886: Exodus of Misery

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 56m
December 15th, 2016
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Lame Cherry: Lame Cherry Exclusive: Who was behind the Russian Hacks?
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 10:42
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
The Lame Cherry is going to settle this once and for all in who was behind the Russian DNC hacks and the source is Julian Assange's intimate associate, who served with MI6, and his name is Craig Murray.
This is the official statement on his site:
''As Julian Assange has made crystal clear, the leaks did not come from the Russians. As I have explained countless times, they are not hacks, they are insider leaks '' there is a major difference between the two,'' he wrote. ''And it should be said again and again, that if Hillary Clinton had not connived with the DNC to fix the primary schedule to disadvantage Bernie, if she had not received advance notice of live debate questions to use against Bernie, if she had not accepted massive donations to the Clinton foundation and family members in return for foreign policy influence, if she had not failed to distance herself from some very weird and troubling people, then none of this would have happened.''
That is the reality. I am telling you that the Obama regime knows damn sick who sent Wikileaks all of this insider information, and is covering it up with Hillary Clinton in this Russia email hacking smokescreen, because it was a DEMOCRAT WHO COPIED THE FILES AND SENT THEM TO ASSANGE!!!Those are the facts in this, and the fact that Hillary Clinton and the image of Barack Hussein Obama are manipulating intelligence assets in the media, and CIA agents are producing disinformation to cover this up, IS A FEDERAL FELONY.
Furthermore when America has John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and now Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell joining in this criminal conspiracy to attempt to blackmail President Donald Trump over policy in "investigating Russian hacking" when every single one of these frauds knows as well as the Obama regime that this was a DEMOCRAT INSIDER who went deep throat over Hillary Clinton crimes, this is multiple felonies on the above GOPliters.
I informed all of you before where to look for where this operation was run out of. Now the Lame Cherry clears your cobwebs again in asking you to solve this so you get this.
Why would image Obama be ordering a CIA smokescreen to point at Russian hackers?
It is because this operation in leaking to WIKILEAKS was run out of the White House.
Where did this Emailgate all start?
It was from Attorney General Loretta Lynch fanning the flames, and you know who the tan queen who owns Loretta Lynch in extracting promises from Hillary Clinton..........that is Val-erie Jarrett.
That is who the Obama regime is protecting and she has been in plain sight all along in running this operation out of 1600 Penn Avenue. They are now threatening nuclear war in antagonizing Russia, and it has evolved to McCain and the GOPliters with the CIA asset media trying to blackmail Donald Trump.
Those are the facts, and it is time that people started listening to Julian Assange's intelligence agent friend who knows what happened and who this was, and every time you hear Russian hacker, you point out it was a Democratic insider, and that operation was run by Val-erie Jarrett out of the White House, as NOTHING goes out of 1600 Penn without her rubber stamp of approval.
Once again another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
15 Old-Timey Words We Need To Start Using Again '' Dusty Old Thing
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:40
Proper DOT dustyoldthing_belowtitleLike everything in life, words are constantly changing. Go back in time, say 600 years ago, and the English language becomes almost unrecognizable. We have idioms and sayings that spring up from current events every so often. Each generation is always creating its own slang terms and phrases; it's difficult to keep up with! That said, there are some words that have fallen out of use, and we think they're too much fun not to say anymore. So we've scoured the dictionary to come up with 15 old-timey words that we feel need to make their way back into the lexicon. Check them out below and let us know your favorite in the comments section (bonus points if you use them in a sentence).
1. PoppycockDefinition'' foolish words or ideas.
Etymology'' 1865, American English, probably from Dutch dialect pappekak.
2. GobbledegookDefinition'' speech or writing that is complicated and difficult to understand.
Etymology'' 1944, American English, first used by U.S. Rep. Maury Maverick, D.-Texas (Said he made up the word in the imitation of a turkey noise).
3. BlatherskiteDefinition'' a person who blathers a lot.
Etymology'' 1650, bletherskate, in Scottish song ''Maggie Lauder.''
4. HornswoggleDefinition'' to dupe or hoax.
Etymology'' 1829, probably a fanciful formation.
5. SkoshDefinition'' a small amount.
Etymology'' Korean War armed forces slang, from Japanese sukoshi ''few, little, some.''
6. Noodge (N)Definition'' a person who persistently pesters, annoys, or complains.
Etymology'' from Yiddish nudyen, to be tedious, bore
7. FlibbertigibbetDefinition'' a silly flighty person.
Etymology'' 1540s, ''chattering gossip, flighty woman,'' probably a nonsense word meant to sound like fast talking.
8. BallyhooDefinition'' talk or writing that is designed to get people excited or interested in something.
Etymology'' 1908, from circus slang, ''a short sample of a sideshow''
With these words in your vocab, you'll be the next Shakespeare!
9. PettifoggerDefinition'' a lawyer whose methods are petty, underhanded, or disreputable.
Etymology'' 1560s, from petty; the second element possibly from obsolete Dutch focker, from Flemish focken ''to cheat.''
10. Higgledy-piggledyDefinition'' in a messy way, without order.
Etymology'' 1590s, a ''vocal gesture'' [OED] probably formed from pig and the animal's suggestions of mess and disorder.
11. CallipygianDefinition'' having shapely buttocks.
Etymology'' 1800, Latinized from Greek kallipygos, name of a statue of Aphrodite at Syracuse, from kalli-, combining form of kallos ''beauty'' + pyge ''rump, buttocks.''
12. EffluviumDefinition'' an offensive exhalation or smell.
Etymology'' 1640s, from Latin effluvium ''a flowing out, an outlet,'' from effluere ''to flow out.''
13. HoosegowDefinition'' jail.
Etymology'' 1911, western U.S., probably from mispronunciation of Mexican Spanish juzgao ''tribunal, court,'' from juzgar ''to judge.''
14. GallimaufryDefinition'' a hodgepodge, a jumbled medley.
Etymology'' 1550s, from French galimafr(C)e ''hash, ragout, dish made of odds and ends.''
15. HumbuggeryDefinition'' false or deceptive behavior.
Etymology'' 751, student slang, ''trick, jest, hoax, imposition, deception,'' of unknown origin.
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Stanford band temporarily suspended through next spring | KTVU
Wed, 14 Dec 2016 08:12
PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) '-- The Stanford marching band has been temporarily suspended through next spring after a panel found repeated violations of school policies.
The punishment announced Friday comes after the band was barred from performing at away games during the 2015-16 season for violating policies on sexual harassment, alcohol, controlled substances and hazing.
Stanford University officials tell the Mercury News (http://bayareane.ws/2gMyGm9) the band will be reconstituted under a new music director.
The band was booed off the field during the Rose Bowl halftime show earlier this year after offending some fans with its performance.
Article about prop comic gag bit
Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:57
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Eggs on Everything
C.I.A. Judgment on Russia Built on Swell of Evidence - The New York Times
Mon, 12 Dec 2016 13:56
Mr. Trump's response has been to dismiss the reports by citing another famous intelligence assessment '-- the botched 2002 conclusion that the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, had weapons of mass destruction '-- and portraying American spies as bumbling and biased.
''I think it's ridiculous. I think it's just another excuse. I don't believe it,'' Mr. Trump said on Sunday in an interview on Fox News. Some top Republican congressmen have said the same, although with less bombastic language, arguing that there is no clear proof that the Russians tried to rig the election for Mr. Trump.
Yet there is a loud chorus of bipartisan voices, including Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, going public to accuse the Russians of election interference.
Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said the public evidence alone made it clear that Moscow had intervened to help the ''most ostentatiously pro-Russian candidate in history.''
''If the Russians were going to interfere, why on earth would they do it to the detriment of the candidate that was pro-Russian?'' Mr. Schiff asked.
The dispute cuts to core realities of intelligence analysis. Judgments are often made in a fog of uncertainty, are sometimes based on putting together shards of a mosaic that do not reveal a full picture, and can always be affected by human biases.
''This is why I hate the term 'we speak truth to power,''' said Mark M. Lowenthal, a former senior C.I.A. analyst. ''We don't have truth. We have really good ideas.''
Mr. Lowenthal said that determining the motives of foreign leaders '-- in this case, what drove President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to order the hacking '-- was one of the most important missions for C.I.A. analysts. In 2002, one of the critical failures of American spy agencies was their inability to understand Saddam Hussein's goals and motives.
At the same time, Mr. Lowenthal said, intelligence agencies have always been loath to be seen as taking sides in disputes about American politics.
''This is the one place you don't want to be as an intelligence officer: the meat in someone's partisan sandwich,'' he said.
Both intelligence and law enforcement officials agree that there is a mountain of circumstantial evidence suggesting that the Russian hacking was primarily aimed at helping Mr. Trump and damaging his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
In July, the infiltration of the Democratic National Committee's computer servers produced embarrassing emails and other internal party documents, the publication of which caused a backlash that led to the resignation of the committee's chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and her top staff. Just weeks before the election, hacked emails from the account of John D. Podesta, Mrs. Clinton's campaign manager, were made public and produced numerous stories about the internal dynamics of the campaign. That hack also produced the text of speeches Mrs. Clinton had given to Wall Street banks.
American intelligence officials believe that Russia also penetrated databases housing Republican National Committee data, but chose to release documents only on the Democrats. The committee has denied that it was hacked.
Beyond the specific targets of the hacks, American officials cite broad evidence that Mr. Putin and the Russian government favored Mr. Trump over Mrs. Clinton.
After demonstrators marched through Moscow in 2011 chanting ''Putin is a thief'' and ''Russia without Putin,'' Mr. Putin publicly accused Mrs. Clinton, then the secretary of state, of instigating the protests. ''She set the tone for some actors in our country and gave them a signal,'' he said.
More generally, the Russian government has blamed Mrs. Clinton, along with the C.I.A. and other American officials, for encouraging anti-Russian revolts during the 2003 Rose Revolution in Georgia and the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine. What Americans saw as legitimate democracy promotion, Mr. Putin saw as an unwarranted intrusion into Russia's geographic sphere of interest, as the United States once saw Soviet meddling in Cuba.
By contrast, Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin have had a very public mutual admiration society. In December 2015, the Russian president called Mr. Trump ''very colorful'' '-- using a Russian word that Mr. Trump and some news outlets mistranslated as ''brilliant'' '-- as well as ''talented'' and ''absolutely the leader in the presidential race.'' Mr. Trump called Mr. Putin ''a strong leader'' and further pleased him by questioning whether the United States should defend NATO members that did not spend enough on their militaries.
Russian television, which is tightly controlled by the government, has generally portrayed Mr. Trump as a strong, friendly potential partner while often airing scathing assessments of Mrs. Clinton.
And yet, there is skepticism within the American government, particularly at the F.B.I., that this evidence adds up to proof that the Russians had the specific objective of getting Mr. Trump elected.
A senior American law enforcement official said the F.B.I. believed that the Russians probably had a combination of goals, including damaging Mrs. Clinton and undermining American democratic institutions. Whether one of those goals was to install Mr. Trump remains unclear to the F.B.I., he said.
The official played down any disagreement between the F.B.I. and the C.I.A., and suggested that the C.I.A.'s conclusions were probably more nuanced than they were being framed in the news media.
The agencies' differences in judgment may also reflect different methods of investigating the Russian interference. The F.B.I., which has both a law enforcement and an intelligence role, is held to higher standards of proof in examining people involved in the hacking because it has an eye toward eventual criminal prosecutions. The C.I.A. has a broader mandate to develop intelligence assessments.
Law enforcement officials said that if F.B.I. agents had the evidence to charge Russians with specific crimes, they would do so. The F.B.I. and federal prosecutors have already gone aggressively after Russian hackers, including two men detained in Thailand and the Czech Republic whom the United States is trying to extradite.
Russia has tried to block those efforts and has accused the United States of harassing its citizens.
The F.B.I. began investigating Russia's apparent attempts to meddle in the election over the summer. Agents examined numerous possible connections between Russians and members of Mr. Trump's inner circle, including former Trump aides like Paul Manafort and Carter Page, as well as a mysterious and unexplained trail of computer activity between the Trump Organization and an email account at a large Russian bank, Alfa Bank.
At the height of its investigation before the election, the F.B.I. saw some indications that the Russians might be explicitly seeking to get Mr. Trump elected, officials said, and investigators collected online evidence and conducted interviews overseas and inside the United States to test that theory.
The F.B.I. was concerned enough about Russia's influence and possible connections to the Trump campaign that it briefed congressional leaders '-- including Senator Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat and Senate minority leader '-- on some of the evidence this summer and fall. Mr. Reid, in particular, pressed for the F.B.I. to find out more and charged that the agency was sitting on important information that could implicate Russia.
But the agency's suspicions about a direct effort by Russia to help Mr. Trump, or about possible connections between the two camps, appear to have waned as the investigation continued into September and October. The reasons are not entirely clear, and F.B.I. officials declined to comment.
Now that a partisan squall has erupted over exactly what role Russia played in influencing the election, there is growing momentum among both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill to have a congressional investigation.
''I'm not trying to relitigate the election,'' said Senator Angus King, independent of Maine, who is one of the lawmakers calling for such an investigation. ''I'm just trying to prevent this from happening again.''
Adam Goldman, Scott Shane and David E. Sanger contributed reporting.
Get politics and Washington news updates via Facebook, Twitter and in the Morning Briefing newsletter.
A version of this article appears in print on December 12, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: C.I.A. Judgment on Russia Built on Swell of Evidence.
Continue reading the main story
Congressional Republicans Split With Trump On Russian Hacking, Urging Investigation : The Two-Way : NPR
Sun, 11 Dec 2016 23:20
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in Phoenix. Matt York/APhide caption
toggle captionMatt York/APSen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in Phoenix.
Matt York/APA bipartisan group of four senators is calling for Congress to take a closer look at allegations that Russia used cyberattacks to try to influence the American election in favor of Donald Trump.
The reports should "alarm every American," Sens. Charles Shumer, D-N.Y.; Jack Reed, D-R.I.; John McCain, R-Ariz.; and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in a joint statement.
"Congress's national security committees have worked diligently to address the complex challenge of cybersecurity, but recent events show that more must be done," the senators said. "While protecting classified material, we have an obligation to inform the public about recent cyberattacks that have cut to the heart of our free society. Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyberattacks."
The statement was a tacit rebuke of President-elect Donald Trump, who has said he doesn't believe the CIA, which concluded Russia intervened in the 2016 election in order to help him win the presidency.
The reaction from congressional Republicans sets the stage for hearings next year on Russian interference on Capitol Hill as the new Republican president dismisses the issue.
Trump dismissed the CIA assessment as a partisan hit in his appearance on Fox News Sunday.
"I think the Democrats are putting it out because they suffered one of the greatest defeats in the history of politics in this country," Trump said. He also referred to "a massive landslide victory" in the Electoral College. While Trump's victory may have been the most stunning upset in American political history, it was far from historic in size. Trump won 306 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton's 232, which ranks as the 46th largest Electoral College margin, out of 58 elections. Trump is also behind Clinton in the popular vote by 2.8 million, by far the largest popular vote deficit ever for a winning candidate.
On Face the Nation on CBS, McCain said that no matter what Trump says the facts are clear: Russia conducted cyberattacks in the United States to try to influence the election.
"Now whether they intended to interfere to the degree that they were trying to elect a certain candidate, I think that's the subject of investigation," McCain said. "But facts are stubborn things, they did hack into this campaign."
McCain said that this issue is bigger than partisan politics because it affects free and fair elections, the bedrock of American democracy.
He said he would prefer for a special committee to take on the investigation, but this is such a serious issue that his Armed Services Committee will start work right away.
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, has also called for an investigation. Other House Republicans, including New York Rep. Peter King and California Rep. Devin Nunes, a major Trump supporter, have said they do not doubt Russia is responsible for the cyberattacks. That's to say nothing of the outcry among Democrats.
On Friday, President Obama ordered a full review of "malicious cyber activity" that coincided with the elections, which could result in a report just as Trump is taking office. The review will go all the way back to 2008, when China was found to have hacked both the Obama and McCain presidential campaigns.
McCain said he welcomed Obama's review, but he also cautioned that a comprehensive investigation would take much longer than the time Obama has left in office.
The CIA's Absence of Conviction - Craig Murray
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 03:40
I have watched incredulous as the CIA's blatant lie has grown and grown as a media story '' blatant because the CIA has made no attempt whatsoever to substantiate it. There is no Russian involvement in the leaks of emails showing Clinton's corruption. Yes this rubbish has been the lead today in the Washington Post in the US and the Guardian here, and was the lead item on the BBC main news. I suspect it is leading the American broadcasts also.
A little simple logic demolishes the CIA's claims. The CIA claim they ''know the individuals'' involved. Yet under Obama the USA has been absolutely ruthless in its persecution of whistleblowers, and its pursuit of foreign hackers through extradition. We are supposed to believe that in the most vital instance imaginable, an attempt by a foreign power to destabilise a US election, even though the CIA knows who the individuals are, nobody is going to be arrested or extradited, or (if in Russia) made subject to yet more banking and other restrictions against Russian individuals? Plainly it stinks. The anonymous source claims of ''We know who it was, it was the Russians'' are beneath contempt.
As Julian Assange has made crystal clear, the leaks did not come from the Russians. As I have explained countless times, they are not hacks, they are insider leaks '' there is a major difference between the two. And it should be said again and again, that if Hillary Clinton had not connived with the DNC to fix the primary schedule to disadvantage Bernie, if she had not received advance notice of live debate questions to use against Bernie, if she had not accepted massive donations to the Clinton foundation and family members in return for foreign policy influence, if she had not failed to distance herself from some very weird and troubling people, then none of this would have happened.
The continued ability of the mainstream media to claim the leaks lost Clinton the election because of ''Russia'', while still never acknowledging the truths the leaks reveal, is Kafkaesque.
I had a call from a Guardian journalist this afternoon. The astonishing result was that for three hours, an article was accessible through the Guardian front page which actually included the truth among the CIA hype:
The Kremlin has rejected the hacking accusations, while the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has previously said the DNC leaks were not linked to Russia. A second senior official cited by the Washington Post conceded that intelligence agencies did not have specific proof that the Kremlin was ''directing'' the hackers, who were said to be one step removed from the Russian government.Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, who is a close associate of Assange, called the CIA claims ''bullshit'', adding: ''They are absolutely making it up.''''I know who leaked them,'' Murray said. ''I've met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it's an insider. It's a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.''If what the CIA are saying is true, and the CIA's statement refers to people who are known to be linked to the Russian state, they would have arrested someone if it was someone inside the United States.''America has not been shy about arresting whistleblowers and it's not been shy about extraditing hackers. They plainly have no knowledge whatsoever.''
But only three hours. While the article was not taken down, the home page links to it vanished and it was replaced by a ludicrous one repeating the mad CIA allegations against Russia and now claiming '' incredibly '' that the CIA believe the FBI is deliberately blocking the information on Russian collusion. Presumably this totally nutty theory, that Putin is somehow now controlling the FBI, is meant to answer my obvious objection that, if the CIA know who it is, why haven't they arrested somebody. That bit of course would be the job of the FBI, who those desperate to annul the election now wish us to believe are the KGB.
It is terrible that the prime conduit for this paranoid nonsense is a once great newspaper, the Washington Post, which far from investigating executive power, now is a sounding board for totally evidence free anonymous source briefing of utter bullshit from the executive.
In the UK, one single article sums up the total abnegation of all journalistic standards. The truly execrable Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian writes ''Few credible sources doubt that Russia was behind the hacking of internal Democratic party emails, whose release by Julian Assange was timed to cause maximum pain to Hillary Clinton and pleasure for Trump.'' Does he produce any evidence at all for this assertion? No, none whatsoever. What does a journalist mean by a ''credible source''? Well, any journalist worth their salt in considering the credibility of a source will first consider access. Do they credibly have access to the information they claim to have?
Now both Julian Assange and I have stated definitively the leak does not come from Russia. Do we credibly have access? Yes, very obviously. Very, very few people can be said to definitely have access to the source of the leak. The people saying it is not Russia are those who do have access. After access, you consider truthfulness. Do Julian Assange and I have a reputation for truthfulness? Well in 10 years not one of the tens of thousands of documents WikiLeaks has released has had its authenticity successfully challenged. As for me, I have a reputation for inconvenient truth telling.
Contrast this to the ''credible sources'' Freedland relies on. What access do they have to the whistleblower? Zero. They have not the faintest idea who the whistleblower is. Otherwise they would have arrested them. What reputation do they have for truthfulness? It's the Clinton gang and the US government, for goodness sake.
In fact, the sources any serious journalist would view as ''credible'' give the opposite answer to the one Freedland wants. But in what passes for Freedland's mind, ''credible'' is 100% synonymous with ''establishment''. When he says ''credible sources'' he means ''establishment sources''. That is the truth of the ''fake news'' meme. You are not to read anything unless it is officially approved by the elite and their disgusting, crawling whores of stenographers like Freedland.
The worst thing about all this is that it is aimed at promoting further conflict with Russia. This puts everyone in danger for the sake of more profits for the arms and security industries '' including of course bigger budgets for the CIA. As thankfully the four year agony of Aleppo comes swiftly to a close today, the Saudi and US armed and trained ISIS forces counter by moving to retake Palmyra. This game kills people, on a massive scale, and goes on and on.
Signed First Editions of Sikunder Burnes are now available direct from this blog! You can leave a message naming the dedication you want. Sold at cover price of £25 including p&p for UK delivery or £29 for overseas delivery. Ideal Christmas presents!!
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Clinton Campaign Demands Intelligence on Possible Russian Efforts to Elect Trump - NYTimes.com
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 11:05
'– President-elect Donald J. Trump is postponing until January his announcement about how he will handle his private business interests.
'– The Clinton campaign breaks its silence and demands declassification of the intelligence on Russian election meddling.
'– Mr. Trump takes to Twitter to deny Russian involvement in his victory.
The Run-UpThe podcast that makes sense of the most delirious stretch of the 2016 campaign.'– Senator John McCain says there is no doubt about Russian hacking, which he called ''warfare.''
'– Carly Fiorina for director of national intelligence? She certainly took the president-elect's line on China.
Trump keeps his critics waiting.For those waiting to see Mr. Trump hold a news conference to discuss the ethical concerns about conflicts with his business, you'll have to wait a little longer.
Transition officials said on Monday evening that they were postponing a news conference scheduled for Thursday at which Mr. Trump had said he would reveal his plans to avoid conflicts of interest with his sprawling real estate business.
The president-elect instead will make that announcement in January '-- likely before his inauguration and after an extended vacation at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida '-- officials said, confirming a report in Bloomberg News.
Officials said the focus on building a cabinet had consumed more of Mr. Trump's time than expected. And they said that it was taking time to address how to address the large, iconic real estate holdings that are part of the global Trump business.
Clinton campaign demands declassification of election intelligence.As the swirl of allegations around Russia's efforts to elect Mr. Trump roils Washington, one voice has been absent: Hillary Clinton's.
John D. Podesta, Mrs. Clinton's campaign chairman, broke the silence on her behalf, demanding the declassification of all information about Russia's meddling as well as an explanation from the Obama administration of what it knew and when it knew it.
''We now know that the C.I.A. has determined Russia's interference in our elections was for the purpose of electing Donald Trump,'' Mr. Podesta wrote in a statement. ''This should distress every American. Never before in the history of our republic have we seen such an effort to undermine the bedrock of our democracy.''
''This is not a partisan issue, and we are glad to see bipartisan support in the Congress for an investigation into Russia's role,'' he continued. ''We believe that the administration owes it to the American people to explain what it knows regarding the extent and manner of Russia's interference and this be done as soon as possible. To that end, we also support the request from members of the Senate Intelligence Committee to declassify information around Russia's roles in the election and to make this data available to the public.''
Thrown on the defensive, Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said on Monday that the White House did not announce a major probe of Russia's interference before the election partly because many voters would have seen such an announcement as political meddling.
He said Russia did not hack the electoral process or the counting of votes.
''But what is also clear is that the results of the hack and leak effort carried out on the orders of Russia were extensively discussed prior to the election,'' Mr. Earnest said.
Trump continues Russia denial '-- via Twitter.With evidence mounting that Russian intelligence promoted his election, the president-elect continued his denial, via Twitter.
That second post is a head scratcher. The United States governmentformally accusedRussia oftrying to sow discord in the democratic process through its hacking in early October. It stopped short of saying the goal was to elect Mr. Trump.
And forensic analysis does allow experts to trace the source of a hack.
Oh, and fresh off his shot at Boeing over the cost of an Air Force One upgrade, Mr. Trump took a jab at another expensive military program, the F-35 stealth fighter.
On that one, he will have bipartisan support '-- just not in congressional districts where the fighter is built.
Wide-ranging investigation of Russian meddling ahead, McCain says.Mr. McCain said on Monday that there was ''no doubt about the hacking'' by Russian intelligence services into Democratic campaign accounts, which he called ''another form of warfare.''
Appearing on ''CBS This Morning'' with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the next minority leader, Mr. McCain said the wide-ranging investigation of Russian meddling in the election would include his committee as well as the Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees.
He said a Senate investigation would be necessary despite President Obama having already ordered up an inquiry, as that one would not be completed before the end of the Obama administration. The implication was that the new Trump administration would not follow through.
''We don't want to point a finger, and I don't want this to turn into the Benghazi investigation,'' Mr. Schumer added, referring to the House investigation into the attacks on an American compound in Libya, which he said had been partisan. ''This is serious stuff.''
Electoral College voters demand their own briefing.One week before the Electoral College meets to ratify Mr. Trump's election victory, 10 electors '-- including a Texas Republican who has turned on Mr. Trump, and Christine Pelosi, the daughter of Representative Nancy Pelosi '-- have demanded their own intelligence briefing on Russian efforts to elect Mr. Trump.
''We intend to discharge our duties as electors by ensuring that we select a candidate for president who, as our founding fathers envisioned, would be 'endowed with the requisite qualifications.' As electors, we also believe that deliberation is at the heart of democracy itself, not an empty or formalistic task. We do not understand our sole function to be to convene in mid-December, several weeks after Election Day, and summarily cast our votes.''
Their request:
''The Electors require to know from the intelligence community whether there are ongoing investigations into ties between Donald Trump, his campaign or associates, and Russian government interference in the election, the scope of those investigations, how far those investigations may have reached, and who was involved in those investigations. We further require a briefing on all investigative findings, as these matters directly impact the core factors in our deliberations of whether Mr. Trump is fit to serve as president of the United States.
Additionally, the electors will separately require from Donald Trump conclusive evidence that he and his staff and advisers did not accept Russian interference, or otherwise collaborate during the campaign, and conclusive disavowal and repudiation of such collaboration and interference going forward.''
Carly Fiorina meets with Trump and calls out China.Ms. Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive, emerged from a meeting with the president-elect at Trump Tower on Monday to talk tough, not on Russia but on China, which she called ''our most important adversary and a rising adversary.''
Ms. Fiorina was called in to discuss the job of director of national intelligence, a senior transition official said.
And Ms. Fiorina, once a bitter foe of Mr. Trump's, was effusive.
''We talked about hacking, whether it's Chinese hacking or purported Russian hacking,'' she said. ''We talked about the opportunity that the president-elect has to literally reset things, to reset the trajectory of this economy, to reset the role of government, to reset America's role in the world and how we're perceived in the world. And I think it's why he's getting such fantastic people in his administration.''
Mr. Trump and Ms. Fiorina clashed bitterly when she ran against him for the Republican nomination. Mr. Trump denigrated her appearance last year in an interview with Rolling Stone, saying, ''Look at that face!'' Ms. Fiorina briefly agreed to be Senator Ted Cruz's vice-presidential running mate before he, too, was vanquished by the eventual nominee.
All appears to be forgiven.
''First I want to say, he has really cool stuff in his office,'' she said. ''All of these athletes have given him all this incredible memorabilia. I was particular taken by Shaq O'Neal's shoe, which is huge. I guess it takes a champion to know a champion.''
Why is Allen West at Trump Tower?Three days ago, an image calling for the extermination of Muslims was posted on former Representative Allen West's Facebook page.
The outrage prompted an aide to Mr. West, a former Army lieutenant colonel, to claim credit and take the image down.
''Message to our followers: Hello everyone. This is Michele Hickford, editor in chief of allenbwest.com. Last night I posted a meme without Col. West's knowledge or consent which was inappropriate and crossed the line. I take full responsibility for this. It was wrong. I was wrong. It does not reflect Col. West's beliefs. I (Michele Hickford) personally apologize for any offense caused '-- and especially to Col. West. to whom I apologize for adversely affecting his reputation, principles and values.''
The outrage wasn't too great to deny Mr. West another audience with the president-elect on Monday at Trump Tower. Nor was it enough to prompt a question from the reporters in the Trump Tower lobby, though they did ask Mr. West about Russian efforts to elect Mr. Trump president.
Reporters: Should there be a bipartisan investigation of Russia hacking?
Mr. West: ''I think there are more important things. We're about to see a collapse in Syria, Iraq is falling apart. the Iran nuclear deal is horrific. China and Russia are expanding. I think that's where we need to focus your intelligence efforts.''
It's official: Goldman president will join the White House.The Trump transition team officially named GaryD. Cohn, the longtime president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs, to be the director of the White House National Economic Council.
After a campaign full of attacks on Wall Street '-- and Goldman Sachs in particular '-- Mr. Trump will have Goldman's No. 2 in the West Wing and a former Goldman partner, Steven Mnuchin, next door at Treasury, if he is confirmed.
But the transition team tried to find something inspirational in the latest multimillionaire:
''In addition to his incredible business history, Mr. Cohn has an inspiring personal story. Growing up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, he was diagnosed at age 7 with dyslexia.''
That is one of the rare moments where Shaker Heights, an affluent suburb of Cleveland, is mined for inspirational struggle.
Trump looks to House for agriculture secretary.Mr. Trump is looking at appointing a rising Republican star from South Dakota, Representative Kristi Noem, as his secretary of agriculture, a senior official working on the transition said Monday.
The transition team is vetting Ms. Noem now, and she is scheduled to meet with Mr. Trump this week.
Ms. Noem, 45, would be one of the younger members of Mr. Trump's cabinet '-- a group that so far consists mostly of older men.
She has been planning to leave Congress at the end of her next term in 2018 to run for governor of South Dakota.
Another name floated for the agriculture job, Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, is being considered for a variety of jobs, including energy secretary. Because she is a Democrat '-- and would likely be replaced in the Senate by a Republican '-- the transition official said she could essentially have ''whatever job she wants.''
Rick Perry is considered for energy secretary.Interactive Feature | Get the Morning Briefing by Email What you need to know to start your day, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.
Speaking of roles, the former Texas governor, Rick Perry, who wanted to eliminate the Department of Energy but could not remember its name on live television, has emerged as a leading candidate for energy secretary.
Rick Perry 'Oops'
Video by Matt Lewis
Although Texas is rich in energy and Mr. Perry is big on extracting it, he cannot afford too many ''oops moments'' if he is named to that post.
The Energy Department's primary role is to design nuclear weapons and ensure the safety and reliability of the nation's aging nuclear arsenal '-- through a constellation of scientific laboratories. The two men who served as President Obama's energy secretaries were scientists, one with a Nobel Prize, the other from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Mr. Trump is also looking at two other possibilities for energy secretary. He likes Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota '-- both Democrats '-- for the job. Both are under tremendous pressure from fellow Democrats not to accept a cabinet job.
Jose Canseco for Fed chairman!
The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S. - NYTimes.com
Wed, 14 Dec 2016 08:27
WASHINGTON '-- When Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation called the Democratic National Committee in September 2015 to pass along some troubling news about its computer network, he was transferred, naturally, to the help desk.
His message was brief, if alarming. At least one computer system belonging to the D.N.C. had been compromised by hackers federal investigators had named ''the Dukes,'' a cyberespionage team linked to the Russian government.
The F.B.I. knew it well: The bureau had spent the last few years trying to kick the Dukes out of the unclassified email systems of the White House, the State Department and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of the government's best-protected networks.
The Run-UpThe podcast that makes sense of the most delirious stretch of the 2016 campaign.Yared Tamene, the tech-support contractor at the D.N.C. who fielded the call, was no expert in cyberattacks. His first moves were to check Google for ''the Dukes'' and conduct a cursory search of the D.N.C. computer system logs to look for hints of such a cyberintrusion. By his own account, he did not look too hard even after Special Agent Hawkins called back repeatedly over the next several weeks '-- in part because he wasn't certain the caller was a real F.B.I. agent and not an impostor.
''I had no way of differentiating the call I just received from a prank call,'' Mr. Tamene wrote in an internal memo, obtained by The New York Times, that detailed his contact with the F.B.I.
It was the cryptic first sign of a cyberespionage and information-warfare campaign devised to disrupt the 2016 presidential election, the first such attempt by a foreign power in American history. What started as an information-gathering operation, intelligence officials believe, ultimately morphed into an effort to harm one candidate, Hillary Clinton, and tip the election to her opponent, Donald J. Trump.
Like another famous American election scandal, it started with a break-in at the D.N.C. The first time, 44 years ago at the committee's old offices in the Watergate complex, the burglars planted listening devices and jimmied a filing cabinet. This time, the burglary was conducted from afar, directed by the Kremlin, with spear-phishing emails and zeros and ones.
Interactive Feature | What is phishing? Phishing uses an innocent-looking email to entice unwary recipients to click on a deceptive link, giving hackers access to their information or a network. In ''spear-phishing,'' the email is tailored to fool a specific person.
An examination by The Times of the Russian operation '-- based on interviews with dozens of players targeted in the attack, intelligence officials who investigated it and Obama administration officials who deliberated over the best response '-- reveals a series of missed signals, slow responses and a continuing underestimation of the seriousness of the cyberattack.
The D.N.C.'s fumbling encounter with the F.B.I. meant the best chance to halt the Russian intrusion was lost. The failure to grasp the scope of the attacks undercut efforts to minimize their impact. And the White House's reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.
The low-key approach of the F.B.I. meant that Russian hackers could roam freely through the committee's network for nearly seven months before top D.N.C. officials were alerted to the attack and hired cyberexperts to protect their systems. In the meantime, the hackers moved on to targets outside the D.N.C., including Mrs. Clinton's campaign chairman, John D. Podesta, whose private email account was hacked months later.
Even Mr. Podesta, a savvy Washington insider who had written a 2014 report on cyberprivacy for President Obama, did not truly understand the gravity of the hacking.
By last summer, Democrats watched in helpless fury as their private emails and confidential documents appeared online day after day '-- procured by Russian intelligence agents, posted on WikiLeaks and other websites, then eagerly reported on by the American media, including The Times. Mr. Trump gleefully cited many of the purloined emails on the campaign trail.
The fallout included the resignations of Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the chairwoman of the D.N.C., and most of her top party aides. Leading Democrats were sidelined at the height of the campaign, silenced by revelations of embarrassing emails or consumed by the scramble to deal with the hacking. Though little-noticed by the public, confidential documents taken by the Russian hackers from the D.N.C.'s sister organization, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, turned up in congressional races in a dozen states, tainting some of them with accusations of scandal.
In recent days, a skeptical president-elect, the nation's intelligence agencies and the two major parties have become embroiled in an extraordinary public dispute over what evidence exists that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia moved beyond mere espionage to deliberately try to subvert American democracy and pick the winner of the presidential election.
Many of Mrs. Clinton's closest aides believe that the Russian assault had a profound impact on the election, while conceding that other factors '-- Mrs. Clinton's weaknesses as a candidate; her private email server; the public statements of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, about her handling of classified information '-- were also important.
While there's no way to be certain of the ultimate impact of the hack, this much is clear: A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.
Graphic | Following the Links From Russian Hackers to the U.S. Election The Central Intelligence Agency concluded that the Russian government deployed computer hackers to help elect Donald J. Trump.
''There shouldn't be any doubt in anybody's mind,'' Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and commander of United States Cyber Command said at a postelection conference. ''This was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance, this was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily,'' he said. ''This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.''
