sources within the local police department and in the FBI.
Kevin Riley, the Editor-in-Chief of the AJC, said it was 'deeply troubling' to suggest that she got the information by trading sex for it.
'If the film portrays this, it's offensive and deeply troubling in the #MeToo era,' he said.
Wilde insisted that she had spoken to friends of Scruggs before taking the role and that it is sexist not to apply the same outrage to the suggestion that Ham's character might have been sleeping with a reporter.
'I did an extraordinary amount of research about Kathy Scruggs, everything that I could get my hands on I devoured, I spoke to her colleagues, her friends, I spoke to the authors of the recent book about the event, Suspect, I spoke to Billy Ray, I spoke to [Vanity Fair reporter] Marie Brenner, I spoke to everybody I could to get a sense of who this woman was.
'And then what I discovered was that she was an incredibly intrepid, dogged reporter, a woman in 1996 who rose in the ranks of a newspaper.
'It's not a very easy thing to do,' she fumed.
Scruggs' brother said he had not been contacted.
'I am Kathy Scruggs' brother and only remaining member of our immediate family.
'I find it interesting that during Ms. Wilde's extensive research of Kathy, she did not bother to contact me or any of Kathy's very close friends,' he said.
MIC
"Undeniable Evidence": Explosive Classified Docs Reveal Afghan War Mass Deception | Zero Hedge
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 08:21
In what's already being hailed as a defining and explosive "Pentagon papers" moment, a cache of previously classified documents obtained by The Washington Post show top Pentagon leaders continuously lied to the public about the "progress" of the now eighteen-year long Afghan war.
The some 2,000 pages of notes from interviews of senior officials who have shaped US strategy in Afghanistan confirm that ''senior US officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false... hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable," according to the bombshell Post report.
Pentagon file image: Getty.The internal interviews and statements were unearthed via Freedom of Information Act request and span the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations. The trove further confirms that US leaders knew vast amounts of money was being wasted in a futile attempt to "Westernize the nation".
Watchdog groups commonly estimate total US spending on the war has hit $1 trillion by end of 2019. More importantly, America's 'endless war' has cost at least 2,351 American lives and over 20,000 wounded.
The internal Pentagon project conducted by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) had sought to get as honest assessment as possible as to the status of America's longest running quagmire panning multiple administrations. It was to be a classified "Lessons Learned" assessment of sorts to prevent future missteps.
''What did we get for this $1tn effort? Was it worth $1 trillion?'' one retired Navy SEAL who had advised the Bush and Obama administrations observed in one of the documents. ''After the killing of Osama bin Laden, I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan.''
Here's more undeniable evidence that you were lied to about the war in Afghanistan, for anyone who needed more undeniable evidence that you were lied to about the war in Afghanistan.https://t.co/3AVYnBNKch
'-- Caitlin Johnstone '" (@caitoz) December 9, 2019Another top official, former White House Afghan war czar Douglas Lute under Bush and Obama, confessed, ''We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan '' we didn't know what we were doing.'' He added that "we didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking'' after the 2001 invasion.
''If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction '... 2,400 lives lost,'' he added.
Two major consistent themes from the documents are'--
the manipulation on a mass scale of statistics fed to the public in order to hide the true disastrous nature of the war; and...US leaders "turning a blind eye" to large scale theft of US tax payer dollars by corrupt Afghan officials.US aid was looted "with impunity" according to the released documents, and provide undeniable evidence that top defense officials knew years of rosy public statements were a mountain of lies.
Almost hard to get infuriated about the blatant spinning by government agencies anymore. The effort to cover up the failures of US foreign policy whether in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria or Yemen has worn us down. Hard to remember what honesty is. https://t.co/PFDiAmwveQ
'-- Joshua Landis (@joshua_landis) December 9, 2019''Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible,'' Bob Crowley, an Army colonel and senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders testified.
Over 400 people close to the decision-making process were interviewed as part of the internal DoD investigation; however among those 366 names were redacted, given that as more damning testimony was given, the Inspector General deemed they should be treated as 'whistleblowers' and informants.
But for all the hand-wringing and outrage Monday's WaPo bombshell will unleash this week, it must be remembered that the establishment in both parties have consistently pushed to stay at war, not to mention going to war in the first place.
As independent journalist David Mizner observes of the new 'Afghan Papers' it remains that "US politicians lie to stay at war, every time. The real crime was going to war in the first place '-- and almost no US politicians, pundits, and or journos with large platforms opposed the war."
* * *
A video tour of the damning new 'Afghanistan Papers' revelations and their significance:
U.S. officials misled the public about the war in Afghanistan, confidential documents reveal - Washington Post
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 08:22
In the interviews, more than 400 insiders offered unrestrained criticism of what went wrong in Afghanistan and how the United States became mired in nearly two decades of warfare.
With a bluntness rarely expressed in public, the interviews lay bare pent-up complaints, frustrations and confessions, along with second-guessing and backbiting.
Click any underlined text in the story to see the statement in the original document
''We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan '-- we didn't know what we were doing,'' Douglas Lute | Lessons Learned interview | 2/20/2015 Tap to view full document Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House's Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015. He added: ''What are we trying to do here? We didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.'' Douglas Lute | Lessons Learned interview | 2/20/2015 Tap to view full document
''If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction .'‰.'‰. 2,400 lives lost,'' Douglas Lute | Lessons Learned interview | 2/20/2015 Tap to view full document Lute added, blaming the deaths of U.S. military personnel on bureaucratic breakdowns among Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department. ''Who will say this was in vain?'' Douglas Lute | Lessons Learned interview | 2/20/2015 Tap to view full document
Since 2001, more than 775,000 U.S. troops have deployed to Afghanistan, many repeatedly. Of those, 2,300 died there and 20,589 were wounded in action, according to Defense Department figures.
The interviews, through an extensive array of voices, bring into sharp relief the core failings of the war that persist to this day. They underscore how three presidents '-- George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump '-- and their military commanders have been unable to deliver on their promises to prevail in Afghanistan.
With most speaking on the assumption that their remarks would not become public, U.S. officials acknowledged that their warfighting strategies were fatally flawed and that Washington wasted enormous sums of money trying to remake Afghanistan into a modern nation.
The interviews also highlight the U.S. government's botched attempts to curtail runaway corruption, build a competent Afghan army and police force, and put a dent in Afghanistan's thriving opium trade.
The U.S. government has not carried out a comprehensive accounting of how much it has spent on the war in Afghanistan, but the costs are staggering.
Since 2001, the Defense Department, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development have spent or appropriated between $934 billion and $978 billion, according to an inflation-adjusted estimate calculated by Neta Crawford, a political science professor and co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University.
Those figures do not include money spent by other agencies such as the CIA and the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is responsible for medical care for wounded veterans.
''What did we get for this $1 trillion effort? Was it worth $1 trillion?'' Jeffrey Eggers | Lessons Learned interview | 8/25/2015 Tap to view full document Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL and White House staffer for Bush and Obama, told government interviewers. He added, ''After the killing of Osama bin Laden, I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan.'' Jeffrey Eggers | Lessons Learned interview | 8/25/2015 Tap to view full document
The documents also contradict a long chorus of public statements from U.S. presidents, military commanders and diplomats who assured Americans year after year that they were making progress in Afghanistan and the war was worth fighting.
(Video by Joyce Lee/The Washington Post)
Several of those interviewed described explicit and sustained efforts by the U.S. government to deliberately mislead the public. They said it was common at military headquarters in Kabul '-- and at the White House '-- to distort statistics to make it appear the United States was winning the war when that was not the case.
UZBEK.
TURKMEN.
TAJIK.
Kabul
AFGHANISTAN
Kandahar
PAKISTAN
IRAN
INDIA
100 MILES
''Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible,'' Bob Crowley | Lessons Learned interview | 8/3/2016 Tap to view full document Bob Crowley, an Army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders in 2013 and 2014, told government interviewers. ''Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that Bob Crowley | Lessons Learned interview | 8/3/2016 Tap to view full document everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone.'' Bob Crowley | Lessons Learned interview | 8/3/2016 Tap to view full document
John Sopko, the head of the federal agency that conducted the interviews, acknowledged to The Post that the documents show ''the American people have constantly been lied to.''
The interviews are the byproduct of a project led by Sopko's agency, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Known as SIGAR, the agency was created by Congress in 2008 to investigate waste and fraud in the war zone.
In 2014, at Sopko's direction, SIGAR departed from its usual mission of performing audits and launched a side venture. Titled ''Lessons Learned,'' the $11 million project was meant to diagnose policy failures in Afghanistan so the United States would not repeat the mistakes the next time it invaded a country or tried to rebuild a shattered one.
The Lessons Learned staff interviewed more than 600 people with firsthand experience in the war. Most were Americans, but SIGAR analysts also traveled to London, Brussels and Berlin to interview NATO allies. In addition, they interviewed about 20 Afghan officials, discussing reconstruction and development programs.
Drawing partly on the interviews, as well as other government records and statistics, SIGAR has published seven Lessons Learned reports since 2016 that highlight problems in Afghanistan and recommend changes to stabilize the country.
But the reports, written in dense bureaucratic prose and focused on an alphabet soup of government initiatives, left out the harshest and most frank criticisms from the interviews.
''We found the stabilization strategy and the programs used to achieve it were not properly tailored to the Afghan context, and successes in stabilizing Afghan districts rarely lasted longer than the physical presence of coalition troops and civilians,'' read the introduction to one report released in May 2018.
The reports also omitted the names of more than 90 percent of the people who were interviewed for the project. While a few officials agreed to speak on the record to SIGAR, the agency said it promised anonymity to everyone else it interviewed to avoid controversy over politically sensitive matters.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, The Post began seeking Lessons Learned interview records in August 2016. SIGAR refused, arguing that the documents were privileged and that the public had no right to see them.
The Post had to sue SIGAR in federal court '-- twice '-- to compel it to release the documents.
''We don't invade poor countries to make them rich. We don't invade authoritarian countries to make them democratic. We invade violent countries to make them peaceful and we clearly failed in Afghanistan.'' '-- James Dobbins, former U.S. diplomat Listen
The agency eventually disclosed more than 2,000 pages of unpublished notes and transcripts from 428 of the interviews, as well as several audio recordings.
The documents identify 62 of the people who were interviewed, but SIGAR blacked out the names of 366 others. In legal briefs, the agency contended that those individuals should be seen as whistleblowers and informants who might face humiliation, harassment, retaliation or physical harm if their names became public.
By cross-referencing dates and other details from the documents, The Post independently identified 33 other people who were interviewed, including several former ambassadors, generals and White House officials.
The Post has asked a federal judge to force SIGAR to disclose the names of everyone else interviewed, arguing that the public has a right to know which officials criticized the war and asserted that the government had misled the American people. The Post also argued the officials were not whistleblowers or informants, because they were not interviewed as part of an investigation.
A decision by Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court in Washington has been pending since late September.
The Post is publishing the documents now, instead of waiting for a final ruling, to inform the public while the Trump administration is negotiating with the Taliban and considering whether to withdraw the 13,000 U.S. troops who remain in Afghanistan.
The Post attempted to contact for comment everyone whom it was able to identify as having given an interview to SIGAR. Their responses are compiled in a separate article.
Sopko, the inspector general, told The Post that he did not suppress the blistering criticisms and doubts about the war that officials raised in the Lessons Learned interviews. He said it took his office three years to release the records because he has a small staff and because other federal agencies had to review the documents to prevent government secrets from being disclosed.
''We didn't sit on it,'' he said. ''We're firm believers in openness and transparency, but we've got to follow the law. .'‰.'‰. I think of any inspector general, I've probably been the most forthcoming on information.''
The interview records are raw and unedited, and SIGAR's Lessons Learned staff did not stitch them into a unified narrative. But they are packed with tough judgments from people who shaped or carried out U.S. policy in Afghanistan.
''We don't invade poor countries to make them rich,'' James Dobbins | Lessons Learned interview | 1/11/2016 Tap to view full document James Dobbins, a former senior U.S. diplomat who served as a special envoy to Afghanistan under Bush and Obama, told government interviewers. ''We don't invade authoritarian countries to make them democratic. We invade violent countries to make them peaceful and we clearly failed in Afghanistan.'' James Dobbins | Lessons Learned interview | 1/11/2016 Tap to view full document
From left, Gen. David H. Petraeus, Joint Chiefs Chairman Michael Mullen, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., in 2009 as President Barack Obama publicly outlined his plans for a troop surge in Afghanistan. (Christopher Morris/VII/Redux)
To augment the Lessons Learned interviews, The Post obtained hundreds of pages of previously classified memos about the Afghan war that were dictated by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld between 2001 and 2006.
Dubbed ''snowflakes'' by Rumsfeld and his staff, the memos are brief instructions or comments that the Pentagon boss dictated to his underlings, often several times a day.
Rumsfeld made a select number of his snowflakes public in 2011, posting them online in conjunction with his memoir, ''Known and Unknown.'' But most of his snowflake collection '-- an estimated 59,000 pages '-- remained secret.
In 2017, in response to a FOIA lawsuit filed by the National Security Archive, a nonprofit research institute based at George Washington University, the Defense Department began reviewing and releasing the remainder of Rumsfeld's snowflakes on a rolling basis. The Archive shared them with The Post.
Together, the SIGAR interviews and the Rumsfeld memos pertaining to Afghanistan constitute a secret history of the war and an unsparing appraisal of 18 years of conflict.
Worded in Rumsfeld's brusque style, many of the snowflakes foreshadow problems that continue to haunt the U.S. military more than a decade later.
''I may be impatient. In fact I know I'm a bit impatient,'' Donald Rumsfeld | Rumsfeld memo Tap to view full document Rumsfeld wrote in one memo to several generals and senior aides. ''We are never going to get the U.S. military out of Afghanistan unless we take care to see that there is something going on that will provide the stability that will be necessary for us to leave.'' Donald Rumsfeld | Rumsfeld memo Tap to view full document
''Help!'' Donald Rumsfeld | Rumsfeld memo Tap to view full document he wrote.
The memo was dated April 17, 2002 '-- six months after the war started.
What they said in public April 17, 2002''The history of military conflict in Afghanistan [has] been one of initial success, followed by long years of floundering and ultimate failure. We're not going to repeat that mistake.''
'-- President George W. Bush, in a speech at the Virginia Military Institute
With their forthright descriptions of how the United States became stuck in a faraway war, as well as the government's determination to conceal them from the public, the cache of Lessons Learned interviews broadly resembles the Pentagon Papers, the Defense Department's top-secret history of the Vietnam War.
When they were leaked in 1971, the Pentagon Papers caused a sensation by revealing the government had long misled the public about how the United States came to be embroiled in Vietnam.
Bound into 47 volumes, the 7,000-page study was based entirely on internal government documents '-- diplomatic cables, decision-making memos, intelligence reports. To preserve secrecy, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara issued an order prohibiting the authors from interviewing anyone.
SIGAR's Lessons Learned project faced no such restrictions. Staffers carried out the interviews between 2014 and 2018, mostly with officials who served during the Bush and Obama years.
About 30 of the interview records are transcribed, word-for-word accounts. The rest are typed summaries of conversations: pages of notes and quotes from people with different vantage points in the conflict, from provincial outposts to the highest circles of power.
Some of the interviews are inexplicably short. The interview record with John Allen, the Marine general who commanded U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2013, consists of five paragraphs.
In contrast, records of interviews with other influential figures are much more extensive. Former U.S. ambassador Ryan Crocker sat for two interviews that yielded 95 transcribed pages.
Unlike the Pentagon Papers, none of the Lessons Learned documents were originally classified as a government secret. Once The Post pushed to make them public, however, other federal agencies intervened and classified some material after the fact.
The State Department, for instance, asserted that releasing portions of certain interviews could jeopardize negotiations with the Taliban to end the war. The Defense Department and Drug Enforcement Administration also classified some interview excerpts.
The Lessons Learned interviews contain few revelations about military operations. But running throughout are torrents of criticism that refute the official narrative of the war, from its earliest days through the start of the Trump administration.
At the outset, for instance, the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan had a clear, stated objective '-- to retaliate against al-Qaeda and prevent a repeat of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
A joint artillery training session at a combat outpost in Jaghatu, in Wardak province, in 2012. (Lorenzo Tugnoli for The Washington Post)
Yet the interviews show that as the war dragged on, the goals and mission kept changing and a lack of faith in the U.S. strategy took root inside the Pentagon, the White House and the State Department.
Fundamental disagreements went unresolved. Some U.S. officials wanted to use the war to turn Afghanistan into a democracy. Others wanted to transform Afghan culture and elevate women's rights. Still others wanted to reshape the regional balance of power among Pakistan, India, Iran and Russia.
''With the AfPak strategy there was a present under the Christmas tree for everyone,'' Lessons Learned interview | 5/18/2015 Tap to view full document an unidentified U.S. official told government interviewers in 2015. ''By the time you were finished you had so many priorities and aspirations it was like no strategy at all.'' Lessons Learned interview | 5/18/2015 Tap to view full document
The Lessons Learned interviews also reveal how U.S. military commanders struggled to articulate who they were fighting, let alone why.
Was al-Qaeda the enemy, or the Taliban? Was Pakistan a friend or an adversary? What about the Islamic State and the bewildering array of foreign jihadists, let alone the warlords on the CIA's payroll? According to the documents, the U.S. government never settled on an answer.
As a result, in the field, U.S. troops often couldn't tell friend from foe.
''They thought I was going to come to them with a map to show them where the good guys and bad guys live,'' Lessons Learned interview | 12/15/2017 Tap to view full document an unnamed former adviser to an Army Special Forces team told government interviewers in 2017. ''It took several conversations for them to understand that I did not have that information in my hands. At first, they just kept asking: 'But who are the bad guys, where are they?''‰'' Lessons Learned interview | 12/15/2017 Tap to view full document
The view wasn't any clearer from the Pentagon.
''I have no visibility into who the bad guys are,'' Rumsfeld complained in a Sept. 8, 2003, snowflake. ''We are woefully deficient in human intelligence.''
What they said in public Dec. 1, 2009''The days of providing a blank check are over. .'‰.'‰. It must be clear that Afghans will have to take responsibility for their security and that America has no interest in fighting an endless war in Afghanistan.''
'-- President Barack Obama, in a speech at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
As commanders in chief, Bush, Obama and Trump all promised the public the same thing. They would avoid falling into the trap of "nation-building" in Afghanistan.
On that score, the presidents failed miserably. The United States has allocated more than $133 billion to build up Afghanistan '-- more than it spent, adjusted for inflation, to revive the whole of Western Europe with the Marshall Plan after World War II.
The Lessons Learned interviews show the grandiose nation-building project was marred from the start.
U.S. officials tried to create '-- from scratch '-- a democratic government in Kabul modeled after their own in Washington. It was a foreign concept to the Afghans, who were accustomed to tribalism, monarchism, communism and Islamic law.
''Our policy was to create a strong central government which was idiotic because Afghanistan does not have a history of a strong central government,'' Former State Department official | Lessons Learned interview | 7/10/2015 Tap to view full document an unidentified former State Department official told government interviewers in 2015. ''The timeframe for creating a strong central government is 100 years, which we didn't have.'' Former State Department official | Lessons Learned interview | 7/10/2015 Tap to view full document
Meanwhile, the United States flooded the fragile country with far more aid than it could possibly absorb.
During the peak of the fighting, from 2009 to 2012, U.S. lawmakers and military commanders believed the more they spent on schools, bridges, canals and other civil-works projects, the faster security would improve. Aid workers told government interviewers it was a colossal misjudgment, akin to pumping kerosene on a dying campfire just to keep the flame alive.
U.S. soldiers wounded by an IED are transported by medevac in Kandahar province in 2010. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)
One unnamed executive with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), guessed that 90 percent of what they spent was overkill: ''We lost objectivity. We were given money, told to spend it and we did, without reason.'' Lessons Learned interview | 10/7/2016 Tap to view full document
Many aid workers blamed Congress for what they saw as a mindless rush to spend.
One unidentified contractor told government interviewers he was expected to dole out $3 million daily for projects in a single Afghan district roughly the size of a U.S. county. He once asked a visiting congressman whether the lawmaker could responsibly spend that kind of money back home: ''He said hell no. 'Well, sir, that's what you just obligated us to spend and I'm doing it for communities that live in mud huts with no windows.''‰'' Senior USAID official | Lessons Learned interview | 8/15/2016 Tap to view full document
The gusher of aid that Washington spent on Afghanistan also gave rise to historic levels of corruption.
In public, U.S. officials insisted they had no tolerance for graft. But in the Lessons Learned interviews, they admitted the U.S. government looked the other way while Afghan power brokers '-- allies of Washington '-- plundered with impunity.
Christopher Kolenda, an Army colonel who deployed to Afghanistan several times and advised three U.S. generals in charge of the war, said that the Afghan government led by President Hamid Karzai had ''self-organized into a kleptocracy'' Christopher Kolenda | Lessons Learned interview | 4/5/2016 Tap to view full document by 2006 '-- and that U.S. officials failed to recognize the lethal threat it posed to their strategy.
''I like to use a cancer analogy,'' Christopher Kolenda | Lessons Learned interview | 4/5/2016 Tap to view full document Kolenda told government interviewers. ''Petty corruption is like skin cancer; there are ways to deal with it and you'll probably be just fine. Corruption within the ministries, higher level, is like colon cancer; it's worse, but if you catch it in time, you're probably ok. Kleptocracy, however, is like brain cancer; it's fatal.'' Christopher Kolenda | Lessons Learned interview | 4/5/2016 Tap to view full document
A banner depicting President Hamid Karzai in Kabul shortly after the country's 2004 election. (Emilio Morenatti/AP)
By allowing corruption to fester, U.S. officials told interviewers, they helped destroy the popular legitimacy of the wobbly Afghan government they were fighting to prop up. With judges and police chiefs and bureaucrats extorting bribes, many Afghans soured on democracy and turned to the Taliban to enforce order.
''Our biggest single project, sadly and inadvertently, of course, may have been the development of mass corruption,'' Ryan Crocker | Lessons Learned interview | 1/11/2016 Tap to view full document Crocker, who served as the top U.S. diplomat in Kabul in 2002 and again from 2011 to 2012, told government interviewers. He added, ''Once it gets to the level I saw, when I was out there, it's somewhere between unbelievably hard and outright impossible to fix it.'' Ryan Crocker | Lessons Learned interview | 1/11/2016 Tap to view full document
What they said in public Sept. 4, 2013''This army and this police force have been very, very effective in combat against the insurgents every single day. And I think that's an important story to be told across the board.''
'-- Then-Army Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, praising the Afghan security forces during a press briefing from Kabul. Milley is now a four-star general and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Year after year, U.S. generals have said in public they are making steady progress on the central plank of their strategy: to train a robust Afghan army and national police force that can defend the country without foreign help.
In the Lessons Learned interviews, however, U.S. military trainers described the Afghan security forces as incompetent, unmotivated and rife with deserters. They also accused Afghan commanders of pocketing salaries '-- paid by U.S. taxpayers '-- for tens of thousands of ''ghost soldiers.''
None expressed confidence that the Afghan army and police could ever fend off, much less defeat, the Taliban on their own. More than 60,000 members of Afghan security forces have been killed, a casualty rate that U.S. commanders have called unsustainable.
Afghan army recruits in Kabul in 2009. (Emilio Morenatti/AP)
One unidentified U.S. soldier said Special Forces teams ''hated'' U.S. Special Forces officer | Lessons Learned interview | 9/7/2016 Tap to view full document the Afghan police whom they trained and worked with, calling them ''awful '-- the bottom of the barrel in the country that is already at the bottom of the barrel.'' U.S. Special Forces officer | Lessons Learned interview | 9/7/2016 Tap to view full document
A U.S. military officer estimated that one-third of police recruits were ''drug addicts or Taliban.'' U.S. military officer | Lessons Learned interview | 10/20/2016 Tap to view full document Yet another called them ''stealing fools'' Victor Glaviano | Lessons Learned interview | 4/11/2017 Tap to view full document who looted so much fuel from U.S. bases that they perpetually smelled of gasoline.
''Thinking we could build the military that fast and that well was insane,'' Senior USAID official | Lessons Learned interview | 8/15/2016 Tap to view full document an unnamed senior USAID official told government interviewers.
Meanwhile, as U.S. hopes for the Afghan security forces failed to materialize, Afghanistan became the world's leading source of a growing scourge: opium.
The United States has spent about $9 billion to fight the problem over the past 18 years, but Afghan farmers are cultivating more opium poppies than ever. Last year, Afghanistan was responsible for 82 percent of global opium production, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
In the Lessons Learned interviews, former officials said almost everything they did to constrain opium farming backfired.
''We stated that our goal is to establish a 'flourishing market economy,''‰'' Douglas Lute | Lessons Learned interview | 2/20/2015 Tap to view full document said Douglas Lute, the White House's Afghan war czar from 2007 to 2013. ''I thought we should have specified a flourishing drug trade '-- this is the only part of the market that's working.'' Douglas Lute | Lessons Learned interview | 2/20/2015 Tap to view full document
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks to U.S. troops in 2013 at Camp Bastion, in Helmand province. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
From the beginning, Washington never really figured out how to incorporate a war on drugs into its war against al-Qaeda. By 2006, U.S. officials feared that narco-traffickers had become stronger than the Afghan government and that money from the drug trade was powering the insurgency.
No single agency or country was in charge of the Afghan drug strategy for the entirety of the war, so the State Department, the DEA, the U.S. military, NATO allies and the Afghan government butted heads constantly.
''It was a dog's breakfast with no chance of working,'' Former senior British official | Lessons Learned interview | 9/21/2016 Tap to view full document an unnamed former senior British official told government interviewers.
The agencies and allies made things worse by embracing a dysfunctional muddle of programs, according to the interviews.
At first, Afghan poppy farmers were paid by the British to destroy their crops '-- which only encouraged them to grow more the next season. Later, the U.S. government eradicated poppy fields without compensation '-- which only infuriated farmers and encouraged them to side with the Taliban.
''It was sad to see so many people behave so stupidly,'' U.S. official | Lessons Learned interview | 5/11/2016 Tap to view full document one U.S. official told government interviewers.
What they said in public Sept. 8, 2008''Are we losing this war? Absolutely no way. Can the enemy win it? Absolutely no way.''
'-- Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, commander of the 101st Airborne Division, in a news briefing from Afghanistan
The specter of Vietnam has hovered over Afghanistan from the start.
On Oct. 11, 2001, a few days after the United States started bombing the Taliban, a reporter asked Bush: ''Can you avoid being drawn into a Vietnam-like quagmire in Afghanistan?''
''We learned some very important lessons in Vietnam,'' Bush replied confidently. ''People often ask me, 'How long will this last?' This particular battlefront will last as long as it takes to bring al-Qaeda to justice. It may happen tomorrow, it may happen a month from now, it may take a year or two. But we will prevail.''
In those early days, other U.S. leaders mocked the notion that the nightmare of Vietnam might repeat itself in Afghanistan.
''All together now '-- quagmire!'' Rumsfeld joked at a news conference on Nov. 27, 2001.
But throughout the Afghan war, documents show that U.S. military officials have resorted to an old tactic from Vietnam '-- manipulating public opinion.
In news conferences and other public appearances, those in charge of the war have followed the same talking points for 18 years. No matter how the war is going '-- and especially when it is going badly '-- they emphasize how they are making progress.
For example, some snowflakes that Rumsfeld released with his memoir show he had received a string of unusually dire warnings from the war zone in 2006.
After returning from a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan, Barry McCaffrey, a retired Army general, reported the Taliban had made an impressive comeback and predicted that ''we will encounter some very unpleasant surprises in the coming 24 months.''
''The Afghan national leadership are collectively terrified that we will tip-toe out of Afghanistan in the coming few years '-- leaving NATO holding the bag '-- and the whole thing will collapse again into mayhem,'' McCaffrey wrote in June 2006.
Two months later, Marin Strmecki, a civilian adviser to Rumsfeld, gave the Pentagon chief a classified, 40-page report loaded with more bad news. It said ''enormous popular discontent is building'' against the Afghan government because of its corruption and incompetence. It also said that the Taliban was growing stronger, thanks to support from Pakistan, a U.S. ally.
Yet with Rumsfeld's personal blessing, the Pentagon buried the bleak warnings and told the public a very different story.
Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, left, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in March 2002. (Robert A. Reeder/The Washington Post)
In October 2006, Rumsfeld's speechwriters delivered a paper titled ''Afghanistan: Five Years Later.'' Brimming with optimism, it highlighted more than 50 promising facts and figures, from the number of Afghan women trained in ''improved poultry management'' (more than 19,000) to the ''average speed on most roads'' (up 300 percent).
''Five years on, there is a multitude of good news,'' it read. ''While it has become fashionable in some circles to call Afghanistan a forgotten war, or to say the United States has lost its focus, the facts belie the myths.''
Rumsfeld thought it was brilliant.
''This paper,'' he wrote in a memo, ''is an excellent piece. How do we use it? Should it be an article? An Op-ed piece? A handout? A press briefing? All of the above? I think it ought to get it to a lot of people.''
His staffers made sure it did. They circulated a version to reporters and posted it on Pentagon websites.
Since then, U.S. generals have almost always preached that the war is progressing well, no matter the reality on the battlefield.
''We're making some steady progress,'' Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, commander of the 101st Airborne Division, told reporters in September 2008, even as he and other U.S. commanders in Kabul were urgently requesting reinforcements to cope with a rising tide of Taliban fighters.
Two years later, as the casualty rate among U.S. and NATO troops climbed to another high, Army Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez held a news conference in Kabul.
''First, we are steadily making deliberate progress,'' he said.
''And this includes the State Department, ambassadors, you know, down at the local level. Everybody did a great job. We're all doing a great job. Really? So if we're doing such a great job, why does it feel like we're losing?'' '-- Michael Flynn, a retired three-star Army general Listen
In March 2011, during congressional hearings, skeptical lawmakers pelted Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, with doubts that the U.S. strategy was working.
''The past eight months have seen important but hard-fought progress,'' Petraeus responded.
One year later, during a visit to Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stuck to the same script '-- even though he had just personally dodged a suicide attack.
''The campaign, as I've pointed out before, I think has made significant progress,'' Panetta told reporters.
In July 2016, after a surge in Taliban attacks on major cities, Army Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan at the time, repeated the refrain.
''We are seeing some progress,'' he told reporters.
What they said in public March 27, 2009''Going forward, we will not blindly stay the course. Instead, we will set clear metrics to measure progress and hold ourselves accountable.''
'-- Obama, in remarks from the White House
During Vietnam, U.S. military commanders relied on dubious measurements to persuade Americans that they were winning.
Most notoriously, the Pentagon highlighted ''body counts,'' or the number of enemy fighters killed, and inflated the figures as a measurement of success.
In Afghanistan, with occasional exceptions, the U.S. military has generally avoided publicizing body counts. But the Lessons Learned interviews contain numerous admissions that the government routinely touted statistics that officials knew were distorted, spurious or downright false.
The toll of war
Since 2001, an estimated 157,000 people have been killed in the war in Afghanistan.
64,124 *
Afghan security forces
43,074 *
Afghan civilians
42,100 *
Taliban fighters and other insurgents
3,814
U.S. contractors
2,300
U.S. military personnel
1,145
NATO and coalition troops
424
Humanitarian aid workers
67
Journalists and media workers
*estimated
Note: U.S. military number is current through November 2019. The other figures and estimates are current as of October 2019.
Sources: Defense Department; Costs of War Project, Brown University; U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan; Committee to Protect Journalists
The toll of war
Since 2001, an estimated 157,000 people have been killed in the war in Afghanistan.
Afghan civilians
43,074*
Afghan security forces
64,124*
U.S. contractors
Taliban fighters and other insurgents
3,814
42,100*
U.S. military personnel
2,300
67
Journalists and media
1,145
NATO and coalition troops
424
Humanitarian aid workers
*estimated
Note: U.S. military number is current through November 2019.
The other figures and estimates are current as of October 2019.
Sources: Defense Department; Costs of War Project, Brown University; U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan; Committee to Protect Journalists
The toll of war
Since 2001, an estimated 157,000 people have been killed in the war in Afghanistan.
Afghan civilians
43,074*
Afghan security forces
64,124*
424
Humanitarian aid workers
3,814
67
Taliban fighters and other insurgents
Journalists and media workers
U.S. contractors
2,300
42,100*
1,145
NATO and coalition troops
U.S. military personnel
*estimated
Note: U.S. military number is current through November 2019. The other figures and
estimates are current as of October 2019.
Sources: Defense Department; Costs of War Project, Brown University; U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan; Committee to Protect Journalists
The toll of war
Since 2001, an estimated 157,000 people have been killed in the war in Afghanistan.
Afghan civilians
43,074*
Afghan security forces
64,124*
424
Humanitarian aid workers
3,814
Taliban fighters and other insurgents
U.S. contractors
67
Journalists and media workers
2,300
42,100*
U.S. military personnel
1,145
NATO and coalition troops
*estimated
Note: U.S. military number is current through November 2019. The other figures and estimates are current
as of October 2019.
Sources: Defense Department; Costs of War Project, Brown University; U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan; Committee to Protect Journalists
A person identified only as a senior National Security Council official said there was constant pressure from the Obama White House and Pentagon to produce figures to show the troop surge of 2009 to 2011 was working, despite hard evidence to the contrary.
''It was impossible to create good metrics. We tried using troop numbers trained, violence levels, control of territory and none of it painted an accurate picture,'' Senior National Security Council official | Lessons Learned interview | 9/16/2016 Tap to view full document the senior NSC official told government interviewers in 2016. ''The metrics were always manipulated for the duration of the war.''
