864: Putin Popularity Poll

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 1m
September 29th, 2016
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Executive Producers: Nicholas Nafpliotis -> Sir Nikos of the American Mid West, Elliot Serena, Matthew Eskridge, Matthew Clay

Associate Executive Producers: James Flesch, Jayson Wall, Sir Fish-Steve Fisher, Jillian Romagosa, Douwe Andela, David M, Christian Castro

Cover Artist: Cesium137

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NJ Train Crash
Keep me anonymous, please. My father is a conductor and I just spoke with him. The theory floating around NJ transit is that this crash was intentional and possibly terrorism.
1 - the train could not have been going through the rail yard that fast or a conductor, the tower or a passenger would have been concerned and pulled the emergency brake... Also, the train would have probably derailed before the station because of all the switches. The train must have accelerated as it was pulling into the station.
2 - Hoboken is one of the busiest stations in the state and is the only one that is garunteed to have every track end. All other major stations have tracks that go through the station. Even NY Penn only has 3 tracks that end.
3 - it could not have been a medical emergency from the engineer. There is a button that the engineer needs to press every 30 seconds to acknowledge that he is alert and ok or the train stops.
4 - that train and time is heavy with commuters. If you wanted to do something and have a huge impact, that would be the place and the time to do it.
Given those... I think terrorism is likely. More to unfold.
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Elections 2016
Why I Switched My Endorsement from Clinton to... | Scott Adams' Blog
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 02:23
Posted September 25th, 2016 @ 12:41pm in #Trump#clinton
As most of you know, I had been endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, for my personal safety, because I live in California. It isn't safe to be a Trump supporter where I live. And it's bad for business too. But recently I switched my endorsement to Trump, and I owe you an explanation. So here it goes.
1. Things I Don't Know: There are many things I don't know. For example, I don't know the best way to defeat ISIS. Neither do you. I don't know the best way to negotiate trade policies. Neither do you. I don't know the best tax policy to lift all boats. Neither do you. My opinion on abortion is that men should follow the lead of women on that topic because doing so produces the most credible laws. So on most political topics, I don't know enough to make a decision. Neither do you, but you probably think you do.
Given the uncertainty about each candidate '' at least in my own mind '' I have been saying I am not smart enough to know who would be the best president. That neutrality changed when Clinton proposed raising estate taxes. I understand that issue and I view it as robbery by government.
I'll say more about that, plus some other issues I do understand, below.
2. Confiscation of Property: Clinton proposed a new top Estate Tax of 65% on people with net worth over $500 million. Her website goes to great length to obscure the actual policy details, including the fact that taxes would increase on lower value estates as well. See the total lack of transparency here, where the text simply refers to going back to 2009 rates. It is clear that the intent of the page is to mislead, not inform.
So don't fall for the claim that Clinton has plenty of policy details on her website. She does, but it is organized to mislead, not to inform. That's far worse than having no details.
The bottom line is that under Clinton's plan, estate taxes would be higher for anyone with estates over $5 million(ish). I call this a confiscation tax because income taxes have already been paid on this money. In my case, a dollar I earn today will be taxed at about 50% by various government entities, collectively. With Clinton's plan, my remaining 50 cents will be taxed again at 50% when I die. So the government would take 75% of my earnings from now on.
Yes, I can do clever things with trusts to avoid estate taxes. But that is just welfare for lawyers. If the impact of the estate tax is nothing but higher fees for my attorney, and hassle for me, that isn't good news either.
You can argue whether an estate tax is fair or unfair, but fairness is an argument for idiots and children. Fairness isn't an objective quality of the universe. I oppose the estate tax because I was born to modest means and worked 7-days a week for most of my life to be in my current position. (I'm working today, Sunday, as per usual.) And I don't want to give 75% of my earnings to the government. (Would you?)
3. Party or Wake: It seems to me that Trump supporters are planning for the world's biggest party on election night whereas Clinton supporters seem to be preparing for a funeral. I want to be invited to the event that doesn't involve crying and moving to Canada. (This issue isn't my biggest reason.)
4. Clinton's Health: To my untrained eyes and ears, Hillary Clinton doesn't look sufficiently healthy '' mentally or otherwise '' to be leading the country. If you disagree, take a look at the now-famous ''Why aren't I 50 points ahead'' video clip. Likewise, Bill Clinton seems to be in bad shape too, and Hillary wouldn't be much use to the country if she is taking care of a dying husband on the side.
5. Pacing and Leading: Trump always takes the extreme position on matters of safety and security for the country, even if those positions are unconstitutional, impractical, evil, or something that the military would refuse to do. Normal people see this as a dangerous situation. Trained persuaders like me see this as something called pacing and leading. Trump ''paces'' the public '' meaning he matches them in their emotional state, and then some. He does that with his extreme responses on immigration, fighting ISIS, stop-and-frisk, etc. Once Trump has established himself as the biggest bad-ass on the topic, he is free to ''lead,'' which we see him do by softening his deportation stand, limiting his stop-and-frisk comment to Chicago, reversing his first answer on penalties for abortion, and so on. If you are not trained in persuasion, Trump look scary. If you understand pacing and leading, you might see him as the safest candidate who has ever gotten this close to the presidency. That's how I see him.
So when Clinton supporters ask me how I could support a ''fascist,'' the answer is that he isn't one. Clinton's team, with the help of Godzilla, have effectively persuaded the public to see Trump as scary. The persuasion works because Trump's ''pacing'' system is not obvious to the public. They see his ''first offers'' as evidence of evil. They are not. They are technique.
And being chummy with Putin is more likely to keep us safe, whether you find that distasteful or not. Clinton wants to insult Putin into doing what we want. That approach seems dangerous as hell to me.
6. Persuasion: Economies are driven by psychology. If you expect things to go well tomorrow, you invest today, which causes things to go well tomorrow, as long as others are doing the same. The best kind of president for managing the psychology of citizens '' and therefore the economy '' is a trained persuader. You can call that persuader a con man, a snake oil salesman, a carnival barker, or full of shit. It's all persuasion. And Trump simply does it better than I have ever seen anyone do it.
The battle with ISIS is also a persuasion problem. The entire purpose of military action against ISIS is to persuade them to stop, not to kill every single one of them. We need military-grade persuasion to get at the root of the problem. Trump understands persuasion, so he is likely to put more emphasis in that area.
Most of the job of president is persuasion. Presidents don't need to understand policy minutia. They need to listen to experts and then help sell the best expert solutions to the public. Trump sells better than anyone you have ever seen, even if you haven't personally bought into him yet. You can't deny his persuasion talents that have gotten him this far.
In summary, I don't understand the policy details and implications of most of either Trump's or Clinton's proposed ideas. Neither do you. But I do understand persuasion. I also understand when the government is planning to confiscate the majority of my assets. And I can also distinguish between a deeply unhealthy person and a healthy person, even though I have no medical training. (So can you.)
'--
I will be live streaming my viewing of the debate Monday night, with my co-host and neighbor, Kristina Basham. Tune your television to the debate and use your phone or iPad with the Periscope app, and look for me at @ScottAdamsSays.
Why Donald Trump Should Not Be President - The New York Times
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 07:09
A straight talker who tells it like it is?
Mr. Trump, who has no experience in national security, declares that he has a plan to soundly defeat the Islamic State militants in Syria, but won't reveal it, bobbing and weaving about whether he would commit ground troops. Voters cannot judge whether he has any idea what he's talking about without an outline of his plan, yet Mr. Trump ludicrously insists he must not tip off the enemy.
Another of his cornerstone proposals '-- his campaign pledge of a ''total and complete shutdown'' of Muslim newcomers plus the deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants across a border wall paid for by Mexico '-- has been subjected to endless qualifications as he zigs and zags in pursuit of middle-ground voters.
Whatever his gyrations, Mr. Trump always does make clear where his heart lies '-- with the anti-immigrant, nativist and racist signals that he scurrilously employed to build his base.
He used the shameful ''birther'' campaign against President Obama's legitimacy as a wedge for his candidacy. But then he opportunistically denied his own record, trolling for undecided voters by conceding that Mr. Obama was a born American. In the process he tried to smear Mrs. Clinton as the instigator of the birther canard and then fled reporters' questions.
Since his campaign began, NBC News has tabulated that Mr. Trump has made 117 distinct policy shifts on 20 major issues, including three contradictory views on abortion in one eight-hour stretch. As reporters try to pin down his contradictions, Mr. Trump has mocked them at his rallies. He said he would ''loosen'' libel laws to make it easier to sue news organizations that displease him.
An expert negotiator who can fix government and overpower other world leaders?
His plan for cutting the national debt was far from a confidence builder: He said he might try to persuade creditors to accept less than the government owed. This fanciful notion, imported from Mr. Trump's debt-steeped real estate world, would undermine faith in the government and the stability of global financial markets. His tax-cut plan has been no less alarming. It was initially estimated to cost $10 trillion in tax revenue, then, after revisions, maybe $3 trillion, by one adviser's estimate. There is no credible indication of how this would be paid for '-- only assurances that those in the upper brackets will be favored.
If Mr. Trump were to become president, his open doubts about the value of NATO would present a major diplomatic and security challenge, as would his repeated denunciations of trade deals and relations with China. Mr. Trump promises to renegotiate the Iran nuclear control agreement, as if it were an air-rights deal on Broadway. Numerous experts on national defense and international affairs have recoiled at the thought of his commanding the nuclear arsenal. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell privately called Mr. Trump ''an international pariah.'' Mr. Trump has repeatedly denounced global warming as a ''hoax,'' although a golf course he owns in Ireland is citing global warming in seeking to build a protective wall against a rising sea.
In expressing admiration for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, Mr. Trump implies acceptance of Mr. Putin's dictatorial abuse of critics and dissenters, some of whom have turned up murdered, and Mr. Putin's vicious crackdown on the press. Even worse was Mr. Trump's urging Russia to meddle in the presidential campaign by hacking the email of former Secretary of State Clinton. Voters should consider what sort of deals Mr. Putin might obtain if Mr. Trump, his admirer, wins the White House.
A change agent for the nation and the world?
There can be little doubt of that. But voters should be asking themselves if Mr. Trump will deliver the kind of change they want. Starting a series of trade wars is a recipe for recession, not for new American jobs. Blowing a hole in the deficit by cutting taxes for the wealthy will not secure Americans' financial future, and alienating our allies won't protect our security. Mr. Trump has also said he will get rid of the new national health insurance system that millions now depend on, without saying how he would replace it.
The list goes on: He would scuttle the financial reforms and consumer protections born of the Great Recession. He would upend the Obama administration's progress on the environment, vowing to ''cancel the Paris climate agreement'' on global warming. He would return to the use of waterboarding, a torture method, in violation of international treaty law. He has blithely called for reconsideration of Japan's commitment not to develop nuclear weapons. He favors a national campaign of ''stop and frisk'' policing, which has been ruled unconstitutional. He has blessed the National Rifle Association's ambition to arm citizens to engage in what he imagines would be defensive ''shootouts'' with gunmen. He has so coarsened our politics that he remains a contender for the presidency despite musing about his opponent as a gunshot target.
Voters should also consider Mr. Trump's silence about areas of national life that are crying out for constructive change: How would he change our schools for the better? How would he lift more Americans out of poverty? How would his condescending appeal to black voters '-- a cynical signal to white moderates concerned about his racist supporters '-- translate into credible White House initiatives to promote racial progress? How would his call to monitor and even close some mosques affect the nation's life and global reputation? Would his Supreme Court nominees be zealous, self-certain extensions of himself? In all these areas, Mrs. Clinton has offered constructive proposals. He has offered bluster, or nothing. The most specific domestic policy he has put forward, on tax breaks for child care, would tilt toward the wealthy.
Voters attracted by the force of the Trump personality should pause and take note of the precise qualities he exudes as an audaciously different politician: bluster, savage mockery of those who challenge him, degrading comments about women, mendacity, crude generalizations about nations and religions. Our presidents are role models for generations of our children. Is this the example we want for them?
Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTOpinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.
A version of this editorial appears in print on September 26, 2016, on page A26 of the New York edition with the headline: Why He Should Not Be President.
Continue reading the main story
Hillary's Instantaneous Health Morph '' Unanticipated Pool Reporter Surprises Secretary Clinton'...
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 09:30
There's something quite telling about this video taken today in New York City. This press video is prior to Secretary Clinton's meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu.
It must also be very cold in New York City this afternoon:
According to press reports Mrs. Clinton went to see her daughter Chelsea, then to Appleseeds Kids Center, then to Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu. The video below was taken when Secretary Clinton was leaving Appleseeds.
Two aspects to notice. #1) How deliberate Clinton is about the steps; this indicates yet another example of how her lower visual acuity field is tenuous. #2) How Hillary did not expect to see the reporter, Liz Kreutz, and how her entire demeanor morphs instantly.
Video embedded within tweet. (go full screen if you can to see the nuance):
Clinton just left ''Apple Seeds'' kids center in Flatiron. Feeling good about debate? ''Getting ready, getting ready!'' pic.twitter.com/mXxBbMiVcu
'-- Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) September 25, 2016
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Clinton just left ''Apple Seeds'' kids center in Flatiron. Feeling good about debate? ''Getting ready, getting ready!'' pic.twitter.com/mXxBbMiVcu
'-- Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) September 25, 2016
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
Hillary's Could-Be Cabinet '-- According to the Insiders
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 09:26
Being a fly on Hillary Clinton's wall today wouldn't be enough, those in the know insist, to get a full rundown of who could fill the higher rungs of her government if she wins the presidency. ''That would be getting ahead of ourselves,'' one top-ranking member of the Clinton camp told OZY before noting that the former secretary of state will consider both the experience and intellectual, racial and cultural diversity of candidates when forming her team.
Yet Clinton's transition efforts are well underway '-- through a team led by chairman Ken Salazar, who was President Barack Obama's first interior secretary, along with former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm and Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden, among others. While they're keeping mum for now, OZY's analysis following interviews with staffers and strategists has the presidential candidate turning out close to a gender-neutralcabinet.
Where She'll Play It SafeAfter Obama won the primary in 2008, the U.S. senator turned to an experienced hand to co-chair his transition team: John Podesta, who was Bill Clinton's former chief of staff and is now Hillary's campaign chairman. In the weeks following President Obama's win, 31 of his 47 transition team members had ties to Bill's administration, according to the BBC. When it comes to Hillary's transition, ''you're going to have a mirror image of what happened then,'' says Mark Alderman, an early Obama bundler who was part of the '08 transition team.
This time, expect the already risk-averse Hillary to be especially sensitive to even the appearance of a scandal after slogging through an election marked by a scandal-hungry press. Mark out Susan Rice, the national security adviser who once was considered a favorite for secretary of state after Clinton stepped down but got wrapped up in the political mushroom cloud of Benghazi. Current Clinton favorites could include Wendy Sherman, a key cog in the Iran nuclear deal, or Bill Burns, whose steady, noncontroversial and decades-long tenure at the State Department makes him the Tim Kaine of secretary of state picks.
Even more than the last election, the vetting process is going to be brutal. Obama's original picks for the secretaries of Health and Human Services as well as Commerce withdrew amid concerns over tax and corruption probes, respectively '-- missteps that hurt his agenda and contributed to the messy and drawn-out passage of Obamacare. Obviously Clinton won't want to mire her legacy-making ambitions '-- including what Clinton political engagement director Marlon Marshall says will likely be one of her first priorities: a landmark immigration reform bill '-- in controversy. So current Labor Secretary Tom Perez seems a likely pick for attorney general; he was a favorite for the title before Loretta Lynch was selected, and he was already vetted for vice president earlier this year. Another safe pick: Education Secretary John King, who has been controversy-free since ascending to the job, even though that was only in March.
Bold on the Tricky Road of DefenseClinton will need to resist her propensity to reward loyalty in sometimes decades-long relationships, particularly when it comes to foreign policy and military action. After spending an entire primary trying to convince her fellow Democrats that her Iraq vote was no big deal, hawkish selections would create distrust similar to the blowback felt aimed at Obama when he appointed Lawrence Summers and Timothy F. Geithner '-- who critics said played a role in creating the financial crisis '-- as top economic heads.
What about John Kasich? It sounds wild, but the Ohio governor is both adamantly anti-Trump and imminently qualified.
Incumbent Defense Secretary Ashton Carter may have a shot at staying, but his record under Obama may be too soft for Clinton's tastes, plus he's disliked by Republicans. A talented former Obama hand, Mich¨le Flournoy is a popular pick after having previously been considered for the role. A move toward bipartisanship could be to select Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican moderate who used to chair the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Having been present for more than 6,000 consecutive votes over nearly two decades, Collins is known for her yeomanlike governing, which may be appealing to the hardworking Clinton. Even more important, Collins has been adamant in her opposition of Donald Trump.
Surprises for the EconomySpeaking of across-the-aisle picks, what about John Kasich? It sounds wild, but Alderman says the Ohio governor could be a strong pick since he's both adamantly anti-Trump and imminently qualified. The former Lehman Brothers banker has a sterling jobs record too, making him a good fit for either the Treasury or Commerce slots. Plus, he's proven he can work with a Clinton before, when he helped pass a balanced budget with Bill as House Budget Committee chairman in the '90s.
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders acolytes will watch closely to see if Clinton follows through with her ''cut it out'' Wall Street rhetoric from the trail. And an outsider such as Sheryl Sandberg, Google's COO and a former Treasury staffer, could excite both old and new factions of liberalism. Labor will also get a close look from leftists. Sanders probably gave up any sway here when he dragged out his endorsement, though his close friend, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, survived the Clinton veep vetting and is admired by the progressive wing of the party.
Who do you think might garner a cabinet position? Respond in the comments section below.
FBI Docs: Hillary Deleted Nearly 1,000 Emails With David Petraeus | PJ Media
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 18:06
A potentially explosive nugget from the FBI's Friday document dump of investigatory notes from the Clinton email probe has been all but ignored by the media. And that is the revelation that Hillary Clinton deleted 1,000 work-related emails between herself and General David Petaeus from his time as the director of the United States Central Command.
Via the Washington Examiner:
In Aug. 2015, the Pentagon called the State Department and informed an unnamed official there that "CENTCOM records showed approximately 1,000 work-related emails between Clinton's personal email and General David Petraeus."
The FBI noted that "[m]ost of those 1,000 emails were not believed to be included in the 30,000 emails" that Clinton turned over to the State Department in Dec. 2014.
Hillary has long maintained that the emails her lawyers unilaterally deleted were personal emails pertaining to ''yoga routines, family vacations'' and other matters that had nothing to do with government. She repeated the same nonsense to Congress while under oath. In August of 2015, she signed a statement to a federal judge declaring "under penalty of perjury" that she turned over all work-related emails.
Now we find out that 1,000 emails between Clinton and General Petraeus were not turned over. This should be a bigger story. Petraeus started out as the leader of U.S. Central Command and then became the director of the CIA during Clinton's tenure as secretary of State, so not only were those emails obviously work related, they very likely were highly classified. The implications here are staggering.
But it gets worse.
https://pjmedia.com/trending/2016/09/27/fbi-docs-hillary-deleted-nearly-1000-emails-with-david-petraeus/
Trump? How Could We? - The New York Times
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 19:24
PhotoDonald Trump campaigned in Miami on Tuesday, the day after he debated Hillary Clinton.Credit Damon Winter/The New York TimesMy reaction to the Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton debate can be summarized with one word: ''How?''
How in the world do we put a man in the Oval Office who thinks NATO is a shopping mall where the tenants aren't paying enough rent to the U.S. landlord?
NATO is not a shopping mall; it is a strategic alliance that won the Cold War, keeps Europe a stable trading partner for U.S. companies and prevents every European country '-- particularly Germany '-- from getting their own nukes to counterbalance Russia, by sheltering them all under America's nuclear umbrella.
How do we put in the Oval Office a man who does not know enough ''beef'' about key policies to finish a two-minute answer on any issue without the hamburger helper of bluster, insults and repetition?
How do we put in the Oval Office a man who suggests that the recent spate of cyberattacks '-- which any senior U.S. intelligence official will tell you came without question from Russia '-- might not have come from Russia but could have been done by ''somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds''?
How do we put in the Oval Office a man who boasts that he tries to pay zero federal taxes but then complains that our airports and roads are falling apart and there is not enough money for our veterans?
How do we put in the Oval Office a man who claims he was against the Iraq war, because he said he privately told that to his pal Sean Hannity of Fox News '-- even though he publicly supported the war when it began. Trump is so obsessed with proving his infallibility that he missed scoring an easy debate point for himself by saying, ''Yes, I supported the Iraq war as a citizen, but Hillary voted for it as a senator when she had access to the intelligence and her job was to make the right judgment.''
How do we put in the Oval Office someone who says we should not have gone into Iraq, but since we did, ''we should have taken the oil '-- ISIS would not have been able to form '... because the oil was their primary source of income.''
ISIS formed before it managed to pump any oil, and it sustained itself with millions of dollars that it stole from Iraq's central bank in Mosul. Meanwhile, Iraq has the world's fifth-largest oil reserves '-- 140 billion barrels. Can you imagine how many years we'd have to stay there to pump it all and how much doing so would tarnish our moral standing around the world and energize every jihadist?
How do we put in the Oval Office someone whose campaign manager has to go on every morning show after the debate and lie to try to make up for the nonsense her boss spouted? Kellyanne Conway told CNN on Tuesday morning that when it comes to climate change, ''We don't know what Hillary Clinton believes, because nobody ever asks her.''
Say what? As secretary of state, Clinton backed every global climate negotiation and clean energy initiative. That's like saying no one knows Hillary's position on women's rights.
Conway then went on CNBC's ''Squawk Box'' and argued that Clinton, who was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, had never created a job and was partly responsible for the lack of adequate ''roads and bridges'' in our country. When challenged on that by MGM Resorts's C.E.O., James Murren '-- who argued that his business was up, that the economy was improving and that Clinton's job as secretary of state was to create stability '-- Conway responded that Clinton had nothing to do with any improvements in the economy because ''she's never been president so she's created no financial stability.''
I see: Everything wrong is Clinton's fault and anything good is to the president's credit alone. Silly.
The ''Squawk Box'' segment was devoted to the fact that while Trump claims that he will get the economy growing, very few C.E.O.s of major U.S. companies are supporting him. Also, interesting how positively the stock market reacted to Trump's debate defeat. Maybe because C.E.O.s and investors know that Trump and Conway are con artists and that recent statistics show income gaps are actually narrowing, wages are rising and poverty is easing.
The Trump-Conway shtick is to trash the country so they can make us great again. Fact: We have problems and not everyone is enjoying the fruits of our economy, but if you want to be an optimist about America, stand on your head '-- the country looks so much better from the bottom up. What you see are towns and regions not waiting for Washington, D.C., but coming together themselves to fix infrastructure, education and governance. I see it everywhere I go.
I am not enamored of Clinton's stale, liberal, centralized view of politics, but she is sane and responsible; she'll do her homework, can grow in the job, and might even work well with Republicans, as she did as a senator.
Trump promises change, but change that comes from someone who thinks people who pay taxes are suckers and who thinks he can show up before an audience of 100 million without preparation or real plans and talk about serious issues with no more sophistication than your crazy uncle '-- and expect to get away with it '-- is change the country can't afford.
Electing such a man would be insanity.
Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.
A version of this op-ed appears in print on September 28, 2016, on page A25 of the New York edition with the headline: Trump? How Could We?.
Continue reading the main story
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg Responds to Trump Criticism at Presidential Debate - WSJ
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 19:31
The head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Tuesday defended the alliance against Donald Trump's claims it isn't focused enough on terrorism and rejected the notion it was creating a key position in response to his criticism.
Reacting to comments by Mr. Trump at the first U.S. presidential debate, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he didn't want ''to be part of the U.S. election campaign,'' but argued that a strong...
The Secrets of Cheryl Mills - WSJ
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 19:37
Sept. 26, 2016 7:31 p.m. ET Why did Cheryl Mills require criminal immunity?
This is the irksome question hanging over the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's home-brew server in the wake of news that Ms. Mills was granted immunity for her laptop's contents.
Ms. Mills was a top Clinton aide at the State Department who became Mrs. Clinton's lawyer when she left. She was also a witness, as well as a potential target, in the same FBI investigation into her boss's emails. The laptop the bureau wanted was one Ms. Mills used in 2014 to sort Clinton emails before deciding which would be turned over to State.
