865: Wall of Phlegm

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 55m
October 2nd, 2016
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Associate Executive Producers: Jacob Turley

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Oikophobia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 22:50
In psychiatry, oikophobia (synonymous with domatophobia and ecophobia)[1] is an aversion to home surroundings. It can also be used more generally to mean an abnormal fear (a phobia) of the home, or of the contents of a house ("fear of household appliances, equipment, bathtubs, household chemicals, and other common objects in the home").[2] The term derives from the Greek words oikos, meaning household, house, or family, and phobia, meaning "fear".
In 1808 the poet and essayist Robert Southey used the word to describe a desire (particularly by the English) to leave home and travel.[3] Southey's usage as a synonym for wanderlust was picked up by other nineteenth century writers.
The term has also been used in political contexts to refer critically to political ideologies that repudiate one's own culture and laud others. The first such usage was by Roger Scruton in a 2004 book.
Psychiatric usage[edit]In psychiatric usage oikophobia typically refers to fear of the physical space of the home interior, and is especially linked to fear of household appliances, baths, electrical equipment and other aspects of the home perceived to be potentially dangerous.[2] The term is properly applied only to fear of objects within the house. Fear of the house itself is referred to as domatophobia.[2] In the post-World War II era some commentators used the term to refer to a supposed "fear and loathing of housework" experienced by women who worked outside the home and who were attracted to a consumerist lifestyle.[4]
Southey's usage[edit]Southey used the term in Letters from England (1808), stating that it is a product of "a certain state of civilisation or luxury", referring to habit of wealthy people to visit spa towns and seaside resorts in the summer months. He also mentions the fashion for picturesque travel to wild landscapes, such as the highlands of Scotland.[5] Southey's link of oikophobia to wealth and the search for new experiences was taken up by other writers, and cited in dictionaries.[6] A writer in 1829 published an essay about his experience witnessing the aftermath of the Battle of Waterloo, saying "the love of locomotion is so natural to an Englishman that nothing can chain him home, but the absolute impossibility of living abroad. No such imperious necessity acting upon me, I gave away to my oiko-phobia and the summer of 1815 found me in Brussels."[7] In 1959 the Anglo-Egyptian author Bothaina Abd el-Hamid Mohamed used Southey's concept in his book Oikophobia: or, A literary craze for education through travel.[8]
Political usage[edit]In his 2004 book England and the Need for Nations, British conservative philosopher Roger Scruton adapted the word to mean "the repudiation of inheritance and home."[9] He argued that it is "a stage through which the adolescent mind normally passes",[10] but that it is a feature of some, typically leftist, political impulses and ideologies which espouse xenophilia, i.e. preference for alien cultures.[11]
Scruton uses the term as the antithesis of xenophobia.[12] In his book, Roger Scruton: Philosopher on Dover Beach, Mark Dooley describes oikophobia as centered within the Western academic establishment on "both the common culture of the West, and the old educational curriculum that sought to transmit its humane values." This disposition has grown out of, for example, the writings of Jacques Derrida and of Michel Foucault's "assault on 'bourgeois' society result[ing] in an 'anti-culture' that took direct aim at holy and sacred things, condemning and repudiating them as oppressive and power-ridden."[13]
Derrida is a classic oikophobe in so far as he repudiates the longing for home that the Western theological, legal, and literary traditions satisfy. . . . Derrida's deconstruction seeks to block the path to this 'core experience' of membership, preferring instead a rootless existence founded 'upon nothing.'[14]
An extreme aversion to the sacred and the thwarting of the connection of the sacred to the culture of the West is described as the underlying motif of oikophobia; and not the substitution of Judeo-Christianity by another coherent system of belief. The paradox of the oikophobe seems to be that any opposition directed at the theological and cultural tradition of the West is to be encouraged even if it is "significantly more parochial, exclusivist, patriarchal, and ethnocentric."[15] Scruton described "a chronic form of oikophobia [which] has spread through the American universities, in the guise of political correctness." [16]
Scruton's usage has been taken up by some American political commentators to refer to what they see as a rejection of traditional American culture by the liberal elite. In August 2010 James Taranto wrote a column in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Oikophobia: Why the liberal elite finds Americans revolting", in which he criticized supporters of the proposed Islamic center in New York as oikophobes who were defending Muslims who aimed, in his words, to "exploit the 9/11 atrocity".[17]
See also[edit]References[edit]^Kahn, Ada (2010). The Encyclopedia of Phobias, Fears, and Anxieties, Third Edition. p. 552. ^ abcRonald Manual Doctor, Ada P. Kahn, Christine A. Adamec. The encyclopedia of phobias, fears, and anxieties. Third edition. Infobase Publishing, 2008. Page 281; p. 286.^Southey, Robert (1808). Letters from England, Volume 1. David Longworth. p. 311. ^Robert G. Moeller, Protecting motherhood: Women and the family in the politics of postwar West Germany, University of California Press, 1993, p.140.^Robert Southey, Letters from England, vol 1., David Longworth, 1808, pp. 157-9.^Richard Black, The student's manual complete; an etymological vocabulary of words derived from the Greek and Latin, Oxford, 1874, p.84.^"Waterloo, the Day After the Battle, by an eyewitness", The United service magazine, Volume 1829, Issue 1, p. 84.^Bothaina Abd el-Hamid Mohamed, Oikophobia;: Or, A literary craze for education through travel, Anglo-Egyptian Books, 1959.^Roger Scruton, England and the Need for Nations, (London: Civitas, 2004), pp.33-38 and for the excerpt of Scruton's definition [1]^Scruton, Roger. "Continuum - Political Philosophy > Roger Scruton". Continuumbooks.com. Retrieved 2010-08-30. ^Roger Scruton, "Oikophobia and Xenophilia", in Stereotypes and Nations, Teresa Walas (ed), Cracow International Cultural Center, 287-292.^Justine Lacroix, Kalypso NicolaÄdis, European Stories: Intellectual Debates on Europe in National Contexts, Oxford University Press, 2011, P.159.^Dooley, p. 78^Dooley, p. 83^Mark Dooley, Roger Scruton: Philosopher on Dover Beach (Continuum 2009), p. 78^[2] Roger Scruton, The Need for Nations, Civitas, February 2004, P.37.^Taranto, James (27 August 2010). "Oikophobia: Why the liberal elite finds Americans revolting". Best of the Web. The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc.Retrieved 26 June 2016.
Historical analysis of the "October surprise" with a ton of article references.
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 06:38
The latest evidence of a history-changing Republican dirty trick in 1980 and its precursor in 1968. (For earlier articles about the October Surprise mystery, go to ''Archives'' at the Home Page and click on ''October Surprise X-Files.'')
Lost History of Iran's 1981 CoupThe U.S. mainstream media avoids the word ''coup'' when a disfavored leader is ousted, but the silence around Iran's 1981 coup also may have served Ronald Reagan's political self-interest in keeping secret his own ''coup,'' as Mahmood Delkhasteh reflects.
Bush-41's October Surprise Denials''Deny everything,'' British traitor Kim Philby said, explaining how the powerful can bluff past their crimes, a truism known to George H.W. Bush when he denied charges of his own near treason in the October Surprise case, writes Robert Parry. April 6, 2016. For an exclusive interview of Robert Parry discussing this article, click here. April 8, 2016.
When Israel/Neocons Favored IranThe modern history of U.S.-Israeli-Iranian relations dates back 35 years to a time of political intrigue when Israel's Likud leaders and the Reagan administration's neocons secretly worked to arm Iran's radical regime, an inconvenient truth given today's anti-Iran hysteria, writes Robert Parry. July 28, 2015.
Failing to Hide Israel-Iran-Iraq SecretsMany Americans think secret U.S. documents become public after, say, 30 years, but many are hidden indefinitely to conceal inconvenient truths that could enlighten public debate, as Robert Parry discovered in getting a redacted version of a ''top secret'' paper from 1981 that he had already found in unredacted form. May 11, 2015.
Saddam's Green LightAn article from the first investigative series published at Consortiumnews in early 1996 revealed top-secret ''talking points'' used by Secretary of State Haig in 1981 to brief President Reagan about the Middle East, including an alleged U.S. ''green light'' for Iraq to invade Iran. Journalist Robert Parry found the document in old congressional files. Republished May 11, 2015.
The US-Israel-Iran Triangle's Tangled HistoryIran and world powers have gone into double-overtime in negotiations to ensure that Iran doesn't build a nuclear bomb, but the shadow over the talks is darkened by decades of distrust and double-dealing, a dimly understood history of the U.S.-Israeli-Iranian triangle, reports Robert Parry. April 2, 2015.
LBJ's 'X' File on Nixon's 'Treason'The letter to Iran from 47 Republicans senators, seeking to kill President Obama's talks on limiting Iran's nuclear program, recalls other GOP sabotage of foreign policy by Democratic presidents, including Richard Nixon's scheme to stop a Vietnam peace deal in 1968, as Robert Parry wrote in 2012. Republished March 13, 2015.
Ben Bradlee's Not Such 'A Good Life' '-- Part 2In recent years, the Washington Post's emergence as a neocon propaganda sheet has struck some as a betrayal of the Post's earlier reputation as a serious newspaper. But many of the paper's current tendencies can be traced back to its iconic editor Ben Bradlee, writes James DiEugenio in Part 2 of this series. March 10, 2015.
How Roy Cohn Helped Rupert MurdochThrough Fox News and a vast media empire, Rupert Murdoch wields enormous political clout in the United States, but his entr(C)e into the world of Washington power came from the notorious McCarthyite Roy Cohn who opened the door into Ronald Reagan's Oval Office, reports Robert Parry. January 28, 2015.
The Sorry Record of a Muslim-BasherJumping on the Muslim-bashing bandwagon, Fox News' commentator Steven Emerson claimed Muslims have seized control of parts of London and all of Birmingham, terrorizing non-Muslims to flee, claims so absurd that even he was forced to back-track, reports Robert Parry. January 12, 2015.
An Insider's View of Nixon's 'Treason'A recently released oral history by one of President Nixon's secretive operatives sheds new light on perhaps Nixon's darkest crime, the sabotaging of Vietnam peace talks so he could win the 1968 election, writes Robert Parry. July 5, 2014.
Reagan-Bush Ties to Iran-Hostage CrisisThe Senate wants to block Iran's new UN ambassador because he was linked to the Iran hostage crisis 35 years ago, but that standard would strip honors from Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, implicated in extending the hostage crisis to win the 1980 election, reports Robert Parry. April 9, 2014.
Firewall: Inside the Iran-Contra Cover-upThe death of Iran-Contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh on Wednesday at the age of 102 marked the passing of what is now rare in the American Establishment, a person who courageously fought for a truthful historical record, as Robert Parry explained in this 1997 review of Walsh's memoir, Firewall. March 21, 2014.
The Best and Worst US PresidentsFrom the start of the Republic, some U.S. presidents favored government activism to address the nation's problems, while others let the states do what they wanted and business tycoons have their way, a distinction that Robert Parry says can define the best and worst. February 18, 2014.
A Blind Eye to LBJ's 'X-File'President Lyndon Johnson's legacy is in the news whether his many domestic achievements should outweigh his disastrous escalation of the Vietnam War but no attention is being paid to evidence that LBJ might have ended the war if not for Richard Nixon's sabotage, writes Robert Parry. April 11, 2014
Reagan-Bush Ties to Iran-Hostage CrisisThe Senate wants to block Iran's new UN ambassador because he was linked to the Iran hostage crisis 35 years ago, but that standard would strip honors from Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, implicated in extending the hostage crisis to win the 1980 election, reports Robert Parry. April 9, 2014
Robert Strauss's Watergate SecretRobert Strauss, who died Wednesday, was a Democratic powerbroker who thrived in the age of Nixon, Reagan and Bush-41. But an enduring Watergate mystery is whether Strauss earned his GOP spurs by secretly helping the Republicans in the spy scandal, reports Robert Parry. March 20, 2014
Does Nixon's 'Treason' Boost LBJ's Legacy?The Vietnam War has doomed President Lyndon Johnson to a lowly status among presidents, overshadowing his domestic successes. But LBJ's ranking might change if the new evidence on Richard Nixon sabotaging LBJ's Vietnam peace talks were factored in, writes Robert Parry. February 16, 2014
Robert Gates Double-Crosses Obama Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates is slamming President Obama in a new memoir, accusing him of lacking enthusiasm for the Afghan War. But perhaps Obama's bigger mistake was trusting Gates, a Bush Family operative with a history of dirty dealing, writes Robert Parry. January 8, 2014
Judge Leon's Dirty Climb to the BenchCivil libertarians are cheering federal judge Richard Leon for his ruling against the NSA's massive surveillance program and that's all to the good but Leon's route to the bench followed a twisted course of partisan investigations and one historic cover-up, Robert Parry reports. December 17, 2013
Almost Thwarting Nixon's Dirtiest Trick In 1968, the public anger over the Vietnam War tempted GOP presidential nominee Richard Nixon to sabotage Democratic peace talks to seal his victory, a dirty trick that Saigon-based journalist Beverly Deepe nearly exposed before American voters went to the polls. November 22, 2013
Dangerous Addiction to SecrecyAfter decades of mutual suspicions, the U.S. and Iranian governments appear headed toward face-to-face contacts. But mutual trust still awaits truth-telling about important facts that defined the relationship '-- and that may require breaking a dangerous addiction to secrecy, says Robert Parry. September 24, 2013.
A CIA Hand in an American 'Coup'?The U.S. government decries leaks, but the other side of the story is that key chapters of American history are hidden from the public for decades and maybe forever. The CIA has just admitted its 1953 Iran coup and may never acknowledge a role in ousting Jimmy Carter in 1980, Robert Parry reports. August 26, 2013
Scooping 'the Boys' of Vietnam PressDuring her seven years covering the Vietnam War, Beverly Deepe Keever broke through the male-dominated world of war reporting and nearly changed history with her discovery that Richard Nixon's 1968 campaign was sabotaging the Paris peace talks, notes Don North in his review of her memoir. July 30, 2013.
Cables Hold Clues to US-Iran MysteriesIran's election of Hassan Rowhani as president has raised hopes for a deal, with Iran accepting tighter constraints on its nuclear program and the West rolling back sanctions. But there has been a long and often secret history of double-dealing between Iran and the U.S., Robert Parry reported in 2010. Republished June 21, 2013.
Second Thoughts on October SurpriseNew evidence has shaken the confidence of former Rep. Lee Hamilton in his two-decade-old judgment clearing Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign of going behind President Carter's back to frustrate his efforts to free 52 U.S. hostages in Iran, the so-called October Surprise case, Robert Parry reports. June 8, 2013
What a Real Cover-up Looks LikeRepublicans won't let go of their conspiracy theory about some nefarious ''cover-up'' in ''talking points'' for Ambassador Susan Rice's TV interviews on the Benghazi attack. But they should at least have better skills for detecting a real cover-up, since they've had direct experience, as Robert Parry documents. May 21, 2013
Does Woodward Know Watergate?Republicans are hyping the flap over Benghazi talking points by calling it ''worse than Watergate,'' a false narrative that Bob Woodward has helped along by ignoring new evidence connecting Richard Nixon's sabotage of Vietnam War peace talks in 1968 to his political spying in 1971-72, writes Robert Parry. May 20, 2013
The Right's 'Scandal' Funhouse MirrorOfficial Washington is captivated by the image of Obama ''scandals,'' including Benghazi talking points and extra IRS questions posed to Tea Party groups, but journalists are peering into the Right's funhouse mirror which for decades has made big scandals small and small scandals big, says Robert Parry. May 14, 2013.
Republican Hypocrisy on BenghaziOfficial Washington is obsessing over the Benghazi ''scandal,'' proof that the Republicans and their right-wing media can make the smallest things big and the biggest things small. It is a disparity that has distorted how Americans understand their recent history, writes Robert Parry. May 10, 2013.
Another Ignored Russian WarningOne year after the Cold War ended, Russia tried to cooperate with a U.S. national security investigation into possible treason by senior American officials only to see the information ignored. Two decades later, Russians feel their warning about a Boston Marathon bomber was ignored again, Robert Parry reports. April 23, 2013.
What Happened to the US Press Corps?As the U.S. observes the tenth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, a key question remains: Why was there almost no accountability for journalists and pundits who went along with George W. Bush's deceptions. The answer can be found in the cover-ups of the Reagan-Bush-41 era, writes Robert Parry. March 18, 2013
The GOP Knows PowerToday's Republican Party doesn't believe in democracy, at least not when an election is decided by the votes of blacks, Hispanics, Asian-Americans and young urban whites comfortable with multiculturalism. Then, the outcome is deemed illegitimate and deserves obstruction, as Robert Parry explains. March 14, 2013
Rethinking Watergate/Iran-ContraNew evidence continues to accumulate showing how Official Washington got key elements of the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals wrong, especially how these two crimes of state originated in treacherous actions to secure the powers of the presidency, writes Robert Parry. March 9, 2013
'October Surprise' and 'Argo'Iran's ex-President Bani-Sadr, in criticizing inaccurate history in ''Argo,'' says most Iranian officials wanted a quick end to the 1980 U.S.-Iranian hostage crisis, but Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign struck a deal with Ayatollah Khomeini to delay the hostages' release, reports Robert Parry. March 7, 2013
The Short-Sighted History of 'Argo'The Oscar for Best Picture went to Ben Affleck's Argo, an escape-thriller set in post-revolutionary Iran. It hyped the drama and edged into propaganda. But Americans would have learned a lot more if Affleck had chosen the CIA coup in 1953 or the Republican chicanery in 1980, says Robert Parry. February 25, 2013
Waking Up to Iran's Real HistoryAn Oscar frontrunner for best picture is ''Argo,'' depicting a little-known chapter of the U.S-Iran hostage standoff in 1979-81. Yet, while focusing on this story of six hostages escaping, ''Argo'' missed bigger dramas, before and after, as David Swanson explained. January 11, 2013
The L'Enfant Plaza Hotel MysteryTo understand why U.S. foreign policy is floundering in the Middle East, one must go back to the pivotal 1980 election when President Carter's hopes for a second term hinged on getting Iran to release 52 U.S. hostages and Republicans went behind his back, writes Robert Parry. February 17, 2013
How Neocons Messed Up the MideastNewly available documents reveal how Ronald Reagan's neocon aides cleared the way for Israeli arms sales to Iran in 1981, shortly after Iran freed 52 U.S. hostages whose captivity doomed Jimmy Carter's reelection. The move also planted the seeds of the Iran-Contra scandal, reports Robert Parry. February 15, 2013
Richard Nixon's Even-Darker Legacy Richard Nixon, who was born a century ago, cast a long shadow over U.S. politics, arguably reaching to the anything-goes tactics of today's Republican Party. His admirers want to reverse history's negative judgment but perhaps the Nixon centennial can finally allow for recognition of Nixon's dirtiest trick, says Robert Parry. February 2, 2013
America's War for RealityThe United States has been on a three-decade binge of unreality, imbibing delusions that began with Ronald Reagan and have continued through the Tea Party. The challenge now is for rational Americans to show they have the toughness and tenacity to fight for the real world '-- and to save it, writes Robert Parry. January 15, 2013
America's Bloody Price for Power''The Untold History of the United States'' shakes up the traditional recounting of the last century, forcing Americans to rethink key assumptions, but director Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick have not written a people's history, says Jim DiEugenio in part two of his review.
Who Bombed Ben-Menashe's House?Montreal police may hope to just nail the ''torch,'' the culprit who hurled a fire-bomb into the home of ex-Israeli spy Ari Ben-Menashe. But to solve the mystery, they may have to delve into Ben-Menashe's complex intelligence ties, including his hostile relations with his old superiors in Israel, writes Robert Parry. December 8, 2012
Ben-Menashe Case Eyes Bomb ResidueThe investigation of the firebombing of the upscale Montreal home of ex-Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe is looking at the possibility the accelerant was more sophisticated than available to common criminals, reports Robert Parry. December 5, 2012
Arson Seen in Attack on Ex-Israeli SpySuspected arson destroyed the Montreal home of ex-Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe, who says he escaped through a rear door. It's unclear if the fire was an assassination attempt to finally silence a man who has angered the Israeli government, powerful Republicans and others, writes Robert Parry. December 3, 2012
How Israel Out-Foxed US PresidentsJust days after President Obama's reelection, Israel launched a punishing bombing campaign against Palestinians in Gaza much as Israel did shortly after his election in 2008. Obama again is put in a tight spot, but other U.S. presidents faced similar challenges, as Morgan Strong reported in 2010. Republished November 19, 2012
The Death Toll of WatergateMajor gaps in the history of Watergate and Iran-Contra have let Republicans minimize those scandals by comparing them to the fabricated ''scandal'' over the Benghazi attacks. A fuller understanding of Watergate would reveal its links to Richard Nixon's prolonging the Vietnam War, writes Robert Parry. November 17, 2012
The Price of Political PurityWar with Iran is on the Nov. 6 ballot with President Obama on the verge of a peace deal and Mitt Romney favoring confrontation. The choice is like 1968 when many on the Left distrusted President Johnson's Vietnam peace promises and enabled Richard Nixon to extend the war four years, Robert Parry noted last June. Republished October 29, 2012
The October Surprise MysteriesWith hopes brightening that President Obama is close to a negotiated settlement of the Iran nuclear dispute, Mitt Romney's campaign is eager to counter any positive news. The moment is reminiscent of past October Surprise moments, says Robert Parry in this article adapted from America's Stolen Narrative. October 22, 2012
An Israeli October Surprise for Obama?A pressing foreign policy question of the U.S. presidential race is whether Israel might exploit this politically delicate time to bomb Iran's nuclear sites and force President Obama to join the attack or face defeat at the polls, a predicament with similarities to one President Carter faced in 1980, writes Robert Parry. August 18, 2012
Bohemian Grove & Reagan's 'Treason'This weekend, Occupy protesters are targeting the Bohemian Grove in California, where well-connected rich men go on retreats several weekends each summer. The secrecy of the 1980 encampment became a factor in the cover-up of possible ''treason'' by Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, writes Robert Parry. July 13, 2012
Shamir's October Surprise AdmissionTwo decades ago, ex-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir offered the stunning confirmation that ''of course'' an October Surprise plot had blocked President Jimmy Carter from gaining the release of 52 U.S. hostages in Iran, thus helping Ronald Reagan win the presidency in 1980, reports Robert Parry. July 3, 2012
Admissions on Nixon's 'Treason'Definitive proof of a historical mystery is often elusive, even with archival documents and memoirs. Skeptics can always say some witness or some evidence isn't perfect. But the case that Richard Nixon sabotaged the Vietnam peace talks in 1968 to win that pivotal election is clear, writes Robert Parry. June 14, 2012
The Dark Continuum of WatergateThe 40th anniversary of the Watergate break-in has brought reflections on the scandal's larger meaning, but Official Washington still misses the connection to perhaps Richard Nixon's dirtiest trick, the torpedoing of Vietnam peace talks that could have ended the war four years earlier, Robert Parry reports. June 12, 2012
The Almost Scoop on Nixon's 'Treason'At the end of Campaign 1968, as Richard Nixon feared his narrow lead could disappear if progress were made on Vietnam peace, a U.S. correspondent in Saigon got wind of a cabal between Nixon and South Vietnamese leaders to block peace talks and secure his victory. History was at a crossroads, writes Robert Parry. June 7, 2012
Obama Gets Tough, FinallyPresident Obama looks ready for a political fight, telling his supporters ''Let's go get 'em. It's game time.'' But is the U.S. political/media system ready for a Democrat turning the tables on the Republicans in terms of toughness after decades of Republicans playing the bullies asks Robert Parry. May 7, 2012
How the Right's Smear Machine StartedThe Right's attack machine, which these days questions President Obama's birthplace and smears Georgetown student Sandra Fluke over contraceptives, arose in the wake of the Vietnam War and Watergate with young conservatives thinking they were the real victims, thus justifying whatever they did, reports Robert Parry. March 8, 2012
An Israeli October Surprise on Obama? President Obama is walking a political tightrope between constraining Iran's nuclear program and restraining Israel's war threats, while political critics are shaking the supports. But ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar says Obama's predicament may be even trickier, with Israeli hardliners possibly eyeing an October surprise. March 7, 2012
Romney's Made-up History on IranIn facing down Iran as U.S. president, Mitt Romney says he would be guided by the experience of Ronald Reagan threatening Iran with a military strike if it didn't free 52 Americans held hostage during Jimmy Carter's presidency. But Romney's historical precedent is a fantasy, writes Robert Parry. March 6, 2012
Profiting Off Nixon's Vietnam 'Treason'The notion of Wall Street bankers meeting in private to discuss profiting off a plot to extend the Vietnam War and risk the lives of thousands of American soldiers may sound like a conspiracy movie script, but it is a tragic reality reflected in once secret White House documents, reports Robert Parry. March 4, 2012
LBJ's 'X' File on Nixon's 'Treason'In the dusty files of Lyndon Johnson's presidential library in Austin, Texas, once secret documents and audiotapes tell a dark and tragic story of how Richard Nixon's team secured the White House in 1968 by sabotaging peace talks that might have ended the Vietnam War four years earlier, Robert Parry reports. March 3, 2012
The Almost VanunuTwo decades ago, the U.S. and Israeli governments reached around the world to silence an ex-Israeli intelligence officer who was exposing sensitive secrets. The goal was to discredit, if not capture, Ari Ben-Menashe much the way Israel went after nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, reports Marshall Wilson. February 1, 2012
Getting Rid of 'Anti-Israel' PresidentsSome staunch supporters of Israel believe that its interests are so compelling that they trump American self-governance, with one extremist suggesting the murder of President Obama. Others, however, appear to have joined in an earlier subversion of U.S. democracy, Robert Parry reports. January 21, 2012
Herding American's to War with IranThe murder of a fifth Iranian scientist on the streets of Tehran had all the earmarks of an Israeli-sponsored assassination. The killing also worsened tensions at a moment when the momentum toward war with Iran seems unstoppable, reports Robert Parry. January 12, 2012
Republican Tradition of Hostage-TakingSince the days of Richard Nixon, Republicans have pursued an anything-goes brand of politics that often has the look of hostage-taking, with Democrats usually caving in. But, Robert Parry asks, has President Obama finally learned that the only way to stop bullying is to stand up to it? December 23, 2011
The Lost Opportunity of Iran-ContraA quarter century ago with the breaking of the Iran-Contra scandal, the United States had a chance to step back from its march toward Empire and to demand accountability for White House crimes. But instead a powerful cover-up prevailed, reports Robert Parry. December 1, 2011
Who is Judge Richard Leon?The appointment of federal judges is a key power of the U.S. president. It can reward partisan allies for past services and ensure favorable rulings in the future. Both factors were in play for District Judge Richard Leon who just struck down new cigarette warnings, writes Robert Parry. November 9, 2011
The GOP's History of 'Hostage-Taking'For more than four decades, Democrats have tolerated Republican abuses, claiming accountability wouldn't be ''good for the country.'' But this softness has only encouraged the kind of hardball behavior that has now taken the U.S. economy ''hostage,'' writes Robert Parry. November 6, 2011
Unmasking October Surprise DebunkerThe fake ''debunking'' of the 1980 October Surprise case in the early 1990s was driven by a few ''journalists,'' including Steven Emerson, who has been identified in a recent report as a ''misinformation expert'' spreading anti-Muslim propaganda, reports Robert Parry. October 30, 2011
Taking a Bush Secret to the GraveThe National Archives has approved an appeal by journalist Robert Parry seeking release of a 30-year-old secret, the address where George H.W. Bush supposedly went on an October weekend in 1980, when several witnesses put Bush in Paris meeting with Iranians. But it turns out the ''alibi witness'' is now dead. September 27, 2011
Bush's October Surprise File in DisputeThe enduring October Surprise mystery whether Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign sabotaged President Jimmy Carter's efforts to free 52 American hostages in Iran has reached a possible turning point, whether details of George H.W. Bush's activities on a key day will be released, reports Robert Parry. September 9, 2011
Keeping a Curious Bush SecretOne of the strange mysteries from the Reagan-Bush era is where did George H.W. Bush go on one Sunday in October 1980 when some witnesses placed him meeting with Iranians in Paris. More than three decades later, Bush's supposed alibi remains a state secret, Robert Parry reports. August 12, 2011
October Surprise Evidence SurfacesAmong newly released archival records is the first U.S. documentary evidence that William Casey took a trip to Madrid possibly related to the 1980 October Surprise conspiracy. Doubts that Ronald Reagan's campaign chief went to Madrid fueled a media frenzy in 1991 to debunk allegations of a secret GOP deal with Iran, says Robert Parry. July 14, 2011
Inside the October Surprise Cover-upThe George H.W. Bush Library in Texas has just released thousands of pages of documents on the October Surprise mystery, revealing how Bush's inner circle handled allegations that the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1980 struck a treacherous deal with Iran. It was a textbook case of controlling the narrative, reports Robert Parry. July 12, 2011
Bachmann's Aide Hides $10M SecretWhen Rep. Michelle Bachmann landed Ed Rollins as her campaign manager, the move gave a shot of credibility to her presidential bid. Washington pundits adore Rollins and his blunt style, so much so that they have ignored the fact that he is still covering up an illegal $10 million suitcase full of cash from Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Robert Parry reports. July 10, 2011
Bob Gates's 'Business' of LyingAs Defense Secretary Robert Gates prepares to retire in late June, he is routinely lauded as a ''wise man'' committed to telling it like it is, even making a frank comment this week about how ''most governments lie to each other.'' But Gates's own record for honesty is a deeply checkered one, reports Robert Parry. June 17, 2011
Netanyahu Sets Limits for ObamaPresident Barack Obama got an Oval Office lecture from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about how far Obama may deviate from Israel's positions on Mideast peace. This public rebuke raises questions about whether Netanyahu will now try to sink Obama's reelection the way earlier Likud leaders undermined President Jimmy Carter, reports Robert Parry. May 21, 2011
Jimmy Carter's October Surprise DoubtsEx-President Jimmy Carter tells an interviewer that he isn't sure what to believe about the longstanding suspicions that Republicans went behind his back in 1980 to stop him from freeing 52 American hostages in Iran, a failure that contributed to his political demise. But Robert Parry reports that there is a wealth of historical evidence. May 12, 2011
Twenty Years Ago, a Lost OpportunityTwo decades ago, the U.S. political/media system had a chance to get Ronald Reagan's history right, but didn't, says Robert Parry. April 15, 2011
Don't Try These GOP Alibis at HomeWhen powerful Republicans are in a pinch, they can use crazy alibis that would make anyone else look guiltier, says Robert Parry. August 12, 2010
October Surprise Cover-up UnravelsDie-hard defenders of the October Surprise (1980) cover-up keep citing alibis that have long ago disintegrated, says Robert Parry. August 6, 2010
Accusation of October Surprise 'Lying'Attorney Lawrence Barcella accuses journalist Robert Parry of ''lying'' about the October Surprise case, and Parry responds. August 5, 2010
Rethinking Iran-ContraThe recent collapse of the long-running October Surprise cover-up shifts the history on the Iran-Contra scandal, writes Robert Parry. July 1, 2010
The CIA/Likud Sinking of Jimmy CarterWith the October Surprise cover-up in shambles, the evidence points to a CIA-Likud plot against President Carter, says Robert Parry. June 24, 2010
The Tricky October Surprise ReportA House task force deceived the American public in clearing Ronald Reagan of a treacherous scheme with Iran, reports Robert Parry. June 17, 2010
Key October Surprise Evidence HiddenA Russian report on the 1980 October Surprise case was apparently kept from the chief congressional investigator, says Robert Parry. May 6, 2010
The October Surprise Crystal BallsA sub-plot of the 1980 October Surprise mystery is how some Reaganites foresaw the U.S. hostage release, says Robert Parry. November 13, 2009
The Crazy October Surprise DebunkingTo protect the Reagan-Bush-I legacy, Republicans and Democrats created absurd October Surprise alibis, reports Robert Parry. November 6, 2009
How Two Elections Changed AmericaSecret Republican operations around elections in 1968 and 1980 set the U.S. on today's troubled course, says Robert Parry. November 4, 2009
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September 11th Victim Compensation Fund - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 18:10
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was created by an Act of Congress, the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (49 USC 40101),[1] shortly after 9/11 to compensate the victims of the attack (or their families) in exchange for their agreement not to sue the airline corporations involved. Kenneth Feinberg was appointed by Attorney General John Ashcroft to be Special Master of the fund. He worked for 33 months pro bono. He developed the regulations governing the administration of the fund and administered all aspects of the program.[2]
Feinberg was responsible for making the decisions on how much each family of a victim would receive. Feinberg had to estimate how much each victim would have earned in a full lifetime. If a family accepted the offer, it was not possible to appeal. Families unhappy with the offer were able to appeal in a nonadversarial, informal hearing to present their case however they wanted. Feinberg personally presided over more than 900 of the 1,600 hearings. At the end of the process $7 billion was awarded to 97% of the families; the average payout was $1.8 million. A non-negotiable clause in the acceptance papers for the settlements was that the families were to never file suit against the airlines for any lack of security or otherwise unsafe procedures.[3]
A stumbling block to settlements was the fact that many of the World Trade Center victims were highly compensated financial professionals. Families of these victims felt the compensation offers were too low, and, had a court considered their case on an individual basis, they would have been awarded much higher amounts. This concern had to be balanced against the time, complications, and risks of pursuing an individual case, and the real possibility that the airlines and their insurers could be bankrupted before being able to pay the claim. This is a separate fund from the similarly named September 11th Fund, and from the World Trade Center Captive Insurance Company.