For the people whose emails were stolen, this new form of political sabotage has left a trail of shock and professional damage. Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and a key Clinton supporter, recalls walking into the busy Clinton transition offices, humiliated to see her face on television screens as pundits discussed a leaked email in which she had called Mrs. Clinton's instincts ''suboptimal.''
''It was just a sucker punch to the gut every day,'' Ms. Tanden said. ''It was the worst professional experience of my life.''
The United States, too, has carried out cyberattacks, and in decades past the C.I.A. tried to subvert foreign elections. But the Russian attack is increasingly understood across the political spectrum as an ominous historic landmark '-- with one notable exception: Mr. Trump has rejected the findings of the intelligence agencies he will soon oversee as ''ridiculous,'' insisting that the hacker may be American, or Chinese, but that ''they have no idea.''
Mr. Trump cited the reported disagreements between the agencies about whether Mr. Putin intended to help elect him. On Tuesday, a Russian government spokesman echoed Mr. Trump's scorn.
''This tale of 'hacks' resembles a banal brawl between American security officials over spheres of influence,'' Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, wrote on Facebook.
Over the weekend, four prominent senators '-- two Republicans and two Democrats '-- joined forces to pledge an investigation while pointedly ignoring Mr. Trump's skeptical claims.
''Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyberattacks,'' said Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Schumer and Jack Reed.
''This cannot become a partisan issue,'' they said. ''The stakes are too high for our country.''
A Target for Break-InsSitting in the basement of the Democratic National Committee headquarters, below a wall-size 2012 portrait of a smiling Barack Obama, is a 1960s-era filing cabinet missing the handle on the bottom drawer. Only a framed newspaper story hanging on the wall hints at the importance of this aged piece of office furniture.
''GOP Security Aide Among 5 Arrested in Bugging Affair,'' reads the headline from the front page of The Washington Post on June 19, 1972, with the bylines of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.
Andrew Brown, 37, the technology director at the D.N.C., was born after that famous break-in. But as he began to plan for this year's election cycle, he was well aware that the D.N.C. could become a break-in target again.
There were aspirations to ensure that the D.N.C. was well protected against cyberintruders '-- and then there was the reality, Mr. Brown and his bosses at the organization acknowledged: The D.N.C. was a nonprofit group, dependent on donations, with a fraction of the security budget that a corporation its size would have.
''There was never enough money to do everything we needed to do,'' Mr. Brown said.
The D.N.C. had a standard email spam-filtering service, intended to block phishing attacks and malware created to resemble legitimate email. But when Russian hackers started in on the D.N.C., the committee did not have the most advanced systems in place to track suspicious traffic, internal D.N.C. memos show.
Mr. Tamene, who reports to Mr. Brown and fielded the call from the F.B.I. agent, was not a full-time D.N.C. employee; he works for a Chicago-based contracting firm called The MIS Department. He was left to figure out, largely on his own, how to respond '-- and even whether the man who had called in to the D.N.C. switchboard was really an F.B.I. agent.
''The F.B.I. thinks the D.N.C. has at least one compromised computer on its network and the F.B.I. wanted to know if the D.N.C. is aware, and if so, what the D.N.C. is doing about it,'' Mr. Tamene wrote in an internal memo about his contacts with the F.B.I. He added that ''the Special Agent told me to look for a specific type of malware dubbed 'Dukes' by the U.S. intelligence community and in cybersecurity circles.''
Part of the problem was that Special Agent Hawkins did not show up in person at the D.N.C. Nor could he email anyone there, as that risked alerting the hackers that the F.B.I. knew they were in the system.
Mr. Tamene's initial scan of the D.N.C. system '-- using his less-than-optimal tools and incomplete targeting information from the F.B.I. '-- found nothing. So when Special Agent Hawkins called repeatedly in October, leaving voice mail messages for Mr. Tamene, urging him to call back, ''I did not return his calls, as I had nothing to report,'' Mr. Tamene explained in his memo.
In November, Special Agent Hawkins called with more ominous news. A D.N.C. computer was ''calling home, where home meant Russia,'' Mr. Tamene's memo says, referring to software sending information to Moscow. ''SA Hawkins added that the F.B.I. thinks that this calling home behavior could be the result of a state-sponsored attack.''
Mr. Brown knew that Mr. Tamene, who declined to comment, was fielding calls from the F.B.I. But he was tied up on a different problem: evidence suggesting that the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Mrs. Clinton's main Democratic opponent, had improperly gained access to her campaign data.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz, then the D.N.C.'s chairwoman, and Amy Dacey, then its chief executive, said in interviews that neither of them was notified about the early reports that the committee's system had likely been compromised.
Shawn Henry, who once led the F.B.I.'s cyber division and is now president of CrowdStrike Services, the cybersecurity firm retained by the D.N.C. in April, said he was baffled that the F.B.I. did not call a more senior official at the D.N.C. or send an agent in person to the party headquarters to try to force a more vigorous response.
''We are not talking about an office that is in the middle of the woods of Montana,'' Mr. Henry said. ''We are talking about an office that is half a mile from the F.B.I. office that is getting the notification.''
''This is not a mom-and-pop delicatessen or a local library. This is a critical piece of the U.S. infrastructure because it relates to our electoral process, our elected officials, our legislative process, our executive process,'' he added. ''To me it is a high-level, serious issue, and if after a couple of months you don't see any results, somebody ought to raise that to a higher level.''
The F.B.I. declined to comment on the agency's handling of the hack. ''The F.B.I. takes very seriously any compromise of public and private sector systems,'' it said in a statement, adding that agents ''will continue to share information'' to help targets ''safeguard their systems against the actions of persistent cybercriminals.''
By March, Mr. Tamene and his team had met at least twice in person with the F.B.I. and concluded that Agent Hawkins was really a federal employee. But then the situation took a dire turn.
A second team of Russian-affiliated hackers began to target the D.N.C. and other players in the political world, particularly Democrats. Billy Rinehart, a former D.N.C. regional field director who was then working for Mrs. Clinton's campaign, got an odd email warning from Google.
''Someone just used your password to try to sign into your Google account,'' the March 22 email said, adding that the sign-in attempt had occurred in Ukraine. ''Google stopped this sign-in attempt. You should change your password immediately.''
Mr. Rinehart was in Hawaii at the time. He remembers checking his email at 4 a.m. for messages from East Coast associates. Without thinking much about the notification, he clicked on the ''change password'' button and half asleep, as best he can remember, he typed in a new password.
What he did not know until months later is that he had just given the Russian hackers access to his email account.
Hundreds of similar phishing emails were being sent to American political targets, including an identical email sent on March 19 to Mr. Podesta, chairman of the Clinton campaign. Given how many emails Mr. Podesta received through this personal email account, several aides also had access to it, and one of them noticed the warning email, sending it to a computer technician to make sure it was legitimate before anyone clicked on the ''change password'' button.
''This is a legitimate email,'' Charles Delavan, a Clinton campaign aide, replied to another of Mr. Podesta's aides, who had noticed the alert. ''John needs to change his password immediately.''
With another click, a decade of emails that Mr. Podesta maintained in his Gmail account '-- a total of about 60,000 '-- were unlocked for the Russian hackers. Mr. Delavan, in an interview, said that his bad advice was a result of a typo: He knew this was a phishing attack, as the campaign was getting dozens of them. He said he had meant to type that it was an ''illegitimate'' email, an error that he said has plagued him ever since.
During this second wave, the hackers also gained access to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and then, through a virtual private network connection, to the main computer network of the D.N.C.
The F.B.I. observed this surge of activity as well, again reaching out to Mr. Tamene to warn him. Yet Mr. Tamene still saw no reason to be alarmed: He found copies of the phishing emails in the D.N.C.'s spam filter. But he had no reason, he said, to believe that the computer systems had been infiltrated.
One bit of progress had finally been made by the middle of April: The D.N.C., seven months after it had first been warned, finally installed a ''robust set of monitoring tools,'' Mr. Tamene's internal memo says.
Honing Stealthy TacticsThe United States had two decades of warning that Russia's intelligence agencies were trying to break into America's most sensitive computer networks. But the Russians have always managed to stay a step ahead.
Their first major attack was detected on Oct. 7, 1996, when a computer operator at the Colorado School of Mines discovered some nighttime computer activity he could not explain. The school had a major contract with the Navy, and the operator warned his contacts there. But as happened two decades later at the D.N.C., at first ''everyone was unable to connect the dots,'' said Thomas Rid, a scholar at King's College in London who has studied the attack.
Investigators gave it a name '-- Moonlight Maze '-- and spent two years, often working day and night, tracing how it hopped from the Navy to the Department of Energy to the Air Force and NASA. In the end, they concluded that the total number of files stolen, if printed and stacked, would be taller than the Washington Monument.
Whole weapons designs were flowing out the door, and it was a first taste of what was to come: an escalating campaign of cyberattacks around the world.
But for years, the Russians stayed largely out of the headlines, thanks to the Chinese '-- who took bigger risks, and often got caught. They stole the designs for the F-35 fighter jet, corporate secrets for rolling steel, even the blueprints for gas pipelines that supply much of the United States. And during the 2008 presidential election cycle, Chinese intelligence hacked into the campaigns of Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain, making off with internal position papers and communications. But they didn't publish any of it.
The Russians had not gone away, of course. ''They were just a lot more stealthy,'' said Kevin Mandia, a former Air Force intelligence officer who spent most of his days fighting off Russian cyberattacks before founding Mandiant, a cybersecurity firm that is now a division of FireEye '-- and the company the Clinton campaign brought in to secure its own systems.
The Russians were also quicker to turn their attacks to political purposes. A 2007 cyberattack on Estonia, a former Soviet republic that had joined NATO, sent a message that Russia could paralyze the country without invading it. The next year cyberattacks were used during Russia's war with Georgia.
But American officials did not imagine that the Russians would dare try those techniques inside the United States. They were largely focused on preventing what former Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta warned was an approaching ''cyber Pearl Harbor'' '-- a shutdown of the power grid or cellphone networks.
But in 2014 and 2015, a Russian hacking group began systematically targeting the State Department, the White House and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. ''Each time, they eventually met with some form of success,'' Michael Sulmeyer, a former cyberexpert for the secretary of defense, and Ben Buchanan, now both of the Harvard Cyber Security Project, wrote recently in a soon-to-be published paper for the Carnegie Endowment.
The Russians grew stealthier and stealthier, tricking government computers into sending out data while disguising the electronic ''command and control'' messages that set off alarms for anyone looking for malicious actions. The State Department was so crippled that it repeatedly closed its systems to throw out the intruders. At one point, officials traveling to Vienna with Secretary of State John Kerry for the Iran nuclear negotiations had to set up commercial Gmail accounts just to communicate with one another and with reporters traveling with them.
Interactive Feature | 2016 Election Hacking Coverage
Mr. Obama was briefed regularly on all this, but he made a decision that many in the White House now regret: He did not name Russians publicly, or issue sanctions. There was always a reason: fear of escalating a cyberwar, and concern that the United States needed Russia's cooperation in negotiations over Syria.
''We'd have all these circular meetings,'' one senior State Department official said, ''in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn't happen.''
So the Russians escalated again '-- breaking into systems not just for espionage, but to publish or broadcast what they found, known as ''doxing'' in the cyberworld.
It was a brazen change in tactics, moving the Russians from espionage to influence operations. In February 2014, they broadcast an intercepted phone call between Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state who handles Russian affairs and has a contentious relationship with Mr. Putin, and Geoffrey Pyatt, the United States ambassador to Ukraine. Ms. Nuland was heard describing a little-known American effort to broker a deal in Ukraine, then in political turmoil.
They were not the only ones on whom the Russians used the steal-and-leak strategy. The Open Society Foundation, run by George Soros, was a major target, and when its documents were released, some turned out to have been altered to make it appear as if the foundation was financing Russian opposition members.
Last year, the attacks became more aggressive. Russia hacked a major French television station, frying critical hardware. Around Christmas, it attacked part of the power grid in Ukraine, dropping a portion of the country into darkness, killing backup generators and taking control of generators. In retrospect, it was a warning shot.
The attacks ''were not fully integrated military operations,'' Mr. Sulmeyer said. But they showed an increasing boldness.
Cozy Bear and Fancy BearThe day before the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in April, Ms. Dacey, the D.N.C.'s chief executive, was preparing for a night of parties when she got an urgent phone call.
With the new monitoring system in place, Mr. Tamene had examined administrative logs of the D.N.C.'s computer system and found something very suspicious: An unauthorized person, with administrator-level security status, had gained access to the D.N.C.'s computers.
''Not sure it is related to what the F.B.I. has been noticing,'' said one internal D.N.C. email sent on April 29. ''The D.N.C. may have been hacked in a serious way this week, with password theft, etc.''
No one knew just how bad the breach was '-- but it was clear that a lot more than a single filing cabinet worth of materials might have been taken. A secret committee was immediately created, including Ms. Dacey, Ms. Wasserman Schultz, Mr. Brown and Michael Sussmann, a former cybercrimes prosecutor at the Department of Justice who now works at Perkins Coie, the Washington law firm that handles D.N.C. political matters.
''Three most important questions,'' Mr. Sussmann wrote to his clients the night the break-in was confirmed. ''1) What data was accessed? 2) How was it done? 3) How do we stop it?''
Mr. Sussmann instructed his clients not to use D.N.C. email because they had just one opportunity to lock the hackers out '-- an effort that could be foiled if the hackers knew that the D.N.C. was on to them.
''You only get one chance to raise the drawbridge,'' Mr. Sussmann said. ''If the adversaries know you are aware of their presence, they will take steps to burrow in, or erase the logs that show they were present.''
The D.N.C. immediately hired CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm, to scan its computers, identify the intruders and build a new computer and telephone system from scratch. Within a day, CrowdStrike confirmed that the intrusion had originated in Russia, Mr. Sussmann said.
The work that such companies do is a computer version of old-fashioned crime scene investigation, with fingerprints, bullet casings and DNA swabs replaced by an electronic trail that can be just as incriminating. And just as police detectives learn to identify the telltale methods of a veteran burglar, so CrowdStrike investigators recognized the distinctive handiwork of Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear.
Those are CrowdStrike's nicknames for the two Russian hacking groups that the firm found at work inside the D.N.C. network. Cozy Bear '-- the group also known as the Dukes or A.P.T. 29, for ''advanced persistent threat'' '-- may or may not be associated with the F.S.B., the main successor to the Soviet-era K.G.B., but it is widely believed to be a Russian government operation. It made its first appearance in 2014, said Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike's co-founder and chief technology officer.
It was Cozy Bear, CrowdStrike concluded, that first penetrated the D.N.C. in the summer of 2015, by sending spear-phishing emails to a long list of American government agencies, Washington nonprofits and government contractors. Whenever someone clicked on a phishing message, the Russians would enter the network, ''exfiltrate'' documents of interest and stockpile them for intelligence purposes.
''Once they got into the D.N.C., they found the data valuable and decided to continue the operation,'' said Mr. Alperovitch, who was born in Russia and moved to the United States as a teenager.
Only in March 2016 did Fancy Bear show up '-- first penetrating the computers of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and then jumping to the D.N.C., investigators believe. Fancy Bear, sometimes called A.P.T. 28 and believed to be directed by the G.R.U., Russia's military intelligence agency, is an older outfit, tracked by Western investigators for nearly a decade. It was Fancy Bear that got hold of Mr. Podesta's email.
Attribution, as the skill of identifying a cyberattacker is known, is more art than science. It is often impossible to name an attacker with absolute certainty. But over time, by accumulating a reference library of hacking techniques and targets, it is possible to spot repeat offenders. Fancy Bear, for instance, has gone after military and political targets in Ukraine and Georgia, and at NATO installations.
That largely rules out cybercriminals and most countries, Mr. Alperovitch said. ''There's no plausible actor that has an interest in all those victims other than Russia,'' he said. Another clue: The Russian hacking groups tended to be active during working hours in the Moscow time zone.
To their astonishment, Mr. Alperovitch said, CrowdStrike experts found signs that the two Russian hacking groups had not coordinated their attacks. Fancy Bear, apparently not knowing that Cozy Bear had been rummaging in D.N.C. files for months, took many of the same documents.
In the six weeks after CrowdStrike's arrival, in total secrecy, the computer system at the D.N.C. was replaced. For a weekend, email and phones were shut off; employees were told it was a system upgrade. All laptops were turned in and the hard drives wiped clean, with the uninfected information on them imaged to new drives.
Though D.N.C. officials had learned that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had been infected, too, they did not notify their sister organization, which was in the same building, because they were afraid that it would leak.
All of this work took place as the bitter contest for the Democratic nomination continued to play out between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders, and it was already causing a major distraction for Ms. Wasserman Schultz and the D.N.C.'s chief executive.
''This was not a bump in the road '-- bumps in the road happen all the time,'' she said in an interview. ''Two different Russian spy agencies had hacked into our network and stolen our property. And we did not yet know what they had taken. But we knew they had very broad access to our network. There was a tremendous amount of uncertainty. And it was chilling.''
The D.N.C. executives and their lawyer had their first formal meeting with senior F.B.I. officials in mid-June, nine months after the bureau's first call to the tech-support contractor. Among the early requests at that meeting, according to participants: that the federal government make a quick ''attribution'' formally blaming actors with ties to Russian government for the attack to make clear that it was not routine hacking but foreign espionage.
''You have a presidential election underway here and you know that the Russians have hacked into the D.N.C.,'' Mr. Sussmann said, recalling the message to the F.B.I. ''We need to tell the American public that. And soon.''
The Media's RoleIn mid-June, on Mr. Sussmann's advice, D.N.C. leaders decided to take a bold step. Concerned that word of the hacking might leak, they decided to go public in The Washington Post with the news that the committee had been attacked. That way, they figured, they could get ahead of the story, win a little sympathy from voters for being victimized by Russian hackers and refocus on the campaign.
But the very next day, a new, deeply unsettling shock awaited them. Someone calling himself Guccifer 2.0 appeared on the web, claiming to be the D.N.C. hacker '-- and he posted a confidential committee document detailing Mr. Trump's record and half a dozen other documents to prove his bona fides.
''And it's just a tiny part of all docs I downloaded from the Democrats networks,'' he wrote. Then something more ominous: ''The main part of the papers, thousands of files and mails, I gave to WikiLeaks. They will publish them soon.''
It was bad enough that Russian hackers had been spying inside the committee's network for months. Now the public release of documents had turned a conventional espionage operation into something far more menacing: political sabotage, an unpredictable, uncontrollable menace for Democratic campaigns.
Guccifer 2.0 borrowed the moniker of an earlier hacker, a Romanian who called himself Guccifer and was jailed for breaking into the personal computers of former President George W. Bush, former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and other notables. This new attacker seemed intent on showing that the D.N.C.'s cyberexperts at CrowdStrike were wrong to blame Russia. Guccifer 2.0 called himself a ''lone hacker'' and mocked CrowdStrike for calling the attackers ''sophisticated.''
But online investigators quickly undercut his story. On a whim, Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, a writer for Motherboard, the tech and culture site of Vice, tried to contact Guccifer 2.0 by direct message on Twitter.
''Surprisingly, he answered right away,'' Mr. Franceschi-Bicchierai said. But whoever was on the other end seemed to be mocking him. ''I asked him why he did it, and he said he wanted to expose the Illuminati. He called himself a Gucci lover. And he said he was Romanian.''
That gave Mr. Franceschi-Bicchierai an idea. Using Google Translate, he sent the purported hacker some questions in Romanian. The answers came back in Romanian. But when he was offline, Mr. Franceschi-Bicchierai checked with a couple of native speakers, who told him Guccifer 2.0 had apparently been using Google Translate as well '-- and was clearly not the Romanian he claimed to be.
Cyberresearchers found other clues pointing to Russia. Microsoft Word documents posted by Guccifer 2.0 had been edited by someone calling himself, in Russian, Felix Edmundovich '-- an obvious nom de guerre honoring the founder of the Soviet secret police, Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky. Bad links in the texts were marked by warnings in Russian, generated by what was clearly a Russian-language version of Word.
When Mr. Franceschi-Bicchierai managed to engage Guccifer 2.0 over a period of weeks, he found that his interlocutor's tone and manner changed. ''At first he was careless and colloquial. Weeks later, he was curt and more calculating,'' he said. ''It seemed like a group of people, and a very sloppy attempt to cover up.''
Computer experts drew the same conclusion about DCLeaks.com, a site that sprang up in June, claiming to be the work of ''hacktivists'' but posting more stolen documents. It, too, seemed to be a clumsy front for the same Russians who had stolen the documents. Notably, the website was registered in April, suggesting that the Russian hacking team planned well in advance to make public what it stole.
In addition to what Guccifer 2.0 published on his site, he provided material directly on request to some bloggers and publications. The steady flow of Guccifer 2.0 documents constantly undercut Democratic messaging efforts. On July 6, 12 days before the Republican National Convention began in Cleveland, Guccifer released the D.N.C.'s battle plan and budget for countering it. For Republican operatives, it was insider gold.
Then WikiLeaks, a far more established outlet, began to publish the hacked material '-- just as Guccifer 2.0 had promised. On July 22, three days before the start of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, WikiLeaks dumped out 44,053 D.N.C. emails with 17,761 attachments. Some of the messages made clear that some D.N.C. officials favored Mrs. Clinton over her progressive challenger, Mr. Sanders.
That was no shock; Mr. Sanders, after all, had been an independent socialist, not a Democrat, during his long career in Congress, while Mrs. Clinton had been one of the party's stars for decades. But the emails, some of them crude or insulting, infuriated Sanders delegates as they arrived in Philadelphia. Ms. Wasserman Schultz resigned under pressure on the eve of the convention where she had planned to preside.
Mr. Trump, by now the Republican nominee, expressed delight at the continuing jolts to his opponent, and he began to use Twitter and his stump speeches to highlight the WikiLeaks releases. On July 25, he sent out a lighthearted tweet: ''The new joke in town,'' he wrote, ''is that Russia leaked the disastrous D.N.C. e-mails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me.''
But WikiLeaks was far from finished. On Oct. 7, a month before the election, the site began the serial publication of thousands of private emails to and from Mr. Podesta, Mrs. Clinton's campaign manager.
The same day, the United States formally accused the Russian government of being behind the hackings, in a joint statement by the director of national intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security, and Mr. Trump suffered his worst blow to date, with the release of a recording in which he bragged about sexually assaulting women.
The Podesta emails were nowhere near as sensational as the Trump video. But, released by WikiLeaks day after day over the last month of the campaign, they provided material for countless news reports. They disclosed the contents of Mrs. Clinton's speeches to large banks, which she had refused to release. They exposed tensions inside the campaign, including disagreements over donations to the Clinton Foundation that staff members thought might look bad for the candidate and Ms. Tanden's complaint that Mrs. Clinton's instincts were ''suboptimal.''
''I was just mortified,'' Ms. Tanden said in an interview. Her emails were released on the eve of one of the presidential debates, she recalled. ''I put my hands over my head and said, 'I can't believe this is happening to me.''' Though she had regularly appeared on television to support Mrs. Clinton, she canceled her appearances because all the questions were about what she had said in the emails.
Ms. Tanden, like other Democrats whose messages became public, said it was obvious to her that WikiLeaks was trying its best to damage the Clinton campaign. ''If you care about transparency, you put all the emails out at once,'' she said. ''But they wanted to hurt her. So they put them out 1,800 to 3,000 a day.''
The Trump campaign knew in advance about WikiLeaks' plans. Days before the Podesta email release began, Roger Stone, a Republican operative working with the Trump campaign, sent out an excited tweet about what was coming.
But in an interview, Mr. Stone said he had no role in the leaks; he had just heard from an American with ties to WikiLeaks that damning emails were coming.
Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and editor, has resisted the conclusion that his site became a pass-through for Russian hackers working for Mr. Putin's government or that he was deliberately trying to undermine Mrs. Clinton's candidacy. But the evidence on both counts appears compelling.
In a series of email exchanges, Mr. Assange refused to say anything about WikiLeaks' source for the hacked material. He denied that he had made his animus toward Mrs. Clinton clear in public statements (''False. But what is this? Junior high?'') or that the site had timed the releases for maximum negative effect on her campaign. ''WikiLeaks makes its decisions based on newsworthiness, including for its recent epic scoops,'' he wrote.
Mr. Assange disputed the conclusion of the Oct. 7 statement from the intelligence agencies that the leaks were ''intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.''
''This is false,'' he wrote. ''As the disclosing party we know that this was not the intent. Publishers publishing newsworthy information during an election is part of a free election.''
But asked whether he believed the leaks were one reason for Mr. Trump's election, Mr. Assange seemed happy to take credit. ''Americans extensively engaged with our publications,'' he wrote. ''According to Facebook statistics WikiLeaks was the most referenced political topic during October.''
Though Mr. Assange did not say so, WikiLeaks' best defense may be the conduct of the mainstream American media. Every major publication, including The Times, published multiple stories citing the D.N.C. and Podesta emails posted by WikiLeaks, becoming a de facto instrument of Russian intelligence.
Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy '-- political campaigns and independent media '-- to his own ends. The media's appetite for the hacked material, and its focus on the gossipy content instead of the Russian source, disturbed some of those whose personal emails were being reposted across the web.
''What was really surprising to me?'' Ms. Tanden said. ''I could not believe that reporters were covering it.''
Devising a Government ResponseInside the White House, as Mr. Obama's advisers debated their response, their conversation turned to North Korea.
In late 2014, hackers working for Kim Jong-un, the North's young and unpredictable leader, had carried out a well-planned attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment intended to stop the Christmastime release of a comedy about a C.I.A. plot to kill Mr. Kim.
In that case, embarrassing emails had also been released. But the real damage was done to Sony's own systems: More than 70 percent of its computers melted down when a particularly virulent form of malware was released. Within weeks, intelligence agencies traced the attack back to the North and its leadership. Mr. Obama called North Korea out in public, and issued some not-very-effective sanctions. The Chinese even cooperated, briefly cutting off the North's internet connections.
As the first Situation Room meetings on the Russian hacking began in July, ''it was clear that Russia was going to be a much more complicated case,'' said one participant. The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of ''kompromat,'' their term for compromising information.
But a formal ''attribution report'' still had not been forwarded to the president.
''It took forever,'' one senior administration official said, complaining about the pace at which the intelligence assessments moved through the system.
In August a group that called itself the ''Shadow Brokers'' published a set of software tools that looked like what the N.S.A. uses to break into foreign computer networks and install ''implants,'' malware that can be used for surveillance or attack. The code came from the Tailored Access Operations unit of the N.S.A., a secretive group that mastered the arts of surveillance and cyberwar.
The assumption '-- still unproved '-- was that the code was put out in the open by the Russians as a warning: Retaliate for the D.N.C., and there are a lot more secrets, from the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon, that might be spilled as well. One senior official compared it to the scene in ''The Godfather'' where the head of a favorite horse is left in a bed, as a warning.
The N.S.A. said nothing. But by late August, Admiral Rogers, its director, was pressing for a more muscular response to the Russians. In his role as director of the Pentagon's Cyber Command, he proposed a series of potential counter-cyberstrikes.
While officials will not discuss them in detail, the possible counterstrikes reportedly included operations that would turn the tables on Mr. Putin, exposing his financial links to Russia's oligarchs, and punching holes in the Russian internet to allow dissidents to get their message out. Pentagon officials judged the measures too unsubtle and ordered up their own set of options.
But in the end, none of those were formally presented to the president.
In a series of ''deputies meetings'' run by Avril Haines, the deputy national security adviser and a former deputy director of the C.I.A., several officials warned that an overreaction by the administration would play into Mr. Putin's hands.
''If we went to Defcon 4,'' one frequent participant in Ms. Haines's meetings said, using a phrase from the Cold War days of warnings of war, ''we would be saying to the public that we didn't have confidence in the integrity of our voting system.''
Even something seemingly straightforward '-- using the president's executive powers, bolstered after the Sony incident, to place economic and travel sanctions on cyberattackers '-- seemed too risky.
''No one was all that eager to impose costs before Election Day,'' said another participant in the classified meeting. ''Any retaliatory measures were seen through the prism of what would happen on Election Day.''
Instead, when Mr. Obama's national security team reconvened after summer vacation, the focus turned to a crash effort to secure the nation's voting machines and voter-registration rolls from hacking. The scenario they discussed most frequently '-- one that turned out not to be an issue '-- was a narrow vote in favor of Mrs. Clinton, followed by a declaration by Mr. Trump that the vote was ''rigged'' and more leaks intended to undercut her legitimacy.
Donna Brazile, the interim chairwoman of the D.N.C., became increasingly frustrated as the clock continued to run down on the presidential election '-- and still there was no broad public condemnation by the White House, or Republican Party leaders, of the attack as an act of foreign espionage.
Ms. Brazile even reached out to Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, urging him twice in private conversations and in a letter to join her in condemning the attacks '-- an offer he declined to take up.
''We just kept hearing the government would respond, the government would respond,'' she said. ''Once upon a time, if a foreign government interfered with our election we would respond as a nation, not as a political party.''
But Mr. Obama did decide that he would deliver a warning to Mr. Putin in person at a Group of 20 summit meeting in Hangzhou, China, the last time they would be in the same place while Mr. Obama was still in office. When the two men met for a tense pull-aside, Mr. Obama explicitly warned Mr. Putin of a strong American response if there was continued effort to influence the election or manipulate the vote, according to White House officials who were not present for the one-on-one meeting.
Later that day, Mr. Obama made a rare reference to America's own offensive cybercapacity, which he has almost never talked about. ''Frankly, both offensively and defensively, we have more capacity,'' he told reporters.
But when it came time to make a public assertion of Russia's role in early October, it was made in a written statement from the director of national intelligence and the secretary of homeland security. It was far less dramatic than the president's appearance in the press room two years before to directly accuse the North Koreans of attacking Sony.
The reference in the statement to hackings on ''political organizations,'' officials now say, encompassed a hacking on data stored by the Republicans as well. Two senior officials say the forensic evidence was accompanied by ''human and technical'' sources in Russia, which appears to mean that the United States' implants or taps in Russian computer and phone networks helped confirm the country's role.
But that may not be known for decades, until the secrets are declassified.
A week later Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was sent out to transmit a public warning to Mr. Putin: The United States will retaliate ''at the time of our choosing. And under the circumstances that have the greatest impact.''
Later, after Mr. Biden said he was not concerned that Russia could ''fundamentally alter the election,'' he was asked whether the American public would know if the message to Mr. Putin had been sent.
''Hope not,'' Mr. Biden responded.
Some of his former colleagues think that was the wrong answer. An American counterstrike, said Michael Morell, the former deputy director of the C.I.A. under Mr. Obama, has ''got to be overt. It needs to be seen.''
A covert response would significantly limit the deterrence effect, he added. ''If you can't see it, it's not going to deter the Chinese and North Koreans and Iranians and others.''
The Obama administration says it still has more than 30 days to do exactly that.
The Next TargetAs the year draws to a close, it now seems possible that there will be multiple investigations of the Russian hacking '-- the intelligence review Mr. Obama has ordered completed by Jan. 20, the day he leaves office, and one or more congressional inquiries. They will wrestle with, among other things, Mr. Putin's motive.
Did he seek to mar the brand of American democracy, to forestall anti-Russian activism for both Russians and their neighbors? Or to weaken the next American president, since presumably Mr. Putin had no reason to doubt American forecasts that Mrs. Clinton would win easily? Or was it, as the C.I.A. concluded last month, a deliberate attempt to elect Mr. Trump?
In fact, the Russian hack-and-dox scheme accomplished all three goals.
What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. ''The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,'' Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, ''Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.''
But Russia has by no means forgotten its American target. On the day after the presidential election, the cybersecurity company Volexity reported five new waves of phishing emails, evidently from Cozy Bear, aimed at think tanks and nonprofits in the United States.
One of them purported to be from Harvard University, attaching a fake paper. Its title: ''Why American Elections Are Flawed.''
Correction: December 13, 2016
Editors' Note: An earlier version of the main photograph with this article, of a filing cabinet and computer at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, should not have been published. The photographer had removed a framed image from the wall over the filing cabinet '-- showing a Washington Post Watergate front page '-- because it was causing glare with the lighting. The new version shows the scene as it normally appears, with the framed newspaper page in place.
NOT A HACK-Private Security Group Says Russia Was Behind John Podesta's Email Hack - NYTimes.com
Wed, 14 Dec 2016 08:07
SAN FRANCISCO '-- At the start of 2014, President Obama assigned his trusted counselor, John D. Podesta, to lead a review of the digital revolution, its potential and its perils. When Mr. Podesta presented his findings five months later, he called the internet's onslaught of big data ''a historic driver of progress.'' But two short years later, as chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, Mr. Podesta would also become one of the internet's most notable victims.
On Thursday, private security researchers said they had concluded that Mr. Podesta was hacked by Russia's foreign intelligence service, the GRU, after it tricked him into clicking on a fake Google login page last March, inadvertently handing over his digital credentials.
For months, the hackers mined Mr. Podesta's inbox for his most sensitive and potentially embarrassing correspondence, much of which has been posted on the WikiLeaks website. Additions to the collection on Thursday included three short email exchanges between Mr. Podesta and Mr. Obama himself in the days leading up to his election in 2008.
Mr. Podesta's emails were first published by WikiLeaks earlier this month. The release came just days after James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, and the Department of Homeland Security publicly blamed Russian officials for cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee, in what they described as an effort to influence the American presidential election.
To date, no government officials have offered evidence that the same Russian hackers behind the D.N.C. cyberattacks were also behind the hack of Mr. Podesta's emails, but an investigation by the private security researchers determined that they were the same.
Threat researchers at Dell SecureWorks, an Atlanta-based security firm, had been tracking the Russian intelligence group for more than a year. In June, they reported that they had uncovered a critical tool in the Russian spy campaign. SecureWorks researchers found that the Russian hackers were using a popular link shortening service, called Bitly, to shorten malicious links they used to send targets fake Google login pages to bait them into submitting their email credentials.
The hackers made a critical error by leaving some of their Bitly accounts public, making it possible for SecureWorks to trace 9,000 of their links to nearly 4,000 Gmail accounts targeted between October 2015 and May 2016 with fake Google login pages and security alerts designed to trick users into turning over their passwords.
Among the list of targets were more than 100 email addresses associated with Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, including Mr. Podesta's. By June, 20 staff members for the campaign had clicked on the short links sent by Russian spies. In June, SecureWorks disclosed that among those whose email accounts had been targeted were staff members who advised Mrs. Clinton on policy and managed her travel, communications and campaign finances.
Two security researchers who have been tracking the GRU's spearphishing campaign confirmed Thursday that Mr. Podesta was among those who had inadvertently turned over his Google email password. The fact that Mr. Podesta was among those breached by the GRU was first disclosed Thursday by Esquire and the Motherboard blog, which published the link Russian spies used against Mr. Podesta.
''The new public data confirming the Russians are behind the hack of John Podesta's email is a big deal,'' Jake Sullivan, Mrs. Clinton's senior policy adviser, said Thursday. ''There is no longer any doubt that Putin is trying to help Donald Trump by weaponizing WikiLeaks.''
The new release of Mr. Podesta's email exchange with Mr. Obama from 2008 made clear that Mr. Obama's team was confident he would win.
In one of the emails, Mr. Podesta wrote Mr. Obama a lengthy memo in the evening on Election Day recommending that he not accept an invitation from President George W. Bush to attend an emergency meeting of the Group of 20 leaders.
''Attendance alongside President Bush will create an extremely awkward situation,'' the memo said. ''If you attempt to dissociate yourself from his positions, you will be subject to criticism for projecting a divided United States to the rest of the world. But if you adopt a more reserved posture, you will be associated not only with his policies, but also with his very tenuous global standing.''
The White House did not respond to questions about the email.
Correction: October 22, 2016
An article on Friday about suspected email hacking by Russia's foreign intelligence service misstated the name of one organization that first disclosed that a presidential counselor, John D. Podesta, was among those whose accounts were breached. The blog is Motherboard, not VICE Motherload.
NYT: John Podesta Sparked Email Controversy By Responding To Spam - MILO
Wed, 14 Dec 2016 08:04
According to a report from The New York Times, hackers gained access to John Podesta's email inbox after the man himself '' or one of his aides '' simply gave them the password by replying to a spam message.The report states that one of Podesta's aides, suspicious about the phishing email, forwarded it to Clinton campaign aide Charles Delavan, who replied not long after.
According to Delavan, what he meant to say was ''this is an illegitimate email.'' Here's what he actually wound up sending.
