Art for episode 930

930: Off Script

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 4m
May 18th, 2017
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Executive Producers: Sir Anthony Seven Baron of Hamilton, BL Slaght

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Ewan of the Ramen Noodles, Jason Verner, Sir Scheister Destroyer of Cones

Cover Artist: Comic Strip Blogger

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The I-Word
John Podesta joins The Washington Post as a contributing columnist - The Washington Post
Tue, 16 May 2017 17:03
By WashPostPR By WashPostPR February 23
The Washington Post today announced that John Podesta will join the Opinion section as a contributing columnist. Podesta, former chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign, will provide commentary and analysis on the intersection of politics and policy, the Trump administration and the future of the Democratic Party.
''No one knows more about how Washington works, how the White House operates, and how policy ideas are translated into reality than John Podesta,'' said Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt. ''His long experience in Congress, inside two Democratic White Houses and on the front lines of numerous presidential campaigns, will offer readers vital insight into Washington and politics at the start of a new era.''
John Podesta served as Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton and as a counselor to President Barack Obama. He is the founder and board member of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington, D.C. He is also a visiting professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center.
Senate Letter for comey memoranda
Wed, 17 May 2017 22:18
Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador - The Washington Post
Tue, 16 May 2017 15:56
President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump's disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.
The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump's decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump's meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.
''This is code-word information,'' said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump ''revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.''
(Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)
[Lawmakers express shock and concern about Trump disclosure of classified information]
The revelation comes as the president faces rising legal and political pressure on multiple Russia-related fronts. Last week, he fired FBI Director James B. Comey in the midst of a bureau investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Trump's subsequent admission that his decision was driven by ''this Russia thing'' was seen by critics as attempted obstruction of justice.
One day after dismissing Comey, Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and A mbassador Sergey Kislyak '-- a key figure in earlier Russia controversies '-- into the Oval Office. It was during that meeting, officials said, that Trump went off script and began describing details of an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft.
For almost anyone in government, discussing such matters with an adversary would be illegal. As president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law.
White House officials involved in the meeting said Trump discussed only shared concerns about terrorism.
''The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation,'' said H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, who participated in the meeting. ''At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.''
McMaster reiterated his statement in a subsequent appearance at the White House on Monday and described the Washington Post story as ''false,'' but did not take any questions.
In their statements, White House officials emphasized that Trump had not discussed specific intelligence sources and methods, rather than addressing whether he had disclosed information drawn from sensitive sources.
The CIA declined to comment, and the NSA did not respond to requests for comment.
But officials expressed concern about Trump's handling of sensitive information as well as his grasp of the potential consequences. Exposure of an intelligence stream that has provided critical insight into the Islamic State, they said, could hinder the United States' and its allies' ability to detect future threats.
[On Russia, Trump and his top national security aides seem to be at odds]
''It is all kind of shocking,'' said a former senior U.S. official who is close to current administration officials. ''Trump seems to be very reckless and doesn't grasp the gravity of the things he's dealing with, especially when it comes to intelligence and national security. And it's all clouded because of this problem he has with Russia.''
In his meeting with Lavrov, Trump seemed to be boasting about his inside knowledge of the looming threat. ''I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,'' the president said, according to an official with knowledge of the exchange.
Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State's territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.
The Post is withholding most plot details, including the name of the city, at the urging of officials who warned that revealing them would jeopardize important intelligence capabilities.
''Everyone knows this stream is very sensitive, and the idea of sharing it at this level of granularity with the Russians is troubling,'' said a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official who also worked closely with members of the Trump national security team. He and others spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the subject.
The identification of the location was seen as particularly problematic, officials said, because Russia could use that detail to help identify the U.S. ally or intelligence capability involved. Officials said the capability could be useful for other purposes, possibly providing intelligence on Russia's presence in Syria. Moscow would be keenly interested in identifying that source and perhaps disrupting it.
[Political chaos in Washington is a return on investment in Moscow]
Russia and the United States both regard the Islamic State as an enemy and share limited information about terrorist threats. But the two nations have competing agendas in Syria, where Moscow has deployed military assets and personnel to support President Bashar al-Assad.
''Russia could identify our sources or techniques,'' the senior U.S. official said.
A former intelligence official who handled high-level intelligence on Russia said that given the clues Trump provided, ''I don't think that it would be that hard [for Russian spy services] to figure this out.''
At a more fundamental level, the information wasn't the United States' to provide to others. Under the rules of espionage, governments '-- and even individual agencies '-- are given significant control over whether and how the information they gather is disseminated, even after it has been shared. Violating that practice undercuts trust considered essential to sharing secrets.
The officials declined to identify the ally but said it has previously voiced frustration with Washington's inability to safeguard sensitive information related to Iraq and Syria.
''If that partner learned we'd given this to Russia without their knowledge or asking first, that is a blow to that relationship,'' the U.S. official said.
Trump also described measures the United States has taken or is contemplating to counter the threat, including military operations in Iraq and Syria, as well as other steps to tighten security, officials said.
The officials would not discuss details of those measures, but the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed that it is considering banning laptops and other large electronic devices from carry-on bags on flights between Europe and the United States. The United States and Britain imposed a similar ban in March affecting travelers passing through airports in 10 Muslim-majority countries.
Trump cast the countermeasures in wistful terms. ''Can you believe the world we live in today?'' he said, according to one official. ''Isn't it crazy?''
Lavrov and Kislyak were also accompanied by aides.
A Russian photographer took photos of part of the session that were released by the Russian state-owned Tass news agency. No U.S. news organization was allowed to attend any part of the meeting.
Team Trump's ties to Russian interests Senior White House officials appeared to recognize quickly that Trump had overstepped and moved to contain the potential fallout. Thomas P. Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, placed calls to the directors of the CIA and the NSA, the services most directly involved in the intelligence-sharing arrangement with the partner.
One of Bossert's subordinates also called for the problematic portion of Trump's discussion to be stricken from internal memos and for the full transcript to be limited to a small circle of recipients, efforts to prevent sensitive details from being disseminated further or leaked.
White House officials defended Trump. ''This story is false,'' said Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser for strategy. ''The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced.''
But officials could not explain why staff members nevertheless felt it necessary to alert the CIA and the NSA.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said he would rather comment on the revelations in the Post story after ''I know a little bit more about it,'' but added: ''Obviously, they are in a downward spiral right now and have got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that's happening. And the shame of it is, there's a really good national security team in place.''
Corker also said, ''The chaos that is being created by the lack of discipline is creating an environment that I think makes '-- it creates a worrisome environment.''
Trump has repeatedly gone off-script in his dealings with high-ranking foreign officials, most notably in his contentious introductory conversation with the Australian prime minister earlier this year. He has also faced criticism for seemingly lax attention to security at his Florida retreat, Mar-a-Lago, where he appeared to field preliminary reports of a North Korea missile launch in full view of casual diners.
U.S. officials said that the National Security Council continues to prepare multi-page briefings for Trump to guide him through conversations with foreign leaders, but that he has insisted that the guidance be distilled to a single page of bullet points '-- and often ignores those.
''He seems to get in the room or on the phone and just goes with it, and that has big downsides,'' the second former official said. ''Does he understand what's classified and what's not? That's what worries me.''
Lavrov's reaction to the Trump disclosures was muted, officials said, calling for the United States to work more closely with Moscow on fighting terrorism.
Kislyak has figured prominently in damaging stories about the Trump administration's ties to Russia. Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign just 24 days into the job over his contacts with Kislyak and his misleading statements about them. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to recuse himself from matters related to the FBI's Russia investigation after it was revealed that he had met and spoke with Kislyak, despite denying any contact with Russian officials during his confirmation hearing.
''I'm sure Kislyak was able to fire off a good cable back to the Kremlin with all the details'' he gleaned from Trump, said the former U.S. official who handled intelligence on Russia.
The White House readout of the meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak made no mention of the discussion of a terrorist threat.
''Trump emphasized the need to work together to end the conflict in Syria,'' the summary said. The president also ''raised Ukraine'' and ''emphasized his desire to build a better relationship between the United States and Russia.''
Julie Tate and Ellen Nakashima contributed to this report.
Read more:
Trump's new Russia expert wrote a psychological profile of Vladimir Putin '' and it should scare Trump
On the campaign trail, Trump was very worried about revealing America's secrets
Presence of Russian photographer in Oval Office raises alarms
McMaster and Tillerson are complicit in Trump's dishonesty, so must they resign? - The Washington Post
Tue, 16 May 2017 17:23
National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster spoke at the White House on May 15 and denied recent reporting that President Trump revealed classified information in a meeting with Russian officials. (Reuters)
On Monday evening, national security adviser H.R. McMaster put his reputation, honed over decades, on the line to issue a non-denial denial '-- claiming that The Post's story was wrong because President Trump did not disclose to Russia's foreign minister and ambassador ''sources and methods.'' The Post did not say anything of the sort, but rather, accurately reported that Trump revealed highly classified material obtained from an ally '-- the disclosure of which would endanger our relationship with our ally and jeopardize the means by which we obtained the information.
As he apparently did with obstruction of justice regarding the firing of James Comey, the president ''confessed'' in a tweet this morning, saying, ''As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety.'' He added: ''Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.'' In one fell swoop, Trump revealed his abject unfitness and exposed McMaster, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell '-- all who personally attempted to knock down the story '-- as dishonest hacks.
It is not unreasonable to ask whether McMaster, a lieutenant general who was previously seen as one of the few credible voices in the administration, can now serve the country and protect it from an unfit president only by resigning. ''You know, that is a hard question to answer. Of course, I would not have gone in to begin with, but once in, people have conflicting loyalties, I think,'' says former ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman. ''One is to the nation and trying to ensure that the country remains secure and that the normal business of government is attended to, the other, of course, is to their conscience.'' He adds, ''H.R. got sent out yesterday because of his stature and the respect in which he is held for honesty and integrity. Of course, what he did has ended up sullying his reputation and undercutting his standing. At this point, I think the calculus has to be how can my resignation actually help bring about a positive result?'' He concluded, ''If he just quits to show he really is pure, doesn't that seem like an act of moral vanity? Perhaps the right thing is to wait until a resignation becomes part of a push to either force a resignation or the invocation of the 25th Amendment.''
H.R. McMaster (Susan Walsh/Associated Press) On the other hand, Tillerson '-- who just Sunday claimed he would never sacrifice his ''values'' '-- has shown himself to be of little value to the country. His greatest contribution to the country would now be to quit.
Whatever they decide, three public servants have jettisoned their credibility in service of an unfit president. Frequent Trump critic and former State Department official Eliot Cohen writes:
Now, what Tillerson, Powell, and McMaster said are not quite lies, but they are the kind of parsed half-truths that are as bad, and in some cases worse. This is how one's reputation for veracity is infected by the virulent moral bacteria that cover Donald Trump. Friends will watch, pained and incredulous, as they realize that one simply cannot assume that anything these senior subordinates of the president say is the truth. And having stretched, manipulated, or artfully misrepresented the truth once, these officials will do it again and again. They will be particularly surprised when they learn that most people assume that as trusted subordinates of the president, they lie not as colorfully as he does, but just as routinely. Perhaps the worst will be the moment when these high officials can no longer recognize their own characters for what they once were.
What is more, they are now useless surrogates. The patina of independence and integrity has dissolved, revealing them to be no more reliable than Sean Spicer.
Trump's candor underscores how clueless he remains about his egregious betrayal of an ally, an act that will diminish U.S. access to intelligence and potentially endanger those who provided the underlying intelligence. Republicans have not been moved to date to take on Trump, in effect doing nothing to defend the country against a president who poses a danger to our institutions and security. Now would be the appropriate time to get off the Trump train and name a select committee whose job it will be to determine whether Congress should move ahead to impeachment. If they do not act now '-- and I have little reason to believe they will '-- they do not deserve to hold power. What is more, they will leave a legacy of complicity in whatever damage Trump causes before leaving office.
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Vladimir Putin says can prove Trump did not pass Russia secrets | Reuters
Wed, 17 May 2017 13:09
SOCHI, Russia Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump had not passed on any secrets to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a meeting in Washington last week and that he could prove it.
Speaking at a news conference alongside Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin quipped that Lavrov was remiss for not passing on what he made clear he believed were non-existent secrets.
"I spoke to him (Lavrov) today," said Putin with a smile. "I'll be forced to issue him with a reprimand because he did not share these secrets with us. Not with me, nor with representatives of Russia's intelligence services. It was very bad of him."
Putin, who said Moscow rated Lavrov's meeting with Trump "highly," said Russia was ready to hand a transcript of Trump's meeting with Lavrov over to U.S. lawmakers if that would help reassure them.
A Kremlin aide, Yuri Ushakov, later told reporters that Moscow had in its possession a written record of the conversation, not an audio recording.
Complaining about what he said were signs of "political schizophrenia" in the United States, Putin said Trump was not being allowed to do his job properly.
"It's hard to imagine what else can these people who generate such nonsense and rubbish can dream up next," said Putin.
"What surprises me is that they are shaking up the domestic political situation using anti-Russian slogans. Either they don't understand the damage they're doing to their own country, in which case they are simply stupid, or they understand everything, in which case they are dangerous and corrupt."
Two U.S. officials said on Monday that Trump had disclosed highly classified information to Lavrov about a planned Islamic State operation, plunging the White House into another controversy just months into Trump's short tenure in office.
Russia has repeatedly said that anti-Russian politicians in the United States are using groundless fears of closer ties with Moscow to sabotage any rapprochement and damage Trump in the process.
(Reporting by Denis Pinchuk/Jack Stubbs/Maria Tsvetkova; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Christian Lowe)
Next In Politics Following advice, potential FBI chiefs steer clear of job under TrumpWASHINGTON The Trump administration's search for a new FBI director hit roadblocks on Tuesday when two high-profile potential candidates, a moderate judge and a conservative senator, signaled they did not want the job.
U.S. governors work Senate as new power brokers in Obamacare repealA group of about a dozen Republican governors is pushing for its own set of national healthcare reforms, flexing its considerable muscle in the national debate over the future of Obamacare as the U.S. Senate begins writing its bill.
Democrats in U.S. Senate try to slow Republican deregulationWASHINGTON Democrats are striking back at the U.S. Congress and White House over their push to cut regulations, as Republicans ratchet up attacks on rules they say hurt business and give bureaucrats too much power.
Unit 8200 - Wikipedia
Wed, 17 May 2017 16:50
Unit 8200 (Hebrew: ×ח××'×-- 8200 'Ž'Ž, Yehida Shmoneh-Matayim) is an Israeli Intelligence Corps unit responsible for collecting signal intelligence (SIGINT) and code decryption. It also appears in military publications as the Central Collection Unit of the Intelligence Corps and is sometimes referred to as Israeli SIGINT National Unit (ISNU).[1]
History [ edit] Unit 8200 was established in 1952 using primitive surplus American military equipment. Originally, it was called the 2nd Intelligence Service Unit and then the 515th Intelligence Service Unit. In 1954, the unit moved from Jaffa to its current base at the Glilot junction.[2]
Structure [ edit] Unit 8200 is the largest unit in the Israel Defense Forces, comprising several thousand soldiers.[3] It is comparable in its function to the United States' National Security Agency and is a Ministry of Defense body just as the NSA is part of the United States Department of Defense.
Subordinate to Unit 8200 is Unit Hatzav (Hebrew name for Drimia (Hebrew: ×ח××'ת ח×...ב 'Ž'Ž)), responsible for collecting OSINTintelligence. The unit monitors and collects military intelligence''related information from television, radio, newspapers, and the internet. The translation of various items accounts for part of what is termed "basic intelligence", which is collected by the units. According to media reports, the unit provides over half of the overall intelligence information for the Israeli Intelligence Community.[citation needed ]
The IDF's most important signal intelligence''gathering installation is the Urim SIGINT Base, a part of Unit 8200. Urim is located in the Negev desert approximately 30 km from Beersheba.[4] In March 2004, the Commission to investigate the intelligence network following the War in Iraq recommended turning the unit into a civilian national SIGINT agency, as is in other Western countries, but this proposal was not implemented.
Alleged activities [ edit] In 2010, the French newspaper Le Monde diplomatique wrote that Unit 8200 operates a massive spying network. At the center is a large SIGINT base in the Negev, one of the largest listening bases in the world, capable of monitoring phone calls, emails, and other communications, throughout the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as tracking ships. Unit 8200 also reportedly maintains covert listening posts in Israeli embassies abroad, taps undersea cables, maintains covert listening units in the Palestinian territories, and has Gulfstream jets equipped with electronic surveillance equipment.[4]
Ronen Bergman revealed in a 2009 book that a Hezbollah bomb, disguised as a cell phone, was picked up by agents, and taken for investigation to Unit 8200's headquarters in February 1999. Inside the laboratory the cell phone exploded. Two officers were injured.[6]
In 2010, the New York Times cited "a former member of the United States intelligence community" alleging that this unit used a secret kill switch to deactivate Syrian air defenses during Operation Orchard.[7]
Many media reports alleged that Unit 8200 was responsible for the creation of the Stuxnet computer worm that in 2010 infected industrial computers, including Iranian nuclear facilities.[8]
In 2014, 43 veterans of Unit 8200 signed a protest letter decrying what they called the electronic surveillance unit's abusive gathering of Palestinians' private information. According to the veterans, Unit 8200 would gather information on subjects' sexual preferences or health problems so that it "might be used to extort people into becoming informants".[9][10] In response, 200 other reservists signed a counter-protest letter expressing "shock, disgust and total renouncement by our fellow soldiers, who chose political refusal over our unit."[11]
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon criticized the first letter by saying "I know Unit 8200 from my time as head of Military Intelligence and know the massive extent which their efforts play in Israel's security. The soldiers and officers there are doing God's work, night and day. 8200 preserves Israel's existence. The attempt to harm it and its work, through calls to refuse to report for duty, based on claims that are incongruent with the unit's ways and the values of its soldiers, is a base and distasteful attempt to aid the hateful and dishonest anti-legitimization campaign being led around the world against Israel and the IDF." Opposition leader and head of the Labor Party Isaac Herzog, who served as a major in the 8200 unit, also hailed its work and said he was opposed to, and repulsed by, so-called "conscientious objectors." He said that "this unit and its activities are essential not just in time of war, but especially in times of peace," adding that he believed the way in which the members went about voicing their objections was harmful and that Israeli citizens would ultimately pay the price. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said that the signatories had "done a great service to haters of Israel. This is a clear political statement against the IDF and published just as harsh criticisms with no basis or understanding of our situation are being thrown at us." Labor MK Shelly Yachimovich called them "cowards."[12][13]
Several alumni of 8200 have gone on to found leading Israeli IT companies, among them Check Point, CloudEndure, CyberReason, ICQ, LightCyber, NSO Group, Palo Alto Networks, indeni, NICE, AudioCodes, Gilat, outbrain, Leadspace, EZchip, Onavo, Singular and CyberArk.[14][15]
See also [ edit] References [ edit] ^ ח×(C)×פ×--: אר×--"ב ×--×ב×ר×-- ×'-8200 מ××'× ×ו×'× (in Hebrew). Ynet. Retrieved 11 September 2013 . ^ Amir Kidon (1 September 2008). "Unit 8200: In the Beginning". Israel Defense Forces. ^ "IDF Record Book 2010". Bamahane (in Hebrew). No. 3052. September 8, 2010. p. 83. ^ ab Le Monde Diplomatique, 2010 September, "Israel's Omniscient Ears: Israel's Urim Base in the Negev Desert is among the most important and powerful intelligence gathering sites in the world. Yet, until now, its eavesdropping has gone entirely unmentioned". http://mondediplo.com/2010/09/04israelbase ^ Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskill (September 11, 2013). "NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans' data with Israel". The Guardian. Retrieved September 14, 2013 . ^ Book: Hezbollah got inside MI's inner sanctum Ynet, 13 Sept 2009 ^ Stuxnet Worm is remarkable for its lack of subtlety, by John Markoff, New York Times 27 September 2010 ^ "Stuxnet worm is the 'work of a national government agency' ". The Guardian. 24 September 2010. ^ Bamfordset, James (September 16, 2014). "Israel's N.S.A. Scandal". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-09-17 . ^ Williams, Doug (12 Sep 2014). "Wiretaps against Palestinians are wrong, Israeli ex-spies tell Netanyahu". Reuters. Retrieved 12 Sep 2014 . ^ http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/185051 ^ Netanyahu backs intel unit, as Ya'alon slams intel officers' letter Ynet, 13 Sept 2014 ^ IDF condemns objectors, promises 'sharp' punishment Times of Israel, 14 Sept 2014 ^ The Unit '' Forbes.com ^ Beyond Israeli Army Unit 8200 External links [ edit] Foreignintelligence
Domesticintelligence
Argentina: AFIAustralia: ASIOAzerbaijan: MTNBangladesh: SBBelarus: KGB RBBelgium: VS/SEBosnia and Herzegovina: SIPABrazil: PFBrunei: IRDCanada: CSISChile: ANIChina: MSSCroatia: SOACzech Republic: BISDenmark: PETEgypt: EHSEstonia: KAPOFinland: SUPOFrance: DGSIGermany: BfVGhana: GPS, CIDGreece: EYPHungary: AHIndia: IB, CBI, NSC, AIRMSIran: VAJA, IRGC, PAVAIreland: CSB, SDU, NSUIsrael: Shin BetItaly: AISIKazakhstan: NSCKenya: NISLatvia: DPLithuania: STTRepublic of Macedonia: IAMalaysia: SBJapan: NPA, PSIANetherlands: NCTbNew Zealand: NZSISNigeria: SSSNorway: PSTNorth Korea: SSDOman: ISSPakistan: IB, FIAPhilippines: NBIPoland: ABWPortugal: SISRomania: SRIRussia: FSBSaudi Arabia: MabahithSerbia: BIASingapore: ISDSouth Africa: SSASouth Korea: SPOSri Lanka: SISSweden: SPOSwitzerland: NDBSyria: GSDTaiwan: MJIBThailand: ISOC, SBTurkey: KDGMUkraine: SBUUnited Kingdom: Security Service (MI5), NDEDIU, NCA, NBISUnited States: FBIUzbekistan: SNBVenezuela: SEBINVietnam: TC5Zimbabwe CIOMilitaryintelligence
Signalsintelligence
Imageryintelligence
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CIA MEDIA 'openess' Plan
Wed, 17 May 2017 11:56
Declassified CIA Documents Show Agency's Control Over Mainstream Media & Academia '' Collective Evolution
Wed, 17 May 2017 12:19
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A declassified document from the CIA archives in the form of a letter from a CIA task force addressed to the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency details the close relationship that exists between the CIA and mainstream media and academia.
The document states that the CIA task force ''now has relationships with reporters from every major wire service, newspaper, news weekly, and television network in the nation,'' and that ''this has helped us turn some 'intelligence failure' stories into 'intelligence success'' stories,' and has contributed to the accuracy of countless others.'' Furthermore, it explains how the agency has ''persuaded reporters to postpone, change, hold, or even scrap stories that could have adversely affected national security interests or jeopardized sources and methods.''
Although it is a document outlining their desire to become more open and transparent, the deception outlined by various whistleblowers (example) requires us to read between the lines and recognize that the relationships shared between intelligence agencies and our sources of information are not always warranted and pose inherent conflicts of interest.
Herein lies the problem: What is ''national security,'' and who determines that definition? JFK bravely told the world that the ''dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweigh[] the dangers which are cited to justify it.'' He also said that ''there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment.''
''National security'' is now an umbrella term used to justify concealing information, but who makes these decisions? You can read more about our world of secrecy and the Black Budget here.
Not only are countless documents classified every single year in North America, but false information and ''fake news'' are routinely dispersed, mainly by mainstream media outlets '-- a reality that is clearly conveyed in this document and has been expressed by multiple mainstream media journalists themselves. And as with the NSA surveillance program that was exposed by Edward Snowden, it's a global problem.
Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, a prominent German journalist and editor for more than two decades, is one example. He blew the whistle on public television, stating that he was forced to publish the works of intelligence agencies under his own name and that noncompliance with these orders would result in him losing his job. (source)
Sharyl Attkisson and Amber Lyon, both well-known mainstream media reporters and journalists, have also exposed funded movements by political, corporate, and other special interests, and have revealed that they are routinely paid by the U.S. government as well as foreign governments to selectively report and distort information on certain events. (source)(source)
Let's not forget about Operation Mockingbird, a CIA-based initiative to control mainstream media.
The document not only outlines the CIA's role in media, but also the entire entertainment industry in general, lending further weight to revelations offered by celebrities like Jim Carrey. He appeared as a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live, saying that, ''For years now, talk show hosts, people on television, people in sitcoms have been, hired by the government to throw you off the tracks, to distract you, to make you laugh and stuff like that, make you happy and docile so you don't know what's really going on.''
While some question whether he was merely joking, the facts still remain. Another celebrity, who was clearly serious, is Roseanne Barr, who referenced the CIA's MK Ultra mind control program '-- a previously classified research program through the CIA's scientific intelligence division that tested behavioural modification and perception manipulation on human beings.
What we seem to have here is an attempt to manipulate public perception of global events through mainstream media and news publications. But what's perhaps most interesting is the fact that a lot of people are now waking up and seeing through many of these lies and manipulation tactics. Instead of just blindly believing what we hear on television, more people are starting to think critically, do independent research, and examine a wide array of sources and information.
So many opportunities have emerged within the past few years allowing others to see this more clearly. One was the recent ''fake news'' epidemic, where evidence surfaced exposing information that threatened the global elite. Wikileaks is perhaps one of the greatest examples. For mainstream media to basically label everything else as ''fake news'' was quite ironic, given that it seems the majority of people consider mainstream media themselves to be the real ''fake news,'' and this is now even more evident given the information presented above in this article.
The documents also touch upon the fact that they are constantly in touch with the entertainment industry, giving advice on scenes and direction, as well as how things happened in certain situations. Personally, I feel the industry is largely used to push propaganda, like patriotism. Patriotism is pumped into the population to support a large military in the name of ''national security.'' We are being fooled, wars are not waged for defence, but for offence and to push forth political agendas.
So you see, there are multiple reasons for these CIA connections to various industries.
Academia From a young age we're taught that getting an education is the key to living a good life. Getting a decent job, making good money, even finding the right partner '-- all depend on following a certain path. Yet many concepts and topics are, as previously illustrated, kept from public viewing, and this includes plenty of important science.
The U.S. intelligence community investigated parapsychology (ESP, remote viewing, telepathy, etc.) for more than two decades, for instance. Russell Targ, a physicist who has spent several decades working in a U.S. government program exploring these concepts, recently shared his experience doing so in a TED talk that is now approaching 1 million views.
Another great example of Black Budget science comes from Ben Rich, the second director of Lockheed Skunkworks, who worked there from 1975-1991. He's been called the Father of Stealth, having overseen the development of the first stealth fighter, the F-117 Nighthawk. Before his death, Rich made several shocking open statements about the reality of UFOs and extraterrestrials.
''We already have the means to travel among the stars, but these technologies are locked up in black projects, and it would take an act of God to ever get them out to benefit humanity. Anything you can imagine, we already know how to do it.''
''We now have technology to take ET home. No it won't take someone's lifetime to do it. There is an error in the equations. We know what it is. We now have the capability to travel to the stars.''
''There are two types of UFOs '-- the ones we build and the ones 'they' build.''
To read more about those comments and examine the sources, you can refer to this article that goes into more detail about it.
Information like this, including testimony from hundreds of others, suggests that the ''classified world'' is much more advanced than our mainstream one.
This particular document states that the agency exposes administrators of academic institutions to the agency on a regular basis.
Obviously, as with any other job, the CIA would be looking for what they consider to be qualified individuals. But the document does outline its close relationship with academia in general.
This is because certain developments and information that stem from academia could threaten national security and therefore must be kept out of the curriculum, and the public domain.
Take, for example, documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that reveal how the U.S. government has been using a secret system to withhold the approval of some applications.
This 50-page document was obtained by Kilpatrick Towsend & Stockton, LLP, who commonly represent major tech companies that include Apple, Google, and Twitter (to name a few). You can view that entire document here. (source)
The program delaying patent applications is called the Sensitive Application Warning System (SWAS). Usually when an application is submitted for a patent approval, it requires a couple of examiners who work with the Patent Office to go through their process of approval. This process usually takes one to two years, but applications that are filed in SAWS must be approved from several people, and can be delayed for a number of years.
One great example (out of many) of delayed patent applications comes from Dr. Gerald F. Ross, who filed a patent application for a new invention he had devised to defeat the jamming of electromagnetic transmissions at specified frequencies. It was not until June 17, 2014 (almost 37 years later) that this patent was granted. (source)
It's important to note (as reported by the Federation of American Scientists '-- see annotated bibliography) that there were over 5,000 inventions that were under secrecy orders at the end of fiscal year 2014, which marked the highest number of secrecy orders in effect since 1994. (source)
Steven Aftergood from the Federation of American Scientists reports:
The 1971 list indicates that patents for solar photovoltaic generators were subject to review and possible restriction if the photovoltaics were more than 20% efficient. Energy conversion systems were likewise subject to review and possible restriction if they offered conversion efficiencies ''in excess of 70-80%.'' (source)
This is all thanks to an act many people are unaware of. It's called the ''Invention Secrecy Act,'' and it was written in 1951. Under this act, patent applications on new inventions can be subject to secrecy orders, which can restrict their publication if government agencies believe that their disclosure would be harmful to national security. (source)(source)
Final Thoughts So, as you see, science and academia in the mainstream world can only go so far. We continue to rely on government institutions to define truth and reality for us, to outline the limits of what is possible. In many instances, these places to which we go to ''learn'' are actually diminishing, not supporting, our creativity and critical thinking skills. That's not to say that there aren't good aspects of the experience, but overall, we are not accessing our full potential.
When information is hidden from us as well as manipulated at the same time, it's only going to spark more curiosity among the people. And that's one aspect of the current shift in consciousness that's happening on our planet. We're beginning to see the human experience in a different light, and starting to recognize that the time for change is really here. What are we going to do about it?
Related CE Article: The CIA & The Media: 50 Facts The World Should Know
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In clear attempt to sabotage U.S. relations, intel leakers tell media what Trump did NOT tell the Russians - Liberty Unyielding
Wed, 17 May 2017 16:31
The "Old" (Eisenhower) Executive Office Building across from the White House in Washington, D.C.. (Image: Wikimedia)
It's time to call a halt to the leak problem from the U.S. intelligence community. This is beyond a ''leak problem.'' It is spilling over into outright sabotage of America's national interests, all in the quest to bring President Trump down.
After yesterday's story by the Washington Post was repudiated by H.R. McMaster, Rex Tillerson, and Dina Powell, McMaster made additional comments Tuesday morning to clarify exactly how false the story was.
The gist of the original story was that President Trump, in speaking to the visiting Russians last week about an ISIS ''laptop plot,'' revealed highly classified details that would have allowed the Russians to determine what the source of some of the intelligence was. The WaPo article made reference to the sensitive intelligence of a foreign ally, and to Trump disclosing the city in which the intel was gained. (N.B. '-- WaPo could only have gained this impression from people who weren't there, but who are bound by oath to not reveal exactly the sort of intelligence they allege Trump revealed.)
This morning, McMaster stated in no uncertain terms that not only did Trump not make these disclosures '-- Trump didn't even know the source of the intelligence, or the city it was obtained in. Thus, the president could not possibly have exposed the information as alleged in the WaPo piece.
National security adviser H.R. McMaster on Tuesday said President Trump did not jeopardize intelligence assets by revealing highly sensitive information to Russian officials, adding that Trump did not know where the intel came from. '...
McMaster said Trump could not have endangered national security because he did not even know the source of the information he discussed.
''The president wasn't even aware of where this information came from,'' he said. ''He wasn't briefed on the source.''
There is nothing unusual about this latter point. Presidents are selective about when and why the source of intelligence matters to them. Most of the time, they have too many other things to think about to probe the matter. They understand the scope and general nature of national capabilities, but it's only in very specific cases that they care about sources '-- or that their officials highlight sources to them, for some reason.
In this case, General McMaster made clear that Trump didn't know the details WaPo's source alleges he exposed, and therefore, he couldn't have exposed them.
This is good news. Bottom line: Trump didn't expose sensitive information about intelligence sources and methods. (Keep that in mind. Trump has not exposed anything.)
But the leakers who ply the mainstream media with sensitive national intelligence in order to defame Trump have now come out to expose that information themselves.
In the New York Times this morning, an article alleged that Israeli intelligence was the source, citing ''a current and a former American official familiar with how the United States obtained the information.'' The NYT article then went on to blithely speculate about how that disclosure could damage U.S. relations with Israel '-- and, my goodness, just before Trump's first visit there as president, to boot.
Hard on the heels of the NYT piece, the Wall Street Journalcame out with one stating even more categorically that the source was Israel. Just so you won't miss it, apparently, the authors made ''Israel'' the very first word of the story:
Israel provided the U.S. with the classified information that President Donald Trump shared last week with Russian officials, according to officials with direct knowledge of the matter.
The intelligence came from a particularly valuable source of information about the Islamic State terrorist group's ability to build sophisticated explosives that could evade aviation-security measures and be placed on aircraft, these officials said. The source of the information was developed before Mr. Trump's election in November, they said.