Contents
The eight-part Feinberg planEditIn his book titled What is Life Worth?, Feinberg described the eight-part plan which was applied to approaching the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (see Publications section below). (i) Identifying someone with sufficient and exceptionally broad experience in mass tort action mediation, litigation, and settlement, which Feinberg possessed through his previous personal experience as a political activist and his work in the Agent Orange compensation settlement. (ii) To support and follow the unprecedented law of Congress for the proportional compensation of victims based on estimated loss from future earnings as a key legislated criterion. Hire a full staff of accountants and attorneys to track and service each claim individually. (iii) Accumulate all the reports and applications, along with counter-claims to gauge and initiate the direct compensation process. How the compensation fund worked was in detail substantially different than the Agent Orange mass tort litigation case. (iv) The place of informed discretion in compensating claimants under the formula of keeping the domain of compensation (p47 of Feinberg's book) under the rule of thumb that 85% of the money should not go to 15% of the 'richest' claimant families, under the principle of "narrow the gap" between the largest and the smallest compensations paid to claimants. (v) With a mind to the future, the process of the program should be maintained and serviced as a precedent for future courts to defend in future compensation cases as needed. The actions taken should be uniform in their approach. (vi) There would be "no substitute for hard work and legal craftsmanship" of rigorous intellectual honesty. (vii) The support of Edward Kennedy would be recognized throughout the process whom Feinberg knew since 1975 (p7-8). (viii) Law suits were to be discouraged as contrary to the spirit of an enacted Law of Congress legislated to expedite the claim process of victims of September 11th.[4]
Feinberg, Kenneth (June 2012). Who Gets What: Fair Compensation after Tragedy and Financial Upheaval. New York City: PublicAffairs. ISBN 9781586589779. Feinberg, Kenneth. What is Life Worth?: The Unprecedented Effort to Compensate the Victims of 9/11 (2005), Perseus Books Group.^Government statistics concerning 9-11 compensation program^Feinberg, Kenneth (June 2012). Who Gets What: Fair Compensation after Tragedy and Financial Upheaval. New York City: PublicAffairs. ISBN 9781586589779. ^Feinberg, Kenneth. What is Life Worth?: The Unprecedented Effort to Compensate the Victims of 9/11 (2005), Perseus Books Group.^Feinberg, Kenneth. What is Life Worth?: The Unprecedented Effort to Compensate the Victims of 9/11 (2005), Perseus Books Group.
Congress Looks to Narrow Bill Allowing Terror Victims to Sue Foreign Governments - WSJ
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 17:57
Updated Sept. 29, 2016 6:14 p.m. ET WASHINGTON'--Leading lawmakers on Thursday said they were working on ways to mitigate possible unintended consequences of legislation letting Americans sue foreign governments over terrorist attacks, just one day after both the House and Senate soundly overrode President Barack Obama's veto of the bill.
Some lawmakers expressed buyer's remorse on the legislation, which would enable victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and their families to sue Saudi Arabia, worrying that the bill could spark reciprocal lawsuits and put Americans abroad in the legal crosshairs of foreign governments.
''It appears as if there may be some unintended ramifications,'' Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) told reporters Thursday. ''I do think it's worth further discussing.''
The president vetoed the bill last Friday, arguing that it did little to deter future terrorist attacks and could endanger U.S. intelligence officials and diplomats abroad by eroding sovereign immunity, the centuries-old legal doctrine that generally protects national governments, including the U.S., from being sued against their will. Mr. Obama said Wednesday night that Congress had made a ''mistake'' in overriding his veto for the first time in his presidency.
The bill specifically would establish an exception to U.S. laws barring lawsuits against foreign governments, allowing court action by victims of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.
Lawmakers said Thursday that they would seek to tighten the bill when they return to Washington after the November elections in an effort to limit its repercussions.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) said Thursday he hoped to find some way to ''protect our service members overseas from any kind of legal ensnarements or retribution'' while still allowing Sept. 11 victims and their families to go to court.
''There will be an attempt to narrow the effect of what we've done,'' Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) told reporters.
Lawmakers are looking at options including limiting the bill's scope just to the Sept. 11 attacks, changing some of the technical definitions or thresholds in the bill and establishing a tribunal of experts who ''could first determine if there was culpability there,'' Mr. Corker said.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.), one of the bill's main sponsors, along with Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas), dismissed the idea of narrowing the legislation's scope to just the Sept. 11 attacks.
''That tells the Saudis, 'go ahead and do it again and we won't punish you,''' Mr. Schumer said Thursday. While he said he was willing to look at any proposal, Mr. Schumer said it would have to be ''something that doesn't weaken the bill and limit the right of these families to get their day in court and justice'' to secure his approval.
But Mr. Corker said he thought Mr. Schumer would be up against a broad, bipartisan effort to take steps to hem in the legislation.
''There's a large number of people here who would like to see the bill narrowed,'' Mr. Corker said. On Wednesday, Mr. Corker and his committee's top Democrat, Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, circulated a letter signed by 28 senators calling for taking action to head off any unintended consequences.
Saudi Arabia, which strongly opposed the bill, has denied any role in the Sept. 11 attacks and U.S. officials have backed that position.
''It is our hope that wisdom will prevail and that Congress will take the necessary steps to correct this legislation in order to avoid the serious unintended consequences that may ensue,'' Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Thursday evening.
Republicans said Thursday the White House should have done more to alert them earlier in the process of the bill's possible consequences.
''That was a good example, it seems to me, of failure to communicate early about the potential consequences of a piece of legislation that was obviously very popular,'' Mr. McConnell said Thursday. ''I told the president the other day that this is an example of an issue we should have talked about much earlier.''
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said by trying to shift blame to Mr. Obama's outreach effort on the bill lawmakers are showing a case of ''rapid onset buyer's remorse'' over the ''terrible mess that they have made.''
Mr. Earnest said it is hard to take seriously the suggestion that lawmakers didn't know the ramifications of the bill, given the volume of letters sent to them outlining the consequences from a host of senior administration officials, including Mr. Obama and Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan, as well as former national security officials and business leaders. He said Mr. Obama has been making the case for months about why the bill would be damaging.
If lawmakers weren't aware of the consequences before voting, he said, ''Ignorance is not an excuse, particularly when it comes to our national security.''
Mr. Earnest called Wednesday's vote an ''abject embarrassment'' and said ''it's awfully late'' to try to reverse it, but that the White House is open to hearing their proposals.
''If there are members of Congress who've had a change of heart'...we would welcome action to solve the problem they created,'' he said.
Write to Kristina Peterson at kristina.peterson@wsj.com and Carol E. Lee at carol.lee@wsj.com
Text - S.2040 - 114th Congress (2015-2016): Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Sat, 01 Oct 2016 18:08
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[Congressional Bills 114th Congress][From the U.S. Government Publishing Office][S. 2040 Enrolled Bill (ENR)] S.2040 One Hundred Fourteenth Congress of the United States of America AT THE SECOND SESSION Begun and held at the City of Washington on Monday, the fourth day of January, two thousand and sixteen An Act To deter terrorism, provide justice for victims, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act''.SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE. (a) Findings.--Congress finds the following: (1) International terrorism is a serious and deadly problem that threatens the vital interests of the United States. (2) International terrorism affects the interstate and foreign commerce of the United States by harming international trade and market stability, and limiting international travel by United States citizens as well as foreign visitors to the United States. (3) Some foreign terrorist organizations, acting through affiliated groups or individuals, raise significant funds outside of the United States for conduct directed and targeted at the United States. (4) It is necessary to recognize the substantive causes of action for aiding and abetting and conspiracy liability under chapter 113B of title 18, United States Code. (5) The decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Halberstam v. Welch, 705 F.2d 472 (D.C. Cir. 1983), which has been widely recognized as the leading case regarding Federal civil aiding and abetting and conspiracy liability, including by the Supreme Court of the United States, provides the proper legal framework for how such liability should function in the context of chapter 113B of title 18, United States Code. (6) Persons, entities, or countries that knowingly or recklessly contribute material support or resources, directly or indirectly, to persons or organizations that pose a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten the security of nationals of the United States or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States, necessarily direct their conduct at the United States, and should reasonably anticipate being brought to court in the United States to answer for such activities. (7) The United States has a vital interest in providing persons and entities injured as a result of terrorist attacks committed within the United States with full access to the court system in order to pursue civil claims against persons, entities, or countries that have knowingly or recklessly provided material support or resources, directly or indirectly, to the persons or organizations responsible for their injuries. (b) Purpose.--The purpose of this Act is to provide civil litigants with the broadest possible basis, consistent with the Constitution of the United States, to seek relief against persons, entities, and foreign countries, wherever acting and wherever they may be found, that have provided material support, directly or indirectly, to foreign organizations or persons that engage in terrorist activities against the United States.SEC. 3. RESPONSIBILITY OF FOREIGN STATES FOR INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. (a) In General.--Chapter 97 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 1605A the following:``Sec. 1605B. Responsibility of foreign states for international terrorism against the United States ``(a) Definition.--In this section, the term `international terrorism'-- ``(1) has the meaning given the term in section 2331 of title 18, United States Code; and ``(2) does not include any act of war (as defined in that section). ``(b) Responsibility of Foreign States.--A foreign state shall not be immune from the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States in any case in which money damages are sought against a foreign state for physical injury to person or property or death occurring in the United States and caused by-- ``(1) an act of international terrorism in the United States; and ``(2) a tortious act or acts of the foreign state, or of any official, employee, or agent of that foreign state while acting within the scope of his or her office, employment, or agency, regardless where the tortious act or acts of the foreign state occurred. ``(c) Claims by Nationals of the United States.--Notwithstanding section 2337(2) of title 18, a national of the United States may bring a claim against a foreign state in accordance with section 2333 of that title if the foreign state would not be immune under subsection (b). ``(d) Rule of Construction.--A foreign state shall not be subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States under subsection (b) on the basis of an omission or a tortious act or acts that constitute mere negligence.''. (b) Technical and Conforming Amendments.-- (1) The table of sections for chapter 97 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 1605A the following:``1605B. Responsibility of foreign states for international terrorism against the United States.''. (2) Subsection 1605(g)(1)(A) of title 28, United States Code, is amended by inserting ``or section 1605B'' after ``but for section 1605A''.SEC. 4. AIDING AND ABETTING LIABILITY FOR CIVIL ACTIONS REGARDING TERRORIST ACTS. (a) In General.--Section 2333 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following: ``(d) Liability.-- ``(1) Definition.--In this subsection, the term `person' has the meaning given the term in section 1 of title 1. ``(2) Liability.--In an action under subsection (a) for an injury arising from an act of international terrorism committed, planned, or authorized by an organization that had been designated as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189), as of the date on which such act of international terrorism was committed, planned, or authorized, liability may be asserted as to any person who aids and abets, by knowingly providing substantial assistance, or who conspires with the person who committed such an act of international terrorism.''. (b) Effect on Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.--Nothing in the amendment made by this section affects immunity of a foreign state, as that term is defined in section 1603 of title 28, United States Code, from jurisdiction under other law.SEC. 5. STAY OF ACTIONS PENDING STATE NEGOTIATIONS. (a) Exclusive Jurisdiction.--The courts of the United States shall have exclusive jurisdiction in any action in which a foreign state is subject to the jurisdiction of a court of the United States under section 1605B of title 28, United States Code, as added by section 3(a) of this Act. (b) Intervention.--The Attorney General may intervene in any action in which a foreign state is subject to the jurisdiction of a court of the United States under section 1605B of title 28, United States Code, as added by section 3(a) of this Act, for the purpose of seeking a stay of the civil action, in whole or in part. (c) Stay.-- (1) In general.--A court of the United States may stay a proceeding against a foreign state if the Secretary of State certifies that the United States is engaged in good faith discussions with the foreign state defendant concerning the resolution of the claims against the foreign state, or any other parties as to whom a stay of claims is sought. (2) Duration.-- (A) In general.--A stay under this section may be granted for not more than 180 days. (B) Extension.-- (i) In general.--The Attorney General may petition the court for an extension of the stay for additional 180-day periods. (ii) Recertification.--A court shall grant an extension under clause (i) if the Secretary of State recertifies that the United States remains engaged in good faith discussions with the foreign state defendant concerning the resolution of the claims against the foreign state, or any other parties as to whom a stay of claims is sought.SEC. 6. SEVERABILITY. If any provision of this Act or any amendment made by this Act, or the application of a provision or amendment to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid, the remainder of this Act and the amendments made by this Act, and the application of the provisions and amendments to any other person not similarly situated or to other circumstances, shall not be affected by the holding.SEC. 7. EFFECTIVE DATE. The amendments made by this Act shall apply to any civil action-- (1) pending on, or commenced on or after, the date of enactment of this Act; and (2) arising out of an injury to a person, property, or business on or after September 11, 2001. Speaker of the House of Representatives. Vice President of the United States and President of the Senate.
Elections 2016
Why they're wrong | The Economist
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 13:42
IN SEPTEMBER 1843 the Liverpool Mercury reported on a large free-trade rally in the city. The Royal Amphitheatre was overflowing. John Bright, a newly elected MP, spoke eloquently on the merits of abolishing duties on imported food, echoing arguments made in The Economist, a fledgling newspaper. Mr Bright told his audience that when canvassing, he had explained ''how stonemasons, shoemakers, carpenters and every kind of artisan suffered if the trade of the country was restricted.'' His speech in Liverpool was roundly cheered.
It is hard to imagine, 173 years later, a leading Western politician being lauded for a defence of free trade. Neither candidate in America's presidential election is a champion. Donald Trump, incoherent on so many fronts, is clear in this area: unfair competition from foreigners has destroyed jobs at home. He threatens to dismantle the North American Free Trade Agreement, withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and start a trade war with China. To her discredit, Hillary Clinton now denounces the TPP, a pact she helped negotiate. In Germany, one of the world's biggest exporters, tens of thousands took to the streets earlier this month to march against a proposed trade deal between the European Union and the United States (see article).
The backlash against trade is just one symptom of a pervasive anxiety about the effects of open economies. Britain's Brexit vote reflected concerns about the impact of unfettered migration on public services, jobs and culture. Big businesses are slammed for using foreign boltholes to dodge taxes. Such critiques contain some truth: more must be done to help those who lose out from openness. But there is a world of difference between improving globalisation and reversing it. The idea that globalisation is a scam that benefits only corporations and the rich could scarcely be more wrong.
The real pro-poor policy
Exhibit A is the vast improvement in global living standards in the decades after the second world war, which was underpinned by an explosion in world trade. Exports of goods rose from 8% of world GDP in 1950 to almost 20% a half-century later. Export-led growth and foreign investment have dragged hundreds of millions out of poverty in China, and transformed economies from Ireland to South Korea.
Plainly, Western voters are not much comforted by this extraordinary transformation in the fortunes of emerging markets. But at home, too, the overall benefits of free trade are unarguable. Exporting firms are more productive and pay higher wages than those that serve only the domestic market. Half of America's exports go to countries with which it has a free-trade deal, even though their economies account for less than a tenth of global GDP.
Protectionism, by contrast, hurts consumers and does little for workers. The worst-off benefit far more from trade than the rich. A study of 40 countries found that the richest consumers would lose 28% of their purchasing power if cross-border trade ended; but those in the bottom tenth would lose 63%. The annual cost to American consumers of switching to non-Chinese tyres after Barack Obama slapped on anti-dumping tariffs in 2009 was around $1.1 billion, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics. That amounts to over $900,000 for each of the 1,200 jobs that were ''saved''.
Openness delivers other benefits. Migrants improve not just their own lives but the economies of host countries: European immigrants who arrived in Britain since 2000 have been net contributors to the exchequer, adding more than £20 billion ($34 billion) to the public finances between 2001 and 2011. Foreign direct investment delivers competition, technology, management know-how and jobs, which is why China's overly cautious moves to encourage FDI disappoint (see article).
What have you done for me lately?
None of this is to deny that globalisation has its flaws. Since the 1840s advocates of free trade have known that, though the great majority benefit, some lose out. Too little has been done to help these people. Perhaps a fifth of the 6m or so net job losses in American manufacturing between 1999 and 2011 stemmed from Chinese competition; many of those who lost jobs did not find new ones. With hindsight, politicians in Britain were too blithe about the pressures that migration from new EU member states in eastern Europe brought to bear on public services. And although there are no street protests about the speed and fickleness in the tides of short-term capital, its ebb and flow across borders have often proved damaging, not least in the euro zone's debt-ridden countries.
As our special report this week argues, more must be done to tackle these downsides. America spends a paltry 0.1% of its GDP, one-sixth of the rich-country average, on policies to retrain workers and help them find new jobs. In this context, it is lamentable that neither Mr Trump nor Mrs Clinton offers policies to help those whose jobs have been affected by trade or cheaper technology. On migration, it makes sense to follow the example of Denmark and link local-government revenues to the number of incomers, so that strains on schools, hospitals and housing can be eased. Many see the rules that bind signatories to trade pacts as an affront to democracy. But there are ways that shared rules can enhance national autonomy. Harmonising norms on how multinational firms are taxed would give countries greater command over their public finances. A co-ordinated approach to curbing volatile capital flows would restore mastery over national monetary policy.
These are the sensible responses to the peddlers of protectionism and nativism. The worst answer would be for countries to turn their backs on globalisation. The case for openness remains much the same as it did when this newspaper was founded to support the repeal of the Corn Laws. There are more'--and more varied'--opportunities in open economies than in closed ones. And, in general, greater opportunity makes people better off. Since the 1840s, free-traders have believed that closed economies favour the powerful and hurt the labouring classes. They were right then. They are right now.
USA TODAY's Editorial Board: Trump is 'unfit for the presidency'
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 22:19
We haven't made a voting recommendation in 34 years. For this election, we made an exception.
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters and the media following primary elections on June 7, 2016 in Briarcliff Manor, New York.(Photo: John Moore, Getty Images)
In the 34-year history of USA TODAY, the Editorial Board has never taken sides in the presidential race. Instead, we've expressed opinions about the major issues and haven't presumed to tell our readers, who have a variety of priorities and values, which choice is best for them. Because every presidential race is different, we revisit our no-endorsement policy every four years. We've never seen reason to alter our approach. Until now.
This year, the choice isn't between two capable major party nominees who happen to have significant ideological differences. This year, one of the candidates '-- Republican nominee Donald Trump '-- is, by unanimous consensus of the Editorial Board, unfit for the presidency.
From the day he declared his candidacy 15 months ago through this week's first presidential debate, Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he lacks the temperament, knowledge, steadiness and honesty that America needs from its presidents.
Whether through indifference or ignorance, Trump has betrayed fundamental commitments made by all presidents since the end of World War II. These commitments include unwavering support for NATO allies, steadfast opposition to Russian aggression, and the absolute certainty that the United States will make good on its debts. He has expressed troubling admiration for authoritarian leaders and scant regard for constitutional protections.
USA TODAY
Mike Pence: Donald Trump is ready to lead
USA TODAY
Why we're breaking tradition: Our view
We've been highly critical of the GOP nominee in a number of previous editorials. With early voting already underway in several states and polls showing a close race, now is the time to spell out, in one place, the reasons Trump should not be president:
He is erratic. Trump has been on so many sides of so many issues that attempting to assess his policy positions is like shooting at a moving target. A list prepared by NBC details 124 shifts by Trump on 20 major issues since shortly before he entered the race. He simply spouts slogans and outcomes (he'd replace Obamacare with ''something terrific'') without any credible explanations of how he'd achieve them.
He is ill-equipped to be commander in chief. Trump's foreign policy pronouncements typically range from uninformed to incoherent. It's not just Democrats who say this. Scores of Republican national security leaders have signed an extraordinary open letter calling Trump's foreign policy vision ''wildly inconsistent and unmoored in principle.'' In a Wall Street Journal column this month, Robert Gates, the highly respected former Defense secretary who served presidents of both parties over a half-century, described Trump as ''beyond repair.''
He traffics in prejudice. From the very beginning, Trump has built his campaign on appeals to bigotry and xenophobia, whipping up resentment against Mexicans, Muslims and migrants. His proposals for mass deportations and religious tests are unworkable and contrary to America's ideals.
Trump has stirred racist sentiments in ways that can't be erased by his belated and clumsy outreach to African Americans. His attacks on an Indiana-born federal judge of Mexican heritage fit ''the textbook definition of a racist comment,'' according to House Speaker Paul Ryan, the highest-ranking elected official in the Republican Party. And for five years, Trump fanned the absurd ''birther'' movement that falsely questioned the legitimacy of the nation's first black president.
His business career is checkered. Trump has built his candidacy on his achievements as a real estate developer and entrepreneur. It's a shaky scaffold, starting with a 1973 Justice Department suit against Trump and his father for systematically discriminating against blacks in housing rentals. (The Trumps fought the suit but later settled on terms that were viewed as a government victory.) Trump's companies have had some spectacular financial successes, but this track record is marred by six bankruptcy filings, apparent misuse of the family's charitable foundation, and allegations by Trump University customers of fraud. A series of investigative articles published by the USA TODAY Network found that Trump has been involved in thousands of lawsuits over the past three decades, including at least 60 that involved small businesses and contract employees who said they were stiffed. So much for being a champion of the little guy.
He isn't leveling with the American people. Is Trump as rich as he says? No one knows, in part because, alone among major party presidential candidates for the past four decades, he refuses to release his tax returns. Nor do we know whether he has paid his fair share of taxes, or the extent of his foreign financial entanglements.
He speaks recklessly. In the days after the Republican convention, Trump invited Russian hackers to interfere with an American election by releasing Hillary Clinton's emails, and he raised the prospect of ''Second Amendment people'' preventing the Democratic nominee from appointing liberal justices. It's hard to imagine two more irresponsible statements from one presidential candidate.
He has coarsened the national dialogue. Did you ever imagine that a presidential candidate would discuss the size of his genitalia during a nationally televised Republican debate? Neither did we. Did you ever imagine a presidential candidate, one who avoided service in the military, would criticize Gold Star parents who lost a son in Iraq? Neither did we. Did you ever imagine you'd see a presidential candidate mock a disabled reporter? Neither did we. Trump's inability or unwillingness to ignore criticism raises the specter of a president who, like Richard Nixon, would create enemies' lists and be consumed with getting even with his critics.
He's a serial liar. Although polls show that Clinton is considered less honest and trustworthy than Trump, it's not even a close contest. Trump is in a league of his own when it comes to the quality and quantity of his misstatements. When confronted with a falsehood, such as his assertion that he was always against the Iraq War, Trump's reaction is to use the Big Lie technique of repeating it so often that people begin to believe it.
We are not unmindful of the issues that Trump's campaign has exploited: the disappearance of working-class jobs; excessive political correctness; the direction of the Supreme Court; urban unrest and street violence; the rise of the Islamic State terrorist group; gridlock in Washington and the influence of moneyed interests. All are legitimate sources of concern.
Nor does this editorial represent unqualified support for Hillary Clinton, who has her own flaws (though hers are far less likely to threaten national security or lead to a constitutional crisis). The Editorial Board does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement.
Some of us look at her command of the issues, resilience and long record of public service '-- as first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of State '-- and believe she'd serve the nation ably as its president.
Other board members have serious reservations about Clinton's sense of entitlement, her lack of candor and her extreme carelessness in handling classified information.
Where does that leave us? Our bottom-line advice for voters is this: Stay true to your convictions. That might mean a vote for Clinton, the most plausible alternative to keep Trump out of the White House. Or it might mean a third-party candidate. Or a write-in. Or a focus on down-ballot candidates who will serve the nation honestly, try to heal its divisions, and work to solve its problems.
Whatever you do, however, resist the siren song of a dangerous demagogue. By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump.
USA TODAY's editorial opinions are decided by its Editorial Board, separate from the news staff. Most editorials are coupled with an opposing view '-- a unique USA TODAY feature.
To read more editorials, go to the Opinion front page or sign up for the daily Opinion email newsletter. To respond to this editorial, submit a comment to letters@usatoday.com.
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Actually, a Malfunction Did Affect Donald Trump's Voice at the Debate - NYTimes.com
Sat, 01 Oct 2016 06:47
The Commission on Presidential Debates said Friday that the first debate on Monday was marred by an unspecified technical malfunction that affected the volume of Donald J. Trump's voice in the debate hall.
Mr. Trump complained after the debate that the event's organizers had given him a ''defective mike,'' contributing to his widely panned performance against Hillary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton lampooned Mr. Trump's claim, telling reporters on her campaign plane, ''Anybody who complains about the microphone is not having a good night.''
Mr. Trump was clearly audible to the television audience. And there is no evidence of sabotage. But it turns out he was on to something.
''Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall,'' the commission said in its statement.
The commission, a nonprofit organization that sponsors the presidential debates, released no other information about the malfunction, including how it was discovered, which equipment was to blame, or why the problem was admitted to only on Friday, four days after the debate.
Reached by phone, a member of the commission's media staff said she was not authorized to speak about the matter.
Some members of the audience, held at Hofstra University in New York, recalled in interviews that the amplification of Mr. Trump's voice was at times significantly lower than that for Mrs. Clinton. And at times Mr. Trump appeared to be hunching down to get his face closer to his microphone.
Zeke Miller, a reporter for Time Magazine who attended the debate, mentioned the difference on Monday in a report to the traveling press pool for Mr. Trump. From his vantage point, Mr. Miller wrote, Mr. Trump was sometimes ''a little quieter'' than Mrs. Clinton.
In an interview, Mr. Trump said he had tested out the audio system two hours before the event and found it ''flawless.'' Only during the debate did he notice the problem, Mr. Trump said, and he tried to compensate by leaning down more closely to the microphone. He complained that the changing volume had distracted him and alleged again that someone had created the problem deliberately.
''They had somebody modulating the microphone, so when I was speaking, the mike would go up and down,'' Mr. Trump said. ''I spent 50 percent of my thought process working the mike.'' He had wanted to pause the debate to address the problem, Mr. Trump said, but felt he could not. ''How can I stop the show if I had 100 million people watching?'' he said.
Asked whether he was reconsidering participating in the next debate, scheduled for Oct. 9, Mr. Trump did not answer directly.
''I want to do the next debate, but everybody is talking about the mike,'' Mr. Trump said.
Hillary Clinton Struggles to Win Back Young Voters From Third Parties - NYTimes.com
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:21
With just six weeks to go until Election Day, younger voters are shunning the two major political parties on a scale not seen since Ross Perot's third-party bid for the presidency in 1992, a striking swing in public opinion that is slicing into Hillary Clinton's thin margin for error.
Though young people are notoriously fickle about showing up at the polls, they are a growing and potentially pivotal bloc of voters. Millennials now outnumberbabyboomers as the country's largest generation. And while they may be more predisposed than other groups to vote Democratic, they are not moving toward the party and its nominee as quickly and predictably as they have in past elections.
The Clinton campaign held several events on Wednesday aimed at millennials, underscoring the urgency with which she and her team are working to lock down the group: about 75 million Americans. Mrs. Clinton traveled to New Hampshire with her former primary rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, for a rally with college students.
The first lady, Michelle Obama, spent the day visiting campuses in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. She had blunt words for anyone thinking about voting for a third party. ''If you vote for someone other than Hillary, or if you don't vote at all,'' she said, ''then you are helping to elect Hillary's opponent.''
Though Mrs. Clinton is riding high after a strong debate performance on Monday, during which she explicitly mentioned issues, like climate change, that appeal to the young, she has a lot of ground to make up.
Several factors are complicating the immense task of registering and turning out millennials, the 18- to 34-year-olds who are already hard to reach because their media consumption habits do not lend themselves to traditional television-focused campaigns.
They tend not to be motivated by any single, unifying issue, making the job of messaging harder. They are declaring themselves unaffiliated with either party at a rate faster than any other generation. They say the political process and the two-party system are unresponsive to their concerns.
And, in what is one of the most difficult barriers for Mrs. Clinton to break through, young people often display little understanding of how a protest vote for a third-party candidate, or not voting at all, can alter the outcome of a close election.
The vast majority of millennials were not old enough to vote in 2000, when Ralph Nader ran as the Green Party nominee and, with the strong backing of young voters, helped cost Vice President Al Gore the presidency.
''Ralph who?'' said David Frasier, a junior at Charleston Southern University.
''Didn't he kind of come in at the last minute and kind of alter the votes or something?'' Mr. Frasier, 26, asked, his memory barely jogged. ''I was too young to remember.''
The Clinton campaign's biggest problem with young voters could be summed up by Mr. Frasier. He is liberal-minded and voted for Mr. Sanders in the South Carolina primary. But he is not likely to vote for either Mrs. Clinton or Donald J. Trump, the Republican nominee, both of whom he called ''pawns and puppets.''
Echoing sentiments that seem to be driving many young people away from politics, Mr. Frasier said he felt powerless to bring about change through voting. ''I don't feel like we have control,'' he said. ''I kind of feel like this whole election is just playing the American people.''
Mrs. Clinton's weakness with young voters is largely because of the support third-party candidates are drawing away. Mr. Trump's support among the young has hovered around 25 percent in recent polls.
More than a third of voters 18 to 29 said in the latest New York Times/CBS News poll that they would vote for either Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, or Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate: Mr. Johnson had the support of 26 percent of those voters, and Ms. Stein had 10 percent.
Given the choice of just Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump, 10 percent said they would not vote at all '-- double that of any other age group. An ABC News/Washington Post poll this month found a similar level of support for third-party candidates: 20 percent for Mr. Johnson and 6 percent for Ms. Stein among registered voters ages 18 to 39.
The stubborn popularity of the third-party candidates has become a concern to Mrs. Clinton and her allies. So far, the support for them has not softened, as it often does in the fall.
''Historically, that's what has happened,'' said Jefrey Pollock, who is advising the ''super PAC'' working on Mrs. Clinton's behalf, Priorities USA. ''But history isn't repeating itself right now, which is one common theme of this election cycle.''
Some of Mrs. Clinton's advisers believe that the absence of Mr. Johnson and Ms. Stein from the debate stage on Monday '-- both failed to meet the 15 percent polling threshold to qualify '-- will help bring down their numbers. In the meantime, the Clinton campaign has accelerated its aggressive courting of young voters.
That effort involves enlisting Mr. Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, two figures popular with young people, to make the case that Mrs. Clinton cannot make for herself.
''I suspect that I know about as much about third-party politics as anybody in Congress,'' Mr. Sanders, an independent himself until he decided to run for president as a Democrat last year, said in an interview. ''And I want anybody who's thinking about voting against Hillary Clinton, and casting a protest vote because she is not all they would like her to be, to understand what the consequences for the country and the world will be.''