Here's the problem. There are two ways a witness can get immunity: Either she invokes the Fifth Amendment on the grounds she might incriminate herself, or, worried something on the laptop might expose her to criminal liability, her lawyers reveal what this might be before prosecutors agree to an immunity deal.
As with so much else in this investigation, the way the laptop was handled was out of the ordinary. Normally, immunity is granted for testimony and interviews. The laptop was evidence. Standard practice would have been for the FBI to get a grand-jury subpoena to compel Ms. Mills to produce it.
Andrew McCarthy, a former U.S. attorney, puts it this way: ''It's like telling a bank robbery suspect, 'If you turn over that bag, I'll give you immunity as to the contents''--which means if the money you robbed is in there, I can't use it against you.''
The Mills immunity, which we learned of on Friday, has unfortunately been overwhelmed by the first Trump-Clinton debate. But the week is still young. On Wednesday, Congress will have an opportunity to put the Mills questions to FBI director James Comey when he appears before the House Judiciary Committee.
Back in July, Mr. Comey must have thought he'd settled the issue of Mrs. Clinton's emails with a grandstanding press conference in which he asserted ''no reasonable prosecutor'' would bring a case against her based on what the FBI had found. In so doing, he effectively wrested the indictment decision (and any hope for political accountability) from the Justice Department. Plainly even his own agents weren't buying, given that Mr. Comey later felt the need to issue an internal memo whining that he wasn't being political.
Now we learn about the multiple immunity deals. Immunity in exchange for information that will help make the case against higher-ups is not unusual. Even so, the Mills deal carries a special stink.
To begin with, Ms. Mills was pretty high up herself. As Mrs. Clinton's chief of staff, she was in the thick of operations. In 2012, while working at State, she traveled to New York to interview candidates for a top job at the Clinton Foundation.
More disturbing still, not only was Ms. Mills granted immunity for the content on her laptop, she was permitted to act as Mrs. Clinton's attorney even though she herself was also a witness in the investigation.
This was allowed in part because she told the FBI she knew nothing of Mrs. Clinton's private server until after she'd left the State Department. But this claim is suspect and contradicted by emails that have since emerged. These include one to Huma Abedin asking, ''hrc email coming back'--is server ok?''
The special treatment accorded Ms. Mills also reeks on a more fundamental level. As a rule, the Justice Department is aggressive about going after lawyers for any perceived conflict of interest. This would include, for example, a lawyer who wanted to represent different parties in a trial.
By giving Ms. Mills a pass to serve as Mrs. Clinton's attorney in an investigation in which she was a material witness, Justice allowed her to shield her communications with Mrs. Clinton under attorney-client privilege. Indeed, Ms. Mills invoked that privilege during her own FBI interview.
Imagine Tom Hagen, the mob lawyer played by Robert Duvall in ''The Godfather,'' discussing with Don Corleone who was to get whacked'--and then invoking the lawyer-client relationship to hush it up. Think of it this way and you begin to get the picture.
For those who think the fix was in from the start, Ms. Mills's presence at Mrs. Clinton's FBI interview, along with nine other people (not including the two FBI agents) is further evidence of a circus. Judiciary Committee members might do well to ask Mr. Comey why Ms. Mills and so many others were allowed to sit in on that interview.
In short, far from resolving Mrs. Clinton's email case, the handling of the investigation has provoked questions about integrity of both the FBI and Justice. The big question for Mr. Comey remains this:
You publicly said there was no case for criminal charges. So what did Cheryl Mills need immunity for?
Write to mcgurn@wsj.com.
25 Percent Of Federal Employees Said They'd Consider Quitting If Donald Trump Elected President '' ABC News:
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 21:09
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According to a poll conducted by Government Business Council, one in four federal employees would consider leaving their job if Donald Trump is elected president.
Ethyper reports One in four federal employees said they would consider quitting their job if Donald Trump is elected president.
A poll conducted by Government Business Council, Government Executive Media Group's research arm showed 14 percent of government workers said they would definitely consider quitting if Trump wins the White House. Another 11 percent said they might consider it.
Among Democrats, 42 percent said they would consider leaving while 48 percent said they would not. Only 8 percent of Republicans said they would quit if Trump, a billionaire turned politician, wins the presidential election.
Among all federal employees, almost 60 percent said they would be ''embarrassed'' to have him as their boss. Fifty percent of those who responded said they would be embarrassed by Hillary Clinton compared to 45 percent for Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and 37 percent for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt; and 20 percent for Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida.
Trump's mixed numbers
While the survey shows some federal employees have mixed feelings about Trump, it also reveals he maintains a commanding lead among the GOP field.
The poll showed Trump was the top choice for 32 percent of the government workers who said they would be voting in the GOP primaries, an increase of 12 percent from August 2015. He is followed in the Republican field by Cruz at 17 percent, Rubio at 12 percent and Dr. Ben Carson at 9 percent.
Among federal employees who identified as Democrats, Clinton was the top choice for 51 percent, followed by Sanders at 35 percent.
The poll was a random sampling of government employees representing more than 30 civilian and defense agencies. It was conducted Jan. 20-26.
Lael Brainard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 01:48
Lael Brainard (born 1962) is a member of the U.S. Federal Reserve's Board of Governors, and served as the United States Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution from 2001 to 2009, and served as the vice president and director of the Global Economy and Development program from June 2006 to March 16, 2009. Brainard was confirmed by the United States Senate to her post on April 20, 2010.[1][2] She left her post at the U.S. Treasury in November 2013.[3]
Early life and education[edit]Brainard grew up as an American expatriate in Communist Poland and Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall.[4] She is an alumna of the George School class of 1979, a boarding school in Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Brainard received masters and doctoral degrees in economics from Harvard University, where she was a National Science Foundation Fellow. She graduated with highest honors from Wesleyan University with a degree from the College of Social Studies. She is the recipient of a White House Fellowship and a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship, a Marshall Scholar elect, and a member of the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees, Council on Foreign Relations, and Aspen Strategy Group.[5]
Professional career[edit]Brainard served as Associate Professor of Applied Economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where her publications made important contributions on the relationship between offshore production, trade, and jobs; the measurement of structural and cyclical unemployment in the U.S. economy; and strategic trade policy. Brainard has also worked at McKinsey & Company advising corporate clients on strategic challenges and on microenterprise in West Africa.
Clinton administration[edit]Brainard served as Deputy National Economic Adviser and Chair of the Deputy Secretaries Committee on International Economics during the Clinton administration. As Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, she helped build a new White House organization to address global economic challenges such as the Asian financial crisis and China's accession to the World Trade Organization. As the U.S. Sherpa to the G8, she helped shape the 2000 G8 summit that, for the first time, included leaders of the poorest nations and laid the foundations for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. She had been mentioned as a likely U.S. Trade Representative in the Obama administration.[6]
Obama administration[edit]On March 23, 2009, President Obama nominated Brainard to serve as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, to replace David H. McCormick, whose term had ended with the end of the Bush administration.[7][8]
On November 18, 2009, the New York Times reported that Senator Charles Grassley, the chairman and ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, had cleared the way for her Senate confirmation as Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs. Reuters News Service reported on December 23, 2009, that the Senate Finance Committee had approved Brainard to become the "Treasury Department's top global diplomat, a job that would give her a key role in the bid to push China toward a flexible currency".[9]
On April 19, 2010, the Senate voted 84-10 for cloture for Brainard's nomination.[10] The Senate confirmed her in a 78-19 vote on April 20, 2010.
Brainard served as the principal policy advisor to Secretary Timothy Geithner on international economic matters at the Treasury Department. Treasury described her role as advancing the Administration's agenda of strengthening U.S. leadership in the global economy to foster growth, creating economic opportunities for Americans, and address transnational economic challenges, including development and climate change.[11] Brainard was the highest-ranking female Treasury official in American history until Sarah Bloom Raskin became Deputy Secretary. [12][13] She left her post in the US Treasury in November 2013.[3][14]
Brainard was nominated to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in January 2014.[15] She was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 61-31 on June 12, 2014, and began her term on June 16, 2014.[16][17]
Publications[edit]Brainard is co'‘editor of Too Poor For Peace? (2007); co-editor of Offshoring White Collar Work (2006); editor of Transforming the Development Landscape: the Role of the Private Sector (2006) and Security by Other Means: Foreign Assistance, Global Poverty and American Leadership (2006); and coauthor of The Other War: Global Poverty and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (2004).
References[edit]^"Lael Brainard Confirmed as Under Secretary for International Affairs". Media-newswire.com. Retrieved 2016-06-18. ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2010. ^ ab"Brainard to leave Treasury". Politico.com. Retrieved 2016-06-18. ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2012. ^https://philanthropyforum.org/people/lael-brainard/^Smith, Ben, "Labor Pained", Politico, November 25, 2008. Accessed November 26, 2008.^"President Obama Announces Additional Treasury Department Nominations". Whitehouse.gov. 2009-03-23. Retrieved 2016-06-18. ^"Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate, 3/23/09". Whitehouse.gov. 2009-03-23. Retrieved 2016-06-18. ^"Senate panel OKs Lael Brainard for Treasury post". Reuters. 23 December 2009. ^"U.S. Senate: Roll Call Vote". Senate.gov. 27 January 2015. Retrieved 2016-06-18. ^"International Affairs". Treasury.gov. Retrieved 2016-06-18. ^"Globalizing Reform". The American Prospect. ^Lowrey, Annie, "Lael Brainard is Washington's Financial Envoy to Euro Crisis", The New York Times, 26 January 2012. Retrieved 28 Jan. 2012.^"Treasury Officials". Treasury.gov. Retrieved 2016-06-18. ^Puzzanghera, Jim (10 January 2014). "Obama to nominate Stanley Fischer, 2 others to Federal Reserve seats". LA Times. Retrieved 10 January 2014. ^"U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress - 2nd Session, Vote 189". Senate Bill Clerk. June 12, 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2014. ^"FRB: Lael Brainard". Federalreserve.gov. Retrieved 2016-06-18. External links[edit]
Lawmaker Grills Yellen Over Brainard's Donations to Clinton - WSJ
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 01:48
Sept. 28, 2016 4:55 p.m. ET WASHINGTON'--Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen faced intense questioning Wednesday from a Republican lawmaker over a central bank official's contributions to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
Fed governor Lael Brainard gave the Clinton campaign $2,700, the maximum permitted individual donation, in four contributions between mid-November and February, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Rep. Scott Garrett (R., N.J.) said during a House Financial Services Committee hearing Wednesday the donations create an appearance of conflict, citing unspecified media reports saying Ms. Brainard ''is angling for a top job with the Clinton administration if Hillary wins.''
He asked Ms. Yellen, who was testifying at the hearing on financial regulation, whether Ms. Brainard has been in contact with the Clinton campaign regarding a potential future job.
Ms. Yellen said she had ''absolutely no awareness'' of any contact between Ms. Brainard and the Clinton campaign regarding a potential job.
Ms. Yellen said the campaign contributions didn't violate any federal rules.
She also said, ''I have never seen'' politics play a role in Fed officials' decision-making.
The exchange came after Mr. Garrett told Ms. Yellen, ''Whether you like it or not, the public increasingly believes that the Fed independence is nothing more than a myth and the Fed has an unacceptable cozy relationship, both with the Obama administration and with higher-ups in the Democratic Party.''
His comments came two days after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, during Monday's debate with Mrs. Clinton, repeated his claim that the Fed has kept interest rates low to boost the economy to help President Barack Obama politically.
Ms. Yellen has rejected Mr. Trump's charges. She said later at the hearing Wednesday, in response to another question, ''I have certainly never been pressured in any way by the administration. The administration, my experience has been, greatly respects the Fed's independence to make decisions in accord with our congressional mandate.''
A Fed spokeswoman said Ms. Brainard ''has not been in conversations with either political campaign.'' The Clinton campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
In response to Mr. Garrett's questions, Ms. Yellen indicated that Ms. Brainard hasn't offered to recuse herself from voting at Fed policy meetings due to the donations, and Ms. Yellen hasn't asked her to do so.
The Fed has come under fire from Republicans on several occasions in recent years for alleged political bias. GOP lawmakers last year complained that Ms. Yellen had politicized the central bank by meeting more with Obama administration officials than with members of Congress, and with more Democrats than Republicans.
She rejected charges she had politicized the Fed, and she has repeatedly rejected accusations that politics play a role in the Fed's monetary policy-making.
Ms. Brainard joined the Fed board in June 2014, having previously served as an economic adviser to former President Bill Clinton and a senior Treasury official in the Obama administration. She is the only current Fed governor to have made itemized donations to a presidential campaign in the run-up to this year's election, according to the FEC's records.
Write to Harriet Torry at harriet.torry@wsj.com
Prez Debate #1
NBC Gaming The Optics With Custom Podium To Enlarge Hillary Clinton's Stature and Visibility'.... | The Last Refuge
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 02:25
There was some discussion last week about how NBC would try to physically aid candidate Hillary Clinton's optics with a custom designed debate platform intended to give the viewer the a false illusion of scale and scope.
Well, it appears that NBC has done exactly that.
A comparison of both debate podiums reflects that one is visibly larger, and taller, than the other; and a debate standing platform is evident as the stage is being set up.
(link)
However, I wouldn't worry too much about the commission and NBC predictably gaming the optics to benefit Clinton. Additionally, it's good to see Bannon and Bossie both on inspection duty'...
This screen shot below: [bottom right corner] (Bannon '' left, Bossie -right).. they know the game'... They are both fully aware this is an 'away game scheme'''...
Anyone who has every been involved in competitive debate forums (think Oxford vs Cambridge) knows how the home team (NBC/Clinton) works all the angles. [Not just figurative angles, literal optical camera angles].
How The New York Times Will Fact-Check the Debate - NYTimes.com
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 20:08
With clashes over truth, lies and exaggerations dominating the prelude to the first presidential debate, The New York Times has assembled a team of 18 fact-checkers for Monday night, drawing on the expertise of some of our most seasoned reporters.
These reporters will assess the accuracy of assertions made by either candidate, or by the moderator, in real time as the debate unfolds, with an aim of posting each fact check within five minutes of the statement's being made.
The fact-check operation is an important dimension of an expansive coverage plan for the debate, which begins at 9 p.m. The Times will stream the debate live on its home page and will provide real-time analysis from our regular team of reporters on political debates: Maggie Haberman, Nicholas Confessore, Adam Nagourney and Alan Rappeport.
We will also provide continually updated highlights for those joining the debate after it has begun.
Our fact-checkers in Washington and New York are David Sanger, Mark Landler, Eric Schmitt and Matthew Rosenberg, who have a deep background in national security issues and foreign policy; Neil Irwin and Binyamin Appelbaum, who write expertly about the economy; Steven Lee Myers and Eric Lichtblau, who have closely covered Hillary Clinton's email issues; Julia Preston, who has covered immigration for 10 years; Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo, who have reported extensively about the F.B.I., guns and terrorism; Coral Davenport, who covers the environment and climate change; Margot Sanger-Katz, who writes about health care; Adam Liptak, who covers the Supreme Court; Charlie Savage, who writes about constitutional issues; Michael D. Shear, a White House correspondent; and Steve Eder and Mike McIntire, two of our investigative reporters.
On the Opinion side, The Times will publish quick responses to the debate from columnists and other prominent writers before, during and after the debate. Starting around 4 p.m. at nytimes.com/opinion, Gail Collins, Charles Blow and others will describe what they will be watching for from the candidates. During the debate, Paul Krugman, Roger Cohen, J. D. Vance and other observers will offer quick commentary. And once the debate concludes, Ms. Collins and Mr. Blow will provide reaction.
The Times will also offer coverage through Facebook Live, which can be viewed at facebook.com/nytimes. At 7 p.m., the political reporters Amy Chozick, Nick Corasaniti and Jonathan Martin will offer a preview of the debate from Hofstra University on Long Island and take questions from Facebook users.
When the debate begins, at 9 p.m., The Times will be live on Facebook with two streams: one showing the debate itself, and another that will pair audio of the debate with live cartooning by Bob Eckstein, an illustrator for The Times.
The live streams on Facebook will incorporate other features of Times coverage, including commentary from our Opinion writers and fact checks and analysis from our reporters. When the debate ends, Donald J. Trump is scheduled to attend an after-party, and Mr. Corasaniti will cover that event live.
Interactive Feature | What to Watch: First Debate Briefing on Snapchat
[WATCH] Hillary's 'Hand Signals' Exposed, Proves Debate Was Rigged
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 21:13
With many people still talking about the first presidential debate, it seems that more and more things previously missed are coming to light. Hillary Clinton tried to hide what she did with her hands '' and it proves that the event was rigged from the start.
People have been scouring footage of the debate and seem to be still coming up with new tidbits of information initially missed. In fact, it seems that the most recent topic of discussion seems to be centered around a few potential hand signals that Hillary was giving to Lester Holt.
As seen in a semi-lengthy clip worth viewing, the female presidential hopeful was seen raising her hand to her face and ''itching'' a full six separate times. Each time she did this, the moderator responded '-- and there was hell to pay when he didn't do it quickly.
Clearly seen in the video, each time Hillary wanted to put in a ''zinger,'' she seemingly signaled to Holt, which prompted him to cut Donald Trump off. As one would imagine, he couldn't do it on the spot at all times, but in the end, he did as was instructed.
Furthermore, evidence of this reality is seen all over Hillary's face '' especially when Holt didn't immediately respond. With instances such as the presidential hopeful hitting back on topics that she signaled during, but missed, to making aggressive glances to Holt when she wasn't given the chance to drop her one-liner, it starts to paint quite the picture.
Of course, it's always a dead give away when you look directly at the person you're trying to signal after flashing your hand gestures as well. Let's just say if she was at a blackjack table, there would have been a few questions and she would have probably been thrown out.
At this point, it's clear that this debate was rigged against Donald Trump from the beginning. Although he didn't crush Hillary like he should have, the fact that he still came out above goes to show the momentum that he has. Hillary can try to cheat if she wants '' and God knows she's going to have to if she wants to win '' but it isn't going to help her any. The Trump train has left the station, and she's tied to the tracks.
Michael Moore: Donald Trump 'Won' the First Debate
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 21:20
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While live-tweeting during Monday night's highly-charged first presidential debate, outspoken liberal documentary filmmaker Michael Moore contended that Republican Donald Trump ''won'' the contest over his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.The 62-year-old Where to Invade Next director went after Trump in Twitter posts all night, however, toward the end of the debate, Moore conceded that even though Clinton ''told the truth'' during the showdown, Trump won the overall battle.
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Of course, Moore was highly critical of Trump early on in the proceedings:
Later on, Moore predicted that Trump would continue to do well with his campaign because his base is ''rabid and energized,'' while Clinton's supporters are largely apathetic.
Moore has previously predicted that Trump will win the election in November.
''One of the things I've been concerned about this week is that we're all sitting '... in our bubble, having a good laugh at this total sh*t show,'' Moore told HBO's Real Time host Bill Maher in July, shortly after Trump accepted the Republican nomination at the part's National Convention in Cleveland.
''But the truth is, I'm sorry to have to be the buzzkill here so early on, but I think Trump is going to win,'' he added.
Moore is, of course, no fan of Trump. The filmmaker was an outspoken supporter of insurgent Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders in the party's primaries, and previously called Clinton ''Wall Street's paid candidate'' during the Democratic debate in March.
In July, Moore criticized Clinton's selection of Virginia senator Tim Kaine as her vice-presidential running mate, warning that progressive voters would ''stay home'' in November.
''It's not Trump who'll beat u. It's the people who are going to stay home,'' Moore wrote on Twitter.
Regardless of politics, Moore appears to have been correct about a prediction he made all the way back in December '-- that Trump would ''absolutely'' become the Republican nominee for president.
''I think people are feeling more and more that we've moved back into a darker time,'' Moore told Business Insider that month. ''Donald Trump is absolutely going to be the Republican candidate for president of the United States. It's going from being a joke to being a serious reality.''
Moore was far from the only celebrity to have live-tweeted Monday night's showdown. View a roundup of celebrity reaction from Debate Night here.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum
Polls, Polls, Polls '' OK, Who Won the Debate?'... | The Last Refuge
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:19
Who do you think won the debate?
Hofstra University Provides 'Trigger Warning' for Presidential Debate
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 03:08
Hofstra University has posted a ''trigger warning'' sign to warn students about the potentially disturbing content that may be discussed during Monday night's presidential debate.
According to CBS New York reporter Tony Aiello, a sign inside of the student center at Hofstra reads, ''Trigger warning: The event conducted just beyond this sign may contain triggering and/or sensitive material. Sexual violence, sexual assault, and abuse are some topics mentioned within this event. If you feel triggered, please know there are resources to help you.''
(Image source: Twitter)
The sign provides students with contact information for student counseling services, the Title IX coordinator, student advocacy and prevention, and the national sexual assault hotline.
Update:Aiello later tweeted a "clarification" the sign was by a MTV "Elect This" event.
A photo posted by BuzzFeed shows the sign moved to a different position next to a booth mentioning the presidential debate:
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VIDEO-Signaled and Triggered #RiggedDebate - YouTube
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 21:54
Behind Alicia Machado, the Hillary Clinton campaigner 'fat-shamed' by Donald Trump | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 12:54
Less than 48 hours after she became a household name as Hillary Clinton's newest high-profile backer, former Miss Universe Alicia Machado's life has begun to unravel into a tangle of sex and violence that could give Clintonworld second thoughts about putting her under the spotlight.
Machado added an extended 15 minutes to her fame by claiming Donald Trump ridiculed her in 1996 '' calling her 'Miss Piggy' and an 'eating machine' '' after he bought the Miss Universe franchise and she added more than 40 pounds to her beauty queen frame as the title-holder.
But focus has snapped back to Machado's own past, including a 2006 Mexican Playboy photo shoot that made her the only Miss Universe winner to pose in the buff, and a stint on a Spanish reality TV show where she was shown having sex on camera '' while engaged to a Major League Baseball player.
More troubling is the story emerging about the paternity of Machado's daughter Dinorah, born in 2008.
Univision reported in 2010 that Gerardo lvarez-Vzquez, a drug kingpin linked to the infamous Sinaloa cartel, fathered the child.
QUICK: WHICH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE DOES SHE SUPPORT? Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado has a new 15 minutes of fame as a Hillary Clinton campaign surrogate after accusing Donald Trump of mocking her weight gain as a beauty queen 20 years ago
BABY-DADDY? Machado's 8-year-old daughter was fathered by drug-trafficking kingpin Gerardo lvarez-Vzquez '' a criminal with a $2 million bounty on his head in California '' according to Mexican news reports that she only disputed after his 2010 arrest
Interviewed about sex scene: Machado was interviewed about what she did in bed with Fernando Acaso, appearing to be embarrassed as an interviewer revealed she had said: 'He f***s me like a b****.'
ROLE MODEL: Machado had sex in front of the cameras '' and moaned about Spanish TV host Fernando Acaso's 'p***a' '' during a 2005 episode of 'La Granja'
And the police informant who first testified about the pair's relationship was executed gangland-style in a Mexico City cafe months later in broad daylight.
DIRTY TALK ON SPANISH TVSpanish television aired footage of Machado's romp in the reality-television house with Fernando Acaso, an actor from Madrid.
It started with an interviewer quoting what she had said earlier:
INTERVIEWER: '... really that guy is cute, he loves me, he understands me, he accepts me, he protects me, he supports me, he respects me, he treats me like a goddess, he f***s me like a b****'
Then it played the sex tape:
ALICIA: 'Oh your d*** my love, what a tasty d***, your d*** is divine.'
The two moaned together for more than 20 seconds on air '' with the sequence clearly edited.
MAN: 'Oh my love, oh, oh...'
lvarez-Vzquez, nicknamed 'El Indio' or 'El Chayn,' was arrested in April of that year and charged with running the Beltrn-Leyva narco-trafficking cartel, a Sinaloa affiliate.
The U.S. government at the time considered him a fugitive, and offered a $2 million reward for his capture.
He was 'responsible for facilitating communications between [cartel] hierarchy and Central and South American sources of supply for cocaine,' the State Department writes.
'lvarez-Vzquez was also believed to be responsible for overseeing the ... narcotics-related activities in multiple cities of Mexico and to be actively involved in major bulk crystal methamphetamine procurements. He coordinated the movement of illegal narcotics into the United States and overs[aw] the repatriation of narcotics-related proceeds.'