And, of course, the WSJ piece goes on to speculate about how this will damage U.S.-Israeli relations. Both pieces (NYT and WSJ) also allude to the damage it will do to America's intelligence partnerships with all our allies.
Apparently, the news choreographers behind this orchestrated leak campaign think we're stupid. Trump didn't cause this damage.
They did.
If you don't think at this point that there's a ''deep state'' or ''shadow government'' trying to sabotage Trump, well, bless your heart. The actors in the deep state '-- if it's actually true that Israel is the source of the intelligence about the ''laptop plot,'' and that they had direct knowledge of that '-- have just committed an indisputable felony by telling that to the media.
If America's relations with Israel, and with our intelligence partners in general, are damaged out of this, it's the leakers who are at fault. That could not be established more clearly.
I don't want you to forget that it's the responsible officials in the government who are at fault here. The media complicity is disgusting, but the clear felony is what the government officials did.
It's the same felony they committed, in fact, by revealing national intelligence information about monitoring the Russian ambassador's phone calls, and unmasking Michael Flynn. But in this case, the sanctimonious chatter about ''damage to national interests'' is on a larger scale. And the potential for such damage is indeed great. The leakers have created that potential.
The way to get ahead of this severe problem for the rule of law and the proper functioning of government is for Trump to have the leakers identified, and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. It's obvious that Congress is paralyzed by sheer sclerosis, starting with terror of the media. It's also obvious that there are so many Obama holdovers left in the federal bureaucracy, it will be hard for the Trump administration to find people who can be trusted.
Adam Kredo had a must-read post on that at the Washington Free Beacon on Monday.
Trump administration insiders likened the problem to a game of whack-a-mole, a children's game in which players must hit a group of moles as they pop out of their holes.
''The problem is that the Obama administration left holdovers all over the government, so you get rid of one Obama loyalist and the replacement is another Obama loyalist,'' said one national security insider close to the Trump administration.
But there appear to be trustworthy officials still in DOJ and the FBI. Fear of how the media and Democratic leaders will spin it must not stop Trump from identifying the leakers and prosecuting them. I think Trump will have to reach past the major MSM outlets to make his case to the people. But there is a legitimate, law-based case to be made, and a path of law to follow. Revealing national secrets and imperiling national interests is what the leakers have done '-- not the president.
Pretending that going after those leakers might be illegitimate, as Trump's opponents are likely to do, would be a supreme exercise in self-deceit, at best. At worst, it would clearly be the argument of a faction with only evil intentions, determined to destroy the rule of law and thwart the legitimate operation of government.
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Hate Trumps Love
Saturday Night Live: Cabinet member says Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump impression is 'exactly what he's like' | The Independent
Tue, 16 May 2017 17:34
The past season of Saturday Night Live has won rave reviews across the board, partly thanks to Donald Trump, the President's administration helping make satire great again.
Of course, SNL managed to bag the ultimate Trump impersonator for their 42nd season '-- Alec Baldwin '-- the actor making regular appearances throughout.
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Baldwin revealed how one unnamed cabinet member once complimented him on the impersonation.
"I'm not going to name names,'' he told the publication, ''but a cabinet member walked up to me at a restaurant in Manhattan '-- Manhattan, that's a hint '-- and he goes, 'I gotta tell you something. This thing you're doing is good, it's really good.'
''He goes, 'I'll get fired if anybody quoted me saying this, but that's exactly what he's like when you do it.' ''
Speaking about getting into character, Baldwin detailed all the ways he studies the President; watching speeches, off-the-record meetings, along with other Trump encounters.
''There are many people who do Trump now, and they have different Trumps,'' he said. ''They have kind of a "balls-of-his-feet-light Trump" or what I like to call "Gene Kelly Trump." But my Trump is "Miserable Trump." No matter what. He wins, he loses, he's miserable.''
Donald Trump and Sean Spicer kiss on SNL
Over the weekend, Baldwin joined host and Sean Spicer impersonator Melissa McCarthy, the pair kissing each other while in character. Watch here.
Reuse content
Shut Up Slave!
The Associated Press is adding user-generated social content (verified, of course) into its wire services >> Nieman Journalism Lab
Tue, 16 May 2017 17:04
A new tool from the Associated Press will now allow users of its service to pull in topical and verified content shared by users on social media such as photos and videos around breaking news. Using the web interface provided by social media platform manager SAM (AP owns a stake in SAM and has been using it since 2015), AP Social Newswire lets AP clients look through social content that is being curated and vetted by AP editors in real-time.
From the AP:
View multiple feeds of content '-- from global to local '-- and monitor the vetting process in real-time through the notes and tags and that we apply to each asset (such as ''authenticated'' or ''debunked''). All photos and videos are delivered in a digital-friendly format giving you the ability to seamlessly integrate UGC into your stories through embed codes.
In the realm of offering other news organizations user-generated content, AP is later to the game; services like Storyful, a dominant clearinghouse of sorts for viral social video, already operate successfully in a similar space. With Social Newswire, however, the AP is showing its work, when it comes to how exactly its staffers are finding and handling user-generated material.
''Our UGC experts around the world use SAM to find, track, verify and collaborate around social content,'' Eric Carvin, AP Social Media Editor, said in a statement. ''The AP Social Newswire offers a window into that work '-- what we're looking for, what we've found, and what we've authenticated or debunked.'' The tool is meant to be useful to both small and large news organizations, Carvin told Poynter: smaller newsrooms can rely on what the AP has surfaced via Social Newswire, and larger newsrooms with their own verification staff confirm if what they're chasing is
The tool will be available to organizations at an additional cost.
Hillary's HitList
Roger Ailes, Former Fox News CEO, Dies At 77 : The Two-Way : NPR
Thu, 18 May 2017 12:56
Then-Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, photographed in Nov. 2015. Wesley Mann/FOX News via Getty Imageshide caption
toggle captionWesley Mann/FOX News via Getty Images Then-Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, photographed in Nov. 2015.
Wesley Mann/FOX News via Getty Images Former Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes has died, the network says, citing a statement from the late executive's family. Ailes resigned from his post leading Fox News last July, amid allegations of sexual harassment. He was 77.
We'll update this story with more information as it emerges.
NC senator collapses during race, taken away in ambulance - ABC News
Wed, 17 May 2017 13:11
Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina collapsed during a Washington, D.C., race Wednesday morning and was taken away by ambulance.
Tillis, 57, was seen on the ground being administered CPR by bystanders at about 15-20 minutes into the race, which started at 8 a.m. The three-mile race was being held in Anacostia Park in the southeast part of the city.
Tillis at first appeared unconscious but was revived and breathing when taken away by ambulance from the ACLI Capital Challenge Three Mile Team Race. Tillis was participating in the ACLI Capital Challenge race, an annual event in Anacostia Park in the district. He was leading his own team, "Team Tillis."
Many politicians and other prominent Washington, D.C., figures run the annual race. Proceeds go to charity.
Tillis is the junior North Carolina senator, elected to the Senate in November 2014 after serving in the North Carolina legislature from 2009-2015. He serves on the Senate Armed Services, Judiciary, Veterans Affairs and Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committees, as well as the Senate's Special Committee on Aging.
He is married to Susan Tillis with two children.
It was not immediately known what hospital Tillis was taken to.
That report about Seth Rich, the slain DNC staffer, is hot hunk of hokum
Wed, 17 May 2017 14:41
That new report alleging collusion between WikiLeaks and Seth Rich, the Democratic National Committee staffer who was murdered near his home in Washington, D.C., last year, isn't what you think it is.
At least, that's what Rich's family and law enforcement officials said Tuesday. Also, that's basically what the source of the report's biggest claim said after he recanted most of his story.
In short, the report is a hot hunk of hokum.
"We are a family who is committed to facts, not fake evidence that surfaces every few months to fill the void and distract law enforcement and the general public from finding Seth's murderers," the Rich family said through spokesman Brad Bauman.
Bauman, whose body of work includes consultation services to Democratic candidates, said separately in a comment to Business Insider: "It's sad but unsurprising that a group of media outlets who have repeatedly lied to the American people would try and manipulate the legacy of a murder victim in order to forward their own political agenda."
"I think there is a special place in hell for people like that," he added.
The young DNC staffer was murdered on July 10. His death has not yet been solved, and law enforcement officials say they have no promising leads.
This iteration of the Seth Rich news cycle begins with Rod Wheeler, an ex-D.C. homicide detective who works now as a private investigator and occasional Fox News contributor.
Wheeler told Washington, D.C., Fox News affiliate Fox 5 that he had information showing the slain DNC data analyst was in contact with WikiLeaks prior to his murder.
WikiLeaks, of course, published thousands of stolen emails in 2016 that had been pilfered from accounts belonging to Democratic National Committee staffers and failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta.
Asked whether his sources have said Rich was tied directly to WikiLeaks, Wheeler told Fox 5, "Absolutely. Yeah. That's confirmed."
Wheeler also said he believed local authorities were conducting a cover-up.
Law enforcement officials, who maintain Rich was the victim of a botched robbery, denied this charge (again).
FoxNews.com reported separately Tuesday that the murdered staffer was in contact with WikiLeaks via the late journalist Gavin MacFadyen. Rich reportedly handed over 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments belonging to top DNC staffers to MacFadyen before May 21, FoxNews.com reported, citing a nameless federal official.
The FBI conducted a forensic report on Rich's laptop within 96 hours of his death, the anonymous official reported said.
This is where everything falls apart for the Fox reporters.
Wheeler recanted most of his story Tuesday evening. He told CNN he had no proof that Rich was ever in contact with WikiLeaks.
CNN reported:
Wheeler instead said he only learned about the possible existence of such evidence through the reporter he spoke to for the FoxNews.com story. He explained that the comments he made to WTTG-TV were intended to simply preview Fox News' Tuesday story.
['...]
Asked about a quote attributed to him in the Fox News story in which he said his "investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and Wikileaks," Wheeler said he was referring to information that had already been reported in the media.
"I only got that [information] from the reporter at Fox News," Wheeler told CNN.
The family spokesman stressed Wheeler had never actually seen Rich's laptop.
NBC News also reported Tuesday that separate FBI sources contradict everything in the Fox 5 and FoxNews.com stories.
"[A] current FBI official and a former one completely discount the Fox News claim that an FBI analysis of a computer belonging to Rich contained thousands of e-mails to and from WikiLeaks," the report read. "Local police in Washington, D.C., never even gave the FBI Rich's laptop to analyze after his murder."
Simply put, in regards to Rich's laptop, "It never contained any e-mails related to WikiLeaks, and the FBI never had it," a former law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the case said.
Lastly, the Rich family itself has been loudest and most vocal in disputing what they say are "unsubstantiated" garbage reports.
"We see no facts, we have seen no evidence, we have been approached with no emails and only learned about this when contacted by the press," the statement added. "Even if tomorrow an email was found, it is not a high enough bar of evidence to prove any interactions as emails can be altered, and we've seen that those interested in pushing conspiracies will stop at nothing to do so."
The family's statement added:
The services of the private investigator who spoke to press was offered to the Rich family and paid for by a third party, and contractually was barred from speaking to press or anyone outside of law enforcement or the family unless explicitly authorized by the family.
The "third party" mentioned in the statement is financial adviser and Fox News contributor Ed Butowsky, Bauman told NBC News Tuesday.
However, Butowsky has denied any part in Wheeler's investigation of Rich's death.
"I'm not involved with any of what you said," he told NBC.
Butowsky declined to respond when he was asked if he was in contact with the Rich family.
"This can't possibly go well," he said. "I didn't pay anybody. I didn't hire anybody."
He then referred all questions to Wheeler.
Bauman tells a different story.
Not only did Butowsky connect the Rich family to Wheeler, but he also offered to pay the private investigator's fees, according to Bauman.
Though the family's initial response to the Fox 5 report declined to mention Butowsky by name, Bauman told NBC News he felt compelled to reveal the Dallas-based financial adviser's role as the "third party" after he denied involvement in the story.
"He's the one who paid for it," Bauman said.
To sum things up: The supposed bombshell reports this week are trash.
They have done nothing to answer some of the conspiracies surrounding Rich's unsolved murder. They have, however, done a great job of infuriating the victim's still-grieving family.
Great work all around, fellas.
'--
This story, which warned from the outset that the two Fox reports didn't add up, has been updated to include Wheeler's admission to CNN.
Becket AdamsDNCLaw EnforcementFox NewsDCOpinionBeltway ConfidentialPolitics
Family of Murdered DNC Staffer Seth Rich Criticizes Fox News for Promoting Conspiracies About His Death
Wed, 17 May 2017 16:18
Screenshot via Fox News.Fox News allowed a private investigator who briefly worked for the family of murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich to suggest that Rich was killed because he leaked DNC emails to Wikileaks. In July 2016, the then 27-year-old was shot to death just blocks from his home in Washington, D.C. The murder remains unsolved, and the D.C. Metro Police suspect he may have been the victim of a botched robbery. But a host of conspiracy theorists have decided that Rich was murdered by the DNC or Hillary Clinton herself for Knowing Too Much.
Fox News claims that Rich made contact with WikiLeaks and leaked emails to them. They claim that Rich contacted WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFayden, an investigative reporter who is now dead and thereby unavailable for comment. Fox has two sources on this story: an anonymous ''federal investigator,'' and Rod Wheeler, a private investigator who briefly worked for the Rich family. From their report:
''I have seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks,'' the federal investigator told Fox News, confirming the MacFadyen connection. He said the emails are in possession of the FBI, while the stalled case is in the hands of the Washington Police Department.
The revelation is consistent with the findings of Rod Wheeler, a former DC homicide detective and Fox News contributor and whose private investigation firm was hired by Rich's family to probe the case. Rich was shot from behind in the wee hours, but was not robbed.
''My investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks,'' Wheeler said. ''I do believe that the answers to who murdered Seth Rich sits on his computer on a shelf at the DC police or FBI headquarters.''
(In fact, the FBI itself claims, in response to a Freedom of Information request, not to have any records among its main files that mention Rich.)
The report is being touted as something new, and even mainstream and usually non-credulous reporters are clustered around it on Twitter as though it might mean something. That's likely adding to the grief and frustration of the Rich family, who have expressed fears to both the Washington Post and Newsweek that they may never solve Seth's murder, now that the case is clogged with the services of self-appointed detectives hell-bent on pinning it on the Clintons or the DNC.
In a statement released through a spokesperson, the Rich family confirmed Wheeler briefly worked for them, with his fees paid by a third party, though they don't use his name. They also descried the ''fake evidence that surfaces every few months'' and that, they wrote, ''distract law enforcement and the general public from finding Seth's murderers.'' Their full statement:
As we've seen through the past year of unsubstantiated claims, we see no facts, we have seen no evidence, we have been approached with no emails and only learned about this when contacted by the press. Even if tomorrow, an email was found, it is not a high enough bar of evidence to prove any interactions as emails can be altered and we've seen that those interested in pushing conspiracies will stop at nothing to do so. We are a family who is committed to facts, not fake evidence that surfaces every few months to fill the void and distract law enforcement and the general public from finding Seth's murderers. The services of the private investigator who spoke to press was offered to the Rich family and paid for by a third party, and contractually was barred from speaking to press or anyone outside of law enforcement or the family unless explicitly authorized by the family.
In a follow-up statement to Jezebel, family spokesperson Brad Bauman also criticized Fox specifically for promoting the latest round of rumors. He told us, via email:
It's sad but unsurprising that a group of media outlets who have repeatedly lied to the American people would try and manipulate the legacy of a murder victim in order to forward their own political agenda. I think there is a special place in hell for people like that.
Rich's death has been an object of fascination for conspiracy theorists since last summer. Within days of his death, as the Post and others have reported, he became the subject of a number of increasingly dark theories, namely that he had leaked DNC emails to Wikileaks and was gunned down on his way to meet with the FBI to testify against Hillary Clinton. Soon after, Julian Assange hinted that Rich was indeed Wikileaks' source, and offered a reward to solve Rich's murder.
That's a theory that's also been promoted by dirty tricks specialist, noted racist and Trump advisor Roger Stone:
And by internet trolls turned self-proclaimed journalists like Mike Cernovich:
And echoed in the right-wing mainstream by people like Tomi Lahren, who suggested that the Clintons had Rich killed. Right-wing news outlets like Heat Street, Breitbart and Zero Hedge have repeated the rumors as well.
It's also worth noting that Rod Wheeler, the investigator who briefly worked for the family, is best known as a former cop and sometimes Fox News contributor who once claimed that gangs of lesbians are stalking the streets recruiting children.
Not ones to miss an opportunity to chime in, conspiracy hive InfoWars suggested today that the Washington Post's report that Donald Trump shared classified information with Russia was a cover-up to distract from the latest ''Seth Rich bombshell,'' as they put it. InfoWars editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson has spent the past 12 hours or so busily accusing the mainstream media of a cover-up.
At the time of his death, Rich had been at the DNC for two years, working as the Voter Expansion Data Director. His family told the Washington Post he was chatty, a snappy dresser with a ''goofy grin,'' and utterly politics-obsessed, the kind of guy who watched C-Span for fun.
Anna Merlan is a Senior Reporter with the Special Projects Desk, which produces investigative work across all of Gizmodo Media Group's web sites.
PGP Fingerprint: 67B5 5767 9D6F 652E 8EFD 76F5 3CF0 DAF2 79E5 1FB6| PGP Key
Wikileaks: John Podesta Wanted To Make "An Example" Of DNC Leaker
Wed, 17 May 2017 16:35
Former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta has a few questions to answer after murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich was today identified as the mole who sent Wikileaks DNC emails exposing collusion and corruption.
Seth Rich was the DNC staffer who was murdered on July 22nd just outside of his home. The official story was that it was a botched robbery. But it came at a suspicious time and nothing was stolen from him. To date, no one has been arrested for the crime. The murder came days after Wikileaks published leaked DNC emails showing collusion against Bernie Sanders by top Democratic officials. Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schults was forced to resign in disgrace.
The affair seemed fishy at the time and it was only added to by cryptic messages from Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. He has even offered a $20k reward for information leading to a conviction for the murder of Rich.
And now Fox News has reported that the federal investigator who dropped the bombshell report about Seth Rich leaking emails to Wikileaks has indicated there is a major cover-up going down:
''My investigation shows someone within the D.C. government, Democratic National Committee or Clinton team is blocking the murder investigation from going forward,'' Wheeler told Fox News. ''That is unfortunate. Seth Rich's murder is unsolved as a result of that.''
One of those emails that was leaked had a really disturbing message from John Podesta where he indicated he wanted to make an example out of the DNC leaker:
Example delivered.
We're not one for conspiracy theories, but this definitely merits further investigation. As of now though there is nothing concrete implicating anyone in the death of Seth Rich. The circumstances are very suspicious though. We can only hope the true killer is brought to justice.
By Alan MooreAlan Moore is the Managing Editor of DC Statesman.
He has previously worked in editorial, marketing, PR, and social networking roles for various websites and news outlets. These include Townhall Media, Newsbusters, MRCTV, and CNSNews. Follow him on Twitter @SecPress
View all articles by Alan Moore
Agenda 2030
France's Bordeaux wine industry predicts a '‚¬2 billion loss this year due to massive frost damage - Business Insider
Tue, 09 May 2017 18:05
Water-covered vineyards are seen early in morning as water is sprayed to protect them frost damage outside Chablis. Thomson Reuters
BORDEAUX, France (Reuters) - Bordeaux vineyards in southwest France could lose about half of their harvest this year after two nights of frost damaged the crop at the end of April, a wine industry official said on Saturday.
Wines from the Cognac, Bergerac, and Lot-et-Garonne regions had also been affected, Bernard Farges, head of the Syndicat des vins Bordeaux et Bordeaux Sup(C)rieur, told Reuters.
"For Bordeaux wines...we estimate that the impact will be a loss of about 50 percent, depend on how many buds can regrow," he said.
Including lost earnings at wine industry subcontrators, the total damage is estimated at one to two billion euros ($1.1- $2.2 billion), with wine production set to fall by about 350 million bottles.
Frost damage varied widely depending on the precise area, with some owners expected to lose only 15 to 30 percent of their grape harvest, but others at risk of seeing their entire production wiped out.
Growers have resorted to using candles, heaters and even the down-draught from helicopters to try to save crops.
France's total wine output fell 10 percent last year due to adverse weather conditions. Champagne was the worst hit, with the harvest down more than 20 percent on the previous year due to spring frosts followed by other problems such as mildew.
($1 = 0.9096 euros)'‚¬
(Reporting by Claude Canellas; Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Keith Weir)
Read the original article on Reuters. Copyright 2017. Follow Reuters on Twitter.
Wadden Sea tidal flats could be gone by end of century: report - DutchNews.nl
Thu, 11 May 2017 13:15
Photo: Mark Plomp Stichting Natuurbeelden via Wikimedia Commons
The tidal flats of the Dutch Wadden Sea run a very real risk of becoming permanently submerged because of sea level rises and subsidence caused by gas and salt extraction, a report by the region's lobby group Waddenvereniging shows.
It is unlikely that the process of sedimentation '' or bringing in new sand and mud '' will keep up with the rising sea levels and the Wadden Sea eco system may be a thing of the past by the end of this century, the report says.
The Wadden Sea stretches from Den Helder to Denmark and is a Unesco world heritage site. The area is an important breeding and overwintering ground for birds and has a rich fauna and flora while the Wadden Sea islands are popular Dutch holiday destinations.
The report says the only chance for the system to survive more or less intact is if the consequences of climate change are not as bad as projected and the extraction of minerals from under the tidal flats stops.
Global warming
'If, added to that, global warming can be limited to two degrees, the Wadden Sea has a realistic chance of surviving into the next century,' science journalist and writer of the report, Rolf Schuttenhelm told Trouw.
According to estimates by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sea levels around the world will increase by 44 to 74 centimetres by the end of this century. Dutch weather bureau KNMI predicted last month that sea levels along the Dutch coast may rise by as much as three metres by 2100, the paper said.
'We think we can protect the Wadden Sea by monitoring it, Schuttenhelm said. 'But that is misleading. Halfway into this century we will know by how much sea level rise will accelerate. Almost all scenarios point to a loss of the tidal flats. The Wadden Sea eco system can only survive if all the circumstances are right and extraction stops.'
Earth's forests grew 9% in a new satellite survey | Science | AAAS
Sun, 14 May 2017 14:30
mihtlander/iStock
By Patrick MonahanMay. 11, 2017 , 2:00 PM
The Age of Exploration may be long past, but even in the 21st century, our maps can still get a major update. Using satellite imagery, a new study has found hidden forests all over the world'--almost enough for a second Amazon'--in areas with little moisture known as drylands. Past estimates of how much of the world's drylands are covered in forests have run into lots of problems: For instance, the satellite images used to measure them are often so low-resolution that it's hard to figure out the difference between a tree, a shadow, or even a patch of dirt. To correct for that, an international team of researchers performed the first global study using a new set of ultra''high-resolution Google Earth images'--in which each pixel represents a patch of ground less than a meter wide, as opposed to tens of meters. Hundreds of scientists and students then combed through 210,000 images and found that the world's drylands host 40% more forests than thought, the team writes today in Science. That's more than a 9% bump in total global forest coverage, or two-thirds the size of the Amazon.
A new study using high-definition satellite images has found 378 million additional hectares of forest around the globe'--almost enough for a second Amazon.
Sexton et al. (2013) Global Drylands Assessment (2016) 300 600 900 1200 1500 Africa Asia Europe N. America Oceania S. America Total 0 Millions of hectaresData: Bastin et al. 2017, Science
The study will help researchers figure out how best to conserve and restore these forested areas. It will also help scientists make more accurate estimates of how much carbon dioxide Earth's trees are sucking out of the atmosphere'--and how much of our fossil fuel emissions they'll be able to handle in the future.
Bank$ters
PwC settles $3B lawsuit with MF Global over collapse | New York Post
Sun, 14 May 2017 14:30
A Manhattan federal jury has been robbed of its chance to decide whether the collapse of financial firm MF Global was the fault of its CEO Jon Corzine or his accounting firm.
MF Global, which was seeking to pin the blame for the firm's stunning 2011 demise on PriceWaterHouseCoopers, settled the case mid-trial, sources said.
The parties reached an agreement on Wednesday and notified the judge Thursday morning, a source said. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
MF Global took PwC to trial in an effort to prove it was responsible for the $2 billion firm's epic collapse because it approved of ''risky accounting'' methods that kept billions of dollars in dubious bond bets off the books.
Corzine, who ran the firm after losing the NJ's governor's mansion to Chris Christie, took the stand in the case '-- marking his first public appearance on the matter since he testified before Congress about MF Global's bankruptcy in 2011.
Corzine said MF Global's bankruptcy had nothing to do with $6.3 billion in European bonds investments he approved of, which spooked investors leading up to the firm's collapse.
''I thought they were relatively low risk,'' the former Goldman Sachs chief insisted.
The company's spectacular downfall '-- and revelations that more than $1.6 billion in customers' funds had gone missing in the process '-- proved a drag on Corzine's illustrious four-decade career.
The former US Senator agreed earlier this year to pay a $5 million penalty over the improper use of customers funds as MF Global struggled to stay afloat. He also agreed to a lifetime ban from leading another futures brokerage or registering with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
A spokesman for Corzine declined to comment.
Elite$
Chelsea Clinton To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award | The Daily Caller
Tue, 09 May 2017 19:30
Chelsea Clinton is set to receive a Lifetime Impact award from Variety magazine and Lifetime next month, though it is unclear why.
The former first daughter will be honored at a ''Power of Women'' luncheon on April 21, Variety announced. Jessica Chastain, Gayle King, Blake Lively, Audra McDonald and Shari Redstone will also receive the awards.
Clinton, a 37-year-old mother of two, is receiving the award ''for her work with Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which empowers kids to develop lifelong healthy habits,'' Variety says in a statement.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which helps fight childhood obesity, is affiliated with the Clinton Foundation, where Clinton serves as vice chair.
Clinton's other achievements include being born to one of the most skilled politicians in American history, growing up in the White House, landing a $600,000 contract with MSNBC, marrying a hedge fund millionaire, and tweeting constantly about President Trump.
Correction: This article initially referred to Clinton's award as a lifetime achievement award. Instead, it is a Lifetime Impact award issued by Variety and Lifetime, the cable television channel. The headline and article have been edited for accuracy.
[h/t The Hill]
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CYBER!
Disney Chief Bob Iger Says Hackers Claim to Have Stolen Upcoming Movie | Hollywood Reporter
Tue, 16 May 2017 17:40
1:25 PM PDT 5/15/2017 by Pamela McClintock
Have real-life pirates taken aim at Disney?
Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed Monday that hackers claiming to have access to a Disney movie threatened to release it unless the studio paid a ransom. Iger didn't disclose the name of the film, but said Disney is refusing to pay. The studio is working with federal investigators.
Iger's comments came during a town hall meeting with ABC employees in New York City, according to multiple sources.
Disney's upcoming theatrical release slate include Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which opens Friday, and Cars 3, set to bow June 16. Rumors circulated online last week that a work print of Star Wars: The Last Jedi had been pirated and was being held for ransom, but days later online chatter tipped that rumor as a hoax. The studio had no comment.
The Disney chief said the hackers demanded that a huge sum be paid in Bitcoin. They said they would release five minutes of the film at first, and then in 20-minute chunks until their financial demands are met.
While movie piracy has long been a scourge, ransoms appear to be a new twist.
The ransom demand of Disney comes only weeks after a hacker uploaded 10 episodes of the upcoming season of Orange Is the New Black to The Pirate Bay after Netflix refused to pay an undisclosed amount. The episodes were posted on Pirate Bay six weeks ahead of the series' official June 9 launch.
Several Hollywood agencies have also been targeted by hackers with extortion plots in recent months, including UTA, ICM and WME.
F-Russia
The Evidence That Russia Hacked The DNC Is Collapsing | Zero Hedge
Mon, 15 May 2017 23:04
Authored by Justin Raimondo via TheAntiMedia.org,
The allegation '' now accepted as incontrovertible fact by the ''mainstream'' media '' that the Russian intelligence services hacked the Democratic National Committee (and John Podesta's emails) in an effort to help Donald Trump get elected recently suffered a blow from which it may not recover.
Crowdstrike is the cybersecurity company hired by the DNC to determine who hacked their accounts: it took them a single day to determine the identity of the culprits '' it was, they said, two groups of hackers which they named ''Fancy Bear'' and ''Cozy Bear,'' affiliated respectively with the GRU, which is Russian military intelligence, and the FSB, the Russian security service.
How did they know this?
These alleged ''hacker groups'' are not associated with any known individuals in any way connected to Russian intelligence: instead, they are identified by the tools they use, the times they do their dirty work, the nature of the targets, and other characteristics based on the history of past intrusions.
Yet as Jeffrey Carr and other cyberwarfare experts have pointed out, this methodology is fatally flawed. ''It's important to know that the process of attributing an attack by a cybersecurity company has nothing to do with the scientific method,'' writes Carr:
''Claims of attribution aren't testable or repeatable because the hypothesis is never proven right or wrong. Neither are claims of attribution admissible in any criminal case, so those who make the claim don't have to abide by any rules of evidence (i.e., hearsay, relevance, admissibility).''
Likening attribution claims of hacking incidents by cybersecurity companies to intelligence assessments, Carr notes that, unlike government agencies such the CIA, these companies are never held to account for their misses:
''When it comes to cybersecurity estimates of attribution, no one holds the company that makes the claim accountable because there's no way to prove whether the assignment of attribution is true or false unless (1) there is a criminal conviction, (2) the hacker is caught in the act, or (3) a government employee leaked the evidence.''
This lack of accountability may be changing, however, because Crowdstrike's case for attributing the hacking of the DNC to the Russians is falling apart at the seams like a cheap sweater.
To begin with, Crowdstrike initially gauged its certainty as to the identity of the hackers with ''medium confidence.'' However, a later development, announced in late December and touted by the Washington Post, boosted this to ''high confidence.'' The reason for this newfound near-certainty was their discovery that ''Fancy Bear'' had also infected an application used by the Ukrainian military to target separatist artillery in the Ukrainian civil war. As the Postreported:
''While CrowdStrike, which was hired by the DNC to investigate the intrusions and whose findings are described in a new report, had always suspected that one of the two hacker groups that struck the DNC was the GRU, Russia's military intelligence agency, it had only medium confidence.
''Now, said CrowdStrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch, 'we have high confidence' it was a unit of the GRU. CrowdStrike had dubbed that unit 'Fancy Bear.'''
Crowdstrike published an analysis that claimed a malware program supposedly unique to Fancy Bear, X-Agent, had infected a Ukrainian targeting application and, using GPS to geo-locate Ukrainian positions, had turned the application against the Ukrainians, resulting in huge losses:
''Between July and August 2014, Russian-backed forces launched some of the most-decisive attacks against Ukrainian forces, resulting in significant loss of life, weaponry and territory.
''Ukrainian artillery forces have lost over 50% of their weapons in the two years of conflict and over 80% of D-30 howitzers, the highest percentage of loss of any other artillery pieces in Ukraine's arsenal.''
Alperovitch told the PBS News Hour that ''Ukraine's artillery men were targeted by the same hackers, that we call Fancy Bear, that targeted DNC, but this time they were targeting cell phones to try to understand their location so that the Russian artillery forces can actually target them in the open battle. It was the same variant of the same malicious code that we had seen at the DNC.''
He told NBC News that this proved the DNC hacker ''wasn't a 400-pound guy in his bed,'' as Trump had opined during the first presidential debate '' it was the Russians.
The only problem with this analysis is that is isn't true. It turns out that Crowdstrike's estimate of Ukrainian losses was based on a blog post by a pro-Russian blogger eager to tout Ukrainian losses: the Ukrainians denied it. Furthermore, the hacking attribution was based on the hackers' use of a malware program called X-Agent, supposedly unique to Fancy Bear. Since the target was the Ukrainian military, Crowdstrike extrapolated from this that the hackers were working for the Russians.
All somewhat plausible, except for two things: To begin with, as Jeffrey Carr pointed out in December, and now others are beginning to realize, X-Agent isn't unique to Fancy Bear. Citing the findings of ESET, another cybersecurity company, he wrote:
''Unlike Crowdstrike, ESET doesn't assign APT28/Fancy Bear/Sednit to a Russian Intelligence Service or anyone else for a very simple reason. Once malware is deployed, it is no longer under the control of the hacker who deployed it or the developer who created it. It can be reverse-engineered, copied, modified, shared and redeployed again and again by anyone. In other words? '' ?malware deployed is malware enjoyed!
''In fact, the source code for X-Agent, which was used in the DNC, Bundestag, and TV5Monde attacks, was obtained by ESET as part of their investigation!
''During our investigations, we were able to retrieve the complete Xagent source code for the Linux operating system'....''
''If ESET could do it, so can others. It is both foolish and baseless to claim, as Crowdstrike does, that X-Agent is used solely by the Russian government when the source code is there for anyone to find and use at will.''
Secondly, the estimate Crowdstrike used to verify the Ukrainian losses was supposedly based on data from the respected International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). But now IISS is disavowing and debunking their claims:
''[T]he International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) told [Voice of America] that CrowdStrike erroneously used IISS data as proof of the intrusion. IISS disavowed any connection to the CrowdStrike report. Ukraine's Ministry of Defense also has claimed combat losses and hacking never happened'....
'''The CrowdStrike report uses our data, but the inferences and analysis drawn from that data belong solely to the report's authors,'' the IISS said. ''The inference they make that reductions in Ukrainian D-30 artillery holdings between 2013 and 2016 were primarily the result of combat losses is not a conclusion that we have ever suggested ourselves, nor one we believe to be accurate.'
''One of the IISS researchers who produced the data said that while the think tank had dramatically lowered its estimates of Ukrainian artillery assets and howitzers in 2013, it did so as part of a 'reassessment'' and reallocation of units to airborne forces.'
'''No, we have never attributed this reduction to combat losses,'' the IISS researcher said, explaining that most of the reallocation occurred prior to the two-year period that CrowdStrike cites in its report.
'''The vast majority of the reduction actually occurs '... before Crimea/Donbass,' he added, referring to the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine.''
The definitive ''evidence'' cited by Alperovitch is now effectively debunked : indeed, it was debunked by Carr late last year, but that was ignored in the media's rush to ''prove'' the Russians hacked the DNC in order to further Trump's presidential ambitions. The exposure by the Voice of America of Crowdstrike's falsification of Ukrainian battlefield losses '' the supposedly solid ''proof'' of attributing the hack to the GRU '' is the final nail in Crowdstrike's coffin. They didn't bother to verify their analysis of IISS's data with IISS '' they simply took as gospel the allegations of a pro-Russian blogger. They didn't contact the Ukrainian military, either: instead, their confirmation bias dictated that they shaped the ''facts'' to fit their predetermined conclusion.
Now why do you suppose that is? Why were they married so early '' after a single day '' to the conclusion that it was the Russians who were behind the hacking of the DNC?
Crowdstrike founder Alperovitch is a Nonresident Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council, and head honcho of its ''Cyber Statecraft Initiative'' '' of which his role in promoting the ''Putin did it'' scenario is a Exhibit A. James Carden, writing in The Nation, makes the trenchant point that ''The connection between Alperovitch and the Atlantic Council has gone largely unremarked upon, but it is relevant given that the Atlantic Council '' which is funded in part by the US State Department, NATO, the governments of Latvia and Lithuania, the Ukrainian World Congress, and the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk '' has been among the loudest voices calling for a new Cold War with Russia.'' Adam Johnson, writing on the FAIR blog, adds to our knowledge by noting that the Council's budget is also supplemented by ''a consortium of Western corporations (Qualcomm, Coca-Cola, The Blackstone Group), including weapons manufacturers (Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman) and oil companies (ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP).''