Even when casualty counts and other figures looked bad, the senior NSC official said, the White House and Pentagon would spin them to the point of absurdity. Suicide bombings in Kabul were portrayed as a sign of the Taliban's desperation, that the insurgents were too weak to engage in direct combat. Meanwhile, a rise in U.S. troop deaths was cited as proof that American forces were taking the fight to the enemy.
The remains of Army Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, 55, arrive at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware in August 2014. Greene was the first U.S. general killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)
''It was their explanations,'' the senior NSC official said. ''For example, attacks are getting worse? 'That's because there are more targets for them to fire at, so more attacks are a false indicator of instability.' Then, three months later, attacks are still getting worse? 'It's because the Taliban are getting desperate, so it's actually an indicator that we're winning.''‰''
''And this went on and on for two reasons,'' the senior NSC official said, ''to make everyone involved look good, and to make it look like the troops and resources were having the kind of effect where removing them would cause the country to deteriorate.''
In other field reports sent up the chain of command, military officers and diplomats took the same line. Regardless of conditions on the ground, they claimed they were making progress.
''From the ambassadors down to the low level, [they all say] we are doing a great job,'' Michael Flynn | Lessons Learned interview | 11/10/2015 Tap to view full document Michael Flynn, a retired three-star Army general, told government interviewers in 2015. ''Really? So if we are doing such a great job, why does it feel like we are losing?'' Michael Flynn | Lessons Learned interview | 11/10/2015 Tap to view full document
Upon arrival in Afghanistan, U.S. Army brigade and battalion commanders were given the same basic mission: to protect the population and defeat the enemy, according to Flynn, who served multiple tours in Afghanistan as an intelligence officer.
''So they all went in for whatever their rotation was, nine months or six months, and were given that mission, accepted that mission and executed that mission,'' Michael Flynn | Lessons Learned interview | 11/10/2015 Tap to view full document said Flynn, who later briefly served as Trump's national security adviser, lost his job in a scandal and was convicted of lying to the FBI. ''Then they all said, when they left, they accomplished that mission. Every single commander. Not one commander is going to leave Afghanistan .'‰.'‰. and say, 'You know what, we didn't accomplish our mission.''‰'' Michael Flynn | Lessons Learned interview | 11/10/2015 Tap to view full document
He added: ''So the next guy that shows up finds it [their area] screwed up .'‰.'‰. and then they come back and go, 'Man this is really bad.''‰'' Michael Flynn | Lessons Learned interview | 11/10/2015 Tap to view full document
Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez arrives at Forward Operating Base Pasab in Kandahar province for a transfer-of-authority ceremony in 2011. (Mikhail Galustov for The Washington Post)
Bob Crowley, the retired Army colonel who served as a counterinsurgency adviser in Afghanistan in 2013 and 2014, told government interviewers that ''truth was rarely welcome'' Bob Crowley | Lessons Learned interview | 8/3/2016 Tap to view full document at military headquarters in Kabul.
''Bad news was often stifled,'' Bob Crowley | Lessons Learned interview | 8/3/2016 Tap to view full document he said. ''There was more freedom to share bad news if it was small '-- we're running over kids with our MRAPs [armored vehicles] '-- because those things could be changed with policy directives. But when we tried to air larger strategic concerns about the willingness, capacity or corruption of the Afghan government, it was clear it wasn't welcome.'' Bob Crowley | Lessons Learned interview | 8/3/2016 Tap to view full document
John Garofano, a Naval War College strategist who advised Marines in Helmand province in 2011, said military officials in the field devoted an inordinate amount of resources to churning out color-coded charts that heralded positive results.
''They had a really expensive machine that would print the really large pieces of paper like in a print shop,'' John Garofano | Lessons Learned interview | 10/15/2015 Tap to view full document he told government interviewers. ''There would be a caveat that these are not actually scientific figures, or this is not a scientific process behind this.'' John Garofano | Lessons Learned interview | 10/15/2015 Tap to view full document
But Garofano said nobody dared to question whether the charts and numbers were credible or meaningful.
''There was not a willingness to answer questions such as, what is the meaning of this number of schools that you have built? How has that progressed you towards your goal?'' John Garofano | Lessons Learned interview | 10/15/2015 Tap to view full document he said. ''How do you show this as evidence of success and not just evidence of effort or evidence of just doing a good thing?'' John Garofano | Lessons Learned interview | 10/15/2015 Tap to view full document
Other senior officials said they placed great importance on one statistic in particular, albeit one the U.S. government rarely likes to discuss in public.
''I do think the key benchmark is the one I've suggested, which is how many Afghans are getting killed,'' James Dobbins, the former U.S. diplomat, told a Senate panel in 2009. ''If the number's going up, you're losing. If the number's going down, you're winning. It's as simple as that.''
Last year, 3,804 Afghan civilians were killed in the war, according to the United Nations.
That is the most in one year since the United Nations began tracking casualties a decade ago.
If you have information to share about The Afghanistan Papers, contact The Post at afghanpapers@washpost.com.
Were you or one of your family members involved in the Afghanistan war? Tell us about your experiences.
Craig Whitlock Craig Whitlock is an investigative reporter who specializes in national security issues. He has covered the Pentagon, served as the Berlin bureau chief and reported from more than 60 countries. He joined The Washington Post in 1998.
H.R.2500 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 06:39
Tracker:This bill has the status Passed House
Here are the steps for Status of Legislation:
IntroducedArray( [actionDate] => 2019-06-27 [displayText] => Supplemental report filed by the Committee on Armed Services, H. Rept. 116-120, Part II. [externalActionCode] => 5000 [description] => Introduced)
Passed HouseArray( [actionDate] => 2019-07-12 [displayText] => Passed/agreed to in House: On passage Passed by recorded vote: 220 - 197 (Roll no. 473). [externalActionCode] => 8000 [description] => Passed House)
Passed SenateTo PresidentBecame Law Subject '-- Policy Area: Armed Forces and National Security View subjects Summary (3) Text (3) Actions (268) Titles (23) Amendments (58) Cosponsors (1) Committees (1) Related Bills (171) Go to: Summary: H.R.2500 '-- 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)Shown Here: Passed House (07/12/2019) National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020
This bill authorizes FY2020 appropriations and sets forth policies for Department of Defense (DOD) programs and activities, including military personnel strengths. It does not provide budget authority, which is provided in subsequent appropriations legislation.
The bill authorizes appropriations to DOD for
Procurement, including aircraft, weapons and tracked combat vehicles, shipbuilding and conversion, missiles, and space procurement; Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation; Operation and Maintenance; Working Capital Funds; Chemical Agents and Munitions Destruction; Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities; the Defense Inspector General; the Defense Health Program; the Armed Forces Retirement Home; Overseas Contingency Operations; and Military Construction. The bill authorizes the FY2020 personnel strengths for active duty and reserve forces and sets forth policies regarding
military personnel; acquisition policy and management; international programs; National Guard and Reserve Forces facilities; compensation and other personnel benefits; health care; DOD organization and management; civilian personnel matters; matters relating to foreign nations; and strategic programs, cyber, and intelligence matters. The bill authorizes appropriations for base realignment and closure activities, and maritime matters.
The bill also authorizes appropriations and sets forth policies for Department of Energy national security programs, including the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.
The bill sets forth policies for
North Korea nuclear sanctions, paid family leave for federal personnel, limiting the use of criminal history in federal hiring and contracting, defense equipment sales to foreign countries or international organizations, matters relating to Burma, Saudi Arabia human rights and accountability, measures to combat illicit trafficking that finances Al-Shabaab, sanctions with respect to foreign traffickers of illicit synthetic opioids, and a Cable Security Fleet to meet national security requirements.
2020
New Poll Shows Hillary As Dem Primary Frontrunner | American Action News
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 09:00
A stunning new poll of registered Democrats is showing that Hillary Clinton is leading her potential Democratic rivals in the race for the party's nomination, even though she isn't even offically a candidate yet.
As The New York Post
reports:A new poll of registered Democrats has Hillary Clinton as their top choice for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination '-- and she's not even running.The online Harris Poll survey released by the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard found that Clinton placed first with 21% of the vote, followed closely by former Vice President Joe Biden at 20%, Sen. Bernie Sanders at 12%, Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 9% and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at 7%.It polled 1,859 voters and was conducted between Nov. 27 and 29 of this year.Pollsters also surveyed respondents without Clinton in the race '-- and Biden came out first, with 29% of the vote, followed by Sanders at 16% and Warren at 13%.
Clinton has repeatedly claimed that she isn't running in 2020 but did acknowledge that she has been 'deluged' with requests for her to do so. She also mentioned that she needs to 'make up her mind soon' about whether to run or not.
Source:
American Action News Article Index
UPDATE: Bill Barr Indicts 8 Including Mueller Top Witness for Funneling Millions in Foreign Donations to Adam Schiff, Hillary Clinton and Top Senate Democrats
Sun, 08 Dec 2019 15:42
by Jim Hoft December 8, 2019Ahmad ''Andy'' Khawaja and Hillary Clinton (Allied Wallet)
The Liberal Media Is Covering This Up!'...HUGE DEMOCRAT MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR CAMPAIGN DONATIONS SCANDAL BROKEN UP!On Friday The Gateway Pundit reported on the news that Democrat operative and Robert Mueller chief witness George Nader was indicted for his involvement in illegal campaign contributions from foreign entities to the Hillary campaign in 2016
Nader was one of Mueller's top witnesses and he is a top Democrat donor and convicted child molester.
But there is more to the story.
Bill Barr on Friday indicted eight individuals for illegally funneling foreign money to Adam Schiff, Hillary Clinton and several Democratic senators.According to News Thud:
The list of the Dem organizations taking this illegal money is astounding '' almost every Dem state organization and many super PAC's including the big one Priorities USA.
All of the leading names in the Democratic party took in this money including Adam Schiff and Ted Lieu, Jon Tester, Cory Booker, Hillary Clinton, etc.
The DOJ reported:
Earlier today, an indictment was unsealed against the CEO of an online payment processing company, and seven others, charging them with conspiring to make and conceal conduit and excessive campaign contributions, and related offenses, during the U.S. presidential election in 2016 and thereafter.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department's Criminal Division and Assistant Director in Charge Timothy R. Slater of the FBI's Washington Field Office made the announcement.
A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia indicted Ahmad ''Andy'' Khawaja, 48, of Los Angeles, California, on Nov. 7, 2019, along with George Nader, Roy Boulos, Rudy Dekermenjian, Mohammad ''Moe'' Diab, Rani El-Saadi, Stevan Hill and Thayne Whipple. The 53 count indictment charges Khawaja with two counts of conspiracy, three counts of making conduit contributions, three counts of causing excessive contributions, 13 counts of making false statements, 13 counts of causing false records to be filed, and one count of obstruction of a federal grand jury investigation. Nader is charged with conspiring with Khawaja to make conduit campaign contributions, and related offenses. Boulos, Dekermenjian, Diab, El-Saadi, Hill, and Whipple are charged with conspiring with Khawaja and each other to make conduit campaign contributions and conceal excessive contributions, and related offenses.
According to the indictment, from March 2016 through January 2017, Khawaja conspired with Nader to conceal the source of more than $3.5 million in campaign contributions, directed to political committees associated with a candidate for President of the United States in the 2016 election. By design, these contributions appeared to be in the names of Khawaja, his wife, and his company. In reality, they allegedly were funded by Nader. Khawaja and Nader allegedly made these contributions in an effort to gain influence with high-level political figures, including the candidate. As Khawaja and Nader arranged these payments, Nader allegedly reported to an official from a foreign government about his efforts to gain influence.
The indictment also alleges that, from March 2016 through 2018, Khawaja conspired with Boulos, Dekermenjian, Diab, El-Saadi, Hill, and Whipple to conceal Khawaja's excessive contributions, which totaled more than $1.8 million, to various political committees. Among other things, these contributions allegedly allowed Khawaja to host a private fundraiser for a presidential candidate in 2016 and a private fundraising dinner for an elected official in 2018.
The indictment further alleges that, from June 2019 through July 2019, Khawaja obstructed a grand jury investigation of this matter in the District of Columbia. Knowing that a witness had been called to testify before the grand jury, Khawaja allegedly provided that witness with false information about Nader and his connection to Khawaja's company. Boulos, Diab, Hill, and Whipple also are charged with obstructing the grand jury's investigation by lying to the FBI.
Currently, Nader is in federal custody on other charges.
You can see all of Ahmad Khawaja's donations here.
Khawaja donated OVER ONE MILLION DOLLARS to Democrat PAC Priorities USA!
The list is endless.
This is being covered up by the liberal mainstream media!As we reported previously'' George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman and one of Mueller's 'star witnesses' was charged in a Virginia federal court in July with additional child sex crimes.
***Get Trump 2020 buttons @ TrumpButtons.com '' Click Here***
Recall, Nader was previously indicted on June 3rd 2019 on child pornography charges.
According to a 3-count indictment unsealed Friday, Nader was charged earlier in July for possessing child pornography and for traveling with a minor to engage in illegal sexual acts.
Nader is accused of transporting a 14-year-old European boy to the United States for sex in the year 2000.
Sundance Film Festival Shorts and Special Events Include Hillary Clinton Series '' Variety
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 15:43
December 10, 2019 1:00PM PTPark City is with her '-- or will be, when an under-wraps documentary series about Hillary Clinton debuts at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
''Hillary,'' directed by Nanette Burstein, is one of several projects going up in Sundance's special events program, announced Tuesday by the festival in step with its short film and indie episodic lineups.
The four-part series, produced by Hulu, is described as ''a portrait of a public woman, interweaving moments from never-before-seen 2016 campaign footage with biographical chapters of Hillary Rodham Clinton's life.'' The project will feature interviews with Clinton herself, husband Bill Clinton, close friends and journalists, and represent ''an examination of how she became simultaneously one of the most admired and vilified women in the world.'' It premieres March 6 on Hulu.
It's unclear if Clinton will appear at the festival in support of the project. This summer, reports said she and daughter Chelsea Clinton would launch a formal production company and were shopping for an overall deal at a top Hollywood studio. Clinton is currently attached as a producer on ''The Woman's Hour,'' a series about women's suffrage, with Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners.
Another polarizing figure, cyclist Lance Armstrong, will offer himself up for a documentary take. Director Marina Zenovich (''Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind'') is billed as having unprecedented access to the disgraced champion, who inspired millions with his athleticism and victorious cancer battle before his widely-covered doping scandal. The festival describes the project as an examination of ''a man who's both winner and loser, saint and sinner,'' and a ''a powerful study of that 21st century phenomenon: the celebrity who falls spectacularly and publicly from grace.''
Other notable events include ''McMillions,'' from director James Lee Hernandez and executive producer Mark Wahlberg. The film is billed as ''the definitive, real-life account of the McDonald's Monopoly game scam, which defrauded the American public throughout the 1990s,'' Featured cast members include actual ''prize winners'' in the scam, as well as criminals, government officials and feds who shut down the crime ring behind the national pastime.
Kim Yutani, Sundance director of programming, reflected on the respective slates saying, ''Authenticity and independent voices resonate across formats '' and that's evident across the full spectrum of this year's indie episodic and special events slates. Defined by distinctive voices and enlightening viewpoints, these are riveting projects that find inspiration in the urgent stories and extraordinary individuals of our times.''
Read the full list of events, and U.S. and international shorts:
INDIE EPISODICAwkward Family Photos (Director: William Kirkley, Executive Producers: Mike Bender, Doug Chernack, William Kirkley, Paris Kassidokostas-Latsis, Terry Dougas, Jean-Luc De Fanti) '-- A hilarious, odd, and heartfelt exploration of the imperfect family experience. The families behind some of the most viral photos from the archives of AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com tell their unique stories and reunite to recreate their original photos, forcing them to reconcile their past and celebrate their awkwardness.
Chemo Brain (Denmark '' Director: Kristian Håskjold, Screenwriters: Kristian Håskjold, Johan Wang) '-- When Oliver is diagnosed with testicular cancer, his life is turned upside down. This lighthearted drama-series depicts the derailment of a young man that is doing everything he can to not lose his friends, his girlfriend, himself, and ultimately his life. Cast: Adam Ild Rohweder, Karoline Brygmann, Jens J¸rn Spottag, Mads Reuther, Stephanie Nguyen, Mathilde Passer.
City So Real (Director: Steve James) '-- An impressionistic mosaic portrait of current-day Chicago which delivers a deep, multifaceted look into the soul of America's third-largest city, set against the backdrop of its history-making 2019 mayoral campaign.
Embrace (Director: Jessica Sanders, Creators: Kathreen Khavari, Chuck Neal) '-- Against the backdrop of Oakland California, Iranian-American medical student Kat tries to save her Iranian family by taking on a surprising side hustle. The show is a culturally diverse, quasi-surrealist dramedy that captures the ever-increasing need for human connection and the subsequent commodification of it. Cast: Kathreen Khavari, Eddie Huang, Mitra Jouhari.
Hey Lady! (Canada '' Directors: Sarah Polley, Adriana Maggs, Will Bowes, Screenwriter: Morris Panych) '-- A fearlessly off-the-charts rampage of urban vengeance as senior-citizen Lady, along with her friend Rosie, upturns everything in her path''social norms, rules of etiquette, and even the series itself. Cast: Jayne Eastwood, Jackie Richardson.
Laetitia (France '' Director: Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, Screenwriters: Antoine Lacomblez, Jean-Xavierde Lestrade) '-- Eighteen-year-old Laetitia has disappeared. Police quickly arrest Tony Meilhon but investigators still can't find the body. This story follows the repercussions for Laetitia's family and twin sister Jessica; the police force inner workings and social services; the judicial system and government itself. Based on real events. Cast: Marie Colomb, Sophie Breyer, Yannick Choirat, Sam Karmann, Kevin AziÌas, Noam Morgensztern.
The Ride (Director: Linas Phillips, Executive Producers: Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass) '-- Wayne, a 40-year-old ride share driver and spiritual coach, recently moved back in with his mom and discovers the only thing that gives his life meaning is to help his passengers let go of their negative thoughts, whether they want his help or not. Cast: Linas Phillips, Maria Thayer, Alex Karpovsky, Punkie Johnson, Joslyn Jensen, Timm Sharp.
Untitled Pizza Movie (Director and screenwriter: David Shapiro) '-- How do you remember somebody in a disposable world? Weaving an abandoned film about pizza (NYC in the early '90s), a stunning, physical archive (thousands of objects) with a remarkable triple portrait, this series traces three lives over thirty years, three continents, and the faultlines of class, dreams, and memory.
SPECIAL EVENTSHillary (Director and screenwriter: Nanette Burstein) '-- A portrait of a public woman, interweaving moments from never-before-seen 2016 campaign footage with biographical chapters of Hillary Rodham Clinton's life. Featuring exclusive interviews with Hillary herself, Bill Clinton, friends, and journalists, an examination of how she became simultaneously one of the most admired and vilified women in the world.
Lance (Director: Marina Zenovich, Producers: Marina Zenovich, P.G. Morgan) '-- This deeply personal examination of one of the world's most controversial figures examines a man who's both winner and loser, saint and sinner. With unprecedented access to Lance's world, this psychological portrait is a powerful study of that 21st century phenomenon: the celebrity who falls spectacularly and publicly from grace.
Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on the Exorcist (U.S.-Spain '' Director: Alexandre O. Philippe, Producer: Kerry Deignan Roy) '-- A lyrical and spiritual cinematic essay on ''The Exorcist,'' and an exploration of the uncharted depths of William Friedkin's mind's eye, the nuances of his filmmaking process, and the mysteries of faith and fate that have shaped his life and filmography. Cast: William Friedkin.
Love Fraud (Directors: Rachel Grady, Heidi Ewing, Executive Producer: Vinnie Malhotra, Amy Goodman Kass, Rachel Grady, Heidi Ewing) '-- Bigamy. Identity theft. Fraud. For the last 20 years Richard Scott Smith has used the internet and his dubious charms to prey upon unsuspecting women in search of love''conning them out of their money and dignity. But now his victims ban together and seek sweet revenge.
Max Richter's Sleep (U.K. '' Director and screenwriter: Natalie Johns) '-- Following the composer as he navigates an ambitious performance of his acclaimed 8-hour opus. Centering around an open air concert in Los Angeles, alongside footage from Berlin, Sydney and Paris, we are plunged deep into the life and process of both the artist and his creative partner Yulia Mahr.
McMillions (Directors: James Lee Hernandez, Brian Lazarte, Executive Producers: Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Archie Gips) '-- ''McMillions'' is the definitive, real-life account of the McDonald's Monopoly game scam, which defrauded the American public throughout the 1990s, as told by the ''prize winners,'' criminals, government officials, and FBI agents, whom eventually took the crime ring down.
Siempre, Luis (Director: John James, Executive Producer: Michael Stolper) '-- Follow one single-minded immigrant's improbable journey from Puerto Rico to the halls of power. Witness Luis Miranda's unflappable idealism as he battles his health, mobilizes the mainland Latinx community, matches wits with his youngest child applying to college and brings Hamilton to his island home, all in 12 months. Cast: Luis Miranda, Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The Trade (Director: Matthew Heineman, Executive Producers: Pagan Harleman, Matthew Heineman, Vinnie Malhotra, Joedan Okun) '-- A deeply personal and intimate portrait of human smuggling, sex trafficking, and the struggle to survive the migrant cycle between Central America and the United States.
We Are Freestyle Love Supreme (Director: Andrew Fried) '-- Follow the 15-year journey of the founding members of the improv hip-hop group Freestyle Love Supreme, as they reflect upon why this show remains such an important piece of their personal, creative, and professional history''from the basement of the Drama Bookshop in NYC to the Broadway stage. Cast: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, Anthony Veneziale, Christopher Jackson, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Chris Sullivan.
U.S. NARRATIVE SHORT FILMSArabian Alien (Saudi Arabia '' Director and screenwriter: Meshal Aljaser) '-- Saad, a Muslim married man, gets over his depression after a space Alien is introduced into his life.
Baldwin Beauty (Director and screenwriter: Thembi Banks) '-- Farrah, new to L.A., goes on the mobile styling app Get Glam, to find new clients. When she arrives at an appointment, she finds a house of girls pre-gaming for a party and maybe a new crew of friends.
Blocks (Director and screenwriter: Bridget Moloney) '-- An existential comedy about the mother of two young children who begins to spontaneously vomit plastic toy blocks.. DAY ONE
Buck (Directors and screenwriters: Elegance Bratton, Jovan James) '-- Caught in the throes of a depressive fugue, young Lynn resorts to debauchery to find joy '-- only to discover that happiness is a much more complicated proposition.
Danny's Girl (Director and screenwriter: Emily Wilson) '-- Danny meets his online girlfriend for the first time, but accidentally discovers her unspeakable possession, which throws their first night together into a dizzying tailspin.
Dirty (Director and screenwriter: Matthew Puccini) '-- Marco cuts class to spend the afternoon with his boyfriend, Graham. Things do not go as planned.
He's the One (Director and screenwriter: Jessie Kahnweiler) '-- A girl meets guy and falls head over heels, but a shocking discovery forces her to question everything. A dark comedy about falling in love with the one person you're supposed to hate.
How Did We Get Here? (Director and screenwriter: Michelle Miles) '-- A visual exploration of progressive atrophy. A study in how microscopic changes can go unnoticed, but amass over time. Even as these changes become drastic, we sometimes fail to realize anything has happened at all.
Lance (in a Neck Brace) (Director and screenwriter: Chloé Aktas) '-- After a devastating breakup, Lance listens to instructional cassette tapes on how to heal his broken heart.
Little Chief (Director and screenwriter: Erica Tremblay) '-- The lives of a Native woman and a troubled young boy intersect over the course of a school day on a reservation in Oklahoma.
Meats (Director and screenwriter: Ashley Williams) '-- A pregnant vegan struggles with her newfound craving for meat.
Meridian (U.S.- Italy '' Director and screenwriter: Calum Walter) '-- Footage transmitted by the last unit in a fleet of autonomous machines is sent to deliver an emergency vaccine. The film follows the machine before its disappearance, tracing a path that seems to stray further and further from its objective.
Pillars (Director and screenwriter: Haley Elizabeth Anderson) '-- After seeing a boy she likes before church, Amber sneaks out to the Sunday school bathroom during the service and is given her first kiss.
Place (Director and screenwriter: Jason Gudasz) '-- Wanting a fresh start, Lauren moves into a house with her daughter and new boyfriend''but the spirits of the house have plans to turn them all against each other in very bizarre ways.
Ship: A Visual Poem (Director and screenwriter: Terrance Daye) '-- A black boy learns contradicting lessons of manhood and masculinity on the day of his cousin's funeral.
T (Director and screenwriter: Keisha Rae Witherspoon) '-- A film crew follows three grieving participants of Miami's annual T Ball, where folks assemble to model R.I.P. t-shirts and innovative costumes designed in honor of their dead.
Three Deaths (Director and screenwriter: Jay Dockendorf) '-- Three strangers confront death in a modern interpretation of a Tolstoy short story.
Valerio's Day Out (Colombia, Director and screenwriter: Michael Arcos) '-- A young jaguar goes on a killing spree when he escapes from his enclosure at a zoo. After he's captured, sedated and relocated, he makes a video diary for his significant other, Lula.
INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE SHORT FILMSAre You Hungry? (Finland '' Director: Teemu Niukkanen, Screenwriter: Antti Toivonen) '-- A single mother struggles to connect with her adopted teenage son, whom she believes is gay. DAY ONE
Backpedal (Australia '' Director and screenwriter: Dani Pearce) '-- A collage of an American poem, exploring the universality of womanhood.
Bad Hair (Estonia '' Director and screenwriter: Oskar Lehemaa) '-- Insecure and balding Leo has decided to try a mysterious hair growth liquid to fix up his looks. The liquid causes a series of grotesque metamorphoses, as Leo tries to get his bodily changes under control, the evening quickly turn into chaos.
Benevolent Ba (Malaysia '' Director and screenwriter: Diffan Sina Norman) '-- A devout woman's lust for virtue thrusts her family into a sacrificial slaughter of biblical proportions.
The Devil's Harmony (U.K. '' Director: Dylan Holmes Williams, Screenwriters: Dylan Holmes Williams, Jess O'Kane) '-- A bullied teenage girl leads an a cappella club on a trail of destruction against her high school enemies.
Exam (Iran '' Director: Sonia K. Hadad, Screenwriters: Sonia K. Hadad, Farnoosh Samadi) '-- A teenage girl gets involved in the process of delivering a pack of cocaine to its client, and gets stuck in a weird cycle of occurrences. DAY ONE
Former Cult Member Hears Music For The First Time (Norway '' Director and screenwriter: Kristoffer Borgli) '-- After a woman escapes the captivity of her abusive family, a magazine invites her to a journalistic experiment: to hear music for the first time.
I'll End Up in Jail (Canada '' Director and screenwriter: Alexandre Dostie) '-- A stay-at-home mom gets into a murderous car crash where nobody wants to take the blame.
Leave of Absence (Russia '' Director and Screenwriter: Anton Sazonov) '-- In Russia, supressed masculinity has led to a feeling of unfulfillment as men feel that the country rejects them, leading to a drastic decline in male life expectancy. North American Premiere. DAY ONE
No One is Crazy in This Town (Indonesia '' Director: Wregas Bhanuteja, Screenwriters: Wregas Bhanuteja, Henricus Pria) ) '-- The owner of a big hotel orders Marwan and his team to remove mentally ill people from the city streets and cast them away in the forests. North American Premiere
Olla (France, United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Ariane Labed) '-- Olla has answered an ad on a dating website for Eastern European women. She moves in with Pierre, who lives with his old mother, but nothing goes as expected.
Paola Makes A Wish (Switzerland '' Director and screenwriter: Zhannat Alshanova) '-- On an ordinary day at work, Paola starts to feel that she is missing out something exciting in her life. U.S. Premiere
Pattaki (Cuba '' Director: Everlane Moraes, Screenwriter: Tatiana Monge Herrera) '-- In the dense night, when the moon rises, those who live in a monotonous daily life without water are hypnotized by the powers of Yemaya, the goddess of the sea.
Regret (Canada '' Director and screenwriter: Santiago Menghini) '-- Following the death of his father, a man must survive the manifestations of his inner demons over the course of a dreary night.
Sadla (South Africa '' Director and screenwriter: Zamo Mkhwanazi) '-- While going on a simple errand, Nathi's journey is marked by disturbing interactions with authority. But is he an innocent victim? DAY ONE
So What if the Goats Die (France-Morocco '' Director and screenwriter: Sofia Alaoui) '-- Abdellah, a young shepherd living in the mountains, is forced to brave the snow blocking him in order to get food and save this cattle. Once he gets to the village, he faces a supernatural phenomenon.
Song of Clouds (Nepal '' Director and screenwriter: Ankit Poudel) '-- A haunting visual fever dream, and a meditation on the afterlife; the journey to the next world, and what gets left behind among the living.
Sticker (Macedonia '' Director and screenwriter: Georgi M. Unkovski) '-- After an unsuccessful attempt to renew his car registration, Dejan falls in a bureaucratic trap that tests his determination to be a responsible father.
A Thousand Sails (Hong Kong (Director and screenwriter: Hing Weng Eric Tsang) '-- Ren promises to keep a secret for her neighbor's son''a secret she can share with no one on the island. Her only refuge from sleepless nights is her deceased husband.
DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILMSAbortion Helpline, This Is Lisa (Directors: Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater, Mike Attie) '-- At a Philadelphia abortion helpline, counselors answer nonstop calls from women who seek to end a pregnancy but can't afford to. In this documentary we learn how economic stigma and cruel legislation determine who has access to abortion.
All That Perishes at the Edge of Land (Pakistan '' Director: Hira Nabi, Screenwriters: Hira Nabi, Qurratulain Hyder ) '-- A ship berthed at Gadani and the shipbreakers coming from all over Pakistan to break it discover that they might have more in common than otherwise imagined when they enter into a conversation.
Bereka (U.S.-Ethiopia '' Director and screenwriter: Nesanet Teshager Abegaze) '-- A family history archive as told by matriarch Azalu Mekonnen and her granddaughter Samira Hooks. Shot on Super 8 film in Los Angeles and Gondar, Ethiopia, capturing the Ethiopian coffee ceremony and explores migration, memory and rebirth.
Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business (Director: Christine Turner) '-- At age 93, there's no stopping the legendary artist Betye Saar.
Broken Orchestra (Canada, Director: Charlie Tyrell) '-- The Symphony for a Broken Orchestra project collected hundreds of broken instruments from the Philadelphia public school system, fixed them and then returned them into the hands of students.
Character (Director: Vera Brunner-Sung) '-- Actor Mark Metcalf made his reputation in Hollywood playing aggrieved authority figures. Now in his 70s, he takes a look back on his career in this meditation on power, privilege, and the perils of being a ''type.''
Church and the Fourth Estate (Director: Brian Knappenberger) '-- A reporter uncovers a file that reveals a shocking series of child abuse allegations in Idaho's Boy Scouts, which rattle the community and implicate the Mormon church. The story reveals long-running crimes that threaten to bankrupt the Boy Scouts.
The Deepest Hole (Director: Matt McCormick) '-- While the space and arms races are Cold War common knowledge, few know about the United States and Soviet Union's race to dig the deepest hole. This is particularly surprising since Hell may have been inadvertently discovered in the process.
Día de la Madre (Directors: Ashley Brandon, Dennis HoÌhne) '-- A band of juveniles embark on a 24-hour spree of breaking into houses and causing a ruckus.
Do Not Split (U.S.-Norway '' Director: Anders Hammer) '-- The story of the 2019 Hong Kong protests, told through a series of demonstrations by local protestors that escalate into conflict when highly armed police appear on the scene.
E-Ticket (Hong Kong '' Director: Simon Liu) '-- A frantic (re)cataloguing of a personal archive and 16,000 splices in the making. 35mm frames are obsessively rearranged in evolving-disorienting patterns, as a Dante's Inferno for the streaming age emerges, illustrating freedom of movement for the modern cloud.
Guisado on Sunset (Director and screenwriter: Terence Nance) '-- Missed connection regret at that one late-night spot''the kind you keep playing back in your head but not quite ever remembering right, until it starts to look like something else. International Premiere
John Was Trying to Contact Aliens (Director: Matthew Killip) '-- John Shepherd spent 30 years trying to contact extraterrestrials by broadcasting music millions of miles into space. After giving up the search he makes a different connection here on earth. DAY ONE
Junior Bangers (U.K. '' Director: Danny Lee) '-- In England, banger racing isn't just a sport, but a way of life. Join 11-year-olds Finn and Harley on a cold winter race day in Birmingham.
Lichen (U.S.-Canada '' Director and screenwriter: Lisa Jackson) '-- Another worldly deep dive into the hidden beauty of lichens, asking what we might learn from them. Ancient and diverse, thriving in adversity, confounding scientists to this day, lichen is a model of emergence.
A Love Song for Latasha (Director: Sophia Nahli Allison) '-- A dreamlike archive in conversation with the past and the present to reimagine a more nuanced narrative of Latasha Harlins by excavating intimate and poetic memories shared by her cousin and best friend.
Narcissister Breast Work (Director: Narcissister) '-- Focusing on the exercise by women of their right to bare their breasts in public, this film is an investigation into how prohibitions on female toplessness are grounded in fear of, and desire to control, the female body.
Now Is the Time (Canada '' Director and screenwriter: Christopher Auchter) '-- On the 50th anniversary of the first new totem pole raising on British Columbia's Haida Gwaii in almost a century, we revisit the day that would signal the rebirth of the Haida spirit.