The Mexico City newspaper El Universal reported in 2010 that Vzquez had faced drug trafficking charges in California going back to 2007 '' the year Machado became pregnant.
Court hearing: Alicia Machado leaves court with her lawyer Ricardo Koesling (left) in Caracas after denying that she was involved in the attempted murder of her boyfriend's brother-in-law at the funeral for her boyfriend's sister, who jumped to her death while eight months pregnant
'I'M NOT A SAINT GIRL': Tuesday on CNN, Machado didn't push back against reports that she threatened to kill a Venezuelan judge after he charged her boyfriend with an attempted murder in a hit-job for which she allegedly served as getaway driver
SNARK: Donald Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway mocked Machado for not denying being involved with the murder plot
Reforma, another Mexico City newspaper, cited a police report on Vzquez's arrest, reporting that he and four other drug lords attended Dinorah's 2008 baptism.
They included cartel 'chiefs' Arturo and H(C)ctor Beltrn, top lieutenant Edgar Vald(C)s Villarreal and Colombian drug trafficker Harold Mauricio Ojeda.
Vzquez's role in the drug cartel was to drum up business with other criminal gangs in Central and South America, Univision reported. He was also a reputed 'sicario' '' a hitman.
The police shootout that resulted in his capture killed two other sicarios and resulted in the arrests of 18 more.
Machado issued a stinging denial '' after Vzquez's arrest '' telling People in Spanish that she 'did not have any relationship... with Mr. Jose Gerardo Alvarez Vazquez known by the nickname of "the Indian".'
She said her daughter's father was 'a very respectable businessman' named Rafael Hernandez Linares.'
But in the same statement Machado also claimed the story of drug lords attending her daughter's christening could not be true because Dinorah had never been baptized '' a highly unusual omission in 81-percent Catholic Mexico.
SEXCAPADES: Machado has posed for Mexican Playboy and appeared in a Spanish reality TV show having sex on camera, putting her outside the bounds of a traditional spokesperson for America's would-be first female president
FROM FAT TO FIT: In this 2006 cover shot, Machado showed no sign of the 40-odd pounds she added to her 118-pound frame after winning the Miss Universe crown, the source of her tension with the pageant-owning Trump a decade earlier
WHO'S THE DADDY: Alicia Machado did not deny that her daughter - who she has taken on the red carpet at a number of showbusiness events, including the Hollywood premiere in June of Finding Nemo - was fathered by a wanted drug lord until after his arrest.
Machado had already drawn unwanted attention, and compromised Clinton's deployment of her as a campaign surrogate, when DailyMail.com republished news reports from 1998 describing her alleged involvement in an attempted murder in her native Venezuela.
Venezuelan judge Maximiliano Fuenmayor in 1998 publicly accused her of threatening to kill him for charging her then-boyfriend Juan Rodriguez Reggeti with attempted murder in a case where she was accused of being the getaway driver.
Machado insisted she wasn't present at the funeral where shots rang out, offering two separate alibis. At first she claimed she was acting on the set of a TV show at the time, and later she said she was home sick.
Tuesday night on CNN, anchor Anderson Cooper asked her about the episode.
'The judge in the case also said you had threatened to kill him after he indicted your boyfriend for the attempted murder.' Cooper said. 'I just want to give you a chance to address these reports.'
'He can say whatever he wants to say. I don't care,' Machado said, referring to Trump as she waved her hand in defiance.
'You know, I have my past. Of course. Everybody has. Everybody has a past. And I'm not a saint girl. But that is not the point now.'
Machado in the same breath called the accusation 'wrong' and said it 'happened' decades earlier.
'That moment in Venezuela was wrong, was another speculation about my life, because I'm a really famous person in my country, because I'm an actress there, and in Mexico too,' she said.
'And he can use whatever he wants to use. The point is, that happened 20 years ago.'
Machado herself returned from obscurity to fame on the strength of complaints about something Trump said to her more than 20 years ago.
CRINGE: Machado's sex scene in the reality-show fun house was relived frame by frame complete with mortified squirming, and her fianc(C) Bobby Abreu later called off their engagement
CHEATED: Bobby ABreu, the MLB star, called off his engagement to the ex-Miss Universe in the wake of her explicit television scene with another man
She accused him of calling her 'Miss Piggy' and organizing a media frenzy to watch her exercise as an alternative to removing her Miss Universe crown '' a title that required her contractually to remain a certain size.
The Clinton campaign has seized on the episode and leveraged Machado in a series of media interviews to paint Trump as a sexist, appealing to female voters who she needs to back her in November.
It's unclear whether her image will be helped or harmed by Machado's 2006 Playboy cover shoot, or by her romping beneath the sheets with a co-star in a Spanish reality TV show modeled after 'Big Brother.'
In the 2005 episode of 'La Granja,' she had sex in front of the cameras with Spanish TV host Fernando Acaso.
Machado was engaged to Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bobby Abreu at the time. The Venezuelan-born major-leaguer called off the wedding after clips of the show appeared online.
The broadcast showed Acaso on top of her, with Machado whispering in Spanish about his manhood.
'Oh your d***, my love, what a tasty d***! Your d*** is divine,' she moans while they go at it.
Later during the broadcast replay, the show's host read aloud what Machado had written about the man.
'Really, that guy is cute, he loves me, he understands me, he accepts me, he protects me, he supports me, he respects me,' read her testimonial.
'He treats me like a goddess, he f***s me like a b****!'
'MISS PIGGY': After Machado put on weight as Miss Universe, new pageant owner Donald Trump invited reporters to watch her work out '' encouraging her to stay the course and avoid losing her title. Machado said this week that the process was insulting and claimed Trump called her 'Miss Piggy'
Machado told Univision when she returned to Miami that 'I felt fine as a person, as a human being,'
'It was a very strong experience, very difficult in all senses, and I feel very happy with the events in Spain. I had people's support once more and I gained respect for what I am as a person and that was the purpose.'
'When you do a reality show, it's just that '' a show of reality,' she said of her sexcapades.
Five years later, Machado was in the news again for a verbal gaffe that drew such angry responses that she shut down her Twitter account.
Concerned by North Korea's artillery attack on a South Korean island, the beauty queen winner let her lack of geographic knowledge show while pleading for world peace.
'Tonight I want to ask you to join me in a prayer for peace, that these attacks between the Chinas do not make our situation worse,' she tweeted.
Facing a vicious backlash, she signed off before shuttering the account. 'I now have a lot of psychopaths on the account and it's best I start another one, kisses.'
Caliphate!
Muslim woman to appear in Playboy in a hijab - CNN.com
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 04:24
The hijab goes haute couture
The hijab goes haute: Dolce & Gabbana's Middle Eastern collection '' The fashion industry has embraced hijabs and abayas. For the first time, in 2015, Dolce & Gabbana released a collection of hijabs and abayas targeting Muslim shoppers in the Middle East. Here's a look at their take on modest dressing.
The hijab goes haute couture
The hijab goes haute: Dolce & Gabanna's Middle Eastern collection '' The collection was first revealed on Style.com/Arabia on January 3.
The hijab goes haute couture
The hijab goes haute: Dolce & Gabanna's Middle Eastern collection '' The hijab and abaya are common garments worn throughout the Middle East.
The hijab goes haute couture
The hijab goes haute: Dolce & Gabanna's Middle Eastern collection '' Dolce & Gabbana is typically known for its feminine, overtly sexual designs.
The hijab goes haute couture
The hijab goes haute: Dolce & Gabanna's Middle Eastern collection '' These looser robes signify a distinct departure from their usual look.
The hijab goes haute couture
The hijab goes haute: Dolce & Gabanna's Middle Eastern collection '' While they may not fit the usual Dolce & Gabbana silhouettes, they carry other hallmarks.
The hijab goes haute couture
The hijab goes haute: Dolce & Gabanna's Middle Eastern collection '' The robes are made of silky georgette and charmeuse.
The hijab goes haute couture
The hijab goes haute: Dolce & Gabanna's Middle Eastern collection '' Lemon, floral and polka dot motifs are used in their Spring-Summer 2016 collection.
The hijab goes haute couture
The hijab goes haute: Dolce & Gabanna's Middle Eastern collection '' Intricate lace also features prominently.
The hijab goes haute couture
The hijab goes haute: Dolce & Gabanna's Middle Eastern collection '' Dolce & Gabbana is one of many Western brands starting to target the lucrative Muslim fashion industry.
The hijab goes haute couture
The hijab goes haute: Dolce & Gabanna's Middle Eastern collection '' The collection will be available in all of Dolce & Gabbana's Middle East boutiques, and select European stores.
The hijab goes haute couture
The hijab goes haute: Dolce & Gabanna's Middle Eastern collection '' This is not the first time Dolce & Gabbana has done collections inspired by specific regions and countries.
The hijab goes haute couture
The hijab goes haute: Dolce & Gabbana's Middle Eastern collection '' Last year, they created collections inspired by China, Japan, and Moscow.
Jordanian Writer Gunned Down Over Controversial Cartoon
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 02:33
''Many fanatics wrote on social media calling for his killing and lynching, and the government did nothing against them,'' said his family.
An acclaimed Jordanian writer, Nahed Hattar, was fatally shot Sunday outside an Amman courthouse just moments before he was scheduled to go on trial for posting a cartoon on his Facebook page that was widely perceived as insulting Islam.
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As the Christian writer arrived at the courthouse Sunday, a gunman walked up to Hattar and shot him three-times in the head at close range. According to local press reports, a man was arrested at the scene.
Earlier in the year, Hattar posted a cartoon on social media ridiculing fighters in the Islamic State group, and their vision of God and heaven. Hattar had repeatedly denied accusations that he intended to inslute Islam,and of inciting sectarian strife.
The illustration was titled The God of Daesh, and depicted an Islamic State group militant in bed with two women, ordering God to bring him a drink.
He was arrested last month for the charge, but was freed on bail earlier this month.
The writer's cousin, Saad Hattar, blames the government for his death.
''The prime minister was the first one who incited against Nahed when he ordered his arrest and put him on trial for sharing the cartoon, and that ignited the public against him and led to his killing,'' he said, as reported by The Guardian.
A statement from the victim's family also holds Jordan's prime minister, Hani al-Mulki, responsible for Hattar's death.
RELATED: Charlie Hebdo Criticized for Italian Earthquake Cartoon
''Many fanatics wrote on social media calling for his killing and lynching, and the government did nothing against them,'' they said.
Hattar had previously faced charges before for insulting the country's king, Abdullah II.
Swedish police lose control amid refugee crisis as number of 'no-go zones' rises to 55 '-- RT News
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 22:54
The inflow of asylum seekers in Sweden, a country with one of the most liberal laws towards refugees, is putting an increasing strain on the country's police. There are now reportedly 55 areas in the country, where the law is not fully upheld.
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Dubbed ''no-go zones'' in some media reports, there are now 55 areas in Swedish cities, where the police have significant problems in tackling crime. They are divided into three categories depending on how significant the risk to officers working there is.
The number has risen from 50 in February, when the police last gave a comprehensive report on the issue, and last week, when the law enforcement agency gave an update. According to media reports, the service is facing a major crisis of self-confidence, with as many as three officers on average asking to resign on a daily basis. Internal polls say four officers out of five have been considering a change of profession lately.
''We have a major crisis. Many colleagues are choosing to quit,'' police officer Peter Larsson told the Norwegian broadcaster NRK. ''A drastically worsened working environment means many colleagues are now looking for other work.''
If officers go into a no-go zone, they risk being verbally attacked or pelted with stones. Patrol cars may be set ablaze or stolen.
Crime rates in the blacklisted areas are on the rise, the police report said. The offenses range from vandalism to drug crimes to sex assaults and gun violence.
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One particular example is Malmo, Sweden's third-largest city, where more than 70 cars were set on fire by arsonists over several days. The police managed to arrest only one suspect while investigating those attacks.
Ironically, after the Hungarian government used the existence of no-go zones in Europe to promote its cause for an upcoming referendum on EU quotas, the Swedish embassy rebuked it saying that no such areas existed in their country.
"It is important to us that accurate information about Sweden is given to the citizens of Hungary. The embassy has therefore had reason to object sharply to a map of Europe with red markings in a handful of member states, including Sweden, in which the Hungarian government claims that so-called 'no-go zones' exist, where police and the state have no control over citizens' safety," Anna Boda, the Deputy Head of the Swedish diplomatic mission in Budapest told The Local.
''No-go zone'' is a loaded term with no clear definition and caused division earlier amid the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe. Last year Paris wanted to sue Fox New for a report, which said no-go zones existed in the French capital.
The Wall Around ISIS | Scott Adams' Blog
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 22:07
Posted September 28th, 2016 @ 10:14am in #ISIS Trump Wall
Turkey is almost finished building its wall to keep out Syrian refugees. That seals off the ISIS Caliphate's Northern border. See this map to refresh your memory on the geography.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is building a ''bad-ass'' wall along its entire border with Iraq. Jordan has plans for its own wall, for the same reason. And we can assume that Israel and Iran will be improving their border control too, if any improvement is needed.
The United States and Russia can '' if they want '' seal off the coast of Syria with warships and drones and digital surveillance. Better yet, let Russia and its Syrian client (now much smaller than it was) build its own wall to keep ISIS from having ocean access.
After all of the walls are built to ''keep out refugees'' you will '' by no coincidence whatsoever '' also have a wall that ''keeps in ISIS.'' That's the real story here.
The future of the ISIS Caliphate has been clear (to me) since at least 2003 when I wrote my sequel to God's Debris, titled The Religion War. In the book, I predicted the rise of a Caliphate in that general area, endless ''small'' terrorist attacks in the United States, and the eventual walling-in of the Caliphate to stop the ''idea'' of ISIS from spreading.
Here's how you kill an idea:
Step one: Quarantine the idea. (Build a wall around it.)
Step two: Remove all digital communications from the area.
Step three: Remove any foreign press in the zone so there are no witnesses to war crimes.
Step four: Depopulate the Caliphate over time by removing trusted women and children and killing everyone else. I don't recommend any of this, by the way. I'm only predicting it will happen, as I have since 2003. If you have been watching my Trump-related predictions, you might recognize that I used the same filter '' persuasion '' to predict the rise of the caliphate and the eventual walling-off.
If you take a purely military approach to ISIS, you never kill the idea that is at its core. You might even strengthen it. Persuasion is the only weapon that can make a difference. And to persuade, first you must control the conversation. You can only do that by physically and digitally quarantining the entire Caliphate. Otherwise there will always be too much idea-leakage.
We also need persuasion tools to deter crazy loners from self-radicalizing. But that's a separate persuasion process. The most important strategy involves blocking all communication into and out of the ISIS Caliphate. Once you brand ISIS as a loser '' by totally controlling the stories coming from that zone '' you can mop up the self-radicalizers over time.
That's how you kill an idea virus as strong as ISIS. There really isn't any other option. I believe most trained persuaders would agree.
Another key part of my prediction is that the Caliphate will start to weaponize hobby-sized drones for attacks all over the world. When that nightmare starts '' and you know it will '' expect to never hear another press report from the Caliphate, because that's when the depopulating will begin.
'--
You might like my newest book because both of us are moist robots.
Turkey to complete Syria border wall within 5 months
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 22:07
A wall along the border between Turkey and Syria is pictured near the southeastern town of Deliosman in Kilis province, Turkey, August 29, 2016.Reuters/Umit Bektas
ANKARA/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A concrete wall being built to stop illegal crossings along the length of Turkey's 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria will be finished by the end of February, an official at a Turkish state institution with knowledge of the project said on Wednesday.
Ankara has long been under pressure from its NATO allies to seal off the border with Islamic State-controlled territory in Syria and is also concerned by the presence of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which controls most of its Syrian border.
Construction on a border wall to combat smuggling and illegal migration started as early as 2014 even as Turkey maintained an open-border policy that has seen nearly 3 million Syrians seek refuge in the country.
"Construction will be completed within five months," the official told Reuters, declining to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media. He said winter conditions would be a challenge to the timetable, however.
Turkey last month launched an operation dubbed "Euphrates Shield" in alliance with Syrian rebels to drive Islamic State militants away from the border area and stop the YPG's advance.
Turkey regards the YPG as closely tied to Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants fighting an insurgency in southeast Turkey and deems both as terrorist organizations.
The United States, meanwhile, sees the YPG as an ally in its operations targeting Islamic State -- a source of tensions between Ankara and Washington.
A construction vehicle drives past wall panels that will be used to build a wall along the border between Turkey and Syria, near the southeastern town of Deliosman in Kilis province, Turkey, August 29, 2016.Reuters/Umit BektasUS-Mexico borderA 200-km (125-mile) stretch of the wall has already been completed and state housing developer TOKI will build the rest, the official said. He likened the project to border walls in other countries, such as the one between parts of Mexico and the United States.
The official declined to give an estimate for the cost of construction. But the mass circulation Hurriyet newspaper said that including a road for military patrols planned alongside it, the wall was expected to cost 2 billion lira ($672 million).
Made up of seven-tonne portable blocks topped with razor wire, the wall will be three meters (10 feet) high and two meters (6.5 feet) wide. The official said private companies would be hired once construction tenders were completed.
Hurriyet cited the head of TOKI as saying that 200-250 concrete blocks were currently being produced daily at five work sites, and that the latest construction work had begun around 20 days ago.
New watchtowers on roads patrolled by armored vehicles have already been erected along the border this year as part of increased security measures.
(Reporting by Orhan Coskun; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by David Dolan and Sonya Hepinstall)
Read the original article on Reuters. Copyright 2016. Follow Reuters on Twitter.
Telegram Channel Calls for Lone-Wolf Attacks Using Knifes, Stones, Cars, and Train Derailments
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 01:07
NOTE: The following materials are for information purposes only and may not be copied, reproduced, or transmitted without the explicit permission of SITE Intelligence Group and specific attribution to SITE Intelligence Group.
DetailsStatementsCreated: 28 September 2016
A pro-Islamic State (IS) German-language Telegram channel incited Muslims to attack nonbelievers by using any means necessary so that they can ''experience the war they started in the middle of their homes.''
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Swiss Parliament Votes to Ban Muslim Women from Wearing the Burka in Public
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:29
The Swiss parliament has voted in favour of banning Muslim women from wearing the Burka in public.
The National Council passed the vote 88 votes to 87 with 10 abstentions.
Earlier this year a government committee had voted strongly against the ban, Swiss news service 20 minuten reported.
The ruling will have to undergo further scrutiny and votes before it could be made law.
Members voted in favour of a ruling that ''no person shall cover his face in public places and in places or hide in the public domain or the provision of public services (excluding sacred sites).''
Blick am Abend reported that CVP National Councillor Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter said: ''The Burqa is an expression of misogynistic Islamist ideology. This symbol we need to halt.''
The Burka has already been banned in the Tessin region of Switzerland with people facing fines in excess of £7,000 for breaching the rule.
Following the introduction of this ban earlier this year a national committee was set up and began collecting signatures to expand the ban across the rest of the country.
Original Article
Topics: Common Sense in High Places, Europe, Islam in Europe/Asia, Muslim Immigration
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F-Russia
Did the Pentagon Sabotage Syrian Peace Deal?
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 02:44
As the latest attempt at U.S.-Russian cooperation in Syria goes up in flames, the back story includes Pentagon resistance to the plan and the bloody U.S. airstrike on a Syrian military outpost, reports Gareth Porter for Middle East Eye.
By Gareth Porter
Another US-Russian Syria ceasefire deal has been blown up. Whether it could have survived even with a U.S.-Russian accord is open to doubt, given the incentives for Al Qaeda and its allies to destroy it. But the politics of the U.S.-Russian relationship played a central role in the denouement of the second ceasefire agreement.
The final blow may have came from the Russian-Syrian side, but what provoked the decision to end the ceasefire was the first ever U.S. strike against Syrian government forces on Sept. 17. That convinced the Russians that the Pentagon had no intention of implementing the main element of the deal that was most important to the Putin government: a joint U.S.-Russian air campaign against the Islamic State militant group and Al Qaeda through a ''Joint Implementation Center.'' And it is entirely credible that it was meant to do precisely that.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.
The Russians had a powerful incentive to ensure that the ceasefire would hold, especially around Aleppo. In the new ceasefire agreement, Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had negotiated an unusually detailed set of requirements for both sides to withdraw their forces from the Castello Road, the main artery for entry into Aleppo from the north. It was understood that the ''demilitarization'' north of Aleppo was aimed at allowing humanitarian aid to reach the city and was, therefore, the central political focus of the ceasefire.
The Russians put great emphasis on ensuring that the Syrian army would comply with the demilitarization plan. It had established a mobile observation post on the road on Sept. 13. And both the Russians and Syrian state television reported that the Syrian army had withdrawn its heavy weaponry from the road early on Sept. 15, including video footage showing a bulldozer clearing barbed wire from the road. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the Syrian army had withdrawn from the road.
But Al Qaeda's newly renamed Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (previously the al-Nusra Front) had a clear incentive to refuse to comply with a move that could open the door to a U.S.-Russian campaign against it. Opposition sources in Aleppo claimed that no such government withdrawal had happened, and said that opposition units would not pull back from positions near the road. On the morning of Sept. 16, the Syrian army moved back into positions on the road.
Kerry and Lavrov agreed in a phone conversation that same day that the ceasefire was still holding, even though humanitarian aid convoys were still stalled in the buffer zone at the Turkish border because of the lack of permission from the Syrian government, as well as uncertainty about security on the route to Aleppo.
But Kerry also told Lavrov that the U.S. now insisted that it would establish the Joint Implementation Center only after the humanitarian aid had been delivered.
U.S. Policy Clash
That crucial shift in U.S. diplomatic position was a direct result of the aggressive opposition of the Pentagon to President Obama's intention to enter into military cooperation with Russia in Syria. The Pentagon was motivated by an overriding interest in heading off such high-profile U.S.-Russian cooperation at a time when it is pushing for much greater U.S. military efforts to counter what it portrays as Russian aggression in a new Cold War.
President Barack Obama walks through the Rose Garden to the Oval Office following an all-appointees summer event on the South Lawn, June 13, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
At an extraordinary video conference with Kerry immediately after the negotiation of the ceasefire agreement was complete, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter strongly objected to the Joint Center '' especially the provision for sharing intelligence with the Russians for a campaign against the Islamic State and Al Qaeda.
Obama had overridden Carter's objections at the time, but a New York Times story filed the night of Sept. 13 reported that Pentagon officials were still refusing to agree that the U.S. should proceed with the creation of the Joint Implementation Center if the ceasefire held for seven days.
The Times quoted Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L Harrigian, commander of the United States Air Forces Central Command (USAFCENT), as telling reporters, ''I'm not saying yes or no.'' He added, ''It would be premature to say that we're going to jump right into it.''
President Obama's decision to insist that the U.S. would not participate in the joint center with Russia until humanitarian convoys had been allowed into Aleppo and elsewhere first was apparently aimed at calming the Pentagon down, but it didn't eliminate the possibility of a joint U.S.-Russian campaign.
Late in the evening the next day, U.S. and allied planes carried out multiple strikes on a Syrian government base in the desert near one of its airbases in Deir Ezzor and killed at least 62 Syrian troops and wounded more than 100.
The Pentagon soon acknowledged what it called a mistake in targeting, but the impact on the ceasefire deal was immediate. Syria accused the U.S. of a deliberate attack on its forces, and the Russians similarly expressed doubt about the U.S. explanation.
On Monday, Sept. 19, the Syrian regime declared that the seven-day ceasefire had ended. And that same day, a major United Nations humanitarian aid convoy was being unloaded in an opposition-held town West of Aleppo when it was attacked, killing more than 20 aid workers. U.S. officials accused Russia of an air strike on the convoy, although the evidence of an air attack appeared slender, according to a Russian defense ministry spokesman. [The United Nations also withdrew its initial claim of an airstrike, saying the facts of the matter required further investigation.]
It is not difficult to imagine, however, the fury with which both Russian and Syrian governments could have reacted to the U.S. blows against both the Syrian army and the deal that had been sealed with Washington. They were certainly convinced that the U.S. air attack on Syrian troops was a clear message that the Pentagon and U.S. military leadership would not countenance any cooperation with Russia on Syria '' and were warning of a Syrian campaign to come if Hillary Clinton is elected.