Johnson also notes that CrowdStrike currently has a $150,000 / year, no-bid contract with the FBI for ''systems analysis.''
Nice work if you can get it.
This last little tidbit gives us some insight into what is perhaps the most curious aspect of the Russian-hackers-campaign-for-Trump story: the FBI's complete dependence on Crowdstrike's analysis. Amazingly, the FBI did no independent forensic work on the DNC servers before Crowdstrike got its hot little hands on them: indeed, the DNC denied the FBI access to the servers, and, as far as anyone knows, the FBI never examined them. BuzzFeed quotes an anonymous ''intelligence official'' as saying ''Crowdstrike is pretty good. There's no reason to believe that anything they have concluded is not accurate.''
There is now.
Alperovitch is scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, and one wonders if our clueless '' and technically challenged '' Republican members of Congress will question him about the debunking of Crowdstrike's rush to judgment. I tend to doubt it, since the Russia-did-it meme is now the Accepted Narrative and no dissent is permitted '' to challenge it would make them ''Putin apologists''! (Although maybe Trey Gowdy, the only GOPer on that panel who seems to have any brains, may surprise me.)
As I've been saying for months, there is no evidence that the Russians hacked the DNC: none, zilch, nada. Yet this false narrative is the entire basis of a campaign launched by the Democrats, hailed by the Trump-hating media, and fully endorsed by the FBI and the CIA, the purpose of which is to ''prove'' that Trump is ''Putin's puppet,'' as Hillary Clinton put it. Now the investigative powers of the federal government are being deployed to confirm that the Trump campaign ''colluded'' with the Kremlin in an act the evidence for which is collapsing.
This whole affair is a vicious fraud. If there is any justice in this world '' and there may not be '' the perpetrators should be charged, tried, and jailed.
AHCA
Miss USA Kara McCullough criticised for saying healthcare a 'privilege' - BBC News
Mon, 15 May 2017 14:01
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Miss McCullough (C) also said she did not want to be described as a feminist The new Miss USA beauty pageant winner has sparked controversy by declaring that healthcare was a "privilege", not a right.
Kara McCullough, a scientist at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, appeared to link healthcare to employment.
But the beauty queen, 25, faced a backlash on social media.
It comes as the Trump administration battles to overturn Obamacare, which aimed to extend insurance coverage to the 15% of Americans who lack it.
Earlier this month the lower chamber of the US Congress passed a new healthcare act that Democrats say will leave millions uninsured.
However, Republicans in the Senate have indicated they will cast it aside and write a new law.
Asked during Sunday's pageant in Las Vegas whether healthcare was a privilege or a right, Miss McCullough said: "I'm definitely going to say it's a privilege."
She added: "As a government employee, I'm granted healthcare and I see first hand that for one to have healthcare, you need to have jobs.
"We need to continue to cultivate this environment that we're given the opportunity to have healthcare as well as jobs to all American citizens worldwide."
Her remarks divided liberal-minded and conservative-minded viewers. Some were quick to criticise her stance.
Image copyright @makhondlovu Image copyright @mollie64438390 Image copyright @KEE_LYme_pie Miss McCullough - who was born in Italy and was representing Washington DC - was also asked if she considered herself to be a feminist but said she preferred the term "equalism" and said men and women had equal opportunity in US workplaces.
"I don't really want to consider myself - try not to consider myself like this die-hard, you know, like, 'Oh, I don't really care about men'," said the contestant, who says she wants to see more women employed in government science roles.
Some people on social media supported her views.
Image copyright @maryannemercog Image copyright @josie_terry Image copyright @cross_bearer89 Obamacare has been opposed by Republicans since it was first proposed in 2009.
Republicans say the law imposes too many costs on business and describe it as a "job killer", although the number of jobs in the healthcare sector has risen since it was introduced.
Opponents have also decried it as an unwarranted intrusion into the affairs of private businesses and individuals.
SV DBs
It might be time to say goodbye to the MP3 - so let's look back at its life - BBC Newsbeat
Tue, 16 May 2017 14:45
The MP3 is officially "no more".
Well - that's according to a statement from one of the main developers of the digital audio coding format in Germany.
The Fraunhofer Institute says it has "terminated" its licensing programme with Technicolor because its patents are expiring.
MP3s led to the development of hundreds of music-listening devices, which took over from CD players, including Apple's iPod, the Sony Walkman, Microsoft Zune and Samsung Galaxy Player.
The Fraunhofer Institute says the quality of the format is also inferior to its current standard.
That's called AAC - or "Advanced Audio Coding".
In a statement, it said: "Although there are more efficient audio codecs with advanced features available today, mp3 is still very popular amongst consumers.
"However, most state-of-the-art media services such as streaming or TV and radio broadcasting use modern ISO-MPEG codecs such as the AAC family or in the future MPEG-H.
"Those can deliver more features and a higher audio quality at much lower bitrates compared to mp3."
The supposed "death" of the MP3 won't have much of an impact because of streaming and most new portable players now use different formats anyway.
But you'll still be able to listen to the MP3s that you've ripped or bought in the past - and companies like Amazon Music, Google Play and Windows use the format.
It just means Fraunhofer/Technicolor won't be paid any more licensing fees.
Before MP3 files, we had these...Remember CDs?
Before MP3 players, people actually had to carry round any music they wanted to listen to - often in a tatty travel case - and they weighed a tonne.
Some people still had portable cassette players as well, but the tapes kept getting eaten by the machines.
This is what a cassette looks like...
MP3s were born in Germany in 1987This group of nerds in Germany came up with the original MP3 format, including researcher Karlheinz Brandenburg (the man holding headphones below) who's credited with inventing it.
It was developed to convert audio into digital form.
Karlheinz had been working on it since 1982.
It basically compressed music into a file size that made it easier to transmit.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdRdTQVBxi4But Karlheinz Brandenburg said the world almost didn't get MP3s.
"In 1991, the project almost died," he told Intel.
"During modification tests, the encoding simply did not want to work properly. Two days before submission of the first version of the MP3 codec, we found the compiler error."
Other international companies including CCETT, Matsushita, Philips, Sony, AT&T-Bell Laboratories and Thomson-Brandt also worked on the original MP3 format.
Suzanne Vega song Tom's Diner was the first song used by Karlheinz Brandenburg to develop it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-26hsZqwveAWarning: Third party content might contain ads
MP3s work by stripping out sounds in a song which human ears can't hear.
This is the audio that's lost when Tom's Diner is compressed for the MP3 format.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-ISLpKhQJIWarning: Third party content might contain ads
The result was that MP3 files were around 11 times smaller than uncompressed music tracks.
But some people say the quality isn't great compared to CDs and modern file formats.
The first MP3 music service begins in 1999The international standard for MP3s - or MPEG-2 Audio Layer-3 - was agreed in 1991.
A US patent for the format was issued in 1996 but it took companies a few years to work out how to use the new format.
The first company to distribute music tracks digitally was SubPop in 1999, but it was overshadowed by the first large peer-to-peer filesharing network, Napster, in the same year.
Image caption Shawn Fanning created Napster with Shaun Parker in 1999 after dropping out of college
Its technology allowed fans to share and swap music files on MP3 formats - for free.
But after being sued for copyright infringement - most notably by Metallica and Dr Dre - Napster had to shut down in July 2001 and went bankrupt in 2002.
Portable MP3 players first appeared in the late 90sDespite a UK engineer patenting a Digital Audio Player way back in 1981, the first useable hardware starting appearing in 1997 and 1998.
Image caption This Aiwa MP3 player from 2004 needed an external hard disk - but at least it was small
But portable digital music players didn't become internationally popular until the launch of Apple's iPod in October 2001, just under a year after the Macintosh version of iTunes was released.
Sales didn't take off until 2004 but the company transformed the market, despite it not using the MP3 format for its music files.
Image caption Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs launched the first iPod mini in January 2004
The company launched the first iPhone in 2007, which could play tracks downloaded from iTunes.
Now all phones can play music - and do just about everything else as well.
Find us on Instagram at BBCNewsbeat and follow us on Snapchat, search for bbc_newsbeat
Developers of the MP3 Have Officially Killed It
Tue, 16 May 2017 17:21
Photo: GettyMP3, the digital audio coding format, changed the way we listen to music and drove the adoption of countless new devices over the last couple of decades. And now, it's dead. The developer of the format announced this week that it has officially terminated its licensing program.
Early Spotify Was Built on Pirated MP3 Files, New Book ClaimsSpotify has been the biggest music streaming service to find a business model that users can'...
Read moreThe actual ownership history of the various patent rights involved in MP3 technology is complicated and messy. But the Fraunhofer Institute has claimed the right to license certain MP3 patents to software developers who want to ''distribute and/or sell decoders and/or encoders'' for it. The announcement that the company will end its licensing program was accompanied by a statement that reads in part:
Although there are more efficient audio codecs with advanced features available today, mp3 is still very popular amongst consumers. However, most state-of-the-art media services such as streaming or TV and radio broadcasting use modern ISO-MPEG codecs such as the AAC family or in the future MPEG-H. Those can deliver more features and a higher audio quality at much lower bitrates compared to mp3.
The decision is largely symbolic, but it's kind of like when all manufacturers start installing CD-ROMs instead of floppy drives. There will be some stragglers who still support the MP3 but newer formats will be the standard. AAC '-- or ''Advanced Audio Coding,'' '-- was developed in part by the Fraunhofer Institute and is considered the standard today.
The MP3 is dead but its effect on the digital landscape is profound. It enabled easier downloading of audio files during the broadband days of the internet and drove technical newcomers to join the cyber age. The iPod and iTunes both fueled a new era for Apple and led to the iPhone and all of its imitators that dominate the way we communicate today.
Unlike vinyl or the cassette, it seems unlikely that MP3 will ever have a nostalgic resurgence. The audio quality is trash by modern standards and some research has even suggested that its compression reinforces perceived negative emotional characteristics in musical instruments to the detriment of positive emotional characteristics.
In honor of the MP3, let's all listen to the song (''Tom's Diner'' by Suzanne Vega) that Karlheinz Brandenburg used as a reference track while he was developing it. Below that, you'll find an embed of all the audio that's lost on the track when it's run through MP3 compression.
[Fraunhofer Institute via NPR]
COMEY!
Report: Comey's Brother Works for the Law Firm That Handles Clinton Foundation's Taxes
Mon, 15 May 2017 11:24
Ousted FBI Director James Comey's ties to the Clinton Foundation and the conflicts of interest that lie there are too close to not raise red flags.James Comey worked several years in the public and private sector.
Comey served as general counsel at Lockheed Martin until 2010 when he departed with over $6 million to show for it. That same year Lockheed Martin became a member of the Clinton Global Initiative and ''won 17 contracts from the U.S. State Department, which was led by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,'' Big League Politics reports.
Comey just so happened to have joined the board of the British bank HSBC Holdings in 2013, which just so happens to be a Clinton Foundation partner.
Noting all of this, one of the most important conflicts of interest is Comey's brother Peter Comey's role at the Washington law firm DLA Piper, where he serves as ''Senior Director of Real Estate Operations for the Americas''.
As Big League Politics reported, ''DLA Piper's offices [shortly before the election] . . . confirmed that the law firm immediately [patched] callers through to Peter Comey's direct line there.''
DLA Piper is one of the top ten all-time career campaign donors for Hillary Clinton. On top of this, DLA Piper also happens to do the Clinton Foundation's taxes. DLA Piper performed the 2015 audit of the Foundation when the scandal first broke.
Big League Politics reports:
Property records show that James Comey owns the mortgage on his brother Peter Comey's house in Virginia. Therefore, James Comey had a direct financial relationship with a DLA Piper executive at the time he was investigating Clinton.
These relationships, though egregious, are symptomatic of the brazen culture of crony capitalism that exists in our nation's capital. The public usually is prevented from learning these kinds of things, with the mainstream media blocking information from coming out. Sunlight is the only remedy.
When President Donald Trump finally fired James Comey as FBI director, Tucker Carlson said that everyone in Washington knows it was well past due.
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Whites Are Now Banned From This Location In Washington D.C. After Crying Liberals Demanded It - Patriot Fires
Tue, 16 May 2017 17:39
Thanks to 8 years of Obama manufacturing his little race war in America, race relations in our country are at an all-time low.
Now we have white people being victimized and demonized simply for being white, as liberals continue to demand that whitey makes reparations for slavery, continually telling them to ''check their privilege,'' regardless of if their ancestors owned slaves or not.
If that wasn't enough insanity to last a lifetime, now liberals are trying to make segregation mainstream, as evidenced by numerous activities that whites are being excluded from all across the country.
Harvard University is one of the colleges caving to political correctness recently, as they announced last week that they'd be holding a separate graduation ceremony for their black students, while hilariously asserting that the move had ''nothing to do with segregation.''
But barring whitey from attending an event at Harvard still wasn't quite enough racism for these idiots however, as now another university is upping the anti of ridiculousness in a move that will make you absolutely livid.
Black students at the American University in Washington, D.C. are not only demanding an extension on their final exams because they are black and deserve it, but are also demanding a ''sanctuary for people of color'' at the local cafe on campus, where they are demanding that white people be banned from eating there.
While you can imagine the outrage by liberals if a group of whites suddenly demanded an extension on their final exams and demanded blacks be banned from eating at the campus cafe, quite the opposite reaction took place after these black students made their little demands: they got it.
Conservative Tribune reported, ''The demonstrators blocked traffic in the tunnel of Bender Arena on the campus with three demands that included a 'sanctuary' space for people of color in the Bridge Cafe, extensions for students of color on their final exams and a team of 'non-biased expert contractors' to investigate racism and discrimination complaints brought against the university.''
Scott Bass, who serves as senior faculty member at the university, met with the entitled group of black students, where he decided to comply completely with their demands, going on to cite the university's commitment to being a ''multicultural campus'' (obviously minus whitey).
''There's nothing more important, in terms of my administration, than being a multicultural campus,'' he said. Bass went on to say that the university wants to work to establish'' anti-racism'' after signing a contract with author and historian Ibram X. Kendi.
He went on to reference the ''hate crime'' that occurred on the campus on May 1 that involved bananas'...yes bananas. Blacks on campus became outraged after finding random bananas around campus that were strung up in the trees, asserting it was a ''hate crime.''
So now because of the ''hate crime'' involving bananas on campus, now all white students will be punished, and banned from allowed into ''sanctuary'' areas that have been erected across campus for the black students.
Leave it to liberals to flush decades worth of civil rights progress down the toilet, bringing back segregation all because a few freaking snowflakes had their feelings hurt.
These morons are doing nothing to prepare these black students for the real world, as you cannot simply erect safe spaces whenever someone feels like they're being treated unfairly.
If bananas truly hurt your feelings, I hate to break it to you, but you're not going to be able to even cope once you get out in the real world.
Martin Luther King must be rolling over in his grave right now as his lifetime of work has been completely dismantled by the fascist snowflake liberals of today.
He had a dream where everyone would be treated equally, based on the content of their character NOT the color of their skin.
But leave it to liberals to bring back segregation and try to make it mainstream, demonizing anyone who doesn't jump on board with their insanity.
Here's more from the original story via The Eagle:
Student demonstrators blocked traffic in the tunnel of Bender Arena on Friday to demand that the University take specific actions to support people of color after the May 1 hate crime that targeted Taylor Dumpson and AU's chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
The demonstrators demanded three key actions from AU administrators, according to a flyer distributed at the protest:
Provost Scott Bass arrived at the scene of the protest about 90 minutes after it began. He accepted the three demands and said he would meet with student leaders on Monday.
The exchange between Bass and protesters came just hours after the University announced it had deployed AU police officers to protect Dumpson, the student government president, after a white supremacist group encouraged its followers to troll her online.
Demonstrators march from Katzen Arts Center to Bender tunnel
Protesters said they would ''occupy all space'' and not leave until all demands were met. Freshman Jaha Knight read the list of demands after leading a call-and-response with the crowd gathered in the tunnel, chanting ''we can't breathe,'' a reference to the death of Eric Garner at the hands of police.
''These are the things that we have demanded from the University because of the oppression and discrimination and the hate we have faced, not just in these current events, but every day on this campus,'' Knight said.
Students gathered at Katzen Arts Center at 2 p.m. and started marching to the Bender tunnel around 2:30 p.m. Once the demonstrators arrived, students split up into two groups, one of which sat down in a line to block the road in front of the UPS store.
The other group stood in front of the entrance to the Bender Arena parking garage. Public Safety cars arrived within an hour to block off the road.
Some students held posters that read ''This is a peaceful protest'' and ''Allies protect Black and Brown Bodies, especially Black women!'' Other protesters wore tape on their mouths bearing the hashtag #ItsInTheAir, a reference to the racism they feel is prevalent on campus.
''Nooses are enough. And we need to be tired,'' sophomore and Black Student Alliance president Ma'at Sargeant said at the demonstration. ''We need to be tired and we need to know that we are valued and that we value ourselves enough to stand up for this.''
Students chanted, ''This tunnel is closed!'' and ''Call Kerwin!'' Several demonstrators expressed anger at the University's response to acts of racism on campus.
''Do I not pay? Do I not pay for tuition?'' junior Romayit Cherinet said to the crowd. ''Do I come here and try as best as possible to ignore these racist ass white people? To ignore the microaggressions every single day?''
Provost Scott Bass arrives at scene of protest
Over 90 minutes after the demonstration began, Bass arrived and addressed the students gathered in the tunnel. At first, Bass was unaware of the students' demands, but said he had come from a meeting with other administrators where they had been planning a ''number of responses'' to previous student requests.
''There are a number of things that we can do in the administration, both in terms of the curriculum, in terms of the faculty, in terms of the kinds of centers that exist on campus,'' Bass said.
Bass announced that the University had signed a contract with Ibram X. Kendi, an author and historian at the University of Florida, to establish an anti-racism center at AU. Kendi is the author of the New York Times best-selling book, ''Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.''
''There's nothing more important, in terms of my administration, than being a multicultural campus,'' Bass told the crowd.
Following his remarks, Bass was given a list of the demonstrators' demands and returned to address the crowd minutes later. He agreed to establish the Bridge Cafe as a ''sanctuary space'' for students of color, to give students support in asking for extensions on their final exams and to allow other groups, such as the NAACP, to investigate the hate crime and other racist acts at AU.
''We are interested in getting to the bottom of the issue, and the sooner we can do that, the better,'' Bass said. ''But I will also say that that doesn't stop our commitment to do more. This is just a minimum'...This is not just one incident. It's a deeper issue in our community.''
Bass said he looked forward to meeting with black student leaders on Monday to discuss more student concerns about racism at AU.
As a student organizer announced that Bass had met their demands, students began to move away from the entrance of the Bender parking garage, allowing cars to leave for the first time in over an hour. The demonstrators' celebrations echoed off the walls of the tunnel as they chanted, ''We are AU! We are AU!''
Canadian Student Association Apologizes For Playing 'Transphobic' 'Take a Walk on The Wild Side' | MRCTV
Thu, 18 May 2017 11:59
The student association at a Canadian university is apologizing to members of the transgender community who may have felt ''hurt'' or devalued by overhearing Lou Reed's ''Take a Walk on the Wild Side.''
In a statement on Facebook, Ontario's University of Guelph Central Student Association apologized anyone who was upset by the ''hurtful'' ''transphobic lyrics'' played during a campus event. The student association claimed the song ''Take a Walk on the Wild Side'' was picked for a playlist of '70s and '80s songs out of ''ignorance'' and showed ''an error in judgement'' [sic]:
It's come to our attention that the playlist we had on during bus pass distribution on Thursday contained a song with transphobic lyrics (Lou Reed, Take a Walk on the Wild Side). The playlist was compiled by one of the Executives with the intent of feeling like a road trip from the 70s and 80s. The song was included solely on those terms and made in ignorance as the person making the list did not know or understand the lyrics.
We now know the lyrics to this song are hurtful to our friends in the trans community and we'd like to unreservedly apologize for this error in judgement.
The student association also said they are ''committed'' to being more ''mindful'' of the music they play during events in the future, and suggested students attend a meeting to ''discuss how we can create better playlists in the future'' with songs that are ''more inclusive."
The ''Take a Walk on the Wild Side'' lyrics that are presumably offensive are:
Holly came from Miami F.L.A.
Hitchhiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way,
Shaved her legs and then he was a she.
She said, 'Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side.'
Said, 'Hey honey, take a walk on the wild side.'
The song lyrics referencing ''Holly'' were based off Holly Woodlawn, a transgender actress who was featured in Andy Warhol films.
When an individual pointed out the song is considered revolutionary and one of the first to actually support transgender acceptance, the student union responded by saying the song is ''understood to be transphobic'' because it ''devalues the experiences and identities of trans folks'' and ''minimizes the experiences of oppression'' by talking about a person who transitioned by changing his appearance.
The student association page continued by saying the mere concept of the song, taking a walk on the wild side, is ''problematic'' and ''dangerous'' because it describes transgender people (reportedly 0.5 percent of the Canadian population) as being ''unusual," which they claim is ''dehumanizing'' and makes people somehow less supportive of transgender rights:
Additionally, stating that conversing, spending time with, or having sex with a trans person is ''taking a walk on the wild side'' is also problematic. It labels trans folks as ''wild'' or ''unusual'' or ''unnatural'' which is a dangerous rhetoric.
The student association ended their lecture about ''Take a Walk on the Wild Side'' by admitting that although the song promoted transgender acceptance at the time, ''it is now being consumed in a different societal context'' and it is ''not always consumed in the ways that it was intended,'' which apparently justifies people being offended by it.
The student association encouraged students who had more questions about the allegedly offensive nature of the song to email their president, Chelsea Mulvale.
Mulvale, who appears to go by ''they'' pronouns,'' worked with a group called ''OUTline'' in 2016, which she described to the Ontarion as a ''support service run through Student Life primarily for LGBTQ+ folks [where volunteers are] trained to know about different resources on campus and in the Guelph community.''
According to a profile in the Ontarion, Mulvale's mission when running for president was to create an ''inclusive campus.''
The Central Student Association is an undergraduate student association to ''serve and protect the rights of undergraduate students at the University of Guelph.''
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A Mission to Capture or Kill Joseph Kony Ends, Without Capturing or Killing - The New York Times
Mon, 15 May 2017 23:25
The United States and the Ugandan military decided to endtheir search for Mr. Kony in late April, abandoning the international effort to bring him to justice. In that effort, Ugandan soldiers are accused of leaving behind their own trail of abuse, according to the United Nations peacekeeping mission, including rape, sexual slavery and the exploitation of young girls.
In Obo, the American military has already begun the so-called retrograde of its mission, which is Pentagon-speak for packing up shop and heading home, taking everything they brought with them. That means sending in planes and vehicles to haul away light infantry tents, cots, communications equipment and all of the weaponry used by the American Special Operations and Ugandan forces trying to hunt down the elusive Mr. Kony and his guerrillas.
Publicly, American officials insist the ceremony is not ill-advised, even if Mr. Kony reappears at some point, as he has done in the past. But they were not rushing to publicize it either; one American defense official attending the African Land Forces Summit meeting last week in Lilongwe, Malawi's capital, looked pained when a reporter asked about the planned ceremony. ''Who told you about this?'' he asked.
Photo Mr. Kony in 2006. In 2008, the United States government declared him a ''specially designated global terrorist.'' Credit Associated Press A few days later at the summit meeting, Maj. Gen. Joseph P. Harrington, the commander of United States Army Africa, which sponsored the meeting, was fielding a similar question. ''Look, I'm not the operational commander that's looking for Joseph Kony,'' he said, when asked why Mr. Kony still had not been found. He added: ''Everyone will meet their maker at some point.''
General Harrington said the mission to get Mr. Kony could be looked at, in retrospect, as a mission ''to remove a regional threat,'' and there, he said, the operation has been successful, degrading the Lord's Resistance Army to where it is now.
''L.R.A. is really no longer a relevant organization,'' he told reporters at a news conference on Thursday.
Mr. Kony, a self-proclaimed prophet, along with his militant force, catapulted onto the Ugandan stage in 1987 to fight President Yoweri Museveni, who at the time was into the first year of his journey to become one of Africa's longest-reigning strongmen (he's now on Year 31). Over the course of 19 years, the L.R.A. abducted more than 20,000 children to use as soldiers, servants or sex slaves, according to Unicef, leading to violence that displaced more than 2.5 million people.
In 2005, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Kony for crimes against humanity, and in 2008, the United States government declared him a ''specially designated global terrorist.''
As recently as last year, the Treasury Department was imposing new sanctions on Mr. Kony. A Treasury statement on March 8, 2016, blamed Mr. Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army for at least 239 civilian abductions in the Central African Republic between July 2014 and July 2016. The department also accused the L.R.A. of engaging in ''illicit diamonds trade, elephant poaching and ivory trafficking.''
Through all of this, Mr. Kony has managed to avoid capture. His troops operate throughout 115,000 square miles of territory in Central African Republic, South Sudan, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo '-- all areas of conflict where civilians have fallen prey to marauding groups of fighters.
American officials say that even though the mission to find Mr. Kony is at an end, they will keep working with African forces to stabilize the region. And, they say that the effort to find Mr. Kony has not been in vain because it has also helped build trust between American and African troops.
''Any work that we do with African militaries that teaches coordination, collaboration and multinational interoperability is not wasted time,'' Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, the vice chief of staff of the Army, said in an interview in Lilongwe.
Continue reading the main story
SOLAR
Largest US Solar Panel Maker Files For Bankruptcy After Receiving $206 Million In Subsidies
Tue, 16 May 2017 05:03
LISTEN TO TLR'S LATEST PODCAST:By Michael Bastasch
The company once hailed as Europe's largest solar panel producer filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, blaming cheap Chinese panels for flooding the market.
''The ongoing price erosion and the development of the business'' has left the company ''over-indebted and thus obliged to file for insolvency proceedings,'' SolarWorld, which is also the largest U.S. solar panel maker, said in a statement.
The filing comes after SolarWorld was forced to lay off employees earlier this year. The company employs around 3,000 people, including 800 in Hillsboro, Oregon, and was one of the few German-based solar companies to survive a recent market downturn.
SolarWorld is only the latest bankrupt solar company to blame the Chinese. U.S.-based Suniva Inc. filed for bankruptcy in April, also citing stiff competition from Chinese solar panel makers.
Suniva even asked the Trump administration to increase tariffs against Chinese solar panel imports. SolarWorld backed the call, saying China has found ways to circumvent current tariffs.
''The case of Suniva dramatically demonstrates that the U.S. solar manufacturing industry still suffers from unfair trade,'' Juergen Stein, U.S. president of SolarWorld, said in a statement.
''China now has managed to circumvent and violate existing trade defense measures in several ways and again incited a ruinous price race to the bottom, destroying U.S. manufacturing jobs,'' Stein said.
Not everyone in the solar industry agrees increased tariffs would be a good thing. The U.S. company Sunnova sent a letter to the U.S. trade commission arguing the ''imposition of tariffs on solar cells and panels will significantly harm the U.S. economy by destroying jobs.''
The Obama administration imposed tariffs up to 35 percent on solar panel products imported from certain Chinese manufacturers. The 2014 doesn't seem to have drastically changed the overall industry's economics.
The solar industry's biggest problem is likely the very mechanism that led to its rise: lucrative subsidies.
European subsidies, mostly in Germany, led to a massive expansion of the companies green energy industry, but eventually subsidies became their undoing as cheaper solar panels from China began to win out.
Cuts to subsidies in Europe only made things worse for the solar industry, furthering ensuring cheap Chinese panels would win out. A similar story played out in the U.S. where lucrative federal and state subsidies spurred green energy.
SolarWorld has gotten a whopping $115 million in federal and state grants and tax subsidies since 2012, according to the Union-backed group Good Jobs First. And that's on top of the nearly $91 million in federal loan guarantees the company got during that time.
Solarworld lost 80 percent of its stock value after it announced bankruptcy filings Wednesday.
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Science!
#OHBM2017: An interview with Russell Poldrack '' Making Neuroscience More Reproducible - organization for human brain mapping
Tue, 16 May 2017 17:30
BY DAVID MEHLER In a recent blog post we learned about the activities of the OHBM Committee on Best Practices in Data Analysis and Sharing (COBIDAS), whose members work on establishing recommendations and tools to increase transparency and reproducibility in human neuroimaging. Together with other early career researchers I was fortunate to recently attend a workshop dedicated to Advanced Methods for Reproducible Science . There, a number of pioneers in reproducible science discussed the challenges of the field, and introduced ways to improve current practices . As part of this, Dr. Russell Poldrack discussed creating reproducible research pipelines for neuroimaging.
Russ Poldrack is a professor of Psychology at Stanford University where he also heads the Stanford Centre for Reproducible Neuroscience . He presented a new exciting framework for reproducible neuroimaging called Brain Imaging Data Structure standard application (BIDS app) . Russ agreed to an interview, providing an ideal opportunity to find out more about his views on the reproducibility crisis in science and get his recommendations for the field.
1) David Mehler (DM): How would you describe the reproducibility crisis in psychology and neuroimaging to a (tax paying) member of the public?
Russ Poldrack (RP): I would explain it like this: Some of the research practices that scientists have used in the last few decades have turned out to generate results that are less reliable than we thought they were. As we have come to recognize this, many researchers are trying to change how we do things so that our results are more reliable. This is the self-correcting nature of science; we are human and we make mistakes, but the hallmark of science is that we are constantly questioning ourselves and trying to figure out how to fix the problems and do better. An important part of the problem is that researchers are not currently incentivized by the system to do reproducible research; there is much more pressure to publish large numbers of papers in high-profile journals, which focus more on splashy findings, than there is to make sure that those findings are reproducible.
2) DM: The definition of direct and conceptual replications can be debatable and it is not always clear how close a replication must be to the original study to count as a direct replication attempt. In neuroimaging, best practice for each element of the processing pipeline might change over time and these changes can affect the final result. In your view, what constitutes a successful direct replication in neuroimaging?
RP: It's a challenging question. On the one hand, you would hope that the minor details don't matter very much; if they do, then the result has limited generalizability and thus is probably not that important even if it's true under those specific circumstances. On the other hand, we know from the work of Stephen Strother and his colleagues, and from the work of Josh Carp that processing choices can make a substantial difference . In my opinion, what's most important is that a replication attempts to be as close as possible to the original study in its details, recognizing that this will never be fully possible. If a well-powered replication attempt of an important study fails, then it's the responsibility of the field to determine whether the replication attempt reflects true lack of effect, differences in methodological details, or random fluctuations. It's worth remembering that some number of well-powered replication attempts will always fail due to chance even when there is a true effect, and thus a single replication failure should not necessarily cause us to abandon the initial finding.
3) DM: Do current open science/data practices favor senior researchers, who already have tenure and high impact publications, over junior researchers, who often must put in the extra work? If so what can be done about it?
RP: Yes, definitely. Doing reproducible science will almost certainly make it harder to succeed by today's criteria of large numbers of publications in high-profile journals. Just as one example, I have become convinced that pre-registration of study design and analysis plans is critical to improving our science . However, doing a pre-registered study makes it more likely that one will come up with null effects, because there is no flexibility to tweak the analysis until a significant effect is found. I think there are a few ways to address the problem. First, established researchers need to lead by example; if we can't engage in open and transparent research practices then there is no way that we can expect the younger generation to do so. Second, we need to pay more attention to open and transparent practices when we are judging job applicants, tenure cases, and grant proposals. This is much harder than simply counting up numbers of publications and impact factors, but it's the only way that we can ensure that people doing solid research have a chance of making it on the job market, since they will always be outgunned by those who use shoddier practices to get papers in high-profile journals. One way to help with this was suggested by Lucina Uddin in a recent Tweet, where she described adding a section titled " Contributions to Open Science " to her CV; I could see this listing things like shared datasets, code, and pre-registrations. This would help signal that one is committed to open and reproducible science.
4) DM: This brings us back to the role of incentive structures . Together with other OHBM committee members you have recently initiated an OHBM Replication Award for the best neuroimaging replication study. What is your vision for a system that creates the ''right'' rewarding and incentive structures to promote data sharing and open science work?
RP: Foremost, people need to get credit for their efforts. The rise of '' data papers '' has helped with this, since now a person can get citation credit for a shared dataset when it's used by others. Registered Reports are another good move in this direction, as they ensure that one will get a publication for a well-designed study regardless of the outcome. As I mentioned earlier, we also need to work to make these practices more central to our hiring and tenure decisions; changing these kinds of processes is challenging, and requires more senior researchers to take the lead, which many of us are trying to do but it's an ongoing effort.
5) DM: Thanks Russ. Finally, what is your main message for early career neuroscientists? What would you advise them to look for when choosing a lab and planning their career path?
RP: First, focus on finding a scientific question that fascinates you. Science is full of long hours, intense criticism, and repeated disappointments, and only a burning scientific question will give you the continued motivation to persevere. Second, find a lab that shares your values. Talk to people in the lab and find out whether they have adopted the kinds of practices that would make you feel confident that your interest in openness and transparency will be supported and nurtured. Third, be open to change. It's natural to make plans for the future, but often the world has different ideas for us, and it's important to be able to take advantage of the best of whatever your situation has to offer you, even if it's not what you initially planned for. Finally, realize that we are humans and we make mistakes, so that nothing you do will ever be perfect. One unfortunate consequence of the reproducibility crisis is that it seems to have led many trainees to worry that their work is never quite good enough, and that someone in the future will find a flaw or fail to replicate their work. This is a problem because if you don't get the work written up, you will never get credit for having done it, regardless of how clever the experiment was.Science is a process for attaining knowledge, not an endpoint, and we need to keep that in mind. We should do the best we can to make our work transparent and reproducible, but also realize that at some point you just have to put the work out there for the world to see.
EuroLand
Greeks walk out in general strike over cuts - BBC News
Wed, 17 May 2017 11:34
Image copyright EPA Image caption Athenians faced long bus queues on Wednesday as the general strike hit transport services Hospitals, transport services and government offices across Greece have been severely affected by a general strike over new austerity measures.
Industrial action began on Tuesday but has now been ramped up nationally by members of the big trade unions.
Ferry services stopped and buses and trains were limited. Flights were also being hit for several hours.
MPs are set to vote on controversial reforms on Thursday that will cut pensions and end tax breaks.