See You Next Time (Director: Crystal Kayiza) '-- A window into the intimate moments shared across a nail salon table between a Chinese nail artist and her black client in Brooklyn, NY.
The Starr Sisters (Directors: Beth Einhorn, Bridey Elliott) '-- Patte and Randa Starr are fun specialists. After overcoming a dark past, these sisters are inseparable. Now in their 70s, they do exactly as they please and their candy drawer is always fully stocked.
While I'm Still Breathing (Tandis Que Je Respire Encore) (France '' Directors: Laure Giappiconi, Elisa Monteil, La Fille Renne, Screenwriter: Laure Giappiconi) '-- The blurred portrayal of a young woman as she moves through three steps of her sexuality.
ANIMATED SHORT FILMSDaughter (Czech Republic '' Director and screenwriter: Daria Kashcheeva) '-- Should you hide your pain, close yourself inside your inner world, and long for your father's love? Or should you understand and forgive before it's too late?
Daytime Noir (Director: Jeron Braxton, Screenwriters: Jeron Braxton, Jay Ellis, Antonio Maclin) '-- A mother and son's journey through the exploitative world of tabloid TV.
eadem cutis: the same skin (Germany '' Director: Nina Hopf) '-- ''I just want to be seen as who I am today!'' John shares his thoughts on identity, body and gender and gives a very personal insight into his life''and an intimate proximity to his body.
Eli (Director and screenwriter: Nate Milton) '-- A true story from the realms of high strangeness, magical thinking, and manic delusion.
Farce (Norway '' Director and screenwriter: Robin Jensen) '-- A man, a woman and a meat grinder. Love is messy.
Hot Flash (Canada '' Director and screenwriter: Thea Hollatz) '-- Ace is having a hot flash, and she's about to go live on local television. How one woman tries to keep her cool when one type of flash leads to another.
Hudson Geese (Director and screenwriter: Bernardo Britto) '-- A goose remembers his last migration. DAY ONE
IneÌs (France-Switzerland '' Director and screenwriter: Élodie Dermange) '-- IneÌs is facing a difficult choice. Tonight, she thinks about the decision she will make.
My Juke-Box (France '' Director and screenwriter: Florentine Grelier) '-- Yesterday, I overheard an old rock 'n' roll song that sounded familiar. This is probably the music that we used to listen to on my dad's mechanical devices''the thousand lives man, the king of the jukebox.
No, I Don't Want to Dance! (U.K. '' Director and screenwriter: Andrea Vinciguerra) '-- In these dark times, you may think that every hazard has been identified, but nobody has taken into consideration how dangerous dance can be.
Sh_t Happens (Czech Republic-Slovakia-France '' Directors and screenwriters: Michaela Mihalyi, David Štumpf) '-- The caretaker exhausted by everything, his frustrated wife, and one totally depressed deer. Their mutual despair leads them to absurd events, because'... shit happens all the time.
The Shawl (Director: Sara Kiener) After years of long distance, a pair of big and beautiful boyfriends celebrate their reunion at a Stevie Nicks concert, where they share a brush with magic.
Slug Life (U.K. '' Director and Screenwriter: Sophie Koko Gate) '-- A day in the life of Tanya, a curious woman who has developed a taste for non-human lovers. Her next creation: a giant slug. Can such a perfect creature survive in this gnarly world full of freaks and beefs?
Takoyaki Story (Japan '' Director and screenwriter: Sawako Kabuki) '-- Always attracted to takoyaki''octopus balls, a famous Japanese street food, a girl tries them for the first time and becomes addicted.
Wong Ping's Fables 2 (Hong Kong '' Director and Screenwriter: Ping Wong) '-- Wong Ping urinates twice before gently pressing your head down with his right foot, giving you a closer look at your own reflection in his urine.
Wood Child and Hidden Forest Mother (U.K. '' Director and screenwriter: Stephen Irwin) '-- Deep in the forest, a hunter encounters a strange creature he cannot kill.
FISA Report Reveals Clinton Meddled In 2016 Election | Zero Hedge
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 17:26
If Russia spending $100,000 on Facebook ads constitutes election interference, and Donald Trump asking Ukraine to investigate the Bidens is too - then Hillary Clinton takes the cake when it comes to influence campaigns designed to harm a political opponent.
Contained within Monday's FISA report by the DOJ Inspector General is the revelation that Fusion GPS, the firm paid by the Clinton campaign to produce the Steele dossier, "was paying Steele to discuss his reporting with the media." (P. 369 and elsewhere)
(h/t @wakeywakey16)And when did Steele talk with the media (which got him fired as an FBI source)? September of 2016, roughly six weeks before the election.
One of the more damaging articles to result from these meetings was authored by Yahoo News journalist Michael Isikoff, who said in an interview that he was invited by Fusion GPS to meet a "secret source" at a Washington restaurant.
That secret source was none other than Christopher Steele, a former MI-6 Russia expert who fed the Isikoff information for a September 23, 2016 article - which would have had far greater reach and impact coming from such a widely-read media outlet vs. $100,000 in Russian-bought Facebook ads.
Isikoff's article claimed that former Trump campaign aide Carter Page "has opened up private communications with senior Russian officials - including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president."
This allegaton was found by special counsel Robert Mueller report to be false. Moreover, the FBI knew about it in December, 2016, when DOJ #4 Bruce Ohr told the agency as much.
FISA report, P. 206"Steele told us that in September [of 2016] her and Simpson gave an "off-the-record" briefing to a small number of journalists about his reporting," reads page 165 of the FISA report, which says that Steele "acknowledged that Yahoo News was identified in one of the court filings in the foreign litigation as being present."
Put another way, Hillary Clinton paid Christopher Steele to feed information to the MSM in order to harm Donald Trump right before the 2016 election. Granted, there were intermediaries; the Clinton campaign paid law firm Perkins Coie, which paid Fusion GPS, which paid Steele. And if asked, we're guessing Clinton would claim she had no idea this happened - which, quite frankly, simply isn't plausible given the stakes.
Whatever the case - the act of Simpson paying Steele to peddle fiction to the media for the purpose of harming Trump, by itself, constitutes blatant election meddling by every standard set by the left over the past three years.
We're sure Hillary can explain that if and when she jumps into the 2020 race.
The Net Worth Of Every 2020 Presidential Candidate '' Page 2 '' Forbes
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 07:30
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.GETTY IMAGES24. Pete Buttigieg
Net worth: $100,000Financial transparency score: 4/5Money raised: $52 million
Mayor Pete has enough money to live comfortably in the Midwest, but he's still the poorest 2020 contender. Chalk that up to his age (at 37, he's the youngest candidate), student loan debt and his decision to give up a lucrative McKinsey job to run for treasurer of his home state of Indiana in 2010. He lost but got a six-figure gig as mayor of South Bend two years later. Still, he and his husband, Chasten, a former teacher, disclosed between $100,000 and $230,000 in student loans.
OTG
Ring's Neighbors Data Let Us Map Amazon's Home Surveillance Network
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 06:58
As reporters raced this summer to bring new details of Ring's law enforcement contracts to light, the home security company, acquired last year by Amazon for a whopping $1 billion, strove to underscore the privacy it had pledged to provide users.
Even as its creeping objective of ensuring an ever-expanding network of home security devices eventually become indispensable to daily police work, Ring promised its customers would always have a choice in ''what information, if any, they share with law enforcement.'' While it quietly toiled to minimize what police officials could reveal about Ring's police partnerships to the public, it vigorously reinforced its obligation to the privacy of its customers'--and to the users of its crime-alert app Neighbors.
However, a Gizmodo investigation, which began last month and ultimately revealed the potential locations of up to tens of thousands of Ring cameras, has cast new doubt on the effectiveness of the company's privacy safeguards. It further offers one of the most ''striking'' and ''disturbing'' glimpses yet, privacy experts said, of Amazon's privately run, omni-surveillance shroud that's enveloping U.S. cities.
Over 500 days, there were 4,684 total posts in the 9-square-mile radius around a random location chosen in northern Washington, DC. While many of the posts are news alerts or crime reports, at least 1,863 came from Ring cameras at unique locations.Graphic: GizmodoGizmodo has acquired data over the past month connected to nearly 65,800 individual posts shared by users of the Neighbors app. The posts, which reach back 500 days from the point of collection, offer extraordinary insight into the proliferation of Ring video surveillance across American neighborhoods and raise important questions about the privacy trade-offs of a consumer-driven network of surveillance cameras controlled by one of the world's most powerful corporations.
And not just for those whose faces have been recorded.
Examining the network traffic of the Neighbors app produced unexpected data, including hidden geographic coordinates that are connected to each post'--latitude and longitude with up to six decimal points of precision, accurate enough to pinpoint roughly a square inch of ground.
Neighbors, which has millions of users, is advertised as a way to receive ''real-time crime and safety alerts'' from local law enforcement and other Neighbors users nearby. A Ring camera isn't required to use the app. In cities where police have partnered with Ring, police officers have access to a special law enforcement portal, through which the officers can request access to Ring footage. They can choose a date, a time, and a location on a map, and Neighbors users with cameras in the vicinity are alerted.
Ring says police aren't told which specific camera owners receive the requests, ostensibly to ensure there are no repercussions for refusing to cooperate. The users' exact locations are obfuscated, Ring says, unless they choose to impart that information to police.
Reflecting the density of Ring cameras that have been used to share footage on Neighbors over the past 500 days.Screenshot: GizmodoNevertheless, using the hidden coordinates, Gizmodo was able to produce detailed maps depicting the locations of tens of thousands of Ring cameras across 15 U.S. cities with varying degrees of accuracy. Selected as a representative sample, the cities include Los Angeles, Houston, Seattle, Oakland, Boston, and Chicago, among others.
In reality, this represents only a tiny fraction of Ring's network, and, importantly, the maps only show Ring camera owners who've opted to share footage using the Neighbors app. The cameras of Ring owners who haven't shared footage using the app in the past 500 days are not displayed on the maps. Moreover, only a 9-square-mile area was examined by reporters in each city.
Gizmodo estimates having located up to 20,000 Ring cameras, though the total number of locations up for grabs remains a mystery; reporters ceased collecting the Neighbors data voluntarily after gathering data sufficient to illustrate the pervasiveness of Ring cameras, not because Ring made it unavailable.
Dan Calacci, a PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Media Lab, has been performing separate ongoing research to understand what makes a community ''more likely to engage in self-surveillance'' and has amassed a far bigger database of Ring camera locations. He shared a preview of his research with Gizmodo, including a map representing every Ring video posted to Neighbors since 2017.
Representing the locations of 440,000 Ring cameras collected from over 1,800 counties in the U.S.Graphic: Dan Calacci, MIT ''Specifically, I've been looking at trying to explain county-level use (like how many active cameras per 1,000 people) using FBI crime reporting stats, gentrification metrics, and demographics,'' Calacci said.
To identify which of the 65,800 posts Gizmodo collected potentially originated from a Ring doorbell camera, Gizmodo filtered for posts specifically categorized as being a ''Ring'' or a ''Video Alert.''
Testing revealed that some coordinates were accurate enough to place a person directly in front of a Ring device; roughly four-to-six feet from home addresses volunteered by Neighbors users. Other coordinates fell just within eyeshot, pointing to the nearest intersection.
''Posts to the Neighbors app do not reveal the exact addresses of users or Ring devices owners,'' a Ring spokesperson said. ''When choosing to post to the app, users include the incident location, which is not always the same location as their address. These public posts are then displayed as happening at a nearby intersection close to the vicinity of the incident to protect user privacy.''
The farthest Gizmodo found a camera from a residence'--based on tests involving only Neighbors posts in which camera owners had voluntarily specified their home address'--was 260 feet. But as the coordinates are invariably accompanied by footage captured by a Ring camera, even locating the devices at this range proves trivial in person.
In Beacon, New York, a reporter drove to coordinates that accompanied a Neighbors post about thieves stealing packages. Although they didn't pinpoint the user's home precisely, it took only a matter of minutes to locate it. A particular fence shown in the video wasn't hard to spot. To wit, possessing both the footage and the coordinates all but ensures the location of anyone posting camera footage on Neighbors can be located with ease.
Ring did not refute that it was possible for anyone, armed with the data Gizmodo acquired, to pinpoint the exact locations of users' homes. Instead, the company reiterated that, ''Only content that a Neighbors user chooses to share on the Neighbors App is publicly accessible through the Neighbors App or by your local law enforcement.''
According to the company, Ring uses a combination of AES encryption and Transport Layer Security (TLS) to secure data between Ring devices and apps. However, the coordinates tied to each video post remain visible to any technical user. (Gizmodo has opted not to include a deeper explanation of how to access the coordinates out of respect for user privacy.)
Gizmodo found 5,016 unique Ring cameras while analyzing 9 square miles of Los Angeles.Graphic: Gizmodo''I think this is the most compelling look I've seen at the density of these cameras,'' said Matthew Guariglia, a policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Guariglia and other surveillance experts told Gizmodo that the ubiquity of the devices gives rise to fears that pedestrians are being recorded strolling in and out of ''sensitive buildings,'' including certain medical clinics, law offices, and foreign consulates. ''I think this is my big concern,'' he said, seeing the maps.
Accordingly, Gizmodo located cameras in unnerving proximity to such sensitive buildings, including a clinic offering abortion services and a legal office that handles immigration and refugee cases.
It is possible to acquire Neighbors posts from anywhere in the country, in near-real-time, and sort them in any number of ways. Nearly 4,000 posts, for example, reference children, teens, or young adults; two purportedly involve people having sex; eight mention Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and more than 3,600 mention dogs, cats, coyotes, turkeys, and turtles.
While the race of individuals recorded is implicitly suggested in a variety of ways, Gizmodo found 519 explicit references to blackness and 319 to whiteness. A Ring spokesperson said the Neighbors content moderators strive to eliminate unessential references to skin color. Moderators are told to remove posts, they said, in which the sole identifier of a subject is that they're ''black'' or ''white.''
Ring's guidelines instruct users: ''Personal attributes like race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, immigration status, sex, gender, age, disability, socioeconomic and veteran status, should never be factors when posting about an unknown person. This also means not referring to a person you are describing solely by their race or calling attention to other personal attributes not relevant to the matter being reported.''
''What would J. Edgar Hoover have done with that kind of capability?'' ''There's no question, if most people were followed around 24/7 by a police officer or a private investigator it would bother them and they would complain and seek a restraining order,'' said Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union. ''If the same is being done technologically, silently and invisibly, that's basically the functional equivalent.''
Besides the hidden coordinates, everything in the Neighbors posts were ostensibly made public by the users on purpose. However, most users likely have an expectation that their posts are only being shared with others nearby.
Ring's website states that supplying a home address enables Neighbors to ''create a radius around your home'' in order to share alerts from ''within that radius.'' (Users aren't required to provide accurate information.) As such, users presumably expect that their own posts are, likewise, visible only to the neighbors in whose radii they fall. Ring's website implies as much: ''Conversely, if you share an alert on the [Neighbors app] about a crime or safety issue in your radius,'' it says, ''your neighbors will also get a notification on their phones and tablets.''
A Ring spokesperson said elsewhere the company characterizes posts to Neighbors as ''public'' and allows users to link to specific posts on social media. Gizmodo found that Google has indexed almost 2,000 Ring videos so far. However, it's unclear whether users understand that posts, including those containing accurate location information, can be easily viewed by anyone, from anywhere on the planet.
Reporters documented 1,788 Ring cameras in Denver used to post footage on Neighbors in the past 500 days.Graphic: Gizmodo''Ring is always open to dialogue about ways we can iterate and improve upon our products, but it is also important to ensure that the Neighbors app and the way its features work are properly represented,'' a Ring spokesperson said, adding it would continue to educate the public on how the app works, ''and the positive impact its users are having on communities around the country.''
Gizmodo first contacted Ring for comment on Thursday, providing both zoomed-in and zoomed-out versions of maps, and later answered questions about the data posed by Ring's product team. Reporters re-tested the process of collecting Neighbors coordinates on Monday and found the data remains accessible.
Companies like Ring have long argued'--as Google did when it published millions of people's faces on Street View in 2007'--that pervasive street surveillance reveals, in essence, no more than what people have already made public; that there's no difference between blanketing public spaces in internet-connected cameras and the human experience of walking or driving down the street.
But not everyone agrees.
''Persistence matters,'' said Stanley, while acknowledging the ACLU's long history of defending public photography. ''I can go out and take a picture of you walking down the sidewalk on Main Street and publish it on the front of tomorrow's newspaper,'' he said. ''That said, when you automate things, it makes it faster, cheaper, easier, and more widespread.''
Stanley and others devoted to studying the impacts of public surveillance envision a future in which Americans' very perception of reality has become tainted by a kind of omnipresent observer effect . Children will grow up, it's feared, equating the act of being outside with being recorded. The question is whether existing in this observed state will fundamentally alter the way people naturally behave in public spaces'--and if so, how?
''It brings a pervasiveness and systematization that has significant potential effects on what it means to be a human being walking around your community,'' Stanley said. ''Effects we've never before experienced as a species, in all of our history.''
''I've never really bought that argument,'' he said, adding that if they truly wanted, the police could ''very easily figure out where all the Ring cameras are.'' The Ring data has given Gizmodo the means to consider scenarios, no longer purely hypothetical, which exemplify what daily life is like under Amazon's all-seeing eye. In the nation's capital, for instance, walking the shortest route from one public charter school to a soccer field less than a mile away, 6th-12th graders are recorded by no fewer than 13 Ring cameras.
Gizmodo found that dozens of users in the same Washington, DC, area have used Neighbors to share videos of children. Thirty-six such posts describe mostly run-of-the-mill mischief'--kids with ''no values'' ripping up parking tape, riding on their ''dort-bikes'' [sic] and taking ''selfies.''
Ring's guidelines state that users are supposed to respect ''the privacy of others,'' and not upload footage of ''individuals or activities where a reasonable person would expect privacy.'' Users are left to interpret this directive themselves, though Ring's content moderators are supposedly actively combing through the posts and users can flag ''inappropriate'' posts for review.
ngel D­az, an attorney at the Brennan Center for Justice focusing on technology and policing, said the ''sheer size and scope'' of the data Ring amasses is what separates it from other forms of public photography.
''A photo of somebody as they pass by your house might not on its own tell you too much. But when you're connecting an entire system that can, eventually, map people as they move around a neighborhood, it gives you a pretty intimate sense of where they live, where they work, and where they go to school,'' he said.
RAICES, a non-profit that provides free and low-cost legal services to immigrant families and refugees, said on Thursday that it was removing the Ring devices from its offices in Texas. ''Throw your Ring in the trash,'' it told followers on Twitter. The nonprofit purchased the cameras last year after learning a man who shot 11 congregants at a Pittsburgh synagogue had, weeks earlier, taunted HIAS, a Jewish American nonprofit that also assists refugees, online.
RAICES removed these cameras this week citing detailed reporting by Caroline Haskins'--formerly of Motherboard'--regarding Ring's relationships with police.
A RAICES spokesperson said the lawyers who worked for the organization could no longer trust that Ring wouldn't help police to target its clients or their families, or aid Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers in doing so. ''They have no control over what police officers do with this information,'' the spokesperson said, ''no matter what they say.''
There's a lingering fear of what happens should Amazon'--whose foray into the commercial surveillance space conveniently plopped it at the top of a poorly regulated industry with ill-defined legal boundaries'--decide to get creative with Ring's videos and user data.
''What would J. Edgar Hoover have done with that kind of capability?'' asked Stanley, who said he knew there were an ''awful lot'' of Ring cameras out there. ''But seeing it graphically on a map has an impact that numerical knowledge doesn't bring you,'' he said. ''It illustrates in a vivid way the degree to which our public spaces have become saturated by video surveillance.''
Guariglia, who's been researching police surveillance for a decade and holds a PhD in the subject, said he believes the hidden coordinates invalidate Ring's claim that only users decide ''what information, if any,'' gets shared with police'--whether they've yet to acquire it or not.
''I've never really bought that argument,'' he said, adding that if they truly wanted, the police could ''very easily figure out where all the Ring cameras are.''
The Guardian reported in August that Ring once shared maps with police depicting the locations of active Ring cameras. CNET reported last week, citing public documents, that police partnered with Ring had once been given access to ''heat maps'' that reflected the area where cameras were generally concentrated.
The privacy researcher who originally obtained the heat maps, Shreyas Gandlur, discovered that if police zoomed in far enough, circles appeared around individual cameras. However, Ring denied that the maps, which it said displayed ''approximate device density,'' and instructed police not to share publicly, accurately portrayed the locations of customers.
Ring's promises of confidentiality are otherwise irrelevant to many of the larger issues privacy experts attribute to its public-private business model, D­az said, noting that the ''idea of a 'user' varies.''
Ring has its police officer partners, whom it likely considers users of a different sort, and the device owners themselves, plus its Neighbors users, not all of whom own Ring devices. But the subjects whose images are recorded'--those destined to become pieces of Neighbors content'--aren't users at all, he said. Not in that moment.
When a stranger who's lost at 2 a.m. rings the wrong doorbell, they might be deemed ''suspicious.'' And in that moment, Ring's promises about privacy don't matter. Not even the ones it keeps.
@jack: "Twitter is funding a small independent team of up to five open source architects, engineers, and designers to develop an open and decentralized standard for social media. The goal is for Twitter to ultimately be a client of
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 09:12
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Members of child abuse WhatsApp group arrested in 11 countries - BBC News
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 09:54
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Police arrested 33 people in 11 different countries Spanish police say 33 people have been arrested globally in connection with a WhatsApp group for images of child sex abuse and other violent content.
The many "extreme" images shared in the group had been "normalised by most of its members", the force said.
Arrests were made in 11 different countries across three continents, but the majority - 17 - were in Spain.
Many of those arrested or being investigated in Spain are themselves under 18, including a 15-year-old boy.
Warning: Some readers may find details of this story disturbing
In Uruguay, police arrested two people - one of whom was a mother who abused her daughter and sent images of this to the group.
In another case, a 29-year-old man was arrested for not only downloading the images, but also encouraging other group members to make contact with young girls - particularly migrants who would be unlikely to go to the police.
How were they tracked down?Spain's National Police began investigating the group more than two years ago, after receiving an email with a tip-off.
They then enlisted the help of Europol, Interpol, and the police in Ecuador and Costa Rica.
As well as Spain and Uruguay, arrests were made in the UK, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Peru, India, Italy, France, Pakistan and Syria.
What did the group share?In a statement, the police said the group shared "paedophilic content, sometimes of extreme severity, together with other content that was legal but was not suitable for minors because of their extreme nature".
Some group members had even created "stickers" - small digital images that are easily shared, similar to emojis - of children being abused.
The police also said all of those arrested in Spain were men or boys, and that they come from a mix of social and cultural backgrounds.
One of these men had fled his home in Italy when a search was carried out. He went to a relative's home in Salamanca, unaware that it was Spain's National Police who had ordered his arrest.
The operation will now focus on identifying the children being abused in the images.
You may also be interested in: Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption A police officer in the UK speaks about how investigating child abuse has affected him
Ministry of Truthiness
Fox News Is Now a Threat to National Security | WIRED
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 22:50
Monday's split-screen drama, as the House Judiciary Committee weighed impeachment charges against President Trump and as the Justice Department's inspector general released a 476-page report on the FBI's handling of its 2016 investigation into Trump's campaign, made one truth of the modern world inescapable: The lies and obfuscations forwarded ad infinitum on Fox News pose a dangerous threat to the national security of the United States.
The facts of both dramas were clear to objective viewers: In the one instance, there's conclusive and surprisingly consistent evidence that President Trump pushed Ukraine to concoct dirt on a domestic political rival to affect the 2020 presidential election, and in the other, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that the FBI was proper to investigate Trump's dealings with Russia in the 2016 presidential campaign.
But that set of facts is not what anyone who was watching Fox News heard. Instead, Fox spent the night describing an upside-down world where the president's enemies had spun a web of lies about Trump and Ukraine, even as Horowitz blew open the base corruption that has driven every attack on the president since 2016.
Sean Hannity, who had long trumpeted the forthcoming inspector general report and expected a thorough indictment of the behavior of former FBI director James Comey and other members of the ''deep state,'' had a simple message for his viewers during Fox's Monday night prime time: ''Everything we said, everything we reported, everything we told you was dead-on-center accurate,'' he said. ''It is all there in black and white, it's all there.''
Except they weren't right and it wasn't there. But Fox News' viewers evidently were not to be told those hard truths'--they were to be kept thinking that everything in their self-selected filter bubble was just peachy keen.
Over on Fox Business, Lou Dobbs said the mere fact that the IG found no political bias in the FBI's investigation of Trump and Russia in 2016 was de facto proof of the power of the deep state.
John Harwood, long one of Washington's most respected conservative voices in journalism, summed up Fox's approach Monday night simply: ''Lunacy.''
It's worse than lunacy, though. Fox's bubble reality creates a situation where it's impossible to have the conversations and debate necessary to function as a democracy. Facts that are inconvenient to President Trump simply disappear down Fox News' ''memory hole,'' as thoroughly as George Orwell could have imagined in 1984.
The idea that Fox News represents a literal threat to our national security, on par with Russia's Internet Research Agency or China's Ministry of State Security, may seem like a dramatic overstatement of its own'--and I, a paid contributor to its competitor CNN, may appear a biased voice anyway'--but this week has made clear that, as we get deeper into the impeachment process and as the 2020 election approaches, Fox News is prepared to destroy America's democratic traditions if it will help its most important and most dedicated daily viewer.
The threat posed to our democracy by Fox News is multifaceted: First and most simply, it's clearly advancing and giving voice to narratives and smears backed and imagined by our foreign adversaries. Second, its overheated and bombastic rhetoric is undermining America's foundational ideals and the sense of fair play in politics. Third, its unique combination of lies and half-truths has built a virtual reality so complete that it leaves its viewers too misinformed to fulfill their most basic responsibilities as citizens to make informed choices about the direction of the country.
In the impeachment hearings, former National Security Council official Fiona Hill and other witnesses made clear how those who, like Fox News hosts and the president, advance the false narrative that Ukraine meddled in the US election are serving the Kremlin's interests. Russia is playing a weak hand geopolitically'--its economy is sputtering along and its population shrinking'--and so its greatest hope is to stoke internal discord in the West. Robert Mueller warned of this; James Clapper has warned of it; and now Fiona Hill has done the same. ''Our nation is being torn apart,'' she said. ''Truth is questioned.'' Yet Fox, and the GOP more broadly, has warmly embraced almost every twist of Kremlin propaganda, up to and including the idea that Russia never meddled in the 2016 election to begin with.
Fox's clear willingness to parry the wingnuttiest ideas in service of the president, long-term implications to the United States be damned, should worry all concerned about the state of the United States. The Ukraine myth is hardly the only example; for years, it has repeated false conspiracies about the murder of Democratic staffer Seth Rich, a conspiracy literally cooked up by Russian intelligence and fed into the US media. (To say nothing of Fox's long-term commitment to undermining and questioning climate science, leaving the US both behind in mitigating the worst effects of climate change and also ill-equipped to face the myriad security consequences of a warming planet.)
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It's possible to paint Fox with too broad of a brush'--Chris Wallace remains one of the toughest and best interviewers on television and has repeatedly stood up to vapid GOP talking points, and Bret Baier is a talented journalist and historian'--but it's clear from this year that something fundamental and meaningful has tipped inside the network.
While propagandizing has long been a key facet of Fox's business (Stephen Colbert debuted his own Fox News host alter ego, in dedicated pursuit of ''truthiness,'' all the way back in 2005), the situation is clearly getting worse: the lies deeper, its always-tenuous commitment to ''Fair and Balanced'' unraveling further. Whatever loose adherence to a reality-based world the Fox worldview once possessed, whatever guardrails on truth the network might have once installed, are now gone. Shep Smith, long one of the network's biggest names and best reporters, literally walked out of the Fox building this fall, departing abruptly after apparently deciding that he couldn't in good conscience be part of a ''news'' operation that treated facts so fungibly.
Indeed, as the year has unfolded, Fox's evening talk shows and its presidentially endorsed morning show have proven to be a particularly egregious and odious swamp of fetid, metastasizing lies and bad faith feedback loops that leave its viewers'--and, notably, its Presidential Audience of One'--foaming at the mouth with outrage and bile.
It's hard not to think that the increasingly odd behavior and untethered-to-reality pronouncements of the president's two top lawyers'--Attorney General Bill Barr and personal defender Rudy Giuliani'--have not been deeply influenced by the filter bubble on the right created, fostered, and fertilized by Fox News. As Lawfare's Susan Hennessey tweeted after Barr set out on his Quixotic quest to prove the deep state was behind the FBI's 2016 investigation, ''The Attorney General is a fully-committed Fox News conspiracy theorist.''
The network's pantheon of Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Lou Dobbs, and the rotating couch-cast of Fox & Friends' morning show dunces-by-choice together represent a level of ill-informed demagoguery that would make Father Coughlin and Huey Long wince.
More than simply embarrassing themselves by spouting obvious falsehoods, though, Fox News' incendiary, fanatical rants serve to delegitimize to its viewers the very idea of a political opposition. Every Democrat is evil. Every person who disagrees with President Trump is an enemy of the state. Every career federal employee is a member of a deep state opposition.
As writer Gabe Sherman, who authored a history of Fox News, tweeted over the weekend, ''Been thinking a lot about why Trump will survive impeachment when Nixon didn't. For 20+ years Fox News (and rightwing talk radio) has told GOP voters that Democrats are evil. As lawless as Trump is, Republicans believe Dems are worse. That's the power of propaganda.''
These pronouncements'--uttered around the clock on weekdays and doubled down on weekends by hosts like the president's favorite, Jeanine Pirro'--are an attack on the very ideals and foundations of the American experiment.
The founders settled on political parties as a mechanism to institutionalize channels for ongoing debate. As historian Joseph Ellis wrote in American Creation, political parties ''eventually permitted dissent to be regarded not as a treasonable act, but as a legitimate voice in an endless argument.'' It is that willingness to view opponents as legitimate that has long allowed America to hold together even under trying political times and to deal with political disagreements in the political arena, rather than resorting to violence against national leaders. For all of Fox News and President Trump's daily declaration of coups and attempted coups against the administration, American history has actually been shockingly free of actual coups.
Part of what drives the unique national interest in the rivalry of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr was that their fatal showdown represents the only case of a founder taking another founder's life. It was one of only a handful of times in our entire national history where we've seen political figures fight each other and inflict real wounds. (The caning of Senator Charles Sumner in the pre''Civil War Capitol comes to mind as another such rare instance.)
In the midst of his own presidential run in 2008, John McCain stopped one of his own supporters in her tracks attacking Barack Obama as a Muslim to defend the Democratic nominee: ''No ma'am,'' McCain said. ''He's a decent family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that's what this campaign is all about.''
That tradition and idea of American politics as an ongoing conversation, an endless argument, is key to preserving our democratic experiment. The idea that you will be in power sometimes, and out of power other times, is what preserves norms and traditions, and curbs the worst abuses and impulses; politicians traditionally understand that actions taken in the majority could serve to bite them if and when they return to the minority.
Donald Trump, who rose to prominence trumpeting the very ''birther'' falsehood that McCain once batted away, seems bent on undermining that tradition; he has proven he's perfectly willing to burn down political norms for short-term gain. Fox News seems intent on helping him'--and on a daily basis, they're telling their viewers he's right and anyone who disagrees with him is less than human. Trump's lies are the one constant and consistent position of his presidency (13,000 and counting!), and Fox News has gone all in.
We, as a democratic society, cannot survive such consequences-be-damned, winner-take-all, facts-don't-matter politics. Fox News has upended Daniel Patrick Moynihan's famous proclamation that ''everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.'' Its daily programming seems driven by the idea that everyone might be entitled to their own facts, but that there is only one correct opinion: President Trump's.
In 1984, George Orwell wrote his imagined dystopian regime ''told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears,'' but Fox News has actually figured out a tactic even more pernicious: Fox News' own masters of Orwellian doublespeak, its Hannitys, Carlsons, and Doocys, the ones who smugly declare down up and up down, aren't even bothering to tell their viewers to ignore their eyes and ears, because the truth never even approaches their airtime.
Let's hope that Fox News today, unlike in Orwell's world, doesn't manage to succeed in transforming our country from a functional democracy into an authoritarian cult.
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Why the ''queen of shitty robots'' renounced her crownInstagram, my daughter, and meEverything you need to know about genetic testingEwoks are the most tactically advanced fighting force in Star WarsWould you pay someone $40 to keep you focused on work?👁 Will AI as a field "hit the wall" soon? Plus, the latest news on artificial intelligence🏃🏽''¸ Want the best tools to get healthy? Check out our Gear team's picks for the best fitness trackers, running gear (including shoes and socks), and best headphones.Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) is a contributing editor for WIRED and the coauthor of The Dawn of the Code War: America's Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat. His latest book, The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11, was published in September. He can be reached at garrett.graff@gmail.com.
Green New Deal
Mogelijk CO2-taks voor automobilisten die meer dan gemiddeld uitstoten
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 07:23
Vanaf 2021 moet elke nieuwe auto zijn echte CO2 -uitstoot doorgeven aan de Europese Unie. Dit is bedoeld om het verschil tussen opgegeven data en werkelijk verbruik in kaart te brengen, maar deskundigen zeggen dat het ook gebruikt kan worden voor een CO2-taks.