As interviews with young voters show, it is a hard sell.
Nick Chanko, 20, is a student at McGill University in Montreal who plans to vote in his home state, New York. A registered Democrat, he said he would either vote for Ms. Stein or not vote at all.
''I feel like a lot of the stuff Hillary does, you can see when she is trying to, like, earn the youth vote, and it just doesn't work,'' Mr. Chanko said. ''It's just kind of cringeworthy. She just doesn't seem genuine.''
Mr. Chanko said he did remember Mr. Nader's candidacy but thought it was unfair to blame protest votes for spoiling an election.
The debate over the merits of casting a third-party ballot can seem endlessly circular.
''I understand the frustration, but channel that frustration into making government work, not into throwing away your vote,'' Ms. Warren said in an interview. ''They should not trust the system,'' she added. ''But the answer is to seize the system and make it work for the people, not to just turn it over to the bigots and billionaires.''
The possibility of young voters' staying away from voting booths in droves come November is very real. Turnout rates among Americans ages 18 to 24 dropped significantly in 2012, to 41 percent from 49 percent in 2008.
This is both a frustration and a paradox to people who try to get them to the polls.
This huge pool of potential voters has been the animating force behind the largest new social movements on the left, from Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter. Yet many do not equate voting with social change.
''They've shown they have the civic muscle to get things done,'' said Allegra Chapman, the director of voting and elections at Common Cause, a nonpartisan civic engagement group. ''The question becomes, how do we translate this civic muscle into the kind that shows up and has a presence at the ballot box?''
Repairing the mistrust millennials have of institutions and the political system is not easy.
Nathan Mowery, a 26-year-old federal contractor who lives in Gainesville, Va., said that as a Muslim, he would find it hard to vote for Mr. Trump. But he said that he found Mrs. Clinton uninspiring and that he planned to vote instead for a third-party candidate. He was unapologetic about his choice.
''I'm casting a protest vote because it makes it visible to major parties that there are people who are motivated to vote but are unwilling to vote for either of them,'' he said. ''I hope that whoever runs in 2020 will get their act together and one of the parties will put somebody up that younger voters can align themselves with.''
Asked if he remembered Mr. Nader, Mr. Mowery captured the essence of the Clinton campaign's fears about young voters.
He said he was vaguely familiar with Mr. Nader as another third-party candidate. ''Other than that,'' he said, ''I don't know much.''
Expanding Miss Universe: CNN Once Fat-Shamed Alicia Machado | The Daily Caller
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:40
Now, CNN has switched its tune to covering how Machado suffered greatly as a result of Trump's fat-shaming and also how she is an ardent Clinton supporter.
Huffington Post slammed Trump for being a decades-long ''fat-shamer.''
Vox stated that Trump doubled-down on his ''fat-shaming'' comments when he spoke Tuesday with Fox & Friends to note that her weight gain was a serious issue.
''That person was a Miss Universe person, and she was the worst we ever had, the worst, the absolute worst,'' Trump said, referring to Machado. ''She was the winner and, you know, she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem.''
New York Magazine ran a piece expressing shock that Trump refused to apologize for his fat-shaming comments.
But back in 1997, instead of stripping Machado of her title, Trump said he would much rather encourage her to exercise, so she could lose the weight. He even added back in 1997 that he, too, has a problem with eating under pressure.
''Some people when they have pressure eat too much. Like me. Like Alicia,'' said Trump, who was executive producer of the Miss Universe Pageant at the time.
''We had a choice of: termination or do this,'' he added. ''We wanted to do this.''
''This'' meant hitting the gym to slim down.
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Now, CNN has switched its tune to covering how Machado suffered greatly as a result of Trump's fat-shaming and also how she is an ardent Clinton supporter.
Huffington Post slammed Trump for being a decades-long ''fat-shamer.''
Vox stated that Trump doubled-down on his ''fat-shaming'' comments when he spoke Tuesday with Fox & Friends to note that her weight gain was a serious issue.
''That person was a Miss Universe person, and she was the worst we ever had, the worst, the absolute worst,'' Trump said, referring to Machado. ''She was the winner and, you know, she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem.''
New York Magazine ran a piece expressing shock that Trump refused to apologize for his fat-shaming comments.
But back in 1997, instead of stripping Machado of her title, Trump said he would much rather encourage her to exercise, so she could lose the weight. He even added back in 1997 that he, too, has a problem with eating under pressure.
''Some people when they have pressure eat too much. Like me. Like Alicia,'' said Trump, who was executive producer of the Miss Universe Pageant at the time.
''We had a choice of: termination or do this,'' he added. ''We wanted to do this.''
''This'' meant hitting the gym to slim down.
Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter
Send tips to [email protected].
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].
'Trump krijgt debatcoaching van Farage' | Telegraaf.nl
Sat, 01 Oct 2016 16:19
zaterdag 1 oktober 2016, 13:59 (C) ReutersDe omstreden Britse politicus Nigel Farage gaat Donald Trump coachen voor het tweede debat dat de Republikeinse presidentskandidaat binnenkort voert met zijn Democratische rivale Hillary Clinton.
Dat melden Britse media zaterdag.
Amerikaanse media bevestigen dat Farage vrijdagavond naar de Verenigde Staten is gevlogen, nadat het eerste debat afgelopen maandag voor Trump niet geweldig was verlopen. De Britse politicus zou tot het volgende debat, op 19 oktober, Trump van advies voorzien. De twee rechtse politici hadden elkaar in augustus ook al ontmoet in Mississippi.
Farage staat bekend om zijn scherpe debattechniek en opruiende teksten, met name over immigranten. Hij gold als boegbeeld van de brexitcampagne. Na het referendum waarin de Britten stemden voor een vertrek uit de EU, vond Farage dat zijn taak erop zat en nam hij afscheid als leider van de UKIP-partij. Hij zit nog wel voor die partij in het Europees Parlement.
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Commentary: The curious case of Alicia Machado - CBS News
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:31
As a rule, reporters like to keep their stories interesting, which is why the coverage we've seen of Alicia Machado is so curious.
This has been the week of Machado, who became famous literally overnight when Hillary Clinton brought her up at Monday's debate. The next day saw numerous outlets writing pieces on Machado, boosted along by a conference call held by the Clinton campaign for journalists.
The former Miss Universe, who says that Donald Trump fat-shamed her and alleges that he called her ''Ms. Piggy'' and ''Ms. Housekeeping,'' and generally humiliated her after she put on weight, is now the star of a Clinton ad. An obscure figure in America less than a week ago, Machado is perhaps the biggest story in politics at the moment.
So it's almost inexplicable that, despite all this coverage, the publications discussing the extraordinary stories of her life are mostly right-wing ones.
PlayVideo
CBS This MorningDonald Trump and Alicia Machado's 1997 interview with CBS NewsIn this "CBS This Morning" interview with Jos(C) D­az-Balart on May 16, 1997, Donald Trump and 1996 Miss Universe Alicia Machado address the beauty...
The most interesting thing about the mainstream articles is what they leave out. There is no discussion at CNN or The New York Times, for instance, about her post-pageant fame as the fianc(C)e of Phillies outfielder Bobby Abreu, or how he reportedly called it off after a reality show she was on revealed video of her apparently having sex with a housemate.
Likewise, there is little mention of how a Venezuelan judge once alleged on live TV that Machado had threatened to kill him. Or how the Mexican attorney general's office later said she was the girlfriend of a major narco trafficker, and that she he had a child with him, according to Univision and other outlets. Or how a government witness who reportedly testified about their affair was later shot to death.
A certain reticence is fair and appropriate when discussing the private lives of people alleging abuse at the hands of powerful men. The Clintons, of course, are no strangers to this, as they have been accused repeatedly of trying to smear women who've said President Clinton was sexually inappropriate with them.
But there's something odd about news coverage that avoids easily available and fascinating stories about that person's life. And it's especially peculiar when that person is a campaign surrogate for a major party nominee, which is what Machado is now.
It should go without saying that, even if all the allegations against Machado are true, they do not justify Trump derogating her with sexist and racist language. Moreover, it speaks volumes about Trump that Machado's accusations are plausible. More than plausible, in fact, as some of the harassment happened in front of the camera, which underscores Trump's habit not only of bullying people, but of turning that bullying into a spectacle.
Additionally, if all the allegations against Machado are true, they would not necessarily undermine her accusations against Trump. People should not sit off in priggish judgment of her life, or assume she's a liar because she made mistakes when she was younger.
But that doesn't mean that her life, which has been reported on extensively in the Spanish language press, should be sanitized and whitewashed by the press. The political media is not in the beatification business; if it's out there, readers deserve to know it.
And it is all out there. In 1998, the Associated Press reported that Venezuelan judge Maximiliano Fuenmayor said on national television that Machado ''threatened to ruin my career and'...kill me.'' At the time, Fuenmayor had indicted Machado's boyfriend for allegedly murdering his brother-in-law, outside a Caracas church.
PlayVideo
CBSNClinton rips Trump for "fat-shaming" former Miss UniverseVideo from the 1990's shows Trump calling former Miss Universe Alicia Machado fat. Hillary Clinton has capitalized on his criticism of Machado's ...
''The victim's family accused Machado of driving the getaway car, but Fuenmayor has not indicted her, citing insufficient evidence. The judge said there were no witnesses to place Machado at the scene -- or to back up her claim she was home sick at the time,'' the AP report continues.
To his credit, CNN's Anderson Cooper asked Machado about these allegations Tuesday night after they surfaced in the Trump-friendly Daily Mail. She responded: ''He can say whatever he wants to say. I don't care. 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. 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 Mexico too.''
Other facets of her life have likewise been explored, though not as recently. In 2005, Deadspin, then part of Nick Denton's Gawker media, theorized that Bobby Abreu's home-run streak at the time may have been due to his anger over Machado's sex tape, which reportedly caused him to cancel their forthcoming wedding.
Then there's the case of Jose Geraldo Alvarez Vasquez, a Mexican drug trafficker who was known as El Indio. The Mexican Attorney General's office said that he had a romantic relationship with Machado, and that they had had a daughter together.
Machado denied the accusation, which was covered extensively in the Spanish-language press at the time. Earlier this year, in fact, CNN Espa±ol referenced the story in a piece about drug dealers crossing paths with celebrities. No charges were ever brought against Machado, and the government witness who was first to testify about her supposed romance with Vasquez was later assassinated, as people who break ranks with the cartels sometimes are.
From an objective standpoint, this is all interesting stuff! Is it relevant to Machado's current role in the Clinton campaign? Let's take a look at what CNN and The New York Times reported about her life.
The CNN story, which includes a total of four bylines, limits its main Machado story to a discussion of how Trump treated her. After Clinton name-checked her in the debate, the story reports Machado saying that she began ''crying because I never imagined that such an important person like her would care about my story, know about my story.''
PlayVideo
CBS This MorningHeilemann: Fat-shaming fallout was a "set trap" by Clinton campaignBloomberg Politics managing editor John Heilemann joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss the impact of Donald Trump's fat-shaming controversy with A...
As the CNN story notes, Machado made that statement on a conference call with reporters organized by the Clinton campaign. There is no mention in the story of the judge, the kingpin, or the baseball player.
The New York Times, however, went for more of a dive into who Machado is in a double-bylined story that ran Tuesday, ''Shocked and Angry: Alicia Machado, a Miss Universe Mocked by Donald Trump.''
The Times reports that Machado was born in Venezuela and has endured 20 years of ''agony'' due to Trump's behavior. ''I was sick '' anorexia and bulimia for five years,'' Machado says.
It goes on to note that Machado has ''done a series of interviews'' with the Times this year. Towards the end, it notes that she is ''a well-known actress'' in Latin America.
And now she is a well-known political figure in America, a star surrogate for the leading contender for our presidency, which brings with it its own level of scrutiny and expectations.
Machado has lived a full life, and a uniquely fascinating one. So why would any journalist avoid talking about it?
(C) 2016 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Friend: Andy Kaufman is still alive | New York Post
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 06:06
In 1980, legendary comedian Andy Kaufman and his writing partner, Bob Zmuda, wrote a script for a film called ''The Tony Clifton Story,'' based on a character of Kaufman's.
On Page 124, there is a block of dialogue intended for Kaufman to speak as himself, informing viewers of Clifton's demise. Among the lines:
''On June 12, 1980 .'‰.'‰. Tony Clifton, at the age of 45, died of cancer at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Hollywood, California.''
Four years later, at age 35, Kaufman himself would, supposedly, die '-- from cancer at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Hollywood, California.
It was no coincidence, Zmuda reveals in a new book, ''Andy Kaufman: The Truth, Finally'' (BenBella Books), written with Lynne Margulies, Kaufman's girlfriend.
Not only does he firmly believe that Kaufman faked his death, but that Kaufman will be emerging to reveal his great prank to the world very soon.
Longtime obsessionZmuda believes the germ of this idea '-- and, it appears, many of Kaufman's mental-health issues '-- began with an incident in his childhood.
As Zmuda tells it, Kaufman, who first appeared to be ''a normal young boy,'' had a grandfather he adored called ''Papu'' with whom he would ''sing songs, play games and just have a great time.'' But when Papu died, Kaufman's parents made ''a horrible mistake.''
Instead of telling young Andy, his parents, fearing his heartbreak, said Papu ''went away to another country far, far across the ocean and wasn't coming back.'' So rather than learning to deal with death, Kaufman thought he had been abandoned.
This, Zmuda says, is when Kaufman began withdrawing from the world. He would ''lock himself in his room and start talking to the walls.''
But it also, Zmuda believes, planted the idea that life and death ''could be manipulated.''
Kaufman on ''Saturday Night Live'' in 1982Photo: Getty Images''It was here where I believe Andy would develop the concept of 'bending reality' to suit his needs,'' writes Zmuda. ''If his parents could fake his grandfather's not dying, Andy would just fake himself dying.''
Kaufman, a ''Saturday Night Live'' regular who rose to fame on the sitcom ''Taxi'' and was immortalized by Jim Carrey in 1999's ''Man on the Moon,'' was known for stunts, such as once taking his entire Carnegie Hall audience out for milk and cookies after a performance.
He began talking with Zmuda about faking his death several years before his ''actual'' death.
When SNL'er John Belushi died in March 1982, Kaufman was very upset '-- not for normal reasons, but because, as he told manager George Shapiro, ''John Belushi is pulling my stunt, faking his death.''
Shapiro, who recalls in the book that Kaufman truly believed this for a time, says Kaufman spoke often of faking his own death. ''Could you imagine how this is going to blow everyone's mind?'' he would say.
To 'die' laughingZmuda presents transcripts of several of his conversations with Kaufman on this topic.
Sometime in 1982, Kaufman called Zmuda at 4 in the morning, telling him he had decided to fake his death and insisting he meet him right away.
Bob ZmudaPhoto: WireImageA half-hour later, as Kaufman devoured a bowl of chocolate ice cream at Canters Deli in Los Angeles, Zmuda told him what he was planning was illegal and refused to have any part in it.
Another time, they argued after Kaufman admitted telling a woman he was going to ''fake my death by making people believe I had terminal cancer.'' (The woman's response, according to Kaufman? ''She thought it was disgusting, and if I ever brought it up again, she'd never talk to me.'' Zmuda had to tell him that ''people ­really get wigged out when you start f-'Š-king with death.'')
Zmuda also recalls a conversation in which Kaufman started coughing, and Zmuda said: ''Stop with the coughing, already. I think it's a dead giveaway.'' Kaufman replied, ''I don't know. Everyone seems to believe it.''
Early on, Kaufman told people he was dying because he ''ate too much chocolate.'' He had read a book called ''Sugar Blues'' that said that ''too much chocolate can kill you.''
''Maybe I'll just stick with cancer,'' Kaufman said, after which Zmuda asked how long he planned to stay dead. He said, ''If I was going to be a little boy about it, I'd go into hiding for one or two years. But if I was going to be a man about it, it'd be 20 or 30 years.''
Andy Kaufman in ''Taxi''Photo: CorbisKaufman, Zmuda believes, found a ''body double,'' someone with his general physical appearance, who was genuinely dying of cancer. Then he began changing his own physicality to match that of the dying man, including losing weight and shaving his head, and released ­photos of himself in this state.
Zmuda says that once, when Kaufman's brother Michael flew out to LA to visit his dying brother, Kaufman accidentally dropped the charade, appearing sick and frail one day but ''back to his old self'' the next. When Michael asked how it was possible, he was told, ''medication.''
Zmuda and Kaufman came to privately refer to it as ''the dying routine.'' In one of their final conversations on the matter, Zmuda says, they discussed his financial situation, since as Kaufman's writer, Zmuda's career was built around Kaufman's. Kaufman suggested leaving Zmuda money, but he said no, as it could implicate him when Kaufman returned.
By then, Zmuda claims, Kaufman had decided on 30 years as the time frame for his hoax and that he would keep Margulies out of the loop, letting her believe he had really died.
Even to Zmuda, who had helped create many of Kaufman's deceptions, it all began sounding ''pretty f-'Š-ked up.''
''Bob, it's who I am and what I do,'' Kaufman said. ''Nothing could ever top it. I've given it great thought. Besides, I'm getting psyched. I'm starting an entire new life.''
Asked how he would start that life given that the world knew what he looked like, Kaufman suggested becoming a children's clown, which would allow him to wear makeup, and calling himself ''something stupid like 'Zany Clowny.''‰''
When the body double died, Zmuda says, a switch was made, with the double buried as Kaufman, and Kaufman being spirited away to start his new life.
Alternate theoriesCo-author Margulies doesn't seem to share Zmuda's feelings on this, but offers an alternate theory of Kaufman's passing.
Zmuda and Margulies reveal here for the first time that Kaufman was bisexual, and she floats the possibility that he died not of cancer but AIDS. The pair writes that Kaufman made them promise to keep his bisexuality a secret until both his parents were dead. Kaufman's mother died soon after he did, and his father passed away last year.
Andy Kaufman in 1978Photo: Getty ImagesWhile it has long been known that Kaufman was a sex addict '-- in just one week, Zmuda says, Kaufman had sex with all 42 women working at the Mustang Ranch brothel in Las Vegas '-- they recall that he would also pick up men for sex in San Francisco's Castro District.
''Years after Andy 'died,''‰'' writes Margulies, ''a gay friend in San Francisco said that everyone knew Andy died of AIDS because they saw him in the Castro District constantly.''
The book also reveals that ­comedian Dave Chappelle told Zmuda at the Aspen Comedy Festival in 2005 that his own infamous exit from comedy, when he walked out on his Comedy Central show, was directly influenced by Kaufman.
After being summoned to see the comic, writes Zmuda, Chappelle announced to the few people in the room: ''Folks, listen up. It was because of this man and Andy Kaufman that I quit my job!''
Zmuda says he ''winced'' in response and asked, ''I did?''
Chappelle then told Zmuda that ''Chappelle's Show'' ''just wanted me to keep that same old step-and-fetch-it bulls-'Š-t going. I wasn't going to do it! I don't care how much they paid me. That show was killin' me. Now I know how Andy was feeling having to do 'Taxi.''‰''
A late returnToward the end of the book, Zmuda recalls how at Kaufman's funeral, he ''didn't shed a tear'' but ''had to bite my lip a few times to keep from exploding in laughter.'' ''Everyone was expecting Andy to jump out of the casket at any time,'' he says.
Zmuda believes that, given Kaufman's self-declared 30-year timeline, his return is imminent. Kaufman died in May 1984. If Zmuda is correct, then Kaufman is already late.
In the book's final pages, Zmuda addresses Kaufman directly, imploring him to emerge and laying out plans for how it could be done, including Zmuda coordinating a massive event at which Kaufman would appear.
Discussing his longtime code of secrecy with Kaufman about their pranks, Zmuda writes: ''The only reason I'm giving it up now is that Andy set a time limit on this one. Thirty years. So I've kept my part of the bargain and kept my mouth shut. But no more. The prank's over. I want him back and he's coming back.''
Presidential Debates Admits Trump's Mic Was Messed Up | The Daily Caller
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 19:08
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(C) Copyright 2010 - 2016 | The Daily Caller
US Commission admits to 'issues' with Donald Trump...
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 22:45
The US Commission on Presidential Debates has said there were "issues" with Donald Trump's audio during the first head-to-head debate.
Mr Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton battled it out for 90 minutes on Tuesday.
Speaking after the debate at Hofstra University, he had suggested his microphone may have been sabotaged.
"I had a problem with a microphone that didn't work - I don't know if you saw that in the room.
"But my microphone was terrible. I wonder if it was set up that way on purpose?
"My microphone, in the room they couldn't hear me, it was going on and off."
The US Commission on Presidential Debates has released this statement: "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall."
The Democratic and Republican candidates battled it out in front of an estimated television audience of 100 million.
It was often bad-tempered and prickly as the pair clashed over familiar ground from what has become the most expensive election campaign in history.
Mr Trump lambasted the political class, including Mrs Clinton, for allowing American jobs to leave the country.
The pair clashed over Mr Trump making money from the US mortgage crisis. "That's business," the billionaire said.
And he denied Hillary Clinton's accusation that he referred to climate change as a "hoax perpetrated by the Chinese" - something Mr Trump did tweet about back in 2012.
The role of the commission, established in 1987, is to ensure that the debates - as a permanent part of every general election - provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners.
Star Trek Actors Open Letter
Sat, 01 Oct 2016 06:08
I'm sorry, my fellow Trekkies, but Hillary isn't the benign creature she's painted as here. That she's preferable to Trump doesn't make her good... Only less lethal... which, in normal times, isn't really a compliment.But let's talk about logical outcomes, if we're going to get Vulcan about this.
People are going around guilt-tripping people to vote for their candidate and try to scare them into compliance, saying that third party voters were basically Trump voters and that they were throwing their votes away.
So I'll simply say no: let us not throw shade on people who are actually following their principles by voting for someone they believe in, just because you think Hillary is somehow better than Trump or Trump is better than Hillary.
No, she isn't.No, he isn't.
Donald Trump is a despicable, immoral human being- and so is Hillary. They both have the moral fiber of raw sewage and the records-and the scandals- to prove it. Trump does despicable things in the open, Hillary has the finesse to do them in secret. Neither deserves to be president.
Let us not mount the high horse and shill for the ''It's them or us'' mentality that has made every election for the past thirty years ''a matter of life or death, the most important election we've ever had, and the most dangerous candidate from THE OTHER PARTY we've ever had.'' let's take that Moral Imperative and stuff it up somewhere noumenal- because for the past thirty or so years it has ALWAYS been an emergency, it has ALWAYS been about not voting for the candidate you actually BELIEVE in but for the candidate who has the biggest chance to defeat the other Bad Guy.
And the result of thirty plus years of practicing that? Of playing the game your way?
An election between Baba Yaga and Gollum.
Yes, this approach has served us well.
So, no, do not guilt trip people who have seen through the bulls and have decided that enough it's enough- that even if they do not get their candidate elected in this cycle, their performance will be strong enough and significant enough that they will lend legitimacy and strength to the movement, and thus create a viable third alternative for the NEXT election cycle, if this one doesn't work out.
Because that's important. It's more important than the guilt trip you are pulling.
Because the xenophobia, fascism and nationalism that has been stirred by Trump? That isn't going to go away in the Republican Party. And even if Trump loses this election, this still only opens the doors for someone like him- or worse- to fill that void in the next election.
And then you will lose your shit again, and you will tell us we need to vote for your Democratic candidate, even if it's nothing more than a scarecrow prepped on a stick. Because, you will say, they are better than the other candidate.
And so continues the neverending dance of ever-lowering standards.
And that is why a third alternative needs to be legitimized. Because of you, and people like you, who scream at people not to vote for the candidates they actually believe in, because they have no chance of winning.
And, nine times out of ten, you complain that American politics are so divided, that fear is such a strong force-
You may pull rank and experience, imploring us to listen because you have been voting for X number of years. If you really had any self awareness, you would look are the world that your modus operandi has created and would realize that you make the argument for your own refutation.
Look in the mirror. You are part of the problem, not the solution.
Voting for the creation of an alternative, captain, is the only logical move. To perpetuate a method that causes only one emergency after another is... highly illogical. Only a fool lets himself be blinded by the immediate fear in such a way that he acts to ensure the repetition of the crises.
Clinton announces 'National Service Reserve' for millennials
Sat, 01 Oct 2016 13:10
Hillary Clinton announced Friday that she wants to enlist 5 million new volunteers into a ''National Service Reserve'' aimed at 18- to 30-year-olds.
''What if we strengthen the culture of service in America so it wasn't just something we did one day a year, but it became a regular part of our lives?'' she asked at a Florida rally on the topic of national service on Friday.
The former secretary of state argued that her volunteer plan would help combat growing self-segregation in America, where people surround themselves with people who think, talk, look and read the same news as they do. ''That comes with a cost. It magnifies our differences,'' she said, adding that the election has drawn attention to that trend. ''Then it makes it harder to put those differences aside when our country needs us.''
Reservists, under Clinton's plan, would respond to natural disasters, help the homeless or tackle other local problems, the campaign said. Under the plan, they would be eligible for college credit, time off from work, or even a ''modest stipend,'' based on financial need, to participate in the Reserve. (Clinton will negotiate with higher education institutions and corporations to get those benefits.)
Clinton also wants to expand AmeriCorps, a paid-service organization, from 75,000 members to 250,000, and expand the Peace Corps for those who want to volunteer abroad. The ''ultimate goal'' is that anyone who wants to serve full time will be able to do so, Clinton said in her speech. Part of the plan is also aimed at adding volunteer opportunities for Americans over 55 by increasing slots for them in AmeriCorps and involving them in other volunteer organizations.
View photos
On the 20th anniversary of the AmeriCorps national service program, hundreds of new volunteers were sworn in for duty at a White House ceremony, Sept. 12, 2016. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
MoreA Clinton campaign aide said the program offers a contrast to Trump's ''self-centered message'' during a week in which he has feuded with a former beauty queen on Twitter and in interviews. ''As we see Trump focused on making sexist and derogatory comments and dividing the country, we are going to continue to run a campaign that's about bringing the country together,'' the aide said of Clinton's national service speech.
The plan also offers an opportunity for the candidate to emphasize her own record of service for children '-- which could help combat her high unfavorable ratings '-- while also reaching out to voters under 30.
Clinton has struggled to consolidate support among millennials, whose votes she needs to win crucial swing states like Florida and North Carolina. Earlier this month, she gave a speech aimed at the group, admitting that many of them have doubts about her but vowing to win their support. Her top surrogates, including Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders, have fanned out on college campuses in battleground states to urge young voters to back Clinton and to tout her plan to make college ''debt free'' for middle-class families.
The campaign noted that millennials are particularly interested in volunteerism and that five times as many people apply for AmeriCorps than get accepted.
Hillary Coughs At Campaign Rally in Florida (9/30/16)
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 04:43
New York Times Publishes Tax Returns of a Private Citizen, in Shallow Attempt To Assist Hillary Clinton'... | The Last Refuge
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 06:28
The New York Times has published part of the tax returns of a private citizen in an effort to score political points for a candidate they endorse, Hillary Clinton. That should be the real headline people pause and think about.The front pages of the tax returns themselves are essentially a non-issue, representing the 1995 gross business loss incurred by candidate Donald Trump who operates a massive conglomeration of business entities.
The anti-Trump political angle is easily identifiable within the extensive article use of: ''could have'', ''might be'', ''may have'', phrases used throughout the woven narrative. Journalistic ''narratives'' are rarely based on facts.
The identified $916 million single year operating income loss is no different than current losses of Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and a host of other corporations and businesses.
Actually, Donald Trump's 1995 loss is smaller than the operating loss the New York Times reported when it sold the Boston Globe in 2013 for a net loss of $1.03 billion.
The Times purchased the Boston Globe in '93 for $1.1 billion and sold it in 2013 for $70 million, a loss of $1.03 billion. However, for some reason it's doubtful the Times will publish their own 2013 tax returns. That doesn't meet the political need.
Despite the best protestations of the Hillary Clinton campaign, there's nothing dramatic about the Donald Trump tax returns. The only thing illegal or unethical is the illegal nature and unethical mindset of the media outlet who published them.
Against the backdrop of weaponized federal governmental agencies already admitting they have targeted private citizens they considered political opponents, the gleeful willingness of the Clinton campaign to push the New York Times Trump-tax non-story is brutally tone deaf and most likely to backfire.
Just imagine what a Hillary Clinton administration would do to their political opposition with a weaponized cabinet filled with intensely unstable and rabid ideologues.
The vast majority of Americans just don't like, appreciate or condone the publication of legally bound private information, especially tax filings. The willingness of the New York Times to publish them, and the willingness of the Clinton campaign to exploit them, says more about the ideology of those entities than it does about Donald Trump's business interests.
The Trump Campaign Responds:
(link)
Trump Tax Records Obtained by The Times Reveal He Could Have Avoided Paying Taxes for Nearly Two Decades - The New York Times
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 06:32
A flaw in the tax software program he used at the time prevented him from being able to print a nine-figure loss on Mr. Trump's New York return, he said. So, for example, the loss of ''-915,729,293'' on Line 18 of the return printed out as ''5,729,293.'' As a result, Mr. Mitnick recalled, he had to use his typewriter to manually add the ''-91,'' thus explaining why the first two digits appeared to be in a different font and were slightly misaligned from the following seven digits.
''This is legit,'' he said, stabbing a finger into the document.
In the absence of any disclosures from Mr. Trump, The New York Times and other news outlets have attempted to fill in the gaps.
Because the documents sent to The Times did not include any pages from Mr. Trump's 1995 federal tax return, it is impossible to determine how much he may have donated to charity that year. The state documents do show, though, that Mr. Trump declined the opportunity to contribute to the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Fund, the New Jersey Wildlife Conservation Fund or the Children's Trust Fund. He also declined to contribute $1 toward public financing of New Jersey's elections for governor.
The tax documents also do not shed any light on Mr. Trump's claimed net worth of about $2 billion at that time. This is because the complex calculations of business deductions that produced a tax loss of $916 million are a separate matter from how Mr. Trump valued his assets, the tax experts said.
Nor does the $916 million loss suggest that Mr. Trump was insolvent or effectively bankrupt in 1995. The cash flow generated by his various businesses that year was more than enough to service his various debts.
But fragmentary as they are, the documents nonetheless provide new insight into Mr. Trump's finances, a subject of intense scrutiny given Mr. Trump's emphasis on his business record during the presidential campaign.
The documents show, for example, that while Mr. Trump reported $7.4 million in interest income in 1995, he made only $6,108 in wages, salaries and tips. They also suggest Mr. Trump took full advantage of generous tax loopholes specifically available to commercial real estate developers to claim a $15.8 million loss in 1995 on his real estate holdings and partnerships.
But the most important revelation from the 1995 tax documents is just how much Mr. Trump may have benefited from a tax provision that is particularly prized by America's dynastic families, which, like the Trumps, hold their wealth inside byzantine networks of partnerships, limited liability companies and S corporations.
The provision, known as net operating loss, or N.O.L., allows a dizzying array of deductions, business expenses, real estate depreciation, losses from the sale of business assets and even operating losses to flow from the balance sheets of those partnerships, limited liability companies and S corporations onto the personal tax returns of men like Mr. Trump. In turn, those losses can be used to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income from, say, book royalties or branding deals.
PhotoMr. Trump bought the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan in 1988.Credit Marty Lederhandler/Associated PressBetter still, if the losses are big enough, they can cancel out taxable income earned in other years. Under I.R.S. rules in 1995, net operating losses could be used to wipe out taxable income earned in the three years before and the 15 years after the loss. (The effect of net operating losses on state income taxes varies, depending on each state's tax regime.)
The tax experts consulted by The Times said the $916 million net operating loss declared by Mr. Trump in 1995 almost certainly included large net operating losses carried forward from the early 1990s, when most of Mr. Trump's key holdings were hemorrhaging money. Indeed, by 1990, his entire business empire was on the verge of collapse. In a few short years, he had amassed $3.4 billion in debt '-- personally guaranteeing $832 million of it '-- to assemble a portfolio that included three casinos and a hotel in Atlantic City, the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, an airline and a huge yacht.