The left-wing Syriza government needs to make further savings before eurozone finance ministers agree to hand over further loan cash as part of its latest bailout deal.
Despite pouring rain, crowds of protesters joined a rally late in the morning in Klafthmonos Square in the centre of Athens. Further rallies were taking part elsewhere in the capital, including one organised by the communist-affiliated PAME union.
Image copyright AFP Image caption Several marches and rallies were organised by the big unions in the centre of Athens A large number of professions were involved in the strike, including the biggest trade unions, the GSEE and ADEDY:
Air traffic controllers stopped work for four hoursNo newspapers were published and news websites and TV channels were also badly hitDoctors and other hospital workers walked out - and hospitals limited services to emergencies onlyTrains, buses and trams were providing only limited services for some hours of the dayCivil servants, court officials and teachers were all involvedPolice and other security forces were expected to join a protest late in the afternoonImage copyright Athens Airport Image caption No flights were due to arrive or take off at Athens Airport for several hours The new austerity measures will not come into force until 2019 and 2020 but Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has to persuade eurozone finance ministers next Monday to provide the next loan instalment of '‚¬7.5bn (£6.4bn; $8.2bn).
Greece is facing its next big debt demand in July and has had three bailouts from the EU and IMF so far.
The country has fallen back into recession for the first time since 2012, according to figures that emerged on Tuesday.
Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 0.1% in the first three months of 2017 after shrinking by 1.2% in the final quarter of last year.
French data watchdog fines Facebook 150,000 euros for 'unfair tracking' of users
Wed, 17 May 2017 12:18
The National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL), France's data protecting watchdog, said Tuesday it was fining social media site Facebook 150,000-euro (166,159 U.S. dollars) for "several breaches of the French Data Protecting Act."
The French regulatory body accused Facebook Inc. and Facebook Ireland of tracking web users' activity without their consent and without having a legal basis for doing so, in order to display targeted advertising.
As part of a wider European investigation also carried out in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Germany into some of Facebook's practices, CNIL "revealed several failures."
"As a result, the restricted committee has decided to pronounce a public sanction of 150,000 euros against Facebook Inc and Facebook Ireland," the watchdog said in a statement.
"Considering the number of infringements (six in total), the seriousness, and the significant number of users in France (33 million), the amount and publicity of this sanction are justified," it added.
In 2016, CNIL had given the social network a three-month deadline to respect the French Data Protection Act by stopping a massive compilation of personal data of Internet users for targeted advertising and personal data transfers to the United States. (1 euro = 1.11 U.S. dollars)
½½½½
Hollywood Whackers
Despite High Ratings, ABC Cancels Trump-Friendly Sitcom 'Last Man Standing' | Daily Wire
Thu, 11 May 2017 20:39
Even though it had been dumped on Friday nights, the Tim Allen sitcom Last Man Standing enjoyed ratings that Deadlinedescribes as "very respectable for any night and especially Friday[.]" Every week, the half-hour comedy, one of the very few aimed to appeal to America's heartland, won its time-slot in the all-important demo, including 6.4 million overall same-day viewers. Deadline further adds that "[w]hile most returning shows were down year-to-year 20-30%, LMS was virtually flat, off just by 5% in total viewers and adults 18-49[.]"
Those are very impressive numbers for a show that has been around for six full seasons.
But that is not all!
Last Man Standing was ABC's Friday anchor, meaning a show that could not only be counted on to win the night but one that kept viewers tuned in to whatever shows came after. Anchors are also crucially important when it comes to launching new shows.
But that is not all!
The real money in the sitcom business comes from syndication rights, selling the reruns on a per episode basis to other networks. Last Man Standing is not only a syndication smash, a virtual cash cow, per Deadline it is the "rare off-network ratings success story these days."
When a show does this well in syndication, every episode becomes a bar of gold, a likely source of rolling revenue for years and years to come. Even aging sitcoms that lose their audience are sometimes renewed for an extra season because each of those episodes is worth a fortune in syndication.
So why was this popular and profitable sitcom abruptly canceled?
Well, this is where the byzantine world of television and politics and fascist corporations becomes as interesting as it is revealing and chilling.
After six seasons, the ABC broadcast network is contractually required to cover the cost of producing the show. Until now, Last Man Standing had been produced and paid for by 20th Century Fox TV before being licensed for broadcast to ABC.
To no one's surprise (explained below), and although 20th Century Fox had agreed to reduce its fees, without even bothering to negotiate something that would allow them to hold onto this hit show, ABC abruptly canceled it, using the fig leaf of cost, singling out Tim Allen's high salary.
The real reason ABC canceled "Last Man Standing" was almost certainly due to politics. Allen's character is, as described by Deadline, a '...
'... political conservative and devout Christian adhering to traditional American values, the blue-collar comedy appeals to viewers in the Heartland, a constituency that helped elect Donald Trump as president and has been energized post-election as evidenced by the ratings success of new USA drama Shooter.
Through his character, the politically conservative Allen has poked fun at Hillary Clinton, political correctness, and the Left at large. Worse still, he has created a popular, sympathetic and likable television personality who holds the beliefs and values our entertainment and media elites want to tell us can only belong to Nazis.
Moreover, the ABC television network is owned by Disney, a rabidly left-wing company run by Bob Iger, who, for years, has been a huge supporter of both Bill and Hillary Clinton. In order to protect the Clintons, Iger has gone so far as to eat $40 million. The Path to 9/11 was a popular 2006 miniseries that offered only light criticism of Bill Clinton's handling of Osama bin Laden. Although the original idea was to rerun the program every September 11, Iger has not only refused to rerun it even once (losing all that advertising revenue), he won't even release it on home video.
That kind of corporate fascism, Iger's willingness to shove a $40 million investment into a ditch, only helps us to make sense of ABC's strangling of a proven golden goose like Last Man Standing.
No one better understands the power of popular culture than those who work in it. They know that if even one is allowed to get through, a Path to 9/11, a Last Man Standing, a Duck Dynasty, a Passion of the Christ, a 13 Hours, a Fox News, that it must be crushed, toxified, or memory-holed out of the fear that those brainwashed by popular culture might discover another side to the story. And then there is the intolerable risk that a success might breed more of them.
No matter the financial cost, this cannot be allowed.
Oh, and if you buy ABC's excuse, riddle me this report that just so happened to be released within hours of the news that Last Man Standing had been canceled:
Reaching both agreements, especially a new license-fee pact with ABC, was not easy. Talks between the network and 20th TV started awhile ago. The studio originally sought a two-season renewal, which was met with resistance by the network at first until the two sides finally came to a deal. It followed an agreement in principle ABC and 20th TV reached at the end of February, which outlined what the license-fee structure should look like predicated on making new salary agreements with the actors.
Weird how ABC was totally comfortable doing for the left-wing Modern Family exactly what it wouldn't do for a show that appeals to the other half of the country.
Weird how ABC was totally comfortable doing for the left-wing Modern Family exactly what it wouldn't do for a show that appeals to the other half of the country.
P.S. Everyone should read Ben Shapiro's "Primetime Propaganda," a brilliant and detailed look at how the public airwaves have been high-jacked by left-wing propagandists, oftentimes at the expense of success and profit.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.
The "Last Man Standing" Has Fallen
Thu, 11 May 2017 20:35
LISTEN TO TLR'S LATEST PODCAST:By Paul Meekin
''Last Man Standing'' is reportedly on ABC's chopping block. The three camera sitcom focuses on a conservative business owner in a post-modern world, as he contends with new-age liberalism, politically correct politics, and the universal nature of being middle-aged as the whole wide world moves away from everything you thought to be true.
Reportedly hitting a ratings high in its sixth season (perhaps in correlation to the rise of President Donald Trump) it's odd such a successful'...and timely show would find itself on the chopping block. The show averages between 5-6 million viewers an episode, which is about on par with ''Law and Order: SVU,'' the current season of ''Modern Family,'' a little under ''Game of Thrones,'' and six times higher than Lena Dunham's recently ended 'Girls'.
But ratings can be misleading because it depends on who is watching. Demographics are important, especially in an age where terrestrial television ratings are an increasingly small part of a show's revenue stream. A show like ''Game of Thrones,'' or even ''Girls,'' appeals to young people who are prone to buy the episode on iTunes, subscribe to HBO GO, and are generally more likely to engage with the show on a variety of platforms. Considering ''Last Man Standing's'' target demo, my ageist postulation is that kind groundswell doesn't exist for a show not at all targeted toward young folks.
Of course, if you want to get snooty about it you could make a case that Tim Allen's comments on Jimmy Kimmel regarding being a conservative in Hollywood landed the show in hot water.
There's also the fact Tim Allen commands a hefty price-tag and as shows go on they become more expensive '' though rumor has it the show has been a success in syndication, which is where the 'real' money is when it comes to network television.
'...And the liberal arts education in me would be remiss if I didn't point out I had to scroll through like 9 white people to get to the singular black actor on the show.
Regardless, there is a silver lining here; Tim Allen is (somewhat) relevant again, and judging by his appearance on Kimmel, isn't afraid to speak his mind and voice unpopular opinions with a dose of humor and humility, which is how we come together as a society.
Allen was a stand-up comic first, actor second. These six years of his life have probably provided ammunition for a comedy special for the ages '' one steeped in the insanity of Hollywood, television, public opinion, and conservative thinking.
So while Last Man Standing may be falling with style, it looks like Tim Allen himself is prone to soar.
WATCH TLR'S LATEST VIDEO:conservativesJimmy Kimmellast man standingtim allen
About The Author
Steve Harvey Confirms Shocking Staff Memo, Doesn't Apologize | Hollywood Reporter
Fri, 12 May 2017 01:41
The fiery email he sent to staff reads: "Do not come to my dress room unless invited. Do not open my dressing room door. IF YOU OPEN MY DOOR, EXPECT TO BE REMOVED."
The Steve Harvey letter is real.
The veteran TV host admits in a new interview with ET's Kevin Frazier that he sent a tersely worded letter to his staff '-- one obtained and published by Chicago media writer Robert Feder '-- berating them for ambushing him on the set of his TV show, Steve Harvey. He also acknowledges that it, perhaps, could've been handled differently, while also expressing his surprise that its publication inspired so many headlines and so much negative reaction.
"I don't apologize about the letter, but it's kind of crazy what people who took this thing and ran, man," the host, 60, who is in the process of moving his five-year-old show from Chicago to new headquarters in Los Angeles, told ET. "I just didn't want to be in this prison anymore where I had to be in this little room, scared to go out and take a breath of fresh air without somebody approaching me, so I wrote the letter."
The contents of the email were detailed in full in Feder's blog post Wednesday with the headline "So Long, Steve: Not Everyone's Sorry to See Harvey Leave Town." Apparently it was sent ahead of the current season, which wrapped on Thursday, crafted in an attempt to lay out specific rules for how and when to approach Harvey.
"There will be no meetings in my dressing room. No stopping by or popping in. NO ONE. Do not come to my dress room unless invited. Do not open my dressing room door. IF YOU OPEN MY DOOR, EXPECT TO BE REMOVED," it reads. "I have been taken advantage of by my lenient policy in the past. This ends now. NO MORE. '... I am seeking more free time for me throughout the day. '... Everyone, do not take offense to the new way of doing business. It is for the good of my personal life and enjoyment."
In his ET interview, Harvey said it was a request for his staff to honor and respect his privacy. "I could not find a way to walk from the stage to my dressing room, to sit in my makeup chair, to walk from my dressing room to the stage or to just sit and have lunch without somebody just walking in," he continued. "Look man, I'm in my makeup chair, they walk in the room. I'm having lunch, they walk in, they don't knock. I'm in the hallway, I'm getting ambushed by people with friends that come to the show and having me sign this and do this. I just said, 'Wait a minute.' And in hindsight, I probably should've handled it a little bit differently."
The full memo, as published on Feder's blog, is below.
Good morning, everyone. Welcome back.
I'd like you all to review and adhere to the following notes and rules for Season 5 of my talk show.
There will be no meetings in my dressing room. No stopping by or popping in. NO ONE.
Do not come to my dressing room unless invited.
Do not open my dressing room door. IF YOU OPEN MY DOOR, EXPECT TO BE REMOVED.
My security team will stop everyone from standing at my door who have the intent to see or speak to me.
I want all the ambushing to stop now. That includes TV staff.
You must schedule an appointment.
I have been taken advantage of by my lenient policy in the past. This ends now. NO MORE.
Do not approach me while I'm in the makeup chair unless I ask to speak with you directly. Either knock or use the doorbell.
I am seeking more free time for me throughout the day.
Do not wait in any hallway to speak to me. I hate being ambushed. Please make an appointment.
I promise you I will not entertain you in the hallway, and do not attempt to walk with me.
If you're reading this, yes, I mean you.
Everyone, do not take offense to the new way of doing business. It is for the good of my personal life and enjoyment.
Thank you all,
Steve Harvey
MK-ultra
How an Extreme Psychological Study May Have Affected a Young Ted Kaczynski | Mental Floss
Sun, 14 May 2017 22:32
The human body is an amazing thing. For each one of us, it's the most intimate object we know. And yet most of us don't know enough about it: its features, functions, quirks, and mysteries. Our series The Body explores human anatomy, part by part. Think of it as a mini digital encyclopedia with a dose of wow.
You may not think much of your liver, hidden as it is deep inside your body, but your liver runs a whole lot of functions on your behalf to keep you healthy. Not only is it your largest internal organ, it is in charge of hundreds of different functions ranging from fighting infection, to manufacturing proteins and hormones, and helping clot your blood.
This reddish brown organ has two lobes, on the right and left, and it hangs out just on top of the gallbladder and next to parts of the pancreas and intestines. Your liver and these neighboring organs work as a team to digest and absorb your food. Its main job is to filter the blood that comes from the digestive tract, before it hits the rest of your body. The liver also detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs. As it does so, the liver secretes bile that ends up back in the intestines. The liver also makes proteins important for blood plasma and other functions. With some expert support, here are 12 facts about this underappreciated, hardworking organ.
1. IT HAS A LOT OF JOBS.The liver is a very complicated organ with a role in nearly every bodily function, according to Nancy Reau, MD, the section chief of hepatology and associate director of organ transplantation at Rush University. Some of its jobs include making and storing energy; producing proteins vital for body function; processing drugs'--prescriptions, OTCs, and ''drugs of abuse''; and playing a vital role in immune function. ''Although it's hard to quantify all of the liver's many roles, it is easy to see how sick a person becomes when the liver stops functioning,'' says Reau, who is also co-chair of the American Liver Foundation's medical advisory committee.
2. IT'S THE SECOND BIGGEST ORGAN NEXT TO SKIN.Your liver weighs about the same as a small Chihuahua, often as much as three pounds [PDF], and is about the size of a football. It's located just beneath your rib cage on the right side of your body. If you could feel it, it would be rubbery to the touch.
3. IT HAS A DUAL IDENTITY.Organs usually have a job specific to one region of the body. Glands are specialized types of organs that remove substances from the blood, alter or process them, then release them to other parts of the body or eliminate them. In that respect, the liver, which filters your body's toxins (such as drugs and alcohol) and pushes them out of your body, is also a gland.
4. IT'S A BLOODY ORGAN.At its fullest, the liver holds approximately 10 percent of the blood in your body, and pumps nearly 1.5 liters through itself per minute.
5. THE FIRST LIVER TRANSPLANT WAS NOT A GREAT SUCCESS.Back in 1963, when Dr. Thomas E. Starzl performed the first human liver transplant at the University of Colorado Medical School, success was limited due to the wrong kinds of immunosuppressive drugs, with no patient living more than a few weeks. However, only four years later, the expansion of available immunosuppressive drugs made the first successful liver transplant possible.
6. IT'S THE ONLY ORGAN THAT CAN COMPLETELY REGENERATE.Like Wolverine, the liver has the incredible ability to completely regrow, and it only needs as little as 25 percent of the original tissue to do so. ''When a person donates more than half of their liver to someone who needs a transplant, the liver returns to its original size in nearly two weeks,'' Reau tells Mental Floss. According to a 2009 study in the Journal of Cell Physiology, evolutionary safeguards are responsible for this regenerative effect due to the numerous functions performed by the liver. ''This process allows liver to recover lost mass without jeopardizing viability of the entire organism,'' the authors write.
7. GOOD THING, BECAUSE YOUR BRAIN DEPENDS ON A HEALTHY LIVER.The liver is a major regulator of plasma glucose and ammonia levels. If these get out of control they can contribute to a condition known as hepatic encephalopathy, and eventually coma. In other words, if you want your brain to function, you need a working liver.
8. LIVER CONDITIONS MAY BE SYMPTOMLESS.Liver conditions are among those that pose a quandary for diagnosis. Because many liver conditions from hepatitis to cirrhosis may have no symptoms in the early stages. ''You can even have a serious liver injury when your liver tests are all normal,'' says Reau.
9. BEWARE YOUR NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS, TOO.You may think if an herb or supplement has the word natural on the bottle that it's safe. However, Reau cautions, ''Herbs and all-natural therapy [are] processed by the liver in the same way that FDA-approved medications are processed.'' It's best to talk with your doctor if you're uncertain. Although liver injury is uncommon for both prescribed and complementary therapies, being ''all natural'' does not eliminate all risk.
10. YOUR LIVER IS CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR WEIGHT '...Your body needs about one gram (.03 ounces) of liver for every kilogram (35 ounces) of your body weight in order to effectively do its job, Dr. Neil Mukherjee, a liver surgeon and fellow at Florida Hospital's Southeastern Center for Digestive Disorders & Pancreatic Cancer, tells Mental Floss.
11. '... AND IT RAISES YOUR BILE.The liver is a busy brew factory of bile, that yellow, green or brownish fluid you only ever see when you're greeting the toilet with the stomach flu or a hangover. It produces about 700 to 1000 ml of the stuff every day. The bile gathers in little ducts and then moves on to the main bile duct, where it's carried to the duodenum of the small intestine, either directly or via the gallbladder. While it may sound gross, bile is key to your body's ability to break down and absorb fats.
12. NO MATTER SHAPE OR SIZE, ALL VERTEBRATES HAVE ONE.Every vertebrate'--that is, any living being that has a spinal cord'--has a liver, a necessary part of survival. And, these livers all have a similar structure, performing the same essential tasks in all these bodies.
MIC
The State Department just approved a $2 billion sale of Patriot missile systems to the United Arab Emirates - Business Insider
Wed, 17 May 2017 11:57
Raytheon
A Patriot Air and Missile Defense launcher fires an interceptor during a previous test at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The latest configuration of the system, called PDB-8, has passed four flight tests and is now with the U.S. Army for a final evaluation.
The U.S. State Department approved a $2 billion sale of missiles to the United Arab Emirates, the Pentagon said on Thursday.
The sale would include 60 Patriot PAC-3 interceptors made by Lockheed Martin Corp and 100 GEM-T missiles made by Raytheon Co, the Pentagon said in a statement.
The US is the largest supplier of arms to the UAE, providing 63% of all major weaponry to the Middle Eastern country since 2009. UAE is also one of the top 10 purchasers of American weapons between 2011 and 2015.
The UAE has more than doubled its defense budget from $9.7 billion in 2005 to over $22 billion in 2014.
The UAE has used this spending to obtain three squadrons of F-16 jets '-- a design even more advanced than the F-16s possessed by the US Air Force.
Some of UAE's military decisions, however, have been questionable, including its involvement in quelling a democratic movement in Bahrain and leading role in the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen.
It was also recently reported that UAE has been supplying Libyan General Khalifa Haftar with warplanes. Backed by Russia, Haftar is fighting other factions in the oil-rich nation for power, including the US and UN-backed government led by Fayez al-Sarraj.
''This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of an important ally which has been, and continues to be, a force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East,'' the Pentagon said.
Poppie$
"Fen-Phen" Update (Fenfluramine, Phentermine, Dexfenfluramine)
Mon, 15 May 2017 02:04
8/27/1997
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
FDA is taking further measures to strengthen its recent public warning that treatment of obesity with a combination of fenfluramine and phentermine has been associated with the development of serious cardiac valvular disease. Based on further reporting of abnormalities in mitral, aortic, and tricuspid heart valves of patients taking these two appetite suppressants and/or the chemically-related product, dexfenfluramine, the agency has requested that the manufacturers of phentermine, fenfluramine, and dexfenfluramine stress this potential risk in a black box warning in the drugs' labeling and in patient package inserts (patient information sheets). FDA again reiterates that, until these concerns are further clarified, these products should only be used in people with significant obesity and not in people with minimal obesity.
Phentermine and fenfluramine, which are approved as single agents for short-term (a few weeks) obesity therapy, have recently been widely prescribed "off-label" in combination and for long-term management of obesity. In July, researchers at the Mayo Clinic reported 24 cases of cardiac valvular disease in women who took the combination therapy for an average of about 12 months. Cardiac valvular disease is usually a rare finding in people in the age range of these 24 patients. Simultaneously, FDA advised that it had received reports of 9 further cases of valvulopathy associated with the off-label use. Subsequently, FDA issued a Public Health Advisory to over 700,000 health care practitioners and institutions warning them of this new concern with these products.
In its July 8th Advisory, the FDA also asked -- and continues to request -- all health care professionals to report any such cases and other toxicities associated with the use of the three drugs to FDA's MedWatch program (1-800-FDA-1088/fax 1-800-FDA-0178) or to the respective pharmaceutical manufacturers. Such reporting allows FDA to better determine the scope of this problem, to better work with the academic community and the manufacturers in determining the reason(s) for this problem, and to better determine the most appropriate regulatory response to this concern.
Thanks to the reporting of health care professionals, as of August 22, FDA has received reports of 82 cases (including Mayo's 24 cases) of cardiac valvular disease in patients -- two of whom were men -- on combination fenfluramine and phentermine. These reports have been from 23 different states. Severity of the cardiac valvular disease was graded as moderate or severe in over three-fourths of the cases, and two of the reports described deterioration from no detectable heart murmur to need for a valve replacement within one-and-a-half years. Sixteen of these 82 patients required surgery to repair their heart valves. At least one of these patients died following surgery to repair the valves. (The agency's findings, as of July 31, are described in more detail in the current issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, which also carries the Mayo study.)
Five additional reported cases of cardiac valvular disease were associated with exposure to fenfluramine followed by dexfenfluramine, both in combination with phentermine; and 1 additional case was associated with exposure to the combination of all 3 drugs given at the same time.
In addition, there have been reports of cardiac valvular problems associated with the use of fenfluramine alone (n=2) and dexfenfluramine alone (n=7). However, no reports have yet been received of these heart problems developing when fenfluramine or phentermine are used as single agents for the duration presently approved.
In addition, FDA is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the Mayo Clinic researchers to develop methods to investigate the scope and cause(s) of this problem. Some epidemiologic studies using on-going trials and various data bases are already underway. Other prospective studies are presently being designed.
In the meantime, although the cause-effect relationship between the use of these drugs and the development of cardiac valvular disease has not been conclusively established, FDA wants to make sure that these serious potential risks of combination and long-term therapy with these products is known to both the prescribers and their patients. The agency therefore has requested the manufacturers of these products to revise the drugs' approved labels to emphasize the new safety information in a prominent, black boxed warning at the beginning of the label. This new black box warning will warn prescribers of these new concerns and reiterate the fact that the safety and efficacy of the combined use of these products and the use of the products for longer than presently approved has not been established. In addition, the FDA has requested that manufacturers quickly develop patient package inserts to alert potential users to the same facts and concerns.
FDA continues to be highly concerned about these reports of serious heart problems in association with the use of these products. FDA will continue to work with the manufacturers, the professional organizations representing those who primarily prescribe these products, and consumer groups to use all methods possible to disseminate fully safety and efficacy information about these products. Since the warnings that went out in July, reduced sales of fenfluramine and phentermine have thus far suggested approximately a 40 percent decline in their combination use in the United States.
FDA continues to explore further options available to it - other than those already mentioned - to assure that patients are able to make fully informed decisions about the use of these drugs.
Further updates will be issued as further data and/or regulatory activities occur with these products.
Memo Dated: 28 August 1997
N Engl J Med 1997 Aug 28; 337(9): 581-8.
US Mexico heroin eradication efforts problems - Business Insider
Wed, 17 May 2017 22:19
A soldier walks among poppy plants before a poppy field is destroyed during a military operation in the Guerrero state municipality of Coyuca de Catalan, Mexico. REUTERS/Henry Romero
At the beginning of April, the Mexican army took US military officials, UN personnel, and officials from the US embassy on a tour of a half-dozen sites in the Golden Triangle '-- the heart of Mexico's heroin country '-- to witness the destruction of opium poppies.
The trip marked the first time in at least 10 years that the Mexican army had allowed US and UN officials to observe poppy eradication, and, according to Reuters, more trips were being arranged.
The visit could put Mexico on the same footing as anti-drug operations in places like Colombia and Afghanistan.
It also coincides with US President Donald Trump's efforts to address a withering opioid epidemic that has claimed tens of thousands of lives in the US.
But if the US and Mexico are about to make the opium-poppy eradication a joint effort, they may find their progress stymied by conditions on the ground and the nature of their foe.
A US official told Reuters that the area of poppies under cultivation in 2016 was estimated at 32,000 hectares in 2016. In 2015, US data showed there were 28,000 hectares estimated to be under cultivation '-- triple the area under cultivation recorded in 2012.
Last year, Mexico for the first time released its own data on cultivation, reporting an average of 24,800 hectares under cultivation between July 2014 and June 2015. The Mexican defense secretariat also said it destroyed 22,235 hectares of opium poppies in 2016 and 26,249 hectares in 2015. (Through the end of April 2017, the Mexican government says it eradicated 15,179 hectares of poppies.)
A soldier stands guard beside poppy plants before a poppy field is destroyed during a military operation in the municipality of Coyuca de Catalan in Guerrero state in southwest Mexico. REUTERS/Henry Romero
What effect this eradication has on the overall crop level is not clear. Data on production and eradication is varied and, in some places, incomplete. Estimates of cultivation in Mexico are also based on satellite imagery, not like census-based programs that more confidently measure cultivation and eradication.
"We don't know with any level of precision how heroin production has evolved in recent years," Mexican security analyst Alejandro Hope wrote in February 2016.
Moreover, according to Mike Vigil, former chief of international operations for the US Drug Enforcement Administration, it can be hard to accurately gauge how many plants exist and are destroyed, especially when relying on aerial observation and fumigation.
"People automatically do a formula that there's so many plants per meter and therefore they destroyed so many plants that would have produced a certain tonnage of opium, for example, and that is not correct either, because a lot of times they spray fields where the plant density is just very loose," Vigil, who, as a DEA official, worked in Mexico in the 1990s, told Business Insider.
"We're not talking about plants that are densely concentrated per square meter. You could have one plant per square meter. So they destroy 10 hectares and probably destroyed very few plants," Vigil said.
Areas of opium poppy cultivation in Mexico, where redder areas indicating more hectares destroyed. UNODC/Mexican government
Manuel eradication has been common in Mexico's war on drugs. Military units have been stationed in areas of high cultivation like Sinaloa (which is also a hub of organized-crime activity) and Guerrero states, and they are frequently pictured crawling poppy-covered hillsides rooting out the pink-tipped bulbs that would eventually yield opium.
But aerial fumigation has also been used in places with a high incidence of cultivation, like the states Chihuahua, Durango, Sinaloa, and Guerrero, at times of elevated cultivation activity.
Fumigation squadrons are deployed in MD-530F helicopters and Cessna 182SL planes. Bell 407 and Bell 206 helicopters are also used when aerial-fumigation teams need to access remote or hard-to-reach spots.
In Guerrero, where poppy cultivation '-- and criminal activity related to it '-- has grown precipitously in recent years, manual eradication has been replaced in some cases by fumigation. One official told Excelsior the chemical used was only harmful to poppy plants, not to other crops or underground water systems. (The Mexican defense secretariat has in the past classified the exact chemicals used in aerial fumigation, calling it a matter of national security.)
Soldiers destroy poppies during a military operation in the municipality of Coyuca de Catatlan in Guerrero state in southwest, Mexico. REUTERS/Henry Romero
According to Vigil, Mexican authorities tasked with aerial fumigation in the past have tried to mask the true amount of poppies destroyed, often to bolster their totals.
"The estimates are nothing more than estimates," Vigil, author of "Metal Coffins: The Blood Alliance Cartel," told Business Insider.
"And it is very, very difficult to come up with an accurate figure, simply because many times the Mexican government over exaggerates how many hectares they have sprayed in the eradication program," he added. "And many times they purposely skew those numbers by, for example, spraying the same field twice and counting it as two separate fields."
If observers are deployed on eradication missions in the future, Mexican forces may also find ways to deceive them, Vigil said.
"It would be very difficult for them to verify [eradication totals] because they're not going to be out there on every spray mission, and even if they were, they really don't know how many fields they're going to spray. They could take them to the same field the following day and spray that same field that they observed 24 hours previously," leading observers to think a different field had been sprayed, Vigil added.
The origins of heroin seized by the DEA in the US over the last 40 years. DEA 2016 NDTA
As much as 94% of the heroin that enters the US comes from Mexico, US assistant secretary for state for narcotics William Brownfield said earlier this year. (Mexico has also become a transit point for potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl, which are sometimes added to heroin and can be fatal even in small doses.)
Mexican-made heroin, and the Mexican criminal groups pushing it, has largely replaced heroin produced in Afghanistan and Colombia. According to estimates by the DEA, close to 80% of the heroin found in wholesale-level seizures was sourced to Mexico.
The most recent US efforts to support Mexican eradication are at least a year old, dating to when Brownfield told Congress more work needed to be done to destroy poppies. Since then, despite turmoil introduced to the relationship by Donald Trump rise to the presidency, bilateral anti-drug efforts have gone smoothly.
Brownfield said the US has also offered to fund the eradication efforts, "should we reach a basic agreement in terms of how they would do more and better eradication in the future."
Troops in a poppy field in the municipality of Coyuca de Catalan, in southwest Mexico's Guerrero state. REUTERS/Henry Romero
"That is on the table, but I don't want you to conclude that it's a done deal, because we still have to work through the details," he told Reuters.
He did not specify an amount of money the US could provide.
This summer, the Mexican army is reportedly set to roll out hardware and software developed by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime that would permit troops to send information on destroyed fields in real time.
And, Brownfield said, the US could offer more vehicles or fund helicopter flights to reach the remote parts of the country '-- typically mountain highlands '-- where poppies are grown.
"Our cooperation with the Mexican government on the heroin challenge is in fact good, and it is better than it has ever been in the past," Brownfield said.
Ministry of Truthiness
Bana Alabed: Seven year-old Aleppo survivor writes book on her experiences of war-torn Syria and life in Turkey | The Independent
Sun, 14 May 2017 11:34
Bana Alabed, the seven-year-old Syrian refugee girl, who captured the world's attention for tweeting the horrors of Aleppo, is writing a book about her harrowing experience of the war.
She announced the news on her Twitter account and said: ''I am happy to announce my book will be published by Simon & schuster. The world must end all the wars now in every part of the world.''
Her memoir, Dead World, will also tell the story of how she and her family escaped the war in Syria and are rebuilding their lives, away from their homeland.
Excited at the prospect of her book, Bana said: ''I am so happy to have this opportunity to tell my story and the story of what has happened in Aleppo to the world.
''I hope my book will make the world do something for the children and people of Syria and bring peace to children all over the world who are living in war.''
Dead World is expected to be published in the autumn of 2017 by international publisher Simon & Schuster and a young reader's edition by imprint Salaam Reads will follow shortly after and will be made available as an audio book on Simon & Schuster Audio.
Bana has been documented the air strikes over Aleppo since last September after her mother Fatemeh, who teaches her daughter English, helped her set up the Twitter account.
In December, Bana and her family were evacuated from war-torn East Aleppo to Turkey after the city fell back under the control of the Syrian government.
Senior Editor at Simon & Schuster, Christine Pride, said she was ''captivated'' by Bana's tweets from Syria.
''Recalling iconic young heroines such as Malala Yousafzai, Bana's experiences and message transcend the headlines and pierce through the political noise and debates to remind us of the human cost of war and displacement,'' she said.
But diplomatic tensions over the Syrian conflict continue to escalate after Russia vetoed a UN resolution condemning Bashar al-Assad's government for its reported use of chemical weapons in Syria and urging a speedy investigation.
The majority of the international community has blamed the attack in Idlib province, which killed 87 people including many children, on President Assad.
The Syrian government has meanwhile denied involvement in the toxic attack, blaming rebel groups.
Reuse content
Zika
Doctors Name Monsanto's Larvicide As Cause of Brazilian Microcephaly Outbreak - Healthy Natural Cures
Tue, 09 May 2017 19:25
A report from the Argentine doctors' organisation, Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns, challenges the theory that the Zika virus epidemic in Brazil is the cause of the increase in the birth defect microcephaly among newborns.
The increase in this birth defect, in which the baby is born with an abnormally small head and often has brain damage, was quickly linked to the Zika virus by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. However, according to the Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns, the Ministry failed to recognise that in the area where most sick people live, a chemical larvicide that produces malformations in mosquitoes was introduced into the drinking water supply in 2014. This poison, Pyriproxyfen, is used in a State-controlled programme aimed at eradicating disease-carrying mosquitoes.
The Physicians added that the Pyriproxyfen is manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical, a Japanese ''strategic partner'' of Monsanto. Pyriproxyfen is a growth inhibitor of mosquito larvae, which alters the development process from larva to pupa to adult, thus generating malformations in developing mosquitoes and killing or disabling them. It acts as an insect juvenile hormone or juvenoid, and has the effect of inhibiting the development of adult insect characteristics (for example, wings and mature external genitalia) and reproductive development. It is an endocrine disruptor and is teratogenic (causes birth defects), according to the Physicians.
The Physicians commented: ''Malformations detected in thousands of children from pregnant women living in areas where the Brazilian state added Pyriproxyfen to drinking water are not a coincidence, even though the Ministry of Health places a direct blame on the Zika virus for this damage.''
They also noted that Zika has traditionally been held to be a relatively benign disease that has never before been associated with birth defects, even in areas where it infects 75% of the population.
Larvicide the most likely culprit in birth defects
Pyriproxyfen is a relatively new introduction to the Brazilian environment; the microcephaly increase is a relatively new phenomenon. So the larvicide seems a plausible causative factor in microcephaly '' far more so than GM mosquitoes, which some have blamed for the Zika epidemic and thus for the birth defects. There is no sound evidence to support the notion promoted by some sources that GM mosquitoes can cause Zika, which in turn can cause microcephaly. In fact, out of 404 confirmed microcephaly cases in Brazil, only 17 (4.2%) tested positive for the Zika virus.
Brazilian health experts agree Pyriproxyfen is chief suspect
The Argentine Physicians' report, which also addresses the Dengue fever epidemic in Brazil, concurs with the findings of a separate report on the Zika outbreak by the Brazilian doctors' and public health researchers' organisation, Abrasco.
Abrasco also names Pyriproxyfen as a likely cause of the microcephaly. It condemns the strategy of chemical control of Zika-carrying mosquitoes, which it says is contaminating the environment as well as people and is not decreasing the numbers of mosquitoes. Abrasco suggests that this strategy is in fact driven by the commercial interests of the chemical industry, which it says is deeply integrated into the Latin American ministries of health, as well as the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organisation.
Abrasco names the British GM insect company Oxitec as part of the corporate lobby that is distorting the facts about Zika to suit its own profit-making agenda. Oxitec sells GM mosquitoes engineered for sterility and markets them as a disease-combatting product '' a strategy condemned by the Argentine Physicians as ''a total failure, except for the company supplying mosquitoes''.
NA-Tech News