Met de invoering van de WLTP-cyclus liggen de werkelijke verbruikscijfers en de door de fabrikant opgegeven cijfers een stukje dichterbij elkaar. Maar er ongetwijfeld nog een verschil. Omdat verschil op te sporen moeten autofabrikanten een zogenaamde OBFCM (On-Board Fuel Consumption Meter) in hun nieuwe voertuigen bouwen. Deze meet het actuele verbruik van het voertuig en geeft deze door aan de EU. Die verzameld de cijfers en legt deze naast de door de fabrikant opgegeven data. Aan de hand van het verschil kan het wel of geen straffen opleggen. Een prima idee waardoor autobouwers ook nog eens gestimuleerd worden om auto's te maken die in de werkelijkheid ook echt zuinig zijn. Geen auto's die het op papier goed doen.
'‚¬400Het initiatief van de EU kan de automobilist flink wat geld gaan besparen. Het ICCT (International Council on Clean Transportation) berekende namelijk dat het gat tussen werkelijk verbruik en opgegeven verbruik ongeveer 39% is. Dat houdt vervolgens in dat de automobilist '‚¬400 per jaar meer kwijt is dan verwacht. De instantie gaat nog verder en beweert dat dit gat voor de nodige financile schade leidt. Niet alleen bij de eigenaar van de auto, maar ook bij de rest van de samenleving.
CO2-taksHet Duitse Dagblad Der Spiegel schets een heel ander beeld bij de invoering van de OBFCM. Volgens experts die de krant sprak kan de precieze meting leiden tot extra kosten voor de automobilist in de vorm van een CO2-taks. De EU kan er namelijk voor kiezen om de ingestuurde data te gebruiken om te kijken of de bestuurder een beetje zuinig rijdt. Doet hij dit niet, en stijgt zijn uitstoot boven het gemiddelde, dan kan de EU hiervoor extra kosten in rekening gaan brengen.
Maar zo ver zijn we gelukkig nog niet. Het systeem wordt pas in 2021 ingevoerd en zal dan eerst gedurende 5 jaar getest worden. Er moet immers eerst gekeken worden of het geheel wel de gewenste resultaten oplevert. En daar komt nog een probleem bij, want op dit moment is het nog onduidelijk hoe de OBGCM zijn verzamelde gegevens naar de EU moet sturen. Technisch is dit namelijk nog niet mogelijk. Met enige bureaucratische vertraging moet het systeem in 2030 in gebruik genomen worden.
I'm a critical thinking expert. This is how you win any climate change debate like Greta Thunberg - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 06:43
Posted December 11, 2019 15:59:38
As bushfires rage and our cities lie shrouded in smoke, climate change is shaping as a likely topic of conversation at the family dinner table this Christmas.
Such discussions can be fraught if family members hold differing views. You may not all agree on the urgency of dealing with climate change '-- or indeed whether it is happening at all.
When I teach the art of argumentation '-- a core skill of critical thinking '-- I tell my students about the concept of "point at issue". This is what the argument is about and should be the focus of rational discussion.
But when debating emotive and controversial topics such as climate change, the point at issue can become lost.
So what to do? We can learn much from Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg '-- a master of staying on topic.
A simple, unwavering messageThunberg is in the Spanish capital Madrid this week for COP25 '-- a major conference of nations signed up to the Paris climate agreement.
Thunberg's solo school strikes in Sweden last year sparked a global movement. But in typical rational style, she told supporters in Madrid the protests have "achieved nothing" because global emissions are still rising.
Her public statements consistently communicate a few key points:
the planet is warming, we are responsible and we need to fix ithope is fine, but it is pointless without actioneconomic concerns are irrelevant in the face of collapsing ecosystemsif we do not fix this, future generations will remember us for our failures.Each time Thunberg speaks, these issues are centre-stage. She is not distracted by rhetoric, straw-man arguments, personal abuse or by condescension or appeals to economic theory.
For example in a TED talk in March, Thunberg responds with uncommon clarity to those who seek to put the burden of action back on her:
Some people say that I should study to become a climate scientist so that I can "solve the climate crisis." But the climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions.
Note how the burden is placed back where it belongs: on those who have the power to act now.
Thunberg also refuses to be distracted by patronising comments. When meeting with the US Senate's climate crisis taskforce in September, she was commended for her enthusiasm and replied:
Please save your praise. We don't want it ['...] Don't invite us here to just tell us how inspiring we are without actually doing anything about it because it doesn't lead to anything.
To claims she should be in school rather than protesting, Thunberg says:
Why should any young person be made to study for a future when no one is doing enough to save that future? What is the point of learning facts when the most important facts given by the finest scientists are ignored by our politicians?
Thunberg says she has Asperger's syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She describes it as a "superpower" which has "definitely helped me keep this focus".
Research has found that people with ASD have a heightened ability to focus on some tasks and in particular, to identify "critical" information.
Back to the dinner tableWe may not have Thunberg's natural aptitude for staying on topic. But we can apply the lessons to our own conversations with friends and family.
Let's say I'm having an argument with a cranky uncle about renewable electricity. I might argue that we should transition to wind and solar energy because it generates less carbon dioxide than burning fossil fuels.
My uncle might respond by saying I shouldn't use any energy at all. Maybe he'll say "then stop driving cars" or "don't turn on your TV".
But this response is not addressing the point at issue '' that renewable energy generates less carbon than fossil fuels. It is talking about something else: that any use of power is bad. Really, it's not so much about using power as how that power is generated.
Moving off the point at issue is a classic "strawman" attack, when the argument is misrepresented and argued from that point.
Keeping the argument on track, and keeping it both civil and productive, is a key skill in critical thinking. It is helped by:
making sure everyone is clear about what the point at issue actually isbringing the conversation back to the point when it strays, or at least acknowledging that we are now talking about something elsecalling out any misrepresentation of the point.This will help keep the integrity of the argument intact and avoid it degenerating into an exchange of ideological blows.
If you need extra help, my colleagues and I have produced a paper to help analyse the rationality of climate denial claims. It also helps you find the point at issue, and stay on it.
This is a skill worth developing in discussion with friends and family. In the maelstrom of ideology surrounding climate change in this post-truth world, keeping a rational focus is critical.
Peter Ellerton is a lecturer in critical thinking, and director of the UQ Critical Thinking Project at the University of Queensland. This article first appeared on The Conversation.
Topics:family,community-and-multicultural-festivals,australia
Noodelboy
Away CEO ousted days after investigation reveals she perpetuated cutthroat culture of bullying and burnout at the buzzy luggage startup | Usa online press
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 22:58
Away's co-founder Steph Korey is out as CEO following an explosive report into the company's culture.
On Monday, Away announced that Lululemon executive Stuart Haselden will replace Korey as the company's new CEO, effective January 13, 2020.
The news follows an investigation published by The Verge last week on the company's ''cutthroat culture.''
Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Away's co-founder Steph Korey is out as CEO of Away, following an explosive report into the company's culture.
On Monday, the travel brand announced that it hired Lululemon executive Stuart Haselden as the company's new CEO. Korey, who currently serves as CEO, will assume the role of executive chairman. Haselden will also join Korey and co-founder Jen Rubio on Away's board of directors.
The news follows an investigation that The Verge published last week. The investigation cited 14 former employees who described a ''cutthroat culture'' at the company, in which Korey demanded workers work almost constantly and pressured them against taking time off.
In a press release on Monday, Rubio and Korey framed Haselden's hiring as part of the company's plan for long-term growth.
''With the immense growth of the Away brand, the complexities of our business have evolved as well,'' Rubio, Away's president and chief brand officer, said in a statement.
''Stuart's impressive track record in strategically scaling retail businesses and teams offers invaluable expertise as Away enters its next phase of growth,'' Korey said in a statement. ''I believe Stuart's leadership, supported by other key executives who have joined Away this year, will have an enormous impact on our business, community, and culture, and we look forward to learning from his depth of experience.''
Last week, Korey apologized for her behavior while leading Away following the publication of The Verge's investigation.
''I can
Source:: Business Insider
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Former Away employees describe a toxic work environment at the luggage company - The Verge
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 23:10
Avery felt out of place at Away. Like many of the executives at the popular direct-to-consumer luggage brand, she'd gone to an Ivy League college, worked at a popular startup, and honed an intense work ethic that set her apart from the pack. But the higher-ups, who were almost all white and straight, still never gave her the time of day. ''It was very clear who was in the clique,'' she says.
Originally, Avery had joined because of the brand's popularity '-- the hard-shell suitcases were everywhere: in overheads, luggage carousels, subway ads '-- but she also wanted to believe in the mission. Away promised a lifestyle of inclusion and nice vacations. It was also founded by two women (one a person of color) who sought to run a globally minded business. ''In my mind, it's a trivial product but the brand is more than just luggage,'' Avery says. ''It's about travel.'' As the months went by and she got a closer glimpse at the growth and image-obsessed culture, however, she started to feel like the mission was just a smokescreen to get employees to work harder and longer.
Like many fast-growing startups, Away's workplace is organized around digital communication. It's how employees talk, plan projects, and get feedback from co-workers and higher-ups. Away used the popular chat app Slack, which has the motto ''where work happens.'' But of course, being a startup, a lot of other chatter happened there, too.
''You could hear her typing and you knew something bad was going to happen''
When a co-worker invited Avery to join a private Slack channel called #Hot-Topics filled with LGBTQ folks and people of color, she was relieved to find that she wasn't the only one who felt uncomfortable with Away's purported mission and company culture. ''It was a lot of like, 'This person did this not-woke thing,' or 'Those people did something insensitive,''' she recalls. In other words, it was a safe space where marginalized employees could vent.
It was also against company policy. Away embraced Slack in more ways than one '-- its co-founder, Jen Rubio, is engaged to its CEO Stewart Butterfield '-- but it took things further than most startups. Employees were not allowed to email each other, and direct messages were supposed to be used rarely (never about work, and only for small requests, like asking if someone wanted to eat lunch). Private channels were also to be created sparingly and mainly for work-specific reasons, so making channels to, say, commiserate about a tough workday was not encouraged.
The rules had been implemented in the name of transparency, but employees say they created a culture of intimidation and constant surveillance. Once, when a suitcase was sent out with a customer's incomplete initials stenciled onto the luggage tag, CEO Steph Korey said the person in charge must have been ''brain dead'' and threatened to take over the project. ''Slack bullying is a thing,'' explains a former member of the creative team we'll call Erica*. ''In my experience there, it's extensive and relentless. It wasn't just co-workers pinning things on other people '-- it came from the execs.''
Korey was infamous for tearing into people on Slack. ''You could hear her typing and you knew something bad was going to happen,'' says a former customer experience associate we'll call Caroline*. Yet while her feedback was almost always sent online, its effects were felt in the real world, often when employees burst into tears.
So when the executive's name unexpectedly popped into #Hot-Topics the morning of May 16th, 2018, employees knew something was wrong. She'd found out about the channel from Erin Grau, the head of people, who said language in the room had made at least one person uncomfortable. ''I thought, Damn, she's gonna see us talking about some stupid stuff, but whatever,'' recalls a former marketing manager named Emily*. She hoped Korey would at least find the conversations funny.
That hope evaporated the next day when Korey began calling people into a room one by one. There, flanked by the company's head of people and general counsel, she told six people they were being let go. ''You've been discriminatory,'' employees remember her saying. ''The stuff you said was hateful, even racist. You no longer have a job at this company.'' Emily, who is a person of color, was shocked. ''That was jarring '-- three white people telling me I was racist,'' she says.
Korey disputes ever using the terms ''racist'' and ''hate speech,'' although multiple sources confirmed these were the words she used.
''They prey on people who were never cool like me''
The situation bruised employee morale, according to leaked Slack logs and interviews The Verge conducted with 14 former workers. But it was consistent with a pattern of behavior from the company's top leaders.
Employees were asked to work exceedingly long hours and limit their paid time off. Their projects were brutally criticized by executives on public Slack channels. They were reprimanded for not answering messages immediately '-- even late at night and on weekends.
The cutthroat culture allowed the company to grow at hyperspeed, developing a cult following with celebrities and millennials alike. But it also opened a yawning gap between how Away appears to its customers and what it's like to actually work there. The result is a brand consumers love, a company culture people fear, and a cadre of former employees who feel burned out and coerced into silence.
''They prey on people who were never cool like me,'' Caroline says. ''It's a cult brand, and you get sucked into the cool factor. Because of that, they can manipulate you.''
Korey and Rubio met in 2011 while working at the trendy direct-to-consumer eyewear company Warby Parker. There, Korey implemented the lessons she'd learned at Bloomingdale's years before. ''The things I learned there about retail markups, markdowns, wholesaling, licensing, and the department store supply chain all later became the very things we would avoid at Warby Parker,'' she said in an interview in Fortune.
Their aim was to sell ''first-class luggage at a coach price'' by cutting out the middleman and marketing directly to consumers. It was a model perfected by brands like Dollar Shave Club, Glossier, and Everlane: direct-to-consumer powerhouses that, through some alchemy of Facebook ads, freckled models, and bold sans serif fonts, had elevated themselves out of their business category to achieve tech company success.
Following this blueprint, Korey and Rubio positioned Away as a travel company, not a luggage brand. ''We're working to create the perfect version of everything people need to travel more seamlessly,'' Rubio said in a 2018 interview. ''Luggage is only the beginning.''
To make their brand even more aspirational, Away partnered with models and it-girls like Karlie Kloss, Julia Restoin Roitfeld, and Rashida Jones to promote the bags on social media. This was Rubio's wheelhouse: she'd managed social strategy at Warby Parker and knew how to make Away hyper-relevant.
Korey, for her part, didn't have to work hard to project an aspirational lifestyle. The CEO grew up in Ohio in a 55,000-square-foot historic mansion with an indoor swimming pool and three dining rooms. She'd gone to boarding school, then landed in Bloomingdale's executive development program while at Brown University.
''It just created a culture of bullying''
But for all of her privilege, no one denied the executive's fanatical work ethic. Where Rubio's job seemed to involve glamorous travel and speaking events, and many employees say they never interacted with her, Korey was always in the office. She managed all of the company's operations and was regularly online past 1AM.
The CEO often vacillated between being funny and relatable to hyper-critical and even cruel. Employees say she swore during interviews, cackled at people's jokes, and took new hires to lunch, telling stories about her own mistakes. Once, during an interview, a woman remarked that she was drawn to Away because she was a millennial and it was a millennial-friendly product. ''I'm a millennial, too,'' Korey said. Later, that same employee was told by her manager that Korey had referred to the team as a bunch of ''millennial twats.''
Korey was adamant that clear feedback was critical to employees' growth. She was blunt when she didn't agree with someone and encouraged managers not to shy away from harsh criticism. Erica, who managed a small team, questioned whether this strategy actually worked. ''It didn't feel like I was helping my direct reports grow,'' she says.
When the photo team took suitcases to a shoot in the Hamptons and brought them back banged up and covered in sand, an employee who'd started that week was blamed for the ''unacceptable'' error and called out publicly on Slack. (The bags had eventually made their way to customers, and executives were furious.) ''It could've just been a co-worker pulling them aside and saying this isn't cool,'' Erica says. ''It felt like they were publicly outing the situation so that everybody could follow along.''
Korey often framed her critiques in terms of Away's core company values: thoughtful, customer-obsessed, iterative, empowered, accessible, in it together. Empowered employees didn't schedule time off when things were busy, regardless of how much they'd been working. Customer-obsessed employees did whatever it took to make consumers happy, even if it came at the cost of their own well-being. The framework echoed the tough company culture at Amazon where employees are taught to forget old habits and embrace a new set of ideals.
Transparency seemed like it was just a pretense for Korey to micromanage and exert control
The intensity prompted employees to form small groups, chatting in texts about the toxic company culture. ''Everyone kind of found their tribe and stuck to them because you needed to have allies there if you were gonna stay there,'' says Serena*, a marketing manager.
But even this seemed like it could get them in trouble. From the beginning, Korey and Rubio had banned direct messages on Slack for anything related to work. Ostensibly, this was supposed to make the culture more transparent. ''Over the course of our careers, Jen and I observed situations where women and underrepresented groups were often excluded from key emails or meetings,'' Korey said in a statement to The Verge. ''Slack affords levels of inclusion and transparency email simply doesn't. With email the original author gets to pick who is included in the conversation and whose voices won't be heard. That's not the company we want.''
In practice, however, it did the opposite. Transparency seemed like it was just a pretense for Korey to micromanage and exert control. Marginalized employees felt silenced by the cutthroat environment and executives like Korey who used mistakes as an excuse to nitpick. ''Steph has the drive and the personality of someone who could be very successful,'' Erica says. ''She embodies what we all aspire to be. But she does it in a way that's absolutely not what I want to be.''
Ironically, Korey described Rubio as her ''work wife'' when the pair had worked at Warby Parker. ''What was so nice about the relationship is we could lean on each other to complain every once in a while, like if a project wasn't going well,'' she explained in a podcast interview.
To Avery, this was just more hypocrisy at Away: the founders were allowed to complain to one another in private, but employees were expected to have almost every conversation in public.
In the summer of 2017, Lauren joined Away as a customer experience associate. She was one year out of college, thrilled at the prospect of working for a brand she'd seen all over Instagram.
At the time, the company had around 50 employees. ''The energy was light and supportive,'' she recalls. Her salary, which was around $40,000, wasn't a lot to live on, but it also wasn't out of the ordinary for someone just starting out in New York City.
Lauren's job was to answer customer calls and emails, getting the ''queue'' of customer inquiries down to zero. On a busy day, Lauren and her co-workers answered about 40 phone calls and responded to 100 emails each.
From the beginning, Korey and Rubio were masterful at getting these young employees hyped up about their jobs. ''You are joining a movement,'' they would say. ''Everyone wants to be a part of this.'' Lauren and the 12 other associates on customer experience felt lucky, even chosen. They worked long hours and bonded over crazy customer stories, intoxicated by the energy of the company.
She was sitting in bed wearing a face mask, still working
Lauren's manager, Xandie Pasanen, a woman who'd risen through the ranks to lead the customer experience organization, was relentlessly positive and upbeat. When Korey needed the team to stay late, Pasanen would send long Slack messages on her behalf, infusing her sentences with Away's values. ''She would say 'I'll be working late tonight '-- dinner is here if any of you can work beside me. I mean, leave if you have to, but I have to stay,''' Lauren's teammate Caroline says. ''Her messages were long and loving, but they were manipulative. If she didn't hear from you she'd just contact you directly asking for verbal confirmation you could work.''
As the holidays approached, the team had to work around the clock to keep up with customer demand. In December, Caroline was wrapping up work at 1AM when she saw a Slack message from Pasanen. ''Okay everyone! Take a photo with your computer in bed when you get home. Here's mine!'' She was sitting in bed wearing a face mask, still working.
The queue of unanswered customer emails kept growing, and the team was too small to keep up. Lauren and Caroline were working on weekends, often eating dinner around midnight. They told themselves to just keep pushing through to New Year's Day when they would finally have a day off.
Then, on December 31st, Pasanen sent them a message. ''Happy New Years Eve!'' she began. She then laid out two scenarios: either they could take the day off as planned, and the team would fall even more behind, or they could each work for six hours and get a month off as a reward.
The full message was 1,217 words.
''I burst into tears,'' Caroline says. ''I was trying to finish so I could have my first day off in weeks. I was telling my mom, 'I just need a break and I can't get one,' and she was like 'just say no.' I was like, 'I can't do that.'''
Korey is careful to point out that working on New Year's had been a choice. ''The team decided they'd prefer to work the holiday and get a month off because the team knew this day was really important for keeping the customer experience on track,'' she said in an email to The Verge.
Even so, Caroline and her co-workers were suspicious about the executive's motives. No one had received overtime pay '-- which, given the hours they were working, seemed questionable '-- and many suspected the CEO was concerned. ''The rumor was she was nervous it wasn't legal to have us working so much without overtime, so she went overboard giving us time off,'' Caroline says. (The company has since changed its policy to pay customer experience associates overtime.)
The team pulled through '-- many worked from airports or snuck away from planned family outings '-- and got customer emails under control. But Caroline knew it wasn't over. She was overworked and underpaid, but something in her wanted to keep going. ''I wanted to move closer to work so I could work more, but I couldn't afford it,'' she says.
The following Thanksgiving, Lila*, a customer experience manager, planned a trip to go see her family in the hopes that, this year, they'd keep up with consumer demand. It was a risky move: Away was rolling out a limited edition line called the Solstice Collection, which Town & Country dubbed ''just what you need for holiday travel.''
But the launch was already plagued with problems. The suitcases were arriving at Away's warehouses with stickers that were difficult to peel off, and workers were almost two weeks late shipping them out. To make matters worse, the operations team wasn't communicating with customer experience associates about when people could expect their bags to ship. That made it difficult to tell customers when their bags were coming.
On November 20th, 2018, Korey looked at the number of customers waiting for shipments and realized they had a big problem. ''I need to know tonight if we've reached out to these customers yet,'' she wrote at 10PM. ''I have seen multiple [customer experience] Managers active on Slack since I asked this question so please just give me an answer.''
The managers explained that they were waiting to reach out to customers until the operations team told them when the bags would actually ship. But Korey was far from satisfied. She asked them to come up with a new plan on how to communicate with customers and present it to her the next day.
Lila asked a direct report to explain the strategy to Korey since she was going to be on the way to the airport. The idea was to expedite shipping on late orders and communicate to customers when they could expect to receive their bags. Lila's report noted this was going ''above and beyond.''
When Korey saw the plan, she was furious. ''If we were just going above and beyond we could send them all 10 free suitcases,'' she vented in Slack, in front of the entire company. ''Or we could send them all 100 free suitcases, that would REALLY be above and beyond.''
The team, near tears, stayed silent. ''We just kind of let her rant,'' one employee said. Caroline, who was watching the tirade, was shocked. ''It was like having your pants pulled down in front of the company and then they just walk away,'' she says.
Seeing what was happening on Slack, Lila turned her car around and headed back to the office. There would be no family vacation after all.
A few weeks later, Korey asked the customer experience managers to have their associates cancel future travel plans, at least until the holidays were over. Those who'd already booked tickets would be asked if they could work from home. ''We were like 'No, no we're not gonna do that. That's not moral,'' Caroline says. But she knew she didn't have a choice.
Caroline was protective of how close her team had become. If one person was forced to stay, the rest were likely to follow suit. ''They exploited the fact that we were close,'' she says. ''They knew we would take a bullet for each other and they just used it. Everyone was crushed. But they weren't going to leave if their friends stayed.''
The associates tried to keep their spirits high as they worked through the holiday season. At one point, a member of the retail team approached them tentatively and asked why they all seemed so cheerful. ''How do you keep up a happy attitude? I see you over here talking and laughing'... do Steph and Jen not talk to you like they do everyone else?'' a former customer experience manager we'll call Lindsey* remembers him asking. ''We share the emotional burden,'' she replied. ''We go on walks. We have each other's back. Do we work really efficiently? Like, 100 percent. But you gotta learn the tricks of the trade.''
By January, the team was completely burnt out and the positivity was starting to wane. ''I would leave at nine. I wouldn't eat until midnight, then I'd get in bed and work until I fell asleep,'' Caroline remembers. And yet, customer emails kept piling up.
To Korey, this was unacceptable. She began randomly calling the customer experience line to see whether someone picked up, often berating the managers and screaming, ''What is this shit!'' at her desk if her call went unanswered.
Korey says these ''spot checks'' are a typical part of any retail company. ''This isn't the only area we do this,'' she adds. ''In fact, we use secret shoppers at our retail stores, and we regularly place multiple combinations of e-commerce orders to ensure our fulfillment facilities are packing orders correctly.''
Once, when the managers were training new associates in the conference room, Korey burst through the doors. ''Why aren't you on the phones right now?'' Caroline remembers her yelling. Caroline stepped between Korey and the team, who were looking at the spectacle in horror. ''We had always guarded our team like mother bears,'' she says.
The day before Valentine's Day, Korey decided she was going to stop the team from taking any more time off. In a series of Slack messages that began at 3AM, she said, ''I know this group is hungry for career development opportunities, and in an effort to support you in developing your skills, I am going to help you learn the career skill of accountability. To hold you accountable...no more [paid time off] or [work from home] requests will be considered from the 6 of you...I hope everyone in this group appreciates the thoughtfulness I've put into creating this career development opportunity and that you're all excited to operate consistently with our core values.'' (The emphasis is Korey's.)
Four days later, when she noticed two managers still had time off on the calendar, she was livid. ''If you all choose to utilize your empowerment to leave our customers hanging...you will have convinced me that this group does not embody Away's core values,'' she said. (Again, emphasis Korey's.)
Korey said her messages were necessary to get the team back on track. ''Managing people brings with it the responsibility to invest time and energy into providing thoughtful context around performance expectations and feedback,'' she wrote in a statement to The Verge.
Days after Korey's 3AM tirade, she announced that she was hiring a buffer to put between herself and the team: a vice president of customer experience, Monte Williams. The associates were thrilled.
Williams looked people in the eye, spoke to them with respect, and had over a decade of experience leading teams at brands like Rent the Runway. Those who'd been planning to quit decided to stay to learn what they could from this new manager.
Then, in mid-April, the team started to notice something strange. Customer emails were piling up during what was supposed to be a slow period. ''We had 100 extra people in our inbox. We were like, what's going on?'' Caroline remembers.
It was a Groundhog Day scenario. The company was rolling out new customization options on the luggage, and the operations team was woefully understaffed. Bags weren't going out on time and, once again, the customer experience associates couldn't get a clear estimate on when they were expected to ship. This time, however, Korey couldn't push the team to tackle their ever-growing inbox: Williams was standing in her way.
Some team members were missing calls when they stepped away to use the bathroom
The customer experience executive wanted to prioritize his team's mental well-being, but the inbox of customer emails was the highest it had ever been. The associates oscillated between feeling grateful that someone finally cared about them '-- Williams was the first person who'd ever really voiced appreciation for their work '-- and feeling worried he didn't understand how behind they were getting. At its peak, the inbox of customer inquiries was 4,000 emails deep.
In May, Korey created a Slack channel titled #may-cx-issue to try to address this issue. If Williams wasn't going to push his team, then she would have to step back in. She began grilling him on why managers '-- many of whom were working 16-hour days '-- weren't answering more customer emails.
Once, a team member tried to explain that managers didn't handle as many customer emails because they were charged with leading the team. But Korey didn't buy it. ''I'm just going to be honest here, your response to me reads like [the managers] don't really do anything positive for the business anyway so it doesn't matter if they're here or not,'' she said.
Williams tried to smooth things over, explaining that some team members were missing calls simply when they stepped away to use the bathroom. ''We all always assumed people went to the bathroom,'' she responded. ''Let's please stop talking about that as if it's a surprising Friday update.'' Of the interaction, Caroline says, ''It was like watching him get stoned to death.''
On May 25th, the team saw a 5:30PM meeting on their calendars and knew the time had come: Williams was being fired. He'd lasted less than six months.
For Caroline, that was the final straw. ''I just lost my shit,'' she says. ''Everybody loved Monte. Everybody. I was just like, 'This is the first time anybody has cared about the team, and you're taking it away from us. You really don't care at all.'''
Within a few months, she would give notice as well.
When asked about why Williams was let go, Grau, the company's head of people, noted the team's poor performance. ''During the Winter/Spring of 2019, it became apparent that we were not providing a world-class customer service experience. As a result, we made significant changes to the team,'' she added in a statement emailed to The Verge.
Korey also added that the move was a last-ditch effort to save a struggling team. ''I care tremendously about the Away team and we make every effort to help struggling employees succeed in their role. Only when we've exhausted all coaching options do we feel the next step is to help an employee transition to a new career outside of Away and we provide full support during this process,'' she wrote.
The explanation was not dissimilar to the one executives gave when they fired people involved in #Hot-Topics. In both situations, employees acted so egregiously they'd given management no choice but to let them go.
But #Hot-Topics was even more perplexing. Whereas the customer experience team had been falling behind under Williams' leadership (albeit, for reasons some say were beyond his control), employees in #Hot-Topics came from all different parts of the organization. There was no throughline of poor performance or track record of misbehavior to justify their automatic dismissal.
In an intense office environment, having a safe space to talk about work is necessary, even critical, to employees' sanity and well-being. It's how they blow off steam at the end of a tough workday, the place they go to find refuge when their projects aren't going well.
Korey and Rubio knew this; they'd been each other's sounding boards at Warby Parker. Yet, they treated #Hot-Topics like an anomaly, an unnecessary waste of time compounded by inappropriate language.
Korey wouldn't comment on what people had said in the channel that she determined was racist. But employees say she pointed to two comments that called out ''cis white men.'' ''It just became really obvious that this happened because someone white and powerful got offended,'' says the customer experience manager, Lindsey.
Every person interviewed for this story has since left the company. Some, like Serena, feel conflicted about the founders, two women she both admires and fears. ''It's so fucked up,'' she says. ''I still want their validation.'' When asked what she learned from her time there, she pauses, reflecting on the tumultuous year.
''Never work for your dream brand,'' she answers finally. ''It'll kill you.''
* Names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved
Update December 5th, 4:20PM ET: This story has been updated to clarify detail about Away's email policy. We have also included additional comment from Away to reflect that CEO Steph Korey disputes comments attributed to her during terminations.
Correction December 5th, 5:00PM ET: This story was corrected to show Lila was traveling to visit her family.
Update December 6th, 10:50AM ET: The piece has been updated to include Korey's complete quote from Fortune.
Update December 6th, 8:20PM ET: This story was updated to reflect that Erin Grau does not identify as a person of color.
Here's the leaked memo in which Away tells employees not to fave The Verge's investigation - The Verge
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 23:31
Newly leaked documents reveal that Away has barred employees from discussing The Verge's investigation into workplace conditions on either their personal or professional social media channels. ''Please do not share the article,'' managers told their direct reports. ''Please do not fave/like/comment or interact with any commentary (negative or positive) through either your personal or professional accounts.''
Employees were also alerted to the fact that The Verge will be speaking about the story live on CNBC this afternoon. ''The reporter from the article is apparently slated to appear on CNBC,'' a manager said. ''The direction we're getting is to continue with the protocol of not responding to inbounds relating to the article.''
The news comes hours after CEO Steph Korey apologized for her intimidating and manipulative behavior, which was revealed in numerous leaked Slack logs published by The Verge yesterday. ''I can imagine how people felt reading those messages from the past, because I was appalled to read them myself,'' she said.
The investigation from The Verge revealed how Korey has used Away's core company values to push employees nearly to the breaking point. Last year, she told a group of customer experience managers that she was taking away their paid time off in order to support their career development. ''In an effort to support you in developing your skills, I am going to help you learn the career skill of accountability. To hold you accountable...no more [paid time off] or [work from home] requests will be considered from the 6 of you,'' she said (emphasis hers). ''I hope everyone in this group appreciates the thoughtfulness I've put into creating this career development opportunity and that you're all excited to operate consistently with our core values.''
Korey and her co-founder Jen Rubio do not allow employees to email each other and ask that direct messaging in Slack be kept to a minimum. The result is that almost all conversations at Away take place in public Slack channels. Many former Away employees noted that while these rules were supposed to create more transparency, in practice, they actually fostered a culture of fear. Korey was known to rip into people for making even minor mistakes. ''You could hear her typing and you knew something bad was going to happen,'' a customer experience says in the article.
On Friday, CNBC received a statement from Korey, which the network's SF bureau chief Sally Shin tweeted. ''I am sincerely sorry for what I said and how I said it,'' it read. ''It was wrong, plain and simple. We want Away to be a company that sets the highest standards for how we treat our employees and help them grow. Over the last 12 months we've invested in creating a culture that allows our people to thrive, including executive coaching for the senior staff, diversity and inclusion training for everyone at the company, 360 reviews, establishing employee resource groups and adding 100 plus new team members to better divide workloads. I am working to be better every day and I promise to keep at it for the sake of our employees, our customers and our company.''
Some former Away employees said they are unsatisfied with her response. ''It's not like this was the first time she's needed reprimanding for her management and conduct,'' one former worker told The Verge. ''She knows exactly who she's hurt, and to just issue a ho-hum blanket apology now to the public, feels like it was done just to save face and slow down order returns that are coming in. It's not right.''
Another former employee told The Verge, ''While it's nice to see they are taking steps to better the environment, from my personal interactions with current employees, I know they are far from fixing the toxic environment they have already created. And while it's also nice newer employees can benefit from some of these steps, it doesn't correct the pain she caused me or any of the other former employees '-- either on a personal, emotional or financial level.'' The former employee says they were let go without any severance. ''From my [point of view], she isn't looking back at those messages thinking, 'Oh my impact didn't match my intention.' Her intention was clear to always tear people down.''
Just before 4PM ET on Friday, Korey posted an additional message to her personal Twitter account expressing ''mistakes as we've built Away,'' in which she goes on to say, ''What you read in the article doesn't reflect the company we want to be,; and we will continue to work and improve. I want to be clear that the Away I am committed to is one where we set the highest standards for how we treat our people and help them grow.''
Update December 6th, 2:23PM ET: This article has been updated and expanded to include newly leaked memos reflecting Away's instructions to employees.
Update December 6th, 3:57PM ET: Added additional public comment from Away CEO Steph Korey, released on Twitter this afternoon, and further context regarding former employees' reaction to Korey's statements.
Ford Is Letting People Bring Dogs to Work in a Bid to Lure Tech Talent
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 07:15
This year when Ford Motor Co. went outside the company for the first time in 70 years to hire a chief financial officer, he came with an impressive pedigree '' a resume that included top jobs at Amazon Inc. and Snap Inc. He also came with a pedigreed sidekick: a chief furry officer.