Attacking the aid convoy by some means may have been a brutal way of signaling a response to such messages. Unfortunately, if that turns out to be the case, the brunt of the response was borne by aid workers and civilians.
Mistake or Strategy?
The evidence that the U.S. deliberately targeted a Syrian military facility is, of course, circumstantial, and it is always possible that the strike was another of the monumental intelligence failures so common in war.
Map of Syria
But the timing of the strike '' only 48 hours before the decision was to be made on whether to go ahead with the Joint Implementation Center '' and its obvious impact on the ceasefire make a tight fit with the thesis that it was no mistake.
And to make the fit even tighter, Gen Harrigan, the USAFCENT commander who had refused to say that his command would go ahead with such cooperation with Russia, would almost certainly have approved a deliberate targeting of a Syrian facility.
USAFCENT planners are very familiar with the area where it bombed Syrian troops, having carried out an average of 20 such strikes a week around Deir Ezzor, a DOD official told Nancy A Youssef of The Daily Beast.
Pentagon officials acknowledged to Youssef that the USAFCENT had been watching the site for at least a couple of days, but in fact they must have been familiar with the site, which has apparently existed for at least six months or longer.
Yet no one has been able to explain how USAFCENT could have decided that a target so close to a Syrian government airbase in that government-controlled city was an Islamic State target.
Obama was strongly committed to the general strategy of cooperation with Russia as the key to trying to make headway in moving toward a ceasefire. But that strategy was based on a refusal to confront U.S. regional allies with the necessity to change course from reckless support for a jihadist-dominated opposition force.
Now that the strategy of the past year has gone up in flames, the only way Obama can establish meaningful control over Syria policy is to revisit the fundamental choices that propelled the U.S. into the sponsorship of the war in the first place.
Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. He is the author of the newly published Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare. [This article originally appeared in Middle East Eye.]
Putin Has Finally Reincarnated the KGB | Foreign Policy
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 19:43
This past Sunday, as most of Russia focused its attention on parliamentary elections, the country's most popular daily, Kommersant, broke news of a story that, if true, could have consequences that last far beyond this latest round of Duma reshuffling.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Kommersant, is planning a major overhaul of the country's security services. The Russian daily reported that the idea of the reforms is to merge the Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR, with the Federal Security Service, or FSB, which keeps an eye on domestic affairs. This new supersized secret service will be given a new name: the Ministry of State Security. If that sounds familiar, it should '-- this was the name given to the most powerful and feared of Joseph Stalin's secret services, from 1943 to 1953. And if its combination of foreign espionage and domestic surveillance looks familiar, well, it should: In all but name, we are seeing a resurrection of the Committee for State Security '-- otherwise known as the KGB.
The KGB, it should be remembered, was not a traditional security service in the Western sense '-- that is, an agency charged with protecting the interests of a country and its citizens. Its primary task was protecting the regime. Its activities included hunting down spies and dissidents and supervising media, sports, and even the church. It ran operations both inside and outside the country, but in both spheres the main task was always to protect the interests of whoever currently resided in the Kremlin. With this new agency, we're seeing a return to form '-- one that's been a long time in the making.
There was a time, not so long ago, when Russian leaders sought to create a depoliticized security structure. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the reform of the KGB became an immediate, pressing issue. The agency was not reliably under control: The chairman of the KGB at the time, Vladimir Kryuchkov, had helped mastermind the military coup attempt aimed at overthrowing Mikhail Gorbachev that August. But new President Boris Yeltsin had no clear ideas about just how he wanted to reform the KGB, so he simply decided to break it into pieces.
The largest department of the KGB '-- initially called the Ministry of Security; then, later, the Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK); then, even later, the FSB '-- was given responsibility solely for counter-espionage and counterterrorism operations. The KGB's former foreign intelligence directorate was transformed into a new agency called the Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR. The division of the KGB responsible for electronic eavesdropping and cryptography became the Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information, or FAPSI. A relatively obscure directorate of the KGB that guarded secret underground facilities continued its functions under a new name: the Main Directorate of Special Programs of the President, or GUSP. The KGB branch that had been responsible for protecting Soviet leaders was renamed the Federal Protective Service, or FSO, and the Soviet border guards were transformed into an independent Federal Border Service, or FPS.
The main successor of the KGB amid this alphabet soup of changes was the FSK. But this new counterintelligence agency was stripped of its predecessor's overseas intelligence functions. The agency no longer protected Russian leaders and was deprived of its secret bunkers, which fell under the president's direct authority. It maintained only a nominal presence in the army. In its new incarnation, the agency's mission was pruned back to something resembling Britain's MI5: to fight terrorism and corruption.
But Yeltsin's team never formed a clear strategy for how to transform what had once been the secret services of a totalitarian state into the intelligence community of a democracy. In a 1993 executive decree, Yeltsin lamented, reeling off a list of acronyms for various incarnations of the security agencies, that ''the system of the Cheka-OGPU-NKVD-MGB-NGKB-KGB-MB turned out to be incapable of being reformed. Reorganization efforts in recent years were external and cosmetic in nature.'... The system of political investigation is preserved and may easily be restored.''
It was a prescient comment: By the mid-1990s, various component parts and functions of the old KGB had begun to make their way back to the FSK, like the liquid metal of the killer T-1000 android in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, slowly reconstituting itself after having been blown to bits.
First to return was the power to conduct domestic investigations. In November 1994, Yeltsin restored the investigative directorate of the FSK and placed the infamous Lefortovo prison, which had once held political prisoners and had been used for interrogations that involved torture, back under its remit. The next year saw a crucial name change: The FSK was rechristened the FSB. The shift from ''K'' (kontrrazvedka, or counterintelligence) to ''B'' (bezopasnost, or security) was more than cosmetic; with the new name came a broad mandate for the FSB to become the guardian of ''security'' for Russia.
Over the course of the next five years, the FSB would win back many of its old functions. It would once again be given responsibility for pursuing dissidents, who were now branded ''extremists,'' and would be given its own foreign intelligence directorate, duplicating the SVR's.
When Putin came to power in 2000, he initially appeared to follow the route laid out by his predecessor, Yeltsin. His main concern, at least at first, seemed to be minimizing competition between the secret services; as a result, in 2003, he allowed the FSB to absorb responsibility for the border troops and FAPSI '-- the electronic intelligence agency '-- and gave the service expanded powers over the army and police.
But the president, himself a former KGB officer, was too taken in by KGB myths about the role of the Cheka in Russian society to be satisfied with the FSB being a mere security organ. He was determined to see it become something bigger. Putin encouraged a steady growth in the agency's influence. The president began using the FSB as his main recruitment base for filling key positions in government and state-controlled business; its agents were expected to define and personify the ideology of the new Russia. When FSB Director Nikolai Patrushev, in December 2000, called his officers Russia's ''new 'nobility''' '-- a nickname that agents in the KGB could have hardly dreamed of being applied to them '-- he was taking a cue from his boss.
By the late 2000s, it was clear that Putin had bigger changes in store, but it wasn't yet clear whether those changes would elevate the FSB or destroy it. Putin began making it apparent that he wasn't happy with the agency's effectiveness. In 2007, he asked another service, an antidrug agency led by his personal friend Viktor Cherkesov, to look into the FSB's dealings, in the hope, it seems, of bringing it down. The attack on the agency failed utterly '-- and Putin was forced to fire his friend. Then Putin launched a new agency and gave it enormous powers: The Investigative Committee, a sort of Russian FBI, was tasked with conducting the most sensitive investigations, from the murders of Kremlin critics like Anna Politkovskaya and Boris Nemtsov to prosecuting political activists. This was accompanied by an expansion of the Internal Troops '-- army units charged with operating within the country '-- and the launch of a new Department to Counter Extremism, housed within the Interior Ministry. Finally, this year, Putin created the National Guard, which is a massive and armed-to-the-teeth military force tasked with fighting internal dissent.
Throughout the 2000s, and for much of the 2010s, it looked as if Putin's response to concerns about FSB ineffectiveness would be simply to create new agencies. With this weekend's news, that strategy appears to have come to an abrupt end. If the Kommersant story is true, it would mean Putin has finally made up his mind about the fate of the FSB: It is to once again be restored to its former glory, as the most powerful security organ in the country by far.
There's some method at work here. It's been clear for some time that Putin is getting nervous about his political future. With elections pending in 2018, he's started selective repressions, placed governors and officials in jail, and removed old friends from key positions, in moves seemingly aimed at what his role model Yuri Andropov once called ''improv[ing] labor discipline.'' Efforts to strengthen the security services fit within this pattern of centralizing control; what's new is that he's decided the best way to strengthen them is to merge them into one gigantic service, with a fearsome name and a reputation that reminds any would-be dissidents of the most frightening days of the Soviet era.
At the same time, the FSB has lost a certain something in this transition: Gone is any talk about a ''new nobility,'' and the agency is no longer being used as a recruitment base for other sectors of the government and economy. Putin has made it clear that what he needs is an instrument, pure and simple, to protect his own regime '-- just like the Politburo had its instrument in the KGB.
Ironically, however, it seems likely that the announced reforms will not actually improve FSB effectiveness '-- if anything, they'll do the opposite. The agency will now be forced to spend resources to eliminate duplication (over the years, the FSB developed its own strong foreign intelligence branch, and it's not clear how it will merge this with the SVR's, for instance), to find new positions for generals who are out of jobs, and to deal with renaming departments, rewriting regulations, and the various other forms of bureaucratic chaos that accompany big mergers. That could paralyze the new mega-siloviki for an undetermined period '-- just at the time Putin needs it most.
Image credit: YANA LAPIKOVA/AFP/GettyImages
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Build 'giant refugee city' in Libya rather than let them in '' Hungarian PM '-- RT News
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:32
The EU should fund the construction of a giant refugee camp in turbulent Libya and keep asylum seekers there rather than allow them into the EU, controversial Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban suggested.
Speaking in Vienna after a summit of European and Balkans countries on the refugee crisis, he reiterated his scepticism over how Brussels has been handling it so far.
He suggested that Libya should reassume the role as Europe's refugee buffer, which it served before a NATO-backed uprising ousted Libya strongman Muammar Gaddafi before the country plunged into the state of chaos it remains in today.
Read more
Under Gaddafi, Libya was a major provider of jobs for foreign workers, who flocked from across the region to earn their share of oil export money.
Now Libya is one of two major paths, through which traffickers smuggle asylum seekers into Europe. While EU negotiated a deal with Turkey, the other transit nation, on curbing the flow of refugees, Libya has no government strong enough to offer Brussels a similar arrangement.
Orban said he doubted Libya could be stabilized anytime soon.
"Unless we preserve Libya as one and stabilise it we cannot create the gigantic refugee city by Libya's Mediterranean coast," he said.
People seeking asylum in the EU could be kept at the proposed facility while their applications are being processed, Orban said. The process is notoriously slow, so even if the suggestion is realized, people would likely to live in this 'city' for years before their requests are considered.
The Hungarian leader was vague about details of his plan, like who would provide security for the giant refugee camp located in a country rife with violence.
Orban is known for his negative attitude towards refugees, who, he said, threaten Hungary's national identity. He objected to a German-led open doors policy towards asylum seekers and took measures to prevent irregular travelers from coming into his country through the Balkans, including erecting a razor-wire fence along Hungary's southern borders.
While being most vocal and strong-worded about the issue, Orban's attitude to refugees is shared in several other eastern-European governments.
U.S. and Europe scoop up $1.25 billion in Russian bonds | Russia Beyond The Headlines
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 03:02
The Russian Finance Ministry has placed $1.25 billion worth of bonds on the open market. Furthermore, it has deliberately targeted foreign investors rather than local companies. Russian analysts say the government is pursuing sound economic policy.
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A man walks in front of the skyscrapers of the International Business Center also known as "Moskva-City" in Moscow. Source: Reuters
The Russian Finance Ministry has carried out an additional $1.25-billion placement of bonds on the foreign market. It has thus met its target of selling $3 billion worth of Eurobonds by the end of the year, hitting the cap set by the law, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has announced, as cited by the Interfax news agency.
He said that the new bond issue had been mainly bought by investors from the U.S. (53 percent), with buyers from Europe accounting for 43 percent, and the remaining 4 percent going to Asia. There were no Russian buyers, while demand was six times the amount of supply, exceeding $7.5 billion. The Russian Foreign Ministry has therefore concluded that Russian bonds still present an interest to foreign investors, despite the sanctions.
The first part of the issue was placed in May: $1.75 billion in 10-year bonds with a 4.75-percent yield. That placement marked Russia's first foray onto the international capital markets since the fall of 2013. Then the total amount on the order book was about $7 billion and the buyers were UK investors. This time round, the coupon rate, i.e. the bonds' yield, is 3.9 percent per annum, meaning that investors now have more faith in Russia as a borrower.
Important featuresThe Western sanctions have prompted the Russian authorities to include some provisos in their prospectus, the main code of rules regulating an investment offering for sale to the public. Under that document, Russia undertakes not to use the funds it will receive from the bond placement to help companies and individuals included on the EU and U.S. sanctions list.
Furthermore, if the sanctions are expanded, the Finance Ministry can pay investors not in dollars but in other currencies: pounds, euros or Swiss francs. All the raised funds will go to servicing the country's foreign-currency debt or to replenishing its gold and forex reserves, says the prospectus. In 2016, the Finance Ministry has to allocate 164 billion rubles ($2.56 billion) for debt servicing, the RBK business daily reports.
Experts point out that the Russian authorities are deliberately selling bonds specifically to foreign investors.
''It is in the government's interest to use foreign investors' funds and to preserve those of domestic investors. In addition, when Russian debt instruments are bought by external investors, Russia ends up with a capital inflow, which is not the case when residents' funds are used,'' Konstantin Bushuyev, head of the market analysis section at the Moscow firm Otkrytie Broker, told RBTH.
The Russian economy, he continued, is preparing to move out of recession and the state may be interested in raising new borrowing.
Opportune momentThe Russian authorities have chosen a good moment for the placement, market participants believe.
''The Finance Ministry has made clever use of the placement window: The rating forecast has improved and there is talk of the harm being caused by the sanctions,'' said Georgy Vashchenko, head of Russian stock market operations at the Freedom Finance investment company in Moscow.
Earlier ratings agency Standard & Poor's confirmed Russia's sovereign credit ratings, having upgraded its forecast from negative to stable.
Meanwhile, U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden said that as many as five EU member states were ready to lift the sanctions against Russia, though individual states can act unilaterally '' the ultimate decision can only be taken by Brussels.
According to Bogdan Zvarich, an analyst with Moscow investment company Finam, the fact that demand was six times the amount of placement and the whole issue was bought by foreign investors ''shows that despite requests from the authorities in Europe and the U.S., economic expediency outweighed the political component.''
Zvarich says that now is a good time for external borrowing. Given that yields generated by the sovereign bonds of some European states are below zero, Russian Eurobonds have become an attractive instrument in terms of the risk-to-yield ratio, he said.
Cyber firm challenges Yahoo claim hack was state-sponsored
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 03:45
A man walks past a Yahoo logo during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain in this February 24, 2016 file photo. REUTERS/Albert Gea/File Photo - RTSP1H1
By Dustin Volz| WASHINGTONWASHINGTON A cyber security company on Wednesday asserted that the hack of 500 million account credentials from Yahoo was the work of an Eastern European criminal gang, adding another layer of intrigue to a murky investigation into the unprecedented data heist.
Arizona-based InfoArmor issued a report whose conclusion challenged Yahoo's position that a nation-state actor orchestrated the heist, disclosed last week by the internet company. InfoArmor, which provides companies with protection against employee identify theft, said the hacked trove of user data was later sold to at least three clients, including one state-sponsored group.
Reuters was unable to verify the report's findings. Yahoo declined comment. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the hack, did not return a call seeking comment.
A U.S. government source familiar with the Yahoo investigation said there was no hard evidence yet on whether the hack was state-sponsored. Attribution for cyber attacks is widely considered difficult in both the intelligence and research communities.
The task is made especially challenging by the fact that criminal hackers sometimes provide information to government intelligence agencies or offer their services for hire, making it hard to know who the ultimate mastermind of a hack might be.
Yahoo said last week that it only recently discovered the intrusion, which it blamed on a state-sponsored actor without providing technical evidence. Nation-state hackers are widely viewed as possessing more advanced capabilities than criminal groups, a perception that could benefit Yahoo as it works to minimize fallout from the breach and complete its sale to Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ.N)
InfoArmor concluded the Yahoo hackers were criminal after reviewing a small sample of compromised accounts, Andrew Komarov, the firm's chief intelligence officer, said in an interview.
The hackers, dubbed Group E, have a track record of selling stolen personal data on the dark web, and have been previously linked to breaches at LinkedIn, Tumblr and MySpace, Komarov said.
''They have never been hired by anyone to hack Yahoo," Komarov, who is from Russia, said. "They were simply looking for well known sites that had many users."
In an illustration of the confusion about who carried out the hack and why, an NBC News report Wednesday interpreted Komarov's findings as pointing to the Russian government as the ultimate perpetrator.
A Wall Street Journal report, which said that InfoArmor was able to crack encrypted passwords for some Yahoo accounts provided by the newspaper, came to the opposite conclusion.
(Reporting by Dustin Volz; Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball and Joseph Menn; Editing by Jonathan Weber and David Gregorio)
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BlackBerry avoids smartphone risk with outsource move: CEOWATERLOO, Ontario BlackBerry Ltd's decision to outsource the development of its smartphones helps it avoid the risks of a competitive market and focus on its more lucrative businesses of software and managing rival devices, its chief executive said on Wednesday.
Citigroup becomes last big U.S. bank to join payments networkNEW YORK Citigroup Inc on Wednesday became the last of the big U.S. banks to agree to allow customers to send instant payments by mobile phone over an industry network that is competing with upstart Venmo.
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A Game-Changing Document Has Surfaced About Keith Lamont Scott That's Exploding the Charlotte Shooting Narrative
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 22:03
The Keith Lamont Scott shooting has been an emotionally charged case made that much more incendiary by the release of video footage from his wife that added uncertainty about whether or not he had a gun, as was argued by police.
Scott, who suffered a traumatic brain injury following a near-death motorcycle crash in 2015, has been reported by his neighbors to walk around his neighborhood with "a cane and a book in his hand."
This is perfect narrative-setting of the "Gentle Giant" variety, and when a news publication engages in such deliberate framing by appeal to emotion, that's exactly when Americans need to demand facts.
Now a document has surfaced that brings further clarification to what police officers were asked to respond to at the scene of the tragic shooting.
As the Gaston Gazette reported, Scott's wife obtained a temporary restraining order about a year prior to the fatal incident:
On Oct. 5, a Gaston County District Court judge granted his wife a temporary restraining order. The court order told Scott not to go near his wife, three of their children and the children's schools.
He was not allowed near their Gastonia apartment they'd called home since April 2014, according to court documents. He was told to turn over a black 9mm handgun he owned illegally.
Further details about the restraining order, which was eventually lifted:
Eleven days later, Rakeyia Scott voluntarily dismissed the order against her husband, writing, ''He is no longer a threat to me and my family.''
But three days before she got the order, Keith Scott had kicked her, punched their 8-year-old in the head three times and threatened to kill her with the gun, she had written.
''He said he is a 'killer' and we should know that,'' she wrote.
She said the man she'd been married to since she was 18 did not have a gun permit and was a felon, having been incarcerated from April 2004 to April 2011.
She checked a box saying her husband had threatened her with the gun before.
This is narrative-destroying stuff: Scott's wife said her husband is a felon, that he is a "killer," he had punched their 8-year-old in the head three times, and threatened her with a gun.
As BuzzFeed News reported further about the stolen gun:
The gun recovered at the scene of Keith Lamont Scott's shooting was stolen, then later sold to the 43-year-old, multiple media outlets reported.
According to WSOC, the gun was reported stolen after a burglary. The suspect in that case '-- who has not been identified '-- reportedly told officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) that he then sold the gun to Scott.
The suspect in the burglary case is in custody, WTVD reported.
It is certainly a tragedy what happened to Keith Lamont Scott, and it very may well be that his traumatic brain injury contributed to his death. But another thing that is a tragedy in this country is a news media too eager to push incendiary narratives'--even to the point that people are rioting and destroying their own communities'--in the absence of all of the facts.
This is journalism in the twenty-first century. First, comes the media narrative. Sensational, explosive, always reinforcing the progressive narrative that America is unjust and the people have a right, no, an obligation, to protest.
Then comes the social outrage, and if the issue strikes enough of a raw nerve, the rioting. Thousands take to the streets, armed with media misinformation and false impressions that reinforce their belief that they are on the side of right.
Image Credit: Brian Blanco/Getty Images
Then, after the smoke clears and the rebuilding of shattered communities begins, after the news outlets have packed up the video equipment and writers have bundled up their laptops, come the facts.
As Mrs. Scott's restraining order, as well as the news about Keith Scott's stolen weapon reveals, police officers should at least be given some benefit of the doubt that a case is not as clear-cut as might be believed from a solitary, explosive video.
Editor's Note: This article was updated after publishing.
Keith Scott Was Carrying a Stolen Gun, Police Say''and His Wife Filed for a Restraining Order Against Him
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:32
Keith Scott was carrying a stolen gun when he was shot and killed during a confrontation with police in Charlotte, North Carolina, authorities have said.
The gun was reported stolen after a breaking and entering, according to the police.
A breaking and entering suspect told agents at the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives that he had sold the gun to Scott, ABC 11 reported Monday. He is now in custody.
Scott's wife Rakeyia, who filmed her husband's killing on Tuesday, had filed for a restraining order against him and had told authorities he carried a gun, hit her as well as one of her children and had threatened to kill her, records have shown.
Rakeyia detailed her husband's behavior in the filing in October last year. She said he had hit her and one of her children.
'He hit my 8 year old in the head a total of three times with is [sic] fist,' she wrote on the form published by TWC News.
'He kicked me and threaten [sic] to kill us last night with his gun. He said he is a ''killer'' and we should know that.'
The form asked whether there was any reason that law enforcement should consider the defendant a potential threat. Possible reasons included carrying concealed weapons while drinking alcohol and having threatened an officer.
Rakeyia ticked 'yes' and specified: 'He carries a 9mm black.'
She dismissed the protective order against Scott voluntarily on October 16, 11 days after filing it. The couple had seven children.
His friend Toccaro Harris said: 'It doesn't mean that he was bad. It doesn't mean that he had a right to get his life [taken].'
Scott, 43, had served more than eight years in Texas for evading arrest and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to TWC News.
He shot a man whom he believed was making threats against his family, according to his attorney.
Scott had also been convicted for assault with a deadly weapon and DWI in North Carolina.
{snip}
Original Article
Topics: Police Shootings
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Wed, 28 Sep 2016 18:30
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Zika
Senate Passes Spending Bill to Keep Government Running Through Dec. 9 - WSJ
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 01:10
Updated Sept. 28, 2016 5:07 p.m. ET WASHINGTON'--The Senate on Wednesday passed a short-term spending bill keeping the government running through early December, just days before its funding was slated to expire at midnight on Friday.
A weekslong partisan impasse over the bill broke when lawmakers agreed to provide federal assistance for residents of Flint, Mich., in separate legislation this year. That deal quickly paved the way for the Senate to pass a short-term spending bill, also known as a continuing resolution, that will keep the government funded through Dec. 9.
The spending bill is expected to clear the House as soon as Wednesday evening, and President Barack Obama will sign it into law before Friday.
The agreement to include Flint aid in a separate bill authorizing a range of water projects mitigated most Democrats' concerns that Congress would do nothing this year to help the city's residents, whose drinking water became contaminated with lead in 2014. Democrats had initially rejected the short-term spending bill because it includes flood relief for certain states, but no Flint aid.
The breakthrough came when House leaders agreed late Tuesday night to vote on an amendment to a water-resources bill, expected to clear the House Wednesday, which would authorize $170 million in aid for Flint residents later this year.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said on the Senate floor Wednesday that he could now give Flint residents ''the assurance that they're going to get some help.''
The Senate water bill, passed earlier this month, already includes Flint assistance that is structured differently. But Democratic lawmakers and leadership aides said they were confident that Flint residents would receive aid when lawmakers merge the House and Senate versions of the water bill when Congress returns to Washington after the November election.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said Wednesday that he has made clear to House leaders that he is ''very serious about defending the Senate position'' in the lame-duck negotiations and ''ensuring that Flint funding remains in the final bill.''