Reports that year by New Jersey casino regulators gave glimpses of the balance sheet carnage. The Trump Taj Mahal casino reported a $25.5 million net loss during its first six months of 1990; the Trump's Castle casino lost $43.5 million for the year. His airline, Trump Shuttle, lost $34.5 million during just the first six months of that year.
''Simply put, the organization is in dire financial straits,'' the casino regulators concluded.
PhotoReports published by New Jersey regulators in 1993, top, and 1995, above, highlighted the effects of Mr. Trump's net operating losses.Reports by New Jersey's casino regulators strongly suggested that Mr. Trump had claimed large net operating losses on his taxes in the early 1990s. Their reports, for example, revealed that Mr. Trump had carried forward net operating losses in both 1991 and 1993. What's more, the reports said the losses he claimed were large enough to virtually cancel out any taxes he might owe on the millions of dollars of debt that was being forgiven by his creditors. (The I.R.S. considers forgiven debt to be taxable income.)
But crucially, the casino regulators redacted the precise size of the net operating losses in the public versions of their reports. Two former New Jersey officials, who were privy to the unredacted documents, could not recall the precise size of the numbers, but said they were substantial.
Politico, which previously reported that Mr. Trump most likely paid no income taxes in 1991 and 1993 based on the casino commission's description of his net operating losses, asked Mr. Trump to comment. ''Welcome to the real estate business,'' he replied in an email.
Now, thanks to Mr. Trump's 1995 tax records, the degree to which he spun all those years of red ink into tax write-off gold may finally be apparent.
Mr. Mitnick, the lawyer and accountant, was the person Mr. Trump leaned on most to do the spinning. Mr. Mitnick worked for a small Long Island accounting firm that specialized in handling tax issues for wealthy New York real estate families. He had long handled tax matters for Mr. Trump's father, Fred C. Trump, and he said he began doing Donald Trump's taxes after Mr. Trump turned 18.
In an interview on Wednesday, Mr. Mitnick said he could not divulge details of Mr. Trump's finances without Mr. Trump's consent. But he did talk about Mr. Trump's approaches to taxes, and he contrasted Fred Trump's attention to detail with what he described as Mr. Trump's brash and undisciplined style. He recalled, for example, that when Donald and Ivana Trump came in each year to sign their tax forms, it was almost always Ivana who asked more questions.
PhotoThe Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, one of the failed casino properties in Atlantic City that had been owned by Mr. Trump.Credit Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly, via Getty ImagesBut if Mr. Trump lacked a sophisticated understanding of the tax code, and if he rarely showed any interest in the details behind various tax strategies, Mr. Mitnick said he clearly grasped the critical role taxes would play in helping him build wealth. ''He knew we could use the tax code to protect him,'' Mr. Mitnick said.
According to Mr. Mitnick, Mr. Trump's use of net operating losses was no different from that of his other wealthy clients. ''This may have had a couple extra digits compared to someone else's operation, but they all benefited in the same way,'' he said, pointing to the $916 million loss on Mr. Trump's tax returns.
In ''The Art of the Deal,'' his 1987 best-selling book, Mr. Trump referred to Mr. Mitnick as ''my accountant'' '-- although he misspelled his name. Mr. Trump described consulting with Mr. Mitnick on the tax implications of deals he was contemplating and seeking his advice on how new federal tax regulations might affect real estate write-offs.
Mr. Mitnick, though, said there were times when even he, for all his years helping wealthy New Yorkers navigate the tax code, found it difficult to face the incongruity of his work for Mr. Trump. He felt keenly aware that Mr. Trump was living a life of unimaginable luxury thanks in part to Mr. Mitnick's ability to relieve him of the burden of paying taxes like everyone else.
''Here the guy was building incredible net worth and not paying tax on it,'' he said.
Steve Eder and Patricia Cohen contributed reporting. Kitty Bennett contributed research.
Find out what you need to know about the 2016 presidential race today, and get politics news updates via Facebook, Twitter and the First Draft newsletter.
A version of this article appears in print on October 2, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Trump's 1995 Tax Records Claim $916 Million Loss.
Continue reading the main story
Armageddon
GAO report: HHS owes taxpayers billions in Obamacare reinsurance money - Hot Air
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 22:24
posted at 4:01 pm on September 29, 2016 by John Sexton
The Government Accountability Office has issued a report which concludes the Department of Health and Human Services had no authority to withhold money from the federal Treasury under Obamacare's reinsurance program. Politico reports:
In 2014, the industry-funded reinsurance program was supposed to provide $10 billion to insurers and $2 billion to the federal Treasury. But when total collections from insurers amounted to only $9.7 billion, the Department of Health and Human Services opted to funnel all of the money toward insurers. The agency paid insurers $7.9 billion in claims for 2014, the first year of exchange coverage, and held over the remaining $1.7 billion for future payments.
Republicans asked the GAO to weigh in on whether or not HHS had the authority to interpret section 1341 of Obamacare in such a way that it could withhold payments to the Treasury. The GAO report concludes HHS clearly does not have the authority to do so:
As explained below, we conclude that HHS lacks authority to ignore the statute's directive to deposit amounts from collections under the transitional reinsurance program in the Treasury and instead make deposits to the Treasury only if its collections reach the amounts for reinsurance payments specified in section 1341. This prioritization of collections for payments to issuers over payments to the Treasury is not authorized. The agency must give effect to the extent possible to all of section 1341, and, therefore, is required to collect and deposit amounts for the Treasury, regardless of whether its collections fall short of the amounts specified in statute for reinsurance payments.
There is a long section of the report which analyzes the language of section 1341. I won't try to summarize that here but suffice it to say the GAO does not see this as a close call:
We do not see any flexibility under section 1341(b)(4) to allow HHS to expend the pro rata share of collections attributable to the Treasury under section 1341(b)(3)(B)(iv)'--approximately $3 billion as of July 2016'--to make reinsurance payments. Instead, these collections must be deposited in the Treasury.
The GAO report notes that even HHS initially agreed with this reading of the law. It announced as late as 2014 that, in case of a shortfall, it would make payments to insurers and the Treasury on a pro rata basis:
For example, in the event of a shortfall for benefit year 2014, the agency indicated it would allocate 83.2 percent of collections to reinsurance payments, 16.6 percent to the Treasury, and 0.2 percent to administrative expenses.
On March 21, 2014, however, HHS changed course, citing uncertainty in the estimates used to develop the contribution rate and further considering ''the authority granted to [it] to establish standards necessary to implement the program.''
What it eventually did was pay nothing to the Treasury, even choosing to sit on $1.7 billion that it had left over after paying off insurers.
This is probably not the kind of story that is going to lead the evening news but it really should. What the Obama administration has done here is take $3 billion dollars of taxpayer money and direct it to private insurers in an effort to prop up its struggling health insurance scheme.
Just to put this in perspective, there have been weeks of stories about the scandal of phony accounts at Wells Fargo bank. That's a legitimate scandal in which bank employees created millions of unauthorized new accounts (and credit cards) in order to secure bonuses for themselves. However, the total amount set aside for refunds in that case was $5 million dollars. That's apparently how much customers were ripped off by the shady practices at Wells Fargo. For this legitimate scandal, Wells Fargo is paying over $150 million in fines and has already fired over 5,000 employees.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration withheld $3 billion dollars belonging to taxpayers and essentially redirected it to private companies. It has not paid back the money. It has not been punished for taking it without authorization. No one at HHS has been fired. And Elizabeth Warren is not demanding HHS Secretary Burwell resign.
Will there be any accountability for HHS and the Obama administration for what amounts to the intentional misdirection of billions of taxpayer dollars to the president's pet project? Will the media devote 1/4 of the attention to this that it has to the Wells Fargo story? We shall see but my advice is don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen.
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CRASH2: Deutsche Bank'....leading candidate to set off Correction 3 | The Slog.
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:55
One of the things nobody mentioned at Davos last week was that as of now, the number of UK plc companies issuing profit warnings is at its highest level since 2008. It wasn't mentioned because that would fly in the face of an apologist narrative telling us how ''the markets have gone nuts, but the world's economies are in good shape''.
My own view remains that Correction2 is now more or less over, but there are still a massive range of goolies out there of enough weight to set off numbers 3, 4 and 5.Lost in the midst of last week's reset bounce was one of them: Deutsche Bank.
On '‚¬33bn of turnover last year, Deutsche Bank lost '‚¬6.7bn. As the world was rallying towards a new paradigm late last week, this got scant attention. Which is, let's face it, ridiculous.
Deutsche is one of the more strategically important banks in the world, but for nearly two years now it has been of concern to analysts.
We never did get a satisfactory explanation as to why, in April of 2014, Deutsche Bank had to raise an additional '‚¬1.5 Billion of Tier 1 capital in a hurry. Or why, a month later, DB announced the selling of '‚¬8 billion euro of stock '' at up to a 30% discount. In March 2015, the Bank failed the banking industry's ''stress tests'' '' and then a month later was hit for a massive $2.1 billion charge as a result of LIBOR criminality.
Lots of senior bods then left in a hurry, following which Standard & Poors downgraded it to BBB+ '' a notch lower than Lehman went to immediately prior to its collapse. In October last, the bank fired 15,000; and now we get these awful results.
My hunch has always been that DB needed all the cost reductions and new capital to make itself 'immune to' first, bad debt exposure in ClubMed, and second, bad-bet derivatives.A default in Greece would've been enough on its own to topple the bank. Now that country is effectively a vassal of the Eurogroup, such a risk has receded. But a similar outcome in Spain would blow Deutsche off the map.I've always maintained that perseverance with the threat to default would have delivered Athens from Evil, but it was not to be.Anyway, the banks are fine now and everything's different'....except for Deutsche. And RBS. Oh, and Santander, Monte del Peische, and the one in Paris that dare not speak its name. And whatever Bryan Moynihan says (didn't he look nervous at Davos last week?) Bank of America.
But the DB numbers deserve rather closer attention than those busy drawing attention to attention-getting distractions would like'....if only because the bank is sitting on the nastiest derivative mountain on the planet.
It is in perpetual need of 'cover-money''....as the new Annual Report suggests.For example, the bank's 2015 loss represents a negative margin of almost exactly 20%: so for every '‚¬5 of business turnover the bank did, they blew '‚¬1 of profit. I like to keep things simple, and that is simply appalling. It's appalling for the following two reasons.First, under the fractional reserve accounting system, the vast majority of loans granted carry an aggregate margin (usury plus digital funny money) of around 85%. To lose money in that context involves a long and uproarious further education at the University of Dork, having convinced the selection committee after High School that you already have the inbuilt requirements for acceptance at this prestigious college '' viz, searing intelligence coupled with a moronic sense of judgement.
Second, whatever your accountancy reporting scam of choice is, even a mediocre year can be made to look good if, for example, mysterious sums appear under headings like 'incremental earnings', which last year were in the 'dormant account set-asides' column.In short, to have an appalling year as a multinational bank, you must have had the sort of annus horribilis awarded to Gordon Brown in 2010. And, quite possibly, the same personality challenges he tried so valiantly to overcome through cognitive abusive phone-chucking therapy.Those with an auditor's brain should feel free to crawl all over Deutsche's annual report as and when; suffice to record here that '' using the Sherlock Holmes principle of probability elimination '' there must be some serious structural problems in the bank. Just putting a little flesh on the the architectural-engineer analogy, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that DB's outlook is akin to that of a jerry-built Victorian London terrace sitting on the San Andreas Fault, having employed the original GE engineers at Fukushima to deliver the world's first meltdown-driven geothermal heating system in order to shore up the foundations.
I've been following Deutsche's wriggle-political-drivel-stress-test-dubious-practices saga for nearly six years. In the press release accompanying the latest results, Deutsche laid out the 'reasons' for its disastrous performance as 'severance and restructuring charges'....writedowns, litigation charges and a very difficult trading climate'...'.
That blamestorming session evokes neither sympathy nor confidence: 'severance and restructuring' means having to fire a lot of people (not a sign of powering forward) 'writedowns' is a euphemism for bad debts, 'litigation charges' = the costs of cheating people, and ' very difficult trading climate' cannot begin to explain how three US banking firms last week published results suggesting the climate was near-perfect rather than very difficult.
Here is a mind-concentrating fact: following these results, the stock market valuation of Deutsche means it is now smaller than Danske Bank. Even if you don't stop in your tracks on reading that, aficinados of the sector will.
Now, there is an argument that says if you keep making a loose volcano smaller and smaller, in the end you render it harmless. But (a) nobody has ever managed to downsize Vesuvius and (b) failing banks don't work like that.
Banks with huge writedowns in a conservative lending era are banks whose borrower targeting systems are overwhelmed by f**kwitted lending-level targets based on bonusing by 'results'.Banks with huge losses in one less than apocalyptic fiscal year are banks whose un-netted risks are being slowly introduced into the p&l in the hope that Everest will one day become Ben Nevis.
Deutsche Bank has long been fingered as the planet's biggest single institutional exposure to bad derivative contract bets. It continues to try and make that exposure less globally explosive: but the reduction process is based on things staying stable until around 2028.That isn't going to happen.
Did you miss: Why Britain will flunk the best chance to destroy EU fascism
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DEUTSCHE BANK: events are accelerating, and no amount of (C)lite balm can stop that development | The Slog.
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:54
Security in Brussels, Berlin and Frankfurt was tighter than the proverbial fish's backside tonight as EU leaders readied themselves for some kind of announcement about Deutsche Bank. Three developments during today have convinced a clear majority of opinion leaders that all those market forces bankers so adore are about to wipe out their Christmas bonuses'....and a lot else besides:
The developments are:
The sudden Dollar shortage in the eurozone areaThe withdrawal by several Hedge Funds of derivative trades-related collateral involving DeutscheThe immediately connected fate of other eurozone/EU banks with Deutsche Bank: the bank's problems highlight similar hurdles facing many other European banks. They involve ultra-low interest rates, a persistently sluggish ezone economy, financial-market distortions and tighter regulation. These points were not made by any old slouch: they came from Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at German-based insurer Allianz SE '' and the former chief executive of bond fund giant Pimco.The El-Erian point seems to me key: I've been a fan of this bloke for many years: I've yet to follow his direction on a personal investment and lose.
Three months ago, The International Monetary Fund released a report saying that Deutsche Bank ''appears to be the most important net contributor to systemic risks in the global banking system.''
Some will find that warning reassuring, given that the IMF under Fifi Lagarde has been consistently wrong on everything from ClubMed economic growth to the effects of Brexit. However, it looks as if this is one IMF prediction that is going to look prescient. I mean, ''prescience'' is relative: thousands of us here in the blogosphere have been pointing the fickle finger of f**kup at DB since 2013. But events later today (Thursday) '' during New York's afternoon '' make it look as if the IMF monkeys may have finally hit the right keys.
One such development '' not always picked up '' is the state of put bets for November about Deutsche's fate. They aren't looking good for those in search of Pheonix wings rising from ashes.
When things get to this stage, the provision of liquidity to the bank in dire straits becomes the urgent that overtakes the important. Ironically, the way to get that urgent liquidity is still to do the important. With the Asian markets about to open, the important thing for John Cryan to do is make a pretty spectacular announcement about something much bigger than selling Abbey Life. The DB CEO needs to come up, over the coming night hours, with a line of capital injection that settles everyone down.
Mario Draghi's refusal to even discuss the issue in the EU Parliament today might suggest that he is about to get involved in doing something about that.
On verra, as they say here in France.
From a January Slogpost: Why Deutsche Bank was always going to be the catalyst for Correction 3
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How US regulators may be creating panic around Deutsche Bank
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 17:43
Indications of diminishing confidence in the firm picked up this week. Selling began Monday following a weekend report that German Chancellor Angela Merkel ruled out state aid for her country's largest lender and any interference in the Justice Department investigation, according to a Reuters translation.
One of the messages the German chancellor may have wanted to send was to tell the United States, "if you take down Deutsche Bank, it's going to affect you as much as it did us," said George Friedman, chairman of Geopolitical Futures, an online publication that forecasts global events.
The last few days have seen various statements in which German authorities and Deutsche Bank representatives, including CEO John Cryan, have repeatedly said there is no need for government support.
The Department of Justice has been relatively quiet in contrast. Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Bill Baer said at a conference Tuesday how banks generally could receive credit for their cooperation with investigations into residential mortgage-backed securities. And rather than make an official government announcement, The Wall Street Journal was the first to report two weeks ago that the Justice Department had proposed the $14 billion settlement. Deutsche Bank then confirmed the news in a press release.
"My guess is the U.S. regulators would (have) called it off if you thought it would really damage Deutsche Bank," said Maris Ogg, president at Tower Bridge Advisors. "You've got to worry about, certainly the U.S. regulators are not going to bring a bank down that's going to jeopardize the system."
The Run Begins: Deutsche Bank Hedge Fund Clients Withdraw Excess Cash | Zero Hedge
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 17:42
Deutsche Bank concerns just went to '11' as Bloomberg reports a number of funds that clear derivatives trades with Deutsche Bank AG have withdrawn some excess cash and positions held at the lender, a sign of counterparties' mounting concerns about doing business with Europe's largest investment bank.
While the vast majority of Deutsche Bank's more than 200 derivatives-clearing clients have made no changes, some funds that use the bank's prime brokerage service have moved part of their listed derivatives holdings to other firms this week, according to an internal bank document seen by Bloomberg News.
Millennium Partners, Capula Investment Management and Rokos Capital Management are among about 10 hedge funds that have cut their exposure, said a person familiar with the situation who declined to be identified talking about confidential client matters.
The hedge funds use Deutsche Bank to clear their listed derivatives transactions because they are not members of clearinghouses. Millennium, Capula and Rokos declined to comment when contacted by phone or e-mail.
Which explains why short-dated CDS is soaring.
''Our trading clients are amongst the world's most sophisticated investors,''Michael Golden, a spokesman for Deutsche Bank, said in an e-mailed statement.
''We are confident that the vast majority of them have a full understanding of our stable financial position, the current macroeconomic environment, the litigation process in the U.S. and the progress we are making with our strategy.''
Clients review their exposure to counterparties to avoid situations like the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and MF Global's 2011 bankruptcy when hedge funds had billions of dollars of assets frozen until the resolution of lengthy legal proceedings.
As expected, Deutsche Bank stock in NY is sliding.
If the most sophisticated professionals in the world are withdrawing cash, why are German depositors leaving their life savings at risk... ahead of a long weekend in Germany (Monday is a bank holiday).
* * *
And for those believing that there is no contagion and this is all ring-fenced...
And US banks are sliding...
As a reminder, if the liquidity run forces DB to start unwinding or being forced to novate derivatives, it could get ugly.
Those who have cash parked at Deutsche Bank, and at last check there was about '‚¬566 billion, they may want to consider moving it for the time being to a safer bank.
* * *
Earlier this morning, we reported that Europe is experiencing a sudden and acute dollar shortage, which we attributed to Deutsche Bank. It now appears this was accurate. Since Deutsche's recent highs, the short-end of the EUR-USD basis swap curve has collapsed:
Simplifying - this chart measures the degree of USD shortage(willingness to spend money just to get USD now) across time - the lowerthe level, the more desperate for USDs.
And no, it's not a quarter-end issue:
Still not sure... Then explain why European banks just increasedtheir demand for USDs from The ECB's 7-day lending facility by over2000%...
As @Landonthomasjr notes, since 2009: DB shareholders put up 13.5 billion euros in equity. DB has paid 19.3 billion euro in bonuses. Perhaps they should have saved some of that cash eh?
Simply put - trust in the European Banking system is faltering, counterparty risk hedging is accelerating:
And liquidity concerns are exploding, ahead of Germany's bank holiday on Monday.
DEUTSCHE BANK: one corruptly reduced fine does not negate a bummer | The Slog.
Sat, 01 Oct 2016 14:43
The main media over the last 24 hours have been promoting the idea that Deutsche Bank went into Intensive Care because of a US Justice Department fine. But the fine was merely a catalyst: a saving of '‚¬9 billion euros doesn't come close to solving the Bank's problem. The Slog interrogates the numbers.And with one mighty bound, Deutsche Bank fired itself into the air and escaped the circling sharks.
Well, not really. There are two questions to address to those na¯ve enough to buy into a predictable Friday afternoon rebound that gave Deutsche some breathing-space:
Um, where is the confirmation of this Justice Department deal?Is Deutsche's problem really about one fine, and saving $9 billion?Step forward, Department of Justice'.....'....or not, as the case may be. These are the actual words at CNBC that recorded the Monty Pythonic ''we are saved, it is a sign'' hysteria yesterday (my italics):
'Shares of Deutsche Bank jumped 15 percent Friday in New York after AFP, citing a source, reported that the bank may be near a $5.4 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. CNBC has not independently confirmed the report, but if accurate, that settlement would be well below the reported $14 billion opening bid by the DOJ in its talks with Deutsche.
Deutsche Bank is not publicly commenting on the supposed $5.4-billion figure. The DOJ did not reply to a CNBC request for comment. The German Finance Ministry declined to comment on media reports of a settlement.'
Let's face it, this would not have been enough to delay Ben Bradlee's departure for lunch after a morning spent at the Washington Post.
On the other hand, no other news agency or media site has come balls-out and said, for example, 'Duane Sniffle at the Department of Justice dismissed the report as ''the ravings of a desperate eurozone Establishment'''. To which, of course, the obvious riposte is '' with so much at stake '' ''he wouldn't say that, would he?'
None of us know what it all means, but this is my hunch based on two conversations last night (Friday CET): by the closing bell, several seasoned traders were getting a bit tetchy about the lack of DoJ confirmation'....noses were wrinkling, and there was a soup§on of doubt in the air. This weekend is a three-day bank holiday in Germany: a contact in Spain described it as ''highly convenient''.
Let's just say there's a trace of underlying suspicion about the DoJ story.
Is a $9 billion cut in the fine going to change the game anyway?A very good question. The alleged answer depends on who you talk to. Let's start with that Murdoch-owned Establishment bastion The Wall St Journal.
The WSJ's take yesterday was that, whereas a few years back DB's leveraging level was an insane 69 times, today that number is ''only'' 27.
'Only' is a relative term: in the late 1980s, too many listed companies at 25-30 leverage levels led to a massive negative correction in the stock markets.
Today, Deutsche's capital ratio stands at 10.8%. I have been saying since 2011 that such percentages are far too low: Lehman, for example, went down with a ratio of 13.2%. Just a week ago, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said ratios should be at 20-30%. Wrinkly Al is not what you'd call a Leftie Democrat: he's a conservative in all things.
What the Journal's verdict also politely ignored was the still unknown size of DB's derivative bets exposure. Derivatives all up are over ten times the entire global gdp. This unknown x-factor in the Deutsche equation could urinate on a $9bn saving and drown it within seconds.
An exaggeration? Hardly: Deutsche has '‚¬2.4 trillion in assets '' that's nearly 60% of Germany's GDP '' and is in the top five globally epidemiological banks. It has, gross, a notional derivatives exposure of '‚¬46 trillion.
DB's line is that, after 'netting' win and lose bets, that exposure is really only (there's that word again) '‚¬46 billion. Which is, um, five times the DoJ fine saving'....if it ever materialises.
Two more things to consider here. First, I've never believed any of the back-of-envelope crap about derivative 'netting': frankly, nobody knows what unstable isotopes are in there as yet undiscovered. And second, the bank accountancy use of the word ''assets'' has always been the sickest joke of the last half century. Randomly priced rubbish and obvious NPLs are in there '' and just as radioactive as the pulsating un-netted derivatives.
The bottom lineLooking ahead a few days, my conclusions would be as follows:
If the DoJ confirms a deal, you can be sure that US Presidential Election politics are seriously in play. The White House has already pressured Jamie Dimon to intervene as a White Knight in Italy: Clinton pressure on the Justice Department to ''help'' DB should be assumed. The only winner from signs that the existing systemic norms are a fiction will be Donald Trump.If the DoJ rebuffs the claims of a deal, then silly Deutsche spin becomes the all-time hostage to fortune, and the eurozone descends into meltdown. (I doubt this will happen, but with these clowns, you never know).A DB reprieve still won't answer serious questions about Commerzbank, three Italian banks, two Spanish banks, a French Bank, and RBS. (Reporting restrictions here in the eurozone force me to remain vague).An attempt is being made here to suggest to the gullible that one fine-deal between Deutsche Bank and the US Department of Justice is 'problem solved'. It patently obviously isn't. The Eunatics cannot rely on an endless stream of US quick fixes to muddy the already murky waters: the problems are '' as always '' debt masquerading as assets, and the idiotic idea that a bailin is in any way politically possible.
The severely dented can has seen thirteen years of the Can-Can kicking. The next kick will take it over the cliff. What follies shall be revealed in that moment.
Also at The Slog: a growing crisis of confidenceLike this:LikeLoading...
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#BLM
Ook Sinterklaas niet welkom bij Jumbo|Binnenland| Telegraaf.nl
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 14:03
'žIn de discussie rondom Zwarte Piet blijkt het al enkele jaren moeilijk een oplossing te vinden waarmee iedereen tevreden is'', meldt Jumbo aan NOS. 'žWe hebben er dit jaar voor gekozen niet de traditionele afbeeldingen van Sinterklaas en Pieten te gebruiken, maar het kinderfeest te vieren met cadeautjes, snoep, symbolen en afbeeldingen van veel blije kinderen.''
De Albert Heijn is vooralsnog niet van plan de beeltenis van Sinterklaas uit de winkels te halen.
NYPD Infiltrated Black Lives Matter with Undercover Officers
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 04:57
The NYPD admitted it was leading its own surveillance operation targeting activists, potentially violating the constitution.
The New York Police Department admitted to having infiltrated the Black Lives Matter movement and compiled metadata about the group during the protests that followed the police killing of Eric Garner.
RELATED:NYPD Decides Public Doesn't Need to Know When Cops Behave Badly
In a response to a group of New York lawyers who filed a legal request in accordance with the state Freedom of Information Law, the NYPD refused to disclose the documents but the response still reveals a small glimpse of the police's surveillance tactics.
Undercover officers were sent to protests led by BLM, ''primarily'' collecting ''immediate impressions concerning ongoing events,'' said the paper, describing the documents requested in August court proceedings to obtain the records, as well as ''communications between and among NYPD undercover officers and their handlers'' belonging to the protests.
The NYPD also collected multimedia records about the protests, including ''pictures, videos, audio recordings, data, and metadata'' during the Grand Central Station demonstrations.
WATCH: Laura Flanders Show - Hamid Khan: The Surveillance-Industrial Complex
The paper also evokes ''a communication from an NYPD officer working in an undercover capacity and his base.''
RELATED:Leaked Documents Reveal FBI Spying on Journalists
The lawyers' request led in August to the discovery of documents showing how MTA and Metro-North transit police regularly spied on Black Lives Matter protesters in and around Grand Central, with the occasional support of NYPD officers.
The NYPD hadn't yet been thought to be leading its own surveillance operation targeting activists, reports the Guardian, but the recent revelations could amount to a violation of the constitution, according to the lawyers.
''As someone who was present at the protests, it's disturbing to know the NYPD may have a file on me, ready to be used or to prevent me from getting a job simply because I've been active in some political capacity,'' said M.J. Williams, one of the attorneys who requested the documents. ''That's potentially a fourth amendment violation for unlawful seizure, but on the other hand, we've seen law enforcement agencies have all sorts of justifications for data collection for public safety that the courts have allowed.''
MH17
Vetorecht Oekra¯ne in strafonderzoek MH17 - RTL Nieuws
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 22:38
De vier landen die samen het strafrechtelijk onderzoek uitvoeren naar de ramp met vlucht MH17 hebben wel degelijk een 'geheimhoudingsovereenkomst' getekend.
Deze 'non-disclosure agreement' betekent dat niet alleen Nederland, Australi en Belgi, maar ook Oekra¯ne een vetorecht heeft over wat er wel en niet openbaar wordt. Dat blijkt uit een document van het Australische ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken.
ZIE OOK: Column: MH17: een doodlopend onderzoek?
Tot dusver heeft de Nederlandse overheid gesuggereerd dat er geen sprake was van zo'n vetorecht en zo'n clausule. De deal ligt nationaal en internationaal zeer gevoelig, omdat de vrees is dat Oekra¯ne daarmee de mogelijkheid heeft om feiten of informatie geheim te houden die het land niet goed zouden uitkomen. De optie dat Oekra¯ne zelf betrokken was bij de ramp is officieel ook onderwerp van onderzoek van de Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid (OVV) en Justitie.
Document 'authentiek'Australi heeft net als Nederland geweigerd de gemaakte afspraken openbaar te maken. In een toelichting op dat besluit, in een officile brief van 15 oktober, erkent Australi dat formeel sprake is van een 'non-disclosure agreement'.
De afspraken 'schrijven consensus voor tussen partijen voordat informatie betreffende het onderzoek openbaar wordt'. Omdat overeenstemming een voorwaarde is, hebben alle landen dus een vetorecht. Het Australische ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken bevestigt tegenover RTL Nieuws dat het document 'authentiek' is. "Het niet-openbaar maken van informatie is belangrijk om het onderzoek niet in gevaar te brengen, en om toekomstige strafrechtelijke vervolging op grond van het onderzoek niet te hinderen."'
Opstelten ontweek vragenDe Tweede Kamer heeft meermalen gevraagd of er een geheimhoudingsovereenkomst is, en of een land een vetorecht kan uitoefenen. Minister Opstelten (Veiligheid en Justitie) heeft daar steeds geen duidelijk antwoord op gegeven, en er ontwijkend op geantwoord.
In oktober meldde hij de Kamer summier dat is afgesproken 'gezamenlijk op te trekken' en 'terughoudend' te zijn met het naar buiten brengen van informatie. Bronnen rond het kabinet zeggen desgevraagd tegenover RTL Nieuws dat het vetorecht inderdaad bestaat. Zo zou Oekra¯ne niet verplicht kunnen worden (eigen) informatie te delen, als het land niet wil dat het openbaar wordt.
CDA eist ophelderingCDA-Kamerlid Pieter Omtzigt eist nu dat de bewindsman het parlement alsnog volledig informeert over de geheimhoudingsovereenkomst en wat de gevolgen kunnen zijn. Over de exacte afspraken heerst al onduidelijkheid sinds de oprichting van het Joint Investigation Team (JIT), begin augustus. Onlangs wees het kabinet een verzoek van weekblad Elsevier af om de overeenkomst openbaar te maken.
Het ministerie van Veiligheid en Justitie houdt tegenover RTL Nieuws vol dat er geen sprake is van een vetorecht: "Het Australische document zegt niets anders dan dat de JIT-landen hebben afgesproken om terughoudend te zijn met het naar buiten brengen van informatie. Zij noemen dat een 'non-disclosure agreement', maar het is een paragraaf in de JIT-overeenkomst. Het kabinet heeft ook telkens het standpunt vertolkt dat de JIT-landen deze afspraak hebben gemaakt en dat daarom geen info over het JIT met pers en parlement kan worden gedeeld. Het heeft in elk geval helemaal niets met vetorecht te maken."
Finland woedend over geheime Buk-tests | Telegraaf.nl
Sat, 01 Oct 2016 05:13
vrijdag 30 september 2016, 16:45Het Joint Investigation Team dat onderzoek doet naar de aanslag op MH17 mag bewijsmateriaal uit geheime Finse testen met Buk-raketten niet gebruiken in het strafrechtelijk onderzoek tegen de daders.
Dat heeft de Finse president Sauli Niinisto vanmiddag tijdens een persconferentie in Helsinki gezegd.
Woordvoerder Wim de Bruin van het landelijk parket in Rotterdam wilde niet reageren. ''Op dit moment gaan we er niets over zeggen.''
Eerder deze week onthulde De Telegraaf dat Finland het JIT - dat onder leiding staat van het Nederlandse Openbaar Ministerie- met geheime Buk-rakettesten bijstond. Het Finse parlement is daar nooit over ingelicht en reageerde woedend.