Oops. (Image: New York Times)
As The New York Times puts it, ''with another click, a decade of emails that Mr. Podesta maintained in his Gmail account '' a total of 60,000 '' were unlocked.''
Who exactly was on the other end? According to The Times, it was the Russians. Other people aren't so convinced.In fact, given the reportedly rudimentary means of entry (phishing?!), a number of people are now calling the 'hack' a 'leak.'
@PrisonPlanet@YANKEEFANNO3@DailyCaller What an idiot and he's leading the charge to get the electoral college to vote Hillary LOL won't happen You got leaked not hacked
'-- Craig (@ahs6482) December 14, 2016
@ukexpat19@markberman@Jordanfabian All this crap about hackers. It was leaks and the deflect is from the content of the leaks.
'-- Julie Weathers (@Julie_Weathers) December 14, 2016
@thehill They were leaked not hacked. These are evil people that someone with a conscience wanted to expose. Probably the dead staffer
'-- Nathan Chambers (@NathanLC78) December 14, 2016
Plenty of people seem to find the whole thing hilarious '' especially in light of the recent ''blame the Russians'' rhetoric that has taken over mainstream media outlets.@thehill So much for the big Russian scare. Podesta is a moron.
'-- Hugh Brice (@hugh_brice) December 13, 2016
Russia ''hacked'' Podesta's emails with a phishing scheme and I'm supposed to believe they're good enough to hack three states voting machines
'-- Wokieleaks (@jrireland1) November 25, 2016
The big ''Russian Hackers story'' was nothing but cover. Podesta fell for a phishing scam. Incompetent moron. LMAO.
'-- مØت ÙاÙكر (@mattwalkeresq) December 14, 2016
@oreillyfactor Podesta loses phone has weak password and falls for phishing scam. How was this the Russians, there is no evidence
'-- Barry Sharp (@BarrSharp) December 13, 2016
Podesta was sent a phishing link, and his tech guy told him it was ''legitimate'' (supposedly by accident): wow, that's some serious hacking ????
'-- Michael Tracey (@mtracey) December 13, 2016
Russia and Syria could be encouraging migrant sex attacks to oust Angela Merkel, pro-EU firm says | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 13:09
Russian and Syrian secret services may be encouraging refugees in Germany to carry out orchestrated sex attacks, in a bid to oust Angela Merkel from office, it is claimed.
The extraordinary assertion was made by an expert from the European Council on Foreign Relations, who said the foreign powers could collude to destabilise Germany ahead of next year's election.
Gustav Gressel, a Russian expert at the think-tank, said small numbers of refugees with links to the Kremlin and Syrian security services could be mobilised to sway public opinion against the Chancellor.
Hundreds of sex assaults were reported across Germany on New Year's Eve, prompting an anti-migrant backlash
Citing a series of sex assaults in the city of Cologne during New Year's Eve celebrations at the start of 2016 he told Bild: 'What would happen, for example, if a similar event were repeated at a summer festival before the election as in the Silvesternacht in Cologne?
'How would Merkel stand then? What would be the consequence for the Bundestag election? Of course, this is an extreme example, but it is within the range of possibility.'
Hundreds of sexual assaults and 29 rapes were reported across Germany, centred mainly in Cologne.
Last year's attacks sparked an anti-migrant backlash, including this march in January by far-right group Pegida
The attacks provoked an anti-migrant backlash, and Gressel said similar attacks could provoke Germans to turn on Merkel at next September's election.
Merkel is widely viewed as hostile to Russia, and this week recommended extending EU sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine conflict.
Last month the Chancellor warned that Russia is already trying to influence the German electoral process, stating: 'We are already, even now, having to deal with information out of Russia or with internet attacks that are of Russian origin or with news which sows false information.'
Putin's government has been accused of trying to influence the result of next September's election in Germany
Angela Merkel said last month that dealing with Russian cyber attacks is already a 'daily task'
She said dealing with this is already a 'daily task', and added: 'So it may be that this could also play a role during the election campaign.'
But Hans-Georg Massen, who heads Germany's domestic intelligence service, said a Russian disinformation campaign was likely.
Last month he cited the high-profile case last year of a young Russian woman from Berlin, who Russian media said was kidnapped and raped by migrants, a claim later refuted by the German government.
He told Reuters: 'This could happen again next year and we are alarmed.
'We have the impression that this is part of a hybrid threat that seeks to influence public opinion and decision-making processes.'
Merkel is widely viewed as being hostile to Russia,
Putin's government has faced widespread allegations that it used hackers to try and influence the US Presidential election this year, with leaks of DNC files linked to Russian cyber groups.
Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia - The New York Times
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 15:26
The F.B.I.'s inquiries into Russia's possible role continue, as does the investigation into the emails involving Mrs. Clinton's top aide, Huma Abedin, on a computer she shared with her estranged husband, Anthony D. Weiner. Mrs. Clinton's supporters argue that voters have as much right to know what the F.B.I. has found in Mr. Trump's case, even if the findings are not yet conclusive.
''You do not hear the director talking about any other investigation he is involved in,'' Representative Gregory W. Meeks, Democrat of New York, said after Mr. Comey's letter to Congress was made public. ''Is he investigating the Trump Foundation? Is he looking into the Russians hacking into all of our emails? Is he looking into and deciding what is going on with regards to other allegations of the Trump Organization?''
Mr. Comey would not even confirm the existence of any investigation of Mr. Trump's aides when asked during an appearance in September before Congress. In the Obama administration's internal deliberations over identifying the Russians as the source of the hacks, Mr. Comey also argued against doing so and succeeded in keeping the F.B.I.'s imprimatur off the formal findings, a law enforcement official said. His stance was first reported by CNBC.
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the minority leader, responded angrily on Sunday with a letter accusing the F.B.I. of not being forthcoming about Mr. Trump's alleged ties with Moscow.
''It has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisers, and the Russian government '-- a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity,'' Mr. Reid wrote. ''The public has a right to know this information.''
F.B.I. officials declined to comment on Monday. Intelligence officials have said in interviews over the last six weeks that apparent connections between some of Mr. Trump's aides and Moscow originally compelled them to open a broad investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Republican presidential candidate. Still, they have said that Mr. Trump himself has not become a target. And no evidence has emerged that would link him or anyone else in his business or political circle directly to Russia's election operations.
At least one part of the investigation has involved Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump's campaign chairman for much of the year. Mr. Manafort, a veteran Republican political strategist, has had extensive business ties in Russia and other former Soviet states, especially Ukraine, where he served as an adviser to that country's ousted president, Viktor F. Yanukovych.
But the focus in that case was on Mr. Manafort's ties with a kleptocratic government in Ukraine '-- and whether he had declared the income in the United States '-- and not necessarily on any Russian influence over Mr. Trump's campaign, one official said.
In classified sessions in August and September, intelligence officials also briefed congressional leaders on the possibility of financial ties between Russians and people connected to Mr. Trump. They focused particular attention on what cyberexperts said appeared to be a mysterious computer back channel between the Trump Organization and the Alfa Bank, which is one of Russia's biggest banks and whose owners have longstanding ties to Mr. Putin.
F.B.I. officials spent weeks examining computer data showing an odd stream of activity to a Trump Organization server and Alfa Bank. Computer logs obtained by The New York Times show that two servers at Alfa Bank sent more than 2,700 ''look-up'' messages '-- a first step for one system's computers to talk to another '-- to a Trump-connected server beginning in the spring. But the F.B.I. ultimately concluded that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam, for the computer contacts.
The most serious part of the F.B.I.'s investigation has focused on the computer hacks that the Obama administration now formally blames on Russia. That investigation also involves numerous officials from the intelligence agencies. Investigators, the officials said, have become increasingly confident, based on the evidence they have uncovered, that Russia's direct goal is not to support the election of Mr. Trump, as many Democrats have asserted, but rather to disrupt the integrity of the political system and undermine America's standing in the world more broadly.
The hacking, they said, reflected an intensification of spy-versus-spy operations that never entirely abated after the Cold War but that have become more aggressive in recent years as relations with Mr. Putin's Russia have soured.
A senior intelligence official, who like the others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a continuing national security investigation, said the Russians had become adept at exploiting computer vulnerabilities created by the relative openness of and reliance on the internet. Election officials in several states have reported what appeared to be cyberintrusions from Russia, and while many doubt that an Election Day hack could alter the outcome of the election, the F.B.I. agencies across the government are on alert for potential disruptions that could wreak havoc with the voting process itself.
''It isn't about the election,'' a second senior official said, referring to the aims of Russia's interference. ''It's about a threat to democracy.''
The investigation has treated it as a counterintelligence operation as much as a criminal one, though agents are also focusing on whether anyone in the United States was involved. The officials declined to discuss any individual targets of the investigation, even when assured of anonymity.
As has been the case with the investigation into Mrs. Clinton, the F.B.I. has come under intense partisan political pressure '-- something the bureau's leaders have long sought to avoid. Supporters of both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump have been equally impassioned in calling for investigations '-- and even in providing leads for investigators to follow.
Mr. Reid, in a letter to Mr. Comey in August, asserted that Mr. Trump's campaign ''has employed a number of individuals with significant and disturbing ties to the Russia and the Kremlin.'' Although Mr. Reid cited no evidence and offered no names explicitly, he clearly referred to one of Mr. Trump's earlier campaign advisers, Carter Page.
Mr. Page, a former Merrill Lynch banker who founded an investment company in New York, Global Energy Capital, drew attention during the summer for a speech in which he criticized the United States and other Western nations for a ''hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change'' in Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union.
Mr. Page responded with his own letter to Mr. Comey, denying wrongdoing and calling Mr. Reid's accusations ''a witch hunt.'' In an interview, he said that he had never been contacted by the F.B.I. and that the accusations were baseless and purely partisan because of his policy views on Russia. ''These people really seem to be grasping at straws,'' he said.
Democrats have also accused another Republican strategist and Trump confidant, Roger Stone, of being a conduit between the Russian hackers and WikiLeaks, which has published the emails of the Democratic National Committee and Mr. Podesta, the Clinton campaign manager. Mr. Stone boasted of having contacts with the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, and appeared to predict the hacking of Mr. Podesta's account, though he later denied having any prior knowledge.
Mr. Stone derided the accusations and those raised by Michael J. Morell, a former C.I.A. director and a Clinton supporter, who has called Mr. Trump ''an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.'' In an article on the conservative news site Breitbart, Mr. Stone denied having links to Russians and called the accusations ''the new McCarthyism.''
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 November 1, 2016, on page A21 of the New York edition with the headline: Investigating Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russian Government.
Continue reading the main story
Soros Think Tank Claims Russia Could Engineer Migrant Sex Attacks to Boost Right-Wing Parties - Breitbart
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 17:14
Bild, Germany's largest tabloid, carries the claim in a piece which asserts that Russia intends to ''sabotage the outcome'' of the Bundestag election next year by causing a ''radical reshaping of public opinion''.
The ECFR's Gustav Gressel said Moscow's interference could go beyond spreading ''disinformation'', and suggested it's possible that Moscow could mobilise secret agents linked to the Russian mafia, Bashar al-Assad, and even long-deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to sexually assault German women.
''A section of the refugees from Iraq and Syria, if only a very small section, had connections with Assad or Saddam Hussein's secret services'', he said.
According to Gressel, these people could be specifically targeted by intelligence agents or organised crime and directed to cause disturbances in Germany.
''What would happen, for example, if a similar event to [the mass sex attacks on New Year's Eve] in Cologne were repeated at a summer festival before the election? How would Merkel stand then? What would be the consequence for the Bundestag election? Of course, this is an extreme example, but it is within the range of possibility,'' he said.
The article, co-written by Julian R¶pcke '-- a journalist whose unflinching support of al-Qaeda and the most extremist ''rebels'' in Syria earned him the nickname #JihadiJulian, a popular hashtag campaign on Twitter '-- claims Moscow interfered with the U.S. election by publishing internal Democratic National Convention documents through Wikileaks.
The ECFR is a Soros-funded, pan-European think tank of which the arch-globalist billionaire was a founding Council member. The organisation's website featured a piece by the Hungarian hedge fund manager as early as February 2009 marking Russia as ''hostile'' and a ''threat'' to ''open society values'', in which he instructed Europe to ''neutralise'' the nation.
The European Union has strongly signalled its intent to take action against ''fake news'' in recent weeks.
Despite the fact that information dealing with migrants attacking their European hosts has also been suggested to be ''fake news'' the media in parts of Europe routinely self-censors what they report, with journalists directed to avoid ''stirring up prejudice'' in their work.
Hillary Clinton Lost. Get Over It And Stop Blaming Russia, WikiLeaks And 'Fake' News | The Huffington Post
Wed, 14 Dec 2016 14:28
Stop blaming WikiLeaks.
Stop blaming Russia.
Stop citing a secret CIA report, especially since The New York Times published an article on October 31, 2016 titled Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia:
Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government. And even the hacking into Democratic emails, F.B.I. and intelligence officials now believe, was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump.
Therefore, the FBI has already contradicted the CIA on its Russian conspiracy theories.
Was this New York Times article an example of ''fake'' news?
As for Russian interference through WikiLeaks, NSA Chief Mike Rogers is quoted on November 21, 2016 in The Hill stating DNC emails had little impact on the election:
National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers said Sunday that he does not believe the publication of stolen Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
''I don't think in the end it had the effect that [the hackers] had hoped it might,'' Rogers said during a panel at the Halifax International Security Forum.
Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Az.) expressed a similar sentiment on Saturday, stating that, ''I do not think that the outcome of the election was impacted by Russian hacking.''
The FBI and NSA have already contradicted The Washington Post and CIA. Even Sen. John McCain stated that he didn't think ''the outcome of the election was impacted by Russian hacking.''
Did the NSA's Mike Rogers engage in a ''fake'' news conspiracy?
Democrats need to accept that Hillary Clinton lost to Trump, without blaming everything under the sun for her catastrophic defeat. I've been warning Democrats since October 21, 2015 that Clinton would lose to Trump, and only Bernie Sanders could win the election for Democrats. I also explained on October 26, 2015 that Clinton was unelectable since swing states didn't trust the former Secretary of State.
But she won the popular vote!
Yes, but Clinton raised $1.4 billion and outspent Trump by a margin of 2:1. Also, California is the primary reason Clinton won the popular vote. As stated by Heavy.com, ''Without California in the popular vote totals, Trump leads the rest of the states combined by more than 1.87 million popular votes.''
The hundreds of millions raised by Clinton were wasted on a campaign riddled with controversy, FBI probes, and allegations of election fraud.
It's not the fault of Russia, WikiLeaks or Trump that Clinton wasted $1.4 billion. White nationalists didn't cheat Bernie Sanders and sexism isn't the reason Jill Stein voters shunned Clinton. At the end of the day, Hillary Clinton was such a polarizing figure that both left and right found reasons to either stay home or vote Republican.
Clinton lost Wisconsin.
The last time Wisconsin voted Republican in a presidential election was 1984; the state voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. White nationalism had nothing to do with Clinton losing Wisconsin, nor did Russia, ''fake'' news, or WikiLeaks.
Clinton lost Michigan and Pennsylvania. Michigan and Pennsylvania haven't voted for a Republican nominee since 1988. Both states chose Obama over Romney and McCain.
White nationalism had nothing to do with Clinton losing Wisconsin, nor did Russia, ''fake'' news, or WikiLeaks.
Democrats knew they had to win the Electoral College, so any emphasis on the popular vote ignores why Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin voted for Obama, but chose Trump over Clinton.
Ultimately, Democrats picked a candidate who faced two FBI investigations, low favorability ratings, and Clinton Foundation controversies. Democrats would never accuse CNN of ''fake'' news, therefore let's evaluate a piece titled FBI boss Comey's 7 most damning lines on Clinton:
1. ''Extremely careless''
''Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.''
2. ''Should have known''
''There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton's position'...should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.''
3. ''Especially concerning''
''None of these emails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these emails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at agencies and departments of the United States government '• or even with a commercial email service like Gmail.''
4. ''Still obligated to protect it''
'''...even if information is not marked 'classified' in an email, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it.''
5. ''Generally lacking''
While not the focus of our investigation, we also developed evidence that the security culture of the State Department in general, and with respect to use of unclassified email systems in particular, was generally lacking in the kind of care for classified information that is found elsewhere in the government.
6. ''Hostile actors''
''We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial email accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account. We also assess that Secretary Clinton's use of a personal email domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent.''
7. ''Sophisticated adversaries''
''She also used her personal email extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related emails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton's personal email account.''
Were James Comey's statements regarding Clinton's handling of classified information examples of ''fake'' news? Is it Russia's fault Hillary Clinton was ''extremely careless'' with classified data or that ''sophisticated adversaries'' could have ''gained access'' to Clinton's server?
Is it the fault of Julian Assange or WikiLeaks that Defense Secretary Robert Gates believed Russia, China and Iran may have hacked Clinton's private server?
Were the 22 Top Secret emails on Clinton's unencrypted server the product of a ''fake'' news story?
The latest public relations campaign from The Washington Post states that Russia interfered with America's election. I explain here why the CIA has refused to provide evidence for such claims. Apparently, providing any proof pertaining to Russian hackers would help Russia.
Does this make sense to you?
Senator Angus King states ''If you provide proof, you provide a roadmap to show the Russians how we caught them'... including intelligence sources and methods.''
Welcome to 1984.
Without any evidence (emails, transcripts, photos, videos, suspects, etc.) the CIA and Washington Post have accused Russia of providing WikiLeaks with hacked emails.
The problem with this theory, aside from the pesky issue of evidence, is that Podesta's emails involve the actual words of Clinton's campaign. Essentially, Putin had the audacity to interfere by using Clinton's own words, and the words of her campaign, against Democrats. Through these words, found within pristine emails in WikiLeaks DNC and Podesta releases, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (and four other DNC officials) resigned from the DNC and Donna Brazile resigned from CNN.
The words within emails typed by Clinton campaign and DNC officials influenced the electorate. The vile manner in which DNC officials conspired to utilize Bernie's Jewish faith against him, or the manner DNC officials tilted the scales in favor of Clinton, resulted in millions learning that Democrats cheated Senator Sanders. In addition to a rigged Democratic Primary, where ''friendly journalists'' at The New York Times''teed up'' stories in favor of Hillary, voters learned that Democrats engaged in favoritism.
As for Trump's rise, Clinton and the media colluded to engage in a ''pied piper strategy.'' The strategy backfired and elevated the eventual Republican nominee who defeated Clinton. Don't blame anyone other than Clinton for President Trump.
In my Huffington Post, Salon, and Hill articles since late 2015, I've warned Democrats around 200 times that Hillary Clinton would lost to Trump. People like The Nation'sJoan Walsh felt these warning were ''idiotic,'' however I've always believed FBI investigations were bad for presidential campaigns. Now the country has Trump for possibly eight years.
Don't blame WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks Tweeted ''No link between Trump & Russia... No link between Assange & Russia... But Podesta & Clinton involved in selling 20% of US uranium to Russia.''
Don't blame Russia for influencing our elections without evidence. Hearsay isn't evidence.
Don't blame ''fake'' news for Clinton's FBI investigation or Anthony Weiner's laptop.
Simply blame Hillary Clinton in the same manner you'd blame Bernie, had Bernie lost to Trump in 2016 and wasn't cheated by the DNC.
Electoral College
Electors demand intelligence briefing before Electoral College vote - POLITICO
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 10:29
''Trump's willingness to disregard conclusions made by the intelligence community and his continuing defense of Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin demand close scrutiny and deliberation from the Electoral College,'' a group of at least 10 members of the Electoral College write. | Getty
The request represents the latest effort by Democratic electors to look to the Electoral College as a possible bulwark against a Trump presidency.
By Kyle Cheney and Gabriel Debenedetti
12/12/16 10:13 AM EST
Updated 12/12/16 01:02 PM EST
In its first show of public support for efforts questioning the legitimacy of Donald Trump's victory, Hillary Clinton's campaign said it is supporting a request by members of the Electoral College for an intelligence briefing on foreign intervention in the presidential election.
''The bipartisan electors' letter raises very grave issues involving our national security,'' Clinton's former campaign chairman John Podesta said in a statement on Monday. ''Electors have a solemn responsibility under the Constitution and we support their efforts to have their questions addressed.''
Story Continued Below
''Each day in October, our campaign decried the interference of Russia in our campaign and its evident goal of hurting our campaign to aid Donald Trump,'' he said. ''Despite our protestations, this matter did not receive the attention it deserved by the media in the campaign. We now know that the CIA has determined Russia's interference in our elections was for the purpose of electing Donald Trump. This should distress every American.''
Podesta's statement follows an open letter from 10 members of the Electoral College, including Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's daughter Christine and a former member of Congress, who are demanding a briefing from U.S. intelligence officials on any ongoing investigations into Trump's ties to Russia.
In a letter to National Intelligence Director James Clapper, the electors '-- nine Democrats and one Republican '-- argue that they require the information ahead of Dec. 19, when the Electoral College is set to meet and select the next president.
''The Electors require to know from the intelligence community whether there are ongoing investigations into ties between Donald Trump, his campaign or associates, and Russian government interference in the election, the scope of those investigations, how far those investigations may have reached, and who was involved in those investigations,'' they wrote. ''We further require a briefing on all investigative findings, as these matters directly impact the core factors in our deliberations of whether Mr. Trump is fit to serve as President of the United States.''
The letter is signed by electors from five states and the District of Columbia. In addition to Christine Pelosi '-- a California elector '-- it includes a signature from one former members of Congress: New Hampshire's Carol Shea-Porter.
Shea-Porter's three other New Hampshire colleagues '-- Terie Norelli, Bev Hollingsworth and Dudley Dudley '-- also signed the letter. D.C. Councilwoman Anita Bonds, former Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate Clay Pell and Maryland activist Courtney Watson round out the nine Democratic signatories. Colorado Democratic elector Micheal Baca, leader of an effort to turn the Electoral College against Trump, is also on the list. Texas' Chris Suprun, an emergency responder who has been a vocal critic of Trump, is the only Republican elector to sign on.
''Yes, we the Electors should have temporary security clearance to perform our constitutional duty in reviewing the facts regarding outside interference in the US election and the intelligence agencies should declassify as much data as possible while protecting sources and methods so that the American people can learn the truth about our election,'' said Pelosi.
Though the letter doesn't explicitly endorse a separate effort by electors in Colorado, Washington and California to stop Trump from winning the presidency, it represents the latest effort by Democratic electors to look to the Electoral College as a possible bulwark against a Trump presidency. The letter follows on the heels of two Democratic congressmen '-- David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Jim Himes of Connecticut '-- who suggested this weekend that the Electoral College should consider whether to block Trump's election.
Clinton, her top advisers and former President Bill Clinton, who's an elector for New York, have remained silent on the various Electoral College machinations.
The signatories of Monday's letter represent some prominent party names. Pelosi's mother is the highest-ranking House Democrat, Bonds is a member of the Washington, D.C., city council, Norelli is a former speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, and Shea-Porter was recently elected to her old seat in Congress. Pell, the grandson of Democratic Sen. Claiborne Pell, ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2014. His wife, the former figure skater Michelle Kwan, was a senior staffer in Clinton's presidential campaign.
The letter begins with a lengthy defense of the Electoral College's role in the election process. The Democrats argue that it's their duty not simply to rubber-stamp the Election Day results but to ''investigate, discuss, and deliberate with our colleagues about whom to vote for.'' They point to Trump's repeated rejection of intelligence assessments suggesting Russia's meddling in the election, as well as his suggestion during the campaign that Russia should unearth some of Hillary Clinton's missing emails. And, they note, Trump has dismissed reports over the weekend that the U.S. intelligence community had determined Russia intervened in the election to help him win.
''Trump's willingness to disregard conclusions made by the intelligence community and his continuing defense of Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin demand close scrutiny and deliberation from the Electoral College,'' they write.
The 538 members of the Electoral College are slated to meet in their state capitals on Dec. 19 to cast the only official vote for president. Trump won the popular vote in states that carried 306 electors, while Clinton won states that include 232 electors. Anti-Trump forces are working to persuade at least 37 Republican electors to turn on Trump, which would block his immediate election and send the final decision to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Georgia says it's traced an attempted voter hack to DHS | ITworld
Mon, 12 Dec 2016 05:35
The Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta.
Georgia's secretary of state says the state was hit with an attempted hack of its voter registration database from an IP address linked to the federal Department of Homeland Security.
The allegation by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is one of the more bizarre charges to come up in the recent spate of alarms about voting-system hacks. He said in a Facebook post on Thursday that he had been made aware of the failed attempt to breach the firewall protecting Georgia's voter registration database. The attack was traced to an Internet Protocol address associated with DHS, he said.
''This morning I sent a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson demanding to know why,'' he said in the post.
[Best Bluetooth speakers: We'll help you find the best wireless speakers for pairing with your smartphone or tablet'--whatever your budget, and whatever music floats your boat.]The DHS said it had received the letter. ''We are looking into the matter. DHS takes the trust of our public and private sector partners seriously, and we will respond to Secretary Kemp directly,'' the department said in a statement.
The hacking attempt reportedly took place on Nov. 15, after the presidential election, according to the Wall Street Journal, which saw a copy of the letter.
''At no time has my office agreed to or permitted DHS to conduct penetration testing or security scans of our network,'' Kemp wrote in his letter. ''Moreover, your department has not contacted my office since this unsuccessful incident to alert us of any security event that would require testing or scanning of our network.''
Kemp is also asking if the department has scanned any other states in the same way.
The hacking of local election systems in the U.S. was a major concern during this year's presidential campaign. U.S. government agencies, including the DHS, had found evidence that hackers were probing state voter registration systems in the months preceding Election Day.
To prevent possible tampering, the DHS was working with some states on protecting their election systems. Among the services the agency was offering were "cyber hygiene scans.'' These scans were conducted remotely and designed to identify vulnerabilities in election-related online systems, DHS said.
Reportedly, Kemp had been resisting election security help from the federal government. Kemp said he was worried that the Obama administration was exaggerating the cyber threat to intrude on the state's authority, according to Politico.
''I strongly believe that the U.S. Constitution mandates that the respective states manage the elections process," Kemp said in a statement in August. "I also believe it is important that every state and the federal government collaborate responsibly on best practices and the sharing of information."
Fake News
All the President's Propaganda - The New York Times
Mon, 12 Dec 2016 16:26
PhotoCredit Selman DesignIt didn't take long for President-elect Donald J. Trump to claim his first triumph on the foreign trade front. In a series of Twitter posts on Nov. 17, he announced he had successfully lobbied Ford to keep its ''Lincoln plant in Kentucky '-- no Mexico.''
As several news outlets subsequently reported, this was not quite true. Ford had never intended to close its plant, only to shift production of one vehicle line to Mexico and to increase production of another in Louisville. No jobs would have been lost.
Such ''truthiness'' is nothing new for Mr. Trump. After all, this is a man who, in the 1980s, pretended to be his own spokesman on phone conversations with reporters. And as we've seen in the weeks since, self-laudatory, truth-bending tweets will likely be part of the president's M.O.
And Twitter is just the beginning: Come Jan. 20, Mr. Trump, with the help of the former Breitbart executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon, will have his hands on the levers of the government's $1 billion-plus public communications machine. It is a disturbing prospect. Information is one of our republic's greatest and most underappreciated vulnerabilities.
A healthy democracy depends on the provision of government information. Elected leaders cannot be held accountable if citizens don't know their policies and plans, and their progress in implementing them. Government must be transparent about how much it spends, and for what. Beyond this, the ability of government to collect and analyze accurate data helps the public make informed decisions: Business relies on Commerce Department trade statistics to assess foreign markets. The National Weather Service tells us if we need to take an umbrella when we go outdoors.
But democracy is distorted when the government uses our tax dollars to shape our opinions about what government should do, and how it is performing. And whatever Mr. Trump does with these tools, he won't be the first to manipulate the government's informational power.
The Department of Labor is running a public-relations campaign to pressure Congress to increase the minimum wage, which is set by law. ''See how raising the national minimum wage will benefit America's workers,'' the agency's web page proclaims. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has pointed out that raising the wage would eliminate some jobs; nonetheless, the Labor Department's web page labels possible job losses a ''myth.'' Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency was flagged by the Government Accountability Office for running a covert propaganda campaign for a controversial environmental rule. And, of course, George W. Bush's administration manipulated intelligence to drum up public support to invade Iraq.
The beginnings of such efforts date from the earliest days of the republic. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton generated favorable government reports to promote his pro-industrial policies. But it wasn't until World War I that the nation saw the beginnings of a systematic, pervasive program of government propaganda. The Committee on Public Information, which tried to drive support for the war, was headed by President Woodrow Wilson's own Bannon, the journalist George Creel, whose approach was emotion-laden and often coercive. ''There was no part of the great war machinery that we did not touch,'' Creel said, ''no medium of appeal that we did not employ.''
Today, the G.A.O. estimates that the salaries for government public relations employees exceed $400 million per year. By our tally, executive agencies spent $800 million this past year on advertising and public relations contracts. Every federal agency has an internet presence. The Justice Department has a YouTube channel. The E.P.A. has about two dozen Twitter accounts. President Obama established a White House Office of Digital Communications in 2009, some of whose occupants had used those skills to get him elected.
The lines between salubrious and unwholesome government information are not easy to draw. Should the government, for instance, seek to dissuade people from eating trans-fats? Still, there are some very basic steps that can help curb propaganda.
The first is to get a sense of the volume. We have no good measure of how much information the government generates, who provides it and for whom it is intended. Such data could be added to the items the White House must submit with its budget request to Congress.
The few laws that exist are inadequate and anachronistic. A 1913 statute, still on the books, sought to thwart propaganda by forbidding the hiring of ''publicity experts,'' a ban that has as much to do with modern communication as cuneiform tablets. A 1919 anti-lobbying statute bars agencies from whipping up citizens through telegrams but not via the internet. These laws do not define ''publicity'' or ''propaganda,'' or hint at the differences by providing distinguishing criteria (e.g., government communications should be balanced and written in a tone that doesn't extol the agency or its activities). Updating and expanding these laws would provide an institutional counterweight to propaganda, and provide watchdogs with the information to fight it.
Mr. Trump's inclination to play fast and loose with the truth, even after being elected, should elevate our concerns about the dangers of largely unchecked governmental power to propagandize citizens. Whether or not one likes Mr. Trump as tweeter in chief, the potential for abuse is bipartisan. When his time in office is over, the problem of errant government communications will become more dire thanks to rapid advances in information technology. Why not start to fix it now?
John Maxwell Hamilton is a professor in Louisiana State University's Manship School of Mass Communication and a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Kevin R. Kosar is a senior fellow at the R Street Institute and the editor of LegBranch.com. They are the authors of the report ''Government Information and Propaganda: How to Draw the Line?''
A version of this op-ed appears in print on December 12, 2016, on page A21 of the New York edition with the headline: All the President's Propaganda.
Continue reading the main story
Civil War
Journalists and Trump voters live in separate online bubbles, MIT analysis shows - VICE News
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 15:38
When Donald Trump swept to victory in the Electoral College on Nov. 8, perhaps no group was more surprised than journalists, who had largely bought into the polls showing Hillary Clinton was consistently several percentage points ahead in key swing states.
But there may be another reason they didn't see it coming: Journalists spend a lot of time on Twitter, and their information bubble rarely includes Trump supporters. That's according to a new analysis from the Electome project at the MIT Media Lab provided exclusively to VICE News.
MIT's analysis '-- which used the social media company's complete data set '-- shows that on Twitter, Trump supporters formed a particularly insular group when talking about politics during the general election. They had few connections to Clinton supporters or the mainstream media. By contrast, Clinton supporters were more splintered and verified journalists often overlapped within their mutual follower networks.
The data cannot draw any definitive conclusions about why Twitter users became so polarized during the 2016 campaign, but it does provide a striking look at how they did. Perhaps journalists' more Clinton-oriented Twitter networks expose a subtle form of political bias, or perhaps Trump supporters separated themselves from these users to avoid inconvenient facts.
''All of this paints a bleak picture of online political discourse,'' said John West, a data journalist at the MIT Media Lab who worked on the study. ''It is one balkanized by ideology and issue-interest, with little potential for information flow between the online cocoons '-- or between the loud and important cluster of exclusive Trump followers and the institutionalized media users that are supposed to be political discourse's immune system.''
In the United States, people tweeted 1 billion times about the 2016 election from August 2015 through Election Day (Nov. 8),according to Twitter. The volume of conversation '-- including from the candidates themselves '-- provided MIT with a treasure trove of data to mine on how Americans discussed one of the most contentious presidential races in history.
Electome found that following either Trump or Clinton on the social media site was a reliable indicator of support for that candidate. Two researchers at the MIT Media Lab independently analyzed hundreds of exclusive Trump and Clinton followers to score their level of support for the candidates. ''In almost all cases, being an exclusive follower of a candidate was predictive of support for that candidate,'' said Soroush Vosoughi, a postdoctoral associate at MIT's Laboratory for Social Machines who worked on the project.
As you can see from the images, that support had an effect on a user's information flow as people seemed to cut themselves off from users who supported a different candidate.
Electome used its machine learning algorithms to measure all political conversation from June 1 to Sept. 18 this year on topics including guns, immigration, terrorism, jobs, racial issues, seniors and Social Security, the economy, and education. The group first searched for what it called ''high-precision'' terms and hashtags such as ''2nd Amendment'' and ''#buildthewall'' that clearly related to specific topics like guns and immigration. From there, it used those words to teach its classification system to expand the possible terms and hashtags that could relate to certain issues, including misspellings of them.
Vosoughi said Electome also took pains to follow the political conversation in real time in order to make its issue categories as precise as possible. ''Since the conversation around the election is very dynamic and new terms and phrases are brought into the conversation constantly, our system automatically re-trains itself once a week so that it is aware of the most up-to-date terms and phrases,'' he said.
The data scientists constructed a network of all the mutual followers around each issue, filtered out users who were likely trying to get followers by following lots of others accounts, and then ran a PageRank algorithm to determine the 50 most important users in the conversations about each topic.
From there, Electome plotted those 50 users and their followers on maps showing the political conversation. The maps do not show the entirety of the 1 billion political tweets this cycle, but the visuals offer a sophisticated representation of that network.
There's a strong caveat to all of this: Twitter users are a self-selecting subset not necessarily representative of America. The data does not include conversation on Facebook, for example, which reported that 128 million people in the U.S. used their social platform to talk about the election from March 23, 2015, through Nov. 1 this year '-- a slightly longer window than Twitter used for its calculations. These Facebook users either liked, posted, commented, or shared things about the election.
Still, Twitter is a large network of 67 million active monthly users in the U.S. that can become a vibrant and often caustic political forum. Electome's results suggest that even as voters have instant access to more information and perspectives than ever before, they segregate themselves into clusters of like-minded people often with little connection to those with other views.
Journalists were just as guilty as the partisans of separating themselves. By culling through verified users, Electome mapped out where a lot of journalists fell within the conversation and found that they were mostly disconnected from Trump supporters.
This could help explain why many journalists were caught off guard by the depth of Trump's support '-- and why the soul-searching in the media continues long after Election Day.
Watch a VICE special report on bipartisanship, ''A House Divided,'' Friday, Dec. 9, at 10 p.m.
Shut Up Slave
Text - H.R.4919 - 114th Congress (2015-2016): Kevin and Avonte's Law of 2016 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 17:16
H. R. 4919