While some Democrats opposed the spending bill because it didn't include immediate aid for Flint, most said they felt comfortable with the two-bill solution. Twelve Democrats and 14 Republicans voted against it.
''I could not support a government spending bill that will''once again''force the citizens of Flint to wait on the help they so desperately need,'' said Sen. Gary Peters (D., Mich.)
But the White House backed the two-pronged approach to funding the government and providing Flint aid.
''The president was pleased to see this new commitment from Republicans to look out for those people in Flint that have had to suffer the consequences of the problems of the water supply,'' White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday.
''It's certainly the best path for Flint,'' said Rep. Dan Kildee (D., Mich.), who put together the House amendment to the water bill with Rep. John Moolenaar (R., Mich.), working with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Mr. McConnell late Tuesday.
Michigan Republicans helped persuade Mr. Ryan and other GOP lawmakers that the Flint crisis was more than just a local issue and deserved federal assistance. A panel appointed by the Michigan governor found that the governor and state officials were primarily accountable for the water contamination, but that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should have intervened in the crisis sooner.
''We need to make this right because the federal government, along with state and local government, made serious mistakes,'' Mr. Moolenaar said.
The spending bill also includes $500 million for disaster recovery in Louisiana and other states, and $1.1 billion in funding to combat the Zika virus, which is attached to the fiscal year 2017 military construction and Veterans Affairs spending bill, also included in the package.
That spending bill includes a measure from Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.) that would allow the VA for the next two years to use existing funds to cover the costs of assisted reproductive technology, of which in vitro fertilization is the most common, for veterans with service-connected injuries that prevent them from having children naturally. The VA has been banned from covering the costs of IVF since the early 1990s.
Some House Democrats are expected to oppose the spending bill, since it doesn't provide immediate help to Flint residents. Some Democrats are also unhappy that they weren't able to remove language from the spending bill that prevents the Securities and Exchange Commission from working on a rule that would require publicly traded companies to disclose political contributions.
Write to Kristina Peterson at kristina.peterson@wsj.com and Siobhan Hughes at siobhan.hughes@wsj.com
MH17
'We'll never know the truth:' Russian experts react to latest MH17 report | Russia Beyond The Headlines
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 01:43
The team researching the cause of the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 has determined that the aircraft was brought down by a missile launched from eastern Ukraine. Russian experts counter the claims by saying not all information related to the crash was taken into account and that Russia has become the world's scapegoat.
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The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crashed near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. Source: Reuters
The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) tasked with determining the cause of the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 published the second part of its report on Sept. 28.
After more than two years of investigations, the team has determined that the missile that brought down the airliner was fired from a BUK 9M38 missile fired from a field about 5 miles south of the town of Snezhnoye in eastern Ukraine '-- territory that at the time of the crash was controlled by rebel militias.
The launch site was determined from satellite images provided by the U.S. and Ukraine along with statements and photographs provided by witnesses.
The possible scenarios into the downing of flight MH17 are put on display during a press conference by the JIT on the preliminary results of the investigation in Nieuwegein, Netherlands, Sept. 28, 2016. / Source: AP
In announcing the release of the report, Dutch prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said that the commission has a list of about 100 names of people who might have been responsible for firing the missile and that the investigation into who fired the missile and who gave the order will continue. The report will be submitted as evidence in any court cases brought over the disaster.
Clashes over evidenceLeaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) immediately rejected the conclusions of the JIT report, calling them "lies," and the evidence, a distraction from the team's inability present any ''real proof.''
"They are making these declarations, but no one can present the evidence found in the U.S. photographs," said Eduard Basurin, deputy director of the DPR Defense Ministry, in an interview with Govorit Moskva radio. "Two years have gone by, but no one has seen these photographs. And Ukraine refuses to show the air space in its radars. They are deceiving everyone, they are lying.''
The photos to which Basurin was referring were shown when the report was presented and include photographs made by witnesses showing how the BUK was transported to the site as well as photographs of a scorched spot on the field, from which the missile was supposedly fired.
An hour before the JIT presentation began, Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said that the militias were irrefutably not involved in the crash of MH17, citing as evidence new data presented by Russian investigators two days earlier.
This evidence consists of information gathered by Russian radars along the Russian-Ukrainian border. According to the information, the missile could have been fired only from the side controlled by the Ukrainian army and therefore excludes the possibility that the missile was fired from the territory controlled by the militias. "The information is unambiguous and it shows no missile. If there had been a missile, it would have been fired only from the other territory," said Peskov. "'...This is something you can't argue with, you can't discuss it."
This latest Russian argument is not considered in the final report prepared by the investigative group.
'Russia is guilty of everything' Russian experts agree that, following the publication of the latest findings, global public opinion will blame Russia for the tragedy regardless of whether or not Russia is implicated by an international court.
Vyacheslav Igrunov, director of the International Institute of Humanitarian-Political Research, said that the question of Russia's guilt has already been answered by the Western elite. "And even if a court does not find Russia guilty, I don't think this mood will change,'' Igrunov said. ''Moreover, I don't think a court will pronounce a contrary verdict. In the best case, it will say that there was not enough evidence."
Russia is unlikely to recognize the jurisdiction of any court to which the matter might be referred, however. "It will judge us in absentia," said Andrei Suzdaltsev, deputy dean of the faculty of World Economy and Politics at the Higher School of Economics, noting that the consequence of any judgment could be very bad for Russia '-- and not just politically. A judgment could result in the seizure of Russian state property abroad.
Alexander Gusev, president of the International Union of Experts, thinks that the long time spent on the investigation is a sign that Russia is not actually to blame. "I assure you, we will never know the real reasons, because if Russia was in any way involved in this catastrophe, I am convinced, the West would have done everything necessary and published the material immediately, without waiting two-and-a-half years after the catastrophe," Gusev said in an interview with Kommersant radio.
Bad timingSuzdaltsev noted that the timing of the report's release was unfortunate, coming as the West and Russia faced off again over policies in Syria.
"The report accidently coincided with heavy discussion about the events in Syria: the bombing of Syrian government army positions and the outrage over the destroyed humanitarian convoy, for which Russia is being blamed," Suzdaltsev said.
On Sept. 26, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson requested that sanctions against Russia be introduced because of the bombing of an aid convoy heading to Aleppo on Sept. 19. On Sept. 28, several officials in Washington expressed support for Johnson's position.
Russian experts consider the introduction of new sanctions either over the incident in Syria or MH17 to be unlikely, however, as Russia was widely considered responsible for the airline disaster even before the investigation results were announced. Additionally, following the rounds of sanctions to which Russia already has been subjected due to its actions in Ukraine, there are few sectors left in which sanctions are still possible.
Nevertheless, Russia's response to the new report is unpredictable.
"Until now we have responded carefully and with restraint to accusations directed at us (with the athletes on the eve of the Olympics, for example), not initiating a strong confrontation. Tactically this is true, but practically there are problems. Russia is guilty of everything '-- this is turning into an axiom," Suzdaltsev said.
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JIT: Flight MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile from a farmland near Pervomaiskyi - Openbaar Ministerie
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 01:28
28 september 2016 - Landelijk Parket
The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. This was announced today by the JIT during a presentation for the relatives of the victims. Members of the JIT, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, are working together on the criminal investigation into the crash of flight MH17.
Today, the interim results of the criminal investigation which included the findings regarding the weapon and launch location were presented. The investigation into those responsible for the crash will take more time.
ScenariosAll forensic examinations, witness statements, telecom information, satellite images, radar data, findings by experts and other supporting evidence point to an attack by a ground based air defence system. In addition, the JIT has also investigated other alternative scenarios.
Of these alternative scenarios, an accident and evidence for a terrorist attack from inside the aircraft have been ruled out. Results from the forensic investigation support the scenario of an attack from outside the aircraft. The scenario that flight MH17 was shot down by a military aircraft was explored and discounted on the basis of radar data, witness testimonies and forensic research. The JIT has obtained sufficient radar data, both from Russia and Ukraine, which '' when viewed in conjunction '' provide a full picture of the airspace over eastern Ukraine. This shows that at the time of the crash, no other airplanes were in the vicinity that could have shot down flight MH17.
The Russian Federation mentioned last week that they have found 'new' primary radar images. Based on those images the Russian Federation concludes also that there was no second airplane that could have shot down MH17.
WeaponThe investigation demonstrated that flight MH17 was shot down by a 9M38 series BUK missile. Investigators have compared parts of the alleged weapon which were found at the crash site with reference material. This involved the dismantling of various types of BUK missiles from the 9M38 series and comparing this reference material with the metal parts recovered from the crash site.
On the right side animation 1: the weaponForensic investigationThe investigation team had to establish a link between the parts found and the downing of flight MH17. It had to be proven that the parts had not been in the area prior to the crash, and that they had not been placed there by third parties after the crash. The crash site was not fenced off for the purpose of forensic examination. It was clear that persons other than the investigators had access to the crash site.
Two examples of the link were presented:
During the autopsy of the bodies of the cockpit crew, several fragments were found that belonged to the warhead of a 9M38 series BUK missile. One of these fragments found showed traces of cockpit glass on the surface, which was the same unique type of glass that is used for the a Boeing 777. It was determined that the fragment pierced the aircraft from the outside through the cockpit window.In the frame of one of the cockpit windows a metal piece was found which was identified as a part of a 9M38 series BUK missile. This piece was located in a twisted position in the frame, making it clear that it was shot into the window frame with great force.On the right side animation 2: Forensic investigationTransport of the missile installationThe JIT has been able to identify a large part of the route concerning the arrival and the departure of the BUK-TELAR. This was the result of intercepted telephone conversations, witness statements, photographs and videos that had been posted on social media, and a video never shown before which was obtained from a witness. The system was transported from Russian territory into eastern Ukraine and was later transported on a white Volvo truck with a low-boy trailer. The truck was escorted by several other vehicles and by armed men in uniform.
Launch siteThe final destination of the BUK-system was on farmland near Pervomaiskyi. Evidence that supports this includes multiple witnesses who saw and photographed the condensation trail of the BUK missile and its movement through the air. Other witnesses were able to link the trail to the BUK-TELAR which they had seen earlier on 17 July 2014.
Witnesses were interviewed who had seen a plume of smoke, the BUK-TELAR at the launch site in Pervomaiskyi, and the missile right after it had been launched.
Journalists have spoken to witnesses who had seen the launch of the missile at a very short distance from the launch location. These witnesses testified that they heard a very loud noise and a high whistling sound.
After the BUK missile had been fired, the BUK-TELAR initially drove off under its own power. A short time later it was reloaded onto the Volvo truck and transported back to the Russian border. During the night, the convoy crossed the border into the territory of the Russian Federation.
On the right side animation 3 regarding the transport route and the launch sitePerpetratorsNow that we have established what happened, the investigation now focuses on the perpetrators. This will be a matter for the long haul. So far, the JIT has identified approximately 100 people who can be linked to the downing of MH17 or the transport of the BUK-TELAR. The JIT has been investigating these people through various sources, such as intercepted telephone conversations and witness statements.
In addition, an investigation is conducted into the chain of command. Who gave the order to bring the BUK-TELAR into Ukraine and who gave the order to shoot down flight MH17? Did the crew decide for themselves or did they execute a command from their superiors? This is important when determining the offences committed by the alleged perpetrators.
The JIT wishes to emphasise that it continues to seek additional information and evidence, including information from insider witnesses. Ukrainian law provides for lower sentences, and in certain circumstances relief from criminal liability, for those who cooperate with the investigation.
Furthermore, the website www.jitmh17.com now includes a number of intercepted telephone conversations. The JIT is now asking for information about certain people who participated in these conversations. People who can identify these voices are requested to report this to the JIT.
The JIT will be actively involved in the investigation in the coming period and for that reason the JIT agreement was extended yesterday, until 1 January 2018.
(Underlined text will include links to these websites)
Troubling Gaps in the New MH-17 Report '' Consortiumnews
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 01:28
Exclusive: The new accusation of Russian complicity in 2014 Malaysia Airlines shootdown was based on Ukrainian intelligence intercepts that were selectively interpreted while contrary information was ignored, writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
The key conclusion of the Dutch-led criminal inquiry implicating Russia in the 2014 shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 relied heavily on cryptic telephone intercepts that were supplied by the Ukrainian intelligence service and were given incriminating meaning not clearly supported by the words.
The investigators also seemed to ignore other intercepts that conflicted with their conclusions, including one conversation that appeared to be referring to a Ukrainian convoy, not one commanded by ethnic Russian rebels, that was closing in on the Luhansk airport, placing Ukrainian troops deep inside rebel territory.
A Malaysia Airways' Boeing 777 like the one that crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. (Photo credit: Aero Icarus from Z¼rich, Switzerland)
That conversation was among five that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) released in seeking the public's help in identifying persons of interest in the MH-17 shootdown. The callers seemed to discussing information from Moscow regarding the movement of a convoy, but they describe it as a ''Ukrops'' or Ukrainian troop convoy.
''B: I am saying about the confirmation of the convoy that is going in the direction of the airport'... Moscow/Moskva has confirmed'... they see it. Is it err'... whatsit'... Ukrops convoy?
''A: The convoy that is going in the direction of the airport? Yes.
''B: And how did it go through?
''A: Most likely through Sabovka,'' which the JIT interprets to be the town of Sabivka, about five miles west of Luhansk and about 92 miles northeast of Donetsk, the two rebel capitals. The Luhansk airport is about 20 miles south of the city center.
In other words, if this intercept from JIT is correct, the Ukrainian military was operating near the highway routes that the alleged Russian Buk missile battery would have been using. The conversation then picks up, referring to a possible battle for the airport:
''B: So, the convoy was confirmed. Where the convoy can be from?
''C: I don't know where it is going from. It's from west, isn't it?
''B: It's somehow going from west. From west. Fucking one and a half kilometres from the airdrome.
''C: From the airdrome?
''B: Yes.
''C: It can't be one and a half kilometres from the airdrome because there is a populated locality there, there are positions there. Probably'... I don't know. Will now try to do something. '... I think we will be receiving information soon'... our groups have left.
''B: Uh-huh.
''C: Ok. Well, if they come in the airport, will fight at the airport. What else can we do?
''B: Ok. I got you.''
Although it's difficult to know precisely what these callers are discussing, the conversation seems to refer to a potential battle for an airport, not the deployment of a Buk missile system.
Also, if Ukrainian forces had penetrated that deep into rebel territory, it is difficult to exclude that a Ukrainian Buk battery might have traveled along the southerly route H-21, which skirts Donetsk and then heads east toward the JIT's claimed firing site in a field near the town of Pervomaiskyi. H-21 then bends north toward Luhansk airport and the city of Luhansk.
The Ukrainian Buks
The JIT video report on the MH-17 case, which was released on Wednesday, also didn't address questions about the location of several Ukrainian Buk missile batteries that Dutch (i.e. NATO) intelligence placed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, the day that MH-17 was shot down. A finding from the Dutch intelligence service, MIVD, released last October, said the only high-powered anti-aircraft missile systems in eastern Ukraine at that time, capable of bringing down MH-17 at 33,000 feet and killing all 298 people onboard, belonged to the Ukrainian military, not the rebels.
A photograph of a Russian BUK missile system that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt published on Twitter in support of a claim about Russia placing BUK missiles in eastern Ukraine, except that the image appears to be an AP photo taken at an air show near Moscow two years earlier.
Although the location of the Ukrainian Buk systems would seem to be crucial to the investigation '-- at least in eliminating other suspects '-- JIT operates under an agreement with the Ukrainian government that lets it veto the release of information. Ukraine's SBU intelligence service, which represented the Kiev government in the JIT, also has among its official responsibilities the protection of secret information that could be damaging to Ukraine.
Regarding JIT's claim that the Buk missile system crossed over from Russian territory, the video report states: ''All telecom data and intercepted telephone calls that have been examined by the investigation team demonstrates that the Buk/TELAR (the self-contained operating system) was brought into Ukraine from the Russian Federation.''
But as evidence the JIT cites one phone intercept, which '' according to the JIT's translation '' does not use the word Buk though referencing a piece of equipment that can move on its own or be transported by truck. That could be a Buk system but could apply to many other weapons systems as well.
In the intercepted call, one speaker said, ''it crossed, crossed the line.'' The narrator of the JIT video report then adds, ''The Buk/TELAR crossed the line, in other words, it passed the border.'' But there are two assumptions here: that the unidentified weapon is a Buk and that the ''line'' means border. That could be the case but other interpretations are possible.
Another key point, the disputed location of the so-called ''getaway'' video of a Buk missile system missing one missile, is simply asserted as fact without an explanation as to how the JIT reached its conclusion placing the location near Luhansk.
While the Western mainstream media has given the JIT great credibility, the JIT itself has acknowledged a dependency on Ukraine's SBU, which shaped the inquiry by supplying its selection of phone intercepts.
Yet, the SBU is far from a neutral party in the investigation, nor does it have clean hands regarding the Ukrainian civil war that followed a U.S.-backed putsch ousting elected President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb. 22, 2014, and sparking an uprising among ethnic Russian Ukrainians who represented Yanukovych's political base in the east and south.
Since then, the SBU has been on the front lines of crushing the rebellion by using controversial tactics. In late June 2016, the United Nation's Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic accused the SBU of frustrating U.N. investigations into its alleged role in torture and other war crimes.
Simonovic criticized the SBU for ''not always providing access to all places where detainees may be kept. '... OHCHR (the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights) also continues to receive accounts about torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary and incommunicado detention by the SBU, especially in the conflict zone.
''Torture and threats to members of the families, including sexual threats, are never justifiable, and perpetrators will be held to account sooner or later. '... War crimes, crimes against humanity and grave breaches of human rights cannot be the subject of an amnesty.''
Yet, the SBU strongly influenced the direction of the JIT, which included Ukraine along with the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and Malaysia. The JIT agreement gave Ukraine veto power over what would be released '' even though Ukrainian military units were among the logical suspects in the MH-17 case,
Relying on Ukrainian Intelligence
Earlier this year, an internal report describing the JIT operation revealed how dependent the investigators had become on information provided by the SBU. According to the report, the SBU helped shape the MH-17 investigation by supplying a selection of phone intercepts and other material that would presumably not include sensitive secrets that would implicate the SBU's political overseers in Ukraine. But the JIT seemed oblivious to this conflict of interest, saying:
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as he arrives for a meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, on July 7, 2016. (State Department Photo)
''Since the first week of September 2014, investigating officers from The Netherlands and Australia have worked here [in Kiev]. They work in close cooperation here with the Security and Investigation Service of the Ukraine (SBU). Immediately after the crash, the SBU provided access to large numbers of tapped telephone conversations and other data. '...
''At first rather formal, cooperation with the SBU became more and more flexible. 'In particular because of the data analysis, we were able to prove our added value', says [Dutch police official Gert] Van Doorn. 'Since then, we notice in all kinds of ways that they deal with us in an open way. They share their questions with us and think along as much as they can.'''
The internal JIT report continued: ''With the tapped telephone conversations from SBU, there are millions of printed lines with metadata, for example, about the cell tower used, the duration of the call and the corresponding telephone numbers. The investigating officers sort out this data and connect it to validate the reliability of the material. '...
''By now, the investigators are certain about the reliability of the material. 'After intensive investigation, the material seems to be very sound', says Van Doorn, 'that also contributed to the mutual trust.'''
Another concern about how the SBU could manipulate the JIT investigation is that the long assignments of investigators in Kiev over a period of more than two years could create compromising situations. Kiev has a reputation as a European hotbed for prostitution and sex tourism, and there's the possibility of other human relationships developing between Australian and Dutch investigators and Ukrainian intelligence officers.
According to the JIT report, four investigating officers from Australia are stationed in Kiev on three-month rotations while Dutch police rotate in two teams of about five people each for a period of a ''fortnight,'' or two weeks.
The relative isolation of the Australian investigators further adds to their dependence on their Ukrainian hosts. According to the report, ''The Australian investigators find themselves a 26 hour flight away from their home country and have to deal with a large time difference. 'For us Australians, it is more difficult to get into contact with our home base, which is why our operation is quite isolated in Kiev', says [Andrew] Donoghoe,'' a senior investigating officer from the Australian Federal Police.
The SBU's assistance, however, did not lead to a rapid resolution of the MH-17 mystery, now more than two years old. The Dutch Safety Board report last October placed the spot of the suspected missile launch within a 320-square-kilometer area, including both government and rebel positions.
According to the Dutch intelligence service finding also released last October, the only anti-aircraft missiles in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, capable of hitting a plane flying at 33,000 feet belonged to the Ukrainian military.
There's also the dog-not-barking mystery of the curious silence from the U.S. intelligence community. Although Secretary of State John Kerry claimed to know the firing location immediately after the shootdown, the U.S. government went silent after CIA analysts had time to evaluate U.S. satellite, electronic and other intelligence data.
A source who was briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts told me that they saw the attack as a rogue Ukrainian operation involving a hard-line oligarch with the possible motive of shooting down Russian President Vladimir Putin's official plane returning from South America that day, with similar markings as MH-17. But I have been unable to determine if that assessment represented a dissident or consensus view inside the U.S. intelligence community.
For its part, the Russian government has denied supplying the eastern Ukrainian rebels with a Buk system although the rebels did possess shorter-range, shoulder-fired MANPADs.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
Fred Westerbeke-MH17 investigators say it is too early to blame Russia for crash | Russia Beyond The Headlines
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:16
Findings so far show the cause of the disaster, not who was responsible.
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Wilbert Paulissen of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) speaks on the preliminary results of the investigation into the shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines jetliner flight MH17 during a press conference in Nieuwegein, Netherlands, Sept. 28, 2016. Source: AP
Representatives of the Dutch-led Joint Investigative Team (JIT) researching the crash of MH17 in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine in July 2014 urged patience in attributing responsibility for the disaster at a press conference on Sept. 28 announcing the team's findings after more than two years of investigations.
Dutch prosecutor Fred Westerbeke, who heads the JIT, told reporters that the team has so far not identified any particular suspect, adding that it is too early to speak about their nationality or Russia's potential involvement.
The JIT report said that the team is "convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series." According to the JIT, there is also evidence that the missile was launched from a farmland near Pervomayskoye, to the south of Snezhnoye, which was under control of separatist militias. "So far, the JIT has identified approximately 100 people who can be linked to the downing of MH17 or the transport of the BUK-TELAR," the report said.
There is the need to have the full picture of who had ordered to transport BUK or shot down the plane and whether they made the decision independently or upon someone's order, Westerbeke told reporters.
The investigation into the MH17 crash may result in an international trial over the suspects, Westerbeke said, although it is also too early to speak about this possibility.
On July 17, 2014, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 passenger airliner traveling from the Dutch city of Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur crashed in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. Most of the passengers '-- 193 people '-- were Dutch nationals. The strike of a ground-to-air or air-to-air missile was named as a possible cause of the crash.
Ukrainian authorities and the militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic accused each other of responsibility for the tragedy. On July 21, the UN Security Council called for an independent investigation into the disaster. Russia's representatives have said on many occasions they are dissatisfied with how the investigation was carried out and that the data presented by the Russian side was ignored.
Source: TASS
Moscow to give Netherlands primary radiolocation data on Flight MH17>>>
28 Pages
Congress Votes to Override Obama Veto on 9/11 Victims Bill - NYTimes.com
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 23:49
WASHINGTON '-- An overwhelming majority in Congress on Wednesday overturned President Obama's veto of legislation that would allow families of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for any role in the plot, the first successful override vote of his presidency.
The 9/11 override is a remarkable yet complicated bipartisan rebuttal, even as some of its supporters conceded that they did not fully support the legislation they had just voted for. Mr. Obama and his allies vowed to find a way to tweak the legislation later.
In recent days, Mr. Obama, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all wrote letters to Congress warning of the dangers of overriding the veto.
The law ''could be devastating to the Department of Defense and its service members,'' Mr. Obama wrote, ''and there is no doubt that the consequences could be equally significant for our foreign affairs and intelligence communities.'' The White House and some lawmakers were already plotting how they could weaken the law in the near future.
Yet most of Mr. Obama's greatest allies on Capitol Hill, who have labored for nearly eight years to stop most bills he opposes from even crossing his desk, turned against him, joining Republicans in the remonstrance.