Het Finse leger had tot voor enkele jaren de beschikking over vanuit Rusland geleverde Buk-raketsystemen. Volgens Niinisto is destijds met de Russen contractueel vastgelegd dat zijn land geen gegevens over het luchtdoelraketsysteem aan derden mag verstrekken. Niets van het bewijs uit de proeven mag volgens hem in het MH17-onderzoek worden gebruikt omdat dit 'de relaties tussen Finland en Rusland in gevaar kan brengen.'
Volgens Finland werd het JIT-onderzoek onder geheimhouding aangevraagd. Bij de testen zou in het bijzijn van een Nederlandse officier van justitie een Buk-raketkop tot ontploffing zijn gebracht en zouden fragmenten daarna naar ons land zijn gestuurd. Ook zijn allerlei specificaties over het wapensysteem aan het onderzoeksteam verstrekt.
Hoe relevant het bewijs is, is onduidelijk. Eerder werd door het onderzoeksteam al in Oekra¯ne een Buk tot ontploffing gebracht om forensisch bewijs te verkrijgen.
Meer artikelen in Binnenland
Ottomania
Erdogan says to extend Turkey's emergency rule, rounds on rating agencies"I love rating agencies and they love me too ... Put a few cents in their pockets and get the rating you want, this is how they work," he said
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 04:53
By Seda Sezer and Tuvan Gumrukcu| ISTANBUL/ANKARAISTANBUL/ANKARA Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan suggested on Thursday that emergency rule could be extended beyond a year and rounded on rating agencies after Moody's cut Turkey to "junk" status, helping send the lira to its weakest in almost two months.
In a speech in Ankara, Erdogan said Turkey would benefit from a three-month extension to the three-month state of emergency declared after a failed July 15 coup, which the government says is needed to hunt down those responsible, but which critics say is being used to stifle dissent.
"It would be in Turkey's benefit to extend the state of emergency for three months," he told a group of provincial leaders at the presidential palace.
He then went on: "They say one year isn't right for Turkey. Let's wait and see, maybe 12 months won't be enough."
Speaking a day after the National Security Council recommended the extension of emergency rule, Erdogan said the measure would strengthen Ankara's fight against terrorism, adding he believed Turks would support it.
More than 100,000 people, including members of the police, civil service and military, have been sacked or suspended since the failed coup, in which a group of rogue soldiers commandeered tanks and jets in an attempt to seize power, killing at least 240 people. Around 40,000 people have been detained.
Rights groups, some Western governments and Turkey's main opposition party have criticized the extent of the crackdown.
The head of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, said this month that the state of emergency should be used only to bring the country back to normal and that innocent people were suffering in the purges.
But the head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahceli, said on Thursday he supported the extension.
The government blames followers of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen for the coup attempt and says the purges are necessary to root out members of his network, a stance the MHP supports.
Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, has denied involvement in the attempted coup and condemned it.
"THEY LOVE ME TOO"
Moody's cut Turkey's sovereign debt to non-investment grade, or "junk", late on Friday, citing worries about the rule of law, as well as risks from a slowing economy.
Erdogan, who has frequently lambasted rating agencies in the past, joked sarcastically about his strained relations with them and said Moody's move was political.
"I love rating agencies and they love me too ... Put a few cents in their pockets and get the rating you want, this is how they work," he said, adding investors had shown strong demand for Turkish debt at an auction on Monday.
"They suddenly cut our rating. So what? ... Cut Turkey's rating as much as you want, this isn't the reality in Turkey," he said, adding nobody took ratings agencies seriously any more.
His comments were more combative than those of some of his ministers. Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said Turkey would make "intense efforts" to restore its rating.
The lira hit its weakest against the dollar since Aug. 5 not long after Erdogan spoke, in what analysts said was largely a reaction to the extension of emergency rule.
"Probably the comments about the need for 12-month emergency rule...weighed more than the latest love fest with the ratings agencies," said Nomura strategist and veteran Turkey watcher Timothy Ash.
Erdogan announced the three-month state of emergency on July 20, saying it would enable authorities to take swift action against those responsible for the putsch.
(Additional reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk and David Dolan; Editing by Nick Tattersall)
Next In World NewsRussian, Syrian missiles pound Aleppo, destroy hospital: rebels and aid workersAMMAN Russian warplanes and their Syrian government allies battered rebel-held areas in and around Aleppo on Saturday, and rebels and aid workers accused them of destroying one of the city's main hospitals and killing at least two patients.
U.N. atomic agency chief says Iran sticking to nuclear dealPARIS Iran has kept to a nuclear deal it agreed with six world powers last year limiting its stockpiles of substances that could be used to make atomic weapons, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told French daily Le Monde.
PM vows to make Britain 'sovereign' in first Brexit detailLONDON Prime Minister Theresa May will promise to make Britain "a sovereign and independent country" by repealing the act that took it into what is now the European Union next year, she told the Sunday Times newspaper.
From Around the WebPromoted by Taboola
Muslim Woman Becomes First to Wear Hijab in 'Playboy' Magazine
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 04:55
Twenty-two year-old Noor Tagouri appears in the magazine's October 2016 issue, fully clothed and wearing the traditional Muslim head covering, as part of the publication's Renegades series, an issue dedicated to rule-breakers in their respective industries.
''As a badass activist with a passion for demanding change and asking the right questions, accompanied by beauty-ad-campaign looks, Tagouri forces us to ask ourselves why we have such a hard time wrapping our minds around a young woman who consciously covers her head and won't take no for an answer,'' the feature accompanying Tagouri in the magazine reads.
Tagouri, who graduated from the University of Maryland and now works as an on-air reporter for video news network Newsy, told Playboy that she doesn't pay attention to those who criticize her appearance.
{snip}
Tagouri's photo spread comes a little less than a year after Playboy announced the most significant change in its 60-year history, that it would stop publishing nude photos in its magazines.
The spread also comes as the hijab has begun to penetrate some fashion circles. Earlier this month, 28-year-old Indonesian designer Anniesa Hasibuan debuted the first collection to feature all models wearing hijabs at New York Fashion Week.
Original Article
Topics: Islam in America, Muslim Immigration, the Demographic Transformation
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HE IS WOKE-Salesforce.com Imbues Dreamforce With Artificial Intelligence and Mindfulness - WSJ
Sat, 01 Oct 2016 14:00
Oct. 1, 2016 7:00 a.m. ET Salesforce.com Inc.CRM0.18%'s annual Dreamforce customer conference, set to blanket downtown San Francisco next week, will be an unusual blend of business, technology, entertainment, philanthropy and personal empowerment.
The conference, which is the world's largest tech get-together sponsored by a single company, will be an expression of the business-software provider's socially conscious corporate culture and the idiosyncratic character of its Chief Executive Marc Benioff.
The event, which is expected to draw 170,000 attendees'--17% more than last year'--comes as Salesforce, whose public profile to date has been confined largely to salespeople and marketers, is stepping onto a larger stage.
The company on Thursday vowed to block Microsoft Corp.MSFT0.35%'s $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn Corp.LNKD0.13%, after failing in its own effort to buy the online network of 450 million mostly professional members. Meanwhile, Salesforce is considering a bid for the consumer-focused messaging service Twitter.TWTR0.17%
The conference may reveal more about these plans when investors get a chance to question executives on October 4.
Dreamforce will feature the usual technology demonstrations and customer testimonials. And as with other big-tech shindigs, there will be a concert at which the iconic rock group U2 will perform.
But this conference, reflecting the CEO's aspirations beyond business, will include days programmed to focus on social values such as compassion. For example, more than 20 Buddhist monastics from Plum Village, a meditation center in southern France founded by Vietnamese Nobel Peace Prize nominee Thich Nhat Hanh, will lead daily sessions on walking meditation and mindful eating.
Mr. Benioff, 52, founded the company in 1999 to capitalize on the then-new concept of selling software as a service over the internet. Now he is an increasingly vocal advocate for social causes, such as racial equality in the tech sector, children's health care, equal pay for men and women, as well as gay and transgender rights.
He spent last spring battling North Carolina's so-called bathroom bill, which aimed to prevent transgender individuals from using public restrooms that don't match the individual's biological gender. A U.S. District Court recently barred enforcement of the law.
Accordingly, Dreamforce will outfit San Francisco's Moscone Center convention hall with gender-neutral restrooms. Attendees will receive stickers they can wear to designate their preferred pronouns, not only ''he/him'' and ''she/her,'' but also the gender-neutral ''they/them'' for those who prefer not being designated male or female.
Mr. Benioff takes the idea of social corporate responsibility to an extent not usually seen in many companies, especially outside San Francisco, where Salesforce.com is headquartered. Yet, he is adamant the company's customers and employees favor this type of corporate social leadership, a theme that will resonate through this year's conference.
''The next generation of CEOs must advocate for all stakeholders'--employees, customers, community, the environment, everybody'...not just shareholders,'' Mr. Benioff told The Wall Street Journal in May.
Mr. Benioff's preparation for the conference reflected his savvy as a marketer. He and his executives convened numerous of meetings and focus groups across the country to test their messages for Dreamforce and their delivery, said Simon Mulcahy, interim chief marketing officer at Salesforce.com.
Those pre-conference preparations also helped the company decide how to talk about Einstein, which is an initiative to imbue Salesforce.com's software with artificial intelligence to automate tasks, predict behavior and spotlight relevant information.
Software with humanlike abilities to recognize patterns, make decisions and learn from experience is a goal of companies, including Alphabet Inc.GOOGL0.18%'s Google, Amazon.com Inc.,AMZN1.00%Apple Inc.,AAPL0.78%Facebook Inc.FB0.14% and International Business Machines Corp.IBM0.47%, all of which have been investing heavily in the technology.
Industry watchers expect AI to drive a substantial market in software in the next few years. International Data Corp. predicts the world-wide market for cognitive software platforms and applications, which roughly defines the market for AI, to increase to $16.6 billion in 2019 from $1.6 billion in 2015, a compound annual growth rate of 65.2%.
Salesforce executives say Einstein will be the most important development at Dreamforce, and they are betting they can use it to grab a piece of that growth.
The company is closing in on its longstanding goal of $10 billion in annual revenue, and Mr. Benioff has vowed to double that figure in coming years. To that end, he has spent about $700 million in recent years to buy companies specializing in machine learning and other AI techniques.
At the Dreamforce conference, he will pull back the covers and reveal the fruits of that investment. While he expects the software to supply the intelligence, the humans, at least, should be mindful.
Write to Rachael King at rachael.king@wsj.com
The four-letter word that has liberal celebrities ducking for cover | New York Post
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 23:56
On Aug. 30, actor and liberal activist Mark Ruffalo was suddenly less ''woke'' than he'd been the day before.
His crime? He'd signed on to executive produce a film in which the openly gay actor Matt Bomer will play a trans woman. The trans community was outraged: Why had a trans actor not been cast?
''I auditioned for this,'' trans actress Jen Richards tweeted. ''I told them they shouldn't have a cis man play a trans woman. They didn't care.''
Ruffalo, by the way, is on the right side of just about every left-wing issue there is. His Twitter feed streams support for #BlackLivesMatter, the LGBT community, anti-fracking efforts and access to clean water.
To be woke is to be beyond awake to every civil and humanitarian injustice, large or small.
Yet casting Bomer endangered Ruffalo's wokeness '-- which is now the ne plus ultra of political correctness.
To be woke is to be beyond awake to every civil and humanitarian injustice, large or small. It is to be aware not just of ''white privilege'' '-- another legitimate concept that sounds smugly chic '-- but of whatever societal, economic, racial privilege you may enjoy, to feel just enough guilt about it and to engage with the world thusly.
''Woke'' was added to Dictionary.com this year, along with cisgender (anyone not transgender), misgender (mistaking someone as male or female) and panromantic (someone attracted to all gender identities and orientations). Wokeness is the subject of countless essays and online forums. There are sites where you can buy ''woke'' merchandise, branded sweatpants and baseball caps. (Sartorially, the Black Panther movement this is not.)
Anyone who thinks they're woke might want to think again. Are you aware of the Blaxican community? Are you dialed in to intersectionality? Are you fluent in disablist vocabulary?
One misstep may reveal you as the hypocrite you are '-- at least on social media, where no utterance goes unparsed, no armchair civil-rights advocate unmoved.
Even Erykah Badu, credited with introducing the word and concept in her 2008 song ''Master Teacher,'' has been criticized for her views on black-on-black crime and the proper skirt length for young girls.
Erykah Badu, who introduced the word ''woke'' in her 2008 song ''Master Teacher,'' has since been criticized for her opinions on black-on-black crime and girls' skirt lengths.Photo: Getty Images''Wait, what?'' said The Root site, naming Badu among the 15 ''sleepiest'' '-- aka not woke '-- black figures of 2016, along with conservative commentator Stacey Dash, Clarence Thomas and Dr. Ben Carson.
Last week, Lena Dunham '-- ultra-liberal product of St. Ann's, Oberlin, and two downtown artist parents '-- was pilloried on social media for an interview she did with Amy Schumer. The two discussed how much they hated going to the Met Gala (Side note: Is no one afraid of Anna Wintour anymore?), and Dunham especially took issue with her tablemate, New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
''It was so amazing, because he looked at me and he determined I was not in the shape of a woman by his standards,'' Dunham said. ''He was like, 'That's a marshmallow. That's a child. That's a dog.' I was like, 'This should be called the Metropolitan Museum of Getting Rejected by Athletes.''‰''
It was a supremely narcissistic comment, one really at her own expense. But in our current climate, Dunham's observation was elevated '-- or denigrated, depending on your point of view '-- to subtextual thought crimes rooted in slavery, lynching, and white female objectification of the black male.
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Milo Event Cancelled After FBI Determines Death Threat 'Credible' - Breitbart
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:26
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A credible threat to MILO's event and Florida Atlantic University students has forced the cancellation of the Breitbart editor's scheduled talk today.According to the FAU Police Department, student organizers received a communication threatening to bring firearms to the talk or plant explosives at the venue.
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Threats were also made to FAU students.
The threat was relayed to the F.B.I, which after investigation deemed it to be credible. The F.B.I. contacted Florida Atlantic University this morning recommending cancellation of the event and the university took the decision to pull MILO's event.
MILO was due to give a lecture this evening entitled, ''How Feminism Hurts Women.''
It is not clear who is responsible for the threat.
Yesterday, the anti-semitic and white supremacist website The Daily Stormer called yesterday for a ''holy crusade'' against the ''kike'' Milo, encouraging its readers to attend and disrupt MILO events.
Bill Text - AB-1671 Confidential communications: disclosure.
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 19:37
SEC. 2. Section 632.01 is added to the Penal Code, to read:
632.01. (a) (1) A person who violates subdivision (a) of Section 632 shall be punished pursuant to subdivision (b) if the person intentionally discloses or distributes, in any manner, in any forum, including, but not limited to, Internet Web sites and social media, or for any purpose, the contents of a confidential communication with a health care provider that is obtained by that person in violation of subdivision (a) of Section 632. For purposes of this subdivision, ''social media'' means an electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos or still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, email, online services or accounts, or Internet Web site profiles or locations.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, to aid and abet a violation of paragraph (1), for the purposes of Section 31, the person shall either violate, or aid and abet in a violation of, both Section 632 and paragraph (1).
(b) A violation of subdivision (a) shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) per violation, or imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison, or by both that fine and imprisonment. If the person has previously been convicted of a violation of this section, the person shall be punished by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per violation, by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
(c) For purposes of this section, ''health care provider'' means any of the following:
(1) A person licensed or certified pursuant to Division 2 (commencing with Section 500) of the Business and Professions Code.
(2) A person licensed pursuant to the Osteopathic Initiative Act or the Chiropractic Initiative Act.
(3) A person certified pursuant to Division 2.5 (commencing with Section 1797) of the Health and Safety Code.
(4) A clinic, health dispensary, or health facility licensed or exempt from licensure pursuant to Division 2 (commencing with Section 1200) of the Health and Safety Code.
(5) An employee, volunteer, or contracted agent of any group practice prepayment health care service plan regulated pursuant to the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act of 1975 (Chapter 2.2 (commencing with Section 1340) of Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code).
(6) An employee, volunteer, independent contractor, or professional student of a clinic, health dispensary, or health care facility or health care provider described in this subdivision.
(7) A professional organization that represents any of the other health care providers described in this subdivision.
(d) (1) Subdivision (a) does not apply to the disclosure or distribution of a confidential communication pursuant to any of the following:
(A) Any party as described in Section 633 acting within the scope of his or her authority overhearing or recording a confidential communication that he or she may lawfully overhear or record pursuant to that section.
(B) Any party as described in Section 633.02 overhearing or recording a confidential communication related to sexual assault or other sexual offense that he or she may lawfully overhear or record pursuant to that section, or using or operating a body-worn camera as authorized pursuant to that section.
(C) A city attorney as described in Section 633.05 overhearing or recording any communication that he or she may lawfully overhear or record pursuant to that section.
(D) An airport law enforcement officer recording a communication received on an incoming telephone line pursuant to Section 633.1.
(E) A party to a confidential communication recording the communication for the purpose of obtaining evidence reasonably believed to relate to the commission by another party to the communication of a crime as specified in Section 633.5.
(F) A victim of domestic violence recording a prohibited communication made to him or her by the perpetrator pursuant to Section 633.6.
(G) A peace officer using electronic amplifying or recording devices to eavesdrop on and record the otherwise confidential oral communications of individuals within a location when responding to an emergency situation that involves the taking of a hostage or the barricading of a location pursuant to Section 633.8.
(2) This section does not affect the admissibility of any evidence that would otherwise be admissible pursuant to the authority of any section specified in paragraph (1).
Controversies - California Bill Criminalizing Media Reporting of Undercover Videos Alarms Free Speech Advocates - AllGov - News
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 19:37
By Nick Cahill, Courthouse News Service
SACRAMENTO (CN) '-- Controversy surrounding secretly recorded videos showing Planned Parenthood employees discussing fetal tissue sales has morphed into a California proposal that would punish media companies for reporting on certain undercover videos. But media groups say the bill, which is on the verge of clearing the Legislature, could have a "chilling effect" on free speech and set the state up for First Amendment court battles.
Born from the 2015 hidden-camera footage released by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress, Planned Parenthood is pushing Assembly Bill 1671 which it claims will protect abortion clinics and other health care providers from similar malicious sting operations.
The bill would criminalize publishing undercover video footage of "health care providers" and subject third parties, including journalists, to penalties for reporting and distributing the illegally recorded footage.
Under AB 1671, a journalist receiving and posting footage from an anonymous source could be punished by the state as well as be opened up to potential civil lawsuits. Whistleblowers would not be exempt from the proposal either, regardless of how they obtained the illegal footage.
First-time offenders could be fined up to $2,500 while repeat offenders could face up to a year in prison.
Led by Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, the "Planned Parenthood" bill must hurdle the state Senate by an Aug. 31 legislative deadline.
Gomez's office declined to speak with Courthouse News regarding AB 1671 and instead referred requests to the bill's sponsor Planned Parenthood.
Opponents of the bill agree that while the undercover Planned Parenthood videos were unethical and underhanded, AB 1671 could do more damage by preventing journalists from obtaining and reporting on issues of public interest.
A combination of media, civil rights groups and state Republicans are leading the fight against the proposal they say will weaken the First Amendment.
Nikki Moore, legal counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association, said the bill creates a dangerous liability for the distribution of footage and could unintentionally punish more people than intended. She said the publishers association has been working with Planned Parenthood since March to narrow the bill, but that the series of amendments have not gone far enough.
"The scenario that [Planned Parenthood] is trying to prevent is a very specific one," Moore said. "We've been trying to help them find a way to accomplish their goals while not infringing on the First Amendment or creating liabilities for media."
It is already illegal in California to record a private conversation without the consent of both parties, in person or on the phone.
"Existing law makes it a crime, subject to specified exemptions, for a person to intentionally eavesdrop upon or record a confidential communication by means of an electronic amplifying or recording device without the consent of all parties to the confidential communication," Government Code section 632 states.
Legal precedent exists regarding the publication of illegally recorded footage. In the 2001 U.S. Supreme Court case Bartnicki v. Vopper, the high court ruled that the First Amendment protects speech that was illegally intercepted as long as the party didn't participate in the recording.
"We think it clear that parallel reasoning requires the conclusion that a stranger's illegal conduct does not suffice to remove the First Amendment shield from speech about a matter of public concern," the majority opinion states.
The ruling is a focal point of the opponents' resistance to the Planned Parenthood proposal.
Planned Parenthood argues the law should go further and explicitly punish third parties for spreading the "confidential communication." It points to the spike in threats of violence it has received since the undercover videos went viral last year as the reason to tighten the state's privacy laws.
"The enormous amount of violent threats culminated in the Colorado shooting," said Beth Parker, chief legal counsel for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California.
She said the bill focuses on preventing the distribution of secretly taped material to the internet where it can explode. The contentious Planned Parenthood videos received millions of views instantly and forced a doctor identified in the videos to move because of threats, Parker said.
"Since the smear campaign began last summer, Planned Parenthood health centers have seen a 900 percent increase in threats and violence," Kathy Kneer, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said in a statement. "That's why it's so important to pass AB 1671 '-- to protect the constitutional privacy rights and the safety of health providers."
But the publishers association, which lobbies on behalf of media groups including the Associated Press and the Hearst Corporation, and First Amendment advocates are skeptical of the bill's language regarding who can be liable for distribution. Journalists who didn't participate in the illegal recording but were given a copy and simply passed it on to their superiors could be liable under AB 1671.
"A person aids and abets the commission of an offense when he or she, with knowledge of the unlawful purpose of the perpetrator and with the intent or purpose of committing, facilitating, or encouraging the commission of the offense, by act or advice, aids, promotes, encourages, or instigates the commission of the offense," the proposal states.
Adam Schwartz, senior counsel with the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the bill deals with two important fundamental American rights '-- right to privacy and a free press.
"When these two rights come into conflict, it's important that we write laws with a scalpel," Schwartz said. "The EFF is opposed because we think that it could be applied to punish a journalist who had nothing to do with making an unlawful recording."
The American Civil Liberties Union of California is also opposed to the Planned Parenthood bill, citing the proposal's "potential for real harm."
The opponents take issue with how the bill specifically criminalizes the distribution of communication with a health care provider. Targeting a specific area of speech amounts to content-based regulation of speech and is unconstitutional, the ACLU claims.
"The same rationale for punishing communications of some preferred professions or industries could as easily be applied to other communications [such as] law enforcement, animal testing labs, gun makers, lethal injection drug producers, the petroleum industry and religious sects," ACLU legislative director Kevin Baker wrote in an opposition letter sent to Gomez.
The Senate Appropriations Committee's Aug 8 analysis of the proposal also notes that the health provider clause "raises a number of issues." The analysis is used by committee members to prepare for upcoming votes '-- a de facto legislative cheat sheet.
"Consequently, to the extent this measure contains language that could be challenged as unconstitutional, this bill could result in potentially significant costs associated with litigation, both to the court and to the Attorney General," the analysis states.
On Monday at the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, the California Department of Finance testified in opposition of the bill, noting the fiscal impact it could have on the justice system. The department also said there isn't sufficient evidence that the undercover filming of health care providers is a common enough occurrence to warrant a new law.
Despite the mounting opposition, Gomez remains adamant that his bill "closes a loophole" and won't have a large fiscal impact.
"The bill doesn't have a lot of cost, it's approximately $29,000 per year," Gomez testified during a May Assembly committee hearing.
Gomez has amended the bill six times since introducing it in January, and it has been buoyed by the support of the state's majority party. His fellow Democrats have passed the bill at each stage on a mostly party-line vote, including at a May 31 Assembly floor vote where it passed 52-26.
"This bill directly implicates the First Amendment, especially the concern of the press that this could ultimately penalize freelance reporters or journalists who distribute a truthful communication," Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Nicolaus, said before voting against AB 1671.
Buried underneath the free speech concerns lies the burdensome cost of litigation, Moore said. Creating a new crime will open journalists up to civil lawsuits as well as strain California's overburdened courts.
"When you put media into the position where it has to assert its rights and protect itself, they are already losing," Moore explained. "Those are fights that are extensive but very important."
If passed, the new law could and should be challenged, the Electronic Frontier Foundation said.
"There's a very high likelihood of a First Amendment challenge and at the EFF we think that would be a very strong challenge that should prevail," Schwartz said.
"We're confident a facial challenge wouldn't stand," Parker of Planned Parenthood said regarding a potential challenge to AB 1671. "We've worked very hard to amend the bill."
The latest version of the bill cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee suspense file Thursday on a 5-2 vote, with Republicans casting the no votes.
It must be approved by the Senate by the end of the month. Gov. Jerry Brown's office does not typically comment on pending bills.
To Learn More:
AB-1671 Confidential Communications: Disclosure (California Legislature)
Texas Grand Jury Indicts Anti-Abortion Activists Behind Covert Planned Parenthood Video (by Jon Herskovitz, Reuters)
Kamala Harris to Investigate Group's Video Sting of Planned Parenthood (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)
Student Must Undergo 5-Hour Psych Evaluation For Making Anti-Gun-Control Video for Class Project | Free Range Kids
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 03:54
No matter how you feel about gun control, this case is disturbing: A high school student who made an anti-gun-control video for class has been ordered to undergo a 5-hour psychiatric evaluation.
Frank Harvey, a senior at Manville High School in New Jersey, says he did the project for a college readiness class last year. As he told New Jersey News 12, ''It was assigned by the teacher.'' The teacher now says she cannot recall assigning it.
His video featured news stories of people who had used guns to fend off home invasions, and some political cartoons that lampooned gun control. Frankly, it sounds pretty standard for a school project: Make a persuasive video about a controversial topic.
But when it was found on a thumb drive he left in the school library, the school summoned the police, who questioned Harvey and declined to arrest him. Yay.
That didn't stop the school district from ordering the psych evaluation, however. Harvey is not allowed back in school until he takes it.
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So'...he's not going back. It sounds like a zero tolerance stand-off: Zero tolerance for anything gun-related versus zero tolerance for an assumption of guilt.
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The district claims Harvey is mis-characterizing what happened, but declined to comment, citing privacy laws.
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As for Harvey, he told News12, ''I've never been a violent person. I've never had detention in my life.''
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His mother added, ''I am not taking him for a psychological evaluation because this teacher is lying and won't own up to what she did.''
Instead, Harvey will take his GED.
Let's hope he doesn't have to study anything about freedom of speech. Because he'll be sorely confused.
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Free-Range KidsFighting the belief that our children are in constant danger from creeps, kidnapping, germs, grades, flashers, frustration, failure, baby snatchers, bugs, bullies, men, sleepovers and/or the perils of a non-organic grape.
Big Oil
Oil prices rise, but for how long?
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 04:46
Russia says it is ready to coordinate with OPEC on its decision to freeze production, but an increase in prices could cause U.S. shale producers to increase drilling.
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Oil workers use machinery to move drill sections on the drilling floor of a derrick operated by Salym Petroleum in Salym, Khanty-Mansi autonomous region, Russia. Source: Getty Images
During an informal meeting in Algiers on Sept. 28, OPEC member country ministers were able to agree on an oil production cap for the first time since 2008. The organization agreed on a production limit of 32.5 million barrels per day '-- one million barrels less than the July-August indicators.
The following day, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told journalists that Russia is ready to cooperate with OPEC and other oil-producing countries on production limits. "We have always had a very flexible position (on this issue)," said Novak, adding that the oil-producing countries could introduce limits on production lasting around half a year. The OPEC member countries will conclude the final agreement on the freeze during the official OPEC meeting on Nov. 30.
Even before the tentative agreement was announced, Russia was openly lobbying for a freeze in oil production. On Sept. 5, during the G20 Summit in China, it was announced that Russia and Saudi Arabia had reached an agreement to support stability on the oil market and guarantee a sustainable level of investment in the long term. The statement was signed by Novak and Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid A. Al-Falih.
Effect on the marketsImmediately after the OPEC decision, prices on Brent Crude soared by six percent. Artem Kalinin, asset manager at Leon Family Office noted that the rise strengthened the currencies of oil producing countries. This increase in currency value also boosted world markets. On Sept. 29, the Japanese Nikkei index added 1.4 percent, the Chinese Shanghai Composite '-- 0.33 percent and Russia's MICEX rose by 1.2 percent. Oil and gas companies' shares listed on Wall Street added 4 percent, notes Vitaly Bagamanov, managing director of Ultima Bank.
Most market players had given up hope that OPEC members could agree to anything, which is why the importance of the event cannot be underestimated, said Kalinin. For the first time in many meetings, Saudi Arabia '-- the chief opponent of capping production '-- decided to make concessions.
At the same time, any celebration over the decision should be tempered, as oil prices will continue to rise only in the short term, cautioned Valery Nesterov, an analyst at Sberbank. Additionally, the effect of the "OPEC freeze" may be cancelled out by an increase in production volumes in other countries. Several non-OPEC member countries have set new records in production volumes recently. Artem Kalinin points out that in 2017, Kazakhstan is preparing to launch the biggest offshore oil field in the world, Kashaghan.
Price "swings"OPEC's decision may generate "swings" on the market in which high and low oil prices will alternate. This situation could go on for several years, according to Valery Nesterov. "The market is not capable of maintaining a good price of $60-70 per barrel," he said.
U.S. shale producers hold the trump card in the market today. Over the last three years, they have managed to reduce the average cost of shale oil 1,5-2 times. "As a result, any price growth higher than $50 per barrel will lead to an increase of drilling in the US and the renewal of shale production growth. And the price will again fall," Nesterov said.
Therefore, we should not expect a radical change in the situation on the oil market, in particular the substantial reduction of production. Oil demand is stably growing and spurring producers to increase their volumes, says Artem Kalinin.
Wiktor Bielski, global head of commodities research at VTB Capital, takes a slightly different view. "Oil demand growth has been boosted by low prices. We think demand growth will remain positive but modest, boosted by China and emerging markets with the U.S. and Europe relatively flat," he said.
Read more: Four Russian companies listed in top 10 of world's biggest energy firms>>>
Lukoil CEO not expecting oil price to be above $50 per barrel
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 04:54
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"The price is already above $50 per barrel, this is the price that makes investments in shale oil and gas efficient." Source: Yegor Aleyev/TASS
The agreements reached by OPEC on stabilizing oil output will contribute to keeping the oil price at the level of $50 per barrel rather than to its growth, Lukoil CEO Vagit Alekperov told reporters on Sept. 30.
"The price is already above $50 (per barrel), this is the price that makes investments in shale oil and gas efficient. It stabilizes at the level of $50 and we will wait for the November meeting," Alekperov said.
The Lukoil CEO stressed that the November meeting is important as it will discuss the volume of output, expressing hope that common interest will prevail over local conflicts.
"The fact that Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia have announced their wish to reach an agreement is already a very optimistic signal for the whole market. This is not only speculation," Alekperov said.
At an informal meeting in Algeria on Sept. 28, the OPEC members managed to agree upon oil production limiting at the level of 32.5 - 33 million barrels per day.
Source: TASS
Read more: Multinationals find opportunities in undervalued Russian oil sector>>>
Obama Nation
President Obama Beckons Tardy Bill Clinton to Get on Air Force One - ABC News
Sat, 01 Oct 2016 06:25
Who can keep the president of the United States waiting? Only another president, of course.
After the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, former President Bill Clinton hitched a ride back from Israel today on Air Force One with President Obama.
Clinton has a reputation for running a bit late and it seems Obama was no deterrent. Video shows Obama standing in the doorway of the plane, motioning Clinton to hurry along and board the plane.
Former President Bill Clinton and President Obama are seen boarding Air Force One in Israel, Sept. 30, 2016.With no success, Obama walks off the plane onto the steps and calls out to the former president: ''Bill, let's go! I gotta get home.''
Finally, Clinton walks up the steps to board the plane. The two presidents shake hands, pat each other on the back and board together.