Home Monitors Are Getting Smarter (and Creepier) - MIT Technology Review
Sat, 13 May 2017 11:47
A new smart-home assistant and security monitor can tell the difference between specific adults and spot kids and pets, and send you smartphone alerts about what they're up to.
Lighthouse went on sale on Thursday, though it won't ship to customers until September. A single Lighthouse device plus a year of service runs $399, and it will cost $10 per month after that. (By comparison, a Nest camera and its service, which together have some similar features, would cost $299 for a camera and a year of service, and $10 per month thereafter.)
The device was created by Alex Teichman and Hendrik Dahlkamp, who have backgrounds in computer vision and self-driving cars. So far, the company has raised $17 million from investors, including Android cofounder Andy Rubin.
Lighthouse uses several cameras, including a 3-D time-of-flight one that can see how far away an object is and determine objects in the foreground versus those in the background, Teichman says. If the device finds something that may be interesting'--say, your kids walking into the living room at 11 p.m.'--it will send that to a remote server, which analyzes the data and works with a Lighthouse app running on your smartphone to figure out what to do with it (perhaps send you a notification if you'd told the app to let you know about the kids being in there after 8).
Lighthouse can do things like send you an alert when a specific person gets home (which could be helpful or creepy, depending on your perspective), ping you if a specific person doesn't arrive in a certain time frame on a certain day, or let you know when an unknown person is in the house (you can then sound an alarm from the app if you choose).
''You tell it what you care about, and it tells you when these things happen,'' Teichman says.
Lighthouse's software can discern specific people via face recognition once you let it know, via the app, who that person is, Teichman says. It can also keep track of people coming and going by the presence of their smartphones, Teichman says, using a combination of things like geofencing and Bluetooth.
In a demo, Lighthouse's app seemed to understand queries asked by Lighthouse chief marketing officer Jessica Gilmartin, like ''Who walked the dog yesterday when I wasn't there?'' or ''What did the kids do this morning before 7 a.m.?'' or, more simply, ''Kids running on Sunday.'' In response, the app quickly pulled up video clips of a dog walker bringing a dog into the home, Gilmartin's young children walking down the stairs at 6 and 6:35 a.m., and her kids and one of their friends running around the house.
The Lighthouse service stores video data for 30 days, and only keeps video that includes something moving, Teichman says. He adds that only Lighthouse users can see their data, unless they choose to share it with the company.
Lighthouse may face an uphill battle with consumers. There are plenty of other smart cameras on the market, after all, some of them with object-recognition capabilities and many of them cheaper.
Teichman hopes, however, that its 3-D sensing and ability to spot certain activities like waving, running, or jumping up on things will help it stand apart.
Spotify, valued at $13 billion, to launch direct listing on NYSE: sources | Reuters
Sat, 13 May 2017 12:30
Fri May 12, 2017 | 4:07 PM EDT
By Lauren Hirsch and Pallavi Dewan
Music streaming service Spotify, most recently valued at $13 billion, will be the first major company to carry out a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange when it goes public later this year or early next year, two sources familiar with the situation said on Friday.
The move would be the biggest test yet for the direct listing process, which for companies willing to list shares without raising capital eliminates the need for a Wall Street bank or broker to underwrite an initial public offering (IPO) along with many associated fees.
If successful, it could change the way companies approach selling shares to the public.
The Swedish technology firm is working with investment banks Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Allen & Co to advise them on the process, the sources said.
Spotify, the New York Stock Exchange, Morgan Stanley and Goldman declined comment. Allen & Co did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a traditional IPO, investment bank underwriters sell new shares of a company to the public at a price they determine based on investor feedback. The underwriters leading this process are backed by an IPO syndicate, sometimes comprising more than a dozen banks, which share the responsibility of selling and allocating shares to investors.
In a direct listing, a company does not raise money by offering new shares for sale, but instead makes existing shares immediately available to the public, meaning employees and investors can buy and sell as they wish. That dispenses with the need for banks to market and sell the company's shares.
Spotify's decision to side-step underwriters could be a hit to investment banks that rely on fees from marquee listings.
Proceeds from IPOs fell 40 percent last year from 2015. Technology IPOs, often a large chunk of the market, were down 56 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Last year Spotify raised $1 billion in convertible debt from private equity firm TPG Capital Management LP and hedge fund Dragoneer Investment Group. The round came with a provision allowing TPG and Dragoneer to convert their debt into equity at a discount of 20 percent or more to the offering share price of an IPO, depending on when the company goes public.
It was unclear how that stipulation would be handled in a direct listing.
RISKS, VOLATILITY
Direct listings are not without risk. Investment banks seek to set an IPO price that fits demand while leaving room for the company's shares to rise further in the market. Without this guidance, a company's stock price is more exposed to gyrations.
There is also no "lock-up" period to prevent early-stage investors and employees from selling shares in the months following a listing. Without that, a stock could experience heavy turnover and price fluctuations just as the company is getting its public market footing.
Direct listings also do not eliminate all Wall Street costs. Investment banks still advise companies on how to get their financials in order and articulate why they are a good investment, even if they do not get involved in building materials to show investors at so-called roadshows.
Examples of companies of Spotify's size that have directly listed are scant, though Freddie Mac did so in 1989.
A direct listing for a large company such as Spotify may be hard to replicate, industry sources said. Companies less well-known would likely need bankers to market shares, while Spotify can rely on consumer familiarity and media exposure.
Spotify, which has yet to post a profit as it expands in markets worldwide and builds new offices in New York, lost 173 million euros ($189 million) in 2015, according to the latest figures disclosed by its Luxembourg-based holding company.
In recent months, it has sought to build up its service by striking deals with music labels. In April, it announced a licensing deal with Universal Music Group Inc that could make the streaming platform more attractive to its top-selling artists, including Taylor Swift, Adele, Lady Gaga, Coldplay and Kanye West, by letting them release albums exclusively to premium users.
Spotify hopes to strike deals with Warner Music Group and Sony Music in the run-up to the IPO, one of the sources said.
($1 = 0.9160 euros)
(Reporting by Pallavi Dewan in Bengaluru and Lauren Hirsch in New York; Additional reporting by Liana Baker in New York and Sophie Sassard in London.; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar, Bill Rigby and Meredith Mazzilli)
Ghostscript lawsuit: Federal court rules in Artifex vs. Hancom that an open-source license is an enforceable contract '-- Quartz
Sat, 13 May 2017 12:36
When the South Korean developer of a suite of productivity apps called Hancom Office incorporated an open-source PDF interpreter called Ghostscript into its word-processing software, it was supposed to do one of two things.
To use Ghostscript for free, Hancom would have to adhere to its open-source license, the GNU General Public License (GPL). The GNU GPL requires that when you use GPL-licensed software to make some other software, the resulting software also has to be open-sourced with the same license if it's released to the public. That means Hancom would have to open-source its entire suite of apps.
Alternatively, Hancom could pay a licensing fee to Artifex, the developer of Ghostscript. Artifex allows developers of commercial or otherwise closed-source software to forego the strict open-source terms of the GNU GPL if they're willing to pay for it.
But after it began using Ghostscript in its software in 2013, Hancom did neither: it did not open-source its software, and it did not pay Artifex a licensing fee.
At the end of 2016, Artifex filed a lawsuit against Hancom in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.
''Upon discovering Hancom's abuse of the GNU GPL and infringement of Artifex's valuable copyright in Ghostscript, Artifex demanded that Hancom cease its infringement and remit to Artifex a reasonable royalty for Hancom's years of unlicensed use of Ghostscript,'' the company said in its complaint. ''Rebuffed by Hancom, Artifex turns to this Court to enjoin Hancom from further infringement and to seek relief and recovery for Hancom's abuse of Artifex's open source license.''
Artifex also said in its complaint that Hancom reported $86.3 million in revenue in 2015.
The enforceability of open source licenses like the GNU GPL has long been an open legal question. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals held in a 2006 case, Jacobsen v. Katzer, that violations of open source licenses could be treated like copyright claims. But whether they could legally considered breaches of contract had yet to be determined, until the issue came up in Artifex v. Hancom.
That happened when Hancom issued a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that the company didn't sign anything, so the license wasn't a real contract.
''Not so,'' said Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in her order on the motion on April 25. Corley said the GNU GPL ''provides that the Ghostscript user agrees to its terms if the user does not obtain a commercial license. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant used Ghostscript, did not obtain a commercial license, and represented publicly that its use of Ghostscript was licensed under the [GNU GPL]. These allegations sufficiently plead the existence of a contract.''
Corley denied the motion, and in doing so, set the precedent that licenses like the GNU GPL can be treated like legal contracts, and developers can legitimately sue when those contracts are breached. It's an important win for the open-source community. Of course, whether Artifex will actually win the case it's now allowed to pursue is another question altogether.
CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO - MSNBC Reporter Panel Complains Some Are Not Listening to Their Narrative | MRCTV
Thu, 18 May 2017 13:33
***To read the full blog, please check out the complete post on NewsBusters***
Monday night news broadcasts were dominated by a Washing Postreport that claims that President Trump may have disclosed classified information to top Russian officials in the Oval Office. Many in the media were quick to pounce on the report and condemn the President. On MSNBC's The 11Th Hour, host Brian Williams and some of his guests bemoaned how some Americans weren't buying into their narratives about the President over the last few days, including the day's breaking news story.
''Jeremy, I've been thinking about you because of the time you spend thinking about and reminding people about our two bubbles,'' Williams said, getting ready to tee up The New York Times' Jeremy Peters. ''Is this one skewing both ways? Is this a partisan looking story?'' A disheartened sounding Peters responded with: ''I think, Brian, it's shaping up to be that way.''
Peters' analysis was little more than veiled jabs at Fox News, although he didn't mention them by name, for not having the same narrative as the rest of the media:
...
VIDEO - Guests Remind NBC, CNN: Obama Gave Classified Intel to Russia | MRCTV
Thu, 18 May 2017 13:07
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
While NBC and CNN joined the rest of the media in rushing to condemn the Trump White House over an unconfirmed Washington Post report that the President inadvertently shared classified information with Russian officials, guests on both networks provided important context that the Obama administration intentionally shared classified intelligence with Russia less than a year ago.
Appearing on Friday's NBC Today, security analyst Juan Zarate warned: ''The problem is the Russians aren't trustworthy. The Russians have proven that when we've provided information in the past, they've used it against us.'' He then proceeded to explain how former President Obama gave the Russians classified information just months ago:
VIDEO - Morning Joe Treats WashPost Writer To Softball Interview | MRCTV
Thu, 18 May 2017 13:03
Following the uproar brought about by his Washington Post article that President Donald Trump leaked classified information during a meeting with Russian officials, columnist Greg Miller turned to the hostile and completely unsafe space of Morning Joe to discuss his story. Just kidding! The friendly liberal show didn't even bother to ask the questions that a real reporter would ask, pressing Miller on his use of numerous anonymous sources. The unconfirmed scoop comes on the heels of the Post getting several facts wrong in its rush to report on the President firing FBI Director James Comey.
[nb:donate:EE7624: https://www.newsbusters.org/join-the-movement?utm_source=website&utm_cam... ]
Instead, the cast of Morning Joe simply assumed all of Miller's sources were credible:
WILLIE GEIST: So, Greg, since you do have, obviously, a good source in the national security community who shared with you their concerns about the president leaking this, did he say anything else to the Russians that's important for our viewers or for American to hear? Did he, for example, admonish them for interfering in our election as all the intelligence agencies have confirmed?
MILLER: Well, you know, that's another one of the big issues here. Our story touches on that a bit. There is a lot of frustration within the administration. There are professionals who are deeply knowledgeable about these regions around the world and they take time, they put together pages of preparatory material for the president, two to five-page papers, for instance, were prepared in advance of his meeting with these Russian officials.
What he was supposed to stick to in terms of a script and what he could expect to hear from them and what their questions were and how to handle those things--the President has insisted all of this material be boiled down to less than a page of bullet points and then often strays even from those. And so, in this case he just again goes off script. Not dissimilar to how badly he went off script in describing what he had done and why to the FBI director James Comey.
[video:http://www.mrctv.org/videos/morning-joe-gives-soft-ball-interview-columnist-greg-miller width:720 height:405 align:center]
I found Willie Geist's use of the word 'obviously' here to be quite interesting given the context of what's currently happening. The Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines 'obviously' as being either a) in an obvious manner or as b) as is plainly evident. At the moment, we don't actually know who or what is the Washington Post's source for this story. The White House's National Security Advisor, H.R. McMallister, says that the story is false and cites as evidence both him and the Secretary of State being in the room at the same time when the incident in question occurred.
So far, the White House has denied President Trump leaked classified information to the foreign officials. At the very least, the facts are far from obvious.
Here are excerpts of the May 16 exchange:
[ads:im]
6:03 AM ET
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, no, he talked for 60 seconds. McMaster talked for 60 seconds. The general didn't answer any questions, and even conservatives last night were saying it was the classic non-denial denial, straight out of the annals of Watergate. But, a non-denial denial for a question that wasn't asked in an issue that wasn't raised.
GREG MILLER: Right, he's giving a bit of a head fake here at a minimum um, saying the president did not reveal sources and methods. But, that's not what our story alleges. instead what or story says is that the president revealed what those sources and methods had obtained, had collected, the information that came through those sources and methods. And in all of the statements from the white house last night, none of them could answer why if this was so ordinary and not a big deal, why was it necessary for McMaster's own staff to come out of that meeting, call right away, place calls to the CIA director and to the director of the national security agency.
SCARBOROUGH: That really is the key Greg, isn't it? It's was just like when the white house a couple days ago is pushing back on the story of the deputy attorney general. The next day it ended up not being true. Last night they do the same thing, they push out, they put general Mcmaster out there. And, Of course, the information provided will lead back possibly to those first two issues that he actually did bring up. But, why did they rush and go to the director of the CIA and the head of the NSA and say this very important information has been spilled out? Why did they ask you at "The Washington Post" not to disclose this information because it was so highly sensitive. Again, the denials fall flat in the face of the information that we had last night when your story came out.
MILLER: Right, so it really doesn't add up. I mean, you're right, It doesn't make sense that you would call the CIA director to give him a heads-up that the president had just overstepped in a serious way in a meeting with senior Russian officials, calling the NSA director. Those two senior intelligence officials are the ones who are dealing most directly with this partner. They're the ones that would have to deal with this partner, they're the ones that would have to deal with this fallout, to try to keep this intelligence channel open, to try to protect it and to try to contain whatever damage was caused by this disclosure.
(...)
6:19 AM ET
WILLIE GEIST: So, Greg, since you do have, obviously, a good source in the national security community who shared with you their concerns about the president leaking this, did he say anything else to the Russians that's important for our viewers or for American to hear? Did he, for example, admonish them for interfering in our election as all the intelligence agencies have confirmed?
MILLER: Well, you know, that's another one of the big issues here. Our story touches on that a bit. There is a lot of frustration within the administration. There are professionals who are deeply knowledgeable about these regions around the world and they take time, they put together pages of preparatory material for the president, two to five-page papers, for instance, were prepared in advance of his meeting with these Russian officials.
What he was supposed to stick to in terms of a script and what he could expect to hear from them and what their questions were and how to handle those things, the president has insisted all of this material be boiled down to less than a page of bullet points and then often strays even from those. And so, in this case he just again goes off script. Not dissimilar to how badly he went off script in describing what he had done and why to the FBI director James Comey.
GEIST: So, he didn't raise the Russian interference in the presidential election with the foreign minister and the ambassador?
MILLER: I have no indication that that issue came up. I would regard that as highly, highly unlikely. All that we no know is the White House official version of what was said in this meeting asserts that Trump raised the issue of Ukraine and a couple other things. There's no mention in the official white house account of this conversation of raising what Russia did in the election last year. What you're pointing to is one of the really fundamentally shocking aspects of this.
Revealing classified information to anyone under any circumstances by the commander-in-chief would be a big problem, but doing so in this case with Russian officials, including the Russian ambassador, whose presence in this meeting is astonishing. He is already an individual linked to the departure of Trump's first national security adviser, Mike Flynn. He is already linked to the attorney general Jeff sessions' forced recusal from anything related to the Russia instigation and now he's in the oval office with Trump.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: So, Lavrov said the meeting didn't cover the absurd claims of Russian meddling. Greg Miller, thank you for your reporting.
VIDEO - FLASHBACK: NBC Pushed Back at Suggestions Obama Admin Leaked Classified Info | MRCTV
Thu, 18 May 2017 13:00
Like the rest of the liberal media elite, NBC's Today was in a frenzy over the Washington Post's charge -- denied by the Trump administration -- that the President shared classified information in a recent meeting with Russian officials. Co-host Savannah Guthrie started Tuesday's show by saying the White House was in "crisis mode," with "outrage in Washington" over the "jaw-dropping story."
But five years ago, Today had a different take when the allegation was that the Obama administration leaked classified information to a pair of filmmakers making a Hollywood blockbuster (later released under the name Zero Dark Thirty) about the highly-secret raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
VIDEO - Conway Fires Back at 'Morning Joe' Suggestion She Hates Trump; 'Absurd' 'Insinuations' | MRCTV
Thu, 18 May 2017 12:57
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
On Tuesday afternoon, White House counselor and former Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway responded on Twitter to suggestions lodged on Monday by Morning Joe co-hosts/lovers Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski that she secretly loathes President Trump.
A day after the MSNBC pundits claimed that she complained about disliking Trump and only taking the gig for the paycheck, Conway began her statement by noting that the one-time Trump fan boy and girl ''have become virulent critics of the President and those close to him.''
VIDEO - Toobin Declares Trump 'Obstruction of Justice,' Ignores Contradictory Evidence | MRCTV
Thu, 18 May 2017 12:52
***To read the full blog, please check out the complete post on NewsBusters***
A week to the day after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, a memo he purportedly written claiming Trump asked him to end the Mike Flynn investigation was leaked to The New York Times. In the aftermath of the first story, CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin flew off the handle and compared it Watergate. A week later, Toobin was again jumping to conclusions and ignoring the sketchy facts. ''Three words: Obstruction of justice,'' he exclaimed to Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room.
''Telling the FBI director to close down an investigation of your senior campaign adviser for his activities during your campaign for president, if that's true, that is obstruction of justice,'' he continued to opine. But even though Toobin qualified his remarks with ''if that's true'' it was blatantly obvious that he was banking on the shocking accusation to be accurate.
Un-ironically, Toobin lectured about how to put together evidence to corroborate a story. ''When you have two people with contradictory versions of a conversation, what you look at is-- you look at their demeanor, you look at their motives to lie. But you also look at corroboration,'' he told Blitzer. He also explained that:
...
VIDEO - Matthews on Comey Memo: I've Placed My Trust in Liberal Papers, Bureaucrats to Tell Me the Truth | MRCTV
Thu, 18 May 2017 12:50
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
Amidst the explosive New York Times story on Tuesday night about the supposed James Comey memo, MSNBC's Hardball host Chris Matthews informed viewers that the two institutions he's most entrusted his faith in during these tumultuous times are large, liberal newspapers and lefty bureaucrats in the mold of Sally Yates.
Late in the commercial-free Hardball, Matthews stated out of the blue that ''I have confidence in two forces'' to tell him the truth and maintain integrity, with the first being ''straight front page media.''
VIDEO - Frenzied Nets Pounce: 'Impeach,' 'I-Word,' 'Impeachable Offense' | MRCTV
Thu, 18 May 2017 12:43
[See NewsBusters for more.] The frenzied journalists at ABC, CBS and NBC on Wednesday smelled blood in the water. They threw around the ''I-word,'' ''impeachment'' and ''impeachable offenses'' for Donald Trump. Rather than waiting for actual memos to appear or for evidence unrelated to anonymous sourcing, former Bill Clinton operative and Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos excitedly wondered, ''The big question, did President Trump try to block the FBI's Russia investigation [and] commit an impeachable offense?'' Talking to liberal Congressman Adam Schiff, the journalist, who donated $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation, mused, ''You have the firing of Director Comey with the President saying Russia was on his mind. What would it take for that pattern to be an impeachable offense?''
VIDEO - David Gregory Lectures Fox News to Shut Up on Media Bias | MRCTV
Thu, 18 May 2017 12:41
[See NewsBusters for more.] CNN political analyst David Gregory took after Fox News on Wednesday's New Day, lecturing them to stop saying what CNN and others are doing is ''activism over journalism.'' This is the same David Gregory who ranted for gun control while displaying a high-capacity magazine (violating D.C. gun laws) on the Meet the Press set. And it's the same David Gregory that wouldn't let any Republican bring up rape charges against Bill Clinton when he was an MSNBC host. Gregory didn't want to talk about for ten seconds. At NBC and MSNBC, Gregory was more mouthpiece than moderator. But now, Gregory is insisting ''It is a time of reckoning for Republicans, to try and get back on track here and get to the bottom of what the president did.'' CNN was insisting on Republicans getting the ''courage'' to ''rein in'' the president.
VIDEO - Subtle: MSNBC Begins Airing Watergate Promo | MRCTV
Thu, 18 May 2017 12:31
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
Wishfully anticipating the impeachment of Donald Trump, MSNBC has begun airing a promo ad for left-wing primetime host Chris Hayes set at Washington's infamous Watergate hotel. The not-so-subtle reference implying President Trump is the new Richard Nixon in the wake of firing FBI Director James Comey.
Hayes, standing in the D.C. landmark, told viewers: ''Watergate. We know it's name because there were reporters who never stopped asking questions.'' Hinting at the Trump administration, he continued: ''Now, who knows where the questions will take us. But I do know this, I'm not going to stop asking them.''
VIDEO - MSNBC's O'Donnell Goes on Tirade Against Trump's 'Ignorance'-Causing Impeachment | MRCTV
Thu, 18 May 2017 12:30
Read more on Newsbusters
After wrongly and confidently predicting that Hillary Clinton had 99% chances to beat Donald Trump in the presidential election, late-night MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell was back at it again with the brazen speculation, Tuesday night. To open his show, O'Donnell went on a lengthy takedown of the president, comparing him to Richard Nixon and his Watergate scandal, even claiming that Trump had done ''exactly'' the same thing Nixon was impeached for.
VIDEO - Professor on MSNBC: Trump Actions Parallel the Rise of Nazis in Germany | MRCTV
Thu, 18 May 2017 12:22
Ever since James Comey was fired from his position as FBI Director by Donald Trump, the progressive left and their allies have been in an uproar. Several have voiced the opinion that Trump did this in order to end the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. One Yale history professor, however, put forth the claim that the President's actions foreshadow a much more sinister pattern of events during Wednesday's edition of Morning Joe.
In showcasing his new book, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons Learned From The Twentieth Century, author and professor of history at Yale, Timothy Snyder insisted that the manner in which Comey found out about his firing is comparable to Hitler's infamous death squad, the SS.
VIDEO - Nets Flock Special Prosecutor News, Knock Trump and Mock GOP | MRCTV
Thu, 18 May 2017 12:14
***To read the full blog, please check out the complete post on NewsBusters***
It appears that 5 o'clock P.M. has become the new witching hours, since for over a week that's been when most of the major news stories regarding President Trump have been broken. It was no different Wednesday evening when D.C. was rocked by the announcement that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to be the special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation. The Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) led with the development on their evening programs, during which they celebrated it and slammed the right.
''We're reporting from the White House tonight because of the rapidly developing investigation into whether the President tried to shut down an FBI investigation of his administration,'' announced Anchor Scott Pelley to kick off CBS Evening News. ''Among the developments late today, the Department of Justice just announced it will appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller as an independent special counsel to investigate the Trump administration and allegations of Russian interference with the presidential election.''
...
VIDEO - Maddow Claims New Flynn Development Might Be Biggest 'Presidential Scandal' Ever | MRCTV
Thu, 18 May 2017 12:12
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has been spending a few minutes of the 10:00 p.m. Eastern hour on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on the heels of rumors O'Donnell could be axed, so it was not surprising that Wednesday's conversation turned up a possible Notable Quotable.
Referring to a fresh New York Times story about Mike Flynn, Maddow suggested a New York Times report that the Trump White House hired Flynn as National Security Adviser despite Flynn being under federal investigation would mark the biggest scandal in presidential history.
VIDEO - Sick: Kimmel Jokes Trump Could Shoot Dead 'Fox & Friends' Co-Host, Still Have Show's Support | MRCTV
Thu, 18 May 2017 12:09
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
During the opening monologue of his eponymous ABC late-night comedy show Wednesday, Jimmy Kimmel crudely joked that President Trump could shoot dead one of the three co-hosts on the Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends and still have the other two's full support.
''Those three on Fox & Friends, Trump could shoot one in the heart live on the air, the surviving two would still defend Donald Trump,'' Kimmel joked to the delight of his liberal audience, clearly not thinking about the civility of such a joke.
VIDEO - Leftist Hero Noam Chomsky: Trump-Russia Collusion Story is a 'Joke' And 'Not a Major Issue'
Thu, 18 May 2017 00:58
Prof. Noam Chomsky.
(Screenshot: YouTube/Democracy Now!)
Left-wing icon Noam Chomsky, an MIT professor, author, philosopher, and frequent debate opponent of the late conservative William F. Buckley Jr., said the news stories about the Trump presidential campaign somehow "colluding" with Russia were "a joke" and "not a major issue," but they are tearing away at a positive element of the Trump administration -- the drive to reduce tensions with Russia.
During the April 4 edition of Democracy Now! panelist Juan Gonzalez noted that Chomsky had referred to the Trump-Russia issue as "a joke," and asked the professor, "Could you give us your view on what's happening and why there's so much emphasis on this particular issue?"
Chomsky, the author of more than 100 books, said, "It's a pretty remarkable fact that -- first of all, it is a joke. Half the world is cracking up in laughter. The United States doesn't just interfere in elections. It overthrows governments it doesn't like, institutes military dictatorships."
"Simply in the case of Russia alone'--it's the least of it'--the U.S. government, under Clinton, intervened quite blatantly and openly, then tried to conceal it, to get their man Yeltsin in, in all sorts of ways," said Chomsky. "So, this, as I say, it's considered'--it's turning the United States, again, into a laughingstock in the world."
''So why are the Democrats focusing on this?" he said. "In fact, why are they focusing so much attention on the one element of Trump's programs which is fairly reasonable, the one ray of light in this gloom: trying to reduce tensions with Russia? That's'--the tensions on the Russian border are extremely serious. They could escalate to a major terminal war. Efforts to try to reduce them should be welcomed."
"Just a couple of days ago," said Chomsky, "the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jack Matlock, came out and said he just can't believe that so much attention is being paid to apparent efforts by the incoming administration to establish connections with Russia. He said, 'Sure, that's just what they ought to be doing.'"
Continuing, Chomsky said, "So, you know, yeah, maybe the Russians tried to interfere in the election. That's not a major issue. Maybe the people in the Trump campaign were talking to the Russians. Well, okay, not a major point, certainly less than is being done constantly."
Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AP)
"And it is a kind of a paradox," he said, "that the one issue that seems to inflame the Democratic opposition is the one thing that has some justification and reasonable aspects to it.''
Chomsky is the Institute Emeritus Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he has worked since 1955. His latest book is Requiem for the American Dream.
VIDEO - Gov. Kasich: I hate to say I told you so ... - CNN Video
Wed, 17 May 2017 23:47
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VIDEO - The Boy Crisis: A Sobering look at the State of our Boys | Warren Farrell Ph.D. | TEDxMarin - YouTube
Wed, 17 May 2017 21:44
VIDEO - 'Why Make Excuses For Them?': Tucker Battles Student Who Blames US for Venezuelan Crisis | Fox News Insider
Wed, 17 May 2017 16:38
A young man who said American capitalism is to blame for Venezuela's downfall debated Tucker Carlson.
Dakotah Lilly of Students And Youth for a New America said observers should acknowledge "what Venezuela is facing is terrorism by the opposition."
Lilly also pointed to the frequency of elections in the country as a reason that years of socialist policies are not to blame.
"Every country that tries this economic system ends up in poverty," Tucker Carlson said, calling what has happened this past decade in Caracas "fairly predictable."
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Read Full Article Lilly said U.S. sanctions on the Chavez and Maduro administrations put undue burden on the oil-rich country. He added that former President Jimmy Carter's organization certified the country's elections.
"What stake does Jimmy Carter have in calling undemocratic elections democratic?" he asked.
Lilly defended the country's socialist politics and criticized capitalism's effect on the country.
Carlson said Lilly was "making excuses" for Maduro and pointed to authoritarian moves like banning gun ownership and policies that have led to dire shortages of things like toilet paper.
"It's a total disaster. Why not say so? ... Why make excuses for them?" he asked.
Watch the riveting debate above.
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VIDEO - Oregon fines man $500 for using math to challenge red-light cameras - Autoblog
Wed, 17 May 2017 16:38
Few things in this world are as universally despised as traffic cameras. After his wife received a ticket for tripping a red-light camera, Oregon resident Mats J¤rlstr¶m openly criticized the Orwellian devices and the mathematical formulas used to time traffic lights. It seems Big Brother doesn't take too kindly to dissenters, as according to the Institute for Justice J¤rlstr¶m was fined $500 for violating a law that prohibits him from offering mathematical criticism without a license.Free speech is a term that's often misconstrued. It's not some blanket to hide behind while spouting ridicule and hate to anyone and everyone. In the US, what free speech does protect is the right of a person to openly criticize the government, as J¤rlstr¶m was doing when he argued that the equation which governs the traffic light timers was out of date. After being fined, J¤rlstr¶m filed a lawsuit against what he called an "unconstitutional ban on mathematical debate.''
The Institute for Justice says the actual fine from the state engineering board was for J¤rlstr¶m calling himself an engineer. The thing is, J¤rlstr¶m does have a degree in electrical engineering and has worked in engineering jobs, but the problem is he doesn't carry a state license as a Professional Engineer. In Oregon's eyes, even his use of the word "engineer," lowercase, is appropriating a title, and he's not a real engineer.
J¤rlstr¶m's initial issue was that the green-yellow-red progression was too short for lights with a left or right turn. Using his engineering expertise, he researched the matter and began to criticize the math equation that governs this timing. In his view, he was doing research for free as a concerned citizen, with his background aiding the effort and lending credence to his findings.
But the board construed this as "practicing engineering without being registered," saying he had no standing to do the work or publish or present his data.
"I'm not practicing engineering, I'm just using basic mathematics and physics, Newtonian laws of motion, to make calculations and talk about what I found," J¤rlstr¶m said.
J¤rlstr¶m and the Institute for Justice claim these licensing boards violate free speech by fining those who criticize both the boards and the government agencies behind things like traffic cameras. Samuel Gedge, an attorney for the institute, made this point:
"Criticizing the government's engineering isn't a crime; it's a constitutional right. Under the First Amendment, you don't need to be a licensed lawyer to write an article critical of a Supreme Court decision. You don't need to be a licensed landscape architect to create a gardening blog, and you don't need to be a licensed engineer to talk about traffic lights.''
In other words, free speech, whether used to challenge Supreme Court decisions or traffic cameras, is a fundamental freedom granted by Constitution. And it's also no stretch to say that using mathematics is a fundamental human right - part of what actually makes us human. No law can take away our math.Related Video:
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Wed, 17 May 2017 16:37
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VIDEO - A Man Just Broke Down Every Single Trump Controversy In One Perfect Twitter Rant
Wed, 17 May 2017 16:36
Ryan Teague Beckwith is a political editor at TIME's Washington D.C. bureau, so he's become quite familiar with how the media covers each controversy generated by President Donald Trump. It turns out, each instance has fallen into a pretty typical pattern. On Tuesday, May 16th, he decided to take us through it step-by-step on Twitter:
Here comes the inevitable news coverage:
Then we give Melissa McCarthy something to work with:
But of course the White House won't back down in the face of truth:
Then the White House sends out their spin-masters:
This will greet you as you wake up the next morning:
White House staffers can't be big fans of this step:
These Republicans Senators aren't the only ones who find it "troubling."
Speaker Paul Ryan comments:
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just wants to "get back to work."
But does the controversy make any difference?
Conservatives media outlets offer their take:
Before long, it starts all over again. You may think these tweets sound oddly familiar - hopefully, something will come along to break the pattern soon enough.
VIDEO - Trump's disclosure endangered spy placed inside ISIS by Israel, officials say - ABC News
Wed, 17 May 2017 16:32
The life of a spy placed by Israel inside ISIS is at risk tonight, according to current and former U.S. officials, after President Donald Trump reportedly disclosed classified information in a meeting with Russian officials last week.
The spy provided intelligence involving an active ISIS plot to bring down a passenger jet en route to the United States, with a bomb hidden in a laptop that U.S. officials believe can get through airport screening machines undetected. The information was reliable enough that the U.S. is considering a ban on laptops on all flights from Europe to the United States.
The sensitive intelligence was shared with the United States, officials say, on the condition that the source remain confidential.
''The real risk is not just this source,'' said Matt Olsen, the former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center and an ABC News contributor, ''but future sources of information about plots against us.''
ISIS has already taken credit for blowing up a Russian airliner two years ago, killing more than 200 people, claiming the bomb was hidden in a soft drink can. The White House National Security Adviser says that justifies President Trump's disclosures to the Russians.
''And so this was the context of the conversation in which it was wholly appropriate to share what the threat was as a basis for common action and coordination,'' said General H.R. McMasters on Tuesday.
When pressed by ABC News' Jonathan Karl, McMaster would not say if Trump disclosed classified information. Trump said in a pair of tweets Tuesday he had the "absolute right" to share "facts" with the Russians.
But many in the counter-terrorism community say what the President did was a mistake.
''Russia is not part of the ISIS coalition,'' Olsen said. ''They are not our partner.''
Dan Shapiro, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel, now a senior visiting fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, agreed. In an interview with ABC News, he called the president and his team ''careless,'' saying that the reported disclosures demonstrate a ''poor understanding of how to guard sensitive information."
Shapiro was most concerned, however, that the president's move could make Israel think twice about sharing intelligence with the United States, warning that it will ''inevitably cause elements of Israel's intelligence service to demonstrate more caution.''
The reaction in Congress appeared to diverge along partisan lines. Asked if he had concerns about the president's handling of classified information, the Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell let out a small laugh and before replying simply, "No."
But Democrats disagree. Shortly after McConnell's comments, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer reiterated his call for the White House to release full, unedited transcripts of Trump's meeting with the Russian officials.