Wander past Tim Stone's glass-walled office on the 12th floor of Ford's world headquarters on any given day and lying at his feet is his lively, 7-year-old Australian shepherd, Finley, who has his own name badge and sly ''CFO'' title bestowed by his owner.
No, Ford hasn't gone to the dogs, but one has breached the executive suite.
''He's got a very clear job description, which is: Spirits high and stress low,'' Stone explained to a group of Bloomberg editors recently in New York. ''And he kills it every day!''
Finley is more than just a good boy. He is the C-suite mascot for a pilot program offered to 1,300 office employees at Ford allowing them to bring their dogs to work. It's part of a larger effort by Ford to attract hard-to-get tech talent to the Motor City. Other worker-friendly initiatives include a less hierarchical campus redesign and converting an abandoned train station in a rapidly gentrifying district of downtown Detroit into a modern office space.
Ford already has hired more than 3,000 workers with advanced computing skills, but it still needs hundreds more software engineers, data scientists, app developers, digital media specialists and more, Chief Talent Officer Julie Lodge-Jarrett wrote in a blog post Friday.
Seattle and Silicon Valley have long been veritable Fido fiefdoms, where tech giants and startups welcome workers' four-legged friends as a way to enhance work-life balance. Studies have shown that all-day access to man's best friend can reduce stress, improve productivity and possibly even curb employee turnover.
There's even a ranking of the most dog-friendly companies by a Seattle-based pet-service company, appropriately named Rover. The list is loaded with West Coast companies, while there are precious few Midwestern firms, and zero automakers.
Atop the list is Amazon, which has 7,000 registered dogs, giving it a human-to-hound ratio of 7-to-1. On its Seattle campus, the online retail giant offers doggy day care, grooming and canine lunch options at Just Food for Dogs and Puddles Barkery.
One of those Amazon-approved pooches used to be Finley. His leash-holder, Stone, 52, spent two decades at Amazon, rising to vice president of finance. When he started at Ford in April, he didn't think twice about bringing his furry friend to the conservative confines of Ford's headquarters building known for decades as the ''Glass House.''
''It's been a cultural change,'' Stone said. ''I was the first one to bring my dog in every day and when you start doing that, the tone from the top matters.''
Part of Stone's mission at Ford is to challenge convention as the company works through a wrenching $11 billion restructuring and embraces electric and self-driving cars. And his canine deputy helps push people outside their comfort zone.
''It makes meeting dialogues different,'' Stone said. ''When you've got a dog in the room, it just makes it easier.''
Finley also is helping Stone make more friends at his new employer by breaking down barriers at the 116-year-old auto company known for its pinstriped pecking order.
''People know the dog far more than they know me,'' Stone joked. ''It makes the CFO more approachable. It's amazing how many people I run into and they're like, 'Oh, you have a great dog!'''
But Ford's pooch policy is still in the puppy phase. A spokesman emphasized that it remains just a test and dogs aren't allowed in common areas, like cafeterias and conference rooms. There is no doggy day care or bowls of treats doled out by receptionists, like at Amazon.
Still, Stone says Finley is teaching Ford a few new tricks.
''It totally changed the dynamic in so many ways,'' he said. ''It just relaxes everybody.''
War on Cash
Greeks set to face heavy fines if they don't spend 30 per cent of their income electronically
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 09:04
Greeks set to face heavy fines if they don't spend 30 per cent of their income electronically
Skip to sections navigationSkip to contentSkip to footerBy Tom Rees Updated December 9, 2019 '-- 11.17am first published at 11.00am
Greeks will be hit with a hefty fine if they do not spend almost a third of their income electronically in an unprecedented bid by the new government to stamp out rampant tax evasion.
The government expects to raise more than '‚¬500 million ($808 million) every year from the initiative that will force Greeks to spend 30 per cent of their income electronically, Alex Patelis, the prime minister's chief economic adviser, revealed.
The scheme is part of new prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis's sweeping overhaul to revive growth. Credit: Bloomberg
Individuals that fail to meet the target will be hit with a 22 per cent fine on the shortfall. Therefore, if an individual spends just 20 per cent of their income through electronic means, they would face a 22 per cent tax on the remaining 10 per cent bar some exclusions.
The scheme is a radical attempt to cast some light on Greece's huge shadow economy, the world's largest, and is part of new prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis's sweeping overhaul to revive growth.
"This is a big initiative next year that will either raise more revenue because [people] will pay the penalty or more likely because of the [higher] VAT receipts," Mr Patelis told The Telegraph.
The revenue predicted is likely to be at the "lower end" of estimates and the country's banks will help impose the measures by reporting spending to the authorities.
If a Greek earned '‚¬1,000 per month and only paid 15 per cent of their income electronically, they would pay a fine of around '‚¬400 every year, for example. The government is confident it will not drive more workers into the country's booming shadow economy and tempt them to understate their earnings, a key problem in Greece.
Greeks can use debit cards, credit cards, bank transfers and ecommerce for the electronic transactions, which includes rent.
But many workers are paid their wages in cash, which they then use to pay their rent and bills. Greece also has one of the lowest internet usage rates in the EU at 72 per cent. This suggests that some in the country could struggle to meet the 30 per cent target.
Southern Europe, particularly Greece, have booming shadow economies. A study by the Institute for Applied Economic Research in 2017 found that Greece had the largest in the world, being equivalent to 22 per cent of gross domestic product.
Individuals and businesses are enticed to under report earnings and avoid taxation due to high rates and cumbersome bureaucracy.
The Greek government expects to raise more than '‚¬500 million each year from the initiative. Credit: AP
Tax evasion has been labelled a "Greek national sport" and it was estimated in 2016 to cost the country's coffers up to '‚¬16 billion every year, largely through fraud on VAT or income tax.
However, Mr Mitsotakis' government is cutting the tax burden of workers and businesses in an attempt to shock the Greek economy back into life.
Greece has returned to growth but its economy remains sluggish with output still a quarter below pre financial crisis levels.
Telegraph, London
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Epstein
Prince Andrew accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre: 'I'm not suicidal, in case something happens to me' | UK News | Sky News
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 05:33
Virginia Roberts Giuffre has said she is "not suicidal" in case something happens to her because "many evil people" want her silenced.
The 36-year-old has repeatedly said she was trafficked by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and pressured into having sex with Prince Andrew in 2001 when she was 17.
In response to a tweet written about her that said "F.B.I. will kill her to protect the ultra rich and well connected...", the mother-of-three informed her followers she was not suicidal in "no way, shape or form".
She added: "If something happens to me - in the sake of my family do not let this go away and help me to protect them. Too many evil people want to see me quieted."
I am making it publicy known that in no way, shape or form am I sucidal. I have made this known to my therapist and GP- If something happens to me- in the sake of my family do not let this go away and help me to protect them. Too many evil people want to see me quiteted ðŸ...‹ https://t.co/8463mPR6YU
'-- Virginia Giuffre (@VRSVirginia) December 11, 2019Prince Andrew has strenuously denied he had "any form of sexual contact or relationship" with Mrs Roberts Giuffre, adding "any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation".
He has said he has no recollection of meeting Mrs Roberts Giuffre and that a photo appearing to show them together may have been doctored.
In her first UK interview earlier this month on BBC's Panorama, she said of the duke: "He knows what happened. I know what happened, and there's only one of us telling the truth."
Mrs Roberts Giuffre told Panorama about their alleged meeting in the London nightclub Tramp.
She said: "He is the most hideous dancer I've ever seen in my life.
"I mean it was horrible and this guy was sweating all over me, like his sweat was like it was raining basically everywhere I was just like grossed out from it but I knew I had to keep him happy because that's what Jeffrey and Ghislaine would have expected from me."
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Then known as Virginia Roberts, she says she was brought to London by Epstein and his partner Ghislaine Maxwell in 2001 and was introduced to the prince.
Later that evening, she said she was instructed to have sex with the duke.
The interview was aired after - but recorded before - Andrew's own interview on BBC Newsnight.
Andrew used his Newsnight interview to counter her claims that he sweated heavily during one of their encounters. He told the programme he had lost the ability to sweat following his service in the Falklands War.
Image: An image appearing to show Prince Andrew and a 17-year-old Virginia Roberts at Ghislaine Maxwell's house in London in March 2001. Pic: Rex/Shutterstock Image: Virginia Roberts Giuffre has accused Prince Andrew of lying His responses in the interview were widely criticised, with many companies who had an association with his charity projects withdrawing their support.
Within a week, Andrew released a statement confirming that he would be stepping back from his public duties.
Mrs Roberts Giuffre had also told Panorama that it was "BS" to say the photo of the two of them had been doctored.
Image: Prince Andrew, Duke of York strenuously denies having sex with Virginia Roberts GiuffreShe said: "The people on the inside are going to keep coming up with these ridiculous excuses. Like his arm was elongated or the photo was doctored, or he came to New York to break up with Jeffrey Epstein. I mean, come on, I'm calling BS on this, because that's what it is."
In response to the Panorama interview, Buckingham Palace said the duke "unequivocally regrets his ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein" and "deeply sympathises with those affected who want some form of closure".
They said "it is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation".
Epstein-Funded Scientist George Church Is Creating a Genetics-Based Dating App
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 09:05
Harvard biologist George Church already had to apologize for palling around with Jeffrey Epstein even after the financier pleaded to guilty to preying on minors a decade ago. Now he's raising eyebrows again'--with plans for a genetics-based dating app.
In an interview with 60 Minutes, Church said his technology would pair people based on the propensity of their genes, when combined in children, to eliminate hereditary diseases.
''That sounds like eugenics,'' Fordham adjunct ethics professor and science journalist Elizabeth Yuko, who studies bioethics, told The Daily Beast on Monday. (The tech and science news site Gizmodo called Church's idea ''an app only a eugenicist could love.'')
Yuko compared the app, as described, to the Nazi goal of cultivating a master race: ''I thought we realized after World War II that we weren't going to be doing that,'' she said.
Church was part of the coterie of scientists with whom Epstein ingratiated himself via large donations, and Epstein helped bankroll his lab from 2005 to 2007. Church has admitted he repeatedly met and spoke with Epstein for years after the 2008 plea deal that landed him on the sex-offender registry.
Epstein had a twisted take on genetics, hosting scientific conferences at which he expressed his desire to propagate his own genome by impregnating up to 20 women at a time at his New Mexico ranch, like cattle stock.
In the 60 Minutes interview, Church called his ties to Epstein ''unfortunate'' and added: ''You don't always know your donors as well as you would like.''
But much of the segment was devoted to Church's genetic-engineering work at Harvard Medical School, including the app that would theoretically screen out potential mates with the ''wrong'' DNA.
''You wouldn't find out who you're not compatible with. You'll just find out who you are compatible with,'' Church said.
''You're suggesting that if everyone has their genome sequenced and the correct matches are made, that all of these diseases could be eliminated?'' 60 Minutes' Scott Pelley asked.
''Right. It's 7,000 diseases. It's about 5% of the population. It's about a trillion dollars a year, worldwide,'' Church said.
The geneticist didn't drop the app's name (''Punnett Square,'' anyone?) or how far along it is in development. He also didn't respond to a request for comment.
In the interview, Church acknowledged the drawbacks of genetic sorting. He suffers from dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, and narcolepsy'--disorders that might render him an incompatible match to many.
''If somebody had sequenced your genome some years ago, you might not have made the grade in some way,'' Pelley said.
''I mean, that's true,'' Church replied. ''I would hope that society sees the benefit of diversity, not just ancestral diversity, but in our abilities. There's no perfect person.''
Yuko said the selection criteria would be a sticking point for Church's app idea.
''It's not clear what conditions or diseases will be screened for. Who makes that list? What's undesirable?'' she said. ''That's classifying people into acceptable humans and others.''
#MeToo
Harvey Weinstein Reaches Tentative $25 Million Deal To Settle Sex Claims : NPR
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 22:30
Harvey Weinstein leaves court following a hearing over allegations he violated bail conditions by mishandling his electronic ankle monitor, Dec. 11, 2019 in New York. Mark Lennihan/AP hide caption
toggle caption Mark Lennihan/AP Harvey Weinstein leaves court following a hearing over allegations he violated bail conditions by mishandling his electronic ankle monitor, Dec. 11, 2019 in New York.
Mark Lennihan/AP Dozens of alleged victims who sued former movie producer Harvey Weinstein for sexual misconduct have tentatively settled their case. The disgraced Hollywood mogul and the board of his bankrupt film studio have reached a tentative $25 million agreement to settle multiple claims according to attorney Steve Berman who represents some of the victims.
If approved by a judge, the settlement would not require Weinstein to either admit to wrongdoing or pay anything personally.
The money would be part of an overall $47-million deal which would settle Weinstein's obligations and those of his former film production company, including his brother Robert Weinstein.
This settlement is not the first to have been announced. A $44 million settlement was reported by the Wall Street Journal and confirmed by NPR in May of this year. $30 million of that deal would have gone to alleged victims.
While the deal would cover more than 30 actresses and former Weinstein employees, and requires them to sign off on it to share in the settlement, it is not known how many will agree to participate. Some are already expressing dissatisfaction with the deal, according to several accounts.
Attorney Thomas Giuffra, who represents television producer Alexandra Canosa, said in a statement cited by the Washington Post that there is "nothing fair or just" about the pending settlement.
"The most troubling aspect of this settlement is a punitive provision designed to force victims to settle," Giuffra said in a statement cited by the Associated Press. "Shockingly, any funds that would have been allocated to claims from the settlement fund for non-settling claimants would be turned over to Harvey and Robert Weinstein to defend against their claims in court."
As NPR's Andrew Limbong reported, the settlement money will not come from Harvey Weinstein himself, but rather the insurance companies that represent his old studio, the Weinstein Company. More than $12 million of the settlement will pay the legal costs accrued by Weinstein and his associates,
While the deal, if approved, may settle civil claims, Weinstein is still scheduled to face a criminal trial in New York in January on charges of sexually assaulting two women. Weinstein has maintained his innocence.
Fox News' Britt McHenry says co-host Tyrus sexually harassed her
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 07:06
Fox News host Britt McHenry claims her co-host, former pro wrestler Tyrus, subjected her to a never-ending onslaught of sexual harassment at work, according to a new lawsuit.
McHenry claims Tyrus '-- whose real name is George Murdoch '-- started badgering her soon after they began co-hosting the ''Un-PC'' talk show last year.
Not long after, the 46-year-old began blowing up McHenry's phone with lewd messages, and even threatened to send her an image of his genitals.
''I love your legs // F''k them your beautiful I love that picture // Is it creepy how I look at you ??? // FYI you'll need those legs to escape from me in Montana // I please especially on your knees hotness,'' Murdoch allegedly texted her on Nov. 2, 2018.
''I'll show you what it mean to be bad Brittany Mc Henry // D''k pic coming in 5 sec!!!!'' the lawsuit claims he texted her days later, on Nov. 5.
The complaint details a series of other messages from Murdoch between October and December, including: ''keep being negative and I'll send you another d''k pic.''
The 33-year-old says she went to Human Resources to complain, and was asked what she did to provoke Murdoch.
''After payouts of over $100 million in recent sexual harassment scandals, Fox News publicly says it now has 'zero tolerance' for sexual harassment,'' the court papers read. ''This is a dangerous lie. In practice, Fox News remains a sanctuary for sexual harassers, coddling and enabling the men who abuse female employees.''
''The only 'zero tolerance' Fox News has demonstrated is for the woman who complained about the sexual harassment four times '-- refusing to investigate some of her claims, shunning her, shutting her out of company events, and refusing to allow her on Fox News Channel shows,'' says the lawsuit.
The court papers claim the network determined no harassment had taken place, after investigators decided that McHenry had failed to turn over two text messages she allegedly sent Murdoch, showing her cleavage.
''These photos and text messages are fraudulent, doctored, and not of Ms. McHenry. A simple Google Image search shows that the first image was taken from a website and the woman depicted was not Ms. McHenry,'' according to the lawsuit.
Since her complaints, McHenry claims she's been iced out of opportunities, while Murdoch has flourished at the network.
''Ms. McHenry's allegations have been fully investigated and we are confident our actions will be deemed entirely appropriate in litigation. We expect all of her claims to be dismissed,'' a spokeswoman for Fox News said in a statement.
Murdoch '-- who tweeted a gif from ''Goodfellas'' of Ray Liotta laughing hysterically following news of the lawsuit '-- declined to comment, instead directly inquiries to his defense team.
Lawyer Tom Clare said his client would now be pursing his own legal action against his former co-host, citing defamation.
''It's telling that Vanity Fair, TMZ, and other outlets reported on the lawsuit before McHenry's lawyers contacted us about it,'' Clare said in a statement. ''Tyrus denies the allegations in the lawsuit and will be defending it vigorously. He looks forward to having a public forum in the court system to clear his name from the smear campaign that has been waged against him in the media.''
Weinstein's Bail Is Doubled Over Handling of Ankle Monitor - The New York Times
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 06:44
New York | Weinstein's Bail Is Doubled Over Handling of Ankle Monitor The bail was set at $2 million after concerns that he had been disabling the device. His lawyers blamed ''technical glitches.''
Harvey Weinstein arrived at the State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Wednesday using a walker. Credit... Mark Lennihan/Associated Press A state judge on Wednesday increased bail for Harvey Weinstein after prosecutors said he had mishandled his electronic ankle monitor, causing it to stop transmitting dozens of times and leaving prosecutors with no idea of where he was.
Mr. Weinstein, 67, who arrived at the State Supreme Court in Manhattan using a walker, was ordered to post a $2 million insurance company bond, just weeks before his Jan. 6 trial. His previous bail had been $1 million cash.
''The sole concern of the court is the return of the defendant,'' Justice James M. Burke said.
The judge ordered the hearing to reset Mr. Weinstein's bail as required under a new state law, but prosecutors used it to raise questions about whether he had been disabling his electronic monitor, which tracks his position.
The bail hearing came as Mr. Weinstein and the board of his bankrupt film studio reached a tentative $25 million settlement agreement with dozens of women who accused him of sexual misconduct.
The lead prosecutor, Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, said that Mr. Weinstein's ankle monitor had stopped transmitting at least 57 times in less than two months, and that he had not reported those breaches to the Manhattan district attorney's office.
''These were not technical glitches in any shape or form,'' Ms. Illuzzi-Orbon said. ''Mr. Weinstein did not want people to know where he was.''
Ms. Illuzzi-Orbon also said that Mr. Weinstein had sold five properties in the last two years for $60 million, and suggested that he seemed to have ''unlimited resources.''
''He has disconnected himself from any real property in New York, and he has no real incentive to stay in New York,'' she said, suggesting he could easily flee and avoid prosecution.
Ms. Illuzzi-Orbon had also raised the matter at a hearing last week, saying, ''The bottom line, judge, is this man could fly out on a private jet, which he does, and go to another country like that.''
But a lawyer for Mr. Weinstein told the judge that the problems with Mr. Weinstein's ankle monitor stemmed from dead batteries and other technical problems, insisting the disgraced movie producer had complied with the terms of his bail.
''There are no allegations that he tried to flee,'' the lawyer, Arthur Aidala, said, adding that there had been no problems with the ankle monitor since Oct. 7 when the batteries were replaced.
Prosecutors had previously said that the monitor could have stopped working because it was too far away from a cellphone tower. In some instances, the prosecutor said, the bracelet did not work correctly for several hours.
Mr. Weinstein's lawyers said that in the New York City suburb of Bedford, where Mr. Weinstein lives, cell service is weak. They also said Mr. Weinstein had hired an employee to help him with the ankle monitor.
The judge issued a warning to Mr. Weinstein '-- who is scheduled to have surgery on his back on Thursday after a car accident in August '-- that the trial would go on with or without him.
''Should you fail to appear for any reason that is voluntary, this trial will continue in your absence,'' Justice Burke said. ''If you have further medical issues, the court will not be terribly understanding.''
Mr. Aidala said that Mr. Weinstein would need only a week to recover from surgery and that ''he wants to have his name cleared.''
Mr. Weinstein put up $2 million in stocks and bonds to secure the bail bond, according to his bondsman, Ira Judelson, who has handled numerous high-profile cases in New York City. Mr. Judelson said he would also be responsible for monitoring Mr. Weinstein's ankle monitor, adding that he expects the producer to comply with the court's requirements.
''I think we will be on the same page moving forward now that I'm involved,'' he said.
Mr. Weinstein faces charges that he raped one woman, who has not been identified, at a Midtown hotel in March 2013 and forced a second woman, Mimi Haleyi, a production assistant, to allow him to perform oral sex on her at his apartment in Manhattan in 2006.
The actress Annabella Sciorra will also testify against him about her allegation that Mr. Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 1993, under the legal theory that her testimony will support charges of predatory sexual assault, even though her encounter with the producer happened too long ago to be the basis of a rape charge under New York law.
Ms. Sciorra, who is known for her work in ''The Sopranos,'' has publicly said that Mr. Weinstein assaulted her in her Gramercy Park apartment.
The predatory sexual assault charges require prosecutors to prove that Mr. Weinstein committed a serious sexual assault against at least two women. The charge carries a life sentence.
Mr. Weinstein maintains that his sexual encounters with the women were consensual.
The Manhattan district attorney's office is also expected to call on three other women to testify about their experiences with Mr. Weinstein.
Prosecutors hope those witnesses will convince a jury that Mr. Weinstein has long been a sexual predator, even if the events they describe happened too long ago to be prosecuted as sex crimes. Prosecutors in Pennsylvania used a similar strategy in the sexual assault trial of the comedian Bill Cosby, who was convicted and sentenced to prison.
Alan Feuer contributed reporting.
Ecoli
California wild pig population far larger than imagined | Farm Progress
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 07:54
Wild or feral pigs were implicated in at least one E. coli incident in a vegetable field in the Salinas Valley. Some have called wild pigs a minor contributor to the E. coli threat, pointing to domestic animals as larger sources for E. coli in California's food crop.
However, domestic animals are far easier to see and photograph by the media than wild hogs. A University of North Dakota wildlife ecologist working in California says the wild pig problem is far greater than what the eye and camera captured and it is growing, posing a threat not only to crops, but to California's natural habitat.
Using computer-aided mapping and records of hunting tags, Rick Sweitzer, a wildlife ecologist at the University of North Dakota supported by the University of California Exotic/Invasive Pests and Diseases Research Program has calculated how far wild pigs have expanded their range in California to encourage using alternative methods to control their spread.
Wild pigs have long been considered a threat to native species and especially native plants in California, Sweitzer says, ''Unless we find better ways to manage wild pigs, California will risk losing many of its unique plants and animals. Equally important, agricultural losses might become enormously costly if wastes from wild pigs spread into croplands.''
Sweitzer and his research team compiled a database of more than 70,000 wild pig harvest locations, which they used to determine the pace of range expansion by the species in California over the last 13 years. When hunters in California apply for tags, the tags include a portion that requires hunters to provide the California Department of Fish and Game with a brief description of where the pigs are killed. Preliminary results indicate they expanded their range by more than 7,000 square miles between 1992 and 2004.
Overturn vegetation
Wild pigs travel in herds, and create wallows, overturning native vegetation as they dig for food. Their rooting also damages the habitat of animals that live on or under ground such as amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and ground nesting birds. Rooting loosens soil, which may then be washed into streams and creeks, compromising water quality.
Sweitzer's study has demonstrated that wild pigs are continuing to expand in California, even under very liberal hunting regulations of year-round hunting with no bag or possession limits. ''Our results indicate that 97 types of vertebrates and plants identified as threatened, endangered, or rare are exposed to rooting and other activities of wild pigs.''
Since 1956, the California Department of Fish and Game, has classified wild pigs as big game mammals; the goal is to use sport hunting to reduce their spread. ''The problem is that more than 85 percent of the current statewide population of wild pigs is in areas where hunting access is limited, such as state and federal parks, reserves and natural areas, and private lands,'' says Sweitzer. ''Many private landowners simply don't want people on their properties, which means that sport hunters can't harvest and reduce populations in the areas where most of the wild pigs live.''
There are other legal ways to manage and remove wild pigs that are causing damage to natural areas, private properties, and agriculture. The California Department of Fish and Game has made it relatively easy to obtain depredation permits that allow park managers and other people to use traps and trained hunters to remove wild pigs. This approach can be time consuming and costly, however, and is not always effective.
Smart animals
''One reason wild pigs are so popular among hunters in California is because they are smart,'' says Sweitzer. ''But the negative side of this is that they quickly learn to avoid traps when they sense danger, and they have even been known to play dead when being hunted from helicopters in areas like the Australian outback.''
Because it may be difficult to halt the spread of pigs by sport hunting, Sweitzer is taking a proactive approach and has used computer modeling to identify areas with suitable habitat conditions that are currently unoccupied by wild pigs. Results suggest that about 17,000 square miles of mixed hardwood and conifer woodlands in northern and eastern California are vulnerable, specifically areas in the western Sierras, Cascade Range, and along the margins of the Central Valley.
The third component of Sweitzer's research involves a major effort to estimate how much damage feral pigs cause to California agricultural and ecological areas.
The ecologist and his team developed two surveys. One survey addresses damage to natural areas and was sent to national, state, regional, and private parks, monuments, and preserves, USDA National Forest districts, Bureau of Land Management field offices, USDI Army Corps of Engineer recreation areas, and tribal officials for Native American Tribal Lands and Reservations in California.
Sweitzer sent the second survey to all California county agricultural commissioners, including questions related to the history and trends of wild pig-related agriculture and livestock damage. Sweitzer also designed and sent commissioners maps of their counties, and asked them to mark the specific areas where damage is occurring.
''Once the areas with agricultural damage are linked up with the mapped locations of hunter-killed wild pigs, we will be able to identify statistical linkages between regions of important agricultural damage and wild pig population abundance.''
Results from these two surveys will provide the first look ever at how much damage wild pigs are causing across the state. Sweitzer's hope is that once actual dollar numbers are assigned to the damage being caused by this non-native mammal, policy makers might think seriously about other approaches to managing them.
SJW
Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, and Miss Universe are all black women | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 08:31
'Black girl magic': Miss Universe, Miss America, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA titles are ALL won by black women in the same year for the first time everZozibini Tunzi of South Africa, 26, was crowned Miss Universe 2019She joins Miss America Nia Franklin, Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, and Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris, all of whom are black women It is the first time all four pageants have had black women as their title holders at the same timePeople online praised the moment, expressing how they 'look like' the winnersTunzi made waves in particular during her pageant because she vowed to wear her hair natural to promote natural beauty By Danielle Zoellner For Dailymail.com
Published: 14:01 EST, 10 December 2019 | Updated: 16:46 EST, 10 December 2019
This year was the year of diversity within the world's biggest beauty pageants, with 2019 marking the first time ever that Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, and Miss Universe were all won by black women.
Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa was crowned the winner of the 2019 Miss Universe pageant on Sunday evening, however her win did not just represent a phenomenal personal triumph - it also rocketed her into the history books alongside her fellow black beauty queens.
Newly-crowned Tunzi, 26, joins Miss America Nia Franklin, Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, and Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris in the history-making foursome - which has already come under high praise online from a slew of people, including former first lady Michelle Obama.
Taking the crown: Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa, 26, was crowned the 2019 Miss Universe
Important: Tunzi made waves in particular during her pageant because she vowed to wear her hair natural to promote natural beauty
That magic: Tunzi joined Miss America Nia Franklin, Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, and Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris, all of whom are black women
Winning the Miss Universe crown was a big moment for Tunzi, who used her closing statement to speak about the fact that she rarely saw any women who looked like her on the pageant stage when growing up.
'I grew up in a world where a woman who looks like me '-- with my kind of skin and my kind of hair '-- was never considered to be beautiful,' she said. 'I think it is time that stops today. I want children to look at me and see my face, and I want them to see their faces reflected in mine.'
She competed in the pageant with the idea of promoting natural beauty, which included her modeling her natural hair on the pageant stage.
To her, rocking her hair in its short natural style was 'a symbol of my firm belief in fair representation,' she said.
Tunzi's joy about winning the competition was also expressed on social media with her writing: 'Tonight a door was opened and I could not be more grateful to have been the one to have walked through it.
'May every little girl who witnessed this moment forever believe in the power of her dreams and may they see their faces reflected in mine. I am #MissUniverse2019.'
Incredible: This is the first time in history all four winners are black women in the same year. Pictured left is Miss America Nia Franklin and right is Miss USA Cheslie Kryst
Breaking barriers: Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris also took the title earlier this year
Celebrating: People online, including Oprah Winfrey, congratulated Tunzi on her win
Big moment: Women resonated with Tuniz because she vowed to wear her hair natural during the competition to promote natural beauty
Proud: It was also noticed how all four titles were held by black women. And one woman expressed her delight that they all looked like her
Previously Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, and Miss Universe have all seen a black woman take the crown, but never all at the same time.
The monumental moment was not lost with people online following the crowning of Tunzi.
Former first lady Michelle Obama shared an article from Essence on her own Twitter page revealing how all four titles were held by black women. Obama called the moment '#BlackGirlMagic'.
Oprah Winfrey also took time on Twitter to congratulate Tunzi on her new title.
'Congratulations Miss South Africa, the new Miss Universe @zozitunzi ! Agree with you...leadership is the most powerful thing we should be teaching young women today,' she wrote.
Oprah's tweet referenced the answer Tunzi gave about what the most important thing was to teach young women today. Tunzi advised for women and young girls to 'take up space' in society.
Excited: Twitter erupted with celebrations from people who were happy about the diversity featured on the pageant stage this year
'Nothing as important as taking up space in society and cementing yourself,' she said when answering her question.
Women online took to Twitter to praise the recent crowning of Tunzi, as they expressed how each of the four winners looked like them.
'Miss USA looks like me! Miss Teen USA looks like me!! Miss America LOOKS LIKE ME!!!! MISS UNIVERSE LOOKS LIKE ME!!!!! I am so proud of my Queens,' one excited women wrote online.
Her excitement was shared by others who celebrated the moment in history.
One person called the four women 'black queens' for all getting crowned together in the same year and showing why representation was important.
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Russia
Pentagon Concerned Russia Cultivating Sympathy Among US Troops | Voice of America - English
Sun, 08 Dec 2019 23:32
WASHINGTON - Russian efforts to weaken the West through a relentless campaign of information warfare may be starting to pay off, cracking a key bastion of the U.S. line of defense: the military.
While most Americans still see Moscow as a key U.S. adversary, new polling suggests that view is changing, most notably among the households of military members.
The second annual Reagan National Defense Survey, completed in late October, found nearly half of armed services households questioned, 46%, said they viewed Russia as ally.
Overall, the survey found 28% of Americans identified Russia as an ally, up from 19% the previous year.
A sun ray illuminates St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square during a cold winter day in Moscow, Russia, Jan. 11, 2019.Generally, the pollsters found the positive views of Russia seemed to be ''predominantly driven by Republicans who have responded to positive cues from [U.S.] President [Donald] Trump about Russia,'' according to an executive summary accompanying the results.
While a majority, 71% of all Americans and 53% of military households, still views Russia as an enemy, the spike in pro-Russian sentiment has defense officials concerned.
''There is an effort, on the part of Russia, to flood the media with disinformation to sow doubt and confusion,'' Defense Department spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Carla Gleason told VOA.
''This is not only through discordant and inflammatory dialogue but through false narratives designed to elicit sympathetic views,'' she said, adding, ''we are actively working to expose and counter Russian disinformation whenever possible.''
Reagan National Defense Survey
The Reagan National Defense Survey, conducted on behalf of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, questioned just more than 1,000 adults between Oct. 24 and Oct. 30, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
Concern among U.S. officials runs deep, partly because other surveys have also found a growing willingness in the U.S. to view Russia positively.
For example, a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults by the Pew Research Center from September 2018 found 35% of Americans wanted more cooperation with Russia.
FILE - The "troll farm" in St. Petersburg, Russia, Feb. 17, 2018. Yevgeny Prigozhin is considered the driving force in a media empire that includes the Internet Research Agency, the St. Petersburg "troll farm" whose members were indicted by U.S. special investigator Robert Mueller.However, there is more to the fears than just polling data.
U.S. defense and security officials have told VOA that Russia has been targeting U.S. military personnel, specifically, with a ramped-up influence campaign, as far back as 2017 in preparation for the November 2018 midterm elections.
Russia's goal, they said, was not so much to swing the result of the elections but to seed U.S. military personnel with the right type of disinformation so that they would be predisposed to view Russia and its actions in a more favorable way in the future.
''We know it goes on,'' said Ed Wilson, then deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy, said at the time. ''That's why we've amped up and increased the attention that we're paying.''
Countering Russia's efforts, both against the U.S. military and American society at large, has not been easy, according to both analysts and former officials, because of the political climate and the rhetoric coming from the White House.
''It is dangerous,'' said Jorge Benitez, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who specializes in transatlantic relations, U.S. security and Russia.
''The new polls reveal a significant change among Republican voters who historically have been opposed to Russia,'' he said. ''More and more Republicans have changed their views on Russia because of President Trump's positive statements about Russia and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin.''
Others fear Russia's gains in public opinion are symptomatic of a bigger problem that the Kremlin has managed to exploit.
''People's beliefs and perceptions are shaped more by whatever the leaders of their own political tribe say than by ideology, history, or even their own self-interest,'' said Paul Pillar, a former senior CIA officer now with Georgetown University.
He said, for now though, the gradual change in U.S. perceptions of Russia has had limited impact.
''Many Republicans can slavishly follow Trump's lead on most matters, including the rhetorical line on Russia, but still, say, support defense expenditures designed to maintain strength vis-a-vis Russia,'' Pillar said, noting a variety of U.S. sanctions against Moscow are still in place.