Both presidents were speakers at Peres' funeral earlier today. They were expected to land back in Washington close to 6 p.m. ET.
Millennials
Student officially changes his personal pronoun to 'His Majesty' on campus roster - The College Fix
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 14:08
Student officially changes his personal pronoun to 'His Majesty' on campus roster
'I henceforth shall be referred to as: His Majesty, Grant Strobl. I encourage all U-M students to go onto Wolverine Access, and insert the identity of their dreams'
On Tuesday, top administrators at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor announced a new campus-wide policy that allows students to select their own ''designated personal pronoun,'' informing the campus community they are expected to adhere to those preferences.
''The University of Michigan is committed to fostering an environment of inclusiveness. Consistent with this value, the University has created a process for students to designate pronouns with the University and have those pronouns reflected on class rosters this fall,'' the university stated to students and professors in an email, a copy of which was obtained by The College Fix.
The university defines a designated personal pronoun as ''a pronoun an individual chooses to identify with and expects others to use when referencing them (he, she, him, his, ze, etc.).''
As a result of this new policy, professors are now expected to call students by their personally designated pronoun, even if it has no basis in their biological sex.
MORE: Universities teach gender fluidity as fact to college students
MORE: The war on male and female
''Faculty members play a vital role in ensuring all of our community feels valued, respected and included,'' the email stated. '''...These changes give students the ability to tell the University what pronoun they identify with for use in our communications and interactions with them. Asking about and correctly using someone's designated pronoun is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their identity and to cultivate an environment that respects all gender identities.''
''If you make a mistake and use the wrong pronoun, you can acknowledge that you made a mistake, and use the correct pronoun next time.''
Students are not only allowed to choose from one of several pre-selected pronouns '-- they can also write in their own designated personal pronoun. ''Designated pronouns will automatically populate on all class rosters accessed through Wolverine Access. Rosters pulled from other systems will not have designated pronouns listed,'' the university states.
With that, Grant Strobl, (pictured) a conservative student at the University of Michigan and chairman of the Young Americans for Freedom Board of Governors, decided to change his preferred pronoun to ''His Majesty'' '-- in an attempt to make the point that this policy has no basis in reality.
In an interview with The College Fix, Strobl said that ''I have no problem with students asking to be identified a certain way, almost like someone named Richard who would like to be called Dick. It is respectful to make a reasonable effort to refer to students in the way that they prefer.''
However, he added that he does have a problem when the university institutionalizes the use of pronouns that are completely arbitrary and may possibly sanction people for referring to someone different than their preference.
Strobl continued, ''So, I henceforth shall be referred to as: His Majesty, Grant Strobl. I encourage all U-M students to go onto Wolverine Access, and insert the identity of their dreams.''
Well done, ''Your Majesty.''
People can tweet their new identity with the hashtag #UMPronounChallenge.
MORE: Women's college offers students eight different gender pronoun options
MORE: At the University of Iowa, no student's gender will simply be assumed
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About the Author
College Fix contributor Peter Van Voorhis is a junior and finance major at UC Irvine, as well as a California Republican Party Delegate and a lifelong conservative activist.
F-Russia
Amerikaans leger neemt basis in Eygelshoven over | NOS
Sat, 01 Oct 2016 17:24
Het opslagterrein van Defensie in het Limburgse Eygelshoven wordt zaterdag overgedragen aan het Amerikaanse leger. Die gaat er rond de 1600 militaire voertuigen opslaan vanwege de "verslechterde veiligheidssituatie in Europa", aldus het ministerie van Defensie.
De komst van de Amerikanen levert waarschijnlijk ruim honderd banen op, schrijft 1Limburg. Het Nederlandse defensie-apparaat ondersteunt de Amerikanen bij het onderhoud, de bewaking en beveiliging. Wanneer het Amerikaanse materieel aankomt, is nog niet duidelijk. Defensie is nog bezig het terrein gebruiksklaar te maken.
Op het terrein, dat in het verleden ook werd gebruikt voor voertuig- en wapenopslag, zat tot voor kort een vestiging van het Financieel Administratie- en Beheerkantoor (FABK) van Defensie. Dat wordt samengevoegd met het kantoor in Utrecht.
Sinds de Russische annexatie van de Krim en de Russische inmenging in het conflict in de Oekra¯ne maakt de NAVO zich zorgen over de opstelling van de Russen. Daarom neemt het bondgenootschap een aantal maatregelen. Een daarvan is dus de opslag van materieel in Europa.
Russia cracks down on rowdy air passengers
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 04:48
During a meeting on Sept. 29, Putin endorsed the proposal for legal action against disruptive air travelers. Russian airlines also are seeking more authority to block known troublemakers from flights.
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For now, employees of Aeroflot are forced to tie down rowdy passengers with blankets. Photo: A flight attendant and passengers aboard an aircraft operated by TUI Airlines. Source: Ruslan Shamukov/TASS
Disruptive travelers can now face legal action when flying with Russian airlines, including being fined up to 500,000 rubles ($7,935) for public disorderliness on board a plane.
Vitali Savelyev, head of Russia's largest air carrier Aeroflot, made the proposal during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 29, reports the news agency TASS. Expressing his endorsement of the proposal, the president said "It is already high time we were doing this."
Savelyev asked for airlines to be given the right to bar 'blacklisted' troublesome passengers from boarding. Currently, crews are only informed about people on the list before boarding, which has grown to over 3,000 people, but cannot prevent them from flying, Savelyev said. He also admitted that flight crews cannot stop these disruptive passengers once they're on board. "People have become more and more violent, and they are only threatened with administrative liability, which isn't much," he added.
For now, employees of Aeroflot are forced to tie down rowdy passengers with blankets, Savelyev explained, whereas European and U.S. lawmakers are considering introducing not only huge fines but prison sentences of up to 20 years for violent passengers.
"We are proposing to transfer company responsibility over to the law on this matter, increasing the fine up to 500,000 rubles '' though in some European countries the fine can be up to 100,000 euros," he said. Savelyev also proposed introducing measures "like all European air carriers already have: means of detaining passengers, such as plastic handcuffs and straightjackets."
Source: TASS
Peskov: 'Good news' that Russian ambassador will meet with Dutch about MH17
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 04:50
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Dmitry Peskov: "This is very good news." Source: Ria Novosti/Vladimir Astapkovich
The Kremlin believes it is good news the Russian ambassador was invited to the Dutch Foreign Ministry for explanations over criticism of the flight MH17 disaster investigation.
"This is very good news," presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists, adding that he learned about that from media reports.
"The head of our diplomatic mission in the Netherlands will present all considerations concerning our position," Peskov said. "A dialog is always good."
First, the Dutch Safety Board looked into the circumstances of the disaster over Ukraine. And this week the Joint Investigation Team presented the first results of the criminal investigation. The JIT consists of Australian, Belgian, Malaysian, Dutch and Ukrainian officials. They claimed they had gathered irrefutable evidence Flight MH17 had been downed by a Buk missile launched on July 17, 2014 from an area controlled by militias opposed to Kiev. The missile, they said, had come from Russia.
It is noteworthy, though, that the JIT chief acknowledged all data provided by Russia had been ignored.
Meanwhile, Russia's arms manufacturer Almaz-Antey back a year ago provided its own findings, confirmed by real life experiments. In particular, the concern's specialists said the ill-fortunate Boeing-777 had been destroyed by a Buk missile, but the missile was launched not from the area mentioned by the Dutch Safety Board, but from the village of Zaroshchanskoye, which on the day of the disaster was in the hands of the Ukrainian military.
Source: TASS
Most permits for Turkish Stream pipeline obtained, says Gazprom deputy CEO
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 04:49
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The Gazprom sign at the 2016 Sochi International Investment Forum. Source: Peter Kovalev/TASS
Most permits for implementation of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project have been already obtained, Gazprom Deputy CEO Vitaly Markelov said at the 2016 Sochi International Investment Forum on Sept. 30.
"Most of them have been obtained," he said, adding that "the exploration permit has been the most important one."
According to Markelov, the exploration permit will allow operations on the Turkish section.
Gazprom has already obtained the first permits from Turkish authorities within the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline project, which allowed to start the construction of the pipeline.
Earlier Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that the draft intergovernmental agreement was expected to be agreed and signed in October 2016. Also, he said, the construction of the first line of the Turkish Stream would start after obtainment of all required construction and survey permits for Turkish territorial waters. Russia and Turkey also intend to set up a working group for the Turkish Stream, he added.
Source: TASS.com
White House: We can't tell you our Syria strategy
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 05:04
EuroLand
Nederlandse paspoorten in handen Amerika | BNR Nieuwsradio
Sat, 01 Oct 2016 00:42
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Germany Sees Surge in Number of Refugees Receiving Benefits - WSJ
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 13:41
BERLIN'--About half a million refugees in Germany received social security benefits in June, almost twice as many as a year earlier, potentially fueling tension among voters over the recent influx of refugees and heaping pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The Federal Employment Agency said 469,403 immigrants from asylum seekers' eight most common countries of origin received benefits in June, a 93% increase from a year earlier. The...
NYC/NJ Bomber
2 Men Who Found Bomb in Chelsea Are Identified as Airline Security Guards - NYTimes.com
Sat, 01 Oct 2016 16:10
CAIRO '-- Two men who found a travelbag containing a bomb on a Manhattan street last month '-- and then walked off with the bag but left the bomb '-- were not just employees of EgyptAir but in-flight security officers for the carrier, two officials at the airline said on Friday.
Surveillance footage showed two men finding the bag on West 27th Street on the evening of Sept. 17, soon after a bomb exploded on West 23rd Street, injuring 31 people and triggering terrorism fears across the region.
In the video, the men were seen pulling from the travel bag a white plastic bag that contained a pressure cooker connected to wires and a mobile phone. They left the white bag on the sidewalk and walked away with the travel bag. The bomb did not explode, and investigators have said that the men may have inadvertently disabled the device.
The two men, identified as Hassan Ali and Abou Bakr Radwan, had flown to New York from here, serving as unarmed security guards on the flight, the officials said.
The bag they found contained one of several homemade bombs that prosecutors say were planted that day in New York and New Jersey by Ahmad Khan Rahami, an Afghan-born American citizen.
American investigators released footage of the two men, appealing for help in identifying them.
The EgyptAir officials who identified them as Mr. Ali and Mr. Radwan spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The officials said they believed that the two employees were not connected to Mr. Rahami or the bomb plot.
''They didn't know what was in it,'' one of the officials said of the travel bag. Mr. Ali ''told me he saw it and thought it was nice,'' the official recalled. ''He opened the bag to check it out and found a pot.''
Mr. Ali did not want to go to the trouble of flying the pot back to Cairo, the official said, so he put it aside and left with the travel bag.
''You know, we see things left on the street in New York all the time,'' the official said. ''Stuff no one wants. It's normal to take them.''
The two men told friends and colleagues that they had not read the news or realized the significance of their find until Egyptian reporters started calling EgyptAir, the officials said.
One of the officials said Mr. Ali and Mr. Radwan flew back to Cairo the day after the episode. American investigators have not been able to interview them, the officials said.
Abou Bakr Radwan, who works as an in-flight security officer at EgyptAir.
Egyptian police officers went to Cairo International Airport on Friday to question the two men but were unable to find them because it was their day off, one of the officials said.
Mr. Ali and Mr. Radwan have not been disciplined by EgyptAir, staff members of the airline said. Tarek Attiya, a spokesman for the police, said he could not deny or confirm any of the developments.
Friday's revelation is troubling for Egypt, whose aviation security procedures have come under intense scrutiny after three major air disasters in the past year.
In October 2015, a Russian plane crashed into the Sinai Peninsula after what may have been a terrorist bomb brought it down. In March, a passenger wearing a fake explosives belt hijacked a domestic EgyptAir flight and diverted it to Cyprus. The crisis was resolved within hours when the man, later determined to be psychologically troubled, surrendered.
In May, EgyptAir Flight 804 plunged into the Mediterranean, en route to Cairo from Paris, killing all 66 people on board. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
EgyptAir employs in-flight security officers like Mr. Ali and Mr. Radwan to maintain order during flights and to ensure that planes are secure during stopovers at foreign airports. Unlike the undercover air marshals who travel on American carriers, Egyptian security officials are unarmed and can be identified by an understated uniform. Generally, one security officer sits near the front of the cabin and another toward the rear. In some foreign airports they are responsible for searching workers who clean planes between flights. When a plane is in the air, they sometimes deal with unruly passengers.
They receive modest training and are typically paid about $400 a month. Before the identities of the men who found the bag were revealed, Dina el-Fouly, a spokeswoman for EgyptAir, said that they were not EgyptAir workers and that the men shown in the surveillance footage did not resemble any of their employees. Ms. Foulycould not be reached for comment after the men were identified.
But images from Mr. Radwan's Facebook page appear to match one of the men in a photograph released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The F.B.I. declined to comment.
Both Mr. Ali and Mr. Radwan have no known political affiliations, according to several EgyptAir officials. ''These guys are harmless; they would be useless in a fist fight,'' one of the airline officials said. ''They cannot be in any way involved.''
''They don't understand that they are wanted as witnesses,'' he said. ''They are shocked and scared now. Radwan is especially scared. The poor guy is always anxious.''
''Please, I cannot say anything,'' Mr. Radwan said when reached by phone on Friday. ''There is a spokesperson for the company. Speak to them.'' He then ended the call.
Mr. Radwan's last public post on Facebook came a day before the attacks in New York and New Jersey. It is a video of a man urging people not to associate Islam with terrorism.
Several attempts to reach Mr. Ali on Friday through an intermediary were unsuccessful.
Declan Walsh contributed reporting from New York, and Adam Goldman from Washington.
War on Religion
Text - H.R.2802 - 114th Congress (2015-2016): First Amendment Defense Act | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 14:18
H. R. 2802
To prevent discriminatory treatment of any person on the basis of views held with respect to marriage.
Mr. Labrador (for himself, Mr. Collins of Georgia, Mr. Jones, Mr. Sessions, Mr. Duncan of South Carolina, Mrs. Hartzler, Mr. Cramer, Mr. Neugebauer, Mr. Pearce, Mr. Lamborn, Mr. Sam Johnson of Texas, Mr. Sanford, Mrs. Blackburn, Mr. Rothfus, Mr. Franks of Arizona, Mr. Mullin, Mr. Pompeo, Mr. Smith of Texas, Mr. Pittenger, Mr. Walberg, Mr. Jody B. Hice of Georgia, Mr. Marchant, Mr. Lipinski, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Palmer, Mr. Meadows, Mr. Allen, Mr. Huelskamp, Mr. Pitts, Mr. Graves of Georgia, Mr. Miller of Florida, Mr. Garrett, Mr. Fincher, Mr. Salmon, Mr. Westmoreland, Mr. Smith of New Jersey, Mr. Grothman, Mr. Harris, Mrs. Wagner, Mr. Weber of Texas, Mr. Fleming, Mr. Kelly of Pennsylvania, Mr. Babin, Mr. Yoho, Mr. Chaffetz, Mr. Fortenberry, Mr. Palazzo, Mr. Carter of Texas, Mr. Rouzer, Mrs. Black, Mr. Brat, Mr. Mooney of West Virginia, Mr. Gosar, Mr. Bishop of Utah, Mrs. Love, Mr. Gowdy, Mr. Aderholt, and Mr. Stewart) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
To prevent discriminatory treatment of any person on the basis of views held with respect to marriage.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,SECTION 1.Short title.
This Act may be cited as the ''First Amendment Defense Act''.
SEC. 2.Findings.
Congress finds the following:
(1) Leading legal scholars concur that conflicts between same-sex marriage and religious liberty are real and should be legislatively addressed.
(2) As the President stated in response to the decision of the Supreme Court on the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, ''Americans hold a wide range of views'' on the issue of same-sex marriage, and ''maintaining our Nation's commitment to religious freedom'' is ''vital''.
(3) Nevertheless, in 2015, when asked whether a religious school could lose its tax-exempt status for opposing same-sex marriage, the Solicitor General of the United States represented to the United States Supreme Court that ''[i]t's certainly going to be an issue''.
(4) Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion is a Government interest of the highest order. Legislatively enacted measures advance this interest by remedying, deterring, and preventing Government interference with religious exercise in a way that complements the protections mandated by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
(5) Laws that protect the free exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions about marriage will encourage private citizens and institutions to demonstrate tolerance for those beliefs and convictions and therefore contribute to a more respectful, diverse, and peaceful society.
SEC. 3.Protection of the free exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions.
(a) In general.'--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.
(b) Discriminatory action defined.'--As used in subsection (a), a discriminatory action means any action taken by the Federal Government to'--
(1) alter in any way the Federal tax treatment of, or cause any tax, penalty, or payment to be assessed against, or deny, delay, or revoke an exemption from taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 of, any person referred to in subsection (a);
(2) disallow a deduction for Federal tax purposes of any charitable contribution made to or by such person;
(3) withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or otherwise deny any Federal grant, contract, subcontract, cooperative agreement, loan, license, certification, accreditation, employment, or other similar position or status from or to such person;
(4) withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or otherwise deny any benefit under a Federal benefit program from or to such person; or
(5) otherwise discriminate against such person.
(c) Accreditation; licensure; certification.'--The Federal Government shall consider accredited, licensed, or certified for purposes of Federal law any person that would be accredited, licensed, or certified, respectively, for such purposes but for a determination against such person wholly or partially on the basis that the person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.
SEC. 4.Judicial relief.
(a) Cause of action.'--A person may assert an actual or threatened violation of this Act as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding and obtain compensatory damages, injunctive relief, declaratory relief, or any other appropriate relief against the Federal Government. Standing to assert a claim or defense under this section shall be governed by the general rules of standing under Article III of the Constitution.
(b) Administrative remedies not required.'--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an action under this section may be commenced, and relief may be granted, in a United States district court without regard to whether the person commencing the action has sought or exhausted available administrative remedies.
(c) Attorneys' fees.'--Section 722(b) of the Revised Statutes (42 U.S.C. 1988(b)) is amended by inserting ''the First Amendment Defense Act,'' after ''the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000,''.
(d) Authority of United States To Enforce This Act.'--The Attorney General may bring an action for injunctive or declaratory relief against an independent establishment described in section 104(1) of title 5, United States Code, or an officer or employee of that independent establishment, to enforce compliance with this Act. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to deny, impair, or otherwise affect any right or authority of the Attorney General, the United States, or any agency, officer, or employee of the United States, acting under any law other than this subsection, to institute or intervene in any proceeding.
SEC. 5.Rules of construction.
(a) Broad construction.'--This Act shall be construed in favor of a broad protection of free exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions, to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of this Act and the Constitution.
(b) No preemption, repeal, or narrow construction.'--Nothing in this Act shall be construed to preempt State law, or repeal Federal law, that is equally or more protective of free exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to narrow the meaning or application of any State or Federal law protecting free exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prevent the Federal Government from providing, either directly or through a person not seeking protection under this Act, any benefit or service authorized under Federal law.
(c) Severability.'--If any provision of this Act or any application of such provision to any person or circumstance is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act and the application of the provision to any other person or circumstance shall not be affected.
SEC. 6.Definitions.
(1) FEDERAL BENEFIT PROGRAM.'--The term ''Federal benefit program'' has the meaning given that term in section 552a of title 5, United States Code.
(2) FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.'--The term ''Federal Government'' includes each authority of any branch of the Government of the United States.
(3) PERSON.'--The term ''person'' means a person as defined in section 1 of title 1, United States Code, and includes any such person regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof, and regardless of for-profit or nonprofit status.
NA-Tech News
'Partnership on AI' formed by Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft | Technology | The Guardian
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 22:27
Partnership on Artificial Intelligence hopes to invite 'academics, non-profits and specialists in policy and ethics' to join. Photograph: Alamy
Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft are joining forces to create a new AI partnership dedicated to advancing public understanding of the sector, as well as coming up with standards for future researchers to abide by.
Going by the unwieldy name of the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society, the alliance isn't a lobbying organisation (at least, it says it ''does not intend'' to lobby government bodies). Instead, it says it will ''conduct research, recommend best practices, and publish research under an open license in areas such as ethics, fairness and inclusivity; transparency, privacy, and interoperability; collaboration between people and AI systems; and the trustworthiness, reliability and robustness of the technology''.
There will be equal representation between corporate and non-corporate members on the board of the partnership, and it hopes to invite ''academics, non-profits and specialists in policy and ethics'' to join.
Despite its work in artificial intelligence through products such as Siri, Apple is not included in the group. Photograph: AlamyEach of the five founding corporate members has strong AI research teams, some of which have become household names, such as IBM's Watson and Amazon's Alexa. Google's involvement with the body is led by its London-based DeepMind subsidiary, a pure research organisation that hit headlines in March when it built the first ever machine to beat a world-class human player of the ancient Asian board game Go.
No Apple, no Elon MuskYet some organisations are conspicuous by their absence from the body.
Apple, which has been loudly trumpeting its own AI efforts in areas such as personal assistants, image recognition and voice control, is not included in the group. The company has a long history of going it alone even when other tech giants bury the hatchet.
In 2015, for instance, Apple filed its own opposition to the UK's Investigatory Powers bill (also known as the Snooper's Charter) even though Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo had all joined forces to oppose it. In March this year, it finally joined that coalition.
Microsoft's Eric Horvitz, one of the partnership's two interim co-chairs, said ''We've been in discussions with Apple, I know they're enthusiastic about this effort, and I'd personally hope to see them join.'' Apple did not respond to requests for comment.
Absent too is OpenAI, the Elon Musk-backed research outfit which is seeking to ''advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole''. With funding of $1bn (£777m), the group is one of the industry's best-funded independent AI research labs, and its aims seem to complement those of the Partnership.
A small number of large corporations are the powerhouses behind the development of sophisticated artificial intelligence
Murray Shanahan, cognitive robotics professor at Imperial College''We're in the process of inviting many many different research labs and groups,'' said Mustafa Suleyman or Deep Mind, the other interim co-chair. ''We encourage there to be a diverse range of effort in AI, and we think that's a great thing. We're going to be really opening this up as widely as possible to different efforts.'' OpenAI's co-founder and CTO, Greg Brockman, said ''We're happy to see the launch of the group '-- coordination in the industry is good for everyone. We're looking forward to non-profits being included as first-class members in the future.''
It's also not the first time DeepMind has promised a body aimed at supporting AI ethics. When the company was acquired by Google back in 2014, part of the acquisition deal saw Google promise to form an AI ethics board to ensure the new technology was not abused.
Two-and-a-half years on, however, and it is unclear whether the board has ever met, or even who is on it. DeepMind has regularly declined to comment on it, although it has formed a second ethics board focused purely on overseeing the company's research on healthcare AI.
DeepMind's Suleyman said this latest group ''doesn't replace'' the internal ethics board butit complements it. ''That board is a Google Deep Mind effort that we've been working very hard on, we've been making a lot of progress toward.''
Suleyman also promised that the partnership would meet ''frequently''.
Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis at the AlphaGo challenge match between human champion Lee Sedol, and Deepmind's computer Photograph: Lee Jin-man/APMurray Shanahan is a professor of cognitive robotics at Imperial College London, whose research into deep symbolic reinforcement learning could solve AL's reliance on vast quantities of data. He welcomed the creation of the partnership.
Research will 'maximise societal benefits and tackle ethical concerns'''A small number of large corporations are today the powerhouses behind the development of sophisticated artificial intelligence. The inauguration of the partnership on AI is a very welcome step towards ensuring this technology is used wisely,'' he said.
Ralf Herbrich, the director of machine learning science and core machine learning at Amazon, said: ''We're in a golden age of machine learning and AI. This partnership will ensure we're including the best and the brightest in this space in the conversation to improve customer trust and benefit society.''
In a joint statement from Suleyman and Google's Greg Corrado, the pair said they ''strongly support an open, collaborative process for developing AI.
''This group is a huge step forward, breaking down barriers for AI teams to share best practices, research ways to maximise societal benefits and tackle ethical concerns, and make it easier for those in other fields to engage with everyone's work. We're really proud of how this has come together, and we're looking forward to working with everyone inside and outside the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to make sure AI has the broad and transformative impact we all want to see.''
Facebook's director of AI research, Yann LeCun, said: ''By openly collaborating with our peers and sharing findings, we aim to push new boundaries every day, not only within Facebook, but across the entire research community.''
IBM's Francesca Rossi added: ''This partnership will provide consumer and industrial users of cognitive systems a vital voice in the advancement of the defining technology of this century '' one that will foster collaboration between people and machines to solve some of the world's most enduring problems '' in a way that is both trustworthy and beneficial.''
Phones without headphone jacks are phones with DRM for audio / Boing Boing
Sat, 01 Oct 2016 07:43
Nilay Patel's magnificent rant about Apple's rumored announcement that future phones won't have headphone jacks starts with the main event: "1. Digital audio means DRM audio."
It's true: the existence of HDMI ports enabled the use of HDCP, and led to the growth of video services whose products refused to play at full resolution (or at all) through analog outputs, and also arbitrarily refused to talk to various monitors and screens if some secret algorithm decided that they'd be a risk.
Patel later notes that "Ditching a deeply established standard will disproportionately impact accessibility," but misses the connection between these two phenomena. Once there's DRM on an output, then you can only plug new devices into that output if you have permission from the consortium that made the DRM. That group may make some accommodations for accessibility, but can never think of all the use-cases and solutions that a wide-open standard will have (for example, the W3C's video DRM, EME, has many accessibility accommodations, but wouldn't allow color-blind people to shift the gamut of video in realtime).
The point of DRM isn't that it is technically challenging to defeat: it's that it allows manufacturers to invoke the DMCA -- and international analogues, such as European laws that implement the EUCD -- to prevent people from doing legal things.
Tivo is legal. Tivo for Netflix is illegal -- not because any government passed a law banning PVRs for streaming video, but because Netflix hasn't given us permission to PVR its service, and to add a PVR without permission means bypassing the DRM, and bypassing DRM is very, very illegal.
Headphone jacks' ubiquity have made them a target for all kinds of innovative thinking. My favorite underwater MP3 player uses one for both charging and USB file-transfer (!), and manages to make it waterproof (!!). Square and Stripe have enabled individuals and small businesses to transact billions of dollars' worth of commerce using a headphone jack as a UI (partly because connecting to the other ports on phones comes with so many onerous conditions and requires permission from so many parties).
When we allow a company, or a cartel from an incumbent industry, to monopolize the things that can plug into products that we all use, to convert their commercial preferences to legal obligations, we shut down innovation, at the expense of all the people who stand to benefit from that innovation.
4. Ditching a deeply established standard will disproportionately impact accessibility
The traditional headphone jack is a standard for a reason '-- it works. It works so well that an entire ecosystem of other kinds of devices has built up around it, and millions of people have access to compatible devices at every conceivable price point. The headphone jack might be less good on some metrics than Lightning or USB-C audio, but it is spectacularly better than anything else in the world at being accessible, enabling, open, and democratizing. A change that will cost every iPhone user at least $29 extra for a dongle (or more for new headphones) is not a change designed to benefit everyone. And you don't need to get rid of the headphone jack to make a phone waterproof; plenty of waterproof phones have shipped with headphone jacks already.
Taking the headphone jack off phones is user-hostile and stupid [Nilay Patel/The Verge]
(via /.)
(Image: Headphone jack 3.5mm, Jud McCranie, CC-BY-SA)
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F.C.C. Delays Vote on Cable Set-Top Boxes - NYTimes.com
Sat, 01 Oct 2016 13:57
WASHINGTON '-- Federal regulators on Thursday delayed a vote on a proposal to reshape the television market by freeing consumers from cable box rentals, putting into doubt a plan that has pitted technology companies against cable television providers.
Members of the Federal Communications Commission could not agree on a set-top box proposal that requires cable operators to provide their shows and movies on alternative devices rather than just on a cable box. The plan was intended to bring more competition to the television industry and liberate consumers from an average of $231 in annual cable box fees.
The proposal will still be considered for a future vote. But Tom Wheeler, chairman of the F.C.C., said commissioners needed more discussions. Even late Wednesday evening, members of the F.C.C. were negotiating over disagreements and concerns over the proposal.
''It was simply a matter of running out of time,'' Mr. Wheeler said in a news conference Thursday after the F.C.C.'s planned monthly meeting.
The window of opportunity for Mr. Wheeler to adopt his signature regulation on cable and satellite boxes is growing smaller. With the change of administration after the election, he is under pressure to pass through several ambitious regulations before the end of the year.
The set-top box plan appeared in jeopardy in thedays leading up to the vote as one commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel, expressed concern over potential copyright violations faced by television programmers. She said at a congressional hearing this month that the plan would make the F.C.C. too meddlesome in program licenses and that the agency might not have the legal authority to act as a watchdog over those agreements. It was a rare disagreement among the Democratic majority.
Ms. Rosenworcel, in a joint statement with the two other Democrats on the five-member commission, said on Thursday morning that she supported the goal of the proposal, to create more competition in the television box market.
''We are still working to resolve the remaining technical and legal issues and we are committed to unlocking the set-top box for consumers across this country,'' the three commissioners said.
Jessica Rosenworcel, a Federal Communications Commission Commissioner, is questioning whether the agency has the authority to free people from their cable boxes.
Mandel Ngan / Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images
Under the proposed rules, consumers would be able to watch cable shows on devices like a Roku or Apple TV, or on no devices at all with internet-enabled televisions. Getting rid of the cable box would make finding and watching YouTube and Netflix streaming videos as easy as viewing cable programs because they would be presented in what would look like just another app.
The proposal was introduced in January and was supported by President Obama and consumer groups. The regulations were the latest move by the F.C.C. to encourage online video and to bring more attention to the closed television industry dominated by cable, telecom and satellite companies.
But the plan had many detractors, including the cable and television industries, for which the cable box has been a lucrative business. Those industries began an expensive lobbying battle to defeat the rules over the last nine months, spending more than $10 million in the last quarter and hiring dozens of outside lobbyists to protest the plan to lawmakers and F.C.C. commissioners.
The Copyright Office and dozens of members of Congress also opposed the plan, raising concerns over copyright infringement and a disruption to their advertising deals if programs were given to third-party device makers. Hollywood studios have protested that they would lose control over their content with the proposal, hurting creators and studios.
''The M.P.A.A. is pleased that the F.C.C. is taking more time, and we hope they use it to ensure any set-top box proposal remains consistent with copyright policy and avoids harming creators,'' said Chris Dodd, chairman of Hollywood's trade group, the Motion Picture Association of America.
And recent changes made to address these concerns do ''not solve the copyright, privacy, innovation and other significant concerns that were implicated in this discredited original proposal,'' said David Cohen, Comcast's senior executive vice president, adding that the plan ''suffers from the same legal infirmities.''
The regulations would remove a crucial part of the cable television industry's model of forcing consumers to rent the boxes that showcase their own bundle of channels, analysts say. Making cable programming another app on a device like a TiVo would expose viewers to more streaming content that is directly competing against the paid-TV bundle.
''This is the last gateway to the internet and this is a battle between open and closed platforms,'' said Chip Pickering, president of Incompas, a lobbying group that represents Google and Amazon in support of the plan.
Backers of the plan were disappointed with the delay, which could put the proposal in jeopardy.
''Today's vote delay is an unequivocal loss for the tens of millions of Americans across the country who are forced to spend their hard-earned money on overpriced set-top box leases that cost them hundreds of dollars a year,'' said Senator Edward J. Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, in a statement on Thursday.
He has said consumers have been charged a combined $20 billion a year in forced rental fees.
Yahoo Hacked by Cybercrime Gang, Security Firm Reports
Sat, 01 Oct 2016 20:35
Cybersecurity , Data Breach
1 Billion Accounts Stolen by 'Professional Blackhats,' InfoArmor SaysMathew J. Schwartz (euroinfosec) ' September 29, 2016 Source: YahooThe record-breaking Yahoo breach wasn't perpetrated by nation-state attackers, as Yahoo has claimed, but rather by a group of "professional blackhats from Eastern Europe" who are also suspected of stealing and reselling customer data from LinkedIn, MySpace and Tumblr, according to a new report from the security firm InfoArmor (see Yahoo Breach: The Great 'Nation-State' Cop Out).