"This is not normal behavior. This is not how a White House should operate," Schumer said. "Firing an FBI director who is investigating the president's campaign, disclosing classified information to a country that wishes us harm and just finished undermining the integrity of our elections. We need our Republican colleagues to join us in standing up, to put country over party."
ABC News' Arlette Saenz, Jordana Miller and Meghan Kenneally contributed to this report.
VIDEO - With Trump In The White House, MSNBC Is Resisting The Resistance | HuffPost
Wed, 17 May 2017 16:24
WASHINGTON '• On Friday, readers of the new morning email put out by Mike Allen awoke to a little nugget of news. ''One of your favorites is getting their own MSNBC show,'' he teased in the subject line.
That new host was none other than Nicolle Wallace, a former spokeswoman for President George W. Bush and, later, the 2008 presidential campaign of John McCain and Sarah Palin.
New York magazine reported hours later that conservative activist and radio host Hugh Hewitt, already a regular contributor to MSNBC, was in talks with the network about a weekend show.
From outside, it might seem odd to see the premier liberal network veering right, even as liberals around the country are fired up to resist the administration of President Donald Trump.
But from inside, the news about Wallace and Hewitt was seen as just two more steps toward the full execution of the vision of Andy Lack, the NBC News executive who oversees MSNBC. He has made quite clear his plan to move the cable news network away from its bedrock liberalism and toward a more centrist approach personified by Brian Williams '-- even including hosts of a conservative bent, as typified by hosts like Megyn Kelly or Greta Van Susteren, who Lack brought over from Fox News.
Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Andy Lack, who is now the head of MSNBC, is seen in a 2007 file photo. But Lack, in seeking to make this vision a reality, has an unusual problem for a TV executive: sky-high ratings. Since the election of Trump, MSNBC's liberal primetime programs hosted by Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell have surged not just in ratings but in the share of the cable news audience they're capturing. In its earnings call on Thursday, NBCUniversal specifically cited the boost in ratings to ''The Rachel Maddow Show'' for a spike in profits. Maddow has been the top show on cable news in the key demographic for two months running, an inconceivable achievement at MSNBC.
Tossing those primetime hosts overboard while they're raking in viewership and revenue has so far proved an elusive task.
''Hayes, Maddow, O'Donnell '• the entire primetime lineup is doing record numbers and Lack can't stand it. It makes him furious,'' said one senior MSNBC source, echoing the sentiment of many other insiders who spoke to HuffPost only on the condition of anonymity. (An NBC spokesman said Lack is happy with the high ratings.)
The gap between the success of the primetime lineup and the investment of leadership in that very success has started to become public. O'Donnell, for instance, has the network's second-most watched show, but it gets little in the way of promotion, a point he made himself on Twitter last week.
O'Donnell's contract will soon be up for renewal. Keeping the second-best performing show is typically not in question at most networks '• but at MSNBC, it will test whether Lack gives into, or continues to resist, the energy of the resistance.
Lack has targeted the network's progressive programming since arriving at the network in spring 2015. He started with the daytime shows: Shows from Alex Wagner, Joy Reid and Ronan Farrow, as well as ''The Cycle,'' were canceled and replaced by straight news. (At the end of 2015, my own contract with MSNBC, which ran for three years, was not renewed; I had no interaction with Lack.) Lack brought in Chuck Todd to host a 5 p.m. show. He canceled Al Sharpton's 6 p.m. show, and ran one from Bloomberg's Mark Halperin and John Heilemann in its place.
The Halperin-Heilemann program, which has since been canceled, was a hard-to-watch ratings disaster. Lack moved Van Susteren, formerly of Fox News, into the slot. That show has also been a ratings wreck. Across the board, shows that Lack has put his stamp on and moved to the center or to the right have not performed as well as the ones he has left alone, despite MSNBC's ability to get the media-industry press to write flattering stories about the network's ''dayside turnaround.''
''Every hour that Andy has not touched are the strongest hours on the network. Everything he has touched is lower rated,'' said one well-placed insider.
Every hour that Andy has not touched are the strongest hours on the network. Everything he has touched is lower rated. insider at MSNBC
Van Susteren, for instance, looks like a pothole in ratings road. Typically, starting around noon and going until about 9 p.m., each cable news hour is more widely viewed than the one before. But Van Susteren actually loses audience from the hour before. Last Friday, for instance, Todd controlled a 21 percent share of the cable news audience at 5 p.m. Van Susteren fell to 17 percent at 6 p.m., losing more than 30,000 viewers. They come back at 7 p.m. for Chris Matthews, who pulled in a 26 percent share. Hayes kept 27 percent of the share and Maddow had 39 percent. The number dipped to 27 percent for O'Donnell at 10 p.m. (I have appeared frequently on all four shows, although presumably that will end following the publication of this story.)
The daytime side, which is the testing ground for Lack's theory that straight news is a stronger path forward, scores well below the progressive programming. In last Friday's ratings, it pulled in a share of between 15 percent and 16 percent. The total numbers are lower as well, but using share is a fairer comparison, because it accounts for the difference in overall audience size.
In an interview in December 2015, Lack was blunt about the direction he wanted to take MSNBC. He ''explained why he has been toiling to re-brand MSNBC as a reliable provider of breaking news in contrast to its previous incarnation, personified by former anchor Keith Olbermann and other personalities such as Ronan Farrow, Joy Reid, and the Rev. Al Sharpton, as an outlet dominated by left-leaning hosts and pitched to like-minded viewers,'' The Daily Beast reported.
The goal, Lack said, was to get serious.
''Had we not made this turn to breaking news with seriousness of purpose, in these times and in this election, we would have been clobbered,'' Lack said. ''As reasonable as that [discarded liberal] programming was for when it was created, we're in a long game now. '... This is maybe the most interesting election of my lifetime. '... The world has never been more dangerous in my lifetime.'' The bracketing of ''discarded liberal'' appears in the original interview, in which Lack lays out his plan to move more toward Williams and away from Maddow's politics.
Lack's plan helps explain the awkward coverage following debates and on election night, which often put Maddow and Williams on screen next to each other. It was not a portrait of a network bringing forward a diversity of perspectives. Lack appeared ready to move in one direction, but couldn't quite get his foot out of the other canoe.
Hayes, Maddow and O'Donnell have stubbornly insisted on soaring in ratings since the election. In the first quarter of 2015, ''The Rachel Maddow Show'' was ranked 26th among all cable news shows. It was the seventh most-watched show in the first quarter of 2017. ''The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell'' and ''All In With Chris Hayes'' were 37th and 38th, respectively. ''Last Word'' is now No. 11, and Hayes' show is coming in at No. 17. That's real growth, because it considers where they were previously, and accounts for the rise in audience across the board that came with the election and the Trump presidency.
Matthews, who airs at 7 p.m., has also seen a bit of a jump. Two years ago his show was ranked 30th, ahead of both Hayes and O'Donnell, and he's now up to 19th, behind both. While he is certainly a shade or two left of center, his show is more Beltway-friendly fare. In his defense, he is working from a deficit, as he follows Van Susteren and Todd, who come in at 30th and 28th, respectively.
MSNBC via Getty Images
Brian Williams, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Kasie Hunt and Steve Schmidt do election night coverage on MSNBC.The daytime programming has shown some gains under Lack's leadership, even relative to other networks. But Lack may have misdiagnosed the problem that sapped MSNBC's momentum in the later years of President Barack Obama's administration. After the tea party wave in 2010, the Obama legislative agenda was stopped cold, leaving little for an audience to root for. But with Obama in the White House, there was also little to root against, which makes for terribly boring viewing. House leaders like John Boehner and Paul Ryan weren't villainous on a Trumpian level, and Republicans didn't capture the Senate until the 2014 midterms. Divided government with Democrats in the White House made for dull politics, and MSNBC's programming paid the price across the board.
''The Ed Show With Ed Schultz'' at 5 p.m. was ranked 59th in the first quarter of 2015 in the key demographic, people between the ages of 25 and 54. Sharpton's ''Politics Nation'' clocked in at No. 49. The noon show hosted by Wagner checked in at No. 66, with mid-afternoon shows by Reid and Farrow at Nos. 82 and 85.
Van Susteren is doing better today '• ranked 30th '• than Sharpton did. But with bumps across the board '• see the rise for Matthews '• it's impossible to say whether a more resistance-themed Sharpton show would be doing better than that. Todd's show, meanwhile, has a better performance, with a rank of 28, than Schultz's did But, again, where would a rage-filled Schultz be ranking with all the rage directed at Trump instead of Obama, an audience favorite? (It's impossible to say: He's now at RT.)
Lack, according to a person close to him, was indeed concerned about primetime ratings in 2015 and 2016, as any executive would have been, particularly in the 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. hours. But he has become enthusiastic about the lineup as the viewers came back. Still, he believes that people want hard news and analysis during the day.
The strategy, while it might make sense at noon, falls apart the closer it gets to primetime. It helps explain Van Susteren's collapse at 6 p.m., and may swamp Wallace even as far back as 4 p.m. (A network spokesman said executives know new cable shows take a while to catch on with viewers, and are willing to be patient with Van Susteren.)
Lack's changes, insiders say, are motivated in large part by a desire to engineer the full resurrection of Williams. Deciding what to do with Williams, who had been exposed as a serial liar, was Lack's first major decision when he returned to NBC in 2015. The plan he came up with '-- to move the former star anchor to MSNBC dayside and breaking news '-- set in motion the chain reaction that has led to today.
Lack's decisions have gone a long way to change the look of the network, taking it from the height of diversity to what it is now. In 2014, HuffPost analyzed a two-week stretch of programming on MSNBC, Fox News and CNN to quantify the level of on-air minority talent, specifically looking at African-American talent. MSNBC was far above the competition, with 46 segments in that period that featured an African-American host talking exclusively to African-American guests.
That's gone. Under Lack, MSNBC has lost black and brown talent, including Wagner, Melissa Harris Perry, Tour(C), Dorian Warren, Michael Eric Dyson, Adam Howard, Jamil Smith, Jose Diaz-Balart (who now hosts a Saturday night show on NBC) and Tamron Hall. Other people who have been shown the door under Lack include Abby Huntsman, Ed Schultz and Farrow. In their place have arrived folks like Van Susteren, Heilemann and Halperin, Wallace, Hewitt, Stephanie Ruhle, Hallie Jackson, Katy Tur and Kate Snow.
Both Reid and Sharpton have been shunted to the weekends, although Reid appears frequently in primetime and as a substitute host. She hosts ''AM Joy'' from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and Sundays.
Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
From left to right, in 2007: Brian Williams, Andy Lack, Matt Lauer. Not pictured: non-white people.A February MSNBC press release boasting about ratings gains put ''Morning Joe'' on the top, noting it it had 849,000 total viewers. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the release, though, and you'll find a data point that doesn't do much to support Lack's vision of the enterprise: More people are watching ''AM Joy'' than the network's most celebrated morning program. On Saturdays, 981,000 people watched the program, and 810,000 tuned in on Sundays. That trend continues in other months, according to Nielsen data. ''AM Joy'' had 87,000 more total viewers than ''Morning Joe'' in April, and the weekday show slightly edged her out in the key demo. (Comparing a weekday morning show and Reid's weekend show is apples-to-oranges, an NBC spokesman says.)
Van Susteren may have beaten Reid by getting the coveted 6 p.m. slot, but Reid is still managing to generally beat her in viewership. Van Susteren's ''For the Record with Greta'' averaged 902,000 viewers.
Changing dynamics at the network became clear to the public when Perry made an internal critique early last year. ''I will not be used as a tool for their purposes,'' she wrote in an email that was later made public. ''I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by Lack, [Phil] Griffin, or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back.''
''While MSNBC may believe that I am worthless, I know better,'' added Perry, who is now a professor at Wake Forest University.
''That was the sign to me that things had really gone down the tube,'' said one former MSNBC employee. ''A lot of us who had kept holding out hope kind of gave up.''
Sam Geduldig, a GOP lobbyist whose hobby-horse is elite liberal hypocrisy on race, has been quick to flag the changing complexion at MSNBC as suggestive of a bigger problem. ''Liberal media outlets love to lecture Republicans about diversity. It turns out they are totally white and apparently have no intention of hiring blacks or Hispanics,'' he said.
The perception that Lack has eviscerated nonwhite talent at MSNBC has affected the way some of his interactions with black staff at MSNBC are viewed. This past spring, Lack reportedly asked a black senior producer if she could connect him with the writer Ta-Nehisi Coates. ''It was like Trump asking April Ryan to hook him up with the [Congressional Black Caucus],'' said one employee. (We're withholding the name of the producer; a spokesman noted that Lack also asked Chris Hayes for Coates' contact info.)
During a call with bookers, Lack said to stop asking people he didn't recognize to be guests. And late last summer, in front of countless staff, he told the MSNBC crew that he had walked to the office with his son, and his son suggested to him that he needed a star to show up for internal events. ''I don't have Drake. I don't have Miley Cyrus. But I do have Yvette Miley,'' he said.
It was a corny riff, typical of Lack, who is what Michael Scott of ''The Office'' would have become had he studied at the Sorbonne. Lack, after he arrived, had put Miley in charge of diversity hiring at MSNBC and NBC. ''She was named head of diversity and he continued firing black talent,'' said one Miley friend.
A different executive with a different record may have been forgiven for all three episodes, but much of this has happened with Lack before.
One of Lack's first major moves when he became president of NBC in 1993 was to replace ''Today'' show host Bryant Gumbel with Matt Lauer, sources said. Gumbel is black, and Lauer is white.
''Andy pushed Bryant Gumbel out,'' said a source familiar with how the shake-up went down. Lack didn't fire Gumbel, but ''he made him an offer he couldn't accept,'' the source said, a time-tested way of nudging talent out the door in the television industry. (Gumbel and Lack have since become good friends, the source added. And Lack replaced Williams with Lester Holt, the first black host of a Big Three news broadcast.)
We've come so far from what this place once was. It was a wonderful place to be, and now it's just not. MSNBC employee
Lack oversaw the launch of MSNBC in 1996, which was originally conceived as a 24/7 extension of NBC News, in combination with something or other from Microsoft. The new channel stumbled along for several years without an identity. Then, in 2003, Lack left NBC to become chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment.
Shortly thereafter, MSNBC began drifting left. It was a similar environment to today, with liberal passion against the war in Iraq and its chief advocate, George W. Bush, peaking. Keith Olbermann tapped into the anger to become the network's first real star. Phil Griffin, Olbermann's executive producer, eventually rose to run all of MSNBC, and it is the shows put in place by Griffin that are performing the best today.
Olbermann used his show to create new stars, bringing on the previously obscure Maddow as a frequent guest. When Maddow got her own time slot, she did the same by inviting Hayes, Steve Kornacki and others who became fixtures on the network to be guests.
''This used to be the most amazing place to work, where I felt like my bosses, my colleagues, cared about me and cared about the world we live in,'' said one employee who remains, for the time being, on staff. ''Now I feel like I'm in a stereotypical news network, like something out of [the 1976 movie] 'Network,' yet we're in the year 2017. We've come so far from what this place once was. It was a wonderful place to be, and now it's just not.''
Wallace is replacing Kornacki, the Maddow protege. (''Steve Kornacki is a rising star of political coverage on both MSNBC and NBC news and his portfolio is going to continue to expand,'' an NBC exec said. ''Phil Griffin considers Kornacki to have been a breakout star of the 2016 cycle.'')
NBC via Getty Images
In this file photo, Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Carson Daly, Tamron Hall and Al Roker pose with a guest of the "Today" show.It must all look familiar to Tamron Hall. A longtime MSNBC host, she joined ''Today'' in February 2014, before Lack arrived. Sources said Lauer felt threatened by her rise; in any event, she suffered the same fate as Gumbel in February of this year. The network expressed sorrow at her departure in a written statement, but she did not make an on-air sign-off, a signal of the bitterness behind the move.
Hall, a widely liked and talented anchor, had also been hosting an overperforming daytime MSNBC show. All morning shows have sagged in recent months, and NBC's is no exception. But according to Nielsen ratings data, the show is down significantly since Hall left.
And who is Lack's ideal host to replace her?
VIDEO - DEVELOPING: Seth Rich was ALIVE When Police Found Him - But Police Camera Video Went Missing!
Wed, 17 May 2017 16:22
Guest post by Joe Hoft
According to Public Incident Report CCN #16113797 dated July 10, 2016 by the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, former DNC employee and the leaker of emails to WikiLeaks, Seth Rich was alive when the police found him on that date. He died later that morning. The report also notes that Rich was conscious and breathing with gunshot wounds to his back when the police found him. The report also notes that at least three of the police at the scene wore body cameras that night.
The video from the body cameras has gone missing.
Watch the latest video at <a href=''//video.foxbusiness.com''>video.foxbusiness.com</a>
#SethRich was alive/awake when cops found him, died at hospital. Cops wore body cameras.
What did he say to cops/what did body cams capture? pic.twitter.com/johEDplTdG
'-- /pol/ News Forever (@polNewsForever) May 16, 2017
Below is a picture of the police report noted above.
Former Clinton Campaign Manager John Podesta wrote in an email released later by WikiLeaks that he was ''definitely for making an example of a suspected leaker'':
Podesta: ''I'm definitely for making an example of a suspected leaker whether or not we have any real basis for it.'' https://t.co/MZ2a9gk5t3pic.twitter.com/qQ9tO2aimY
'-- WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 30, 2016
Where are the police videos of Seth Rich the morning he died and what did he say?
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VIDEO - Comey Wrote Memo Saying Trump Urged Him to Drop Flynn Investigation: Sources - NBC News
Wed, 17 May 2017 15:50
Michael Flynn Carlos Barria / Reuters file
"Quite simply put, sir, you cannot stop the men and women of FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution," McCabe said in response to a question from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida.
In response to another question, McCabe said that the FBI was responsible for securing Comey's files and electronic devices and that he was confident that congressional overseers would have access to them.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said he would quickly seek to get his hands on the memo.
"We are drafting the necessary paperwork to get the memo, so we will find out in a hurry if it's out there," Chaffetz told NBC News, adding that if the memo exists and accurately recorded the conversation, "that seems like an extraordinary use of influence to try to shut down an investigation being done by the FBI."
Chaffetz tweeted later: "I have my subpoena pen ready."
All of the Democratic members of Chaffetz's committee and the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the committees' chairmen demanding an investigation into whether Trump and other top officials "are engaged in an ongoing conspiracy to obstruct" FBI, Justice Department and congressional investigations.
AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said: "We need to have all the facts, and it is appropriate for the House Oversight Committee to request this memo."
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said in a floor speech that the disclosure further calls into question "the independence of our nation's highest law enforcement agencies."
"In a week full of revelation after revelation, on a day when we thought things couldn't get any worse, they have," Schumer said. "Our nation is being tested in unprecedented ways. I say to all my colleagues in the Senate: History is watching."
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California said Democrats plan to demand a vote on Wednesday to appoint an independent commission to investigate Trump's alleged ties to Russia. She said Democrats also plan to introduce legislation to appoint an independent counsel "to get the facts free of President Trump's meddling."
"With each passing day, the President's actions give greater and greater urgency to the need for a full and independent investigation of the Trump-Russia connection," Pelosi said in a statement.
Pence and other senior U.S. officials have said the firing of Comey on May 9 was unrelated to the FBI's investigation of alleged ties between Russia and Trump's presidential campaign.
Trump told NBC News' Lester Holt last week that he never tried to pressure Comey into dropping the FBI probe and that he always intended to fire Comey "regardless" of the conclusions in a Justice Department memo recommending the director's removal.Trump later tweeted that because he is so active, "it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at [a] podium with perfect accuracy" and represent the White House's line of thinking, appearing to discredit his press office and administration officials.
VIDEO - Israel says ties with US unaffected after Trump-Lavrov accusations - BBC News
Wed, 17 May 2017 05:03
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption President Trump (right) held talks with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington in February Israel says ties with the US have not been damaged by claims President Donald Trump gave Russia sensitive information provided by Israeli intelligence.
"Israel has full confidence in our intelligence-sharing relationship with the United States," Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer said.
The White House is refusing to comment on reports that Israel was the source of the intelligence.
Mr Trump has defended his right to share sensitive material on terrorism.
US media reports said he had shared material that was passed on by a partner that had not given permission.
It allegedly happened during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the White House.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption A wild week for Trump in WashingtonThough not illegal, Mr Trump's alleged gaffe is seen as a breach of trust by many in the US intelligence community.
Leading Republicans and Democrats have voiced concerns over what was said, with top Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer calling for the transcripts to be released by the White House.
The US Senate Intelligence Committee has also asked for copies of any notes taken in the meeting. CIA Director Mike Pompeo is due to brief the committee later.
But speaking on Tuesday, Mr Dermer said Israel looked forward to deepening US-Israeli relations "in the years ahead under President Trump".
Mr Trump is due to visit Israel next week.
VIDEO - Investigator Says Evidence Showing Deceased DNC Staffer Seth Rich Was Emailing With WikiLeaks - YouTube
Wed, 17 May 2017 04:51
VIDEO - Fox 5 DC Seth Rich Death Rod Wheeler Interview - YouTube
Wed, 17 May 2017 04:46
VIDEO - Professor Cohen Says Assault on Trump Presidency is Our Greatest National Security Threat: Is There A 4th Branch of Government? - Trading with The Fly
Wed, 17 May 2017 04:46
Steven Cohen, Professor of Russian studies at Princeton and NYU (an obvious Russian spy) was besides himself tonight, in sheer disbelief over the with hunt of gigantic nothing-burgers that are being used to assault the Presidency of Donald Trump.
He declared, ''today, I would say (the greatest threat to national security) is this assault on President Trump. Let's be clear what he's being accused of is treason. This has never happened in America, that we had a Russian agent in the White House. Cohen believes Flynn did nothing wrong by talking to the Russian ambassador, describing it as 'his job' to do so.
He then illuminated the indelible fact that there is a 4th branch of government, the intelligence community, who have been meddling in American foreign affairs, obstructing the other 3 branches of government.
''In 2016, President Obama worked out a deal with Russian President Putin for military cooperation in Syria. He said he was gonna share intelligence with Russia, just like Trump and the Russians were supposed to do the other day. Our department of defense said it wouldn't share intelligence. And a few days later, they killed Syrian soldiers, violating the agreement, and that was the end of that. So, we can ask, who is making our foreign policy in Washington today?''
Professor Cohen added, ''you and I have to ask a subversive question, are there really three branches of government, or is there a 4th branch of government? These intel services. What we know, as a fact, is that Obama tried, not very hard but he tried for a military alliance with Putin, in Syria, against terrorism and it was sabotaged by the department of defense and its allies in the intelligence services.''
Watch.
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VIDEO - An Impeachable Offense? Questions Swirl as Trump Accused of Sharing Top Secret Intel with Russians | Democracy Now!
Tue, 16 May 2017 19:30
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN : We're broadcasting from Stanford University in Northern California, as we continue to talk about The Washington Postexpos(C) revealing how President Trump disclosed highly classified intelligence to Russian officials last week. I want to go to Donald Trump when he was campaigning for president. Here he is last September.
DONALD TRUMP : We also need the best protection of classified information. That is the worst situation. Hillary's private email scandal, which put our classified information in the reach of our enemies, disqualifies her from the presidency.
AMY GOODMAN : We're joined now by two guests. In London, Scott Horton is with us, lecturer at Columbia Law School, contributing editor at Harper's magazine, author of Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America's Stealth Warfare. Still with me here at Stanford University is Larry Diamond of the Hoover Institution and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford.
Scott Horton, your response to, well, what President Trump said before he was president and what he reportedly talked to the Russians about the day after he fired the FBI director, James Comey?
SCOTT HORTON : Well, on one level, it's just a remarkable display of hypocrisy, of course. I mean, we have him pledging to be very cautious in the management of national security information and criticizing his rival ruthlessly over this, and, on the other hand, behaving in a very cavalier fashion with the most serious sorts of secrets.
But I'd say both of these incidents'--that is, the investigation into the Clinton emails and the controversy now surrounding this meeting with Kislyak and Lavrov in the Oval Office'--also serve to demonstrate an important feature of the way the classification system operates. That is, it exists to bind and tie those well down the list of authority. But as we approach the apex of the system, involving Cabinet officers and the president and the vice president, there's actually much less constraint. The president has an absolute right to declassify anything. If he shares information, you could say it would be deemed declassified. So we can get out of the way immediately the question of illegality. So there's no illegality in what he's done. Yet it may be a breathtaking betrayal.
And going back to the things that Larry Diamond said, I think very correctly, earlier, it does raise very fundamental questions about his judgment, and it does raise some legal issues. But they're at the highest level. They're at the level of legality that goes to his oath of office, his pledge to uphold the Constitution and laws, and preserve, protect and defend the United States. And that is impeachment territory.
AMY GOODMAN : So, talk more about when this happened'--what was it?'--a day after President Trump fired James Comey, so certainly very much in the spotlight. According to reports, even he was surprised at the level of blowback for his action. Then the pictures coming out at the White House of him, you know, laughing with his Russian colleagues. Talk about the timing of this.
SCOTT HORTON : Well, that is the second most striking thing, that he agrees to have a meeting in the Oval Office, where it's literally the only major scheduled event on his calendar, the day after he has fired James Comey and immediately after he gave an interview to Lester Holt in which he acknowledged that he was firing Comey because'--in the first instance, because of his concerns about the Russia probe that the FBI was carrying out. So, I would say the visuals are astonishing.
But then, when we get into that meeting that occurred, notably with Sergey Kislyak, who, of course, is a leading Russian spymaster in the United States, and Lavrov, who is the senior architect of President Putin's foreign policy, that meeting, as occurred, allowing Russian media to come into the Oval Office while excluding American media, and then the whole flavor of that media, as was transmitted in'--that meeting, as it was transmitted in the Russian media, was jovial, gregarious, back-slapping, friendly, open. That contrasts rather sharply with almost every meeting that Trump has had with major allies, with the Australian prime minister, with Angela Merkel, with Theresa May, and on and on and on. Those meetings have been touchy, difficult, usually have involved a great deal of friction and challenge. So I think it's fair for everybody to look at this contrast and ask what'--you know, what is going on here and what marks this just extraordinary attitude that Trump has towards Russia, which, in the quadrennial review, is still viewed as America'--presenting the greatest security threat to the United States.
AMY GOODMAN : Part of this is about the U.S. and Russia having an alliance against ISIS . Is Trump being criticized through a Cold War lens here, Scott?
SCOTT HORTON : Well, I think that'--I think we have to be careful about that. And there certainly is a'--there is an element of that in the criticism that comes up inside the Washington Beltway, particularly the criticism that comes from neocons. But I don't think that that explains the problem altogether. I think when we look more closely at the situation in the Middle East, you know, there is a context that has to be taken into account. And that is that Russia is very tightly aligned with Iran and with President Assad in Syria. And while we have mutual enemies, you know, we also don't have the same friends, not by a long shot. There is a very, very clear friction and distance between the U.S. position and the Russian position throughout the region, and particularly in Syria. So, I think if we step back, we would say that, yeah, pursuing a closer, collaborative stance with Russia in operations in Syria, that's a perfectly fair thing to pursue. Sharing intelligence would be a reasonable thing to do in pursuing that relationship. But the way things occurred and are being reported now in The Washington Post is'--nevertheless, it's shocking. It's'--in a word, it's reckless.
AMY GOODMAN : You talked about impeachment territory. What exactly do you mean? And how do you see this possibly happening? Do you see this as the beginning of the end, Scott Horton, for the Trump presidency?
SCOTT HORTON : I think so. I talked about the oath a little bit earlier. So, impeachment proceedings that have occurred historically have'--when they involve the president, they do'--they always involve whether the president has satisfied or fulfilled his oath. That's taken as covering a number of different areas. And when the president behaves on the national security stage in a way that is reckless, shows little'--disregard for the security of the country, that's a fair question. So it becomes an issue for discussion in connection with impeachment proceedings. And I think I'd be surprised if we don't'--if we come to impeachment proceedings at some point'--and I'd say the odds makers'--the odds makers here in London are putting this now as a 50/50 proposition'--if we get there, I think that this event, this meeting with Kislyak and Lavrov, is going to feature in the impeachment process and the bill of impeachment.
AMY GOODMAN : Larry Diamond, do you really see this happening in Washington with a Republican majority in the House and the Senate?
LARRY DIAMOND : No, I see almost no prospect of it. I think either Trump would have to do something so massively criminal or dangerous that even the shockingly loyal Republican leadership, shocking in its loyalty to Trump, would defect, probably to save their own necks in advance of the midterm election, or, more likely'--and keep in mind this was certainly the pattern during Watergate, as you well know, Amy'--it will only be when and if there is a Democratic Congress that the Congress is able to act to defend the Constitution.
AMY GOODMAN : But very conservative Republicans eventually, when it came to Nixon, said, "No, this is a step too far."
LARRY DIAMOND : Yeah, but it took a long time from the initial break-in at the Democratic headquarters in Washington, D.C., to the ultimate defection of enough Republicans to make it inevitable that Nixon was going to be convicted in the Senate if it went to trial. And, you know, even to the bitter end, a fair number of House Republicans voted not to impeach him.
AMY GOODMAN : So, Larry Diamond, your thoughts right now, overall, about the Trump administration and about the United States?
LARRY DIAMOND : My thoughts are basically aligned with what Senator Corker said yesterday, and this could be a straw in the wind. He's a very respected guy. He is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Trump was considering him for secretary of state. We're, in essence, in free fall here. And I think we're in free fall ethically, and I think we're in free fall in level of competence.
And, Amy, I was just thinking about the state of the world now. Go back to what'--all the news you read this morning about the ongoing civil strife in Afghanistan and Iraq, where we still have troop commitments and major historical stakes'--
AMY GOODMAN : Where you spent a lot of time, in Iraq.
LARRY DIAMOND : Well, in Iraq'--about raging civil wars, not only in Syria, but, much less reported'--and thank you for reporting it'--in Yemen; the critical challenge of international terrorism represented by ISIS , and then there's also still al-Qaeda; the North Korean missile threat, which we haven't even talked about, but which is potentially, with its nuclear program, an existential threat to the United States. And if you have then a president who's incompetent and whose commitment to the Constitution is dubious, and is not even willing to read more than a page of national security briefing memos, I'm not just outraged, I'm actually frightened for the national security of the United States.
AMY GOODMAN : Finally, President Trump will be meeting with the Turkish president, Erdogan, today at the White House, the president of Turkey just having pushed through a referendum that would increase his dictatorial powers. Much of Europe criticized this. President Trump called him and congratulated him.
LARRY DIAMOND : Mm-hmm.
AMY GOODMAN : Talk about the significance of this meeting and this relationship. And do you think it has anything to do with the fact that President Trump has the twin Trump Towers in Istanbul?
LARRY DIAMOND : I don't know'--no, probably not, actually. I think it has more to do'--and this is actually much more disturbing'--with the fact that he has an open and consistent admiration for authoritarian leaders. Keep in mind that he's also invited to the White House, though fortunately so far it isn't scheduled, a meeting with Philippine President Duterte, who has presided over, in less than a year in office, the extrajudicial execution of over 7,000 people on the streets of the Philippines. And the back-slapping joviality that Scott referred to with the Russian leaders seems to be a pattern with authoritarian leaders in general. A responsible American president might, in a low-profile way, talk to President Erdogan about our mutual national security urgent interests in Syria and in the region, but raise open and serious concerns about the human rights'--deteriorating human rights situation and the loss'--we must say that'--of democracy in Turkey. And no one should hold their breath that Donald Trump is going to spend 10 seconds raising concerns about that in his meeting with President Erdogan.
AMY GOODMAN : Finally, and we're just about to go to the Washington state attorney general, but I wanted to get your comment on President Trump's latest tweet that happened during this broadcast. He said, "I have been asking Director Comey and others, from the beginning of my administration, to find the leakers in the intelligence community."
LARRY DIAMOND : Well, I can only say, thank God that people in the intelligence community feel a higher loyalty to the country than they do to the political position of the president.
AMY GOODMAN : Larry Diamond, thanks so much for being with us, senior fellow here at Stanford University at the Hoover Institution and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. And thanks so much to Scott Horton, lecturer at Columbia Law School, contributing editor at Harper's magazine.
This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we go to Seattle to talk to the Washington state attorney general, Bob Ferguson. Stay with us.
VIDEO - Murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich had sent 44,000 internal emails to WikiLeaks: Report
Tue, 16 May 2017 19:29
The Democratic National Committee staffer shot and killed in Washington, D.C., last summer leaked more than 44,000 emails to WikiLeaks before his death, according to a report.
The Fox News report implies that Seth Rich may have been the one who leaked information about the DNC to WikiLeaks that showed, among other things, that the DNC favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the presidential primary. While it's not clear, the report does note that WikiLeaks posted that information just 12 days after Rich was killed.
However, U.S. intelligence officials believe Russia hacked into the DNC and allowed that information to be sent to WikiLeaks.
The report states federal law enforcement investigators found 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments between DNC leaders from January 2015 to May 2016 were sent by Rich to Gavin MacFayden, an American reporter and WikiLeaks director based in London who is now deceased. That information was found in a FBI forensic report on Rich's computer done within days of his murder.
Rich was killed July 10 in Washington, D.C., as he walked home. His murder remains unsolved.
Rod Wheeler, a former D.C. homicide detective whose private investigation firm was hired by Rich's family, confirmed to Fox News his investigation shows similar information.
"My investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks," Wheeler told Fox News. "I do believe that the answers to who murdered Seth Rich sits on his computer on a shelf at the DC police or FBI headquarters."
Wheeler added he believes someone in the Washington, D.C. government, DNC or in Clinton's camp is blocking the investigation from continuing.
Rich was shot twice in the back but wasn't robbed. His wallet, cellphone, keys, watch and necklace were all left on him at the scene of the crime.
Through a spokesperson, Rich's family denied that they've seen any evidence that his death is tied to Wikileaks.
"As we've seen through the past year of unsubstantiated claims, we see no facts, we have seen no evidence, we have been approached with no emails and only learned about this when contacted by the press," the statement said. "Even if tomorrow, an email was found, it is not a high enough bar of evidence to prove any interactions as emails can be altered and we've seen that those interest in pushing conspiracies will stop at nothing to do so."
"We are a family who is committed to facts, not fake evidence that surfaces every few months to fill the void and distract law enforcement and the general public from finding Seth's murderers. The services of the private investigator who spoke to the press was offered to the Rich family and paid for by a third party, and contractually was barred from speaking to press or anyone outside of law enforcement or the family unless explicitly authorized by the family."
Featured VideoKyle FeldscherDNCTechnologyCybersecurityWikiLeaksCampaignsNational Security2016 ElectionsHillary ClintonNewsPolitics
VIDEO - Ohio officer accidentally overdoses after touching Fentanyl during drug response | WDTN
Tue, 16 May 2017 19:23
EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) '' An East Liverpool Police officer, while responding to a drug-involved call Friday night, accidentally touched Fentanyl and overdosed.
Friday around 8:50 p.m., East Liverpool patrolman Chris Green responded to a traffic stop at the bottom of Lisbon Street at West 8th Street.
According to a police report, East Liverpool Police had blocked in a blue Monte Carlo after watching the driver '-- 25-year-old Justin Buckle '-- perform what they believed was a drug transaction.
''We think they were trying to flee, but they were blocked in,'' East Liverpool Captain Patrick Wright said. ''Once they got blocked in, they tried to dispose of the evidence in the vehicle.