The U.S. national defense strategy, updated just two years ago, likewise lists Russia along with China, as the prime threats to the U.S.
For the most part, the Reagan National Defense Survey found a majority of Americans are in agreement.
''When we asked Americans which countries were tops on their list in terms of the threat that they posed to the United States the first was China [28%] and the second was Russia [25%],'' said Ronald Reagan Institute Policy Director Rachel Hoff.
She also said there was strong sentiment that the U.S. should not cede any ground on the global stage, to Russia or anyone else.
''They want America to take the lead when it comes to international events rather than a less engaged posture where our country is reacting to global events,'' Hoff told VOA, pointing to a 50% to 33% margin.
At the same time, other polls have pointed to a lingering wariness on the part of a majority of Americans when it comes to Russia.
A Gallup survey published in February of this year found only 24% of Americans had a positive view of Russia, down from a 44% favorable rating in February of 2013.
Unhoused
California official floats a new idea: House homeless on a cruise ship
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 05:45
Rebecca Kaplan was reading an old article about hurricanes when she got the idea.
The violent wind storms typically aren't a concern for the Oakland, California, City Council president's constituents, but a creative solution for housing the storm victims caught her eye.
If cruise ships could be used as emergency housing in natural disasters, maybe they could be used to help in Oakland's emergency: homelessness.
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The housing crisis in the city that sits across the bay from San Francisco has resulted in a surge of tent encampments across city sidewalks, under freeway overhangs and in public parks. By the latest count, more than 4,000 people are experiencing homelessness in the city of just over 400,000, up 47% in just two years.
City and state officials have made addressing the issue a priority, but solutions take time and shelter beds remain in short supply. With limited access to running water and toilets, it's become both a humanitarian and public health emergency, classified as such at both at the city and state levels of government.
''It is a human catastrophe,'' Kaplan said, adding that the crisis should be approached like any other disaster. ''It has to be all hands on deck.''
The strategies to solve the problem aren't scaling to meet the magnitude of the problem and she said she'd like to see more solutions brought to the table '' even if those ideas raise a few eyebrows.
(C) Rebecca Kaplan Rebecca Kaplan, president of the Oakland, Calif., city council After Kaplan floated the cruise ship idea, it didn't take long for word to spread. She says she's already been contacted by cruise ship companies and is planning to present a fully fledged proposal that could add up to 1,000 on-board beds to the council early next year.
''We say this is an emergency,'' Kaplan said. ''So, I thought, well, we have a natural-disaster level of crisis. Now I am in dialogue with people who can actually do something.''
From her experience serving a term on the Bay Area Air Quality Control Board, Kaplan recalled that some cruise lines were running up against a deadline to change their systems or dock in place and might be accessible at low-cost to the city.
''There is a synergy,'' she said. ''All of a sudden there might be cruise ships available.''
The idea has been met with some initial scrutiny, especially from officials at Oakland's Port, which only caters to cargo ships.
''There isn't the infrastructure to berth a cruise ship,'' port spokesman Mike Zampa told the San Francisco Chronicle. ''Safety and security issues at the federally regulated maritime facilities would make residential uses untenable.''
The strategy has also been problematic in the past.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush came under fire after Hurricane Katrina for fast-tracking a $236 million contract to Carnival Cruise Lines '' a big GOP donor '' only to house a handful of victims. After evacuees opted for on-land options over the cruise ship cabins, rooms sat empty for weeks.
Former California Rep. Henry Waxman called the incident a ''boondoggle'' in a letter to Bush sent in 2006, highlighting that for the $240,000 it cost taxpayers to shelter each family the federal government could have built them permanent homes.
But Kaplan is convinced that the cruise ships are still an option, and she's ready to see to it that anything with potential to help the problem is pursued. With numbers increasing, both housed and unhoused communities are becoming increasingly aggravated by the city's attempts to clear the streets as housing costs continue to rise.
(C) STOCK PHOTO A cruise ship at sea A group of displaced Oakland mothers made national news this week when they took the matter into their own hands, inhabiting an investor-owned vacant house, one of thousands across the city. The fourmothers and their children are staging a fight to stay in the home with the help of local activists but could be forcibly evicted by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office on Dec. 17.
Giant tree trunks have also been placed on sidewalks throughout the city, believed to be the work of business owners hoping it will deter people looking for a spot to spend the night. Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies have been charged with breaking up tent clusters in a whack-a-mole attempt to crack down on unsanctioned encampments. But Kaplan said when people have nowhere to go, making them move only pushes the problem into the future.
And Oakland still plans on closing more camps before the end of 2019.
The closure of 133 camps so far in 2019 doesn't count the planned closure of camps on International Blvd and other upcoming removals per the city's schedule. pic.twitter.com/liDXhq4gJs
'-- Darwin BondGraham (@DarwinBondGraha) December 6, 2019''They relocate to the next underpass and a month later, at great expense to the city, the cops are called out again to remove them,'' Kaplan said. ''This is creating a huge amount of expenditure and taking people away from other things they need to be doing, and at the end of the day nothing has changed for all that time, and trouble and money.''
Though the cruise ship idea was what made headlines this week, it's just one part of a three-part plan that also includes calls for expanding access to areas where people are allowed to camp or park RVs, complete with toilets and water, and examining the region's building stock for more options that can be quickly turned into emergency housing.
Kaplan acknowledges that there are still a lot of questions to answer.
"I am not saying it is a done deal," she said. "What I am saying is we need to put a lot more options on the table. If there's a chance we can make it work, we should try."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: California official floats a new idea: House homeless on a cruise ship
San Francisco's 'poor street conditions' a factor in city's loss of $64M Oracle tech conference: reports | Fox News
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 06:42
Oracle, a major Silicon Valley tech company, will move its annual OpenWorld conference to Las Vegas next year due to San Francisco's expensive hotel rates and the city's ''poor street conditions,'' according to reports.
The loss of OpenWorld, which has been held in San Francisco for about 20 years, is raising new concerns about whether the city's struggles with homelessness, open drug use and street violence may be scaring off tourism and other business, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
''For the industry, for the city, to have a major conference leave us impacts all of us,'' Kevin Carroll, chief executive of the Hotel Council of San Francisco, which represents hotel owners, told the newspaper.
FORMER SAN FRANCISCO MAYORAL CANDIDATE: YEARS OF LIBERAL POLICIES HAVE CAUSED HOMELESSNESS 'TRAGEDY'
''It's a huge deal,'' added Rick Swig, a hotel consultant at RSBA & Associates.
Oracle decided to pull out even though San Francisco recently invested $551 million in a renovation and expansion of the downtown Moscone Center, the convention facility where OpenWorld had been held for years, the Chronicle reported.
The loss of the conference is expected to cost the city an estimated $64 million in annual economic activity, the San Francisco Travel Association (SFTA) said in an email obtained by CNBC.
OpenWorld brought about 60,000 people to the conference each year, the Chronicle reported.
But many attendees had complained about the city's hotel rates and ''poor street conditions,'' the SFTA email said, according to CNBC.
Oracle addressed the move in a statement to Fox News.
''Oracle is excited to offer a modern, state-of-the-art experience for attendees at Oracle OpenWorld and Code One 2020 in Las Vegas," the company's statement said. "The city and its vast amenities are tailor-made for hosting large-scale events, and we look forward to bringing the industry's most comprehensive technology and developer conferences to America's premier hospitality destination. Oracle continues to enjoy a strong relationship with the City of San Francisco and our partners such as the San Francisco Giants and the Golden State Warriors. We look forward to working with our longstanding counterparts in San Francisco on future events.''
San Francisco is considered the nation's fourth most expensive market for hotel rooms, behind Nashville, Boston and San Jose, Calif., according to an October survey by Cheaphotels.org. While San Francisco averaged a rate of $214 a night for a double room of at least three-star quality, the same type of room averaged about $69 a night in Las Vegas, the survey said.
Oracle moved its event to Las Vegas on a three-year contract, with the conference to be held at the Caesars Forum, a convention facility scheduled to open in 2020 on The Strip.
San Francisco and other large cities in California have been criticized by President Trump and other Republicans as examples of dysfunction that they argue has been caused by the Golden State's Democratic-controlled governments at the state and local levels.
On Monday, a transient convicted of a fatal shooting at a homeless camp in Sacramento was sentenced to 118 years in prison.
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Last week a neighborhood group in San Francisco kicked off a privately funded program to increase power-washing of human and animal feces from local sidewalks.
In Oakland, residents have been placing massive logs around the city in a bid to discourage transients from setting up camp near local businesses.
Citing the state's problem with homelessness, former congressional candidate James Veltmeyer recently launched an effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom, a former mayor of San Francisco who became governor in January after being elected last November.
DPRK
North Korea opens new mountain resort amid tourism drive, East Asia News & Top Stories - The Straits Times
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 07:03
Published
Dec 9, 2019, 2:54 pm SGT
SEOUL (AP) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un opened a new mountain spa and ski resort that's intended for people to enjoy "high civilisation under socialism" in another example of the country using tourism exemptions in international sanctions to build revenue for its broken economy.
Mr Kim cut the ribbon during the ceremonial opening of the Yangdok Hot Spring Cultural Recreation Centre and praised his soldiers for creating a "miracle and prefect edifice" that serves the ruling party's efforts to guide people to modern civilisation, a state media report said.
The resort east of the capital has modern rooms, hot spring spas, a ski resort and a horse-riding park, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Sunday (Dec 8).
"(Mr Kim) hardly repressed his happiness, saying that it has become possible to provide people with new culture, and one more plan of the Party to make our people enjoy high civilisation under socialism as early as possible has come true," KCNA said.
The Yangdok resort, which the North began building last year, has been one of Mr Kim's major development projects along with another mountain resort recently completed in the town of Samjiyon and a summer resort being built in the coastal town of Wonsan.
North Korea also last week announced the creation of a company dedicated to creating medical tourism services to foreign visitors at the country's hot spring spas and state-run hospitals, where they will be able to receive cataract surgeries, dental implants and breast tumor treatments.
North Korea has also demanded South Korea tear down its hotels and other facilities at the North's Diamond Mountain resort after Mr Kim declared that the North would redevelop the site on its own.
The announcement came after months of frustration over the South's unwillingness to defy US-led sanctions and restart South Korean tours to the resort, which was suspended in 2008 after a North Korean guard fatally shot a South Korean tourist.
Tourism is excluded from the heavy sanctions the UN Security Council has imposed on the North over its nuclear weapons programme, which includes a full ban on key exports like coal, textile and seafood, strict limitations on oil imports.
The sanctions also require all UN members to repatriate all North Korean labourers based in their countries by December.
China
China pressing Faroe Islands to use Huawei 5G system: media | Business Standard News
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 06:46
China's ambassador to Denmark has pressured the Faroe Islands to hire telecommunications giant Huawei to build a 5G network, the daily Berlingske said Wednesday.
The United States has pressured Europe to exclude Huawei from tenders for 5G networks because it says the company could serve as cover for Chinese espionage. Huawei and Beijing reject the accusations, and Huawai says it is a private company that is wholly owned by employees.
Berlingske reported that during a meeting with officials on the Faroe Islands, a self-governing territory in the North Atlantic that belongs to Denmark, the Chinese envoy held out a big carrot in the event that Huawei won a 5G contract.
"Ambassador Feng Tie made it clear .... that if the Faroese telecoms operator Foroya Tele agreed to let Huawei build the 5G network, all doors would be open to a free trade agreement between China and the Faroe Islands," the newspaper said.
It described the diplomat as being "very forceful" based on a surreptitious recording by local media group KVF of a meeting in November with the island's trade minister and an aide.
Berlingske said "it is the first time that the Chinese government has conditioned access to the huge Chinese market on the granting to Huawei of a 5G contract in Europe." A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman denied any "pressure" on the island's government, but did say that safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies is part of an ambassador's brief.
According to KVF, the Faroe Islands have begun to develop a 5G network in close collaboration with Huawei.
It quoted local trade minister Helgi Abrahamsen as saying: "We receive guidance from Danish national IT security authority Cyber Security, and they have so far not advised against collaborating with Huawei." Huawei Denmark told AFP in an e-mail: "We don't have any news to share on the status of the network in the Faroe Islands," and claimed to have been unaware of a meeting between the Chinese ambassador and local officials in the Faroe Islands.
Foroya Tele said meanwhile that it had not yet chosen a supplier for its 5G network.
The process "requires significant considerations given the scale and importance of the investment for the Faroe Islands," a company spokeswoman told AFP. The rollout of 5G is proceeding in several countries with a promise of spurring innovation in a variety of sectors.
The ultrafast connections could help in fields such as telemedicine, self-driving cars, and a variety of industrial applications, for example. When contacted by AFP, the Chinese embassy in Copenhagen and the Faroe Island government were not available for comment.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
PP
Supreme Court lets Kentucky abortion ultrasound law stand - ABC News
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 08:24
The case was brought by provider EMW Women's Surgical.
December 9, 2019, 4:45 PM
5 min read
A contested Kentucky law requiring a physician to display and describe a fetal ultrasound to patients seeking abortions has survived an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Without explanation or notable dissent, the justices declined to take up the case brought by a Kentucky abortion provider, EMW Women's Surgical, that argued the law violated physicians' First Amendment right of free speech.
Supporters of the measure say it's "prudent public policy" and important to ensuring patients give an informed consent to end a pregnancy. The law "does not require anyone to follow a set script; rather, the physician or qualified technician who is making the required disclosures can use his or her own words," the state of Kentucky wrote in court briefs.
"Women facing an unexpected pregnancy deserve to have as much medically and technically accurate information as possible when they are making what could be the most important decision of their life," said Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, an anti-abortion group.
Lower courts have been divided over "display-and-describe" ultrasound laws. Two federal courts upheld the Kentucky law, but in a similar case out of North Carolina, a separate federal judge struck down the law.
Monday's ruling allows H.B. 2, Kentucky's forced, narrated ultrasound law, to take effect. The physicians at Kentucky's last abortion clinic will be forced to subject every patient to their ultrasound images, a detailed description of those images, and the sounds of the fetal heart tones prior to an abortion -- even if the patient objects or is covering their eyes and blocking their ears, and even if the physician believes that doing so will cause harm to the patient.
"The Supreme Court has rubber-stamped extreme political interference in the doctor-patient relationship," said attorney Alexa Kolbi-Molinas with the ACLU, which helped bring the challenge to Kentucky's law. "This law is not only unconstitutional, but as leading medical experts and ethicists explained, deeply unethical."
Escort volunteers line up outside the EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville, Ky., July 17, 2017.
Escort volunteers line up outside the EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville, Ky., July 17, 2017. Dylan Lovan/AP, FILEEMW Women's Surgical Center has said that many women will continue to refuse the ultrasound information.
"As a result of this law, while the patient is half-naked on the exam table with her feet in stirrups, usually with an ultrasound probe inside her vagina, the physician has to keep talking to her, showing her images and describing them, even as she tries to close her eyes and cover her ears to avoid the speech," EMW said in court documents.
"A law that requires a physician to keep speaking even though her words do not inform anyone of anything is not an informed consent provision," the group argued.
Early next year, the court will hear an abortion rights case from Louisiana involving a law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
The case will be the first test on abortion for the court's new majority of justices appointed by Republican presidents, including President Donald Trump's two nominees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
War on Guns
Ace of Spades HQ Jersey city shooting
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 05:27
‚ Surprise! CNN and MSNBC, Which Have Covered Every Moment of the Fake Impeachment Hearings, Absolutely Refuse to Air the Horowitz Testimony |
Main|
Sundown Joe Biden, Suffering From Rapid Cognitive Decline, Reassures His Worried Staffers That He'll Only Serve One Term as President ‚>>December 11, 2019
Jersey City Shooters Were Part of Black Israelite Gang That Hurled Racist Insults at Covington Kids;Targeted Kosher Deli Due to Antisemitic Hatred 30 Breaking: Antisemitic Jersey City Gunmen Had Ties to Covington KidsPosted by: CNN
Enjoy the last few moments you'll ever hear of this story.
One of the two suspects who targeted a kosher grocery store in Jersey City, New Jersey, where three people were killed had a social media page containing anti-Jewish and anti-police writings, officials and sources said Wednesday....
According to three sources, Anderson was a one-time follower of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, whose members believe they are descendants of the ancient Israelites and may adhere to both Christian and Judaic beliefs, and his social media pages include anti-police and anti-Jewish writings. Investigators are looking to see if it was Anderson himself who posted that material.
Inside the van used by Anderson and Graham was a note with religious writings, the three sources said.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said at a news conference on Wednesday morning that security footage showed the shooters traveling slowly through the streets in a U-Haul van on Tuesday, stopping outside the store armed with long guns and immediately opening fire.
The mayor specified that they had deliberately chosen that particular market to attack.
Jersey City's mayor, Steven Fulop, said that surveillance footage indicated the two attackers had targeted a kosher supermarket where most of the carnage unfolded.Mr. Fulop said on Wednesday that the footage revealed that after the assailants shot Detective Seals in an earlier encounter, they drove slowly and deliberately to the market, located roughly a mile away.
...
Initially, investigators said they believed that the attackers randomly chose the market and that the episode was not a hate crime; Mr. Shea added on Tuesday that there was "no indication'' of terrorism.
By Tuesday night, however, Mr. Fulop, said on Twitter that officials had come to believe that the assailants had "targeted the location they attacked."
But they're black, not white, and affiliated with leftwing politics, not Trump, so we won't hear about this any more, and the only thing we will hear about is not hate, but GUNS.
Ben Shapiro made that point last week -- whenever the killer is someone associated with part of the Democrat coalition, or expresses leftwing sentiments online, suddenly the media doesn't want to talk about hatred or political rhetoric inspiring violence, but only Deadly Demon-Guns.
Last night after extensive review of our CCTV system it has now become clear from the cameras that these two individuals targeted the Kosher grocery location on MLK Dr - the 2 JCPD officers that were on a foot post one block away immediately responded/engaged
'-- Steven Fulop (@StevenFulop) December 11, 2019The Jersey shooter was a part of the group that was harassing the Covington kids on the National mall... so this one's getting flushed.
'-- Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) December 11, 2019This has been the media's pattern. If it comes from white supremacists, it deserves coverage and prompts Trump-centric conversation; if it's just a massive spike in anti-Semitic attacks in NYC from non-white supremacists, it doesn't even merit a mention.
'-- Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) December 11, 2019Meanwhile, we'll see editorials today from drooling morons declaring that REAL anti-Semitism is Trump signing an EO that protects Jews in the same way as other minorities on college campuses, following an Obama-era Department of Education guideline.
'-- Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) December 11, 2019and (2) they don't give a hot damn about anti-Semitism, as they cheer on Left-wing anti-Semites ranging from Corbyn to Omar to Tlaib, ignore anti-Semitic violence that can't be blamed on their political opponents...
'-- Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) December 11, 2019Kyle Shiedeler mocks Jane Coasten -- reporter on "the GOP and White Nationalism" for Vox, and a frequent correspondent with NeverTrumpers -- for suggesting that the Black Israelites are "Christian Identity for black people."
Oh right, of course. Because whites invented hate and need to teach it to the good, non-tainted races.
Even when ''Black Israelites'' commit an attack it's still basically white nationalist Christians, because reasons. https://t.co/EnwfV02I7T
'-- Kyle Shideler (@ShidelerK) December 11, 2019They have developed over time in specific milieus, but are deemed unnecessary for study because it's just ''white nationalism'' but Black people.
'-- Kyle Shideler (@ShidelerK) December 11, 2019Perfect example is SPLC's identification of Moorish Science Temple as just ''sovereign citizens'' even though their beliefs predate SC by like 50 years. Pathetic.
'-- Kyle Shideler (@ShidelerK) December 11, 2019Jane and Seth explaining how violent black activists are white nationalists is the chuckle of the day
'-- Julie Kelly (@julie_kelly2) December 11, 2019Hasidim have been openly attacked every weekend in your city for quite some time now, and this is a hell of a way to use an antisemitic attack to spit on the victims in your own city. https://t.co/azh1SCJMog
'-- Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) December 11, 2019The Washington Post's Dana Milbank blames this on... Trump.
Yes the Black Israelites in Jersey City who killed the Chasidic Jews were motivated by Trump and white nationalism. https://t.co/8yG2jWciun
'-- The Meturgeman (@DraftRyan2016) December 11, 2019posted by Ace of Spades at
01:02 PM |
Access Comments
Jersey City shooting suspects were followers of a 'hateful' religious sect
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 07:30
December 11, 2019 | 6:48pm
Enlarge Image David Anderson, one of the Jersey City shooting suspects. AP
The Jersey City shooters were adherents of a fringe religious movement that's been labeled a hate group by experts who track extremists in the US.
David Anderson was described by law enforcement sources on Wednesday as a follower of the Black Hebrew Israelites, and he introduced girlfriend and accomplice Francine Graham to their beliefs, a former friend and neighbor in Elizabethport, New Jersey, told The Post.
''I know she has a religion called the black Jews or something. She just told me that was her religion,'' the woman said.
''Honestly, I didn't pay too much attention. I know they kept the Sabbath.''
Another neighbor said he occasionally heard the couple ''chanting religious stuff'' inside Graham's apartment.
''It was loud enough to know it was that,'' the man said.
The Black Hebrew Israelites, who are not a part of mainstream Judaism, believe that white people are agents of Satan, Jews are liars and false worshippers of God, and black people are the true ''chosen people'' of the Bible, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
The Southern Poverty Law Center lists various branches of the movement among the country's black nationalist hate groups, most of which it says are ''strongly anti-white and anti-Semitic.''
It traces the origin of the racist ''Hebrew Israelite'' movement to self-declared prophet F.S. Cherry, who in 1886 founded a ''black Jew'' church in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Cherry preached that white people were inherently evil and hated by God, and predicted that Jesus would return in 2000 to start a race war that would end with black people ruling over whites, according to the SPLC.
Earlier this year, the movement made headlines when a member of the offshoot House of Israel '-- a Brooklyn resident who calls himself ''Chief Ephraim Israel'' '-- profanely taunted a group of Catholic students from Covington, Kentucky, in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.
The incident sparked a viral video in which one student was seen silently smiling as his classmates mocked a Native American activist who intervened in the face-off by chanting and beating on a drum.
Vaccines
Anatomy of an epidemic: How measles took hold of Samoa - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 08:31
Sixty-three children in Samoa have died from measles. After a mass vaccination campaign, authorities are hopeful the spread of the highly contagious virus has been contained, but remain on edge. How did it come to this?
Photo The family of 10-year-old Fa'auuga Iosefa crowd around his grave.
As his body is lowered, Fa'auuga's older brother wails in grief.
His sisters clutch photographs of him, then clutch each other for support.
Photo The little boy's final resting place will be in the front yard of the family home.
It's the traditional place to keep ancestors close '-- except he's the wrong generation, dying far too young.
But this way, he will never be far from his mother.
Alieta Iosefa weeps.
"Having to bury your own son is the most complicated and painful thing in life. Especially a son that was just 10 years old, who was full of life and very active. Having to bury him is a void."
Photo Photo "He survived cancer but caught [measles] from hospital. His immunity was low and his heart was very tiny. He tried to fight, but the more he fought, the more damage it did."
Photo Fa'auuga is one of 70 people who have been killed by measles in Samoa since October, and all but seven were aged under 15. Nearly 4,700 other Samoans have been infected.
Samoa's measles epidemic grew slowly, then swelled suddenly.
A few cases appeared in October. By November, the Samoan Government had declared a state of emergency. Schools were closed and vaccinations made mandatory.
But it was not enough to halt the spread of the virus.
Measles infections had popped up around the Pacific, but the virus only took hold in Samoa, where the national immunisation rate had fallen to a low of 30 per cent.
Photo A preventable crisis The troublesomely low immunisation rate was borne of an earlier tragedy.
In 2018, two babies died shortly after getting measles vaccinations. The nurses who administered the injections had incorrectly mixed an expired anaesthetic with the vaccine.
It prompted the Government to suspend the nation's vaccination program and though it was eventually restored, many Samoan mothers no longer trusted the vaccination process.
The Samoan Government took the drastic step of arranging a nation-wide shutdown to get people vaccinated.
Photo Photo Roads have been closed to assist the mobile immunisation teams. ABC News: Melissa Clarke Businesses were ordered to close and all citizens placed under a curfew to allow mobile vaccination teams to go door-to-door.
Residents were told to hang a red flag outside their house to indicate there was someone inside who needed vaccination.
Measles explained What are the signs to look out for, the symptoms and the chances of an outbreak in Australia?Everything from crimson leis to the red-and-blue Samoan flag to were put to use.
Over the two days, around 120 medical teams traversed the roads of Samoa in vehicles commandeered from across government agencies and NGOs.
Fast and efficient, the teams vaccinated approximately 40,000 people, around 20 per cent of Samoa's entire population.
Most of those getting a jab were welcoming, enthusiastic to contribute to a project akin to a national reparation.
Photo "It hurts, it hurts," said Iani Sheppard, wincing and laughing all at once.
"Good to have it done, it's a relief to have it done. Likewise, everyone else '... it's a must for everyone.
"Most people don't have the transport '... so this is very good, a good initiative for the Government to do, to come visit door to door and have this done.
"I pray that everyone will have this injection done so that this can be eliminated, this virus, from us."
But not everyone heeded the call.
Photo 'There was no trust'Some of the nurses reported seeing people run away as mobile vaccination teams neared.
Others stayed but refused to be treated. Some parents turned to traditional healers first, only seeking help from the medical system when it was too late.
'Nazi' anti-vax claims Medical experts warn Samoans against heeding anti-vax messages spread by social media influencers amid a deadly measles outbreak in the Pacific nation that has claimed dozens of lives '-- most of them children.After the two deaths last year from incorrectly administered vaccines, there has been a new audience for anti-vaccination campaigners.
Both local and foreign 'anti-vaxxers' peddled their messages on social media, a potent act in a country where Facebook is a key source of information.
It has prompted heated debate amongst Samoans about who is to blame for the scale of the measles crisis '-- parents who did not vaccinate their children, or the Government for not addressing their mistrust in the system sooner?
Photo Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele is blunt.
"Parents should bring their children for vaccination," he said.
But he rejects suggestions that such remarks put the blame on parents.
"There are parents who did not believe that their children should be vaccinated '... it is a question of educating our people to understand what they must do," he said.
"It is imperative '... to strengthen the culture of acceptance of vaccination in order to create herd immunity.
"This is a painful lesson we have learnt from the current crisis."
Photo Photo The United Nations' resident coordinator in Samoa, Simona Marinescu, had a similar take.
"The system was in place and capable of providing vaccination, it's just that mothers did not want to come," she said.
"It is very difficult to convince mothers to come back to get their babies vaccinated, seeing what happened to the two families last year.
"There was no trust."
In 2018, measles caused close to 142,000 deaths around the world and the United Nations' sees in Samoa's epidemic echoes of global problems.
"Scepticism regarding the safety of the vaccine and the expanding atmosphere of doubt around vaccination '-- even in the most advanced countries '-- are among the underlying causes of the dramatic expansion of the disease," said Ms Marinescu.
Church on Sunday Photo Churches are the central pillar of community life in Samoa, a deeply religious nation.
Services have been cut and children discouraged from attending in an effort to limit the spread of measles in community gatherings.
But Sunday mass remains a source of solace for Samoans at a time when there seems little to be grateful for.
Photo Lina Chang from the Samoa Victim Support Group has found the families of children suffering with measles struggling to remain positive.
"It's too early to say something about it because there's still suffering," she said.
"For our vulnerable families now, this is the only resort, turning to God."
Photo CreditsReporter: Melissa ClarkePhotography: Melissa Clarke and Cameron AtkinsDigital Producer: Max Walden
Hospital forces HPV shot for new workers
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VIDEO - Twitter bullies try to cancel popular streamer with Tourette's after she blurts out anti-semitic slogan during livecast '-- RT Op-ed
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 07:36
Cancel culture has found a new target to be offended by, someone who literally can't help what they say.
Sweet Anita is a streamer on Twitch who has amassed an audience of almost 600,000 people. Part of her popularity stems from her openness with Tourettes. She's been able to juxtapose her charming personality with the often vile utterances her condition causes her to express, and this in turn has allowed her to educate fans about a neurodevelopmental disability that many would otherwise only know from jokes in movies and on TV.
Recently though, outrage culture decided to step up its game, and Anita became a target for a conglomerate of offense-seekers who have decided context no longer matters, and that those who speak bad words must be extinguished from the public eye.
After experiencing a particularly bad tic during a livestream earlier this week, Anita blurted out the phrase ''kill the Jews!'' before covering up her mouth with her hand in evident horror at her inability to control what she just said.
Social media and various comment sections came alight with coordinated calls for her cancellation. In now deleted tweets, another popular streamer openly called for Twitch to deplatform Anita over what she said.
Imagine being so shitty you try to use your audience of 53k to cancel a streamer cuz she said a naughty word due to Tourettes. I fucking despise cancel culture. She wasnt espousing hatred you dense fool. pic.twitter.com/YO0Aj5CNu1
'-- Sophia (Narwhal) Narwitz (@SophNar0747) December 10, 2019As anyone familiar Tourettes will know, some people suffering from it battle a severe version of a symptom called Coprolalia. For those unaware, it heavily affects an area of the brain called the Basal Ganglia, which is tied into the language and emotion centers. The placement of the condition forces those with the disability to make involuntary sounds, to which as evidenced in the clip linked above, can come out as offensive phrases and slurs.
The reasoning such specifically offensive language is spewed is because sufferers are aware of what the most socially unacceptable words are, and due to the high emotions and stigmas often associated with such slurs, they are for lack of a better word, 'stored' within an emotional realm. It's why when some people are mad they express terms they might not otherwise ever utter. It's very much an emotional process. Try paying attention to whatever curse word you yell the next time you hit a thumb with a hammer.
I'm trying my best in this situation but honestly it's likely to happen again, the more people pressure me not to say it, the more my condition latches on to the phrase. It never used to be a tic before twitch, but chat has been intentionally triggering it.
'-- Sweet Anita (@Tweet4nita) December 10, 2019Cancel culture however, has no care in the world for pondering the ''whys'' behind certain events. To warriors of rage, the process running in their near empty minds is ''this word bad, so this person must be bad.'' It's faulty logic to be sure, and to recall last year's NPC meme, their programming needs an update.
Given how much of cancel culture emanates from the 'woke' community, it sure says a lot that they are now willingly targeting those their movement always vows to defend. For years they have sat upon a false air of moral superiority, always acted as if their quest to rid the world of naughty language and offensive personalities has been a noble cause. One about protecting the weak and the so called marginalized. But at its core most people opposed to them have known it's always been about control.
I suppose now we can take comfort in knowing their hypocrisies are out in the open, and it'll definitely make combatting wokescolds much easier, although I wish it occurred without people like Sweet Anita getting drowned out in hate for the sole ''crime'' of being born differently.
Ironic considering the term ''ableism'' is most often used by the camp currently engaging in it.
By Sophia Narwitz, writer & game journalist from the US.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
VIDEO - MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell: FBI's FISA application errors 'pretty egregious' | Fox News
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 07:29
MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell acknowledged Wednesday that the FBI made "pretty egregious" errors in the highly controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) application process that played a major role in the Russia investigation.
During MSNBC's coverage of the hearing featuring Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz following the release of his report, Mitchell pointed out how there was "something for everyone" within his findings and how Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., had "seized" on the 17 various errors and omissions made throughout the FISA process.
"There were very clear mistakes made by the FBI in the first approval and subsequently reapproval submissions for authorization by the FISA court, that special security judge who approves surveillance," the NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent said.
DEMOCRAT KAREN BASS SAYS SHE'S OPEN TO IMPEACH TRUMP AGAIN IF HE GETS REELECTED IN 2020
Mitchell continued, "A particular point for something that is pretty egregious, which is the altering of a document to not inform the court and to not inform others that Carter Page, who was a former... Trump campaign associate of the president, was actually also at times a confidential source of the CIA. And, to not share that information, which you know, is obviously exculpatory, which might have led the judge to not approve the surveillance warrant on him."
Mitchell wasn't the only NBC personality who spoke bluntly about the uncovered FISA blunders. NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams said Monday that the FBI "screwed up on every level" for heavily relying on the infamous Steele dossier for the FISA application.
"What it says is that the FBI basically, repeatedly screwed up at every level, failing to pay enough attention to potential problems with Steele, failing to tell the Justice Department," Williams explained, referring to British ex-spy Christopher Steele, who compiled the anti-Trump dossier.
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"It says at one point that the FBI decided to seek this FISA warrant, even at the risk of being criticized for doing it later, because, the report says, FBI officials said they had to get to the bottom of a potentially serious threat to national security."
He added, "But, the inspector general report says the FISA application was in many ways inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported. It says, for example, that the FBI failed to look at some of the problems in Steele's past work that was never sufficiently addressed."
VIDEO -44mins Sam Harris on "The Portal" with host Eric Weinstein, Ep. #011 - Fighting with Friends. - YouTube
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 07:22
VIDEO - User Clip: Opportunity | C-SPAN.org
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 07:13
December 11, 2019 | Clip Of Open Phones, Part 1 This clip, title, and description were not created by C-SPAN. User-Created Clipby patmacsDecember 11, 2019 2019-12-11T07:04:49-05:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/082/20191211070500001_hd.jpg Nancy mentions the wonderful opportunity given to us by the founding fathersNancy mentions the wonderful opportunity given to us by the founding fathers
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*This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
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VIDEO - Students Love Medicare For All... Until Hearing What's Actually In It - YouTube
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 07:10
VIDEO - Kosher deli was targeted (??) new JERSEY shooting - YouTube
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 07:01
VIDEO - Hacker hurls racial slurs at family after breaking into home Ring camera - National | Globalnews.ca
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 06:51
One Florida family wasn't even safe in their own home after a hacker took over their surveillance camera on Sunday night.