''This is a decision I do not take lightly,'' said Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and one of the authors of this legislation. ''This bill is near and dear to my heart as a New Yorker, because it would allow the victims of 9/11 to pursue some small measure of justice, finally giving them a legal avenue to pursue foreign sponsors of the terrorist attack that took from them the lives of their loved ones.''
Only one senator, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, sided with the president as 97 others voted Wednesday to override. In the House, the veto override was approved a few hours later, 348 to 77.
The bill succeeded not with significant congressional debate or intense pressure from voters, but rather through the sheer will of the victims' families, who seized on the 15th anniversary of the attack and an election year to lean on members of Congress. That effort was aided by the waning patience of lawmakers with the kingdom in recent years.
The Senate vote also represents another White House miscalculation on Capitol Hill, where it was once again slow to pressure members and to see the cracks in its firewall against the bill.
Further, the veto override, while thrilling to many Republicans, came on a bill that was far from the Republicans' priorities of unraveling the health care law and pushing back on government regulations. Nor was it a measure they had hoped to secure with the president's help, like overhauling the tax code or passing a major trade agreement.
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Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, gave voice to the unusual ambivalence that many members of Congress have expressed since they together unanimously passed the bill.
''I do want to say I don't think the Senate nor House has functioned in an appropriate manner as it relates to a very important piece of legislation,'' said Mr. Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who presumably could have played a role in the hearings and debate he said went lacking. ''I have tremendous concerns about the sovereign immunity procedures that would be set in place by the countries as a result of this vote,'' which he then cast.
The measure would amend a 1976 law that granted other countries broad immunity from American lawsuits, allowing nations to be sued in federal court if they are found to have played any role in terrorist attacks that killed Americans on United States soil.
For several weeks this summer, a handful of Republican senators blocked the bill as they worked to soften its impact.
They managed to add a provision that would allow the executive branch to halt the litigation if the executive branch proved in court that good-faith negotiations for a settlement with a nation were underway. This would preserve the executive branch's purview over foreign policy while still giving a pathway for family members to sue.
The Senate then voted unanimously to pass the bill and send it to the House, with many lawmakers and many White House officials believing that the House would never take up the legislation. Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin has made skeptical remarks about the measure, and Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia and chairman of the House Judiciary committee, did little with it.
Then earlier this month, Mr. Ryan, who had encountered families of the Sept. 11 victims at a fund-raiser on Long Island, reversed suddenly his usual position of bringing no major bill to the House floor that had not passed muster with the relevant committee, and put the bill on a fast track. The House voted hastily and overwhelmingly in favor, sending it to Mr. Obama's desk.
This led to some of the bill's co-sponsors to express fear that it would actually become law.
The bill's path reflects a growing desire to re-examine Washington's alliance with Saudi Arabia, which for decades has been a cornerstone of American foreign policy in the Middle East, and deep ambivalence, especially among Republicans, of how to move forward.
Shortly before the vote to override, for instance, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, fast-tracked a vote on a measure that sought to block the sale of some tanks to the kingdom, which failed, signaling to Saudi Arabia that Congress had not turned its back on the nation.
Saudi Arabia has warned the Obama administration and members of Congress that the law could force them to sell off hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of American assets to avoid them from being seized in court settlements. Next came the argument, made by the kingdom's phalanx of lobbyists, that the law would expose the United States to lawsuits abroad and possibly cause complications for its armed forces.
That view was rejected on the Senate floor Wednesday. ''This is pretty much close to a miraculous occurrence,'' said Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas and one of the biggest champions of the measure, noting how divided Congress is generally along partisan lines. ''All of us have come together and agreed that this is appropriate and the right thing to do,'' he said.
The Senate vote was less a swipe at Saudi Arabia, he added, and more about giving victims a voice. ''When our interests diverge and it's a question of protecting American rights and American values, I think we should do that,'' he said. ''This is not about severing our relationship with any ally. This is simply a matter of justice.''
Shut Up Slave!
After New York Attack, Congress Wants TSA to Secure Amtrak, Buses - Bloomberg
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 20:37
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration is one of those federal agencies that tends to inspire intense reactions among the traveling public. It's a bureaucracy that interacts with millions of passengers each day, requiring their shoes, jackets, laptops'--and time.
Virtually all this occurs at airports, with about 80 percent of the agency's $7.4 billion budget spent on aviation security. Only 2 percent of the TSA's funding goes to surface transportation, according to a report by the Office of Inspector General earlier this month. Congress is looking to change that.
Several U.S. senators want the TSA to focus more attention and resources on rail, highway, and marine transportation, which would mean greater security oversight at such places as Amtrak stations and Megabus coach stops. A bipartisan bill introduced Thursday by Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) would require the TSA to use a risk-based security model for these transport modes and to budget money based on those risks. It would require a wider use of the agency's terrorist watch list by train operators and more detailed passenger manifests along with tighter screening of marine employees. The legislation also would increase the TSA's canine use by as many as 70 dog-handler teams for surface transportation.
Lest you begin hyperventilating, it's virtually impossible to envision airport-style screening detectors or security queues snaked around America's train and bus passenger depots. ''This is very much not creating for bus or rail transportation the [security] model that exists for aviation,'' said Frederick Hill, a spokesman for theSenate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which Thune chairs.
Moreover, it's unlikely Congress has the will or the wherewithal to fund any massive increase in TSA personnel, already stretched thin this year to handle airport staffing amid budget cuts. In the spring, airline passengers experienced extreme delays at many of the largest airports, leading to a national outcry and quick injection of funds from Congress. The TSA also shifted security agents among airports to ease the crisis. Now, with a budget impasse brewing on Capitol Hill, sufficient funding may again pose a problem for the agency.
The new bill ''addresses gaps inTSA's approach to assessing security risks and will help the agency better fulfill its role as a hub of analysis, planning, and information,'' Thune said in a statement. Thune and a co-sponsor, Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), also pointed to the Sept. 18 incident in which police in Elizabeth, N.J., and the FBI were summoned to a train station after a bag containing pipe bombs was discovered. The day before, a device exploded harmlessly in a garbage can in Seaside Heights, N.J., and 29 people were injured in a bombing on a Manhattan street. Ahmad Khan Rahami was arrested Sept. 19 on charges related to the attacks.
The legislation, co-sponsored by Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), also came less than two weeks after the Homeland Security Department's Inspector General criticized the agency for gaps in its approach to nonaviation security. ''TSA's publicized 'intelligence-driven, risk-based approach' was designed for the aviation mode and chiefly for air passenger screening,'' auditors wrote. The report also said the TSA lacks a formal process for using risk in its budgeting decisions. The TSA is developing a risk-based security protocol for all transport modes and for allocating its budgets. The agency'--which concurred with the recommendations in the IG report'--expects to complete the process in 2017.
TSA spokesman Michael England declined to comment on pending legislation.
Amtrak wouldn't be required to use TSA watch lists or other resources, but the bill would force the TSA to give the rail operator access to its Secure Flight program within six months, if Amtrak directors requested it. Spokesman Craig Schulz said Amtrak looks forward to working with Thune's committee to develop a ''comprehensive policy that helps keep the passenger rail system secure.''
Lanesha Gipson, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based Greyhound Lines Inc., said the bus operator hasn't yet reviewed the bill. To date, the TSA has conducted security inspections at 33 terminals in Greyhound's network, Gipson said in an e-mail. ''Additional assistance making sure our passengers, employees and buses are safe'' would be welcome, said Sean Hughes, a spokesman for Megabus.com, owned by U.K.-based Stagecoach Group Plc.
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EuroLand
Exclusive: Poland will only agree EU approval of Paris climate deal on its terms - minister | Reuters
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 22:01
Mon Sep 26, 2016 | 5:32 PM EDT
ByAlissa de Carbonnel|BRUSSELS
BRUSSELS Poland will only sign off on accelerated EU approval of the Paris climate deal on its own terms, its environment minister said in a letter to EU counterparts, casting doubt on a push by the bloc for adoption ahead of U.N. climate talks in November.
In the letter dated Monday and seen by Reuters, Jan Szyszko says Poland, whose economy is heavily dependent on coal, would consent to fast-tracked ratification "only on terms that take into account the specificity of the Polish economy".
EU environment ministers meet on Friday for an extraordinary meeting to seek consensus on a proposal to fast-track the bloc's ratification of the deal to curb global warming without waiting for each member state to first do so individually.
But Poland's demands could derail the efforts to overcome an embarrassing delay in the bloc's own ratification of the pact that Europe has long championed.
The stakes are high because if the EU, the world's third-largest emitter, is able to agree before Oct. 7, it could win the symbolic prize of triggering the accord's formal adoption.
The Paris deal on slashing greenhouse gas emissions takes effect once at least 55 nations making up at least 55 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions ratify it.
EU officials see their leadership in helping to secure the backing of nearly 200 countries for the global pact as a rare bright spot for a bloc now struggling with Britain's decision to leave the Union and sharp divisions over migration.
They want to fast-track ratification of the deal to keep temperature increases to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius and avoid a delay that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker this month described as "ridiculous" and damaging to the bloc's credibility.
EU energy chief Maros Sefcovic told Reuters earlier on Monday that Poland was on board with the plans.
"The European Commission is in intensive talks with all member states so that they are able to reach a political consensus at the extraordinary meeting of environment ministers to ratify the Paris treaty jointly as the EU," he said.
"At a recent Bratislava summit, all leaders including Poland's PM agreed to ratify it as soon as possible ... I am convinced that the Slovak presidency will be successful at finalizing negotiations on ratification."
But when EU regulators unveiled plans in July for spreading the burden of the bloc's climate goal of at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 among member states, Poland objected to its target of a reduction in discharges by 7 percent.
"Poland shall consent to ratify the Paris Agreement by the EU, provided that our reduction achievements made so far under the Kyoto Protocol and the specificity of our national energy mix are considered," Szyszko said in Monday's letter.
"Poland is a country rich in energy sources and its energy security, based on its own resources, that is hard coal and lignite is the foundation of Poland's economy and sustainable development."
Last October, Poland's president unexpectedly vetoed 2012's Doha amendment which extends the protocol until 2020, arguing that the country needed more time to analyze its impact on the economy.
(Reporting by Alissa De Carbonnel, additional reporting by Tatiana Jancarikova in Bratislava; Editing by Catherine Evans)
Exclusive: Poland will only agree EU approval of Paris climate deal on its terms - minister
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 22:00
The sun shines through trees in a protected area of Bialowieza forest, the last primeval forest in Europe, near Bialowieza village, Poland, May 30, 2016. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo
BRUSSELS Poland will only sign off on accelerated EU approval of the Paris climate deal on its own terms, its environment minister said in a letter to EU counterparts, casting doubt on a push by the bloc for adoption ahead of U.N. climate talks in November.
In the letter dated Monday and seen by Reuters, Jan Szyszko says Poland, whose economy is heavily dependent on coal, would consent to fast-tracked ratification "only on terms that take into account the specificity of the Polish economy".
EU environment ministers meet on Friday for an extraordinary meeting to seek consensus on a proposal to fast-track the bloc's ratification of the deal to curb global warming without waiting for each member state to first do so individually.
But Poland's demands could derail the efforts to overcome an embarrassing delay in the bloc's own ratification of the pact that Europe has long championed.
The stakes are high because if the EU, the world's third-largest emitter, is able to agree before Oct. 7, it could win the symbolic prize of triggering the accord's formal adoption.
The Paris deal on slashing greenhouse gas emissions takes effect once at least 55 nations making up at least 55 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions ratify it.
EU officials see their leadership in helping to secure the backing of nearly 200 countries for the global pact as a rare bright spot for a bloc now struggling with Britain's decision to leave the Union and sharp divisions over migration.
They want to fast-track ratification of the deal to keep temperature increases to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius and avoid a delay that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker this month described as "ridiculous" and damaging to the bloc's credibility.
EU energy chief Maros Sefcovic told Reuters earlier on Monday that Poland was on board with the plans.
"The European Commission is in intensive talks with all member states so that they are able to reach a political consensus at the extraordinary meeting of environment ministers to ratify the Paris treaty jointly as the EU," he said.
"At a recent Bratislava summit, all leaders including Poland's PM agreed to ratify it as soon as possible ... I am convinced that the Slovak presidency will be successful at finalizing negotiations on ratification."
But when EU regulators unveiled plans in July for spreading the burden of the bloc's climate goal of at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 among member states, Poland objected to its target of a reduction in discharges by 7 percent.
"Poland shall consent to ratify the Paris Agreement by the EU, provided that our reduction achievements made so far under the Kyoto Protocol and the specificity of our national energy mix are considered," Szyszko said in Monday's letter.
"Poland is a country rich in energy sources and its energy security, based on its own resources, that is hard coal and lignite is the foundation of Poland's economy and sustainable development."
Last October, Poland's president unexpectedly vetoed 2012's Doha amendment which extends the protocol until 2020, arguing that the country needed more time to analyze its impact on the economy.
(Reporting by Alissa De Carbonnel, additional reporting by Tatiana Jancarikova in Bratislava; Editing by Catherine Evans)
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Brazil police arrest ex-finance minister Palocci in graft probeRIO DE JANEIRO Brazilian police on Monday arrested Antonio Palocci, a powerful former finance minister and presidential chief of staff in recent Workers Party (PT) governments, as a sweeping anti-corruption probe hit even harder at the left-leaning party.
Vietnamese court decisions against bloggers, activist troubling: U.S.WASHINGTON Two decisions by Vietnamese courts sentencing a land rights activist to jail and upholding prison terms for two political bloggers are a concern for the United States, the U.S. State Department said on Monday.
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Euro ''Might Start To Unravel'' If Collapse Of Deutsche Bank | Zero Hedge
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 03:51
The euro "might start to unravel" if Deutsche Bank collapses according to respected financial journalist Matthew Lynn. "It all has a very 2008 feel to it ..." he warns in the Telegraph where he outlines his growing concerns about Deutsche Bank, concerns we have written about in recent months. He writes:
Our image of German banks, and the German economy, as completely rock solid is so strong that it takes a lot to persuade us they might be in trouble.
And yet it has become increasingly hard to ignore the slow-motion car crash that is Deutsche Bank, or to avoid the conclusion that something very nasty is developing at what was once seen as Europe's strongest financial institution. Its shares have been in free-fall for a year, touching a new low of 10.7 euros on Monday, down from 27 euros a year ago. Over the weekend, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel waded into the mess, briefing that there could be no government bail-out of the bank.
But hold on. Surely that is an extra-ordinary decision? If the German government does not stand behind the bank, then inevitably all its counter-parties '' the other banks and institutions it deals with '' are going to start feeling very nervous about trading with it. As we know from 2008, once confidence starts to evaporate, a bank is in big, big trouble. In fact, if Deutsche does go down, it is looking increasingly likely that it will take Merkel with it '' and quite possibly the euro as well.
Merkel is playing a very dangerous game with Deutsche '' and one that could easily go badly wrong. If her refusal to sanction a bail-out is responsible for a Deutsche collapse that could easily end her Chancellorship. But if she rescues it, the euro might start to unravel. It is hardly surprising that the markets are watching the relentless decline in its share price with mounting horror.
We have warned about Deutsche Bank and its massive derivative book and potential insolvency for many months now - seeFed's Annual Stress Tests: Deutsche Bank & Santander Fail CEOs of Deutsche Bank ''Shown Door'' '' Trouble Brewing at World's Largest Holder of Derivatives?
Gold and Silver Bullion - News and Commentary
Gold extends losses as dollar, stocks rise (Reuters)
Gold prices mostly steady in Asia as rates, politics and OPEC mix (Investing)
WTO cuts 2016 world trade growth forecast to 1.7 percent, cites wake-up call (Reuters)
City-by-city look as house price gains slow (MarketWatch)
IMF sounds alarm bells over trade slowdown and low inflation (Telegraph)
What the return of politics means for your money (MoneyWeek)
Dollar Going the Way of the Denarius (InternationalMan)
Transition of Price Discovery in the Global Gold and Silver Market (SafeHaven)
Will Deutsche Bank's Collapse Be Worse Than Lehman Brothers? (GoldEagle)
Deutsche Bank To Blow Up and Create Euro "Chaos"? (DollarCollapse)
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CEOs of Deutsche Bank ''Shown Door'' - Trouble Brewing?
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 03:53
'' Deutsche co-CEOs announce ''resignation'' nine months before their contracts expire'' Only two weeks ago, CEO Anshu Jain was given more power to reorganise the bank'' Deutsche have been engaged in money laundering, tax evasion, derivative and manipulation scandals'' Deutsche is world's largest holder of financial weapons of mass destruction (FWMD)'' Deutsche Bank's derivatives position almost 15 times as large as Germany's GDP'' Announcement follows Greek failure to pay IMF on Friday and growing financial risk The joint CEO's of Germany's largest bank, Deutsche Bank, the twelfth largest bank globally in terms of assets, unexpectedly announced their resignation over the weekend. Anshu Jain will resign at the end of this month, almost two years ahead of schedule while Juergan Fitschen will stay on until May of next year.
It is believed they resigned but some media reported that the CEOs heads had ''rolled'', they were ''shown the door'' and Reuters reporting that Deutsche had ''purged its leadership.''
The announcement followed what Deutsche Bank described as ''an extraordinary meeting'' over the weekend. It is particularly surprising given that Jain had been granted extra powers at the bank only two weeks ago to reorganise the scandal plagued lender.
In the past year Deutsche, like many international banks, have been found to have been engaged in a slew of corrupt practices from manipulation of interest rates, for which the firm was fined $2.5 billion in April, to tax evasion and money laundering to ''mis-selling'' of derivatives.
Deutsche Bank's derivatives position is truly enormous. It was recently estimated to be around $54 trillion. Germany's GDP, the fourth largest in the world, was a mere $3.64 trillion in 2015. Were Deutsche Bank caught off-side in its derivatives positions there is not a government or institution on earth that could bail it out and it could lead to contagion in the German financial system and indeed in the global financial system.
The contagion from such an event would be devastating. It is for this reason that Warren Buffet described derivatives as WMD or ''financial weapons of mass destruction.''
It is unnerving that the shock resignation should follow an ''extraordinary meeting'' over the weekend following the failure of Greece to meet its scheduled payment to the IMF on Friday.
This does not count as a Greek default but it increases the risk of a default on the amalgamated 1.5 billion euros that now must be paid by the end of June. A default and the triggering of credit default losses would cause massive volatility in financial markets and potentially destabilise an already shaky global bond market and global financial system.
There have been a number of shocks to the market this year which would have been expected to have led to sharp losses in the derivatives market but slipped quietly by.
The debris caused by the massive volatility in the Swiss Franc following its being unpegged from the Euro '' where it spiked 30% in minutes in January '' seems to have been swept under the carpet. Austria's bad bank Heta failed in late February with apparently no casualties.
We do not know what provoked the dramatic reversal in attitude to Anshu Jain at Deutsche Bank but it looks very much like the bank may be getting its house in order in anticipation of another major scandal or crisis. When said crisis breaks the responsibility can be dumped on the previous leadership.
Since Warren Buffett's initial warning in 2002 , 13 years ago, he has been remarkably quiet on the real and growing threat to global markets and the global financial system. Despite the fact that the scale of the risk today is of an order of magnitude greater now than it was then.
This is unfortunate given the global financial system itself is far more volatile and casino like today than it was in 2002.Sucking on the teet of Wall Street can lead to self induced omerta.
The global derivatives market is highly complex, totally unregulated and frighteningly large. One of the world's leading derivatives experts, Paul Wilmott, who holds a doctorate in applied mathematics from Oxford University, has warned that the so-called notional value of the worldwide derivatives market is over $1.4 quadrillion.
A quadrillion is an incomprehensibly massive figure: it is 1,000 times a trillion or 1 with 12 zeros. A trillion is 1,000,000,000,000 and a quadrillion has 15 zeros '' 1,000,000,000,000,000. The annual gross domestic product of the entire planet is between $50 trillion and $60 trillion. Thus, the derivatives markets notional value is more than 23 times the size of the value of all of the goods and services traded in global economy in one full year.
The crisis in Greece, the rumblings in the global bond market and indeed in Europe's fourth largest bank and the threat posed by financial weapons of mass destruction should give cause for concern. It is another reason to reduce allocations to stock and bond markets and increase allocations to gold.
The real systemic risk of today is another reason to ensure owning allocated and segregated gold in the safest vaults in the safest jurisdictions in the world.
Must Read Guide: 7 Key Gold Must Haves
MARKET UPDATE
Today's AM LBMA Gold Price was USD 1,173.40, EUR 1,053.32 and GBP 769.85 per ounce.Friday's AM LBMA Gold Price was USD 1,175.90, EUR 1,044.25 and GBP 767.82 per ounce.
Gold and silver were both down last week '' down 1.58 percent and 3.77 percent respectively.
Silver in USD '' 10 Years
Gold fell $6.10 or 0.52 percent Friday to $1,170.90 an ounce. Silver slipped $0.08 or 0.49 percent to $16.10 an ounce.
Gold in Singapore for immediate delivery ticked lower and then higher and was up 0.1 percent to $1,172.86 an ounce an ounce near the end of the day, while gold in Switzerland was again flat. A stronger dollar, near a 13 year high verses the yen, may have contributed to gold's recent weakness.
After Friday's U.S. nonfarm payrolls report showed its largest growth since December, up 280,000 from last month, gold sunk to an eleven week low at $1,162.35 an ounce. The payrolls figure was significantly higher than the 225,000 that analysts were expecting. Although some question the veracity of the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs numbers.
The jobs number led to renewed idle speculation that the U.S. Fed may start to raise interest rates in September.
A senior U.S. official today denied a news wire report that President Barack Obama had told a Group of Seven industrial nations' summit that the strong dollar was a problem.
Bloomberg News earlier quoted a French official as saying Obama had made the comment. ''The President did not state that the strong dollar was a problem,'' the U.S. official said. He made a point that he has made previously, a number of times: that global demand is too weak and that G7 countries need to use all policy instruments, including fiscal policy as well as structural reforms and monetary policy, to promote growth.''
Sentiment in the euro zone weakened further in June as the Greek debt crisis and a slightly firmer single currency prompted investors to pare back their expectations for the economy. Sentix research group's index tracking morale among investors and analysts in the euro area slipped to 17.1 in June from 19.6 in May. That was below the Reuters consensus forecast for a reading of 18.7. The world's largest gold back ETF, the SPDR Gold Trust, saw holdings drop 0.17 percent to 708.70 tonnes on Friday,its lowest since mid January. This shows poor sentiment in the gold market.
In South Africa, the Mineworkers and Construction Union said yesterday it would launch a strike if its rival union and gold mining companies impose a wage deal on its members.
In late European trading gold is up 0.31 percent at $1,174.81 an ounce. Silver is up 0.08 percent at $16.11 an ounce and platinum is up 0.41 percent at $16.11 an ounce.
Breaking News and ResearchHere
WE WON-Fed's Annual Stress Tests: Deutsche Bank & Santander Fail
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 03:53
'' Largest banks in Germany and Spain fail Federal Reserve's 'stress tests''' Stress tests designed to assess whether lenders can withstand another financial crisis'' U.S. subsidiaries fail Fed stress tests on ''widespread and critical deficiencies'' in identifying risks'' Deutsche and Santander bank fail on ''qualitative'' grounds'' 28 out of 31 banks passed the stress test, with Bank of America required to resubmit plans'' Both Deutsche and Santander passed questionable ECB stress tests in October'' Developing bail-in regime poses risks to depositors
The Federal Reserve has issued a stinging rebuke to two of Europe's largest banks '' Deutsche Bank and Santander.
U.S. operations of Deutsche, Germany's largest bank, and Santander, the biggest bank in Spain and a large player in the UK market, were found to have serious deficiencies in capital planning and risk management, according to a senior Federal Reserve official.
Key Bail-In Considerations
The systems by which European banks assess risk have been called into question following the failure of the U.S. subsidiaries of the two major European banks to meet criteria set out in the Federal Reserve's stress tests.
The subsidiaries of both Deutsche Bank and Banco Santander failed the stress tests for ''qualitative'' reasons among which were their inability to accurately identify risk and to respond realistically to losses.
The annual Fed 'stress tests' aim to ensure banks are capable of functioning during periods of ''financial stress''.
Of the 31 banks tested, 28 passed although the Wall Street Journal reports that some big banks ''struggled''. Bank of America did not pass the test and has been asked to resubmit its plans.