To amend the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, to reauthorize the Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program, and to promote initiatives that will reduce the risk of injury and death relating to the wandering characteristics of some children with autism.
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 ''Kevin and Avonte's Law of 2016''.
TITLE I'--Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program reauthorization
SEC. 101.Short title.
This title may be cited as the ''Missing Americans Alert Program Act of 2016''.
SEC. 102.Reauthorization of the missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program.
(a) Amendments.'--Section 240001 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 14181) is amended'--
(1) in the section header, by striking ''Alzheimer's disease patient'' and inserting ''Americans''; and
(2) by striking subsection (a) and inserting the following:
''(a) Grant program To reduce injury and death of missing Americans with dementia and developmental disabilities.'--Subject to the availability of appropriations to carry out this section, the Attorney General, through the Bureau of Justice Assistance and in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services'--
''(1) shall award competitive grants to health care agencies, State and local law enforcement agencies, or public safety agencies and nonprofit organizations to assist such entities in planning, designing, establishing, or operating locally based, proactive programs to prevent wandering and locate missing individuals with forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer's Disease, or developmental disabilities, such as autism, who, due to their condition, wander from safe environments, including programs that'--
''(A) provide prevention and response information, including online training resources, and referrals to families or guardians of such individuals who, due to their condition, wander from a safe environment;
''(B) provide education and training, including online training resources, to first responders, school personnel, clinicians, and the public in order to'--
''(i) increase the safety and reduce the incidence of wandering of persons, who, due to their dementia or developmental disabilities, may wander from safe environments;
''(ii) facilitate the rescue and recovery of individuals who, due to their dementia or developmental disabilities, wander from safe environments; and
''(iii) recognize and respond to and appropriately interact with endangered missing individuals with dementia or developmental disabilities who, due to their condition, wander from safe environments;
''(C) provide prevention and response training and emergency protocols for school administrators, staff, and families or guardians of individuals with dementia, such as Alzheimer's Disease, or developmental disabilities, such as autism, to help reduce the risk of wandering by such individuals; and
''(D) develop, operate, or enhance a notification or communications systems for alerts, advisories, or dissemination of other information for the recovery of missing individuals with forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer's Disease, or with developmental disabilities, such as autism; and
''(2) shall award grants to health care agencies, State and local law enforcement agencies, or public safety agencies to assist such agencies in designing, establishing, and operating locative tracking technology programs for individuals with forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer's Disease, or children with developmental disabilities, such as autism, who have wandered from safe environments.'';
(3) in subsection (b)'--
(A) by inserting ''competitive'' after ''to receive a'';
(B) by inserting ''agency or'' before ''organization'' each place it appears; and
(C) by adding at the end the following: ''The Attorney General shall periodically solicit applications for grants under this section by publishing a request for applications in the Federal Register and by posting such a request on the website of the Department of Justice.''; and
(4) by striking subsections (c) and (d) and inserting the following:
''(c) Preference.'--In awarding grants under subsection (a)(1), the Attorney General shall give preference to law enforcement or public safety agencies that partner with nonprofit organizations that appropriately use person-centered plans minimizing restrictive interventions and that have a direct link to individuals, and families of individuals, with forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer's Disease, or developmental disabilities, such as autism.
''(d) Authorization of appropriations.'--There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $2,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2017 through 2021.
''(e) Grant accountability.'--All grants awarded by the Attorney General under this section shall be subject to the following accountability provisions:
''(A) DEFINITION.'--In this paragraph, the term 'unresolved audit finding' means a finding in the final audit report of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice that the audited grantee has utilized grant funds for an unauthorized expenditure or otherwise unallowable cost that is not closed or resolved within 12 months from the date when the final audit report is issued.
''(B) AUDITS.'--Beginning in the first fiscal year beginning after the date of enactment of this subsection, and in each fiscal year thereafter, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice shall conduct audits of recipients of grants under this section to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse of funds by grantees. The Inspector General shall determine the appropriate number of grantees to be audited each year.
''(C) MANDATORY EXCLUSION.'--A recipient of grant funds under this section that is found to have an unresolved audit finding shall not be eligible to receive grant funds under this section during the first 2 fiscal years beginning after the end of the 12-month period described in subparagraph (A).
''(D) PRIORITY.'--In awarding grants under this section, the Attorney General shall give priority to eligible applicants that did not have an unresolved audit finding during the 3 fiscal years before submitting an application for a grant under this section.
''(E) REIMBURSEMENT.'--If an entity is awarded grant funds under this section during the 2-fiscal-year period during which the entity is barred from receiving grants under subparagraph (C), the Attorney General shall'--
''(i) deposit an amount equal to the amount of the grant funds that were improperly awarded to the grantee into the General Fund of the Treasury; and
''(ii) seek to recoup the costs of the repayment to the fund from the grant recipient that was erroneously awarded grant funds.
''(A) DEFINITION OF NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION.'--For purposes of this paragraph and the grant programs under this part, the term 'nonprofit organization' means an organization that is described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and is exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of such Code.
''(B) PROHIBITION.'--The Attorney General may not award a grant under this part to a nonprofit organization that holds money in offshore accounts for the purpose of avoiding paying the tax described in section 511(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
''(C) DISCLOSURE.'--Each nonprofit organization that is awarded a grant under this section and uses the procedures prescribed in regulations to create a rebuttable presumption of reasonableness for the compensation of its officers, directors, trustees, and key employees, shall disclose to the Attorney General, in the application for the grant, the process for determining such compensation, including the independent persons involved in reviewing and approving such compensation, the comparability data used, and contemporaneous substantiation of the deliberation and decision. Upon request, the Attorney General shall make the information disclosed under this subparagraph available for public inspection.
''(A) LIMITATION.'--No amounts made available to the Department of Justice under this section may be used by the Attorney General, or by any individual or entity awarded discretionary funds through a cooperative agreement under this section, to host or support any expenditure for conferences that uses more than $20,000 in funds made available by the Department of Justice, unless the head of the relevant agency or department, provides prior written authorization that the funds may be expended to host the conference.
''(B) WRITTEN APPROVAL.'--Written approval under subparagraph (A) shall include a written estimate of all costs associated with the conference, including the cost of all food, beverages, audio-visual equipment, honoraria for speakers, and entertainment.
''(C) REPORT.'--The Deputy Attorney General shall submit an annual report to the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives on all conference expenditures approved under this paragraph.
''(4) ANNUAL CERTIFICATION.'--Beginning in the first fiscal year beginning after the date of enactment of this subsection, the Attorney General shall submit, to the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate and the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives, an annual certification'--
''(A) indicating whether'--
''(i) all audits issued by the Office of the Inspector General under paragraph (1) have been completed and reviewed by the appropriate Assistant Attorney General or Director;
''(ii) all mandatory exclusions required under paragraph (1)(C) have been issued; and
''(iii) all reimbursements required under paragraph (1)(E) have been made; and
''(B) that includes a list of any grant recipients excluded under paragraph (1) from the previous year.
''(f) Preventing duplicative grants.'--
''(1) IN GENERAL.'--Before the Attorney General awards a grant to an applicant under this section, the Attorney General shall compare potential grant awards with other grants awarded by the Attorney General to determine if grant awards are or have been awarded for a similar purpose.
''(2) REPORT.'--If the Attorney General awards grants to the same applicant for a similar purpose the Attorney General shall submit to the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives a report that includes'--
''(A) a list of all such grants awarded, including the total dollar amount of any such grants awarded; and
''(B) the reason the Attorney General awarded multiple grants to the same applicant for a similar purpose.''.
(b) Annual report.'--Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act and every year thereafter, the Attorney General shall submit to the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate and the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives a report on the Missing Americans Alert Program, as amended by subsection (a), which shall address'--
(1) the number of individuals who benefitted from the Missing Americans Alert Program, including information such as the number of individuals with reduced unsafe wandering, the number of people who were trained through the program, and the estimated number of people who were impacted by the program;
(2) the number of State, local, and tribal law enforcement or public safety agencies that applied for funding under the Missing Americans Alert Program;
(3) the number of State, local, and tribal local law enforcement or public safety agencies that received funding under the Missing Americans Alert Program, including'--
(A) the number of State, local, and tribal law enforcement or public safety agencies that used such funding for training; and
(B) the number of State, local, and tribal law enforcement or public safety agencies that used such funding for designing, establishing, or operating locative tracking technology;
(4) the companies, including the location (city and State) of the headquarters and local offices of each company, for which their locative tracking technology was used by State, local, and tribal law enforcement or public safety agencies;
(5) the nonprofit organizations, including the location (city and State) of the headquarters and local offices of each organization, that State, local, and tribal law enforcement or public safety agencies partnered with and the result of each partnership;
(6) the number of missing children with autism or another developmental disability with wandering tendencies or adults with Alzheimer's being served by the program who went missing and the result of the search for each such individual; and
(7) any recommendations for improving the Missing Americans Alert Program.
(c) Table of contents.'--The table of contents in section 2 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 is amended by striking the item relating to section 240001 and inserting the following:
''Sec. 240001. Missing Americans Alert Program. ''.TITLE II'--Education and outreach
SEC. 201.Activities by the national center for missing and exploited children.
Section 404(b)(1)(H) of the Missing Children's Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5773(b)(1)(H)) is amended by inserting '', including cases involving children with developmental disabilities such as autism'' before the semicolon.
TITLE III'--Privacy protections
SEC. 301.Definitions.
(1) CHILD.'--The term ''child'' means an individual who is less than 18 years of age.
(2) INDIAN TRIBE.'--The term ''Indian tribe'' has the meaning given that term in section 4(e) of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b(e)).
(3) LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY.'--The term ''law enforcement agency'' means an agency of a State, unit of local government, or Indian tribe that is authorized by law or by a government agency to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of any violation of criminal law.
(4) STATE.'--The term ''State'' means each of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
(5) UNIT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT.'--The term ''unit of local government'' means a county, municipality, town, township, village, parish, borough, or other unit of general government below the State level.
(6) NON-INVASIVE AND NON-PERMANENT.'--The term ''non-invasive and non-permanent'' means, with regard to any technology or device, that the procedure to install the technology or device does not create an external or internal marker or implant a device or other trackable items.
SEC. 302.Standards and best practices for use of non-invasive and non-permanent tracking devices.
(a) Establishment.'--
(1) IN GENERAL.'--Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and leading research, advocacy, self-advocacy, and service organizations, shall establish standards and best practices relating to the use of non-invasive and non-permanent tracking technology, where a guardian or parent, in consultation with the individual's health care provider, has determined that a non-invasive and non-permanent tracking device is the least restrictive alternative, to locate individuals as described in subsection (a)(2) of section 240001 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 14181), as added by this Act.
(2) REQUIREMENTS.'--In establishing the standards and best practices required under paragraph (1), the Attorney General shall'--
(A) determine'--
(i) the criteria used to determine which individuals would benefit from the use of a tracking device;
(ii) the criteria used to determine who should have direct access to the tracking system; and
(iii) which non-invasive and non-permanent types of tracking devices can be used in compliance with the standards and best practices; and
(B) establish standards and best practices the Attorney General determines are necessary to the administration of a tracking system, including procedures to'--
(i) safeguard the privacy of the data used by the tracking device such that'--
(I) access to the data is restricted to law enforcement and health agencies determined necessary by the Attorney General; and
(II) collection, use, and retention of the data is solely for the purpose of preventing injury or death to the patient assigned the tracking device or caused by the patient assigned the tracking device;
(ii) establish criteria to determine whether use of the tracking device is the least restrictive alternative in order to prevent risk of injury or death before issuing the tracking device, including the previous consideration of less restrictive alternatives;
(iii) provide training for law enforcement agencies to recognize signs of abuse during interactions with applicants for tracking devices;
(iv) protect the civil rights and liberties of the individuals who use tracking devices, including their rights under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States;
(v) establish a complaint and investigation process to address'--
(I) incidents of noncompliance by recipients of grants under subsection (a)(2) of section 240001 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 14181), as added by this Act, with the best practices established by the Attorney General or other applicable law; and
(II) use of a tracking device over the objection of an individual; and
(vi) determine the role that State agencies should have in the administration of a tracking system.
(3) EFFECTIVE DATE.'--The standards and best practices established pursuant to paragraph (1) shall take effect 90 days after publication of such standards and practices by the Attorney General, unless Congress enacts a joint resolution disapproving of the standards and practices.
(b) Required compliance.'--
(1) IN GENERAL.'--Each entity that receives a grant under subsection (a)(2) of section 240001 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 14181), as added by this Act, shall comply with any standards and best practices relating to the use of tracking devices established by the Attorney General in accordance with subsection (a).
(2) DETERMINATION OF COMPLIANCE.'--The Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall determine whether an entity that receives a grant under subsection (a)(2) of section 240001 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 14181), as added by this Act, acts in compliance with the requirement described in paragraph (1).
(c) Applicability of standards and best practices.'--The standards and best practices established by the Attorney General under subsection (a) shall apply only to the grant programs authorized under subsection (a)(2) of section 240001 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 14181), as added by this Act.
(d) Limitations on program.'--
(1) DATA STORAGE.'--Any tracking data provided by tracking devices issued under this program may not be used by a Federal entity to create a database.
(2) VOLUNTARY PARTICIPATION.'--Nothing in this Act may be construed to require that a parent or guardian use a tracking device to monitor the location of a child or adult under that parent or guardian's supervision if the parent or guardian does not believe that the use of such device is necessary or in the interest of the child or adult under supervision.
TITLE IV'--Miscellaneous
SEC. 401.No funds authorized for Byrne criminal justice innovation program.
For fiscal year 2017, no funds are authorized to be appropriated for an Edward Byrne Memorial criminal justice innovation program.
Passed the House of Representatives December 8, 2016.
42 USC 14181: Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 17:16
§14181. Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program(a) GrantThe Attorney General shall, subject to the availability of appropriations, award a grant to an eligible organization to assist the organization in paying for the costs of planning, designing, establishing, and operating a Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program, which shall be a locally based, proactive program to protect and locate missing patients with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.
(b) ApplicationTo be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a), an organization shall submit an application to the Attorney General at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Attorney General may require, including, at a minimum, an assurance that the organization will obtain and use assistance from private nonprofit organizations to support the program.
(c) Eligible organizationThe Attorney General shall award the grant described in subsection (a) to a national voluntary organization that has a direct link to patients, and families of patients, with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.
(d) Authorization of appropriationsThere are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section-
(1) $900,000 for fiscal year 1996;
(2) $900,000 for fiscal year 1997; and
(3) $900,000 for fiscal year 1998.
(Pub. L. 103''322, title XXIV, §240001, Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2080 .)
Syrian Muslims headed to North Dakota, Nebraska and Kentucky
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 10:53
And Florida and North Carolina and Georgia and'... Verbatim from the leading watchdog on issues immigration (legal and illegal) and importation of undesirables, Ann Corcoran's Refugee Resettlement Watch.
Unless you have been living in a cave over the last few months, you know that the US State Department is bringing about 10,000 Syrian, mostly Muslim, refugees (chosen by the UN) to the US in this fiscal year (2015 started on October 1, 2014).
Here are three news stories sent from several readers about where they will be going.
North Dakota from the Jamestown Sun:
Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota and its community partners, which include schools, medical facilities, law enforcement, county and volunteer agencies and churches, are anticipating a shift in the ongoing resettling of refugees here. [They are slowing the Bhutanese (Hindu) flow and switching to the Middle Easterners'--ed]
The agency has recently resettled a number of people from Afghanistan, and is planning for refugees in the coming months from Syria and Iraq, who are escaping the terrorism threat of ISIS.
Lutheran Social Services (LSS) is projecting to place a total of about 400 refugees in North Dakota in fiscal year 2015, which began in October.
Laetitia Mizero, program director and state refugee coordinator at LSS, said 260 will settle in the Fargo area, about 95 in Grand Forks and 45 in Bismarck.
In fiscal year 2014, LSS placed 500 refugees statewide, a larger number than usual.
This next bit is really informative, and is something every community ''welcoming'' refugees should be paying attention to. Once they get a ''seed community'' started, they (the Lutherans in this case) then are paid to process in the family members.
''Ninety-eight percent of individuals who've arrived over the past 12 months are joining family who are already here,'' she said.
Nebraska from McCook Gazette:
LINCOLN, Neb. '-- At least four Nebraska agencies have pledged to help some of the thousands of refugees expected to come to America as a result of persecution and genocide in Syria.
Nebraska agencies pledging to help deal with the refugees include Lutheran Refugee Services of Lincoln, Lutheran Family Services, Catholic Social Services and the Southern Sudan Community Association.
Such refugees are eligible for a full range of public assistance programs swell as refugee assistance programs.
***Here is the contact information for the 4 contractors who will bring Syrians to Nebraska:
CWS (Church World Service)NE-CWS-01: Lutheran Refugee ServicesAddress: 2900 O Street, Suite 200Lincoln, NE 68510Phone: 402-435-2954
USCCB (US Conference of Catholic Bishops)NE-USCCB-02: Catholic Social ServicesAddress: 2241 O StreetLincoln, NE 68510-1133Phone: 402-474-1600
CWS (Church World Service)NE-CWS-02: Lutheran Family ServicesAddress: 1941 South 42nd Street, Suite 402Omaha, NE 68105-1401Phone: 402-346-6100
ECDC (Ethiopian Community Development Council)NE-ECDC-01: Southern Sudan Community AssociationAddress: 3610 Dodge Street, Suite 100Omaha, NE 68131Phone: 402-554-0759
Kentucky from the Courier Journal (article about a new start-up Arab language newspaper):
Kentucky Refugee Ministries Executive Director John Koehlinger said Botan's venture comes as Louisville agencies continue to resettle a large number of refugees from Iraq '-- a trend that started around 2008 '-- and prepare to aid the first refugees from Syria some time next year.
''Refugees have been coming from Iraq in large numbers for five years,'' he said. ''I think that the time is right for a newspaper for that community.''
Kentucky Refugee Ministries Executive Director John Koehlinger: Newspaper would ''unify'' Arab community in KY.
About the photo and Kentucky Refugees Ministries. In its most recent Form 990 KRM took in $4,703,422 from government contracts as part of a total revenue stream of $5,287,956 which means they are 89% funded by taxpayer dollars in a Wilson Fish state where the resettlement program is run by the federal government's contractors (with no say by elected representatives of the state government of Kentucky).
When you visit that Form 990 be sure to check out the costs of running this 'non-profit' for salaries, office expenses, travel etc.
***Contact information for all of the resettlement contractors in the nation may be found at this handy list.
Russia and Syria could be encouraging migrant sex attacks to oust Angela Merkel, pro-EU firm says | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 13:09
Russian and Syrian secret services may be encouraging refugees in Germany to carry out orchestrated sex attacks, in a bid to oust Angela Merkel from office, it is claimed.
The extraordinary assertion was made by an expert from the European Council on Foreign Relations, who said the foreign powers could collude to destabilise Germany ahead of next year's election.
Gustav Gressel, a Russian expert at the think-tank, said small numbers of refugees with links to the Kremlin and Syrian security services could be mobilised to sway public opinion against the Chancellor.
Hundreds of sex assaults were reported across Germany on New Year's Eve, prompting an anti-migrant backlash
Citing a series of sex assaults in the city of Cologne during New Year's Eve celebrations at the start of 2016 he told Bild: 'What would happen, for example, if a similar event were repeated at a summer festival before the election as in the Silvesternacht in Cologne?
'How would Merkel stand then? What would be the consequence for the Bundestag election? Of course, this is an extreme example, but it is within the range of possibility.'
Hundreds of sexual assaults and 29 rapes were reported across Germany, centred mainly in Cologne.
Last year's attacks sparked an anti-migrant backlash, including this march in January by far-right group Pegida
The attacks provoked an anti-migrant backlash, and Gressel said similar attacks could provoke Germans to turn on Merkel at next September's election.
Merkel is widely viewed as hostile to Russia, and this week recommended extending EU sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine conflict.
Last month the Chancellor warned that Russia is already trying to influence the German electoral process, stating: 'We are already, even now, having to deal with information out of Russia or with internet attacks that are of Russian origin or with news which sows false information.'
Putin's government has been accused of trying to influence the result of next September's election in Germany
Angela Merkel said last month that dealing with Russian cyber attacks is already a 'daily task'
She said dealing with this is already a 'daily task', and added: 'So it may be that this could also play a role during the election campaign.'
But Hans-Georg Massen, who heads Germany's domestic intelligence service, said a Russian disinformation campaign was likely.
Last month he cited the high-profile case last year of a young Russian woman from Berlin, who Russian media said was kidnapped and raped by migrants, a claim later refuted by the German government.
He told Reuters: 'This could happen again next year and we are alarmed.
'We have the impression that this is part of a hybrid threat that seeks to influence public opinion and decision-making processes.'
Merkel is widely viewed as being hostile to Russia,
Putin's government has faced widespread allegations that it used hackers to try and influence the US Presidential election this year, with leaks of DNC files linked to Russian cyber groups.
Ministry of Truth
The Death of an Ideal: Killing in Germany Triggers Fresh Refugee Debate - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 02:55
December 14, 2016 01:16 PMKhadem Gholani put on a black hoodie for the interview. It's emblazoned with the words, "I've got 99 problems."
At the moment, though, the 19-year-old from Afghanistan is dealing with problem No. 100: The police claim that a young compatriot of his raped and murdered a female student in the southern German university city of Freiburg in October. Khadem also came to the city as a refugee, but he says he doesn't know the suspect. He says he's shocked by the crime, as are his foster parents and the whole city. He says he's afraid people might attack him or try to avoid him altogether in the future.
The young man is trying to finish up his secondary education and then start training as a tiler and rent his own apartment. That's the point at which he will leave the foster family that takes care of him, with their full refrigerator and golden retriever Salomon.
"We're afraid that doors will close on Khadem," says foster father Andreas Wende, who is sitting next to him in the kitchen. The family has been talking about the murder for the last several days, about the suffering of the victim's family and what the killer's foster parents are likely going through.
The Wende family -- father, mother, 18-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter -- took in their foster son two years ago. "At the time, the German culture of welcoming refugees with open arms was still going strong," Wende says. The psychologist says he has since grown more skeptical and even more fearful. "I have learned that problems can arise with the integration of young men from foreign cultures that need to be addressed in a professional setting."
'Nothing Like This Has Ever Happened Before'
Many in Freiburg, and also across the country, feel that the murder of the young student also marked the death of an ideal -- that foreigners wouldn't have any trouble adapting here and that there were no serious hurdles to prevent integration, at least none that couldn't be overcome with a bit of effort. "This is a worst-case scenario for anyone doing refugee work," says Thomas K¶ck, head of the Campus Christopherus Youth Foundation in Freiburg, the organization that placed Khadem with the Wende family. "Nothing like this has ever happened before and it has deeply affected us all."
The reactions to the murder have spread far beyond Freiburg. Rainer Wendt, the head of the German police officer's union, spoke of the danger of "mass immigration," and representatives of the German parliament warned of populism and "sedition." Right-wing politicians within the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) have also used the incident as an opportunity to renew old calls for criminals to be deported more quickly and for prosecutors to be given more leeway.
Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel has addressed the killing. "If it turns out that it was an Afghan refugee, then it should be condemned every bit as much as it would with any other killer, but it should also clearly be labelled for what it is."
Suspected killer Hussein K., a 17-year-old born on Nov. 12, 1999, in the central-Afghanistan town of Ghazni, speaks Dari as his mother tongue. He traveled to Germany on Nov. 18, 2015, during the period in which the flow of refugees along the Balkan route had reached its peak. K. arrived without his parents or any other adult relative: "Unaccompanied," is the word used by bureaucrats. He had no identification papers with him and he submitted his asylum application in February through the district administrative office in the city, which also became the youth's legal guardian.
The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees hadn't yet considered his asylum case. On his application, he stated he could not be deported from Germany. K. is likely a member of the largely Shiite Hazara minority in Afghanistan which has at times been persecuted by the Taliban. Many Hazaras live in Iran, where they are often viewed as second-class citizens, and it's possible that's also where K. came from.
He had been living with his foster family in the eastern part of Freiburg, in a house at the edge of the forest, since spring. His foster father has a career in a respected profession. K. had been attending a local private vocational school since December that specializes in children and young adults with special educational needs. He had previously lived in a group home affiliated with the school, where he stayed with other young refugees from Syria and Afghanistan.
Marijuana and Alcohol
A fellow pupil at school described him as being young man who had difficulty getting his life together. The source said Hussein smoked marijuana and drank a lot of alcohol, especially vodka. "Everyone knows." He says Hussein often met with other young men in Colombi Park near the city's central train station, having purchased the alcohol earlier, either at a supermarket or a corner store.
He says he saw Hussein recently in the city and had a brief, inconsequential chat with him. "Last month he was sad, before that he was always quite funny," says the young man.
On one occasion, the police responded to a call after Hussein got into a scuffle at school. The local public prosecutor's office also reports there was another incident this April in which K. was accused of taking part in a "dispute between young men" on a football field. But "the results of the investigation showed that the suspect was more the aggrieved party than the culprit," says a spokesperson for the prosecutor.
"He was never home -- he was always out somewhere," says one refugee who is friends with K. on Facebook. "You never knew where he was." He nonetheless describes K. as a "nice person. I wouldn't have thought he would do something that horrible."
On his Facebook page, K. presents himself in rapper chic, a cool guy with a black baseball cap, sometimes wearing white headphones. On a few selfies, he can be seen with short dark hair. Others show him with long hair on top that has been dyed a slightly lighter color.
K. also posted an image of an imaginary wolf figure leaning over a woman. There is also a picture of a tattoo that is likely his own. It shows a bird of prey and text featuring a life motto that roughly translates as: "That which we saw in front of our eyes transformed into our fate. We hardly had a chance to think about it before people were writing on a gravestone: The Lord has summoned us." Is there more to the text than just a teenager's dark thoughts? Is it a sign of psychological problems?
The Killing
The circumstances surrounding the crime are still being investigated and K. has kept silent about the allegations. Police say that the suspect took a tram shortly before 2 a.m. on on October 16, the night of the killing, from Bertoldbrunnen, a fountain in Freiburg's city center, to Littenweiler, a neighborhood in the city's southeast, and got off at the last station 15 minutes later. Police also believe that K. encountered his alleged victim at some point after 3 a.m. along the Dreisam River. According to what investigators have thus far found, police don't believe the two knew each other previously.
Maria L., whose family lives in the city of Pforzheim near Stuttgart, was biking home from a big party for medical students at the university's Natural Sciences Campus to her Catholic-run student dormitory. The next morning, a woman walking in the area discovered the woman's body in the river. She had been raped and drowned.
The perpetrator committed the crime at a site known to almost every resident of Freiburg who likes to take walks or has any interest in sports. It's a wide foot and bicycle path along the Dreisam River behind the stadium where local football team SC Freiburg plays. The valley is flanked by the hillsides of the Black Forest.
Bouquets of flowers and messages of condolence have been posted on a tree at the site. "Thank you for the laughter and all the light you brought us," reads one. At the foot of the tree, fresh candles could be seen burning at the base last Tuesday. The student would have turned 20 on December 6.
Barbara Walters reportedly feels ABC have 'ruined' legacy of 'The View' | Fox News
Mon, 12 Dec 2016 15:22
Barbara Walters thinks ABC execs have ­ruined ''The View''and fears the show will be ­remembered for its petty backstage bickering and revolving door of talent, says the New York Post.
''She feels they've ruined the franchise that she and Bill Geddie built. Instead of focusing on smart, educated women with strong talent, they cast uninformed child actors on the show. The legacy has been compromised because of poor casting and bad leadership under ABC News,'' a source told us.
Walters is so over the show that she even ditched a post-election appearance, which reunited original hosts, Debbie Matenopoulos, Meredith Vieira, Joy Behar and Star Jones.
Walters' longtime rep told the New York Post she was vacationing with her daughter in Florida.
''It was a prearranged vacation for the two of them. She calls the control room multiple times a week to offer her suggestions. She has a wonderful relationship with the show,'' she said.
Meanwhile, ''The View'' continues to part ways with its talent. Candace Cameron Bure is the latest casualty of the talk show. The actress announced last week that she would not be returning to the show after going missing for several weeks, according to insiders.
''She was at a 'Hot Topics' meeting and said she didn't feel well. She went home and no one heard from her for several weeks '-- even her close friends at the show.
People thought she was about to have a breakdown because she was exhausted. She didn't return anyone's calls and went AWOL. We were not surprised when she returned and asked to get out of her contract,'' an insider said.
Sources told the New York Post that the show would graduallyphase out Bure and Raven-Symon(C) in order to avoid having yet another embarrassing public shake-up. Raven-Symon(C) left in October. Paula Faris is still on the show.
An ABC rep shot down the story by claiming: ''There's no betterproducer than Barbara Walters, and we're always grateful for her notes about the show. The ratings are up, and we're very proud of the team.''
Click here to read more in the New York Post.
British Govt-Funded Outlet Offered Journalist $17,000 a Month to Produce Propaganda for Syrian Rebels | Alternet
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 17:26
Emails reveal that a popular source for mainstream Western media is a U.K.-backed propaganda outlet.
Photo Credit: YouTube screenshot
The Revolutionary Forces of Syria (RFS) media office, a major Syrian opposition media outfit and frequent source of information for Western media, is funded by the British government and is managed by Westerners operating out of Turkey, according to emails provided to AlterNet by a Middle East reporter RFS tried to recruit.
The outlet stirred controversy this November when it released a video at the height of the Mannequin Challenge, a pop culture craze in which people compete for how long they can freeze in place on video. The RFS video depicted a staged rescue by the White Helmets, the Western-funded rescue group that operates exclusively in rebel-held territory. RFS quickly removed the video and issued an apology out of apparent concern that the staged rescue could raise questions about the authenticity of other videos by the White Helmets.
Over the summer, the Middle East reporter, who asked not to be named, was contacted by an American acquaintance and former colleague about working for RFS.
''I'm currently in Istanbul, working on a media project for the HMG [the British government],'' wrote the acquaintance in an email time-stamped June 23. ''We're working on media surrounding the Syrian conflict, as one of their three partners.'' The email included links to RFS Media's English website and SMO Media, an Arabic website that covers the Southern Front, a Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) group.
''[W]e're looking for a managing editor/production manager to head up our team here in Istanbul, and I thought you'd be a great fit. I was wondering if you had any interest, or knew of anyone looking to move out to Istanbul for an opportunity," the acquaintance added.
In a followup phone conversation, the acquaintance explained to the reporter what the job would entail.
''I would have been talking to opposition people on the ground and writing news pieces based on statements from media activists who are affiliated with the armed groups in places like Aleppo,'' the reporter later explained.
The salary offered for this task was an eye-popping $17,000 a month.
The reporter ultimately decided not to pursue the RFS position because he felt it would be journalistically unethical.
''The idea that I would work for the government of a country that's intimately involved in the Syrian conflict is one that's incomprehensible for me as a journalist,'' he told AlterNet.
''This was far beyond working for state-owned media in my opinion. It was to actually be a mouthpiece for specific armed groups that are backed by a Western regime with a long history of disastrous interference in this region. That doesn't mean I don't have sympathy for people who are against the Syrian government. I am not pro-regime. At the same time, I am a journalist and would like to maintain my integrity at that level.''
The reporter declined to recommend others for the job, saying, ''I'm not going to facilitate some dubious relationship between a reporter and what is obviously a propaganda outlet,'' he said.
RFS did not respond to a request for comment.
Go-to source for information-starved Western media
Western media often relies on self-described ''media activists'' in areas controlled by Western- and Gulf-backed militant groups, like Jabhat al-Nusra (until recently Al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria), Ahrar al-Sham, Jaish al-Islam and Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki. These groups are explicitly anti-democratic and have been implicated in human rights violations from mass execution to using caged religious minorities as human shields. Most recently, civilians fleeing rebel-held eastern Aleppo have described being fired on by militants seeking to prevent them from escaping to the safety of government-controlled territory.
Two months ago, I spoke over the phone to a frequently quoted media activist living in East Aleppo. He told me that if he publicly criticizes the armed opposition groups, he risks being tortured, or worse. Indeed, a largely ignored report by Amnesty International published in June revealed that civilians in opposition-controlled Aleppo and Idlib have been subjected to abduction, torture and summary execution simply for criticizing armed groups on social media.
RFS's videos and hashtags are regularly picked up by major Western media outlets. One of its videos has even been cited by human rights groups as evidence of Russian war crimes. Among its most viral campaigns is #AvengersInAleppo, which featured photos of children living in East Aleppo holding up signs calling on Marvel comic book superheroes to save them. (East Aleppo is controlled by a number of extremist groups led by Al Qaeda's renamed offshoot, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham.)
Prior to that, RFS capitalized on the popularity of Pok(C)mon Go to sell a pro-interventionist message to Western audiences with photos of children in opposition-controlled areas of Syria holding up photos of Pok(C)mon characters with messages calling for intervention. The campaign garnered favorable media coverage from major outlets, including the Guardian, the Washington Post, CNN, the Independent, Reuters, and the BBC, none of which have bothered to question the origins of RFS or similar pro-opposition outlets.
A $3 million British government propaganda campaign for Syria's rebels
RFS Media is just one of several different propaganda outlets financed by the U.K. Foreign Office. A recent investigation by the Guardian revealed that the British Foreign Office Conflict and Stability Fund has secretly pumped at least £2.4 million (over $3 million U.S.) into pro-rebel propaganda outfits based out of Istanbul.
The money began flowing after the British parliament voted against bombing the Syrian government in late 2013. (RFS Media launched in December 2013 in both English and Arabic.) The vote against war was attributed in large part to public pressure, as citizens on both sides of the Atlantic, reluctant to overthrow yet another Middle Eastern government after the disasters in Iraq and Libya, mobilized against another campaign for Western regime change in Syria.
After the political defeat, the U.K. Foreign Office embarked on a clandestine propaganda campaign to suppress the public's anti-war sensibility, hiring private contractors to ''produce videos, photos, military reports, radio broadcasts, print products and social media posts branded with the logos of fighting groups, and effectively run a press office for opposition fighters,'' according to the Guardian.
The purpose of the propaganda, euphemistically referred to as ''strategic communications'' by the Foreign Office, is to clandestinely ''influence the course of the war by shaping perceptions of opposition fighters'' and provide ''strategic communications and media operations support to the Syrian moderate armed opposition.''
Sanitizing the armed opposition as ''moderate'' has been a difficult task to be sure. While Western officials were well aware of the extremist and violently sectarian ideology that dominated the opposition early in the conflict, they deliberately chose to whitewash their atrocities in favor of weakening the Syrian government. RSF Media has stayed true to that goal, portraying armed groups as liberators and protectors adored by the people living under them, a narrative Western media outlets have enthusiastically echoed even as their own reporters were kidnapped, ransomed and even shot by Western-backed rebels.