Josefine Brown, who lives in Cape Coral, Fla., was at home with her family when a loud alarm suddenly began to sound from their Ring security camera and a voice began spewing racial slurs.
In black-and-white footage of the incident, a loud alarm can be heard playing over a speaker.
Brown's husband, who is wandering around his kitchen and living room area, seems to be attempting to turn off the alarm when a voice comes from the device and begins saying racial slurs about the couple's biracial son.
READ MORE: Thousands of Disney+ accounts have been hacked, sold online on dark web '-- reports
''Is your kid a baboon, like the monkey?'' the hacker says.
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Their 15-year-old son never appears on the screen, leading Brown to believe the hacker had been watching them for much longer than they realized.
As the hacker continues to taunt the family for nearly three minutes, the batteries are eventually ripped from the camera.
The taunting has ended, but the effects of the incident still reverberate with the family.
''I was scared. I didn't know who that is, how long he'd been watching us and I'm still scared now because I don't have any answers,'' she said.
According to NBC, the Brown family contacted Ring to inquire about what had happened. In an email response, the company said its security team had detected an email address and password from one of the family's external accounts was ''exposed in a data breach.''
''We are still investigating this issue and are taking appropriate steps to protect our devices based on our investigation,'' Ring said in a statement to NBC. ''We are able to confirm this incident is in no way related to a breach or compromise of Ring's security.''
The company added that people often use the same email and password for various accounts, making it easier for people to hack into other systems.
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READ MORE: Computer glitch removes filter, reveals Chinese vlogger's real face
Unfortunately, this kind of security breach isn't uncommon.
A Tennessee family got the scare of their life after their eight-year-old daughter's Ring camera was hacked.
It was only up for four days before the girl began being taunted by a hacker, who would also play eerie music over the speaker system.
''I did a lot of research on these before I got them,'' mom Ashley LeMay told WNDU. ''You know, I really felt like it was safe.''
Her daughter, Alyssa LeMay, heard a sound coming from her room. In video footage shared with the broadcast station, a man can be heard saying: ''I'm your best friend. I'm Santa Claus.''
LeMay, like the Brown family, also contacted Ring, who she said told her that safety and security are their No. 1 priority.
'--
meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca
(C) 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
VIDEO - Volcano discovered under fastest-melting Antarctic glacier | Earth | EarthSky
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 06:49
Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier is melting, thanks to warming waters from below. What's more, a recent study has discovered a volcano beneath the glacier.
This article is republished with permission from GlacierHub. This post was written by Andrew Angle.
West Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier (PIG) is the fastest-melting glacier in Antarctica, making it the single biggest contributor to global sea-level rise. The main driver of this rapid loss of ice is the thinning of the PIG from below by warming ocean waters due to climate change. However, a study, published June 22, 2018, in Nature Communications, discovered a volcanic heat source beneath the PIG that is another possible driver of the PIG's melting.
On the icebreaker RSS James Clark Ross looking toward the Pine Island Glacier on the 2014 expedition Image via University of Rhode Island.
Study lead author Brice Loose spoke to GlacierHub about the research. He said that the study was a result of a larger project funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.K. National Environmental Research Council to
'... examine the stability of the Pine Island Glacier from the terrestrial and the ocean side.
The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), which includes the PIG, sits on top of the West Antarctic Rift System that includes 138 known volcanoes. It is difficult, however, for scientists to pinpoint the exact location of these volcanoes or the extent of the rift system, because most of the volcanic activity occurs below kilometers of ice.
The Pine Island Glacier from above taken by Landsat Image via NASA.
Warming ocean temperatures due to climate change have long been identified as the primary contributor to the extensive melting of the PIG and other glaciers that transport ice from the WAIS. This melting is largely driven by Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW), which melts the PIG from below and leads to the retreat of its grounding line, the place where the ice meets the bedrock.
To trace CDW around coastal Antarctica, the scientists used helium isotopes, specifically He-3, because CDW is widely recognized as the principal source of He-3 in the waters near the continent. For this study, the scientists used historical data of helium measurements from the Weddell, Ross and Amundsen seas around Antarctica. They looked at the three seas, all of which have CDW, and examined differences in He-3, which could have come from volcanic activity.
By tracing the glacial meltwater produced by the CDW, the researchers discovered a volcanic signal that stood out in their data. The helium measurements utilized were expressed by the percent deviation of the observed data from the atmospheric ratio. For the observed CDW in the Weddell Sea, this deviation was 10.2 percent. In the Ross and Amundsen Seas, it was 10.9 percent. However, HE-3 values gathered by the team during expeditions to the Pine Island Bay in 2007 and 2014 differed from the historical data.
Map of elevated He-3 samples in 2007 and 2014. Image via Loose et. al.
For this data, the percent deviation was considerably higher at 12.3 percent, with the highest values being near the strongest meltwater outflow from the PIG's front. Additionally, these high helium values coincided with raised neon concentrations, which are usually an indication of melted glacial ice. The helium was also not uniformly distributed. This suggests it originated from a distinct meltwater source and not from across the PIG's entire front.
With this knowledge in hand, the team of scientists endeavored to identify the source of the HE-3 production. The Earth's mantle is the largest source of HE-3, although it is also produced in the atmosphere and during past atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons through tritium decay. These two sources, however, could only account for 0.2 percent of the 2014 data.
Another potential source was a fissure in the earth's crust directly below the PIG, where He-3 could rise from the mantle. However, this source was ruled out as it would have a strong thermal signature, something that was not discovered by mapping expeditions.
Map of He-3 samples around Antartica (yellow = 2007, red = 2014) Image via Loose et. al.
The researchers then considered another source: a volcano beneath the PIG itself, where He-3 escapes from the mantle in a process known as magma degassing. The He-3 could be transported by glacial meltwater to the PIG's grounding line, where the ice meets the underlying bedrock. At this line, the ice shifts due to the ocean tides, allowing the meltwater and the He-3 to be discharged into the ocean.
After identifying a subglacial volcano as the most likely source of the elevated He-3 levels near the PIG's front, the scientists next calculated the heat released by the volcano in joules per kilogram of sea water at the front of the glacier. It turned out that the heat given off by the volcano constitutes a very small fraction of the overall mass loss of the PIG compared to the CDW, according to Loose.
In total, the volcanic heat was 32 ± 12 joules kg-1, while the heat content of the CDW was much larger at 12 kilojoules kg-1. Nevertheless, if the volcanic heat is intermittent and/or concentrated over a small surface area, it could still have an impact on the overall stability of the PIG by changing its subsurface conditions, said Loose. There is also the possibility that the continued melting of the PIG could lessen the pressure and weight on the volcano, spurring more volcanism and subsequent melting.
The presence of an active volcanic heat source beneath the world's fastest-melting glacier is a disturbing discovery that threatens to accelerate the PIG's contribution to future sea-level rise. To develop a better understanding of how the volcano might impact the PIG, Loose stated that future studies should examine how the volcanic signal varies from year to year and attempt to pinpoint the likely location of the volcano itself beneath the ice.
Bottom line: A recent study discovered a volcano beneath Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier.
Members of the EarthSky community - including scientists, as well as science and nature writers from across the globe - weigh in on what's important to them. Photo by Robert Spurlock.
VIDEO - THIS WAS RIGGED: Ted Cruz LIGHTS UP FBI Over Wiretapping Donald Trump - YouTube
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 06:46
VIDEO - (7) Best Buy's Corie Barry takes over as CEO, becomes 33rd female CEO in Fortune 500 - YouTube
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 06:24
VIDEO - (3) Trump War Room (Text TRUMP to 88022) on Twitter: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to @DonLemon @CNNTonight @CNN during this incredibly difficult time. Mr. Lemon🍋, we are so sorry this is happening to you. ðŸ https://t.co/BK1pRwUeS3" / Twi
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 06:22
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VIDEO - (1) TODAY on Twitter: "The FBI is under new fire this morning with the Justice Department's inspector general now calling for changes in how the agency does its investigations, @petewilliamsnbc reports. https://t.co/sPNVRl9I4h" / Twitter
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 06:15
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VIDEO-OAN's Chanel Rion gives debriefing on Ukraine trip - YouTube
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 22:56
VIDEO-Austin coalition's $14M goal to fund emergency homeless shelters raises just $50K in first month '-- what now? | KXAN.com
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 22:32
AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- The coalition of business groups who want to put up a new temporary shelter for Austin's homeless tells KXAN low early fundraising numbers will not stop their effort. Leaders at ATX Helps are banking on large donations from foundations, corporations, and non-profits in the weeks ahead.
Bill Brice from the Downtown Austin Alliance says the Sprung Shelter is still on track to be built by around March.
''I think that's still realistic is things continue to come through and right now we're starting to narrow down potential sites,'' said Brice.
The ATX Helps Coalition, which includes the Downtown Austin Alliance and the Austin Chamber of Commerce, needs $3 million for capital costs to build the shelter. They have $50,000 from individuals.
And at the current pace, it would take them more than two decades to raise their ultimate goal of $14 million to build a new temporary shelter with wraparound services.
''We are talking to a number of six-figure, seven-figure essential donors. We have had some commitments made that we're trying to button-down. So things are rolling along,'' said Brice.
There's still no specific location determined for the new shelter but the Brice tells KXAN they could consider as a backup the temporary shelter now along 183 and Montopolis, which is on Texas Department of Transportation land.
But what about homeless donation fatigue? With funding funneling through the city, ECHO, Salvation Army, the state, and ATX Helps: will the charitable dollars dry up?
''I really think that the opposite is more likely. Once we get some momentum and once the community sees that what all of us are doing, working together, state government, city government, all of the non-profit partners, private sector together,'' said Brice.
Both Governor Greg Abbott and First Lady Cecilia Abbott have promoted ATX Helps fundraising efforts online. We reached out to the Governor's office for a comment and have not heard back.
In a statement to KXAN, a media representative for ATX Helps says conversations with major donors are ongoing though and they are grateful to their fellow Austinites for the generosity they've already shown.
The coalition, led by Austin business leaders, faith-based organizations and the Downtown Austin Alliance, still hopes to raise the $14 million necessary to build and operate a Sprung navigation shelter for two years. Sprung shelters can be built in eight weeks and ATX Helps says each can hold about 150 bunk beds and comfortably sleep 300 people.
Back in November, ATX Helps told KXAN that the project is something Austin's never had but desperately needs. The coalition said in its initial news release that if it raised $2 million in capital funds by the end of 2019, it would start construction on the first navigation center during the first quarter of 2020.
''We know that shelter alone does not solve homelessness, thus shelter and housing must always be considered in tandem,'' said Dewitt Peart, President and CEO of Downtown Austin Alliance. ''However, Austin currently only has 812 shelter beds, and on any given night when these beds are full, there are still 1,100 people living outdoors without a roof, bathroom, showers or laundry facilities.''
Austin has been riddled with increasing issues related to homelessness over 2019. Back in June, the Austin City Council passed an ordinance that largely decriminalized sitting, laying or camping in public places.
The changes were met with much criticism and debate, with some saying they exacerbated or exposed already growing problems.
MORE: Is Austin's homeless problem really that bad?
In early October, Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to Austin Mayor Steve Adler, explaining that unless something was done to address the issue by Nov. 1, he would direct state agencies to step in.
Then in November, the city council voted to restrict the polarizing ordinance. Changes included a ban on camping on sidewalks and a ban on sitting, lying or camping around the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH).
In an interview with KXAN Tuesday, Matt Mollica, the executive director of Austin's Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) discussed ATX Helps and ECHO's willingness to work with the coalition. Mollica said that ECHO would gladly welcome financial support from ATX Helps to assist in ECHO's efforts to create new shelters.
''Absolutely,'' said Mollica. ''We are engaging and have engaged with the ATX Helps folks and will continue to work towards bringing in a shared mission and shared values into our work.''
As the city of Austin embarks on a new strategy of purchasing motels to convert into housing for the homeless, ECHO has volunteered to fund the operation of these new shelters and the services provided there.
There is no word yet on what lies ahead for ATX Helps' plans at this time.
VIDEO - Hillary Clinton: Questioning Hunter Biden's judgment call is 'fair game' - Sara A. Carter
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 09:55
''This is the goal of the Trump strategy. It is to raise questions,'' Hillary Clinton said on PBS News Hour.
''There is no evidence that either one of them did anything wrong. Could there be a question of judgment about his son? Well, that's fair game. But there is absolutely no evidence, and there will not be any evidence, that Joe Biden did anything wrong.''
More:
Pelosi: Impeachment is worth losing House overBritish Ambassador Who Resigned Vouched For Christopher Steele as 'Absolutely Legit'Jerry Nadler: 'This is formal impeachment proceedings'
VIDEO - (3) MarginallyBetter on Twitter: "@hulu @adamcurry @THErealDVORAK @darrenoneill She's running..." / Twitter
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 09:37
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VIDEO - Key Mueller witness charged with funnelling millions to Clinton campaign
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 08:49
George Nader, a businessman who helped broker a meeting between an ally of President Trump and an official of the Russian government, has been indicted for allegedly funnelling millions into the Hillary Clinton campaign. Dec. 5, 2019
VIDEO - Steve Harvey Gives Sizable Eye Roll After Reading Climate Change Question at Miss Universe Pageant - Hide Out Now
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 08:45
When it comes to Steve Harvey, the eyes definitely had it.
The seemingly ubiquitous television host of ''Family Feud'' '-- among other things '' was performing his emceeing duties Sunday night for the Miss Universe Pageant when he came across a question about climate change '-- a topic he pretty clearly didn't think was suited to the occasion.
And his face said it all.
While addressing Miss South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi, Harvey read the question from his cue card:
''Are leaders of today doing enough to protect future generations for climate change? If not, what more should they be doing?'' he said.
The next image barely lasted a half-second, but it was worth a million words.
Check it out here:
The 26-year-old contestant, apparently unaware of Harvey's derisive expression, took on the question gamely, then spouted out exactly the same kind of drivel a viewer would expect to hear from an American student ''educated'' in the leftist indoctrination of public schools followed by a stint at a liberal college campus. ''I think that the future leaders could do a little bit more,'' she said. ''But, however, I feel we as individuals ourselves can also play a part in making the climate the way it should be in the future. I mean, we have children protesting for climate and I feel like as adults we should join as well. We should have corporations join as well, and the government should take it seriously.
''I mean, from sixth grade, I've been learning that the climate is deteriorating and the planet is dying and it is up to us to keep our planet safe. Thank you.''
There's no telling if that's what Tunzi really believes, or if it's what she knew the judges of an event like that wanted to hear '-- the crowd roared its approval, and she did end up winning the Miss Universe title, after all.
But it's undeniable she '-- along with the rest of the world's young people '-- has heard the increasingly dire messages from the left about a so-called climate emergency. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, barely turned 30, is only a few years older than Tunzi, and she's obviously gotten the climate change bug, too. No one can forget her claim that the world had only 12 years to go if humanity didn't change its ways, even if she later said she was joking. (That Green New Deal AOC is pushing is no joke at all.) Harvey's obvious skepticism upset some snowflake viewers:
But it also got a lot of appreciation, too, from viewers who didn't like the obviously leftist slant of the show.
That last Twitter post summed it up well.
So-called ''climate change'' really is a vague term liberals came up with when the general public started getting skeptical of global warming. As a catch-all phrase, it's really tough to beat. It's certainly being used to try to cause mass panic (Tunzi's answer about being indoctrinated since sixth grade was telling).
And as to it being a ''political battering ram,'' AOC and her Green New Deal Democrats are trying to turn that into an art. Those are all good points, and all true. And all of that came through in Harvey's expression on Sunday night. But he didn't have to say a word.
VIDEO - Special Significance Or Cool Coincidence? Final Full Moon Of Decade Peaks On 12/12 At 12:12 '' CBS Miami
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 08:27
December 10, 2019 at 10:08 amMIAMI (CBSMiami) '-- The last full moon of the decade could have special significance if you are into numerology.
The full moon will take place Thursday, December 12th, and the instant that the moon is full is 12:12 a.m.
Does it have special significance, or is it just a cool coincidence?
According to the Farmer's Almanac, the number 12 has special significance '' depending on who you ask.
Consider this. There are 12 months in a year, and a day is made up of two 12-hour periods.
In numerology, the number 12 is related to completion, perfection, harmony, motivation, achievement and independence.
Only 12 people have walked on the moon and we can't forget this, there are 12 days of Christmas!
Thursday's full moon is called the ''Cold Moon'' or ''Long Night's Moon,'' for the time of year when Winter really begins.
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VIDEO - Ray McGovern Drops BOMBSHELL on Free Assange Vigil - YouTube
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 08:20
VIDEO - 14mins Michael Bloomberg's extended interview with Gayle King - YouTube
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 08:14
VIDEO - (10) Game Theory's UNCENSORED Interview with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki - YouTube
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 07:19
VIDEO-Game Theory's UNCENSORED Interview with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki - YouTube
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 07:08
VIDEO-UPDATE: Student says teacher pulled off her 'Women For Trump' pin
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 07:04
By Rachel Sweet/Amy Murphy &nbsp|&nbsp
Posted: Mon 5:19 PM, Dec 09, 2019 &nbsp|&nbsp
Updated: Tue 7:10 PM, Dec 10, 2019
MASON, MI. (WILX) -- A Mason High School student turned to the police alleging a teacher assaulted her during school hours because she supports President Donald Trump.
Sadie Earegood told NEWS 10 that the teacher involved was Paul Kato.
Paul Kato is the media technology teacher at the high school. Students say that he has not been in school since the alleged incident on Dec. 5, but Mason Schools has not confirmed that.
Earegood claims she was assaulted by Kato when he ripped her "Women For Trump" pin from her shirt.
Earegood is 16 and a junior at the school. She said Kato, started off by saying he didn't like the pin she was wearing.
"I was just really shocked that a teacher would especially do that," she said. "He's talking about the 'Women for Trump' pin and I said, 'that's fine you don't have to like it, we can have our opinions.'"
Earegood described a struggle between herself and the teacher where he tried to take the pin off her.
"He grabbed it and I pulled, I tried to push his hand away and he grabbed my shoulder," she said. "(He) just kind of put his hand there, and then he started pulling more and more and I just started backing up."
She said the teacher then put the pin upside down on his shirt and stated that it belonged that way.
Mason Superintendent Ronald Drzewicki wouldn't talk to us on camera, but he released a statement that read, "Once we have a complete understanding of the situation, we will take appropriate action."
The Earegoods filed a police report.
''I made a criminal assault and larceny report against the teacher," said Capi Earegood, Sadie's mother. "He had no right to put his hands on my child over a pin or anything else. The first amendment gives everyone the right to express their freedom of speech. No one should get that upset about someone wearing a political pin.''
Mason Police Chief Don Hanson confirmed his department is looking into a report of an alleged assault on Dec. 5.
The Mason School District has not confirmed with us that the allegations against Kato are true.
The dress code for Mason High School does not state anything about political paraphernalia not being allowed.
NEWS 10 found this: Clothing that displays alcohol, drugs, tobacco, gang association, weapons, sexual or suggestive references, profanity, violence, intimidation or organizations promoting any of these are not appropriate.
It also states that: the School recognizes the right of students to express themselves. With the right of expression comes the responsibility to do it appropriately. Students may distribute or display, at appropriate times, non-sponsored, non-commercial written material and petitions; buttons, badges, or other insignia; clothing, insignia, and banners; and audio and video materials. All items must meet the following school guidelines: A. A material cannot be displayed if it: 1. is obscene to minors, libelous, indecent and pervasively or vulgar, 2. advertises any product or service not permitted to minors by law, 3. intends to be insulting or harassing, 4. intends to incite fighting or presents a likelihood of disrupting school or a school event. 5. Presents a clear and present likelihood that, either because of its content or manner of distribution or display, it causes or is likely to cause a material and substantial disruption of school or school activities, a violation of school regulations, or the commission of an unlawful act. 17 B. Materials may not be displayed or distributed during class periods, or during passing times between classes. Permission may be granted for display or distribution during lunch periods and after school in designated locations, as long as exits are not blocked and there is proper access and egress to the building. In order to insure whether or not materials they wish to display meet school guidelines, students must present them to the principal twenty-four (24) hours prior to display.
You can read the full Mason student handbook here.
Earegood said that she won't be silenced and just wants people to know that she will continue to show her political views.
"I just want him to know that it's not okay to do that. I want this to be a learning experience for other teachers, and I'm not going to stop wearing my political stuff."
Paul Kato is originally from Nigeria. He worked to establish a residential soccer school in Nigeria for 10 years, and the school officially opened in 2018.
It's called the Kato International Training Academy (KITA) and it opened with 24 students.
Kato has also coached the high school soccer team in Mason.
As of 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 10, Kato was still listed as a teacher on the Mason Public Schools website.
Kato's lawyer told News 10 that they have no comment while the school is investigating the case.
Copyright 2019 WILX. All rights reserved.
VIDEO-Trump lashes out at 'crooked bastard' Schiff: Intel chair refuses to admit Ukrainian president said he felt 'no pressure' | Fox News Video
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 06:58
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VIDEO-Joe Biden snaps at NPR host: 'Don't compare me to Donald Trump'
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 06:42
| December 08, 2019 08:11 PM
Former Vice President Joe Biden got in a fiery exchange with an NPR host after she compared his recent attack on an Iowa voter to President Trump's ''bullying.''
Last week, Biden snapped at a voter who pressed him to answer questions about his son Hunter Biden's high-paying job on the board of the Ukrainian gas company, Burisma. The former vice president berated the man and challenged him to a push-up contest or a foot race after appearing to call the man ''fat.'' He also claimed he was a ''damn liar'' after he suggested that Biden sold access to the presidency by allowing his son to rake in cash.
During an interview on Morning Edition, reporter Rachel Martin asked him about his decision to smear a random Iowa voter as a ''damn liar'' and his odd requests for a push-up contest or an IQ test.
Biden brushed off the question and claimed he was ''joking'' with the man.
''He came along. What was he saying? He said he's entitled to do this. He said, 'You're too old.' He said, 'You're too old. I can't vote for somebody as old as you.' I said, 'OK.' And he was challenging me what kind of shape, and so I kidded. I said, 'Want to do a pushup contest?' I was joking. Look, I'm in pretty good shape,'' Biden explained.
Martin pushed back, asking, ''Which is what Donald Trump says a lot. 'Hey, you can't take a joke. I was joking.'''
Biden got frustrated and fired back, ''Don't compare me to Donald Trump.''
''What Donald Trump says, he makes fun of people. He belittles people. He lies. I don't do any of those things. Period,'' Biden said.
Martin continued to press Biden on his remarks and questioned how calling someone a ''damn liar'' is restoring civility, as he promised to do on the campaign trail.
''That's not civil? To call someone who lied a liar?'' Biden questioned, later adding, ''But he's lying! He's lying. You acknowledge what he said wasn't even true. None of the mainstream media believes any of that was true.''
Biden, 77, is the front-runner in the crowded Democratic primary. His RealClearPolitics polling average shows him with 27.8% support.
VIDEO-Cuba Gooding Jr. is facing more allegations of sexual misconduct - CNN
Wed, 11 Dec 2019 00:40
By Nicole Chavez and Melanie Schuman, CNN
Updated 8:56 PM EST, Tue December 10, 2019
(CNN) Seven more women have come forward with allegations of unwanted touching against actor Cuba Gooding Jr., court documents show.
The Oscar-winning actor pleaded not guilty and denied all wrongdoing in October to charges of forcible touching and sex abuse stemming from three alleged incidents involving three separate accusers that took place in 2018 and 2019 in New York.
Prosecutors previously said at least 15 women have accused Gooding of misconduct.
The new allegations date to 2003, with the most recent in 2016. They reference incidents that allegedly took place in Los Angeles, Malibu, New York, Atlanta, San Francisco and at a bar in Park City, Utah, during the Sundance Film Festival, according to a filing by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance in the state supreme court.
The women, who were not identified, accuse Gooding of nonconsensual touching, grabbing, groping, kissing, licking and threats of professional sabotage.
One of the women accused Gooding of sliding his hands inside her pants and cupping her buttocks without her consent at a Turkish restaurant in Atlanta in 2011, the filing said.
When she confronted him, the document says, the actor allegedly stated in response, "I know you want to be an actress; I can ruin you."
Gooding has not been charged in connection with any of the new accusations.
The actor's lawyer, Mark Jay Heller, said his client denies all allegations of criminal conduct and said "unfortunately, people come out of the woodwork, making false allegations against Cuba, as often times happens when a celebrity is accused by the district attorney's office in a public forum."
"The spurious, uncharged allegations offered by the district attorney's office are so ancient and outdated and lacking in details and impairs the defendant from defending against them," Heller added.
In the court filing, prosecutors said the allegations demonstrate the actor's pattern of intentionally touching women without their consent. They claim Gooding does it "for the purpose of gratifying his own sexual desire" and "degrading and abusing the women he has targeted," the document states.
Prosecutors are asking the court to allow evidence of uncharged alleged conduct to be introduced in the case in order to establish a pattern of behavior, commonly referred to as Molineux evidence.
The uncharged incidents include the allegations from the seven new witnesses and 12 others who came forward in recent months. If the court does not allow all of them, Vance is asking the court to allow prosecutors to decide which ones to include during the trial.
The actor's next court hearing is scheduled for January 22.
CNN's Alec Snyder and Laura Ly contributed to this report.
VIDEO-The Full Extent of Joe Biden's Corruption - YouTube
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 18:02
VIDEO-BBC Radio 5 Live on Twitter: "ðŸ'ž'How do you define what a woman is?' Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson answers Anna in Warwickshire's question. 🎧 @BBCSounds ðŸ'º @BBCPolitics ðŸ'² https://t.co/7w7CYFd6XU #BBCYourQuestions | @RachelBurden
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 18:02
#Feminism Is For Females @ bloominanna
Dec 9 Replying to
@bbc5live @BBCSounds and
2 others This is what's happening in Canadian womens refuge where they already have self id
twitter.com/sophiasmith222'... View conversation · (((Deb Rag))) @ ohnemit
Dec 9 Replying to
@bloominanna @bbc5live and
3 others The country where the rape crisis centre that resisted this was targeted by TRAs who nailed a dead rat to the door, among other things.
View conversation · Sonia Poulton @ SoniaPoulton
Dec 9 Replying to
@bbc5live @BBCSounds and
2 others I don't know who Anna is but she has done a better job here than most journalists on this issue. I absolutely loathe what Jo Swinson stands for in many respects, including this issue, but even I felt sorry for her. Absolutely destroyed. Not a damn clue what she's talking about.
View conversation · Martyn Norman 'š @ marty_norman
Dec 9 Replying to
@SoniaPoulton @bbc5live and
3 others ðŸ¤-- can't wait for Boris' answer..... 🤣
View conversation · Ken @ kenmccoll
Dec 9 Replying to
@bbc5live @BBCSounds and
2 others No answers. None.Nothing about self-ID stands up to scrutiny. It has only got as far as it has because it has avoided scrutiny.If this was a rigorous defendable policy then any politician should be able to answer Anna. Instead all there is, is meaningless meandering waffle.
View conversation · John-James Turner @ Celticmohawk
Dec 9 Replying to
@kenmccoll @JohnnyOGray and
4 others Issue is not whether people should be able to self ID. They can do this if they want to. The fight(if you can call it that)has to be safe spaces for women cannot be accessed by transwomen as it puts women at unnecessary risk from abusive men who would take advantage of the access
View conversation · Wings Over Scotland @ WingsScotland
Dec 9 Replying to
@bbc5live @BBCSounds and
2 others Well, she never did actually answer it, did she? I think you mean "responds to", if we're putting it kindly.
View conversation · Toby LeRone @ supercadulous
Dec 9 Replying to
@WingsScotland @bbc5live and
3 others Well she did try to self ID as our next Prime Minister....
View conversation · amy @ amysoandso
Dec 9 Replying to
@bbc5live @BBCSounds and
2 others Can I vote for Anna in Warwickshire instead?
View conversation · Chocolatey ðŸ´ó §ó ó "ó £ó ´ó  '¸ 🏁 @ Blomshellll
24h Replying to
@amysoandso @hogotheforsaken and
4 others I'd vote for Anna.
View conversation ·
VIDEO - Harvard geneticist George Church's goal: to protect humans from viruses, genetic diseases, and aging - 60 Minutes - CBS News
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 09:05
Our lives have been transformed by the information age. But what's coming next is likely to be more profound, call it the genetic information age. We have mapped the human genome and in just the last few years we have learned to read and write DNA like software. And you're about to see a few breakthroughs-in-waiting that would transform human health. For a preview of this revolution in evolution we met George Church, a world leading geneticist, whose own DNA harbors many eccentricities and a few genes for genius.
George Church on using Jeffrey Epstein money The complicated ethics of genetic engineering We found George Church in here.
Cory Smith: Most of these are frozen George. Little bits of George that we have edited all in different tubes.
Church threw himself into his work, literally. His DNA is in many of the experiments in his lab at Harvard Medical School. The fully assembled George Church is 6'5" and 65. He helped pioneer mapping the human genome and editing DNA. Today, his lab is working to make humans immune to all viruses, eliminate genetic diseases, and reverse the effects of time.
Harvard geneticist George ChurchScott Pelley: One of the things your lab is working on is reversing aging.
George Church: That's right.
Scott Pelley: How is that possible?
George Church: Reversing aging is one of these things that is easy to dismiss to say either we don't need it or is impossible or both.
Scott Pelley: Oh, we need it.
George Church: Okay. We need it. That's good. We can agree on that. Well, aging reversal is something that's been proven about eight different ways in animals where you can get, you know, faster reaction times or, you know, cognitive or repair of damaged tissues.
Scott Pelley: Proven eight different ways. Why isn't this available?
George Church: It is available to mice.
In lucky mice, Church's lab added multiple genes that improved heart and kidney function and levels of blood sugar. Now he's trying it in spaniels.
Scott Pelley: So is this gene editing to achieve age reversal?
George Church: This is adding genes. So, it's not really editing genes. It's, the gene function is going down, and so we're boosting it back up by putting in extra copies of the genes.
Scott Pelley: What's the time horizon on age reversal in humans?
George Church: That's in clinical trials right now in dogs. And so, that veterinary product might be a couple years away and then that takes another ten years to get through the human clinical trials.
The complicated ethics of genetic engineeringHuman trials of a personal kind made George Church an unlikely candidate to alter human evolution. Growing up in Florida, Church was dyslexic, with attention deficit, and frequently knocked out by narcolepsy.
Scott Pelley: What was it that made you imagine that you could be a scientist?
George Church: The thing that got me hooked was probably the New York World's Fair in 1964. I thought this is the way we should all be living. When I went back to Florida, I said, "I've been robbed," you know? "Where is it all?" So, I said, "Well, if they're not going to provide it, then I'm gonna provide it for myself."
With work and repetition, he beat his disabilities and developed a genius for crystallography, a daunting technique that renders 3D images of molecules through X-rays and math. But in graduate school at Duke, at the age of 20, his mania for the basic structures of life didn't leave time for the basic structure of life.
Scott Pelley: You were homeless for a time.
George Church: Yeah. Briefly.
Scott Pelley: Six months.
George Church: Six months.
Scott Pelley: And where were you sleeping when you were homeless?
George Church: Well, yeah. I wasn't sleeping that much. I was mostly working. I'm narcoleptic. So, I fall asleep sitting up anyway.
His devotion to crystallography was his undoing at Duke.
George Church: I was extremely excited about the research I was doing. And so, I would put in 100-plus hours a week on research and then pretty much didn't do anything else.
Scott Pelley: Not go to class.
George Church: I wouldn't go to class. Yeah.
Duke kicked him out with this letter wishing him well in a field other than biology. But, it turned out, Harvard needed a crystallographer. George Church has been here nearly 40 years. He employs around 100 scientists, about half-and-half men and women.
Scott Pelley: Who do you hire?
George Church: I hire people that are self-selecting, they see our beacon from a distance away. There are a lot of people that are a little, you know, might be considered a little odd. "Neuroatypicals," some of us are called.
Scott Pelley: "Neuroatypical?"
George Church: Right.
Scott Pelley: Unusual brains?
George Church: Right, yeah.
Some of Church's "Neuroatypicals"Parastoo Khoshakhlagh: One thing about George that is very significant is that he sees what you can't even see in yourself.
Parastoo Khoshakhlagh and Alex Ng are among the "neuroatypicals." They're engineering human organ tissue.
Cory Smith: I think he tries to promote no fear of failure. The only fear is not to try at all.
Cory Smith's project sped up DNA editing from altering three genes at a time to 13,000 at a time. Eriona Hysolli went to Siberia with Church to extract DNA from the bones of wooly mammoths. She's editing the genes into elephant DNA to bring the mammoth back from extinction.
Eriona Hysolli: We are laying the foundations, perhaps, of de-extinction projects to come.
Scott Pelley: De-extinction.
Eriona Hysolli: Yes.
Scott Pelley: I'm not sure that's a word in the dictionary yet.
Eriona Hysolli: Well, if it isn't, it should be.
Scott Pelley: You know there are people watching this interview who think that is playing God.
George Church: Well, it's playing engineer. I mean, humans have been playing engineer since the dawn of time.
Scott Pelley: The point is, some people believe that you're mucking about in things that shouldn't be disturbed.