See Also:How to Mitigate Credential Theft by Securing Active Directory
Yahoo didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the InfoArmor report.
But a Yahoo spokesman previously told Information Security Media Group: "As we disclosed on Sept. 22, a recent investigation by Yahoo has confirmed that a copy of certain user account information was stolen from our systems in late 2014 by what we believe is a state-sponsored actor. Our investigation into this matter is ongoing and the issues are complex."
Now, however, Arizona-based InfoArmor, which sells products designed to protect against employee identity theft, claims that it's traced the Yahoo data theft to a group of hackers that it dubs "Group E." InfoArmor says the group apparently exfiltrated the data via a remote attack.
"The bad actors exfiltrated the data in segments, which is supported by the fact that the database dump is divided into over a hundred equal parts, delivered in different files that are organized alphabetically by the name of user accounts," according to InfoArmor's report.
"The actual number of Yahoo accounts affected could be more than 1 billion, but is much higher than the 500 million reported which includes dormant accounts and bot accounts," it adds.
InfoArmor appears to have access to at least some of the exfiltrated data. The Wall Street Journal reports that it gave InfoArmor 10 active Yahoo IDs and the firm successfully cracked and shared eight of the associated passwords in less than a day - reporting that the other two passwords were likely more complex and would have taken longer to crack. InfoArmor also was able to recover the correct date of birth, phone number and ZIP code associated with the eight accounts, the newspaper reports.
InfoArmor's report says the stolen Yahoo data included:
Yahoo login (ID);Country code;Recovery email (linked with the profile);Date of birth;Hash of Password (MD5);Cellphone number;ZIP code, if it was provided by the user for password recovery.As of Sept. 27, "the actual Yahoo data dump is still not available on any underground forums or marketplaces," InfoArmor's report says. Instead, it says the data is being monetized via a proxy for the group, "based on the sale of particular records from the dump, which can be delivered based on the specific criteria of the buyer - login, recovery e-mail, geography, etc."
No State SponsorAndrew Komarov, InfoArmor's chief intelligence officer, tells ISMG in an interview that Group E are professional criminals, and that they've been involved in breaches relating to MySpace, Tumblr and LinkedIn.
"We have been monitoring the group since their early hacks that happened in 2012/2013 and know the timeline of their activities along with some of their customers," he says. "They have nothing to do with any state-sponsored parties, and act as professional cybercriminals that specialize in large-scale data breaches."
InfoArmor's report claims that the stolen Yahoo data has been exclusively sold - by a Group E proxy - just three times, beginning in 2015. "We determined that one of the first deals occurred with a state-sponsored party who had interest in exclusive database acquisition," its report says. Even so, "two other transactions took place with notable cybercriminals who planned to use the data for spam campaigns against global targets, monetizing their activities through their own underground affiliate networks."
Yahoo data stolen by Group E. Source: InfoArmor.
Peace of Mind: No Real DealThe InfoArmor report also offers new insights into the activities of the darknet marketplace sellers and English-speaking "threat actors" known as Tessa88 and Peace_of_Mind, a.k.a. Peace. Tessa88 has been selling stolen LinkedIn and MySpace data. He also claimed to be selling data from Dropbox, although security expert Troy Hunt told ISMG that the latter was actually a mishmash of Tumblr and Twitter data.
On Aug. 2, meanwhile, Peace claimed to offer for sale 200 million Yahoo account credentials on the Real Deal, a darknet marketplace. But his asking price of only 3 bitcoins - worth about $1,800 - raised immediate red flags. As InfoArmor's report notes: "For any experienced threat intelligence analyst, the price of 3 [bitcoins] for 200 million Yahoo user accounts is suspiciously strange and has no rational explanation."
After Yahoo last week warned that it had been breached and that 500 million accounts had been stolen, it said that it had no proof to back up Peace's claims, after some media outlets suggested that Peace may have been responsible for the breach. "Yahoo has never had reason to believe there is any connection between the security issue disclosed on Sept. 22 and the claims publicized by a hacker in August 2016," a Yahoo spokesman told ISMG. "Conflating the two events is inaccurate."
InfoArmor has likewise dismissed Peace's claimed possession of stolen Yahoo data. "After extensive analysis and cross reference against the data breach intelligence systems of InfoArmor, it was determined that the dump is based on multiple third-party data leaks, which have no relation to Yahoo," its report says. "Presumably, the threat actor specially misrepresented this data set in order to sensationalize and sell it for the purpose of monetizing his efforts following the negative impact of his relationship with tessa88."
Congress Questions Detection DelayFollowing Yahoo's data breach alert this month, Congress hasn't been silent. The Senate's ranking Judiciary Committee member, Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., wants to hold a hearing on the matter, an aide tells the news website The Hill.
On Sept. 27, a letter from six Democratic senators - Leahy, as well as Richard Blumenthal, Al Franken, Ron Wyden, Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren - demanded that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer fully describe what Yahoo knew, and when, as well as what it's now doing to protect users. "Press reports indicate the breach first occurred in 2014, but was not discovered until August of this year," the senators noted in their letter to Mayer. "If this is accurate, how could such a large intrusion of Yahoo's systems have gone undetected?"
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., on Sept. 26, asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission if Yahoo had fulfilled its obligations to inform investors about the data breach. "Disclosure is the foundation of federal securities laws, and public companies are required to disclose material events that shareholders should know about," Warner said in a letter to Mary Jo White, the SEC's chairwoman.
He also used the incident to call on Congress to pass a national data breach notification law. Despite discussing breach-related laws for years, Congress has failed to enact any such legislation.
Detection Delays are CommonThe two-year lag between the breach occurring and Yahoo warning customers, however, isn't that unusual. According to cybersecurity firm FireEye's Mandiant division, organizations require on average 146 days to discover they've been breached. Also, 53 percent of compromised organizations first learn that they were breached only thanks to an external entity.
But there's a potential wrinkle. Allegedly, Yahoo detected the 2014 attack against it several weeks after the breach occurred, anonymous sources have told The Wall Street Journal. That means Yahoo may have failed to spot that data relating to at least 500 million accounts was exfiltrated.
Whoever stole the data appears to have kept a low profile, according to InfoArmor's report.
Dramatically underestimating the impact of a data breach also isn't unusual. LinkedIn, for example, underestimated how badly it was breached in July 2012, earlier this year revising a warning that 6.5 million accounts had been hacked, which was based on those accounts having been uploaded to an underground forum. In fact, more than 164 million records had been compromised, which became clear when they showed up for sale in May on a darknet marketplace by Tessa88. The data was later resold by Peace.
LinkedIn subsequently faced intense criticism for having failed to force all users to reset their passwords in 2012. Similar criticism is now being leveled at Yahoo, which is already the focus of breach-related lawsuits.
The impact of the breach revelations on Yahoo's pending sale to Verizon for $4.8 billion also remains to be seen.
About the AuthorSchwartz is an award-winning journalist with two decades of experience in magazines, newspapers and electronic media. He has covered the information security and privacy sector throughout his career. Before joining Information Security Media Group in 2014, where he now serves as the Executive Editor, DataBreachToday and for European news coverage, Schwartz was the information security beat reporter for InformationWeek and a frequent contributor to DarkReading, amongst other publications. He lives in Scotland.
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Understand the current cyber threats to all public and private sector organizations;Develop a multi-tiered risk management approach built upon governance, processes and information systems;Implement NIST's risk management framework, from defining risks to selecting, implementing and monitoring information security controls.Yahoo Hacked by Cybercrime Gang, Security Firm ReportsWas added to your briefcase
CfA Calls on Highway Safety Agency to Strengthen Ethics Regime After Close Ties to Google Revealed
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 06:35
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 30, 2016
Contact: Daniel Stevens, dstevens@campaignforaccountability.org, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. '' Today, the non-partisan watchdog group Campaign for Accountability (CfA) called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to improve its ethics enforcement program. Documents published by the Google Transparency Project reveal that top NHTSA officials were in frequent contact with Google executives while working on federal guidelines for self-driving cars.
Read the letter here.
Ron Medford, the former deputy director at NHTSA, left the agency in January 2013 to become Google's Director of Safety for Self-Driving Cars. Prior to joining Google, Mr. Medford '' along with a host of other top officials at the Transportation Department '-- communicated regularly by email with high-level Google officials. The hiring of Mr. Medford was viewed as giving Google ''a bureaucrat intimately familiar with the inner-workings of the transportation administration.'' Eight months after Mr. Medford joined Google, he arranged a meeting at Google's headquarters with his successor at NHTSA, David Friedman.
CfA Executive Director Anne Weismann stated, ''The close interaction between Google and federal transportation officials raises questions as to whether NHTSA has become too cozy with a company it is charged with regulating.''
In addition to Mr. Medford, at least three other senior NHTSA officials including Administrator David Strickland, Senior Associate Administrator Danny Smith, and Government Affairs Director Chan Lieu left the agency between 2012 and 2015 to aid Google's work on self-driving cars. Mr. Strickland and Mr. Lieu joined Venable LLP, a law firm that counts Google as a client, and Mr. Smith apparently serves as a Google consultant.
CfA has asked NHTSA to determine whether Mr. Medford followed the relevant ethics rules and regulations when negotiating his employment and move to Google. CfA also has asked NHTSA to develop a more robust ethics enforcement process to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.
CfA is nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.
Zika
US man may have contracted Zika from dying father's tears
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 04:53
Washington (AFP) - A 38-year-old US man may have been infected with Zika virus through the tears or sweat of his dying father, researchers said, in what would be the first documented case of such transmission if confirmed.
The man in the western state of Utah became ill after helping to take care of his 73-year-old father, who was hospitalized in June with Zika after being infected during a trip to his native Mexico.
The known transmission methods -- being bitten by an infected mosquito, or sex with an infected person -- were ruled out for the son, according to a case study published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine.
He had wiped his father's eyes and helped a nurse reposition him in bed without using gloves, the journal said. He never came into contact with his father's blood or other body fluids.
Tests had found an unusually high concentration of Zika virus in the father's blood, more than 100,000 times greater than levels found in other patients, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The high level could explain "how the second patient may have contracted the virus by casual contact from the primary patient, the first such documented case," according to a news release from the University of Utah School of Medicine, where both patients were treated.
Researchers did not know why the Zika levels in the father's blood were so high, but speculated it could be because he had previously had dengue.
Some research has suggested that previous dengue infections could worsen a Zika infection, the Washington Post reported, citing Sankar Swaminathan, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Utah.
The father had also undergone radiation therapy one month earlier for prostate cancer, and was receiving anti-androgen hormone therapy but did not otherwise have a compromised immune system prior to falling ill with Zika, the case study said.
The father died after four days in the hospital, the first Zika-related death in the United States.
The son soon became sick with mild Zika symptoms but recovered after about a week.
Zika causes mild symptoms such as fever and rash for most people but pregnant women who are infected can give birth to babies with microcephaly, a deformation marked by abnormally small brains and heads.
"This rare case is helping us to understand the full spectrum of the disease, and the precautions we may need to take to avoid passing the virus from one person to another in specific situations," Swaminathan said in a University of Utah news release.
"This type of information could help us improve treatments for Zika as the virus continues to spread across the world and within our country," he said.
Drone Nation
U.S. Building Drone Base in One of Africa's Poorest Countries
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 04:58
The Obama Administration has been heavily criticized for its use of drones in civilian areas.
The U.S. military plans to build a drone base in the African desert, according to U.S. military documents that were obtained by The Intercept.
RELATED:Journalist Sues CIA over Drone Attack
According to classified military documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, a $US100 million drone base is being constructed on the outskirts of Agadez, Niger, in southwestern Africa.
The base in the middle of the barren Sahara desert is part of redoubled efforts by the U.S. to increase counterterrorism operations in the region.
The documents say that the remote base will include a 1,830-meter runway to support cargo aircraft as well as the MQ-1 and MQ-9 Reaper drones. The MQ-9 is a newer, deadlier version of the MQ-1. According to the documents, Niger '' one of the poorest countries on a poor continent '' is the only country in the region that is willing to allow the new drones to be located there.
WATCH: Atomun '' Drone Wars
Experts say that the U.S. has had military operations in Niger for a number of years and since 2013 has been flying drones out of the capital, Niamey.
The Obama administration has been heavily criticized for its use of unmanned drones in conflict zones around the world, where monitoring groups say that the officials are vastly underestimating drone death tolls, commonly missing designated targets and killing civilians in the process.
RELATED:US Drone Spotted in Area of UN Aid Attack in Syria, Russia Says
The U.S. military and the CIA have frequently used drone strikes in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. In July, Obama said that as many as 116 civilians were inadvertently killed by U.S. drones.
The civilian death toll could be over 1,000, according to human rights organization Reprieve. At least 1,927 people have been killed in drone attacks in Pakistan alone since 2009, with at least 249 civilian deaths, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
The U.S., however, remains tight-lipped about its plans in Niger. ''Due to operational security considerations, we don't release details on numbers of personnel or specific missions or locations, including information regarding the Nigerian military air base located in Agadez,'' said Lt. Col. Michelle L. Baldanza from the Pentagon to The Intercept.
CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO-CNN Reports Trump's Mic Didn't Work Properly During Debate - YouTube
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 14:40
VIDEO-Bernie Sanders: Of Course Leaked Audio Bothers Me - YouTube
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 14:38
VIDEO-FBI Director Won't Say Why FBI Did Not Interview NYC Bombing Suspect in 2014 | MRCTV
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 14:36
FBI Director James Comey told the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday that he does not want to say at this time why the FBI did not interview New York City bombing suspect Ahmad Rahami in 2014 when he was arrested for a violent family incident after his father contacted them to report the incident. Read Full Story
VIDEO-DHS Official Admits: 'Many' Refugees Have Been Convicted of Terrorist Offenses in U.S. | MRCTV
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 13:59
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Leon Rodriguez told Congress Thursday that ''not a single act of actual terrorist violence has been a committed by a refugee'' who underwent USCIS screening procedures since 9/11. But when a senator asked him if it was "correct" that many people who came into the refugee program as adults had been "convicted of terrorist offenses," Rodriguez admitted that that was "correct." Read Full Story
VIDEO-State Dept Says Russia's Accusations Over Syria 'Body Bags' Warning are 'Bogus' | MRCTV
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 13:50
State Department spokesman John Kirby on Thursday rejected as ''bogus'' accusations by Russian officials that he was inciting terrorism by warning that Moscow's failure to stop its aggression in Aleppo may lead to terror attacks in Russian cities and Russian troops being shipped home in body bags.
VIDEO-The View Defends Hillary Clinton's Attacks Against Lewinsky, Flowers | MRCTV
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 13:30
Amidst a mind-numbingly naive discussion about the Clintons on ABC's the View Friday, the panel inadvertently got extremely close to the truth. After Trump threatened to bring up Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky in the next debate, the panel decided to talk about whether or not Hillary Clinton should be called out on that issue. While Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin eagerly defended Hillary for ''trashing'' the women Bill ''slept with,'' Bila was quick to note that sexual assault and rape were not the same as an affair. GMA's Sara Haines then wondered aloud if Hillary did, in fact, know about her husband's ''activities,'' but had a business agreement, ala House of Cards to deny any culpability. Of course this comment was immediately ignored.
Read the rest of the blog here.
VIDEO-De televisie-omroepster: een verdwenen beroep (2016) - YouTube
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 06:50
VIDEO-Key messages from Dmitry Medvedev and top politicians at Sochi Forum 2016 | Russia Beyond The Headlines
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 06:46
The International Investment Forum in Sochi is a place to discuss issues of international economic development and trends, showcase Russia's economic potential, and strengthen ties between Russian and international business. Here are the key points of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's speech, plus comments from leading Russian politicians, among them German Gref, Alexey Kudrin, and Alexander Novak.
''We have an ambitious goal: to double non-resource exports in the medium term,'' - says Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Prime Minister.
The forum takes place on Sep 29 - Oct 2 at the Olympic Park Media Center in Sochi, Russia. This year's forum is expected to attract more than 7,000 people from 25 countries.
One task facing participants is to find ways to reduce the vast discrepancies in the socio-economic development of the Russian regions and different social groups. The forum organizers and stakeholders hope to tackle this problem by increasing cooperation between regions and attracting new development to poorer ones.
Other topics at this year's forum are likely to include the development of import substitution and export potential, including in the field of tourism.
"New electronic visas are set to be introduced.Tourists can go to the website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, place an order, and receive a reply, all without leaving home.If the response is positive, the visa will be ready for collection on arrival at Vladivostok," -Alexander Galushka, Russian Minister for Development of the Far East.
Read more: Regional development main topic at 2016 Sochi Forum
VIDEO-NYTIMES-Trump Tax Records Obtained by The Times Reveal He Could Have Avoided Paying Taxes for Nearly Two Decades - The New York Times
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 06:31
A flaw in the tax software program he used at the time prevented him from being able to print a nine-figure loss on Mr. Trump's New York return, he said. So, for example, the loss of ''-915,729,293'' on Line 18 of the return printed out as ''5,729,293.'' As a result, Mr. Mitnick recalled, he had to use his typewriter to manually add the ''-91,'' thus explaining why the first two digits appeared to be in a different font and were slightly misaligned from the following seven digits.
''This is legit,'' he said, stabbing a finger into the document.
In the absence of any disclosures from Mr. Trump, The New York Times and other news outlets have attempted to fill in the gaps.
Because the documents sent to The Times did not include any pages from Mr. Trump's 1995 federal tax return, it is impossible to determine how much he may have donated to charity that year. The state documents do show, though, that Mr. Trump declined the opportunity to contribute to the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Fund, the New Jersey Wildlife Conservation Fund or the Children's Trust Fund. He also declined to contribute $1 toward public financing of New Jersey's elections for governor.
The tax documents also do not shed any light on Mr. Trump's claimed net worth of about $2 billion at that time. This is because the complex calculations of business deductions that produced a tax loss of $916 million are a separate matter from how Mr. Trump valued his assets, the tax experts said.
Nor does the $916 million loss suggest that Mr. Trump was insolvent or effectively bankrupt in 1995. The cash flow generated by his various businesses that year was more than enough to service his various debts.
But fragmentary as they are, the documents nonetheless provide new insight into Mr. Trump's finances, a subject of intense scrutiny given Mr. Trump's emphasis on his business record during the presidential campaign.
The documents show, for example, that while Mr. Trump reported $7.4 million in interest income in 1995, he made only $6,108 in wages, salaries and tips. They also suggest Mr. Trump took full advantage of generous tax loopholes specifically available to commercial real estate developers to claim a $15.8 million loss in 1995 on his real estate holdings and partnerships.
But the most important revelation from the 1995 tax documents is just how much Mr. Trump may have benefited from a tax provision that is particularly prized by America's dynastic families, which, like the Trumps, hold their wealth inside byzantine networks of partnerships, limited liability companies and S corporations.
The provision, known as net operating loss, or N.O.L., allows a dizzying array of deductions, business expenses, real estate depreciation, losses from the sale of business assets and even operating losses to flow from the balance sheets of those partnerships, limited liability companies and S corporations onto the personal tax returns of men like Mr. Trump. In turn, those losses can be used to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income from, say, book royalties or branding deals.
PhotoMr. Trump bought the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan in 1988.Credit Marty Lederhandler/Associated PressBetter still, if the losses are big enough, they can cancel out taxable income earned in other years. Under I.R.S. rules in 1995, net operating losses could be used to wipe out taxable income earned in the three years before and the 15 years after the loss. (The effect of net operating losses on state income taxes varies, depending on each state's tax regime.)
The tax experts consulted by The Times said the $916 million net operating loss declared by Mr. Trump in 1995 almost certainly included large net operating losses carried forward from the early 1990s, when most of Mr. Trump's key holdings were hemorrhaging money. Indeed, by 1990, his entire business empire was on the verge of collapse. In a few short years, he had amassed $3.4 billion in debt '-- personally guaranteeing $832 million of it '-- to assemble a portfolio that included three casinos and a hotel in Atlantic City, the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, an airline and a huge yacht.
Reports that year by New Jersey casino regulators gave glimpses of the balance sheet carnage. The Trump Taj Mahal casino reported a $25.5 million net loss during its first six months of 1990; the Trump's Castle casino lost $43.5 million for the year. His airline, Trump Shuttle, lost $34.5 million during just the first six months of that year.
''Simply put, the organization is in dire financial straits,'' the casino regulators concluded.
PhotoReports published by New Jersey regulators in 1993, top, and 1995, above, highlighted the effects of Mr. Trump's net operating losses.Reports by New Jersey's casino regulators strongly suggested that Mr. Trump had claimed large net operating losses on his taxes in the early 1990s. Their reports, for example, revealed that Mr. Trump had carried forward net operating losses in both 1991 and 1993. What's more, the reports said the losses he claimed were large enough to virtually cancel out any taxes he might owe on the millions of dollars of debt that was being forgiven by his creditors. (The I.R.S. considers forgiven debt to be taxable income.)
But crucially, the casino regulators redacted the precise size of the net operating losses in the public versions of their reports. Two former New Jersey officials, who were privy to the unredacted documents, could not recall the precise size of the numbers, but said they were substantial.
Politico, which previously reported that Mr. Trump most likely paid no income taxes in 1991 and 1993 based on the casino commission's description of his net operating losses, asked Mr. Trump to comment. ''Welcome to the real estate business,'' he replied in an email.
Now, thanks to Mr. Trump's 1995 tax records, the degree to which he spun all those years of red ink into tax write-off gold may finally be apparent.
Mr. Mitnick, the lawyer and accountant, was the person Mr. Trump leaned on most to do the spinning. Mr. Mitnick worked for a small Long Island accounting firm that specialized in handling tax issues for wealthy New York real estate families. He had long handled tax matters for Mr. Trump's father, Fred C. Trump, and he said he began doing Donald Trump's taxes after Mr. Trump turned 18.
In an interview on Wednesday, Mr. Mitnick said he could not divulge details of Mr. Trump's finances without Mr. Trump's consent. But he did talk about Mr. Trump's approaches to taxes, and he contrasted Fred Trump's attention to detail with what he described as Mr. Trump's brash and undisciplined style. He recalled, for example, that when Donald and Ivana Trump came in each year to sign their tax forms, it was almost always Ivana who asked more questions.
PhotoThe Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, one of the failed casino properties in Atlantic City that had been owned by Mr. Trump.Credit Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly, via Getty ImagesBut if Mr. Trump lacked a sophisticated understanding of the tax code, and if he rarely showed any interest in the details behind various tax strategies, Mr. Mitnick said he clearly grasped the critical role taxes would play in helping him build wealth. ''He knew we could use the tax code to protect him,'' Mr. Mitnick said.
According to Mr. Mitnick, Mr. Trump's use of net operating losses was no different from that of his other wealthy clients. ''This may have had a couple extra digits compared to someone else's operation, but they all benefited in the same way,'' he said, pointing to the $916 million loss on Mr. Trump's tax returns.
In ''The Art of the Deal,'' his 1987 best-selling book, Mr. Trump referred to Mr. Mitnick as ''my accountant'' '-- although he misspelled his name. Mr. Trump described consulting with Mr. Mitnick on the tax implications of deals he was contemplating and seeking his advice on how new federal tax regulations might affect real estate write-offs.
Mr. Mitnick, though, said there were times when even he, for all his years helping wealthy New Yorkers navigate the tax code, found it difficult to face the incongruity of his work for Mr. Trump. He felt keenly aware that Mr. Trump was living a life of unimaginable luxury thanks in part to Mr. Mitnick's ability to relieve him of the burden of paying taxes like everyone else.
''Here the guy was building incredible net worth and not paying tax on it,'' he said.
Steve Eder and Patricia Cohen contributed reporting. Kitty Bennett contributed research.
Find out what you need to know about the 2016 presidential race today, and get politics news updates via Facebook, Twitter and the First Draft newsletter.
A version of this article appears in print on October 2, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Trump's 1995 Tax Records Claim $916 Million Loss.
Continue reading the main story
VIDEO-Hillary Clinton spins away about flip-flop on TPP | SUPERcuts! #367 - YouTube
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 05:18
VIDEO-White House: We can't tell you our Syria strategy - YouTube
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 05:04
VIDEO-CNN Reports Trump's Mic Didn't Work Properly During Debate - YouTube
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 04:37
VIDEO-Hillary Clinton Misery'... | The Last Refuge
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 04:35
No set-up necessary.
VIDEO-DWS Says She Won't Attack Trump's Looks Because ''Raised With Class,'' Calls Him Ugly - YouTube
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 04:23
VIDEO-Leaked audio reveals Clinton's opinion of Sander's fans - CNN Video
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 03:05
Newsroom
Hillary Clinton expressed sympathy earlier this year for Bernie Sanders supporters who "are living in their parents' basement" who were attracted to his "false promise" because they are "children of the Great Recession." CNN's Dan Merica discusses the comments.
Source: CNN
VIDEO-Q&A: F. Sionil Jose on Rodrigo Duterte and the new 'Philippine revolution' | Coconuts Manila
Sat, 01 Oct 2016 21:59
National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose, 91 years old, has lived through 15 Philippines presidents, from Manuel Quezon to Rodrigo Duterte.
His novels, which have been translated into more than 20 languages, are about class struggles in the country.
He's never met Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, but believes the former Davao mayor can do great things for the country.
We visited him recently at his bookshop, Solidaridad in Ermita, Manila, and asked him what he thinks about the current state of politics in his country.
What makes Rodrigo Duterte special?If you study our politics very well and our history, all these years government has been manipulated by wealthy Filipinos, see. And remember this is the first politician that does not have ''the open support of the oligarchy''. If you were present at that State of the Nation Address, remember he pointed to all those politicians, I owe nothing from you. So keep that in mind, this is the first non-oligarchic president.
Are these exciting times for the Philippines?I believe this is the beginning of a Philippine revolution. Now, you go back into our history and much of our problems are due to the fact that we have been colonized. The colonization, first by the Spanish, and then the Americans, and then the Japanese. And now we are colonized by our own elite. All these auguries were already evident in 1896.
Is it right for Duterte to make his war against drugs a priority?It's not so much prioritizing. It looks as if he has prioritized it but if you look carefully at what is happening. First, he wants to establish peace conditions. The Communist rebellion has become irrelevant. The problem in the South is more dangerous. So that is why immediately upon assuming power, he initiated peace negotiations with both groups. Because you cannot develop without peace in the country, and that peace has also been disturbed so much by criminality, and much of that induced by drugs.
When will this ''revolution'' be over?This is not going to be done in two or three years. Just look back. The Vietnamese revolution took how many years? The Chinese revolution started in the 1920s, you see. The French revolution, maybe a shorter period. But almost all of them take years, maybe one generation.
So you think Duterte shouldn't stop his war against drugs?He should not stop. What should be done is see to it that this so-called collateral damage is diminished. Yan ang malungkot eh, if something happens to him, he dies or assassinated, then you put the revolution on hold. At naumpisahan na, sayang, ituloy na yan.
What is Duterte's flaw?I have a feeling that he is so sensitive to criticism that he wants most of his critics silenced, but that should not be the case. He should keep channels of communications open, because there are a lot of people who like him, but do not like his style.
Duterte also likes to contradict himself.He is very much against corruption. If he is against corruption what is he doing tracking with the Marcoses? See? And he knows the records of the Marcoses. Yung mga contradictions niya, ganyan. The good men will not go to him. He has to go after the good men.
What's your advice to his non-supporters?The first thing they should do is to recognize that the revolution has started, and the second thing they should do is recognize that that revolution is long in coming and that it is a necessity.
What role do we play in this revolution?Like I said, the outcome, you are not sure, which means that Filipinos should ever be ready not only to recognize that there is going to be a lot of pain and suffering but that in the end we, all of us, have to work even harder.
Should activists and media continue being critical of Duterte?They must continue looking after human rights so that the revolution will not kill its own children. Because one must avoid that collateral damage and this means that the press must also be vigilant. Human rights groups must also be vigilant. Otherwise, the revolution will not give a damn about collateral damage. You should point out those excesses so that they will not be committed.
VIDEO-Liberal Journalist Goes to Mexican Border: Donald Trump is Right
Sat, 01 Oct 2016 21:23
Courtney KirchoffSaturday October 1 2016
How much must it sting for a liberal journalist to have to admit Donald Trump is right about the Mexican border (see Mexico President Trashes Trump. Ignores His Own 'Racist' Laws'... and Racist Mexicans Burns Trump in Effigy. Giant Irony Missed'...)?
Ask Jay Fielden, editor of Esquire'...FIELDEN: They said, 'Build the wall. ''They said two things, whether they were Hispanic, Anglo, Democrat, Republican, uncommitted, clueless, whatever; they said we want a wall and yet we want it to be married with some compassion toward the people that we're trying to keep from jumping over the border.
SCARBOROUGH: Here's another surprising thing from the article, is that he said that Hispanics were less sympathetic towards illegal immigrants than whites.
FIELDEN: But one thing I think is that most of those Hispanics are first-generation and they see it as unfair. That they came over here the legal way, became citizens and now they're having to compete for jobs with those who are coming across the border on a daily basis. Right? So, I think they feel as one guy says, ''Let them get in line.''
Donald Trump. Right about Mexico. Right about the wall. Right about the border.
Uh uh. Look, the number one reason Donald Trump is even a thing? He made illegal immigration his number one issue. Because despite what leftist dweebs in the media try selling to us, most Americans (and even a crap ton of LEGAL immigrants) hate illegal immigration. We hate having illegals in our country taking advantage of our system, or in many cases, taking the lives of Americans. Read National Security? Alleged Killer is Illegal Immigrant. Deported 3 Times and Maryland: Illegal Immigrant Stabs Teenager. After Being Deported Twice. And those are just two stories. We have more, but come on. Point made.
Being against illegal immigration has nothing to do with the capacity to care about poor people. A nation without secure borders is hardly a nation at all. Having an open door policy means everyone can come in. Including some nefarious little turds who make a mess out of society.
America must first take care of America, her citizens, her security. That means closing the border. Securing it. With a wall, a moat of lava, tanks, mines, whatever. I'm really not that picky.
Walls work. Watch this video for more:
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VIDEO-AUDIO-Audio Reveals What John Kerry Told Syrians Behind Closed Doors - The New York Times
Sat, 01 Oct 2016 13:33
BEIRUT, Lebanon '-- Secretary of State John Kerry was clearly exasperated, not least at his own government.
Over and over again, he complained to a small group of Syrian civilians that his diplomacy had not been backed by a serious threat of military force, according to an audio recording of the meeting obtained by The New York Times.
''I think you're looking at three people, four people in the administration who have all argued for use of force, and I lost the argument.''
The 40-minute discussion, on the sidelines of last week's United Nations General Assembly in New York, provides a glimpse of Mr. Kerry's frustration with his inability to end the Syrian crisis. He veered between voicing sympathy for the Syrians' frustration with United States policy and trying to justify it.
The conversation took place days after a brief cease-fire he had spearheaded crumbled, and as his Russian counterpart rejected outright his new proposal to stop the bombing of Aleppo. Those setbacks were followed by days of crippling Russian and Syrian airstrikes in Aleppo that the World Health Organization said Wednesday had killed 338 people, including 100 children.
At the meeting last week, Mr. Kerry was trying to explain that the United States has no legal justification for attacking Mr. Assad's government, whereas Russia was invited in by the government.
''The problem is the Russians don't care about international law, and we do.''
Mr. Kerry has been hamstrung by Russia's military operations in Syria and by his inability to persuade Washington to intervene more forcefully. He has also been unable to sell Syrian opponents of Mr. Assad, like the ones in that room, on a policy he does not wholeheartedly believe in.
His frustrations and dissent within the Obama administration have hardly been a secret, but in the recorded conversation, Mr. Kerry lamented being outmaneuvered by the Russians, expressed disagreement with some of Mr. Obama's policy decisions and said Congress would never agree to use force.