This has presented a puzzling contradiction in Syria coverage. On the one hand, foreign reporters do not dare enter opposition areas for fear of being abducted. Yet the same media outlets that refrain from sending their reporters to opposition areas are comfortable amplifying propaganda that comes out of these areas with almost zero scrutiny, despite the fact that such information almost certainly requires the approval of the armed groups they fear may kidnap their reporters.
The warped picture of Syria that has been provided to Western media consumers is not the fault of the Syrian opposition, which is merely advancing its own most immediate public relations needs without regard for the objective truth, as combatants in war often do. It is, however, a damning indictment of a media establishment that has failed to scrutinize convenient pro-war narratives that serve their own governments' geopolitical interests.
Rania Khalek is an independent journalist living in the Washington D.C. area.
Trump Transition
Unite For America
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 06:03
WHO ARE WE?Unite For America is a movement of concerned citizens, organizations, unions and grassroots networks formed in the wake of the 2016 Presidential Crisis.
Our mission is to develop and amplify multi-partisan public initiatives that yield measurable results in safely resolving the 2016 U.S. Presidential Crisis.
what do we stand for?Trump's unprecedentedly unqualified administration, Russia's confirmed interference, and the associated business conflicts of interest are an affront to the core American values that Republicans, Democrats and Independents have historically fought to protect.
How do we stop trump?In their prescient wisdom, the Founding Fathers designed a constitutional tool to prevent the Oval Office from ever falling into the hands of an unqualified candidate: the Electoral College.
We call on 37 Republican patriots to elect a real leader.
Wear purple. Action groups, unions, and community leaders across the country are organizing outside state capitol buildings to tell electors to abate the 2016 U.S. Presidential Crisis.
As a fellow Christian, I'm very happy to know that one of the individuals representing our country in the electoral college is someone who believes strongly in the ideals of family, love, and kindness.
2016 presidential candidate John Kasich told electors not to vote for him. Here's why it doesn't matter.
We need everyone's help if we're going to make it through this crisis. Join the vigil at your state capitol.
Find Out How '†'
What is the Electoral College all about and how do we stop Trump from becoming President?
Learn More '†'
How To Draft a President: A Case for Kasich '-- Unite For America
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 06:10
The United States' Founding Fathers laid out a thorough plan for the way our leaders are chosen and how to protect our nation's interests and security. These men, having waged bloody revolution to break free of the tyranny of the Crown, envisioned a nation free of Old World ways of governing which allowed men in power to destroy lives and livelihoods for personal gain.
The Founding Fathers established a new system in which citizens elected their leaders through a general election. In their prescient wisdom, they also anticipated things might one day go wrong in the general election and designed a failsafe: the Electoral College.
Members of the Electoral College, as laid out by the Twelfth Amendment and Federalist No. 68, are constitutionally obligated to choose a qualified candidate of ''preeminent ability and virtue'' if the winner of their state's popular vote is deemed to be unfit to serve. There is no clause requiring that the alternative candidate chosen by a state's electors be anyone on the general election presidential ballot, nor is there a provision stating an alternative candidate's active participation is needed to be elected. That means that if the winner of the state popular vote is unqualified, the Founding Fathers instruct that it is the job of the Electoral College to deliberate amongst themselves to select a qualified candidate. If a majority is not chosen in the Electoral College, then the House of Representatives must choose a president who ''in their opinion may be best qualified for the office.''
This is called a draft, and John Kasich is a compelling Republican choice for such a movement if Republican electors do not feel swayed to align with the national popular vote.
As governor of Ohio, Kasich established the Ohio Ethics Law, banning state officials and employees from conducting public business with conflicts of interest. This demonstration of professional political ethics is in direct and stark contrast with Donald Trump, who has spent the past month using the presidency as a platform for his own business dealings while actively ignoring national security briefings more than any other president ever. Kasich has the years of executive experience required to run a country. After years serving as chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee in the Nineties, Kasich turned Ohio's $6-8 billion dollar budget deficit into a $2 million dollar rainy day fund during his tenure as Governor.
And if it's any indication of his appeal to moderates on both sides of the aisle looking for a way out of a Trump presidency, the 2016 Ohio primary saw large numbers of Democrats and Independents voting along with Republicans for Kasich to block Trump from winning their state. Whoever a draft candidate might be, they will need to be able to garner support from both Republicans and Democrats alike when House Republicans split over Trump and the alternative. Kasich has recently proven he can do this.
Governor Kasich's refusal to go against his party and promote himself as a white knight signifies many things about his statesmanship and respect for his party and our democratic system, but it does not signify a deterrent for electors considering drafting Kasich, or any other eminently qualified candidate, to stop Trump. If Republican electors agree that Kasich has the statesmanship and experience required, they can write him onto their ballots December 19 and are in fact compelled to do so.
Texas, for example, would be fertile ground for a draft movement. Texas may have voted red but is far from being Trump country (Trump lost Texas by a landslide to Ted Cruz in the Republican primaries). Texas also has 38 electoral votes, which is one more than the total needed to stop Trump. In other words, Texas could single-handedly save the country if Republican electors there vote their conscience. The vote would then pass to the House of Representatives, where Republicans and Democrats would need to rally behind the alternative candidate to form a coalition administration.
Whoever that candidate should be, as a patriot, he or she would have no choice but to answer the country's call for proper leadership in what has become one of our nation's darkest hours.
The Obama administration just responded to Trump's demands to hand over the names of climate scientists
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 20:44
In a surprising act of rebellion, the U.S. Department of Energy is refusing President-elect Trump's request to turn over the names of climate researchers.
It was reported late last week that the Trump transition team submitted a lengthy questionnaire to agency officials asking dozens of routine questions, but with one worrying question that asked about the Department of Energy's (DoE) meetings about climate change, and for officials to turn over all names of meeting attendants along with any and all documents produced as a result of those meetings.
Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) issued a statement in response to the questionnaire that read, ''This request suggests that your administration may intend to retaliate against career employees who faithfully executed their responsibilities.''
On Tuesday morning, however, a DoE spokesman announced that the agency would not be complying with the request included in the questionnaire.
''We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department,'' said DoE spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder. ''We will be forthcoming with all publicly-available information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team.''
In addition to Burnham-Snyder's statement, the president of the union representing DoE workers blasted the Trump transition team for requesting names of climate researchers.
''My members are upset and have questions about what this means. These are all civil servants who do their jobs,'' said National Treasury Employees Union president Tony Reardon.
''They have no wish to be caught up in political winds '-- they are nonpartisan employees '-- scientists, engineers, statisticians, economists and financial experts '-- who were hired for their knowledge and they bring their talent and experience to the job every day,'' Reardon continued.
On Tuesday morning, President-elect Trump announced former Texas Governor Rick Perry as his pick for Secretary of the Department of Energy. Perry famously forgot the name of the Department of Energy in a 2011 Republican presidential debate, when attempting to name three government agencies he would abolish as president. When called out by the moderators for not remembering the name of the Department of Energy, Perry simply responded with, ''Oops.''
Tom Cahill is a writer for US Uncut based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at [email protected], or friend him on Facebook.
Scientists are frantically copying U.S. climate data, fearing it might vanish under Trump - The Washington Post
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 21:01
Alarmed that decades of crucial climate measurements could vanish under a hostile Trump administration, scientists have begun a feverish attempt to copy reams of government data onto independent servers in hopes of safeguarding it from any political interference.
The efforts include a ''guerrilla archiving'' event in Toronto, where experts will copy irreplaceable public data, meetings at the University of Pennsylvania focused on how to download as much federal data as possible in the coming weeks, and a collaboration of scientists and database experts who are compiling an online site to harbor scientific information.
''Something that seemed a little paranoid to me before all of a sudden seems potentially realistic, or at least something you'd want to hedge against,'' said Nick Santos, an environmental researcher at the University of California at Davis, who over the weekend began copying government climate data onto a nongovernment server, where it will remain available to the public. ''Doing this can only be a good thing. Hopefully they leave everything in place. But if not, we're planning for that.''
[Trump taps former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to head Energy Department he once vowed to abolish]
In recent weeks, President-elect Donald Trump has nominated a growing list of Cabinet members who have questioned the overwhelming scientific consensus around global warming. His transition team at the Department of Energy has asked agency officials for names of employees and contractors who have participated in international climate talks and worked on the scientific basis for Obama administration-era regulations of carbon emissions. One Trump adviser suggested that NASA no longer should conduct climate research and instead should focus on space exploration.
The Trump transition team has issued a list of 74 questions for the Energy Department, asking officials there to identify which department employees and contractors have worked on forging an international climate pact as well as domestic efforts to cut the nation's carbon output. (Whitney Shefte/The Washington Post)
Those moves have stoked fears among the scientific community that Trump, who has called the notion of man-made climate change ''a hoax'' and vowed to reverse environmental policies put in place by President Obama, could try to alter or dismantle parts of the federal government's repository of data on everything from rising sea levels to the number of wildfires in the country.
Michael Halpern, deputy director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists, argued that Trump has appointed a ''band of climate conspiracy theorists'' to run transition efforts at various agencies, along with nominees to lead them who share similar views.
[Energy Dept. rejects Trump's request to name climate change workers, who remain worried]
''They have been salivating at the possibility of dismantling federal climate research programs for years. It's not unreasonable to think they would want to take down the very data that they dispute,'' Halpern said in an email. ''There is a fine line between being paranoid and being prepared, and scientists are doing their best to be prepared. .'‰.'‰. Scientists are right to preserve data and archive websites before those who want to dismantle federal climate change research programs storm the castle.''
To be clear, neither Trump nor his transition team have said the new administration plans to manipulate or curtail publicly available data. The transition team did not respond to a request for comment. But some scientists aren't taking any chances.
''What are the most important .gov climate assets?'' Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist and self-proclaimed ''climate hawk,'' tweeted from his Arizona home Saturday evening. ''Scientists: Do you have a US .gov climate database that you don't want to see disappear?''
[Trump says 'nobody really knows' if climate change is real]
Within hours, responses flooded in from around the country. Scientists added links to dozens of government databases to a Google spreadsheet. Investors offered to help fund efforts to copy and safeguard key climate data. Lawyers offered pro bono legal help. Database experts offered server space and help organizing mountains of data. In California, Santos began building an online repository to ''make sure these data sets remain freely and broadly accessible.''
Climate data from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have been politically vulnerable. When Tom Karl, director of the National Centers for Environmental Information, and his colleagues published a study in 2015 seeking to challenge the idea that there had been a global warming ''slowdown'' or ''pause'' during the 2000s, they relied, in significant part, on updates to NOAA's ocean temperature data set, saying the data ''do not support the notion of a global warming 'hiatus.'''
In response, the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee chair, Rep. Lamar S. Smith (R-Tex.), tried to subpoena the scientists and their records.
That effort launched by Holthaus is one of several underway to preserve key federal scientific data.
[Trump has picked the most conservative EPA leader since 1981. This one will face much less resistance.]
In Philadelphia, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, along with members of groups such as Open Data Philly and the software company Azavea, have been meeting to figure out ways to harvest and store important data sets.
At the University of Toronto this weekend, researchers are holding what they call a ''guerrilla archiving'' event to catalogue key federal environmental data ahead of Trump's inauguration. The event ''is focused on preserving information and data from the Environmental Protection Agency, which has programs and data at high risk of being removed from online public access or even deleted,'' the organizers said. ''This includes climate change, water, air, toxics programs.''
The event is part of a broader effort to help San Francisco-based Internet Archive with its End of Term 2016 project, an effort by university, government and nonprofit officials to find and archive valuable pages on federal websites. The project has existed through several presidential transitions.
[Al Gore just had 'an extremely interesting conversation' with Trump on climate change]
At the American Geophysical Union's fall meeting in San Francisco, where more than 20,000 earth and climate scientists have swarmed the city's biggest conference center this week, an air of gallows humor marked many conversations. Some young scientists said their biggest personal concern is funding for their research, much of which relies on support from NASA and other agencies.
''You just don't know what's coming,'' said Adam Campbell, who studies the imperiled Ross Ice Shelf of Antarctica.
But others also arrived at the meeting with a strengthened sense of resolve. Campbell was planning to join hundreds of other people at a rally Tuesday, organized in part by the activist group ClimateTruth.org, encouraging researchers to ''stand up for science.'' ''People have felt a call to arms,'' Campbell said. ''We need to be outspoken.''
Donald Trump will enter the White House with an environmental policy agenda opposed to that of the Obama administration and many other nations that have pledged support to the Paris climate agreement. The Washington Post's Chris Mooney breaks down what a Donald Trump presidency will mean when it comes to climate change. (Daron Taylor/The Washington Post)
Lawyers with the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund '-- which provides legal assistance to researchers facing lawsuits over their work on climate change '-- will be holding one-on-one consultations with researchers who think they might need help from a lawyer. And the organization's table in the AGU exhibition hall is piled high with booklets titled ''Handling Political Harassment and Legal Intimidation: A Pocket Guide for Scientists.''
[Shrinking mountain glaciers are 'categorical evidence' of climate change, scientists say]
''We literally thought about it the day after the election,'' said Lauren Kurtz, the legal defense fund's executive director. ''I have gotten a lot of calls from scientists who are really concerned. .'‰.'‰. So it's intended in some ways to be reassuring, to say, 'There is a game plan; we're here to help you.'''
The 16-page guide contains advice for government researchers who believe their work is being suppressed, as well as how scientists should react if they receive hate mail or death threats.
Holthaus, who encouraged scientists to flag key databases, said the effort to safeguard them is mostly precautionary.
''I don't actually think that it will happen,'' he said of efforts by an incoming administration to obscure or alter scientific data. ''But I think it could happen. .'‰.'‰. All of these data sets are priceless, in the sense that if there is a gap, it greatly diminishes their usefulness.''
That's the main concern for Andrew Dessler, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University. He said he doubts that even the most hostile administration would try to do away with existing climate data, given the potential backlash.
''I think it's much more likely they'd try to end the collection of data, which would minimize its value. Having continuous data is crucial for understanding long-term trends,'' Dessler said. ''Trends are what climate change is about '-- understanding these long-term changes. Think about how much better off the people who don't want to do anything about climate change would be if all the long-term temperature trends didn't exist.''
He added, ''If you can just get rid of the data, you're in a stronger position to argue we should do nothing about climate change.''
Chris Mooney in Washington and Sarah Kaplan in San Francisco contributed to this report.
Read more at Energy & Environment:
The Arctic just had its warmest year on record 'by far,' scientists report
Trump names Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma attorney general suing EPA on climate change, to head the EPA
Atmospheric levels of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, are spiking, scientists report
Trump transition team for Energy Department seeks names of employees involved in climate meetings
For more, you can sign up for our weekly newsletter here and follow us on Twitter here.
Putin says ready to meet with Trump at any time
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 21:06
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview to Nippon Television Network Corporation (Nippon TV) and Yomiuri newspaper he is ready to meet with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at any time.
However, this should take place after the U.S. presidential administration is formed, the Russian leader said in an interview published on the Kremlin's website.
"We are ready to meet at any time, this is no problem for us, but I believe we should be patient and wait for the complicated process of forming the new administration to be complete," the Russian president said. "We have to wait for him to take office and form his administration."
Putin recalled that he only had a telephone conversation with Trump, whereas Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with him in person. "So, you should ask the Japanese Prime Minister what impression he has about the newly elected U.S. President," Putin told reporters, noting that it is well known that the US President-elect has publicly spoken in favor of normalizing Russian-American relations.
"We cannot but support this. Of course, we understand that it will not be an easy job, taking into account the degree to which Russian-American relations have degraded. But we are ready to cover our part of the way," Putin said.
Source: TASS
GSA in the crosshairs on Trump lease
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 06:34
Government Operations
GSA in the crosshairs on Trump leaseBy Adam MazmanianDec 14, 2016 President-elect Donald Trump runs a luxury hotel in a government-owned building leased by the General Services Administration
The General Services Administration is in the crosshairs of one of the most prominent potential conflicts of interest facing the coming Trump Administration.
A prominent Democratic congressman is reporting that his staff was told by a senior GSA official that President-elect Donald Trump is poised to breach the terms of a real estate lease with the agency. However, GSA is denying that it has taken a position on the matter.
Before he became a candidate for president, Trump won the right to develop the historic Old Post Office Building in downtown Washington, D.C., through a competitive bidding process managed by GSA. The 2012 award to the Trump Organization called for the renovation of the historic landmark building to create a luxury hotel and conference center.
The terms of the lease, however, appear to preclude any elected federal or D.C. official from holding the lease, which includes a provision that, "no member or delegate to Congress, or elected official of the Government of the United States or the Government of the District of Columbia, shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom; provided, however, that this provision shall not be construed as extending to any Person who may be a shareholder or other beneficial owner of any publicly held corporation or other entity, if this Lease is for the general benefit of such corporation or other entity."
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, seized on this language to argue that Trump will be in violation of the terms of the lease from the moment he takes the oath office.
"We do not see this as an ambiguous provision, but as a strict and categorical ban," Cummings wrote in a Nov. 30 letter to GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth. "The contractual breach threatened by Mr. Trump's swearing-in is compounded by the general and egregious conflict of interest posed by his appointing the GSA Administrator who will oversee this lease with his hotel," Cummings wrote. Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.) joined Cummings in the letter.
Cummings also indicated that Oversight committee staff was briefed Dec. 8 by a GSA's deputy commissioner of buildings. A Dec. 14 letter from Cummings and his colleagues to Roth reports that, "GSA assesses that Mr. Trump will be in breach of the lease agreement the moment he takes office on January 20, 2017, unless he fully divests himself of all financial interests in the lease for the Washington D.C. hotel. The Deputy Commissioner made clear that Mr. Trump must divest himself not only of managerial control, but of all ownership interest as well."
Cummings also reported that the GSA official had tried to make contact with the Trump transition to address the matter, but had not heard back. According to Cummings' letter, the deputy commissioner indicated that if Trump does not divest himself of interest in the lease, GSA would follow up with a letter giving Trump 30 days to review the matter and respond. "If the breach is not resolved satisfactorily, GSA would then normally bring the matter before the U.S. Civilian Board of Appeals," according to Cummings' account.
The content of the briefing as reported by Cummings was responsive to a series of questions in the congressman's Nov. 30 letter.
GSA did not respond to FCW's email request to confirm the account in Cummings' letter. A few hours later the agency released the following statement: "GSA does not have a position that the lease provision requires the President-elect to divest of his financial interests. We can make no definitive statement at this time about what would constitute a breach of the agreement, and to do so now would be premature. In fact, no determination regarding the Old Post Office can be completed until the full circumstances surrounding the President-elect's business arrangements have been finalized and he has assumed office. GSA is committed to responsibly administering all of the leases to which it is a party."
Trump had planned to made announcements about the disposition of his real estate and financial holdings on Dec. 15, but that has been pushed back to early 2017.
On a Dec. 14 conference call with reporters, Trump spokesman Jason Miller said, "This will be something that comes up at the press conference the President-elect will now be holding in January. This will be one of the business items that will be discussed."
FCW staff writer Chase Gunter contributed reporting to this story.
About the Author
Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.
Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the About.com online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.
Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.
GSA in the crosshairs on Trump lease -- FCW
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 06:32
Government Operations
GSA in the crosshairs on Trump leaseBy Adam MazmanianDec 14, 2016 President-elect Donald Trump runs a luxury hotel in a government-owned building leased by the General Services Administration
The General Services Administration is in the crosshairs of one of the most prominent potential conflicts of interest facing the coming Trump Administration.
A prominent Democratic congressman is reporting that his staff was told by a senior GSA official that President-elect Donald Trump is poised to breach the terms of a real estate lease with the agency. However, GSA is denying that it has taken a position on the matter.
Before he became a candidate for president, Trump won the right to develop the historic Old Post Office Building in downtown Washington, D.C., through a competitive bidding process managed by GSA. The 2012 award to the Trump Organization called for the renovation of the historic landmark building to create a luxury hotel and conference center.
The terms of the lease, however, appear to preclude any elected federal or D.C. official from holding the lease, which includes a provision that, "no member or delegate to Congress, or elected official of the Government of the United States or the Government of the District of Columbia, shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom; provided, however, that this provision shall not be construed as extending to any Person who may be a shareholder or other beneficial owner of any publicly held corporation or other entity, if this Lease is for the general benefit of such corporation or other entity."
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, seized on this language to argue that Trump will be in violation of the terms of the lease from the moment he takes the oath office.
"We do not see this as an ambiguous provision, but as a strict and categorical ban," Cummings wrote in a Nov. 30 letter to GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth. "The contractual breach threatened by Mr. Trump's swearing-in is compounded by the general and egregious conflict of interest posed by his appointing the GSA Administrator who will oversee this lease with his hotel," Cummings wrote. Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.) joined Cummings in the letter.
Cummings also indicated that Oversight committee staff was briefed Dec. 8 by a GSA's deputy commissioner of buildings. A Dec. 14 letter from Cummings and his colleagues to Roth reports that, "GSA assesses that Mr. Trump will be in breach of the lease agreement the moment he takes office on January 20, 2017, unless he fully divests himself of all financial interests in the lease for the Washington D.C. hotel. The Deputy Commissioner made clear that Mr. Trump must divest himself not only of managerial control, but of all ownership interest as well."
Cummings also reported that the GSA official had tried to make contact with the Trump transition to address the matter, but had not heard back. According to Cummings' letter, the deputy commissioner indicated that if Trump does not divest himself of interest in the lease, GSA would follow up with a letter giving Trump 30 days to review the matter and respond. "If the breach is not resolved satisfactorily, GSA would then normally bring the matter before the U.S. Civilian Board of Appeals," according to Cummings' account.
The content of the briefing as reported by Cummings was responsive to a series of questions in the congressman's Nov. 30 letter.
GSA did not respond to FCW's email request to confirm the account in Cummings' letter. A few hours later the agency released the following statement: "GSA does not have a position that the lease provision requires the President-elect to divest of his financial interests. We can make no definitive statement at this time about what would constitute a breach of the agreement, and to do so now would be premature. In fact, no determination regarding the Old Post Office can be completed until the full circumstances surrounding the President-elect's business arrangements have been finalized and he has assumed office. GSA is committed to responsibly administering all of the leases to which it is a party."
Trump had planned to made announcements about the disposition of his real estate and financial holdings on Dec. 15, but that has been pushed back to early 2017.
On a Dec. 14 conference call with reporters, Trump spokesman Jason Miller said, "This will be something that comes up at the press conference the President-elect will now be holding in January. This will be one of the business items that will be discussed."
FCW staff writer Chase Gunter contributed reporting to this story.
About the Author
Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.
Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the About.com online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.
Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.
Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle is contender for Trump press secretary - POLITICO
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 12:58
Kimberly Guilfoyle was spotted last week at Trump Tower, where she had lunch with top staffers in the transition team. | Getty
Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle has emerged as a contender to be Donald Trump's White House press secretary, and is expected to have a third meeting with his transition team this week, according to two sources familiar with the meetings.
Guilfoyle, a host on Fox News' ''The Five,'' was spotted last week at Trump Tower, where she had lunch with top staffers in the transition team. She did not personally meet with Trump, but she's slated to return this week to the Fifth Avenue building where Trump has paraded his potential appointments.
Story Continued Below
The Trump administration is expected to finish selecting top White House staff by the end of the week.
While Republican National Committee and Trump transition spokesman Sean Spicer is considered the front-runner for the top communications job, some are still quietly pushing for Guilfoyle, a Latina who is a former assistant district attorney in San Francisco.
Some in Trump's inner circle have argued that Guilfoyle, who is half-Puerto Rican, would be a more sympathetic face when flacking some of Trump's more divisive stances on immigration and pro-life issues.
''Do you want a white male representing the White House when half the country thinks the President is a misogynist?'' said a Guilfoyle champion in Trump's inner circle.
''Who do you want talking about Immigration? A Latino. When you have to make decisions about pro-life justices, do you want a man or a woman?''
Guilfoyle has a friendly relationship with Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon, his former deputy campaign manager, David Bossie, and his finance team adviser Anthony Scaramucci.
A Fox News spokesperson declined to comment. Guilfoyle did not respond to emails seeking comment. Trump spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment.
Guilfoyle, who has been with Fox since 2006, was first lady of San Francisco for two years when Democratic politician Gavin Newsom was mayor.
Other names floated for press secretary have included radio host Laura Ingraham, Trump's former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, tea party activist and former Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson and The Daily Mail's U.S. political editor, David Martosko.
Oxfam: Nederland grootste belastingparadijs EU|Nieuws| Telegraaf.nl
Mon, 12 Dec 2016 13:57
Zwitserland, Ierland, Luxemburg en Cyprus zijn de andere Europese landen in de top tien, waar verder onder meer Cura§ao in staat. Het rapport toont volgens Oxfam aan hoe deze landen de "mondiale race" leiden naar een steeds lagere belasting voor internationale bedrijven. De onderzoekers keken naar landen met het schadelijkste belastingbeleid, waaronder nultarieven, oneerlijke belastingdeals en gebrek aan transparantie.
Arme landen zouden jaarlijks 100 miljard dollar mislopen vanwege belastingontwijking door multinationals. Daarmee kunnen 124 miljoen kinderen onderwijs krijgen en de levens van zes miljoen kinderen per jaar worden gered, aldus Oxfam.
"Er zijn geen winnaars in deze race naar de bodem op belastingtarieven", stelde onderzoekster Esm(C) Berkhout van Oxfam. De organisatie roept de EU-landen op samen te werken in de strijd tegen belastingontwijking.
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NA-Tech News
Michigan approves cars without drivers or steering wheels on its roads | Computerworld
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 17:20
Gov. Rick Snyder, flanked by legislators and executives from Ford and GM, signs into law a series of bills that allow fully-autonomous vehicles to take to the state's public roadways.
The governor of Michigan today signed into law a series of bills that allows fully autonomous vehicles, including those without drivers and steering wheels, to begin using public roadways.
Flanked by a Ford Model T and a self-driving Ford Fusion, Gov. Rick Snyder signed four bills as part of the autonomous vehicles legislative package that allows the operation of autonomous vehicles on Michigan public roads. Before, only testing of the vehicles by manufacturers was permitted.
"As far as I know, Michigan is the first state to make it official that these types of vehicles can be used on public roads," said Brandon Schoettle, a project manager with the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute.
"California is also planning to enact similar legislation soon. Obviously, the general act of vehicles driving around like this on any public roads is somewhat unprecedented anywhere, given the very recent introduction of such technology," Schoettle said.
Earlier this year, Pittsburgh began allowing real-world tests of a self-driving, Uber-owned Ford Fusion.
UberAn Uber autonomous car prototype in Pittsburgh.
Several states and Washington D.C. have passed autonomous vehicle legislation that allows for testing of the cars and trucks on public roadways. Since 2012, at least 34 states and D.C. have considered legislation related to autonomous vehicles.
In September, the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued guidelines for autonomous vehicles that included a checklist for carmakers developing the technology, as well as guidelines for states on creating a common framework for regulating self-driving cars and trucks.
''I believe regulation is now the biggest obstacle to the introduction of autonomous vehicles -- even more than cost or technology. The only other competing factor is societal acceptance, which will relate to the laws in the end," said Andy Schmahl, a partner and consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers.
A news release from Snyder's office said the new laws will ensure "Michigan continues to be the world leader in autonomous, driverless and connected vehicle technology.
"Michigan put the world on wheels and now we are leading the way in transforming the auto industry," Snyder said in the statement. "We are becoming the mobility industry, shaped around technology that makes us more aware and safer as we're driving. By recognizing that and aligning our state's policies as new technology is developed, we will continue as the leader the rest of the world sees as its biggest competition."
At the bill signing, Snyder was joined by a primary bill sponsor, Sen. Mike Kowall, and executives from Ford and GM.
Along with enabling fully-autonomous vehicles to use public roadways, the bills also outlined specific parameters for companies such as Google and Uber, who are developing on-demand autonomous vehicle networks.
NHTSAVehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) electronic communications technology is helping to advance autonomous vehicles.
Another bill signed into law exempts mechanics from any damages to vehicles that result from repairs, if the repairs were made in accordance with manufacturer specifications.
All safety requirements that pertain to the testing of autonomous vehicles will apply to autonomous vehicle operation, the governor's office said.
The primary bill, SB 995, also allows automated vehicle platooning, where vehicles travel together at electronically coordinated speeds. Additionally, the legislation creates the Michigan Council on Future Mobility within the state's Department of Transportation. It's designed to make future recommendations on statewide policy "that will keep Michigan ahead of the curve on regulatory issues that could impede new development."
In addition to enabling autonomous fleet delivery tricks and on-demand ride services, one of the main benefits of fully autonomous vehicles will be that owners can summon them when needed so that they don't waste parking spaces, Schoettle said in an email to Computerworld.
"For example, driver A only needs to get to and from work, otherwise the vehicle sits in a parking lot all day. This way, it can return home to driver B for them to use throughout the day before returning to pick up driver A at 5 p.m.," Schoettle said. "As you can imagine, there are quite a variety of ways a vehicle could be shared like this."
Ford, GM and other companies developing autonomous driving technology have been using Michigan's Mcity, a 32-acre, full-scale simulated real-world urban environment where vehicles self-drive in every condition, including snow.
Michigan is also home to the largest deployment of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) electronic communications technology in its Smart Corridor. The corridor is a series of public highways -- more than 120 miles in all -- in Southeast Michigan that have more than 100 Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) transponder units. The DSRC units share traffic information with cars and trucks that have V2I and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications technology and alert drivers to potential problems to prevent accidents.
For example, if a V2V-enabled car makes a sudden stop in heavy fog or its stability control engages on a rain-slicked road, every V2V-enabled car around it will know almost instantantly, giving drivers time to react.
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New rules proposed for vehicle-to-vehicle comms
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 06:28
New rules proposed for vehicle-to-vehicle commsBy Mark RockwellDec 14, 2016The Department of Transportation wants car and truck makers to build capabilities into new vehicles so they can "talk" to one another using short-range radio communications.
In a new rule proposed on Dec. 13, the agency wants automobile manufacturers to build vehicle-to-vehicle communications capabilities using standardized messaging into all new light-duty vehicles -- a move that would set up a common language.
The capabilities will help vehicles avoid collisions more effectively and save lives, according to the agency.
"This long promised V2V rule is the next step in that progression," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a Dec. 13 statement on the proposed rules. "Once deployed, V2V will provide 360-degree situational awareness on the road and will help us enhance vehicle safety."
In the same Dec. 13 announcement, the department said the Federal Highway Administration will issue guidance for vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications that will help transportation planners integrate technologies that permit vehicles to "talk" to roadway infrastructure such as traffic lights, stop signs and work zones to ease traffic congestion and improve safety.
The announcements are part of DOT's efforts to get ahead of safety issues that will accompany the growth of autonomous private vehicles. In September, it released the first national guidelines aimed at helping emerging autonomous-vehicle technologies move ahead and ensure safety from the outset.
That guidance included a 15-point safety assessment for developing vehicles, a model policy for state regulators to use for their own rules and the stipulation that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will continue to have regulatory authority over autonomous vehicles.
DOT said NHTSA estimated safety applications enabled by V2V and V2I could eliminate, or mitigate, the severity of up to 80 percent of non-impaired crashes, including crashes at intersections or while changing lanes.
Similarly, the department said V2V devices using dedicated short range communications to transmit data, such as location, direction and speed, to nearby vehicles could help identify risks and warn drivers of imminent crashes. Location, direction and speed data could be updated and broadcast up to 10 times per second to nearby vehicles.
It added that vehicles that have automated driving functions -- such as automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control -- could also benefit from the use of V2V data to avoid or blunt the consequences of crashes.
About the Author
Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.
Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.
Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.
Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.
Britain is now the second biggest arms dealer in the world | The Independent
Wed, 14 Dec 2016 14:18
Britain is now the second biggest arms dealer in the world, official government figures show '' with most of the weapons fuelling deadly conflicts in the Middle East.
Since 2010 Britain has also sold arms to 39 of the 51 countries ranked ''not free'' on the Freedom House "Freedom in the world" report, and 22 of the 30 countries on the UK Government's own human rights watch list.
A full two-thirds of UK weapons over this period were sold to Middle Eastern countries, where instability has fed into increased risk of terror threats to Britain and across the West.
Meanwhile statistics collated by UK Trade and Investment, a government body that promotes British exports abroad, show the UK has sold more arms than Russia, China, or France on average over the last 10 years. Only the United States is a bigger exporter.
''The UK is one of the world's most successful defence exporters, averaging second place in the global rankings on a rolling ten-year basis, making it Europe's leading defence exporter in the period,'' the body boasted in a report released this summer.
Ministers, who must sign-off all arms export licences, say the current system is robust and that they have revoked permission to export defence equipment in the past '' for example in Russia and Ukraine.
But the Government has also ignored calls to stop selling weapons to repressive regimes, including Saudi Arabia, which has been accused by UN bodies of potentially committing war crimes in its military operation in Yemen against Houthi rebels.
Both the European Parliament and the House of Commons International Development Committee have called for exports to the autocracy to stop, but the Government says it has not seen evidence of Saudi war crimes.
David Cameron on arms trading with Saudi Arabia
The Saudi-led coalition has bombed multiple international hospitals run by the charity M(C)decins Sans Fronti¨res, as well as schools and wedding parties. Food factories have also been hit, as Yemen faces severe food shortages. Human rights groups say there is evidence civilian targets are being deliberately hit. The coalition has opened investigations into a number of incidents and has repeatedly claimed in statements that the coalition "is committed to full respect for international humanitarian law in the conduct of our operations in Yemen".
A joint analysis conducted by the Independent and Campaign Against the Arms Trade found £10bn in arms licences were issued 2010-2015 to regimes designated ''unfree'' by Freedom House, including China, Oman, Turkmenistan and UAE.
Meanwhile £7.9bn worth of arms were sold to countries on the ''human rights priority countries'' list, which is maintained by the Foreign Office and includes countries judged by the FCO to have ''the worst, or greatest number of, human rights violations''.