George Church: I completely agree that we need to be very cautious. And the more powerful, or the more rapidly-moving the technology, the more cautious we need to be, the bigger the conversation involving lots of different disciplines, religion, ethics, government, art, and so forth. And to see what it's unintended consequences might be.
Church anticipates consequences with a full time ethicist in the lab and he spends a good deal of time thinking about genetic equity. Believing that genetic technology must be available to all, not just those who can afford it.
We saw one of those technologies in the hands of Alex Ng and Parastoo Khoshakhlagh. They showed us what they call "mini-brains," tiny dots with millions of cells each. They've proven that cells from a patient can be grown into any organ tissue, in a matter of days, so drugs can be tested on that patient's unique genome.
Scott Pelley: You said that you got these cells from George's skin? How does that work?
Alex Ng: We have a way to reprogram essentially, skin cells, back into a stem cell state. And we have technologies where now we can differentiate them into tissue such as brain tissue.
Scott Pelley: So you went from George's skin cells, turned those into stem cells, and turned those into brain cells.
Alex Ng: Exactly. Exactly.
Scott Pelley: Simple as that.
Organs grown from a patient's own cells would eliminate the problem of rejection. Their goal is to prove the concept by growing full sized organs from Church's DNA.
George Church: It's considered more ethical for students to do experiments on their boss than vice versa and it's good to do it on me rather than some stranger because I'm as up to speed as you can be on the on the risks and the benefits. I'm properly consented. And I'm unlikely to change my mind.
Alex Ng: We have a joke in the lab, I mean, at some point, soon probably, we're going to have more of his cells outside of his body than he has himself.
Church's DNA is also used in experiments designed to make humans immune to all viruses.
George Church: We have a strategy by which we can make any cell or any organism resistant to all viruses by changing the genetic code. So if you change that code enough you now get something that is resistant to all viruses including viruses you never characterized before.
Scott Pelley: Because the viruses don't recognize it anymore?
George Church: They expect a certain code provided by the host that they replicate in. the virus would have to change so many parts of its DNA or RNA so that it can't change them all at once. So, it's not only dead. But it can't mutate to a new place where it could survive in a new host.
Correspondent Scott Pelley with George ChurchYes, he's talking about the cure for the common cold and the end of waiting for organ transplants. It's long been known that pig organs could function in humans. Pig heart valves are routinely transplanted already. But pig viruses have kept surgeons from transplanting whole organs. Church's lab altered pig DNA and knocked out 62 pig viruses.
Scott Pelley: What organs might be transplanted from a pig to a human?
George Church: Heart, lung, kidney, liver, intestines, various parts of the eye, skin. All these things.
Scott Pelley: What's the time horizon on transplanting pig organs into human beings?
George Church: you know, two to five years to get into clinical trials. And then again it could take ten years to get through the clinical trials.
Church is a role model for the next generation. He has co-founded more than 35 startups. Recently, investors put $100 million into the pig organ work. Another Church startup is a dating app that compares DNA and screens out matches that would result in a child with an inherited disease.
George Church: You wouldn't find out who you're not compatible with. You'll just find out who you are compatible with.
Scott Pelley: You're suggesting that if everyone has their genome sequenced and the correct matches are made, that all of these diseases could be eliminated?
George Church: Right. It's 7,000 diseases. It's about 5% of the population. It's about a trillion dollars a year, worldwide.
Church sees one of his own genetic differences as an advantage. Narcolepsy lulls him several times a day. But he wakes, still in the conversation, often, discovering inspiration in his twilight zone.
Scott Pelley: If somebody had sequenced your genome some years ago, you might not have made the grade in some way.
George Church: I mean, that's true. I would hope that society sees the benefit of diversity not just ancestral diversity, but in our abilities. There's no perfect person.
Despite imperfection, Church has co-authored 527 scientific papers and holds more than 50 patents. Proof that great minds do not think alike.
The best science can tell, it was about 4 billion years ago that self-replicating molecules set off the spark of biology. Now, humans hold the tools of evolution, but George Church remains in awe of the original mystery: how chemistry became life.
Scott Pelley: Is the most amazing thing about life, then, that it happened at all?
George Church: It is amazing in our current state of ignorance. We don't even know if it ever happened ever in the rest of the universe. it's awe-inspiring to know that it either happened billions of times, or it never happened. Both of those are mind boggling. It's amazing that you can have such complex structures that make copies of themselves. But it's very hard to do that with machines that we've built. So, we're engineers. But we're rather poor engineers compared to the pseudo engineering that is biological evolution.
Produced by Henry Schuster. Associate producer, Rachael Morehouse. Broadcast associate, Ian Flickinger.
(C) 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO - 11,000 Scientists? Just Kidding | Power Line
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 08:51
Earlier this week, the world's news media reported breathlessly that 11,000 scientists had issued a report contending that the Earth faces a ''climate emergency.'' NBC News, to cite just one example, described a ''study'' produced by an ''international consortium of more than 11,000 scientists.'' This screen shot of a Google search illustrates the coverage:
Actually, there was no study, there was just a press release. And it wasn't 11,000 scientists, it was 11,000 random people who put their names on a web page. But today's reporters are so biased and so incompetent that when it comes to ''climate change,'' they will swallow anything.
This video by Canada's Ezra Levant is a little long, but it makes the point very well. Another day, another global warming fraud:
VIDEO - Graham reacts to IG's report on FBI bias: This is a sad day - YouTube
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 08:05
VIDEO - Sen. Elizabeth Warren earned nearly $2 million consulting for corporations and financial firms, records show - The Washington Post
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 07:58
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) earned nearly $2 million working as a consultant for corporations and financial firms while she was a law professor at Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania and other law schools, according to records her campaign abruptly released Sunday evening.
Warren's consulting work often involved companies dealing with bankruptcy, which was her specialty as an academic. Her campaign had been asked repeatedly for the information and had declined to release it multiple times.
Her work for some of the companies doesn't fit neatly with her current presidential campaign brand as a crusader against corporate interests.
For instance, the documents released Sunday show that Warren made about $80,000 from work she did for creditors in the energy company Enron's bankruptcy and $20,000 as a consultant for Dow Chemical, a company that was trying to limit the liability it faced from silicone breast implants that were made by a connected firm.
Earlier this year, Warren had released a list of about 50 cases that she worked on, but the descriptions of the work were at times misleading and the amount of income and dates for her work were not included.
While the cases released by Warren's campaign stretch over more than three decades, the figures disclosed Sunday show that nearly all of the money was made from cases filed after she got her job at Harvard in 1995. (Warren was elected to the Senate in 2012.)
The income includes about $212,000 for representing Travelers Indemnity Co. in 2009, and $190,000 for what her campaign described as representing a chain of department stores owned by PA Bergner & Co. in the mid-1990s.
Warren's campaign did not release compensation information for all of the cases, reporting in some instances '-- including a case involving First Commercial Bank '-- that ''the campaign has no compensation records for this case.''
In other cases, Warren's campaign said, she did work for companies pro bono.
Kristen Orthman, a campaign spokeswoman, did not immediately say why the campaign released the information Sunday.
''We have updated that disclosure to include all the income she earned from each case that we have been able to determine from public records, Elizabeth's personal records, and other sources,'' she said in a statement.
The disclosure comes as a rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, has escalated his attacks on her, demanding that she release tax returns from the years when she consulted for companies.
Warren's decision to release the information revealed the extent to which Buttigieg and Warren are eyeing each other as direct rivals in the large Democratic field. Though they represent different points on the ideological spectrum '-- with Warren appealing to liberals while Buttigieg is favored by moderates '-- surveys show that the two are competing for similar voters in Iowa, namely, college-educated whites.
''In order to credibly call out the president's corruption, you've got to be prepared to lead by example on transparency, and that does mean disclosing your tax returns from both public and private-sector work,'' Buttigieg said at a recent campaign stop.
Warren, in turn, has asked him to name his clients from his time as a consultant at McKinsey & Co. and demanded that he open his fundraisers to the media.
Late last week, Buttigieg released a summary of some of the work that he did for McKinsey, but he has not released the names of his clients. He has cited as the reason a nondisclosure agreement he signed while at McKinsey.
Warren released the income summary hours after a campaign event in South Carolina, where she dinged unnamed primary opponents ''who have decided to finance their campaigns by doing closed-door fundraisers, sucking up to the corporate executives, the millionaires, the billionaires.'' The line appeared aimed at Buttigieg.
Warren, who typically has avoided attacking other primary candidates, called Buttigieg out by name last week, saying he should release the names of his major fundraisers.
However, speaking to reporters in Charleston on Sunday night, Warren declined to say whether there was reason to believe Buttigieg had been making promises to donors behind closed doors.
''I've talked about this for the last couple of days, answering a lot of questions about it, and I really don't have anything to add that I haven't already said,'' ­Warren said.
Amy B Wang in Charleston contributed to this report.
VIDEO - Hillary Clinton on the Howard Stern Show Pt. 1 - YouTube
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 07:50
VIDEO - The Things We Do For Dogs - YouTube
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 07:33
VIDEO - AG Barr Rejects Own Watchdog's Findings Backing Opening Of Russia Probe | MSNBC - YouTube
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 07:30
VIDEO - (19) Options for transmitting OBFCM data from the vehicle to the European Commission - YouTube
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 07:23
VIDEO-The Daily Wire on Twitter: "Nadler: ðŸ--¨ Nadler: ðŸ--¨ðŸ--¨ðŸ--¨ Rep. Collins to Nadler: ''bang it harder'' https://t.co/eD03o8BZUD" / Twitter
Mon, 09 Dec 2019 22:22
Things you can say while participating in congressional hearing and also while having sex...
VIDEO-Wojciech Pawelczyk 🇵🇱🇺🇸 on Twitter: "LOL, according to MSNBC: "Snowflake" means "Person of Color" "S.J.W." means "Stingy Jew" "Cuck" means "Lover of Fat Woman" "Trap" means "Hot Girl I Want to Rape" https://t.co/j8AWAGDhnM" / Twitter
Mon, 09 Dec 2019 22:20
Daria Yermolenka @ darya_yarmo003
14h Replying to
@PolishPatriotTM Ok, this isn't even funny any more.. I do feel like we are starting to live in "1984" Universe.
View conversation · Michelle & PeanutðŸ¥'🐶🚠@ Team_Peanut_
14h Replying to
@darya_yarmo003 @PolishPatriotTM Right?? I have been feeling like that for years.
View conversation · Adam Townsend @ adamscrabble
13h Replying to
@PolishPatriotTM Corporate totalitarianism and its wondrous linguistic microaggressions. MSNBC tutoring in its "langue de bois" (language of wood)
View conversation · Adam Townsend @ adamscrabble
12h Replying to
@PolishPatriotTM Gunter Anders wrote about this as what happens when the phantomworld of the news enters a home "Through every item of the news the object itself is withheld from the audience. It remains behind in the dark, while its isolated predicate is delivered."
View conversation · Brent N Winkelman @ bnwink56
15h Replying to
@PolishPatriotTM Nutz. Inventing hate.
View conversation · AmyS @ amyds1998
14h Replying to
@PolishPatriotTM This is like the time they did the fake Japanese? Names from the plane crash thing....
google.com/amp/s/national'... View conversation · B K B @ alilaicia
13h Replying to
@PolishPatriotTM pic.twitter.com/KPDFxDyZQv View conversation · mike Creel @ mike_creel
14h Replying to
@PolishPatriotTM Looks like I've been using all of those wrong. That's what happens when you get old, just look at Joe Biden.
View conversation · Aaron Newberry @ acnewberry
10h Replying to
@PolishPatriotTM Wait, what! Does MSNBC not have access to the urban dictionary? This is like newspeak in 1984
View conversation ·
VIDEO-Grand on Twitter: "@adamcurry @Bin_Hamin @THErealDVORAK @TheRealDisco @QTRBlackGarrett @BarrySoetoroTM @THEVinceRusso @scrowder @joerogan @WeAreChangeNYC Another angle https://t.co/pTVEdTlNwE" / Twitter
Mon, 09 Dec 2019 22:15
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VIDEO - GeneEverett on Twitter: "@joerogan @adamcurry @THErealDVORAK what a joke!!!! https://t.co/0ZQ30rLRJt" / Twitter
Mon, 09 Dec 2019 10:49
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VIDEO - Oh Snap '' Senator Lindsey Graham Pledges to Block Testimony of U.S. Politicians Coordinating With Ukraine'... | The Last Refuge
Mon, 09 Dec 2019 05:41
Senator Lindsey Graham appears on Fox News with Maria Bartiromo and announces he will take all appropriate efforts to stop the truth about Ukraine from being exposed in the Senate. This interview is a critical first step to understanding motives. CTH will expand in the next few posts that will highlight *WHY* Graham will bury information.
First, watch Senator Graham say unequivocally he will not call witnesses and will quickly move to dismiss the House impeachment effort. Pay close attention to the part where Graham says calling congressmen to testify is dangerous, and he will not call Adam Schiff because he does not want to go down this path.
.
These comments by Senator Lindsey Graham are very self serving. Why?'... Because Senator Graham participated in the exploitation of Ukraine for his own benefit. In essence Graham is fearful that too much inquiry into what took place with Ukraine in 2014 through 2016 will expose his own participation and effort along with former Ambassador Marie Yovanovich.
Graham is attempting to end the impeachment effort because the underlying discoveries have the potential to expose the network of congressional influence agents, John McCain and Graham himself included, during any witness testimony.
[Full length interview below]
.
VIDEO - Sunday Talks: Adam Schiff Justifies Partisan Political Coup '' Now Claims President Trump is an Asset of Saudi Arabia'... | The Last Refuge
Mon, 09 Dec 2019 05:36
HPSCI Chairman Adam Schiff appears on Face the Nation to justify his corrupt political efforts to construct a soft coup within the government. Mr. Schiff begins the interview by saying President Trump is an asset of Saudi Arabia, and implying President Trump supported the Saudi terrorist attack in Pensacola, Florida.
Toward the end of the interview Schiff attempts to justify his publication of private phone records, which turned out to be inaccurate, by claiming his subpoena to CNN parent company AT&T [*nudge/nudge*-*wink/wink*] wasn't technically looking for Devin Nunes phone records'.... that he published, falsely, anyway.
VIDEO - WOW '' OAN Stunning Lutsenko Interview '' Outlines: Marie Yovanovitch Perjury, George Kent Impeachment Motive, Lindsey Graham Motive to Bury Investigation'... | The Last Refuge
Mon, 09 Dec 2019 05:20
In a fantastic display of true investigative journalism, One America News journalist Chanel Rion tracked down Ukrainian witnesses as part of an exclusive OAN investigative series. The evidence being discovered dismantles the baseless Adam Schiff impeachment hoax and highlights many corrupt motives for U.S. politicians.
Ms. Rion spoke with Ukrainian former Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko who outlines how former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch perjured herself before Congress.
.
What is outlined in this interview is a problem for all DC politicians across both parties. The obviously corrupt influence efforts by U.S. Ambassador Yovanovitch as outlined by Lutsenko were not done independently.
Senators from both parties participated in the influence process and part of those influence priorities was exploiting the financial opportunities within Ukraine while simultaneously protecting Joe Biden and his family. This is where Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham were working with Marie Yovanovitch.
Imagine what would happen if all of the background information was to reach the general public? Thus the motive for Lindsey Graham currently working to bury it.
You might remember George Kent and Bill Taylor testified together.
It was evident months ago that U.S. charg(C) d'affaires to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, was one of the current participants in the coup effort against President Trump. It was Taylor who engaged in carefully planned text messages with EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland to set-up a narrative helpful to Adam Schiff's political coup effort.
Bill Taylor was formerly U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine ('06-'09) and later helped the Obama administration to design the laundry operation providing taxpayer financing to Ukraine in exchange for back-channel payments to U.S. politicians and their families.
In November Rudy Giuliani released a letter he sent to Senator Lindsey Graham outlining how Bill Taylor blocked VISA's for Ukrainian 'whistle-blowers' who are willing to testify to the corrupt financial scheme.
Unfortunately, as we are now witnessing, Senator Lindsey Graham, along with dozens of U.S. Senators currently serving, may very well have been recipients for money through the aforementioned laundry process. The VISA's are unlikely to get approval for congressional testimony, or Senate impeachment trial witness testimony.
U.S. senators write foreign aid policy, rules and regulations thereby creating the financing mechanisms to transmit U.S. funds. Those same senators then received a portion of the laundered funds back through their various ''institutes'' and business connections to the foreign government offices; in this example Ukraine. [ex. Burisma to Biden]
The U.S. State Dept. serves as a distribution network for the authorization of the money laundering by granting conflict waivers, approvals for financing (think Clinton Global Initiative), and permission slips for the payment of foreign money. The officials within the State Dept. take a cut of the overall payments through a system of ''indulgence fees'', junkets, gifts and expense payments to those with political oversight.
If anyone gets too close to revealing the process, writ large, they become a target of the entire apparatus. President Trump was considered an existential threat to this entire process. Hence our current political status with the ongoing coup.
Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator John McCain meeting with corrupt Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko in December 2016.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out, because, well, in reality all of the U.S. Senators (both parties) are participating in the process for receiving taxpayer money and contributions from foreign governments.
A ''Codel'' is a congressional delegation that takes trips to work out the payments terms/conditions of any changes in graft financing. This is why Senators spend $20 million on a campaign to earn a job paying $350k/year. The ''institutes'' is where the real foreign money comes in; billions paid by governments like China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Ukraine, etc. etc. There are trillions at stake.
[SIDEBAR: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell holds the power over these members (and the members of the Senate Intel Committee), because McConnell decides who sits on what committee. As soon as a Senator starts taking the bribes lobbying funds, McConnell then has full control over that Senator. This is how the system works.]
The McCain Institute is one of the obvious examples of the financing network. And that is the primary reason why Cindy McCain is such an outspoken critic of President Trump. In essence President Trump is standing between her and her next diamond necklace; a dangerous place to be.
So when we think about a Senate Impeachment Trial; and we consider which senators will vote to impeach President Trump, it's not just a matter of Democrats -vs- Republican. We need to look at the game of leverage, and the stand-off between those bribed Senators who would prefer President Trump did not interfere in their process.
McConnell has been advising President Trump which Senators are most likely to need their sensibilities eased. As an example President Trump met with Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski in November. Senator Murkowski rakes in millions from the multinational Oil and Gas industry; and she ain't about to allow horrible Trump to lessen her bank account any more than Cindy McCain will give up her frequent shopper discounts at Tiffanys.
Senator Lindsey Graham announcing today that he will not request or facilitate any impeachment testimony that touches on the DC laundry system for personal financial benefit (ie. Ukraine example), is specifically motivated by the need for all DC politicians to keep prying eyes away from the swamps' financial endeavors. WATCH:
.
This open-secret system of ''Affluence and Influence'' is how the intelligence apparatus gains such power. All of the DC participants are essentially beholden to the various U.S. intelligence services who are well aware of their endeavors.
There's a ton of exposure here (blackmail/leverage) which allows the unelected officials within the CIA, FBI and DOJ to hold power over the DC politicians. Hold this type of leverage long enough and the Intelligence Community then absorbs that power to enhance their self-belief of being more important than the system.
Perhaps this corrupt sense of grandiosity is what we are seeing play out in how the intelligence apparatus views President Donald J Trump as a risk to their importance.
FUBAR !
VIDEO-OPUS 197 Truth Hurts False Flags - YouTube
Sun, 08 Dec 2019 23:21
VIDEO-cabral on Twitter: "In this video, Nancy Pelosi says that she knew George W Bush was lying to the public to start a war, but she did not feel this was an impeachable offense. Incredible. https://t.co/y6t1RlB8Fz" / Twitter
Sun, 08 Dec 2019 17:30
Log in Sign up cabral @ axcomrade In this video, Nancy Pelosi says that she knew George W Bush was lying to the public to start a war, but she did not feel this was an impeachable offense. Incredible.
pic.twitter.com/y6t1RlB8Fz 10:53 AM - 8 Dec 2019 Twitter by: CNN @CNN cabral @ axcomrade
4h Replying to
@axcomrade ''I knew there were no nuclear weapons... the intelligence did not show that that was the case so I knew it was a misrepresentation to the public... In my view, that was not an impeachable offense.''Good lord we need to get this ghoul out of public office ASAP.
View conversation · cabral @ axcomrade
1h Replying to
@ShahidForChange Please donate to
@ShahidForChange to get this monster out of office.
View conversation · 🌹Shahid Buttar for Congress @ ShahidForChange
1h Replying to
@axcomrade @SpeakerPelosi There has never been a war or right wing coup that
@SpeakerPelosi did not support.She also actively enabled human rights abuses under Bush AND Obama, long before Trump. Ready for change? Join us!
#ShahidVsPelosi shahidforchange.us/more-about-sha'... View conversation · midnucas @ midnucas
46m Replying to
@ShahidForChange @axcomrade @SpeakerPelosi Pelosi backed coal lobbyist Pedro Pierluisi's coup in Puerto Rico back in August'--who proclaimed himself governor for five days in spit of not being elected to any post nor confirmed to any cabinet position.
View conversation · Ham Drippings @ doodlesdan
4h Replying to
@axcomrade @willmenaker Hooo boy does she go drifting in this response.
View conversation · cabral @ axcomrade
4h Replying to
@doodlesdan @willmenaker Her brain is broken
View conversation · LynnieJ🐶🐱🐾🌊🌍🎃🍑ðŸ--¥ðŸ‡±ðŸ‡· @ LynnLyn12152582
3h Replying to
@axcomrade @MsVarunDhawan Wonder how many people commenting on this were the same people screaming that anyone opposing the Iraq war were Un-American. I'm sure you all would have supported Impeaching Bush right after 9/11, huh? Please. You would have lost your minds. Spare me your righteous indignation.
View conversation · cabral @ axcomrade
3h Replying to
@LynnLyn12152582 @MsVarunDhawan You're really going to defend this? Jfc
View conversation · Mac @ shaqstatshack
3h Replying to
@axcomrade @willmenaker War crimes, are they really an impeachable offense?
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All Clips

Horowitz Whitewash summary by Joe DeGenova.m4a
Lindsay Graham with J Edgar Hoover FISA Court Fractal.m4a
Lindsey Graham with Bartiromo doesn't want to go don the path of calling congressmen in Senate - because he's posisbly been in the cookie jar.mp3
NBC News Andrea Mitchell - “pretty egregious,” “very clear mistakes made by the FBI” in FISA process.mp3
OAN Stunning Lutsenko Interview -1- The setup and list.mp3
OAN Stunning Lutsenko Interview -2- Yavonovich's lying in congress.mp3
Pelosi Town Hall CNN She Knew Bush was lying about Iraq war.mp3
120919-examination DOJ IG FISA.pdf
Alan Dershowitz on how Ambassadors are appointed.m4a
Collins to Nadler - Bang harder - Stop the hammering kicker.mp3
Germany's government to change.mp3
Glenn Beck Quantum computer Jeff Brown.mp3
Herridge Sem hearings wrap CBS.mp3
how to pronounce Uyghur.mp3
IG Report Cruz reiterates.mp3
IG REPORT debunking dossier ONE.mp3
IG REPORT debunking dossier Three.mp3
IG REPORT debunking dossier TWO.mp3
IG Report Graham Carter Page ONE Killer.mp3
IG Report Graham Carter Page TWO.mp3
IG REPORT Graham on FIS.mp3
IG Report Graham reading IMs Page and Struk.mp3
impeachment articles being writ CBS.mp3
impeachment articles being writ NBC.mp3
just wait schiff argument presser.mp3
MISS UNIVERSE The Winner and question.mp3
neo confedate story in NC DN.mp3
odd measels story DN.mp3
pauperization of students on France F24.mp3
weinstein updates NBC.mp3
Werner Herzog ethics and douchebags DW.mp3
737 MAX hidden FAA docs CBS.mp3
al green if senate does not comvict.mp3
Foxyknoxxy Lorena bobbot ONE cheeers.mp3
Foxyknoxxy Lorena bobbot TWO.mp3
Couple says stranger hacked into bedroom Ring security camera set up to watch puppy.mp3
Hacker hurls racial slurs at family after breaking into home Ring camera.mp3
Susan Wojciki on Youtube gaming video monetization [YT acts on BEHALF of advertisers] Self certification NO AI.mp3
CNN - Jersey City - Black Hebrew Israelites.mp3
Kosher deli in Jersey city was targeted by Black Israelites.mp3
  • 0:00
    like everybody Adam Curry we did we
  • 0:39
    beat the zephyr even though we're like
  • 0:41
    20 minutes late
  • 0:43
    well I sure haven't seen it go by boy
  • 0:48
    it's been an interesting interesting
  • 0:52
    little week well first of all before you
  • 0:55
    start off without do it I'm hoping that
  • 0:57
    by interesting you mean the flight back
  • 1:01
    just returned from yes for a service for
  • 1:08
    my father and yeah so as you know it was
  • 1:13
    very busy the for booking flights and it
  • 1:17
    was the last-minute thing so I flew back
  • 1:19
    coach retina and normally its coach but
  • 1:22
    oh what the hell oh sorry
  • 1:26
    windows try to restart army stop okay
  • 1:32
    yeah well you say okay don't update and
  • 1:35
    it opens up the settings window like no
  • 1:37
    no misstep I always try to get Economy
  • 1:48
    Plus or what is it something with some
  • 1:51
    legroom it's just a little legroom so
  • 1:52
    that was not available I knew I was
  • 1:55
    gonna be in the middle seat of three so
  • 1:58
    my seat mates were both my height both
  • 2:03
    over six feet tall the one by the window
  • 2:06
    was a pastor from
  • 2:10
    Atlanta who was hitting the Jack Daniels
  • 2:14
    hard he's like I just took to sleep aids
  • 2:16
    I'm gonna have some Jack Daniels don't
  • 2:18
    even let him wake me up for the food
  • 2:20
    yeah and he's looking at his Bible he's
  • 2:22
    writing his sermon he's just getting
  • 2:24
    sloshed now he had already been on a
  • 2:28
    flight to Amsterdam from Ethiopia so he
  • 2:31
    was pretty right right - shall we say no
  • 2:35
    oh yeah then the guy on the other side
  • 2:38
    to the right of me who I think was a
  • 2:41
    dude named dad used to say all this
  • 2:42
    right yeah is the thing was a dude named
  • 2:45
    in big big black guy and he was from
  • 2:48
    Nairobi and I don't know what he had
  • 2:50
    eaten in Nairobi but it was they mean it
  • 2:53
    I was like dude the stewardesses were
  • 2:59
    even looking at me going like are you
  • 3:01
    poor man for me like we all three have
  • 3:06
    to get up if one of us had to go to the
  • 3:07
    bathroom it was just a night you know
  • 3:09
    falling over each other and the arm
  • 3:11
    rests I mean they're so skinny so I'm
  • 3:14
    basically these guys are asleep with a
  • 3:17
    hawk and smell out of his mouth and the
  • 3:19
    other guys just the right mess in my
  • 3:22
    aren't I so I can't even use the armrest
  • 3:26
    anyway yeah oh my goodness
  • 3:37
    so yeah otherwise it was quite
  • 3:39
    uneventful but yeah I will say you know
  • 3:43
    I no longer have the global entry system
  • 3:46
    because it's expired and I honestly I
  • 3:48
    really don't have the $450 I did yeah
  • 3:52
    well and so it was just to protect you
  • 3:56
    know that make everything go faster and
  • 3:58
    we are easier so I should you you you
  • 4:00
    shouldn't be paying for that they should
  • 4:02
    be giving it to you for free well
  • 4:04
    confirm who you are I think they
  • 4:06
    actually are you know the way it works
  • 4:07
    when you run so I flew to Atlanta first
  • 4:10
    I'm from Atlanta Austin then you arrive
  • 4:11
    at Atlanta and you you know you have to
  • 4:14
    go through customs and pick up your bag
  • 4:15
    and I see there's a line at the Global
  • 4:18
    Entry but there's almost this no line
  • 4:20
    there's almost nobody at the regular
  • 4:23
    kiosks so walk right up it's the exact
  • 4:26
    same process it's exactly the same and
  • 4:29
    then you walk past the customs officers
  • 4:33
    like okay nothing to declare no good you
  • 4:35
    good you walk in I got my suitcase
  • 4:37
    pretty quickly and then you have to drop
  • 4:39
    your suitcase off and then this is
  • 4:41
    usually the horrible part so you've
  • 4:42
    already flown for nine and a half hours
  • 4:44
    then you have to go through TSA again
  • 4:46
    and like you know I've got all my wires
  • 4:49
    and everything and they say oh and
  • 4:52
    something I typically will scoff at you
  • 4:54
    know there was one of these Airport
  • 4:55
    agents so it's not a not a TSA agent
  • 4:58
    just an airport security person saying
  • 5:01
    passports out passports out show your
  • 5:03
    passport to the picture page and you
  • 5:05
    know if there's anything I hate it's
  • 5:06
    being commandeered around by someone
  • 5:08
    with zero Authority and so I'm just
  • 5:11
    about to say something snide she says Oh
  • 5:13
    American passport automatic pre-check
  • 5:16
    like oh how wonderful what a great
  • 5:19
    service I was just about the bit sadder
  • 5:21
    so you got a pre-check
  • 5:23
    nothing checked boom right through
  • 5:24
    nothing out it can keep your your belt
  • 5:27
    on in your shoes it was perfect they
  • 5:30
    don't seem to care about security I
  • 5:31
    don't know what it is well that's
  • 5:33
    interesting yeah it was new you were off
  • 5:36
    you well they figured I guess somebody
  • 5:38
    got a clue and they just say well you
  • 5:40
    already went through security at the
  • 5:41
    other end and of course yeah I'm sure it
  • 5:44
    was decent the Netherlands was American
  • 5:48
    yeah and you're like less likely to blow
  • 5:50
    yourself up as it were and so they why
  • 5:53
    should you be suffering they make the
  • 5:55
    rest of the world suffer exactly good
  • 5:58
    for us yeah so I was pretty happy pretty
  • 6:01
    happy and yeah I'm some turned around
  • 6:04
    but you know obviously and I think I was
  • 6:06
    right that they did do all kinds of
  • 6:09
    impeachment stuff on Monday and then
  • 6:11
    again on Wednesday and then we had the
  • 6:14
    IG report so there was just lots of
  • 6:15
    reading and lots of you know watching it
  • 6:19
    you know let me just say something when
  • 6:23
    the current Dvorak Consulting Group hand
  • 6:26
    out you know clearly useful information
  • 6:29
    about this horrible TV show they've been
  • 6:31
    putting on which has been ruining
  • 6:34
    ratings for everybody you know we made
  • 6:36
    it very clear that this is a
  • 6:37
    problem and so instead of contracting us
  • 6:40
    and bringing us in and letting us spruce
  • 6:43
    it up they decide to do it themselves
  • 6:45
    with clips so they decide to flake clips
  • 6:48
    now during the hearing which was there
  • 6:50
    was no one Manning the board properly
  • 6:52
    the clip started too early
  • 6:54
    they didn't switch the video feed the
  • 6:56
    sound wasn't working they should have
  • 6:59
    brought us in yeah well they didn't but
  • 7:03
    you saw this I read that when it come to
  • 7:05
    the Senate hearings which were much more
  • 7:07
    entertaining yeah I agree which is Lindy
  • 7:09
    grant Lindsey Graham I'm sorry his name
  • 7:12
    from now on is Lindy Lindy great was
  • 7:17
    Graham carrying it is doing a great job
  • 7:20
    and it was funnier
  • 7:22
    yeah but Lindy Lindy has a problem Lindy
  • 7:27
    has a problem and it came out on he was
  • 7:31
    doing the show with the original money
  • 7:35
    honey with Maria Bartiromo and he says
  • 7:40
    something in there because you know of
  • 7:41
    course this has to wrap up that it has
  • 7:43
    to go to the Senate and Lindy Lindy will
  • 7:45
    I guess we'll be running part of that
  • 7:47
    because he's the Intelligence Committee
  • 7:49
    for the Senate I think his intelligence
  • 7:52
    you know that's burr yeah that's the one
  • 7:58
    you want to listen to what he said about
  • 8:00
    this and there's a couple of gotchas in
  • 8:02
    here which lead me to believe he has a
  • 8:04
    problem but here's what I'm gonna do
  • 8:06
    with the trial I'm trying to get his
  • 8:08
    over over as quickly as possible
  • 8:10
    listen to what the house case let them
  • 8:13
    present their case and if there's
  • 8:15
    nothing new and dramatic I would be
  • 8:17
    ready to vote and we can do all this
  • 8:19
    other stuff to congressional oversight
  • 8:20
    so are you saying you're not gonna have
  • 8:23
    people come down I'm saying that I'm
  • 8:25
    going to end this as quickly as as I can
  • 8:27
    for the good of the country
  • 8:29
    when 51 of us say we've heard enough the
  • 8:33
    trial is going to end the president's
  • 8:35
    going to be acquitted he may want to
  • 8:38
    call schiff he may want to call hunter
  • 8:39
    biden he may want to call joe biden but
  • 8:42
    here's my advice to the president if the
  • 8:44
    Senate is ready to vote and ready to
  • 8:46
    quit you you should celebrate that and
  • 8:48
    we can look at this other stuff out
  • 8:50
    of impeachment notice what he's talking
  • 8:53
    about here is all the Ukraine stuff the
  • 8:55
    hunter Biden the corruption which I
  • 8:57
    believe is much bigger than anyone's
  • 8:59
    letting on and here's Lynn Lynn Lindy
  • 9:02
    saying you know we'll just do all that