''There was white powder on the seat, on the floor, on the guys' shoes and on his clothing.''
After Buckle and passenger Cortez Collins, 24, were arrested, patrolman Green followed station protocol for handling drugs by putting on gloves and a mask when he searched the car.
But when he got back to the station, another officer noticed Greene had some of the white powder on his shirt.
''Just out of instinct, he tried to brush it off '-- not thinking,'' Wright said.
An hour later, Green passed out at the station from overdosing on the white powder that police think was Fentanyl. The drug can get into the body just through contact with the skin.
''They called an ambulance for him and the ambulance responded for him,'' Wright said. ''They gave him one dose of Narcan here and then transported him to East Liverpool City Hospital, where they gave him three additional doses of Narcan.''
Captain Wright said Green is fine as of Sunday.
He added it's a scary example of how the drug epidemic has forced police officers to change aspects of their job.
''We changed our procedures to where we used to field test-drugs,'' Wright said. ''We don't do that any longer because of accidental exposures.''
Buckle, of East Liverpool, and Collins, of Cleveland, are being charged with tampering with evidence. Collins had an active warrant out for his arrest out of Euclid.
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VIDEO - Morning Joe says FBI close to exposing the president: 'It's a criminal issue '-- and Trump knows that'
Tue, 16 May 2017 17:22
Screaming overheard in Cabinet Room meeting between Spicer, Bannon and Sanders after Russia intel revelation
Fox News military analyst slams GOP for 'reflexive' defense of 'egregious' Trump actions
Sally Yates reveals the real reasons why Mike Flynn was unmasked in intel reports
Olbermann loses it over Trump's leaking: 'YOU are the leaker, you stupid, pea-brained, motherf*cking traitor'
GOP lawmaker demands classified briefings 'so that Congress can at least know as much as Russians'
WATCH: Fox News contributor apologizes for mocking 8-year-old boy with autism as a 'snowflake'
National security adviser refuses to deny Trump leaked to Russians: 'The premise of that article is false'
WATCH: Trump's speech at Liberty U is weirdly similar to Reese Witherspoon's 'Legally Blonde' speech
Family blasts right-wing media for spreading 'fake' news story about slain DNC staffer as Russia scandal deepens
Conservative Erick Erickson claims source who leaked latest Russia bombshell was a Trump supporter
VIDEO - Report: Justice Scalia Believed Supreme Court was Being Surveilled by Obama (VIDEO)
Tue, 16 May 2017 17:20
Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News senior judicial analyst, went on FOX Business Network on Monday to discuss allegations Senator Rand Paul and another senator were under surveillance by the Obama administration.
Napolitano also dropped a bomb on the Obama administration spying on the US Supreme Court.
Judge Napolitano: Justice Scalia told me that he often thought the court was being surveilled. And he told me that probably four or five years ago'...If they had to unmask Senator Paul's name to reveal a conversation he was having with a foreign agent and the foreign agent was hostile to the United States they can do that. That's not what he's talking about. They're talking about unmasking him when he's having a conversation with his campaign manager when he's running in the Republican primary.
During the discussion Judge Napolitano also said Barack Obama could be subpoenaed to testify if he viewed the unmasked intelligence.
Via Vlad Tepes and FOX Business Network:
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VIDEO - Someone Made A Mashup Of Ozzy Osbourne And Earth, Wind, & Fire.. And We Can't Stop Laughing! | Society Of Rock
Tue, 16 May 2017 17:17
Probably The Best Mashup We've Ever Seen!If you ask me, mashups of metal singers with other genres of music are some of the greatest things in the world. They're simply down-right hilarious, especially when the two elements of the mash-up couldn't be anymore different.
For example, Ozzy Osbourne being mashed up with Earth, Wind, & Fire. On one hand, one of the founding fathers of heavy metal. On the other, a legendary funk band that's about as heavy metal as a sunflower.
Both are truly amazing musical acts, but they couldn't be anymore different in their music styles. Then again, as they say, opposites attract, and that much is proven, here!
What you're about to watch is a video in which DJ Cummerbund mashes up Ozzy Osbourne'sCrazy Train and Earth, Wind, & Fire'sSeptember.
This DJ did an AMAZING job combining these two completely different songs together. You'd almost think that this would be a hit in the 80s! Don't believe me? See for yourself!
VIDEO-Seth Rich Contact With WikiLeaks - YouTube
Tue, 16 May 2017 15:44
VIDEO - Seth Rich, slain DNC staffer, had contact with WikiLeaks, say multiple sources | Fox News
Tue, 16 May 2017 13:00
The Democratic National Committee staffer who was gunned down on July 10 on a Washington, D.C., street just steps from his home had leaked thousands of internal emails to WikiLeaks, law enforcement sources told Fox News.
A federal investigator who reviewed an FBI forensic report detailing the contents of DNC staffer Seth Rich's computer generated within 96 hours after his murder, said Rich made contact with WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFadyen, a now-deceased American investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker, and director of WikiLeaks who was living in London at the time.
''My investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks.''
- Rod Wheeler, former DC homicide investigator ''I have seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and Wikileaks,'' the federal investigator told Fox News, confirming the MacFadyen connection. He said the emails are in possession of the FBI, while the stalled case is in the hands of the Washington Police Department.
The revelation is consistent with the findings of Rod Wheeler, a former DC homicide detective and Fox News contributor and whose private investigation firm was hired by Rich's family to probe the case. Rich was shot from behind in the wee hours, but was not robbed.
''My investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and Wikileaks,'' Wheeler said. ''I do believe that the answers to who murdered Seth Rich sits on his computer on a shelf at the DC police or FBI headquarters.''
Related ImageExpand / Collapse Rich was fiercely patriotic, say family members. (Rich family)
The federal investigator, who requested anonymity, said 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments between Democratic National Committee leaders, spanning from January 2015 through late May 2016, were transferred from Rich to MacFadyen before May 21.
On July 22, just 12 days after Rich was killed, WikiLeaks published internal DNC emails that appeared to show top party officials conspired to stop Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont from becoming the party's presidential nominee. That controversy resulted in Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigning as DNC chairperson. A number of Sanders supporters refused to back party nominee Hillary Clinton, and some subsequently formed groups to work against Clinton and the party.
Related ImageExpand / Collapse Seth Rich, shown here with his mother, was idealistic and wanted to change the world, his father said. (Rich family)
WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange has stopped short of identifying Rich as the source of the emails, but has taken a keen interest in the case, and has not denied working with Rich.
''WikiLeaks has decided to issue a US$20k reward for information leading to conviction for the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich,'' the organization announced.
Washington's Metropolitan Police Department has no suspects and no substantial leads as to who the killer or killers may be, sources close to the investigation said. Metropolitan Police, including the police chief, have refused to discuss the case, despite requests from Fox News dating back 10 months.
The FBI's national office declined to comment, but sources said the bureau provided cyber expertise to examine Rich's computer.
Wheeler believes powerful forces are preventing the case from a thorough investigation.
''My investigation shows someone within the D.C. government, Democratic National Committee or Clinton team is blocking the murder investigation from going forward,'' Wheeler told Fox News. ''That is unfortunate. Seth Rich's murder is unsolved as a result of that.''
The botched robbery theory, which police have pursued for nearly a year, isn't panning out, Wheeler said. Two assailants caught on a grainy video tape from a camera posted outside a grocery mart, shot Rich twice in his back, but did not take his wallet, cell phone, keys, watch or necklace worth about $2,000.
Police should consider all angles, Wheeler said, especially in light of Assange's statements to a Dutch television reporter who asked about Rich.
''I am suggesting,'' Assange told the Dutch reporter, ''that our sources take risks, and they, they become concerned to see things occurring like that.''
On Twitter, WikiLeaks announced the reward but said Assange's statement ''should not be taken to imply that Seth Rich was a source for WikiLeaks or to imply that his murder is connected to our publications'' because WikiLeaks has a policy not to release the names of its sources, even after their death.
In subsequent appearances on Fox News Channel, Assange confirmed, ''We're interested in anything that might be a threat to alleged WikiLeaks sources.''
Assange has not returned a series of recent emails from Fox News about Rich. MacFadyen, who was considered a mentor by Assange, died of lung cancer on Oct. 22 at age 76.
D.C. police have announced a $25,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of Rich's killer. Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman has offered a separate $130,000 reward.
Rich had been at Lou's City Bar a couple of miles from his home until about 1:15 a.m. He walked home, calling several people along the way. He called his father, Joel Rich, who he missed because he had gone to sleep. He talked with a fraternity brother and his girlfriend, Kelsey Mulka.
Around 4:17 a.m., Rich was about a block from his home when Mulka, still on the phone with him, heard voices in the background. Rich reassured her that he was steps away from being at his front door and hung up.
Two minutes later, Rich was shot twice. Police were on the scene within three minutes. Rich sustained bruising on his hands and face. He remained conscious, but died at a nearby hospital less than two hours later.
Police detectives will not say whether Rich provided them with any clues about the identity of his attackers or their motivation, Wheeler said. However, Wheeler believes Rich could have provided information prior to his death of who was responsible for carrying out his murder.
Police also have refused to release security footage from a market on the corner of the crosswalk where Rich was killed. The footage, sources told Fox News, shows two people following Rich across the tiny crosswalk just moments before he was attacked. The camera captured grainy footage of the assailants' legs and Rich as he fell backwards into the street after being shot.
Wheeler said normally police would release the footage to the media. The family also should be privy to the entire case jacket, with all the details of the case, unless they are considered suspects, Wheeler said. However, to date, the family has not received a copy of the tape or most of the details related to their son's murder case. The homicide case remains open, according to a spokesperson for D.C. police.
Rich's father, Joel Rich, could not be reached for comment, but told Fox News in January that he didn't believe his son would leak the emails. However, he said above all, his son "wanted to make a difference in the world."
Malia Zimmerman is an award-winning investigative reporter focusing on crime, homeland security, illegal immigration crime, terrorism and political corruption. Follow her on twitter at @MaliaMZimmerman
VIDEO - Family's private investigator: There is evidence Seth Rich had contact with WikiLeaks prior to death - Story | WTTG
Tue, 16 May 2017 11:23
Family's private investigator: There is evidence Seth Rich had contact with WikiLeaks prior to deathWASHINGTON - It has been almost a year since Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was murdered in the nation's capital. There have been no solid answers about why he was killed until now.
Rich was shot and killed last July in Northwest D.C and police have suggested the killing in the District's Bloomingdale neighborhood was a botched robbery. However, online conspiracy theories have tied the murder to Rich's work at the DNC.
Just two months shy of the one-year anniversary of Rich's death, FOX 5 has learned there is new information that could prove these theorists right.
Rod Wheeler, a private investigator hired by the Rich family, suggests there is tangible evidence on Rich's laptop that confirms he was communicating with WikiLeaks prior to his death.
Now, questions have been raised on why D.C. police, the lead agency on this murder investigation for the past ten months, have insisted this was a robbery gone bad when there appears to be no evidence to suggest that.
Wheeler, a former D.C. police homicide detective, is running a parallel investigation into Rich's murder. He said he believes there is a cover-up and the police department has been told to back down from the investigation.
"The police department nor the FBI have been forthcoming,'' said Wheeler. ''They haven't been cooperating at all. I believe that the answer to solving his death lies on that computer, which I believe is either at the police department or either at the FBI. I have been told both.''
When we asked Wheeler if his sources have told him there is information that links Rich to Wikileaks, he said, ''Absolutely. Yeah. That's confirmed."
Wheeler also told us, "I have a source inside the police department that has looked at me straight in the eye and said, 'Rod, we were told to stand down on this case and I can't share any information with you.' Now, that is highly unusual for a murder investigation, especially from a police department. Again, I don't think it comes from the chief's office, but I do believe there is a correlation between the mayor's office and the DNC and that is the information that will come out [Tuesday].
A full report with the new details will air Tuesday morning on FOX News.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE ON THE SETH RICH MURDER INVESTIGATION:
Family of DNC staffer Seth Rich seeking to raise money to help solve his murder
Republican lobbyist says murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich linked to Russian operatives
Mother of murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich pleads for public's help
Republican lobbyist offers $100K reward in murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich
WikiLeaks offers $20K reward in murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich
WikiLeaks founder addresses death of DNC staffer Seth Rich in Fox News interview
Comments by Julian Assange fuel speculation that murdered DNC staffer may have been WikiLeaks source
What happened during final hours slain DNC employee Seth Rich was alive?
Parents of slain DNC employee make emotional plea to help find son's killer
DNC honors murdered staffer Seth Rich with memorial bike rack outside of headquarters
Vigil held for slain DNC staffer in Bloomingdale
DNC employee fatally shot in Northwest DC
VIDEO - BEFORE BEING CANCELLED Tim Allen DESTROYED LIBERAL SNOWFLAKES On Last Man Standing! [VIDEO]
Tue, 16 May 2017 04:57
ABC has cancelled its Tim Allen-starring sitcom Last Man Standing after six seasons, the network confirmed Wednesday.
ABC and production partner 20th Century Fox TV had reportedly usually negotiated over licensing fees for the comedy series before each season; this time, according to Deadline, there was no negotiation, and the network simply pulled the plug on the show.
The show was one of the few (if not the only) broadcast network sitcom to appeal to conservative, blue-collar America, a true oddity since Allen has noted in interviews that the program was written by liberal writers. (scroll down for video)
Allen himself is also conservative, and has in the past expressed support for President Donald Trump.
Last Man Standing fans took to Twitter Wednesday and Thursday to urge another network, perhaps Netflix or CMT, to pick it up, while some accused the ABC of axing the show for political reasons.
In the most recent season of ''Last Man Standing,'' in Episode 9 titled ''Precious Snowflake,'' Tim absolutely eviscerates whiny liberal snowflakes and their microaggressions after his daughter asks for help with a school project.
If you did not laugh at this, I do not know what to say. Maybe you are a midget warrior!
My favorite part is when Tim says, ''I know what microaggressions are it's the latest liberal attack on free speech and a lot of fun if you do it right!''
VIDEO - Guccifer 2.0 - Seth Rich Was the DNC Leaker, 1573 - YouTube
Tue, 16 May 2017 04:23
VIDEO - Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador - The Washington Post
Mon, 15 May 2017 23:06
President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump's disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.
The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump's decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump's meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.
[Political chaos in Washington is a return on investment in Moscow]
''This is code-word information,'' said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump ''revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.''
Team Trump's ties to Russian interests The revelation comes as the president faces rising legal and political pressure on multiple Russia-related fronts. Last week, he fired FBI Director James B. Comey in the midst of a bureau investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Trump's subsequent admission that his decision was driven by ''this Russia thing'' was seen by critics as attempted obstruction of justice.
One day after dismissing Comey, Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak '-- a key figure in earlier Russia controversies '-- into the Oval Office. It was during that meeting, officials said, that Trump went off script and began describing details of an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft.
For almost anyone in government, discussing such matters with an adversary would be illegal. As president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law.
''The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation,'' said H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, who participated in the meeting. ''At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.''
The CIA declined to comment, and the NSA did not respond to requests for comment.
But officials expressed concern about Trump's handling of sensitive information as well as his grasp of the potential consequences. Exposure of an intelligence stream that has provided critical insight into the Islamic State, they said, could hinder the United States' and its allies' ability to detect future threats.
[On Russia, Trump and his top national security aides seem to be at odds]
''It is all kind of shocking,'' said a former senior U.S. official who is close to current administration officials. ''Trump seems to be very reckless and doesn't grasp the gravity of the things he's dealing with, especially when it comes to intelligence and national security. And it's all clouded because of this problem he has with Russia.''
In his meeting with Lavrov, Trump seemed to be boasting about his inside knowledge of the looming threat. ''I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,'' the president said, according to an official with knowledge of the exchange.
Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State's territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.
The Washington Post is withholding most plot details, including the name of the city, at the urging of officials who warned that revealing them would jeopardize important intelligence capabilities.
''Everyone knows this stream is very sensitive, and the idea of sharing it at this level of granularity with the Russians is troubling,'' said a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official who also worked closely with members of the Trump national security team. He and others spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the subject.
The identification of the location was seen as particularly problematic, officials said, because Russia could use that detail to help identify the U.S. ally or intelligence capability involved. Officials said the capability could be useful for other purposes, possibly providing intelligence on Russia's presence in Syria. Moscow would be keenly interested in identifying that source and perhaps disrupting it.
[Trump's new Russia expert wrote a psychological profile of Valdimir Putin '' and it should scare Trump]
Russia and the United States both regard the Islamic State as an enemy and share limited information about terrorist threats. But the two nations have competing agendas in Syria, where Moscow has deployed military assets and personnel to support President Bashar al-Assad.
''Russia could identify our sources or techniques,'' the senior U.S. official said.
A former intelligence official who handled high-level intelligence on Russia said that given the clues Trump provided, ''I don't think that it would be that hard [for Russian spy services] to figure this out.''
At a more fundamental level, the information wasn't the United States' to provide to others. Under the rules of espionage, governments '-- and even individual agencies '-- are given significant control over whether and how the information they gather is disseminated, even after it has been shared. Violating that practice undercuts trust considered essential to sharing secrets.
The officials declined to identify the ally but said it has previously voiced frustration with Washington's inability to safeguard sensitive information related to Iraq and Syria.
''If that partner learned we'd given this to Russia without their knowledge or asking first, that is a blow to that relationship,'' the U.S. official said.
Trump also described measures that the United States has taken or is contemplating to counter the threat, including military operations in Iraq and Syria, as well as other steps to tighten security, officials said.
The officials would not discuss details of those measures, but the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed that it is considering banning laptops and other large electronic devices from carry-on bags on flights between Europe and the United States. The United States and Britain imposed a similar ban in March affecting travelers passing through airports in 10 Muslim-majority countries.
Trump cast the countermeasures in wistful terms. ''Can you believe the world we live in today?'' he said, according to one official. ''Isn't it crazy?''
Lavrov and Kislyak were also accompanied by aides.
A Russian photographer took photos of part of the session that were released by the Russian state-owned Tass news agency. No U.S. news organization was allowed to attend any part of the meeting.
[Presence of Russian photographer in Oval Office raises alarms]
Senior White House officials appeared to recognize quickly that Trump had overstepped and moved to contain the potential fallout.
Thomas P. Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, placed calls to the directors of the CIA and the NSA, the services most directly involved in the intelligence-sharing arrangement with the partner.
One of Bossert's subordinates also called for the problematic portion of Trump's discussion to be stricken from internal memos and for the full transcript to be limited to a small circle of recipients, efforts to prevent sensitive details from being disseminated further or leaked.
Trump has repeatedly gone off-script in his dealings with high-ranking foreign officials, most notably in his contentious introductory conversation with the Australian prime minister earlier this year. He has also faced criticism for seemingly lax attention to security at his Florida retreat, Mar-a-Lago, where he appeared to field preliminary reports of a North Korea missile launch in full view of casual diners.
U.S. officials said that the National Security Council continues to prepare multi-page briefings for Trump to guide him through conversations with foreign leaders, but that he has insisted that the guidance be distilled to a single page of bullet points '-- and often ignores those.
''He seems to get in the room or on the phone and just goes with it, and that has big downsides,'' the second former official said. ''Does he understand what's classified and what's not? That's what worries me.''
Lavrov's reaction to the Trump disclosures was muted, officials said, calling for the United States to work more closely with Moscow on fighting terrorism.
Kislyak has figured prominently in damaging stories about the Trump administration's ties to Russia. Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign just 24 days into the job over his contacts with Kislyak and his misleading statements about them. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to recuse himself from matters related to the FBI's Russia investigation after it was revealed that he had met and spoke with Kislyak, despite denying any contact with Russian officials during his confirmation hearing.
''I'm sure Kislyak was able to fire off a good cable back to the Kremlin with all the details'' he gleaned from Trump, said the former U.S. official who handled intelligence on Russia.
The White House readout of the meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak made no mention of the discussion of a terrorist threat.
''Trump emphasized the need to work together to end the conflict in Syria,'' the summary said. The president also ''raised Ukraine'' and ''emphasized his desire to build a better relationship between the United States and Russia.''
Julie Tate and Ellen Nakashima contributed to this report.
Read more:
The strange Oval Office meeting between Trump, Lavrov and Kislyak
On the campaign trail, Trump was very worried about revealing America's secrets
Trump administration sought to enlist intelligence officials, key lawmakers to counter Russia stories
VIDEO - Donald Trump is Deep into Watergate Territory Now: Former Congresswoman Who Probed Nixon Speaks Out | Democracy Now!
Mon, 15 May 2017 17:42
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN : We're on the road in San Francisco. I'll be speaking today in Santa Cruz and in Palo Alto.
Fallout continues to grow over President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey last week. The firing came just days after Comey requested more resources to probe Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. The Senate Democrats are now threatening to refuse to vote on a new FBI director unless a special prosecutor is named to investigate possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer appeared on Meet the Press.
SEN . CHUCK SCHUMER : A special prosecutor appointed by the Justice Department has the ability to actually prosecute people for violations of law. And they go on in tandem. One shouldn't step on the other. I know they're talking to each other right now, the FBI was, with the Intelligence Committee, to make sure no one's granted immunity. But it's two separate issues. And we very much need a special prosecutor, Chuck. We need someone who's independent of the Justice Department to get to the bottom of this.
AMY GOODMAN : On the same program, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson admitted Russia did in fact interfere with the election.
SECRETARY OF STATE REX TILLERSON : I have seen the intelligence reports, Chuck. And, yes, I don't think there's any question that the Russians were playing around in our electoral processes. Again, as those intelligence reports also have indicated, it's inclusive as to what, if any, effect it had.
AMY GOODMAN : Meanwhile, pressure is growing on the administration to reveal whether Trump has been secretly recording conversations at the White House. On Friday, Trump tweeted, "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" unquote. Lawmakers are now calling on Trump to hand over any such tapes. On Friday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer refused to rule out the existence of the tapes.
JEFF MASON : Moving on to the news of the week, really, and the day, did President Trump record his conversations with former FBI Director Comey?
PRESS SECRETARY SEAN SPICER : I assume you're referring to'--
JEFF MASON : His tweet.
PRESS SECRETARY SEAN SPICER : '--the tweet. And I've talked to the president. The president has nothing further to add on that.
JEFF MASON : And why did he say that? Why did he tweet that? What should we interpret from that?
PRESS SECRETARY SEAN SPICER : As I mentioned, the president has nothing further to add on that.
JEFF MASON : Is there'--are there recording devices in the Oval Office or in the residence?
PRESS SECRETARY SEAN SPICER : As I've said, for the third time, there is nothing further to add on that.
JEFF MASON : Does he think it's appropriate to threaten someone like Mr. Comey not to speak?
PRESS SECRETARY SEAN SPICER : I don't think that's'--that's not a threat. He simply stated a fact. The tweet speaks for itself. I'm moving on.
AMY GOODMAN : President Trump's possible recording of White House conversations has led many comparisons between Trump and former President Richard Nixon, who resigned August 8th, 1974, three days after the release of an audio recording of Nixon discussing the Watergate break-in. Nixon had fought off congressional subpoenas to release the tape, but eventually the Supreme Court forced him to hand it over. It later became known as the smoking gun tape.
We're joined now by Elizabeth Holtzman, former U.S. congresswoman from New York who served on the House Judiciary Committee that voted to impeach Richard Nixon.
Liz Holtzman, welcome back to Democracy Now! Can you talk about the significance of what President Trump threatened in one of his tweet storms against James Comey after he fired him as FBI director?
ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN : Well, the threat is an absurdity. He's'--the president was saying that Comey should hope that there was no tape recording, before he talks about the meeting? The president knows whether there's a tape recording or not. He's the one who knows. So this is just nonsense. If President Trump wants the truth out, if Comey was lying about the meeting, the president should just release the tape. He's just playing games with the American people. The real connection with Watergate is the firing of Comey by President Trump, which appears to be, on the face of it and given all the circumstance around it, an effort to cover up and to prevent an investigation of whether Russia colluded with him and his campaign over interference in the American election, and whether he's still colluding with the Russians. I mean, what's involved in the firing is a question really of whether we have a president of the United States who is under the influence of and working in collusion with the president of a hostile foreign government. And we've got to get to the bottom of that. And Trump's actions prevent us, at this point, from making sure that we can get the truth.
AMY GOODMAN : I want to turn to an interview last week, when Donald Trump once again changed his story about why he fired FBI Director James Comey, admitting on NBC he made the decision in part due to Comey's probe of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. Trump's comment directly contradicts numerous statements by White House aides, as well as Trump's own claims that he had fired Comey over his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton and her use of private email servers.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP : But regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey, knowing there was no good time to do it. And, in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself'--I said, 'You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.'"
AMY GOODMAN : So, can you talk about this, Liz Holtzman, the astounding original story that President Trump did not appreciate how Hillary Clinton was treated, although throughout the campaign he congratulated James Comey for going after Clinton?
ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN : Look, everything we've seen about Trump'--I mean, I won't go elsewhere, but in this, in connection with the firing of Comey'--has been just one misstatement, one pretext, one lie after the other. It's totally incredible to think that President Trump was so concerned about Comey's treatment of Hillary Clinton that he fired him months later for doing that. It's just'--nobody can believe that. What really was at stake'--and we know that later'--he said, "I made up my mind before I ever heard from the Justice Department. I was going to fire him anyway." And what was on his mind when he fired him? The Russian investigation. And Trump has been attacking this Russian investigation from the get-go. He even called the CIA Nazis over that. So, we know he's not happy about that, and he wanted to stop it. And stopping that could mean that we have in place a president of the United States in cahoots with the Russian government at this very moment. We've got to'--
AMY GOODMAN : I want to turn to Senator Mark Warner, Virginia Democrat, speaking on Fox News Sunday about Trump's threat of a tape of a conversation with James Comey.
SEN . MARK WARNER : This sure seems to have reverberations of past history. When we've seen presidents who secretly tape, that usually does not end up being a good outcome for a president. ... The whole notion that the president can throw out these kind of claims, and then not either confirm or deny them, is outrageous, in my mind. And if there is the existence of tapes, I want to make sure, one, they're preserved and not mysteriously destroyed in the coming days, and then, two, one way or the other, Congress will have to get a look at those tapes.
AMY GOODMAN : So, that was Senator Warren [sic]. If you'--Senator Warner of Virginia. Elizabeth Holtzman, take us back through what happened to Richard Nixon. You know, there are a lot of references, including the Saturday Night Massacre, and parallels have been made to what happened with the firing of James Comey. But especially for young people to understand what happened then, also how long it took, explain the chronology, when you were a young congresswoman from New York, serving'--what?'--the youngest member to serve on the House Judiciary Committee.
ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN : OK, I'll try to do this in 25 words or less. Basically, in June of 1972, there was a break-in into the Democratic National Committee headquarters. People were apprehended, and they were connected to Richard Nixon's campaign and to the White House. Nixon had a special surveillance operation in the White House, that was illegal from the get-go. These people were caught. And Nixon was terrified that they would get to the presidency and that his election in November would be jeopardized. So they had this big cover-up. And that worked. Nixon was re-elected in 1972 in November with one of the biggest margins in electoral history. After that, the burglars'--the burglars cracked. One of them said, "Yeah, there were higher-ups involved." And then you started to have investigations.
And Richard Nixon had a taping system in the White House. In August of 1973, the taping system became public, because you had a bipartisan Senate investigation, Senate Watergate Committee, and they asked, "Are there tapes?" And the person who set up the taping system said there were tapes. President Nixon, for reasons that are still not understood, had a full taping system in the Oval Office and a few other places, and he tape-recorded all the conversations. And at that time, the question was: Did Nixon participate in the cover-up or not? And the tapes could prove it.
And there was a special prosecutor who was appointed. And the special prosecutor wanted to get the tapes. And that was in October of 1973. The special prosecutor said, "I'm getting the tapes." And Nixon had the special prosecutor fired. He said, "You're not getting my tapes." Well, Nixon knew what was on the tapes, just as, if there are tapes with regard to Trump, Trump knows exactly what's on them. Nixon knew exactly what was on them. And he said, "You are not getting these tapes," because the tapes were incriminating. And there was a big fight over that in the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ultimately required the tapes to be released. And the tapes showed, without any question, out of Richard Nixon's own mouth, that he obstructed justice, and he ordered the Watergate cover-up from almost the day that the break-in took place.
So, you have a repetition of a president claiming there was a tape-recording system, and the tapes could exonerate him or not. But my view is that Comey not only is a very careful prosecutor and would never have said things that were improper in that meeting with Trump, but I'm sure he suspected that he could have been tape-recorded, so he was doubly or triply careful. But the person who knows whether there are tapes and what's on those tapes is the president. And why is he playing games with the American people over this issue?
AMY GOODMAN : Just to be clear, the issue isn't so much that he tapes, but that it was incriminating that he'--what he taped.
ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN : Absolutely.
AMY GOODMAN : That's what he was concerned about being replaced. So let me ask you: Does every president tape in the Oval Office?
ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN : Well, I hope not, but we know that there are a few who did. We know Nixon had the most elaborate system. But I also believe that Johnson had some kind of taping system. I don't know if it was as systematic as this, but he had some kind of taping system'--I mean, systematic as Nixon's. And I think, after Nixon, people didn't want to touch it.
AMY GOODMAN : I want to turn to a conversation we had in February with President Richard Nixon's White House counsel, John Dean. I asked him about where Trump stood just over a month into his presidency in comparison with his boss, Richard Nixon.
JOHN DEAN : If you recall, Watergate ran about 900 days. In other words, it went on for years, starting with a bungled burglary at the Democratic National Committee and right up to Richard Nixon's resignation, followed by the conviction of his top aides. So it ran a long time. What we're seeing is very accelerated. It's partially responsible because of the media and the technology today, but it's also the behavior of Trump and his aides, as well as the media's vigilance on this. So we're seeing things accelerated. And what I see or hear are echoes of Watergate. We don't have Watergate 2.0 yet, but we have something that is beginning to look like it could go there.
AMY GOODMAN : That was John Dean. Your response, Liz Holtzman? And interesting, to say the least, you were on very different sides back in the '70s, when were a congressman and John Dean worked for Nixon, but you may share a lot of views right now.
ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN : Yes, I think we're getting very close to Watergate. I think Donald Trump is deep into Watergate territory. I think the firing of James Comey, with the apparent intention to squelch an investigation into his campaign activities and his activities, resonates deeply with the issues in Watergate.
But I just want to make one point about what Dean said. When Richard Nixon took office, it was only a matter of two or three months before he started into his illegal activities. The illegal bombing of Cambodia started in March of his first year in office. And that was a war crime and a crime against the Constitution. Unfortunately, Nixon wasn't impeached for that. There was no vote to impeach him for that. But let's not get carried away with how Nixon was really a good guy up to the very end. He wasn't. The bad stuff started right away. The Plumbers unit started right away. Illegal surveillances started right away. So, I think we have here a similar kind of idea that he, that the president, is above the law. And once you get that idea in your head, then that's trouble, not just for the president, for the American people.
AMY GOODMAN : And, Elizabeth Holtzman, a last question in this last minute, and that was: When the Republicans turned on Richard Nixon, the Republicans in Congress? And talk about what you're seeing today, because many say, with a Republican majority in both houses, there's just no way that President Trump would be impeached.
ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN : Well, I think what happened during Watergate was that the checks-and-balances system worked. It worked for the judiciary. The first person who stood up was a very conservative Republican judge, John Sirica, who smelled something wrong with the burglary and imposed very tough sentences, because he knew there was something fishy going on. And as a result of that, one of the burglars broke and said higher-ups were involved. That really led to the whole rest of the investigation.
The second thing was when you had the Senate Select Committee on Watergate. You had Sam Ervin, who was a Democrat, Southern Democrat, a constitutional scholar, was the chair. And Howard Baker, Republican from Tennessee, was the vice chair. And he started out as a total partisan for Richard Nixon. And he came up with a series of questions: What does the president know, and when does he know it? And he thought those questions would show that Nixon had nothing to do with the break-in, with a cover-up. And so he asked those questions of the witnesses. And when he asked those questions, the answers, repeated and repeated and repeated, showed that Nixon was aware, the White House was aware, and showed his involvement. As a result of the facts, Baker became an advocate for the rule of law.
On the House side, the House Judiciary Committee, I think at the beginning most of the Republicans, if not all of them, were advocates for the president. But the facts came out. And in the end, most of the Republicans voted for the articles of impeachment, because they put country above party. In the end, all of them, when the smoking gun tape came out, as you said, all the Republicans announced that they were going to be in favor of impeachment, even those who had voted against it, very conservative Republicans. Why did they do that? Because the facts were clear, the Constitution was clear, the law was clear.
And I'm hoping that that will happen here. It may take longer for Republicans to come to their senses on this, but they did in Watergate. And let's not lose hope. They take an oath to uphold the Constitution. And they have the opportunity to protect the Constitution against a president who's got no respect for it, no respect for the rule of law.
AMY GOODMAN : Elizabeth Holtzman, I want to thank you for being with us, former U.S. congresswoman from New York, served on the House Judiciary Committee that voted to impeach Richard Nixon.
This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we talk about Jeff Sessions' escalating the war on drugs in this country, the attorney general of the United States. Stay with us.
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4th Branch of Government