It is unsettling that the two banks that failed the stress test are subsidiaries of European banks that comfortably passed the ECB's stress test in October. As we pointed out at the time, the ECB test was of questionable value as it didn't even model in a potential deflation scenario '' despite early signs of and risks of deflation.
Within a few short months Europe was experiencing deflation, demonstrating a lack of competence and or foresight at the ECB. The health and viability of Europe's banking sector would not appear to be as sound as the ECB has suggested to investors, depositors and the public.
Equally troubling, is the fact that Deutsche Bank, who have derivatives exposure of over a whopping '‚¬54 trillion '' almost nine times the GDP of the entire Eurozone '' has serious issues with risk management.
Warren Buffett's ''financial weapons of mass destruction'' '' how are you?
Should Deutsche Bank or any other similarly exposed European bank suffer substantial losses it could trigger a major derivatives and or solvency crisis '' and contagion in the financial system. With sovereigns and central banks having already badly damaged their balance sheets '' another Lehman style crisis may be one which no nation or multi-national institution could resolve.
The best case scenario would involve bail-outs and bail-ins. The worst case scenario would involve currency devaluations internationally and a consequent destruction of wealth.
An allocation to physical gold outside of the banking system will protect savers and investors in such a scenario.
DownloadProtecting Your Savings In The Coming Bail-In Era(11 pages)
DownloadFrom Bail-Outs To Bail-Ins: Risks and Ramifications '' Includes 60 Safest Banks In World (51 pages)
MARKET UPDATE
Today's AM fix was USD 1,161.25, EUR 1,094.90 and GBP 774.48 per ounce.Yesterday's AM fix was USD 1,158.75, EUR 1,096.06 and GBP 769.42 per ounce.
Gold fell 0.63%percent or $7.30 and closed at $1,154.00 an ounce yesterday, while silver slipped 0.45% or $0.18 to $15.50 an ounce.
Gold in USD '' 5 Years
In Singapore, bullion for immediate delivery rose initially prior to falling and was marginally lower at $1,160.05 an ounce.
In London, spot gold in late morning trading is $1,160.38 up 0.41 percent. Silver is $15.67, gaining 1 percent while platinum is $1,127.23, climbing 0.48 percent.
Gold rose above the key psychological level of $1,150 this morning after the U.S. dollar gave up some of the recent outsize gains against the euro. Gold's gain could be attributed to speculators scrambling to cover shorts on the yellow metal and some seeing gold as good value at these levels.
Gold has racked up an 8 day losing streak in dollars and is now showing a loss in dollars of nearly 3 percent for 2015 but gains of 11% in euro terms '' see table.
Yesterday's stock market free fall erased 2015 gains for the S&P 500 and Dow industrials, meaning that stocks too are negative for the year.
The S&P 500 closed 1.7%, lower at 2,044.2, it is biggest one-day percentage decline in nine weeks. Selling on Wall Street was broad based, with all 10 main sectors finishing with losses.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.9%, to 17,662.9, it is worst point drop since Oct 9, 2014.
The Nasdaq Composite ended the day down 1.7%, at 4,859.8, on the 15th anniversary of its all-time high.
Sentiment towards gold is very negative after the recent gains and gold is due a bounce.
Interestingly, according to Amanda Cooper of Thomson Reuters posting in the Global Gold Forum:
''Until yesterday, gold had fallen for 8 days in a row, which is pretty steep going even for the gold market when it gets gloomy. The last time gold fell that many days in a row was March 2009.
A closer look at the chart reveals that gold has only ever fallen by that many days in a row three times since the gold standard was abolished in the 1970s. Since Reuters gold data began in 1968, gold has only fallen for 9 days once, back in August 1973.''
It takes a brave or foolish investor to buy after such falls and will always caution never to ''catch a falling knife''. However, an attractive buying opportunity looks set to soon present itself and dollar cost averaging into position remains prudent.
Updates and Award Winning ResearchHere
HAMS
Solar storm heading towards Earth threatening to break your Sky TV and mobile phones | Science | News | Daily Express
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 04:43
GETTY
A solar storm is heading towards EarthModern-day Britain could go into meltdown after scientists forecast the solar storm to hit between now and Friday which could wreak havoc with technology.
Solar storms affect Earth's technology as radiation is thrown at the planet from the Sun.
While humans are protected from the radiation by the atmosphere, the rays can heat the outer atmosphere, causing it to expand which can affect satellites in orbit. That could lead to a lack of GPS navigation, mobile phone signal and satellite TV such as Sky.
Furthermore, higher currents in the magnetosphere '' the Earth's magnetic field '' could lead to a surge of electricity in power lines, which can blow out electrical transformers and power stations leading to a temporary loss of electricity in a region '' although this usually only occurs in areas that are in high altitude.
Related articlesGETTY
Solar storms could wreak havoc on satellitesThe US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says a coronal hole has opened on the Sun, leading to a stream of solar particles hurtling towards Earth.
According to SpaceWeatherLive: ''The magnetic field of a coronal hole is different than the rest of the Sun. Instead of returning to the surface, these magnetic field lines stay open and stretch out into space.''
NASA
A coronal hole on the sunAs a result, Earth is expected to be hit by a swarm of particles in the coming days which, on a better note, could cause the Northern Lights to be visible.
Mauro Messerotti, from the University of Trieste the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) warned that the hole ''extends for about 30 per cent of the disk of the sun'' and that the structure ''may persist for more than a month because these holes sometimes last for more than one full rotation of the sun, which lasts 28 days.''
GETTY
An illustration of a solar flare hitting EarthCoronal holes such as this are more common when the solar minimum is approaching '' a period every 11 years when solar activity is at its lowest '' with the next one due between 2018 and 2019.
Mr Messerotti explained that in the coronal holes,"the magnetic fields of the sun are projected outside into the interplanetary space and accelerate the flow of particles from our star.''
Related articles
NA-Tech News
Uber researching new vertical takeoff ride offering, says product head Jeff Holden
Sun, 25 Sep 2016 22:25
In an onstage interview with me today at the Nantucket Conference, Uber products head Jeff Holden said the fast-growing ride sharing company was seriously looking at a new form of transportation to offer its customers: Short-haul flying in cities.
Called VTOL'--which stands for vertical takeoff and landing'--Holden said that he has been researching the area, "so we can someday offer our customers as many options as possible to move around." He added that "doing it in a three-dimensional way is an obvious thing to look at."
Holden said in the interview that such technology could be in use within a decade, which is an aggressive prediction given issues of the complexity of movement in the air above densely populated areas. (Also, you know, the possibility of these VTOL vehicles crashing into each other.)
Holden, who previously worked at Amazon and Groupon, has been deeply involved in Uber's recent rollout of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, noted that the company accelerated the development of that technology after it was first mentioned by CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick only a few years ago.
VTOL is certainly a step further in ambition, but it's a pretty slick concept to imagine and the actual development of such vehicles is far along. Simply put, VTOL is an aircraft that can hover, take off and land vertically, which would also describe a helicopter. But, unlike the typical helicopter, these planes would have multiple rotors, could have fixed wings and perhaps eventually would use batteries and be more silent. In time, like cars, such aircraft could be autonomous.
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While Uber's plans are in their infancy, the idea of airports everywhere '-- Holden talked about landing on top of buildings in cities, reducing commuting time and congestion dramatically '-- is compelling. Holden imagined many people would use it together, like a way cooler UberPool. Uber has offered helicopter services before, but it was largely a marketing effort, he said.
VTOL is another thing altogether and, thus far, most of the development of vertical takeoff and landing has been done by the military. Below, for example, is a video that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is imagining as part of its VTOL Experimental Plane (VTOL X-Plane)program that "aims to overcome these challenges through innovative cross-pollination between fixed-wing and rotary-wing technologies and by developing and integrating novel subsystems to enable radical improvements in vertical and cruising flight capabilities.
Samsung explosions are now affecting top-loading washing machines | BGR
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 14:07
Samsung's issues with exploding devices may, oddly enough, extend far beyond the public relations disaster that was the recently recalled Galaxy Note 7. According to a report from ABC News, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a warning in regards to top-loading Samsung washing machines after fielding numerous complaints about the machines exploding.
Hardly isolated incidents, the CPSC since 2015 has seen at least 21 reports from consumers involving exploding washing machines. In one story relayed by ABC News, one owner described the incident as being nothing short of harrowing.
DON'T MISS: No one is talking about the game-changing new iPhone 7 Plus feature coming in iOS 10.1
''It was the loudest sound. It sounded like a bomb went off in my ear,'' owner Melissa Thaxton said during an interview. ''There were wires, nuts, the cover actually was laying on the floor.''
Thaxton added that her four-year old son, in the wake of the explosion, ''was just screaming this scream that I didn't even know I could scream.''
Exploding Galaxy Note 7 devices over the last few weeks caused no shortage of damage, but exploding washing machines, by mere virtue of their size alone, arguably pose much more of a grave threat to users. And that, of course, says quite a bit given what we've seen what exploding Note 7 devices can do. Over the past few weeks, Galaxy Note 7 devices have been responsible for parked cars becoming engulfed in flames and a large number of burn reports.
With the CPSC now taking action, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Samsung is now being sued for its exploding washing machine problem.
For those who own top-loading Samsung washing machines, the company advises users to only use ''the delicate cycle when washing bedding and bulky items.''
Samsung's full comments on the matter read:
We are in active discussions with the CPSC to address potential safety issues related to certain top-load washing machines manufactured between March 2011 and April 2016. In rare cases, affected units may experience abnormal vibrations that could pose a risk of personal injury or property damage when washing bedding, bulky or water-resistant items.
Samsung is recommending that consumers with affected models use the lower speed delicate cycle when washing bedding, bulky or water-resistant materials. There have been no reported incidents when using this cycle. It is important to note that Samsung customers have completed hundreds of millions of loads without incident since 2011.
CPSC and Samsung are working on a remedy for affected consumers that will help ensure there are no further incidents. We will provide updated information to the public as soon as possible on this website.
If you own a top-loading Samsung washing machine, you can see if your machine is vulnerable by entering in your serial number here.
CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO-Just 5,000 migrants moved under flagship EU relocation policy
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 14:00
A flagship EU policy to relocate migrants from Greece and Italy appears to have flopped.
But the European Commission is sticking to its guns
It agreed last September to move 160,000 migrants from those two countries within two years.
But just over five thousand people have been relocated.
Commission officials reckon there are thirty thousand eligible migrants still in Greece who will be moved by the end of next year.
The EU's executive arm insists there will be no change in policy.
''We have to boost relocation: relocation must work, and I want to be very clear on that, we haven't made any concession and we have not stepped back from our basic principles on our policy,'' EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told euronews.
The EU has also agreed a migration deal with the Turkish government
Under the pact, migrants who cross by sea from Turkey to enter Greece will be deported back there if they do not apply for asylum or if their claim is rejected.
VIDEO-Dutch investigation into MH17 crash 'biased and politically-motivated' says Russia
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 13:48
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Tap to find outMoscow has denounced as 'biased' an investigation into the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
The Dutch inquiry found that a Russian-made missile hit the plane. It, the report stated, was launched from a Ukrainian village held by pro-Russian rebels.
Russia issued a statement saying it is ''disappointed by the fact that the situation with the Boeing crash investigation hasn't changed,'' and adding that ''the conclusions of the Dutch prosecutor's office confirm that the inquiry was biased and politically-motivated.''
Almaz-Antey, the Russian state-owned anti-aircraft missile manufacturer which made the BUK used to shoot down the plane, said the findings presented by the Dutch team were based on a simulation of the crash, not reality.
''During today's presentation real technical evidence was almost absent,'' claimed Mikhail Malyshevsky, an adviser to the company's Director General.
''Certain questions were not touched upon, and we at Almaz Antey believe this isn't right.''
Both Ukraine and Russia operate BUK systems and have accused one another of being guilty of causing the crash.
This week, the foreign ministry released radar data purporting to show that no missile was fired at the plane from rebel-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Ministry issued the following allegation:''To arbitrarily designate a guilty party and dream up the desired results has become the norm for our Western colleagues,'' spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
''The investigation to this day continues to ignore incontestable evidence from the Russian side, despite the fact that Russia is practically the only one sending reliable information to them.''
Dutch investigators say they have not yet seen the newly-released data. However, they added that the evidence is strong and their conclusion is unlikely to change.
VIDEO-India Surgical Strike on Pak - India strikes back, carries out surgical strikes on terror launch pads at LoC
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 12:55
NEW DELHI: Indian Army conducted surgical strikes+ on terror launch pads at the LoC on Wednesday night, the DGMO said on Thursday in a press briefing.Surgical strikes+ were based on specific intelligence input of terror groups ready to infiltrate+ into India and carry out terror attacks.
Seven terror launch pads were targeted+ across the LoC by special forces of the Indian Army during the 'surgical strike'.
"Significant casualties have been caused in these strikes," DGMO Lt General Ranbir Singh said adding, "the operation has now ended."
According to Times Now, 35-40 terrorists and 9 Pak Army men were killed in the strikes.
"The strikes targeted the terrorists+ and those backing them," the DGMO said.
"Despite our persistent appeals to Pakistan to not allow territory under its control to be used for terrorist activities, nothing was done," the DGMO said.
Read: Don't take our peaceful intent for weakness, says Sharif
How the operation unfolded+
According to sources, the operation began at around mid-night on Wednesday and ended at around 4.30am on Thursday morning .
The terror launch pads targeted were in the range of 2 to 3km from the Line of Control(LoC).They were under surveillance for over one week.
The operation was a combination of heliborne and ground forces. Special forces of the Army were para-dropped for the operation.
There were no Indian casualties during the strikes.
According to Pakistan's Inter Services Public Relations+ , the Indian operation was carried out in Bhimber, Hotspring, Kel & Lipa sectors on Pakistan's side of the LoC.
Border villages in Punjab evacuated+
The Punjab government has ordered the evacuation of villages in a 10-km belt along the border with Pakistan following the surgical strikes.
The Union home ministry has directed the Punjab government to get the border villages evacuated.
Local authorities were using loudspeakers to announce to residents in the border villages to leave their homes and villages and move to safer zones.
The authorities have ordered the closure of schools and other institutions in the border belt.
Punjab's border districts include Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Abohar and Fazilka.
Informed sources said the Border Security Force+ (BSF) was mobilising its troops and strengthening the security along the border belt.
Punjab shares a 553-km border with Pakistan.
Rajnath Singh speaks to four chief ministers+
As part of government's efforts to take all political parties on board, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh informed chief ministers of West Bengal, Odisha, Punjab and Bihar and several opposition political leaders about the Army's surgical strike across the Line of Control.
Soon after the announcement of the surgical strike, Rajnath Singh informed chief ministers Mamata Banerjee, Naveen Patnaik, Parkash Singh Badal and Naveen Patnaik about the surgical strikes.
Singh also spoke to former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, CPM's Sitaram Yechury and informed them about the military action on terror launch pads, official sources said.
Army informs Pakistan about surgical strikes+Gen Singh said India shared with Pak army details of the surgical strikes which followed "very specific information" that terrorists were positioning themselves in the launch pads along the LoC.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Former PM Manmohan Singh, J&K Governor and J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti have been briefed on the surgical strikes by the Indian Army.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to review the situation along the LoC.
Continued ceasefire violations+Four terrorists had stormed an Army camp in Uri on September 18 and killed 18 soldiers.
Pakistani troops on Thursday violated the ceasefire along the LoC in Naugam sector of Kashmir by opening indiscriminate fire towards Indian Army posts.
On Wednesday night, they targeted Indian positions with small firearms along the Line of Control in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.
However, there was no loss of life or injury to anyone in the firing, a police officer said.
Earlier on September 20, two days after the terror attack in Uri, Pakistani troops violated the border ceasefire in the same sector of Kashmir, targeting Indian Army positions with small firearms.On September 6, Pakistani Army pounded Indian positions with 120 mm mortar bombs and firing along the LoC in Poonch district.On September 2, Pakistani troops had resorted to ceasefire violation by firing on forward army posts along the LoC in Akhnoor sector in Jammu district.Read this story in Telugu
VIDEO-'Russia will continue to send troops home [from Syria] in body bags' '' US State Dept - YouTube
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 12:41
VIDEO-Watch Full Episodes Online of FRONTLINE on PBS | The Choice 2016
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 04:24
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VIDEO-MSM-SHE WAS SUPRISED-After Ruling Clinton Scandals Off Limits, NBC Blasts 'Sexist' Trump | MRCTV
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 03:56
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
After NBC's Today spent three straight days scolding Donald Trump for even thinking about mentioning Bill Clinton's habitual mistreatment of women, on Wednesday, the morning show had no trouble doing the Clinton campaign's bidding by touting allegations of Trump's ''sexist behavior.''
Early in the program, correspondent Peter Alexander led off the political coverage by declaring: ''Donald Trump now has 11 days to try to improve on his debate performance, but he's already fueling new questions about his judgment and temperament, all of it about a new feud with a former Miss Universe, 20 years later, still criticizing her as overweight. And the Clinton campaign thinks it can capitalize.''
VIDEO-KICKSTARTER-Elon Musk unveils epic SpaceX plan to colonize Mars - CNET
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 03:42
Update, 1:21 p.m. PT: The live blog has concluded. Look for more coverage and reaction on CNET. We'll also bediscussing the news live on the CraveCast today at 3 p.m. PT.
Note: We are updating this post live as Elon Musk unveils his opus -- a plan to extend human civilization beyond Earth, starting with Mars -- at 11:30 a.m. PT.
1:21 p.m.: Someone from Funny or Die just suggested Michael Cera should be the guinea pig that makes the first trip to Mars. Elon is not amused.
As the questions continue, we're going to wrap up our live blog here. In summary, Elon Musk and SpaceX want to start sending ships to Mars in a few years, followed by people, followed by a lot more people. He's completely serious about having a self-sustaining city on the Red Planet within a century. If you want to process this really big announcement with us, join us for a live discussion on the CraveCast at 3 p.m. PT.
1:16 p.m.: Musk compares establishing a travel link between Earth and Mars to building the first railroad to California. It seemed silly at the time, he says, because there were so few people on the West Coast, but it turned out to be an important link and obviously a few more people moved to California.
"History suggests there will be some doomsday event, and I would hope you would agree that becoming a multi-planetary species would be the right way to go."Elon Musk, SpaceX
1:08 p.m.: Musk acknowledges that the first journeys to Mars will be risky and there will be a chance of dying.
1:06 p.m.: OK, time for questions. Someone asks a very pointed and vulgar question about Martian sewage. Musk cuts it off: "No essays, only questions." But yes, he says, he's working on toilets and sanitation for Mars, the system could be nuclear-powered, he says.
Interstellar filling stations1:04 p.m.: Musk talks about constructing fuel depots for spaceships exploring deeper in the solar system. Suggests possible filling stations on Enceladus, Titan, Pluto, the Kuiper Belt. But he's not sure about using the system for interstellar travel. He ends with a hat tip to Europa, which was in the news Monday, and is now taking questions.
1 p.m.: If this all actually happens, today will be a historic date forever. Oh god, there's a "Beyond Mars" section. No one ever accused Elon Musk of settling, and he's proving that again today.
12:55 p.m: "We're kind of intentionally a bit fuzzy on this timeline," Musk says. But the bottom line is we're on the way to Mars within about 10 years or so "if things go super well." Now there's a fascinating aside about developing a rocket cargo delivery service that could deliver cargo anywhere on Earth in about 45 minutes. Geez, slow down, Elon!
"We want to establish steady cadence that there's always a flight leaving" (for Mars using the SpaceX Dragon lander at first). Musk is talking about these first landings starting within a few years. Dragon can land on any solid or liquid surface in the solar system.
12:46 p.m.: I have to imagine that if almost anyone other than Elon Musk stood on a stage at a major international conference and put this plan forward with a straight face, they would be laughed out of the room. It's just that ambitious.
"Timelines: I'm not the best at this," Musk says. Good one, Elon! He stole my joke!
12:44 p.m.: Musk says once all of the components of the plan are in place, the estimated cost of moving to Mars could drop below $200,000 and eventually below $100,000 when the Martian economy really gets going, I guess.
12:42 p.m: A simulated fly-through of the crew compartment looks straight out of a science fiction movie. I wonder if the design was inspired at all by "Europa Report"? Looks very similar, or like a more spacious, futuristic version of the International Space Station.
12:38 p.m.: OK, some context for this SpaceX Mars rocket. Musk says it will have 42 Raptor engines capable of 128 meganewtons of thrust. That's something like three to four times more power than we got out of a Saturn V in the Apollo days. The Saturn V has basically been the granddaddy of all rockets since.
As for the spaceship itself, it's also huge. Musk says it will be capable of carrying 100 passengers per trip, but he sees that being increased to 200 at some point.
12:35 p.m.: Musk confirms that the Raptor engine we saw test-firing earlier this week is the engine that will be used in the Mars rockets.
Three times bigger than Saturn V rockets12:29 p.m.: Oh my, the mass of the SpaceX Mars rocket would be three times that of the Saturn V rockets that took men to the moon. It's a little hard to understate the magnitude of some of the scales we're talking about here.
Musk says the rocket will be almost entirely made of carbon fiber and 120 meters (394 feet) long.
'scar Guti(C)rrez/CNET12:27 p.m.: Musk envisions a fully self-sustaining civilization on Mars of 1 million people within 40-100 years of the first Mars rendezvous. That seems aggressive, to say the least. Keep in mind that according to biographies of Musk, SpaceX's first commercial rocket launches came several years later than Musk originally promised.
12:23 p.m.: The rockets will rapidly send propellant into orbit and return for more about 20 minutes later. Exactly how long it will take for a returned booster to be checked out, refueled and then loaded with a propellant tanker? No word yet.
'scar Guti(C)rrez/CNETWe're now seeing a graphical size comparison of how big the interplanetary rocket will be. Spoiler: It's big. Really, really big. No measurements mentioned, but it looks like a skyscraper next to a human.
12:21 p.m.: The below video, posted earlier Tuesday by SpaceX, closely represents what will actually be built, Musk says. The video ends with an apparently terraformed Mars. Is that part of the plan, too?
Getting to Mars and back12:18 p.m.: The ideal propellant for traveling to Mars and back? Musk's talking about using super-cooled methane. This is different than what most rockets use for orbital missions. The Falcon 9 uses oxygen and a type of kerosene.
12:14 p.m.: Musk is now talking about how to make the Mars trip cheaper. A few of the keys, he says, include building a propellant plant on Mars, refueling ships in orbit and recycling rockets, as SpaceX is already doing with its Falcon 9.
12:09 p.m.: Musk jumps right into the economics of getting people to Mars with a graphic showing that using "traditional methods" would cost about $10 billion per person to get them to the Red Planet. To build a colony, we'd need to drop this cost drastically, he says. By about 5 million percent, actually. That's some real economic optimism!
Musk's vision here is almost unbelievably audacious. He's jumping right in to what's needed to build a society with regular travel between planets. This isn't just about exploration or building a small colony. He's really talking about building self-sustaining cities on Mars.
12:05 p.m.: But why Mars? Musk says it's better than the "hot acid bath" of Venus, and Mercury is too hot, too. Everything else is too far out, except for the moon, he says. Mars is better suited than the moon because of its size, resources and atmosphere.
"I want to make Mars seem possible... like something that we can do in our lifetimes," Elon Musk says.
'scar Guti(C)rrez/CNETNoon: "I want to make Mars seem possible... like something that we can do in our lifetimes."
"History suggests there will be some doomsday event, and I would hope you would agree that becoming a multi-planetary species would be the right way to go."
Getting ready to hear the big Mars plan.
'scar Guti(C)rrez/CNET11:59 a.m.: The head of the French space agency introduces Musk.
11:56 a.m.: Elon Musk entered the auditorium about 10 minutes ago, but we've still yet to start. A longer-than-expected wait will come as no surprise to those who have ordered a Tesla. (Musk is also CEO of Tesla Motors.)
11:35 a.m.: The doors are open!
Less than an hour before Musk was set to take the stage at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Tuesday, SpaceX posted the below concept video of its "interplanetary transport system" to its YouTube feed.
The animated video shows a SpaceX rocket blasting off from Cape Canaveral. The spaceship then separates and continues on its journey while the booster heads back for a landing at the launch pad where it is then loaded with a propellant tanker and blasted off again to deliver the tanker for a refueling of the spaceship in orbit.