''We're trying to pursue the diplomacy, and I understand it's frustrating. You have nobody more frustrated than we are.''
The meeting took place at the Dutch Mission to the United Nations on Sept. 22. There were perhaps 20 people around a table: representatives of four Syrian groups that provide education, rescue and medical services in rebel-held areas; diplomats from three or four countries; and Mr. Kerry's chief of staff and special envoy for Syria. The recording was made by a non-Syrian attendee, and several other participants confirmed its authenticity.
John Kirby, a State Department spokesman, declined on Thursday evening to comment on what he described as a private conversation. He said that Mr. Kerry was ''grateful for the chance to meet with this group of Syrians, to hear their concerns firsthand and to express our continued focus on ending this civil war.''
Several of the Syrian participants said afterward that they had left the meeting demoralized, convinced that no further help would come from the Obama administration. One, a civil engineer named Mustafa Alsyofi, said Mr. Kerry had effectively told the Syrian opposition, ''You have to fight for us, but we will not fight for you.''
''How can this be accepted by anyone?'' Mr. Alsyofi asked. ''It's unbelievable.''
In the meeting, he and the others pressed Mr. Kerry politely but relentlessly on what they saw as contradictions in American policy. Their comments crystallized the widespread sense of betrayal even among the Syrians most attractive to Washington as potential partners, civilians pushing for pluralistic democracy.
One woman, Marcell Shehwaro, demanded ''the bottom line,'' asking ''how many Syrians'' had to be killed to prompt serious action.
''What is the end of it? What he can do that would be the end of it?''
Mr. Kerry responded that ''Assad's indifference to anything'' could push the administration to consider new options, adding, ''There's a different conversation taking place'' since the intensified bombing of Aleppo and the further breakdown of talks with Russia.
But he also said any further American effort to arm rebels or join the fight could backfire.
''The problem is that, you know, you get, quote, enforcers in there and then everybody ups the ante, right? Russia puts in more, Iran puts in more; Hezbollah is there more and Nusra is more; and Saudi Arabia and Turkey put all their surrogate money in, and you all are destroyed.''
At another point, Mr. Kerry spelled out in stark terms distinctions the United States was making between combatants, which have upset the Syrian opposition: The United States wants the rebels to help it fight the Islamic State and Al Qaeda because, as he put it, ''both have basically declared war on us.'' But Washington will not join the same rebels in fighting Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia allied with Mr. Assad, even though the United States lists Hezbollah as a terrorist group like the others.
''Hezbollah,'' Mr. Kerry explained, ''is not plotting against us.''
He also spoke of the obstacles he faces back home: a Congress unwilling to authorize the use of force and a public tired of war.
''A lot of Americans don't believe that we should be fighting and sending young Americans over to die in another country.''
One of the Syrians in the room assured Mr. Kerry, ''No one is requesting an invasion,'' but he insisted that the rebels needed more help.
As time ran short, Mr. Kerry told the Syrians that their best hope was a political solution to bring the opposition into a transitional government. Then, he said, ''you can have an election and let the people of Syria decide: Who do they want?''
A State Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said later that Mr. Kerry was not indicating a shift in the administration's view of Mr. Assad, only reiterating a longstanding belief that he would be ousted in any fair election.
At one point, Mr. Kerry astonished the Syrians at the table when he suggested that they should participate in elections that include President Bashar al-Assad, five years after President Obama demanded that he step down.
Mr. Kerry described the election saying it would be set up by Western and regional powers, and the United Nations, ''under the strictest standards.'' He said that the millions of Syrians who have fled since the war began in 2011 would be able to participate.
''Everybody who's registered as a refugee anywhere in the world can vote. Are they going to vote for Assad? Assad's scared of this happening.''
But the Syrians were skeptical that people living under government rule inside Syria would feel safe casting ballots against Mr. Assad, even with international observers '-- or that Russia would agree to elections if it could not ensure the outcome. And that is when the conversation reached an impasse, with Ms. Shehwaro, an educator and social media activist, recalling hopes for a more direct American role.
''So you think the only solution is for somebody to come in and get rid of Assad?'' Mr. Kerry asked.
''Yes,'' Ms. Shehwaro said.
''Who's that going to be?'' he asked. ''Who's going to do that?''
''Three years ago, I would say: You. But right now, I don't know.''
VIDEO-Hillary Coughs At Campaign Rally In Fort Pierce Florida | The Daily Caller
Sat, 01 Oct 2016 06:43
According to the American Mirror, Clinton first attempted to play off the event by ''getting emotional about a line she was delivering from the teleprompter.''
She then cleared her throat and coughed once, prompting a rally-goer to shout, ''we love you Hillary!''
''Thank you,'' Clinton responded, drawing raucous applause from the crowd.
The former secretary of state placed a throat lozenge in her mouth before attempting to continue her speech.
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VIDEO-Ahmad Khan Rahimi on a Stretcher after Shootout with Police - YouTube
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 17:52
VIDEO-NYC Bombing Suspect's Mother, Brother Detained in Afghanistan, Father Says - ABC News
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 17:51
The father of New York and New Jersey bombing suspect Ahmad Rahami told ABC News that his wife and one of his other sons have been detained in Afghanistan, after being pulled off a flight in Dubai and questioned for 16 hours by authorities there.
In his first in-depth broadcast interview, Mohammad Rahami said his wife, Najiba Rahami, and son Qassim Rahami were trying to return to the U.S. when they were held in the United Arab Emirates and eventually sent to Kabul.
"Why send my son back to Afghanistan? He is a U.S. citizen. You have any questions? Bring him home. [Don't] send him to a different country," Mohammad Rahami said.
The elder Rahami denied that anyone in his family had anything to do with Ahmad Rahami's alleged bombings in New York and New Jersey on Sept. 17, which injured 29 people.
Law enforcement circulated this image, purportedly of Ahmad Khan Rahami, who is wanted for questioning in the Manhattan explosion investigation.Mohammad Rahami, whose family is originally from Afghanistan but lives in New Jersey, said he hadn't spoken with Ahmad Rahami since a falling out in May. But he knew that in the months before the attack, his son had become secretive, changed the lock on his bedroom door and became extremely angry when a young relative once tried to enter without permission.
Ahmad Rahami's wife left the U.S. in June '-- for dental work in Afghanistan, according to Mohammad Rahami '-- and that's when, a criminal complaint says, Ahmad Rahami began buying bomb components. Mohammad Rahami said that also appears to be when Ahmad Rahami started to grow out his beard.
"He did everything by himself. He buy everything by himself '-- order online. He did [it] by himself," Mohammad Rahami said.
After the bombing, Mohammad Rahami said it was the FBI that told him his son was the suspect.
Though Mohammad Rahami said he was "shocked" at the news, he responded by telling agents, "This is [a] stupid son."
In light of the bombing, Mohammad Rahami described his son as "not a human being ... not a Muslim."
"If you're Muslim, you respect your father. If you're Muslim, you respect religion. If you're Muslim, you respect your country," Mohammad Rahami said.
He said that as far back as 2011 he was concerned his son may have fallen in with the "wrong kind of people" during a trip to Pakistan. Mohammad Rahami said his brother, who lived in Pakistan, warned him about suspicious characters with whom Ahmad Rahami may have been in contact, but neither Mohammad Rahami nor his brother knew exactly who the people were.
When Ahmad Rahami was back in the U.S. the next year, his father said, he caught him watching disturbing jihadist videos online and kicked him out over it.
"I said, 'Listen, if you watch this video in my home, please leave my house,'" Mohammad Rahami said.
A U.S. official previously told ABC News that Ahmad Rahami returned to Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2013 and stayed for nearly a year before coming back to the U.S. in 2014.
It was after his return in 2014 that Mohammad Rahami called the FBI about his son after a domestic dispute. Mohammad Rahami said he told federal agents they needed to "watch this guy" and that his son was "not a normal person."
The FBI said last week it looked into Ahmad Rahami at the time and found no terrorism ties. Law enforcement officials also said that Mohammad Rahami had called back the FBI and recanted some of his statements about his son.
In the interview with ABC News Tuesday, Mohammad Rahami said that's not true and he never recanted.
"No. It's 100 percent wrong," he said. "They [did] not do their job."
He said FBI agents were the ones to tell him that his son was not a terrorist in 2014. "I said, 'Thank you, God, that's very good,'" Mohammad Rahami said.
Coincidentally, Mohammad Rahami said the FBI agent with whom he interacted in 2014 was present when Ahmad Rahami was shot and captured last week.
Just hours before Mohammad Rahami's interview with ABC News Tuesday, FBI Director James Comey responded to a question in a Senate committee hearing about Mohammad Rahami's allegedly telling the FBI that his son was a "terrorist" by saying that those "facts are wrong about what [Ahmad Rahami's] father told the FBI."
"But there as well, we will go back and scrub our prior contact with that matter very, very carefully," Comey said.
He said it did not appear that the suspect acted as part of a terrorist cell. Federal agents said, however, they're looking closely at some of the radical social media posts shared by one of Ahmad Rahami's sisters who lives in Pakistan. Mohammad Rahami was surprised when he saw what was on a Facebook page that appeared to belong to his daughter and said he did not believe it could be hers because she's "a really good person."
"No, no. She's never part of that thing," he said.
Ahmad Rahami, 28, is still being treated in a hospital in New Jersey for serious gunshot wounds he purportedly sustained in a shootout with police.
Mohammad Rahami told ABC News he spoke with his son's doctor Monday, who said he was suffering from some infections. Mohammad Rahami said he was not told whether his son was expected to survive.
Ahmad Rahami has been charged with a litany of crimes related to the bombing and the police shootout. When asked about the possibility that his son could spend the rest of his life in prison, should he pull through, Mohammad Rahami said that it is all in Allah's hands.
"He needs a trial. That's what he wanted," Mohammad Rahami said. "I told him, 'If you do wrong, you're going to receive bad [things].' He didn't listen to me."
Mohammad Rahami also told ABC News he wanted to apologize to the victims of his son's purported bombing.
"I say to everybody, 'I'm sorry. Forgive me,'" he said. "I don't have any connection [to the bombing], but I still say, 'I'm sorry.'"
ABC News' Shahriar Rahmanzadeh, Randy Kreider, Cho Park and Lee Ferran contributed to this report.
VIDEO-Investigators may probe Cascade Mall suspect's citizenship status, voting record | KING5.com
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:38
Arcan Cetin appears in a Skagit County courtroom, Sept. 26, 2016. (Credit; KING)
Arcan Cetin appears in a Skagit County courtroom, Sept. 26, 2016. (Credit; KING) less
The Cascade Mall shooting suspect, Arcan Cetin, may face an additional investigation related to his voting record and citizenship status.
Federal sources confirm to KING 5 that Cetin was not a U.S. citizen, meaning legally he cannot vote. However, state records show Cetin registered to vote in 2014 and participated in three election cycles, including the May presidential primary.
Cetin, who immigrated to the United States from Turkey as a child, is considered a permanent resident or green card holder. While a permanent resident can apply for U.S. citizenship after a certain period of time, sources tell KING his status had not changed from green card holder to U.S. citizen.
While voters must attest to citizenship upon registering online or registering to vote at the Department of Licensing Office, Washington state doesn't require proof of citizenship. Therefore elections officials say the state's elections system operates, more or less, under an honor system.
"We don't have a provision in state law that allows us either county elections officials or the Secretary of State's office to verify someone's citizenship," explained Secretary of State Kim Wyman. "So, we're in this place where we want to make sure we're maintaining people's confidence in the elections and the integrity of the process, but also that we're giving this individual, like we would any voter, his due process. We're moving forward, and that investigation is really coming out of the investigation from the shootings."
The penalty for voting as a non U.S. citizen could result in five years of prison time or a $10,000, according to Secretary of State's Office.
"The penalties are very serious. That's why we want to make sure we're very measured, and this is why we want to make sure we're very calm and purposeful in how we move forward," Wyman continued. "The stakes are very high on both sides. You want to keep the confidence level high, but you also want to protect the voting rights of everyone."
Wyman says while it's impossible to determine an exact number, she does not believe this case points to a larger issue.
"Our hands are kind of tied, but make no mistake, we want to make sure that everybody has confidence that people casting ballots are eligible. This is certainly going to be a topic at next legislation."
Copyright 2016 KING
VIDEO-US Intelligence Officer: ''Every Single Terrorist Attack In US Was A False Flag Attack'' | CSGlobe
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:37
Apart from documents that have outlined supposed terrorist threats, like Al-Qaeda, and their connection to US intelligence agencies, like the CIA, there are a number of whistleblowers that have come out adding more fuel to the fire.
Because not many are even aware of these documents, letting people know about a truth that can be hard for people to accept, let alone ponder the possibility is very important. It's just one aspect of the veil that's been blinding the masses for quite some time now.
The latest whistleblower is David Steele, a 20-year Marine Corps intelligence officer, and the second-highest-ranking civilian in the U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence.
He is a former CIA clandestine services case officer, and this is what he had to say:
''Most terrorists are false flag terrorists, or are created by our own security services. In the United States, every single terrorist incident we have had has been a false flag, or has been an informant pushed on by the FBI.
In fact, we now have citizens taking out restraining orders against FBI informants that are trying to incite terrorism. We've become a lunatic asylum.''
What Is A ''False Flag Attack?''A great example of a false flag attack is 9/11, something that many people believe to be a creation of US intelligence agencies, or some entity above the government (one that controls what Eisenhower called ''the military industrial complex'').
The idea is that these so called terrorist attacks are created by this group, in order to justify the infiltration of other countries, and to justify a heightened state of ''national security.'' As a result, in the eyes of the citizenry, war and mass murder are justified, when the intentions behind these actions are something the citizenry has no idea about.
This is why we see a false sense of patriotism programmed into many people, especially in the United States. Men and women join this massive military machine with good hearts, thinking that they are serving their country and fighting terrorism, when they are doing the complete opposite. They are only participating in a fabricated war based on lies and misinformation.
''The truth is, there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al-Qaeda, and any informed intelligence officer knows this. But, there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an intensified entity representing the 'devil' only in order to drive TV watchers to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country behind this propaganda is the United States.'' '' Former British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook
Today, we might be seeing the same thing with ISIS. Although there are no verified documents like there are when it comes to Al-Qaeda, given what that information shows us, combined with Wikileaks documents and statements from insiders, we could be looking at the same thing.
Again, 9/11 is a great example and you can find out more information about that here.
VIDEO-Drew Carey Stars in New Gary Johnson Ad | I Agree To See
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:29
Gary Johnson is drawing in celebrity support. Actor, comedian, game show host and former U.S. Marine Drew Carey is throwing his support behind the Libertarian presidential candidate.''Gary has had experience, he's a problem solver, he gets things done and he's not a maniac or a liar. He's a really refreshing politician to get behind,'' Carey explains in the short political ad.
The video takes place at Carey's house where he hosted a fundraiser back in July, where the dress code was ''Libertarian Comfortable, i.e., what you're comfy in.''
''It's super easy to support Gary Johnson,'' Carey ends.
Drew Carey has also joined Johnson on the campaign trail '' stumping with the candidate in Seattle this past weekend.
The Price is Right host has been a longtime Libertarian and is even on the board of the Libertarian think tank Reason Foundation.
VIDEO-U.S. Military Is Building a $100 Million Drone Base in Africa
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:25
From high above, Agadez almost blends into the cocoa-colored wasteland that surrounds it. Only when you descend farther can you make out a city that curves around an airfield before fading into the desert. Once a nexus for camel caravans hauling tea and salt across the Sahara, Agadez is now a West African paradise for people smugglers and a way station for refugees and migrants intent on reaching Europe's shores by any means necessary.
Document: U.S. Africa Command
Africans fleeing unrest and poverty are not, however, the only foreigners making their way to this town in the center of Niger. U.S. military documents reveal new information about an American drone base under construction on the outskirts of the city. The long-planned project '-- considered the most important U.S. military construction effort in Africa, according to formerly secret files obtained by The Intercept through the Freedom of Information Act '-- is slated to cost $100 million, and is just one of a number of recent American military initiatives in the impoverished nation.The base is the latest sign, experts say, of an ever-increasing emphasis on counterterror operations in the north and west of the continent. As the only country in the region willing to allow a U.S. base for MQ-9 Reapers '-- a newer, larger, and potentially more lethal model than the venerable Predator drone '-- Niger has positioned itself to be the key regional hub for U.S. military operations, with Agadez serving as the premier outpost for launching intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions against a plethora of terror groups.
For years, the U.S. operated from an air base in Niamey, Niger's capital, but in early 2014, Capt. Rick Cook, then chief of U.S. Africa Command's Engineer Division, mentioned the potential for a new ''semi-permanent '... base-like facility'' in Niger. That September, the Washington Post's Craig Whitlock exposed plans to base drones at Agadez. Within days, the U.S. Embassy in Niamey announced that AFRICOM was, indeed, ''assessing the possibility of establishing a temporary, expeditionary contingency support location'' there. The outpost, according to the communiqu(C), ''presents an attractive option from which to base ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) assets given its proximity to the threats in the region and the complexity of operating with the vast distance of African geography.''
Air Force documents submitted to Congress in 2015 note that the U.S. ''negotiated an agreement with the government of Niger to allow for the construction of a new runway and all associated pavements, facilities, and infrastructure adjacent to the Niger Armed Force's Base Aerienne 201 (Airbase 201) south of the city of Agadez.'' When the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2016 was introduced last April, embedded in it was a $50 million request for the construction of an ''airfield and base camp at Agadez, Niger '... to support operations in western Africa.'' When President Obama signed the defense bill, that sum was authorized.
Reporting by The Intercept found the true cost to be double that sum. In addition to the $50 million to ''construct Air Base 201,'' another $38 million in operation and maintenance (O&M) funds was slated to be spent ''to support troop labor and ancillary equipment,'' according to a second set of undated, heavily redacted, formerly secret documents obtained from U.S. Africa Command by The Intercept. But the $38 million O&M price tag '-- for expenses like fuel and troops' per diem '-- has already jumped to $50 million, according to new figures provided by the Pentagon, while sustainment costs are now projected at $12.8 million per year.
Airmen from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, prepare to convoy to an airfield near Agadez, Niger, April 29, 2016.
Photo: Jeffrey McGovern/U.S. Air Force
The files obtained by The Intercept attest to the importance of Agadez for future missions by drones, also known as remotely piloted aircraft or RPAs. ''The top MILCON [military construction] project for USAFRICOM is located in Agadez, Niger to construct a C-17 and MQ-9 capable airfield,'' reads a 2015 planning document. ''RPA presence in NW Africa supports operations against seven [Department of State]-designated foreign terrorist organizations. Moving operations to Agadez aligns persistent ISR to current and emerging threats over Niger and Chad, supports French regionalization and extends range to cover Libya and Nigeria.''The Pentagon is tight-lipped about the outpost, however.
''Due to operational security considerations, we don't release details on numbers of personnel or specific missions or locations, including information regarding the Nigerien military air base located in Agadez,'' Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Michelle L. Baldanza told The Intercept in an email, stressing that drones are not yet flying from the outpost. However, the declassified documents say construction will be completed next year.
The documents offer further details, including plans for a 1,830-meter paved asphalt runway capable of supporting C-17 cargo aircraft and ''miscellaneous light and medium load aircraft''; a 17,458-square-meter parking apron and taxiway for ''light load ISR aircraft''; and the installation of ''three 140' x 140' relocatable fabric tension aircraft hangars''; as well as all the standard infrastructure for troops, including ''force protection'' measures like barriers, fences, and an ''Entry Control Point.''
While AFRICOM failed to respond to requests for information about the projects, a May 2016 satellite photo of the site provides a status report. ''The image shows that the main runway '... has been repaved,'' said Dan Gettinger, the co-founder and co-director of the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College and author of a guide to identifying drone bases from satellite imagery. ''Near the runway there's a structure that appears to be a future hangar, though it's still under construction. There's also a new dirt road that runs a fair distance from the runway to a U.S. base that's enclosed with a perimeter wall and there are a number of shelters there for personnel as well as a command center. All the things that you'd expect on a base.''
Satellite images of site of U.S. drone base outside Agadez, Niger.
Photo: Google Earth
According to the documents, Niger was the ''only country in NW Africa willing to allow basing of MQ-9s,'' the larger, newer cousins of the Predator drone. The documents went on to note: ''President expressed willingness to support armed RPAs.''The U.S. military activity in Niger is not isolated. ''There's a trend toward greater engagement and a more permanent presence in West Africa '-- the Maghreb and the Sahel,'' noted Adam Moore of the department of geography at the University of California in Los Angeles and the co-author of an academic study of the U.S. military's presence in Africa.
Since 9/11, in fact, the United States has poured vast amounts of military aid into the region. In 2002, for example, the State Department launched a counterterrorism program '-- known as the Pan-Sahel Initiative, which later became the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) '-- to assist the militaries of Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. Between 2009 and 2013 alone, the U.S. allocated $288 million in TSCTP funding, according to a 2014 report by the Government Accountability Office. Niger was one of the top three recipients, netting more than $30 million.
Niger and neighboring countries.
Image: The Intercept
U.S. special operations forces regularlytrain with Niger's army and the U.S. has transferred millions of dollars' worth of planes, trucks, and other gear to that impoverished nation. In a 2015 report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, Lauren Ploch Blanchard of the Congressional Research Service noted that since 2006 Niger had received more than $82 million in assistance through the Department of Defense's Global Train and Equip program.''In close coordination with partner militaries in West Africa, including Niger, USAFRICOM supports a range of security and capacity building efforts in the greater Sahelian region,'' Baldanza told The Intercept. ''These efforts support U.S. diplomatic and national security objectives and are designed to strengthen relationships with African partners, promote stability and security, and enable our African partners to address their security threats.''
A U.S. Army trainer coaches a Republic of Niger soldier on marksmanship techniques at an AK-47 qualification range near Agadez, Niger.
Photo: Spc. Craig Philbrick/U.S. Army Africa
Stability and security have, however, proved elusive. In 2010, for example, a military junta overthrew Niger's president as he attempted to extend his rule. In fact, all the original members of the Pan-Sahel Initiative have fallen victim to military uprisings. Chad saw attempted coups in 2006 and 2013, members of Mauritania's military overthrew the government in 2005 and again in 2008, and a U.S.-trained military officer toppled the democratically elected president of Mali in 2012.The region, relatively free of transnational terror threats in 2001, is now beset by regular attacks from Boko Haram, a once-tiny, nonviolent, Islamist sect from Nigeria that has since pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and threatens the stability of not only its homeland but also Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. And Boko Haram is just one of 17 militant groups now menacing the region, according to the Defense Department's Africa Center for Strategic Studies.
Airmen unload a C-130J Super Hercules during a deployment in Agadez, Niger, on April 29, 2016.
Photo: Jeffrey McGovern/U.S. Air Force
Drones have long been integral to U.S. efforts in Niger. In 2012, according to the files obtained by The Intercept, Niger agreed to host U.S. drones in Niamey, the capital, on the condition that operations would eventually be shifted to a more remote military base in Agadez.
In February 2013, the U.S. began flying Predator drones out of the capital. Later in the spring, an AFRICOM spokesperson revealed that U.S. air operations there were providing ''support for intelligence collection with French forces conducting operations in Mali and with other partners in the region.'' The Air Force recently announced plans to upgrade shower and latrine facilities at Niamey ''to serve a steady state of 200 to 250 personnel a day.''
''The U.S. shares that base with France,'' said Gettinger. The base in Niamey, he explained, ''is strategically important simply because to the north there's Mali and the threat posed by al Qaeda-linked groups, including al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. '... To the south you have Nigeria and Boko Haram, so there's lots of demand for ISR capabilities.'' At Agadez, he noted, the U.S. doesn't need to share facilities with the French military or commercial aircraft. And it is, he said, ''more strategically located than Niamey.''
As UCLA's Moore puts it: ''The recent trajectory of sites and money suggests that Niger is becoming, after Djibouti, the second most important country for U.S. military counterterrorism operations on the continent.''
VIDEO-Republicans in Denial That Debate Exposed Trump As Unfit
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:24
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesIf you're a Republican who has been clinging to the wan hope that Donald Trump might somehow, in his eighth decade on Earth, develop into a plausibly competent president of the United States, the first debate should have been your moment to abandon ship. Trump displayed the factual command of a small child, the emotional stability of a hormonal teen, and the stamina of an old man, staggering and losing the thread as the 90 minutes wore on. Instead, Republicans '-- without a single exception I have seen '-- have responded very differently. They have treated their candidate's glaring unsuitability for high office as, at worst, a handful of discrete errors that in no way reflect on his character, and at best, the dastardly unfairness of the liberal media.
Among the optimists was conservative columnist Holman Jenkins, who registered his approval with the candidate's ability to clear two impressive hurdles: make it through the debate without literally dying, and display the ability to make at least one planned action. ''He is not a lifelong politician like Mrs. Clinton and it showed,'' writes Jenkins. ''But he survived on stage. Notice, he also apparently made a strategic decision not to raise Bill Clinton's infidelities and stuck to it.'' Jenkins is at least conceding implicitly that the debate would be considered a loss for Trump if he had keeled over dead. But to pat him on the head for having made a ''strategic decision'' '-- i.e., a decision '-- not to attack Hillary Clinton for her husband's infidelity and then follow it is setting the bar very low. The ability to follow through on a decision is a developmental step in children that ranks just above object permanence. (Perhaps Jenkins would be impressed if Clinton left during a break and Trump noticed she was gone.) The triumph of Trump planning not to bring up the affairs, and then managing not to, is also mitigated by the fact that he immediately expressed his regret for it afterward.
National Review, which had published a splashy issue devoted to denouncing Trump during the primary, used its post-debate editorial not to remind readers that the array of disqualifying traits it had once denounced were on vivid display, but instead to chastise moderator Lester Holt for exposing them. ''We have our criticisms of Donald Trump, too,'' wrote National Review, in the only* sentence in the editorial that even hinted at any flaw on Trump's part. ''But his electoral fate should be up to the voters, not Lester Holt and his colleagues.'' Likewise, Paul Beston decried Holt's query to both candidates if they would respect the outcome of the election as his ''lowest moment,'' asking indignantly, ''[H]ow he could even pose such a question.'' Perhaps Holt asked because Trump has repeatedly called the election ''rigged'' and told his supporters that massive fraud is ''the only way we can lose.''
Holt's alleged bias was a favorite subject on the right. Every question that exposed Trump's unprecedented violation of political norms simply proved to conservatives that their party was being singled out for unprecedented scrutiny. Conservatives expressed a mix of resentment and confusion that Trump faced hostile questions and scrutiny for his refusal to take the expected and routine step of releasing his tax returns. They present Trump as an innocent man, guilty of nothing worse than failing to adequately defend himself. ''These columns warned Mr. Trump'--and GOP voters'--during the primaries that by not releasing his returns he was giving Democrats an opening to assert what he might be 'hiding,''' warns The Wall Street Journal. Note the scare quotes around the term ''hiding,'' as if it is a hyperbolic and unfair term to apply to the act of not revealing something that is customarily shared. ''Trump did not refute Clinton's charge '-- reminiscent of Harry Reid's no-evidence attack on Mitt Romney in 2012 '-- that Trump pays no federal income taxes,'' complains Byron York. '''That makes me smart,' Trump said, which sounded, if anything, like a confirmation of Clinton's accusation.'' The charge had no evidence, yet Trump said words that sounded to people who understand words like a confirmation of the charge '-- almost as if the charge is somehow true. Is it possible that Trump is refusing to disclose his returns because they would show something disqualifying? Conservatives do not even consider the scenario anymore. Trump is simply the victim of a combination of insinuation and his own poor salesmanship.
The New York Times, which recently published a harrowing account of Trump's debate preparation, or lack thereof, today has an equally harrowing account of his failures. Trump surrounds himself with completely unqualified advisers offering bad advice (a ''large number of voluble people on his prep team, including two retired military figures with no political background''). His advisers are hoping after the first debate to ''impress upon him the need to stick to a strategy and a plan of battle.'' Trump has a childlike attention span (''he did not seem to pay attention during the practice sessions'') and found his efforts at serious preparation derailed by the influence of serial predator Roger Ailes, who turned the sessions into gripefests around the fallout from his serial predation:
There were early efforts to run a more standard form of general election debate-prep camp, led by Roger Ailes, the ousted Fox News chief, at Mr. Trump's golf course in Bedminster, N.J. But Mr. Trump found it hard to focus during those meetings, according to multiple people briefed on the process who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. That left Mr. Ailes, who at the time was deeply distracted by his removal from Fox and the news media reports surrounding it, discussing his own problems as well as recounting political war stories, according to two people present for the sessions.
So Trump, according to the people trying to help him win, is unable to pick good staff, manage his time, follow advice, or even accept the connection between preparing for an event and succeeding at it. Republicans have so internalized Trump's wild unsuitability for the presidency that they have decided to treat these facts as mere hurdles to overcome on the path to the presidency. But why are they trying to help him win in the first place?
Update: The sentence I originally cited was not the editorial's only criticism of Trump. National Review's editorial does gently upbraid him for failing to anticipate the unfair questioning he faced, and for not adequately attacking his opponent: ''The institutional slant of the media being what it is, the Republican nominee is always at a disadvantage when it comes to debate moderators, and should prepare accordingly. It was clear from his performance last night that Trump did not adequately prepare for what were entirely predictable lines of questioning; he also missed several opportunities to go on the offensive against a uniquely vulnerable opponent.''
Trump Campaign Manager Accidentally Refers to His 'Abuse' of Women on Live TV
Megyn Kelly Roasts Trump's Campaign Manager for Claiming He Doesn't Make Sexist Comments
College Student Printed Out Her Roommate's Subtweets and Posted Them in the Dorm in Today's Best College Drama
Will & Grace, and Jack & Karen, Are Back With a New Scene About the 2016 Election
At an MSNBC town hall, Gary Johnson revealed that he cannot, off the top of his head, name a single foreign leader. Now he's bragging about it.
At a time where Clinton urgently needs ''Sanders holdouts'' to get onboard, he is coming to her aid.
A very weird case.
Clinton trusted voters to recognize that Trump's misogyny was more important than Machado's run-ins with the law. (Or, she just forgot to Google her.)
In battleground states, the allegedly ''weak'' nominee seems to be matching the popular POTUS's numbers.
''Mr. Trump doesn't like fat people.''
''Follow the money,'' says candidate who won't let you follow his money.
Investigators do not yet know the cause of the crash.
If Clinton wins over millennials, she'll almost certainly win the White House. And the best cure for millennial apathy is legal weed.
Hundreds protested the shooting of Alfred Olango.
Talking points say they should hammer Hillary for Bill's sex scandals, though even Republicans think that's a terrible idea.
Smart idea: Cover by reminding everyone of your last terrible gaffe.
Brings the total up to about 5,000.
In a very interesting survey he's sending to backers, the GOP nominee is bringing up many of the lines he failed to use in the first debate.
She was telling Lester Holt to let her in for a zinger, the theory goes.
Clinton has racked up a series of endorsements from conservative editorial boards. Research suggests such ''surprise endorsements'' can have an effect.
The tactic is constitutional, but its use in New York might not have been.
But authorities would still really like to talk to them.
(C) 2016, New York Media LLC.
VIDEO-AUDIO-Why Are We Still Using Cash? - Freakonomics Radio - WNYC
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:14
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Sep 28, 2016It facilitates crime, bribery, and tax evasion -- and yet some governments (including ours) are printing more cash than ever. Other countries, meanwhile, are ditching cash entirely. And if Star Trek is right, we won't have money of any sort in the 24th century.
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VIDEO-Hillary Coughs At Campaign Rally in Florida (9/30/16) - YouTube
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CIA Director Brennan-1-Terrorist Groups Popular Due to ‘Political Disenfranchisement, Lack of Opportunity’.mp3

Elections 2016

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Elite$

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F-Russia

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Hills Emails

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MH17

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NYC/NJ Bomber

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Zika

Dr. Fauci- Eliminating Zika-Carrying Mosquito Would Not Cause Profound Environmental Impact ‘At All’.mp3
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