Kucinich (D) nails it, Why Is Intelligence Community Trying to Up-End President With These Leaks?.mp3
Morning Joe Treats WashPost Writer Greg Miller Trump does not follow INTEL ‘script’.mp3
Professor Cohen Says Assault on Trump Presidency is Our Greatest National Security Threat- Is There A 4th Branch of Government?.mp3

Alternate Universes

David Gregory Lectures Fox News to Shut Up on Media Bias.mp3
Dimension B - MSNBC Reporter Julia Ioffe Complains Some Are Not Listening to Their Narrative.mp3
Dimension B-Matthews on Comey Memo- I’ve Placed My Trust in Liberal Papers, Bureaucrats to Tell Me the Truth.mp3

Hillary's Hitlist

Hannity Says He's A Target.m4a
Rod Wheeler on Seth Rich Murder-FOX 5 - ASSANGE SHOULD PUBLISH THE EMAILS.mp3

JCD Clips

CBS Anash impeachement'.mp3
CBS bad attempt at humor wTF.mp3
DW and the douchebag Trump must resign.mp3
Eric Prince.mp3
fourth circuit court and the order One.mp3
fourth circuit court and the order two.mp3
Full Comey memo rundopwn CBS one.mp3
Full Comey memo rundopwn CBS Two ramble with Schiff.mp3
Interesting aside from CBS doubting Jushner.mp3
ISIS bomb making CBS.mp3
Mueller CBS runn down ONe.mp3
Mueller CBS runn down Three-clapper.mp3
Mueller CBS runn down Two.mp3
napolitano lays it out everything is BS.mp3
PBS step over the Trump speech tot eh coast guard.mp3
random morning joe clip.mp3
RT russia and the laptop story fine tuned kicker only.mp3
RT take on laptop brouhaha.mp3
Russia and the laptop gaffe One CBS backgounder.mp3
Russia and the laptop threat one liner.mp3
set up clip one House committee hopes to.mp3

Maxine Waters

MK-Ultra

Poppie$

SJW BLM LGBBTQQIAAP

Invasion of the Body SNatchers scream donald sutherland.mp3
UT-Art major student suffers EPIC meltdown after seeing a Trump sign.mp3

The I-Word

‘Case for Impeachment’ Author Allan Lichtman Says Trump Will Be Removed for Environmental ‘Crimes Against Humanity’.mp3
Brolf-Toobin Declares Trump 'Obstruction of Justice,' Ignores Contradictory Evidence.mp3
Chaffetz Questions Need for Special Prosecutor but says 'It Doesn’t Get Any Better than Robert Mueller'.mp3
CNN Doug Wead - 2 -Lemon Baffled At Guest Pointing Out Comey's Temp Replacement Is Democrat.mp3
CNN Doug Wead -1- Presidential Historian Recalls China Tried to Get Clinton Reelected in 1996.mp3
DN-Frmr NT Rep Elizabeth Holtzman-Trump and Russia-Watergate.mp3
Frenzied Nets Pounce- ‘Impeach,’ ‘I-Word,’ ‘Impeachable Offense’.mp3
Joy Reid-Cummings Raves- Russia Investigation ‘a Fight for Soul of Democracy’.mp3
Kimmel Jokes Trump Could Shoot Dead ‘Fox & Friends’ Co-Host, Still Have Show’s Support.mp3
Maddow Claims New Flynn Development Might Be Biggest ‘Presidential Scandal’ Ever.mp3
MSNBC Begins Airing Watergate Promo.mp3
MSNBC’s O’Donnell Goes on Tirade Against Trump’s ‘Ignorance’-Causing Impeachment.mp3
National Security Adviser McMaster Refutes WaPo Report- 'I Was in the Room. It Didn't Happen'.mp3
Navy Seal Carl Higby triggers CNN presstitute-DO NOT ATTACK REPORTERS.mp3
Rep Al Green (D) Houston Texas-I Rise Today To Call For The Impeachment Of The President Of The United States.mp3
The View-1-Excited Sunny Hostin Hopes Comey Memo Leads to Impeachment.mp3
The View-2-Excited Sunny Hostin Hopes Comey Memo Leads to Impeachment.mp3
Trump Operatives Remind NBC, CNN- Obama Gave Classified Intel to Russia.mp3
Yale History Professor Timothy Snyder-NYU on MSNBC- Trump Actions Parallel the Rise of Nazis in Germany.mp3
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