The ship is now ready to head for Mars with its solar array deployed and astronauts ready to set up shop for humanity at a new, more red address.
The video ends with a successful landing before zooming out to show Mars morphing from the barren, dead-looking planet we know to one with water and an atmosphere, an apparent nod to Elon Musk's dreams of one day nuking and terraforming the place.
First published 11:02 a.m. PT.Update, 1:21 p.m. PT:We just wrapped up our live coverage.
VIDEO-Sean Penn: We Either Go With Clinton or 'Masturbate Our Way Into Hell' | Mediaite
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 03:23
Sean Penn made a rare late night appearance with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday, and he had some, well, interesting thoughts on the choice being presented to America this year.
Colbert asked for his reaction to the debate this week. Penn said the following:
''Either you can decide to divorce yourself from loving your children and piss on a tree and show you have the power to piss on a tree, or you can go out and vote in a very big way for someone like Hillary Clinton, who then you can challenge and support, which is the only kind of way a president can have any success and you stick it out for four years, or we can just masturbate our way into hell.''
Penn called Donald Trump ''the guy who looks like the only blonde magician'' and said when it comes to the size of his hands, there's a ''proportional match'' with something else'...
Watch above (where Colbert also got Penn to join Twitter), via CBS.
[image via screengrab]
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VIDEO-Mika Brzezinski frets Trump will do well out of first debate even though Clinton was 'amazing' - YouTube
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:53
VIDEO-Media literally squeals with delight after Clinton burn on Donald Trump - YouTube
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:50
VIDEO-Democratic state representative has absolutely no idea how many U.S. presidents there have been - YouTube
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:48
VIDEO-Comey Explains Mills' Immnuity, Why She Was Able to Sit in on Clinton's Interview - YouTube
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:46
VIDEO-'Americans know their weapons will end up in hands of terrorists' - Al-Nusra commander interviewer - YouTube
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:44
VIDEO-Howard Dean doubles down on suggesting Donald Trump might use cocaine - YouTube
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:42
VIDEO-Oh Dear, Clinton's Latest Campaign Surrogate is a: Murder Accomplice, Hard Core Porn Star and Drug Lord Concubine'... | The Last Refuge
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:23
This has to be the worst campaign vetting in the history of failed campaign vetting'... Or the most horrible exploitation, Clintonian level exploitation, of a very troubled woman'.... You decide.Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton's entire campaign narrative is now centered around, and vested in, using a former Miss Venezuela, Alicia Machado, as an attack surrogate against Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton's campaign goal is to paint Donald Trump as anti-woman, and fat-shaming, because the Miss Universe pageant owner told Machado she needed to lose the 50+ lbs she gained after winning the 1996 beauty pageant title.
Yeah, it does sound silly. Hillary Clinton is trying to hit Donald Trump for being critical/judgmental of beauty,'... in a beauty pageant,'... which he owned,'... and was therefore the stakeholder in the brand image of the beauty pageant Machado won.
Huh? Yeah, but if that wasn't silly enough, hold on. It gets really bizarre.
After finishing her one-year-term as '96 Miss Universe, Alicia Machado first turned to a life of crime '' including being the getaway driver for her boyfriend during the murder of his brother-in-law. A few weeks later Ms. Machado was accused of threatening the judge who was in charge of convicting her boyfriend.
(Daily Mail) In January 1998, the Associated Press revealed that Machado had been accused in court documents in Cadacras of driving her boyfriend from the scene of a shooting. ['...] A judge indicted her boyfriend, described by Reuters as 'a 26-year-old graphic designer with movie star good looks' '' and police mounted a series of raids to find him, to no avail.
It was not the end of the affair.
A month later the judge went on national television to allege that Machado had threatened to kill him if he indicted Sbert.
Judge Maximiliano Fuenmayor said on national television that she threatened 'to ruin my career as a judge and '... kill me', the Associated Press reported. (link)
Ms. Machado, Hillary Clinton's latest campaign surrogate/victim, admitted to being the getaway driver last night to CNN's Anderson Cooper. Must Watch:
Nice approach'..... Meh, what's a little drive-by-shooting/assassination amid, well, the normal and customary American 20-year-old youthful indiscretions'... let's get to the part where Trump said I had to lose weight.
Oh, but wait, it gets better.
Not content with just living an ordinary life of crime, Ms. Alicia accomplice/murderess, decided to go full monty into the world of porn. Oh, not JUST the tasteful playboy type nude porn'... the other kind too, porn/porn. [
VIDEO-Morning Joe roasts Howard Dean for cocaine accusation against Trump, calls for apology - YouTube
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:18
VIDEO-MH17 downed by Buk missile moved from Russia to Ukraine, criminal investigation finds | Fox News
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:17
Dutch-led criminal investigators said Wednesday they have solid evidence that a Malaysian jet was shot down in 2014 by a Buk missile that was moved into eastern Ukraine from Russia.
Wilbert Paulissen, head of the Central Crime Investigation department of the Dutch National Police, said communications intercepts showed that pro-Moscow rebels had called for deployment of the mobile surface-to-air weapon and reported its arrival on July 17, 2014, in rebel-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine.
The deadly surface-to-air weapon that blasted Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 out of the sky that same day at 33,000 feet, killing all 298 people aboard, was launched from farmland in the rebel-held area of Pervomaiskiy, 3 miles from the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne, the investigation found.
Witnesses there reported an explosion and a whistling sound and a patch of field was set on fire.
From that and other evidence collected by the Joint Investigation Team, "it may be concluded MH17 was shot down by a 9M38 missile launched by a Buk, brought in from the territory of the Russian Federation, and that after launch was subsequently returned to the Russian Federation," Paulissen told a news conference Wednesday in the Dutch town of Nieuwegein.
The conclusions of the investigative unit -- which includes police and prosecutors from the Netherlands, Ukraine, Belgium, Australia and Malaysia -- were consistent with previous reporting by The Associated Press, which established soon after MH17's destruction that a tracked Buk M-1 launcher with four SA-11 surface-to-air missiles had been sighted the same day in the rebel-controlled town of Snizhne near Pervomaiskiy.
A separate investigation by Dutch safety officials last year concluded that the Amsterdam-to-Kuala Lumpur flight was downed by a Buk missile fired from territory in Ukraine held by pro-Russian rebels.
Dutch police spokesman Thomas Aling said the joint investigation findings differ in that they are designed to be solid enough to be used as evidence in a criminal trial. Where and when a trial might take place is still to be determined, Aling said.
"The next question, of course, is who was responsible for this," Dutch chief prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said. He said investigators have identified 100 people they want to speak to who are believed to have been involved in the transport of the Buk launcher or its use.
Moscow officials have consistently denied allegations that pro-Kremlin rebels in eastern Ukraine were responsible for downing the passenger plane. The Russian Foreign Ministry reacted quickly to the release of the international investigation's findings, calling the probe "biased and politically motivated."
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also said the Dutch-led investigation has ignored evidence offered by Russia and allowed Ukraine to manipulate the evidence and shape anti-Russian conclusions.
On Monday, the Russian military said it has new radio-location data that showed the missile that downed the Boeing 777 did not originate from rebel-controlled territory, and said it would turn that data over to investigators.
Ukrainian officials countered that the Dutch-led team's findings prove Russia's complicity in the tragedy.
"A new and very important element in today's report is the information about the route by which the weapon came from Russia to Ukraine and was removed in the opposite direction through part of the Ukrainian-Russian border that was controlled only by Russia and their militants," Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "This again points to the direct involvement of the aggressor state in the downing of the aircraft."
The Russian maker of the Buk air defense missile system also contested the conclusions of the Dutch-led investigation.
Mikhail Malyshevsky, an adviser to the director of the state-controlled Almaz-Antei consortium, said Wednesday that an analysis of the plane's shrapnel-ridden fragments show that it couldn't have been downed by a missile launched from a rebel-controlled area in eastern Ukraine.
He said the missile likely came from an area that Russian officials have previously described as Ukraine-controlled.
Police and judicial officials from five countries on the Joint Investigation Team have been working together to gather the best possible evidence for use in prosecution of the perpetrators.
They have faced extraordinary challenges. The crime scene in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk oblast region where the plane was brought down on July 17, 2014, was located in an active war zone. During the days following the downing, pro-Kremlin militants limited access to the crash site.
Eleven containers crammed with debris from the jetliner were ultimately brought to the Netherlands. A research team took soil samples in eastern Ukraine and established the location of cellphone towers and the layout of the local telephone network to verify intercepted phone calls from the militants.
Forensic samples were taken from passengers' and crew members' bodies and luggage, and satellite data and communications intercepts were scrutinized. The team also appealed for information from witnesses who may have seen the missile launch.
About two-thirds of the passengers aboard MH17 were Dutch nationals; the crew members were Malaysians. Malaysia proposed setting up an international tribunal to try those responsible for the plane's destruction, but Russia vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution in favor of a tribunal.
VIDEO-Comey: Justice Dept. Gave Mills Immunity, Not FBI - YouTube
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:13
VIDEO-Fudge Denies Trump Leads Clinton in Ohio: 'They're Not Polling My People' - YouTube
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:12
VIDEO-Megyn Kelly refutes Machado claim that she didn't have eating disorder before Miss Universe pageant - YouTube
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:01
VIDEO-Sheila Jackson Lee Decries Automatic Weapons Ownership in Speech on Gun Violence - YouTube
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 01:56
VIDEO-Janet Yellen pressed on Lael Brainard angling for position in potential Clinton administration - YouTube
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 01:47
VIDEO-1997 Video of Donald Trump and Alicia Machado '' Miss Universe Press Event'... | The Last Refuge
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 01:34
Here is the video Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Campaign are selling as intensely controversial. The video is from 20-years-ago in 1997 where Donald Trump and 1996 Miss Universe Alicia Machado appeared together at a joint press event:
Team Clinton are manufacturing an outrage, and the water-carrying media is intent on pushing their narrative.
Irrelevant 20-year-old nonsense.
VIDEO-Leslie Rutledge gets torched in national spotlight | Arkansas Blog | Arkansas news, politics, opinion, restaurants, music, movies and art
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:03
Wow. People all across America had to wonder last night: How did that woman get elected attorney general of Arkansas?Opinions? Leslie Rutledge had a few in an appearance defending Donald Trump on CBS. Facts, evidence? Not so much. Bob Schieffer was not impressed.
VIDEO-USENIX Enigma 2016 - NSA TAO Chief on Disrupting Nation State Hackers - YouTube
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 19:30
VIDEO-SR #1219 -New Rule Allows FBI To Hack Any Computer or Phone Anywhere Anytime 4th Ammen Violation - YouTube
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 18:50
VIDEO-Neil deGrasse Tyson says yes we all could be living in the matrix
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 18:17
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, like Elon Musk, says we could all just be living in the matrix.
Musk, founder of tech companies SpaceX, Tesla, has said there is about a "1 in a billion chance" that we are even living in a "base reality," what we would simply call the real world. The argument is roughly centered on the incredible progress video game technology has made in just a few decades. Assume that progress continues. Before long, engineers will be able to make video games, or simply, simulations, indistinguishable from reality.
The thinking goes, there is no reason to think that has not already been done, and that we are the characters inside someone else's video game.
Speaking on CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday, Tyson explained the chain of reasoning. "If you have tremendous computing power," he said, "you could simulate every possible thing that could occur, including the neuro-synaptic firings in the characters that you create. So in that sense, what is to stop you from thinking that the characters you created are themselves real."
"Now, if you have created this world, and the world has built into it a kind of pseudo free will, maybe those characters will say 'I want to create a simulation.' So they create simulations within the simulations. Step back from and ask how many total simulations are there '-- how many total worlds are there '-- out there? There is one real world and everything else is a simulation, which are you more likely to be in?"
Physicists such as Brian Greene have pointed out that while arguments based on logic make such a notion possible, even plausible, "there is certainly no new convincing evidence that leads us to definitively conclude that we're in a simulation."
VIDEO-'Shame on You': Omarosa Scolds Chris Hayes for Asking About Birtherism | Mediaite
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 22:48
Chris Hayes confronted Donald Trump surrogate Omarosa tonight over the many ''unanswered questions'' about Trump's birtherism. He pointed out that Trump still needs to address exactly when he stopped being a birther and what changed his mind, asking her if he'll be clearing that up tonight.
Omarosa was taken aback by his question and said Trump ''put that to bed,'' but Hayes shot back, ''He spent five years talking about the president not being an American!''
She responded, ''We have young black men being killed in this country, we have people rioting in the streets of Charlotte, and you wanna start with birther? Shame on you.''
Omarosa also weirdly referred to this as ''conspiracy theories that you all are floating around,'' and Hayes reminded her just how prominent a birther Trump was.
Please enable Javascript to watch.
The interview concluded with Omarosa telling Hayes, ''I'm challenging you to be a journalist tonight.''
Watch above, via MSNBC.
[image via screengrab]
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VIDEO-Rose: How Can Clinton Win Trust With One Debate After Failing to Do it in a Lifetime? - YouTube
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 15:59
VIDEO-Hollande confirms Calais migrant camp shutdown, urges UK help | Reuters
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 09:34
French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech during a ceremony to pay respects to the Harkis, at the Hotel des Invalides in Paris, France, September 25, 2016. REUTERS/Ian langsdon/Pool
By Elizabeth Pineau| CALAIS, FranceCALAIS, France President Francois Hollande said on Monday that France will completely shut down "the Jungle" migrant camp in Calais and called on London to help deal with the plight of thousands of people whose dream is ultimately to get to Britain.
"The situation is unacceptable and everyone here knows it," Hollande said on a visit to the northern port city where as many as 10,000 migrants from war-torn countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan live in squalor.
"We must dismantle the camp completely and definitively," he said.
France plans to relocate the migrants in small groups around the country but right-wing opponents of the Socialist leader are raising the heat ahead of the election in April, accusing him of mismanaging a problem that is ultimately a British one.
The migrants want to enter Britain, but the government in London argues that migrants seeking asylum need to do so under European Union law in the country where they enter.
Immigration was one of the main drivers of Britain's vote this year to leave the EU. It is also likely to be major factor in France's presidential election.
If France stopped trying to prevent migrants from entering Britain, Britain would ultimately find itself obliged to deal with the matter when asylum-seekers land on its shores a short distance by ferry or subsea train from France's Calais coast.
Hollande bluntly reminded Britain of that, saying that he expected London to fully honor agreements on managing a flow of migrants.
"I also want to restate my determination that the British authorities play their part in the humanitarian effort that France is undertaking and that they continue to do that in the future," Hollande said.
London and Paris have struck agreements on issues such as the recently begun construction of a giant wall on the approach road to Calais port in an attempt to try to stop migrants who attempt daily to board cargo trucks bound for Britain.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; Writing by Brian Love Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)
Next In World NewsTrump tells Netanyahu he would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capitalWASHINGTON U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Sunday told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that if elected, the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the campaign said, marking a potential dramatic shift in U.S. policy.
Squeezing North Korea: old friends take steps to isolate regimeSEOUL From kicking out North Korean workers and ending visa-free travel for its citizens, to stripping flags of convenience from its ships, Cold War-era allies from Poland to Mongolia are taking measures to squeeze the isolated country.
Blast kills three soldiers in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast - sourcesDIYARBAKIR, Turkey An explosion ripped through a bus carrying military personnel in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast on Monday, killing three soldiers and wounding eight, hospital and security sources said.
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VIDEO-'Let's just get this over with:' Video of Justin Trudeau with Royals gains attention | News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 07:12
A video of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Gr(C)goire Trudeau meeting with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is gaining some traction online due to comments made by Trudeau.
As the four sit down to speak in Victoria, Trudeau says ''let's just get this over with,'' before addressing the media. It is unclear what exactly the Prime Minister is addressing with his comments.
The Prime Minister's Office has reached out to clarify that his comment was made towards the media scrum, having done a great deal of press by that point, and not in any way towards the Royals.
Prince William and Kate are visiting Vancouver today, taking tours through multiple areas in the city.
An awkward incident abroadSeveral media outlets and newspapers paid great attention to the brief appearance of Prince George and his 16-month old sister Princess Charlotte at Victoria's airport on Saturday. The children are not frequently seen in public.
Trudeau was among several dignitaries waiting to greet Prince William and Kate when they arrived from their flight on Saturday.
After shaking hands with the royal couple, Trudeau knelt down to meet three-year-old George, who was holding his father's hand.
Trudeau was seen lifting his hand, attempting to high-five the young boy, who shook his head and did not accept the gesture.
VIDEO-Mook Dodges ''Hillary Cover Up Operation'' Question Twice - YouTube
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 02:45
VIDEO-Clinton Campaign Accepting The Loss of Ohio'.... | The Last Refuge
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 02:29
Facing continually diminishing poll results in Ohio CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports the Clinton team is essentially ceding the state to save resources. Michigan could be the next to drop.
Additionally, Team Clinton are relying almost exclusively on Philadelphia, and to a lesser extent Pittsburgh, to fend off a similar situation in Pennsylvania.
Donald Trump's economic message and outlined 'America-First' policy agenda is most effective in the states where Clinton/Bush/Obama'... and now candidate Clinton, policies have been the most disastrous for the middle class workers.
VIDEO-Jordan Klepper Fingers the Pulse - Conspiracy Theories Thrive at a Donald Trump Rally-The Daily Show with Trevor Noah - Video Clip | Comedy Central
Sun, 25 Sep 2016 20:35
You know, we cover a lotof stories from this desk,
but sometimes,to get the real (bleep),
you have to hit the streets.
And nobody's more streetthan Jordan Klepper.
Check it out.
Who says news has to be coldand on your screen?
I say it's warmand on your face.
The real news is on the streets,and it sounds like this.
Ba-ba, ba-ba.
This is Jordan KlepperFingers the Pulse.
(pulse beats rhythmically)
This past summer,Trump flag wavers
spouted a lot of theoriesabout Hillary Clinton's health.
We see the coughing fits.
She's had, it seems like,a number of blood clots.
TV REPORTER: What on earth could be the reason
behind Hillary Clinton's bizarre behavior?
Look, it almost seemsseizure-esque to me.
Turns out,they were sort of right.
We're now learning she's beendiagnosed with pneumonia.
If the crackpots halfway nailedone theory,
maybe their truth fingerswere in deeper than mine.
I had to find out.
I headed to Trump rallies in the crucial swing states
of Ohio and Wisconsin,
to discover what his supporters know.
that the rest of us don't.
Do you think it's worsethan pneumonia?
Uh, the way she looks, yes.
So what do you think's going on?
It could be Parkinson's.
It could be MS.
It could be AIDS.
What makes you thinkshe has AIDS?
Uh, the way her, uh,husband used to be.
-So you think Bill had AIDS?-Yes.
So how did Bill Clintonget AIDS?
Probably messing around with,uh, Magic Johnson.
That's the natural conclusion?
-Yes.-Interesting.
The Clintons and Magic Johnson.
What else do they know?
They were saying there was likea double of her.
-Do you think there wasa Hillary Clinton double? -Yeah.
I think anything's possiblewhen it comes to doubles.
Wow. A Clinton double.
Who knew?
So, I printed out two identical photos
to see if they could see what we couldn't.
Which one's the body double?
I'd say that one.
What is it about this onethat makes you think
it's not Hillary Clinton?
-That little thing on her cheekis very obvious. -This one.
And the scarring,or whatever this is
down on her throat is different.
They look a ton alike, right?
This looks a little bit younger.
-You think this looks younger?-Yeah.
But don't you think if you justlook at something
for long enough, and you kindof have a paranoid mind,
eventually,you'll find a difference
-to make a big deal of it.-Yeah, I think
something like that's possible.Yeah.
Which one are you moreattracted to?
-This one.-That one. Yeah.
Uncovering Hillary's doublesis one thing,
but what could they tell us
about our currentCommander in Chief?
Barack Obama is a Muslim,he's a terrorist.
Nobody will evertell me different.
We don't even know if he'sa citizen.
Yeah, if-if you don't lookat the birth certificate,
-there's almostno evidence there. -Exactly.
So, there's nothingBarack Obama could do
to prove that he was born here?
Uh, if there was, maybe,
witnesses that were attendantsat his birth.
Like his mother?You would listen to his mother?
No, no, no.She has motivation to lie.
So you don't trust, uh,
Donald Trump'sbirth certificate either.
Uh, yeah,because he's been here forever.
Well, how do you know?But how do... what's your proof?
Um, well, his parents, and...
But, no, but they...they're biased.
I'm talking about like peoplewho could be in the room.
Why would they be biased?
-Well, like... I'm just usingyour logic against you. -Okay.
He acts like a Muslim,he talks like a Muslim.
Uh, he alsodoes the, uh, Muslim principles
as far as jewelry is concerned.
-Jewelry?-Yeah, jewelry.
Certain months of the year,not wearing his wedding ring.
That's some...that's-that's a deep cut.
Do you want me to connect yournecklace to your Christianity?
Why would you do that?
Well, you just taught me it.
I didn't even know people wereconnecting jewelry to religion.
-Uh, Muslims don't wear...-Is that a Jew watch?
And one of the most unbelievablediscoveries yet.
-Barack Obama had a big partof 9/11. -Which part?
Not being around,always on vacation,
-never in the office.-Why do you think Barack Obama
wasn't in the Oval Officeon 9/11?
That I don't know.
I'd like to getto the bottom of that.
KLEPPER: Wow. Mind blown.
They also had new truths about the media cover-up
of Trump's surging popularity.
I don't think the mediareally portrays
all the African-Americansthat support Donald Trump.
-That's what I think.-Really? So...
what should we be portraying?
Where are theseAfrican-Americans?
Um...
KLEPPER: When you literallylook out across
the 400, 500 people here,
we don't see any.
They'll wave.
Wave, white people! Yeah!
It's like a Dave Mathewsconcert.
Except Dave Matthews
actually hasAfrican-Americans in his band.
Tell me when you see somebodywho is not white.
Here, right here.Thank you, brother.
Donald Trump don't even knowhow much a loaf of bread
or a dozen eggs cost.
So you don't... you don't evensupport Donald Trump?
No.
Okay, so he didn't work.
Turns out they got one wrong.
But the rest of their theories
can be backed up with ironclad sources.
And what's your source?
Um, just Facebook or Twitter.I mean, I don't...
-Everything, and I...-So you'll look at, like, facts
-and (bleep) and you'llput it all together. -Exactly.
So, outside of having no proof,what proof do you have?
-I don't have any.-Don't have proof.
-My opinion.-Your opinion.
Do I have proof? No.Do I have articles? No.
But your mind is made upwithout any information.
My mind is made up.
KLEPPER: Good enough for me.
[WATCH] Hillary's 'Hand Signals' Exposed, Proves Debate Was Rigged
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 21:13
With many people still talking about the first presidential debate, it seems that more and more things previously missed are coming to light. Hillary Clinton tried to hide what she did with her hands '' and it proves that the event was rigged from the start.
People have been scouring footage of the debate and seem to be still coming up with new tidbits of information initially missed. In fact, it seems that the most recent topic of discussion seems to be centered around a few potential hand signals that Hillary was giving to Lester Holt.
As seen in a semi-lengthy clip worth viewing, the female presidential hopeful was seen raising her hand to her face and ''itching'' a full six separate times. Each time she did this, the moderator responded '-- and there was hell to pay when he didn't do it quickly.
Clearly seen in the video, each time Hillary wanted to put in a ''zinger,'' she seemingly signaled to Holt, which prompted him to cut Donald Trump off. As one would imagine, he couldn't do it on the spot at all times, but in the end, he did as was instructed.
Furthermore, evidence of this reality is seen all over Hillary's face '' especially when Holt didn't immediately respond. With instances such as the presidential hopeful hitting back on topics that she signaled during, but missed, to making aggressive glances to Holt when she wasn't given the chance to drop her one-liner, it starts to paint quite the picture.
Of course, it's always a dead give away when you look directly at the person you're trying to signal after flashing your hand gestures as well. Let's just say if she was at a blackjack table, there would have been a few questions and she would have probably been thrown out.
At this point, it's clear that this debate was rigged against Donald Trump from the beginning. Although he didn't crush Hillary like he should have, the fact that he still came out above goes to show the momentum that he has. Hillary can try to cheat if she wants '' and God knows she's going to have to if she wants to win '' but it isn't going to help her any. The Trump train has left the station, and she's tied to the tracks.

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