Customers on this list included Saudi Arabia, which was sold bombs, missiles, and fighter jets, Israel, which was sold drone components and targeting equipment, and Bahrain, which was sold machine guns.
Assault rifles and pistols were sent to the Maldives, while Turkmenistan was sold guns and ammunition.
Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade warned that the dependence of British exporters on unsavory regimes could make the UK less likely to intervene against human rights violators.
''These terrible figures expose the hypocrisy at the heart of UK foreign policy. The government is always telling us that it acts to promote human rights and democracy, but it is arming and supporting some of the most repressive regimes in the world. The impact of UK arms sales is clear in Yemen, where British fighter jets and bombs have been central to the Saudi-led destruction,'' he told The Independent.
''These regimes aren't just buying weapons, they're also buying political support and legitimacy. How likely is the UK to act against human rights violations in these countries when it is also profiting from them?
''There is no such thing as arms control in a war zone and there is no way of knowing how these weapons will be used. The fact that so many weapons were sold to Russia and Libya is a reminder that the shelf-life of weapons is often longer than the governments and situations they were sold to.''
A Government spokesperson said its approach to arms export control was ''sufficiently tough''.
''The Government takes its arms export control responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust regimes in the world. We rigorously examine every brokering application on a pre-licensing case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria.
''Export licensing requires us to consider how the equipment will be used by the end-user and risks around human rights abuses are a key part of our assessment. We consider this approach to be sufficiently tough but where there is evidence of a need for further action we have the powers to do so under existing legislation''.
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War on Weed
Federal Register :: Establishment of a New Drug Code for Marihuana Extract
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 02:13
Start PreambleDrug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice.
Final rule.
The Drug Enforcement Administration is creating a new Administration Controlled Substances Code Number for ''Marihuana Extract.'' This code number will allow DEA and DEA-registered entities to track quantities of this material separately from quantities of marihuana. This, in turn, will aid in complying with relevant treaty provisions.
Under international drug control treaties administered by the United Nations, some differences exist between the regulatory controls pertaining to marihuana extract versus those for marihuana and tetrahydrocannabinols. The DEA has previously established separate code numbers for marihuana and for tetrahydrocannabinols, but not for marihuana extract. To better track these materials and comply with treaty provisions, DEA is creating a separate code number for marihuana extract with the following definition: ''Meaning an extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis, other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant.'' Extracts of marihuana will continue to be treated as Schedule I controlled substances.
Effective: January 13, 2017.
Start Further InfoMichael J. Lewis, Office of Diversion Control, Drug Enforcement Administration; Mailing Address: 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152; Telephone (202) 598-6812.
End Further InfoEnd PreambleStart Supplemental InformationBackgroundAs provided in 21 CFR 1308.03, each controlled substance or basic class thereof is assigned a four digit Administration Controlled Substance Code Number (''Code number'' or ''drug code'') that is used to track quantities of the controlled substance imported and exported to and from the United States. Additionally, the DEA uses these code numbers in establishing aggregate production quotas for basic classes of controlled substances listed in Schedules I and II as required by 21 U.S.C. 826.
Consistent with the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the schedules contained in DEA regulations include marihuana (drug code 7360) in Schedule I. 21 CFR 1308.11(d)(23). This listing includes (unless specifically excepted or unless listed in another schedule) any material, compound, mixture, or preparation, which contains any quantity of the substance, or which contains any of its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers that are possible within the specific chemical designation. Because the definition of marihuana in 21 U.S.C. 802(16) includes both derivatives and preparations of marihuana, the DEA until now has used drug code 7360 for extracts of marihuana. This final rule finalizes a Start Printed Page 90195July 5, 2011, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (76 FR 39039) in which the DEA proposed that a new drug code 7350 be used for extracts of marihuana.
Why a New Code Number Is NeededThe United Nations Conventions on international drug control treats extracts from the cannabis plant somewhat differently than marihuana or tetrahydrocannabinols. The creation of a new drug code in the DEA regulations for marihuana extracts will allow for more appropriate accounting of such materials consistent with treaty provisions.
The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 (''Single Convention'') and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances (''Psychotropic Convention'') provide for the international control of marihuana constituents. Many of the CSA's provisions were drafted to comply with these Conventions. The CSA includes schemes of drug scheduling and procedures for adding, removing, and transferring drugs among the schedules that are similar, in some ways, to those in the Single Convention. With respect to those drugs that are subject to control under the Single Convention, the CSA mandates that DEA control such drugs in a manner that will ensure the United States meets its obligations under the Single Convention. 21 U.S.C. 811(d)(1).
Somewhat similar to the CSA, the Single Convention lists substances in four schedules. However, under the Single Convention, the drugs that are subject to the most stringent controls are in Schedule IV. Another difference between the CSA and the Single Convention is that, under the latter, a drug can be listed in more than one schedule. Cannabis and cannabis resin are listed in both Schedule IV and Schedule I of the Single Convention. Schedule I controls under the Single Convention include: Requirements for import and export authorization, licensing of manufacturers/distributors, recordkeeping requirements, a requirement for prescriptions for medical use, annual estimate of needs, quotas, annual statistical reporting, and a requirement that use be limited to medical and scientific purposes. Schedule II of the Single Convention is similar in controls to Schedule I with a few exceptions, and Schedule III is less restrictive. All substances listed in Schedule IV are also listed in Schedule I under the Single Convention in order to encompass the requirements mentioned above. In addition, as indicated, the Single Convention imposes certain heightened measures of control with respect to Schedule IV drugs. The placing of a drug into both Schedule I and Schedule IV, therefore imposes the most stringent controls under the Single Convention. Although cannabis and cannabis resin are listed in Schedules I and IV of the Single Convention, cannabis extracts are listed only in Schedule I.
CommentsIn response to the July 5, 2011, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (76 FR 39039), the DEA received six submissions from five commenters. Three of the comments raised issues relating to the medical use or legality of marihuana/cannabis; these comments were not germane to the issues addressed by this rulemaking. A fourth comment was merely a clarification of a comment previously submitted.
One comment requested clarification of whether the new drug code will be applicable to cannabidiol (CBD), if it is not combined with cannabinols.
DEA response: For practical purposes, all extracts that contain CBD will also contain at least small amounts of other cannabinoids.[] However, if it were possible to produce from the cannabis plant an extract that contained only CBD and no other cannabinoids, such an extract would fall within the new drug code 7350. In view of this comment, the regulatory text accompanying new drug code 7350 has been modified slightly to make clear that it includes cannabis extracts that contain only one cannabinoid.
Another comment from a pharmaceutical firm currently involved in cannabinoid research and product development praised DEA's efforts to establish a new drug code for marihuana extracts as a means to more accurately reflect the activities of scientific research and provide more consistent adherence to the requirements of the Single Convention. However, the comment expressed concerns that the proposed definition for the new drug code (i.e. ''meaning extracts that have been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis and which contain cannabinols and cannabidiols'') is too narrow. The comment suggested that the broader term ''cannabinoids'' be substituted for ''cannabinols and cannabidiols.'' The comment pointed out that other constituents of the marihuana plant may have therapeutic potential. The comment further clarified that the broader term ''cannabinoid'' includes both cannabinol-type compounds and cannabidiol-type compounds, as well as cannabichromene-type compounds, cannabigerol-type compounds, and other categories of compounds.
DEA response: DEA agrees with the commenter that the term ''cannabinoid'' would provide for a broader definition of marihuana extract; however, use of the term ''cannabinoid'' necessitates that the DEA clarify that the new marihuana extract category (drug code 7350) is not intended to include ''cannabis resin'' as defined in the U.N. Single Convention.
As discussed in the NPRM, a new drug code is necessary in order to better account for these materials in accordance with treaty obligations. The Single Convention placed ''cannabis'' and ''cannabis resin'' under both Schedule I and IV of the Convention, the most stringent level of control under the Convention. While ''cannabis resin'' is extracted from ''cannabis,'' the Single Convention specifically controls ''extracts'' separately. Extracts of cannabis are controlled only under Schedule I of the Convention, which is a lower level of control than ''cannabis resin.''
Accordingly, it is the DEA's intent to define the term ''marihuana extract'' so as to exclude material referenced as ''cannabis resin'' under the Single Convention on Narcotics. ''Cannabis resin'' (regulated under the CSA as a resin of marihuana) contains a variety of ''cannabinoids'' and will continue to be regulated as marihuana under drug code 7360. The new drug code for marihuana extracts under 21 CFR 1308.11(d)(58) will exclude the resin. Cannabis resin and marihuana resin remain captured under the drug code for marihuana (drug code 7360), thus differentiating this material from marihuana extracts (new drug code 7350). This will maintain compliance with the Single Convention.
Final ActionAfter careful consideration of all comments, the DEA is hereby amending 21 CFR 1308.11(d) to include a new subparagraph (58) which creates a new code number in Schedule I as follows:
''(58) Marihuana Extract'--7350
''Meaning an extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis, other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant.''
The creation of this new drug code in the DEA regulations for marihuana extracts allows for more appropriate accounting of such materials consistent with treaty provisions. Such marihuana Start Printed Page 90196extracts remain in Schedule I. Entities registered to handle marihuana (under drug code 7360) that also handle marihuana extracts, will need to apply to modify their registrations to add the new drug code 7350 to their existing DEA registrations and procure quotas specifically for drug code 7350 each year.
Regulatory AnalysesExecutive Orders 12866 and 13563, Regulatory Planning and Review, and 13563, Improving Regulation and Regulatory ReviewThis regulation has been drafted and reviewed in accordance with the principles of Executive Orders 12866 and 13563. This rule is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.
Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice ReformThis regulation meets the applicable standards set forth in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988 to eliminate drafting errors and ambiguity, minimize litigation, provide a clear legal standard for affected conduct, and promote simplification and burden reduction.
Executive Order 13132, FederalismThis rulemaking does not have federalism implications warranting the application of Executive Order 13132. The rule does not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.
Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal GovernmentsThis rule does not have tribal implications warranting the application of Executive Order 13175. It does not have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.
Regulatory Flexibility ActThe Administrator, in accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 601-602, has reviewed this rule and by approving it, certifies that it will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rule establishes a new drug code for marihuana extracts. DEA already registers persons handling marihuana extracts but within another already-established drug code. Thus, persons who handle these marihuana extracts have already met DEA's registration, security, and other statutory and regulatory requirements. The only direct effect to registrants who handle marihuana extracts will be the requirement to add the new drug code to their registration. Therefore, DEA has concluded that this rule will not have a significant effect on a substantial number of small entities.
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995On the basis of information contained in the ''Regulatory Flexibility Act'' section above, DEA has determined and certifies pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 1501et seq., that this action would not result in any Federal mandate that may result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100,000,000 or more (adjusted for inflation) in any one year. Therefore, neither a Small Government Agency Plan nor any other action is required under provisions of the UMRA of 1995.
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995This action does not impose a collection of information requirement under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521. This action would not impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements on State or local governments, individuals, businesses, or organizations. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.
Congressional Review ActThis rule is not a major rule as defined by section 804 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Congressional Review Act (CRA)). This rule will not result in: An annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more; a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of U.S.-based companies to compete with foreign based companies in domestic and export markets. However, pursuant to the CRA, the DEA has submitted a copy of this final rule to both Houses of Congress and to the Comptroller General.
Start List of SubjectsDrug traffic controlControlled substancesEnd List of SubjectsFor the reasons set out above, 21 CFR part 1308 is amended as follows:
Start PartEnd PartStart Amendment Part1. The authority citation for part 1308 continues to read as follows:
End Amendment PartStart Authority21 U.S.C. 811, 812, 871(b), unless otherwise noted.
End AuthorityStart Amendment Part2. Section 1308.11 is amended by adding paragraph (d)(58) to read as follows:
End Amendment PartSchedule I.
(d) * * *
(58) Marihuana Extract'--(7350)
Meaning an extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis, other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant.
Start SignatureDated: December 7, 2016.
Chuck Rosenberg,
Acting Administrator.
End SignatureEnd Supplemental Information[FR Doc. 2016-29941 Filed 12-13-16; 8:45 am]
UN Fires Wonder Woman Under Pressure from Feminists
Wed, 14 Dec 2016 09:32
Nearly 45,000 people signed an online petition asking U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to reconsider the selection of the character.
Yielding to feminist pressure, the United Nations finally decided to fire Wonder Woman '-- the white woman in star-spangled hot pants '-- two months after appointing her as a U.N. honorary ambassador in an empowerment campaign for women and girls.
ANALYSIS:Wonder Woman Is a Terrible UN Ambassador and Here's Why
U.N. spokesman Jeffrey Brez said the character's role with the 193-member state organization would end Friday following protests against the Oct. 21 appointment of the superhero.
Nearly 45,000 people signed an online petition asking U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to reconsider the selection of the character.
"Although the original creators may have intended Wonder Woman to represent a strong and independent 'warrior' woman with a feminist message, the reality is that the character's current iteration is that of a large breasted, white woman of impossible proportions," the petition read.
Dozens of U.N. employees protested at the U.N. headquarters in New York City on the day of the appointment when Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment, said the Wonder Woman campaign would feature various initiatives "over the course of the next year."
Criticisms suggested that the white sexualized icon dressed in U.S.-flag hotpants may not truly help little girls feel good about themselves '-- even if it can also be seen as a woman feeling comfortable about her sensuality.
The fictional character was originally created as part of the innovative propaganda to fuel U.S., "All-American" patriotism during the Second World War, and soon became a woman dressed in hot pants drawn by men for a readership mostly made up of young boys.
VIDEO - Keith Olbermann Loses It: US Military Will Soon Be Controlled By 'Scum' Beholden To 'Russian Scum' | Zero Hedge
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 14:05
Presented below with little comment is an epic rant, culminating in what might have been an actual on-air nervous breakdown, by Keith Olbermann about the "Russian coup" that is currently in process and threatens "the end of the United States as an independent country."
"The nation and all of our freedoms hang by a thread. And the military apparatus of this country is about to be handed over to scum who are beholden to scum, Russian scum. As things are today, January 20th will not be an inauguration but rather the end of the United States as an independent country. It will not be a peaceful change of power. It will be a usurpation. And the usurper has no validity, no credibility and no authority under the constitution. This is a reality that will become the only reality until this country rids itself of Donald John Trump. He is not a President."
Given that the left is suddenly so terrified of a "Russian Coup," we thought the following video compilation from 2012, in which everyone from Obama to Biden to Hillary mocked Governor Romney for referring to Russia as our "number one geopolitical foe," was appropriate.
Obama: "The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the cold war has been over for 20 years."
VIDEO - Canadian Journalist Lays Down Atomic Sledgehammer of Truth Regarding Syria'... | The Last Refuge
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 06:43
The underlying problem created by ideological broadcasts of Western Left-Wing media, is the resulting calcification of cynicism.
Almost every MSM presentation of the situation in Syria, specifically Aleppo, stems from an inherent disposition to apologize for, and ignore the atrocities of, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Amid the obtuse representation of the extremist minority, the ideological media create an even more dangerous situation for the average, common, non combatant Syrian. Fortunately, one Canadian journalist speaks truth amid the propaganda:
There is a longer version of this panel discussion HERE (18 minutes), and the full version HERE (52 minutes)
Pure PropagandaThere is a direct line of causation from President Obama speaking at Cairo University in Egypt, February 2009, to the rise of Islamic extremism which followed'...
VIDEO - Earnest: Trump Knew About Russian Interference in Election and Encouraged It - YouTube
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 06:36
VIDEO - Nigel Farage Blasts EU Refusal to Accept ''Democracy and the Rebirth of The Nation State'''... | The Last Refuge
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 06:26
Mr. Nigel Farage, MEP (Member of European Parliament), spoke earlier today in Brussels. Farage warned, yet again, about the contradiction of a supposed 'democratic body' (the EU) refusing to change policies amid the visible outcomes of Democratic Nationalism.
VIDEO - Congressman Peter King: CIA Engaged In Domestic ''Disinformation Campaign To Discredit Trump'''... | The Last Refuge
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 06:18
Yup. Despite his semi-frequent tendency to be an annoying GOPe type, representative Peter King is correct on this one:
The John Brennan CIA claim's are without evidence or merit and being pushed by the CIA and DNI purely for political purposes. Hence Clapper and Brennan's refusal to present themselves before congress for scrutiny:
VIDEO - A Message for Electors to Unite For America - YouTube
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 06:03
VIDEO - Philippines' Duterte boasts he personally killed crime suspects
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 05:32
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14/12/2016Italy's new prime minister wins confidence vote staving off political turmoil
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VIDEO - Airhead Democrat Senator McCaskill Doubles Down on Russian Conspiracy Theories - YouTube
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 05:25
VIDEO - Trump Rejects Twitter CEO from Silicon Valley Meeting! Taps Elon Musk for Economic Advisory Role! - YouTube
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 05:21
VIDEO - 'You haven't succeeded once': Reporter grills US State Dept over failures in Syria - YouTube
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 05:10
VIDEO - Judge Napolitano: There Is No Evidence That Russia Hacked The Election - YouTube
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 05:04
VIDEO - Harry Reid Claims WikiLeaks & Trump Coordinated To Damage Hillary Clinton - YouTube
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 05:01
VIDEO - Democrat hasn't heard anything from intelligent sources on Russian hacking the election - YouTube
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 04:50
VIDEO - John Bolton Says Hacking Of DNC May Be OBAMA False Flag Operation! - YouTube
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 04:48
VIDEO - 1 In 6 Americans Is Taking Psychiatric Drugs! - YouTube
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 04:44
VIDEO - Meet the Press: Hayden: We got Iraq WMD report wrong
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 04:10
MR. RUSSERT:You were not at the CIA on September 11th , 2001 and the successive months after that. You were at the National Security Agency . But looking back at what the American people were told about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq , was there a colossal intelligence failure?
GEN. HAYDEN:Yeah, we got it wrong. All right? And although I wasn't at the CIA , I was in the room when that National Intelligence Estimate was approved by the community -- it wasn't just a CIA document -- and frankly, Tim , I voted yes. It was my belief that what we were saying in that document was correct.
MR. RUSSERT:Why did you get it wrong?
GEN. HAYDEN:Lots of reasons. This, this has certainly been gone over by whole generation of American intelligence officers . There are a couple of narratives. I can suggest a few to you right now. Number one, maybe momentum in terms of what we knew about Iraq , what we had learned about Iraq . And even though our more recent reporting had been very thin, we still kind of carried the old conclusions forward without, frankly, holding them up enough to the light in order to see whether or not they were still valid. I, I'll tell you this. I've seen since then, I've seen estimates that we've had with high confidence turn to medium confidence. And I'd say to our..., "Why is that now medium confidence? Nothing's changed." And, and the answer is, "Yes, but the information on which it has been based has aged off, and therefore we're reducing our confidence level ." So we've gone to school on this.
VIDEO - Pelosi Falsely Claims That Only British Intelligence Community Said Iraq Had WMDs - YouTube
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 04:03
VIDEO - Behar: 'It's Time' For Trump to 'Step Down' Before Our Flag Stands for Communism | MRCTV
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 03:49
The women at The View had a collective meltdown on Monday's show after hearing ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson was Donald Trump's rumored choice for Secretary of State. Discussing Tillerson's ties with Russia and the news from the CIA that Russians may have been trying to influence the election, the panel wondered aloud if Trump had anything to do with the hacking. Whoopi Goldberg emphatically agreed that Clinton wouldn't have lost the election if the DNC hadn't been hacked, while Joy Behar speculated why Russia found no dirt on the RNC. An exasperated Behar blamed Trump for ''encouraging'' the hacking and demanded he ''step down'' before the inauguration.
Read the rest of the blog at Newsbusters here.
VIDEO - Andrea Mitchell Fears Trump 'Hit List' Against Climate Change Activists in Government | MRCTV
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 03:46
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
On her 12 p.m. ET hour show on Monday, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell advanced liberal fears that Donald Trump was compiling a ''hit list'' of Energy Department officials who pushed Obama administration climate change policy by sending around a ''very controversial questionnaire'' about the issue.
Speaking to White House correspondent Kristen Welker, Mitchell fretted: ''There was a very controversial questionnaire that their energy transition team sent out to everyone in the Energy Department at the high levels asking for the names of anyone who helped negotiate the Paris climate change accord....It was viewed by a lot of people at Energy and in the environmental world as a potential hit list of people to get rid of.''
VIDEO - Chuck Todd Excited by Abolishing the Electoral College on 'MTP Daily' | MRCTV
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 03:37
With the Electoral College gathering early next week to elect Donald Trump President of the United States, many on the left are desperate to find a way the turn the institution against him and/or abolish it. Such schemes are popular on MSNBC, and Chuck Todd expressed the same desire on Tuesday's MTP Daily. ''If we are never going to use the Electoral College, then we should abolish it,'' Todd exclaimed to his panel of journalists.
Todd's argument seemed that have been derived from a deep misunderstanding of the U.S. Constitution. ''My point is, the Electoral College was the idea, a college of influencers, right, deciding whether the American public had made the right decision,'' he claimed. By Todd's argument the Founding Fathers set up the Electoral College to be a type of chaperone for the ignorant masses.
But that is not why the Electoral College was created, as The Washington Free Beacon's Matthew Continetti explained to the panel, ''The Electoral College is there to prevent the biggest majority states to dominate the presidential process, so it's work as the founding fathers intended.'' Continetti was correct, the 2016 election was a great example of the mechanism working as intended. Less populated rural states defended their concerns against the passions of more populated states.
That also seemed to be what panelist April Ryan, from American Urban Radio Networks, misunderstood as well. ''That is one piece of the puzzle that needs to be changed,'' she said, agreeing with Todd, ''This whole election cycle has shown us what the founding fathers have created needs to maybe change.'' ''But they didn't see social media and the immediacy and how things could change at a moment's notice,'' she argued.
And again, that is just what the founders had in mind. The whole system of checks and balances between branches, splitting the legislature into two chambers, the Electoral College, the tedious amendment process, and the Bill of Rights were all designed to slow the fiery passions that ''could change at a moment's notice'' and defend the people.
Todd's fervor for abolishing the Electoral College appeared to have been triggered by an interview he had with Harvard University Professor Lawrence Lessig. In a clip Todd played of their conversation Lessig stated, ''[The electors] have an ethical moral obligation when they take the pledge and must vote that way unless there is an overriding moral reason not to vote that way '... The Electoral College was made for this election precisely.'' Todd reiterated Lessig's scenario for the panelists:
He is simply making the argument: The electors should pause, not elect anybody president, force it to the House, and if the House after deciding Putin after deciding Trump and his finances, elections Trump, then so be it, but buy more time.
Continetti shot down Todd's excitement. ''Well, that's ridiculous. The whole project is ridiculous. And look, there's one Republican elector who said that he won't vote for Donald Trump,'' he explained, ''But it's the height of insanity to think that after this election, we would have the Electoral College overturn the result.''
The excitement the left has for trying to abolish or overturning the Electoral College outcome, stems from a lack of trust in the American voter and the system. Todd's explanation of the Electoral College as a chaperone demonstrates that. And ironically, Todd ended the segment praising the situation, saying, ''Well anyway, the good news is it makes everybody read the Constitution, again. And that's never a bad thing.''
VIDEO - 'We Have a Chance!' The View Desperately Tries to Get Trump Unelected | MRCTV
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 03:29
Wednesday on The View, the ladies turned their self-admitted ''rage'' over the election results into a tentative plan of how to stop Trump from entering office. Host Joy Behar argued that the Constitution left a ''chance'' for Trump to get forced out, with help from the electoral college.
Read the rest of the blog on Newsbusters here.
VIDEO - Georgia Secretary of State says cyberattacks linked back to DHS | WSB-TV
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 03:01
by:Aaron Diamant Updated: Dec 14, 2016 - 6:35 PM
ATLANTA - The Georgia Secretary of State's Office now confirms 10 separate cyberattacks on its network were all traced back to U.S. Department of Homeland Security addresses.
In an exclusive interview, a visibly frustrated Secretary of State Brian Kemp confirmed the attacks of different levels on his agency's network over the last 10 months. He says they all traced back to DHS internet provider addresses.
[WATCH: Sec. of State's office waiting to hear back from Trump administration over apparent hacking]
"We're being told something that they think they have it figured out, yet nobody's really showed us how this happened,'' Kemp said. "We need to know."
Kemp told Channel 2's Aaron Diamant his office's cybersecurity vendor discovered the additional so-called vulnerability scans to his network's firewall after a massive mid-November cyberattack triggered an internal investigation.
The Secretary of State's Office manages Georgia's elections, and most concerning for Kemp about the newly discovered scans is the timing.
The first one happened on Feb. 2, the day after Georgia's voter registration deadline. The next one took place just days before the SEC primary. Another occurred in May, the day before the general primary, and then two more took place in November, the day before and the day of the presidential election.
"It makes you wonder if somebody was trying to prove a point,'' Kemp said.
Last week, the DHS confirmed the large Nov. 15 attack traced back to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection internet gateway. But Kemp says the DHS' story about its source keeps changing.
"First it was an employee in Corpus Christi, and now it's a contractor in Georgia,'' Kemp said.
Unsatisfied with the response he got from DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson this week, Kemp fired off a letter Wednesday to loop in President-elect Donald Trump.
"We just need to ask the new administration to take a look at this and make sure that we get the truth the people of Georgia are deserving to know that and really demanding it,'' Kemp said.
Kemp says several of those scans came around the same time he testified before Congress about his opposition to a federal plan to classify election systems as "critical infrastructure," like power plants and financial systems.
Kemp believes Georgia's state-run election systems are already secure and doesn't think the feds should be involved.
The DHS did not return Diamant's emails seeking comment Tuesday.
(C) 2016 Cox Media Group.
VIDEO - Alan Thicke dead at 69 - CNN.com
Wed, 14 Dec 2016 08:20
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Character actor Jon Polito, who appeared in films such as "American Gangster" and "The Big Lebowski," died September 2, his manager confirmed. He was 65.
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Scotty Moore, a legendary guitarist credited with helping to launch Elvis Presley's career, died at the age of 84 on June 28. Moore is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he was ranked No. 29 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 greatest guitarists.
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French fashion designer Andre Courreges, famous for his "space age" designs of the 1960s and 1970s, died on January 7, his family told CNN affiliate France 3. He was 92.
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VIDEO - $100 note to be scrapped? Australia to crack down on cash payments
Wed, 14 Dec 2016 08:11
Calls for Australia to axe the $100 note have re-emerged, with analysts saying it'd lower crime and help major banks.
The government wants to crack down on cash.
SAY goodbye to the $100 note.
Australia looks set to follow in the footsteps of Venezuela and India by abolishing the country's highest-denomination banknote in a bid to crack down on the ''black economy''.
Speaking to ABC radio on Wednesday, Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O'Dwyer flagged a review of the $100 note and cash payments over certain limits as the government looks to recoup billions in unpaid tax.
Monday's midyear budget update will include the appointment of former KPMG global chairman Michael Andrew to oversee a black economy taskforce. The black economy accounts for 1.5 per cent of GDP, given many cash payments are untaxed.
Ms O'Dwyer told the ABC not only is the lost revenue owed to the Australian people for schools and hospitals, but it's also critical for those who do the right thing and pay tax.
''The whole point of this crackdown on the black economy is to make sure we close down any potential loopholes,'' she said. Despite the broad use of electronic forms of payment, Ms O'Dwyer warned there are three times as many $100 notes in circulation than $5 notes.
''It does beg the question, 'Why?''' she said.
There are currently 300 million $100 notes in circulation, and 92 per cent of all currency by value is in $50 and $100 notes.
The minister would not rule out the removal of the $100 note, saying it was up to the expert panel to provide recommendations. ''There's nothing wrong with cash per se, the issue is when people don't declare it and when they don't pay tax on it,'' she said.
Kelly O'Dwyer. Picture: Lukas Coch/AAPSource:AAP
David Leyonhjelm. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAPSource:AAP
The taskforce will draw on the experience of countries like France, where the government banned cash payments of more than 1000 euros. ''I'm not going to put a limit on what the taskforce will look at,'' Ms O'Dwyer said.
Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm hit out at the proposal, saying ''the only people who are distressed by the cash economy are the government and the public servants who want to spend taxes''.
''The incentives for a cash economy would be a lot reduced if taxes were a lot lower,'' he told news.com.au. ''It's a reaction to the level of taxes we pay.''
Mr Leyonhjelm said Australia was joining a global push to make it harder to engage in the cash economy. ''Whether it will succeed or not is a moot point. Carrying two $50 notes instead of a $100 note doesn't seem to be much of a disincentive,'' he said.
''But with my libertarian hat on, I think the solution is to lower taxes so the incentives to avoid paying taxes are lower.''
It comes after a report by UBS recommended Australia scrap the $100 note. According to UBS, benefits may include ''reduced crime (difficult to monetise), increased tax revenue (fewer cash transactions) and reduced welfare fraud (claiming welfare while earning or hoarding cash)''.
''From the banks' perspective there would likely be a spike in deposits '-- if all the $100 notes were deposited into banks (ignoring hoarded $50 notes), household deposits would rise around four per cent,'' the report said.
''This would likely fill the banks' Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) gap and reduce reliance on offshore funding.''
India last month demonetised the country's two highest-denomination banknotes in a bid to crack down on ''black money'', sparking chaotic scenes.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent shockwaves through the country by announcing on November 8 all 500 rupee ($10) and 1000 rupee ($20) notes '-- some 85 per cent of all bills in circulation '-- would cease to be legal tender within hours.
In a scathing editorial inThe Hindunewspaper, former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the decision had ''shattered the faith and confidence that hundreds of millions of Indians'' had placed in their government.
''The vast majority of Indians earn in cash, transact in cash and save in cash, all legitimately,'' he wrote. ''Their daily subsistence depends on their cash being accepted as a medium of valid currency.
''They save their money in cash which, as it grows, is stored in denominations of 500 rupee and 1000 rupee notes. To tarnish these as 'black money' and throw the lives of these hundreds of millions of poor people in disarray is a mammoth tragedy.
''It is the fundamental duty of a democratically elected government in any sovereign nation to protect the rights and livelihood of its citizens. The recent decision by the Prime Minister is a travesty of this fundamental duty.''
This week, Venezuela joined suit, with Venezuelans rushing to trade in their 100-bolivar bills after President Nicolas Maduro said he was eliminating the nation's highest currency denomination in an attempt to fight speculation and currency hoarding.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he was open to scrapping the 5c coin, after Treasurer Scott Morrison was grilled by news.com.au's Malcolm Farr.
'-- with AAP
VIDEO - George Stephanopoulos' wife tells 'The View' their upset 14-year-old girl screamed 'no abortions!' when Trump won | BizPac Review
Wed, 14 Dec 2016 08:10
Actress Ali Wentworth shared how ''scary'' the world is and how the election of Donald Trump emotionally affected her daughter.
Appearing as a guest on ''The View,'' the comedian and wife of ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos spoke about parenting two young girls in today's world.
''It's scary because the world is so unpredictable and so different,'' Wentworth said, adding that her 11-year-old now sleeps in bed with her and Stephanopoulos because she is afraid of terror attacks from ISIS.
Co-host Whoopi Goldberg asked the actress, who currently stars in the television series ''Nightcap,'' what she tells her daughters to help them cope in the current climate.
Wentworth began to tell a story she ''was not planning'' to share about when the family watched election night coverage.
''It just involves my 14-year-old getting upset about the election and screaming 'no abortions' really loudly,'' she said.
''And I was like, 'you haven't kissed a boy yet. Don't use that term so flippantly,'' Wentworth added.
Watch the interview in the video clip below.
Latest posts by Frieda Powers (see all)
VIDEO - The Truth About the War in Syria - YouTube
Wed, 14 Dec 2016 08:09
VIDEO - Episode 1005 RT '-- Keiser Report
Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:40
In this episode of the Keiser Report from Austin, Texas, Max and Stacy discuss the mainstream media pushing their hashtag fake news blacklists, as alt-media rejects fake narrative values to eat mainstream media's naked lunch with acid memes and information liberation. In the second half, Max interviews Alex Jones of Infowars.com about Hillary Clinton singling him out as a media disinfo agent and the post-election media now jumping on the bandwagon.
Check Keiser Report website for more: http://www.maxkeiser.com/
VIDEO - Tucker Carlson vs. Washington Post over "angry white racist" Trump voters - YouTube
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 21:31
VIDEO - Tucker Carlson vs. Professor claiming Trump legitimized White power movement - YouTube
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 21:25
VIDEO - Clapper Claims Wikileaks Connection With Russian Cyber Attacks is Not Strong - YouTube
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 21:16
VIDEO - The President and His Drones - YouTube
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 21:10
VIDEO - 'US is a great country, correct me if I'm wrong' - Putin on claims Russia influenced US elections - YouTube
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 21:08
VIDEO - MUST SEE: Sean Spicer Smashes Fake News MSNBC Reporter Over Rusian Hack Claims - YouTube
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 20:54
VIDEO - Electoral College Members Seek Intel Briefing on Possible Russian Meddling in Election to Aid Trump | Democracy Now!
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 20:50
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMYGOODMAN: In less than a week, on December 19th, members of the Electoral College will meet in their respective state capitals to cast ballots to determine who will be the next president. In recent history, the vote of the Electoral College has largely been a formality. But this year, electors in states won by Donald Trump are facing mounting pressure to reject his presidency. Last week, Christopher Suprun of Texas became the first Republican member of the Electoral College to come out, saying he will not vote for Trump. He appeared on Democracy Now!
CHRISTOPHERSUPRUN: This is what the Electoral College is for, is so that we do not elect a demagogue, somebody who cannot practice the foreign policy and national defense of the country appropriately, and one who has played fast and loose with the rules of conflicts of interest.
AMYGOODMAN: Well, on Monday, Christopher Suprun made headlines again when he joined with nine Democratic members of the Electoral College to ask the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, for a briefing before next week on whether Russia interfered with the election to help Trump win. The CIA has concluded Russia intervened to help Trump win, but the agency has not released its findings. Meanwhile, Reuters is reporting the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has yet to endorse the CIA's assessment because of a lack of conclusive evidence that Moscow intended to boost Trump over Hillary Clinton. Trump has rejected the CIA's conclusion, decrying it as "ridiculous." But President Obama ordered a review of Russia's role in influencing the presidential election. On Monday, the top Republicans in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, also backed the investigation'--of course, both Republicans. Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, John Podesta, has backed the request by the electors for an intelligence briefing. He said, quote, "The bipartisan electors' letter raises very grave issues involving our national security. Electors have a solemn responsibility under the Constitution and we support their efforts to have their questions addressed."
Well, joining us now from San Francisco is Christine Pelosi, Democratic Senate'--Democratic California elector. She's the lead author of the letter to Intelligence Director James Clapper. Her mother is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Christine. Explain what you are asking for now.
CHRISTINEPELOSI: Good morning, Amy. I am joining with members of the Electoral College to ask Director Clapper to give us a briefing on the newly discovered evidence that the American people first learned about last week, when we read in the paper that the Russians had hacked both Democrats and Republicans but only chose to do a daily drip, drip, drip of information against Democrats in order to try to swing the election to Trump. Our concern is that finding out this information after the election'--it's a very alarming charge, so we would like to see the evidence. We would also like Director Clapper to declassify as much of the information as possible, so that all of the American people can take a look and decide for ourselves. And to the extent that we have to protect our intelligence agents, assets, sources and methods, we would like him to lower the classification to where we, the electors, could get what they call a day pass, go to one of the secure classified information facilities'--they refer to them as SCIFs'--in our communities. They have them at military bases and FBI offices, where members of the military and members of Congress can go to receive classified briefings without having to go to Washington. We would like to go to the local secure areas in our communities and receive this information before we perform our constitutional duty on December 19th.
AMYGOODMAN: And has James Clapper responded?
CHRISTINEPELOSI: He has not responded. We're hoping to reinforce our request today. We have'--since we released the letter yesterday morning with 10 people, we've had'--we've heard from thousands of people across the country, including dozens more electors, who are interested in what we're doing and who would like to find out more about how they could get some of the information that somebody in the CIA saw fit to share with the media. We would like them to share it with us directly so that, as Alexander Hamilton said and as the founders had predicted, we can assure that the president was not elected with undue foreign influence.
AMYGOODMAN: Of course, Donald Trump is denying any Russian involvement in his victory. He tweeted, "Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory!" Your response?
CHRISTINEPELOSI: Well, this was discussed at one of the presidential debates. The role of Russia was long alleged, so this is not necessarily news to Donald Trump. And the fact that he doesn't believe it doesn't make it less true. Unlike him, we would like an intelligence briefing, and we would like to know what the details are. Amy, if you were involved in an election, and somebody said, "Oh, the Russians were the ones that helped Amy win," wouldn't you want the truth to come out to show that you won fair and square? I know I would. And I know he should. Nevertheless, it's our constitutional duty as members of the Electoral College to make an assessment that we had a free and fair election without undue foreign influence. And we'd like to see the data that the CIA has.
AMYGOODMAN: In July, then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's email.
DONALDTRUMP: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."
AMYGOODMAN: At the time, retired Navy Rear Admiral John Hutson said Trump's call to hack Clinton's email was, quote, "criminal intent." Christine Pelosi, what do you say?
CHRISTINEPELOSI: I think it was an outrageous comment for a presidential candidate to make, for any public servant to make, to invite a foreign power to commit espionage. And it wasn't the press who thought'--who was going to reward Russia mightily; it's actually been Donald Trump rewarding Russia mightily for the work they did do in skewing the election to him, when you look at his appointments, when you look at the closeness to Russia of some of these appointees'--most notably, his potential secretary of state, former head of ExxonMobil. These are deeply concerning allegations. And again, the role of the intelligence community is to collect the information and give it to government officials to make important decisions. Well, we, members of the Electoral College, are about to make the most important decision for our country'--the election, formal election, of a president'--and we need to get that information. It's not just the public statements of Donald Trump; it's whatever private actions may have occurred that the CIA may have unearthed.
AMYGOODMAN: Last week, Democracy Now!interviewed Christopher Suprun, a Republican presidential elector. He explained why he won't be casting his vote for Donald Trump.
CHRISTOPHERSUPRUN: I had intended to support the nominee, but, unfortunately, Mr. Trump has proven again and again he is not qualified for the office. He is a complete demagogue, as we've seen for the past 18 months, up 'til last night, where he picked on a steelworker who had to say something about his jobs plan for Carrier. That's a scary thought: When you're a simple steelworker or union boss there at a factory in Indiana, you question the president, and he comes after you 30 minutes later.
I'm not sure what the president is going to do when North Korea says something even worse about him in international relations, which brings up the second reason why he's not qualified. Fifty of my Republican colleagues, who are national security and foreign policy experts, said Mr. Trump would be a danger if he were president. And we've already seen that, where he has exacerbated situations in Taiwan and China with his change on the "one China" policy, or what appears to be a change.
And then, beyond that, part of the issue with Taiwan was it appeared to be a sales call. Mr. Trump cannot profit off the office of the president. It's expressly forbidden by the Emoluments Clause. And, it appears, every time he calls another country, it's to sell a Trump property.
AMYGOODMAN: So that's Christopher Suprun, who is a Republican elector from Texas, who says he will not be voting for Donald Trump. And he joined your letter, Christine Pelosi, as the one Republican, with nine Democrats, calling for this briefing. Are there other Republicans who have gotten in touch with you, either to join you on the letter or to say they're not voting for Donald Trump, other electors?
CHRISTINEPELOSI: Yes, I've heard from Democratic and Republican electors since we put the letter out. Some of them are interested in joining the letter. Others, having seen the politics of personal destruction directed at me, directed at Mr. Suprun, directed at others, have said, "Look, I support what you're doing. I don't want to expose myself to that kind of social media attack. But know that you have my support, and I absolutely want to find out if there is a possibility of getting that information at a local briefing at an FBI office or military base. Stay in touch." So, I'm very cognizant, as a Pelosi, what it's like when you put yourself out there in the public sphere and the kinds of personal attacks that come with it. A lot of my fellow and sister electors are not. They're living lives of quiet public service, and I don't'--I'm not asking for all of them to sign on to the kind of treatment that I'm getting, that I take as part of the price of leadership. But I am heartened by their support and by their communications, that indicate that, yes'--
AMYGOODMAN: Can you say'--
CHRISTINEPELOSI: '--were Director Clapper to receive our request and respond to our request by declassifying the information for the public and for lowering the classification to give us a day pass, there will be electors, both Democratic and Republican, who will be ready to receive and review that information.
AMYGOODMAN: How many Republicans have gotten in touch with you?
AMYGOODMAN: How many Republicans have gotten in touch with you, Republican electors?
CHRISTINEPELOSI: Well, three directly and then others saying that they have talked to more of them, so I'm not quite sure what those numbers actually look like, in terms of how many people the other people say they've spoken to and reflect. But the basic message was: You've got bipartisan support for this, and others may be making their own statements soon. They've also seen, again, what's happening to Mr. Suprun, and they've said, you know, "Look, if Clapper's not going to do this, if we're going to be denied this information, I don't want to step out there and be completely attacked by my own party by asking for something I didn't ultimately get." So, I don't mind, you know, taking the lead and doing that.
I think it's very interesting, though, that there are Republicans who want to make sure that'--though they are presumably there to support their party's nominee, they want to make sure the party's nominee, the party'--the victor has won fair and square, because that's their integrity, too. That's their oath that they'll take as an elector, to make sure that they've discharged their constitutional duty. So, we take this very seriously. And our goal right now is to get as much of that information out to the public as possible.
AMYGOODMAN: How did you become an elector in the Electoral College, Christine?
CHRISTINEPELOSI: Well, as you know, there are different rules for different states. In California, we get appointed by our local members of Congress and by our senators. And I chair the California Democratic Party Women's Caucus, and I was thoroughly convinced that this would be my opportunity to cast a vote for the first woman president of the United States, so I petitioned my congresswoman and said, "You know, I've never asked to be an elector. This is a wonderful honor, but I would like to have this opportunity." So I asked, and I was appointed.
AMYGOODMAN: So, you're representing California, which voted for Hillary Clinton. So why would this make a difference to you, this briefing?
CHRISTINEPELOSI: Well, I would like to know the truth before I cast my vote. I'm a former prosecutor, Amy, and, you know, there used to be a closing argument in San Francisco that went something like "You could go race onto the field at the Giants ballpark and knock over the pitcher in front of 50,000 fans and millions of people watching on TV. And you know what? You still get the right to go to court and say, 'Prosecutor, prove it.' It's not a formality. It's the American way, that you get a jury of your peers, and you get a chance to make the prosecutor prove what everybody saw you did." And similarly, when it comes to being a member of the Electoral College, we have agency. And the founders wanted to make sure that we did. That's why they didn't just have an election, but also an Electoral College to meet to make sure that we didn't have a demagogue, to make sure that there was a free and fair election and to make sure that there wasn't undue foreign influence.
So, we have newly discovered evidence that we would like to see. Frankly, I'm disappointed that we didn't know this before the general election, Amy, but we're reading about it now. And rather than just read about it in the paper and have it shape our view of Mr. Trump, we feel it's incumbent upon us to look at that newly discovered evidence in whatever classified setting the director feels is appropriate to defend and protect the intelligence sources.
AMYGOODMAN: In 2012, Donald Trump incorrectly thought Mitt Romney had won the popular vote over President Obama, and he tweeted, "The electoral college is a disaster for democracy." You also are actually opposed to the Electoral College, is that right?
CHRISTINEPELOSI: That's right. It's been a strange political year for me, Amy, in that I'm a Democratic National Committee elected committeewoman, superdelegate, working to end superdelegates, and I'm a member of the Electoral College who would like to see the end of the Electoral College. So, I guess I'm organizing myself out of two jobs.
But my idea is, the more democracy, the better. And I think that, as a longtime supporter of the National Popular Vote, which actually Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law in California'--many of us have been moving to try to eliminate the Electoral College for years. I thought Donald Trump was correct in 2012. And I would hope that we move to eliminate the Electoral College or reduce the power that small states have over large states like mine, in California.
But now, this is the system we have. These are the rules of engagement that the founders have set forward. And absent a change to them, we have to take our role seriously and do our job. If we're just window dressing, then join me and get rid of us. But as long as you charge me to do a job as an elector, I'm going to do it with agency and with attention. And right now, I'd like to pay attention to the evidence.
AMYGOODMAN: And finally, on another issue, your thoughts on Keith Ellison as head of the DNC, the Democratic National Committee?
CHRISTINEPELOSI: Well, I've had some very good conversations with Congressman Ellison about the kinds of reforms that I'd like to see at the DNC. I'm actually running for Executive Committee on a platform of, among other things, fulfilling the unity commission goal of not allowing superdelegates to trump the will of the voters and eliminating corporate money into the DNC and eliminating the use of at-large appointments to put corporate lobbyists onto the DNC. You just did report on the water protectors. You know, there are only three members of the Native American community who are on the Democratic National Committee, but there's a whole lot of corporate representation. And if you had, say, 10 members of the Native American community on the Democratic National Committee and seven fewer corporate lobbyists, who knows what the policy might have been and what the engagement might have been at the national party level when it came to protecting the water and ending eminent domain for private gain? So, personnel is policy.
I know that Keith Ellison has a lot of really great ideas. I love Tom Perez, who's looking at the race. He was a big support to me when I passed the Fight for 15 resolution at the DNC in the summer of 2015. And I've worked closely with Ray Buckley and Jaime Harrison, state chairs from New Hampshire and South Carolina, respectively. So, I think we're going to have a really good debate. I think Keith Ellison is a very good communicator and a very good galvanizer. I respect that he wants to do the job full-time, like we asked, and that he came to that decision. And I look forward to a very spirited debate about this in January. But it's exciting that grassroots Democrats and progressives want to get involved and want to help refurbish our party and bring back our 50-state strategy.
AMYGOODMAN: Well, Christine Pelosi, I want to thank you for being with us, a Democratic California elector, the lead author on a letter to Intelligence Director James Clapper urging him to release the facts on outside interference in the U.S. presidential election. So far, the letter has been signed by 10 members of the Electoral College'--nine Democrats and a Republican. Thanks, Christine.
AMYGOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! When we come back, Greg Palast investigates the recount in Michigan. Stay with us.
VIDEO - Canadian Journalist on lies about Syria | December 9th 2016 - YouTube
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 20:35
VIDEO - Exclusive - Barack Obama Full Interview-The Daily Show with Trevor Noah - Video Clip | Comedy Central
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 20:26
-thank you for being on theshow. -It is great to see you.
Yeah, I'd like to apologize,first of all. I-I know you've
waited a long time for this andyou wanted to make this happen.
I just... I'm sorry. I...
You guys wouldn't,uh, wouldn't book us.
I kept on...I kept on calling.
I was focused on the election,and I apologize.
Uh, but let-let's get into it.No, thank you
for being on the show.
We are living throughone of the craziest times ever.
I mean, just beforewe came to the interview,
more news broke. Uh, we heardthat the CIA assessed,
with high confidence, that, uh,the Russians were involved
in the hackingof the DNC and RNC, uh,
with the specific intentof swaying the election
in favor of Donald Trump.
And we heard that, uh, you know,the president ordered a review
of... of this from allintelligence agencies.
-Right.-And you wanted the news...
or you wanted the briefingsto be concluded
before the inaugurationof Donald Trump,
-when he takes power.-Right.
Uh... why-why the rush?
Well, it's not a rush.Keep in mind that
when the DNC got hacked,
uh, we immediately assigned
our intelligence community,
our law enforcement toinvestigate what had happened.
And we determinedand announced in October
that it was the consensusof all the intelligence agencies
in law enforcement that, uh,
that organizations affiliated
with Russian intelligence
were responsible for the hacking
of the DNC.
Uh, materialsthat were being leaked.
So that was a monthbefore the election.
This was not a secret.
And the reason that I'm...
have called for a review
is really to just gatherall the threads
of the investigations,
the intelligence workthat has been done
over many months,
so that the publicand our elected representatives,
going forward,can find ways to prevent
this kind of interference
from having an impacton the elections in the future.
Uh, I will say this,though, Trevor.
None of thisshould be a big surprise.
-This was reported onbefore the election. -Yeah.
I don't thinkthere was any doubt
among anybody in the media
or among, uh,members of Congress
as to who was beingadvantaged or disadvantaged
by the political gossipthat was
being, uh, put out in drip,drip, drip fashion
-leading up to the election.-I-I think, now...
I think now the difference is
there isa President-elect Donald Trump.
-Yeah.-And now the big question is
what would bea suitable response?
People say,"Well, this is-this is an act
"towards the United Statesor this is Russia
undermining the very democracythat we stand on.
Well... But-butI think what's...
I think it's really important
for everybody to understand
what our challenge is.
Russia trying to influenceour elections
dates back to...the Soviet Union.
What they did here, hackingsome e-mails and releasing them,
uh, is not...
s... uh,a particularly fancy brand
of espionage or propaganda.
we were, frankly, more concerned
in the run-upto the election, uh,
to the possibilitiesof vote tampering,
which, uh,we did not see evidence of
and were confidentthat we could guard against.
But, Trevor, I thinkwhat everybody has to reflect on
is what is it about our...
political ecosystem,
what is it about the stateof our democracy,
where the leaks of...
what were, frankly,
not very interesting e-mails
that didn't have any...
explosive information in them...
The risotto was interesting.
...ended up being...
an obsession
and the fact that the Russianswere doing this
was not an obsession.
I-I... This was not a secretrunning up to the election.
The president-elect,
in, uh...
in some of his political events,
specifically saidto the Russians,
"Hack Hillary's e-mails,
"so that we can finally find outwhat's going on
and, you know, confirmour conspiracy theories."
You had, uh,what was very clear,
uh, relationships
between, uh,
membersof the president-elect's, uh,
campaign team and, uh, Russians
and, uh, a professed...
uh, shared viewon a bunch of issues.
The real question that I thinkwe all have to reflect on is
what's happenedto our political system,
where... some e-mailsthat were hacked and released
ended up beingthe overwhelming story
and the constant sourceof coverage,
breathless coverage,that was depicted
as somehow, uh,damning in all sorts of ways,
when the truth of the matterwas it was, um,
fairly routine stuff.
And-and the reason I say thatis because,
going forward, uh,
I worry that we don't spendenough time
on self-reflectionabout how our, uh...
how our democracy's workingand our campaign's working, um,
and how all of us have to,I think, do a better job,
uh, making sure that we talkabout what's at stake.
Uh, we... For example,
these e-mails got a lot moreattention than any policy...
(chuckles) that was beingdebated during the campaign.
Let me ask youabout what's at stake.
The president-electhas very clearly said
he refusesintelligence briefings.
Um, and so he's come outand said,
"I don't need them,because I'm a smart man."
You're a president.
You knowwhat a briefing entails.
Can you make effectiveand informed decisions
without intelligence briefings
and without the support of theagencies around the presidency?
Well, uh,
I think the president-elect
may, uh, say one thingand do another once he's here,
because the truthof the matter is
is that it'sa big, complicated world.
It doesn't matterhow smart you are.
Y-You have to havethe best information possible
to makethe best decisions possible.
And, uh, my experience
with our intelligence agenciesis that they are not perfect--
they'd be the firstto acknowledge that--
but they are fullof extraordinarily hard-working,
patriotic,and knowledgeable experts.
And i-if you're not gettingtheir... perspective,
uh, their detailed perspective,
then you are flying blind.
Y-You know,part of what we have done
is to, uh,
just hammer away
at the basic principle that...
intelligence shall not besubject to political spin.
And I'm very proudof the fact that,
over the courseof the eight years,
the message I've sentto every intelligence agency
is I want it straight,without spin.
Uh, and I think we've developeda culture that does that.
My hope is is that, uh,
that s... uh, remains.
Because we've seen, in the past,
-where there was political spinon intelligence, -Yeah.
or at least the-the intelligenceagencies felt obliged
to, uh,cater to the predispositions
of the president or his team
that, uh, you end up makingbad mistakes.
Let's move on and chatabout Obamacare.
-It's one of my favorite topics.-(Noah laughs)
I love... I love Obamacare.
-One of the major deadlinesis coming up. -Yeah.
I want everybody to sign upif you're not signed up.
-Where's the camera? -Here's...We've got many cameras.
Sign up. HealthCare.gov.
Here's one of the thingspeople ask is, some people go,
"President Obama,you asking me sign up
is like the CEO of Vinetelling me to join now."
What's the point ifthe incoming administration says
they're getting rid of it?
Well, first of all, uh,if you sign up now,
you will have insurancefor a year,
and it's betterthan not having insurance
for a year, at minimum.
Uh, and as I've said before,
for the majority of people,when they include
tax creditsthat they may be eligible for,
they can get health insurancefor 75 bucks a month,
which is cheaperthan their cell phone,
or their cable coveragein some cases.
Um, and that'll protect youagainst an accident,
a major illness,could end up saving your home,
or your bank accountor your pension,
um... and it'll give youpeace of mind.
But what you've also been seeingin the debate around Obamacare--
and this has been truefor six years--
this has become sort ofa holy grail for Republicans,
based on ideology and not facts.
The fact is
is that we have the lowestuninsured rate in history.
The fact is, despite all thepredictions to the contrary,
healthcare costs have gone upmore slowly
since I signed that law thanany time in the last 50 years.
The fact is that the law itselfprovides protections
that are really popular.
-It's just people don't knowit's Obamacare. -(laughs)
So the fact that you can't berefused health insurance
because of a pre-existingcondition,
the fact that your kid can stayon your health insurance plan
until they're 26 years old.
The fact women can't bediscriminated against
and charged more
simply for being a womanby an insurance company.
The fact that you don't havea lifetime limit.
Those are all protectionsthat are being provided
to people right nowwho get their health insurance
through their job.
Um, and they'd miss itif they didn't have it.
So, what happens is
that the Republicansnow are saying,
"Well, maybewe'll technically repeal it,
"but it won't go into effectfor another three years
while we come upwith a replacement."
And what I've said before is,
listen,if they had a great idea,
they should have come up with itfive, six years ago
when we were passing this bill,'cause I would have loved
to have somethingthat worked even better
and was even cheaper and wasless controversial, and...
The truth is is that
what we came up with werethe best ideas at the time.
There are some tweaksthat can be made to the program.
For example, a public optionin those communities
where there's not enoughcompetition among insurers.
More subsidiesso that it's cheaper
for people who areright at that borderline, and...
where they're finding itstill expensive
to buy health insurance.
Um, but my...
It will be interestingto watch Republicans
who now actuallyhave to produce,
come up with a replacementthat works better.
I don't think they will,and as a consequence,
you should sign up nowand, uh, count on the fact
that you're goingto have insurance for a while.
Here's a quick questionI have for you off that.
You know, the incomingadministration seems
to be making, you know,a complete 180
on a lot of your majorinitiatives. -Right. Yeah.
-So, climate change.-Right.
Donald Trump and his teamare going the other way.
-Immigration-- they're goingthe other way. -Right. Right.
Um, do you think this changes
your post-presidentialpublic life?
Does this changewho Barack Obama is
once he leaves The White House?
Well, a couple of points.
They may change policy on climate change,
but climate changeis still climate change.
-(both laughing)-It's still happening.
So if the oceans are stillgoing up and, you know,
uh, some streetsin Miami a mile or two
from where the president-electhas a golf course
are seeing floodingin the middle of sunny days,
and it's saltwatercoming up through the ground,
that's still gonna have to bedealt with one way or another.
Um... on...
on all of these issues,
reality doesn't go away,
and, you know,I've had several conversations
with the president-electin which I've said to him,
"Look, if you can finddifferent approaches
"to deal with the problems,you...
"I don't pretend that I wasthe repository of all wisdom.
What you can't do is pretendthey're not problems."
And I think every presidentcomes in and discovers
that, A)Reality doesn't go away,
B) The federal governmentis a... is an aircraft carrier.
It's not a speedboat.
Turning it is hard.
Now, in terms of my rolein this whole process,
uh... I think it is important
for me to recharge.
I think it's important for meto reflect,
it's important for meto get back in my...
-wife's good graces...-(laughs)
and take a decent vacation
and spend some time with her.
and I'll do some writing,
uh, and speaking, uh...
But what I have said is that...
uh... I'll be paying attention,I'll be a citizen
of this countrythat I love deeply.
And, uh, I don't anticipatethat I suddenly just vanish.
Uh, but I think it's important
to-to givethe incoming administration
the space...
and to give the public clarity
about what it isthat they're trying to do,
so that, uh, thatplays itself out a little bit.
And, uh, you know,there may be occasions
where, even in the first year,if I think core values of ours
are being threatened, I mean,I will-- I've said this--
if I thought a Muslim registrywas being set up
that... violatesthe Constitution
and violates who we areand would make us less safe,
because it'd make it easierfor groups like ISIL to recruit
-and radicalizehomegrown terrorists, -Right.
I might have to say somethingabout that.
Uh, if I saw DREAM Act kids,
uh, young people whoare brought here as children,
who are, for all intentsand purposes, Americans,
suddenly being rounded up,
uh, contrary to... who we are,
uh, as a nation of lawsand a nation of immigrants,
I might have to say somethingabout that.
But it's not, uh...
it's not my intention to be--
I think I've said this before--the old guy at the bar,
you know,who's just kind of hanging on.
You know, I need to...I need to take some time.
I've gotone more question for you.
Um... this isa personal question.
-Yeah.-It's a little bit selfish.
Um... I look up to you, becausewe share a lot in common.
We both have parentswho are black and white.
Uh, both half African.
South Side of Chicago.South side of Africa.
-In and around race...-Yeah.
when you are a personwho has a platform,
-Right.-when you are in a space
where you are engagingwith people...
it is often difficult...
to navigate and skirt that line
-Yeah.-between speaking your mind
-Right. -and sharing your...your true opinions on race,
whilst at the same timenot being seen to alienate
some of the peopleyou are talking to.
-Right. -You know, becauseif you are a white person
who's speaking about race,then you are just a person
-who is interested in race.-Right.
If you are a person of colorwho's speaking about it,
it's, like, "Oh,the black thing started again."
the question I'vealways wanted to know is,
-Yeah.-how did you navigate that?
'Cause we watched you do it,but I always wanted to know
how you navigated thatthrough your two terms.
You know...
my general theory
uh, is that...
if I was clear in my own mind
about who I was,comfortable in my own skin,
and... had clarity
about the way in which race
continues to be...
this powerful factor inso many elements of our lives,
but that itis not the only factor
in so many aspects of our lives,
that, uh...
we... have by no means
overcome the legacies
of slavery and Jim Crow
and colonialism and racism,
but that the progress we've madehas been real
-and extraordinary.-Mm-hmm.
Uh, if I'm communicatingmy genuine belief
that, uh...
those who are not...
uh, subject to racism
uh, can sometimeshave blind spots,
or, uh, lack appreciationof what it feels
to be on the receiving endof that,
but that doesn't mean thatthey're not open to learning
and, uh...
caring aboutequality and justice,
and that I can...
uh... win them over,
because there's goodnessin the majority of people.
If I... I always feltthat if I really knew that
and I just communicated itas clearly as I could,
that I'd be okay.
Um, another wayof saying this is
there's not been a timein my public life
or my presidency,where I feel as if
I have had to bite my tongue.
There have been times in mypublic life where I've said,
how do I say thisdiplomatically?
How do I say this,as you indicated,
in a way that it's received.
So there, there...
have been very few instanceswhere I've said,
well, that was racist,you are racist.
There have been timeswhere I've said,
you know, you might nothave taken into account...
(both laughing)
uh, the, uh...
the ongoing legacy of,of, uh, of racism
in why we have so many
black men incarcerated.
And since I know
that you believein the constitution,
and believe in justiceand believe in liberty,
um, how about if we try this?
Now, some might say
well, you're not speaking fullytruth to power
-because of that diplomacy.-Yes.
But, you know,
I don't think that, um,
trying to appeal to the betterangels of our nature,
as Lincoln put it,
uh, is somehow compromise.
There may be times where...
uh, you just have tocall things out
and name names.
But the challenge we face today,
when it comes to race,
uh, is...
rarely the overt,
uh, uh, racism,
and typically has more to do
with the fact that,
you know, people got other stuffthey want to talk about,
and it's sort of uncomfortable.
And it's...
somebody not getting called backfor an interview,
-although it's never explicit.-Mm-hmm.
Or it's, you know,
who gets the TV acting job?
The actress who doesn't quitelook the part,
and what does that mean.
In-in that environment,
where you'renot talking necessarily
about cut-and dried,
uh, racist behavior,
but ratherabout the complex ways
in which society is workingthese issues through,
uh, you know,trying to reach folks
in ways that they can hear,
I think, is, uh, is important.
And, I would add,
everybody's got a different roleto play.
Um, you know, if Chris Rock'sdoing standup,
then there is a benefit to him
doing somethingthat is different
from the president of the UnitedStates doing something.
For one thing, you know,
he doesn't have to, uh,edit his language
(laughing):quite as carefully,
because I am still subject to,
you know, some restraints...
You still got yourlast few days.
...on-on those seven words
-George Carlin talked about.-Yes.
See, I-I can't use those,
uh, as a general proposition,
because a lot of childrenare watching.
I try to comport myself in a way
that, uh,
my mother would approve of.
Well, I just want to saythank you so much
for being on the show.
Thank you for beingan inspiration,
and, most importantly,thank you
for giving me an opportunity tosee what I would look like
after eight years of thetoughest job in the world.
You know,I-I will say that I resent
how youngand good looking you are,
'cause, uh, I used to thinkof myself in those terms,
and, uh, it's been downhillfor quite some time.
-Thank you, sir.-Thank you, man.
-Thank you very much.-Appreciate it.
VIDEO - Dawn Penn- NO NO NO (Original) - YouTube
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 17:42
VIDEO - Eric Shawn reports: Did the Russians tip toward Trump? - YouTube
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 17:03
VIDEO - Sen. John McCain says Putin is a "thug" and "killer" - Videos - CBS News
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VIDEO - Bolton questions if Russian hacks were 'false flag' | TheHill
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 10:52
John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who has been floated for a possible role in President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpState revenue growth slows, sparking fear of recessionTrump expected to tap Tillerson for State TuesdayTop Clinton aide blames loss on Comey letterMORE's State Department, questioned reports of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election.
''It is not at all clear to me, just viewing this from the outside, that this hacking into the [Democratic National Committee] and the [Republican National Committee] was not a false flag operation,'' he told Fox News's Eric Shawn on Sunday.
When pressed about his use of the phrase ''false flag'' and whether he was accusing an entity in the U.S. of involvement, Bolton said, ''We just don't know.''
''But I believe that intelligence has been politicized in the Obama administration to a very significant degree.''
On Monday, Bolton said the media misrepresented him by tying his ''false flag'' statement to the Obama administration. Bolton said he meant to suggest a foreign government might have planted evidence that implicates Russia instead.
The Washington Post reported Friday that the CIA concluded Russia intervened in the election to help Trump win the presidency.
Various people have been identified who helped the Russian government leak hacked documents from Democratic sources, including the Democratic National Committee and Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTop Clinton aide blames loss on Comey letterClinton aide: 'Soul crushing' to learn Russia interfered in electionIs Donald Trump ''actually a fascist''?MORE's campaign chairman, to WikiLeaks, according to the report.
Trump assailed Democrats over the issue on Sunday, saying it was ridiculous to think Russia interfered in the election to help him get elected, even as a bipartisan group of senators called for an investigation.
But, ''if you think the Russians did this, then why did they leave fingerprints'' that led the CIA to its conclusion, Bolton questioned.
''We would want to know who else might want to influence the election and why they would leave fingerprints that point to the Russians. That's why I say until we know more about how the intelligence community came to this conclusion we don't know whether it is Russian inspired or a false flag."
John Bolton suggests DNC hack was potentially a false flag operation by the Obama administration pic.twitter.com/3rHLwHawR8
'-- Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) December 12, 2016Updated Monday 3:22 p.m.
VIDEO - Trump-supporting Tea Partier stuns CNN host by saying the president-elect is on the verge of treason
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 10:10
'It's happening': Maddow previews 'explosive' Newsweek story that hints at Turkey's blackmail of Trump
Watch Bernie Sanders convince a Trump voter she voted for the wrong person '-- in less than 2 minutes
WATCH: Joy Behar explodes over the media's refusal to confront Trump's ties to Russia
Trump-supporting Tea Partier stuns CNN host by saying the president-elect is on the verge of treason
'What is he hiding?': CNN panel hammers Trump for last second press conference cancellation
WATCH: Partygoers play with gun and mock accidental shootings '-- moments before fatally shooting friend
Watch Stephen Colbert's hilarious '-- and fake '-- interview with President-elect Trump
'Stop doing that!': RNC spokesman freaks out when asked why he doesn't trust the CIA on Russian hacks
Teen girls accidentally broadcast their own deaths in car crash on Facebook Live
Fox News host Shep Smith slams Trump's lies about Russian hacks in bid to halt election investigation
VIDEO - 'We Are All In Danger' From 'Evil' At South Pole Buzz Aldrin 12 12 16 - YouTube
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 09:11
VIDEO - Bernie finally says | User Clip | C-SPAN.org
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VIDEO - Freudian slip? White House claims CHINA hacked the election! - YouTube
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 09:03
VIDEO - Joy Behar: It's ''Time For Trump To Step Down'' '' PATDOLLARD
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:27
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Video >> Joy Behar: It's ''Time For Trump To Step Down''
They are unhinged. Which is fun to watch.
Excerpted From Breitbart: Monday on ABC's ''The View,'' co-host Joy Behar decried President-elect Donald Trump's criticism of the CIA for alleging the Russian government had acted to Trump's benefit to influence the outcome of last month's presidential election.
Behar suggested Trump step down as president-elect before inauguration for the good of the country. Keep reading
VIDEO - Frustration mounts in India over cash crisis - France 24
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:19
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VIDEO - Liz Wahl: 'The Goal of Russian Media is to Undermine Faith in Our Institutions' | Mediaite
Mon, 12 Dec 2016 13:11
During a panel discussion on CNN's Reliable Sources today, former Russia Today anchor Liz Wahl explained that the goal of the Russian media is to create disinformation to undermine democracy and faith in institutions.
Host Brian Stelter began the conversation by bringing up Hillary Clinton counsel Marc Eliascalling on the press to apologize for not covering the Russian threat more seriously before the election, now that it has been reported that the CIA has concluded Russia interfered to assist Donald Trump.
Julia Ioffe pointed to her own writing to explain that many in the media did cover the topic extensively. She then noted how Russian television portrayed Trump as wonderful and that the Kremlin was all ''about sowing chaos and undermining democratic institutions.''
Wahl followed that up by agreeing with Ioffe's assessment that Russian media's goal is to create chaos.
''I mean, that is the main goal of Russian disinformation, whether it be through their television channels, whether it be through other measures like hacking, like their legions of paid trolls,'' Wahl said. ''That is the ultimate goal is to undermine democracy, to undermine faith in our institutions, like the media.''
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She added that Trump has ''basically matched some of these key talking points and Russian propaganda to undermine our system.''
Later in the discussion, Wahl circled back to that point.
''And I think that's the point of Russian media, Russian disinformation has been happening for years now,'' she stated. ''But people didn't really take it seriously. I mean, the goal of Russian media is to undermine faith in our institutions and now, they've succeeded in hacking our elections.''
Watch the clip above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]
Follow Justin Baragona on Twitter: @justinbaragona
VIDEO - Self-Described "White Trash Hillbilly" Nails Exactly What's Wrong with America | GQ
Sun, 11 Dec 2016 23:24
His thoughts on wealth disparity and Donald Trump are right on the money.
This is Nic Smith, a self-described "white trash hillbilly from the holler" with a lot of ideas about what's wrong with America. In the following video, Smith is pretty much right on the money about most things regarding the current state of wealth disparity, the need for a $15 minimum wage, and Donald Trump. (As far as economic solutions go, Smith's ideology adheres much closer to Bernie Sanders than Trump or even Hillary Clinton.)
"The coal industry has been dying through the mechanization of labor and good things like more affordable green energy, but another thing that's been causing the death of it is natural gas," Smith said to a group of people fighting for a $15 minimum wage in the state of Virginia. He argues that machines are being used to do jobs better than humans ever could, green energy is a real concern, and globalization is not the perceived threat to American jobs it's made out to be. "Immigrants are not taking coal jobs," he said bluntly.
Where Smith really nails it in his understanding that the actual enemy is corporate greed. "The only thing these companies care about is the dollar," he says. "They don't care about us. They've never cared about us." (As for all those alt-righters who are attempting to infect American politics with their nonsense? "Fuck them," Smith said.)
In regards to Trump's promise to bring back coal plants to his hometown, Smith knows it will be nearly impossible for the President-elect to deliver. "I know a lot of people who voted for him just because of that," he said. "If you woulda asked anyone in Dickinson County three of four years ago what they think of Donald Trump, they'd have said, 'He's a jackass Yankee who probably shoulda had his ass whooped a long time ago.'" As Smith explains, the pressing matter is that Dickinson County Virginia has a 25 percent poverty rate and an average income of less than $20,000 a year.
Coincidentally, Donald Trump announced Thursday that he would be appointing Carl's Jr. CEO Andy Puzder as Labor Secretary, a man fiercely opposed to raising the minimum wage who wants to replace fast food workers with robots.
VIDEO - PopGoesTheArts: Madonna Delivers Brutal Truth During Billboard Honor
Sun, 11 Dec 2016 22:45
VIDEOS: I've previously spoken out about this, but need to say more.
Madonna was honored by Billboard as Woman of the Year at last nights event, and when she took the stage....
She delivered a speech that EVERYONE needs to hear!!
Speaking out on the ageism, sexism, and controversy surrounding her legendary career, the Queen of Pop held nothing back.
Including some tears.
If this speech ever needed to be delivered, it was now.
Thank you Madonna.
Read her entire speech below:
"I stand before you as a doormat. Oh, I mean, as a female entertainer," Madonna said. "Thank you for acknowledging my ability to continue my career for 34 years in the face of blatant sexism and misogyny and constant bullying and relentless abuse."Recalling her life as a teenager when she first moved to New York: "People were dying of AIDS everywhere. It wasn't safe to be gay, it wasn't cool to be associated with the gay community," Madonna recalled. "It was 1979 and New York was a very scary place. In the first year I was held at gunpoint, raped on a rooftop with a knife digging into my throat and I had my apartment broken into and robbed so many times I stopped locking the door. In the years that followed, I lost almost every friend I had to AIDS or drugs or gunshots."
"In life there is no real safety except for self-belief.""I was of course inspired by Debbie Harry and Chrissie Hynde and Aretha Franklin, but my real muse was David Bowie. He embodied male and female spirit and that suited me just fine. He made me think there were no rules. But I was wrong. There are no rules -- if you're a boy. There are rules if you're a girl," "If you're a girl, you have to play the game. You're allowed to be pretty and cute and sexy. But don't act too smart. Don't have an opinion that's out of line with the status quo. You are allowed to be objectified by men and dress like a slut, but don't own your sluttiness. And do not, I repeat do not, share your own sexual fantasies with the world. Be what men want you to be, but more importantly, be what women feel comfortable with you being around other men. And finally, do not age. Because to age is a sin. You will be criticized and vilified and definitely not played on the radio."Madonna also opened up about the time in her life when she felt"like the most hated person on the planet," she said, as she became emotional.. "Eventually I was left alone because I married Sean Penn, and not only would he would bust a cap in your ass, but I was off the market. For a while I was not considered a threat. Years later, divorced and single -- sorry Sean -- I made my Erotica album and my Sex book was released. I remember being the headline of every newspaper and magazine. Everything I read about myself was damning. I was called a whore and a witch. One headline compared me to Satan. I said, 'Wait a minute, isn't Prince running around with fishnets and high heels and lipstick with his butt hanging out?' Yes, he was. But he was a man."This was the first time I truly understood women do not have the same freedom as men," "I remember wishing I had a female peer I could look to for support. Camille Paglia, the famous feminist writer, said I set women back by objectifying myself sexually. So I thought, 'oh, if you're a feminist, you don't have sexuality, you deny it.' So I said 'fuck it. I'm a different kind of feminist. I'm a bad feminist.'""I think the most controversial thing I have ever done is to stick around. Michael is gone. Tupac is gone. Prince is gone. Whitney is gone. Amy Winehouse is gone. David Bowie is gone. But I'm still standing. I'm one of the lucky ones and every day I count my blessings.""What I would like to say to all women here today is this: Women have been so oppressed for so long they believe what men have to say about them. They believe they have to back a man to get the job done. And there are some very good men worth backing, but not because they're men -- because they're worthy. As women, we have to start appreciating our own worth and each other's worth. Seek out strong women to befriend, to align yourself with, to learn from, to collaborate with, to be inspired by, to support, and enlightened by," she urged. "It's not so much about receiving this award as it is having this opportunity to stand before you and say thank you,""Not only to the people who have loved and supported me along the way, you have no idea...you have no idea how much your support means," she said, tearing up for the second time. "But to the doubters and naysayers and everyone who gave me hell and said I could not, that I would not or I must not -- your resistance made me stronger, made me push harder, made me the fighter that I am today. It made me the woman that I am today. So thank you."
VIDEO - Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Hits Back at Obama Foreign Policy Cronies and Neocons!! - 12/8/16 - YouTube
Sun, 11 Dec 2016 15:07
VIDEO - CNN Anchor Shakes in Fear Over American Generals Being in Trump's Cabinet - YouTube
Sun, 11 Dec 2016 15:00


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Georgia Secretary of State says cyberattacks linked back to DHS.mp3

Electoral College

'We Have a Chance!' The View Desperately Tries to Get Trump Unelected.mp3
A Message for Electors to Unite For America.mp3
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Keith Olbermann Loses It- US Military Will Soon Be Controlled By 'Scum' Beholden To 'Russian Scum'.mp3


Nigel Farage Blasts EU Refusal to Accept ''Democracy and the Rebirth of The Nation State''.mp3


Andrea Mitchell-Pelosi Falsely Claims That Only British Intelligence Community Said Iraq Had WMDs.mp3
Behar- 'It's Time' For Trump to 'Step Down' Before Our Flag Stands for Communism-Final.mp3
Clapper Claims Wikileaks Connection With Russian Cyber Attacks is Not Strong.mp3
CNN - CaerlCNN-Rep Elliot Engel (D) NY-Havent heard ANYTHING from intelligence sources.mp3
Congressman Peter King- CIA Engaged In Domestic ''Disinformation Campaign To Discredit Trump''.mp3
Freudian slip? White House claims CHINA hacked the election.mp3
GMA-Democrat Senator McCaskill Doubles Down on Russian Conspiracy Theories.mp3
Harry Reid Claims WikiLeaks & Trump Coordinated To Damage Hillary Clinton.mp3
Hayden- We got Iraq WMD report wrong.mp3
John Bolton Says Hacking Of DNC May Be OBAMA False Flag Operation.mp3
Josh Earnest- Trump Knew About Russian Interference in Election and Encouraged It.aiff
Judge Napolitano- There Is No Evidence That Russia Hacked The Election.mp3

JCD Clips

aleppo 1 NBC.mp3
aleppo RT ONE.mp3
Behar ISO.mp3
electoral college lessig FOX.mp3
ellison teachers union sanders DNC.mp3
german news and russia RT.mp3
intel agencies no show scandal ONE FOX.mp3
intel agencies no show scandal TWO FOX.mp3
misc rants.mp3
muslim woman attacked - bad re[orting DN.mp3
olberman ISO.mp3
RT canadian founralist versus stooge.mp3
short RT report on ALeppo opener.mp3
sidebar dccc notes.mp3
sleppo 2 NBC punchline.mp3
STARTER NBC Putin Russia hack.mp3
tide commercial odd element.mp3
Tillerson NBC hit piece.mp3
uber launch.mp3
Wilkerson on ALeppo.mp3
yahpp breach NBC.mp3

Ministry of Truth

Liz Wahl on The View-short.mp3
Liz Wahl quits RT.mp3
Liz Wahl- 'The Goal of Russian Media is to Undermine Faith in Our Institutions-Final.mp3
Max Keiser-1-ALL new is propaganda-OFCOM RT.mp3
Max Keiser-2-VOA offered to quit on air RT.mp3

Trump Transition

Andrea Mitchell Fears Trump ‘Hit List’ Against Climate Change Activists in Government.mp3
Trump Rejects Twitter CEO from Silicon Valley Meeting! Taps Elon Musk for Economic Advisory Role.mp3

War on Cash

Frustration mounts in India over cash crisis.mp3
Oz Government floats $100 note removal.mp3

War on Drugs

HLN-1 In 6 Americans Is Taking Psychiatric Drugs-Kicker=Over 60.mp3
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